WEDNESDAY, Oct. 29, 2008 - Steven L. Zisser (Trireme tool / Jerry's sitcom neighbor / Glen Bell's fast food / John who played Gomez Addams)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Relative difficulty: (incredibly) Easy

THEME: (Not-so-) Great Vowel (Sound) Shift - theme clues require that you read them with "OH" instead of expected "OW" sound in the words that contain "-OWER"

It's possible that this puzzle was even easier than yesterday's, and yesterday's was easy for a Tuesday. Weird. I'm sure things will turn around later in the week. Puzzle difficulty levels have a way of evening out. Here, the constructor takes a common cluing ploy - the -OWER head fake, where the reader assumes an "OW" pronunciation for the vowel sound when an "OH" sound was intended - and turns it into a puzzle-sustaining theme. I'm lukewarm on the idea, especially considering the execution here. Something about the two plural answers bugs me, especially TEAMS OF HORSES, which feels quite forced.

Theme answers:

  • 16A: Meteor shower (planetarium)
  • 22A: Country bowers (fiddle players)
  • 46A: Farm towers (teams of horses)
  • 56A: South American flower (Amazon River)

I almost want to side with the proper noun-haters today, as the puzzle feels particularly awash in names. We have the matching plural name clues 26A: Fife and Frank (Barneys) and 25D: Bundy and Kaline (Als), and then a bijillion others, most of which I'm too tired to mention. Three of the first five Across clues are names - COSMO (1A: Jerry's sitcom neighbor), ASTIN (13A: John who played Gomez Addams), and the puzzle-friendly Charles READE (14A: "The Cloister and the Hearth" novelist), who is making a very unusual mid-week appearance. I tend to think of him as more of a Fri/Sat guy. That's certainly how I learned his name (ASTIN I learned early-week, and was roundly, publicly mocked for not knowing his name). You know the puzzle is contemporary-minded when NES is clued as "old" (40D: Super _____ (old game product)). "MYST" (21D: Computer game set on an island) is as old as Super NES, but somehow it escaped the "old" moniker (perhaps because versions of it were being made through 2005). I quit playing video games in the mid-90s when it became clear that ... you know how some people have problems with alcohol and sex and drugs and what not? For me, it's video games. I mean, maybe I could enjoy them in moderation, but I doubt it. And my family almost certainly doesn't want to find out.

To clean the COSMO out of my brain and let the (Andy) Kaufman in, I'm going to listen to "Man on the Moon" by R.E.M. (9D: Band with the 1993 hit "Man on the Moon") now, even though it's possibly the worst song on the (fantastic) album "Automatic for the People" (bonus: this song has "ASP" in it):


  • 21A: In romance poetry, a frequent rhyme for June (moon) - hmmm, surprised I didn't catch the "MOON" / "Man on the Moon" word repetition here. Yikes. Sorry, Will. R.E.M. has a million clue-worthy songs, and we go with the one that's got MOON in the title. HA ha.
  • 29A: Suffix with reflex (-ology) - parts of your feet (esp. the soles) are supposed to correspond to your various body parts. It's like ... a pretentious foot rub.
  • 37A: Org. in "Michael Collins" (I.R.A.) - I may have said this, but "Michael Collins" is the worst movie name ever. I remember when it came out, I though "Why not call it 'Stanley Berger' or 'Peter Jones'" - I think the movie-makers thought the public (I) would be far more Irish history savvy than we (I) were (was).
  • 43A: Square thing (meal) - MEAL gets clued via its alleged "square"-ness a lot. A Lot. I'm just sayin'.
  • 59A: Trireme tool (oar) - "Trireme" being one of those words I somehow managed to learn *before* starting to do puzzles. It's stood me in good stead (did I get that phrase right? Feels Wrong)
  • 5D: 1969 Three Dog Night hit ("One") - I'd play it, but I already featured it on a very recent write-up, so (lucky you), you get this instead:

His lower register is Amazing - RAWLS! (14D: "Lady Love" singer Lou)

