THURSDAY, Aug. 28, 2008 - Sheldon Bernardo (Historical 1976 miniseries / Classic 1947 detective novel / Sinbad's avian attacker)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: "AN EYE FOR AN I" - 53A: Punny hint to answering 20-Across, 11-Down and 29-Down

I have no idea if this is truly a "Medium-Challenging" puzzle, but it just now took me 7 minutes to fill it in properly ... and I test-solved it just two weeks ago. Weird. Must be early in the morning. Yes, my clock says it is. I thought the theme clues should have been funny or clever or something, until I got to the theme-revealing clue and realized that the other clues sort of had to be straight in order for the theme-revealer to pop. 53A may in fact be "punny," as the the clue states, but it's really quite literal. Take "I" out, put "EYE" in. An EYE for an I.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Historical 1976 miniseries ("EYE, Claudius")
  • 11D: Classic 1947 detective novel ("EYE, the Jury") - mmmm, Spillane. I'm teaching "The Big Kill" this semester.
  • 29D: Bygone political slogan ("EYE Like Ike")

Hey look, you've got both spellings of RANEE over in the east - as a complete word (RANEE - 31D: Eastern royal) and as the tail end of 53A: AN EYE FO RANI. You also have LEAN (64A: Scraggy) intersecting an anagram of itself, NEAL (56D: "Hud" Oscar winner); three European locales - The HAGUE (6D: Global legal venue, with "The"), LODZ (43A: Poland's second-largest city), and BERN (66A: European capital); and two fatty words with the same root: OLEO (63A: Stick on a dish) and OLEIN (38D: Liquid fat). The "I" in that last answer was the last letter I put in the grid, and when I first saw the KLEIG clue, it did Not have "Var." in it (49A: _____ light: Var.) - in fact, the clue was (the actually much cooler) [Opening light?]; so that "I" was a mini-prayer.

There are trouble spots all over the puzzle. Mine were primarily in the NW and NE. I think I had CADS (1A: Poor dating prospects) but then had CENT for 1D: Part of a pound (cage). And AWAY for 2D: Out was weirdly elusive too. Hmmm. The NE was a cinch the first time I did this, I think, because, then, I already had the theme in mind and came at the whole thing from underneath, via EYE, THE JURY. This time, not really paying attention to the theme yet, I started up in the NE and screwed things up. Wanted ROLLS for ROYCE (16A: Early British automaker Henry). CREST is not a word I use / see a lot (though it's a perfectly good word), so I considered untold alternatives before writing it in for 9A: Place for a motto. The rest of the puzzle was just thorny. Nothing back-breaking, I don't think - but there seemed to be speed bumps everywhere.


  • 25A: Close, old-style (anigh) - today, I knew I hated whatever the answer was and I typed in ANEAR. Just now, just this second, I did it again. ANEAR is probably not a word, but that doesn't make it much different from ANIGH. ANIGH for ANIGH! (original clue - [Close, in verse])
  • 32A: Big name in Gotham City (Wayne) - wanted BRUCE at first.
  • 34A: California's _____ Music Festival, since 1947 (Ojai) - usu. just gets clued as [City west of Santa Barbara]
  • 37A: Juliet, e.g., in Gounod's "Romeo and Juliet" (soprano) - like I have any idea ... had the -ANO and that was enough.
  • 41A: Only player to be part of three World Cup-winning teams (Pele) - easy, though I didn't know he won THREE World Cups; that's a lot, considering they're played only once every four years.
  • 67A: "Do the Right Thing" pizzeria (Sal's) - In the world of fictional eateries, this is right up there with MEL'S.
  • 7D: Yankee nickname starting in 2004 (A-Rod) - it's that time of the year again ... but I'll leave the trash-talking alone for now, as it's a little too easy. And I'm going to end up eating my words if the Rays (god, I choke just saying the word) get in and the Sox don't.
  • 8D: 1940s-'50s film/TV star with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Desi Arnaz) - full name, nice.
  • 9D: Cause for using a hot line (crisis) - better than the original clue. Since I had ANEAR this go around, I had CRISES here, and was none too happy about it.
  • 10D: Sinbad's avian attacker (Roc) - also a 90s sitcom starring Charles Dutton
  • 26D: Delivery notation: Abbr. (GPO) - General Post Office, I'm guessing. Never seen this "notation"
  • 33D: Title TV character in Bikini Bottom (Spongebob) - yay! A nice long, bright yellow gimme. Too bad his full name won't fit in the grid.
  • 59D: Writer who wrote "I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity" (Poe) - jeez, he's everywhere. This clue complements 33A: "Mens sana in corpore _____" (sano) nicely. Or horribly, I can't decide.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


