General store on "Waltons" - THUR., Mar 19, 2009- L Sternberg (Woody vine with violet blossoms / "Dallas" kinfolk / Environs for Galatea, in myth)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: State code code - familiar phrases have one word represented by a state code, which is a homophone of the replaced word if you spell it out.

Word of the Day: SENSEI - n., pl. -seis.

  1. A judo or karate teacher.
  2. A teacher or mentor.
  3. Used as a form of address for such a person. (
Wikipedia adds: "Sensei is often used to address the teacher in Japanese martial arts classes such as Aikido, Judo, Jujitsu, Karate, Kendo,Iaido, Kenjutsu, and Iaijutsu."

Japanese. That is the key word. Notice that Tai Chi is Nowhere on that list. That is because Tai Chi is not a Japanese martial art, and a Tai Chi instructor is not, not, not a SENSEI. Attempts to hide behind definition number 2 will not be accepted. By that definition, I am a SENSEI. A Tai Chi instructor is called "sifu." It means roughly the same thing as SENSEI, but this does not make them interchangeable. Specific martial arts have specific terms for the teachers involved. If you don't practice, you likely don't care about this distinction, but unless the Tai Chi instructor was Japanese or trained first in a Japanese martial art, he/she would not be a SENSEI.

Liked this theme fine, but NAGGER (47D: Unpleasant reminder?) and OPERANT (29D: Having an effect) and ALYSSAS (37A: Actress Milano and namesakes) combined to take my enjoyment down several notches. That's not just sub-optimal fill, it's a Lot of Long sub-optimal fill. A-TWO is no winner either (37D: Part of Lawrence Welk's intro), but it's small enough to be easily forgiven. I was preparing to rate this Medium-Challenging, but then my wife (who often struggles with Thursdays) finished it pretty quickly, so I ticked it back a notch. I had an anomalous, major slowdown in the far west, as I could Not make sense of 32A: Tax-free transaction, usually (swap). I had S--P. SWAP does not sound like a tax-related term. "Trade" does. SWAP sounds so slangy that it never occurred to me as a word used in relation to taxes (I know that "credit default swaps" are big in the news now, but that's not the kind of "SWAP" being referred to here, is it?). As for EWE-necked (27D) - ugh. This answer bit me before, and apparently I learned nothing. I still hate it for its over-technicality, but I should have known it. I kept wondering if EYE-necked was something, but SY-P really really looked horrible. Then there's PAL. That clue is manifestly terrible: 28D: Shadow, so to speak. A shadow can be someone tailing me, or someone who hangs close to me, but the word does not imply a relationship of amity and equality. PAL? "How you doin' there, shadow." "Hey, be a shadow and lend me a ten-spot til Tuesday." I get that the idea is that your PAL and you are so close that he/she is like your shadow, but bleh.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Eco-friendly in Las Vegas? (Green with NV) - got this quickly. Liked it.
  • 26A: Omaha's waterfront during downpours? (NE port in a storm) - slowed down here a bit because I was looking for the postal code to come at the end.
  • 44A: First-place finishers in Bangor? (ME Award-winners)
  • 59A: Jogging atop Great Falls? (Running on MT)
Got off to a weird and probably inefficient start on this one. It's a good idea to work off of answers you already have, but sometimes it creates a lattice pattern that gets kind of ungainly and out of hand. I put down LEGS (1D: Stamina) immediately, then went over and guessed TIN EAR (5D: Musician's weakness), which I confirmed with ASPIC (23A: Food glaze), which I crossed with PINE (24D: Yearn (for)), which I then crossed with ENS (33A: Position on the Enterprise: Abbr.) - now I'm way the hell and gone down near the middle of the puzzle with no solid blocks filled in at all. I think I filled the area in piece by piece and then drifted up north. I don' t know. There have been times where I can do the alternate cross/down thing all the way from NW to SE. It's fun, but it won't help you finish quickly.