  • 17D: Like Felix Unger's room (tidy) - "Unger" sounds so dirty that I hesitated here. "Is Felix the TIDY one?" Yes.
  • 26D: Gaucho's weapon (bola) - it has balls
  • 46D: Glen Bell's fast food (tacos) - this one blew me away. You mean the "Bell" in "Taco Bell" is an actual guy. I thought it was just the thing they rang in the old (Mexican) country to let you know that your TACOS were ready. Holy Crap. Glen Bell. Did Not see that coming.
  • 48D: Cowboy who rode Champion (Autry) - there are no more famous cowboys. I know this guy only from legend (like ... Hopalong Cassidy and ... the guy who rode Trigger)
  • 53D: Richard of "Bee Season" (Gere) - really? "Bee Season?" That was a movie? OK, next person who puts GERE in his / her puzzle, I dare you to go deeper than "Bee Season." I want the bottom of GERE's oeuvre. Get on imdb and get to work.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


poc 9:08 AM  

Yes Rex, a bit too easy for a Wednesday. However let me get in my objection to AILS as an answer for "languishes". Someone ailing may indeed languish, but the two are not synonyms by any means.

Also, to be pedantic the gaucho's weapon (actually a tool in the same way a lasso is a tool, but I suppose it could be used as a weapon) is BOLAS. One BOLA would be useless since the idea is to have the two connected balls spin round each other.

Anonymous 9:10 AM  

Rex - The Andy clip at the end is perfect. Just there. Like Andy. I'm old enough to remember him on SNL. And we were all, like, WTF?
Thanks, Tom in Pittsburgh

Rex Parker 9:10 AM  

Correction, then: "It has ball."


Rex Parker 9:12 AM  

@Tom - yes, thanks for noticing the unceremonious placement of Andy. Just there.


ArtLvr 9:31 AM  

The vowel shift in the theme answers? First time I thought Ugh! Then it kept cropping up -- pretty funny! It seems we've seen FLOWER for a river quite a lot lately, so please... enough already.

For those who signed up for the Sun puzzles, note that you can download a week ahead. Woohoo! Watch especially for the tricky 11-4, great fun.


The Big E 9:35 AM  

Was decidedly unfulfilled by this puzzle, as I was with yesterday's puzzle. I agree that both were progressively easier, and I hope that as you mention, it will become balanced out by week's end!
Also, is it me, or is ATM being featured quite often of late?

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

Easiest puzzle in ages. And thanks for putting the Mighty Mouse theme in my head where it is sure to remain for the rest of the day.

janie 9:41 AM  

>I want the bottom of GERE's oeuvre.

i am soooo not a gere fan -- an actor about whom it has been said "the lights are on, but nobody's home" -- so the honorary consul and sommersby do come to mind. but then... but then... there're a couple of movies in which (for my money) he does redeem himself: chicago and more notably the hoax where the actor seems really well cast for the role (as the desperate writer who claimed to have written a howard hughes bio authorized by the eccentric himself).

and yes -- this felt very easy for a wednesday, which detracted not one bit in my enjoyment of the theme and fill.



foodie 9:48 AM  

Didn't we have this theme recently? And there was a discussion about pronunciation? Yes, something to do with DRAWERS...

One thing that threw me was that I got AMAZONRIVER and FIDDLEPLAYERS before getting the other theme answers, so I expected them to end with ER. For "Meteor Shower" I wanted to say something horrible like "POINTER OUTER", as I had the mental image of a cartoon I love. It has a man looking through the telescope intently and his wife pointing at another part of the sky where there is a dramatic meteor shower he's missing. If you're a scientist, you have lots of stories you can illustrate thusly. (Come to think of it do you need a planetarium to see a meteor?).

Have missed yesterday's discussion, I wanted to chime in today and endorse the proposed Cabaret act with the lovely CARLA in the lead.

gotcookies 9:48 AM  

Well now I feel bad...I didn't even realize that there was a theme until I came here. Thanks for clearing that up!

