TUESDAY, Nov. 11, 2008 - Nancy Salomon and Larry Shearer (OP's forerunners / 1930s quints' name / Sadat's predecessor)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: Direction-related answers ... I think

Well, Tuesday is back to being the freaky black sheep of the family. I haven't disliked a puzzle this much in a long time. The theme does not cohere. It just doesn't. One of the answers does in fact head DUE SOUTH (HEADING DUE SOUTH - 7D: Going straight to Antarctica, say), but the others (the diagonals) have nothing to do with compass directions. SLIP SLIDING AWAY (1Diag: Disappearing) has no clear relation to its placement in the grid. Further, it's a song more than it is a general expression. And RUNNING DOWNHILL (12Diag: Proceeding with little effort) is running backwards ... why? At least "DOWNHILL" has some relation to the answer's grid placement, but still, this is mostly just a mishmosh of direction-related answers that are 15 letters long and that the constructors got to intersect in a common letter at the middle ("D"). Not A Theme. The bar has been set too high when it comes to gimmick puzzles. I've seen diagonal answers before, in puzzles where that conceit was put to compelling (and comprehensible) use. [Pause for pretty music]

As architectural feats go, this one is middling. Further, there are torturous answers along the way, at least one of which is close to unforgivable. I've seen letter strings before - you get in a corner, you get desperate, and only MNO will get you out. Not pleasant, but in an excellent puzzle, completely overlookable. But KLMN (29A: OP's forerunners) has to be the ugliest letter string I have ever seen in a grid. Four letters is Too Long for a letter string (only ABCD and LMNOP can get away with that !@#$ and not look ridiculous). And the poor, poor, beautiful "K" - strung up in this pitiful, degrading manner. Ugh. This is one of those times when I think: "Breakfast Test" be damned. Change it to KLAN and change IGGY to EGGY and bam, you're in business [late addendum: Pete M rightly points out that my suggest emendations would screw up the Diagonals!]. If you can put NAZI in a puzzle (and you can), then you can put KLAN in. KLMN is an abomination, though even it would have been forgotten had this puzzle delivered the goods thematically. I see that "KLMN" has been in a handful of puzzles before. The last time it was in the NYT was in a Manny Nosowsky Thursday puzzle from 8 years ago. That puzzle was fantastic (as most of his are). I'm almost equally annoyed by SCHS (5A: Athletic conference members: Abbr.), but I don't have the energy left to slag on it this morning. I just remember groaning and feeling very depressed when I first entered it into the grid. Abbreviations no one uses and gangly letter strings must serve a higher cause. And I don't see it.


  • 17A: Almost-sacrificed son in the Bible (Isaac) - rereading Genesis right now, coincidentally. Thank God for that ram (seriously, thank God)
  • 22A: 1930s quints' name (Dionne) - I prefer this DION:

And not this DION (although this is, by far, my favorite Christmas Carol):

Another version of this carol (we'll return to the puzzle in a sec)

  • 33A: Part of a ship's bow (hawse) - heard of a HAWSER, not a HAWSE
  • 60A: Company that introduced NutraSweet (Searle) - this is fast becoming a puzzle staple, sadly
  • 2D: Highland pattern (plaid) - Tartan!
  • 10D: Bliss before the hard part begins (honeymoon) - this is good ... and timely.
  • 11D: Tagged on a diamond (out) - yes, true enough. Well, you can tag a guy who is touching a base, either because your tag is late, or because you're trying to convince the ump that your glove was on him before the guy got there, but that's overthinking it.
  • 36D: "Miss Universe" holder (sash) - mmm, "holder," one of the most oft-abused clue words in the lexicon.
  • 44D: Certain rec centers (YWCAs) - went with YMCAs at first, not surprisingly
  • 49D: Sadat's predecessor (Nasser) - Always want to spell it NASSAR, which looks like NASCAR, which should help me remember that I'm way off base.
  • 54D: _____ Gravas, role in "Taxi" (Latka) - Andy Kaufman! Here's a clip to end this otherwise unsatisfying puzzling day

Let the spirited defense of this puzzle begin!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS Best Repurposing of a Crossword Grid goes to ...


Anonymous 8:43 AM  

@rex: I'm unable to start the spirited defense of this puzzle. I agree with you regarding SCHS and KLMN and was disappointed when the diagonal answers just ended up forming a great big X. I was really looking for a Veteran's Day theme today. That's why I'm disappointed more than anything.

O Holy Night is also my favorite carol.

