THURSDAY, Oct. 30, 2008 - Chuck Hamilton (Point Lighthouse, Massachusetts landmark since 1838 / Longtime NBC Olympics host)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy (again)

THEME: DIRECTOR'S SHOUT (56A: What the ends of 20-, 35- and 42-Across are, collectively) - last words in the theme answers are, in order, LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!

Once again, the difficulty level feels a bit off. I have "feels like Wednesday" scrawled at the top of my puzzle, and I also have "Easy-Medium" written there, but then the medium is scratched out because ... well, I think I was just getting tired of hearing myself say "Easy," so I added the "Medium" for variety, but then checked myself and went back to my honest reaction. I tried to go back and see where some difficulty might lie, and noticed that there aren't a lot of out-and-out gimmes, but neither are there many "!?!?!" answers. It's all very common fill. I mean, EOSIN (which we saw on Tuesday) is rougher than just about anything here. True, there are three "WTF" -type answers (at least there were for me), but all of those were just common enough names clued via people/places outside my purview (or purlieu, which is a word I feel I should start using). In some ways, the theme itself, while clever enough, is very Monday/Tuesday - straightforward, four-part, no gimmicks or tricks or unexpected zigs or zags. A fine few minutes, but I wasn't wowed and I didn't learn much. Oh, no, wait. ODOR is apparently a word that can mean 6D: Repute. I did learn that.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: So-called "fox fires" (Northern LIGHTS) - I have never heard them called this, and this clue is actually much harder than the original, [Night sky feature]
  • 35A: Recording device (video CAMERA) - way better than those audio cameras you hear everyone talking about
  • 42A: Certain lawsuit (class ACTION)

This puzzle has me wondering if Bob COSTAS (4D: Longtime NBC Olympics host) makes PESTO (28D: Penne topper) and eats it with GUSTO (40A: Elan) (and if so, does he use an OSTER - 47A: Kitchen gadget brand). That is a cutesy way of saying this puzzle has a lot of words where the second syllable starts with "ST."

Here are the three WTF answers for the day:

  • 60A: _____ Sailer, three-time 1956 skiing gold medalist (Toni) - I *know* she (she? Nope, it's a he) was just in a puzzle, and yet that didn't help much. My favorite Sailer:

  • 44D: _____ Point Lighthouse, Massachusetts landmark since 1838 (Ned's) - ugh. Overly geographically specific. Made me yearn for the clue [_____ Atomic Dustbin], which I would not have thought possible.
  • 36D: Johnny with the 1958 hit "Willie and the Hand Jive" (Otis) - well, I pretty much *have* to hear/see what that sounds/looks like (uh, speaking of sailors, what are those dancers wearing?):

The rest:

  • 1A: Fruit variety with a sweet-spiced flavor (bosc) - to my knowledge, I have never had a BOSC pear, nor do I know any of its defining features; why, then, was BOSC the first thing to come to my mind when I saw this clue? (likely answer: "variety" + four letters ... brain retrieves word from store of likely crosswordy words, and there you go)
  • 16A: Geological range (aeon) - tricky clue, I guess. Had me thinking "mountains" for a bit.
  • 25A: Penicillin target (strep) - had STAPH
  • 49A: Who's creator (Seuss) - a gimme ... right? That, or you thought there was a typo and the clue was incomplete
  • 52A: List in an insurance report, maybe (dents) - Was not aware that one made an actual "dent list."
  • 61A: "See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!" speaker (Romeo) - just finished teaching this and it Still wasn't a gimme. We were oddly focused on the Friar for most of our discussion.
  • 64A: "Mi Chiamano Mimi" and others (arias) - Italilan song = ARIA unless I'm forced to think otherwise.
  • 21D: Modern show shower (HDTV) - this clue smells like yesterday's puzzle
  • 26D: European capital (Riga) - For reasons I don't understand, RIGA is my favorite European capital (as a name, not as a place - I haven't been there)
  • 39D: Record follower, at times (asterisk) - first Maris, now Bonds
  • 54D: Socratic student (tutee) - reclued from [Special student], which sounded all kinds of wrong to me. Not sure this one is entirely accurate (usually the "method" is Socratic), but it's at least an improvement.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 7:50 AM  

@rex: I didn't think this easy because of the lower right corner, what do we call that ... Florida? I had skip for SEEK and strip for STARK which totally screwed it up. I had to Google B.C. neighbor and once I had the "A" in ALTA it all fell into place.