Orange 9:51 AM  

I love REM's "Man on the Moon"—great melody. Hadn't seen the video in ages. Mind you, I don't much care for cowboy hats, but Michael Stipe looked quite fetching in one. He can be my Gay Musician Boyfriend.

My favorite Michael C___ movie is Michael Clayton. George Clooney is, of course, my Imaginary Probably Not Gay Movie Star Boyfriend.

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

This puzzle and the discussion goes along with my theory that it must be hard to make a puzzle medium level difficulty. If I were to rate difficulty on a scale of 1 to 10, it seems like Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are usually 1s or 2s, Thursday is a 3 or a 4, and then Friday and Saturday are 9s or 10s. Put another way, I feel like I often go from having little trouble doing the whole puzzle without cheating in 5-10 minutes to being unable to solve it in a half hour without googling.

PuzzleGirl 10:15 AM  

Solved this one with PuzzleHusband so it was a little slow going. (He does seem to be catching the bug!)

I would have voted for keeping the R.E.M. clue and changing the clue for MOON. "...a frequent rhyme for June"??? Seriously???

I was also completely surprised to learn about Glen Bell.

Loved seeing WRESTLED in the puzzle as we're gearing up for college wrestling season now. Five of the ten match-ups in next month's NWCA All-Star Classic feature University of Iowa wrestlers. Go Hawks!!

Jeffrey 10:44 AM  

Doubling up after a day in Vancouver. I did the Tuesday and Wednesday puzzles back to back, with Wednesday a few seconds faster than Tuesday; both will be rapidly forgotten. [I typed paridly instead of rapidly at first - that seems like a good new word - I played the golf course paridly today.]

I needed Rex to give me the theme. You are needed Rex! A LIFESAVER. Not just a placeholder for my comments. I thought PLAYERS and TEAMS were part of the theme but just try and match that with PLANETARIUM.

RodeoToad 10:48 AM  

I'm out of sync with you today, Rex. I largely dug the puzzle, and I would put "Man on the Moon" in the top three or four songs on that awesome album, maybe even second behind "Nightswimming." "Here's a truckstop instead of St. Peter's" is one of my favorite lyrics, right behind "Yeah yeah yeah yeah." Ten years ago I got real dehydrated in Presidio, Texas, which is way the hell out in the middle of nowhere on the Mexican border, and lay in a motel room (the motel was called, for no reason I could detect, "Three Palms") watching a VH-1 thing about REM and became convinced that, like Bill Berry, I was having a brain aneurysm. Man, that was a bad headache.

Ditto on Glen "Taco Man" Bell. Had no idea.

Lou Rawls is an enigma in my life. I don't know where to put him. He seems to have no connection to anything else I know, but there he is. When I wrote my resignation letter at the first law firm I worked for, I did it as a parody of other "farewell to the firm" letters, and part of it was in the voice of Lou Rawls.

Gene Autry is, of course, from Tioga, Texas.

jeff in chicago 11:22 AM  

I agree with most here. Too easy for Wednesday. So-so theme. Loved the Lou Rawls clip. Was never a Kaufman fan. Surprised by the "Bell" trivia. (Did I cover everything?)

Odd fast-food name story, re: Arbys. I always figured there was some George Arby out there who started the place. But not that long ago, when I was already a full-grown adult person, someone told me that it was really "R"-"B"s, the initial letters in Roast Beef. I was stunned that I had never figured that out. I felt like an idiot. Flash forward a couple more years and I finally read that the chain was started by the Raffell Brothers (Forrest and Leroy, Wiki tells me) and it really WAS based on a name, just not my imaginary George Arby. So Arbys is one of the reasons I never assume I know ANYTHING.

JoefromMtVernon 11:27 AM  

The theme doesn't qualify this as a Monday puzzle, but the fill does. Anything I didn't know was acquired by crosses. Never heard of spoor. SW slowed me down (total instead of equal).

Shouldn't 15A's clue read "Pal of George of the Jungle?"

Of course, the REM video would have been more complete for this blog if Cheryl Tiegs were in it.


dk 11:39 AM  

Wanted DARKEST to be Draco.. but no cigar.

