Conductor noted for wearing white turtlenecks - THURSDAY, Apr. 16, 2009 — Oliver Hill (Singer Julius who was famously fired on air by Arthur Godfrey)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Extra CT — Theme answers are phrases (well, a phrase, a band, an athlete, and a hybrid intergovernmental and supranational organization) to which "CT" has been added, creating wacky phrases which are then clued, "?"-style. The theme is tied together by 26D: Derive (from) ... or a two-part hint for understanding 17-, 33-, 42- and 58-Across (EXTRACT).

I really like themes like this, especially when the base phrases are common and the changes are wacky enough. This was really well done—each of the base phrases would stand on its own as an entry, and I like that it's a disparate collection. And each was completely changed by the Connecticutian addition. (And methinks Oliver Hill lives in Connecticut now.)

Word(s) of the Day:
ROC a large, ferocious bird of fable, 1579, from Arabic rukhkh, from Pers. rukh. Mentioned in Marco Polo's account of Madagascar, modern use is mostly from "Arabian Nights."
ORC — "ogre, devouring monster," O.E. orcþyrs, orcneas (pl.), perhaps from a Romanic source akin to ogre, and ult. from L. Orcus "Hell," a word of unknown origin. Revived by J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) as the name of a brutal race in Middle Earth.


Now, if someone could help me keep ENT and EFT straight, that'd be great, thanks.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Revealed when seeking medical help? (SHOWED THE DO(CT)OR). Okay, this just barely stands on it's own, but I'll give it a pass.
  • 33A: Water passages that don't turn? (DIRE(CT) STRAITS). From the band. I don't know if Rex likes them, but this is from right in his mid-80s cultural sweet spot.

    (PuzzleGirl, you'll love this version, but I thought the one I included would have broader appeal...)
  • 42A: One-named R&B singer makes her choice? (MONICA SELE(CT)S). I don't know the one-named singer, but I had the SELECTS and just filled in MONICA—she just barely missed my tennis sweet spot. Hee, I made a funny—"sweet spot" is actually a tennis term!
  • 58A: Continental salve? (EUROPEAN UN(CT)ION). Salve, not slave. Salve. Reading is fundamental, and reading correctly makes crossword solving much, much easier.
The not so great part:

In a 1982 Sunday Magazine, then crossword editor Will Weng wrote an On Language column (Crossword Pitfalls, if you're an online subscriber) in place of the vacationing William Safire. He wrote:
Arnel: An easy one, it would seem. Just define it as ''synthetic fabric'' and go on to the next word. Later, you get your knuckles rapped by the Celanese Corporation, which happens to make Arnel with a capital ''A'' and points out that it is a triacetate fiber and not a fabric. I won't go into what a representative of a knitwear trade organization had to say about how the word ''tricot'' was defined in another puzzle.
There's no getting around it. ARNEL (9A: Synthetic fabric) is ugly. And I'm sure the end, where it crossed ELOHIM (12D: God, in the Old Testament) and LAROSA (13D: Singer Julius who was famously fired on the air by Arthur Godfrey), tripped up lots of people. I got it right, but that L was a guess—that all went down back in '53, about 20 years before I was born. And Oliver Hill, well, he was born in the '90s, just a few years after Celanese stopped making Arnel because of toxicity concerns. (During the production—if you still have an Arnel jumpsuit, feel free to keep wearing it.)

There was a decent amount of not-so-great fill. I never know what they're going for with the random sayings. Like OHOH (1A: Cry of anticipation), or VOILA (16A: Cry of accomplishment), or HEH (2D: Schemer's utterance).

And fill-in-the-blanks? There were thirteen. That seems high.
  • I've never been a fan of overly generic ones. Sometimes, like with MEDAL (64A: ___ Ceremony), generic FITBs can be a useful tool for creative cluing. Those I don't mind, it's the ones like (30D: "Just ___") that I do. Here it's A SEC, but it could easily be a tad, a bit, do it, stop... Or (24D: "Come ___"), which is ON IN instead of here, or home.
  • Others are easy and specific, but tend to indicate compromises in the fill. I'm looking at you, IS A (48A: "Patience ___ virtue"). These are sometimes impossible to avoid, and the more I like the theme the more I'm willing to overlook a few.
  • Other cluing options abound for entries like ONO (3D: Sean ___ Lennon). It's nice that that's inferable, but there were just so many today. Same for OAT (59D: ___ flakes).
  • And someone will want me to point out that (55A: Old Vietnamese strongman ___ Dinh Diem) NGO is near NAM (60D: '60s service site).
Some other stuff:
  • (7D: K.S.U., L.S.U. or M.S.U.) is a SCH. IIRC, O.H. goes to Y.
  • (37A: Exhibitor of dorsiflexion) is an ANKLE. Is most ankles, actually. When they no longer exhibit that, one needs surgery. Trust me, you do not want this.
  • NITROUS ACID (11D: HNO2) is 11 letters long. So is LAUGHING GAS (no clue: N2O).
  • ERA (38A: It's low for aces: Abbr.) is an Earned Run Average for an ace pitcher. As in baseball, not advertising. Sorry, I couldn't find a good Spies Like Us image.
  • (66A: Prefix with -plasm) is ENDO, not ecto. I jotted a note to find a nice Ghostbusters image before I ever checked the crosses.
  • (8D: Costa Rica memento, perhaps) is a SHELL.
  • (69A: Flat, for short) doesn't refer to a mistaken coffee order in New Zealand. (See also: (27D: Drink that may be vanilla-flavored), LATTE) Instead, it's ONE D(imensional). Which is of course sorta wrong, unless they mean flat as in not-curved. A flat plane has two dimensions.
  • Fury is maybe a technical term for a (57D: Hurricane's force). It's also the best women's Ultimate team in the world.