My first response for 5A was REARS which then became the correct answer for 58D minus the "S."

I loved ASTERISK, both the clue and the answer.

I'm probably just dense this morning, I'll bet everybody else thought this was easy, too.

Coop 8:18 AM  

On the contrary, I found this puzzle quite difficult for a Thursday, especially the SE corner.

Jeffrey 8:29 AM  

Count me in with the not-so-easy group.

Spent a long time staring at the North - FOLKS, LIMN, ODOR just wouldn't come to me.

_____ Point Lighthouse, Massachusetts landmark since 1838 wasn't specific enough for me. If the clue also said "that rhymes with Ted's and starts with 'N'" I would have nailed it much quicker and without 4 crossings. Is it near NATICK?

PuzzleGirl, isn't there a Hand Jive song in Grease?

Only one way to end this puzzle - CUT!

Rex Parker 8:34 AM  

Hmmm, not understanding the SE difficulty. REHABS (esp. w/ the "R" from OSTER) was a gimme, giving the first letters of all the SE Acrosses. I understand tanking SEEK, but ALTA was the only Can. Prov. that was gonna work there, and BIER seemed easy to me (only word I considered). Even if you don't know DENTS somehow, put the "S" on the end and you should be able to get STARK at 55D. And it's virtually done. And that's all assuming you *couldn't* get the SHOUT part of DIRECTOR'S SHOUT right away.

Far north seemed tougher, though SUSIE was a gimme, and the final "U" answer pretty much had to be ADIEU, which meant ODOR ... but then, yes, I can see a possible stall. LIMN is not in the top drawer of everyone's vocabulary, and FOLKS didn't immediately come to mind for [Parents] (which I thought was a verb ... oh wait, malapop. I wrote in REARS here, and then REAR showed up at 58D. Surprised I forgot that.


Anonymous 8:35 AM  

I'd say this puzzle was VERY easy. I don't time myself, but I was listening to music while solving, and I barely got through one song before finishing. Oddly easy week so far.

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

Toni's a guy.

Anonymous 8:53 AM  

I found it an easy puzzle too, not as gimmicky as Thursday usually is.

Two pairs of pairs, the parents and the stock holders. I made the REARS malapop too.

I think I tried ALBA for ALTA...Canada used to have some weird abbreviations. I hope never to see Nfld in my puzzle.

I also had SCAN for SEEK.

Staph bacteria are frequently resistant to drugs, ie MRSA (methicillin resistant staph aureus). Strep bacteria are still fairly susceptible. Use antibiotics wisely (don't treat viral infections with antibiotics, take the full course even when you feel better) to prevent future resistance developing.

Alex S. 8:55 AM  

SE was the tougher part for me, mostly because I put in SCAN instaed of SEEK and didn't know how to abbreviate Alberta but was leaning towards ALBT or ALBA. ALTA seems way wrong but I'm sure it's not.

But even with that it was only a minor hurdle and I did the puzzle in a pretty standard Tuesday time.

What I want to know is how SEATO was a gimme with no crosses and yet I have no idea what it is. Because of that I didn't actually put it in until I had several crosses.

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

Funny, I thought the ROMEO clue was a gimme, and the ARIA clue--I'm no opera fan whatsoever, but I still know Mimi = La Boheme. Re TUTEE: "Special student"--not so good. "Private student"--would have worked well. "Socratic student"--huh? I thought Socrates taught a bunch of students sitting in a circle.
@Alex--How old are you? If you were in school in the 70s, SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Org.) was standard social studies fare, along with NATO and OAS, which of course still exist.

