TUESDAY, Jan. 20, 2009 - T. Wescott (Silents actress Normand / Rock band fronted by Michael Stipe / Hobbit's enemy)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: MEAT balls - the word "MEAT" is anagrammed within oh who am I kidding it's another Obama puzzle.

Word of the Day: AUDACITY - daring boldness with assurance, presumption, or open disdain of restraint [Webster's 3rd Int'l]

Three in ten days. I voted for the guy, was elated by his victory, and even I'm starting to get a little weary. I can't think of a single event that has caused this much crossword ink to spill. Ever. It's a singular even in our nation's history, this inauguration, so if the glut of Obama crosswords is unprecedented, perhaps that's understandable, if not entirely optimal from a regular solver's point of view. This one we had today is really impressive in terms of theme density. Plus, it's got ... layers. First you've got the serious business of the themed fill - covering god knows how much of the grid (I'm just not going to give you ILL or BAR or even DAIS, but even so, there's a Lot of Inaugural fill here - 56 squares from the four 15-s alone). Then, for the fireworks at the end, the big "O" behind the president lights up with "YES WE CAN" and then rotates around and shoots off sparks like Wheel of Fortune meets the Fourth of July. Then it morphs into a halo and settles just over the top of the president's head. The end.

The long Downs are decidedly weaker than the Acrosses. AUDACITY OF HOPE (20A: Book by 52-Across, with "The") and PRESIDENT OBAMA (52A: Oath of office taker on 1/20/09) are real phrases one might actually say. LEADER OF AMERICA (3D: 52-Across, starting 1/20/09) less so, and CAMPAIGN RIVALRY (11D: 52-Across had one with John McCain) ... look, it's not the Lakers/Celtics. It's a single event - one race - the end. No "Rivalry." Plus, I mean, really, a RIVALRY implies some kind of parity. When one side hands the other side its ass, and does so only once ... again, not a rivalry. I like that Wescott was able to sneak JOE / BIDEN in there, like the wacky afterthought that he is (29D: With 36-Across, 52-Across's number two). Never mind the indignity of being clued as somebody else's "number two."

My favorite non-theme answer: BEEHIVES (36D: 1960s hairdos).

Other answers of note:

  • 5A: Sheetful of cookies (batch) - mmm, inaugural cookies. I should make those.
  • 17A: Representation of a state on the U.S. flag (star) - I had SEAL at first, thinking of the state's own flag
  • 18A: Silents actress Normand (Mabel) - no clue, but cool name. Wow, this is oddly informative for a random youtube video:

  • 39A: _____ Office (Oval) - crossing ORAL (28D: Transmitted by speech)? Really? Really?
  • 42A: Rock band fronted by Michael Stipe (R.E.M.) - Stipe sang at the MTV Inaugural Ball for President Clinton in 1992. This is the performance I remember best (interestingly, a song of appreciation for a black man):

  • 45D: "Maybe later" (not yet) - "NOT YET" implies that something will happen later, whereas "maybe later" implies said thing might not happen at all. Wanted NOT NOW, but then noticed that NOT intersects NOW (50A: "_____ what?").
  • 32D: Suffix for many a computer attachment (pdf) - speaking of - allow me to present a PDF file of an Inauguration Day puzzle that, for reasons that will eventually become obvious, couldn't very well be published in a major newspaper. Why? Well, it's got bite. It may not be your political cup of tea, but as a feat of construction, it's impeccable. Here it is: "Almost a Pangram" by Ashish Vengsarkar (AcrossLite version can be downloaded easily here):


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS my friend Kathy posted the following picture today - from Berlin:
["According to people in Berlin, Germany, this is Obama's favorite dish, so I hope you all are eating Smoked Chine with Sourcroot in celebration of the inauguration. Happy inauguration day!"]


Kurisu 8:33 AM  

I had SEAL first too.

This was an incredibly easy puzzle.

Anonymous 8:46 AM  

A couple of clues that should have been in this puzzle, but maybe we'll get them in tomorrow's Obama puzzle:

1a: Obama walkes on ___
32d: He is the second coming of ____

Okay, I'm really sick of this entire collective media-orgasm happening. It's kind of creepy.

I want my crossword puzzles back.

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

Must be quite sad to be sour on a day of joy. God Bless America.

