SUNDAY, Mar. 1, 2009 - Robert W. Harris (Exaggeratedly masculine / M*A*S*H private Straminsky)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Good And Bad" - The puzzle includes the (Note: For the answer to each starred clue, including the first letter is good; dropping it is bad.)

Word of the Day: KLATSCH - (klatch or klatsch): a gathering characterized usu. by informal conversation (Merriam Webster's Colegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition). "It's spelled "klatsch" in German," says a guy who used to live across the street from my elementary and middle school.

Heya. Today is Day 2 of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, and Rex and the Parker House Gang are still in Brooklyn. They'll be back tomorrow, today you get to hear from me again. And I am SethG.

A fun, creative theme today, though I have some (minor) problems with its implementation.

Theme answers:

  • 23A: *Good and bad for a motorist ((w)reckless driving)
  • 37A: *Good and bad for a marketer ((c)losing a sale)
  • 52A: *Good and bad for a West Point cadet ((s)having a beard)
  • 78A: *Good and bad for a jungle guide ((t)rusty machete)
  • 90A: *Good and bad for a vampire ((b)lack of night)
  • 23A: *Good and bad for a spy ((c)overt operations)
So here's what I don't like: inconsistency. Each of the entries is consistent in print--they're good with the letters, bad without. But
  • Wreckless/reckless is the only one of these that sounds exactly the same with the change. Covert/overt (my almost favorite), trusty/rusty (my favorite), and black/lack change merely the initial sound. And closing/losing and shaving/having change their vowel sounds.
  • Reckless driving is a good phrase, while wreckless driving is the kind of "wacky" phrase you'll often find in a theme entry. Same with covert/overt operations, or black/lack of night. Both trusty and rusty machete are good theme-type phrases, but neither shaving a beard nor having a beard could normally stand on its own.
  • Both closing and losing a sale are weak phrases for a puzzle, but they're something that actually happens to a marketer. (Or at least a salesperson.) Cadets presumably cannot have facial hair, but that means they shave before it ever gets to be a beard. I've never heard anyone talking about cadets with regard to shaving or having a beard.
With consistency, I'm generally hoping for everything mutually the same or mutually different. If not, hopefully at least there are symmetric groups of consistencies. Here, with the number of differences, and their patterns, everything seemed muddled.

Other stuff I didn't care for:
  • BUTCHY (72D: Exaggeratedly masculine) is not in my M-W 10th. Neither is SAXIST (44D: Certain jazz musicians). Neither is NECKLET (55A: Stole, for example). They're all in at least one dictionary, so they're legit, but no one uses them and I'd prefer not to see too many of them.
  • Legit but yucky word forms like UNREEL (2D: Remove from a spindle) and NEARISH (15D: Relatively close).
  • Just yucky stuff you see only in puzzles like JAPES (100D: Makes sport of) or AGUES (48A: Feverish conditions) or BIOME (82A: Major ecological community.)
  • Needlessly obscure clues for words like ACME (26A: Meridian) (Hi Andrea!) or WANT (32A: Any entry on a Dear Santa list). These are perfectly fine entries , but this seems like trickiness for trickiness' sake. I like tricky clues to give me an Aha! moment when I figure out what they're looking for. These gave me an oh. moment.
  • (38D: You name it) is a NOUN. I'm sure this is just me being grouchy and nitpicky. But I'm not even sure what this means.
Ack, I've definitely gone on too long, and I'm sure I'm just tired and not being fair to the puzzle. None of this is based on "rules"; they're not set in stone, and I'm certainly willing to overlook them. To a varying degree, depending on the payoff, but I just didn't find the payoff that large today.