Hydromann 9:19 AM  

I wish puzzle authors would stop saying that "aeon" (or "eon") is some sort of geological time frame term. It is not. Some fifty or so years ago, a proposal was made by some in the scientific community to have it mean one billion years, but this was not found to be acceptable, and the proposal died. So it has never really had that particular meaning to geologists, and is not so used.

Alex S. 9:28 AM  

I was 3 when SEATO was apparently dissolved.

I'm sure I learned about it at some point. I just had no specific memory to go with the word when it popped into my head on reading the clue.

Orange 9:40 AM  

Well, if you try to make it a DIRECTOR'S CHAIR, that can muck up the SE corner. I went with SCAN instead of SEEK (equally likely as a car radio button). And NEDS Fabulous Lighthouse was a use-all-the-crossings answer for me.

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

Well, I had some of the same slowdowns as others, but my big mistake was putting an 'L' at the cross of STORE/ARIAS. I didn't quite get why stole should work, but alias sounded okay because I missed the plurality there. I didn't know who that Mimi chick was, but figured she might also go by another name. Dozed off looking for my mistake and finally got the right answer from Orange.

Geologists may not use that term officially, but a fair number of us non-geologists use it that way colloquially. The clue never said you'd find it in a geologist's textbook.

foodie 9:58 AM  

Rex, you totally described my problem area in the North. I had SUSIE and ADIEU and then got stuck. Wanted REARS for FOLKS (a malapop?)and CRAGS for DOMES, and then even when I thought of DOMES, I wasn't sure about LIMN and ODOR. The rest was definitely easy for me.

I totally loved NORTHERN LIGHTS and ORION crossing. One of my TUTEES (Actually "mentees") used to call me "Earth Mother" so Mother-EARTH sounded inverted. Overall, there was a grand nature sub-theme with mountains and earth vs. constellations and northern lights.

Good puzzle!

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

SE was my Waterloo,

With *directorsCHANT* (I have a problem with *collectivly* and SHOUT), and not knowing where the B in the Alberta abbr went (obviously to AtLanTA), my *scan* failed me.


evil doug 10:02 AM  

@Chris: You didn't say what song. "Alice's Restaurant"? It runs 18:34. Or maybe "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", by Pink Floyd; about 25.

I took maybe 30 minutes. Anybody know a song that lasts that long? I got it: "Mountain Jam" by the Allman Brothers.

Skeptic, OH

Sean 10:03 AM  

I first had DIRECTORS WORDS, which threw my SE for a loop, but once I fixed it to SHOUT, I could get REHABS and work it out.

What threw me off was a bit of cognitive interference on Who's Creator. I had just read (and blogged about) the news on the BBC website that David Tennant would be leaving "Doctor Who," so it took me a while to get off the Anglophilia train and come to SEUSS. Perhaps "Whos' Creator" would have been clearer ...

Jeffrey 10:06 AM  

ALTA may be the only Can. Prov. that was gonna work there but I couldn't rule out some abbr. for Alaska since the clue is B.C. neighbor. ALTA is a neighbour.


Ulrich 10:17 AM  

I'm in the "easy" column--marched down the Eastern seaborad w/o breaking a sweat, picking up CAMERA along the way. When I came to 56A, the theme became obvious and I filled in the ends of all the other theme answers, which gave me a foothold everywhere. The only brief hiccup: had SAUCE initially as penne topper (my personal favorite: a la Vodka with lobster bits).

"Fox fire" was new. Why "fox"? They are green--I've seen them. Perhaps "fox" derives from Franch "faux", as in "Fox News"?

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

Hmm--I have tutored plenty of people and never once called them tutees--very icky word. And it seems to me that lights, camera, and action are THREE shouts,so that should have been some kind of plural. And I loved showers as an echo of yesterday, which I also loved--I live for those aha moments when the trick becomes clear.

