WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11, 2009 - R Silvestri (U follower / Irene's counterpart in Roman myth / Bit of a limerick / Sight from Taormina)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: No-K - four different familiar phrases containing a word ending in "CK" have the "K" removed to create wacky new phrases, which are clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: ANAPEST - a metrical foot of three syllables the first two being unstressed and the last being stressed (as in Lord Byron's "and his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold") or the first two being short and the last being long (as in classical prosody); a trisyllabic rising cadence

The opposite of an ANAPEST (i.e. stressed, unstressed, unstressed, or long, short, short) is a DACTYL, FYI

Solving time (on paper): 7:20

Wow, it's a good thing I'm getting used to seeing my times for paper-solving now (in preparation for the tournament in two+ weeks) - they're running, on average, a good minute behind my AcrossLite / applet times. I don't think I was aware of how significant the disparity would be. No matter. The real key to tournament solving (for the vast majority of participants) is not to worry about time at all. Keep moving forward and focus on accuracy. Today, accuracy was nearly compromised when I ended up at my final square: the KEMAL (52D: _____ Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey) / ELY (60A: English cathedral city) crossing. I'm sure I've seen both (particularly the latter) before, but intersecting at a vowel as they do here, they both may as well have been Klingon. Nothing I put in the space felt right, and I finally went with "E" because out of all my options, ELY was the least silly, most plausible-sounding place name.

I'm not sure how I feel about a theme where Ks are taken away. I normally like the puzzle to be driving in the opposite direction. There are still three Ks left in this puzzle, but somehow that's small consolation.

I have one major criticism of the theme, specifically of the clue/answer at 62A: Bruin, Golden Bear or Wildcat? (PAC animal): as far as college athletics goes, PAC is not a thing. There is the PAC-10, but there is no PAC. No one says "PAC." Never. It's the PAC-10. The official website says so. A PAC is a Political Action Committee. It is true that the athletic conferecnce in question is called the Pacific Athletic Conference, and you would think that that then entitles you to call it "PAC." But no. It's PAC-10. It really is.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Comment at the reptile exhibition? ("What a croc!")
  • 10D: Command to a photog? ("Take your pic!")
  • 24D: Horse vet? (Doc of the bay) - by far the best of the bunch
  • 62A: Bruin, Golden Bear or Wildcat? (PAC animal)
Lots of speedbumps today. I blanked on ANAPEST. Or, rather, I hadn't thought of ANAPEST (5D: Bit of a limerick) as a constituent part of a limerick before, so was not searching for a fancy poetic term. I wrote in SNEAKY for SLEAZY (22A: Underhanded) and HEROISM for HEROICS (29A: Daring actions). I completely blanked on the super-duper annoyingly crosswordesey ABOU (35D: "_____ Ben Adhem" (Leigh Hunt poem)). EBEN? EZER? ABBA? I consider ABOU desperate stuff, however well attested it is in crossword history. "Leigh Hunt?" Really? I also had NO- or NON- at the beginning of the answer that ended up being NEUTRAL (45A: Not taking sides), and I had no idea who preceded Polk and had to infer it from crosses. Turns out it's TYLER (54D: Polk's predecessor).


  • 9A: Parties where dresses are rarely seen (stags) - "Rarely," HA ha. "But sometimes..."
  • 65A: Rumble in the Jungle victor (Ali) - I've plugged it before, but the documentary film about this fight, "When We Were Kings," is really worth watching.
  • 9D: Non-vector (scalar) - the non-vector in the Rumble in the Jungle was George Foreman.
  • 69A: Conger catcher (eeler) - Does the puzzle have some deal with the EELERS' Union? It seems like the only place I've ever even seen the alleged profession of EELER mentioned is in the grid. Every other week.
  • 30D: Prince of opera (Igor) - I always forget this opera (Borodin's "Prince Igor"). Little matter, as I never even saw this clue today.

  • 40D: U follower (Thant) - former Secretary-General of the U.N. Did not know (til just now) that THANT was his only name, and that "U" is simply an honorific in Burmese, roughly equivalent to "Mister." I wonder if anyone got very bold and entered VWXYZ for this clue.
  • 48D: Sight from Taormina (Etna) - no idea what "Taormina" is, which I suspect was the point.
  • 56D: Tiger Beat cover subject (idol) - I can't believe they still publish Tiger Beat. It's sooooooo Shaun Cassidy-era.
  • 62D: Irene's counterpart in Roman myth (Pax) - as in the Pax Romana. It means "peace."

Many thanks to everyone who helped me fix the "objectionable content" flag problem yesterday, and to everyone who simply expressed sympathy or support. Turns out I have some very well-connected readers (including several inside of Google) and the problem was eliminated with relative speed. I even got to talk about John Lennon's penis in both of my classes - win win!

Please don't flag me for "penis."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


joho 7:24 AM  

Normally I'd be looking to see more "K's" in the grid, but I thought it was really kool when I figured out the "K's" were missing from the answers. So I guess I had the opposite reaction to Rex today.