  • 11A: 1099-_____ (tax form sent by a bank) - wife just put our tax materials together, so she has seen one of these forms recently. I ... have not. Had IRS here at first, I think.
  • 21A: Kind of account not used much any more (passbook) - I remember my first PASSBOOK. I must have been 10 or so. Gibraltar Savings on Shaw and West in Fresno. $12. Good times.
  • 25A: Down Under springers (roos) - one of what seemed like a small number of flat-out gimmes in the puzzle today.
  • 43A: The Bobcats of the Mid-American Conference (Ohio) - not in the tournament. Neither are the AGGIES (53A: Team in College Station, TX) [I'm wrong - they're there ... for now]. Binghamton, however, is in, and everywhere you go in town, you're reminded of it. KFC? Yes. Walk-in Medical Clinic? Sure. This train ride will be over shortly (i.e. tonight), but it's an amusing novelty for the moment. It's so much of a novelty, in fact, that the 10 o'clock news opened last night with anchor Larry Sparano saying "Binghamton is making its first ever trip to the NAACP tournament." I really, really want youtube footage of that moment. Priceless. If you want to compete against me in ESPN's NCAA Tourney Bracket Challenge, I started an open group over there called, I think, "Crossword Cagers." I am the only one in the group at the moment.
  • 58A: _____ Thorpe, 2000 and 2004 Olympic swimming sensation (Ian) - Nope. Sorry. Michael Phelps has eclipsed you forever. Good day.
  • 62A: Environs for Galatea, in myth (ocean) - had ERIS for the asteroid at 51D: Asteroid on which a NASA probe landed in 2001 (Eros), and so had trouble getting this one. Usually I'm OK on the mythological stuff. Not today.
  • 64A: Places with defibrillators, for short (ERs) - also, the hallway outside my classroom.
  • 66A: They're found on staffs (rests) - ah. Music. I see.
  • 2D: Preceder of a case name (in re:) - very familiar answer, but for some reason I couldn't get phrase "The Case of the ..." out of my head, so I had to leave it and come back.
  • 3D: Plumbing fixture manufacturer (Moën) - seldom seen, but definitely late-week-worthy.
  • 4D: General store on "The Waltons" (Ike's) - used to watch this as a kid, but completely forgot the store name. Bush 41 once famously said that "we need a nation closer to the Waltons than to the Simpsons." I thought maybe he wanted us to bring back Jim Crow and start running moonshine. Anyway, he was promptly not re-elected. 20 years later, and the Simpsons haven't gone anywhere.
  • 7D: Milliners' securers (hat pins) - got "milliner" confused with "haberdasher" and put TIE PINS here.
  • 11D: Like fireworks, infrequently (indoor) - when? In arenas?
  • 12D: "We can't squeeze any more in" ("no room") - this simply isn't a self-standing phrase. "THERE's no room," maybe. [What the innkeeper said to Joseph and Mary?] would have been at least as good as this clunker.
  • 13D: Some migrations (treks) - had the -RE and put in GREAT :(
  • 18D: Woody vine with violet blossoms (wisteria) - Why do I know that this is the name of a street (lane, actually) on "Desperate Housewives?" I've seen that show ... never.
  • 30D: Ottoman sultan known as "the Magnificent" (Suleiman) - wife didn't now there was an "I" in there. I can't stop thinking of the Neil Diamond song.

  • 44D: High-luster fabric (mohair) - I think of this as shaggy, not lustrous, though I'm sure the clue is technically correct.
  • 45D: "Dallas" kinfolk (Ewings) - Put up a picture of Patrick Duffy on Tuesday, and his TV show magically appears on Thursday.
  • 52D: _____ Baines Johnson (presidential daughter) (Luci) - with an "I." I did not know that.
  • 54D: "Friday the 13th" staple (gore) - true, though the "gore" in the original "Friday the 13th" (which this clue must be referring to) is mild by comparison to today's gory films.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


dk 8:41 AM  

An interesting Thursday not to hot, not to cold...

I have never heard of a EWE neck so that came in the crosses and I found the clueing for EROS to be cool.

MN is still the home of buffet kitchens so I have visions of folks doing the tray SIDLE to the URN.

SENSEI = Teenage Mutant Ninga Turtles to me and they are also not Japanese.

Off to fill the home with the AROMA of paint as our remodeling project is almost finished.

evil doug 8:49 AM  

Any puzzle with Ernie Banks, the finest statesman the game of baseball has ever known, is okay by me.

