THURSDAY, Dec. 11, 2008 - Jim Hilger (1965 #1 hit by the Byrds / Inventor depicted in "The Prestige" / 1836 siege site / Emmy and Tony nominee Ryan)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: "Turn, Turn, Turn" - a rebus puzzle where "TURN" is crammed into seven different symmetrically arranged squares throughout the grid

My original reaction to this puzzle appears to have been one of rage. No idea why I was in such a bad mood. After yesterday's puzzle, this one seems just fine, actually, with some noteworthy exceptions. I had a harder time uncovering the rebus than I'd like to admit, and even after uncovering it, some of the "TURN" phrases just wouldn't come to me. Had big trouble with TWIST AND [TURN], as I thought the clue, 18A: Meander, as a road, referred to a person doing his meandering on a road. Further, I had no idea SA[TURN] was a god of agriculture (!?) (13D: Roman god of agriculture), and worst of all for my NE experience, I had absolutely no clue that the Korean unit of currency was the WON (11D: Korean money). Didn't help that I mysteriously forgot that BRADBURY wrote "Something Wicked This Way Comes." Oh, and then there was SKIBOB (8D: Winter vehicle). I've heard of skis, and I've heard of bobsleds, but a SKIBOB is entirely new to me. Makes me wanna shout LAWDY! (7D: "_____ Miss Clawdy" (#1 R&B hit of 1952)). Not really. Me shouting "LAWDY" would be about the silliest thing you could imagine. I'm not sure I could do it without offending someone, somewhere. I'm offending myself just thinking about it.

Continuing with the theme of my ignorance, I've never heard the phrase TO A [TURN]. I assumed, when I read the clue, that there was a horrible error in the puzzle - surely the answer was TO A T. Why wasn't the "T" a rebus in the Down clue!? Well, turns out, it was. Sucks for TO A [TURN] that TO A T is actually a better answer to the clue (60D: Perfectly). I know a country star named MERLE, but his last name is not Travis (33D: Old country-and-western star _____ Travis). I also know a country star named Travis whose last name is not MERLE.

This puzzle has a lot of boring / crossword-common lady names in it, like ILSA (6A: She'll "always have Paris") and IRENE (3D: Emmy and Tony nominee Ryan) and ELENA (17A: 2008 Olympics tennis champion Dementieva). It's also got big-mouthed Martha RAYE (67A: "The Martha _____ Show" of 1950s TV) - by far the most interesting broad in the puzzle. She's SALTY (37A: Off-color). Growing up, I knew her only from denture commercials. But she had a long comedic career before I was born. Outtakes:

Theme answers:

  • 1A: Part of a pay-as-you-go plan? (TURN pike)
  • 1D: Fully equipped and ready to go (TURN key)
  • 18A: Meander, as a road (twist and TURN)
  • 13D: Roman god of agriculture (Sa TURN)
  • 33A: Reverses course (make a U TURN) - by far my favorite of the theme answers. MAKESAUT looks fantastic in the grid. Also, when said aloud, sounds like what a German does with his girlfriend. (AUT rhymes with KRAUT, right?)
  • 39A: Like some calls left on answering machines (re TURN ed)
  • 45A: Petrify (TURN to stone)

[ELO is not in the puzzle, sadly, but J-E-L-L-O is (26D: Kraft Foods brand)]

  • 36D: 1965 #1 hit by the Byrds ("TURN, TURN, TURN") - shouldn't "The" be capitalized in "The Byrds"?
  • 61A: Crucial moment (TURN ing point)
  • 61D: Eventually appear (TURN up)
  • 71A: Upset (over TURN)
  • 60D: Perfectly (to a TURN)


