Like non-oyster months — WEDNESDAY, Oct. 8, 2008 - Peter A. Collins (Dempsey's 1923 opponent / Nickname for former N.F.L.'er Ed Jones)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: SHUFFLE / THE DECK (40A: With 42-Across, prepare to play cards (and a hint to this puzzle's circled letters)) - four theme answers have letters D, E, C and K in different sequential arrangements inside of them, inside circled squares

A clever theme, nicely executed by Michigan Pete (enjoy your moniker, Peter, and just be happy you're not Caleb Madison, whom I have taken to calling "RECARVE" in honor of his putting that abomination of a word in one of his puzzles). I especially like the way that SHUFFLE / THE DECK fits so neatly across the middle of the puzzle. I also like that two of the theme answers are grid-spanners. BUICK DEALERSHIP strikes me as a fresh, original, interesting answer, which is weird, as BUICKs do not strike me as any of those adjectives. As for HARDBACK EDITION ... I'm more of a paperback man, myself. Also, I thought HARDBACKED was an adjective and spent some time trying to get a five-letter synonym for "book" to fit in the remaining spaces.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Library copy of a book, commonly (hardbaCK EDition)
  • 24A: Prepared some desserts (bakED CAkes)
  • 52A: Hunting aids (duCK DEcoys) - had DUCK BLINDS here at first ... before I got the theme, obviously
  • 64A: Place to get an Electra, once (BuiCK DEalership)
Had one of those fantastic crossword coincidences yesterday when I was finishing up James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice (a title which, my students pointed out, has nothing to do with the plot of the novel). When I test-solved this puzzle, there were a handful of answers that I annotated with "WTF!?" One of those was FIRPO (3D: Dempsey's 1923 opponent). Even now, looking at it, I can barely believe it's a name. Anyway, I was toward the end of Postman yesterday when I came across the passage below. Frank Chambers is on the hook for murder, so his scheming lawyer Katz gets him to swear out a complaint against his accomplice/lover, Cora, whom Katz is also representing (!?!?!), and whom he then pleads guilty. Frank is understandably befuddled by the whole scenario, and as the cocky Katz begins his lengthy explanation, he says to Frank:
"Chambers, this is the greatest case I ever had in my life. I'm in it, and out of it, in less than twenty four hours, and yet I tell you I never had anything like it. Well, the Dempsey-Firpo fight lasted less than two rounds, didn't it? It's not how long it lasts. It's what you do while you're in there."
No idea who FIRPO is ... and then he's right there in front of me, in a book I've read many times before. That's what I love about learning new words / names. The invisible suddenly becomes visible.

Much more:
  • 1A: 1980s sitcom built around the Tanner family ("A.L.F.") - never had the slightest desire to watch this. Ugliest lead in a sitcom. Ever.
  • 4A: W.W. I French fighter planes (SPADS) - another "WTF?" answer: "Société Pour L'Aviation et ses Dérivés."
  • 20A: Coastal raptor (osprey) - great bird name. Wanted ERN/E here. Always want ERN/E.
  • 22A: Org. with an eagle in its logo (NRA) - lots o' xwordy fill, like this, and SHARI Lewis (28A: Puppeteer Lewis) and ELISA (34A: Girl in a "Paint Your Wagon" song). "Paint Your Wagon" invariably makes me think of this song:
  • 56A: Book before Obadiah (Amos) - Obadiah is a book? Whoa. Must reacquaint self with Bible.
  • 68A: The Sun, The Moon or The Star (Tarot) - isn't TAROT the whole deck (deck!). Isn't this like [10 of clubs] being used to clue PLAYING?
  • 70A: "Little" woman of '60s music (Eva) - see also AVA (21A: Gardner of "The Barefoot Contessa"). See also this.
  • 72A: Like non-oyster months (R-less) - ick. Learned it from xwords. Seems like a very Northeastern thing.
  • 8D: Wozniak who co-founded Apple Computer (Steve) - I learned more than I ever needed to know about him from Kathy Griffin's "My Life on the D List" - she dated him, briefly.
  • 10D: With 11-Down, preceders of "be merry" ("Eat" / "Drink") - where is the "AND"!?
  • 26D: Roman who originated the phrase "While there's life, there's hope" (Cicero) - "Dum spiro, spero" - is that right?
  • 43D: Coffeehouse patrons, once (hipsters) - not now, though. Buncha hicks in there now.
  • 46D: Nickname for former N.F.L.'er Ed Jones ("Too Tall") - man I hated them Cowboys. Greatest nickname ever, though. So ... descriptive.
  • 67D: Rock's Tommy, ex-husband of Pamela Anderson (Lee) - Motley Crüe! Just what you wanted to round off your crossword experience:

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS If you haven't done it yet, please download, print out, or otherwise enjoy the Vice Presidential debate-themed puzzle that I co-constructed this past weekend with PuzzleGirl (ed. by Orange). Send it to your non-solving friends. It's easy and entertaining. And free. Thanks. I'm going to be plugging the puzzle through the weekend - many of my readers don't start reading me til Thursday (snobs!), and they need to know.


janie 9:26 AM  

re: the invisible becoming visible...

all i know about gene tunney was generated by becoming familiar with jacques brel's marathon.

except i really think it's that what's always been visible has been unexamined. regardless -- love the way that puzzling has sent me to the dictionary, to the atlas, to the enyclopedia to get the cobwebs outta by brain and (mixing metaphors poorly...) open my eyes!!



janie 9:30 AM  

p.s. *love* the way this puzzle was executed -- and ditto the huzzahs for BUICKDEALERSHIP. talk about unexpected!



chefbea 9:31 AM  

Easy wednesday puzzle

@rex loved the simpson's video. Bought a jack in the box toy for my grand daughter the other day. Actually its a Homer in the box.

Time to go bake a cake

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

I especially enjoyed TOOTALL. Though I can scarcely stand to watch any pro sports these days, I was a big Cowboys fan (hometown team) back in the days of Ed, the two Pearsons, Stauback, Dorsett, etc., so this came instantly.

FIRPO, on the other hand, I am still questioning. Ditto SPADS/AEC (I know I could look up that acronym, but I won't). The latter was my mistake for the day. I'm in a real slump lately.

As for CHOY, wouldn't it be just as hard/easy to clue it "bok ____" and avoid the subliminal endorsement? I don't want to go back to the Maleska rules, but I'd still like to see product placement kept to a minimum.

Joon 9:46 AM  

i don't think this was easier than yesterday's puzzle, but i solved it faster than yesterday's, mainly because i didn't get stuck anywhere. i did have to guess at the intersection of FIRPO/CHOY and SPADS/AEC, but they both seemed right. (i know what the AEC is, but the clue was awfully nonspecific.) i'm definitely interested to learn about the dempsey-FIRPO fight. sounds like a lasting piece of americana, what with the george bellows painting and everything.

TOOTALL was indeed just that. six foot nine. as a (very young) redskins fan in the 1980s, i was scared to death of him. i think he took a year or two off in the middle of his NFL career to try boxing. (he did not fight FIRPO.) anyway--great answer.

PuzzleGirl 9:51 AM  

Had a little trouble with this one. Seemed just about right for a Wednesday. Agree that Ed "Too Tall" Jones is a most excellent nickname. I've also always enjoyed "The Real Deal" but for the life of me can't remember who that one belongs to. I'm thinking a boxer?

Would someone please be a dear and explain how WOO "may be pitched"? Thanks.

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

@Loved this puzzle! More easy than medium to me, but fresh and fun and just a wonderful Wednesday.


ohjo, no it's hooj, whoops, I mean, hojo, no ... ojoh ... oh nevermind, I must not be dealing with a full deck this morning ...

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

Firpo was nicknamed "The Wild Bull of the Pampas" for his nativity in South America.
He did knock Jack Dempsey out of the ring; Dempsey was pushed/aided back in by ringsiders, including newsmen and photographers. It was rumored that Doc Kearns, Dempsey's manager, was so concerned with Firpo that he used wet plaster-of-Paris on Dempsey's hand-bandages (under the gloves) to help him knock Firpo out. After that fight, gloves were put on in the ring, at least for championship bouts, and observed by an opposing cornerman.
As to the SPAD, wasn't Charlie Brown's beagle flying one as he chased down the Red Baron?

Anonymous 9:59 AM  
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Shamik 10:00 AM  

Oh! Oh! I know that one!

Pitching woo is an antiquated term for courting someone or making out.