Larry 9:17 AM  

More media bias from the Times -- do you think that a Republican would be allowed theme answers outside the bounds of symmetry?

dbg 9:20 AM  

@Sam Hall

This isn't about politics or the media, it's about history. Today is a day many of us never thought we would see in our lifetime. Should we have left out this past Sunday's puzzle? Maybe. But today you almost had to have a puzzle like this one.

It was an easy puzzle, the type we expect on Tuesday, so I say no harm no foul.

Unknown 9:36 AM  

Yes, a fun Tuesday puzzle. Inauguration Day may be easy, but like the NYT puzzles I suspect what follows will get progressively harder. Enjoy the day.

I think there are four theme answer and some related fill. It happens pretty often doesn't it? I think BIDEN won't be the center of things very often going forward.

Ashih's 25 letter puzzle was fun. Thanks for sharing it.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:41 AM  

Glad to see this clever, theme-rich and layered puzzle today, even if the solving was very simple!

I see our friend, Edgar Allen Poe (32A), decided to stick around from yesterday.

In the "Everybody's a Constructor" Department: One answer I did not like was 59A, Michael VICK, convicted dogfight promoter. It would have been so easy to change 56A to LAIN, and 59A to VICE (another tie-in to JOE BIDEN!), yielding that old crossword favorite NENES for 49D.

Jeffrey 9:53 AM  

If you didn't guess what the theme was before starting, please return your Will Shortz Decoder Ring. Good stuff for a Tuesday.

Happy 60th birthday to one of my staff, NotACrossman.

Happy 18th birthday to my nephew, no longer Crossboy.

Happy day to everyone else. On behalf of those who are considered "Foreign" by the ACPT (ie the rest of the world), welcome back. We missed you.

treedweller 10:02 AM  

OK, I agree. Enough already. I'm delighted to have our first black president, and ecstatic to be done with Bush at last, but I'm also glad we're almost done with the festivities and ready to get down to business. (I am looking forward to a friend's planned celebration: he is packing a Bush piñata with fireworks and blowing it to smithereens.)

As for the puzzle itself, it is pretty easy but impressive in its theme density. If it weren't the third Obama puzzle we'd seen recently, I would have no qualms about it.

My only real delay in filling squares came when I tried Kyra instead of EDIE Sedgwick. Never heard of the latter, but the crosses made it impossible to deny.

Here's hoping the new pres is up to the incredible challenges he faces. You could not have paid me enough to take that job ever, but especially not right now.

Alex S. 10:07 AM  

Yeah, definitely tired of Obama puzzles. Maybe Shortz is hoping to get an edition of Obama puzzles into stores before the Honeymoon is over.

(This is not bitterness about Obama, I am quite happy to see him in office, but after however many puzzles and 530 straight hours of pre-inauguration coverage on every station including TV Land and ESPN 6 I'm pretty much wishing this historic moment would be over already.)

More annoyed by the fact that it wasn't until about 12 hours later that I figured out how to parse BTWO. "What's a bat-woe bomber? Maybe it is bit-woe?" I kept asking myself.

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

Well,if this puzzle was NOT an Obama one that would be news. Nice and easy. I think we can live through one more day of hoopla--then down to business. I wish there was not so much emphasis on his color--the hope was that that was not his defining trait--maybe we can forget that, too, as he gets going, judging him "on the content of his character" to quote another icon.

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

Sam Hall:

Why don't you construct some of the puzzles you'd like to see in the world? Distribute them for free on the internet with viewpoints that you'd like to be touched upon and, if they're done well, we will do them.

I would like to think that all of us crossword junkies (yourself included) are smart enough to be able to divorce our own personal views from important days/people that are to be recognized in crosswords. Now I admit the Obama-themes are getting a little old, but not necessarily because of "bias" (what's the point of bias when the election is already over?), just because of predictability. As somebody who sounds as though they've been covering the crossworld for a while now, you really shouldn't have been too surprised about today's theme (and I hope you can acknowledge that, in terms of density, it was done really well). I'm sure you can understand why a lot of people are excited about what is taking place today, and their excitement is going to spill over into what they do or how they show it. It may seem like a lot, but really today will probably be the last day, so just ride it out.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  



Anonymous 10:24 AM  

Where the F*** is my puzzle? My copy of the NYTimes says it's on page C7, and all we've got there is crap movie ads