PhillySolver 10:31 AM  

I will just put in my vote for "not easy." I had both problem areas, SE and the Dakotas. It wasn't unfair but felt about right for a Thursday to me. Those Canadians are certainly a funny lot (ALberTA). I started to think the BIER AND ALTA went together to give us the real province. (ALBIERTA)

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

My first thought for "Who's creator" was the "Who's on first" routine, but I couldn't remember who did it. Now I've just looked it up and it was Abbott and Costello. Oh well, another puzzle perhaps...

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

For the longest time I thought that a "Socratic student" had to be PLATO. I just couldn't give it up, which of course caused problems.

Is it necessarily true that a tutor uses Socrates' method of questioning in his or her teaching?


Unknown 10:58 AM  

"The Finnish name for the lights (revontulet) comes from a Sami, or Lapp, legend whereby the tail of a fox running along snow-covered fells strikes the snow drifts, sending a trail of sparks into the sky. Revontulet literally means 'foxfire'."

Weird. I always thought foxfire just referred to swamp gases and such. And seems to agree with me. WILLOTHEWISP was the first thing I tried to fit in there. Still, it's a good bit of trivia I guess.

archaeoprof 10:59 AM  

TUTEE just doesn't look or sound right to me. Is it really a word? Tutor, yes; TUTEE, I just don't know. BTW, I have the same reaction to mentor and "mentee." Is that a word?

@Rex: I agree with your rating of this puzzle. Not hard at all for Thursday.

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

Put me in the not-easy category.

Most of this puzzle flew by (though I did stare at LIMN for a while, trying to figure out what I did wrong), and then came the SE corner.

Never heard of ALTA as an abbreviation for Alberta, never heard of BIER. (My vocabulary fails me again.) Without those crosses, and without the D of DENTS (belonging to that blasted lighthouse), I couldn't crack the SE.

Also, "I mean it!" is NOT synonymous with "I'm telling the truth" by any stretch of the imagination. What a lousy clue.

Jeffrey 11:02 AM  

Can we refer to constructors as crossword puzzle solvees?

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

To which solution do you attach "easy", the first time you solved it as a test solver, or the second time on the Applet?

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

@archaeoprof...Mentor was the name of an ancient Athenian who took care of young acolytes. One can be compared to Mentor, or act like him, if one is like moi a stickler for retaining the original usage.
However, contemporary usage of the word Mentor is as a verb, without the initial capital letter. And people do use the word mentee.

HudsonHawk 11:23 AM  

BIER was not a gimme for me, but I got it on the crosses and then understood the clue. For me, BIER is a foreign spelling for a delicious beverage. Count me among those that hate the TUTEE answer.

The Dakotas definitely gave me pause, especially when I initially wanted REARS for 5A. Realized that couldn't be once I got down to 58D. Everything else was fairly breezy, but definitely closer to Medium for this solver.

foodie 11:33 AM  

@matthew, thank you for the information re Foxfires. What a lovely myth--very pretty to imagine!

Speaking of inspired animal-related names, did you all see the name Andrea Carla came up with for the ACCA Awards late last night?

@ archaeoprof, we do use "mentee", may be because in biological sciences mentoring is needed beyond the grad student stage, through postdoc and early faculty stages. What would you call those people you mentor who are no longer students? I know it sounds odd to say in general company, but to my ear not as bad as "tutee" (I always want to add frutti).

Margaret 11:47 AM  

I was breezing through this puzzle, I had the theme, and I had the hubris to think to myself, "Another easy one this week." Then I slammed head on into the SE corner. At various times I had SHOUT, REHABS, and BIER and I still couldn't get it. I was sure PLATO was the Socratic student and some abbrev. for ALASKA was the BC neighbor. (I've been to both BC and Alberta but still kept thinking the Canadian neighbor was Saskatchewan. Sorry, CrossCan!)

By far my favorite fill was * ASTERISK. Which reminds me of a ditty I found in a book of "naughty" jokes when I was about 10:

Mary had an airplane
And through the air did frisk.
Wasn't Mary foolish
Her little *

(Of course at age 10, I thought it was a knee-slapper!)

