Theater mogul Marcus - TUESDAY, Oct. 7, 2008 - Kevin G. Der (Many pizza slices, geometrically / Looie's underling)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: 3D shapes - four theme answers end in CONE, PYRAMID, SPHERE, and CUBE, respectively

What, no TORUS? Pffft. Come on.

The theme on this one is fine, but it's not what makes the puzzle shine. Check out the super-fresh fill in the long Downs. DOT COM BOOM (31D: Short-lived economic expansion of the late 1990s) provides a nice counterpoint to the, uh, recession / depression / apocalypse we are currently in. And AHA MOMENTS (11D: Occasions to cry "Eureka!") ... did Oprah popularize that phrase? At any rate, crossword solvers use it all the time to describe the moment they finally discover a puzzle's theme, parse a tough clue correctly, or otherwise break a puzzle open. So the puzzle is anchored by a couple of great colloquial answers, to which group we can also add one of the theme answers - BLOGOSPHERE. Huzzah, I'm in the puzzle! Kinda! Most of the rest of the puzzle was just fine or better.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Ice cream holder (waffle CONE)
  • 32A: Diagram of nutritional needs (Food PYRAMID)
  • 48A: Community of Web journals (blogoSPHERE)
  • 65A: Six-colored puzzle (Rubik's CUBE)
This was not such a great puzzle if you like taste with your food. OK, sure, you get the AVOCADO (7D: Guacamole base), which is nice. But after that - you've got only the MEIN part of Chow MEIN (52A: Chow _____ - I believe the "Chow" has all the flavor), and you have to DEFAT (35D: Trim, as meat) everything else, which means NO OIL (41D: Cause of a blown engine, maybe), and thus a virtually NO CAL meal (30D: For dieters). I guess I can eat the WAFFLE CONE, though I doubt that's part of the FOOD PYRAMID.

  • 1A: Telly watcher (Brit) - I was trying to think of British slang for "kid" when it occurred to me that British adults call the television the "telly" too. Speaking of telly ... oh hell, I'm just looking for any excuse to play this:
  • 20A: Whacked, in the Bible (smote) - makes God sound like a hitman.
  • 40A: Many pizza slices, geometrically (octants) - this word, while perfectly legal, hurts my ears. I guess if I can live with the word QUADRANTS (and I can), then I can learn to live with this one. I want my pizza in EIGHTHS is all.
  • 47A: Volcano in Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" (Etna) - yet another way to clue this most crossworthy of all volcanos.
  • 57A: Theater mogul Marcus (Loew) - I don't think I knew his first name before this puzzle.
  • 69A: Actress Christensen of "Traffic" (Erika) - didn't see it and don't know her. The only problem was the "K," and IKE (66D: Former White House moniker) took care of that.
  • 13D: Mischievous Norse god (Loki) - also the name of reader SethG's son.
  • 28D: Where Ali dethroned Foreman (Zaire) - three "Z"s for this puzzle, of which this is the most spectacular.
  • 33D: Snowball hurler (pelter) - only if he's accurate.
  • 37D: Looie's underling (sarge) - "underling" is one of the ugliest words in the English language. It's as if the relationship described thereby is borderline unspeakable.
  • 54D: "Be silent," in music (tacet) - learned it from xwords!

Stay tuned for a special, non-partisan, election-season puzzle, to be distributed free, from this site, in ... I don't know, an hour or so. Let's say 10am... and here it is.

"Don't Blink"

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


ArtLvr 9:10 AM  

I liked the puzzle...Rex mentions the Z words, which were fun with BOZO and ZOE and so on, but I also like the W words-- DWARF, BAWL, COWL, SHOWBIZ.

I'm not sure the FOODPYRAMID survives though, since nutritionists are forever tinkering with what was aesthetically pleasing but not exact enough for them. Maybe the current charts look more like a dollar bill at this point?


Joon 9:17 AM  

i'll be honest--i never understood why it was called a PYRAMID to begin with. there's nothing 3-d about it. they couldn't just call it a food triangle?

great tuesday puzzle. the fill is what you'd expect from a themeless specialist.

janie 9:25 AM  

hey, joon -- ya know the internet has everything, so here it is -- a food pyramid.

even though it is a bit early, think i rather have a waffle cone!


janie -- who looooved this puzzle

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

Well, speed-solving killed me today (mostly). Fumbling fingers on LOKI gave me "loii", which I didn't see until I submitted. Failing to check the cross also caused me to miss "ice" for IKE/"Erica" for ERIKA; same with "tacit" for TACET. But my own blind spot caused my fourth and final mistake: "aton" for ATOZ, since Noe sounded okay to me.