Ulrich 10:32 AM  

I look at it this way: I compare each Obama puzzle I do to the others I've done and rank it relative to those. In other words, if I can't avoid them, I try to do something with the situation, rather than wander off into a corner and sulk. And in that light, today's puzzle is right up there, for all the reasons Rex listed--with the big O in the center, I would even call it "elegant" (thx for pointing out the ORAL/OVAL coincidence--I was flying through the puzzle so fast, I didn't notice anything incidental).

jubjub 10:33 AM  

This puzzle seemed to epitomize the enough-already-ness of the Obama-themed puzzles, in that there were just so many random Obama-based clues in there (e.g. BAR), and even the long theme answers seemed a little forced to me. Less is more sometimes, I guess.

Of course, to add a little more Obama to the puzzle, and maybe even a little balance, ELITE could have been clued as something like "Label for 52-Across, to some".

Had trouble with the DAIS/ODEON clue, going to have to look up DAIS now ... oh.

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

What am I missing? I cannot figure out the eight circled letters. There is neither a clue nor an annotation.

jubjub 10:46 AM  


the circled letters spell out YES WE CAN. They're also a big O for Obama.

fikink 11:04 AM  

Today is Babbette's Feast for students of history and language. I think we may indulge after an ARID eight years.

ArtLvr 11:13 AM  

If you are reading these comments and also watching the DC pageantry on TV, I hope you caught a glimpse of the gal with the T-shirt which had Pres. Obama as caped action figure with a big O, a great take-off on Superman. So much enthusiasm for this historic moment... Enjoy! We deserve a day of good feeling to share with the world.


dk 11:13 AM  


Happy our new best friends POE and BAER are back to join the party. As many of us have opined the puzzles do reflect a point in time. For example when was the last time you were clued Bamba's Aunt? Thus, we should expect to see the themes we are seeing.

This is a Tuesday puzzle not to hot, not to cold... whoops those are the other bears.

Here in the world of work most 11 AM CST meetings have been canceled and the internet connection are slower than molasses in SNOW.


allan 11:20 AM  

To all the nay sayers out there, thanks for raining on the parade. Like it or not, this is an historic event for our nation.

As far as the puzzle goes, it was OK. Once again, I learned the necessity to proofread after finishing. Had I, I probably would have realized that 40a was not ELA, crossing with 32d PDA.

allan 11:23 AM  

@ArtLvr: I couldn't agree more.

allan 11:30 AM  

Sorry, one more thing.

@Rex: Thanks for the great Natalie Merchant video. Who was that guy she was singing with again?

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

Sam Hall, I don't get it, Obama walks on DILL and is the second coming of PDF?

Anonymous 11:35 AM  

I guess I am one of the few who is not tired of Obama puzzles- I am so thrilled I would love a couple more. Didn't connect the circle with an O until I came here. Duh.

As I was reading Rex's comment re: oval/oral, Bill Clinton
walked by-ha!

@fikink- I agree. Loved that movie.
@artlvr- saw the shirt.


Anonymous 11:56 AM  

Anonymous 11:33...Haha! That was good!

But seriously people, I'm not trying to rain on any parade. I am thrilled that the worst president in history is gone. So anything is better. It just seems dangerous to place so much adoration and god-like qualities on a politician. I have lived through a lot of innauguration days and have never seen this mass-hysteria before. Enough already. What do people really expect of Obama? Divine powers to cure America's problems? Crown him Augustus?

Years ago, my grandfather told me, "never fall in love with a politician: they'll break your heart every time."

Greene 12:10 PM  

Agree with most here: greatly looking forward to the inauguration, but certainly ready to have some non-Obama themed puzzles again. I found the phrase CAMPAIGN RIVALRY so off kilter that I actually ran aground briefly in the southeast.

Mabel Normand was the subject of a shortlived Broadway musical, Mack and Mabel, which played the Majestic Theatre for about 2 months in 1974 and starred Robert Preston and Bernadette Peters. The show chronicled the on again, off again romantic affair of Normand with silent film director Mack Sennett (of Keystone Kops fame). The show was unsuccessful, but had a terrific score and did much to establish Ms. Peters reputation as a performer of star caliber. Recalling her belting out "Wherever He Ain't" is a fond theatrical memory, especially potent because, at the time, I had no idea who she was.