There were lots of kool words too: SPLAY, JOWLS, SLEAZY, HEROICS, SOLDER, ANAPEST, SCALAR and SWALE.

I liked this much more than yesterday ... thank you Richard Silvestri for a fun Wednesday!

Parshutr 7:49 AM  

My favorite anapest...from MJ
oh you CAN'T
always GET
what you WANT...

Jon 7:54 AM  

I agree: lotsa snappy, fun words today, and, EELER and ABOU notwithstanding, minimal crosswordese. Really nice puzzle, although Rex's quibble about PAC ANIMAL is right on. THANT was the last to fall for me; I was certain it was wrong, but I couldn't see anything else but HATE in 43A. Thank goodness, for once, for my blinders.

JoefromMtVernon 7:55 AM  

I agree with the Kemal/ely cross. Natick moment of the day here. Went with A, because I have a student named Kamal.

Welcome back from the censored, Rex. Perhaps someone will construct a crossword themed by this incident. Sort of like The Ballad of John and Yoko.


HudsonHawk 8:07 AM  

I was going to go on a rant about the PAC-10, but Rex covered it nicely. Otherwise, a decent puzzle. And any excuse to throw in a Young Frankenstein clip makes it a little better, EYE-GOR. Blücher!!!

Parshutr 8:23 AM  

@joefrommtvernon...Mustafa Kemal Ataturk ain't no Natick. Key in "Ataturk" on Wikipedia.
"Peace at Home, Peace in the World"

deerfencer 8:25 AM  

Yes, fun, challenging puzzle for a Wednesday, complete with clever puns. B+

Greene 8:28 AM  

So did I miss something yesterday? Man, you go away for one day and your favorite blog turns into a porn site. Glad to see everything is back to normal.

I loved today's puzzle and I usually don't like the add a letter, drop a letter type of puzzle. This one just seemed to have lots of sass and bite, which is always a good thing.

Now that we've got the flag issue taken care of here, can somebody please do something to get Orange out of that crate? :)

Many thanks to those of you who have swung by my theatre blog. Appreciate all the comments.

Orange 8:36 AM  

In the vein of that old movie called Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, I say: Bring me the penis of Kemal Ataturk. We want full-frontal, man.

So, you're telling me the Badgers and the Nittany Lions are not Big animals?

PuzzleGirl 8:40 AM  

@Orange: The Badgers and the Nittany Lions are, indeed, big animals. But they're in the Big Ten conference. The same conference as ... oh never mind, you all know where I'm going with this. ;-)

imsdave 8:40 AM  

When I did this at Westport, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was my only puzzle with an error though. For some reason, I thought Ataturk was GAMAL, and though I fixed the G to K through TICKET, I never reviewed the grid before turning it in, and left the A that created ALY. Like Rex, I have a vague rememberance of ELY from xwords and a little time spent on caution rather then speed would have allowed me to fix it.

In this tournament, you leave the room when you have completed the puzzle and in all three cases I was greeted by about 15 to 20 people when I got to the anteroom. Realizing that I would not be competetive from a time perspective, I should have followed Rex's advice about not worrying about time and concentrated on quality.

Remarkable experience though, and I look forward to meeting many of you at the ACPT.

Kurisu 8:41 AM  

I had written SODDER instead of SOLDER and then was trying to figure out what BEALD was supposed to mean.

Chorister 8:44 AM  

I would have rated this easy for a Wed. Luck is where opportunity and knowledge intersect, or whatever the saying is.

I forgot Kemal but knew Ely because I know lots of random English stuff.

My first thoughts on some were one letter too long: sprawl, abhor.

I knew Pacanimal was technically wrong, but liked it anyway.

And as for stags, I thought they meant not so much seldom as briefly, as until the stripper strips it off.

Glad the flag has been stripped off.

@Greene - please email details on reaching your theater blog.

Anonymous 9:02 AM  

I just finished reading the comments from yesterday and I am glad to see that others have the same concerns about blogging here that I do. It's difficult to know what to say and not to say. If you stick directly to the puzzle and never make a stray comment, it's boring and also unrealistic. But the point that it's too time consuming to read through all of the chitchat to learn about the puzzle is valid. It's just like life, there's no perfect answer.

Anyway, I thought the clues were straight forward for the most part and my problem was knowing the right answer. I didn't know anapest or Kemal, but with some good guessing came up with the right answers eventually. I also don't like "please no end" as a clue, it doesn't seem fair.

Now I wonder what will happen today. It's always something here.

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

I ended up on the exact same last square as Rex, in E in KEMAL and ELY. I had to guess as well, and E just sounded right, fortunately it was. ELY sounds a bit familiar, but KEMAL is totally new to me.