Some other stuff:
  • (61A: Aussie Lass) is a SHEILA. Not to be confused with a bloke.
  • (91D: Mountain ___) LAUREL is the state flower of Pennsylvania. And Connecticut, Ulrich.
  • KEITH Haring (56D: Painter Haring) I remember from an entirely unrelated but awesome Malcolm Gladwell article. Also art: (66D: Home of "Christina's World,", for short) is a nice way to mask MOMA.
  • TISH is (75A: Gomez's sweetie). And Itt's cousin.
  • REBUKED is (69A: Took to task). I like Ks, and I think Bs are underrated. That's just a nice sounding word.
  • SHATNER was a (43A: 2005 Emmy winner for "Boston Legal"). Shatner!
  • NORTH is clued as a (41A: Civil War side). I wonder what Nutcracker Buck thinks about that?

There're some neat parallels with yesterday's and other recent puzzles, but I want to remind the commenters that the syndicated folk get Sundays on a different schedule, so be careful with your references.

Anyway, thank you, thank you, you've been a lovely audience. Continued best wishes and TATAS (47D: Byes) to the Brooklyners.

Signed, SethG, Royal Vizier of CrossWorld


K.M. George 9:22 AM  

Oh my goodness, I have to show my grandfather this blog, he loves crossword puzzles, that is all he does! Thanks for a great blog!

Hodge Podge Blog

dk 9:24 AM  

Fine puzzle and finer write-up.

NECKLET (gheeezz Louise)

Thanks SethG aka royal visor :)

Shamik 9:33 AM  

Thanks, Seth...good job!

Puzzle was ok. Easy-medium. Got the theme fairly quickly. Oh well.

One interesting thing is I was looking at the Friday evening photos and there was a photo of an old friend's mother. I remember her competing at the ACPT when my dad was alive...and he died in 1982. Yup, ACPT has been around that long. I think my dad said that when he competed there were about 60-75 people competing. I could be wrong on those numbers. I'm so glad to see she is still competing. Competing? Heck she's in the top 25%! Only time I ever met Will Shortz was at a puzzle/game evening she hosted in her home. And I almost didn't go to that 'cause I felt so intimidated by all those who knew so much more than I did. I'm really glad I went...had a great time.

retired_chemist 9:42 AM  

A nice writeup, Seth G - better than the (meh) puzzle overall IMO. I thought the theme was clever, though.

Most of my first guesses turned out to be right, meaning they were not very subtle answers. Agree about the obscurity of some of the others though. NECKLET? Really? CELESTE frozen pizza? Have to check that at the store - never heard of it.

I echo the good wishes to the troops in Brooklyn.

RodeoToad 9:52 AM  

I know it sounds funny but I just can't stand the pain. This puzzle was not easy like Sunday morning. I don't know how much of it is this puzzle's fault and how much is just the Sunday format, which doesn't really suit me--I get so, so tired hitting tab-tab-tab from clue to clue and not even halfway through the across entries. When I do Sundays, I just want them to be over. This one was no different. I don't mind the inconsistency of the theme entries as far as pronunciation, etc.--I'll accept "add a letter is good, subtract a letter is bad" as a theme. But I do draw the line at the S/HAVING A BEARD one. Not real crazy about T/RUSTY MACHETE, either. A rusty machete is not necessarily bad. It's better than no machete.

I wonder why JAPE is objectionable. I agree that it is, but it would seem to be a pretty neat word,starting with a J and all, and being fun to say. But still somehow I don't like it.

fmcgmccllc 10:00 AM  

Seth thanks, would really miss not reading this blog for even one day.

Wade your'e right, better than no machete.

Hated, hated saxists.

RodeoToad 10:22 AM  

Oh, and I forgot to mention: Shatner!

fikink 10:49 AM  

Seth, I enjoyed the WORDPLAY of Nutcracker Buck. Thanks!

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

I liked the theme just fine, and thought the execution was fine. But I agree with Seth that some of the clues/answers were just off, if not outright horrible. SAXISTS is the worst of the bunch, especially clued with reference to jazz. No no no way would a jazz musician ever say such a thing. Maybe symphony or classical music types, but jazz? Uh uh. And "Ham and EGGER"? Really? That's a thing? I don't like Meridian/ACME. I really don't like You name it/NOUN. OYER was a new word for me today. Ditto SULFA. And NECKLET??? Ugh. Horrible.