@orange: thank you so much for the puzzle

@andrea carla michaels: I completed your LA Times puzzle before I did today's Tuesday and liked yours much better ... especially the shout out to Los Angeles in the LA Times puzzle -- very clever as well as the theme.

ArtLvr 8:46 AM  

Well, one thing about many I've learned here was to click on the Notepad for info not otherwise evident, so I remembered to do that at the end. It led to two nice surprises...

Being originally from the WINDYCITY, I admired that too, and since my High SCH was OP, for Oak Park, that KLMN was amusing as well. Sorry, Rex, I did find lots to like. ANDHOW!


Orange 9:03 AM  

HAWSE is today's Virtual Thesaurus Word of the Day. VT visually maps out connections between words, so you often see a branching out of synonyms. You know what words are connected to hawse? Hawsepipe and hawsehole. (Hawse is rooted in Old Norse.) The word hawser is connected to rope, but hawse and hawser are not connected—they have completely different etymologies, oddly enough.

Don't call me a hawsehole.

evil doug 9:16 AM  

I suppose aligning puzzles with days of commemoration is trite---"Hey, they did it last year, or the year before...." So to hope for some clever and novel celebration of Veterans Day in a simple crossword is asking a lot. Perhaps there are more appropriate venues, but I tend to appreciate a full-court press when it comes to honoring the men and women who serve. Some people who miss the editorials and tributes and graveyard vigils might be reached through our little grid. Well, at least we got "NCOs" and "Air Force One"....

Happy Veteran's Day to all who've worn the uniform. To my late father, a naval aviator in the Pacific in WWII who didn't even have a driver's license as he commanded his patrol plane, and who was held accountable for the deaths of his crewmembers. To my wife's dad, a B-24 bomber pilot in Europe who thankfully lived through his 35 missions and continues to outlive his fast-disappearing colleagues who helped save the world. And to all the other millions who in conflict or, like me, were fortunate enough to serve during peace: Thanks.

Grateful Doug

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

Alas, just because you don't like a theme doesn't mean it isn't a theme (regardless of how inane the theme may be).

Interestingly enough, I didn't even notice the diagonal clues, so I obviously thought the puzzle had no theme al all until I read this blog. Actually didn't miss not having a theme at all (as far as getting the answers).

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

@ orange -- thanks for the puz and the comments on hawse... hawhaws?

@ grateful doug -- you said it better than any puz!

PIX 9:52 AM  

Disagree with Rex. The theme is the three 15 letter words all describing things deteriorating (slip sliding/heading south/downhill)...perhaps a comment on the present economy. Not a great theme, but a theme. Also i think Rex's dislke of the puzzle interfered with his difficulty rating. The puzzle is much easier than the "medium/challenging" rating he gave it. Even the clues he did not like (SCHS, KLMN) may not have been good but they were not difficult.

Jackie 10:00 AM  

Can't defend this one -- though I always enjoy seeing "Windy City" make an appearance.

Unsophisticated humor = corny humor? Really? Crass, crude, yes -- but I always thought that corny humor often resulted from attempts to be *too* clever. Terrible clue.

Rex Parker 10:05 AM  

Once again: The difficulty rating is "relative" - as in "relative to other Tuesdays, this one was on the Challenging side." I don't think there's much question about this.

"Relative" to Friday puzzles, yes, this one was indeed a breeze.

The connection of these answers to "deteriorating" seems tenuous at best, but it's at least plausible. Does nothing, however, to increase my enjoyment of the puzzle.


Anonymous 10:07 AM  

I was going for medium time, but I managed to fill 52D "____ nerve" with OF ALL, not noticing the missing "the". That kind of ruined my time.

SCHS is made uglier because it crosses with COS. Two plural abbreviations? I sometimes wonder, does anyone actually use plural abbreviations? Personally, I look at COS and think of Cray Operating System from way back when.

According to the OED, it's really not clear how related HAWSE and HAWSER are. The OED lists HAWSE as "apparently" from an Old Norse word for neck, referring to the physical location of the HAWSE. It lists HAWSER as "apparently" from an Old French word for hoist, referring to what the thick cables/ropes do. But the OED also points out that the HAWSERs would go through the HAWSEholes, and that the two words "evidently" influenced each other, especially in regards to spelling.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

There wasn't much of a theme in this puzzle, but at least it wasn't overly clever. I breezed along, and even enjoyed the klmn answer, as it got me until I filled it in.

