WEDNESDAY, July 16, 2008 -- Joe Krozel (1889 Jerome K. Jerome Comedy Novel / Carlo who married Sofia Loren)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Random state abbreviations

Theme answers: (all are clued "See note," which note references the states by their nicknames)

  • 20A: MT (Montana, Big Sky Country)
  • 27A: TN (Tennessee, The Volunteer State)
  • 47A: KS (Kansas, The Sunflower State)
  • 56A: UT (Utah, The Beehive State)
  • 6D: MO (Missouri, The Show-Me State)
  • 11D: AL (Alabama, The Heart of Dixie)
  • 62D: OR (Oregon, The Beaver State)
  • 63D: ME (Maine, the Pine Tree State)
Howdy all. PuzzleBoy here broadcasting live on WREX from sister station WADE in Houston, filling in for PuzzleGirl filling in for Rex who fills in for nobody, baby. I drew the Wednesday straw, and I just couldn't be more tickled. I like Wednesdays. Wednesday is when I start paying attention. Everybody likes Wednesdays. How could you not? They're the most earnest and striving of the crossword family; they are so eager to please and they try so hard. If Fridays and Saturdays are your know-it-all Republican uncles, Thursday is your mom when she's a bit "tipsy," Sunday is grandma rattling on about her Franklin Mint collectibles, and Tuesday is ... well, we're a bit concerned about Tuesday.

Tuesday seems to be going through a ... phase. He's been spending a lot of time in his room (what is he building in there?), we don't know his friends, he's on the internet all the time, and where did that sullenness come from? It seems like only yesterday he was cute, adorable little Monday, so full of joy and surprise ("What does the mama cow say, Monday? What does the mama cow say?" "Moo! Moo!"), and now he's turned into this unrecognizable ... thing. (But what is he building in there?)

We hope for the best. We hope he'll grow out of it. We hope our regularly scheduled programming is not interrupted someday because of something Tuesday did.

But that Wednesday! Straight As! Working ahead in the textbook! Those little hearts dotting her i's! Why can't you be more like Wednesday? the mothers all ask their puzzles.

All right, enough of that.

Purists are gonna have a beef with this puzzle in that it gets to break the two-letter answer rule. And it's not like it brought a note from the doctor that excused it from having to play by the other kids' rules; no, this puzzle is somehow inherently special. It's got a theme, see? State abbeviations! So, coach, the rule doesn't make sense for me, because ....

Okay, I bought it. The states are randomly chosen and their placement in the grid doesn't approximate where the states would fall on a U.S. map, and states or their abbreviations don't really have anything else to do with the puzzle as far as I can detect, so really this puzzle gets a free pass to make some otherwise illegal letter combinations. But it pays off somewhat gloriously. If I gotta put up with eight two-letter combos to get eight 15-letter answers square around the grid, seven of which I've never seen before, I'll take that deal. This time. Even if the cluing is not always something to write home about.

The Long Answers
  • 1A: 1889 Jerome K. Jerome comedy novel (Three Men in a Boat). I wonder if Jerome K. Jerome is related to Ford Madox Ford. Or maybe a cousin to William Carlos Williams. (Shouldn't it be "comic" novel?)
  • 16A: Undesirable alternatives (horns of a dilemma). I never thought of the two horns of the dilemma as being alternatives, undesirable or otherwise. The dilemma is what's undesirable, and the horns are just the poky things that make it undesirable, right? I'm saying a dilemma is itself undesirable. It's like sitting on some horns. The horns aren't the thing you have to choose between. I'm overthinking this. I should look this stuff up before I start shooting my ignorant mouth off, but I have too much stuff opened up on my computer -- the puzzle, this site, Rex's posted site so I can check formatting, Outlook so I can keep up with PuzzleGirl telling me I'm a failure because I can't figure out how to paste the puzzle into this post, and I'm scared to death I'm going to lose what I've done so far and have to start over, because I tried to "save as draft" a while back and it posted what I'd done so far. Don't tell Rex. I got it deleted in time, I think. But you can see the horns of the dilemma I'm sitting on.
  • 61A: Dessert not for the calorie-conscious (chocolate mousse). Great. We'll have some recipes to talk about today. Great.
  • 64A: Some awards for accomplishment (honorary degrees). Bob Dylan got one from Princeton in the sixties, I think. My father-in-law's gotta a garage-ful of the things. He's not doing so well, healthwise. My wife and kids are over in Scotland with him now. Here's a shout-out to Neil and hoping he's feeling better.
  • 1D: Outline (thumbnail sketch). Great answer. The clue's not so adventurous. Not like I got anything better.
  • 2D: Whence the line "A person's a person, no matter how small" (Horton Hears a Who). This is the one I'd seen before. It was in a puzzle not so long ago, maybe clued the same way. I didn't know it then and didn't remember it today.
  • 14D: Something customary (a matter of course).
  • 15D: Pushing beyond proper limits (taking liberties).
A random sampling of stuff that caught my eye:
  • 18A: Some feds (T-men). Always makes me think of George Jones's "White Lightnin'." I've listened to that song a thousand times in my life and I still can't tell whether he's saying "T-men" or "G-men," just like you never know which it's gonna be in the puzzle.
  • 23A: Carlo who married Sophia Loren (Ponti). I know it's a crossword staple, but I never remember it, and I'm calling Natick on the cross with the painter Piet Mondrian, who probably also is a crossword standby.
  • 28A: New Orleans to Indianapolis dir. (NNE). Dang. We just got there yesterday.
  • 36A: Schubert's "The ___ King" (Erl). There's a guy from my hometown named Earl King. I think he's somebody's stepdad.
  • 26D: Heel style (stiletto). I first heard this word in the Billy Joel song of that name on the album 52nd Street when I was about twelve or thirteen. I thought he was talking about a knife. It was a long time before I knew it was a shoe. Billy Joel gets a bad rap. I've said that before. I've said most stuff before.
  • 32D: Light ______ (as air). I had YEARS, which along with the incorrect TORES (31D: Joe who was twice A.L. manager of the year (Torre)), made that little interior bit kind of tough for a few minutes. There's a level in Brickbreaker that looks like this grid, by the way.
  • 33D: Forward (remail). Wednesday's feeling her oats!
  • 41D: Footwear giant Thom (McAn). I peed my pants sitting on the Easter Bunny's lap at a Thom McAn's in Sikes Center Mall in Wichita Falls. It wasn't all that long ago, either.
  • 48D: 1973 War hit "The ____ Kid" (Cisco). I don't know this song. Weird way to clue CISCO. The first Hilton hotel was in Cisco, Texas. (Yes! Got it in! Finally!)
  • 55D: Shoot in a swamp (reed). Nicely clued. Seems I've seen it before, though.

Man, this internet blog-html designing and coding and writing stuff is nerve-wracking. I probably didn't use any of those words right. I'm going to post a video, just because I can.