From the seedier side of sports news:

"A Binghamton athletics administrator here for the NCAA Tournament said allegations of sexual misconduct raised against him and a second school athletics official in a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had "absolutely no basis."

"According to the complaint, first reported yesterday on the New York Times Web site, university fundraiser Elizabeth Williams accused Jason Siegel, a senior associate athletic director, and the other Binghamton athletics administrator, Chris Lewis, of "egregious acts of sexual misconduct.""

Too bad this is going to detract from the bball team at Tony Kornheiser's alma mater---and RP's employer, no?


edith b 8:50 AM  

I always have problems with those types of clues that suggest the verb form but are looking for a noun . In Northern California, I was looking for something like tail for SHADOW but couldn't come up with a three-letter synonym. I had a similar problem in Alabama with Unpleasant reminder but in reverse.

Aside from not knowing how to spell SULIEMAN, I didn't have any other problems. I liked how the theme laid itself out by pronouncing the two letter postal codes and the fill was a little eccentric with INDOOR and OPERANT and the odd-looking ALYSSAS. I particularly liked WHITELIE at 50A.

ArtLvr 8:55 AM  

The puzzle was a QT... I had a similar solving trek as described by Rex -- all over the map.

I think the INDOOR fireworks may not be so very rare, if the target of a NAGGER has a short fuse!


Anonymous 8:57 AM  

Not to nitpick (especially because I really enjoy this blog), but the Aggies (of Texas A&M University, from College Station, Texas) are in fact in the NCAA tournament this year. Not for long, perhaps, but still...

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle, although I stared at the space intended for the first "e" in ewe for some time. Rex the Aggies are in and have the pleasure of playing Syracuse.

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

You got the grid line right, but said "notes" in your annotation about 66A - they're found on staffs. Could throw some people for a loop!

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

To Rex: 66 across is "rests", not "notes". You have it correct in the grid, but not in your commentary.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

I've never seen lustrous mohair. Ever.

hazel 9:24 AM  

OK bingprof99, I'm the 2nd member in the Crossword Cagers group. I know very little about college basketball, but love both guessing at the bracket and the fact that its tournament time. When its over, its ALMOST opening day.

First prize - shout out on the blog?

@evil - love ernie banks, but prefer Henry Aaron for my baseball statesman. He put up with some real crap in his day. And kept his cool.

The puzzle - pretty clever. Had red for ewe. Had a comment about sidling in the buffet line until i checked the definition...Regardless of the official definition, sidling has a sneaky connotation to me.

Rex Parker 9:31 AM  

Yes, I screwed up by saying the AGGIES weren't in the tourney, and by writing NOTES when I clearly meant RESTS. All better now.


Anonymous 9:50 AM  

Who's Bush 42? ;)

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

This puzzle was ruined for me by the mention of Puddle of Mudd, one of the worst bands to have come around in the past ten years. Anytime you have accolades and praise thrown at you by Fred Durst, you need to rethink what you're doing in your life.

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

I am definitely a Thursday person. The puzzle had some bite but not too much and had some clever clues. I liked the theme but had nearly finished the entire puzzle before I saw it. I got green (but not with NV) and then moved around and got white (lie) and thought there might be a color theme. Sensei was my new word of the day, and sifu was a bonus. My only slow spot was also swap which had a clever clue. And no errors for once.

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

Lawrence Welk's famous intro was:
a-one and a-two and a-three. He always said it exactly the same way. I had to watch his show whenever my grandmother was visiting, it was a totally boring show except when the Beatles were featured on it.

joho 10:09 AM  

I remember EWE. I don't like it, but at least I knEWE it.

EWE's not fat, EWE's just fluffy. A phrase I like with EWE in it.

I liked the theme and do not remember doing one before like it with state codes being pronounced as words in the answer. Seems fresh to me.

I agree that MOHAIR is fuzzy, not glossy.

Rex, thank you for the lesson on SENSEI.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

In my tai chi class, we refer my teacher's teacher's teacher (the one who brought our Guang Ping style of tai chi from China) as Sifu, so the sensei startled me as well. By the way, our teacher insists on spelling it tai ji.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, doing ninja arts, do fall into the Japanese category of martial arts, even though the turtles themselves are as American as my fellow tai chi students.

