THURSDAY, Mar. 12, 2009 - D Chapus (Earthen pots for liquids / Provincial capital in NW Spain / Company started in 1946 at Detroit Miami airports)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: PED XING (39A: Street sign ... or a hint to this puzzle's theme) - a rebus puzzle with four "PED" squares scattered about the grid

Word of the Day: CRUSE - A small earthenware container, such as a pot or jar, for holding liquids.

This felt easy, but my time suggests it's probably closer to medium difficulty, so I split the difference. Uncovered the theme right away, or nearly so. Went ACCUSE (1D: Point a finger at, say) to UPSIDES (20A: Positive aspects) to EDS. (18D: Mad workers, for short) (Mad = magazine = old trick), back to EPEE then COOP UP (2D: Confine) and NAUSEE (3D: Sartre novel, with "La") and SUETS (23A: Hard fats). Realized there was an issue of some sort at 4D: Hastens (exPEDites), took one look at 17A: Classic Cadillacs (CouPE De Villes), and knew exactly what the issue was. From there, it was just a matter of remembering, as I filled the grid, that any problems I was having might be solved by a PED. Sadly, I half forgot my own advice at the end. Or, rather ... the real problem was that I was solving in AcrossLite, and on rebuses I only ever put in the first letter of whatever letter set is supposed to be crammed in there. So I knew that the "P" in was supposed to stand for "PED" in CAPED CRUSADER (60A: Batman, with "The"), but I did not make the adjustment in thinking when reading the down cross, 53D: Prepared, as a report (tyPED up), and so entered TYPED. I did not pick a good place in the grid to make this mistake; that southern portion is by far the iffiest, ugliest section in the whole thing. SMARM pushes things slightly (52D: Ingratiating behavior), and then CRUSES creates a full-scale ughfest. Throw in my unfathomable hesitation at whether the "turn-of-the-century year" at 56D: Turn-of-the-century year in King John's reign (MCCI) would end in C or I (I was one of those annoying jerks saying "the new millennium hasn't Started Yet!" on Jan. 1, 2000), and you have a huge chunk of my solving time spent right there in the puzzle's basement.

Theme answers:

  • CouPEDevilles
  • ExPEDites
  • SharPEDged (11D: Like a saber)
  • SPED by (25A: Passed quickly)
  • TaPEDelays (38D: Features of many Olympic broadcasts)
  • BiPEDal (44A: Like humans and ostriches) - would have been nice to avoid the foot meaning of "PED" entirely in this puzzle, but oh well
  • CaPED Crusader
  • TyPED up
The puzzle felt solid overall and sufficiently entertaining. CRUSES and OVIEDO (15A: Provincial capital in NW Spain), standing in both rotational and mirror symmetry to each other, are twin trouble spots - uncommon terms that, however valid, feel slightly desperate. ASHEBORO is perhaps equally unfamiliar to a lot of people, but for some reason it didn't bother me at all (12D: North Carolina county seat). The very Thursday clue on TORNADO (43D: British fighter plane) kept me from getting into the SE corner easily. In fact, even that initial "T" was tough to come by - "Incendiary" is a noun describing a person!? Or is ARSONIST being used adjectivally here? I was so confused I started considering ARSONISM as a possible answer.


  • 14A: Certain cable, informally (co-ax) - oh come on. The word is COAX, and there are infinite good clues, hard and easy, available for your cluing pleasure
  • 27A: Item of sports equipment approximately 43" long (epee) - damn, that's long-seeming.
  • 30A: "Mr." whose first name is Quincy (Magoo) - 60% vowels! I was going to remark that he seems to be showing up a lot, but at 60% vowels, this is no surprise.
  • 6D: Company started in 1946 at the Detroit and Miami airports (Avis) - no wonder they "try harder." Maybe if they'd started in L.A., N.Y., Chicago, etc., they wouldn't have been #2 for so long.

  • 24D: Companion of Panza (Quixote) - no trouble uncovering this "Q"; 24A: Ones making snap decisions? (QBs) was easy too
  • 28D: Tiger or Twin, briefly (AL'er) - less common than NL'ER, probably because you can make more stuff out of AL-- than you can out of NL--.
  • 34D: British author Bagnold (Enid) - one of the many difficulty levels of ENID. Oklahoma is lower. Blyton, slightly higher. Unless you're British. If you're British, your difficulty levels may vary. Drastically.
  • 50D: Frank who wrote "The Pit," 1903 (Norris) - I associate him with Upton Sinclair ... that turn-of-the-century "Workers are being crushed by Industry" sensibility. I think one of Norris's stories features a guy getting buried alive in a grain silo. Metaphor! For something!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Jeffrey 7:59 AM  

I did my usual "be ready for a rebus" Thursday preparation and still didn't catch it for the longest time. I got the PEDXING answer and thought it meant PED answers crossed at the E. I was appropriately saved by the CAPED CRUSADER.