Rex is back tomorrow. This was fun. But somebody's gotta stay and help me clean this place up.


Barry G. 6:42 AM  

Morning, folks!

I'll admit I panicked a bit when I saw the extremely long answers. In fact, I started numbly at the grid for a few minutes without a clue.

I eventually gave up trying to solve 1A and 15A and focused on the crosses, which came slowly but steadily. Eventually I was able to go back and get all the long fills, although 1A ended up being the last one I got. What can I say? I've never heard of Jerome K. Jerome or his novel.

All in all, it was a good puzzle. Other than 1A, the rest of the long fills came to me pretty quickly, which surprised me. I pretty much ignored all the 2-letter fills, especially since I couldn't read all of the note at the top of the puzzle describing which states were included.

Oh -- and nice writeup, PuzzleBoy!

Anonymous 8:19 AM  

At first I freaked out when I saw the grid ... looked impossible. But once I got going it went quickly and was a lot of fun. Felt fresh and made me MERRIER than any other day this week.

Jeffrey 8:35 AM  
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Jeffrey 8:36 AM  

Joe Krozel is my new favorite constructor. First the LIES puzzle, and now this one. He is making me look forward to Thursday and its rulebreaking, original designs and trickery and being a day away from TGIF and ... what? today is Wednesday?

ok, Shortz is messing with us for sure. First a week of Tuesdays, now Thursday comes early. It is a cool one, though.

Unknown 8:47 AM  

Very entertaining puzzle and the write up is just as fun (and unusual). Thanks to Joe K and Wade for the rule bending adventure. I imagine that trickier clues would have made this a Friday puzzle. I hope PB is right and someone has a recipe for Mousse a' chocolate avec orange.

Best wishes to Neil
Byde weill, betyde weill

Orange 8:49 AM  

Wednesday is the new Thursday. Imagine if we had to be on the lookout for crazy gimmicks in our Wednesday puzzles, too—if we had twice as many opportunities for unconventional rule-breakers. I, for one, would welcome our crazy Wednesday crossword overlords.

Wade, I think Billy Joel was singing about the stiletto knife, after which the shoe heel was named. I can't be sure because I was about 13 when I was listening to 52nd Street endlessly, and I was not so wise in the ways of the world. I could swear that Rex was telling me a few months back about some book he was reading that explained at length why Billy Joel is an underrated genius.

wendy 8:50 AM  

Wade, in my book this post is a classic! Thanks for bringing a big smile to my face.

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

Wade, you are the essence of hilarity.

Well played, my friend. Do you have your own blog? I don't want to lose this feeling.

mac 9:15 AM  

What a good start to my day: LOL at Wade's write-up!
I found this a wonderful puzzle; it was a little daunting to see the long words, then I just started in the dead center en spread out from there. Lots of Wednesday fill, so it was absolutely doable. A couple of unusual words, like enstate, horns of a dilemma, houri and erl, but Ponti and Piet are crosswordese to me.
Sorry guys, no chocolate mousse recipe from me. When I need to do a chocolatey dessert I buy a little frozen C.M.cake at Trader Joe's, pile raspberries on top and serve whipped cream on the side.
I'm more a blue cheese and ripe pear dessert eater.

JannieB 9:35 AM  

What a cool grid! I took one look and said, "Is it Sunday already?". Awesome. Like Mac I started sort of in Kansas and worked from there. Can't say I was crazy about the 2-letter fill, mainly because in Acrosslite the "note" was more like a straight line. Barely had enough room to enlarge the puzzle so I could read the damn thing. Like Barry, I pretty much ignored them after that - except a couple did help me with a bit of the fill. Very nice job. Didn't realize Joe was our "Lies" constructor from a few weeks ago. Let's hope he is very prolific - definitely a talented guy.

And Wade - you had a tough act to follow, but held up well to the comparison. Felt like I was on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride - and loved every minute of your write up.

JannieB 9:35 AM  
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dk 9:36 AM  

@wade, bravo!

I always thought Wednesday was the girl in the Addams family... wrong again.

Spelled dilemma with a n cause I love the letter n, which gave me a nater of course that I kind of like.

I remember the foot x-ray from Thom MCAN and in later years stories of young women who would try on shoes while not wearing ....

When my sister was two we stopped at the 4 Chimneys in Bennington VT for a late lunch with my sainted mother and sis upon reading the dessert menu, exclaimed in a voice that soared above the refined blue haired clientele: "EEEOWWW, WHATS A CHOCOLATE MOUSE."

The woman next to us laughed so hard she impersonated @wade on the Easter Bunnies lap.

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

Best write-up ever.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

Puzzle was fairly easy going from crosses to long words. Confused about the source of clue numbers for theme answers.

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

Thanks, PG for a fun writeup.

I started strong, knowing HORTON.... and getting several key letters for CHOCOLATE... very early. Then struggled a little, but this felt about average for a Wednesday for me.

A slight hiccup when I couldn't spell BOLEYN.

And, we have another plural that I don't like. I'm sure the SCROD can officially be pluralized by adding an S, but I've always actually heard SCROD used as the plural. As in "we went out in the boat this morning and caught a mess of Scrod".

Ulrich 10:04 AM  

Puzzle and write-up: a match made in puzzle-heaven.

I had the same sinking feeling as others when I saw the unusual grid, but then had the same rel. easy time with it. In fact, my only beef with the puzzle is the note: It promises the states "in some order", which is highly misleading: Everything in a grid is in "some" order--this is simply the nature of a matrix. So, I figured there must be a particular order to the way in which the states circle the periphery--and wasted minutes finding none. Dang

Wich brings me, of course, to the Erlking, a double pinnacle of German art that deserves a comment of its own--stay tuned (Wade's tone is highly infectious).

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

On George Jones' White Lightnin', it's both:

Well the G-men, T-men, revenuers, too
Searchin' for the place where he made his brew
They were looking, tryin to book him,
But my pappy kept a-cookin'
Whshhhoooh . . . white lightnin'


foodie 10:18 AM  

Did you all see that Rex made an appearance late last night and mentioned today's puzzle?

I also love Andrea Carla's "story" about her grandfather from late last night. A guy I've known for years, who's well in his forties just started talking about wanting to change sex/gender and it's discombobulating...

Wade, I know this Tuesday creature you describe-- and I tell you, it's very personal. Tuesday despises the family. He can be nice around others-- is cheery, breezy, fun... That weird, sullen, withdrawn, confusing persona, that's our fault. We piss him off.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

Saw the grid and almost when home thinking I had mistakenly come to work on a Saturday. Alas, it's only Wednesday. LOVED this puzzle.

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

I totally agree about your trouble with the way HORNS OF A DILEMMA was clued. The choice is always between two relatively DESIRABLE things, otherwise it would not be dilemma. This is the basis for ethical dilemmas (that is, ethical dilemmas are not about the choice between good and evil - that's no dilemma; they are about the choice between two goods).

Joon 10:25 AM  

don't worry rex, i found this one tough too, even though i knew jerome k jerome... except that i thought it was THREEMENINABATH. i think i was confusing it with swift's tale of a tub, a satire which is much in the same vein.

i'm a little surprised to see PIET and PONTI labeled as crosswordese. i guess i've never seen either one in a grid, but PIET mondrian is only one of the most famous painters in history. that's a name worth knowing.

totally new to me today: ERL. wha?

some inelegance: the suffix -IER. by itself, it's unfortunate but forgivable because the grid is pretty demanding. but the fact that it's right next to merrIER makes it even uglIER.

i usually love joe krozel's puzzles, but i guess i didn't see what's so special about this one that it can break all the rules. on top of the two-letter word thing, this puzzle seems to violate the minimum number of theme squares, with a mere 16 theme letters. doesn't that seem odd to anybody else?

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

What a treat: both the constructor and the blogger thinking way outside the crate. Great stuff all around.

asdf 10:41 AM  

I knew I'd heard the bit about "what's he building in there?" before... & then the video! An odd selection (even for Tom Waits) but you clearly had this entire post written up in advance, & it is great.

Orange 10:48 AM  

Hey, two commenters have mislabeled today's blogger, with one reference to PuzzleGirl and one to Rex. And then all the other people said "Wade, you're hilarious!" Why can't Johhny read? :-)

Joon, last night John Farmer mentioned to me that this is the only puzzle he knows of that has zero black squares around the grid's perimeter. The holy grail would be a puzzle with triple-stacked 15s around all four sides, but that's a daunting task—so double-stacked 15s and a few 2-letter entries to facilitate them make for a cool-looking grid.

Scott 10:50 AM  

could someone post the entire 'note' or teach me how to expand Across Lite farther in order to see it. I finished up but I'd still like to know exactly what these states are representing (in some order) ... the last words of the note I can see.

I thought the idea for the puzzle was great w/ the long 15's bordering the whole puzzle. This forced some really ugly answers and that, combined w/ the 2squares makes it not quite worth the 15's for me. Well maybe worth it, but it sours it a bit.

Ulrich 10:52 AM  

Yes, Der Erlkönig (The Erlking): A Lied (art song) by the greatest composer of such songs in German, Schubert, using as lyrics the perhaps best known ballad by the greatest German poet of all time, Goethe. Another match made in heaven.

The ballad/song has not lost its appeal to the present day. Nabokov quotes the first two lines in my favorite Nabokov book, Pale Fire; Hilary Hahn has a wonderful version of it for solo violin; and Kraut Rock is also not immune to its allure.

Among the versions I found on youtube, I liked this audio-only version by the great basso A. Kipnis because of the clarity of his diction. If you do not know the lyrics, here is the German text together with a (workable, if flat-footed) prose translation.

Looking at this translation and others (some of which are truly horrible), I continued musing about difficulties in translating texts between German and English--a list of dos and don'ts is emerging, which I will post later in the day for anyone interested in such matters.

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

Huh. I didn't see the entire note either (I played online against the clock), and had no idea the state nicknames were there. That would have made it a little easier.

Anyone else wish the NYT would update the online mode? My husband always laughs when he sees me doing a tiny crossword in the corner of the screen.

Pythia 10:54 AM  

Wade, you have hit a home run!

“Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog” by Jerome K. Jerome is one of my all-time favorite novels. Read it and laugh out loud, then read “To Say Nothing of the Dog” by Connie Willis. Was lots of fun seeing this at 1-Across. Made me feel hopeful that the rest would be just as much fun, and it was.

Cool puzzle. Not really a theme here -- two-letter postal codes of eight states that are not part of an exclusive set? Seems just an arbitrary constraint to justify using two-letter answers. (Is it the note’s intention to suggest that there is really a theme?) It is a formidable constraint on a formidable grid. Okay with me for the rules to be waived from time to time for a worthy cause.

With the exception of the suspect REMAIL (not found in my dictionaries), a fairly clean product (I do agree that IER near MERRIER is ugh-ly). A breeze to solve. Happily, I knew all the references, including CISCO. Unhappily, I feel fat merely reading the words CHOCOLATE MOUSSE (had a yummy, lowish-calorie pannecotta recently, and will try to get the recipe to share). NNE round trip – cute, but a more exciting place to return to would have been nice.


Alex S. 10:54 AM  

In the applet how do I see the full note? All I had were the clues saying "See note" and then the note above the puzzle saying simply they were state abbreviations.

PuzzleGirl 10:56 AM  

I had the same experience as others where I looked at the grid and thought "Oh S&*T!" But then made my way through it in typical Wednesday fashion.

I really liked the puzzle but, like Ulrich, wanted the states to be in some Particular order. I really liked all the 15s, though, so I'm not going to dwell on anything I didn't like.

@des: I looked up "horns of a dilemma" and, apparently, the phrase doesn't refer to any old dilemma -- it's just what the clue says: a dilemma with two undesirable alternatives. I also believe there is likely a person with some intent involved. I.e., someone presents you with the alternatives -- they don't just appear naturally. If that makes any sense.

@Scott: The note says "The eight two-letters answers in this puzzle are all state postal abbreviations representing (in some order) the Beaver State, Beehive State, Big Sky Country, Heart of Dixie, Pine Tree State, Show Me State, Sunflower State and Volunteer State." I, too, was annoyed with how the note was handled in AcrossLite.

Finally, I think Wade is awesome. But you all knew that.

Unknown 11:00 AM  

A dilemma is always a situation with TWO choices, both of which are painful, hence the "horns."

Jeffrey 11:00 AM  

I couldn't see the note in the applet and solved without it. I saw the whole thing by printing out the AcrossLite version. I suppose I could read it in the paper in 6 weeks.

Nice write up, Orange, I mean Rex, I mean Wade. This is too complicated where commenters and bloggers are overlapping. Next we'll see 2 letter entries on a Wednesday and the universe will implode.

Crosscan, whose head now hurts.

Unknown 11:01 AM  

Double post just to say you guys are doing a fine job pinch-hitting for Rex. Thanks!

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

Second try. Does anyone understand where Wade got numbers (and in all but 2 cases A or D) for the unnumbered 2-letter state abbreviations?

jubjub 11:06 AM  

Since there are all these positive comments, I don't mind adding some negative energy into the world. So, Joe Krozel, please skip this comment, I'm about to be a negative nelly!

I thought this was the most disappointing NYT puzzle I have done (just got an email from the NYT saying I will have been doing puzzles for one year on 7/23 ... and they will be recollecting my $39.95). I got my hopes up looking at the crazy grid. "Oh man, this puzzle must be awesome! There are 2 letter answers!" (I just learned last week that that was against the rules). Then I went through the clues and discovered that there wasn't a single clue/answer that I liked. Go ahead, break the rules, but at least put something *interesting* in the puzzle. Maybe it was fun for the constructor to get all those 15 letter answers to line up, but what's in it for me? The only thing in the puzzle is the 15 letter answers, all the rest is crosswordese/obscure abbreviations to get those answers to fit. And the 15 letter answers weren't even interesting. Sigh.

For least helpful clue of all time, I nominate:
"Purview of the ICC" = RRS
I guess RR stands for rail road? Anyone know what ICC is?

Lucky for me, the write-up was awesome! Glad that Wade's rambling skills could make even this puzzle's write-up enjoyable!

@joon, My impression was the state abbrs was just a note, not the theme. The theme, to me, was "This puzzle has a weird structure".

Everyone probably remembers this, but I will say it anyways. The "Horton" quote made a stir recently as being evidence that the movie was anti-abortion.

Shamik 11:09 AM  

@betsy: You can change the configuration of the Across Lite puzzle in many ways...including its size. Just play with it awhile.

Loved this puzzle. Happy! Happy!

Joon 11:10 AM  

orange, i guess that's pretty interesting. i hadn't thought about that. i'm still not 100% convinced that he didn't accomplish it by cheating, but if that was the goal, then at least there was a goal.

re: the note, i opened the puzzle in across lite and saw a ridiculously small-print message. in order to read it, i had to load the .puz file into vi and scroll through the binary garbage to find the note text. (i didn't look at the answers, but they're in there, too, not even particularly well concealed.) why wasn't the notepad used instead? that's what it's for.

i sound more curmudgeonly than i am. really, i thought the puzzle was fine and enjoyable to solve--i'm just trying to wrap my head around it.

Two Ponies 11:13 AM  

Easy to forgive the two letter rule for such a payoff.
Hats off to Krozel.
Wonderful write up Wade and thanks for the cool video. I knew you would not let us down.

PuzzleGirl 11:13 AM  

@fpbear: I'm not sure I understand your question. 20A = 20 Across, which is where MT is in the grid. 27 Across, TN, etc. The 62 and 63 should have had Ds after them as well because they are Down answers. (I just fixed that.) Does that answer your question?

@jubjub: ICC = Interstate Commerce Commission.

alanrichard 11:14 AM  

I really liked this puzzle. I always enjoy the creative stuff. I got Horton right away, the I Got Torre and built around the middle. Ihad a game Of Life video from a cereal box and I remember a car driving to different points. I agree that the long answers spark that "OH NO" this might be hard - but once you get one or two they all fit into place; and the clues were really cut and dry. I was unsure about how to spell Boleyn but I knew I would get it contexturally - so I wasn't going to lose my head over it.

grouchonyy 11:16 AM  

Just a heads up for those using the hard copy of the NY Times. The puzzle in the actual paper is numbered differently. The two-letter States are not numbered at all. The top row in the paper goes from 1-13. The online version goes 1-15. If using the paper version, compare locations, not numbers.

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

Here's the full note in today's NYT:

"The eight two-letter answers in this puzzle are all state postal abbreviations, representing (in some order) the Beaver State, Beehive State, Big Sky Country, Heart of Dixie, Pine Tree State, Show Me State, Sunflower State and Volunteer State."

SethG 11:19 AM  

Wow, I'm just glad Rex comes back, buying me some time before the pressure's on me--I'll be in training until then if you need me...

Also, the comments are coming to fast for me to edit...sorry if I repeat something someone's said.

I met a HORN OF DILEMMA at The Nunnery in Melbourne on Jan 28, 2007. His name was Martin.

Had a lot of trouble on the east coast, which took at least as long as the rest of the puzzle combined. I couldn't remember what the THREE MEN were IN, didn't know PONTI, two states=random letters, REG could have been almost anything, didn't know ERL, couldn't come up with AFB...and then there's HOURI. Didn't help that I had PAR FOR THE instead of A MATTER OF [COURSE].

Here's a site discussing HORNS etymology. Let me know if you see one about A MATTER OF--I disagreed about the use, but the PuzzleKids shouted me down.

My thought for ICC was International Criminal Court. Relied on the crosses.

fpbear, those numbers appeared in the applet version of the puzzle, all clued as "See note". Did they not appear in the printed (or other) version?

The first joke I ever wrote:
--Who's there?
Horton Hears A
--Horton Hears a Who?
Yes, he does.

I was a very small small person, and I loved Horton.

alanrichard 11:19 AM  

I've never seen an on line version. I did enjoy your WEIRD video. Going with that theme of weird you might, someday, want to put on the video of an old group called The Tubes singing "White Punks On Dope"

Anonymous 11:21 AM  




Thank you, wade, for making me laugh so hard that my blazing hot coffee came squirting out of my nostrils!

I, too, had an "oh, crap" reaction upon seeing this puzzle for the first time. But I thought, in hindsight, that it really wasn't that bad. HORTON HEARS A WHO was a gimme for me, and THUMBNAIL SKETCH and HONORARY DEGREES came pretty easily from crosses. The rest were not so blatantly obvious to me, but still gettable (like the first poster, I had never heard of Jerome K. Jerome).

Also kind of screwed myself at one point because I got the chocolate part of CHOCOLATE MOUSSE, and filled the rest in with the word ECLAIR. I don't know why I assumed that the answer had to be ECLAIR. Just goes to prove the old saying, that when you "assume", all it does is make an "ass" out of "u" and "me".

Finally, when I was all set to submit my grid, the computer demon told me my puzzle was incorrect. I trashed my time trying to figure out where my mistake was. The culprit? I put G-MEN for 18A, figuring that I didn't know what the hell an EFG (7D) was, but that G-MEN had to be correct, so screw it. The correct answer of T-MEN didn't even occur to me. Again, when you assume. . .

Love this puzzle, and I hope to see many more by the author.

Ronathan (a.k.a. newly self-appointed ass) :-p

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

I don't mind negative comments at all, Jubjub. Yours are very tactfully stated, and I love both positive and negative feedback. In fact, you cut to the very question that I ask myself all the time... As a constructor, there are lots of unconventional ideas I'd like to explore, but it is indeed important to ask: "What's in it for the solver?" So, thanks for your honesty: You're my customer, and it's important to get your feedback so that I delight you (rather than torture you).

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

@fpbear--The clues were unnumbered in the newspaper, but were numbered online. Thus the numbering was different in the two versions.

You can see the whole note in Across Lite by clicking on Options and changing the font of the title and heading to Arial Narrow, although it becomes difficult to read. At least it's all there. However, I wonder why they didn't use Notepad, as they have in the past.

About the puzzle itself: I guess, knowing that this is the guy who did the LIES puzzle recently, that I just don't like this constructor's way of coming up with "clever" puzzles. The LIES puzzle, I thought, was ugly, with the theme name LIES staring out at you from the start, the letters of which of uneven size, and the theme answers not really lies at all, but incorrect information. It also came after a much better puzzle a few weeks earlier which contained actual "little white lies."

Today's puzzle, to me at least, was just odd. Two-letter state abbreviations, with no apparent reason for their specific selection. Not in any particular order; an approximation of a US map would have made it clever. Supposedly, a basic rule of crossword construction may be broken for a good reason; here, there was none. Supposedly, there is a backlog of puzzles on Mr. Shortz's desk; this puzzle surely couldn't be the best he has.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Thanks for the info that the hard copy and applet versions were numbered differently. I have had many conversations with Times reps trying to enrol in Times Reader which would give me the online version. They can't reset my password, and emails to IT are not answered. I guess Sulzberger is next.

jae 11:36 AM  

@wade -- in the word of Monte Burns "Excellent!"

Liked this alot. Was at first intimidated but worked it from the middle out and finished in what seemed about average Wed. time for me (I don't really time myself on Wed. and I print it out so the note problem on line wasn't an issue). Kudos to JK for a clever effort and visually interesting experience.

foodie 11:50 AM  

@ Joe Krozel

What a terrific attitude! It took me years to accept the idea that people might hate something I worked hard on and thought was pretty cool! But if you experiment and take risks, not everyone will love what you do. So what. Polarized opinions are better than a shrug (though I love to watch a French person's little shoulder movement and dismissive moue when they do their "who cares?" shrug).

Anonymous 12:04 PM  

if memory serves, icc stands for interstate commerce commission--not that i found the clue helpful.

great puzzle.

HudsonHawk 12:17 PM  

Fun write-up, Wade. PuzzleGirl also did a great job. Still haven't figured the White/Huang pun, though.

JK, loved the construction and understand the need for the two letter fill to get the border 15s. And I'm not even a constructor.

So, Foodie, are you saying that Duane in Little Miss Sunshine was just being Tuesday?

Which reminds me of the great lyric from the Kings--"nothing matters but the weekend, from a Tuesday point of view".

/HH, switching to glide...

Queen Bun-Bun 12:26 PM  

You rock PuzzleBoy. You have got the days of the week down. Thanks for the Tom Waits.

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

@Hudsonhawk--Think Huang is pronounced Wong, and "two Wongs don't make a White." ("Mr. White? Mr. Huang?") In other words, to hit the dead horse with a sledgehammer if anyone didn't get it yet, many girls are looking for Mr. White, but few are looking for Mr. Huang.

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

Or maybe they're looking for Mr. White Now.

Bill D 12:31 PM  

Just logged in after a couple of weeks to find Wade sitting in the driver's seat and taking us bouncing willy-nilly over Texas back roads, drinkin' like a fish and stoppin' at every historical marker and honky-tonk along the way. Hilarious!

Like Ulrich I'm still looking for the "order" of the state abbreviations. Admission order? Number of electoral votes? Do the letters spell something? No luck yet...

My wife is a chocoholic and she considers mousse a waste of calories - not nearly chocolaty enough for her refined tastes.

@dk - Your Thom McAn urban myth reminds me of my own sordid past. I came of age in those halcyon days when the miniskirt was all the rage but pantyhose hadn't hit their stride yet. As a result, this impressionable youth became an inveterate leg-man. For a long time during my adolescence I wanted to grow up to be a shoe salesman...

Once again, kudos to Wade and Puzzlegirl, whose super blog I had to go back and read.

Anonymous 12:32 PM  

Mr White sounds similar to Mr Right as pronounced by someon with a lisp, Mr Huang sounds similar to Mr Wrong by the same person.

You had to be there. I wasn't.

Anonymous 12:48 PM  

Kudos to both constructor and substitute blogger -- a fun puzzle and write-up.

To me too it felt more Thursday-ish than Wednesday-ish, not just because of the unusual construction but also in difficulty level (indeed my solving time was more typical of Thurs. than Wed.). The gimmick was stated explicitly, though, unlike a Thursday rebus where the solver must figure out where and how the rule is broken.

Of the 15-letter answers, Horton was my first (though at first I tried to have him see rather than hear the Who), and Three Men in a Boat the only unfamiliar one.

Yes, the Goethe/Schubert Erlking is wonderful. The piano part's a b*tch to play, though.


P.S. Thanks to foodie @10:18 for the heads-up on Rex's cameo in yesterday's comments (I was on the road and missed the day's puzzle and blog).

dk 12:59 PM  

Like the Tom W. clip. Check out the short stories of Joe Frank:

@foodie, please send me an email link as I would like to find out more about your research.

Anonymous 1:04 PM  

here's a SCROD joke courtesy of my husband the guy who likes to correct my grammar:

Man arriving in Boston. Gets taxicab from airport. Looking forward to finding fresh fish for dinner. Says to taxidriver: "Take me to where I can get scrod." Response from taxidriver: "Never heard anybody use that word in the future pluperfect."

by the way, just read yesterday's Comments. Jeff in chicago@11:28AM, the first time I gave my husband a meal where I lived before we were married, all I had in my little fridge was redbeets and vanilla icecream. Also eric@12:03PM, "grammatically awful" has become de rigueur so much so that you will find people admiring it as a "colloquial jacket." And Orange@12:12PM, "back in the day" is a phrase I heard my next-door-neighbor use when I lived in the Mantua section of West Philly adjacent to Powelton Village. This was inner city. Yes Afrimericans live in burbs but they didn't flock there upon Freedom of Slaves; they went to inner cities to work.

JC66 1:06 PM  

I do the puzzle on a 13" MacBook and the note was so small, I couldn't read it with a magnifying glass.

No matter. In the process of solving, I figured out the two letter answers were state abbreviations and, as it turns out, I didn't have to waste time figuring out their order or placement.

No harm, no foul. But they should have put the note in the notepad.

And thanks for the terrific post, Wade. You exceeded my easy task. You and Puzzle Girl are really putting the pressure on Sethg (and HRH).

Anonymous 1:24 PM  

Ii was happy with the puzzle and wade's blog too! I got the whole thing without worrying about the 2-letter items, since they all said "See note" which I couldn't see..... Also easily saw that they were State abbreviations afterward, that was enough!

I started with PONTI and PIET, immediately sympathizing with those who would find their crossing unfair... Wondered a bit about the male bear URSUS, as we usually see the she-bear URSA.

I was cruising along so well that I got a little careless -- trying to fit in HORTON HATCHES A WHO... Whoops!

Chocolate Anything will cure all, except being bumped from the blue/orange again.


Anonymous 1:26 PM  


You said "Everyone probably remembers this, but I will say it anyways. The "Horton" quote made a stir recently as being evidence that the movie was anti-abortion."

I also read that Geisel was outraged when he heard that anti-abortionists were lauding his book as 'on their side.' He came out saying that was not his intent at all. I can't make any claims about the movie, but the book, anyway, wasn't evidence of Geisel's political views.

janie 1:29 PM  

way to go, wade!

re: dylan's honorary degree from princeton -- he received it in '70 and then wrote a song about it. that's the year i graduated college and the locusts *were* out in full force, adding some music and mayhem to outdoor baccalaureate exercises, believe me! ;-)

praise from princeton

best --


Doris 1:34 PM  

In London's National Portrait Gallery, there is a portrait of Jerome K. Jerome by one Solomon J. Solomon. Is someone there pulling our leg? I went back to see it again, because I wasn't sure I'd really seen those names. Jerome's father was originally Jerome Clapp. He added the second "Jerome" later. Jerome K. jr. changed Clapp to "Klapka" in honor of an exiled Hungarian general. (Don't ask.)

@Ulrich: Kipnis was fabulous, but I do love Hermann Prey's version. Prefer baritone and bass to tenor, but Axel Schøtz was wonderful, too.

Anonymous 1:40 PM  


You are correct in stating that Geisel was horrified at the usage of his book (writen in 1954) to advance a pro-life agenda, a fact which his wife brought up again in a 2001 lawsuit filed in Canada over the issue.

But that doesn't mean that "Horton Hears a Who" was devoid of ANY political message. Some have suggested that the book is actually an allegory supporting the establishment of a democratic state in Japan after WWII. Others have stated that it was a critique of social Darwinist attitudes (particularly those co-opted by the Nazi party) toward any "non-Aryan" persons, which obviously still existed in certain parts of Europe even after the war. Dr. Seuss, after all, got his start drawing political cartoons mocking Adolf Hitler, and fascism in general.

Ronathan :-p

HudsonHawk 2:06 PM  

Steve and Humorlesstwit: Thanks. My mind was searching down in the gutter, as usual.

Hungry Mother 2:12 PM  

I am usually a MTW solver who isn't very fast or clever. However, I always can solve a Wednesday. This one was beyond me.

Barry G. 2:19 PM  

With regard to Schubert's Der Erlkönig, I remember singing it as a Subway performer in Boston 10 years or so ago. My favorite performance of it has to be that of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

Doris 2:33 PM  

Whoops. The Danish tenor is Aksel, not Axel, Schøtz, though I have seen the "Axel" spelling, too.

Just had to correct myself. We editorial types can't help it.

RodeoToad 2:36 PM  

Thanks for the kind words, everybody, and to Rex for calling me up to the Big Leagues for one game. Tomorrow I'll be back down in Triple A with you again. But we have fun on the bus, no? I have a much greater appreciation for the ability of Rex, PG, Orange and others who do this stuff every freakin' day. Not that it'll cause me to heckle them any less, of course.

Anon steve, you cleared up a 35 year old mystery with the lyrics to "White Lightnin'." Please don't do that again. (Kidding. I always thought he was saying, "The G-men [or T-men] CAME AND the revenuers too." Otherwise there's no verb. George don't need no verbs, though. He's George.)

Puzzlegirl stayed up with me til around 3:00 this morning (4:00 in the east, where she is) helping me get the post launched, finding pictures, formatting, arguing with me about em-dashes and the fate of Wednesday. (I had her growing up to be a dead-eyed washout and addict, erased and smudged and torn in a Continental Airlines magazine stuffed into the back of seat 36C. Puzzlegirl wanted to keep her young and innocent and brown-nosing forever. And so she is.)

Cool puzzle, Joe. I can call you Joe, right? I mean, we're practically colleagues now. Say hi to Will for me. Okay, sorry. Mr. Shortz to me. I get it. Mr. Krozel.

mac 2:42 PM  

As usual I didn't even read the note above the (print) puzzle, just considered the unnumbered squares to be another way to make this puzzle difficult. In the end, they really didn't. If there had been no clue for them at all, we couldn't even invoke the 2-letter rule.

Bill from NJ 2:42 PM  

I am not a purist and I like these kinds of puzzle that are symmetrically different from the norm or assymetrical in structure.

Like barry I was a little intimidated by the long answers but I started chipping away along both coasts until I gained traction and saw CHOCOLATE****** and got the HORTON answer. Dipped into the Midlands and began working outwards until 16A fell and I got HONORARYDEGREES.

The last long answer to fall was THREEMENINABOAT. I started slowly but gained momentum quickly and the medium classification held true for me. Had a nice solving experience today

Orange 2:45 PM  

The real problem with "Horton Hears a Who" is its near-total disregard for the human potential of women and girls. The Mayor of Whoville had nearly 100 daughters and one son, and the son is the only one destined to take the reins as mayor. And when their wee society is threatened with extinction, only that one boy has any effect. Those 90-some sisters of his? Useless. Thanks, Dr. Seuss and moviemakers. Children need to learn that girls just don't count.

Hungry Mother, that's because this was harder than a Wednesday puzzle. I've done some Saturday puzzles faster than this one.

Orange 2:46 PM  

Wade, you never heckle me. *sniffle*

fergus 3:00 PM  

Finally finished what I thought was a really tough Wednesday exercise. Wednesday is also my favorite day for the Times, for the Dining In/Out section. Nice write-up Wade; fluid and entertaining.

Top-notch puzzle, Mr. Krozel.

RodeoToad 3:21 PM  

Orange, that's because your performances are always flawless.

miriam b 3:34 PM  

Great experience today both puzzlewise and Puzzleboywise. I too was wondering what was meant by "some order". Nuthin', I guess. "No particular order" would have made me happier.

When I was a kid in Bridgeport, my mother and I used to attend something called the Wednesday Afternoon Musical Club (which I just Googled, finding to my utter amazement that it still exists, albeit in a different venue in Fairfield County). Anyway, one day one of the performers - all amateurs - sang The Erl King. She was just awful - sort of a cross between Florence Foster Jenkins and Anna Russell. So thank you, Ulrich, for providing the Kipnis performance which worked as a sort of antidote to this entrenched memory. I also like the Fischer- Dieskau version.

If I'm feeling too cheerful, I listen to Die Winterreise. That'll straighten anyone out.

"Die Post bringt keinen Brief für dich,
"Mein Hertz, mein Hertz.."

Ulrich 3:41 PM  

@barry and doris: I can't argue with you. As I said, I selecetd Kipnis because of the clarity of his diction, which I thought may be helpful for people listening for the first time, text in their hot little hands. The Fischer-Diskau/G. Moore version is also on youtube, but much harder to understand. I also thought seeing them in action somehow distracts from concentrating on das Ding an sich.

ggirl802 3:46 PM  

umm you're delightful. do you blog anywhere else?

chefbea 3:51 PM  

great write up Wade. Really had me laughing. I knew piet and Ponti - Mondrien is one of my favorite artists.

@foodie - I like the name you gave us in yesterdays blog Rexites

@scriber pat LOL - the scrod joke

Now to really important things I can make a mean chocolate mousse with lots of whipped cream. But wont make that for dinner tonight. Went to a farmers market this morning and bought 2 bunches of beets. Yummm roasted beets - with feta of course

foodie 4:09 PM  

@dk, I have put my e-mail at the end of the section entitled "about me" (I check this one more regularly than the gmail one). Talk to you soon.

@Chefbea, glad you like Rexites. It sounds like a rare mineral...

@Hudsonhawk, never saw Little Miss Sunshine... Now I want to.

Anonymous 4:11 PM  

Forgot to mention: I count only 28 black squares, less than 1/8 the total grid area; we've seen fewer, but perhaps not this early in the week: is this a record low for a NYTimes Wednesday?


Anonymous 4:31 PM  

Yes, very nice write-up Wade. And, of course you can call me Joe! (Heck, Rex decided he would call me Krozzy!!) -Joe

Anonymous 5:37 PM  

Hi Noam:
I don't think it would be fair to credit this one as a noteworthy achievement for having just 28 black squares (since I did get there by way of the 2-letter-entry gimmick). Thanks for noticing it otherwise.

Pythia 5:50 PM  

"Yogurt Panna Cottas with Honey" recipe is on my profile page. Very yummy!

Blanche 6:07 PM  

@Barry: I agree completely--Fischer-Dieskau rules! He inhabits all four characters to perfection. And speaking as a diction coach to singers, I find his German diction impeccable.

Anonymous 6:13 PM  

I loved the day of the week personifications, Wade. I know I've seen that chocolate moose in person...somewhere...

Thanks to Connie Willis, I got THREE MEN IN A BOAT right off, making this puzzle quite doable for me. I liked the different appearance of this grid.

Ellen 6:26 PM  

This puzzle was a nightmare to put into online form. First, since Across Lite requires grid entries and clues to match, filler definitions had to be provided for the 2-letter entries. We've found that putting material in the Notepad can corrupt the file, so we put the note in the title field or heading (it can be seen by adjusting the field size or font). We also prefer to use the title field since the Notepad does not show at all for those solving online in Java. The title field for the Java version is limited in size, so only the beginning portion would fit.

I will blame my 5:50 time on having to worry about all this while solving.

Unknown 6:30 PM  

Count me in the Joe Krozel fan club, and hilarity in the commentary is much appreciated too.

My only mistake was to write EST immediately in 37A, despite a tiny suspicion that it might be IER. I should always pay attention to those stray thoughts.

And SCRODS??? Sounds fishy to me.

jubjub 6:39 PM  

Mr. Krozel, thanks for taking my criticism so elegantly. I appreciate that putting together the puzzle is a puzzle in itself, and it seems that the majority of commenters here appreciate the difficulty of your feat.

I have been recently (i.e. this week) thinking about what parts of puzzle construction would be better automated, at least for me. In some ways, construction seems like a complex Sudoku puzzle. Instead of all the blocks containing unique numbers, all the blocks must be words/phrases. Sudoku is fairly easy to solve with a program, so I've been thinking that given the right lists of words/phrases, puzzle creation could be somewhat automated. Maybe the holy grail triple-triple orange described above could be easier achieved with some automation. I see online that there are some programs that do some automation already, so maybe they have figured out the right balance. Anyways, I'm planning on some attempts this weekend at freeware crossword construction software, so if anyone has any tips, suggestions, let me know! You can post to me directly on my blog.

Rex Parker 7:09 PM  

All right, all right, quit slobbering all over my stand-ins. We'll see how much you love them they've been doing this damn write-up stuff 24/7 for a couple years.

Krozzy's puzzle was fun, but I didn't get the purpose of the whole postal code thing. I thought maybe there'd be some catch or pattern or something.

And THREE MEN IN A what now? That top (left) part was hard.

It's 11am tomorrow here in NZ. Where's my Thursday puzzle!?

Daughter has ear infection, which is making her miserable, but otherwise we seem to be acclimating very well. I ate bacon this morning.

Everything in NZ is like some gorgeous futuristic version of its American counterpart, although it's a bit like Bizarro World in that everything is *slightly* off.

More later, when I write-up Thursday's puzzle. You may be seeing more of Wade and PG and SethG in the coming weeks. Not sure how much blogging I can sustain when it's so @#$#ing beautiful here.


PS Orange, I think the commenter who referred to me (above) was referring to the comments I made on this puzzle in yesterday's comments (which is a big no-no that only *I* am allowed to do, btw).


Orange 7:37 PM  

Rex: You had bacon? Tch. Three days away from your blog and you go all carnivorous on us? I don't suppose IHOP is actually international and that you had bacon at a kiwi IHOP?

PuzzleGirl 7:44 PM  

I don't really have anything to say but I've been watching the comment count and secretly hoping Wade wouldn't get more comments today than I got yesterday. If I timed this right, though, I should be 94.

Michael Chibnik 7:49 PM  

An enjoyable puzzle, but really a Thursday (or even an easy Friday) and not a Wednesday. With different clues, it could be a Saturday.

Anonymous 7:53 PM  

Don't worry, PuzzleGirl, you still blew him out of the water on Monday (though some of those first-time posters sounded pretty suspicious; I suspect some of your family members were stuffing the ballot box.)

green mantis 8:08 PM  

Paradise will do strange things to you. Last time I was in Mexico, I became an outlaw drug runner, blowing all over town with a sawed-off shotgun, capping b*tches left and right while wearing a sarong and mainlining mezcal.

It really surprised me, because I am normally VERY anti-sarong. They get all bunchy.

alanrichard 8:27 PM  

Isn't it funny that there are more comments now!! I guess its time for major syndication ot this site. Now that we've seen a puzzle with 2 letter answers, the next step is puzzles that go beyond the grid!!!!!

Anonymous 8:47 PM  

Someone should tell the inquirer that the ICC is the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Anonymous 8:52 PM  

rubyoz here posting anonymously as I'm on a different computer and can never remember passwords, etc.

I was so thrilled I actually knew Jerome K Jerome, that to me this was a delightful and fun puzzle. I take the paper and love to scribble and erase (pencil for me). While I didn't "know' the other long clues, they revealed themselves with only a few challenges - est instead of ier; didnt know erl, guessed at houri and also struggled to spell boyleyn. I liked this puzzle, and I really enjoyed Puzzleboy's post - thanks for the chuckles.

Luke 9:17 PM  

What a fun puzzle and was daunting to see for this new solver. Had to look up a lot of stuff mostly because I've never heard the expression 'horns of a dilemma' and 'thumbnail sketch'. I guess my generation just doesn't use those expressions. Oh well.

Leon 9:17 PM  

Great puzzle Mr. Krozel. That is not a lie.

Great write-up Wade.

foodie 10:35 PM  

@ Orange, I feel compelled to touch on certain food accounting principles: you don't count the calories you consume while standing in a kitchen, you can be vegan and eat eggs with your papaya and guava juice if you're lounging under a banyan tree in Oahu, and you don't even categorize bacon as (pig) meat if you're hanging in New Zealand. The closer you get to paradise, the more irrelevant food constraints become-- in the beautiful beyond, vegans, vegetarians, kosher and halal eaters will be one with garden variety carnivores. And if you're a green houri, wearing a sarong, you can get away with a lot more (see GM post above). I could go on, but this is a good start.

PS. Rex, I hope your daughter feels better soon! My grown children have the best memories of their trip to Australia when they were kids. The amazing vegetation, the unexpected critters and all those stars are mind bending.

Jeffrey 10:38 PM  

Bacon! Oy! Rex, now that you've eaten tref, you will never remember any Jewish months.

See if you can find Will down there because he also thought Thursday came early.

mac 11:07 PM  

You all are so right.....
@omnie: forget about this generational thing: we are all doing puzzles that include clues of many decades and there are no excuses!!

Daryl 12:11 AM  

Wasted some time thinking that CHOCOLATE MOUSSE was CHOCOLATE NOUGAT, but a gratifying puzzle. Great to see 8 15-letter clues. I'm still not convinced ENURE isn't a variant spelling in the same way as ENSTATE...

Orange 12:25 AM  

Daryl, ENURE is listed in my dictionary as a variant of INURE. Whenever the clue leads that way, I fill in *NURE and let the crossing provide the first letter. This is Crossword Law.

qv 2:17 AM  

Rex has neatly encapsulated the Antipodean puzzlers dilemna (no, no, NOT our dilemma, really, no way). We actually do the puzzle first, while youse lot are all asleep, but we can't blog our glories at Rex's because his head entry isn't up yet. So its off to bed frustrated at being unable to broadcast all those petty victories and defeats - and then when we wake there's already a gazillion posts and all the really good puns have been explored (ad nauseam even).

But pace Rex it would simply be not cricket to blog about Thursday's puzzle under Wednesday's header. Oh, so very global, and so sad...

Luke 3:11 AM  


Very true. Just like I can't get the actors of yesteryear instantly, I get the actors of today like that. I'm sure all generations are learning something that others take for granted. For example all the internet and science terms come instantly to me. Always good to see this contrast.

Mimi 11:06 AM  

Hello All, I'm too much of a newbie to say something clever - this is my very first post ever and I only recently became compulsive about the NYT Crossword. But I want to thank Ulrich for the beautiful recording of Der Erlkönig, and tell Rex, Wade, Puzzle Girl, and all of you that this is a very cool online community. I'm delighted I found you, and of course special thanks to Rex.

I hope to be around as a more interesting contributor soon. I have so much to learn...

Thank you!

dugglesmack 9:10 AM  

Thanks Wade! Both for an entertaining take on the Tuesday puzzles (and the rest of the week as well) but mostly for the video. I'd never heard the cut and it made me want to go out and get the album. I've always like Tom Waits, but I only have one CD - I guess I need to dig deeper.... he's a genius...

Thanks again!

Tom Allen 9:33 AM  

Looking at the grid, I raised my eyebrows. This, a Wednesday? But aside from the unusual construction, it is very Wednesdayish -- mostly common words and straightforward clues. It's as if Wednesday is acting out a little.

Knew THREE MEN IN A BOAT at once (from reading Connie Willis's wonderful "To Say Nothing of the Dog". Likewise HORTON HEARS A WHO. The other long answers fell after a half-dozen crosses or so.

Had ENSLATE/LORRE for ENSTATE/TORRE, and am only slightly familiar with PIET/PONTI. Thought the superior canal was located in the INTERIOR for a while. REMAIL? I suppose.

It doesn't surprise me that this is by the same guy who did LIES. He strikes me (imagining him through his puzzles) as a young whippersnapper, thumbing his nose at convention. Encourage him and give him some time, and he'll come up with really beautiful puzzles -- something like this, but with a theme for the 15s. That would be amazing. This one is commendable, and I'm looking forward to doing more Krozels in the future.

Anonymous 2:11 PM  

alanrichard said...

Isn't it funny that there are more comments now!! I guess its time for major syndication ot this site. Now that we've seen a puzzle with 2 letter answers, the next step is puzzles that go beyond the grid!!!!!

I seem to remember this happening once. I wish I could be more specific.

Great write-up Wade! You made me laugh out loud more than once, a rare occurrence for me. (while reading)

embien 3:00 PM  

I guess I'm not a traditionalist because this puzzle was perhaps my favorite so far this year! I love the two-letter postal codes and how they worked their way into the grid.

I also really enjoyed the "lies" puzzle by Krozel a while back. I suspect that the people who objected to "lies" are the same ones that didn't like the two-letter fills.

Am I the only one in syndicationland who is finding the YouTube video links to be just a big white box, with no link there?

PuzzleGirl 3:04 PM  

@embien: Every once in a while an embedded YouTube link does something funky. Sometimes you click on it and get a message that the video is no longer available, but if you wait another minute it will come up just fine. I just checked the video link on this post and it was fine for me. You might just refresh your screen or try again later. Hope this helps.

Anonymous 5:53 PM  

Regarding the ICC questions, it indeed means the Interstate Commerce Commission. However, railroads per se are not their purview. That would be the DOT - Dept of Transportation. What the ICC does regulate and oversee is the cargo being carried, whether by rail, truck, etc.

Anonymous 6:07 PM  


In the local paper the state clues have no numbers...
Wade is fun guy, and I'm not talking mushrooms.

- - Robert

Anonymous 6:22 PM  

I was looking for drjohn's comments.
I wonder if he was thrown by the fact that the states were out of sync with the way he analyzes the puzzle.
Nice to see so many remarks for Wade.
Couldn't wait to see if remail was correct for "forward."

Oregon Sidekick 7:23 PM  

Hi from 5 weeks after land:

In our paper, they didn't number the state clues, so my clue numbers were off from the ones in the grid on here.

All they gave us was a note saying: "The eight two-letter answers in this puzzle are all state postal abbreviations, representing (in some order) the Beaver State, . . ."

A very good puzzle, though not knowing what ICC stood for (Int'l Criminal Court??), left me stuck on 1A.

Also had 12D as "Par for the course". So I got all except the ME corner, had to come here for that.

I don't get to comment much here in 6WLL, but enjoy reading all of your comments.

I hope to meet some of you at the ACPT someday.

Oregon Sidekick 7:27 PM  

I was also surprised I didn't see any comments on "Houri".
According to Wikipedia, houri are found in the Koran. How likely is it that we would know that?
It was easily gettable with crosses, though.

Waxy in Montreal 10:55 PM  

Worse in The Montreal Gazette - the states clues weren't numbered as per the oregon sims comment-1 above but also there's no note either. Made this Saturday-level difficult.

thefogman 2:22 PM  

Voice of the Future, aka The Fog Man here on July 22, 2008. Fun Fact. This puzzle by Joe Krozel holds the record for most two-letter answers ever in the NYT xword, tied with one by Alex Eaton-Salners. Joe also hold the record for most 15-letter answers in a standard 15x15 grid.

thefogman 2:27 PM  

Correction. I am writing on July 22, 2020 not 2008...

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