I like the symmetry of having the state codes back, front, front, and back.

Rex, you seem to have trouble with typing the answers when there's a parenthetical in the clue; perhaps changing to brackets for the parentheticals? (11A is not the first time for this.)

Jeffrey 10:13 AM  
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Jeffrey 10:14 AM  
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Jeffrey 10:16 AM  

Puzzles with state abbr. themes never excite me. There seems to be a fascination with 2 letter state abbreviations that I can never understand.

Now tax talk, there's some fun. SWAP is ok as a tax term, such as a share swap, which can be tax-free.

There are lots of Canadian tax terms that would be helpful to a constructor, looking for new crappy fill.

CRA - Canada Revenue Agency (our IRS)


T4 [TFOUR] - tax form sent by your employer (W-2 equivalent, I think?)

T5 [TFIVE]- 1099-INT, it appears

T1 - the actual return you send in [TONE - ok there might be other definitions available here]

I've got 100s more, all starting with T, but there's a LIMIT, so NO ROOM.

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

@Evil - If you feel it's too bad that (blah blah blah) will detract from (blah blah blah), why bring it up? To maximize the detraction? Sounds, well, just plain evil.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  


"Bush 41" was George H, W, BVush

"Bush 42" was William Jefferson Clinton

"Bush 43" was @#$%& W. &^%$#*

sillygoose 10:20 AM  

Aw Rex, who is your favorite desperate housewife? I know you know.

I liked this puzzle, mostly for its lack of reference to music, opera, actors, cultural stuff before my time.

I remembered ENOKI and EROS from other puzzles, and was it nanpilla who said EWE-necked is a horse term? I know it that way too.

So, after a jaunt to Las Vegas she loses all of her money. RUNNINGONMT, she searches for NEPORTINASTORM. The ADRENALine rush is over. With NO ROOM at the INNS for the cashless, she SWAPs her MOHAIR sweater for a ticket to the buffet. As she SIDLEs around, she is GREENWITHNV her friends didn't lose all of their money. After getting advice from her SENSEI she decides to rip up her PASSBOOK and tell a WHITELIE about her results.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

I just remember the line from the Elton John song about someone with "electric boots, a Mohair suit." Benny and the Jets, I guess. Anyway I guess they do make them in England. In fact, I just learned that those no-collar suits the Beatles wore in '63 were, in fact, Mohair suits.
- Tom in Pittsburgh

Kurisu 10:37 AM  

@Karen: "tai ji" is the way to spell it in Pinyin romanization; "tai chi" is the old Wade-Giles romanization. The actual pronunciation is closer to a "j" than a "ch".

When I saw the Japanese mushroom clue I could only think of shiitake and enoki, but somehow I managed to convince myself that enoki was only 4 letters so it took me quite a while to put that in (it's 3 characters in Japanese so somehow my conversion was off).

Two Ponies 10:43 AM  

I liked the theme answers. NV was my first "aha" and I anticipated that MT would be in there somewhere.
Aside from those four answers there wasn't much fun.
Thanks to Tom in Pittsburgh re: the mohair. I was thinking sweaters as well.
I do remember ewe-necked from our horsey blogger.

Chorister 10:45 AM  

And we do understand, don't we, that the plural of staff is staves? Even so that clue/answer made me smile.

jae 10:49 AM  

Fine puzzle and just about right for a Thurs. Clever theme which I've not seen before. Had the same problems with PAL and MOHAIR (I initially put in SATEEN with no crosses until ERS made me erase it) but no other hiccups. Just did my taxes so INT was a gimmie.

DJG 10:54 AM  

Regarding indoor fireworks they used to light them off sometimes in the old Seattle Kingdome for special Mariner games (opening day, playoffs, etc.). Man, what an eyesore that thing was.

Rex Parker 10:58 AM  

Wow, a mistake-riddled day. I meant "Bush 41" as in George HW Bush, the 41st president of the U.S.

evil doug 11:04 AM  

Humorless twit,

Tell it to the New York Times.


Rex Parker 11:07 AM  

Hey, six people in my NCAA group at ESPN now.

Crossword Cagers

Hurray! You still have something over an hour to join.


Anonymous 11:15 AM  

pettifoggers of the world unite!

Ladel 11:20 AM  

@evil doug

Roger the Ernie Banks, and for my two cents worth, Hammerin' Hank Aaron is right there with him.

HudsonHawk 11:27 AM  

@Brian, actually the AGGIES play BYU. The game tips in about an hour. If they win, they probably will get the distinct pleasure of playing UConn.

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

Weird. I thought today was Friday. I thought yesterday was Thursday. I'm not talking about the puzzles being off a day; I've been off a day. Today's puzzle clued me in, since I was expecting a Friday and this puzzle was Thursday all the way. I'm not sure how long I've been living in the future. It could explain a lot, these visions I have, the money I win betting on sporting events. And now some aboriginal secessionists have burst in and are forcing me to transmit their demands via this chatboard. None of them can read, and their typing skills are rudimentary. The other weird thing is that when I came here and saw MOEN, I thought I had a wrong letter. I thought I'd put in MOER. But I just looked back at my puzzle and I had it right.

Ulrich 11:58 AM  

I need help in understanding "NE port in a storm". If I pronounce it following the pattern set up by the other theme answers, I get "any port in a storm", but what's that supposed to mean? Perhaps "One isn't choosy when in a pickle"?

Since I've never consciously heard the phrase in that sense, the central west region was really hard for me since the theme answer didn't make sense and I kept rejecting obvious crosses.

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

It means you'll drink anything when it's raining. Or when it's not raining, in my case.

Ulrich 12:03 PM  

@anon: Thx--LOL

hazel 12:08 PM  


from some idiom website.....

"when one is having serious trouble, one must accept any solution, whether one likes the solution or not. e.g. I don't want to live with my parents, but it's a case of any port in a storm. I can't find an apartment I can afford."

i think i've heard this expression more in movies than in any conversations i've had....

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

@anonymous at 10:20 - That was really funny. I burst out laughing when I read your comment. It's good to know I can still laugh about this stuff.

Anonymous 12:35 PM  

It is just me, or does the thought of an ASPIC glaze sound as icky to anyone else? I always consider an aspic to be a sort of jellied mold, usually salad. The thought of jellied goo on my food is not. pleasant.

Jeffrey 12:37 PM  

Excellent, a food question. Anyone?

Daniel Myers 12:39 PM  
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Daniel Myers 12:46 PM  

Since "sensei" is getting so much attention, here's an 1884 quote from the OED: "The Ban-i (foreign barbarian) of yesterday is the Ijin-san (foreign gentleman) of today, and in the mode of address even a sen-sei (worthy scholar)."

chefbea 12:51 PM  

@anonymous 12:35 aspic can be both - a jellied mold or a glaze

Love Neil Diamond. Thanks for the clip. Saw him twice in concert a while back.

Did we sidle in the buffet line at the ACPT!!! Guess we'll see it on the food network in April

Glitch 12:57 PM  


1) Both Anon & Hazel are on track, but your initial assumption was literally correct ... it is an old sailing adage that has lived on in the more general terms cited.

2) I took SWAP more like a trade versus sale, avoiding the sales tax (generally).

Could also relate to some 70's gatherings in the suburbs, involving wives, not taxible, but potentially expensive ;)


Shamik 1:09 PM  

Very easy puzzle today.

Anonymous 1:27 PM  


Glad you took such issue with SENSEI. The error is so egregious to me that I think it qualifies as bad editing and not just bad cluing. A copy editor would have caught it in a second. Shame on Shortz!

As for the theme ... I think David J. Kahn exhausted the possibilities of state postal codes with his Obama puzzle (Jan. 11, 2009).


allan 1:39 PM  

Liked this puzzle a lot. Got the theme from the MT. Just right for a TH.

Sorry I missed the bracket. Would have been fun.

mac 1:42 PM  

Nice Thursday puzzle, a little bite here and there. Put NE at the end of 26A also, after figuring the theme in 17A....

I can actually imagine mohair being lustrous when it is woven rather than knitted. The fiber does have a sheen.

Indoor fireworks? Hopefully that got banned after the horrendous fire in the nightclub in Rhode Island.

@supercrosscan: I'll bite. Aspic can actually be quite tasty, as it is reduced stock, often with wine and herbs, and a far cry better than those gaudy jello molds.

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

Elvis Costello has a very pretty song called "Indoor Fireworks."

mac 2:04 PM  

Whoa, I mixed a few metaphores there......

archaeoprof 2:50 PM  

This puzzle reminded me of going to Reno last fall and seeing t-shirts that read:

Reno eNVy.

Sorry I was too late to join the Crossword Cagers. Here at the college where I teach we have "winner loses" pool. Whoever is ahead after the semifinals has to host the party for the championship game.

PlantieBea 3:20 PM  

A good Thursday puzzle. SUELIMAN is new for me. I would have finished more quickly had I known where Great Falls was. Originally I put in AR for Running on Air--thinking Nikes?

edmcan 3:52 PM  

I don't care what you say, this was a stupid puzzle. When I finally finished the fill I was exasperated. When I think of high luster fabric, I certainly don't think of mohair.

FirmRefugee 4:03 PM  

nan--the Beatles were on Lawrence Welk?! Really? I only saw them on Ed Sullivan (a-wonnerful, a-wonnerful). Perry

dk 5:12 PM  

Boring story alert!

When I was an intern in a SO CAL psych ward we had a condition known as the wrong valley syndrome.

It seems partner swapping was all the rage in the San Fernando Valley (Van Nuys, Encino, etc.) but in the other valleys not so much. We would often get people who had engaged in said swapping practices who lived in the San Gabriel Valley (Pasadena) and they were consumed with guilt and remorse. Thus we deduced the problem was they lived in the wrong valley.

xyz 5:12 PM  

Rex - glad you thought little of this puzzle, too.

Highlights: Finished! Thursday is my turning point. Two spelling errors for clues I did not know but got from crosses, don't care for what I do these puzzles. For a Thursday, which I finish 60% of the time, this one was easyish for me, got the theme early, helped a lot - probably why it was "easy".

Now about the clues:
SENSEI WTF? plus it was wrong. Great clue
ASPIC glaze? YUCK. Don't glaze with aspic for me.
SWAP was a D-OH, not the best cluing
27D -necked was RED in my puzzle for too long EWE was EEEEEW - please
shadow PAL, RAINING is not SPRINKLING, NAGGER was just ugly, L.Welk was just a matter of time, but stupid cluing, MOHAIR was very microscopic (call it a lustrous thread, I suppose), the credit card does not SWIPE itself, so it's not "its action" , and SOWN (on) is strewing (on) not PLANTING(in or under)?

Really liked the state abbreviations sounded out
I really liked SOS Pad name, (I may be too new to crosswording seriously but loved the clue), and Most TREKS are not migrations as you wind up back where you started pretty quickly, but taught me otherwise with the etymology.

I learn a few really cool things here every day.

I'll stop now ...

xyz 5:18 PM  


NOT! boring. 1997 - pretty good movie featuring "key parties" and populated by a great cast was The Ice Storm, but it was set in Connecticut. It was not, like, err, you know like no tin the valley. Check that cast list on IMDB.

chefwen 5:19 PM  

I thought this puzzle was so cute I wanted to pinch its chubby little cheeks. First fills were EINS and REVS and I was off and RUNNING but not on MT. Remembered EWE from a few weeks ago, but still don't like it. All in all a fun puzzle and just right for Thursday.

liquid el lay 5:20 PM  

I knew there was something wrong with SENSEI. I was a little irked when he showed up.

I thought LEGS was kind of lame, but what do I know? It just seems the use is for inanimate things.. it doesn't comport with stamina. When we say a person has legs, we're talking pipes, gams, or if its a dude, hooves, cause he can dance or something. Does the run of a play, or the solidity of a company or of an idea have stamina?

OPERANT is a cool word, lamely clued. "it does something", "spy" i would like better.

Liked the kind of weird long answers.

GREEN WITH (ENVY) is the soul of the gambler. And it looks cool GREENWITHNV.

MEAWARDWINNERS Reads as Me-Awards.. and says something about Mainers (Maineites?) self obsessions that I did not know.

Omahans are somewhat desperate, or, at least practical... and apparently in Montana they are running out of time.

INDOOR NOROOM and its four-block of Os is cool.

I think a TINEAR, to a musician, would be more than a would be a preclusion...

fikink 5:25 PM  

"Shadow PALs" are called rrhoids out here.

Doc John 6:11 PM  

SENSEI reminds me of one of the Karate Kid movies where the obviously misguided leader of some karate school has his students yelling out "Yes, sensei" all the time.

Wasn't there a big discussion of EWE-necked the last time it was in the puzzle?

Anonymous 6:24 PM  

Japanese, Chinese, we're all the same right? Ugh. Rex, thanks for pulling up Laura on this terrible, offensive clue.

Orange 6:37 PM  

@David Wong: It wasn't necessarily the constructor's clue. There's a 50% chance it was Will Shortz's. (But yes, the dozens of different sorts of Asians are distinct from one another.)

Anonymous 6:43 PM  

Two conditions have to be met for something to be offensive: (i) offense has to be intended and (ii) offense has to be taken. I doubt either prong was (really) met here. (Besides, didn't the dictionary support the clue?)

Anonymous 6:48 PM  

A factual ambiguity is not a cause for offense. Mr. Wong does not speak for anyone but himself. I could say I was wonged, but...


Stan 6:52 PM  

44 minutes on this one -- for me, that's lightning-fast.

Really enjoyed the moment when I realized the state abbreviations needed to be sounded out.

Also liked seeing both ALYSSA and KATIE in the same puzzle (I watched a lot of WB network at one point). I should explain that KH was on 'Dawson's Creek' and AM was on 'Charmed' and both were on 'The WB' -- which probably no longer exists.

Doug 6:57 PM  

Uh oh, here we go. We pissed off (very) old folks the day before, runts yesterday, and now it's a racial thing. I'm going back into my cave to watch the comments crack 100 ....

Bill from NJ 7:17 PM  

@david wong-

To me, this a a perfect example of someone taking "Gleeful Offense."

Since Rex went out of his way to point out the problem and the trouble seems to be no more than error or maybe you think Laura or Will knew the difference and didn't care.

This tempest in a teapot reminds me of the Jewish fellow who didn't get a job as a disc jockey and when asked why not, said "Anti- sem-sem-semitism."

If you look for offense, you will probably find it

Ulrich 7:30 PM  

@Hazel and Glitch: Thx for further enlightenment in this important issue.

@David Wong: At the ACPT, there was a clue "The Charlemagne of Germany", which was grotesquely wrong b/c Charlemagne ("Karl der Große" in German), as leader of the Germanic Franks and founder of the "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" was certainly more German than French. It's not his fault that he is known in the US under his French name. Did I take offense? No b/c I attributed the clue not to malice, but ignorance, applying more or less the criteria of the anony-mouse at 6:43. Was I mad? Yes, b/c the nonsensical clue made it impossible for me to come up with a sensible answer {BTW The answer itself was absurd in a different way). But that's very different from being offended, and I think one should make the distinction.

Anonymous 7:38 PM  

Had VEE for EWE which threwe me off for a while...

My dog was named AGGIE which is Korean for "baby", so I was thrilled when someone gave me an "I'm an Aggie's mom" bumpersticker from Texas...

@Tom in Pittsburgh aka anonymous 10:20am
For some reason I've always thought Mohair was thick and coarse and (brown?) you couldn't rub it idea where I got that idea...maybe I'm mixing it up with camel hair? but thank you, Tom, I always love learning something new about the Beatles!

felt so in sync again with the writeup, except the whole basketball thing, of course...

Had my own Ewing moment last night, I was explaining to my new German roommate the term WHITELIE and an hour later I printed out the puzzle, et voila!
(maybe it was all a dream?)

I can not get past SHIER with an I. I don't know Y. Maybe LUCI was SHIER than her sister LYNDA...
Or maybe Ladybird (Ladibyrd?) and LB just got their vowels mixed up

I always thought one SIDELS UP TO a bar, not along it...but yes, we shall see in April on "Dinner: Impossible" (FOod Network, Wed nights at 10pm...
I'll save my stories for when it airs, but you might also possibly see me get screamed at by the chef for an hour for not knowing how to peel a potato! ORE-IDA...
(said like "I oughtta..." with potatoes in your mouth)

Anonymous 7:39 PM  

gack, that should have been SIDLES, why do I always see mistakes AS I press publish?

mac 9:22 PM  

@acme: I was told the show was on May 6! I even put it in my calendar!

@the redanman: I thought "The Ice Storm" was one of the saddest movies I ever saw.

dk 10:38 PM  

@stan, The photo you like is a shop in Eastport Maine and I am a Mainiac from way back. I remember when the Old Port was bad.

To all: There is a town in Maine: South Freeport. Its euro style bumpah stickah (bumper sticker for the uninformed) is SO FREE ME. I think the lobsters put the townfathers/mothers up to it.

@radanman, The Ice Storm (will you show me yours) is a very sad movie as @mac notes,

@Acme (my dove) I usually slide under a bar (please note the clever rearrangement of the letters in SIDLE).

mac 10:48 PM  

@Bill from NJ: Hi Bill!
I want you to know that I'm not very good at repeating jokes, but I have made several efforts at telling that one after you told it some months ago!

Stan 11:34 PM  

Thanx @dk

And I meant to post earlier to tell @liquid el lay that the term is 'Mainer' or more often 'Mainiac'.

Anonymous 12:58 AM  

super-awesome thursday puzzle -- loved it. fun theme, interesting clues and just hard enough without being a killer.

great job by the constructor

+wordphan 2:19 AM  

Does a sensei use sensen? Sorry, still hanging with this flu or whatever it is.
Misspelling "célèbre" caused major traffic jam; I turned off my timer. Imaginative and creative, perfect Thursday offering, Ms. Laura.

Anonymous 1:03 PM  

Thanks for all your comments! I appreciate it!

Anonymous 8:02 PM  

And just to address the SENSEI thing... that word has been used three other times in NYT puzzles, clued as "Judo teacher," "Judo master," and "Karate instructor." I was looking for a different take on it, and in searching I found this definition from MSN Encarta:

sen·sei [ sen sáy ] (plural sen·sei)


1. martial arts teacher: a teacher of a martial art such as karate or tai chi

2. form of address: used as a title to address somebody who is a teacher, especially in the martial arts

[Late 19th century. Via Japanese< Middle Chinese senshiaj "first person"]

So I wrote my definition accordingly. But thank you for the correction on that.

Again, thank you very much for the comments!

syndakate 5:05 PM  

Can anyone tell me when the Dinner Impossible episode airs?

Jeffrey 5:59 PM  

It hasn't been scheduled yet. The ACPT site will announce when a date is set.

Jeffrey 6:31 PM  

Updating for syndi-land, is reporting this will air on Wed May 6.

Unfortunately for those of us north of the border, it appears Food Network Canada is running episodes about 6 months behind the US. Worse than 5 week late puzzles!

embien 7:29 PM  

Crosscan, fortunately for you Food Network (US) appears to be one of those sites that wants us to watch online and not on TV. They throw up videos of nearly all their shows almost as soon as they air.

I'm guessing you'll be able to watch Dinner: Impossible long before it's on in Canada.
Dinner: Impossible

Waxy in Montreal 7:40 PM  

@Crosscan -

If you're still monitoring in syndi-land, you may be interested in knowing that in Canada that a swap (32A) of goods or services (i.e., a barter) is in fact (theoretically at least) a taxable transaction!

Stan 9:02 PM  

Interesting exchange! As big Food Network watchers, we've been waiting for the Dinner Impossible show for weeks and seen no sign of it yet. Everyone should be prepared though that the show will focus almost entirely on Chef Robert Irvine's backstage dramas with his crew, materials, etc. -- expect to see the ACPT crowd for only a few moments at the end.

Jeffrey 9:06 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeffrey 9:09 PM  

@Waxy - good point.

@embien - hadn't though of that. Thanks.

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