Corny is related to cornpone and always used to have the flavor of rubes. Tiresomely simple and sentimental is one definition. Though the word has changed meaning in the 'hoods of NYC and come to mean boring. But I for one have never heard it considered too clever


Anonymous 10:15 AM  

Well now, my favorite clue in this puzzle was KLMN--spent a lot of time trying to figure out why OP would go before the Klan--and it never crossed (haha) my mind that there were diagonals--I think this puzzle was too easy to need them. A quick Tuesday for me.

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

That was aunthattie leaving the last comment--never anonymous (except at my library but that is another (long) story.

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

As I confidently filled in 44D: YMCA I thought to myself, when are they going to have YMHA? YWCA? YWCA? There women, Hebrews out there too you know.


poc 10:19 AM  

I didn't even notice the diagonals till Rex pointed them out, meaning they were entirely superfluous to filling in the puzzle, though clever. I also hated SCHS.

Medium-Challenging? Maybe for a Tuesday, but I did this in 5 minutes.

Please, someone enlighten me, what is KLMN (and OP)?

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

poc -- KLMN and OP are consecutive letters of the alphabet

Two Ponies 10:25 AM  

I agree that this was both challenging for a Tuesday and quite a stretch theme-wise.
Noticed our dear Ms. Sumac is now clued as "late."
Didn't care for "a load" and "tons" in the same puzzle.
I thought we would get more of a rise from Rex on "sonneteer."
Add that to the odd jobs list.
Liked the intersection of Andy and Latka, an Andy twofer!
Once again the Tuesday puzzle is like the red-headed step-child of the week.
@ Evil Doug, well put.

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

Well, I hope that by liking this puzzle I'm not inadvertently agreeing to the raising of the gimmick bar, but IWGE by the diagonals going down and away... as @pix mentioned, it also felt to me like a sign of our economic decline (which, for all I know might mean that we will soon need to migrate back to Mexico... sob!)

Other than that, I put BARD for sonneteer, I love seeing the WINDY CITY and had no idea what SCHS was.

Rex, your clip selection is always perfect. You are like a natural VJ of the blogesphere! I love coming every morning wondering what your mood and your inspiration might bring us. By the way, you got me wondering when you said HONEYMOON was timely... are you still enjoying the bliss before the hard part?

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

Disagree with Rex completely.Thought this was one of the easiest Tuesday puzzles in a long time.
having read the notepat first, the diagonals came right away. Very enjoyable.

Happy Veterans Day to all, from this VietNam vet.

JannieB 10:32 AM  

I wasn't crazy about this puzzle either. I decided not to read the notepad before solving because it often gives me too much help. I finished in a medium Tuesday time, then read it. Looked back at the finished grid and just shrugged. Never ever would have noticed the diagonal strings without the note or the blog. Sorry the constructors went to so much trouble.

Thanks to all who served our country. Happy Veteran's Day!

poc 10:34 AM  

@twangster: thanks.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

@evil doug: you are right, I shouldn't have expected Veteran's Day to be the puzzle theme. Your comments more than made up for my initial disappointment. My grandfather was a Commander in the navy, my father a naval aviator in WII and my brother a sergeant who served in Viet Nam. I am so proud of them and all who have so proudly served then and now.

PurpleGuy 10:57 AM  

Great Tuesday puzzle. Thought it was really quite enjoyable.

Happy Veterans Day to all.

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

I found this puzzle easy to medium (I had enough letters to think 7D had something to do with "Destination . . ", so 5A wasn't falling into place.) I was halfway done before I noticed the two Diagonal clues. (Dead tree edition.)

Seeing them, solving became even easier, but my respect for the constructors grew.

My question would be, for those who didn't like this puzzle, how could the theme answers be more closely related than they are? And, how can diagonal answers be necessary to a puzzle unless they cross a large number of Naticks?

Bob Kerfuffle

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

Since the puzzle was such a breeze, I must confess that I never even noticed the Diagonal clues, until I came here, because the grid was already done.

I vote for an admirable feat of construction, but second the arguments that some fill was spoor-ish.


mac 11:48 AM  

I did the puzzle in very good time for a Tuesday, even though I was sort of distracted, at the hairdresser's.

As (almost) usual I had to check with Rex for the theme and the diagonals. I agree with a lot of his comments, hate schs and cos, plaid is odd instead of tartan, and I thought OP was another acronym I had never heard off.... I was happy to remember "Searle" from a couple of weeks ago, and several other answers were in puzzles yesterday. Like KLM, but not the N. I sort of like 44A, "You I", and "and how".