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

@ Rex: Uhoh. I see Ulrich didn't offer a correction, so now I'm not so sure, but I was certain that Toni's name is "Sigh - ler", not "Say - ler".

How do we get these ideas? I have never followed skiing as a televised sport, (Motto: Don't watch it; do it!) but I have skied in Austria many times (a confirmed intermediate), stayed in Toni Sailer's hotel in Kitzbuhel, and may have shared a sauna with him.

Bob Kerfuffle

archaeoprof 11:55 AM  

@anonymous 11:16 and foodie: I agree, but it still sounds off to my ear. It sounds much better to say "mentoree."

If a mentee parts ways with the mentor, is the mentee de-mented?

Margaret 11:55 AM  

Forgot to mention that LIMN came to me almost immediately because it was the Word of the Day just 6 days ago. I just checked on today's word. It is Hubris -- which I just used in my original post. Now that's spooky!

miriam b 12:04 PM  

@ulrich: I wish I'd said that.

@rex: I almost fell into the European capital = currency trap and thought first of rial, in the sense of an obsolete European currency. I soon saw that élan could not = AUSTO. When I saw that RIGA was the correct fill, I was embarrassed, because my mother was born there. She left there at age 5, but her vague memories of Riga sounded positive.

Nice puzzle, but not truly Thursdayesque. And I agree that the singular, DIRECTORSSHOUT, seems a little off.

Anonymous 12:17 PM  

@foodie: thanks for mentioning the name that andrea carla came up with last night -- it's brilliant.

@acme: You nailed it! It's a beautiful name represented by an elegant animal nearly only seen in crosswords. The combining of Orange and Rex into ORYX is a stroke of genius.

jeff in chicago 12:28 PM  

@evil doug: "Tubular Bells" by Mike Oldfield is in two parts.
Tubular Bells, Part 1 runs 25:36
Tubular Bells, Part 2 runs 23:20
Total: 48:56

Anonymous 12:30 PM  

worst Thursday puzzle ever. which is a shame, because I always look forward to the Thurs puzzle the most.

there was nothing clever about the cluing, no rebus, no tricks. felt like a very average USA Today or CrosSynergy type puzzle, not a NYT.

first time i've been diappointed for quite a while, so i guess you can't win 'em all.

ArtLvr 12:31 PM  

Good theme here -- and I enjoyed everyone's comments, especially Matthew's derivation for Foxfire (even if not applying to NORTHERNLIGHTS), Crosscan's improved clue Whos' over [Who's], Foodie's "Frutti" afier TUTEE, and Ulrich's "faux amis" suggesting a relationship between French "faux" and Fox News!

Older spellings like AEON for more modern "eon", amoeba for "ameba", etc., are a small pain to sort out, but constructors are in good ODOR using whichever ones fit...

Rex likes RIGA -- I always liked the European city name Split, formerly in Yugolavia and who knows where now? I wasn't ever there either. Cut, gotta SCRAM now!


JoefromMtVernon 1:04 PM  

It was easy...until the time spent at the top, middle.

Godspeed is like "good fortune" or "good luck". Adieu is just "goodbye". And Limn? That's the word of the day (and maybe for a Saturday). Yes, Susie was a gimmie, but folks(?). I had sires and rears. I had rolls for keels (thinking ROFL). I guessed at biers (word of the day 2).

Thought the theme was Monday-ish, but the fill was latter in the week.


RodeoToad 1:07 PM  

You people are messing with my head today. As I was reading the comments, the phrase "SE was my Waterloo" came to mind, and there it was in the next post I read. Then, reading Evil Doug's long-song post, "Tubular Bells" came to mind, and there's Jeff coming up with it too. (Other one that came to mind was Ina Gadda Da Vida, which may not be a long song at all and will probably be on the board by the time I launch this post.) So either you're controlling my future or I'm controlling your past, which is unnerving either way, because I've really screwed up some people's pasts.

