Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009 &mdash Brendan Emmett Quigley (Finnish architect Alvar / Like Petruchio's wench in "The Taming of the Shrew")

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Word of the Day: CRI DE COEUR — An impassioned outcry, as of entreaty or protest. (

Hey, everybody. PuzzleGirl here, filling in at the last minute for the Brooklyn–bound Rex Parker. This is going to be a quick write-up. For reasons that are not very interesting at all, I didn't get to the puzzle until midnight and now I'm really tired. And I have a million things to do tomorrow before I can take off for the tournament Friday morning. What? You're bored with this already? Okay, me too.

Awesome puzzle today, which is exactly what one (e.g., SethG) would expect from BEQ. My first time through the acrosses I penciled in two, maybe three answers, and felt a sense of dread. I thought to myself, "No! Brendan! No! I've always loved your puzzles! Don't give me an impossible solve the day before the tournament! Please don't shatter my confidence now of all times! Especially when I'm blogging for Rex! That would be so unfair! Me! Me! Me!" (The vast majority of my internal rants end Exactly. Like. That.) But I plugged away at it and with a few guesses here and there, the puzzle fell quite quickly. (Get it? Quite Quickly? Because the theme ...? With the Qs ... ?)

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Residence (living quarters)
  • 25A: It has to be asked (burning question)
  • 43A: Alumni weekend V.I.P. (homecoming queen)
  • 48A: Many Haydn compositions (string quartets)

  • 1A: Toastmaster's offering (joke) — I'm all "Um ... toast? No, that can't be right."
  • 17A: Delft, e.g. (ware) — It's that blue and white pottery from the Netherlands. Pretty!
  • 34A: Troubled (ate at) — It always takes me Way Too Long to parse this.
  • 38A: Common origami figures (boats) — You wanted cranes, didn't you? So did I. And then I wanted bowls because PuzzleDaughter actually brought an origami bowl home from school the other day. (Her commentary: "This was Really Hard to make!")
  • 46A: 1961 Top 10 hit "Hello Mary ____" (Lou) — Ricky Nelson!

  • 47A: Texans' grp. (AFC) — Once again, I'm reminded how long it's been since I paid any attention to football. I'll give you a hint, the Arizona Cardinals were in St. Louis and the St. Louis Rams were in L.A. And Carolina didn't have a team. Which made sense because Carolina is not, ya know, an actual state.
  • 56A: It comes from Mars (Twix) — I think you'll be amazed at how many different flavors of Twix there are. How come Orange Twix and Cappuccino Twix are only available in Poland??
  • 61A: Finnish architect Alvar _____ (Aalto) — The original Aalto Vase was displayed at the 1937 World's Fair in Paris.
  • 63A: Something in the air (odor) — Eww.
  • 1D: Wandering _____ (Jew) — I'm sure nobody has anything to say about this.
  • 4D: Matinee showing time, maybe (eleven a.m.) — That seems awfully early, but I do remember catching an 11am movie one year on Christmas Day.
  • 10D: "Vamoose!" ("Beat it!") — Michael Jackson!

  • 13D: Reno's AAA baseball team (Aces) — Whatever you say!
  • 26D: "In _____" (1993 #1 album) (Utero) — In my head I had this album cover mixed up with the one for "Nevermind," which I wanted to post here and see if I could get the blog flagged again while Rex has his back turned. But ... never mind.
  • 33D: Coolpix camera maker (Nikon) — Originally entered Canon, until I realized the a wouldn't work for the Random Roman Date — 36A: Middle year of Nero's reign (LXI).
  • 49D: Lacking depth (two-d) — I'm guessing some people had trouble with this one.
  • 50D: Opposite of pobre (rico) — I was going to include the video of "Rico Suave" but I decided not to. You're welcome.
  • 53D: Certain castrato (alto) — I looked up the word castrato and I kind of wish I hadn't.
I know there's a lot I missed. Please have at it in the comments!

Love, PuzzleGirl


retired_chemist 2:52 AM  

Is "two words of the form *ing qu*" (* = letter sequence of arbitrary length) a theme? Is there something more unifying that I am missing?

AALTO (61A) crossing ALTO (53D)? Kinda straange.

The complete 18A clue above the puzzle in Across Lite was in 4 point type on my Mac and totally unreadable. Anyone else have that problem? I guessed AN ART correctly from the partial clue in the clue list sidebar.

Guessed LVI with no crosses for 36A "middle year of Nero's reign" and almost left it when 2 out of the 3 letters were right. Based on past mistakes I now check downs too, and I KNEW the flower wasn't OVEYE (32D).

BEQ got me on 58A/59D for which I had PRES/SAP instead of PREZ/ZAP. Knew a SAPPER was a blackjack and convinced myself that if one (metaphorically) "deleted" (someone) in one quick stroke with a SAPPER, the verb would be SAP. It is, but that's a stretch. Never thought to look for the Z, which is the superior entry. Sometimes you trick yourself into rationalizing what you're doing instead of giving it up and doing the right thing. Who says crosswords don't offer life lessons?

All in all a very enjoyable solve.

sillygoose 4:04 AM  

LOL on the write-up.

I always expect Thursday puzzles to have a rebus theme and I didn't have much on the first pass, but then I decided to try more Scrabbly letters and ZAP!
OK, not zap, but you know, I got my start.

I had a mistake, TRIX/TROD instead of TWIX/TWO-D for the longest time because of that same rationalization thing that R_C just mentioned. Obviously trod makes no sense but I had some good reasons in my head, and I am not the best parser so twod looked wrong for a while. A long while.

If we hadn't just had "troubled" cluing "ate at" on Sun. I would have missed that too. On Sunday I had At sea as my answer, and when I finally got ATE AT through crosses (and some cheating) I had to ask Dad what on earth a teat had to do with trouble.

(Plenty, I'm sure! Seeing JOKE over EVIL just sort of fans the imagination....)

Anonymous 6:59 AM  

Yay, a BEQ I said as I started the puzzle -

Now I did wonder in a previous post if Mr. Shortz places puzzles by my favorite constructors as a setup for the ACPT, and I had hoped for Blindauer on Thursday and a Quigley on a Friday.

Well, my theory is still out there and I got my Quigley on Thursday - but, but, where's the theme?

Why do I get a kick-ass diagonally upside down backtosquareone on his free blog puzzle and a mere GQ theme in a Thu NYT?