Very good puzzle, perfect for a Thursday.

janie 8:18 AM  

funny about OVIEDO and CRUSES -- because i just watched vicky christina barcelona in which a visit to OVIEDO occurs; and because i'm pretty sure my association w/ the latter is in conjunction w/ hanukkah -- and the small CRUSE of oil that's able to burn for eight days.

regardless -- really admired this particular construction, with its myopic MAGOO and one-eyed ODIN!


Kurt 8:28 AM  

I really liked this puzzle. Like Admiral Parker, once COUPE DEVILLES fell, everything else came pretty easily.

I checked on cruciverb and this seems to be Mr. Chapus' debut puzzle - at least in the NYT. If I'm wrong, I humbly apologize. But if I'm right, congratulations David! Very well done.

Anonymous 8:46 AM  

It is my debut, in the NYT or anywhere. Quite a surprise to see it this a.m. as I think it's been well over a year since I got the acceptance letter and I was long past the point of eagerly checking each day to see if it had been published.
Yes, I'm scouring the blogs to see the reaction, which is mostly positive. Thank you for your comments and kind words; I'm glad you liked it.

joho 8:51 AM  

@David Chapus: loved your puzzle! It is anything BUT pedestrian!

Took me much longer than usual for my AHA moment ... not sure why. I didn't get it until CAPEDCRUSADER (like Crosscan) ... even though I knew something was going on with EXPEDITES. My problem there was I was spelling it wrong. DUH.

Anyway I love a rebus and this rebus rocked for me.

Thank you, David!

George NYC 8:52 AM  

I thought this puzzle was terrific, and perfect for Thursday. Tight cluing, and fun answers. It took me longer than it should have to pick up the rebus, I think because I took a “regional” route, starting in the North West and working down. I like to think that had I scanned the whole puzzle quickly (as I usually do on Sundays) I would have seen that COUPEDEVILLE and CAPEDCRUSADER needed more letters. The PED string was tricky for its past-tense misdirection in some cases. (I wanted TAPEDPLAYS long before the much better TAPEDELAYS came into view). A very satisfying late-night diversion.
Note to self: Late in week, anticipate rebus, look at long answers (possible themers) early.
PEDXING, with the X in the exact middle of the grid, was cool. Mr. MAGOO , not quite close enough to see QUIXOTE. Nice.
My favorite: More like a doornail=DEADER. Very clever.
Always like Mad [magazine] workers = EDS [editors]; they used to work up the street from where I once worked as an ED on Madison Ave. I visited there once, and it was pleasingly as expected: model blimps bouncing off ceiling, oversized images of Alfred E., total chaos, towers of ancient stuff teetering at scary angles, less-than-slim EDS with wide ties smoking cigs, closed Venetian blinds, no sunlight whatsoever…those were the days.

PlantieBea 8:52 AM  

I really liked this puzzle; it was a perfect difficulty for a Thursday. I thought I was error free, but alas, I fell into the IRUSES/MCII trap.

I like rebus puzzles where the "coded" answer falls across two words as in SharP EDged. This was one puzzle where I got the theme (PED XING) before figuring out the trick. I knew that Batman had to be the CAPED CRUSADER, but just didn't understand why I couldn't jam it in. Did not know that ODIN was one-eyed. And I'm not used to thinking of INCENDIARY as a noun either.

Fun puzzle D. Chapus!

Kurisu 8:55 AM  

Good puzzle; I had the opposite experience with Rex in that the south part was easier but I got stuck forever on the north part. CAPEDCRUSADER was the first rebus answer I got; I was ready to write that in early but it didn't fit, so I started suspecting that something was up.

I had TIMELAGS for some reason in the olympic clue, but once I got rid of that the west was easy.

I'm embarrassed that it took me so long to get QBS.

dk 9:01 AM  

David may I have some more please.

My AHA was CAPEDCRUSADER. OBS was anything but snap. I got it when I recalled QUIXOTE (talk about being a nerd).

IMPISH and SNITCHED are great words and I always love to see MAGOO and ORTS.

Like Crosscan and others I expected a rebus and this one more than delivered: Role out the red carpet we have a new puzzle CELEB.

ps. I think the puzzle is supposed to be pedestrian.

retired_chemist 9:21 AM  

Nice puzzle, Mr.Chapus! The B in QBs was a LOOOOONG time coming for me as well as for SKW 8:55. I am also embarrassed...