ArtLvr 8:28 AM  

Yes, it took a while -- very good write-up, Rex...
I did like ANIGH echoing AN EYE. Intriguing theme.


JHHESQ 8:45 AM  

Where's the picture of the solved puzzle?

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

I'm put off by KLEIG as a variation of KLIEG because it's pronounced totally differently. Either KLEEG or KLEAG would have been a better spelling. That's why I wanted to put in an "A" where the "I" is in OLEIN. KLEIG is pronounced KL"EYE"G.

@Ulrich: am I right about this?

Jeffrey 9:03 AM  

Similar experience to Rex. "AN EYE FOR AN I" - where's the pun?

EYE got the "I" wrong (go figure) in KLEIG/OLIEN. Put an A and thought it was weird to have LEAN and OLEAN in the puzzle.

EYE also put ANEAR and thought stupid word. ANIGH is stupidder.

Had MUTT for BUTT and thought what's SPONGE MOB? A rioting group of paper towels?

OJAI EYE know from the $6,000,000 Man and the Bionic Woman - We can rebuild him!

Ok puzzle. EYE will forget it by tomorrow.

sillygoose 9:14 AM  

Wow. There are variations and then there are Wild variations. Online Dictionary says the klieg light was named after a couple of German brothers named Kliegl. Inverting the vowels seems a little ... illegal.

I too had Kleag/Olean, but I wasn't guessing "I" next. An eye for an I, and an I for a ???

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

Is your write-up based on your solving the puzzle two weeks ago, or two weeks ago combined with last night -- how often do you get the puzzle in advance and how does this affect your fairness in reporting the time it takes to solve a crossword?

dk 9:32 AM  

Count me among the kleegers and oleeners. GPO is a new one one me. I grew up with RFD until the advent of zip codes.

Love seeing SPONGEBOB. I have a "photoshoped" replica of The Last Supper and The Crucifix with SPONGEBOB's head replacing someone else's. It was a big hit last YULE tide.

A workman-like puzzle for me replete with bleed-overs (POE), old favorites (ICEAX,SLEEVE) and chestnuts (OLEO, OREO and EGOS). Just saw Batman whatever so WAYNE was easy peasy.

Yesterday was the anniversary of Larry (I did nothing 'inappropriate' in airport bathroom) Craig's arrest for doing the old soft shoe. His cry of I am not gay brought forth an audible sigh of relief from many in my neighborhood.

The Twin Cites is all a twitter as a certain puzzle constructor will be in town mid-September.

Off to Wisconsin.

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

In addition to all the stuff Rex pointed out, you not only have OLEIN and OLEO in the grid, but OREO nearby. Also, POE and POET. Some days it feels like there just aren't enough letters/words to go around...

Can someone explain why POET is a 50a: Lay person?

Rex Parker 9:36 AM  

"Lay" - kind of poem

Bill from NJ 9:47 AM  

As a practical matter, whenever I see VAR in the puzzle, it stands for whatever is necessary to make things fit regardless of spelling or pronunciation so I do not consider those matters at all. Fit is the only consideration.

The only real problems I had were in the NW. EYECLAUDIUS was all I had and the other 7 answers were blanks. I finally parsed CAGE at 1D and the puzzle grudgingly gave up the ghost.

I'm not sure what the problem was as I knew all the answers and the theme was fairly easy to figure out but I did struggle. A lot of trouble to give birth to a mouse.
is an accurate assessment but I'm not sure on what level it is accurate

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

Adding to the Klieg comments, although named after the inventors Kliegl, it is also a trade marked name, the company owning the (tm)being Kliegl Brothers.