I'm not crazy about Celine Dion either, with one exception. Not long after 9/11 she sang the national anthem, and it was the most moving rendition I had ever heard, and she is Canadian!

I'm on my way to Bethel, CT, a beautiful drive along the reservoirs, probably stopping at an apple farm for a couple of bags of nice, fresh POMES.

Ulrich 11:58 AM  

I definitely spent more time trying to find the theme after the grid was completed than on solving the puzzle itself. It never occurred to me to look at the diagonals--my bad: One more thing to remember for the future.

I would like to concur with pix that it is NOT about directions. The "due" in "due south" speaks somewhat against that view, but I guess one COULD say "his business is going due south" to indicate that it is going bust really fast and that there are not bright aspects left. So, in conclusion, I'd say that I can live with this theme--if only I had found it myself!

Which only goes to show that the exegesis of a xword puzzle starts to approach the interpretation of a Shakespearian sonnet in the level of difficulty involved.

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

I rather liked the mini-saga in the SW corner (with supporting roles in NW corner). We have injury (MAIM), treated by Dr. providers (HMOS), who then face MALpractice. Editorial comment sung by ALTOs, who WAIL, ALA TINPAN Alley.

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

Here's what makes this "theme" quite shaky, despite the architectural feat of fitting those 15's the way they did: Assuming they are supposed to be synonymous with "going badly," 1) "heading due south" is not the expression; the expression is "going south," 2) "running downhill" is not the expression; the expression is "going downhill," 3) "slip sliding away" is more a Paul Simon song than a common expression for "going south" or "going downhill."

Interestingly, the expression "it's all downhill from here" can mean two opposite things: 1) everything is going to ruin, and 2) everything will be easy (as going downhill is easier than going uphill.)

Overall, this puzzle left me cold, and I too didn't see the notepad until I was done, though before I went to the blogs.

Greene 12:32 PM  

This is the first time I've encountered diagonal entries in a crossword grid, so this came across as rather fresh. No doubt my newness to the medium influences this impression; still in all, it's a great construction idea.

Did anyone else feel cramped while doing this puzzle? I certainly don't count white versus black squares and I don't expect a Tuesday puzzle to have the same open feel as a late-week job where 15 letter stacks might abound, but I just kept wishing this grid would "open up." This probably has something to do with the diagonal construction. Whatever the reason, I just didn't feel comfortable working in this grid.

I recently read that the brownstone buildings which housed the original TINPAN alley are in danger of being razed for more profitable real estate ventures. Of course, those offices have long since been converted to residential use, but there's something galling about the idea of knocking over the buildings that housed the birth of the Great American Songbook and witnessed the appearance of say...Irving Berlin and George Gershwin. Probably I'm ridiculously sentimental: the songs will live, the buildings will not. Of course the preservationists are out in full force, God bless 'em. Nevertheless I'm not optimistic and frankly, I don't think Yma Sumac would like this one bit.

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

There should have been a Veterans
theme today. Larry and Nancy had nothing to do with the scheduling, unfortunately. Blame the Times.

HudsonHawk 12:43 PM  

Cool construction, though I agree with greene on the cramped feeling and the number of black squares. As for the puzzle, ehh. In addition to most previous objections, let me add two quibbles.

IGGY Pop clued as a pop artist? I realize it's sort of cute as a clue, but inaccurate.

And it seems that HIT AT should lose the "Try to" from the clue.

As a military brat, I will echo evil doug's sentiments. Happy Veteran's Day from a grateful brat.

HudsonHawk 12:49 PM  

@mexgirl, I'm guessing Rex's HONEYMOON comment was in reference to our new President-elect. At least that's what I was thinking when I saw the clue.

jae 12:50 PM  

I looked for a theme when I finished this and couldn't discern one. Then saw the notepad, read the diagonals, and thought the theme was "getting clever with diagonals." Odd puzzle. Also, didn't like KLMN.

My uncle, who drove an LCVP on D-Day, is still kicking and keeps sharp working on books of weekend NYT puzzles. My retired music professor (Grinnell) golfing friend was a signalman on an LST on the same day. Happy Veterans Day to all who served.

Pete M 12:56 PM  

@Rex: The "breakfast test" doesn't come into play here. KLAN/AERO/EGGY wouldn't work with the diagonal entry. Doesn't mean I liked it, but there was at least a valid reason.