Great write-up, Rex. Great puzzle. But have to call this one medium/challenging. LOL...since my first name is Shari and it isn't a common name, I always enjoy seeing me in a puzzle. Ok. Not me, but close enough. It's not liked they clued it middle-aged vagabond currently in Louisiana.

Plenty of mis-starts today:

BSA for NRA (how subliminal is that?)
NOESS for RLESS (i can never remember the oyster thing since I don't eat 'em)
FOULBALL for PLAYBALL (maybe should be FOULCALL for this week's 3rd base situation)

Anonymous 10:08 AM  
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Anonymous 10:20 AM  

Mostly a fun puzzle.

I also cry "foul" on the crossing of SPADS and AEC. I actually wound up with a blank square, having SP_DS and _EC. Almost any letter could have fit since both are just examples of governmental acronym soup.

I did get FIRPA, but only by way of all the crosses.

I did very much enjoy the crossing of ONPOT and HIPSTERS.

Unknown 10:22 AM  

I got a bit stuck at 1A because the sitcom I remember with a Tanner family is "Full House" and that seemed to fit as I saw the card theme emerging and I really wanted that to work somehow (also I think I have repressed ALF). I gave in eventually, though. I wasn't sure SPAD and FIRPO were correct until I Googled once I had finished the puzzle, but otherwise had no real problems. Fun puzzle.

Anonymous 10:23 AM  


Snoopy's doghouse was a Sopwith Camel, which was the most famous British plane from WWI. I had forgotten that SPAD was French, but had at least heard of it - thanks Rex for the de-acronymization.


pete1123 10:42 AM  

"Michigan Pete" is just fine. Not as catchy as "Indiana Jones" or "Minnesota Fats", but I'll take it. It's better than today's other option -- "Firpo".

Michigan Pete

Two Ponies 10:43 AM  

Easy, breezy Wed. I guessed the theme early on but was expecting "stacked the deck" to be the theme. Wanted beatniks for hipsters. Little Eva certainly shows up a lot. I've never heard her sing that I can recall but she lives on in xwords.
La Choy came easily but then had me wondering what "La" is doing in a Chinese phrase. Does it mean something or is it an Americanization?
I also had never heard of spads so was left with a blank vowel for the longest time.
On to Thursday thinking that this easy week (so far) is setting me up for an end-of-week a$$ kicking.

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

Yes, "Dum spiro, spero" is the original Latin of CICERO. Of course he would say that. But did I learn any Roman history in Latin class, other than Caesar's Gallic Wars? Nooooo. Is that my fault or their fault? I have no idea, but filling in Roman history on my own time since has made Latin a lot more interesting.

Am I the only one getting sick of ECO being clued as a prefix for tourist? It's just not clever anymore.

AEC was the Atomic Energy Commission. It was replaced in the 70s with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. I have vivid memories of reading AEC sponsored science books in my grade school library, and have occasionally picked one up cheap in the years since. Note to constructors: the last chairman (ahem) was Dixy Lee Ray, also a former governor of Washington.

SPADS are not as well-known as Sopwith Camels or Fokkers. Having them on a Wednesday is perhaps pushing things. While I consider myself sort of educated regarding military history, I never knew or even suspected SPAD was an acronym. Thanks Rex!

We had Dempsey's famous opponent TUNNEY recently. I should have looked him up. Like Rex, I've probably heard of FIRPO. (Unlike Rex, my copies of Cain novels are sitting around unread.) The Wikipedia entry has a painting that I know I've seen before, the moment when Firpo knocked Dempsey out of the ring.

I got Ed TOOTALL Jones entirely from the crosses. My time was probably slowed down half a minute as I kept trying to figure that out. A football player called "Toot All"?

Obadiah is Ovadjah in Hebrew, meaning "servant of God". According to tradition, he was a convert, and some converts take Ovadjah as part of their Hebrew name. His book is the shortest, only 21 verses. Sephardim read it annually as the haftorah for Vayishlach. While that doesn't include me, it's impossible not to notice, as each year I have to read the small print to make sure that I'm reading the Ashkenaz haftorah.

ArtLvr 10:57 AM  

Good puzzle, easy one since I knew AEC. -- I had ONPOT from crosses before checking the clue to see if it meant poker or potty-training or something electric in the kitchen? Oh [High] ho.

Shuffling the deck was a nice theme, and I agree that the TAROT was gettable but poorly clued..