  • 20A: That over there (yon) - something you might say if you lived in days of YORE (25A: Long ago)
  • 26A: Hinged apparatus (jaw) - cool clue. Makes something ordinary sound kind of daunting. Sort of the opposite of 69A: Gang members (pals).
  • 54A: NATO member since 1982 (Spain) - not sure what I wanted here at first, but it wasn't SPAIN. SUDAN? BENIN? I forget.
  • 22D: Airport installation (radar) - something about "installation" made me trip all over this. I was thinking something Christo might do - like, wrap an airport in tissue or something.
  • 24D: Where the Riksdag meets (Sweden) - if you reversed the letters and told me it was the Gadskir, I would totally believe you. That's how much I know about SWEDEN. You: "It means 'Good skiier?'" Me: "Really? Wow." See. Easy to fool.
  • 32D: Calif. barrio setting (East L.A.) - I really like it best when this answer is clued via the song / movie "Born in EAST L.A." This clue is just too tepid.
  • 44D: Fix, as a pool cue (retip) - oh Sure, I do that all the time. Come on! That's as bad as [Give another gratuity] or [Pour from again, as a kettle].
  • 53D: Mount _____, second-highest peak in Africa (Kenya) - didn't know, but easy to get from crosses. I hope the highest peak is Kilimanjaro. That would make me feel secure that I know the bare minimum about the country of Africa (wink!)
  • 57D: Company leaders: Abbr. (sgts.) - o man. I had CEOS. Then I had MGRS.

That's it - except to say that Brendan Emmett Quigley, one of the most inventive constructors around, has a new website, where he will be offering free puzzles every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I just solved yesterday's, and it's really worth your time, esp. if you like quip puzzles with genuinely funny quips ... and profanity. At a minimum, his site has a super-cool banner. Makes me wanna spice up the visuals on my own site. Anyway, be sure to check out, and then bookmark, his site.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Orange 12:22 AM  

BEQ's posting puzzles every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, not just a vague "from time to time." Three puzzles a week! Dang it, I don't have time for this! But I do tend to enjoy the Young Turk style of crosswords, so I'll have to make time.

I liked Jim Hilger's rebus puzzle—his debut, as it turns out. RETIP took every crossing to piece together, but it was prety smooth aside from that.

SethG 1:04 AM  

Very nice central rebus stack. I had an assignment in a class on Biblical Hebrew once to translate Ecclesiastes 3, and The Byrds saved me lots of time.

No problem with retipping. In the right context--it's just like resoling a shoe, right? Maybe the concept requires replacement--recarving, for example, wouldn't sound so bad if you melted down a sculpture and then froze the water or butter to have another go at it. (Which you can't do with a, say, turkey.) Here, you're putting an entirely new tip on the cue.

I had troubler with sincerer. Er, more trouble with more sincere. Whatever. And totally agree about TOAT, and spent a while trying to understand how OVERT could be the same as upset.

Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest point. Can't wait to hear the epicures' thoughts about JELL-O!

jae 2:00 AM  

Very enjoyable Thurs. TWISTANDT gave me the rebus and it went fairly smoothly from there. I too balked slightly at TOATURN but vaguely remember having heard the phrase.

Initially wanted TOILET for la but it didn't fit and probably wouldn't pass the breakfast test.

I played a lot of pool in my misspent youth (I had my own cue) so RETIP was very familiar. There is even a device designed for doing just that.

Anonymous 3:32 AM  

Back in Minnesota, RETIP involved sleeping cows!

Perhaps TOAT comes from TOATURN?

This one was super easy for me, partly as a big Bradbury fan as a child and maybe bec I had TWISTAND-
so realized it was a TURN rebus, but thought for a moment some might be twist and some might be turn, that would be cool!

Bizarrely I was talking to Patrick Blindauer about Ecclesiastes and TURN TURN TURN on the phone minutes before solving this puzzle!

However, one HUGE mistake:
I had SELKO instead of JELL-O (hello!?)
I thought hinged thing was a SAW
(there is no one to tell you you are wrong if you do it on paper!)
and I had SKIM for SLIM even tho that didn't seem quite right for "diet", but I was thinking milk.