However, I did like that OUTED and BUTCHY were in the same puzzle. The whole puzzle felt "not of my generation" (with ASTAIRE, OLIVIER, IVES, NAST, etc.), but those two made an otherwise staid puzzle a little bit EDGY, methinks.

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

thank you for the Nutcracker Buck video... I anxiously await more singing!

Anonymous 11:23 AM

An article about the only person to compete in all 31 ACPTs.

Greene 11:24 AM  

@SETHG: Another excellent write-up. Thanks for keeping the home fires burning while the king is away.

This was a perfectly fine puzzle, clever even. I just couldn't seem to get any traction with it anywhere. Took me over two hours to complete the beast and I have no idea why. After filling it in and reviewing all the answers, there's nothing all that difficult. As others have mentioned, I could probably do without NECKLET and SAXISTS.

I really could not bring myself to put BUTCHY in the puzzle for the longest time; had BALLSY there for a bit, but figured that would not pass somebody's breakfast test. Call me biased, but anybody who is described as BUTCHY sounds like either a lesbian or somebody who needs to be OUTED. Has anybody seen Spartacus? Look at any scene between Laurence OLIVIER and Tony Curtis and tell me there's not some BUTCHY subtext going on there.

Perhaps I just had too many mistarts to be fully entertained with today's offering. Or maybe I'm just being a grump, but I do feel Wade's pain.

At least this puzzle has Fred ASTAIRE in Royal Wedding. That's the one where he famously dances on the ceiling. You can see it here. I have read plenty of film commentary about this scene, but I still have no idea how they actually pulled it off. I guess it would probably be easy nowadays with computer generated backgrounds, but heck, how'd they do it in 1951?

PlantieBea 11:50 AM  

Thanks for the write-up SethG. I enjoyed the puzzle theme, but like Greene, I got bogged down by some the bizarre answers. Had NECKTIE for NECKLET for a while which messed one area for a while. Remembered Katsch spelling as mentioned. I like BIOME, but not BUTCHY. Also stuck with LOSING ASSET instead of SALE for some time while wanting TSE TSE.

Looking forward to tournament talk.

jeff in chicago 12:01 PM  

Sorry, but a big meh for me.

Did not like SAXIST, NEARISH, NECKLET, BUTCHY, the "THE" of THERAGE. A lot of the cluing didn't work for me. Sorry Mr. Harris. Just not my cup of tea.

And boy do I wish I were in Brooklyn!

Alex S. 12:02 PM  

Not pleased with inclusion of regional brand of frozen pizzas. Faced with C-L--TE I made the mistake of going with COLETTE which had things mangled up there for a very long time.

Down in the southeast I had criminals worried about a WITNESS rather than a WIRETAP and that took forever to untangle since it ruined a couple gimmes.

I agree that S/HAVING A BEARD is an unworthy phrase, but for some reason it didn't really bother me. But I didn't like T/RUSTY MACHETE at all for some reason.

I think every puzzle should contain TATAS.

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

Thank you, Seth -- This NYT wasn't my favorite either, but at least I got the whole thing. I rather liked the change in vowel sound in the two theme answers which you mentioned as irksome! Too much sameness isn't as interesting to me...

I also want to recommend the puzzle in PI today by Merl Reagle -- I think it's my favorite of the year so far! It's really clever, tight and hilarious, IMHO.

ArtLvr 12:15 PM  
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Kurisu 12:43 PM  

For me, AGRA crossing AARE qualifies as a Natick. (Further complicated by ARTE).

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

Thanks for the write-up. Could some explain how buck clues CLAM?

ArtLvr 12:45 PM  

p.s. for Rex's Royal Jester Wade, there's a clue for you in the PI about Bugs today-- Sill musing on your story Friday about the Texas coackroach and all the comments that followed!

I wish I didn't have to rejoin the Blogger so often. And I say Actress Holm would have been a better clue than the pizza brand for CELESTE. I prefer Tony's pizza anyway...


ArtLvr 12:47 PM  
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PlantieBea 12:47 PM  

@Anon: A clam is slang for a buck--as in a dollar.