Rex Parker 1:00 PM  

Of course, Pete, you are absolutely right. My apologies for oversimplifying the problem.


fergus 1:09 PM  

News to me was MASSE for Pool stroke. As in billiards, or a swimming pool? I kinda like the diagonals, which I didn't even notice in the Clues section. Surprised to see THRU with a straight Clue. INTO and Crazy about seem off by a question of degree, and I'm not liking the usage of CORNY either.

miriam b 1:09 PM  

The diagonal theme (?) is news to me, though it did cross my mind that HEADINGDUESOUTH must have some allied fills.

It was nice to see Miró today, and ANDY Warhol. Why not honor the inimitable Ronald SEARLE with his own clue? Enough already with the medical/pharmaceutical references: MAIM, HMO, MALpractice, SPINAL.

fikink 1:19 PM  

@steve I, Wordsmith just recently had a week of contranyms (words with opposite meanings). I never thought about them in terms of a phrase. Interesting. Know anymore?
@Hudson, thought the same re: Rex's comment on timely HONEYMOON, and then thought maybe I was being too self-absorbed. Rex, care to clarify?

Here's a shout-out to Mr. Fikink who is a Vet in his own right, and the FIL who served in the Aleutians during WW II.

Pythia 1:24 PM  

I liked the theme concept, even if the theme answers are rather loosely related, and was kind of pleased to see something a little out of the ordinary.

As noted, grid is heavy with black squares, and those Utah-shaped blobs are unfortuate. Agree that some of the fill is ugh-ly, but there are a bunch of snappy nontheme answers as well.

(As for KLAN and NAZI, I'd be happy to see neither in a puzzle ever again and prefer to be afflicted with KLMN.)

Overall, an easy and pleasant solving experience.

Here's to the veterans!


Greene 1:32 PM  

Totally forgot about the Dionne quints. Here's another bit of cultural detritus I only know about from song lyrics. This from Sondheim's anthem to survival from Follies:

I've been through Gandhi, Windsor and Wally's affair, and I'm here
Amos 'n Andy, Mah-jongg and platinum hair, and I'm here.
I got through Abie's Irish Rose, five DIONNE babies, Major Bowes
Had heebie-jeebies for Beebe's Bathysphere,
I got through Brenda Frasier, and I'm here.


Anonymous 1:51 PM  

The deciphering process left me less than satisfied because I solved it with essentially no jumping around. This led me (‘cuz of dead tree issue) to not notice the diagonals ‘til I reached them at the conclusion. [This also left me a wondering what specifically led to Rex’s rating] It seems the diagonal clues serve no purpose other than to inform of cutesy feature contained in the grid. Still a pretty cool construction feat but just missing that special something.

@mexgirl – if English is your second language you must speak Spanish with elegance! I can’t imagine solving a foreign language puzzle.

On this day along with my deep appreciation for all of those who have risked that last full measure comes a profound melancholy that we still need such brave people.
Fight War. Not Wars.

Doug 2:44 PM  

@ulrich "...the exegesis of a xword puzzle starts to approach the interpretation of a Shakespearian sonnet..." Hey, speak English! ;)

No comment on the quality of the puzzle as I was happy to be able to work it knowing that today was a holiday.

To those of you who served your country, you have my respect and thanks. I wish you a peaceful Veterans Day and Remembrance Day.

Orange 3:03 PM  

The kid and I had cookies with an ailing veteran today. He showed us his photos from when he was in the Marines in the '50s.

The NYT isn't the only crossword out there—I've done five Tuesday puzzles and two of them (LA Times and CrosSynergy) had Veterans Day themes. Both puzzles are available via cruciverb.com, if you're interested.

Today's Tribune puzzle has KLMN in it. Hah! There, it's clued as [J-O connection].

Anonymous 3:19 PM  

@fikink--How about an alarm going off? Either it's just been tripped, or has stopped ringing. And of course, the archetypical "sanction," which can be an approval ("sanctioned by the Olympic committee") or a prohibition ("sanctions against Cuba"). To cleave can mean to adhere to (A child cleaves to his mother's side) or to separate cleanly (a meat cleaver does this).

chefbea 3:25 PM  

easy puzzle, but not much fun. When I saw the due south I figured there should have been a 15 letter answer in the middle with east or west.

As I think I have mentioned before - Miro is one of my favorite artists.

poc 3:40 PM  

@fergus: MASSÉ is from billiards and other cue games. "A stroke made with the cue held vertically that puts tremendous spin on the cue ball." (see http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/massé)

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

Well, I can't say much to defend against the complaints here, but I had fun. I was perking along, trying to get a good time, when I came upon the clue about the diagonals (no notepad here--either because I used the applet or because I still don't know where to look for it). I immediately gave up on time and started looking for the diagonal answers, which I enjoyed.