An okay time around ten minutes to fill it in, followed by at least ten more tracking down all the errors. Ooof! You "Savor the Puzzle"-types may begin your mockery now.

Shamik 9:56 AM  

Yikes! This one was the hardest, correctly solved Tuesday puzzle since I started recording my times. Yikes and double yikes.

Started off zipping through the puzzle and thinking how easy it was until I reached the SW. Was in and out of JAIL and had go from merely being LIMP to being LAME. So what's the big congratulatory cheer?!?!?!?


NSTA to USTA (obviously don't follow the game)
DOWN to MEIN (does anyone eat chow mein anymore?)
and of course, LIMP to LAME

Hand me some chips with my GUACAMOLE.

Nice to see RUBIK with his actual CUBE.

Chris Horan 9:57 AM  

Don't get by the answer for EGBDF was BOY - I know those are piano letters...
Chris H

Scott 10:02 AM  

I believe it is a reference to the mnemonic that is used to remember said keys. "Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge"? -- i think that's it.

imsdave1 10:02 AM  

@chris - Every Good Boy Does Favors, for the lines of the staff.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

EGBDF has a mnemonic: Every Good Boy Does Fine

Rex -
Doctor Who + Eminem + theme from Benny Hill = much happiness
Thanks for the clip!

imsdave1 10:05 AM  

@scott - yours is probably right, but whatever the mnemonic, it works obviously works!

Super Tuesday puzzle - looked for Rex to jump on the oblibatory -er word, pelter in this case, but too much good in it to snipe.

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

@chris horan

googled 'EGBDF mnemonic' because i was also unfamiliar with how BOY was the answer. 'Every Good Boy Does Fine' is apparently right up there with ROYGBIV and 'My Very Educated Mother...'.


kjones 10:13 AM  

The TORUS isn't simply connected; whereas the CUBE, SPHERE, PYRAMID, and CONE are.

PhillySolver 10:16 AM  

Poor Sethg. He will go through life as the father of Loki and yet denies it to this day.

I enjoyed the geometry lesson today, but if I told my neighborhood pizza guy to cut it in an octant, I would not be allowed to come back. janie got the three dimensional pyramid form MIT. Harvard-based joon is not pleased. Yesterday's puzzle is now worth 94 cents, OR NOT.

archaeoprof 10:20 AM  

Went to "gambling mecca" RENO last month, and there were slot machines in the airport.

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

I totally agree with Rex's writeup. Loved BLOGOSPHERE, DOTCOMBOOM, AHAMOMENTS as well as FOODPYRAMID, WAFFLECONE and FLEWBY. I actually looked up OCTANTS because I didn't think it a real word. Alas, it is. The pizza we had last night was definitely served in eighths.

The poem "I, Too" is in the puzzle again which I didn't like.

All nitpicking aside, this is a great Tuesday puzzle. Thank you Kevin Der and forgive me once for saying "There's no Der, Der." You are a most talented constructor and now I always look forward to your puzzles.

Shamik 10:23 AM  

My Very Educated Mother?

Mercury Venus Earth Mars?

Did the other planets go the Pluto route or is there more to the mnemonic?

RodeoToad 10:26 AM  

The mnemonic for EGBDF ("does fine" in my experience) I've known since childhood (the spaces in the staff spell FACE, so you don't really need a mnemonic for that). ROYGBIV I learned only within the last few years. "My very educated mother . . ." was unknown to me before today.

The one to remember guitar strings from highest to lowest in tone is "Easter bunnies get drunk at Easter."

SethG 10:28 AM  

Guess who's back? Back again? Loki's back. In Uganda, if you know what I mean.

RT, those mnemonics are right up there with King Philip and the method by which he emigrated. Of course that's not how I initially learned it, but we don't need any controversy.

OHIO was a gimme, since neither Allegheny nor Monongahela fit. Go Steelers! Lots more wasn't so easy, especially BAWL/BOY/YANK/WINO and TACET and stuff, so I was slow. At least I, too knew I TOO.

dk 11:02 AM  
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dk 11:04 AM  

Ali babble:

Rumble in the Jungle!
I am the greatest!
I am beautiful!

Fastest puzzle in while pour moi.

I know this will come as a surprise but the food pyramid is the subject of some controversy as the USDA is heavily influenced by food production associations. For example, recommended vegetable intake is twice that of the WHO (not Dr. Who, World Health Org).

I have met @sethg and can report that "she" is a very attractive woman who looks a lot like Glen Close. Thus, this whole fathering a child is a big trick, not unlike puzzle dog - who if I squeak like a mouse and wink I can see from my house... Wait p-dog is playing with those Keating kids again, where is that dogs judgement.

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

Tacet was a gimee for me: I have a t-shirt that on the front says John Cage, 4'3" (the name of his piece where someone sits at the piano for that amount of time, without striking a note). On the back is the complete score: 1 Tacet, 11 Tacet, 111 Tacet.

Doug 11:17 AM  

Really liked this one too. I actually thought I was going to get shut out on a Tuesday, but I left it for a few minutes and everything fell into place.

Had DDE instead of IKE (should actually read the clues instead of just skimming!) and then left it at IDE when the "I" was clearly wrong. Oh well, it's just Tuesday.

@wade My guitar mnemonic for EADGBE was "Every afternoon dogs go bite everybody." What can I say, I didn't have much time.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

The planetary mnemonic used to be "My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas". Fortunately, I only learned of the mnemonic when it made the news by becoming obsolete.

OCTANTS go over better in 3D. Historically, OCTANTS were navigational instruments, so named because they really were 1/8 of a circle. They surpassed the previous QUADRANTS, and were themselves surpassed by SEXTANTS, which are now surpassed by GPS.

TACET was easy enough, from Latin 101.

Two Ponies 11:33 AM  

I thanked the Moody Blues for helping me with "Every Good Boy Deserves Favor."
I might be in the minority because I found yesterday's puzzle too easy and, frankly, boring. Perhaps too much money talk in the news.
Today's, however, was a real breath of fresh air. Thanks Mr. Der for a fine Tuesday.

Rick 11:56 AM  

This was the first time I have ever seen BLOGOSPHERE as an answer in a NYT puzzle. Loved it! Thanks for your blog. I check it whenever I finish a puzzle and there were one or two squares I wasn't sure about. Today, it was TACET (even though everyone else said that was easy).

janie 11:58 AM  

philly -- lol! no offense, joon!! went looking for the harvard pyramid, but they're all layered triangles.

go figger!



Anonymous 12:02 PM  

This all got me remembering. As a photography student years ago, we leaned a horrible mnemonic for the color wheel (blue, magenta, red, yellow, green, cyan)

Bad Men ...

Or even worse, for RYGCBM, Really Young ...

Anyone else remember those? Ugh.

Joon 12:41 PM  

the sketchier the mnemonic, the more memorable it is. the only way i can remember the resistor color code is by using "bad boys rape our young girls but violet gives willingly." obviously it was a bunch of dirty old men who thought these up, and i'd never teach this to a student (even when we did the resistor color code in lab last spring), but... i do remember it.

on the other hand, i never felt i needed a mnemonic for EGBDF, FACE, or the strings on a guitar. i mean, there's a pretty obvious pattern, so it's really just a matter of remembering the first one. (except on the guitar, where the interval from the G to B string is a major third, and all the others are perfect fourths.) and why is there no mnemonic for the bass clef? no GBDFA? no ACEG? somehow we get by without one.

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle too, and was just as happy not to see the torus appear, that would not have been topologically congruent.

I loved the Keystone Doctor, although I could have done with a little less Eminem (he does have a distinctive voice, though). When I saw the title for the apolitical puzzle 'Don't Blink' that too reminded me of the Doctor..."Don't blink. Blink and you're dead. Don't turn your back. Don't look away. And don't blink"....the angels have the police box. That can't have been coincidental.

jeff in chicago 1:03 PM  

I never learned a mnemonic for ACEG, but GBDFA was Good Boys Do Fine Always. And I (and the Moody Blues) learned Every Good Boy Deserves Favo(u)r.

Mike the Wino 1:36 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike the Wino 1:38 PM  

Mnemonics are great, aren't they? I've live in/around Seattle my whole life, and the one for learning the layout of the streets in the central business district is JCMSUP (the first letters of two parallel streets such as Jefferson and James), and it stands for "Jesus Christ Made Seattle Under Protest". When my mom taught me that all those years ago, I LMAO!!

Mike the Wino 1:41 PM  

Okay, I've "lived" in and around Seattle.......

BTW, I tried using the HTML function for "bold" in my prviously deleted post (i.e.: [b]text[/b]) but it didn't work. I've seen other comments with bold text. Am I doing something wrong?

Mike the Wino 1:43 PM  


Last comment.

Anonymous 1:57 PM  

Joon: Yeah, I didn't want to write out the complete phrases for the color wheel, but they were similar to the ones you remembered: "Really young girls can be molested", and "Bad men rape young girls constantly". I recall thinking how horrible those were at the time, but I still remember them!

janie 1:58 PM  

mike -- instead of brackets, try < >.



Anonymous 2:03 PM  

I rarely find it worth while to post for praise – I find myself an unworthy judge of good but somehow feel right at home with bad.
Did like the long fills and the Zs and Ws but don’t like all the 'suffix' add ons that seem somewhat forced - NAG AT, LEARN OF, FLEW BY. [Begrudges] Fun Tuesday I guess.
Many Very Educated Men Just Sit Up Nights Period. (Mercury first – more letters in many than in men!) You can now eliminate the Period since astronomers have relegated Pluto to the Kuiper belt. Hmmm… hope that giant snowball doesn’t become a PELTER in retaliation.

chefbea 2:15 PM  

Easy puzzle today tho I did not know tacet and had a terrible time with octant - wanted eighths.

Does everyone know the history of the ice cream cone/waffle cone? 1904 world's fair held in St. louis, at the ice cream booth they ran out of paper cups. Next to them was a waffle booth. It was decided to use the waffles rolled up in a cone shape on which to put the ice cream....thus the first ice cream cones

Doc John 2:19 PM  

Although Rex had some good points about the freshness of the puzzle, I found myself cringing at the number of phrases that ended with 2-letter prepositions: FLEW BY, LEARN OF, NAG AT. OMG, did I just agree with rafaelthatmf? ;)
And no complaint of PELTER, Rex?

OCTANT reminds me of this one:
...So a guy orders a pizza and the waiter asks him if he'd like it cut into six or eight slices. The man answers, "Why, six of course. I could never eat eight."
I can hear the BOOS now!

Anonymous 2:47 PM  


Loved the joke!

Anonymous 2:52 PM  


In answer to your question, the "Aha moment" was first popularized in the 1970s in Ms. Magazine. It was used to describe, for example, that moment when you first realize that the mnemonic you were taught to remember the color wheel is sexist and violent and offensive and there must be something really, really wrong with a society that would come up with such a thing.

I think Oprah may have re-introduced the phrase, using it in ways broader than its feminist origins.

Anonymous 3:15 PM  

Seek help doc john - do it now!

RodeoToad 3:21 PM  

Damn, what didn't get invented at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis? It's like all the crap in our lives can be traced to the 1904World's Fair in St. Louis--ice cream, cotton candy, Dr Pepper, basketball, Liquid Paper, the Wright Brothers, vulcanized rubber, vel-cro, the digital watch, the Julian calendar, Gregorian chants, T.S. Eliot, Chiclets, Mormonism, turducken, shinola, "Love, American Style," the Ferris Wheel, the rowing machine, soap-on-a-rope, Anita Bryant, Quarterflash, Ricola, Sunny D, Conquistadors, "Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific" shampoo, Hale-Bobb, Pong, and silly bicycles with giant front wheels. That must have been some dang fair, is all I'm sayin.

dk 5:01 PM  

@doc john, you are my joke hero

And, @rafaelthatmf, I will be the judge of who needs help an to that end:

Two DWARFs (puzzle reference) go into a bar, where they pick up two prostitutes and take them to their separate hotel rooms.

The first dwarf, however, is unable to, well you know. His depression is enhanced by the fact that,
from the next room, he hears cries of, "ONE, TWO, THREE...UUUUH!" all night long.

In the morning, the second dwarf asks the first, "How did it go?"

The first whispered back, "It was so embarrassing. I just couldn't... well, it was ABOMB (second puzzle reference)."

The second dwarf shook his head. "You think that's embarrassing?!!" he asked. "I couldn't even get on the bed!!!"

chefbea 5:15 PM  

@dk thats a riot. very funny

Orange 5:32 PM  

I like what Addie Loggins had to say. Yeah, you guys who have memorized those horribly misogynist mnemonics would do well to try to forget them, and try to remember ones that don't dehumanize half of the human race. Really. Ick.

I thought Oprah talked more about that "click" moment, but right there on her magazine site is a page of AHA MOMENTS.

PhillySolver 5:45 PM  

Seriously, to help pay for college, my dad hired me to use an Ohm Meter to test his company's circuit boards (actually they weren't actually in use then, but pre-board circuits) and replace or add resistors. He was a gentle man and had me memorize,
Big boys race our young girls, but Violet generally wins.
I think you would have liked him.

Anonymous 6:08 PM  

@DK no one likes sick more than me - I chase it. I recommended the help since doc john agreed with me. I never could pull off self deprecation.
@Orange - agreed. I like sick jokes just not insulting ones - well I do like insulting jokes but achh - you know what I mean.

miriam b 6:26 PM  

This puzzle was a solid pleasure (ducking).

My planetary mnemonic, before the demotion of Pluto: My Very Elegant Mistress Julie Sings United Nations Praises.

I belong to the Every Good Boy Does Fine faction.

Anonymous 7:07 PM  


My mnemonics for bass clef were "Great Big Dogs Fight Animals" and "All Cows Eat Grass." I think I made up the first one (forgive me for not being sure--it was 35 years ago) but I'm pretty sure my teacher gave me the second. They really work for me; though I just reflexively go to the notes now, I didn't even blink before remembering these phrases.

Michael Chibnik 7:46 PM  

I really liked this puzzle and rushed through it until the sw, where I got stuck. I tried both "a lot" and "a ton" for 63 across and didn't know either the Langston Hughes poem or the playwright Akins, I finally had to google akins, had an aha moment with "a to z" and still puzzled over atta for five minutes until finally getting it.

Doc John 7:48 PM  

The Cranial Nerves:
(take your pick)



Sexy and

(I'll leave it up to the truly curious to wiki the cranial nerves.) The first year of med school was basically one big mnemonic fest!

Doc John 7:50 PM  

OK, here's the link.

mac 8:38 PM  

It's like all of you have been speaking a different language all day. This means absolutely nothing for me. Crosses helped to get the boy.

Rex, where do you get these clips? This was a riot. And Philly, that was your all-time funniest comment.

I loved the puzzle, had a couple of bumps (tsks, down/mein, jerk/yank) but nothing to stop me finishing.

@wade: Michelle would have liked some of the puzzles the last week!

Gotta go get mentally ready to watch this debate......

foodie 8:50 PM  

@doc John, many moons ago, I studied the cranial nerves and their functions, then went skiing, had an accident, hit my head and had retrograde amnesia. I did not know who I was, where I was, what had happened. Really scary. They rushed me to a hospital, and my wits were slowly returning, but I was still pretty confused. As the ER doctor was examining me, and he would say look here or do that, I would say: So my trigeminal is working OK, right? My abducens is OK? Even in my dazed state, I could tell he was totally befuddled by my obsession with cranial nerves. So, I do need need a mnemonic for them!

foodie 8:53 PM  

@mac, though I just contributed to the crazy discussion, I agree it's a very chaotic conversation today... Sex, pizza, dwarfs,planets, cranial nerves, pretty wild.

Anonymous 10:17 PM  

My 8th grade class changed the solar system planetary mnemonic to My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nachos - though there was a faction that was pulling for NOODLES instead of NACHOS.

We are also sort of proud here in San Diego that our local observatory (Palomar) was the telescope used by the astronomer who discovered the object in the Kuper belt (Eris) that led to Pluto's expulsion from the Planet Club.

Joon 10:35 PM  

orange, i hate the mnemonic too, but i can't forget it. it's literally unforgettable. but i'm sorry for posting it. that was poor judgment on my part.

mac 11:21 PM  

@foodie: It's the mnemonics that are making me feel completely out of the loop. All the rest is interesting!

sillygoose 12:19 AM  

I always look forward to K. Der puzzles, (loved this one), and now to the discussion afterward! LOL

Anonymous 11:30 PM  

Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge

Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always
(for the bass clef)

also All Cows Eat Grass

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