I didn't finish the puzzle in the SE,even with NOLIE and REHABS. ALTA doesn't make sense to me as an abbreviation of Alberta, if that's what it is. I just looked back at the puzzle and see that I have another wrong letter SAI instaed of TAI at 60D.

RodeoToad 1:11 PM  

By the way, anybody go for SLOE instead of BOSC for the "sweet-spiced" fruit? I thought I'd nailed that one.

Anonymous 1:14 PM  

Loved seeing St. ELMO make an appearance. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but it seemed nice to have both St. ELMO's fire and NORTHERN LIGHTS in the same grid. May not have been deliberate, but looks like a theme to me!

Mike the Wino 1:14 PM  

@evil doug, maybe YouTube has Alice's Restaurant at 18:34, but that can't be the whole thing because the version I hear on the radio around every Thanksgiving has got to be in the neighborhood of 40 minutes!

I wanted WASH for the neighbor of B.C., until I started filling in stuff around the area......

Unknown 1:30 PM  

I am so glad I didn't even think of Alaska. Canada's postal service now uses 2-letter abrreviations for the provinces (except PEI) so I have only ever used AB for Alberta.

A 4 letter abbrev certainly leaves room for interpretation. I balked at TUTEE but certainly didn't think it was TUbEE.

I managed the SE allright but had issues in the N and NW. I was happy to see LIMN ("ooh, nice word!") even if it did stump me for a little while.

I was trying to think of another clue for NEDS so that we can escape both the lighthouse and the atomic dustbin. All I could think of is something along the lines of "Belonging to Nancy Drew's boyfriend". Maybe that would be worse.

fikink 1:31 PM  

Rex, like the idea of your using recently learned words, e.g., PURLIEU, in your daily account. It reinforces the lesson. Thanks.
My last fill was the second T in TUTEE and I agree with those who did not like the clue; I don't even like the answer. But I did enjoy the plays on stock holders with the markets looming.
I appreciate your posting the 1958 Hand Jive in LIEU of Eric Clapton. With regard to the eyebrow you raise at the sailors' attire, Rex, think Gene Kelly.
Ina Gadda Da Vida, Wade - that the best ya got? ;-)

dk 1:50 PM  

@wade, Le Guin's Lathe of heaven will make it all clear to you.

@joho, your first post captured this one for me. So I agree with you again and again and again.

I never did get TUTEE, perhaps cause I am a dummy. So the SE was my MacArthur's Park
(great post @evil doug).

Doc John 2:14 PM  

I found this puzzle to be sticky. Seems like each separate block would bog me down until I found a toehold and then it would fall.

As for long songs, how about Jethro Tull's "Thick As A Brick"? It's also the length of the whole album.

To bypass the whole AEON argument, just clue it as "Charlise's sci-fi character". (Aeon Flux)

A couple of cluing nitpicks:
Does one really OMIT something when they rule it out?
EDUC seemed forced to me. Ditto for EACH TIME.

evil doug 2:32 PM  

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida: 17:02.

Thick As A Brick: 43:50.

And one of my all time faves: Who Do You Love Suite, a drawn out cover of the Bo Diddley tune by Quicksilver Messenger Service: 25:24 or so on the Happy Trails album. Mona, also by Bo, on the other side is equally fine.

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

For me, this was like a Tuesday, as there are occasional Thursdays I can barely get halfway through. Only thing that tripped me up was LIMN/DOME. Had to find the answer here. Got LIGHTS (20A) right away, which gave me the theme immediately and made the puzzle easy, w/Susie, Pesto, Seek, Strep, Rehabs, and Seuss, I was good to go. Thought of Bosc right away, but held off at first, as I'd never heard that description before.

Love hearing the process people go through while solving!

RodeoToad 2:52 PM  

Hmm. I thought "Low Rider" was a really long song. Turns out it's just normal length. Seems longer, maybe because it's just one chord.