Unknown 9:22 AM  

I agree that U Thant was totally obscure to me. I was sure it was wrong, but couldn't think of anything else to put there.

treedweller 9:25 AM  

Ditto here on ELY/KEMAL. It took me a long time to get there, though--at least twice my normal Wed.--and I was not up to guessing. Google is my friend. One major slowdown was TWIST--after our recent discussion here, I was sure it was irony. I again find myself trying to get in the head of WS--was this once clued as something that gets added to a G&T (or maybe an old dance clue?), then changed to mess with us Rexites?

I also had to google PAX. It seems quite obvious in retrospect, but for some reason I only briefly considered it and then decided it was wrong. I kept wanting it to be Eos, even though I had ALI right away and knew it couldn't be.

Fun puzzle, but frustrating as I tried to hurry and finish without success. I'll try to take the "slow but accurate" advice more in future. Might not win me lots of points, but I'll enjoy it more.

JannieB 9:30 AM  

@Rex - never knew that "U" wasn't an obscure first name. Thanks for that. But I wrote in Thant immediately - never tried the alpha string. And I totally agree with your comments on Pac-10. I knew the animals were school mascots but no amount of staring helped me put it together. Finally, Kemal popped into my head, giving me the "m" and I was done.

Nice puzzle for a Wednesday. I'm thinking the tournament is helping us have a better/more enjoyable week in xword land.

xyz 9:37 AM  

PAC = Pacific Athletic Conference
as in
SEC = Southeastern Conference (where I went to a SCH)

... so I'm OK with that one.

"40D: U follower (Thant)
I wonder if anyone got very bold and entered VWXYZ for this clue."
Why, yes, temporarily. I did I did - didn't work.

Hey you people watch that "stripper" talk. This is a family zone.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

You made me laugh out loud with your final comment today, Rex. Good thing no one else is at work in SF this early.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Kemal/Ely got me, too (thought it was KAMAL) but I won't forget that again! "Abou ben Adam" was my late father's favorite poem, for some reason, so for me that was a big gimme.

Overall, about par for a Wednesday for me.

Welcome back to the land of the pure, Rex ;-)

Rex Parker 9:58 AM  

Nobody but nobody but nobody refers to the Pacific Athletic Conference as the "PAC," whereas everyone refers to the Southeastern Conference as the "SEC." It's the PAC-10 and the SEC. Anyone who has followed college sports for five minutes knows this.

The fact that you can make an acronym out of a set of words doesn't make it a valid acronym.


edith b 10:07 AM  

I said on this blog that I remember things and that is my strong suit. So Monday thru Wednesday are easy for me, Thursday's tend to be iffy and I have to struggle on Friday and Saturdays.

KEMAL Ataturk was a neon for me and I remember him from Junior Year where we studied the Ottoman Empire up to the formation of Turkey.

Zipped thru this one when I discovered the theme at WHATACROC which I thought was a little risqué for The Old Gray Lady.

Xavier 10:17 AM  

I didn't know either KEMAL or ELY but with only the E left unfilled I just went for it without hesitation and got lucky.

Unfortunately I wrote in PAN for PAX because Pan was an answer recently in the bar trivia I go to. Somehow it didn't matter that NED made no sense. No sense at all.

Also didn't know THANT or ANAPEST and tried to make BE ALL into one word. What's a BEALL?


mac 10:21 AM  

This was my favorite puzzle at the tournament, and knowing Ely (tiny little village with an enormous cathedral, set in very flat country) made Kemal possible. Lots of good clues and interesting answers, my kind of puzzle.
I'll be happy to get to Thursday and do a fresh one, though!

Jeffrey 10:27 AM  

Ah, accuracy. It is way more important than time at the tournament. Just compare the results of Rex and me. My times are as good as or better than Rex’s (7:52 today; seconds don't count). In 14 puzzles over the two years we have both competed, we are 7-7 in points. But Rex has finished way higher than me both years, due to all my lost points from mistakes. So I’ve spent the last year concentrating on improving accuracy. It has worked, as my mistakes have decreased over the year (most of which I don’t report here; it’s my persona and Crosscan can be as perfect as I want him/her/it to be).

That makes yesterday and today very frustrating; multiple mistakes on Tuesday and Wednesday so close to the tournament. Today, two mistakes: ANAbEST/buss – Buss is a term for kiss and when I played the pick-the-letter game I pronounced PUSS to rhyme with Buss; and KaMAL/aLY – I thought ELY but discarded it based on a misapplication of Orange’s easy clue/hard word rule.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

@9D: For the record: A vector has magnitude and direction; a scalar just has magnitude. Driving 60 mph is a scalar; driving 60 mph directly north is a vector.

ArtLvr 10:33 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
chefbea 10:36 AM  

This was easier than yesterday. Never heard of anapest and figured it was wrong when I handed in my puzzle on Saturday.

@Anne If you find some of this boring, just mention the B word and see what happens

Two Ponies 10:38 AM  

The four dog clues had me thinking it might be a Westminster dog show theme. I liked the puns though. A good Wed. puzzle.
Pet peeve "Till now"64A.
Rex used the correct spelling in his write up "til", a contraction of until. You till your garden.
Rex, glad to hear that puzzle networking got things sorted out. All of that mess made me say What a croc of s#)#!