I must admit, though, that I was like chefbea, looking for the big across answer to finish out the theme.

KLMN is the kind of answer I usually hate, but here I liked it okay because OP is a brand, an internet abbr, and maybe other things, so there was some misdirection there. SEARLE came to me after a few crosses, which is better than last time, when I had to google it. I started to fill in YMCA, then almost went with YWCA, then just left the second letter blank. By the time I got ANDHOW, I'd forgotten all about it.

And I know it might be a coincidence, but seeing "Gobsmack" after a few weeks ago begging for someone to use it makes me want to say thanks, just in case. I had hoped for the adjectival form as an answer, but this is pretty good. I was also amused to see YMA updated to reflect her new status as deceased (sorry, Yma; I know that's a little cold, but there you go).

Ulrich 4:44 PM  

I finally took the trouble to get to the bottom of this "notepad" business--what did people know that I didn't, and why? It turns out, I'm doing these puzzles strictly on dead trees, attached to a clipboard, and the clipping mechanism was hiding the header that included the notepad hint--the things one has to be aware of these days when it comes to solving xqword puzzles!?! I may be getting to old for this...

archaeoprof 5:11 PM  

Didn't catch the theme until I came here. Before that I spent several minutes wondering what HEADING DUE SOUTH, HONEYMOON, and WINDY CITY could possibly have in common.

@Evil Doug: well said.

Anonymous 5:32 PM  


I'm guessing when you say you do the puzzle *on dead trees* you mean you print out the on line version to solve on paper. That might explain your *hidden by the clip* problem.

IMHO, I'd have to suggest you are a more reformed rather than orthodox (strict) *dead tree* solver. I consider myself the latter, solving on the dead tree stuff delivered daily to my doorstep (or within 50' or so, the more inclement the weather the further) where today the diagonal clues were listed (belatedly) at the end.

:-) ;-) :-)


(tho I do print the online and solve on a clipboard on the days when the delivery guy sleeps in later than I do --- so I feel your pain.)

Anonymous 5:35 PM  

Big Steve sez:

Didn't see diagnals until completed. Although I basically solved it diagonally SE-NW.

Also, the day got off to a bad start. I do the puzzle in the library. The photcopy had some dark marks obliterating the numbers associated with 1-43across . Uugghh.

I had Romulus or Remus, as "wolf".
It was funny seeing (twin)s, and terrible TWOs. My godchildren are twins.

And I kept thinking of Ocean Pacific corduroy shorts for OP.

I can't believe they let J-O connector as a clue, sounds a like a personal ad in the San Francisco Guardian.

Also, @ArtLvr, I'm from River Forest. Remember is OPRF .. Go Huskies ...

edith b 5:51 PM  

When I was a young girl (and a smoker), before I was in the habit of actually buying cigarettes by the pack, I used to refer to smoking OPs (other peoples).

We girls referred to this practice as "bumming a cigarette". I wonder if boys had the same practice?

That is how I read the clue for the longest time. Even after I had KLMN in place, I puzzled over what that was supposed to mean. Did others have the same first thought?

dk 6:07 PM  

I was very happy with this puzzle and think the construction was inspired. The oft mentioned diagonals were great. HEADINGDUESOUTH was fun and reminded me of North to Alaska by Johnny Horton.


KLMN had me going and created yet another DOH moment.

Never heard of a doubles partner being called a NETMAN... perhaps a variation of play the net, man.

As @joho has so thoughtfully pointed out before there is a reason why I struggle with the religious clues, and again today it took sometime to remember INRI.

My earlier post disappeared so perhaps we have a secret trash can.

Thank you Orange and Larry for 6 minutes and 2 seconds of fun.

Ulrich 6:08 PM  

@glitch: Exactly. I tried doing things online, but b/c of my non-existing typing skills, it takes me so long and is sooo devoid of fun, that I gave up. I work now strictly on the hardcopy. I'm telling myself it's a good preparation for the upcoming ACPT (Andrea: where's that name we have been promised?)--I already switched from caps to lower case, which should make a real contender: Watch out for me!

Anonymous 6:27 PM  

@edith b
Yes, I had KLAN and wondered who AIRO was, thought I misspelled EERO, then tried maybe AARP for ARP...