My ideals and life tenets were formed by Saturday morning westerns so Mr. Autry was no problem, we want the Cisco Kid.

This one was fun, but easier than Monday's puzzle.

Listening to an executive presentation and have heard the word impacted no less than 30 times. Perhaps I should point out that impacted generally refers to a condition with ones bowels.. Wait: it is time for Q&A and my hand is up.

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

If you can provide documentation that you did it, $50 is on it's way to you.

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

Um... no. Not extremely easy for me. Even after reading Rex's explanation of the theme, it took me a while to understand what was going on with the change of pronunciation (a common mistake in my life; you can ask my 6 year old who is learning to read and I cannot help her with the vowels sounds!). Anyway, once you read the clues again, it is a really neat and fun theme. I had to "hah!" out loud when I got the AMAZON FLOWER.

Other than that, there are two ammos and two one-named personalities. I also totally agree with the BOLA/BOLAS correction from @poc (seriously, Will should get his Spanish right once and for all, what with all the ambiguities with masculines/feminines and singular/plurals... he is much better with his French, I think).

I will stop now. I hate long posts. I just want to end by saying how much I loved the clue for LIFESAVERS.

Orange 12:00 PM  

By the way, my first thought for the song-by-Lou clue was DOBBS. Imagine my disappointment when he didn't malapop up elsewhere in the puzzle.

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

.../Glitch here.

@poc / Rex --- Re: BOLA(s)

Actually, there's a bit of inconsistancy on the dfn's of this regarding the number of *balls* involved. In all cases tho, BOLA refers to the entire item, not to the round thing(s)on the end.

[More below for those who care to read more than the first lines of a post]

@joefromvermont 15A

In the original ERB's books, Tarzan's *Pal* was N'kima

For the movies, Cheeta was created.

Monkey & / or Chimp, but nary an *APE* as a *pal* of *Tarzan the Apeman*.

Now, for those craving BOLA trivia:

1) ... is derived from the gaucho bola (or bolas) which consisted of three cords tied together with a weighted ball on the free end of each cord

2) MSN also dfn's as same (3), but shows pix with only 2 cords / balls.

3) The safest defn I found:

...implements that consist of weighted balls on the end of long cords, ... twirled like supersonic Maori poi balls.

Hummm, late week clue, *Maori poi balls, to Gauchos* ??


Two Ponies 12:14 PM  

I agree completely with Rex's comments except I loved the theme. English can be a crazy language. Again I marvel at people who are doing these puzzles in a language other than their native tongue.
I really miss Andy.

Greene 12:41 PM  

I think I enjoyed this puzzle more than most. I've not been doing these things long enough to have seen this type of theme before (at least not that I remeber), so it seemed a bit different and clever. Fill was very straightforward for a Wednesday. Frankly, I'm worried about the end of the week. There's probably a Byron Walden atomic bomb of a puzzle waiting to drop.

Every time I see the june-MOON rhyme I'm reminded of the old play, actually entitled "June Moon," by George S Kaufman and Ring Lardner -- a farce about Tinpan Alley in the 1920s, where such stale rhymes as june-moon abounded. I feel sure I have a video of a televised version of this play which featured Jack Cassidy and (so help me) a baby-faced Stephen Sondheim as Maxie the piano player.

Campesite 12:51 PM  

Wow, really easy puzzle.
Strange that Michael Richards and Andy Kaufman are referenced in the grid, as both played a practical joke on the live TV show Fridays in 1981. "I'm From Hollywood" is a compelling and somewhat uncomfortable to watch documentary about Andy Kaufman.

dk 12:56 PM  

@anon at 11:47, first, assuming I had said documentation do I send it to:

123 Main Street
Anytown, Your State

Second, being well bred I would never take the wind out of someones sails

Third, tongue-in-cheek (tŭng'ĭn-chēk')
adj. Meant or expressed ironically or facetiously.

Fourth, I miss Andy Kaufman, I think it was on SNL when he did a skit where he did nothing.

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

I thought it was interesting that yesterday we discussed malapop and today in the puzzle, what shows up but SPOOR!