Nailed the theme from 39A before getting a single rebus answer. Thought that would make it easy, but there was much left to do.

For me, the best puzzles are ones in which there are a number of possible answers to multiple ambiguous clues. This one did that well.

OVIEDO was a total unknown, and the upper midwest was full of stuff that was fun to work out. AVIS? Who knew? Neither LOST nor COVE seemed unique,though both seemed likely, which meant getting that area correctly involved some thought.

SUETS (23A) began life as LARDS, then was SOAPS when 1D fell, then finally showed its true colors with 3D EXpedITE.

And so forth for other areas.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

Despite catching the theme quickly (it HAD to be CAPED CRUSADER, somehow), I had similar problems as others, at CRUSES (crossing a random Roman numeral, and SMARM) and OVIEDO.

I didn't know ASHEBORO but I've been to Asheville and Tarboro, both in NC, so it wasn't a stretch.

But I also struggled in the NW because I thought it was a Cadillac Deville or Seville and couldn't figure out the front half. SUETS was LARDS and COOPUP was ENTRAP, and I didn't know La NAUSEE, so the whole area was a mess. I googled Sartre and that was enough to break the icejam.

Slower than I liked, but it was a good puzzle for a Thursday.

Unknown 10:03 AM  

I had an odd moment in solving doe to a similar error mentioned by Rex. I had TYPED crossing CAP CRUSADER and I thought the key to the puzzle was that the missing letters (ED) crossed the P to give the full answer...maybe I should illustrate:


SO, knowing I had an issue for COUPE DE VILLE, I went back and saw a variation on the theme, but there was still a ED crossing down. It didn't work for SPED BY and then I went back to make the rebus.

All in all a very fine puzzle, debut or not.

Ulrich 10:05 AM  

Too busy these days--big trip coming up--to write much. But I want to take this minute to join the chorus and applaud the constructor for a really great rebus, which I was also ready for and and enjoyed doing.

Had the century for King Henry wrong, though, and therefore accepted DRUSES for the pots, which looked perfectly fine to me (when you solve on paper, you have no built-in mechanism to discover erroneous letters after thinking you're finished).

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

Typed and caped was where it fell into place for me, but I hesitated for the longest time because I hadn't gotten the pedxing answer yet and "ped" seemed like an awfully random set of letters to turn into a rebus.

Otherwise a nice Thursday with just enough heft. I'm at the level where a puzzle like this give me something to chew on but doesn't frustrate the heck out of me.

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

Rex -- I do the same as you with the rebus puzzles (type the first letter in the square, in AcrossLite), and also hit the "*" (shift-8) on that square to circle the letter in the square... then, when I hit the crossings, I don't forget that the square is a rebus. ;)

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Fun puzzle! (Although I also was confused by incendiary as a noun -- had several odd endings on "arson" before I just put ARSONIST in there!)

Congratulations, David!

Two Ponies 10:45 AM  

Easy but very fun.
I caught the rebus at bipedal.What else could our common bond be with an ostrich?
Things I learned today -
Our favorite crossword weapon is 43" long.
Quincy Magoo? Who knew?
Odin has one eye. OK.
Very nice debut. Well done.

Shamik 10:45 AM  

In my house we call earthen pots for liquids: IRUSES. Ok, so we don't have any liquid-holding earthen pots. Echo all. Good debut.

Thought it might have been a rebus with ASHEVILLE and COUPEDEVILLES, but the crosses didn't work. So, like most others got PEDXING without an AHA 'til CAPEDCRUSADER.

Shamik 10:47 AM  

@BrianD: Didn't know that about shift-8! Thanks. I laboriously click Edit. Clickinsert. Click multiple letters. Eats up time. ; )

Orange 10:54 AM  

If you're reading this post and thinking to yourself, "Bloody hell, Rex calls it an easy or easy-medium? This puppy was hard"—take heart. I thought it had a certain Fridayish rigor to it. I'm usually in the 4-minutes-and-change range on Thursdays, but this one took me 5+. Not easy!

Rex e-mailed me this morning to suggest a new Oryx awards category for best debut puzzle. This one's in the running. Now, each year sees a number of splashy debuts so this one may not emerge triumphant come January (and CRUSES was an insane answer to have, as it's not really even crosswordese)—but it's an accomplished debut and I join others in looking forward to more Chapus creations.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

My AHA moment was at 18A, as was the same for most of you I would guess.
My D'oh moment was at 41A, I couldn't back off UNO, which gave me TOP_____ for 38D, which made some sense, for a while at least.

ArtLvr 11:04 AM  

I caught the rebus idea when SPED spelled out didn't go with down xingss; from there it was smooth sailing.

"The Pit" by Frank NORRIS refers to the trading areas for commodities futures at the Chicago Board of Trade building (wheat, in this case). I was sidetracked for a moment recalling "The Snake Pit" dealing with a non-metaphorical insane asylum.

Excellent puzzle, Mr. Chapus!

HudsonHawk 11:05 AM  

Very nice, Mr. Chapus. I had the middle solved first and still wasn't sure it was a rebus. But DARK KNIGHT didn't fit into 60A and had nothing to do with PED, so then it hit me. After that, it fell pretty quickly. Loved the cluing for DEADER, and didn't mind the two UP endings.

jubjub 11:11 AM  

Censors having STDS struck me as funny. After I figured out the theme, I expected to see carpe diem somewhere in the puzzle. This puzzle would have been easier if I hadn't messed up and put COU*DEVILLE instead of COU*EVILLES. Oops.

jae 11:15 AM  

Great puzzle and just about right for a Thurs. I knew something was amiss when COUPEDEVILLE wouldn't fit but did know what because, as Sandy observed, PED seems a bit random for a rebus. 39a gave it to me and the rest was pretty smooth. My only problem was wanting ASHEVILLE for a while. Medium works for me on this fine debut puzzle.

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

'Incendiary" as a noun is just fine, no trouble. I had the hardest time with NW corner.

A very satisfying puzzle.


Anonymous 11:36 AM  

I had COUPE------ for awhile, thinking there was some other Cadillac out there. The E matched EDS, and I just assumed EXPITES was a variant I'd never come across, so it wasn't until the CAPED CRUSADER that I figured out the rebus.

And I admit, I much prefer dates from British kings than Popes or Holy Roman Emperors.

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

regardless -- really admired this particular construction, with its myopic MAGOO and one-eyed ODIN!


I think you meant !-) or .-)

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

@David Chapus: great puzzle...i found it challenging, yet fair(ie right on target)...don't let them make you wait another year to have the next one published!

jeff in chicago 11:44 AM  

I had a good time with this one. Great puzzle, David. Like Shin, the south fell easily for me, after a slight delay. I don't know my ALERs from my NLERs, but I knew there was a LER going to happen. Also knew ENID early, so 39A was _E_ _ _N_ - DEADEND! Not so much. Knew 60A had to end in CRUSADER off CSI, DEADER and ICIEST, and the PED start became clear and DEADEND was fixed.

The north took a lot more staring. AVIS came through staring. And thinking about things in airports. Excellent clue! Guessed MAGOO, but that's another fantastic clue in my book. But lots of stuff I didn't know up there.

I like the cross of COOP and COUPE. BIPEDAL and SMARM are great words.

My last letter to fall was the Y in TAPEDELAYS. I just could not see KEY and I was stuck on breaking 38D as TAPED ELA_S. More staring.

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

The gimmick wasn't bad, as these things go. But I take issue with its inconsistency. If X = PED, then why QUIXOTE and EXXITES? Stands to reason they'd be QUIPEDOTE and EPEDPEDITES. Surely Mr. Chapus could have cut back the usage of such a Scrabbly letter.


Anonymous 12:13 PM  

I had the same two problems...I had OVIEDA and DRUSES. Can someone explain to me how LOST='out the window'?

Things I learned from my wrong answers: Druze refers to an Islamic sect. Drusen are reflective spots in the back of the eye. One of the Henrys was king in 1400 (think Shakespeare). And nothing memorable happened in OVIEDO.

George NYC 12:26 PM  

"Out the window" is a phrase similar to "down the drain." As in "this TV broke as soon as I plugged it in. That's a hundred bucks out the window."

X does not equal PED. The answer PEDXING is a clue to the rebus, which means that certain squares have the three letters PED in them, e.g.exPEDites. PED XING is an actual common traffic sign, meaning, of course, Pedestrians Crossing

JannieB 12:30 PM  
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Anonymous 12:32 PM  

@Alby--the hint doesn't mean that X = PED. PED XING is used as an abbreviation for Pedestrian Crossing, so wherever PED appears, it crosses in the other direction (which of course, it always would, unless the puzzle is a Krozel.)

@Two Ponies--"Quincy Magoo? Who knew?" Actually, U NU.

mccoll 12:35 PM  

Thanks, Mr Chapus. I think easy would be a better rating, though. For some odd reason I looked at the ostrich/human clue as the puzzle was coming off the printer and realized they are both bipedal. When Coupe deVille and expedited wouldn't go,I got the rebus theme and had not one hang-up from then on.
This was an enjoyable romp, so don't take umbrage when I suggest that the SE could be rewritten with torpedoes/WW II bombers for 43D and snipedfor/served on a SWAT team for 57A. This would put the rebus in each corner.(Be aware that I don't have a clue!)

JannieB 12:36 PM  

Great puzzle, debut or not.

One day while driving I happened to be following a hearse with the vanity plate "Dornail" - still makes me laugh.

I want "iruses" simply because 1201 seems well past the turn of that century.

Parshutr 12:41 PM  

Modern 3-woods (or 3-metals) and Persimmon drivers were also 43" long. And why doesn't everybody hit the INSERT key and then type in the rebus letters? Works for me.
I'm actually getting to like rebus puzzles.

chefbea 12:48 PM  

My first thought was that all peds would be xed out. That didnt work. Kept wondering how to put coup deville and caped crusader in. Then finally had my aha moment.

Didn't we have saltines earlier this week, or was that another puzzle.

@Rex and everyone else - did you see on page one of the arts section Homer's house in in foreclosure.

Time to make Irish soda bread while watching the Madoff fiasco

archaeoprof 1:03 PM  

Today felt like Wednesday to me. Yesterday felt like Thursday. But I enjoyed this one much more, because of the clever cluing and the interesting theme. It was one AHA moment after another.

@Orange: I second your nomination of this puzzle for the Oryx for best debut puzzle.

Well done, David Chapus!

fikink 1:08 PM  

Nice debut, Mr. Chapus and congratulations to you.
The crossing of COOP UP and UPSIDES slowed me down because I thought that was verboten construction, so the NW was my last fill. (I even tried OLEO for SUETS to rid myself of a second UP.)

Thanks for the "out the window" explanation, GeorgeNYC. Now if it had been clued as "pissed away" - but I guess that would be untoward.

WEemba: .-) Great!

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

Very nice puzzle, debut or not.

@Ulrich. What is the "built-in mechanism to discover erroneous letters" in Across Lite?

@JannieB. "1201 seems well past the turn of that century" -- and 1102 doesn't? ;-)

Unknown 1:10 PM  

Another neat bit is snitched (sang) crossing with ids (fingers).

Had no idea about Asheboro but was able to piece it together after I gave up "pie(-eyed)"

Very enjoyable puzzle.

fikink 1:14 PM  

p.s. Rex, death by silo still occurs here, and, Cheryl, I wanted pie-eyed for a time, too.

JannieB 1:17 PM  

@easylob, I guess 1102 is about the closest you can get with 4 "numbers"? No wait, does "MIII" work? That would be an interesting string.

George NYC 1:18 PM  

Does anyone know how to duplicate the INSERT key on a MacBook? Or is there another way in Across Lite to fill in a rebus square???
(I googled and found that Mac desktop keyboards have a HELP key that also works like INS, but MacBooks have no such key...

Anonymous 1:20 PM  


I think you are confusing century with millenium. MCCI is the turn of the 13th Century.


fikink 1:21 PM  

George, I hit esc, get a box, type in the letters and hit return(enter) on a Mac.

Anonymous 1:24 PM  

Asheboro was the gimme for me - from having been hooked on Thomas Wolfe in my youth (I outgrew it).

Very fun puzzle.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:27 PM  

Very nice puzzle. Medium for me.

I was actually slowed down a bit by 44A, "Like humans and ostriches", since it didn't seem too much of a stretch to think the answer could be (a) BIPED.

@Rex - Bravo for your stand on the beginning date of the new millennium. I can remember listening with incredulity as the (non)issue was discussed on the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour, no less!

George NYC 1:31 PM  

Thanks--doesn't work on my MacBook for some reason. Well, I was looking for a project for the afternoon... G

Ulrich 2:07 PM  

@easylob: What I meant was that if you have a mistake, AcrossLite won't accept the puzzle--it won't identify the erroneous letter, but it will force you back to the drawing board. Given how many idiomatic phrases and how much slang I don't know, finishing with one erroneous letter happens to me quite frequently, and I won't find out until I come here. Not having to do this would be the one advantage solving on the computer would have for me, but it wouldn't make up for the deciding disadvantage, that it would double, if not triple my solving time.

JannieB 2:17 PM  

@RT - doh - you are so right. Thanks!

RodeoToad 2:41 PM  

I liked it. Thursdays are hit or miss with me as far as enjoyability--I don't like the themed puzzles that just give everything away after you figure out the theme or the trick, and this one is not guilty of that. Stayed pretty tough and engaging up to completion.

I was fascinated by the concept of exploding silos as a kid. It was one of those things our parents always warned us about when we went to play in what we called "the wheathouse," which was just an old house in the pasture beside our house filled up to the window sills with wheat. The place was also full of rats, but nobody cared about that. They thought the wheathouse would explode. I was also terrified of getting lockjaw from a rusty nail. Lockjaw still sounds scary as hell.

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

Silos are kind of phallic, no? Maybe it's a metaphor for 'the man'

dk 3:05 PM  

Death by silo???????????????

I'm movin back to NYC!

retired_chemist 3:15 PM  

@ Wade - your parents were right. That was a serious trap and you are lucky nothing happened. There can be bacterial action in untended silage producing methane, i.e. natural gas. Also there can/will be flammable silage dust in dry weather. Moisture underneath* with dry stuff on top means both potential sources of combustion are present. One spark and BOOM! is a possibility.

*(Think lots of rat urine. OK, don't. It's disgusting.)

Unknown 3:17 PM  

I thought I'd had my voice of praise for this puzzle. I think I finished it in record time for me for a Thursday, but I enjoyed solving it a lot.
It took until CAPEDCRUSADER to convince me of the rebus, and then I went back and fixed SPED and BIPED.
I'm not sure about ENID Blagdon, but Blyton would have been a total gimme for any brit (like me).
Conversely, I had no idea about QBS, and still don't know what snapping is in that context.

Jeffrey 3:22 PM  

I really hope there's a death by silo blog before this goes any further...

@Adrian - The football is snapped to the Quarterback (QB) to start a play.

retired_chemist 3:26 PM  

@ Adrian - ah, two countries divided by a common language.

QB ia quarterback, an American football position. Normally a play starts when the center "snaps" the ball (meaning passes it back very quickly) to the QB.

Anonymous 3:29 PM  

word for word my sentiments!
one addition, I had SARDINES for SALTINES for a while there...
thinking, ick!
COngrats David Chapus!
WOw, one nice puzzle and you've spurred the creation of a new award! Not bad.

fikink 3:31 PM  

@Adrian, a snap is a hike.

@retired chemist, is the explosion due to Brownian movement (which I, as an arts major, always thought of as too florid of prose)?

@acme, we were separated at birth!

fergus 3:37 PM  

Well, I'm one of those people who would insist that the plural should be COUPES DE VILLE, like Attorneys General. But I don't want to be a sourpuss.

I couldn't see DEADER for the longest time, probably since I thought another PED was going to show up. Much better than the Clue for ICIEST.

Frank Norris can be a fun read. I remember a good book about a failing dentist in San Francisco, pre-1906 earthquake. La Nausee, as one would expect, was extremely dark. The main character is sickened whenever he connives with the sublime.

George NYC 3:52 PM  

Re Rebus solving in Across Lite

Posting this for Mac users who might be having trouble filling squares with multiple letters (Rebus). Apologies to those to whom this is irrelevant. Don't silo me!

Different versions of Across Lite handle this differently, a matter that is exacerbated by the absence of an INS (Insert) key on Macs.

Make sure you have Across Lite version 2.0b, downloadable from the NYT puzzle area (you need to be running OS X 4 or higher, but who isn't). NB: Use Safari for this download; I usually use Firefox, which did not download the file correctly--turns out this was the source of my problems.

To enter multiple letters, choose a square and hit Esc; a small rectangle will pop up and you can type multiple letters there, then hit Enter/return and you're done.

The +++ technique does not work on Macs.

SHIFT-8 (*) will insert a little circle-in-the-square, which reminds you it's a rebus square (sans multiple letters).
Goodnight and good luck.

retired_chemist 3:55 PM  

@ fikink, ☺

You almost got that one by me.

Unknown 3:58 PM  
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Anonymous 4:01 PM  

Puzzles should be clever, doable, fair and satisfying. This puzzle was all that and more and I loved it.

Doornail - deader was my favorite clue and answer. I had a problem with arsonist but put it in anyway. And I'm glad Orange made her commnent. I thought this one was medium plus.

edith b 4:03 PM  

@anon 1.24-

Outgrowing Thomas Wolfe is a sure sign of literary maturity, IMOO, but I got ASHEBORO the same way.

I had exactly the same problem as PhillySolver and it took me forever to figure it all out. I usually have the opposite problem with rebuses, i.e getting the rebus early and having trouble with the fill. Not today.

The sticking points for some were OVIEDO and CRUSES and they were neons for me.

I had trouble with this one but in all the wrong places.

Unknown 4:04 PM  

@fergus - well, I'm not a (language) lawyer (though I am british, so same thing!), but I think if someone made a car called the Attorney General, then a fleet of them would be Attorney Generals.
i.e. Once the phrase has become a proper noun, the plural-on-the-noun part rule no longer applies. IMHO, of course.

@retired_chemist & Crosscan - thanks - I know I have to learn this stuff, but...
@fikink - a snap is a hike didn't help!

evil doug 4:06 PM  


Remember your question the other day?

Yes. It's played.


Anonymous 4:46 PM  

CAPED CRUSADER was the second answer I got and figured where the rebus was when I got CSI. Must be the most I've gotten on a Thursday without looking anything up, though I did make mistakes.

The one thing I'd like to know is how anyone can have a problem with the clue for co-ax. Anyone who has ever wired communications or A/V equipment would have used the expression.

Anonymous 5:07 PM  

George NYC and Steve I:

Thanks for clearing up my confusion about X equaling PED. I'm not one to rack my brain over a theme as I go (which is probably to my detriment), so looks I stuck Xs in those squares as placeholders and never bothered to change them.


fikink 5:44 PM  

Sorry, Adrian, I was thinking of how American football is portrayed in movies, or maybe, how my dad explained it to me, a blonde female ever afraid of getting lockjaw (ask Mr. Fikink).

But think of it this way: sometime the clue may be "snap" and you will know HIKE.

DanaJ 5:51 PM  

Fun puzzle, but tough for me, especially in NW where I stubbornly clung to the notion that "hard fats" had to be TRANS. You know, trans-fats like Crisco or Oreo cookie filling? Loved the co-grouping of humans and ostriches as BIPEDAL.

Anonymous 6:04 PM  

Wasnt the last NYT rebus in a sunday puzzle?. It never occured to me ! Kept thinking the gommick dropping "ed" in the answers! I was properly and totaly had!! Enjoyed it all!!

Leon 6:45 PM  

Wonderful puzzle Mr. Chapus.

Thanks for the site RP.

Death by Wheat occurs in Norris' The Octopus : A California Story.

S. Behrman is buried alive in the hold of a cargo ship by "persistent, steady, inevitable" wheat.

chefwen 6:56 PM  

Thursday puzzles are, by far, my favorite of the week and this one was no exception. Loved it and look forward to more of the same from Mr. Chapus.
Struggled mightely trying to squish COUPE DE VILLES in so few squares until I figured out the rebus and the rest was smooth sailing except the torpedo/tornado snafu and druses instead of CRUSES.

treedweller 6:58 PM  

Also, one of the bad guys in the movie "Witness" dies when the contents of a silo are dumped on him (no explosion).

I enjoyed the puzzle. I had the same experience as some others: lards for SUETS, and I had to google NAUSEE to finish the last corner. After yesterday, one google seems like a good day. Not sure whether to dread tomorrow or be excited. Worst case, I'll try to view it as prep for next tourney's #5.

allan 7:24 PM  

Football 101 (American Style): There are 11 players on the field for each team. The team trying to score (points) is called the offense. The team trying to stop them is called the defense. The offense has up to 4 plays, called downs (no acts or scenes) to move forward at least 10 yards. Each down begins with a player, called the center, handing the ball to the quarterback. The center is crouched over with his butt towards the QB, and makes the exchange through his legs. The process of this exchange is called a) The snap from center, or b) a hike.

If this is clear to all you non football lovin' folks, then I'll be happy to go on to football 102. But not here. Rex will be upset.

Here's a short video demonstrating the QB making a play.

Anonymous 7:27 PM  

I've been thinking all day in other ways ostriches and humans are similar, and all I can come up with are these huge eggs I've laid and how often I bury my head in the sand!

WOuld have liked ACME instead of ACNE as the first answer (esp crossed with Nausea, I don't care if you say it en francais, it's still acne crossed with nausea!)

Anyway, for those of us who loved this rebus, does that make us

fergus 8:05 PM  

Rapier wit, Acme, as usual.

I spend a lot of time with adolescents, so I get this little cringe of sympathy whenever ACNE appears in the puzzle, which is unfortunately too often.

Unknown 8:09 PM  

@allan - thanks! That is surprisingly helpful. I still have a lot of questions, but you're right - this is not the place (and there's always the interweb).
I've had various people try to explain this game to me over the years, but I don't think they ever fully grasped the depth of my ignorance, and lost me almost at once.
Not trying to start something (honestly!), but from an outsider's perspective the game's always seemed remarkably contrived to me.

Jeffrey 8:19 PM  

12 players and 3 downs for Canadian football. The rest applies.

allan 8:53 PM  

@Adrian: That's a first for me. No one ever accuses me of being helpful. ;.)

@Crosscan: And they play it on ice, eh?

Kelly 8:59 PM  

I ended with MLER/MSU. But I guess Sun Devils wouldn't have anything to do with Michigan!

Howard B 9:07 PM  

I always enjoy a good rebus puzzle - and this was a good rebus puzzle. Congrats on the debut! Here's to many more, Mr. Chapus.

CRUSES took me a while as well, although I could swear that someone used it against me in a game of online Scrabble a fairly long time ago, so something told me to keep the C in there.

Bill from NJ 9:08 PM  

No, Kelly, it has nothing to do with Michigan and everything to do with Arizona State University, my alma mater.

My daughter was a year old when I started there and I bought her a T-shirt that read "I'm a little imp from Arizona State.

I always like it when my college gets a shout-out in the puzzle.

Ulrich 9:15 PM  

@acme ibis (you're no ostrich no how): It makes us ped-x-files

mac 9:21 PM  

It seems to be too late to add any more about the puzzle. I think it was a great Thursday, started from the middle, got pedxing first and had a druse. And no, I have no idea about this coax/co-ax, somehow I have wired communications without picking up on that (I don't even know what I just wrote).
Favorite clue: 1A. Didn't think it was going to fly!

Anonymous 9:23 PM  

@Adrian--America gave rise to two sports that baffle the outsider--I was going to say foreigner, but many Americans who aren't fans are equally baffled. Those are baseball and American football. But both of these sports are extremely rewarding to watch once you really understand them, although you can still enjoy them if you only have a basic grasp of them. Unlike basketball, which is score, score, score, score, score, or hockey (and I might add soccer) which are bore, bore, bore, bore (oops, score, missed it) bore, bore some more, both baseball and football have situations in which crucial scoring may or may not be imminent, depending on skill, luck and the opponent's defense, that can keep you on the edge of your seat when the uninitiated thinks that nothing is happening. If you are living in America for an extended time, you might find it rewarding to learn either or both of these sports, because generally speaking, they're more fun to watch than most of what's on the tube these days.

BTW, baseball (including its cousin, softball) is unusual as well because in it, it's the defense that holds the ball.

fergus 12:22 AM  

Nice comment Steve, but even though I share your choice of sport, I think you're being short-sighted and dogmatic in your preferences. Witnessing the enthusiasm for rugby or for cricket in other lands -- even seeing how baseball is appreciated in different places, your comment is only worthy if you apply it to sport in general.

liquid el lay 4:15 AM  

Oh man, I blew this one.

The PEDXING seemed to say PED was at a cross to the answer.

It all started with CAPCRUSADER x TYPED. OK, I said you go crosswise, orthagonal, to pick up the PED and thus complete your answer. I was not thinking rebus! I thought- Wow, we go into the other dimension. I carried that conceit as far as I could- pretty far it turns out- and I'm thinking -"this is not thursday strength, this is... way f'n hard!.

Philly Solver apparantly started on the same path, but mended his ways. Not me! I persisted!

TAPELAYS jogged west to get the PED out of PEDAL, for instance, to form the 2D TAPEDELAYS. PEDAL is of the ostrich and the human... OK.

SHARPGES grabbed its PED out of the east from SPED, and SPED works for "passed quickly". SHARPEDGES.

EXPITES got its PED from the east on COUPEVILLES, so EXPEDITE... but COUPEVILLES needed a DE... how does that work? (they were nearby, and I was thinking- maybe there's some way that works...)

That was my puzzle. remarkably filled following the false conceit, but unfinishable.

The SW was very cool THINAIR and DEADEST great. good company for ICIEST, too. That whole corner was bitchin'. TORNADO! As a fighter jet!

CADISH (for IMPISH), though ugly, kind of sealed the TYPED for the less better but correct TYPEDUP, and sealed my fate as a PED-on-the-orthoganal theorist. I could not let that go.

DESI. I liked him, man... he was funny. LUCY, not so much. FRED MERTZ!

Kevin C. 4:41 PM  

A bit late on this one, but I tend to save the Thursday puzzles for Sunday mornings and just got around to it.

For me the southeast fell easily first, and the North was the last to fall, in part because I wasn't familiar with the Coupe DeVille and in part because Oviedo the first three letters I got were the EDO, and holy Toledo did that lead me down the wrong path...

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