No notepad on mine(or I didn't see it when I printed it out), so also spent many moments trying to figure out the connection between WINDY or maybe CITY, HONEY or MOON

Totally agree with your analysis of the theme entries being a touch off.
That said, I could never put something on the diagonal if I tried for a hundred years, so I do say bravo to that retroactively.

YOUI was freaky looking and I hope to steal it if ever in a rough corner.

Yay! I'm back to my feeling of "whoareyoume?"
Definitions felt off for me for CORNY, CHEAPO (?!!?) HITAT, HAWSE, YMCA, TEY (??!!) SCHS/COS, REINE without the "La", IGGY as related to POP (If punks even did this puzzle they would shred it over that alone!)
Come to think of it, almost the entire puzzle! TOtally left me grumpy.
But the diagonal thing is neat!

(AND totally not the constructors fault that it randomly appeared on Veteran's Day...tho Nancy is a Veteran constructor, to say the least! I salute her as well).

Anonymous 6:29 PM  

JUST had lunch with a nice triumvirate of constructors:
THE Manny Nosowsky, Jeremy Horwitz, and Byron Walden.
Made up for ALL grumpiness!!!!!

Plus I was able to directly ASK Byron for help on the SW corner of Saturday's!
(Once he gave me MCCASKILL everything fell into place).

I refrained from pinching Byron on the cheek, upper and lower...but sent your love. :)

foodie 6:44 PM  

I dunno, I sort of find the three theme answers evocative, may be because the are not so immediately obvious (even after one gets past the mystery of their existence). I sorta think the theme is visual, evoking different ways to go down in space, straight down (Due South), at an angle (running downhill) and meandering down (slip sliding). I guess a perfect rendition of the latter would have required a downward zigzag, which might be too much to ask... Anyhow, I sort of like it when the them emerges and when it takes a bit of time to figure out how things are tied together. I understand that it can simply be that it's loose. I wish the constructors would tell us.

Anonymous 6:55 PM  

Bad puzzle. Finished it in 8 minutes. My co-workers asked what the theme is, and I said I didn't have a bloody clue. Luckily for me I was to busy today to fish it out of the waste basket to figure it out. Add me on to the list of those trying to connect windy with heading and honey. Thanks for the blog Rex, am coming here on a daily basis now. I really enjoy reading it. <3

foodie 7:46 PM  

erratum on my previous post: I sort of like it when the themE emerges.

And an incomplete thought: "I wish the constructors would tell us": I mean on this blog--what they had in mind... I hope that their spirits did not start heading south after reading Rex' comments, slip sliding away as they read the commentary here, and truly running downhill as the day progressed...

Having had a rotten day myself, I empathize.

janie 8:00 PM  

just shows ta go ya -- there's something for everyone in puzzleland. many's the time rex'll gush over a puzzle and i'll simply go go "huh?" today it's the other way around.

no, the theme doesn't come out and announce itself. you wuz hopin' for circles? but it's in there, like the trajectory berger sings about in hair:

elevator going down
going down
going down

everybody going down
going down
going down

while the number of names that are part of the rest of the fill seems disproportionately high, the feat of the themed construction trumps, imoo.

bravi, constructors!


fikink 8:02 PM  

@edith b - I remember OPs (same vintage as "fags") and yes, they did cross my mind. Then thought it had something to do with OPs, as in SPECIAL OPS. Speaking of which, I am expecting APS anytime now - or would it be APPS? I hear it all the time on the iPhone commercials.

fikink 8:08 PM  

@janie, lookatthemoon, lookatthemoon, lookatthemoon, lookatthemoon, lookatthemoon!
I agree!

Anonymous 8:11 PM  

@andrea--And I probably couldn't construct a puzzle at all if my life depended on it. Loved your podcast with Ryan and Brian. The proof was that I sat through 67 minutes of it! (I said to myself, did she really say "Dayenu"?) I have the strong feeling you'd be a lot of fun to meet; too bad you're in SF and I'm in NY!

Michael Chibnik 8:22 PM  

I'm glad that I was not the only one not to see the diagonal clues...I did wonder about a puzzle with only one theme answer, though.

Pythia 9:26 PM  

@foodie said: And an incomplete thought: "I wish the constructors would tell us": I mean on this blog--what they had in mind... I hope that their spirits did not start heading south after reading Rex' comments, slip sliding away as they read the commentary here, and truly running downhill as the day progressed...