The ice dancing team Torvill and Dean renewed interest in the score when they used the overture in a memorable gold medal winning performance back at the 1982 winter olympics.

Greene 12:23 PM  

@fikink: I can't think of the film Babette's Feast without being reminded of an old Gary Larson Far Side cartoon which featured a hospital ward filled with grimacing patients. The title? Babette's Botulism: The Sequel.

I know, I know, shame on me. Think I'll go rain on somebody else's parade for a while.

Big City. Small Planet. 12:31 PM  

I had to wonder about ELITE, OVERPAID and TIME TO GO in an inaugural-themed puzzle. The last, I suspect, was a message to our outgoing President. And, speaking of Clinton, let's hope the new one stays ENROBED!

Doug 12:33 PM  

I'm on the SOFA watching OBAMA's speech. He stumbled on the oath a couple of times, so he's human and he chuckled about it. I'm sure it will be all over the news!

I don't mind some repetitious Obama fill at all. People, EVERY DAY for YEARS you have happily filled in EGO, ERA, EON, APER and ION without complaint. A couple repeats of a big event and you long for the good old days of puns and MEAT ball themes? Carpe diem, it's a good one!

elitza 12:34 PM  

Really dug HEW/JEW/JOE/POE.

That's all I've got today. I've been drinking mimosas and crying, so my mind isn't entirely 100% at the moment.

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

Nice Tuesday puzzle...but KYRA held up my south for a couple of seconds...especially since I was expecting BARRACK somewhere in the theme answer!

Thanks to RP for pointing out the OVAL/ORAL...that's why I come here, I never notice these things!

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

@ JubJub - thanks.

Anonymous 1:07 PM  

OMG! BTWO... BY THE WAY OF? What's that got to do with bombers? I thought for sure someone would give that a WTF(!?) rating. Took me hours to see that it means B-2. Must have had a mini stroke today. Otherwise, easy; liked the O circle and the YES WE CAN. Gotta expect an Obama-themed puzzle today of all days, dontcha?

chefbea 1:15 PM  

Liked the puzzle and loved watching the whole thing on TV.

Didnt get the yes we can til I got here.

What is a btwo bomber?

And I sort of appeared in the puzzle although I don't sport one of those hairdos.

Now I get it b-two. Thanks obertb

allan 1:17 PM  

@ Sam Hall: I don't think it is as much about the "adoration and god-like qualities" as you seem to interpret, but rather about the historical aspect of the event. Just seven score and three years ago, a major conflict was about to end; a war fought over freeing a people from slavery (as well as other things).

This is truly a great step forward for this nation, as less than fifty years ago, people of color were denied the rights that many of us take for granted.

So please "Don't stand in the doorway, don't up block the halls."


Anonymous 1:25 PM  

It's unfortunate that the Times puzzle failed to commemorate the magnitude of this Inaugural Day. President Obama is the leader of The United States of America, not "America" . . a distinction we learned in grammar school. We hope the NYT editors dedicate themselves to CHANGE, and embrace literacy.

Congratulations to our new President!

fikink 1:29 PM  

@allan, I like the story I just heard about a black man who was confronted by his granddaughter (who was learning about Rosa Parks in school). She said, "What's the big deal? I wouldn't move to the back of the bus either!"
Maybe Master Hall is very young. ;-)

@jeremiah, good eye! And did you notice, for once, President Obama said, "God bless the United States of America." I tell you, he will change our speech too!

God bless President Obama.

Doc John 1:45 PM  

Yes, I have my Shortz decoder ring. Of course there was going to be an Obama puzzle today. I even figured out what the circled letters spelled out after only the Y. That doesn't explain the earlier puzzles but this one belongs here.


I enjoyed the puzzle and thought the fill was fun and fresh. Even CAMPAIGN RIVALRY didn't bother me.

Another interesting (to me, anyway) bit of synchronicity- last night at band practice, the conductor said he was going to conduct a particular section of a piece "in eight". I mused that that was an inborn rhythm- INNATE. Everyone (rightfully) groaned. Andrea, is there a word for thinking of a crossword answer in advance?

Fave word- ODEON. I just love that word for some reason!

*Begin rant*

Obama's god-like status keeps slipping every time he "accidently" snubs the gay community. (The latest being Bishop Robinson's exclusion from the airing of the We Are One concert. Let's see if that happens to You-Know-Who from California.) I'm not holding my breath about the repeal of "don't ask don't tell", either.