Okay, I've gone on long enough. Fun puzzle.
Signed, SethG, Royal Vizier of CrossWorld

[Quick Note from SethG:]

Got an email from constructor Eric Berlin the other day and thought I would pass along the info to you.
"I wonder if you might let your readers know of an event happening this week that they might enjoy very much. You perhaps know that in addition to constructing crosswords, I write puzzle-filled mysteries for kids. My second novel, 'The Potato Chip Puzzles,' comes out this week, and to celebrate, I'm throwing an online 'puzzle party.' Starting on Thursday, there'll be a puzzle on each of seven different kidlit blogs. Solve the puzzle, submit your answer, and you can win a copy of the new book... or even the grand prize, two dozen different children's books and novels from G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Full details here:

I hope to see you and your readers there!"
PuzzleGirl gave Eric's first book to PuzzleSon for Christmas last year and he loved it. They will definitely be checking out the puzzles this week. Thanks, Eric!


GlobalPittsburgh 8:56 AM  

New England stumped me for the longest time.

Kurisu 9:00 AM  

I originally had YAHWEH for God but I knew LOIS was Trixie's mother so I was able to correct that to ELOHIM fairly early on -- unfortunately for some stupid reason I had EVON instead of AVON, so even though my wild guess of the L was correct, I ended up with ERNEL instead of ARNEL for the fabric.

My least favorite clues besides ARNEL were OHOH and ETAIL. I've seen ETAIL and EZINE and EMAG and such so many times I should know them immediately, but I still hate them.

joho 9:11 AM  

First off, Royal Vizier of Crossword, thank you for the Dire Straits clip. I think we've discussed the great Mark Knopfler here before.

Also, thank you for your thoughtful write-up. I ,too, really liked the theme so much that I let what I didn't like slide. SHOWED THE DOCTOR ... is stupid. Also when the R & B singer morphed into a tennis player I said HUH? (Similar to OHOH). Regardless, finding the extra CT's was fun and added more than ONED to the puzzle.

My third thanks is to Oliver Hill!

Indy 9:21 AM  

I got a little tangled in the NE corner, but sailed through the puzzle. Except I didn't know "Sara," and the crossing could be "How do...?" (Dara sounds ok) or "How to...?" (Tara sounds better); had to look up Sara (shoulda thought of it) and "How so?" Que Sara Sara. It was fun and I liked the theme.

retired_chemist 9:30 AM  

Nice puzzle and a fun writeup.

Enjoyed the theme but didn't get it until I had all the theme answers AND 26D filled in. Didn't like the clues for 1A OHOH and 7D SCH. Pickily, they're UNIVs, IMO rarely referred to as SCHs. NITROUS ACID was a gimme.

foodie 9:31 AM  

May be I'm just cranky today...I did like the ETRACT-- EXTRA CT play, that was VERY clever. But the resulting phrases were to me, neither funny nor familiar enough to make you smile. And I have a hard time with keeping the cries straight the OHO's and HEH's atc. I did like the two long downs: MARK MY WORDS and NITROUS ACID

But cranky though I am, I loved hearing SethG's much more positive take on it. He has caused me to rethink my initial impression... I'm working on it : )

Anne 9:42 AM  

Okay puzzle, about right for Thursday. I did not know arnel and so looked it in the dictionary as I also did not know the e in elohim. I did not get the theme for the longest time and finally showed it to my husband who saw it quickly. I hate that.

ArtLvr 9:45 AM  

I had mixed feelings too, with clever concept but somewhat dull theme answers. NITROUS ACID opened the whole upper right for me, with only rudimentary chemistry long ago. Some of the fill was fun... BED REST was amusing to have crossing the first long one, SHOWED THE DOCTOR.

I liked the American alternative DELTA, and the Skull and Bones secret meetings in CRYPTS. The ENGINES under hoods was good, ELOHIM was familiar from folk singing, and NO MORE came quickly for "I've had it"!

Thanks to Seth... and I especially recommend the LAT today too.

Shamik 9:55 AM  

Nice write-up Seth!

Who meets in CRYPTS besides Romeo and Juliet? And was that really the smartest thing to do?

Liked HEH 'cause it immediately conjured up a slimy character with an evil chuckle.