I don't have much to say about this puzzle. I loved the clues for AQUA and LIFESAVER. I also enjoyed the theme but somehow it left me cold. Except for my current craving for tacos ... and, yes, I too, was surprised to learn about Glen Bell.

The truth is, my favorite part about this puzzle wasn't even in the puzzle -- it was Rex's contribution of that classic Andy Kaufman clip. Now that's something to talk about.

Chip Hilton 1:11 PM  

I agree with the relative ease of the puzzle, but I liked the theme. Last one I got was AMAZONRIVER and, even after catching onto the theme much earlier, still caught myself misreading the clue! Two Ponies had it right: English is one tricked-up language!

HudsonHawk 1:13 PM  

Glen Bell. Who knew? I had to re-read the clue a few times, even after I had TACOS in the grid. And I love Taco Bell (or as Ms. Hudson calls, it, Toxic Belch).

Jeffrey 1:16 PM  

Another little known fact:

Burger King is named after its founder, Larry King.

This fact is certifed true because it is (now) on the Internet.

Anonymous 1:38 PM  

I read very slowly but have exceptional retention. When reading, my mind switches letters in words and moves words from one sentence to another. I reread sentences frequently. This puzzle’s vowel shifting mentally twisted me around to a point of befuddlement – after each theme clue I kept thinking this morning finds my self diagnosed dyslexia in fine form. But then no.
Nearly dropped out of University one semester from so much time away following REM. Saw them for the first time in 1982 at Summerfest in Milwaukee. Lost track of actual count in the early nineties – probably from activities of the late eighties - but have seen them 70 or 80 times. I prefer their early stuff. Pompous? Yeah. Yet true.

Anonymous 1:46 PM  

@ArtLvr - Just a gentle request: Don't tell me that an upcoming puzzle is particularly tricky. A good part of the fun of solving is determining that something strange is going on.

For example, before I got too deeply into today's puzzle, I had 3D STAFFROOM and I really wanted 36D HALFMAST to be HALFSTAFF, the word I have heard used more frequently in reference to flag etiquette; possibly as part of some weird theme. (Yes, I know, shouldn't be on a Wednesday.)

Otherwise, I mistook Michael Collins, in 37A, for the more recent Michael Clayton, and wanted the abbreviation to be FDA instead of IRA.

And only after I thought I had finished did I see that the Square thing, 43A, was not a square deal. (Who is that Edma Samms?)

Bob Kerfuffle

Anonymous 1:56 PM  

Ok, so, I struggled mightily with this puzzle. So thanks everyone for sharing how incredibly easy you found it.

People I've never heard of: AMER, EMMA, ASTIN, READE, RAWLS, ERTE, Schonberg.

Things I've never heard of: Trireme, RIA, SPOOR, AERIE, BOLA, Moses und ARON.

These are not common people words, they're crossword people words (like EERNO). In my view, if a puzzle is crossword people word heavy, it can't possibly be labeled (incredibly) easy.

chefbea 1:59 PM  

Was a fun puzzle. Liked the theme after I finally figured it out.

Thanks Rex for the Andy Kaufman clip. That is my maiden name however - no relation to andy.

And glad to see St. Louis in the puzzle.

Anonymous 2:13 PM  

Nice that 51A:MANO is clued with a hand reference but not the obvious one for this entry :-) (nor "____war").

Alas "river" (as in 56A) does not originally mean something that rives (divides) the two sides...


Anonymous 2:24 PM  

Possible Gere clue: "gerbil rumor subject"

JoefromMtVernon 2:26 PM  

@ anomymous (Bob) - Emma Samms is best know for TV's Dynasty and its spin-off, the Colby's. She played a Carrington. '80's TV

Anonymous 2:27 PM  

brc -- I agree with a few on your list but Lou Rawls and John Astin were well known celebrities.

RodeoToad 2:41 PM  

Emma Samms is also almost a palindrome of herself, not unlike the reversible pet I had in grad school.