*End rant*

Anonymous 2:15 PM  

YESWECAN is just another fellow to hold the presidency LEADEROFTHE FREEWORLDUNIVERSE.

The CHANGEISCOMING will be that he has to CHANGE his PROMISES, just as every other SCHLUB before him.

WELCOME to the world, I wish him luck, he cannot help but improve on the last fellow.

And a BAHHUMBUG to those upset with HONORBLACKMAN the other day, get real. It is an honor for all black men and women that he is being so HONOURED.

joho 2:37 PM  

I thought this a better than average Tuesday. And, for Heaven's sake, what better day to run an Obama puzzle?

It's definitely time to bring back the beehive.

And don't forget: Ask not if your puzzle is too big or too small, ask if it works.

Shamik 2:38 PM  

@treedweller: I want to go to your friend's pinata party.

Started my online RN refresher course, so won't be posting at length as much. Felt guilty when husband caught me solving a puzzle instead of poring into Module I.

And I rejoice for today and agree with the hard times ahead that we are all responsible for making better...a la the inaugural speech.

Oh yeah, the puzzle? Tuesday easy. Sorry for lying about not writing at length.

Ladel 2:44 PM  

Just a few parties to get thru and then the work begins.

There's a wonderful novel, Call It Sleep by Henry Roth, tells of a difficult childhood thru the eyes of an eight year old.

At the end, having survived, the child looks back upon that difficult time and calls it sleep. Today's theme was appropriate to the day, president Obama's day and our awakening from the nightmare.

Anonymous 2:58 PM  

Let the work begin! "Roll up those sleeves!"

I'm ready for my house to be paid off, free health care, free groceries, free gas, a new car, and my bailout package to begin tomorrow!

jae 3:17 PM  

Enjoyable puzzle on a momentous day. It feels good to be an American once again. Easy for me, but I did try NOTNOW, ENT, ALIST, and briefly BARACK at the start of 52a.

@Doug -- my wife tells me it was Justice Stevens that actually muffed the oath and Obama had to adapt. Not sure if this is true?

Anonymous 3:27 PM  

I got the puzzle late today and stopped watching TV to do it. When I walked back into my office, I saw that medical personnel had been called into the luncheon and simply felt sick until I heard the reason. It made me realize how unbelievably tense I feel. Anyway, to the puzzle. I guess the ones who are complaining about the political world invading our crossworld world are really complaining today. But I thought it was easy and finished it in no time at all. I began by looking at the circles and knew what was up as soon as I saw clue #20. And I noticed that Poe was front and center.

chefwen 3:44 PM  

Ya Basta, may we now get back to our regularly scheduled programming?

dk 3:46 PM  

The B-2 Bomber is an example of a defense project designed by committee. Carter pulled the plug on the project but it was restarted by the next administration. The project had significant cost overruns and included many "pet" features and functions. One (I think) was an ejection seat that was essentially worthless given the way the plane flew (@evil doug may be able to help here) The plane was constructed in hanger that had three colored rings around the plane. Crossing the inner most ring without a pass was/could be fatal.

Doug 3:49 PM  

@jae: Yes, it was confirmed afterwards that Roberts changed the order of the word "faithfully" and Obama halted for a sec before repeating the oath in its proper sequence. It must have been the presence of highly misunderestimated Pres. Bush that threw them off.

They shared a mutual chuckle at the lunch over it. Then Obama announced the Roberts resignation.

ROBERTS: … that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully…

OBAMA: … that I will execute…

ROBERTS: … faithfully the office of president of the United States…

OBAMA: … the office of president of the United States faithfully…

Anonymous 3:52 PM  

According to one of my blogs, Justice Roberts misplaced some of the words in the oath, Obama realized it, and consequently they both were stumbling and fumbling for a time. I thought it was fine, it showed that people aren't perfect, not even surpreme court justices and presidents, and that when you make a mistake, you fix it as best you can and move on. At least I hope we have learned that.

jae 4:16 PM  

And, speaking of not perfect, I meant Roberts, not Stevens, D'oh!

Hmm -- on 1/20/05 the Times ran a themeless puzzle by Manny Nosowsky.