I think Mr. Quigley is holding out on us, or just proving the point that his free blog puzzles are worth visiting every other day!

So, who tomorrow, Karen Tracey? Personally, I don't remember many Friday themeless constructors (Nothnagel was already on in the recent past).


Anonymous 7:25 AM  

@retired_chemist--You can do two things to read long clues. 1)Scroll over the clue at the right, and it will appear in complete form in a popup box. 2) Click on the vertical line dividing the grid section and the clue section and drag it to the left until the entire clue shows. Then drag it back again to return your grid to its normal position and size.

Anonymous 7:30 AM  

BTW, shouldn't 1D be Wandering JEWISH PERSON?

joho 7:34 AM  

Hey, PuzzleGirl: tired or not, your writeup is first rate!

The puzzle, too! I guess it's an homage to his own name.

Unfortunatley I ended up with one mistake. I had SAUTE not SAUCE PAN ... SO AFT, instead of AFC. If I had really thought about it I think I would have changed the "T" to a "C."

But I didn't! Still a great puzzle. Thanks BEQ!

foodie 8:08 AM  

Agree that this is a wonderful puzzle, specifically because it seems impossible at first, yet unfolds beautifully. Great cluing that made me smile (e.g. "its home is on the range").

Many wrong starts, that were fun in their own right. For a while, my puzzle had a BUSTY Wench with a Wandering EYE...

Oh, and the theme... why can't it be about the form of the phrase, rather than content? Somehow, there is something very modern about that (in the sense of modern design).

Great write up Puzzle Girl. I'm so impressed by how you are able to step in at the last minute and do right by all the facets of Rex's blog.

Rex Parker 8:27 AM  

Nearly fell in the AFT/SAUTE PAN trap myself, but my brain would not allow AFT to stand until I figured out what it meant. I had AFL at first. ... Eventually AFC showed up.

Yes, challengingesque this was. Clue on EVIL was horribly hard. Never heard of KIRI. Or ILENE. Had A GAME for AN ART for a bit. Didn't know ACES. BROUGHAM is something I'm sure I've heard / seen, but it wasn't coming quickly today. PLAN TO instead of PLAN ON, which made EMT a kind of music one might hear ... I thought "there's a genre I'm not interested in hearing."

Top was the roughest. Middle / bottom much more tractable. Love all the Qs. A good BEQ.

NYC is lovely. Had dinner at Prohibition last night with someone I know only from the blogosphere. She's taking me to MoMA today, and to dinner somewhere on the Upper West Side tonight. And yes, my wife knows All about it. But I'll be wandering midtown in the afternoon if anyone wants to have hot chocolate / people watch ... I'm the pale tall guy with the glasses and the "Speight's" beer hat.


Orange 8:37 AM  

@Steve L: That "mouse over the clue and see it in a pop-up" feature doesn't exist in the Mac version of Across Lite. @Chemist, what I do for such clues is pause the timer and resize the window so that it's super wide and squeeze either the puzzle or the clue list down to nothingness so I can read the clue in the other part, then return everything to its original dimensions and start the timer ticking again. Wait, I missed a step: cursing the editor and constructor for writing such a long clue.

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

I liked this puzzle, but didn't think much of the theme, either. I have started to find myself solving puzzles and saying, "Ooh, I bet Rex is going to hate that answer." I thought for sure the theme would get slammed today, especially using "quarters/quartets"; which, for me, are too close to the same word to be valid. Also; two plurals/two non-plurals in the theme.

Funny part of solving, at least for me. I did the puzzle right before going to sleep last night, and the last thing I filled in was the SW, with the "twix/twod" cross. My handwriting is not the best, and I had forgotten by then that 63A was "odor", and read my "d" as a "p"; which gave me "twop" as "lacking depth". I had never seen "twop" before, so I searched it on Yahoo, and it is a created word that describes TV shows by mocking them, often by saying they are shallow and lacking depth, short for "Television Without Pity". Which, of course, at 1230am, made perfect sense for the clue. It wasn't until this morning, reading the blog, that I realized the error of my ways. Perhaps we will see "twop" sometime in the future.

Chorister 8:49 AM  

Left the sautepan because I didn't know/care from AFC (Arkansas Fried Chicken?)

Knew brougham from reading all of Jane Austen. Many times.

Am SO GLAD it wasn't just me who had trod for way too long.

I amaze myself sometimes with all the music stuff I don't know. Today it was castrati - I thought they were all sopranos. But then opera isn't my first love so I give myself a pass.

No problems reading the clue on my ibook.

I loved this puzzle, but can I please just quibble over Roman dates du jour?

Ulrich 8:50 AM  

@steve l at 7:30: Absolutely--what was BEQ thinking?

This was the first time ever that I felt in sync with BEQ--he normally gives me fits b/c we clearly live in parallel or non-overlapping universes--not this time. Found this one easier than Wednesday's or Tuesday's, each of which contained a basically unresolvable pocket for me.

I fully understand BEQ's fondness for the letter "q"--with a name like his, I would feel the same. But w.r.t. to the theme of this puzzle, I also feel like I'm missing something.

Anonymous 8:50 AM  

How come Brendan's blog puzzles have clever themes and this one
has a lame repeat-letter theme?
I don't get it.


treedweller 8:53 AM  

I think if BEQ had a Monday puzzle, he'd find a way to phrase something or use something pop-culture that would cause me to have a mistake.

Today, I had several. First, I stuck quintets in reflexively (not really related to the above BEQ statement), then stared endlessly at GAn__N and IL__ without considering the alternative. Since I never heard of AALTO, I ended up googling for GARSON when I finally gave up. Then I somehow got it in my head that it was "castrati" and tried "alti" and "my sin."

Then I submitted, found the ALTO, and still had a mistake. Turned it up at the Z mentioned by retired_chemist. And still had a mistake. Finally, I got a happy message from the applet after I corrected Kiki/wake in the NW.

I'm glad I've been doing a lot of BEQ's puzzles on his own site (but not the one just spoiled by JohnG, thank you very much), since I kind of expect this. I'd always like to be error-free, but this failure isn't leading me to another crisis of confidence right before the tournament that a similar experience would were the puzzle someone else's.

Anyway, I still enjoy them, as I did this one. Thanks, BEQ.

dk 8:57 AM  

Solvers at the tourney. Yesterdays NYT told you where to go in Brklyn for food. The article also referenced Stumptown Roasters (from Portland O) Coffee and that may be the breakfast of champions if you get my drift (not Delft). That said, If you can get to 9th Avenue Roasters for espresso you will have been to caffeine heaven.