ArtLvr 12:49 PM  
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edith b 1:14 PM  

Lots of words (or pseudo-words) that brought me to a full stop on this one. Jeff in Chicago and others have already pointed them out so I won't repeat. Well,maybe just one - BUTCHY. I couldn't bring myself to enter some of them and whatever momentum I had was gone.

I spent a lot more time debating the CORRECT word than entering it.

I have a grandchild so frozen pizza is down my alley but I wasn't aware that CELESTE was a regional brand.

I usually find Sunday puzzles to be inoffensive but there was more about this one that I disliked than liked and that is probably why this post is so disjointed so I'll just stop.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

I liked "biome," but that's because I teach biology. Really liked "(t)rusty machete," learned "oyer" and "klatsch" and struggled a lot overall, but we'll chalk that one up to the mind-bending cold slowing me down. -Michigan

Leon 1:33 PM  
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RodeoToad 1:42 PM  

Leon, thanks for the Higgens reference. I said here a few weeks ago that I thought ham-and-egger was from the boxing world; I must have picked that up from Higgens, who was an excellent writer and is not well enough known. Elmore Leonard gets all the kudos for his sure hand with dialogue, but Higgens is every bit his equal.

Leon 1:43 PM  

Thanks for the puzzle Mr. Harris.

And, thanks for the write-up SG.

Congrats Mr.Hinman.

Ham-and-egger has it roots in Boxing according to the Urban Dictionary.

I recall George V. Higgins of The Friends of Eddie Coyle fame using it . Google confirms it :“Got himself this bunch of ham-and-eggers.” pg. 108, Cogan’s Trade and “Who is this jerk? I say, “Why is he on this?” little ham-and-egger here, everybody knows him." Penance for Jerry Kennedy, pg. 234.

RodeoToad 1:44 PM  

Yes, in fact I do have ESP.

Anonymous 1:45 PM  

@Wade - I knew you were going to say that.

Margaret 2:02 PM  

While I agree that some of the fill was borderline at best, (SAXIST????) I liked this puzzle. It made me laugh. I thought the theme was clever and the minor inconsistencies didn't bother me. And I appreciated that once I got the first theme answer ((C)LOSING A SALE), it didn't make the other theme answers immediately obvious.

I DOFF my hat to Mr. Harris.

@ Greene, I remember reading that the scene in Royal Wedding was filmed by constructing a rotating "stateroom" and then turning the camera and the room simultaneously.

Greene 2:22 PM  

@Margaret: Yes, I've read that explanation and it seems plausible enough. I've also read another story which claims MGM constructed 4 versions of the set, each rotated 90 degrees and then shot the song sequentially and spliced it together later.

Of course, we're overlooking the most obvious answer: the magic power of love. Fred Astaire was so besotted with love at that moment in the film he could just dance right up a wall, across the ceiling, and down the other side. No big deal. :)

Greene 2:22 PM  
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Leon 2:25 PM  

Wade, you are ahead of me by a mile.

Here are all the comments from 12/02/2008 about Ham-and-Egger.

Anonymous 3:24 PM  

According to the Celeste Pizza website they are sold in Chicago, FL, CA and NE US. That sounds pretty darn regional to me (40 of 50 states excluded). Never heard of it. Add me to the dislikers of today's puzzle.

Anonymous 3:28 PM  

@ Greene - Have to agree with you. An ordinary puzzle that took me an extraordinary amount of time, but for no good reason once it was all written down.

Didn't mind the theme so much, but wasn't very excited by it either (Also, I always feel something's amiss when the theme needs to be "explained" in text at the top of the puzzle.)

Didn't like NEARISH, SAXIST, NOUN and the other ones everyone else disliked. But, for me, they happened to fall in places where they didn't really slow me down. (And I've moved around enough in my life that I've heard of CELESTE
pizza, though I couldn't tell you where.)

I guess I just felt like it was more work than was warranted by the payoff.

Bill from NJ 3:33 PM  

Anybody who reads George V Higgins becames aware that his stories are all dialogue. It is as if he had a microphone in the room with the characters and transcribed it all.