Anonymous 4:25 PM  

Today is a joyous day, and the puzzle theme added to it. And for my personal pleasure, it had Joe crossing Jew. Terrific.

So reluctantly I point out one geekish nit to pick: 32D - suffix for many a computer attachment.

Uh, no. Correction: suffix for many an email attachment. Or: suffix for many a computer file.


-----> Joe/Jew in NYC

Anonymous 4:55 PM  

"Themeless" ...Bush inaugural...seems appropriate.

Orange 5:26 PM  

I hope Anonymous from 10:24 this morning flipped through his or her paper a little more carefully and found the crossword on page C7. I hear the movie ad was page D7, snuck into the mix with section C. Whatever. I rarely buy the dead-tree newspaper because I'm doing my level best to bring down the whole newspaper industry. (Not really. But I do prefer to get my news online.)

I liked the puzzle, but I must say, I liked Rex's write-up even more.

PlantieBea 5:50 PM  

I liked the puzzle and thought it was very easy, so easy that I put it aside not even remembering to check the theme. Glad I came here to be reminded.

Easy puzzle, great speech, and joyous though cold day. Reality sets back in tomorrow, I'm sure. Off to make celebratory brats.

allan 6:10 PM  

@ PlantieBea: Hope you weren't blogging while making those brats. Now that would be one heck of a multitask.

SethG 6:16 PM  

I'm feeling Audaci[ous], someone accidentally sent Jill a check for $500,000 today, and Poe makes me think of Baltimore and ravens. This is turning into a very good week!

Soul Solver 6:17 PM  

Today was a very special day indeed.

R.E.M. and JEW both appeared in the puzzle, summing me up both musically and ethnically.

And I love your plans, PlantieBea! There are undoubtedly lots of inspired and invigorated folks making celebratory brats today. We'll know in nine months. That is what you meant, right?

sillygoose 6:17 PM  

This was a fun puzzle. Maybe we can do another like it in four years. :-)

What I really want is a puzzle that celebrates the stock market rebounding to over 10,000. I wouldn't get sick of those.

Anonymous 7:06 PM  

EVERY US presidential inauguration is an historic event - regardless of the color of his/her skin.


Rex Parker 7:24 PM  

EVERY pronoun is an important event - I will not stop until every pronoun has the referent it so richly deserves! I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it any more. No more wire hangers! Etc.


Glitch 7:27 PM  

Hi Orange,

I usual do the dead tree edition as I actually read the rest of the paper (me: believe it or not).

Today,no matter how hard anon 10:24 looks, the puzzle may not have been found.

In the copy edition delivered to me, the index said C7, movie ads there, D7 no ads, no puzzle, a quick run thru ALL pages, no puzzle.

Those anti the dead tree community shall not be sarcastic to those that (for whatever reason) are pro.

As for trying to bring down the newspaper industry, do you think the puzzle is not a part of it???

Enough of this site today, I appreciate sharing all the politics / events of today (really), but I'm off to some of the news sites, in search of commentary on todays's puzzle.


As a

nancy 7:28 PM  

This was the most enjoyable puzzle I have ever done! I laughed, I cried and squealed with glee. This was a great tribute to our new President, Barack Obama and to the hope many of us now have. Thank you Tim and Will.

PlantieBea 7:29 PM  

@allan and Soul Solver,

I suppose that's what I get for posting a sentence using the abbreviated bratwurst to a group accustomed to puzzling out every possible word definition.

As for said brats--they have just been transfered out of their beer simmer to the second cooking stage on the grill; soon they will be ready for consumption by my teenagers. DH, fellow bratmaker, is probably just stepping on a plane to come home from Asia. Enough said!

edith b 7:39 PM  

You know what I liked about this puzzle? The fact that it was an old fashisioned, typical puzzle with a lot of fill that complemented the theme.

The long downs were clunky, to be sure, but I liked that, too. So shoot me.

I think it served as an antidote to the complicated puzzles on Mr Obama that we have been served up and, just perhaps, will serve as a bookend that ends this cycle.

And besides, I eat Smoked Chine with Sourcroot all the time, doesn't everybody? I think it is a perfect oompanion to Haliboot in Choive Sauce.