Again, solve well my blog buddies.

I do BEQ puzzles more than a few times every week so of course I think I got his number and of course I am wrong.

This puzzle was cute (pun intended) and my missteps were ELIXIR with an e and hires for HURLS.

OXEYE, is that like a wink or something.

Last but not least, I got EMO right off, alas EVIL step children are with their dad so lost bragging rights.

treedweller 9:01 AM  

Oh, and I wonder if we aren't all missing a theme relating to "In GQ", rather than just a repeated Q. I'm still not quite seeing the significance, though.

Kurt 9:08 AM  

I thought that this was a near-perfect Thursday puzzle. I don't need too much theme stimulation at this point in the week, so four long Q-answers was fine with me. I just like a clever puzzle that makes be scratch my head and think. I did some scratching today. But it all came together nicely.

I particularly liked the feast of of nifty letters: J, K, V, Q, X, F, Z ... fourteen of those bad boys by my count. And the clueing was extra-special good.

My favorite had to be "Certain castrato". With A??O, I'm thinking Arlo? (Guthrie) or ALDO? (Ray). Was one of them a eunuch? When I finally tumbled to ALTO, I laughed out loud.

Thanks BEQ

deerfencer 9:18 AM  

I didn't think much of the Q theme either but see some fun stuff within (see below). Made lots of little mistakes that others made. Surprised myself by guessing BROUGHAM as I remembered it was the name of an old Detroit (Buick or Olds I think) boat of a car.

Favorite visual answer combos reading down or across:
ATEAT LUSTY (naughty boy Brendan!)
AXLE ILENE (great CB handle for Large Marge's cab mate, if she had one; see "PeeWee's Great Adventure")

I give BEQ an A- for some good morning giggles and refreshing general wackiness.

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

@Steve I: Wandering Jew is a common house plant.

retired_chemist 9:33 AM  

@ Steve & Orange - you rock! Changing the window appropriately works, though there is no popup box, as Orange said.

Shamik 9:39 AM  

I'm with Joho with the SAUTEPAN. Phooey. I don't think I've gotten a correct puzzle in 3 days. Phooey. Great puzzle, though.

So who WILL be around here to read and comment this weekend?

Xavier 9:40 AM  

I liked this puzzle despite all my mistakes that were only revealed upon reading the write-up. Had wake for WARE because Kiki seemed like a legit name, albeit not a name you expect for a documentarian. I think my brain ignored the "Taming of the Shrew" part of that clue and just focused on wench, which I read as wrench. So, yeah, when I put in RUSTY it made perfect sense to me. And the whole AALTO, ALTO, GARSON crossings really jammed me up.

On the plus side I really dug the TWIX/TWO-D crossing once it finally fell into place. We got a little more info about NEAP tides. Generally a very satisfying puzzle, BEQ.


allan 9:50 AM  

@r_c: I think you are on to something with the "ing qu" thing. But I'm wondering if the theme is simply GQ?

DanaJ 10:11 AM  

Thanks for the nice write-up, PuzzleGirl. I wanted SWANS for "common origami figsures". I was also vexed by TWOD. Had this for 49D, but just couldn't make sense of it. Found no entry for TWOD in Webster's and *still* didn't get it, despite looking right at "two-dimensional" where I thought TWOD might appear. Duh! Have fun in NYC, Rex and all who are at the tourney.

retired_chemist 10:14 AM  

@ allan - OK (he says grumpily, still not liking the theme much, either way)

RodeoToad 10:20 AM  

I had a wrong letter, and it wasn't the one I thought would be wrong (that's been happening quite a bit lately.) I didn't know the BROUGHAM/AALTO crossing, but I got it right. The one that brought me down was KIRI/WARE--I had no idea on either, and figured "delft" might be a word for "wake," maybe Welsh or Dutch or some other consonant-heavy language. So that's what I put. WAKE. And KIKI crossing that. And that's pretty much what I've got to say. About the puzzle. Don't you just find that so fascinating you could scream. You'll never get back this eleven seconds of your life.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

I thought this was a dead on Thursday puzzle, difficult but eminately doable. My only flaw was in the AFC/SAUCEPAN crossing, I started with 47A as _F_, planing to choose later from among NFL, NFC, AFC, then promptly put in SAUTEPAN ignoring
1) There is no such thing as a SAUTEPAN, and
2) AFT was not among my previous three choices.
Someone said something recently about checking the grid?

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

Who screwed up Will's calendar? I thought Wed's puzzle played like a Tuesday and today's like a Friday.

Anyone have this month's GQ magazine? Maybe there is a pic of Brendan in an Armami suit and he's hinting that we should check it out.

allan 10:33 AM  

@ r_c: I am not thrilled by either choice. I'm just puzzled. :0))

ArtLvr 10:42 AM  

Like joho and others, I went with Saute Pan -- last time I wanted that, it corrected itself to Crepe Pan! I apologize for putting the Saute in everone's mind so recently... (It turns out the C of AFC is Conference.)

I enjoyed the puzzle despite ending up with the one booboo. I probably remember BROUGHAM from Sherlock Holmes stories... And we talked about the OXEYE a while ago -- it was European, as I recall, related to the daisy, not as big as a sunflower!

I was glad to see GLOAM, though it's familiar to me only in Roamin' in the Gloamin', a popular Scottish ballad written by Sir Harry Lauder in 1911.

Have fun at the Contest, everyone!


Two Ponies 10:49 AM  

Great Thursday puzzle. Took a while to get started but it all finally fell into place.
I also do BEQ's puzzles on his site but find too many modern music and proper names that are outside of my radar. Thankfully this one was within my scope.
All of my life we had wandering jews as houseplants. I looked for one recently and when I finally found it I saw the name had been changed to wandering Jewel. Puleeze!

fikink 10:49 AM  

A rollicking good time, BEQ. Enjoyed all the fresh cluing, including KIRI not being the soprano.
Really wanted GLIB for "lacking depth," having just seen the clip of Tom Cruise/Matt Lauer. And QUASI and QUAY, bookmarked URLS, GLOAM - just great!

HudsonHawk 10:53 AM  

I finally got rolling on this one and finished with one questionable square glaring at me (so of course it was wrong). Just like Xavier and Wade, I had WAKE/KIKI. I didn't have a clue regarding Delft.