FIRPO? Loved parshutr's story about the possibility of hardened plaster under the boxing gloves. With a two-K DUKAKIS, wee echoes of political debate/debacles. Shades of CICERO -- in Maryland, when Agnew was running as Veep with Nixon, we said "Dum Spiro, non spero"...


PhillySolver 11:03 AM  

A little bit of Little Eva will get you moving this morning. Born Eva Narcissus Boyd, she was discovered while she was working for Carole King as a maid in her house. Ms. King liked the way she danced and wrote her a song entitled The Locomotion

For Trivia folks, you need to know the top American Ace of WWI was Eddie Rickenbacker. He flew a SPAD XIII.

archaeoprof 11:05 AM  

BUICKDEALERSHIP is awesome, just awesome. In the neighborhood growing up we called the Buick Electra 225 a "deuce and a quarter." Oh I wanted one so bad...

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

No discussion of the mini-theme of HIPSTERS listening to FOLK while ON POT?

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

I feel so special today. Last night I heard over and over that I am McSame's friend!

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

Oh,dear--out here on the East End of Long Island the Barefoot Contessa is Ina Gartner, and I was all excited about the BIG MISTAKE in a Times puzzle--I should have known better and of course I quickly saw the error of my ways. Also got left with a blank at SP-DS and the govt. org--did not feel upset at that failure.

Orange 12:15 PM  

All I know about the book of Obadiah is this: If the clue asks for a book that comes before or after it, the answer is AMOS. If a clue asks for a book that comes before or after Amos: Abbr., the answer is OBAD. Handy mnemonic for you: those Famous Amos cookies are nowhere near as good as homemade cookies. O bad Amos!

jeff in chicago 12:29 PM  

Fun puzzle. I don't know my boxers, but Firpo was easy to figure out. I remember as a kid (mid- to late '60s) my dad, sister and I would always watch "Big-Time" wrestling on Saturday afternoons. One of the stars was Pampero Firpo. (Born Juan Kachmanian in Buenos Aires; most "famous" fight was against "The Sheik") He took his ring name from Luis Angel Firpo, of this puzzle.

Anonymous 1:12 PM  

Anyone else get a chuckle seeing Bill MAHER crossed with a Biblical answer(AMOS)?
-- Joe in NYC

fikink 1:25 PM  

@aunthattie, I, too, didn't read the clue closely, knew Wozniak's name was STEVE, and still insisted on INA, because I have made so many of her recipes and heeded her hints. My narcissism reigns!

Doug 1:33 PM  

Hey Rex, Dempsey-Firpo was a very famous fight, even to a casual boxing fan. I did a bio of Wozniak many years back (Woz: The Prodigal Son of Silicon Valley). You could look it up. Would have been nice if he could have squeezed Apple or Jobs into the puzzle as well.

gotcookies 1:59 PM  

Got stumped in the SW...thought Africa's most populous city was Lagos, not Cairo?

jeff in chicago 2:16 PM  

I feel like I should point out that I longer watch "professional" wrestling. Cuz ... well ... you know ... I wouldn't want anyone to think otherwise.

Doc John 2:17 PM  

Nobody commented on the fact that the circles weren't symmetrical!

I also took a guess at SPADS/AEC but took pause because I thought that the AEC was not defunct. Turns out I was thinking of the IAEC (Int'l Atomic Energy Commission), headed by Mohammed Elbaradei. I did finally put in the A and escaped with a clean grid!

Joon 2:21 PM  

gotcookies, it seems to depend on who you ask. here it's cairo. here it's lagos. i don't really know who's right. i suppose it's close enough that it may depend on exactly how you count.

dk 2:26 PM  

@anon at 11:15 AM, The reason you have not read any comments from HIPSTERS, ONPOT listening to FOLK music is cause we are all BAKEDCAKES on hard CIDER reading our TAROT and otherwise not ALERT or up for that matter. Is it time for ALF or SHARI Lewis yet? Has my KARMA eaten your dogma?

Mich. Pete, Great puzzle, down to the fact that a high school girlfriend's dad owned the BUICKDEALERSHIP in Syracuse (Hi Leslie L.!).

Well, I have gone to the dark side. I was up to the wee hours attempting to construct my first puzzle. I have all kinds of questions (that I will take off line) but I can say that in addition to the respect I have for constructors I now have empathy. Word to the wise using Dr. Who as a theme for your first puzzle is a less than good idea.