The technique can become tiresome at times but when he is on, boy, it crackles.

My favorite book of his is little know but I highly recommend it - "Dreamland"

Sadly, he passed away a few years ago so there is no more. I used to look forward every year to a new Higgins.

jae 3:36 PM  

I liked this one more than some of you. Clever theme and just about the right level of difficulty for a Sun. That said, add me to those who were not happy with NECKLET, BUTCHY, and SAXIST and add PANNER to the list.

Just when you think you've seen pretty much every way to clue EPEE along comes a new one.

edmcan 3:37 PM  

I thought the puzzle needlessly coy and had a definite aversion to it. I don't like cleverness for it's own sake and BUTCHY?????

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

@Seth G. Enjoyed your writeup but disagree with you about the word Biome. It is commonly used in environmental discussions and refers to large eco systems such a a tropical rain forest,desert, coral reef etc.
@John from NC: Sulfa (86A)presumably refers to the sulfa antibiotics which were the first ones to be used, even predating penicillin. Some sulfa antibiotics are still in use.
I rather enjoyed the puzzle.

joho 4:15 PM  

Have been really busy today so late in coming to see what's up.

As it turns out, I liked this theme a lot better than most of you. Seems like it would be very difficult to figure out the two letter beginning which means two completely different things. I am in awe of constructors, so thank you, Mr. Harris!

This seemed just about right for a Sunday ... I liked it. Wasn't perfect, but what puzzle is?

chefbea 4:16 PM  

Hi everyone. Just got back from Brooklyn where I watched the finals, met fellow rexites and had a great lunch that was crossword related and being filmed by and for the food channel. What a wonderful time!!!
Met rex and his wife,Acme, nanpilla, puzzlegirl, Crosscan, and many others. Already knew Mac, Ulrich, IMSDave and Karen. Next year I will participate in the whole thing.

Now I will read Seth G's write up and all the comments.

chefbea 4:20 PM  

Ooops forgot Orange!!

Anonymous 4:24 PM  

thought this puzzle was awesome. very clever. nice journey of discovery.

was one of those where i started off with nothing as i scanned the first several rows, then i figured out the north east, and finally the puzzle theme came to me with the force of a rusty machete.

area around Wreckless Driving was the last bastion to fall.

overall very enjoyable despite weird clues like Butchy.

Anonymous 4:31 PM  

Congrats Tyler!!!

Anonymous 4:36 PM  

chefbea, you don't mean you're going to read it to us, right?

Anonymous 4:41 PM  

I liked 'butchy' as in 'so butch it became camp' -- an arch comment on the dangers of trying too hard.

And it sounds to me like many of you got up on the wrong side of the bed. S/having a beard, t/rusty machete -- the theme worked for me. To each her own.

Anonymous 5:26 PM  

Congratulations, Rex, at significantly improving your already-impressive standing at the ACPT. Awesome.

It would be fun to see you up at the big board in the B Finals next year when you won't have to compete against Dan Feyer!


Unknown 5:33 PM  

I liked this puzzle. I liked yesterday's too. Both seemed (for the most part) extremely fair. Sometimes hard (for me), but still fair.
I personally don't mind things like BUTCHY and SAXISTS. They were odd, but gettable. CELESTE, on the other hand, was a mistake.
I kind-of feel there are too many obscure personal rules people bring to their judgements of these puzzles, and that if the construtors kept to them all we'd end up with nothing but EWER and EPEE every day. I wonder how much more interesting they could become if rules like grid-symmetry were relaxed, for instance.

Anonymous 5:38 PM  

Dan Feyer was wronged.
He should have been in the A Finals. What's so difficult about adding a fourth chair?

Glitch 6:31 PM  

1) An EPEE is NOT a Napoleonic army weapon, but rather a derivative of one, intentionally less-to-non lethal. Used for dueling (but not to death), and now sport. Not much use to the army. (more at Wiki if you want)

2)According to a documentary (I forget the name, but it was one of those golden age of film shows) the Astaire dance was filmed in a rotating room, camera fixed to the "floor", lens on the rotational axis, and in one take.

3) Someone with "5 o'clock shadow" is still said to have a beard. Ask any razor or shavecream manufacturer. That someone, however, won't be a cadet. (Neither will he have a wife or horse, at least not in the good old days)


fergus 6:48 PM  

Found this one remarkably difficult. That use of Meridian sure seems obscure. A lot of the non-theme Clues seemed pretty ham-fisted.

I thought A-LINES were dresses, and that the description wouldn't work for skirts?

Anonymous 6:58 PM  

I got to the puzzle late today, and it took a long time to finish. I don't think I ever gained momentum. In the end, I made two errors, both involving jags/japes. (It always seems so obvious when I see the correct answer.) I agree that the theme was inconsistent, but I did like that each example didn't reveal all of the other answers. I did not like saxist or necklet but my computer says they are both real words, so I accept its verdict. I have never heard of ham and egger and neither has my computer.

I do like the word "rexites."

And I am going to check out Higgins. Thanks.

Dan 7:17 PM  

Anonymous, I wasn't robbed, them's the rules. There are three easels, nine whiteboards, and not enough room on the stage for a fourth finalist... The tiebreaker rule is a little arbitrary, but it's my own fault for not being 15 seconds faster on Puzzle 7. And I still got to solve on the big board.

Incidentally, if I had made the finals, it would have caused an unprecedented Overtime Shootout Showdown round between Trip and Francis, who had the same score on all 7 puzzles... They would have had to solve this Friday's NYT puzzle for the final playoff spot.

Shout out to Yoda.

foodie 8:30 PM  

I had EXACTLY the same quibbles with the puzzle theme as SethG. My only additional thought is that the first theme answer (WRECKLESS) sets a strong expectation, and this one also set a high bar-- adding the extra letter yields a homonym and yet has the opposite meaning. Very cool. BUT nothing else came close to meeting both criteria.

The mid-atlantic region of this puzzle did me in. The OCS on top of the LET from NECKLET (!), with IVES and TISH... crossed by CELESTE...No way! It did not help that for the co-star in Spartacus I was trying to think of a woman.

@fergus, A line can be a skirt. It's any shape that hugs the hips and has a trapezoid shape. But I think you show great fashion sophistication by asking this question. I believe A-line dresses were introduced by Andre Courreges in the 60s, who also lays claim to many fashion design innovations, including mini-skirts and styles with a geometric construction.

joho 8:42 PM  

@Dan ... not only are you amazing, but gracious.

mac 9:37 PM  

I made myself do the puzzle after driving back to CT this late afternoon, but I have to admit I didn't enjoy it too much. I guess I did too many of them the last few days.

@Celeste: I very rarely eat pizza, because I don't like melted cheese. When I know my son is going to spend some time with us, I usually buy him..... Celeste pizza, frozen, with lots of fresh peppers and onions and little sausage balls. When he bakes one, usually at midnight or later, he will always leave one or two pieces for me to eat for breakfast, cold.

I just checked out the ACPT site and my ranking went up by 30 places! I really tanked on two puzzles, but I think the other 5 I did pretty well. I need to learn how to not freeze up when I get worried.... To tell you the truth, doing the puzzles is only a part of the Brooklyn experience. All the time spent at the hotel, with all the Rexites and the constructors, the stars and the regulars, is an experience of such pleasure and inclusiveness (is that a word?), is such fun that, even though I have a little place in NY, I may actually move into the hotel next year to be closer to the action and not waste time on the subway!

retired_chemist 9:50 PM  

What a terrific group of people, not least the gracious and highly skilled Dan. Y'all make me want to come next year.

+wordphan 9:54 PM  

Good job all you guys; Rex sure knows how to pick 'em!! Wade, Seth, and Puzzlegirl, I salute you on jobs well done!!

Stan 10:22 PM  

Just for the record, I liked BUTCHY just fine.

And BIOME is totally standard English--familiar these days to the average sixth-grader.

Anonymous 10:24 PM  

Them's may be the rules Dan but they aren't good rules. Can you picture four golfers tied at the end of regulation at The Masters and then telling Tiger (who was leading all the way) that he can't particpate in the playoff?
Best of luck to you truly are a fine human being.

Stan 11:22 PM  

My attempt at embedding a link...

Wreckless Eric:

Rex Parker 12:11 AM  

@JimH - thanks a lot. I'm not sure I could handle the pressure of the stage, though watching Tyler persevere today was pretty inspiring.

See, here's the thing about Dan Feyer. He is supremely confident and yet has none of the icky ego stuff that even the best mortals seem to have (he said, knowingly). Howard Barkin (7th overall this year) is also like this - off-the-charts talented AND impossibly humble and nice.

And though it's too late for many of you to be reading this now, I have to encourage everyone within earshot to consider competing next year. If you read this blog, you are "good enough." The only person you're really competing against is yourself, and the real joy is being able to meet and talk to and drink with like-minded people (who are also some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet).

The good news this year for Dan was that, while he missed out on the A Finals on a tiebreaker, he WON the B, after winning the C last year, and is poised now to become the first person ever (I'm guessing) to win the C, B, and A Divisions in successive years. And that would be one hell of a hat trick.


drewski 12:56 AM  

bring back rex!! i read this blog to enlighten myself about clues that i don't understand, not to read about seth complaining about the clues and not actually explaining them... (how is "buck" = "clam"??)

Bill from NJ 1:25 AM  


Both words are synonyms for Dollar.

And Seth G did a great job, thank you very much.

Anonymous 12:43 asked and Plantie Bea 12:47 answered this question (see above)

Anonymous 5:41 AM  

santa list: i had "wish"....
threw the entire puzzle off!

Ben 2:19 PM  

After rediscovering my love for the NYT xword and lurking around here for the last year or so, I decided to attend this year's ACPT for the first time. I'm so glad I did.

I second what Rex said. Competition aside, you'll get a lot of enjoyment just from being at the tourney and meeting everyone. As you've probably inferred from this and other blogs, your fellow enthusiasts are friendly, approachable and fun to talk to. I was impressed by the niceness and humility of superstar solvers and nonpareil constructors alike.

I rarely do the Sunday puzzle but banged out this one on the plane home from the ACPT. It was pretty smooth sailing until I was wrapping things up in the NW and went with (S)CARELESS DRIVING and UNCOIL. Took a minute to straighten out that fender-bender. With all the turbulence on our flight it was all I could do to stay focused on dangerous driving!

Doc John 6:23 PM  

The only sentence I could ever see BUTCHY being used is maybe spoken by two queens: "Look at her with her leather jacket, trying to be so butchy."

Alex 8:44 PM  

I came here from syndicated-land to cheat, and what do I find but my old friend SethG doing the write-up. My bottom half was mostly bare when I arrived (although I'm proud to say that the top-half was done without any cheats), and, for once, this blog wasn't all about how easy the puzzle that stumped me was. So thanks for that.

I agree that WRECKLESSDRIVING had me expecting something more from the theme answers. And why does BUTCHY have to be a word if it just means BUTCH?

And, as a Minnesotan, at least I get WINONA in exchange for this alleged pizza company, CELESTE.

Alex 8:45 PM  
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Anonymous 5:39 PM  

rats and doi! I was hoping someone else by this point would have asked how 49A "OCS" is related to training lieutenants - but alas, I seem to be the only person ignorant of the connection ...

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

OCS is Officer Candidate School. I just googled it.

Amberleigh 4:30 PM  

Quite a few of the crossword puzzle fans are of a quite different generation (age 70) and enjoy clues that relate to us. A variety is really great.

Anonymous 1:45 PM  

Hope this blog doesn't degenerate into a "don't like this,don't like that" rant. Fair comment includes reflections on the construction of the puzzle, the theme, and specific answers etc., but are we really interested in comments about why certain answers are not liked, other than "just didn't like them". I think each person who comments here should be required to submit a puzzle of their making and let's see if this ameliorates some of the comments.

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