Otherwise, lots of fun. I was expecting lots of B.E. squares somewhere to get the whole BEQ. Oh, well. I'm looking forward to seeing many of you tomorrow night in Brooklyn.

David 10:55 AM  

Argh. I definitely call Natick on the BROOGHAM/AALTO/GARSON crossings---both sides of that answer killed me.

I'm guessing AALTO's known by less than 1/4 of the solving public, though if people disagree on that point let me know. Maybe he's exceptionally famous and I just never encountered his name before. In any case, at two weird vowel spots, he crosses an extremely uncommon noun and a proper name that certainly doesn't strike me as common.

KIRI Davis may have violated the Natick principle, too. But with her, I'm more willing to believe that people know her name---just because she's current. That said, crossing her with the clue Delft bothers me, for obscuring the letter so thoroughly. KIkI seems at least as likely a name as KIRI, if not more so. And since I can't recall solving it before, Delft wasn't inherently more likely to be foreign pottery than it was to be a foreign funeral service. (WAkE)

The puzzle had some good fill---LORCA was an enjoyable gimme. And I actually knew Wandering JEW pretty quickly, through fiction that alludes to that bit of Christian folklore. (Ok, fine, from a comic book character.) Heck, the accidental crossing of UTERO and A TEAT gives me giggles. The puzzle had its nice moments.

That said, particular squares of the grid were just unsolvable for me. I fault myself for not seeing OXEYE, I should know it by now, and I expect a good number of people had heard of SANYO. That one's my own mistake. But in the areas I mentioned above, I think the puzzle itself had problems. Maybe it's fitting that Rex coined the Natick principle after a BEQ puzzle---the man loves his weird proper names.

Anyway, the theme and fill just weren't strong enough to make up for the otherwise sour taste the puzzle left me with.

Unknown 10:56 AM  

Jim's WordPlay blog has a note from BEQ on the puzzle. Although he doesn't say explicitly, I think the theme is simply phrases with Q's. The puzzle is a panagram and I join Wade in drinking to our deceased Dutch relative at their Delft Wake.

jubjub 11:01 AM  

@ArtLvr, I learned GLOAM (well, gloaming) from Radiohead: The Gloaming.

Thanks for the great writeup PuzzleGirl!

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

I was thinking that the cat's away, the mice will play; then Rex showed up to comment. So ... I agree with Opus2 on this. After looking at half the clues and not being sure of anything, I stopped to consider if it was Friday. I finally saw sqft which led to homecoming queen and was finally on my way. The result - I made three dumb errors (which I will not bore you with) and got all the hard stuff, including aalot and twod and kiki. As an aside, now whenever I use -, I wonder what kind of dash it is or if it really is a dash. I still don't know.

Thursday is my favorite day - M-W is too easy, F-S too hard, and S too long. That's based on my skill level and subject to change, of course.

And when I saw Wandering Jew, I thought, well, this should get us over a 100 comments today.

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

Thanks for the all kind words/comments/etc. To all ACPT goers, come on over and say hey. I'm the one who will be standing next to the ravishing Yorkshire lass (aka my wife).

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

Thanks for the all kind words/comments/etc. To all ACPT goers, come on over and say hey. I'm the one who will be standing next to the ravishing Yorkshire lass (aka my wife).

Ulrich 11:09 AM  

@David: Your own comment illustrates how totally subjective the 1/4-of-the public rule is. Aalto an unknown and Lorca a gimmie? I do not think that's how a survey of the general public will turn out (My guess would be that at least 1/4 has heard of neither).

Be this as it may, Aalto's furniture (the famous Aalto chair and stool) and objects of daily use are modern classics to be found in any design museum with some claim of comprehensiveness. His buildings are modern landmarks, too, but less well known outside of architectural circles b/c they don't travel that well.

Bill from NJ 11:12 AM  

@steve l

Don't laugh, I had an uncle who used to rant about the house plant being named "Wandering Jew". As best the family could decipher it, it was some sort of goyishe plot to be anti-Semitic and disrespectful. He could find an anti-Semite under every rock, that one.

Anonymous 11:14 AM  

One more thing. There's a beautiful short story "In the Gloaming" by Alice Dark, which is where I first heard the word. In the story, it refers to to the stages of the day and of life. Really nice.

DJG 11:15 AM  

Sundaes with all the fixings can be delicious, but sometimes I'd rather have a really good vanilla with a tad bit of chocolate syrup. The same goes for my puzzle palate, so I enjoyed this one today.

mac 11:45 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle a lot, although I also fell in a couple of the traps.
Of course Delft ware was a gimme, but for a bit I thought 1D would be eye. LOL, Foodie!
My mistake was in the saute pan, since AF- in Texas means nothing to me. I wanted cranes for my origami, I have a long string of them in my studio.

@Rex: you could get your wife a nice present. The gift shop at MOMA, the one across the street from the main entrance, carries the Aalto vases in three sizes and in different colors. I own a couple of them and they make it very easy to artfully arrange a bunch of flowers. Or to keep a gold fish.

I'm off to NY! Hopefully I'll see a lot of you there.

ArtLvr 11:49 AM  

Anonymous 10:21 states flatly that there's no such thing as a "saute pan", so for all foodies I offer rebuttal by way of ads like these (see google):

Saute Pan - Sale
Saute Pans, Top Brands, In Stock Limited Time Free Shipping on $49+

Shop Saute Pans at CHEFS
Non-stick & stainless saute pans by All-Clad, LeCreuset, Scanpan & more

@ mac -- I wanted Birds for the Origami, or swans since cranes would be too long... Wish I could join you all this weekend. Good eats!


Margaret 11:50 AM  

I knew GLOAM from the movie version of In The Gloaming directed by the late Christopher Reeve.

Fun scrabbly puzzle. I have some Delft WARE so the NW was not the problem for me. It was the SE that gave me some fits. I had a malapop when I put in EXEC where PREZ was supposed to go, only to realize the clue Acct. wanted EXEC, not info. Last letter was the Z in PREZ/ZAP.

A TOAST to the tournament goers: May your wits always be keen and your pencils always be sharp!

David 11:55 AM  

@Ulrich, I agree that it's subjective. And perhaps I should have clarified that LORCA was a personal gimme---I'd agree with you that he's not a common name. I happen to know his name only thanks to a high school English teacher who enjoyed his work. If I were an architecture student who had learned about AALTO, or even just knew his name casually---I would probably respond like I had for LORCA, pleased and positive.