(JELLO has just become good in Scrabble which means that it is now generic and not strictly a brand name)

By the way, re yesterday's discussion, here is a perfect example where TURN, TURN, TURN
in the middle like that is clever construction and fun to solve and looks great in the grid, bravo Jim H!

imsdave1 7:26 AM  

Done to a turn is a very common expression to me - not so much without the done. I have to send this puzzle to my daughter. Her name doesn't show up in them very often.

nanpilla 7:51 AM  

A couple of mis-starts:


VINCI for ICAME ( I see five letters and figure its a gimme)

Never heard of:

In our parts we have Mr. Bobs. But they would not pass the breakfast test.

I liked the theme, once I figured it out, and overall thought the puzzle was pretty easy. The symmetry was very nice. Loved that letter K showed up 6 times.

Orange 8:12 AM  

@Jae, thanks for telling us RETIP's actually used in the pool setting. I had no idea.

Beet jello, anyone?

JannieB 8:28 AM  

I liked this one - especially the stacked turns in the center. "to a turn" is a cooking reference, I think. Mac? Chefbea? I stumbled around for a bit, not sensing a rebus until "turn to stone" - then it all fell into place.

Could have lived without "sincerer", but otherwise I thought this was very well done.

Unknown 8:35 AM  

@Orange LOL...really.

I was fine with TPIKE but wasn't sure about TKEY. TO A T and OVERT were questions, too. Not until The Byrds hit did I get the rebus. LIONESS and ILSA almost matched up. BEESEECH and WHYME were the last to fall.

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

@acme--Glad to see you made it into the puzzle again, sorta. 56D--NAMER! I thought the same thing about to a turn/T. I'd like to see the saw you use if it has a hinge on it.

@nanpilla--Its VICI, not Vinci. That's Leonardo, not Caesar.

2All Newbies--I got the theme early because I got TWISTAND(TURN) within the first minute. If you're experienced, you consider that if it's Thursday and you're fairly sure of an answer that doesn't fit, chances are, it's a rebus. So when I had TWISTAND- (one blank left), I thought, what if TURN goes in the one space? And sure enough...

Doc John 9:10 AM  

A few mistakes for me today including kano (hasn't that money been spelled wan before?). I guess I should have at least known SA(TURN) though. But RAZER? Puh-leeze! And I was perfectly happy (and impressed with myself) for guessing tazer and assumed Metle was just some strange country-singer-type name. (Now that I think about it, I guess it's spelled taser, isn't it?)
Oh well, I'm going to ride a rollercoaster today and that's always a good thing. (Alas, it's not a new one to me but a coaster is a coaster!)

Doc John 9:18 AM  

Oh, and since I'm on the East Coast and able to post early:
For all San Diegans- my band's concert is a week from Saturday 7PM at the Recital Hall in Balboa Park. (That's the building near the Aerospace Museum.) Hope to see you there!

RodeoToad 9:45 AM  

Cool Martha Raye clip. Who knew Bill Murray had been around so long?

I'd prefer a Merle Travis clip to the '68 Elvis clip. Or a fat Elvis clip. Fat Elvis rulez.

I loved Ray Bradbury when I was a kid. He was pretty much the only science fiction I read, if that's science fiction. "The Martian Chronicles" and especially the creepy "Illustrated Man" enthralled me. I don't know where he is in the popular/critical standings anymore. He's known to be against book-burnin'.

Bradbury's still alive! I just checked. Know who else is still alive? Beverly Cleary. I read all the Ramona and Henry and Ribsy books and have read some to my son, and they're still great. She's 92. Rock on, BC!

But I do encourage folks to go check out a Merle Travis clip. That thing he's doing with the guitar? He invented that. Well, that's a stretch, as he acknowledged his influences, but they don't call it Travis-picking (still) for nothing.

I flew through this puzzle. By the time I'd made the first pass through all the clues I'd filled in a huge amount, and the theme came immediately after that, though I didn't see it immediately in OVERT/TOAT.