In any case, I find the alt spelling as acceptable as that of the copyier being known as zerok (var.)


Pythia 10:03 AM  

Sorry to say I didn't get the joke here. AN EYE FOR AN I is very cute, but merely substituting EYE for I in the other three theme answers creates meaningless nonsense, as evidenced by the inability of anyone to write punny clues for the altered phrases. No pun intended? No pun delivered.

KLEIG looks like a typo/write-o that was absorbed into the language as a variant spelling. (1923 Sci. Amer. Oct. 243/1 The burning of the eyeball by the ultra-violet rays... This malady appears so freely among motion-picture actors..that a name, ‘Kleig eyes’, has been coined for it.) Ugh-ly. As is ANIGH. As are ICE AX and ICED in the same grid. OLEO and OLEIN seem to be etymologically related as well.

OTOH, was nice to see avian used as an adjective!

According to Wikipedia, Lodz lost it's second-largest city status to Krakow in 2007, looking at city population. says the same. It also appears to be smaller in area, so that can't work, either.


Anonymous 10:11 AM  

Actually thought this was easy-medium by Thursday standards, with the exception of the NW, which threw me for the longest time because I simply could not see DOZE for SIESTA. The latter, in my book, is a noun; the former is a verb. I've never heard of anyone taking a DOZE or saying "I think I'll SIESTA off now." Maybe I'm missing something (very likely), but that put me off the puzzle at the end, which was unfortunate since otherwise I liked it a lot. I was just sentient enough to be aware of "I like Ike" as a child; I remember the cover of "I the Jury" when I read it as a teen; and "I, Claudius" may have been the best miniseries in the world. Okay, I'll forgive the DOZE/SIESTA after all.

Joon 10:11 AM  

i didn't like this puzzle's fill at all, and the theme didn't really grab me, but the clues were excellent. so i did enjoy solving it, except at the KLEIG/OLEIN crossing where i went astray because i knew OLEAN was also something fatty (the brand name for olestra, the synthetic fat substitute).

Ulrich 10:19 AM  

I really liked the theme--unusual, for me at least, and carried off with aplomb.

@joho: Yes. This brings back one of the most egregious mistakes in a clue I ever saw in a NY Times puzzle: actor KEIR (rhymes with "fire") instead of his real name, KIER (rhymes with "fear")--to add insult to injury, he was born in my home town, Cologne. As a result, I was never able to solve that corner of the puzzle--as a novice, it didn't even occur to me that the NYT could make such a blooper. The same is true for Kleig--it accounts for the only mistake I maintained to the end: I had KLEAG and assumed OLEAN was a variant. Generally, reversing e and i in German makes a HUGE difference. As to Kleig, I can only say that if this spelling is now generally used (based on ignorance, perhaps), it may legit. Needless to say, I don't like it anyway.

Unknown 10:20 AM  

I'd like to pile on regarding the "veryint spelings". Seems like use of these is getting all too common lately. I do a fair amount of puzzle construction and am of the opinion that just changing the spelling of a word and inserting Var. into the clue is: 1. a lame way of getting out of a construction jam, and 2. way unfair to the solvers.

evil doug 10:45 AM  

@dk:"Love seeing SPONGEBOB. I have a "photoshoped" replica of The Last Supper and The Crucifix with SPONGEBOB's head replacing someone else's. It was a big hit last YULE tide."

What's really fun is making a pinata that resembles Christ, and giving everybody a whack at it with a Louisville Slugger! Good times!

Evil Doug
Not a subscriber to political correctness; but also not to stupid, lazy and unsuccessful attempts at being "funny".

Father: "And this offends you as a Jewish person?"
Seinfeld: "No; it offends me as a comedian."

alanrichard 11:18 AM  

I thought this was a very easy puzzle. I'm glad to see Sponge Bob made the NY Times puzzle. Who lives in a pineapple under the sea...
I'm waiting for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to appear so that my eldest daughter can find someting in a late week puzzle she knows everything about. She was really impressed with herself with the Lucy In The Skies and Mars Moon crossing last week.

Rex Parker 11:21 AM  

Am not deleting incoherent, unclear, and thus unfunny comment above re: pinatas, but will delete all subsequent attempts to continue any conversation in that vein.


