TUESDAY, Feb. 17, 2009 - K House (Umber or chocolate brown / Watergate tape problem / PC user's self-image / Trademarked citrus)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: BROKEN-HEARTED (53A: Sad, like 20-, 28- and 46-Across?) - three theme answers have letter string HEART "broken" across two words of the answer

Word of the Day: TANDOOR - A cylindrical oven made of clay, heated to a high heat over charcoal or wood, and used in India for baking bread and roasting meat. (answers.com)

Very brief write-up today, as I have tons to do this morning. Also, I did not like this puzzle, and am in no mood to go on and on about why. So I'll just go on. One on. Not two.

The theme is weak for a couple of reasons. The first is the answer RICH EARTH TONE, which just doesn't feel strong enough to be a self-standing phrase in a puzzle. I know what it means, but I also know what "ANGRY ELEPHANT" means; that doesn't make "ANGRY ELEPHANT" a thing you can put in a puzzle. Second, in puzzles where words are "broken" across two or more words, ideally the "broken" word touches all the theme words. Here, this is true of none of the theme answers. Not one. Maybe there are no two- or three-word phrases you can "break" HEART across, I don't know. I just know that as "broken" word puzzles go, this one feels flimsy.

I finished in just over 5 on paper, with my (relative) slowness having nothing to do with the theme and everything to do with the SW corner, and the GAP (59D: Watergate tape problem) / GROW (59A: Shoot up) intersection in particular. I had a blank that I must have stared at for many, many seconds. Weird. The clues on both words just weren't doing anything for me. They are fine, accurate clues. My brain just kept rejecting them.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Umber or chocolate brown (ricH EARTh tone)
  • 28A: Military treatise by Sun Tzu ("THE ART of War")
  • 46A: Captain's "Listen up!" ("Now HEAR This!")

Once again, after completing the puzzle, I found I had an error - NAM where NAN should have been (62D: Tandoor-baked bread). Always Check Your Crosses. Always Proof Your Puzzle. Also, try to get EPSOM and EPSON (68A: Big name in printers) straight in your mind. I thought I had it today. I was wrong. Speaking of "NAM," "Watchmen" comes out in a few weeks. Speaking of "DEVO" (15A: "Whip It" rock group), "Watchmen" comes out in a few weeks. Just see it. Or better yet, read it. All will become clear.


  • 1A: God, with "one's" (maker) - yikes. Rough start. "Meet YOUR maker," that's the pronoun I associate with MAKER
  • 14A: Quick, like a cat (agile) - I always think of AGILE in terms of flexibility or dexterousness, not speed. But "quick" is of course correct, dictionarily speaking. NIMBLE, that's the word I wanted.
  • 37A: Trademarked citrus (ugli) - a common word, made less ugly by its proximity today to its fellow "I"-ending fruit, KIWI (3D: Fuzzy fruit).
  • 65A: Qaddafi's land (Libya) - very much in the news when I was in high school. I think there are officially 87 ways to spell QADDAFI in English. This is one of them.
  • 1D: Hot Lips Houlihan's rank: Abbr. (Maj.) - Puzzle gets a Lot of use out of her. See also SWIT.
  • 8D: PC user's self-image (avatar) - I use a Mac, and I have an AVATAR.
  • 10D: Managing perfectly (in top form) - great answer, but the clue? I think I was thrown by "managing," which implies "getting by," "handling things fine," not being on top of anything. I should have put more store in "perfectly."
  • 25D: Antique farm device (churn) - there is a great song by Memphis Slim about a butter CHURN that is Not About a Butter CHURN At All. Maybe I can find it... OK, here: "Churnin' Man Blues"
  • 32D: W.W. II-era G.I., e.g. (Amvet) - never heard of them. Now I have. Veterans' group since 1945. That clue has more "." than any once clue should have.
  • 53D: Cheese with a moldy rind (brie) - just bought some yesterday. Started eating it in chunks, like it was bread or something. Expensive, very fattening bread.

Good day
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Hungry Mother 7:52 AM  

Very easy, but very bland today.

dsf 8:12 AM  

I thought Houlihan, Watergate and Tandoor made three of the corners fun today. The "broken hearted" theme is telling us that Valentine's Day is over, right? Sun Tzu is about as far as you can get from Valentine's Day.

Anonymous 8:17 AM  

The puzzle wasn't difficult, but I did have to skip around a lot for some of the answers to become clear.

Anyone have a problem with 60A "Year-end air" being Noel? Seemed inaccurate to me.

Rex, I felt I plodded through this puzzle, and sounds like you had to plod through your write-up (not that it read that way, just assuming from your initial comments). Thanks for this and all your great write-ups!

xyz 8:35 AM  

Puzzle fairly easy except SW confusion and agree, Rex, that AM VETS is very weak.

Rex - 55 in the universe and me a crap puzzle-solver just getting into this "big time puzzle breaking" stuff both hated the SW. Is that validation? Spent at least 3/4 of my time on that corner ..... :-)

Chorister 8:36 AM  

@Newbie - Not a problem, but I did have to reason it out - Noel, and Christmas carols in general, do tend to congregate in December, which is the end of the year.

I don't have an avatar, but I have a goal for soon: get one.

Jeffrey 8:44 AM  

Five minutes after I completed this puzzle, I couldn't remember anything about it. Bland is the word (is the word, is the word...)

It is cereal week. RICE KRISPIES yesterday; TRIX today. Tomorrow, look for FROSTED FLAKES.

Also multiple cartoon/comic references: STAN Lee, "Blondie", "Cathie", "Garfield", Mr. MAGOO.

DEVO and TORME. There's a combo I'd like to see sing together - Chestnuts roasting - whip it good!

fikink 9:17 AM  

@Crosscan, LOL, love the SCAT.

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

Anyone else think of the West Wing with the Qaddafi clue?

"And tell them that Khaddafi is spelled with an 'H' and two 'D's and isn't a seven letter word for anything..

You're spelling his name wrong.... What's my name? My name doesn't matter. I'm just an ordinary citizen, who relies on the Times crossword for stimulation. And I'm telling you that I've met the man twice and I've recommended a pre-emptive Exocet missile strike against his air force, so I think I know how..."

joho 9:24 AM  

Funny how the SW corner turned out to be the peskiest part of the puzzle. I had TAP for GAP for too long even though I know that TROW is not a word. Finally changed the "T" to "G."

This puzzle did not break my heart but it didn't light my fire, either.

jubjub 9:26 AM  

REVAMP was mentioned by the old crazy man at the end of 60 minutes (aka Andy Rooney) this week as a word he does not understand.

Last week on "30 Rock" one of the characters falls in love with a "sexy Ms. MAGOO".

I apparently watch too much TV :).

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

See? that is always my problem with not knowing English well enough; I thought that TROW could actually be a word... :-)

chefbea 9:41 AM  

Very easy and thought the theme was just going to be HEART because this is heart month.

Had soft soap at first but then Magoo wouldnt fit.

Bitter cold here again. Good day to make a thick vegetable beef soup

Rex Parker 9:46 AM  

TROW is a Middle English word meaning "suppose" or "believe." You are not likely to see it in puzzles.


Anonymous 9:46 AM  

There are lots of ways to clue NAN (62D), but if the clue is going to invoke tandoori bread, surely the single-a version should have a (var.) warning. The primary definition for "nan" in the M-W online dictionary is "variant of naan," and some of the other online dictionaries don't mention bread until several definitions have gone past. The ink-and-paper dictionary I rely on, American Heritage, doesn't have any definition for single-a "nan" other than the Thai river.

Ulrich 9:50 AM  

The SW corner fell so fast for me that I don't even remember spending any time there. To compensate, the "m" at the crossing of "am vet" and "torme" was unresolvable for me: I knew Mel Torme, of course, but had never heard of the Velvet Fog (thought it was a rock band on acid) or the vet group--this is very frustrating when it happens on a Tuesday.

Orange 10:26 AM  

Crosscan is spying on me, as he knows I'm going to look for FROSTED FLAKES at the grocery store tomorrow. Listen, Crosscan, if you're already skulking about in my house and reading my grocery list, why don't you make yourself useful and pick up those items for me?

Jeffrey 10:33 AM  

You got it, Orange. Was that skim or 2% milk?

ArtLvr 10:36 AM  

If they aren't going to refer to Gone With the Wind for TARA, I'm going to have to picture a Lipinsky skating as fast as the wind while doing flips... ? It didn't help that I wanted a Bath towel as Drier's need, since I don't often dry a DISH by hand.

All went smoothly otherwise. Poor Rosemary's tries at explaining the Nixon tape's 18-minute GAP with exttreme bodily contortions were unforgettable! Oddly, her brother was a law enforcement official in the Chicago area as I recall -- a sheriff, I think.


Two Ponies 10:37 AM  

My biggest "huh?" today was Left Coast airport. Has anyone ever said they were going to the Left Coast?
The proximity of Mel Torme and rave makes for a funny image.

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

Rex, your write-up makes me want to construct a puzzle specifically featuring the answer ANGRY ELEPHANT, along with perhaps SAD WALRUS and BEMUSED CAT.

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

It was pretty easy, but I completely agree with Rex about the theme -- not really well done.

As far as I know, the only people who talk about the "Left Coast" live back East, or are trying to be really silly.

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

Now hear this. So What? (Not) in top form. Nada.

Although I must admit I love nan.

HudsonHawk 10:53 AM  

I thought the puzzle was OK. I did like the 5 W's in the grid--not sure why. I would have preferred to see 5D clued as "15A toppers" and changed from RED HOTS to RED HATS. TAT instead of TOT wouldn't have been a problem.

jeff in chicago 10:56 AM  

I have one word for the puzzles so far this week: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

@redanman: and my ANT Margie agrees with me!

Margaret 10:57 AM  

It's only 9:55 and already the comments have been much more fun than the puzzle. Crosscan is IN TOP FORM this morning!

Rex, you have a discriminating eye. Of all the Memphis Slim images you could've picked, you selected one by one of my favorite Memphis artists, George Hunt. One of his paintings was used for a postage stamp to commemorate the Little Rock Nine. (http://www.longriver.net/littlerocknine.html)

Hmm... How about a geographical/numerical crossword theme: the Chicago Seven, the Little Rock Nine -- or the Mudville Nine. Can anyone think of any others?

Shamik 11:03 AM  

@Crosscan: If David Bowie and Bing Crosby can sing together, why not DEVO and TORME? Love it! And just 'cause TORME is dead shouldn't matter. Natalie Cole made a record with her dead dad. BTW, I saw Mel Torme walking down the street in NYC once.

@mexgirl: Actually trow is a word, but pretty archaic and not used much anymore, as Rex said. A modern definition (having nothing to do with the archaic definition i'd remembered from college) is "A boat with an open well amidships. It is used in spearing fish." It's definitely a Maleska word and hope not to see it in a puzzle coming soon.

@COIXT RECORDS: Am looking forward to that ANGRYELEPHANT puzzle.

I, too, had issues with the towel. Had BATHTOWEL and WASHTOWEL before DISHTOWEL. As I used to ask my grandmother when I was a little girl: Why can't we just let them air dry? And now I do.

So excepting the towel snag, this one was easy. And anytime I hear DAYO, I remember the first time I sang karaoke............

hazel 11:04 AM  

I always feel like a contrarian on this site - although I'm really not one.

I liked the puzzle much more than yesterday's. Liked the way the puzzle itself is broken hearted. To the APORT side, there’s a comfortable life with TOTs, HANDSOAP, DISHTOWELS, BRIE, KIWIs, even REDHOTS. After the heart breaks, though, you live in a STY with NADA, WAR, RAVES, nothing but TRIX to eat, and AARP to comfort you. Oh, and you’re stuck with ODIE too.

John L. Welch 11:11 AM  

As to 37 across, see this blog postin: http://tinyurl.com/aqjth7

fikink 11:14 AM  

@hazel, and The Velvet Fog has soothed many a broken heart in his time.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:23 AM  

@joho, mexgirl, and Rex - Are you all seriously suggesting that we should drop TROW? (See the Urban Dictionary.)

Kelly 11:28 AM  

I know somebody from Oregon who calls it the "left coast," although for some reason it always makes me roll my eyes...

I had the same GROW/GAP issue that Rex did. ASARULE had me stumped for a little bit, too, for no apparent reason. Hmm.

Shamik 11:30 AM  

@PuzzleGirl: I did look up Esai and he isn't hard to look at. But reviewing what he's been in, I really hadn't seen him in anything.

jae 11:39 AM  

I thought this one was OK. Other than BATHSOAP no real problems.

PlantieBea 11:46 AM  

I didn't mind this puzzle at all with the exception of heart not carrying over all three answer words as per Rex's comments. It was easy, especially after running through the downs.

I liked the food part--brie and nan would be good together. I have kids who like the creamy inside, and the mouldy outside rind of brie so it all disappears from the platter. We took our kids to watch nan being baked in the Tandoor of an Indian restaurant once. They, and I, were surprised to see the nan dough thrown onto the walls of the oven where it stuck and then rapidly puffed into the baked bread form. Yum.

SethG 11:55 AM  

John L. Welch, trademark can be a verb. Maybe not for legal uses, but certainly enough in informal usage that the clue is fine.

I have a copyright on a hypothetical Jeopardy-like category on musical material, which includes Mel Tormè, Alannah Myles, David Lynch, Isabella Rossellini, Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Angus MacLise, and Wade. Er, Elvis.

Brie was part of my breakfast. Amvet is almost in the OGPU/DECOCT class.

Tony from Charm City 12:02 PM  

Fairly easy/bland puzzle. I didn't even see AMVET until I went to the site. I get calls from AMVETS every other month for clothing and other goods for donations to veterans.

edith b 12:02 PM  

I have the same problem as Rex some days - looking at everything with a little too much precision. It usually ends up leaving me stymied in some godforsakin' corner where if I looked at things a little less rigidly I would have been OK.

Sometimes a little fuzzy thinking is a good thing.

I liked the way the theme split HEART in the same way - not an ear in sight which would have done something a little je ne sais quoi about the puzzle.

Nice observation today, Hazel.

joho 12:03 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle: I totally thought of that! I prefer this current meaning to the archaic-never-used-anymore definitions. I was thinking it should be TROU, though, but drop TROW works for me!

archaeoprof 12:07 PM  

24A took all the fun out of this puzzle for me. On my 50th birthday, an AARP membership invitation letter arrived in the mail. It ruined the day. I will never, never, never, ever join that organization.

HudsonHawk 12:41 PM  

OK, Seth, I'll take Velvet for $400.

What is:

VELVET Underground?

Daily Double--Liz Taylor? National VELVET...oops, not quite musical.

Anonymous 12:48 PM  

"Once again, after completing the puzzle, I found I had an error - NAM where NAN should have been (62D: Tandoor-baked bread." Is your total time to solve the puzzle inclusive or exclusive of completing the puzzle with the confusion between the N and the M?

Anonymous 12:55 PM  

I read the Watchmen series when it came out in the 80s, and again a few years ago. It held up over time really well. Definitely a milestone comic, you can probably find it in your local library and I second Rex in encouraging you to read it. I haven't decided if I'll go see the movie yet. I remember the Nam bit being related to the comedian; I think I know what the Devo relates to, but won't say.

Oh, the puzzle, I put in GAP as my last answer too. I have vague recollections of my mother explaining impeachment and abdication to me, amidst the Sesame Street episodes.

fallgirl 1:01 PM  

Hi-coming to you from syndication land. I've been lurking here for a year now and thought I should finally say something.Rex, I love your blog and the new word of the day feature. This site has helped me so much with the NYT puzzles that I have signed up ACPT Tournament. Hope to meet all of you and the end of the month!

dk 1:07 PM  

My Nana told me Mel Torme was known as the Velvet Fog and it was so odd to have her tell me that I have never forgot.

Speaking of Tandor.... I just learned that the Green Egg grills have many uses. The Egg, for those of you out of the loop, is a green ceramic outdoor cooker that is lined with bricks. The Egg holds moisture very well (so I am told) and grills fowl and fish very well. Now the Tandor part: It seems the Egg also does a great job wood roasting pizza and baking... ta dah NAN.

IF I were Will Shortz.

REVAMPED clued "second stroll down the avenue" might have given this puzzles AURA a boost. That said we could have had an alternative clue for TRIX ;), and of course there is the old rhyme associated with putting a dime in the pay toilet and only f*&ting for BROKENHEARTED.

Off to wash out my fingers with HANDSOAP.

FYI, early reviews of Watchman are the opposite of RAVE

foodie 1:16 PM  

As a little kid, we would spend part of the summer in a little village nearby because it was elevated and cooler than Damascus. I would roam around the wheat fields with my cousin, then come back to this open air spot near the house where the village women would be kneading bread, flattening it out and slapping it against a hot oven wall build from stone (looks like pizza ovens except the walls are used). It would peel itself off the wall when cooked and they'd catch it and hand it to us. They'd also be boiling fresh goat cheese so it was hot and stretchy. We would smush that cheese into the bread and peel a fresh juicy fig and smash it in there. Roll up the whole thing and eat it on the spot. Best food I've ever eaten...

@Anonymous at 9:20, I like the quote-- very apt! But I really don't think Qaddafi should be spelled with a KH. There are actually rules for how Arabic letters get written in English... I don't know them but one of my kids studied Arabic in college and had a whole system down. But I do know the sound of his name and it should not be "KH", as if you're clearing your throat.

Doug 1:18 PM  

Did the puzzle lickety-split-like except where I couldn't figure out why NOW HEARTiES (as in "arrgh, me hearties") wouldn't cross properly at the I. The actual answer was a kind of letdown and my mental image went from cool Jack Sparrow to blah Kevin Costner in whites.

Anonymous 1:34 PM  

@foodie re: Anonymous at 9:20am:

That West Wing quote is from Leo McGary (sp), the White House chief of staff, being put on hold by someone at the NYT switchboard as he complains about the Khaddafi spelling.

Brilliant series, great recall by Anonymous.


hazel 1:40 PM  

@DK - I have a Big Green Egg - have cooked on it for 10+ years - it is ceramic and does hold moisture very well - mine is not lined with bricks, though.

I've never tried cooking naan on it - although it does a great job with just about anything - smoking boston butts, cooking pizzas, steaks, vegetables - you name it. It all stays juicy.

So happy the crocuses and daffodils are coming up here - means its almost time to fire it up. And i'll try some naan.

chefbea 1:52 PM  

Welcome Fall girl

@foodie that sounds yummy

@Hazel I'm jealous. wish we had flowers blooming in Connecticut. Snow predicted for Wednesday :-(

chefwen 2:08 PM  

I rather enjoyed the puzzle, had one little glitch when I put oreos in for cylindrical sandwiches, but that was my only oops.

Love, love, love nan and I think I'll try it out in the pizza oven this weekend. Yum!

Took the accent quiz yesterday and it plunked me deep into Green Bay Packer territory. Haven't lived in the midwest for over 30 years.
I guess you can take the person out of Wisconsin but not Wisconsin out of the person.

Chip Hilton 2:19 PM  

Easy....bland.....everyone seems to agree. Me, too. I wonder which puzzle is more representative of Tuesday level: this one, which took me 8 minutes to complete, or last Tuesday's, which had me reeling after the 20 minute time limit was up at the Westport tournament? Even without the pressure of competing, there's no way these two puzzles are on a par.

The Torme episode of 'Seinfeld', politically incorrect as it may have been, was a personal favorite. Don't touch Jimmy!

fmcgmccllc 2:58 PM  

Not great but not bad, nothing to be broken hearted about except now I feel old or nerdy for getting gap right on. Loved the picture of Rosemary contorting herself in the Twister days. No Pilates back then.

fergus 3:29 PM  

There's a local Indian outfit that carts around its portable TANDOOR to many a public gathering. Too bad they're the only decent Indian food around. My neighborhood is filled with foodies and restaurant owners and we all agreed recently that if on death row, and could choose one final meal that it would be Indian.

Because of an earlier discussion this morning I didn't welcome God as "one's" maker into the puzzle. What are the quotation marks implying here? I hope that it's just "one's" interpretation. Sorry theists, but I had a little collision with dogma earlier, and upon seeing God in 1A, that was my first five-letter selection.

We're experiencing lightning and thunder on the Left Coast at the moment, which I'm positing as only coincidental.

RodeoToad 3:42 PM  

In Scotland (I'm told) "a colonel" is rhyming slang for a half-pint of beer: half=halfy, which rhymes with Qadaffi, who was a colonel. I don't know because I never ordered a half-pint of anything in my drinking life.

I forgot to mention yesterday that that quiz put me in the "Inland North," wherever that is. Must have been that year I spent in Arkansas.

Anonymous 3:58 PM  

@Wade - the joke is "The year I spent in Arkansas over the 4th of July weekend"

HudsonHawk 4:16 PM  

@wade, that sounds more like Cockney rhyming slang, as in Colonel Qadaffi=halfy, or Britney Spears=beers. Or as in this example, "let's go fer a few Britneys".


Anonymous 4:32 PM  

I ♡ this puzzle -- well, not really ❤ (that's a boldface "♡") but I enjoyed it, found the theme early enough to fix an error in 45D:ASARULE (I first guessed USUALLY from letters 2 and 6), and wasn't upset by the technical flaws Rex cites. Nice also that HEART is "broken" once at each reasonable place (HEA|RT wouldn't be reasonable).

I too wondered about the clue for 1A:MAKER until I got the A and K from 2D and 3D. Along similar lines, nice that the central 38A:STONE is clued so as to provide a biblically-themed cross with 39D:NEH. I suppose that 60A:NOEL adds to this mini-theme for those whose 21D:ETHOS inseparably connects "biblical" with "cross"...


Anonymous 5:08 PM  

Hmmm, I (heart) this puzzle, esp coming right after Valentine's Day!
Broken Hearts is hard to do, and altho I agree with Rex that RICHEARTHTONE is a little light, I thought THE ART OF WAR and NOW HEAR THIS were excellent!!!!!

I had a mini malapop for putting in UGLI for KIWI and then have it appear, but it's not a real one unless the wrong word is from a totally different context...not just another fruit.

(Who taught me last week that it's pronounced oo-gli?)

Didn't anyone think it was neat that HANDSOAP crossed with DISHTOWEL?

I thought interesting that they de-sexed the word for STRIP making it dated comics...and yet spiced up the word for GROW making it "Shot up"...
With different definitions, this could have been one of those erotic puzzles with STRIP, PEEL, GROW, RODE and um...JAWED?

With the exception of AVATAR the fill read a little oldie/moldie (TORME, MAGOO, TRIX, GAP, LIBYA, AARP, DAYO, AMVET)
but I loved SO WHAT!

Really my only "MEH" was for NEH.

retired_chemist 5:30 PM  

A ho-hum puzzle. Just checking in after going to the Westminster dog show last week. Where I had my pocket picked in the hotel lobby. :-( I ♡ NY - not!) Tomorrow's will be better, I am sure, as were the weekend puzzles I did yesterday.

Glitch 5:43 PM  

Once again, early week puzzle, ok, but not much to comment on, so having said that to justify this a puzzle related post:

@Edith b --- agree that "fuzzy think" helps not only solving, but keeping the blood pressure down whilst doing so. My thinking has become even fuzzier since ---

[@archeoprof] --- I joined AARP a long while back. Don't take offense, you can get some great deals, including trips to ---

[@Two Ponies] --- the Left Coast. That's a fairly common expression back here, where yesterday's accent quiz, pegged me, like

[@Wade] being from "inland north".


Anonymous 5:46 PM  

Maybe I'm totally out of it, but I've noticed Rex and a lot of posters saying "MEH". What does this mean? Is it an internet acronym? (Maybe Everyone Has or something?)

retired_chemist 6:12 PM  

@ Anon -

Look up Meh - it googles!

mac 6:14 PM  

This was easy and unmemorable, with just a few second looks, like 1A (God-maker) and 46A: which captain is this?
Dishtowel is a teatowel to me, but no real problem.

@Shamik: Did you see Mel in NY before or after he died?
Airdrying is more hygenic; dishwasher is even more so.

@Foodie: that sounds like a great treat... I recently found a place in Manhattan called Danku that carries Kroketten. They are not the very best, but good enough! And Naan we can buy at Stop & Shop, amazingly.

P.S. I just printed out and am working on a puzzle by Nancy Ross called "Class Reunion". I found it at the Ephraim site.

Dean 6:18 PM  

Long time reader, first time poster!
For some reason I couldn't get any traction in the NW - Got REDHOTS, but CREATOR didn't fit for 1A and as a 9 cat "owner" don't connect AGILE with "quick", as Rex noted. It wasn't till I came back a bit later that MAKER came to me and the rest of that corner fell in about 5 seconds. Has that ever happened to you - DOH!

chefbea 6:31 PM  

@mac I just did the puzzle in the AARP magazine. Don't know why they send it to me?? It's Tom Swifties!!! Havent done one of those in a while.

flagger 6:55 PM  

This was anything but a broken heart puzzle. If anything, it was a mended heart puzzle. If it's broken, then the answers should be something like HElovesART. (What they say about Picasso).

treedweller 8:27 PM  

that's just what I was expecting as I sped through the puzzle. In fact, a quick glance at the first theme entry after I got the theme-revealing clue looked like it fit that profile. I had to take a long look after I finished to see what the real theme was.

I found the puzzle to be about what I expect for a tues--which is rare, since recent tuesdays have seemed harder than I expect. Frequently, I finish Wed. puzzles as fast or faster than tuesday. I didn't hate this one as much as some seemed to, but I didn't particularly like anything about it, either. Meh, to borrow a phrase.

dk 9:06 PM  

@hazel, what is the green egg lined with. Have you baked bread in yours? Inquiry minds want to know.

@dean, welcome aboard.

@retired chemist, they still pick pockets? Carry a mouse trap next time you go.

Anonymous 9:28 PM  

retired_chemist: Thank you for your smart-ass answer to my MEH question. Go Google it. Wow, gee, thanks. I guess I'm not in the in-crowd enough to know that asking a simple question should elicit such a response.

treedweller 9:39 PM  

maybe retired_chemist was a little smart-assed (I didn't think so, but maybe . . .), but you could have googled for your answer in the time it took to post that reply. Actually, less, probably.

A real smartass will post a link that goes to google, automatically types in the search term, and shows you the results. I never bothered to learn how to do it, but I've seen it.

Google for a man, and he'll get a bit of info. Teach a man to google, and he'll be able to spare us all really pointless questions.

treedweller 9:40 PM  

okay, maybe there are other ways a smartass will reveal himself.

flagger 9:59 PM  

@ treedweller: Although I agree w/ anon, your response is a gem. I must remember that one. It'll come in handy.

Anonymous 10:15 PM  

So...every time a person has a word-related question on this blog (a blog presumably mostly ABOUT words!)he should be shut down and sent to Google? Gee, nice folks here.

Rex Parker 10:27 PM  

"Sent to Google?" It's ... right there. There. Right there. I have a little box in my web browser that *IS* Google. Don't most web browsers have search engines built right in now?

Asking questions = great. But you might consider if something can be answered with a simple Google before asking the question. I can't tell you how many questions I get that I answer by means of a single google search, i.e. by doing the thing that the asker should have been able to do for him/herself in the first place. I generally do this w/o mocking the questioner, because some folks are old and/or unfamiliar with technology that I take for granted. But really - a Google search is easier and more efficient than asking a question in a comments section. So start there. It's not hard work. It's typing a word and hitting "Return."

That said, I'm surprised that a Google search of "MEH" actually turns up clear info.

Anonymous 11:03 PM  

you could google it.

mac 11:26 PM  

I love Google, wouldn't know how to live without it anymore, but sometimes it is better to get the information you are looking for, and many times so much more, from one of your blog friends. I don't google much for the puzzle anymore, but in my day to day life, anytime I have a question about a book or an author, an actor or a film, I hit Google. It's like having a living encyclopedia at my fingertips.

That said, I would be hard pressed to google MEH, although I have to admit to googling doh, if only for the spelling.

Anonymous 11:31 PM  

I would gladly join in a conversation with my blog friends if they asked. When some random, anonymous drop-in asks a blatantly obvious question that was discussed on said blog a few weeks ago, I feel less charitable. maybe that's just me.

Orange 12:06 AM  

I love the "Let me Google that for you" gadget. Total smartassery, yes, but educational at the same time, and you end up with the first 10 Google search results, which often contain the answer.

Crosscan, hurry! It's skim milk, and I need it by breakfast time or my child will get, like, 2 oz. of milk in his glass.

I only now remembered that the thrift store my friends and I would go to in high school was the Amvets store. No Salvation "Army" stores in our area...just Amvets.

Orange 12:07 AM  

This cartoon perfectly encapsulates all that is "meh." (Found it via the 11:03 "you could google it" link.)

Jeffrey 12:12 AM  

I moving as quick as I can, Orange. You know Rex makes me sweep up here every night. And there's never a day off!

Anonymous 12:48 AM  

Me thinks that "meh" is the dumbest slang word that he's ever heard.

Anonymous 1:06 AM  

I don't think I hep enough to say meh. And that goes for LOL too!

Anonymous 1:07 AM  

I feel guilty bec I think it was my MEH that prompted the query... and I only used it to rhyme with my feeling about NEH!

I do think retired chemist might have been slightly more gracious to a newcomer, but then again, he just had his pocket picked by someone who shall remain ANONYMOUS, so perhaps it was his chance to strike back, EH?

OK, I can't remember if I told this story before, but in the 70's my mom was standing in line behind Mel Torme and actually said to him "Didn't you used to be Mel Torme?"

At which point he turned from The Velvet Fog into the Ice Fog...

(Is there such a thing as Ice Fog?)

Kidding! I know, I could google it!

Oh! And I do want to say this puzzle isn't getting enough love.

Kristian found THREE ways to break up HEART AND the weakest link one had, on top of everything else, to be split differently from the other two nice strong answers AND be 13 letters.
I contend the bland was in the fill not the theme. :)

Anonymous 1:21 AM  

I gotta say that I am really shocked at the rudeness on this blog. English is my second language and I thought it might be fun to ask a word related question about a word I haven't heard people using before. I still am unclear on MEH and thought some "word people" might be a great resource. Maybe with some fun conversation about it. I still don't know how to pronounce meh. Of course I am aware of Google. I promise I won't post anything on this blog again.


fergus 1:33 AM  

I seem to recall a preference for anonymice to identify themselves, so that when they don't post the rest will know who they are.

Anonymous 1:39 AM  

I'm confused. Are you Anonymous1:21 and are you the same Anonymous as Anonymous1:07 and what about Anonymous 1:06?

1:21, did you use the word PEH to play off the word MEH or is that your name?

Perhaps if you used a name- and it wouldn't have to be, like, your REAL name or anything - perhaps someone who wasn't a smartass might get back to you

Anonymous 1:40 AM  


evil doug 4:27 AM  


You're right: This isn't a particularly friendly place. You were roundly scolded for not googling, and for spending more time responding to those potshots than the research itself would have taken. Of course, the significant number of hypocritical posters who took a swing at you are guilty of spending waaaay more time with their gratuitous comments than they would have by simply, and graciously, giving you your answer, or at least demonstrating some courtesy in their responses. They are also the ones who generally clog this blog with posts touting their solving time, doing nothing more than echoing earlier comments, or otherwise not being as cute as they think they are.

If you stick around, you'll learn some of these rules of the road. You'll also discover that there is a hierarchy of posters. The inner circle is tolerated whatever they do, while the rest are told their posts are too long, or not on point (whatever THAT is---you'll also see that discussions here aren't very compelling on many days), or otherwise not worthy of the geniuses who reside here.

But there often is value here, if you can cut through the chaff and find it. Rex's commentary is generally fresh and even educational, and there are some posters who like to take creative tangents based on some clue or answer which can lead to lively chats. But beware: The more you post away from the accepted norm, the greater the risk that you'll suffer the mob mentality so often present here....

But if you want to be safe, simply remember to start a post, "I agree with you" or "Great insight today" and you'll be fine.


Rex Parker 7:14 AM  


Come On, you Love it here. You can't stay away. And people love you. I've seen them gush. "Mob mentality" and "accepted norm"? - this is making me laugh out loud. "Gratuitous comments?" That's deliberate irony, right? This is silly. You are usually a lot of things, and silly isn't one. Also, I don't think you're serious that fawning is the safest commenting approach. That is, I don't believe *you* believe that is really what I most desire in a comments section.

I know you like to play anti-blog, but the idea that people here are unfriendly is hilarious and patently, demonstrably, factually untrue. I challenge you to find a friendlier blog comments section (one that gets, you know, this many comments) - A site that features open debate and disagreement and *doesn't* devolve into name-calling and fighting every day? I don't think it can be done.

Keep on posting. And thanks for fawning a little there in your last paragraph. You may pass.


PS I'm begging people not to write in to continue this discussion. It's gone everywhere it's gonna go.

hazel 8:38 AM  

@dk - My Egg is an older model, relatively small, and isn't lined with anything. Its just a ceramic egg, with walls that are maybe an inch or so thick (its raining and i'm not going outside to check).

I've never baked bread in it - although if the naan works out, I may give it a shot.

Orange 9:32 AM  

Meh is pronounced like men or met without the final consonant. Rhymes with feh, I believe, not with eh. I picked up the word from Tyler Hinman, who's in his early 20s, and it may be that I am too old for the word, but I like it so I'm sticking with it.

Some folks are too cool to type LOL. Me, I just can't go there. 99% of the time when someone makes an LOL claim, they did not actually laugh out loud. It hardly takes more effort to type "ha ha" or "Funny!" so what's the point?

flagger 12:58 PM  

Wow. This got good. Even better than today's blog comments.

I think the one thing that hasn't been stressed enough is that R_C was rude. He could have just as easily said "If you google meh, you will get a better definition than I could possibly give." Or he could have not said anything at all.

As my wife says: "It's not what you say, but how you say it." And my dear departed mother taught me that if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything.


Unknown 9:31 PM  

Nan? It's NAAN. I agree with an earlier poster in that "var." should be the case here, though why even have a variation? It's always been naan abroad and always been that case here. Making it 'nan' seems silly. Nan also opens it up for a host of mispronunciations.

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