Interesting thought ... wonder how many constructors read this blog. Thinking that most do from time to time and particularly when they have a puzzle published (this blog and the others out there) and guessing most would rather not engage, especially when the hostility bar is raised to high from the get-go. Data points are interesting, and that's all.

Can't think of an instance (may have missed some) when Nancy Salomon chimed in on a blog. She's not a self-promoter. In any case, she needs not defend herself. She's one of the best in the business, known and appreciated for solid, yet subtle, nuanced work. Spends lots of time working with and mentoring newbies and is arguably among the real royalty of crosswords.

rafaelthatmf said: On this day along with my deep appreciation for all of those who have risked that last full measure comes a profound melancholy that we still need such brave people.
Fight War. Not Wars.

Thank you, well said.


mac 9:39 PM  

Thank you rafael, thank you Vets.

fergus 9:52 PM  

Checking back through the posts today I'm noticing a reverence for military service that I don't quite share. Before I'm dismissed as a pinko, elitist apostate, I would like to say that I'm merely curious about what seems to me to be an automatic, emotional deference to heroes of war. Is it simply the distinction of putting one's life on the line that stirs the reaction? I know I'm exposing myself as naive in the political calculus, but I would still like to hear more about why the reverence is so widespread. I've thought a lot about this issue, but admittedly, with trouble finding an objective viewpoint.

Anonymous 10:25 PM  

This is my first comment so I sought the advice of PuzzleGirl on the protocol. She told me that I first need to say I love Rex and then tell you what I thought of the puzzle without repeating everything everybody else had already said. Maybe next time I should get here earlier.

Rex, I can't tell you I love you because it won't pass the breakfast test. Now, onto the puzzle.

How to say this delicately? ... I want the last hour of my life back. (No, I'm not very good at this.) Just a few comments because most of you have already covered it. I sat for many minutes with IGG- staring at me while looking over at 37A's clue Pop's _____ Pop. As Andrea pointed out, Pop music do not equal Iggy. At all. Ever. In any way, shape or form.

I called both Agassi and Roddick and neither of them has ever been referred to as a NETMAN. Well, actually, Agassi said Steffi called him that the other morning, but it was because he was skimming the pool.

SCHS is not the abbreviation for schools, although it might be the abbreviation for something somewhere. Along the same lines, I spent the better part of 20 minutes trying to figure out what brand of shorts I wore before the corduroy OPs. I got K, L, M, and N from the crosses, thankfully.

And just in case you think all I do is complain, I was amused by 64D: Org. for Raptors and Hawks. I had -BA and thought American Birding Association? International Birding Association? (Again, I'm not very good at this.) Also, I would never have finished this puzzle if it weren't for the 15-letter theme answers.

See you guys again on Monday.

fergus 10:45 PM  

I'm thinking it would be a lot of fun to drop in on the PuzzleHousehold, even if there is no PuzzleDog.

Ulrich 10:46 PM  

@PH: Why call Agassi or Roddick? They never play(ed) doubles, so of course they never were netmen. I play doubles every week, and I love to be the netman, i.e. the guy standing close to the net and trying to slam the ball at the feet of the guy/girl on the other side, scaring the shit out of them. So, don't give me the same:-)

PuzzleGirl 11:19 PM  

@ulrich: We're confused now. Were there different versions of the clue? In our puzzle NETMAN was clued as "Tennis player."

Anonymous 12:09 AM  

Super dig when you chime in...
Love when we get Mrs. Rex's, Mrs Ulrich's or Orange's son's comments in the background...
total freshness, voices of reason!

I think there should be a puzzlespouse/significant other section daily!

@jane d'oh
Chiming in doesn't NECESSARILY = self-promotion...some of us are just enthusiastic with too much time on our hands! ;)

fergus 2:23 AM  

... and puzzle child, when he chimes in.

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

@PuzzleGirl - my paper said "Tennis player" also; perhaps it's just that "Doubles player" would have been so much better as a clue.
@fergus - As a fellow pinko elitist, I would say that Yes, it _is_ "simply" that distinction. I've never served in the military, though my father did, and I frankly admire those who treat puttin their necks on the line as just another job description. Plus I think there's a large chunk of guilt hanging over from how the home folks treated the returning vets after Viet Nam. They were blamed as the instigators of the unpopular war, rather than as participants. Nowadays we've learned that lesson, as we seem to show with how we treat Iraq War vets despite that conflict's unpopularity, but those of us on the north side of 50 often still regret how the country (not me, thank God) reviled the returning soldiers back when.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP