TUESDAY, Feb. 10, 2009 - J. Underwood (Operatic movement circa 1900 / Leandro's partner in a Mancinelli opera / Outlander in Hawaii)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: National Blank - 12 different Across answers are clued as National adjective + blank, e.g. 1A: Turkish _____, 5A: Dutch _____, etc.

Word of the Day: VERISMO - An artistic movement of the late 19th century, originating in Italy and influential especially in grand opera, marked by the use of rural characters and common, everyday themes often treated in a melodramatic manner. (answers.com)

First things first - I humbly beg whoever flagged this blog as "objectionable" to unflag it. And please, in the future, if you are genuinely offended by anything I post, let me know (email is right there, on the right), as I have no desire to offend people. This is a crossword blog that is currently being treated like a porn blog, and while my traffic might go through the roof because, you know, people like porn, I just want to make the blog as easily accessible to crossword solvers as possible. There are some solvers who are not going to understand this warning (trust me) and are not going to want to click through. Hell, I don't know that I'd click through such a warning - who knows what's waiting for you on the other side? I just want the "Objectionable Content" warning gone as soon as possible, and anyone who can help me achieve this will have my undying gratitude (that's worth something, right?). If I can't get the Flag removed in the very near future, you can expect a change of address. [I've been "unlisted" by Blogger, which means I've virtually disappeared from Google search results and even if you search [rex parker], though my site is listed first, it's titled "Objectionable Content Warning" ... grrr. I see a move to WordPress in my future.]

[UPDATE - problem seems to be fixed. No idea where credit is due yet, but I'll distribute said credit tomorrow. Sigh. Thanks to everyone who offered support of any kind]

This puzzle was hard for a Tuesday. Oh, my time...

Solving time: 5:10 (on paper)

OK, so there is not theme in the grid. That is to say, the only way you can see the theme is by looking at the clues. You could never identify the theme simply by looking at the grid. So there was not the usual assistance you might get on a Tuesday from identifying the theme. This explains some of the difficulty. Then there's the "Bush" clue in the NW, which bugged me no end, first because ... "Bush," really? And second, you or I or anyone could call up many pictures of people who today, right now, sport some version of the AFRO (14A: Bush not seen much nowadays). The other speed bumps for me today were as follows:

  • Wrote in BEATS where ROUTS was supposed to go (6D: Licks soundly)
  • Wrote in EROO where AROO was supposed to go (27A: Buck's tail?) - I make this mistake with AROO every time
  • Blanked on TEL (47A: Hill, in Haifa) - turns out, I was looking for LOD at first. Interestingly, LOD is just 15km southeast of TEL Aviv
  • Could not bring myself to write in VILIFIER (40D: Slanderer)
  • Only the dimmest memories of every having seen NINON (63A: Sturdy chiffon) - had NYLON for a few seconds
  • Thought 52D: Hindu wise one (swami) ended in an A and honestly considered (for a split second) LLAMA...
  • IANA? IA-NO... (61A: Collector's suffix) - that one hurts
  • VERISMO? VERIS-NO... (51A: Operatic movement circa 1900) - never ever ever etc. heard of it

I don't know what would have happened if some other obscurish stuff hadn't been easy for me, e.g. "THE CROW" (9D: Brandon Lee's last movie). Oh, and I wrote in ALDO very tentatively, having never been asked to think about Gucci's first name before (29D: Fashion designer Gucci). Even my buddy ERNE seemed harder than usual today (7D: White-tailed eagle). I don't have very strong feelings about the puzzle - I just strongly feel that it is tougher than your avg. Tuesday. But then Tuesday is so loopy that I don't even know what "Avg. Tuesday" means, frankly. Does everyone know HAOLE (23D: Outlander in Hawaii)? It's not freakishly odd, but it's not an everyday word, either (unless you live in Hawaii).

Theme answers:

  • 1A: Turkish _____ (bath) - wanted DELIGHT (too many Narnia books)
  • 5A: Dutch _____ (treat) - is this a national slur? Like ... the Dutch are cheap, so they won't pay for your dinner?
  • 20A: Russian _____ (roulette) - Reminds me of "Deer Hunter"
  • 22A: Swiss _____ (cheese) - wanted MISS (as in COCOA - 34D: Apres-ski drink)
  • 34A: Australian _____ (crawl) - wanted OUTBACK
  • 35A: American _____ (elm) - wanted GIGOLO
  • 41A: Italian _____ (ice)
  • 42A: Canadian _____ (bacon)
  • 55A: Danish _____ (pastry)
  • 57A: Portuguese _____ (man of war) - wife and I both wanted the Irish spelling, MAN O'WAR
  • 66A: French _____ (toast) - wanted BREAD, which is close
  • 67A: Spanish _____ (rice) - wanted MAIN ... that's something, right?


  • 19A: Superheroes battling the evil Magneto (X-Men) - starting "Watchmen" today with my Comics class. It's indescribably good. What would the world look like, realistically, if masked heroes existed? Well, for one, Nixon would apparently still be president in 1986...
  • 25A: Military pooh-bahs (brass) - "pooh-bah" is one of those great words that survives almost exclusively in captivity (i.e. crossword clues). It's a word I learned from "The Flintstones," I think.
  • 26A: Preceders of xis (nus) - "Preceders!" Another klassic kluing word.
  • 28A: Cap with a pompom (tam) - clue looks at first and second and many other glances like [Cap with a popcorn]
  • 59A: Appetite stimulant (aroma) - thought this would be a drug. Some AROMAs do Not stimulate my appetite at all.
  • 65A: Ivan or Feodor (tsar) - Ivan, sure; Feodor? He's new to me.
  • 8D: Takeoff and landing overseers: Abbr. (ATC) - as in Air Traffic Control, not an abbr. I can recall ever seeing in the grid.
  • 11D: Locale for a pioneer family (homestead) - "Locale" - again with the klassic kluing words. Did you know HOMESTEAD anagrams to SOME DEATH? and DO THE SAME? It's true.
  • 21D: Part of the Australian coat of arms (emu) - can't decided if this is sad or comical
  • 33D: Convertible (sleep sofa) - I know I've made this comment before, but I always hear it as SLEEPER SOFA ...
  • 43D: Tiny marcher (army ant) - this one was a prayer off the initial "AR..." Elton John did not sing about a tiny marcher, that I know of:

  • 48D: Leandro's partner in a Mancinelli opera (Ero) - I knew this, but come on. That's kind of obscure, right? I mean, for a Tuesday? Ugh, the phrase "for a Tuesday" no longer has any meaning to me!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 7:54 AM  

First, I wish I could help getting the flag removed. It's ridiculous. If you don't like something, just move on or ask nicely and you will probably be accommodated. This is like going behind someone’s back instead of speaking to someone face to face. Second, I agree, a tougher than normal Tuesday, especially in the SE, a handful of answers that I was only able to get because of the crosses, POEMA, TEL, VERISMO, NINON.

Hungry Mother 8:05 AM  

A lot of bloggers have bailed to WordPress. You have such a large following, your traffic will follow you anywhere.

HudsonHawk 8:16 AM  

Yep, the TEL, ERO, VERISMO crossings kicked my butt. I realize in hindsight that TEL wasn't that hard given the place name, but that didn't help me a few minutes ago. It also didn't help that I had CANA rather than IANA initially, which made VILIFIER tougher too.

Kurisu 8:21 AM  

I also found this harder than the usual Tuesday, although VERISMO was one I actually knew. I'm not a huge opera fan, but I guess I knew that applied to Puccini and Leoncavallo and such.

I saw IANA in a crossword before; didn't like it then, don't like it now.

Had to guess/google TEL, ERO.

Jeffrey 8:27 AM  

There is nothing I like about this puzzle. It should be flagged for objectionable content.VERISMO/VANOS/ERO???? On a Tuesday?? NINON??? Yuck.

I don't want to talk about it anymore. See you Wednesday.

ArtLvr 8:27 AM  

Oddly, I found this puzzle incredibly easy/smooth -- I had no hitches and one of my best times ever!

Very sorry to hear about the difficulty of getting that stupid warning flag removed... Please keep us posted?


Anonymous 8:32 AM  

Move your blog to a different domain. You can keep using Blogger; it just won't be served by Google.

Laura 8:37 AM  

You're in my google reader, so I don't go through blogger to reach the blog any more. But, like most folks, will follow....

Did not care for that ero/verismo cross...didn't know tel either, so it made that section tricky. Other than that, thought it was fine.

You see haole a lot in books, so that word I knew.

Anonymous 8:38 AM  

I agree with the medium challenging. And I must have read too many Narnia books too; I don't think I've ever had Turkish Delight, although I've eaten aplets (not applets) from Washington which are supposed to be similar and have a rather gummy quality and are not something I'd sell my brothers for.

I just realized it's buckAROO and switchEROO and that's why I made the same mistake as Rex.
I know HAOLE and mahalo as well as aloha; I've been to Hawaii once.
It looks like google weights the portugues manowar and manofwar about the same.

Anyone have a good mnemonic for tbill vs tnote vs tbond?

joho 8:40 AM  

Wow, that was so odd seeing the objectionable warning. I imagine John is smiling in heaven. But, no worries, either the flagger will unflag or you will move and we will follow.

This was definitely harder than a Tuesday should be. My word of the day was NINON ... where at first I had linen ... until I got ARMYANTS. Still I had to look up NINON to be sure it was a word.

I've never heard of VERISMO or ERO ... I guessed ENO ... and ended up with this one mistake.

Oh, and bush for afro? That's just wrong.

I can't wait for Wednesday.

Jeri 8:47 AM  

Rex, Doesn't the world have enough problems without your site being blocked? I almost died this morning. I am new at crosswords and everything I've learned is through your site. You are my swami, my guru, my professor of crosswordology. Not only that, you are my barometer... am I really stupider this Tuesday than I was last? No, I'm not this week's Tuesday was really hard (or medium challenging in your vernacular) for a Tuesday. I trust you with that declaration. I am reassured by it. I need it!!! How will we get in touch with you if you have to switch locations?

Chorister 8:54 AM  

I agree with the medium-challenging rating. I had to do the whole darn puzzle, not mostly acrosses. Once it was done, I didn't object to anything much - other than MANOFWAR because I never heard of it with the f.

As to the flagging - I had no idea that one person in a snit could wield so much power. Disturbing. Let us know your new address.

Rex Parker 8:55 AM  

If I move (say, to WordPress), believe me, you'll have plenty of notice. :)


Anonymous 8:58 AM  

I call Opera-Natick on VERISMO/ERO cross. Went through the alphabet and decided to go with R over L or N, but think that was obscure crossing obscure. I figured ERO was close enough to HERO to be a variant of a character that sounded vaguely familiar, but composer Mancinelli brings up nothing in my online dictionary.

Had heard of HAOLE, but thought it should end with an I - at least until EVADE appeared.

BUCKAROO and BUCKEROO are alternate spellings, so that one can go either way every time.

Good luck with the un-flagging. Afraid it might be like trying to be a virgin again - not very likely.


Anonymous 9:05 AM  

I totally agree that this puzzle was challenging for Tuesday--but happily so. Rex- while at times you seem somewhat arrogant, there is nothing objectionable in your blog. Your site is a great resource for the NYT puzzle "doers". Nothing at all wrong with the blog. It takes all kinds.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Rex - I came on to read your comments and post and ran into that block. Now I can't even remember what I wanted to say. I am so sorry someone would do this to you and to us. If there is someone we can contact, I for one would be glad to do it. Thank you for this wonderful blog.

Orange 9:12 AM  

I have given up the fight to quit treating AFRO like some wacky blast-from-the-past hairdo in crosswords. You know people have afros now, and I know people have afros now—but in White People's Crosswordland, the afro is an artifact of the '70s. Can I flag a crossword as objectionable every time it seems to be frightened of afros?

Rex, start looking into archiving your posts and comments and finding out how to export them to a non-Blogger site. I did hear good things about WordPress at a blogging conference...

elitza 9:22 AM  

Did anyone else have awkwardness issues with SLEEPSOFA and ARMYANT?

Only gimmes today were THECROW, XMEN, LRON, COCOA, MONA, ORATE... of course, I was trying to do the puzzle at 1:30am after a thoroughly wretched night at work, so that might've had something to do with it. Gah. Glad Rex found it challenging; I thought my mind had left me entirely.

Glitch 9:22 AM  

As usual, I'm a bit at odds with most of the [puzzle] comments.

Found this puzzle rather easy, finished in 1 1/2 cups of coffee, about my early week norm.

Started in NW and kept writing to SE, with only a couple of holes in the middle. After correcting E-Ron (the electronic scientologist?) to L-Ron, that section fell into place.

Yeah, some dumb /bad cluing, but crosses, and nearly 50 years in this venue, there was no answer I hadn't seen (including ninon -- which tripped me up once before).

But then, as I've said, I'm a solver --- once I have it all filled in, I go back and try to figure out just what the author had in mind. To me, that's interesting, but secondary.

As to the flagging, I too was surprised, but until Rex mentioned the album cover, I was thinking it was due to something in the postings.

"Us" militant middle-of-the-roaders are being increasingly annoyed by those who feel we need protecting.

Good luck, Rex, you don't deserve this either.


Jon 9:34 AM  

I too found the puzzle challenging for a Tuesday, but like Anonymous@9:05, it was challenging in a way I really enjoyed. All the theme clues got my brain firing in different directions, and all (well, most; see below) of the unusual words had nice crosses, making HAOLE and NINON really nice, fresh surprises.

But: The VERISMO/ERO crossing annoyed me. Doesn't that violate some kind of crossword construction rule? Two relatively obscure (or at least genre-specific) answers from the same genre crossing one another? One thing I particularly love about crosswords is the breadth of subject matter that makes its way into the grid: I might know squat about opera or European rivers, but my knowledge of Simpsons arcana and 70s pop music can get me the crosses, and then I get to learn new things about fields which are mysterious to me. So the opera-crossing-opera, esp. in a Tuesday, really annoyed me.

Otherwise, though, I thought it was a great puzzle.


Anonymous 9:34 AM  

Now where was I.

I think the clue, Bush not seen much nowadays, and the answer, Afro, about sum up all the flaps I've seen here since I started commenting in January. Amazing.

My only error for today was verismo, I guessed l instead of r, because it sounded right. Oh, well. Other than that, I thought the puzzle was quite doable and fun to do.

fiddleneck 9:35 AM  

never heard of Word Press or some of this blog talk. Please let us ignorant ones how to follow you.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

I've never posted here before, but I love your site -- I have it bookmarked and always read your write up after I've solved (or given up). I couldn't figure out the objectionable content, either, until you mentioned the album cover. Sad that one person can have so much authority to try to shut you down.

Please keep up the blogging -- it makes me laugh!

treedweller 9:38 AM  

I accept that my deficit in opera knowledge will cost me in puzzles. But to have the crossing of two obscure opera clues seems quite foul to me, especially on Tuesday (maybe, given my own confession, I should omit "obscure", but still). I went straight to google, knowing I'd guess wrong. Ironically, I had almost put in the 'R', but ruled it out and was waffling between 'N' and . . . well, I never made it that far.

I did stare at T_L for a long time, then finally made the leap to TEL based on Tel Aviv. More proof that I've learned something from this site.

Good god, people, they were two people without clothes. They were not doing anything obscene or untoward. Grow up, please. I thought I'd never find the right cookie to delete so I could get past that ridiculous flagging screen.

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

@treedweller Can you identify that cookie for the rest of us?

mac 9:55 AM  

Now, usually I would be very happy with a tough Tuesday, but WHY did it have to show up when I'm doing my first tournament? Believe it or not, I didn't get the Dutch "treat" because I had t-notes and trouble with atc.... By the way, that whole Dutch treat concept only exists in the U.S., maybe derived from Deutsch, German? We also don't know about Dutch uncles and Dutch courage.
Xmen and boxcars/sixes are unknown to me, and I guessed at the Ero/verismo clue.

Just let us know where you're going, Rex, we'll follow.

treedweller 10:06 AM  

no, I can't make the flagging stop. Since I block some cookies, I was on an endless loop of, "yes, I want to continue"--"do you want to continue" until I found the right cookie to allow. I was a little unclear on that statement--sorry to get your hopes up.

I tried to find a way to flag the flag, but no luck there. Seems like if 100 regular readers vouch for a site's content, then a couple of prudes should not be able to dictate blockage. But I suppose by that logic a bunch of porn lovers could get "Debbie Does Dallas" on Saturday morning TV. ALAS.

Kurt 10:09 AM  

I'm with all of the VERISMO/ERO complainers. Also had Tuesday issues with NINON and HAOLE.

Is there anyone to write or call about this Objectionable Content flag?

I'm kinda surprised that every blog out there doesn't end up with one of these from some disgruntled reader. Can you put an Objectionable Content flag on Senators and Congressmen?

ArtLvr 10:11 AM  

@ karen -- it's a question of duration for those debt intruments. Mnemonic is inside the word:

T-note is "not" much duration, 3-6 months.

T-bill is "l'il" or little length, one year, 5 years.

T-bond has the "on" of long, 20 or 30 years.

(The above is my best recollection, didn't check it.)


DJG 10:14 AM  

This might have been the hardest Tuesday I have ever done. Certainly the hardest I can remember. I got flat out stuck in the southeast for several minutes as I put in ROSE for "Spanish ____" instead of RICE. This made SWAMI and MANIC un-gettable and I didn't know any of VERSIMO, ERO, and NINON. Also I've never heard of Australian Crawl nor Portuguese Man-o-war.

I think the clue for Afro is fine. Sure, people have Afros now, but they are definitely associated with a different era, the 70s, the same way feathered hair is associated with the 80s, and high top fades the early 90s.

Your flagging is pure absurdity.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

I thought this was pretty smooth for a Tuesday -- no trouble for me, but the one thing I know about x-words is that sometimes they just pick stuff that you know, and sometimes they don't! this time J. Underwood did...

Rex -- flagging this site is RIDICULOUS. Just let us all know how to find you if you move...

chefbea 10:22 AM  

Yes this was hard for a Tuesday. I did finnish it Saturday in Westport. Will try it again when I get the Times Digest in my in-box - it's late today.

Glad the objectionable flag has been removed

deerfencer 10:27 AM  

I agree it's just plain wrong for one
repressed crank/ette to be able to flag Rex's blog this way--and all
likely due to those most innocent of nudes, John and Yoko! Absurd. Fortunately it looks like there are other choices, but what a pain in the butt. Should we send a cyber-petition to Google?

Re the puzzle, definitely harder than the average Tuesday but I had no serious trouble until the nasty VERISMO/ERO/TEL crosses, which I ultimately had to guess (wrong) at.
I'd rate this puzzle a C-; not very clever, creative, or imaginative.

Queen Bun-Bun 10:29 AM  

You're still King! Your blog is a shining beacon in these dark days. Thanks for keeping it interesting.

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

I found the AFRO clue kind of objectionable - What's that bush you got on your head bro? Get you hurt in some places I've been.
I know AFRO is here to stay as fill, what with the leading and terminal vowels, but come on.

fikink 10:36 AM  

@Rex, just rebooted and hit my bookmark. Sailed right in.
Earlier this morning, I got "Danger! Warning! Objectionable material" (Thought it was another story on the octuplets, but I plowed through.)

I don't call it flagging, I call it sabotage!

evil doug 10:36 AM  

For "Bush not seen much nowadays," I guess "Yoko's" wouldn't work....


Anonymous 10:38 AM  

I am a daily reader of this blog, and love it, and it has really helped expand and enhance my appreciation of the NYT crossword.

I also think the objectionable flag is ridiculous, and should be removed, and that if people don't like what they see, then click away and move on.

THAT SAID - I must admit I was surprised (not offended, just surprised) to see full frontal nudity - of any gender, in any format - placed on this blog without warning. Rex - in the past, when you post YouTube links that contain objectionable language (like the Bernie Mac posting last week), you warn people about it. So clearly you understand that some people may wish to read the blog but not be exposed to (what some may consider) objectionable content.

So, while I completely disagree with the person flagging the blog (presumably for the John/Yoko picture), I also think that - a little bit - Rex could have predicted and easily avoided this whole issue. Just saying.

Anonymous 10:39 AM  

Rex, condolences that a single person could cause so much trouble. Seems a lot one-sided if you ask me. Regardless, we'll follow you wherever you go. I assume the album cover, sold to millions world-wide, happened to get to some-one.
I became a US Citizen because of the freedoms we enjoy and I wish we spent as much tie preserving them as we seem to do in knocking them down. Hopefully the blocker will unflag and save you the trouble of moving

xyz 10:55 AM  

Yes, hard for Tuesday. Fun nonetheless, but since I don't allow myself to do anything but sit and write, a no-finish for me. :-( First Tuesday in ages for that.

Lots of too genre specific FOK (fund of knowledge) info and even the country clues weren't terribly logical.

What's an IDO anyway? Someone?

And I sure hope that senseless objection wasn't for the race discussions, gee whiz!

jubjub 10:58 AM  

@Rex, I'm very much angered at Blogger and whoever flagged your blog. Stupid censorship. Hard for me to comment on the puzzle when I'm annoyed like this, but, I suppose we don't want the terrorist censors to win :), so ...

The clue for OTTER was gross and shocking. Do people wear otter fur? Apparently until 1911 they did, according to Wikipedia. Oh, and their fur is "prized" because it is "the densest in the animal kingdom". Next we'll see dolphin clued as "Delicious canned tuna additive".

I had trouble with the ALDO/TAM crossing. For others not familiar with old-timey Scottish headwear, TAM seems to be short for Tam o'shanter. Here's a photo of Groundskeeper Willie in one:
Willie. Ach!

I liked that the theme answers were not obvious by looking at the grid, and even liked the theme for its simplicity. But, I have a negative feeling overall for the puzzle because of some of the poor cluing (AFRO ...) and unreasonable crosses. Couldn't TEL have been clued as an abbr for telephone? Would have made that crossing more guessable.

jubjub 11:07 AM  

PS the flag is still there, it is only the second time you access the site that you don't see it, as Blogger has stored that you're cool with the indecency in a cookie.

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

As of 10:40 or so Tuesday morning, having also taken the longest I've done for a Tuesday that I can recall, I got the flag.

ARMY ANT is in fact the standard name for the insect.

I'm surprised that anyone had trouble guessing what to fill in for VE-ISMO. The root ver- for "real" is basic in English, from verify to verisimilitude. What else would it be? As a general rule, these seemingly impossible foreign words are almost always eminently recognizable after the fact, even on Saturdays. (Except for ENERO=January and AOUT=August and PAS=not.) Just go with your gut instincts every time.

I had Spanish RITE for awhile, thinking that must be some Catholic practice.

If you're never heard of a Portuguese MAN OF WAR, well, I recommend you google for pictures of them. They are amazing creatures. This was the only fill-in that I got without any difficulty.

Feodor as part of a Tuesday clue for TSAR is ridiculous. Ivan and Peter are famous forever, but the Feodors are only known to people who actually studied Russian history.

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

@Redanman: 44A...at the altar a bride and groom say "i do" and form a Union.

liked the puzzle; thought American Elm (35A) not a great clue since Dutch elm is such a common phrase. (its DUTCH elm disease that is killing all the elms.)

fmcgmccllc 11:28 AM  

Slogged along until the opera's. Just seemed not fair on a Tuesday but as we have all seen, life is not fair.

SethG 11:38 AM  

william e emba, I'm having trouble following your logic. If the clue for VExISMO had given any indication that it had anything to do with reality, realism, real-whatever, then sure. But the clue just referred to a really old random movement, which as far as I'm concerned could have been anything. In Italian, which I don't speak. (And crossed with another opera thing--that's ridiculous...) On the other hand, while I've never heard of Tsar Feodor I had heard of Ivan, and Feodor is at least recognizably Russian. So, two Russian guys, what else could it be?

Speaking of what else could it be, in the case of most of the theme answers: almost anything. It was random, and I found it uninteresting. Swiss is my least favorite CHEESE, and no one calls it a "Danish PASTRY".

And I was mildly bothered that EMU was clued with Australian, as it wasn't part of the theme but Australia was.

Kurisu 11:44 AM  

I now remember where I learned VERISMO -- my father and I watch operas when I visit my family during holidays, and we usually read the comments and summaries in this opera book. We had just watched Bizet's Carmen over Christmas and the book mentioned that it was a forerunner of the verismo style of Leoncavallo and Mascagni. I guess that's an odd thing to get stuck in my head but it helped me today.

chefwen 11:48 AM  

Started the puzzle last night before dinner and had to move said dinner up as the puzzle was making me hungry, what with trout, pastry, cheese, bacon, etc. Wanted Portuguese to be bean soup, that's really big here, and well, my mind was on food.

Haole was a gimme for me because, oh yeah, I are one, and it ain't complimentary as it is occasionally preceded by the ing

Rex, your blog being flagged is asinine, you can't even see anything on that album cover, which I happened to own at one time; you can hardly see anything when it was held two inches in front of your face.

Two Ponies 11:55 AM  

Unfair opera crossing.
SethG is that an afro?
Thinking of otter fur made me sad.
Maybe the flagger objects to civilized humor and conversation. Or maybe not enough nudity? :)

joho 11:57 AM  

@SethG -- you took the words right out of my mouth re: william e emba's logic about the "R" in VERISMO. Thank you. How in the world were we supposed to know the blank square in a word we didn't know stood for real?

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

I must say, as to the content that sparked the flag, it was not a big deal...except for those of us who check out your blog at work, where there are very strict "zero-tolerance" policies for displaying things like full-frontal nudity on one's screen. For that reason alone, I think that the picture was very ill-advised.
Out of context, all that a casual passer-byer would have seen was me looking at a screen with a picture of naked people...Thank God that didn't happen and end in who knows what result.
For as long as the album cover was present, the flag was appropriate to warn other at-work visitors that something wasn't quite safe for work on the site. Now that it's gone, I agree that the flag should go away, so good luck with that.

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

I must say, as to the content that sparked the flag, it was not a big deal...except for those of us who check out your blog at work, where there are very strict "zero-tolerance" policies for displaying things like full-frontal nudity on one's screen. For that reason alone, I think that the picture was very ill-advised.
Out of context, all that a casual passer-byer would have seen was me looking at a screen with a picture of naked people...Thank God that didn't happen and end in who knows what result.
For as long as the album cover was present, the flag was appropriate to warn other at-work visitors that something wasn't quite safe for work on the site. Now that it's gone, I agree that the flag should go away, so good luck with that.

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

And my sincere apologies for double-posting. I hate that!

JoefromMtVernon 12:03 PM  

Been away for a couple of days, and was surprised at the flag.

As I said, Rex, this is your blog. Isn't this the idea of a blog? State your opinons, and allow others to comment? I remember a channel one program (a program shown in many schools, and was the starting point for Anderson Cooper, Lisa Ling, and Tracy Smith) which spoke about some vandal damaging the statue David. The showed a still of the statue. The next day, they reported that some schools had cancelled their contracts, considering the shot of the statue vulgar.

If there are locations you can move to, with less restrictions, then do it.

I want my Rex-Puzzle-Blog!

BTW the R cross of ero/verismo is a Natick moment in my book...and not one for a Tuesday. Otherwise, the puzzle was fine.


jeff in chicago 12:14 PM  

Fine puzzle. Enjoyed the theme. Different!

A friend went to Hawaii years ago and taught me HAOLE and wahini when he came back. I have yet to use either of them in Hawaii.

@karen: my mnemonic for t-bill, etc. is "wait for more crosses"

jeff in chicago 12:17 PM  


PlantieBea 12:18 PM  

Ay yay, flagging over a John and Yoko album. Ridiculous. This blog and Rex do not deserve that.

I thought this puzzle was hard for a Tuesday, but attributed it to the fact that I was sitting in a doctor's office, a bit nervous, doing it in pen.

I liked the theme because it made me think a bit out of the box. Wanted American PIE, for example, but was delighted to find American Elm, the very tree that is being eliminated by Dutch Elm disease. I had to do the downs to get a bunch of answers. I sat with Haole spelled Howly for a bit--having only heard it once in a very negative context, when trying to cross a busy intersection on Oahu.

I definitely will follow if you move, Rex.

Jon 12:22 PM  

@william e emba: (not trying to pile on, just answering your question). I put in VENISMO, thinking that the answer might be some started-in-Venice/Venezia movement. The logic justifying the R to complete VERISMO makes sense after the fact, but seeing "VExISMO" with a clue about an opera movement doesn't lead to any instinctual thoughts of verisimilitude. At least not for me.

I do agree that MAN-OF-WARs are fantastic creatures. The Monterey Aquarium once had an exhibit of jellyfish, and it was the most transfixing aquarium/zoo exhibit I'd ever seen.

Anonymous 12:30 PM  

Thanks for the mnemonic, ArtLvr. And thanks for the laugh, jeff.

Gotta say I'm surprised at the ERO hate (although I understand the VERISIMO hate). Hero and Leander are classical greek-myth-crosswordese, the two swimming lovers, of whom I'll never remember which one (if any) is the girl without looking it up. I didn't know the answer for sure but was able to make a good guess at it.

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

@Evil Doug - I came back to see what others were saying because I was so mad about the flagging. I am now astonished to find myself laughing. Thanks.

Parshutr 12:33 PM  

Sometimes being an opera buff helps.
Verismo - "reality opera". Like the TV show "24", the Opera I Pagliacci takes place in real time. There's usually a clock on stage! Now that's verismo.
This one was No Sweat except for putting in NES as xis preceders...a nexis, ya know?
But EMU cured that.

Parshutr 12:34 PM  

And the only "modern" afro I know of is on Richard Simmons.

Unknown 12:46 PM  

My longest Tuesday time since I started doing this puzzle, but I see I am in good company.

Similar difficulties re opera and managed to guess right only because submitting puzzle for 'play against the clock' won't let you submit with mistakes so I had to sub out letters until I got the right one.

Managed at one point to have 'arse' [am I allowed to say that? ;)] for apse, which I laughed at in a 12-year-old way before correcting it.

Will happily vouch for the blog officially, if there is such a function. And will follow it anywhere.

Jon 12:55 PM  

@Pashutr: Haha! Although I like to call Simmons's hairstyle and its ilk an "Isro", a.k.a. a "Jewish Afro". I sported one myself in high school.

Kyp Malone, from the excellent group TV On The Radio, has a great Afro and a wonderful beard to match:


They were quite good on The Colbert Report last night, I thought.

hazel 12:56 PM  

Thought the puzzle was great. Liked both the theme and the execution - although I agree there were definitely a few Tuesday, huh? clues. Like so many others, Ero/Verisimo was trial and error until my puzzle got accepted. All the other huhs got resolved through crosses.

@Rex, like everyone else, very sorry to hear about the troubles. It may be a pain in the butt for you in the short-term, but, in the big scheme of things, it'll be over with before you know it. And we'll all still be here or there or wherever you are.

If there's somewhere we can go to support you and this site, and help reverse the decision, I'm sure you'll let us know. Hard to believe one person has so much power. There's some irony in here somewhere, but I don't know exactly where.


Anonymous 12:59 PM  

I admit I cringed when I saw a naked Yoko yesterday; but not as much as when I read the Afro clue today.. C'mon, "Bush"? I did not find the puzzle all that difficult other than the opera crossings. I got NINON and HAOLE from the crosses.
Rex, keep up the good work; it is a shame that someone flagged this. For crying out loud, it's a CROSSWORD blog. About as innocent as you can get, IMHO.

Doug 1:01 PM  

Very international theme, which I quite liked. The SE was a ball buster (oops, objectionable content) but I got through albeit with the same old VExISMO gripe (I had VELISMO and ELO.) In retrospect VERISMO and ERO sound more Italian.

Senate just passed your $838B bill, btw. I hope it helps those who need it.

Ulrich 1:15 PM  

@anonymous at 12:02: Do you want to be taken serious when you say that Rex or anybody else should be concerned with people who go to their blog on "company time"? This is about the weakest argument I can imagine against the picture--it's like a burglar complaining that people do not leave their doors open at night.

My own hunch is that the flag has nothing to do with decency, but is a malicious attempt by someone who doesn't like Rex (they exist--we know from various anonymice posting) to get back at him.

Anonymous 1:15 PM  

Oh my. I thought something was wrong with my computer when the "block" came up. Even after i got into your site, I couldn't imagine what the fuss was about. I had forgotten about the album cover. Please, everyone, grow up. I'm not an experienced crossword puzzler, but I love it and I couldn't get on without your blog. if you move,please please please let us know how to find you again.

Parshutr 1:17 PM  

@JON...we called it a Hebro, back in the day.

archaeoprof 1:22 PM  

FWIW, in archaeo-speak a "tel" is not a natural hill, but a hill produced by the buildup of repeated human occupation on the same site. The hill accumulates as residents build on top of the ruins of their predecessors.

@Rex: that flag doesn't seem to have stopped very many of us.

Martin Allen 1:25 PM  

For what it's worth, someone posted a discussion on this point to the Blogger support group, on the odd chance that anyone with administrative power reads it. I added my two cents in agreement there. Readers may want to add on to that at the following address (URL compressed for convenience)


Also, I sent a firm but polite message to support@blogger.com protesting the flag/de-listing. I'm not sure how effective that is, but it's always worth a try.

Orange 1:30 PM  

One solving tip that might help y'all extricate yourselves from future crossings like today's ERO/VERISMO: If it's early in the week, it's often (but not always) a safe bet that an answer with an obscure/tough clue won't be a word that has easier cluing options. Doug's VELISMO/ELO? Well, songs by the band E.L.O. own the easy clues for ELO. VENISMO/ENO? That nutty Brian Eno owns the easy clues for ENO. Unless it's late in the week, Will wouldn't arbitrarily swap out an easy clue and plunk in an obscure one for a familiar answer. So consider ruling out ENO and ELO (along with prefix/Umberto ECO, Japanese Shogun capital EDO, common noun EGO, new pop-culture word EMO, and Eastern theater of operations ETO) as possibilities here, and play the alphabet game to test out the other options.

mac 1:30 PM  

Why do I always have this feeling of guilt when I see the term Dutch elm disease? I have visions of a tall ship with a red-white-and-blue flag crossing the Atlantic with in its hold crates with Edam cheese nestled in shredded wood crawling with little bugs. Oh no, now I have probably singlehandedly damaged the cheese export business...

Didn't happen. In 1920 some botanist in Holland discovered the disease, which probably originated in Asia. I'll try to remember that.

Orange 1:33 PM  

P.S. Puzzle people within Google's headquarters are on the case—hopefully there'll be a speedy resolution to the reputed pornification of a crossword blog. (A crossword blog! I mean, really.)

Jeffrey 1:39 PM  

There is no truth to the rumor that the flagging is part of a plot to have my KenKen blog take over Crossworld. That said, you can't trust those Sudoku lovers, so Rex and Orange watch your backs at the Bloggers forum.

Xavier 2:09 PM  

It seems that the flag has been removed. My officemate checked on his computer and he did not encounter any warnings about objectionable content.

This whole incident sickens me. Not because somebody flagged relatively innocuous content, but because Rex apparently had no warning before action was taken. It is irresponsible of Blogger to behave in this way, even if they DO deem the content objectionable. Unfortunately new media call for new norms of behavior, and although blogging seems ancient in Internet time there really has not been enough time for norms to be universally agreed upon.


SethG 2:14 PM  

Orange, "Ranch extension?" (or closing, or suffix) has been used plenty of times for ERO. And The Leandro clue has appeared before on a Tuesday, but given the operatic cross I'd definitely have chosen the ranch.

Maybe they wanted to avoid it 'cause of the AROO clue, but that would say to me that an area needed reworked...

edith b 2:24 PM  

I tried to get the theme by way of downs thru the nationalities. It wasn't good for speed-solving but I did manage to solve this puzzle in a reasonable length of time.

I managed to eliminate categories like food early on and realized it was the nationalities that were the key.

It certainly wasn't a typical Tuesday but once I saw what was going on, I didn't find it intrinsically difficult either.

I wish I had some insight about what to do about the Blogger mess but I don't.

Hopefully, Rex, you have at least one Commenter who knows somebody who knows somebody etc who can offer real help with this.

Martin Allen 2:25 PM  

Just received a reply from the Blogger folks on the previously mentioned help post. Good news in that they de-flagged the blog, so all should be well now.

Ladel 2:31 PM  

The saddest part of this whole flagging episode is the realization that out there is an alienated soul who is beyond salvation, a pox on his whole family.

dk 2:43 PM  

@evil doug, I am rolling on the floor.

@joho, you are cute as a bug.

@sethg, nice fro, although I am given to understand you do not much of them these days.

@acme, I want you to do a Tuesday puzzle and, of course, run away with me.

Oh yeah the puzzle, the Spanish RICE I recall from school lunches was typically served on a Tuesday and was always bad. We used to call it Spanish Fly until my older and hip neighbor clued me in.

The puzzle itself was fine IMHO. I liked the country clues and the fact that V and B showed up more than usual. 26A is lost on me, but I got it in crosses.

For some more good news the IMF states we are in a depression and that is why I have visited this former porn site.

On to Wednesday.

Anonymous 2:50 PM  

I am away, so I haven't been able to check the blog as often and as thoroughly as usual. I have had more time for the puzzle though and got all but two letters of the SUnday puzzle. YAY! Rare for me.

Am just reading about the flag business now. Shocking! I just want to take the opportunity to say that my life -- as I am sure all of the regulars' on here -- would be greatly diminished without REX! The blog truly adds something valuable to my daily life -- when I do the puzzle, that is.

Fun to read about Westport,having grown up in Wilton. Glad the flag business got sorted out. Who is doing this censoring anyway?

Chip Hilton 2:51 PM  

Flagged? Not at 2:46 p.m., happily.

I feel a bit better to hear that this puzzle, henceforth referred to as The Hammer of Westport, gave so many people difficulty. I found it a heck of a lot easier today than I did while on the clock on Saturday. But several of the nation clues and HAOLE and VERISMO gave me fits.

Free John and Yoko from the paper bag!

Abu Owlfish 2:58 PM  

I was ok with verismo, and thanks to Karen realize I should have been able to parse Ero. For some reason the mid-section baffled me, but I do like the balance of L. Ron and A. Roo.

I hope the idiotic flagging doesn't lead to self-censorship. I was surprised but also kinda delighted to see J & Y yesterday. If a similar opportunity comes up again, please, please don't say, Nah, I shouldn't.

fergus 3:00 PM  

I pretty much followed the Orange Tuesday Principle without quite realizing it.

This national association puzzle was entertaining since it made me think about the number of things that could legitimately apply. And the things, like the unfeatured English Muffin that one doesn't really find in England. I can't remember having Canadian BACON in Canada for that matter.


As a general rule of thumb, the most vocal of censors are often the most guilty of practicing said depravity. The evidence is enormous.

allan 3:05 PM  

Late night = late post. I was very glad to see that Rex rated this one as medium-challenging. It took me way too long to solve (over and hour).

I loved the clues at 14a (Bush) for its misdirection, and 43d (Tiny marcher) because it led to the EJ video. Definitely one of his bests, if not the best.

I thought 33d (Convertible) had the worst answer of the day. Sleep sofa is just wrong.

I had trouble with 54d (Speak before throngs), as I misread the clue. I thought it said Speak before thongs, what with the earlier bush clue.

@ SethG: Love the new avatar. You are right about Danish Pastry. No one goes into a bakery and asks for a cheese danish pastry. They just ask for a cheese danish.

@ Shin: Please only use the words Leoncavallo and Mascagni when you post on a Friday or Saturday.

@ anonmous (12:02): As per Ulrich, why are you reading Rex' blog at work? BTW, you can delete one of the double posts.

@Jon (12:22): I had Venismo for a while also, because I thought it something to do with the Deer Operatic Movement of the early part of the last century.

Finally, to the evil doer responsible for the earlier block, listen to some John Mellencamp

Anonymous 3:29 PM  

I imagine John is not smiling in heaven...I imagine he imagines there is no heaven.
Next they'll be burning this blog on a bonfire...

@verismo/ero crossing...
that was SUCH a Natick it should have it's own name, preferably an obscure town that only appears in one opera.

Afro clue unhip and creepy, much like anything to do with Bush.

The only fun thing about this puzzle (for me) was imagining all the different things that could go in the fill in the blanks that were not right. But props for getting in TWELVE theme answers. TWELVE!

bags packed

Orange 4:00 PM  

There's a Swedish place in Chicago called Tre Kronor ("three crowns"). They serve really scrumptious Danishes...but they're Swedish. So no "pastry" is involved. Swedish is the adjective and Danish is the noun.

Good point about ranch-ERO, Seth. You have a terrible habit of calling me out on such things, I think.

Andy 4:01 PM  

I was bothered by A LOT and A BIT. Could have easily been solved by changing 31D to ABLE and 32 to PAIR, changing the crosses to LIE and ERE... though I guess we'd lose the theme answer ICE.

Honestly I'm so new at this I shouldn't be attempting to re-write anything by these pro-s.

Hope the flagging gets resolved soon. You came up easily on my google search, even with safe search on. Wonder if that means the problem's been solved.

Andy 4:06 PM  

...it has! I'll make sure to read the comments before I post my own from now on.

MarkTrevorSmith 4:22 PM  

Please please please what is the meaning of "Preceders of xis (nus)"???? Nusxis doesn't look like anything to me. I can always figure out weird clues, but not this one. It's like Chinese-Arabic-Greek to me.

allan 4:26 PM  

@MTS: greek letters, I presume.

PlantieBea 4:28 PM  

Greek letters xi and nu (followed by omicron).

Anonymous 4:34 PM  

Definitely something weird going on. I also got blocked from entering the site, but when I put some clothes on I got in just fine.

Glitch 4:38 PM  

Given the way I'm set up, can't cofirm the flag has neen revoked, but it seems,from the posts,it has.

I has a momentary !?!? when I saw the album pix, but believe Rex's probs were the result of a complaint, as I don't know of a bot that can recognize a pix content.

As to the puzzle, no matter how unfair "for a Tuesday",except for the opera crossing, all coments taken together,the concensus rating is easy! (Different folks, different probs)

In keeping this blog "for the masses", I have to give Rob the award for the most @'s so far ... insiders still seem to rule.

.../Glitch (the loyal opposition)

Glitch 4:42 PM  


Sorry/ apologies to Rob, it was allan with all the @'s

(misread my notes)


Rex Parker 5:04 PM  

I have 162 comments/messages in my Inbox. It will take me a while to get through them all, but I wanted to make sure I got in here immediately to say I don't know yet how it happened, but everything seems back to normal, site status-wise. Thanks to everyone who expressed concern, contacted people, pulled strings, whatever. I'm really lucky to have the kinds of readers I do.


Anonymous 5:05 PM  

Re: Greek letters
I lived in Greece a million years ago and it's all easier than you think.
In Modern Greek, you pronounce a lot of the letters with a simplified ee sound...so mu is not "moo" it's "mee" and nu is "nee" and xi is "khee"
so when you are saying the Greek alphabet, it's super-parallel to the English one and easy to learn with the exception of maybe 7 letters, which most folks know from Math or fraternities anyway. I used to be able to teach anyone in less than 5 minutes...
so in English it's m, n, o, p
but in Greek you can remember mu nu xi (mee nee khee...omicron pi)
Much easier than people think.

Instead of "it's all Greek to me" they say "It's all Chinese" which makes more sense in terms of things that are hard to understand!

(Was talking to Young Tyler about his fraternity at PRI and thought it would be funny if there were a sorority called Pi Mu Sigma (PMS)

re: Turkish DELIGHT, Turkish TAFFY, etc., the Greeks refuse to say Turkish Coffee or Turkish ANYTHING, EXCEPT they still call those awful public toilets that have no seats and are just a hole in the ground
"Turkish Toilets"!

It's always odd that the names are rarely related properly to the country (French Fries, etc.)

Very interesting you've never heard of Dutch Treat and feel guilty about Dutch Elm disease (which we really suffered from in Mpls and lost all the beautiful trees I grew up with)

My guess is it comes from the sometimes Euro (German? Dutch?)tradition of everyone splitting a check equally, I've sen it when businessman go out to meals, etc. which seems more about fairness than cheapness.
(Whereas in America most people make grand gestures about picking up the tab, fighting over the check, declaring "This one's on me" etc.)

Still in all...TWELVE theme entries!

Anonymous 5:16 PM  

Regarding filling in VE-ISMO: I don't know music, and certainly not opera, except mostly for what I've picked up from crosswords.

I didn't even try to figure out E-O, since that was a name and could be almost anything.

But by thinking through the alphabet, VERISMO sounded like it meant something, with an obvious art-relevant meaning to boot: something filled with veracity. And I was right!

That's what I mean. Not that you will know what it should have been, but when you see it, you will feel it must be right. Just about every foreign language answer in these crosswords is ultimately recognizable. I just can't see VENISMO or VELISMO as plausibly recognizable.
Splitting a check equally may be fair, but it tends to encourage overspending.
Regarding that Bush photo. Aaargh! Objectionable Content! Aaargh!

Parshutr 5:17 PM  

The Turkish clue put me in mind of the Firesign Theater record:
"Now we'll learn three new words in Turkish...Towel...Bath...Border... May I see your passport, Please?"

joho 5:19 PM  

@andrea carla michaels ... I imagine what you say is right.

@dk ... thank you, I think. (Bug?)

@evil doug ... you had me laughing out loud.

elitza 5:21 PM  

@Fergus: Canadian (peameal) bacon is actually a cured pork tenderloin rolled in cornmeal and it is DELICIOUS. Bacon in the States is made from pork belly. The "Canadian bacon" we get in the States is usually more akin to bologna.

And again--DELICIOUS. Actually, it's probably my favorite pork product, by a lot--much leaner and juicier than belly bacon.

The Cunctator 6:01 PM  

I had the problem that there's both French ROAST and French TOAST.

Also, had no idea what to do with the E-O square.

The Cunctator 6:02 PM  

Also, wrote in VAMOS instead of VANOS.

Glitch 6:10 PM  


Your 160+ responses are a sign of how many appreciate what you do here.

Count me among them, even to I'm largely ignored (but it's fun to see just how outragous I have to be to get a response).


Anonymous 6:19 PM  

Totally agree with Ulrich @ 1:15.
And with the whole Verismo-Natick/Ero crossing.

Ulrich 6:22 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
liquid el lay 6:23 PM  

Really liked ARMYANT, and it was cool how that answer speared BACON, PASTRY, AROMA, and TOAST.
A picnic with chiffon and spanish verse, maybe?



Lots of cool words.

Last square the X at SIXES x XMAN, cool!

Ulrich 6:31 PM  

@glitch: Based on my own reactions, I can't say that not responding to a post means that it is ignored--it means, in my case, that I have nothing interesting or funny to add. Or to put it differently, I just can't respond to any post that I've read and found interesting--I have a life to live.

Take the duh/nein comment you made the other day (do I remember this correctly?): I laughed and wanted to respond immediately with a LOL, but then it occurred to me that, given the avalanche of English words currently hitting Germany, which includes everything that sounds hip or with it to the younger generation, "duh" may have made into the language by now. I planned to check this out and then respond. But then life intervened, i.e. I had more pressing things to do, and no response ever materialized. That's the way it goes...

fergus 7:07 PM  

Great point about blog communication niceties, Ulrich. How would one respond to the multitude of interesting points made?

Mostly, you just consider adding something to the mix, and if there's a tangential or digressive spark, a follow-on point is made. Even the wisdom of Foodie gets only partial recognition in print, but such posts are, I am sure, widely appreciated.

On this blog, I genuinely like the general tacit understanding that those who comment have read the others, almost to the same degree that they have considered the daily puzzle.

jae 7:22 PM  

Getting here late was a little like getting stuck in traffic (100+msgs) and knowing there is an accident up ahead but finding it all cleaned up when you get there.

Tough for me for a Tues. in that it was doable but slow going. Guessed right on the R by kinda following Orange's logic with a tad of w.e. emba thrown in.

@Glitch -- your posts are usually pretty amusing. You can assume a chuckle or LOL from me.

JannieB 7:50 PM  

@jae - great analogy. I am also late to the party today - and am dumbstruck over all the goings on. I didn't like the cover but not because I thought it pornographic or objectionable. I just don't find the subjects very attractive. Big whoop.

As for the puzzle, agree that it was unusually difficult for a Tuesday, not that there's anything wrong with that. At least the theme seemed fresh and for that I'm grateful.

Anonymous 8:10 PM  

A quick random sampling (depressing the scroll button for a bit, then reading the top line on the screen) yeilded a ratio of 7:1, for (other topics) to (puzzle topics). It took eight tries to light on a line about the puzzle itself.

Shout-outs and posts about posts about posts..

Posts about the flagging issue even though RP took the unusual step of creating a seperate posting column for that issue-

What gives?

I like finding out what people think of the puzzle, I like a conversation if it moves a point forward..

But this is becoming too much stuff to wade through.

From the cover of darkness, so say I.

Rex Parker 8:16 PM  

@the voice of one crying in the darkness,

Your signoff made me laff. And I heartily concur with your call for more puzzle talk. (Though I was very heartened by the flag-related feedback)


Anonymous 8:26 PM  

Am I the only one who insisted on American PIE -- as in the old song from the 70s (Bye Bye Miss American Pie.....) American ELM -- very lame. Definitely the hardest Tues puzzle ever, but I hung in there to retain sefl-esteem.

allan 8:45 PM  

@acm: It's great to have you back in full swing, especially with pitchers & catchers just about 2 weeks away. You just make me laugh.

@ Cynic: Great occupation. When you get promoted, I want your job.

@Rex: It is your commentary that brings us all together, so once again, thanx.


Doc John 9:50 PM  

I'm glad all is back to normal in Rex-world. Thank you, Rex, for being our stalwart leader in crossword self-improvement. To be honest, I didn't even notice that they were nude in the photo when I read the blog yesterday. Re: the banner- some people really need to get a life and stop worrying about miniscule images of the same sexual organs that everyone has. Geez, it's not like that picture showed up full-screen with blinking arrows pointing at the offending objects!

Did you know that in some states you can't sell anything shaped like genitalia? Not even stuff meant for a joke like mints or erasers.

As for the puzzle- I agree with everyone's assessment of its difficulty. I was pleased to get the R using the same logic as Wm Emba. I still think it was pretty Natick-y.

I loved the AFRO clue just because it seemed to me to be a slam on our (not so) dearly departed president.

miriam b 10:03 PM  

Very sorry to hear about the now-resolved flagging problem. Someone (was it Fergus?) opined that blue-noses often engage in more objectionable activities than those they censor. I instantly thought of the Rev. Davidson in "Rain".

I don't post often because I'm usually crazy-busy, but I did want to lend a word of support and to say thanks for a lively blog frequented by interesting folk. You know who you are.

Ulrich 10:14 PM  

@rex: You concur? Are you serious?

This was a special day b/c of the flagging, and any random sample will of course show a disproportionate share of non-puzzle comments (why one would have to random sample a total population of ca. 100 is beyond me anyway, but that's another issue).

The attraction of this blog is that you take off on tangents, which suggests, to me, egalitarian that I am, that readers can do this too. If all I have to respond to is someone's mishaps at 23 down, I'm out--granted, that may not be a great loss in the larger scheme of things.

Anonymous 10:19 PM  

So glad that others found this as challenging as I did! Phew. Thought I was having a brain dead day.

Rex Parker 10:23 PM  


You're out? Really? I'll believe that when I see it :)

I concur with the call for more puzzle talk. I fail to see why that should make you or anyone angry. If your only idea of "puzzle talk" is the error you made at 23D, then yes, not commenting might be your best option.

I kid. You'll keep commenting. Everyone's happy. It's been a great day, overall.


mac 10:33 PM  

@ulrich and rex: it was a great day! Nothing to do with being politically correct, it's so much more important to have a sense of humor, to be tolerant, and live and let live.

Pythia 11:15 PM  

Fun puzzle with so many theme answers. Challenging fill for a Tuesday, but the theme belongs here. Free pass given. AFRO clue was ugh-ly.

Sorry to hear about the flagging. JL must be smiling, wherever he is. "You know it ain't easy ...." Some people will not get it in this lifetime. Double kudos to Rex.

Marketable Treasury securities, in order of maturity:

T-bills = one year or less, sold at a discount, no coupon
T-notes = two-to-ten year maturity, coupon-bearing
T-bonds = 20-to-30 years, coupon-bearing

Had arugula and beet salad and moules proven├žales for dinner. Yum. Love that Ken-Ken.


Anonymous 11:34 PM  

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Anonymous 2:19 AM  

Just read about the blocking fiasco.

It's so absurd when it's a picture of an album cover--with John Lennnon and Yoko Ono, for Pete's sakes, a worldwide, so popular duo.

Don't people have lives of their own to lead and let people have their crossword puzzle blog?

If you have a problem at work, don't blame others. Do it another time.

Thank you so much to whoever posted the words to John Lennon's song "Imagine." What a beautiful song; the words are wonderful.

Kathy D.

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

For designer Gucci (29d)--originally founded by Guccio Gucci and then his sons took over one being ALDO. This made the puzzle more confusing.

Anonymous 6:54 PM  

Well gee Rex, your solution is to buckle under and censor the art? Wow. Shame on you Rex.

Anonymous 3:24 PM  

5 w l

so many entries today ......!
must get rest now ....

R o b e r t

Anonymous 6:39 PM  

5 wl Did the John & Yoko cover get replaced by Elton John? I can't believe there were no kudos to Rex for posting Tiny Dancer from one of my alltime favorite albums. Saw him do it in concert the same year as the video.

Charly 5:10 PM  

I did not enjoy this puzzle. It felt clunky, and very un-Tuesday-like. When I had TOAST, ICE, and BACON, I naturally assumed the rest of the themish answers would be foods. ARMY ANT? IANA? NINON?? (Had LINEN.) Yuck.

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