Anonymous 2:57 PM  

Theme-wise, I had missed the DRAWER puzzle, I think while I was in Mineapolis being unrequited by DK) so I was taken by pleasant surprise by this theme and not only didn't hate it, but before I understood it I thought "How lovely that they refer to the Amazon as their (petal-kind) 'flower'!" I thought it was like Egyptians saying "The Nile is our gem"

SO other than totally agreeing about the somewhat forced answer TEAMOFHORSES, I thought it kind of cool that Steve L. Zisser switched up expectations.

I mean it's ok to have variations on a theme (I'd obviously be out of luck if Will said "Oh we've had three simple phrases that are marginally related but are fifteen letters each!!!!!!!!)

(Oh wait a minute, he often does!
AND 99 out of 100 things I submit to Peter, he says "There was one with a semi-similar entry from 1989 so, Not for me")

@jeff in Chicago

Thank you for that Arby's story!
As a namer, I eat things like that up (well, sort of, I'm a vegetarian)
but to ME that Arby's story is fascinating. THAT's good namin'
(if not good eatin') bec that's how a name should work, on a few levels...
Yes! Have it really stand for Raffell Brothers (a secret shout out to Rafaelthatmf?) but also Roast Beef! Perfect!

(It's like my company name, ACME Naming, which, embarrassingly took me five years to come up with...ACME is the summit, but it's also my initials and it's also a nod to Chuck Jones naming everything ACME in the Roadrunner,
and I thought how ironic to give a naming company a totally generic name... but ACME is me and I'm the company and the company names and and and...)

Now if ARBYS also meant something
as a word, that would be brilliant!

Might we coin ARBY to mean someone who frivolously sues a fast food place for spilt coffee, but it's settled by arbitration?
We could call that person an ARBY"!

(The preceding has nothing to do with Wade, but, after much therapy...ok, one session, I don't want him to think I'm ignoring him!)

Re: Andy Kaufman

(I will not tell a name-dropping story today as the puzzle itself dropped so many names, even MY head is reeling)
but in terms of puzzle related-trivia, he was friends/lovers/back-to-friends with ELAYNE Boosler who often crops up in our puzzle and it was AK who encouraged her to be a comedian instead of a singer.
And, in my days as a standup, she was (is?) one of the funniest women out there.

As I mentioned, I thought TEAMOFHORSES was super-forced, but until I filled it in, I worried 49D "Initiates cruelly" was RAPE!!!!!!!!
Boy, was Will gonna get a letter on that one!

Instead he got one asking if you can clue two names with a real one and a fictional one, I was under the impression you could not.

e.g. 25D ALS and 26A BARNEYS are paired as one real one, one TV one.

Having of course no idea who AL Kaline was, suspecting he was a sports figure, I post-googled. Yep.
But how ridiculous to be named after a battery...or is that some sort of sportsy joke nickname?
Like, does he keep on going and going? ALKALINE, really????!!!!

Also, I don't know what a MOHS scale is (does it have to do with TARE? ;)
(I still don't know, but will google, tho I'd rather someone clue me in with a pleasant example of how they use it in their lives on a daily basis) :)

I knew BOLA from Scrabble AND long ago looked up what it meant, but that didn't stop me from putting in BOLO originally and wondering if ORMENSTAN was a country (?!?)
I so misread the Georgian clue!

BOLO would hardly be an effective gaucho weapon, save for, perhaps, self-stranglulation!

gotcookies 3:07 PM  

@Andrea: The Mohs scale is a scale of hardness of minerals. According to Wikipedia:

The Mohs scale of mineral hardness characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of a harder material to scratch a softer material. It was created in 1812 by the German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs and is one of several definitions of hardness in materials science. The method, however, is of great antiquity, having first been mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia circa A.D. 77.

I can't say that I use it every day in real life, though I did learn about it from my dad who happens to be a rock hound.

Anonymous 3:15 PM  

@Rex - thanks for the shout out. It's been a long time since I've made the puzzle.

There's this Texas country bumpkin/lawyer dude who's an enigma in my life. Keeps popping into my head, wearing pantyhose. Causes me confusion, if you get my drift. Anyone got any ideas?

Anonymous 3:25 PM  

@twangster and brc: This puzzle was definitely not that hard. BRC, I'm guessing that you are a newbie, because few of the names you mentioned are rare in crosswords. Amer. is America (Confederate States of...), Emma Samms is a fairly popular actress, ERTE is a pseudonym for an artist known by his initials, RT (pronounced air-tay in French). ERTE is a very common puzzle name because the letters are the most common in English. RIA and AERIE are must-knows for crosswords (same reason). And don't combine or confuse EERO (Saarenin) with ERNO (Rubik). I'm sure that as you continue to work the puzzles, and read and participate in this blog, you'll know what to put when the answer is any of the above.

Anonymous 3:31 PM  

@lourawls--I thought you were dead!

RodeoToad 3:36 PM  

Lou Rawls, you are your own near-phonetic palindrome of yourself (a phrase that, said backwards, sounds the same as it sounds when said forwards), and that's the way I'll always remember you best.

poc 3:50 PM  

@anonymous: re BOLA(S), I find to my surprise that you are right. Makes no sense, but there you are.

I'm still holding out on the AILS/languishes issue though :-)

miriam b 4:03 PM  

I AGREE about AILS. Languishing can be done by healthy people, given the right situation, IMO. Prison, for instance.

Our old friend SPOOR made me want to reach for one of the weapons: CAPS, DART, BOLA, TASER.

miriam b 4:12 PM  

Testing for trashcan.

No soap.

chefbea 4:33 PM  

@steve l did not know that Erte was the artist's initials - the way they are pronounced in French. Thanks for the info - learn something new every day.

@andrea loved the bit on Al Kaline lol

dk 4:41 PM  

A pleasent example of Mohs:

@acme when I think of you my Mohs goes from Corundum (400)to Calcite (9).

Jeffrey 4:41 PM  

One more "true" fact:

Erte's original name was Roti Boeuf and he started the French franchise of ERBE's which became Arby's in English.

Aren't you glad this is my third post?

Anonymous 4:56 PM  

@steve l: You must be thinking of Elvis.

Anonymous 4:59 PM  

SPOOR never really caught on did it? Certainly not like malapop.

Chip Hilton 5:32 PM  

The pallindrome posts made me decide to share my favorite Spoonerism, the old Baltimore Oriole centerfielder and Gol Glover, Paul Blair. His Spoonerized named revealed his occupation! Paul Blair, the Baul Plair. Well.....I'm sorry...I think that's cool.

fikink 5:36 PM  

@dk, you are 100 (percent) incorrigible (Ic), but you are in your element ;-)

Anonymous 5:51 PM  


(Here's my secret, combine three posts into one!) ;)

Will informs me (from The World Championships in Belarus no less! I have got to get him to let me tag along at some point!) that I'm delusional about there being any rule about not doing a fictional and factual name together.
I wasn't criticizing, I'm relieved! Now I'm going to do that all the time.

I agree, SPOOR doesn't quite work, but, sadly, I have names have to take on a life of themselves...
Ultimately use/public forum decides on what feels the most SPOOR didn't "stick" (than god!)
I'd take a shot at renaming it, but I seem to have zero influence on Rex/Orange in the naming arena...
Take the ACCA awards, which I'm begging to help rename (The Orange Rexes? AMOREXIA? Something! Anything but ACCA...ack! I think they should have a contest to rename them but, um, as I need to remind myself daily, it ain't my blog!)

And Will and I have done battle (BOLAS vs TASER asamatterofact) over the yawn-inducing name ACPT.
I guess I'll have to stick to my night job!

Orange 6:55 PM  

Andrea: How about calling the awards the Parker House Orange Rolls?

Speaking of those ACCA Awards, a constructor recently told me his award had helped him get a job. Someone sought him out for a crossword gig, so he asked how the guy had found him. Turns out he'd seen the ACCA write-up praising the constructor's work.

Anonymous 7:03 PM  

you are just too funny! Loved the Roti Boeuf story.

fergus 7:42 PM  

Ah the Mohs scale ... I oughtn't submit the comment that comes to mind, but would be willing to share a risque adaptation should anyone care for a private email.

I once had a free accupuncture session with a guy who looked exactly like Marshall Applewhite (you know the guy who urged his little cult of new Nike-sporting drones to join him on the spaceship behind the comet in 1997?) and he was claiming that there are many mappings of the entire human body all over the place. Not only the foot, but the earlobe, a part of the forearm ... and then we got into iridOLOGY. I'm open to all sorts of alternative medicine, but this guy was a laughable crackpot.

I recently watched K-PAX, with Kevin Spacey, and thought it was really quite entertaining, especially the scenes at the PLANETARIUM.

chefbea 9:35 PM  

@orange - love the parkerhouse orange rolls. I'll come up with a good recipe.

JannieB 9:48 PM  

Wouldn't that make them the POR awards???? Might want to re-think that idea.

foodie 10:18 PM  

Speaking of hybrid names between Orange and Rex, there is a brain transmitter called OREXIN. the name derives from one of two interesting functions. the first is that it improves appetite (i.e. it causes Orexia, the opposite of Anorexia). The other is that it cause creatures to wake up and be alert. Dogs who have an inborn genetic defect in this molecule have narcolepsy and fall asleep at the drop of a hat. It's hard for them to reproduce because when they get excited (e.g. during sex), they fall asleep... There are various human analogies that could be made, but suffice it to say that narcolepsy in humans is also related to the loss of cells that make Orexin.

So, may be Andrea Carla (I've decided to hedge my bets and get in the habit of using both names- It sounds more genteel, don't you think?) can do her magic and play off OR-REX and the idea that their enterprise is both stimulating and appetizing!

dk 11:13 PM  

@foodie, how about oxycodone, it is magical and kills pain. Forget about the addiction part for just a few minutes.

@fikink, I am not incorrigible and @crosscan is always right.

&@chefbea1, parker rolls with orange zest and some champagne, hevan sent.

Didn't the Romans have spor on their shields and stuff???

Down for the count of 123.

Anonymous 3:48 AM  


I am glad the ACCA helped someone get a job! The ACCAs are great!
It's the name I think has room to grow before it takes on a life of its own.

Thanks to Foodie, I feel inspired and have come up with a nice, simple, elegant name (I hope):
the ORYX

-Combo of Orange and Rex,
-an actual animal...
-one likely to appear only in crossword puzzles!!!
-A beautiful antelope with swept back horns.
-(Plus everything Foodie wrote about OREXIN)
-Only four letters.
-EMily could design an amazing looking award, I'llbet

What's not to love?

Anonymous 8:15 AM  

This puzzle was easy, even for me, except . . . that I was thinking of Richard KIND (not Gere), as for Bee Movie I was thinking of the animated one. So that made the SE corner a mess. And didn't get the theme 'til Rex explained it.

Showing my age, I remember seeing Andy Kaufman many times at The Improv in NYC before he ever appeared on TV, at a time when Richard Belzer appeared there often - back when he was a comedian! We never knew if we were laughing at - or with - Kaufman. But laugh we did.

foodie 10:12 AM  

Oooh, I love ORYX for ORANGE & REX! They are beautiful, graceful and rare animals. "The ORYX Award" sounds like something you'd dream of winning! Genius!

miriam b 11:23 AM  

ORYX puts me in mind of Margaret Atwood's disturbing futuristic novel Oryx and Crake.

Anonymous 5:40 PM  

And Crake=CROSSCAN + ACME ??

CindyLou 8:03 PM  

Count me as one who did not get the theme until I came here to read this blog. I struggled with this puzzle but only because I kept thinking I had things wrong - Amazon River as a flower??? Did not catch on at all.

Someone mentioned not knowing who Al Kaline was. I grew up in Detroit, and you can't grow up in Detroit without knowing who he is. The very name makes me think of summertime and listening to ball games on the radio.

Found this site a few weeks ago and think it is more fun than doing the actual puzzles!

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