Anonymous 10:39 AM  

When Kemal founded Turkey, everybody said, "Attaturk! Way to found a country!" Little known fact. And after that he sat back, put his feet up on an ottoman, and just chilled out.

ArtLvr 10:40 AM  

Re 48D "Sight from Taormina" -- Didn't others have the song from Cole Porter's "Kiss Me, Kate" running through their heads, "Where is the life that once I led?"-- with all the girls from different cities fondly but regretfully recalled? I have a feeling the lovely Lina was from Taormina... Will have to look it up later!


Parshutr 10:40 AM  

@Rex...About the PAC10 of my relatives is an assistant coach at UCLA, and I've heard him refer to "PAC athletes" and "PAC recruiting regulations".
So "Nobody but nobody but nobody refers to the Pacific Athletic Conference as the 'PAC,'" is not strictly accurate.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

I'm a bit surprised an English professor had to hesitate with ABOU ben Adhem. Leigh Hunt was certainly famous in his day, and that poem is still famous to this day.

Isaac Asimov in his autobiography mentions how in his high school, when they were discussing the poem and the teacher asked why ABOU ben Adhem's name led all the rest, Asimov answered "alphabetical order". Teachers apparently did not like the young Isaac.

I googled "Dock of the Bay", and it seems to be a song, a restaurant, a motel, a marina, and so on. I suppose one of these came first, or one of these is well-known, but I have no idea.

U as in U THANT or U Nu (another crossword favorite) is pronounced "oo", not "yoo", by the way.

There's a Professor E in the Princeton Math Department. I recall I was disappointed to learn he was Chinese, not Burmese.

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

Glad to hear your site has been unflagged.

Solid puzzle from Rich. Crosswords are going to have some amazing stuff, some good stuff and a couple two-three iffy entries. This one has no amazing stuff nor any iffy stuff, so that means it's good right?

ArtLvr 10:50 AM  

p.s. Correct title of the song from Kiss Me, Kate --
"Where is the Life that Late I Led?"... I can't find the lyrics. Maybe Greene can help? Wonderful show!

fikink 10:50 AM  

@PIX, thanks for the clarification re: vector vs. SCALAR.
@miguel, thought of you immediately when I saw the U. His name in your alphabet list still tickles me.
As to yesterday, I hope someone catches the PRIC who flagged you, Rex.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

I think that the nitpicking about PAC is wrong think. Yeah, it's not typical usage, so what? It's quite gettable and the most clever and enjoyable theme answer. I wanted something PAC-10-y as soon as I saw the clue.

Also, Taormina--albeit obscure--might be the greatest place in the world. Steep steep seaside cliffs.

archaeoprof 11:15 AM  

@Rex: and before it was the PAC-10 it was the PAC-8. It has never been the PAC.

Glitch 11:22 AM  


Wasn't there an "Ipod" link at the end of today's write-up?

It seems to be gone now (at least in my browser --IE).

I was going to (and guess still will) note that whenever it's there, at the end, and I refresh, I lose my link to the comments (it literally disappears). I have to exit and reload.

Also, it has to be at the end --- e.g. Monday had the problem until you posted the contest pix, then ok.

Anyone else notice this?


Anonymous 11:23 AM  


You can find the lyrics for "Where is the life that late I led" at Good luck!

SethG 11:35 AM  

Yeah, PAC not an acronym of Pacific Athletic Conference. PAC-10 is short for Pacific-10, the name of the conference. PAC is short for Pacific. It used to be the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC), later became the Athletic Association of Western Universities (AAWU), and in 1968 adopted the name Pacific-8. (It became the Pacific-10 in '78 when UofA and ASU were added.)

There's an ELY in Minnesota, but it's not named after the English town so I don't feel bad deciding on the A as I knew the name KAMAL... There are actually lots of ELYs in the US, and there's an ALY, AR. In Yell County. It is not large.

SPREE is back, and JABBA crossed JOWLS.

Shamik 11:43 AM  

What the heck? An error and going back a page? This little window doesn't let me go back a page! Anyway, my original blog entry went poof! And I was just oh so amusing this morning.

Anyway, forget the rest. Rex, it's always a good day when I start with a clip from my favorite black and white funny movie. Thanks for the laughter!

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

Not to beat a dead pacanimal, but PAC does not stand for Pacific Athletic Conference; it is short for PACific as in the Pacific 10 Conference
Old Blue '68

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

Re: Nobody but nobody, the local TV station here in PAC-10 country has a sports highlight show called Inside the PAC.


Bill from NJ 11:49 AM  

@william e emba-

The clue probably refers to the song "Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding and various others, sometimes called(Sitting on)The Dock of the Bay.

It is a modern standard.

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

So, when someone else makes the same pun, it constitues common usage? Inside the Pac = Inside the Pack? Get it?

Bill from NJ 12:07 PM  

When I first went online, I tried to set up a Hotmail account. My last name is HADDICK, first name Harold so I tried hhaddick as my user name. Simple enough. right?

Wrong. Hotmail said no lewd language was allowed. When I called them, they were sorry but my last name was not acceptable to them as it contained a word that some people would find objectionable.

I tried verizon (my phone company)who had internet access. Again, no dice for the same reason.

Once I got broadband, no problems. I wonder if that was the difference?

ArtLvr 12:12 PM  

@ Sally -- thanks! One of my very favorites...

In dear Milano, where are you, Momo,
Still selling those pictures of the Scriptures in the Duomo?
And, Carolina, where are you, Lina,
Still peddling your pizza in the streets o' Taormina?
And in Firenze, where are you, Alice,
Still there in your pretty, itty-bitty Pitti Palace?
And sweet Lucretia, so young and gay-ee?
What scandalous doin's in the ruins of Pompeii!

Where is the life that late I led?
Where is it now? Totally dead.

fiddleneck 12:37 PM  

I too would like to know of Greene's theatre blog. And grateful for the renewed open access.

jeff in chicago 12:40 PM  

Excellent puzzle. Liked the theme. Liked the fill. Liked the write-up.

Agree with Rex on the PAC thing. It's definitely a NAVA. (Not A Valid Acronym)

And Rex -- I think Crosscan has you in his sights. I wish I could be at the Battle in Brooklyn to see the results in person.

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

To those who didn't realize that U wasn't U THANT's first name: U NU?

Doug 12:58 PM  

I liked the theme, and give PACANIMAL a pass. Of course, I went to Wisconsin, and the only thing I know about the PAC-10 is that the "Big" plays those guys in the Rose Bowl every year. That and the fact that while I was hauling my frozen ass through blizzards, PAC-10 students were rollerskating to class with a joint and a full body tan.

However, perhaps a less confrontational clue could have been: "Lobbyist's pet."

Holy cow, I'm watching the tainted peanut Senate hearings and the execs all pled the 5th. The s**t will hit the fan now from the families.

Greene 1:00 PM  

@Chorister and Lurene: Just click on my avatar. It will take you to my blogger profile and the blog link is at the bottom of the page. It is called "Everything the Traffic Will Allow."

@ArtLvr: Sorry to be slow on the Porter lyric request. To watch Howard Keel do the whole number (with sanitized lyrics) go to

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

I did attempt VWXYZ , unfortunately it didnt fit !!

Fiorina from Paris

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

Anapest means striking back.

jae 1:51 PM  

Very nice puzzle. I thought all of the theme answers were pretty clever. I too guessed right on the E in KEMAL. ALY just didn't seem right. Interesting to see a K almost dead center.

Anonymous 1:58 PM  

Aside from the sports purists' exception to the PAC clue, wasn't anyone bothered by the fact that bears are not PACK animals, and therefore the clue did not work from that angle, either.

joho 2:06 PM  

@Bill from NJ ... that's a funny story about your name. Obviously Hotmail and Verizon don't know dick.

PlantieBea 2:22 PM  

A fun puzzle, in spite of a bunch of wrong guesses of BUSS, KAMAL, PAN, and a mess of ABIU, AS IN, where I had DOC ON THE BAY. I'd be a disaster in the accuracy and time departments at a tournament.

I'm glad the blog is back to normal as it can be.

SethG 2:23 PM  

Anonymous, bears are not PACK animals, but neither is a Horse vet a DOCK. The modified phrases were clued.

The problem the "sports purists" have, or really anyone who likes accuracy does, is that the Golden Bears are not PAC animals either.

And speaking of the PAC-10 schools and email names, Richard A. Schmuck taught at Oregon.

Doug 2:27 PM  

@SethG: I'll that your real pic?

Benjamin Roye, MD 2:36 PM  

Long time reader (is that the right term for a blog?) first time commenter. I love the blog. Glad you got un-flagged. Funny you should mention penis - i just saw a consult who has the unfortunate diagnosis of micro-penis. Its a real medical condition, but not one i can say i've seen in any puzzle.

Chip Hilton 2:38 PM  

Too much angst over PAC. As soon as I saw the three mascots in the clue, I knew what I needed. I did think it was a rather obscure clue for non-college sports fans.

ELY is worth a trip. The octagonal lantern of the cathedral is one of the great architectural problem-solving achievements.

ANAPEST, BEALL, and the rest of the NW corner hammered me on Saturday in Westport. Again, as Rex indicated, the clock does tend to addle one's brain, but when you throw in some rough solves, it gets really tricky.

Rex Parker 2:57 PM  

I'm wondering what it's like to live in a world where Leigh Hunt is familiar and "Dock of the Bay" is obscure. It's not a world I can fathom.

English major in college, then a grad student for eight years, then 10 years a professor, and I quite literally have never heard the name "Leigh Hunt." Never seen it. Wouldn't know the poem in question if it bit me. Now, that's my bad for being ignorant, but the idea that English majors should know this poem is ridiculous. I can't say no one teaches it any more, but ... no one teaches it any more. It may have been important in some bygone era, but not anymore. I just read it, and I have no idea what anyone ever saw in it.

Otis Redding, however ... well, I'm listening to him right now. Literally. "Otis Blue" is one of the greatest soul albums ever recorded, though Redding's most famous song (Exceedingly Famous Song), "Dock of the Bay," is not on that particular album.


Anonymous 3:01 PM  

@Benjamin Roye, MD: Clue: The ___ mightier than the sword. Answer: You guessed it.

ArtLvr 3:25 PM  

@ Greene -- many thanks! We should have Howard KEEL in the puzzle soon...


Doc John 3:29 PM  

The puzzle was about Wednesday-right for me. Some sticking points but ultimately got through it. Changing heroism to HEROICS finished it off for me. Lots of words I didn't know but fortunately it was the crosses to the rescue.

Two days, two puzzles with Natick-y clues and two correct guesses! Yee haa! Of course, tomorrow it's bound to come crashing down on me.

A funny story- the summer after my last year in college, some friends and I went to Mexico for a week. Of course I got really drunk one night and proceeded to make a fool of myself shouting, "I'm gonna be a doctor and I can say penis whenever I want!"
Ah, youth.

Anonymous 3:38 PM  

I have never in my life heard "Dock of the bay" and still don't have a clue.

Long before I had figured out the actual theme I very badly wanted "What a croc" to be "What an asp" and almost filled that in.

Anonymous 3:47 PM  

@Jim in Chicago--How old are you? "Dock of the Bay" was a monster hit in the 60s, and is considered an evergreen classic. It was widely covered, in addition to the hit version by Otis Redding.

Anonymous 4:00 PM  

@rex: "I'm wondering what it's like to live in a world where Leigh Hunt is familiar and "Dock of the Bay" is obscure. It's not a world I can fathom".

That's my world, but what's so difficult to fathom about it? And I bet we have lots in common.

Anonymous 4:11 PM  

I liked the 20th century history today: U THANT; Stan GETZ; KEMAL Ataturk.

Anybody else think 26D clue should have appended "for short"?

----> Joe in NYC

flagger 4:14 PM  

Long time, first time. I made this one way hard. Too many misstarts.

Irony at 40a. Hu nu?

Rex' write up was terrific, and dead on IMO. The clip from YF still has me roaring. One of the great throwaway lines OAT when Marty (Ygor) Feldman says: "Nice working for you" as Wilder enters the room. And what can you say about Gene Wilder?

@ Pix: I also thank you for that explanation. It is the first time I actually understood what a vector is, let alone a scalar.

@ anyone who has never heard Dock of the Bay, give a listen.

Anonymous 4:32 PM  

@steve I said

I am generally uninformed when it comes to anything related to popular culture - the era doesn't matter in my case!

Anonymous 4:34 PM  

Anyone who goes to the city of Taormina, Sicily, makes a point of seeing this view:

edith b 4:35 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
HudsonHawk 4:36 PM  

@Xavier, I don't think anyone answered your query on BEALL. Try parsing it to BE ALL, as in BE ALL and END ALL.

Orange 4:53 PM  

I'm with Doug—[Lobbyist's pet] would work just fine for PACANIMAL. (And yes, Doug, that's really Seth. He was clean-shaven when I met him, and he has since shaved his head, though the ginger locks may have grown back in by now.)

Apparently, as we have learned from Bill from NJ's tale, he needs broadband to accommodate his -dick, as dial-up is too restrictive. And there is nothing remotely objectionable about that—aside from the clumsily applied policies of Microsoft and Verizon.

liquid el lay 5:05 PM  

"Wacky" phrases bug me, but Dock of the Bay makes me want to leave the room. Click on the link. I dare you.

It will stay with you for life.

With so many ugly words, one could make a few turgid associations. But as I do for Dock of the Bay, I'll just say no.

UGLI itself, by the way, is a pretty, new word to me (pronounced Hoo-glee in jamaica, its point of origin!)

treedweller 5:31 PM  

@Two Ponies
Funny, I have the opposite peeve. 'Tis true, "'til" is an acceptable (nonstandard) abbreviation for until, but "till" or "until" is preferred usage. Anyway, that's how I was taught it.

I hate to use Wiki as a source on anything but pop culture, but this was the reference that turned up after a quick search:

A nonstandard form of till and until
'til on wiki

Usage notes

* Till is older than until. Those unaware of this sometimes assume that till is a short form of until and hence spell it as 'til. This word is nonstandard but in widespread use.

which leads to
till on wiki

I'll give you a free pass though if you call me on using wiki.

Anonymous 5:45 PM  

Does anyone here use Ubuntu? Can you get Across Lite to work outside of wine? I've been using xword from the distro, which is fine aside from not showing the constructor's name and not allowing multiple letters per square. Any help would be appreciated.

(Please ignore if you don't know what I'm talking about.)

archaeoprof 6:12 PM  

Among the many covers of "Dock of the Bay" is a good one by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.

Ulrich 6:13 PM  

A memory aid to people who have a problem remembering Atatürk's name: He was born Mustafa Kemal. The addition Atatürk means "father of the Turks" and was bestowed on him in recognition of his achievements in modernising Turkey after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in WWI. This included replacing the Arab alphabet with one modeled after the Latin alphabet.

Orange 6:15 PM  

I much prefer 'til. We can't get away with routine use of 'tis or 'tweren't, so 'til has to carry the burden of sating our initial-apostrophe jones.

George NYC 6:15 PM  

AOL wouldn't (close to my last name and a sometimes nickname.) Because it's close to "hacker"? And so what. Weird suits.

George NYC 6:17 PM  

Something got deleted in my post. Shd be:

AOL wouldn't let me use "Hackman" as an IM handle (close to my last name and a sometimes nickname.) Because it's close to "hacker"? And so what. Weird suits.

fikink 6:21 PM  

@ulrich, and that is suppose to aid my memory how?
Is there a mnemonic hidden in there that I am not seeing? :)

Anonymous 6:28 PM  

Mustasfa Kemal
must of rode a camel.


Pythia 7:00 PM  

Yum. Cheesy puns are back. I've missed them!

Fan of Big-10 teams, not PAC-10. Didn't mind the usage, in any case.

Will Ferrell is on Broadway as George W. Bush. At one point, pix of various well-known Bushie faces are flashing on the wall when suddenly appears "my penis" (says the GWB character), and sure enough, there it is. Guessing it is actually a pic of Ferrell. Yikes.


Ulrich 7:08 PM  

@fikink: I meant "memory aid" in the sense that very often, a story told in connection with something helps us remember this something b/c the story itself was memorable. For example, I'll never forget the name of the actress Skye, Ione, b/c at one point, when it appeared in a puzzle, acme told us she was a daughter of Donovan.

To give the whole idea more respectability, let me show off and give you its Latin name: "pons asinorum"--asses's bridge.

Xavier 7:36 PM  

@HudsonHawk, thanks for the explanation. I actually did figure out the proper parsing of BE ALL before I commented, but I just haven't mastered the hypothetical question in written form.


edith b 7:36 PM  

Abou ben Adhem
may his tribe increase
Awoke one night from a
deep dream of peace . . .

I must be the right age because I intersect both Leigh Hunt and Odis Redding. I learned Mr Hunt's little ditty when I was in 7th grade (c1959). I remember joining other little girls in a circle as we spun around as we chanted it.

When "Dock of the Bay" was released early in 1968, Otis Redding was dead. He was killed in a plane crash shortly after the song was recorded. I think it was the sequence of events that got me so confused when I originally wrote this post but I was in my junior year at college, deeply interested in soul music and the people who produced it and the song was so powerful. I was deeply affected.

Leigh Hunt vs Odis Redding? No contest.

fikink 7:36 PM  

@ulrich, ah...I see! (Now I feel like an asinorum.)
Might have known you would resort to Euclid, you architect you!:)

Ulrich 7:58 PM  
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Ulrich 8:02 PM  

@fikink: I checked up on the asses's bridge and realize that the meaning I referred to, memory aid, seems to be unknown in English--but it's standard in German, possibly based on a figurative interpretation of the phrase. So, eliminate my last paragraph--sorry for the confusion!

That's what you get when you try to show off...

allan 8:08 PM  

Been running all day, and have nothing to add. Just wanted to say hi. BTW, Young Frankenstein is one of the funniest movies ever, better than Blazing Saddles.

OK, so I did have something to say.

joeyshapiro 8:22 PM  

Know Kemal Ataturk's name without any crosses, but always mess up the spelling of Kemal. I blame Monty Python and their pronunciation Kemal from the Halibut sketch (in which one of the two characters claims Mr. Ataturk had "an entire menagerie named Abdul").

And who knew the typographical marking was spelled caret? I always figured it was a cute nickname for something that sort of looked like a carrot.

treedweller 8:35 PM  

"And who knew the typographical marking was spelled caret?"

[raises hand]

Anonymous 8:43 PM  

Kemal Ataturk is a lot less obscure in the world than many of the baseball players, pop stars, opera singers, etc. that regularly show up in NYT puzzles.

I wasn't bothered by the PAC clue, but the comments make me think for some reason about the eleven teams in the Big Ten. For some reason, this doesn't seem to worry most people. But what's wrong with the Big Eleven?

foodie 9:28 PM  

I messed up the Kemal/Ely intersection like many people, but I bet none of you have my excuse: I have an uncle called Kamal, which means perfection in Arabic, and it is spelled with two "a"s. The "a" is sometimes used for Ataturk, albeit less commonly.

I also had BUSS for PUSS, and that is because "Boos" in Arabic, "Baiser" in French and "Buss" in English all mean to kiss.

@Anonymous-10:39 that cracked me up!

@ Jim in Chicago: "I am generally uninformed when it comes to anything related to popular culture". Were you ever in the running for the presidency of a major university? I was once on a search committee for a new president at our place, and one of the candidates said almost exactly those words. The committee then had a big discussion about whether that is relevant or irrelevant in a candidate for that position.

allan 10:17 PM  

@ Rex: I did some research, and found that Kemal Ataturk was indeed a Klingon. Please see my post at Across the Universe

mac 10:24 PM  

@foodie: and?

@SethG: I had a cab driver today with exactly your beard and hairdo.

@Bill from NJ: thanks for the memories! Love that song.

@Ulrich: what is the German expression? Dutch is: ezelsbruggetje (your pons asinorum)

Soul Solver 11:40 PM  

I'm a long time CrossWorld denizen but a rare commenter.But today I thought I'd come out and take a bow.

I've worked at the Pac-10 Conference for six years and with the Cal Golden Bears for nine years before that.

Yes...I get most of the sports clues in the puzzles:)

I felt a strange bliss upon seeing our brand new spanking logo on Rex's page this morning. It looked great! But I'm the only puzzler within a mile of my office park, so I had to celebrate alone:(

Like an earlier commenter, I'm giving that use of PAC rather than PAC-10 a pass since it was in the context of a silly pun. I don't think totally accurate usage is necessary in that context.

But Rex is also correct: no one "in the game" would ever say "PAC this" or "PAC that" without using the "ten" also. Maybe some UCLA assistant coaches drop it into casual conversation but that seems like a rookie move to me.

I love that Rex got his knickers in a twist over the misuse of our name but I personally didn't care that much about it. I love all the attention.

And, Puzzle Girl, I'll be looking for some Pac-10 vs. Iowa action at the upcoming NCAA wrestling championship. Advantage Iowa in that sport, of course, but I'll take my chances in every single other sport:)

Back to lurking mostly.

Good luck in Brooklyn everyone!

Soul Solver
Assistant Commissioner
Pac-10 Conference

"The Conference of Champions"

PuzzleGirl 11:54 PM  

@Soul Solver: Email me off-list and let me know if you're going to St. Louis! We've got our tickets and travel arrangements all lined up and would love to connect with you if we can. (Another crossword solving wrestling fan? I'm in heaven!)

Anonymous 2:55 AM  

ahhhh, as I sit here next to the dock of the bay, I dream of Taormina...
Taormina is the site of one of the favorite trips in my life. If you drive down the length of Italy and then take the ferry to Sicily, you come to Taormina, which has a great amphitheatre and is up atop a steep cliff...
from there you can drive down to see Etna (there are houses with just the chimneys sticking up thru the lava) and then go to Siracusa and Agrigento and Selinunte and see all the old Greek Temples... perfectly preserved, bec unlike Greece, they are made from a different marble and situated well away from cities and don't have pollution eating away at them.

I went with my old boyfriend Arcangelo (who is a sculptor and like many Northern Italians had never been to Sicily). I sat alone many hours by the temples
(doing puzzles!)while he literally examined every inch (and I think even tasted some) of the stones.

My strongest memory of that trip is that every single man we met, whether a waiter, concierge or one of the guys who "offered" to "protect" our car for 3000 lire, were all named Salvatore.

xyz 8:42 AM  
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xyz 8:44 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jubjub 10:22 AM  

I don't get the "Lucky Charms" picture. Is Lucky Charms an ANAPEST? Is the Lucky Charms leprechaun sneaky/sleazy/underhanded? Does he love his fellow man?

I need to confess that after I finished I tried to look up BEALL in the dictionary. Sigh. Someday I'll learn.

Anonymous 1:13 PM  

What can I say? I like to think of myself as widely read, and not just "widely read for a math major", and if I read the poem in high school, and learned a bit of Hunt's biographical connections with the Romantics back then, I just assume he's standard, if very minor, for English majors everywhere.

Have you read David Lodge Small World? The English professors play a game called "Humiliation", where they start confessing which famous work they have not actually read, and work their way up the masterpiece ladder. Now, I admit Leigh Hunt wouldn't even be a first round entry, but I'd still expect some sort of recognition. Sort of on par with Anne Bronte.

Meanwhile, I don't do music. I own no music playing equipment, including TV, computer, or radio, let alone stereos or iPods. So I read a lot.

Anonymous 3:02 PM  

Rex, thank you for your blog and criticism about the PAC answer. As a grad of a Pac-10 school, I appreciate your support.

Excellent idea, Doug, with "Lobbyist's pet."

How about "BIGTEN" for "Conference that cannot count its number of members accurately?"

Anonymous 2:55 AM  

I'm late; you guys have been busy. Funny, after that ordeal Rex went through with the Word Gestapo, I learned to spell "sleazy" correctly. How O. Henry.

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

I couln`t google ONE C either, but I`m guessing that it`s first cousin to ONE A -- meaning qualified to serve in the military.

R. L. Clark

Roanoke, VA

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