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

I really enjoyed this one. Merle Travis was a gimme and everything else fell pretty easily. SINCERER is a little of a stretch to me.

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

I was right there with SethG (sethg?). I put in TOAT, thinking, "Again?" Then I struggled to get the first letter of OVERT. I tried to make sense of "turnvert" and wondered why the puzzle was symmetrical except for that one corner. I finally filled in SOPRANO, and still couldn't understand OVERT. I went off to finish the rest of the puzzle. I submitted. It was correct. I didn't remember the problem with the bottom right till I came here. It's a good thing for me that you can get the applet to accept the first letter of rebus squares.

I searched "To a turn" and found it on a british site: cooked perfectly. Whatevs.

I guess I had a good time overall, but that corner kinda spoiled it for me.

Jeffrey 10:39 AM  

Chalk me up (with a RETIPped pool cue) in the got-the-rebus-quick-on TWIST AND TURN group.

I said to myself just before the puzzle, Crosscan watch for rebuses. Which is weird, because why am I talking to myself and why do I refer to myself as Crosscan, which I hereby reveal, is not my actual name.

TO A T/OVERT looks right and is accepted by 4 out of 5 applets.

@Orange, bringing up Beet Jello is an unspeakable transgression. We will all be suffering when the afternoon posts begin. Your punishment is listening to The Safety Dance ten times in a row, while watching Yahtzee, the complete series.

Alex S. 10:49 AM  

No familiarity with SKIBOB. Had SNO CAT in there until CAT appeared in the SE and I decided SNO CAT and CAT shouldn't be in the same puzzle.

Wouldn't know the Byrds from the birds in my backyard, so had the puzzle picking a different spelling to give me MAKES A U-Y. Then took the Y and decided the Byrd's song must be YES. The S game me STONE---- for TURNS TO STONE and I was very much dead in the water until I finally saw the rebus in the SW and realized U-Y must be U TURN.

Fun doable puzzle. I like when I go down blind alleys and manage to get myself out without help. Doesn't happen as often as I'd like (I go down the alleys all the time, I just usually stay there).

Two Ponies 10:59 AM  

I love rebus puzzles and this was great fun. One mistake in putting Takes a turn which made the unknown C&W singer Terle. If I've never heard of him how was I to know I was wrong?
Pals in a gang? Must not be the kind of gang I was thinking of.
Rex, thanks for the laugh re: Africa. Is Spain it's neighboring continent? ;)

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

@hereinfranklin--As a longtime country music fan, MERLE Travis was a gimme for me, too, but the first thing I thought was, RANDY Travis is now an OLD-TIME country singer? At this point, I think Randy is the more famous Travis, and BTW, there's a more famous MERLE, too.

Doug 11:30 AM  

Nice write up, RP. I remember watching that Elvis show live, and my dad commenting on how the women were going wild. I can still smell the testosterone from the Youtube clip.

It's December here in Vancouver, so we've all got our SkiBobs parked outside the igloos. :)

Wish we had all that east coast and midwest snow, because Whistler is still only partially open and we're going up this weekend.

Ulrich 11:33 AM  

I agree with acme, totally: This puzzle shows how special features are supposed to be placed. But, love, you didn't see "namer" in the SE--too distracted by the OVERT/TOAT cross? It's where I used symmetry to solve the "upset" puzzle.

Susan 11:42 AM  

I know the expression "to a turn" from Pride and Prejudice, in which Mrs. Bennett congratulates herself that the venison was done "to a turn" when Mr. Bingley came to dinner.

However, I totally missed it in the puzzle. I had TOAT and the applet accepted it so I didn't even know I was wrong until I read the blog. Duh.

chefbea 12:14 PM  

A fun puzzle. Got twist and turn right away. Then saw the Byrd clue and knew I had to find other turns.

@janieb - I never heard "to a turn" in cooking. Maybe just in England

@orange -Thank you so much for the beet jello recipe. It will go great with the beet brownies I am going to make. Actually ORANGE is my favorite flavor of jell-o. Remember all the jello molds we had in the 60's. Anyone want a recipe??

Campesite 12:26 PM  

For some reason I simply flew through this puzzle--I sort of felt like the kid in Slumdog Millionaire, where every clue seemed to come from somewhere in my past (I did climb Mt. Kenya, but I didn't play the kazoo at Carnegie Hall--if I had just practiced more).
I liked the rotational symmetry of the rebus squares, but didn't care for (or just never heard of) To A Turn.

jeff in chicago 12:35 PM  

I'm usually bad at rebus puzzles, but this one came to me almost right away. I spotted it at MAKESAUT, which made me smile, both for the German word it wants to be, and for giving me TTT. I was looking forward to a Byrds clip in the blog, but ALAS, there was none to be found. On the other hand, I liked all the music clips today. (No "Safety Dance"! That's a good thing.)

I loves me my beets, but beet JELLO? Ugh. Unless I can wash it down with some beet Coke, perhaps.

The lowly KAZOO? Well, here's a story about Barbara Stewart, who has, indeed, performed on the kazoo at Carnegie Hall. There also seems to be an album ("The Weavers at Carnegie Hall, Vol. 2", Vanguard) that features the kazoo. So "unlikely"? Maybe not. Rare, sure.

JannieB 12:41 PM  

From - "Done to a Turn:


Cooked just right.


Food cooked on a spit had to be turned by hand. The allusion in this phrase is to food that had been cooked for the precisely correct number of turns. It dates back to the 18th century and is first cited in a piece by an author called Mackenzie in Mirror No. 93, 1780:

"The beef was roasted to a turn."

DJG 12:43 PM  

This one was ROUGH for me. The Texas region was particularly tough because I had never heard of Martha Raye, and the GPS clue threw me for a loop. I wasn't thinking that a GPS gives a route. It gives a location. Some device using a GPS (and a routing algorithm) then gives a route. But on second thought I recognize that the entire device is commonly called a GPS, so I'm not crying foul.

Also, I never knew that off-color could mean salty, risque sure, but not salty. But the dictionary lists "not is good health or spirits" as one of the definitions, so again, I don't have a legitimate gripe.

jeff in chicago 12:46 PM  

Oh...I also had an ELO story. In 1978 I saw them at the World Series of Rock concert at Cleveland Stadium. (80,000 people! It was great!) In those days you could take cameras into most concerts. I had my 35mm with me. I ended up taking exactly two pictures. One is before the show started. It is sunny and all you can see is the crowd and ELO's "spaceship" up in the rigging. The second picture is after the show is completely over. The stage is empty. It is night and all you can see is the crowd and the lowered "spaceship." I would like to say that I just got caught up in the great music (Foreigner and Journey also played), but I think there were other reasons I "forgot" to take any pictures. Ahhhh....good times.

Anonymous 12:51 PM  

Love rebus puzzles! Figured it out on MAKESAUTurn. Rex, your 'rhymes with kraut' made me laugh!
@SethG, I also had "troubler with sincerer"; it seemed like half my solving time was directed at that clue.
And like many, was initially stuck on OVERT/TOAT, trying like crazy to get the connection between OVERT and upset. After I had the rebus and noticed the symmetry, OVERTurn fell into place, as TOATurn seemed vaguely familiar.
@JannieB and Susan, interesting to learn that TOATurn may be a cooking term - I wonder if it comes from roasting things on a spit - in the days of YORE?

Anonymous 12:55 PM  

@ZJ--"Off-color" and "salty" both refer to their common meaning of x-rated.

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

A fun puzzle. I had a fairly easy time once I cracked the rebus, but that took awhile. With the rebus in the far upper left, I couldn't get any traction there. I did get TWIST and with four spaces left, and I reasoned that "TWISTTURN" could be a wordplayish way of writing "Twist and turn". I lost a lot of time trying to work that out!

Such a nice puzzle that I can overlook "SINCERER", though frankly I'm surprised that Rex didn't mention it!

Bob Kerfuffle

Anonymous 1:34 PM  

What a difference a day makes . . Thank you, Mr. Hilger, for a literate and intelligent diversion with a cool stacked center rebus aspect. A brilliant example of a difficult-to-make puzzle that entertains

JoefromMtVernon 1:51 PM  

Lots of "What the heck."

Had Wan/Kana...
Skibob? Had Snocat for a while
Bopper = that a '50's reference?

When I see East LA, I always think of Cheech Marin.

Warped thought of the day...someone looking over a shoulder at this puzzle (quickly) and thinking thinking "did Edie Falco star in Aida?" (Aida = Soprano)

Anonymous 2:18 PM  

WON! Singular sensation....

Pythia 2:26 PM  

Literate *and* breezy. Symmetrically placed TURNS with a central stack are v. elegant.


Anonymous 2:29 PM  

apparently there is no connection between "TO A T" and "TO A TURN"

(I would have thought that perhaps the T was a quidker way to say Turn)

Here's what I found:

Cooked just right.


Food cooked on a spit had to be turned by hand. The allusion in this phrase is to food that had been cooked for the precisely correct number of turns. It dates back to the 18th century and is first cited in a piece by an author called Mackenzie in Mirror No. 93, 1780:

"The beef was roasted to a turn."

@stevel, Ulrich
Of course I noticed NAMER in the puzzle, but I had to remind myself that this puzzle was not about ME...(Unless he had had TORTURED ACME NAZI in close proximity)

even I'm getting tired of my self-references!

Anonymous 2:31 PM  

This approaches a Buddha puzzle! Symmetry, enjoyable solve and no heavy handed construction. The fact that knowledge of the rebus didn’t allow for too much presolving made it all that much better. Me likey! Maybe Will S used yesterday vis a vis today to demonstrate the yin and yang of puzzle potential. Too much? Thought so.
I guessed that TOATURN had something to do with cooking on a spit after someone above pointed out its British ancestry – central time zone ruins my display of keen insight once again!
jeff in chicago – maybe you were a little small at the ELO show?

edith b 2:49 PM  

I graduated from high school in 1965 and remember The Byrds very well. When I saw that the clue was 3-letters long I went through gyrations like you wouldn't believe and, because it was Thursday and I thought of a rebus, The Byrds hit TURN TURN TURN came to me and, in a flash, I went looking for confirmation which was near at hand and the puzzle cracked like a walnut.

This was the quickest I ever got a rebus and I finished this puzzle in a hot New York minute.

green mantis 3:51 PM  

Ugh, went seriously off the rails in the SE. I should soo know better re: symmetry, but my brain snapped off and by the time I had gathered it up off the floor I forgot to care.

To a T was clearly correct, so I switched Soprano to Soprana (I know) and forced avert to mean upset, like if you upset somebody's plans for world domination (I'm looking at you, Bible Spice Palin), you avert that sort of disaster...okay forget it.

I have to go now and react to disturbing images with electrodes attached to my scalp. I am not kidding. Will report back.

Chip Hilton 4:00 PM  

I was disappointed that it took me so long to catch the rebus. The Byrds had a few big hits, but none with 3 letters, so that should've been the lightbulb moment, early on.

To me, the crossing of NEMEA and LEV is an ancient-world Natick. Really wanted to connect with an 'E'.

Overall, a fun puzzle. Right on the money for a Thursday.

Chip Hilton 4:01 PM  

Sorry...connect with an 'I'.

Hungry Bird 4:03 PM  

I am a NYT puzzle returnee, having been AWOL (with no MP's on my tail) for many, many years. Hence my contempt-inducing affection for ET Maleska.

I have no experience with rebuses or rebii or whatever the damn plural is.

Try doing a puzzle without knowing about that clever turn. Why me? Alas!