Anonymous 7:53 PM  

Please allow me to have the audacity to hope that this is the last fawning-over-Obama puzzle I have to see for a while. Some of us, believe it or not, don't particularly care for the guy. Historic day, yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever, but one puzzle should've been enough.

allan 7:54 PM  

@ PlantieBea: What did you think I meant? Making bratwurst and blogging at the same time is one heck of a multitask! LOL

joho 8:03 PM  

@PlantieBea ... so funny, I just read the comments about your comment. The first thing I thought when I read it was why are you talking about making babies and how come all your kids are misbehaved.

Glitch 8:21 PM  

Just so my previous comment wasn't misconstrued

I LIKE puzzles relating to a particular day /current events.

This one no exception.

Valentines Day, April Fools, 4th July, Thanksgiving, Xmas --- almost disappointed when they don't "connect".

My general philosphy:

Sometime a puzzle is just a puzle (apologies to Freud).


Glitch 8:22 PM  

add another z to previous post, wherever you like.


Anonymous 8:28 PM  

@ Rex: hang tough on the pronouns. I am your man on that point! My wife, sadly, is addicted to pronouns but has apparently taken overdoses of an Antabuse-equivalent for referents.

@ Ashish Vengsarkar if you are on this blog: LOVED your almost pangram puzzle. FAR neater than the NYT puzzle today IMO.

Ulrich 9:10 PM  

@rex: Count me in when it comes to the pronoun/referent posse--but could you ask your friend in Berlin what language the sign was (supposed to be) written in? Especially, what the hell is "chine"? I have no clue.

Anonymous 9:14 PM  

If the puzzle today had not been about Obama, I would have been disappointed. And it was a good puzzle...

I could have done without Michael Vick.

Anonymous 9:47 PM  

i am with you, retired maker of concoctions - we needed this comic relief of Ashish to alleviate the overdose of politics. Suggest to readers the advertised reading of Webster Tarpley on Ashish's puzzle site.

mac 9:57 PM  

And I finally remembered that PDA, but this one needed a PDF.... Ela was just fine with me, just like Eloi. Also thought I aced Kyra. For 56D I kept wanting to squeeze in 44! It was a fun puzzle, easy Tuesday, appropriate subject of course, and nobody and nothing can kill today.

@Orange: don't say that! I have a journalist son looking for a job.

foodie 10:48 PM  

@mac, I agree. Only good thoughts today.

allan 11:40 PM  

Has anyone else noticed that Rex and Retired_Chemist are speaking their own language, possibly speaking in tounges? Either that or they are bandying sub rosa antidiluvian messages.

AV 12:17 AM  

@Retired Chemist: Thanks! Across the blogosphere, you are seeing many of the tongue-in-cheek puzzles that must have been submitted to the mainstream media.

Now I need to go look up the ad you mention!


AV 12:19 AM  

Oops, the ad that anonymous mentions!

[It doesn't matter, we have all moved on to Wednesday's puzzle by now!]


Anonymous 12:54 AM  

I just want to say that I spent many a teenage year madly in love with Natalie Merchant (in the R.E.M. video, so my confession is semi-relevant). Thanks. I worked for the Obama campaign, and I would say I am even a little tired of the Obama puzzles. Though, I liked the comments on Sunday (Manitoba Mama, Loved it!).

Anonymous 7:16 AM  

@ Ulrich:


chine¹ Definition

chine (c̸hīn)


1. the backbone; spine
2. a cut of meat containing part of the backbone

So it could be English. Or a misspelling like sourcroot.

Don't know if anybody else is still on the Tue blog. If not, hello to Syn City (in 5 weeks) from a recent escapee. (Shouldn't it be "escaper?" But it isn't......)

Bob Kerfuffle 7:33 AM  

@Allan - If you are following Rex and Retired Chemist's exchange only through Comments, as I was, they don't make sense. You must go back to Tuesday's original blog - I'm sure there is a picture there which was only posted after the comment exchange began.

(I'm all in favor of Obama, but "Pick yourself up, dust yourself off", start all over again????)

j-vt 7:42 AM  

50 across seemed like a theme answer for a puzzle I did just after the inauguration: "Now what"?

Anonymous 7:52 AM  

@ Bob Kerfluffle and Allan - Rex is not a contributor to the confusion - blame only me. I was responding to his point about the overuse of pronouns without clear referents, not to anything else in the puzzle or blog. Rex's point touched a nerve. Sorry - this is getting off topic.

Anonymous 4:25 PM  

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