By the way, I'm making up some bumper stickers that say "Who had a runaway number one hit in 1975 with the song 'Low Rider'?" I want to team up with the guy who does the "War is Not the Answer" bumper stickers. I'm always on the lookout for ways to mess with the whole space-time continuum sham.

janie 3:04 PM  

treedweller -- re: "I didn't know who that Mimi chick was, but figured she might also go by another name" -- in fact, mimi tells us in the opening of that aria that she's *called* "mimi" but her real name is "lucia." which always makes me think of "rocky racoon": "her name was magill, and she called herself 'lill' but everyone knew her as 'nancy.'" ;-)

like charles and margaret, proudly entered PLATO where TUTEE ended up. i'm in the the-se-brought-me-down clan. ultimately solved it, but spent waaaaay too much time there to do so.

ca va!



miriam b 3:27 PM  

@janie: You reminded me of the Whte Knight's conversation with Alice:

The name of the song is called "HADDOCKS' EYES."'

'Oh, that's the name of the song, is it?' Alice said, trying to feel interested.

'No, you don't understand,' the Knight said, looking a little vexed. 'That's what the name is CALLED. The name really IS "THE AGED AGED MAN."'

'Then I ought to have said "That's what the SONG is called"?' Alice corrected herself.

'No, you oughtn't: that's quite another thing! The SONG is called "WAYS AND MEANS": but that's only what it's CALLED, you know!'

'Well, what IS the song, then?' said Alice, who was by this time completely bewildered.

'I was coming to that,' the Knight said. 'The song really IS "A-SITTING ON A GATE": and the tune's my own invention.'
. . .

Lucia says that she's called Mimi, but doesn't know why. I'm often called Mimi myself, but I do know why. BTW, my hands are neither frozen nor especially small, but I'm a pretty good seamstress. Resemblance ends there.

Please pardon the silliness. I think the pre-election hoopla is making me flakier than ever.

janie 3:58 PM  

mimi -- >my hands are neither frozen nor especially small, but I'm a pretty good seamstress. Resemblance ends there.

ah -- and i bet/hope you have a more reliable source of keeping the lights/homefires burning in your abode, too -- though it never does hurt to keep some emergency candles at the ready!

loved the "alice" reference, btw.



miriam b 4:10 PM  

@janie: Well, I do have a couple of hurricane lamps and plenty of oil, just in case.

fikink 4:29 PM  

The danger in not honoring the space-time continuum sham is that you get 2008 demonstrators showing up with peace signs that are really the Mercedes Benz logo.
It has happened.

RodeoToad 4:35 PM  

The following statement is true. The preceding statement is false.

fikink 5:02 PM  

The muser's Mobius Strip!
Game and set.

Orange 5:03 PM  

Wade: Oh, yes. I thought it was SLOE until Bob COSTAS intervened. That Bob is always so solicitous.

Chip Hilton 5:07 PM  

PLATO and ALAS (Alaska?) occupied my SE for quite some time leading to several lost minutes. Once I switched to ALTA that hurdle was cleared. But ODOR and LIMN? Sorry, never heard of 'em, but made happy guesses, leading to a Google-free 100% solution.

My way-too-much-time-invested-in-sports youth made TONI a gimmee. If only I had a similar background in Latin, The Simpsons, and pharmaceutical abbreviations....well, I, too, could knock off the NYT puzzle in one song. One very long song.

Anonymous 5:21 PM  

@dk: I love the way you pull my leg.

@janie: I had forgotten about Rocky Raccoon ... love that song. I wonder how long it is?

@to all: at the end of my day coming here is my crossword cocktail

chefbea 5:31 PM  

I thought the puzzle was difficult when I started it this morning. When I came back to it after lunch it seemed much easier except for the Southeast section.

Modern show shower - is that left from yesterday??

Wonder if Mac used Bosc pears in her recipe last week.
btw we miss you. Guess you are traveling.

You can make pesto for your penne in your oster-izer.

janie 6:29 PM  

joho -- "rr" is about 3:40. this you tube link to the song belongs to the bizarro mondo that is you tube. the song is attributed to the beetles [sic], and films, um, child actors playing out the story to mccartney's vocals. babies with guns? yikes.

don't say i didn't warn ya!



Michael Chibnik 9:58 PM  

I just couldn't get the se corner even with google. I can't remember when I last couldn't finish a Thursday.

Not easy for me!

Anonymous 10:05 PM  

i didn't think it was easy! you're making me feel bad with all these "easy" ratings!

foodie 10:53 PM  

@anonymous, 10:05, if you look at the various comments, I don't think the majority felt it was easy. Rex himself pointed to one area in the north that he could see being hard, and Orange herself talked about other traps. So, at best, it was patchy.

I think someone else commented that the extremes are more easily pegged and also more consistently rated as very easy or very hard (or less so). But the Wedn- Thursday mid range seems more subject to individual expertise and taste...

In other words: Don't feel bad!

Anonymous 2:02 AM  

@foodie, joho

Thanks for the reinforcement! (Fingers crossed, as it's out of my purview/purlieu, at the moment!)

Malapop seems to have caught on, but the Oryx I'm particularly proud of as it's nicely non-forced and working on so many levels...
(The X and Y even make it Scrabbly!)

I tried to squeeze in Townshend on the Who's answer and thought, oh, maybe one of the other guys started it! Interesting to read that you thought of Dr. Who and others Abbott and Costello.

the theme did seem totally Tuesday to me with awkward cluing to force it into becoming a Thursday. I love Will, but I swear to god, had I submitted this, it would have somehow become a Monday!

(I think my Monday puzzle was at least a Tuesday...I watched non-puzzle friends gamely struggle over Michael's and my SPIN puzzle and I was hard-pressed to explain why there were SP starting phrases, what ABAFT was and was even questioned about ELL. That "End of the era" thing was a disaster for them...)

As for this Tuesday posing as a Thursday, I would have thought Will might have balked that the CAMERA in VIDEOCAMERA was too close to the CAMERA of
SO no play on words (unlike NORTHERNLIGHTS and CLASSACTION)

but I liked the theme, overall.

@Alex, Karen, glitch
totally with you on this whole Alberta abbrev. thing or is it abvn?!

cool about ALBIERTA!

And how come Bob Kerfuffle can take naked saunas with Toni Sailor and no one screams "Name dropper!"

PuzzleGirl 11:14 AM  

Missed you guys yesterday, but I do just want to add a couple comments for anyone who checks back.

@crosscan: Indeed! All I could think of was "Grease" when I saw the "Hand Jive" clue. I went looking for a video on YouTube and couldn't find anything halfway decent. I must say, it's disturbing the number of high schools that apparently perform this musical these days.

@janie: Your Mimi/Lucia/Rocky Raccoon bit reminded me of a family story. No idea if it's true or not, but legend has it that my grandmother always used to call one of my aunts Linda. Her name was Marsha. Finally someone asked her, "Why didn't you just name her Linda if that's what you want to call her?" and she replied, "I hate that name."

I'm surprised no one else pointed this out, but I do just want to stick up for my hometown hero and say that the asterisks in the record book for Maris and Bonds were placed there for two wildly different reasons.

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

"The Alice's Restaurant Massacree" is "only" about 19 minutes long. I know it _seems_ longer, but remember that it covered one whole side of an LP, and those only ran about 15-20 minutes a side. Ah, vinyl...

Anonymous 2:04 PM  

Five weeks later - I must be one of only a few, if any, that started 1A with KIWI. That didn't last, but it didn't help. My most difficult areas were SE (with Washington and Alaska being considered along with Alberta and not knowing the abbreviation for Alberta) and North Central, but I will admit a struggle in most regions of this puzzle. It helped when the LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION became clear, but I wanted ORDER rather than SHOUT. Overall, for me, much more toward medium hard.

kas 2:30 PM  

Middle top and SE were really hard for me.

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