As for re-tip, that was a huge groaner. I would have preferred a reference to the episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" in which Larry travels to NYC to star in (Broadway musical) The Producers. He does not have change for a $20 to tip the doorman, but ASSURES him he will return. Then gives the $ to another doorman and asks him to give it to the original guy who helped him. You can figure out the rest from there.

"Doubt, do I sense doubt?"

Anonymous 4:07 PM  

I loved this puzzle. Got the rebus right away at TWIST AND TURN even though my first response was Twist And Shout!

I'm here so late today everything's been said, really, that needs to be.

My hat's off to Mr. Hilger. I could not be SINCERER.

chefbea 4:26 PM  

@janieb and acme - thanks for the explanation of to a turn. I have the set-it-and-forget-it rotisserie so I don't have to turn the spit by hand.

JannieB 4:28 PM  

@JoefromMtVernon - re your Edie Falco comment - Actually, Aida Turturro played Janice Soprano, Tony's tattooed sister.

Anonymous 4:47 PM  

Man, don't you just love Thursdays? Got twist and turn right away and I was off and running. Know The Byrds, grew up in Scotland so knew to a turn. All just fell into place and I had an enjoyable time of it. Thank you Mr. Hilger.


fikink 5:07 PM  

Pretty quick and fun for me today.
I have always associated "to a turn" with grilling steak (I am in corn-fed beef country, after all, the thought of which probably sickens Vegans). But the phrase is still in use in that context.
As for SALTY, does it have its beginnings in a link to foul-mouthed sailors (SALTS)? As in, "Now all at once you're using language that would make a sailor blush?"
greene? dave?

Glitch 5:08 PM  

Re: [Done] to a turn

Both my grandmother and mother-in-law used this expression for ANY food they felt was prepared/ ccoked/ baked perfectly --- not only roasting on a spit, (where it probably originated).

But I see nothing in your postings that support that it's not related to *[done]to a T* --- my family used both interchangeably, (tho the latter was also used for other things, like perfomances).

Spencer 6:08 PM  

On the picky point of "The Byrds" vs "the Byrds", I will note that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame web site uses the latter form in their page about the Byrds:
" ... drenched in the 12-string jangle of McGuinn’s Rickenbacker guitar, the Byrds would have earned their place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame." (emphasis mine)

Anonymous 7:13 PM  

you are correct to a "t".

from what I can read, the "To a turn" is only for food and the "To a T" has origins/quotes up to a hundred years before in literature... having nothing to do with cooking.
who knows?

funny! (and I mean that sincerererly)

fergus 7:50 PM  

Yeah, me too with the equivocation on O or A for the crossing at square 71. If AVERT were ever to be Clued by Upset, however, I would register a complaint.

My favorite word of the day was BESEECH.

green mantis 8:55 PM  

Yeah, I would too, if anybody except for me had needed it to work.

As I know you're all worried, let me just assure you that the alien baby now implanted in my thorax is quite adorable. We've named him Frank.

green mantis 8:58 PM  

I mean in my thoracic antre.

foodie 9:07 PM  

Yeah, it's been all said. Except there is something that looks like beet jello would look. My first year in grad school (and in the US), I was invited to a Thanksgiving meal in the home of another grad student. I had never heard of cranberry sauce, much less with turkey. And they had cut up the jellied stuff into circles, so I thought it was made out of beets. I had one of "those Americans!" moments that I used to have back then (before I became one). To this day, I cannot handle the jellied kind --though I'm OK with Jello, I like beets and I love real cranberry sauce. BTW, has anyone tried Lingonberry sauce with turkey? It's delicious!

chefbea 9:35 PM  

@foodie Lingonberries are delish. I buy jams sauces etc at Ikea

chuckwagon 9:55 PM  

where was the complaint about turnkey? u have never heard that as meaning fully equipped and ready to go????? rex where are you??

foodie 10:02 PM  

@chefbea, I get them there too. Great minds!