RLESS is my favorite of the day.

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

How can you not love a self absorbed alien that feeds on house cats? I love Alf! I love the episode where he has incurable hiccups that can only be cured by consuming Lucky the Tanners house cat. When the Tanners provided him a blended concoction of ‘house cat’ he runs through a list of the neighborhood cats and when they said no to all these Alf shrieks “Roadkill??!?!?!?!” Or the Halloween episode where he comes down to the party with socks and dryer sheets stuck to himself and pretends to be dry lint. This is brilliant stuff Rex. Brilliant! My favorite line “Hah - I kill me” to one of his constant dry puns. Brilliant I say.

chefbea 2:42 PM  

@aunthatti and Fiknik. I too thought ina garten. Love her cookbooks. Chinese chicken salad.. yumm much better than La Choy.

fikink 2:51 PM  

We also follow an inverse RLESS rule with regard to pruning trees, i.e., you can prune them in months that contain an R, thus, not in May, June, July or August. I suspect this is just a "rule of thumb"?
p.s. @chefbea, roast a chicken (or do it on the spit) with the cavity stuffed with garlic, fresh thyme and lemons. I guarantee you will love it!
@Rex, I promise you I am not going to start using your blog to swap recipes, but you, too, should really try this if you like chicken at all: INA promises Mrs. Rex will be impressed with your feminine side!

miriam b 3:11 PM  

I believe Ina Garten sold her East Hampton shop, the Barefoot Contessa, and that it later closed. The cookbooks and the Food Network show soon followed.

I enjoy watching her show. She's obviously a woman of intelligence and taste, and her joie de vivre is contagious. I'm too much of a nutrition freak to really love all of her recipes, though.

I worked for the AEC at the Brookhaven National Lab many MANY years ago, so that was a gimme.

Why did I know FIRPO - I, who think boxing should be outlawed?

mrbreen 3:49 PM  

@ Joe in NYC. Totally got that. Not only did MAHER cross with AMOS but also REL. Had to be intentional.

miriam b 3:51 PM  

@rex: Thanks for the free puzzle. Miriam b has approved ths message (nudge, nudge).

Anonymous 4:25 PM  

Nice puzzle, but I would have preferred it without the circled letters in the grid, leaving us a little more to discover. "hmm... shuffled the deck..??? WTF...ehh.. AHA!". I don't think that would have increased the difficulty significantly.
I only do NYT puzzles and I know I've seen AEC several times in the not too distant past, so maybe it is about time to learn it folk? Not only was it the major governing council for atomix energy development, but it was also imortalized in Tom Lehrer's song "The Wild West":

Along the trail you'll find me lopin'
Where the spaces are wide open,
In the land of the old A.E.C. (yea-hah!)
Where the scenery's attractive,
And the air is radioactive,
Oh, the wild west is where I wanna be.

(for more GF google it)

ditto the thanks Rex for the lovely free puzzle - have sent it to many friends, hope you get some more devotees out of it.

MarkTrevorSmith 4:54 PM  

I'm surprised that students with access to wikipedia, which gives explanations, claim that the title of Postman Always Rings Twice does not make sense. Not to mention that a clever reader could figure it out on her own anyway. I figured it out from reading the brief plot summary.

RodeoToad 5:03 PM  

Hate the seventies Cowboys? Not possible. Un-American. Shameful. They were ace gents, every last man. Roger Staubach was actually the first person to walk on the moon but was just too modest to tell anybody and gave Neil Armstrong all the credit.

Popular joke to play on girls when I was in fourth grade was to tell some girl a long story about a fire in Dallas over the weekend and a woman was on the top floor and she had to drop her baby and Drew Pearson, ace receiver, happened to be in the crowd and caught the baby. A great cheer went up from the crowd! Then he spiked it.

I can probably name every Cowboy on the 1977 starting lineup and their numbers. I'm almost certain I can. John Fitzgerald, the center, number 64, was my hero, because I played center (number 52, 5'8", 145 lbs.) A high school friend who's still my friend, Dana Rogers, a 6'3" redhead, moved to Dallas after college and somehow got to know Too-Tall and his crowd. Too-Tall invited her to his hot tub, she went, and she was shocked that he was such a horndog. Like the rest of us, she assumed the Cowboys were too noble for earthly desires.

There was a guy who sat behind me in a college philosophy class who could do a dead-on impersonation of Alf. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should, of course. (Joe Lieberman, meanwhile, does a dead-on impersonation of the guy who played Alf's dad or owner or whatever he was.)

Orange 5:20 PM  

Wade, the '70s and '80s Cowboys are like the '90s Yankees and the '00s Boston fans.

Anonymous 5:22 PM  

@wade: your story of Dana Rogers reminds me of when Miss Black Rhode Island, Desiree Washington, went up to Mike Tyson's hotel room and and wondered why he attacked her. What was she thinking? I just don't get how attractive women think celebrity guys are going to be gentlemen. This happened to Kobe Bryant, too. Believe me, I'm not condoning their behavior, but these women who hang out with them have to have a clue what's going to happen. Anybody here agree with me?

imsdave 5:28 PM  

@wade - I thought I was the only one that made the Alf dad/Joe Lieberman connection - my wife still yells at me for that.

@dave (the other dave) - thanks for bringing up Tom Lehrer - my favorite lines:

From the 'MLF Lullaby' (Multi-Lateral-Force)

Once all the Germans were warlike and mean,
But that couldn't happen again.
We taught them a lesson in 1918
And they've hardly bothered us since then.

Apologies to Ulrich


From 'Who's Next' (about nuclear proliferation)

Luxembourg is next to go
And, who knows, maybe Monaco.
We'll try to stay serene and calm
When Alabama gets the bomb!

Two Ponies 5:28 PM  

I don't know about Wade's Cowboys who very well might have been gentlemen but accept an invitation from Mike Tyson or Kobe Bryant? No way! So yes Joho, those women should have known better.

Two Ponies 5:29 PM  

P.S. Wade, loved the "spike the baby" joke and it will be retold later today I guarantee.

miriam b 5:36 PM  

I've never seen ALF, but now I'm watching for possible reruns. I wonder whether Sen. Lieberman has ever seen it.

Third post - and out.

PuzzleGirl 5:38 PM  
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PuzzleGirl 5:39 PM  

If any of you have ever been raped, I invite you to explain how the existence of stupidity necessarily leads to the conclusion that a person deserves that type of violence inflicted on her body. If not, maybe you should keep your opinions to yourself. Just sayin'.

RodeoToad 6:08 PM  

I'm staying out of the celebrity-athlete-misconduct discussion except to clarify that I do not mean to allege any misconduct on the part of Too Tall Jones or any other member of the 1970's Dallas Cowboys starting lineup.

Anonymous 6:28 PM  

Joho: no.

My only hiccups were putting Caesar in for CICERO, and fair ball for PLAYBALL. That and staring at FIRPO, saying 'is that a name?'

SethG 7:15 PM  

Wade, I can definitely name every Steeler on the 1978 starting lineup and their numbers. I hate the seventies Cowboys, but I hate the seventies Raiders more. My dad met Drew Pearson in an LAX bar a few years ago. I used to trick-or-treat at LC Greenwood's house. Hopefully, someday 'mean' will be clued as "Nickname for former N.F.L.'er Joe Greene".

Dave, searching for "joe lieberman alf" using the Google(tm) search engine yields 14000 hits.

Add me to the list of SPADS/AEC trouble, though in retrospect it makes sense. Also FIRPO, CAIRO/Lagos, and YOU'RE OUT.

I had just the E in place when I saw the 26D clue, which, a la Larson, might as well have said "Roman who was a Roman". Started to fill in Caesar, didn't fit, switched to CICERO. I think the only others I know are Brutus and Greco.

Anonymous 7:18 PM  

@puzzlegirl: I did not say the women I was citing were stupid. Have you considered they were intelligently going after something?

And, of course, no one deserves to be raped.

I didn't think this is a site where we're supposed to keep our opinions to ourselves.

Unknown 8:17 PM  

RLESS is just a lame clue - JanuaRy? FebRuaRy? MaRch? ApRil? The only oysters I'm eating in those months are the smoked ones from a can!

PuzzleGirl 9:31 PM  

@joho: I guess I'm not really sure what this means then: "...but these women who hang out with them have to have a clue what's going to happen." And "Have you considered they were intelligently going after something?" I don't think you meant they were "intelligently going after" getting raped because clearly that doesn't make any sense. I assumed you meant either (a) they were "intelligently going after" some kind of payday by seducing the guy and then calling rape OR (b) they were "intelligently going after" something else (sex? fame? bragging rights? I'm not sure what) and because they put themselves in that position they deserved whatever they got. I find both interpretations pretty offensive. But I admit I was putting words in your mouth and maybe there's another way of looking at your statements that I'm just not seeing. Wouldn't be the first time.

foodie 10:25 PM  

@ Puzzle Girl and Joho, Sadly, I have had occasion to think about this matter, because I have a friend who was raped by her ex-boyfriend, in a situation where things seemed innocent enough, but in retrospect she felt she could have been more careful. It was all the more horrible because she had to not only cope with the aggression she suffered, but question her own judgment.

Since this happens more than we like to believe, I wanted to make two comments... There is research that shows that to get good recovery, social support alone is not sufficient. It is better for the rape victim to go through some sort of training to learn to read danger signs and acquire strategies to avoid it, and to differentiate between whom she can trust and whom she cannot, so that subsequent interactions with men do not feel unpredictable and scary.

The other point is a cultural observation. Last summer I went to the Middle East to visit my daughter who is in her twenties, and has grown up in the US. She had just moved there in order to start a health-related non profit organization. I think I drove her crazy because I kept telling her how to behave vis-a-vis men, so she would not be misunderstood in the context of that culture. But I truly believe it was very helpful, and made her stay much safer. It made me realize that in the US, because society is more progressive and girls and boys grow up together, we really do not convey this type of information as explicitly, or it's considered old fashioned or uncool.

So, I guess I'm saying that there is a place where we don't in any way absolve the rapist or blame the victim, but we do a better job of immunizing young women against becoming victims. I think in the process they will be more attuned to the motivations of others, more aware of who they are and what they stand for, and better judges of character.

@ Wade, if I get in trouble over this, I'm coming after you.

mac 11:07 PM  

Had a busy day, just did the puzzle and liked it MEDIUM. It's a wonder I did it at all.

I had my non-puzzle husband laughing describing the wink puzzle! I think he has a new respect for our pastime.


Anonymous 11:35 PM  

What's with all the circles....... there have been soooo many lately. Used to be it very rare?


dk 12:15 AM  

@foodie, @puzzlegirl and @joho, I will try to offer some insight into the criminal mind. Rapists are criminals no matter what. No one is ever in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong clothes, etc. The situation is simply one wants something and makes up reasons why they deserve it. The label is sociopathic. I have heard every story and every rationale ranging from why the 2 year old to the 80 year old "wanted it."

I may come up to your hotel room in hot pants and a halter top, get high with you and I may be a tease but when I say no it means no, and any other interpretation is just a story made up to justify what comes next.

Sorry for the soap box and perhaps this is not the time or place but I have had 1 to many a young woman take her life over a shirt that may have been a little tight that resulted in a rape they neither asked for, deserved, or could live with.

fergus 12:37 AM  

Whatever the circumstances, Foodie's comments reminded me of how you have to use your most highly evolved and sophisticated, along with with your most primitive instincts, in whatever situation of danger you face. I was mugged at 19 in NY City due to suppression of the latter, and while surrendering a $20 bill and a Timex watch, that exchange bought a lifetime of continued balance between daring and wariness that I'm happy to uphold.

Anonymous 2:18 AM  

I was just going to chime in that I had FINE EATS instead of ARTS.
Must... get... here... earlier...

(On another note, I can't look at Kobe without wanting to throw up.)

Tempted to blog about Rex/Puzzle Girl's puzzle...

Anonymous 7:12 AM  

Thanks to everybody for your most interesting and informative input. Much to think about.

Waxy in Montreal 10:01 PM  

5 weeks on:

Really fun midweek puzzle. Had exactly an hour to kill over lunch in a diner in a small town in Eastern Ontario today and it took exactly that hour to i) eat my lunch and 11) successfully complete the puzzle. Enjoyable.

Funny how time changes cultural references. When I was growing up 50 years ago, the Firpo-Tunney fight was as familiar to virtually anyone with just a nodding knowledge of boxing as, say the "Thrilla in Manilla" or the "Rumble in the Jungle" would be today. Dempsey was the Ali of his day.

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