But I still have problems with AALTO as a Natick violator. Firstly, all of LORCA's crosses appear extremely doable. Even if a lot of us never saw the Across, I suspect we'd all have gotten his name spelled properly from the Downs. (It's not as though the Q of IRAQ was in his name, for example.)

But more generally, the puzzle always riffs on our own particular interests. Filling in an odd part of the puzzle is always a nice reward for random wisps of knowledge. I'm all in favor of that. But as I understand it, the whole idea behind Natick is that we don't want a particular square to be effectively impossible for the majority of solvers. It's great if our life stories make a puzzle easier, I'm all in favor of that. But in cases like AALTO, where I suspect a large majority don't recognize it---in those cases, little quirks are necessary, rather than bonuses.

But I appreciate the response. I really needed to get some of that frustration off my chest in the first post, since most of my friends zone out if I talk about crosswords. I fully expect to be called out on any goofs.

I'm still not sold on AALTO's use here, though, as I expect design museums and architectural circles to cater to rather small segments of the population. But I'm totally open to people disagreeing on those points. If you suspect that more than 1/4 of the solving public might recognize his name, I absolutely get that. It's always easy to assume that we reflect the rest of the community; for me to assume most haven't heard of him, or for you to assume they have. Neither's wrong, and yes, to agree with you again, Natick's definitely a subjective call.

To BEQ, btw, since I see you're posting---despite my issues with today's puzzle, I've still got tons of respect for you and the puzzles you've constructed. I hope none of my frustrated ramblings detract from that. I critique cause I care.

And since I forgot---thanks to PuzzleGirl for the write-up!

jae 11:56 AM  

Liked this one alot even with the sketchy theme. Doing 3 BEQ's a week made this a medium for me but I needed my bride's help to fix the TROD/TRIX crossing which just seemed wrong. (Honey, what does Mars make that ends in IX?). She makes candy pizzas for the grandkid's birthdays and is quite familiar with the various varieties of candy bars.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

The AALTO chairs are famous, and I got it. It helped knowing the word BROUGHAM, almost certainly from dictionary browsing--it commonly gets illustrated. Why, I even know it's pronounced "broom".

And Delft WARE is also very famous, but I still went for KIKI/WAKE.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

@treedweller: Oops, apologies for the spoiler. Will watch out when I go on a rant the next time.


Anonymous 12:01 PM  

@Artlvr - I was waiting for this, I Googled too. Cookware manufacturers be damned I say! I'm pretty sure if you look through all 827K Google hits, you'll find that they were all created at 10AM EDT today, just to give lie to my claim. The damned foodie enablers have been out to get me for years.

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

While trying to guess the opposite of pobre, I was looking at --CO. Hmmm, OK, some kind of Spanish gimme, if I only knew. Oh, of course, pobre is cognate with English probe, no, that won't work, how about probity? Uprightness, evenness, calmness, sanity? Sure, and I happily filled in LOCO, which was what my SW was for awhile. Eventually, the poverty of my thought caught up with me.

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

I absolutely love BEQ's puzzles. I would consider this a "themeless puzzle with four related answers", sort of.

I think it is interesting that the Times chose to pick (in my mind) a rather average puzzle of Brendan's. There are many more on his blog that are way better. Yesterday's, for instance, would have made an awesome Thursday NYT puzzle.

My feeling is that The NY Times puzzles are becoming more and more mediocre and irrelevant. My prediction is that in the near future, all the best puzzles will be found elsewhere. As with most new media, people are bypassing the traditional "gatekeepers".

If BEQ can self-publish 3 kick-ass puzzles a week (and he is just ONE great constructor who submits grids to the Times) why is it that I am increasingly finding about ONE puzzle a week in the NYT that is special?

edith b 12:25 PM  

I never get TWOD or THREED no matter how many times I see it and whatever section of the puzzle it is in, I am stymied. In this case I had T*OD which effectively obscured the answer.

I always enjoy a BEQ because he caters to young people and I am definitely not that. I enjoy the challenge but I have gotten better as my fund of pop culture has been expanded as a result of doing Mr Quigley's puzzles three times a week.

I am not one of those old geezers who complains about not knowing things I find in puzzles. Since I am retired, I make it my business to understand what I don't recognize.

I have recently gotten familiar with Stephanie Meyers' "Twilight" saga as it keeps turning up in my puzzles and I think I am better off for it.

radioguy 12:27 PM  

The Reno ACES make the NYT crossword before even playing a game, as 2009 will be their first season of existence. I wouldn't be surprised if there were Reno residents who don't even know they have a baseball team yet!

JannieB 12:30 PM  

Good luck at the tournament. Hope all of you make the top 100!

This was an easy fun puzzle for me, but I confess to 2 careless mistakes - trod & sap - never looked at the down clues just assumed since both were real words that I had no problems.

My brother-in-law used to have a lovely, empty pot hanging in some macrame in his living room. When asked what that was all about he'd say, "Oh that's where I keep my Wandering Jew. He's out."

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

I made r_chemist's mistake with PRES/PREZ also. Plus I probably made some other mistake that I just couldn't find despite looking at the solution, the applet was not happy with me last night.

I think the first origami BOATS I made came from a Curious George story. Definitely easier than cranes.

I had a Wandering Jew in college, and it lived up to its name...nothing could kill it. I found it thrown outside of someone's dorm, and it survived many periods of neglect from me as well.

I didn't know the GARSON/AALTO cross either, but figured it had to be a vowel, and O was the best bet. If you didn't know BROUGHAM I'm not sure what vowel you would guess there. As I recall, the problem with Natick was that just about any consonant could fit into that space.

I liked the middle Q theme.

Off to Brooklyn tomorrow morning.

PlantieBea 12:39 PM  

I thought this was a perfect Thursday. After seeing the ING QU theme on two answers, I was able to get the others. In that way, the consistent theme is enough for me, especially on a Thursday with such interesting fill.

I cook, and fell into the saute pan trap for a while. Did not know AALTO and guessed at Brougham. Loved ELIXER, LUSTY (also had busty to start), coming about cluing for ALEE.

I want those orange and cappucino flavored Twix. Thanks for the writeup PG, and the fun puzzle BEQ.

Good luck to all at the tournament!

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

This one seemed easier than a normal Thursday for me, a little under 12 minutes.

Royal BROUGHAM was a Seattle sportswriter who worked for the Seattle P-I for 68 years, 62 of them as a sportswriter. He died of a heart attack in the Kingdome watching a Seahawks-Broncos game in '78. The street between Safeco Field and Qwest Field is Royal Brougham Way.

Fun puzzle, thanks BEQ!

Two Ponies 12:54 PM  

@ David, I'm sorry but your Natick doesn't fly. Brougham is fairly common knowledge if your are familiar with autos (not just carriages) and even though I did not know Aalto I was ready for an unusual letter combo because he is Finnish.

mac 12:57 PM  

I forgot to thank you, PuzzleGirl, for a great write-up. See you tomorrow!

@artlover: I just went to look at my origami birds, and now I don't know wether thy are swans or cranes....

My theory is that the 4 times mentioned Gentleman's Quarterly is revenge on the ever-popping-up Elle Magazine.

Shamik 12:58 PM  

I think we should pool our resources and get CHEF BEA a cake made from BEET sugar for her birthday today. Yes! I said it!

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

'At Gloaming' is also the fourth of Strauss' Four Last Songs -- at least that is how the title of von Eichendorff's poem 'Im Abendrot" is often translated.

[retired_chemist: philosopher and lawyer. You were pretty close.]

chefbea 1:00 PM  

I found this hard at first but then after going back several times it all came together - although I still don't understand the theme

Of course there are saute pans.

Now I have to read all the e-cards that I have received for my birthday today!!!

PlantieBea 1:04 PM  

@mac: I live with Mr. Origami (son). According to him, the origami swans typically have big bodies and long necks, whereas the the origam cranes have lighter bodies and long tails. Swans are made from the kite or fish base, and cranes are almost always made from the bird base.

PlantieBea 1:12 PM  

@chefbea: Happy b-day! May you recieve a new SAUCE (or SAUTE) pan to add to your cookWARE. May the ODOR of a BATCH of ROSY beets fill your LIVING QUARTERS.

Unknown 1:16 PM  

Indeed Happy B-Day
(beet day, of course)

See everyone who can make it in Brooklyn.

joho 1:17 PM  

@chefbea: happy, happy birthday! And many beety returns!

hazel 1:17 PM  

I keep searching for meaning in this puzzle. I can't see any meaning in INGQU or IN GQ, as it was abbreviated at Wordplay. @Mac's theory seems to fit the EVIL JOKE category (which I like), but I think its bigger than all that.

A more cosmic explanation - living, burning, homecoming, and then the string(s) - a progression of a life well lived. Or maybe even a crossword puzzle well done. You get the gimmes (living), you stew over the WTFs (burning), then there's the AHA moments (homecoming) and finally the puzzle's complete (heavenly STRING(S) in background).

So, there's some meaning for me. I thought the puzzle was perfect for a Thursday.

For everyone who can't make the tournament, you can sign up here for the online version for $20.

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

Really liked this puzzle. Lots of gimmes for the over 70 crowd, with delft, Garson, brougham, StLo, Lorca, gloam, etc. Usually can't finish BEQ's puzzles because of the youth culture references, but this was my fastest Thursday ever.

Lovely write-up, P.G.

retired_chemist 1:34 PM  

@ BEQ - if you're there please enlighten Allan and me about the theme. I bet it's Allan's GQ but inquiring minds etc.

BTW TYVM to BEQ, RP, and ACME for the unanimous recommendation of the Berry book. It is super....

IS AALTO also the inventor of the AALTO Saxophone?

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

I just wanted to come in and say:
Great write-up PuzzleGirl! I am now officially your fan. And BEQ's as well! ...lacking depth; good one!

Bob Kerfuffle 1:48 PM  

Working off only the "Y" of 64A, MYSON, I confidently put in EBAY for 51D, Unloading site. It seemed so perfectly BEQish. Wrong, of course, and the need for that Q set me straight. (QUAY)

Excellent puzzle!

Orange 1:54 PM  

Is it gauche to post a link to a Tribune interview with me at someone else's blog? If so, then I blame the rhinovirus for lowering my inhibitions. (If you're in Chicago, you should pick up a copy of the paper because the picture of me is really cute.)

Anonymous 1:59 PM  

My title for this puzzle writup would have been "Origami GOATS?" (see below)

Oh, lordy. So many false starts today he says, hanging his head in shame.

I was very proud of myself when I put in EBAY for "unloading site", sigh.

I always thought of a Matinee as being an afternoon performance, so was reluctant to put in ELEVENAM.

Not knowing Brougham, my NATIK for the day was a blank leading letter for *OATS and *ROUGHAM and briefly wondered "Do the Japanese make Origami GOATS???"

I had to noodle over TWOD for awhile before I was able to parse it, and also had similar problems with ATEAT.

I also wound up with sauTepan instead of sauCepan, which seemed since AFC and AFT were both meaningless acronyms to me.

jubjub 2:16 PM  

In case anyone feels like being offended, the first Wikipedia page I found on "Wandering Jew" was about a "figure from medieval Christian folklore ... The original legend concerns a Jew who taunted Jesus on the way to the Crucifixion and was then cursed to walk the earth until the Second Coming". Hmm, there's even a picture titled "Nazi Wandering Jew Propaganda".

fergus 2:19 PM  

With all the long theme answers (yes, theme) dropping in rather straightforwardly, I felt like I was spotted half the puzzle. I did, however, bumble through yesterday's BEQ, on Orange's recommendation, so must have been tuned into the constructor's frequency today.

Just looked up QUASI and slightly surprisingly found it perfectly acceptable standing alone.

Anonymous 2:30 PM  

As a man with left side dominance, I am offended by Oranges' use of the pejorative "Gauche" to denote ill-mannered. :)

Anonymous 2:32 PM  

As a man with left side dominance, I am equally offended by my typo for Orange's. :)

David 2:38 PM  

@ Two Ponies, I totally accept that Brougham may be common knowledge among auto-folk. But I think that's totally consistent with it being a Natick violation.

Far as I know, the community hasn't clarified or refined the principle much since Rex's coining it, so I'm using his explanation. (Linked to in the Important Posts above, and included on the FAQs page.)

The first question is whether there's a proper noun that you can't reasonably expect more than 1/4 of the solving public to know---Ulrich and I may have different impressions, but I personally believe less than 1/4 have heard of AALTO.

The second question is whether that noun's crosses are either "reasonably common words and phrases or very common names." On QUAY, URLS, and ALTO I have no complaints. On GARSON, I don't believe it's very common, so I feel it violates.

For BROUGHAM, again, I don't doubt that it's known to auto-fans. But I expect that to be a relatively small portion of the solving community, and I definitely don't think that it makes BROUGHAM a "reasonably common word."

Maybe you feel that that's too high a standard, and the principle needs to be further refined. If so, I'm all for wording it so that it more precisely reflect our intuitions. But using the only form of the Natick principle that I know of, I definitely stand by AALTO having violated it.

And with that, I've made three posts, which I think means it's my last post for the day. (I think I remember reading that somewhere.) But I'll definitely be reading the rest of today's posts, in case anyone wants to keep the discussion going in the future.

Good luck to everyone at the tournament!

ArtLvr 2:41 PM  

@ william e emba -- I enjoyed your excursion through possibilites for "pobre" to probity, but note that you popped the R into a different spot! If you'd stuck with po__ and tried interchanging the B and a V as can happen in romance languages (e.g. Il Trovatore is a troubador), then you'd probably have come up with "poverty" instead of probity... Thus poor/rich for pobre/rico. (The French is "pauvre", with AU having a long O sound, and the Italian is "povero".) Much language fun!

@chef Bea -- Happy B-Day too! Many happy returns of rich red (or scarlet) rotund root vegetables.


Anonymous 2:52 PM  

The legend of the Wandering Jew is the basis of Wagner's Opera: The Flying Dutchman.

fergus 2:55 PM  

Corgi Toys, Dinky Toys, Hot Wheels -- they all had a BROUGHAM somewhere in their line of merchandise. Lots of other widely-advertised, grown-up cars did too, so I don't think that passes the obscurity test.

As one often finds, though, familiarity is not a universal concept.

chefbea 3:30 PM  

@orange great article in the chicago tribune!! Good luck in the tournament and I hope to meet you and everyone else on Sunday. I'll be there around 9:am.

Thanks everyone for your rosey red b-day wishes.

Orange 3:56 PM  

Happy b-day, chefbea!

Lefty, let me be the first to call you a Gauche and Wandering the nicest way.

MarkTrevorSmith 4:01 PM  

Re: yesterday's iced tea -- ice tea. The same change happened to iced cream. Does anyone complain about ice cream the way they complain about ice tea?

Anonymous 4:10 PM  

I never knew there were so many cultural references to "gloam", but I'll add one more, which is the only one I know and what gave me the answer. As I was raised on baseball as a second religion (St. Louis Cardinals), there is the famous (or not-so-famous) "Homer in the Gloamin'". In 1938, with the Cubs and Pirates tied, the Cubs Gabby Hartnett hit a home run in basically a dark Wrigley Field (obviously, before lights were installed; okay I looked it up to get the details, but I remembered the circumstances). Thus another stinkin' Cubs legend born.

Ulrich 4:21 PM  

@David: When I wrote "My guess would be that at least 1/4 has heard of neither" (i.e. Aalto and Lorca) I wanted to say the same thing as you did. That's where the crosses come into play.

My 3rd and last comment--this will not turn into another TIA dabacle!

treedweller 4:38 PM  

the Aalto saxophone

imsdave 5:05 PM  

Two days before the tourney and I screwed up on the oft mentioned SAUTEPAN (real word) - I did the puzzle at 4:30 a.m. and just didn't have the appropriate mental toughness to question the silly result I got for the clue (but pretty good crossword word), AFT. Look to Rex's posts on accuracy - he is so right. I was in the 8 minute solve range and I doubt getting 9 is going to cost me anything in the tourney.

I'll need an intervention from my friends to help me with this horrible affliction. I plan on being in The Archives Bar after I get settled into to the hotel (4 - 5 tomorrow) and look forward to seeing some of you. I'll be the mid-fifties guy, 6'3", gray hair and a tad paunchy.

Let the games begin!

retired_chemist 5:44 PM  

@ treedweller - WAY COOL Aalto sax. Someone should make it their avatar. It's so baroque it's rococo! Loved it!

Jeffrey 5:47 PM  

I made it to Brooklyn! Two uneventful flights and one terrifying cab ride later - the WANDERING JEW is here.

In my version of the puzzle KIKI/WAKE were the answers. Don't go breaking my heart and tell me I was wrong.

I like all the Q's.

Kristin O'b 6:07 PM  

I am a first time poster, although I read the posts almost every day. I just can not believe some of the comments made over the last few days. This used to be a real fun place. What has happened to some of you?

@ jubjub: Do you really think that's funny?

Bill from NJ 6:19 PM  


Since I don't believe in ecards,this will have to do:

****Happy Birthday, chefbea****

(I hope I didn't just send one!!)

chefwen 6:44 PM  

Happy Birthday Chefbea, if I were not over 5000 miles away from y'all I would make Chefbea the best Devil's Food Cake that uses pickled beets as one of the ingredients. To coin a phrase YUMMO!

Usually have trouble with BEQ puzzles and today started off slowly but gained momentum nicely. My only problem was misreading firm honcho as film honcho, my midrange vision sucks, so I put in prod for producer, when I finally corrected that corner I thought, since when do movies have presidents? Finally, held the puzzle about 6 inches from my nose and said, allrighty then, now it makes sense.

Glitch 7:11 PM  

"The Mercury Brougham was the Ford Motor Company's flagship Mercury model during its two year run from 1967-1968" --- Wiki

My uncle owned one, so put me on the non-Natick side of the river.


... and Greer Garson is as well known as that Tyrone What's-his-name guy.

Anonymous 7:25 PM  

Thanks for "retired chemist" for explaining that the theme (such as it is -- not that I mind) is "ing+qu", not just Q. [The U is almost automatic, the ING not so.] Nice the the last entry deviates from the verbing pattern of the other entries. (And nice to have Haydn string quartets mentioned; I was wondering which one we'd be treated to in the blog, but alas...) Maybe not so nice to clue 53D:ALTO this way, especially since it could also have been clued as a component of string quartets (at least in French, where ALTO can be used for "viola"). Aalso funny to cross AALTO with 61A:AALTO...

38D:BROUGHAM is also known in (some) word-puzzling circles as the base of one of the longest monosyllabic English words, "broughammed". Indeed the first Google hit for "broughammed" is the Wikipage for "List of the longest English words with one syllable"!

Thanks for the puzzle and blog; hope to catch up with some of the regulars (and occasionals) in Brooklyn.


Anonymous 7:29 PM  

Aargh, I blew it -- I meant "Aalso funny to cross ALTO with 61A:AALTO"; crossing AALTO with another AALTO would flout the crossword convention that forbids duplication of a word in the grid. NDE

fikink 7:36 PM  

@Glitch, I have been waiting for someone to mention how Greer Garson is not arcane, given her lengthy acceptance speech at the Oscars for Mrs. Miniver. It has long been in the annals of Academy history as the reason honorees are "played off stage" now.

Anonymous 7:43 PM  

This has to be the easiest BEQ that I've ever done. I found it Wednesday-level. Still an enjoyable puzzle with all sorts of great fill....

Maybe I'll make to the tournament next year...

mac 9:26 PM  

@PlantieBea: thanks a lot: my birds have long tails, they must be cranes. I actually made some myself at the time, couldn't do it again to save my life.

@Orange: great interview. Sounds like all of Chicago is backing you at the tournament.

@David: This afternoon I arranged some lovely pink and coral tulips in my Aalto vase. To tell you the truth, I probably wouldn't know the name of the designer without the crossword puzzles I do every day..... Gloam and Brougham came easily, probably because of all the reading I've done in spite of being a puzzler.

@PIX: that's an interesting connection, I will check that out!

I can recommend a restaurant on 23rd St., El Quixote, very easy to reach with the F-train. It's an old Spanish restaurant, with especially good fish and good service.

Chip Hilton 9:30 PM  

Anybody familiar with the book 'My Son, My Son!' by Howard Spring? It was originally entitled 'O Absalom' when published in England in 1938.....which helped me a lot in today's puzzle. The BBC dramatized the book and it was shown on Masterpiece Theater many years ago. I remember choking up at some of the highly emotional scenes in this story of a father's love for a son whose life takes one bad turn after another. Sadly, it's never been available as a video or on dvd. Obviously, I'd love to see it again. Good read, too.

Friends of Troy Chapman 9:44 PM  

That's it, I'm leaving for Poland tomorrow. Why don't we get anything cool like Orange Twix?

chefbea 9:45 PM  

thanx Bill from NJ for the wishes and also chefwen

PlantieBea 9:52 PM  

@Chip: I just ordered a copy (original English edition) of My Son, My Son from our library system which owns exactly one copy

jubjub 9:53 PM  

Kristin O'b, not trying to be funny. I actually feel like the puzzles the last few days have had some mildly offensive content to them. I had never heard of a "Wandering Jew" plant, and was surprised to find that the name of the plant has a rather derogatory etymology. I looked up in the book "The Third Reich" that "The Wandering Jew" was the name of one of the worse antisemitic Nazi propaganda films. As I commented yesterday, I try to have a thick skin about things that are trying to be offensive, e.g. I often like South Park, but when things are going out of their way to be inoffensive and have kind of an old-fashioned prejudice to them, I find it upsetting.

Anyways, sorry to have offended a fellow Kristin (you even spell your name right :)) -- I didn't mean anything by it. I have to admit I find the misinterpretations rampant in this format of communication also upsetting, and am now considering whether I want to be posting here at all in the future.

fikink 10:23 PM  

@jubjub, do not go away. Your posts are interesting and your perspective is unique.
Much is lost in typed words without the nuance of tone. I, for one, have never read you as trying to offend.

Anonymous 11:03 PM  

The "Wandering Jew," at least as conceived in antiquity, is not at all intended to be offensive. It solves a rather difficult religious problem for Christians. Depending on how you read it, the bible claims that the Second Coming will occur within the lifetime of those alive during the crucifixion. Since so many years have passed, and since the bible must be true, there must be at least one person still alive who was alive at that time. He's our Wandering Jew. Several more and more complicated myths have grown up around the subject but for many Christians you either have to accept a 2000+ year old or biblical error. Which is more likely? Depends on your personal beliefs.

Rex Parker 11:46 PM  

Happy Birthday, chefbea. I'll have you know - and this is absolutely true - I had a "Bowl of Beets" tonight at Community Food and Juice (a horrible name for a Fantastic restaurant, Broadway near 113th). They were "heirloom beets," and they were ... delicious. I can't lie.

I love orange. I love Orange. I am wearing orange right now. My watch is orange. Orange is my favorite color. And yet the very thought of what "Orange Twix" must taste like is making me slightly queasy.

This week's comments seem no different than any other week's comments, so I have no idea what anyone is going on about. If I were going to be annoyed / upset by anything, it's all the damned tournament talk. But that just can't be avoided (and will die in a few days).

See many of you tomorrow. I hit Brooklyn sometime around noon.


Anonymous 3:28 AM  

Mazel tov, Chefbea, many happy returns on your b'day!
Re: mazel tov, we have a lovely plant called a "Wandering Jew." It's a vine and it grows like mad, good plant for people who aren't great at growing.
Wanted cranes, got boats (?). Don't get me started on "two-d"; too tired to rant.
This puzzle was fun, though.
Pace yourself, Rex, and bonne chance, buddy.
AND, great job, Puzzlegirl!

evil doug 4:31 AM  

See? There's the problem with this baloney.

"You offended me."

"Well, your being offended offends me."

"Even though I wasn't offended myself, I am offended that you don't understand how you offended her."

"You don't offend just me, but you are offensive to everyone in my offended group of which I now decide I officially represent whether they like it or not."

And on it goes....


liquid el lay 3:19 PM  

I did this puzzle over breakfast instead of in the evening as is my usual. So I was hurried and didn't enjoy as I might have.

I liked the puzzle. Liked all the "q"ues. I like Q words. Particularly like the word QUAY

Anyone notice the 3-square off 51 is a SYMMETRICALMATRIX? (assumming letters have unique values) (the letters also work as words.)

The 4-square is nearly so, with only the r-y breaking the symmetry.

Like to see BAJA in the puzzle, it's a word that makes me happy-

but there was trouble in BAJA for me with STLO mystifying and TWIX elusive, and TWOD unseen (had an R in there- SOLO x ORIX..)

Spelled NEAP with two Es

And natik(?) at mt rushmore. Don't know LORCA so LENG worked for "Pants spec", the abrev. "spec" confirming.

But I also had ANACT for Emerson's quote.. conversation was undoubtedly more civilized in his day. Any way, I could not see ECRU for the E_CU.

Also KIKI crossed WAKE.

Like the Q's

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