I just read yesterday's comments (I was traveling and didn't get to the puzzle). It seems like whenever I miss a day, there are over a 100 posts!

Anyhow, re "hors d'oeuvre" vs. "hors d'oeuvres", I think both miriam b and chefbea are correct. Strictly speaking, it should never be plural. But in fact the 's" is sometimes added not only in the US and England but also in France. Here's the evidence: If you specify French as your only language preference in your Google search, and you enter "les hors d'oeuvre" vs. "les hors d'oeuvres" (you are making it clear with "les" that in both cases you are talking about several) you get over 12,000 hits for the version without "s" and over 3,000 for the form with the "s". So, it seems that even some of the French are thinking of "hors d'oeuvre" as a compound word that can be pluralized.

It was also interesting to read the discussion about ethnicity and names. I think that one of the weirdest naming anomalies is "Caucasian". My great grandmother is an actual Caucasian, i.e. from the Caucasus mountains. She comes from an ethnic group called Circassians (or Therkes), who tend to be fair skinned, but with high cheek bones. I never understood how that term came to be used to indicate every white person.

@scotus addict: glad you've resolved your gender identity crisis.

Anonymous 10:11 PM  

But surely you've heard of the Reichstag fire. Riksdag is the Swedish cognate.

mac 10:31 PM  

Enjoyed the puzzle very much, did itin the car on the way to NY. I actually had my only problem in the Ilsa/oaks/skibob area. Until I finally thought of oaks, then it all came together. Sincerer is the ugliest, beseech the prettiest word.

Jell-o: yuk. Something for sick children. I'm with foodie: it
is very easy to make fresh cranberry sauce, with orange juice, sugar and walnuts, a cinnamon stick. Cooked, though, uncooked is inedible. My Swedish friend serves lingonberry preserve with little meatballs.

Now I'm going to listen to Rex's music.

PlantieBea 10:51 AM  

Finally finished this puzzle this morning after a few false starts with TURN late last night. I enjoyed it. New words: NEMEA, SKIBOB (had skicat).

My last space filled was the W in the JAW/WHYME cross. I just couldn't get that without a run through the alphabet.

On to Friday

Unknown 4:45 PM  

ok seriously, I'm just starting to do thursday puzzles and I totally think that the rebus is UNFAIR!! I didn't even know they could do that! where does it say they can do that??

Anonymous 12:52 AM  

Gisela, when I encountered my first rebus puzzle, I had the exact same reaction. Now I love 'em.

green mantis 12:55 AM  

@ Gisela: Thursdays have rebuses and crap. Welcome.

Unknown 5:05 PM  

awesome. cause thursdays aren't hard enough.

liquid el lay 1:52 AM  

just did this puzzle from my local paper, in syndication.

a rebus which can be expressed in symbol is totally cool. my grid has letters, and el-shaped things with arrows on one end. looks super for the center stack triple.

had BANJO x SANER for KAZOO x RAZOR ("instrument unlikely..."/"leveler") but that resolved..

SKIBOB only because it had to be..

and the W in JAW was the last hold out. i kept wanting PAYME for WHYME (until i saw whyme), BESEECHED bedamned.

i thought OVERT must be an obscure synonym for invert and thus cluable by "upset". TOATURN i had never heard before, but, with the image of a turning spit, seems OK.

enjoyed it.

Anonymous 6:38 PM  

From the land of syndication - it is unlikely that "chuckwagon" will see this, but the term "turnkey" is common usage in at least some industries. It refers to a job that the contractor builds, equips, and tests so that the "keys" can be handed over to the customer who then has a fully working installation.

Anonymous 5:02 AM  

To a turn is still used in the UK but is rather oldfashioned. I got totally hung up on skibob. "Skidoo" - trade name for a snowmobile was meant to be called a "Skidog" but due to a misprint has always been known as a skidoo. So, I tried skidog - no luck - but even when skibob fitted I am still at sea. Where does this word come from? Help!

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