Doc John 11:26 AM  

Nice write-up, Rex. I always enjoy seeing your comments on the construction process of the puzzle and your thoughts as a test solver.

I'm pretty much in the same boat as everyone else today. Didn't have too hard a time with the puzzle but made the kleag/olean mistake. I'm with Ken on this one- using "var" is just sloppy and lazy. (The only exception to that rule would be where a word has more than one commonly used spelling like, say, "Chanukkah".)

Of course, now that I said that, both "kleig light" and "klieg light" returned a similar number of google hits.

I also missed aniah/APO, as well. I tried the whole alphabet in that box but APO was the only thing I'd heard of so I left it. I did do it late last night so maybe if I'd given it a chance, ANIGH would have popped out for me. Oh well.

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

A great Thursday time for me (but my 23 compared to Rex's 7 is humbling indeed). Still no Googling so all is well. Am probably the only person in the U.S. who has never seen SpongeBob, so I was proud to guess it correctly.

kjones 11:32 AM  

Gah, this puzzle was hard for me. Don't get KLEIG at all, had KLEAG.

ANIGH, GPO, OJAI left me with three empty boxes and one incorrect ... ACED seemed better than ICED at the time.

Had AN EYE OPENER rather than AN EYE FOR AN I for a long time.

I was so proud of my finish last Saturday, I suppose it's right that I be humbled on Thursday.

Orange 11:37 AM  

One of my blog commenters suggested a great trio of punny clues for the theme entries. Ditch AN EYE FOR AN I and swap in a fourth punny phrase, and I think it could've been a blast.

You don't use CREST a lot, Rex? I use Aquafresh myself.

jeff in chicago 11:40 AM  

I suppose it would have been difficult to pun-ize the theme answers, as the "EYE" part couldn't really be anything but "look at" for all three. Ho-hum in my book.

Are there soccer clues that DON'T end up being PELE? What's with the two ICE fills? Agree with all the other complaints about the non-variant variants.

And no, hereinfranklin. I can join you. I have never seen Spongebob.

Shamik 11:47 AM  

Wow. Am I ever in the minority here then. I found this puzzle to be easy/ of my fastest time and TADA..the first Thursday I've solved correctly in 5 weeks. This all despite some missteps:


Have a great Thursday...moving out of western Colorado on Saturday...may not have internet on a regular basis.

miriam b 11:54 AM  

I scanned the puzzle for gimmes and filled in SOPRANO as my first one. The other fills fell into place rather quickly. Don't hate me because I found this one easy.

Thanks, Rex, for running a tight ship.

jeff in chicago 12:01 PM  

Hollywood Walk of Fame fun fact: Gene Autry has 5 stars (Motion pictures, Radio, Recording, Television and Live theatre [these are the only 5 categories for which stars are awarded]) edging out Bob Hope with 4 (Motion pictures, Radio, Television and Live theatre). Many people have 3 stars.

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

Good Poe line --when did he get funny? I feel like I've missed out.

foodie 12:27 PM  

Beyond not being at all on the same wavelength in terms of generating answers, what I found very hard is how unsure I was of the answers I did come up with. For example, I think of AWOL as a status, being absent without leave. So, MPs search for a person who is AWOL but not for an AWOL, no? I too hesitated at DOZE being the answer to siesta because I think of doze as a verb and siesta as a noun, etc. So, the whole experience did not leave me very happy. The premise is cute and I'm glad that the puzzle resonated for others.

Ulrich 12:35 PM  

@foodie: I'm with you w.r.t. these two clues. The reason I didn't mention them right away was that I took the advice to stay short to heart--it means, to me, to start with the points you want to make most and then wait to see what happens, e.g. wait for a soulmate to make the point for you.

Anonymous 12:37 PM  

I did like the puzzle, didn't find it hard for a Thursday puzzle, but took a half hour to finish it--but no googling needed.

Favorite mistake of the day on the blog: spongemob--the possibilities are endless and funny. An unruly group of loud sponges? Or an unruly group of consumers surrounding a table selling sponges? Or your children using sponges as play weapons throwing them all around? It could go on and on.

No real commentary on the pinata but I thought it was offensive and for part of me is religions--it's Jewish--still growled at reading that.

Good puzzle, good time, on to Friday's.

Two Ponies 12:39 PM  

@ jeff in chicago
Soccer clue = Pele or Hamm
I see the search for an original Oreo and Asp clue broadens.
Crisper felt fresh (small pun, I guess).
Lots of original clues in this puzzle but it never really "clicked" for me.
Today's bleed-over...Poe.
Also don't recall seeing TNT clued like this before.
Tomorrow's Friday. Bring it on!

Rex Parker 12:41 PM  

No continuing the conversation means No Continuing the Conversation, not "I'll make a little note at the end of my comment about how offended I am."

Please listen to the words that are coming out of my mouth.


dk 12:43 PM  

@orange, Toms of Maine has a flavor you might like and resemble... its Orange.

Neighbor and friend of my lovely wife, Steve Foley died yesterday. He was the drummer for the Replacements.

Anonymous 12:48 PM  

The more I read everybody's comments the more I get the feeling that this puzzle just misses in too many places. I didn't find it very difficult, but in many spots it's very wrong. I, too, am looking forward to Friday.

fikink 12:54 PM  

Ditto on insisting on OLEAN/KLEAG. Also started out with POISON for hotline crisis, noting the singular in the clue. Must come from warnings to make sure you know where you keep the lye.
@norm, I had the same reaction to DOZE for siesta and am sticking to it!
@ulrich, yes, the e/i inversion is critical to learning how to spell and pronounce German for us "Americanos" as my MIL insisted on addressing us when she returned from Mexico (just shoot me!)
@hereinfranklin and jeff in chicago: Don't feel OUTOFTHELOOP, when we first moved to Iowa in the early 80s I thought Iowa's educational system must really be as advertized since the very young boys outside were playing and calling themselves Donatello and Michelangelo. Talk about clueless!!!

Anonymous 12:54 PM  

Warping in from six weeks in the future to ask this question:

Is it me, or are the NYT crossword puzzles getting incrementally harder?

mac 1:13 PM  

Great write-up, Rex, and I seem to have hit the same speed bumps. My main problem, though, was wanting "Spencer, P.I." in 33D. I know of Spongebob, but have never seen it, either. I think "doze" is iffy, and I had a malapop in that corner, wanting awol for 2D and then it showed up in 14A.

All in all, I enjoyed doing this puzzle, which got a lot easier once I got 53A.

Joon 1:23 PM  

AWOL can be an adjective/adverb, or a noun (a person who is AWOL). so that seemed totally okay. and it's been clued as a noun many times in the past.

DOZE for [Siesta] is less obviously kosher, but probably still kosher. i can't find a noun meaning for DOZE or a verb meaning for siesta in my favorite dictionary (m-w), but the built-in dictionary/thesaurus on my mac has:

a little doze before dinner might be just what you need catnap, nap, siesta, light sleep, drowse, rest; (informal) snooze, forty winks; (literary) slumber.

it's not what i would call a common usage, but will is very rarely outright wrong about something like this.

jae 1:26 PM  

This seemed about right for a Thurs. to me. I also had trouble accepting DOZE and getting CAGE in the NW (had DADS for CADS for a while) but the rest of it went pretty quickly. My initial feeling about this one was that I liked it but as I read the comments I'm moving more towards neutral. My bride saved me from the KLEAG/OLEAN error when I asked her about alternatives spellings for KLIEG and she gave me the reversed vowels.

jae 1:28 PM  

Opps, that should be "alternative" without the "s."

chefbea 2:13 PM  

I read puny instead of punny and had a rough time. I knew I like Ike and it was too short and thought it had something to do with puny. Once I got 53 across then it was much easier.

@orange thanks for clarifying slurpees from yesterday. I read it this morning.

Time for an oreo and a cup of pekoe

Anonymous 3:27 PM  

@wwpierre: I don't think it is just you; the puzzles seem to me to be getting incrementally harder. As far as I can tell, the current round of this has been going on for a year or so. I used to get stumped by, say, one Friday out of four and one Saturday out of six or so. Then I started getting stumped two out of three Fridays and three out of five Saturdays (for some reason Fridays are almost always harder for me than Saturdays) and the odd Thursday. Never on Sunday, though. But over the last six months or so I've been stumped by, I think, four Sundays, and I've had a couple of what I call strikeouts: stumped on Friday through Sunday inclusive. There have been similar periods in the past under the WS regime, but the general trend seems to me to be ever more difficult and tricky puzzles.

Maybe it's what a wise-cracking septuagenarian (like me) friend of mine calls a "senior interval" (as distinct from a "senior moment"), but I really don't think so. Accompanying the greater difficulty has been, I believe, a greater incidence of lame puns and, shall we say, factual marginality, both of which (along with what to me is excessive reliance upon trickery rather than substance) I really dislike and which probably contribute to my decreasing success rate with the puzzles. I'd give them up, but I've just been doing them too long. Maybe that's a definition of insanity.

Orange 3:50 PM  

I don't think the puzzles have gotten any harder. My solving times for each day of the week have been pretty consistent over the last four years, with no trend up or down. I would be tempted to say that the puzzles are getting harder but I'm getting smarter along with them—except there are a couple new kids on the block who kick my butt frequently (like Dan Feyer and Howard Barkin) and by a large margin a few days every week.

Anonymous 4:01 PM  

interesting theme. got most of the puzzle pretty quickly, but i gave up not knowing any of the crossings involving KLEIG / OLEIN / LODZ / DESI ARNAZ / SANO / ANIGH / GPO / OJAI.

archaeoprof 4:09 PM  

Rex, your write-up helped me understand my struggles with this puzzle. My solving skills are still pretty rusty, and answers like "ANIGH" and "GPO" just wouldn't come. It feels like crosswords are a language I haven't spoken in a while...

foodie 4:27 PM  

@Joon, thanks for the information re AWOL. In the interim, I had checked it out as a noun, and in it's commonly defined as: "Absence". However, I learned it can also denote a person, though it states that this is a rare usage. But it does seem to be a favorite usage in the NYT so I better learn it! I didn't know about this database, it's awesome!

Re the discussion about puzzle difficulty. IMOO, the extremes are readily identifiable, be it an incredibly easy puzzle or a highly challenging one. Most of us agree. Everything in between is a matter of individual knowledge and experience. Solvers like Orange and Rex who are uniquely good and knowledgeable across many areas are probably the best assay for these intermediate ones because they are not as affected by the "noise" (statistically speaking) of variation in knowledge. So, if Orange says it's been held steady, I believe it.

What the rest of us may perceive as a general trend in difficulty may indicate a change in emphasis- e.g. less classical culture and more pop culture. Actually, I'm struck by the ability of Will et al to stratify and adjust puzzle difficulty (and I appreciate it when Rex gives us insight about this process).

fikink 4:55 PM  

foodie, I love to read your writing and use of words; especially appreciated your timely use of the word "assay," understandable given your field.
I just got off the phone with Brother Dit who is about to help me build a forge. He introduced me to a new word: "tuyere" - which just fell from this simple man's tongue.
Okay, Will Shortz, if you can work that one into a puzzle, I am ready for you!

Anonymous 5:38 PM  

Orange, I'd guess that your daily time is pretty robust to small-to-moderate changes in puzzle difficulty. It's like how in Halo if I play a total n00b or just someone who sucks I probably wouldn't notice a difference between the two since I'd pwn both, even though the guy who sucks would rock the total n00b. Feel me?

By the by, olein was fairly easy considering that oleic acid is a common fatty acid.

chefbea 5:52 PM  

does anyone understand t3h 1337 etc???? or am I just stupid and havent caught up on my reading

foodie 5:58 PM  

@fiknik, many thanks for the comment. You were very gracious, but it made me realize that I used "scientese" in saying that Rex and Orange represent a good "assay" of difficulty, which I realize is not typically used to speak of people!

@Orange and Rex, my apologies. The terminology seems to creep up on me. I realized how bad it was one day when my kids were little--they were fighting and I heard my daughter sputtering at her older brother: "You know what you are? You are BAD DATA!".

@chef Bea, it's because it's in leetspeak...Check out the terms "Leet" or "1337". I hope it doesn't start showing up in puzzles.

Anonymous 6:16 PM  

Talk about your variants - the ~ t3h? A typo enshrined as a variant, followed by the always humorous substitution of a number for a letter.

Ulrich 6:24 PM  

@t3h 1337 pwn3r: In other words, "anta" is easy to get b/c "temple in antis" is fairly common (many churches in New England that I drive by belong to that type)?

fikink 6:31 PM  

@foodie, I think your use of assay is perfectly acceptable despite the French claim that you "colonized" Rex and Orange by your use of the word. It is the way disparate subsets of people talk and a great treat to discover new meanings. I would not know "of" leetspeak if my nephews weren't accomplished gamers, and while I appreciate its intricacies, I have no desire to learn it or to see it on puzzles. I think "Bad Data" is funny and intend to use it on Mr. Fikink asap!
(Okay, three and I'm out!)

Anonymous 6:36 PM  

I'm Mr. Fikink and I approved this message.

chefbea 6:45 PM  

@foodie thanks. I think i tried to understand litespeak several months ago and failed. I'll stick to cooking

fergus 7:07 PM  

One trouble zone arose from choosing CALLED for 48A when STAYED was the right answer. Both poker terms, and mine seemed more exact, though I guess they really mean the same thing. Haven't played poker for a long time -- since with a group of Economics grad students, which led to a generally terrible game since everyone was calculating the odds in theoretical lockstep.

Time to look into the 'Lay' form of poetry -- new to me. Bad first guess was that it was some form of Lament, like from that Enron guy, then dying before being sentenced for your crimes. But then, that might also be a Milosevic ???

evil doug 7:07 PM  

"Hyperbole is a figure of speech in which statements are exaggerated. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, and is not meant to be taken literally."

Michael Chibnik 7:30 PM  

I found this to be (for me) of average Thursday difficulty. I was going to complain about the anigh/gpo crossing, but then I saw the comment about "anigh" and "an eye" and appreciated the answer.

Jeffrey 7:50 PM  

An eye - anigh. That's punny I withdraw my stupidder remark.

fergus 8:05 PM  

So 'Lay' is from the Old High German, and is essentially a song. Leider, Lyrics -- are all these connected to a common ancestor? Glad it had nothing to do with the Frito bandito, though admittedly he did have a rather catchy tune.

mac 8:45 PM  

@fergus: that is funny, songs in German are Lieder, here we go again with the switching of ei/ie. Pronounced like leader.

@foodie: I am completely with fikink, I always love your comments and the beautiful way you compose them. Funny about your daughter's comment! My son said some doozies (sp.), var.?, thankfully in Dutch.

I have to admit I have never heard of leet speak. Is there any reason I should learn that language? I'm not going to do games, feel ashamed about the odd sudoku already.

@Orange: the fact that your solving time has stayed more or less the same, even when you're learning every day, may prove that the puzzle is getting harder, don't you think?

Ulrich 9:29 PM  

@mac and fergus: I'm over limit, but I have to add that "leider" in German is an adverb meaning "unfortunately".

PuzzleGirl 9:34 PM  

I didn't love this puzzle. I don't understand the clue "Hot strip?" for GAZA. In a clue like this, isn't the phrase generally an idiom but the question mark indicates that the words should be taken literally? What does the phrase "hot strip" mean? Like a stripper? Like bacon? What?

I'm pretty sure STAY isn't a poker term. I know it's a blackjack term and I can't think of how it would be used in poker. In poker, you either check or call. Addie Loggins? You out there?

The KLEIG/OLEIN cross was totally unfair and made me mad.

An after-lunch bite is an OREO? Bah!

Can someone give me an example of the words "biographies" and LIVES used interchangeably?

"It's sometimes grabbed" stinks as a clue for LAPEL.

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood today.

miriam b 9:43 PM  

Song by Tom Lehrer from That Was the Year That Was. Note the thrd verse!

Whatever became of Hubert?
Has anyone heard a thing?
Once he shone on his own,
Now he sits home alone,
And waits for the phone to ring.

Once a fiery liberal spirit,
Ah, but now when he speaks he must clear it.
Second fiddle's a hard part, I know,
When they don't even give you a bow.

"We must protest his treatment," Hubert,
Says each newspaper reader.
As someone remarked to Schubert,
"Take us to your Lieder."

(Sorry about that)

Whatever became of Hubert?
We miss you, so tell us please.
Are you sad? Are you cross? Are you gathering moss
While you wait for the boss to sneeze?

Does Lyndon, recalling when he was VP,
Say, "I'll do unto you like they did unto me?"
Do you dream about staging a coup?
Hubert, what happened to you?

abnorma 10:05 PM  

@puzzlegirl: The Gaza Strip is "hot" because of all the current violence.

green mantis 11:17 PM  

No staying in poker. Calling, folding, raising. That is all.

fergus 11:23 PM  

A deck of cards I might deal, but we're going to play whist, or bridge.

fikink 11:48 PM  

miriam b: I love Tom Lehrer! Tom's intro to his song, Alma, wherein he describes her marriage to Mahler, "the composer of Das Lied von der Erde and other light classics" is exactly how I learned to keep the i/e combination straight in high school German!

Anonymous 11:57 PM  

I was going to actually see if I could go a day without writing on this blog...
I guess not!

And, not surprisingly, once again with meingleichgesinnter Ulrich, holding back, seeing if others covered what I wanted to say anyway...
and yes, everyone covered most of what I felt...(I totally agree with Jane!)

@ Rex
TOTALLY appreciate you pointing out ANIGH the only punny thing about the theme...

BUT so many problems with this puzzle!

No one's mentioned the two (of like 30) I had the most problems with.

SANO is the same as SANA, no? Just different gender? To me it's like using the answer in the clue.

SPONGEBOB is great but I totally would have tried for a different word than SANO esp if you have to define it by itself...(what about SONO and CORDS?)
ESPECIALLY in a puzzle that had OLEIN and OLEO...ick.

and not only was POE a bleed over (LOVED the quote) but this is the THIRD time this week, (Mon, Tues and Thurs) that NEAL is in the grid, so I am officially non-delusional. "Womens sana in corpore..."

Totally thrilled that Mac had a MALAPOP putting AWOL in for 2D (AWAY)!

On a positive note, the LAPEL clue ("It's sometimes grabbed") was very colorful and visual.

And this is not political, per se, (bec it's linguistic and about the puzzle), but it was weird for me to see "Sclerosis" in the puzzle today bec Michelle Obama who is otherwise one of the smoothest, most confident speaker I've seen, pronounced it TWICE Tues night without the L...

I had taped it and played it back three or four times bec I couldn't believe it...
She's by far no George W, but she kept saying "Multiple Scerosis"!

Btw, I'm surprised that OSTEO wasn't clued as 39D "Prefix with -porosis"
(which I misspelled with an "a" just now, "parosis" and it gets a million hits anyway, even tho they asked if I meant POROSIS)
that would have made more sense.

It's funny I put in KLEIG without thinking twice, it was the only spelling I know and actually wondered what a variation of it could even be!

I tried to play it recently in Scrabble and it was challenged off. At the time I thought it must be capitalized or something, I didn't understand why it was no good (nor are KLEAG, or KLIEG, btw)

Ah, my Shiksa bubbeleh, the "hot" is referring to the danger/contentiousness (sp?) of the Gaza, no, DEFINITELY not like bacon!

fergus 1:14 AM  


why trouble with all these restrictions, when your voice
is more attuned to poetry?


Mike the Wino 11:51 AM  

@Rex, or anyone else still out there that may be reading this:

(5 weeks later.........)

I really liked your comment regarding SPONGEBOB because it made me think that in typical 15x15 grid, you CAN fit his whole name in the grid, as long as you use a black square (as in: SPONGEBOB [black square] PANTS).

I'm not sure of the definitions, but would using the black squares as part of the answers be considered a rebus? Has this been done before?

Just curious!

Anonymous 3:00 PM  

Blackjack players "Stay" or "Stand"
Poker players "call," "see,"or check.

Anonymous 10:02 PM  

What's with 23 across? I couldn't even read it!
Mary Ann

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