But just didn't like the puzzle, despite an easy-medium (for me) at 8:44.

edith b 10:05 AM  

I liked the way the Pillars in the NE and SW crossed the theme entries, I liked most of the theme entries themselves and, lastly, I liked Seth G's write-up.

What I didn't like was what appeared to be, for the second day in a row, a series of what looked like random groups of three letters NGO CUZ ERA RHO ISA ANA HEH ORC and four letters ONED AMYS OHOH ITSA ONIN CPLS.

A very schizoid puzzle indeed, much to like, much to dislike.

John 10:08 AM  

I read The clue for ONED as Oh,its an apt #. (Flat=Apt) The mind goes to strange places!

Unknown 10:17 AM  

"I read The clue for ONED as Oh,its an apt #. (Flat=Apt) The mind goes to strange places!"

I initially assumed the the clue was referring to an apartment, and now I wish it was. Aren't flat objects really two-d?

Jeffrey 10:18 AM  

Sweet spot indeed. A record fast Thursday for me, but I can’t see that it is overly easy. Just lots of stuff I knew.

This kind of puzzle lives or dies based on the theme answers and I liked them all.

ARNEL was foreign to me but I knew LAROSA. I know ELOHIM in Hebrew so the E seemed the best guess based on the pronunciation. Saved by crossings.

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

Fun puzzle. I actually did pretty well compared to my usual Thursday...had the complete thing filled in except for the entirety of the NE, making the grid look like someone had taken a healthy bite out of the corner.

On my AcrossLite, 8D is clued as "Bermuda memento, perhaps" instead of Costa Rica.

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

Got through the entire puzzle correctly and still couldn't unerstand what the theme was umtil I read your blog. I must be losing it.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

I liked this puzzle, although it took me a little longer than it should have because I was looking at OCT and ECT within the long answers. Also, I actually had CITROUSACID instead of NITROUSACID.

This puzzle got me thinking that before there were crossword blogs I always thought of what Rex calls a theme as "the gimmick." I didn't mean it pejoratively but that's how we referred to it on long-distance phone calls to relatives, e.g., "Once I got the gimmick it was easy..." It strikes me now that some puzzles truly have themes (like if all the long answers are the movies a particular actor was in) and some have gimmicks (like this one).

Glitch 10:36 AM  

@Jeff in Chi

Tues you posted a link to "Sound of Music" at the train station.

Today it showed up as the "Video of the Day" in the Kim Komando Newsletters (Computer Related).

Coincidence, or someone over at Kim's site reads this blog.


PS: It was Bermuda in the dead tree version too.

mccoll 11:14 AM  

I didn't catch on to the theme until I was in dire straits. After that it was easy and somewhat amusing. I'd say easy for a Thursday. I had TRIAGE for 31A for a while until ELOHIM straightened that out.
ONED must refer to a flat (apartment) because Alex is right. Flat objects have length and width, but no height. Thanks for the writ-up Seth.

jae 11:20 AM  

Enjoyable puzzle with the exceptions SethG noted. Medium works for me. Didn't know ARNEL or ELOHIM so needed my bride to confirm the E vs. some other vowel including Y. (She had heard of ARNEL but not ELOHIM.) That crossing reminds me of Henry Hook puzzles (he does the Sun. Globe every other week). He'll give you a straight forword easy-medium puzzle and then throw in one killer cross just to let you know who you're dealing with.

Nice write up Seth!

Scott 11:33 AM  

Finished the whole puzzle w/o seeing the Theme. Went back and thought that EXTRACT was EX - TRACT and attempted (foolishly) to insert TRACT into the 4 phrases. Needless to say things did not make sense.

Frieda 11:43 AM  

@Glitch and @COIXT Records:

About Bermuda/Costa Rica, I assumed we were being transported to Rex's faraway place, with tiny umbrellas etc, from which he may indeed be bringing back shells?

I could not do the NE corner. Had the theme, guessed RHO, end of story up there. Did not much care for OHOH crossing HEH and ONO. Each maybe a modest gem on its own. PFFT. Or not.

chefbea 12:00 PM  

Got the theme right away..cuz I live in Ct. didnt understand oned til I got here.

Use to watch Julius La Rosa.

Good write up Seth and a fun puzzle Oliver Hill. Do you live in the constitution state??

Nebraska Doug 12:29 PM  

Count me among those tripped up in the NE corner. ARNEL and LAROSA were totally unknown to me. I've seen ELOHIM before, but it would not come to me.

George NYC 12:31 PM  

With the CT add and CRYPTS, I'm guessing Oliver Hill is a Yalie. Or should I say ELI...

Greene 12:43 PM  

Anybody here ever see Judi Dench in Amy's View? The play was very talky and merely okay, but wow, what a performance from Dench! I had never seen her live before, and while her film work is wonderful (I think she had just nabbed an Oscar for Shakespeare In Love before appearing in this play in NY), you just don't realize how great an actress she is until you experience her in the theatre. She won the Tony Award that year for her fine work in this piece and it was well deserved.

1999 was an awesome year for drama on Broadway (and not just because of Dench). That season featured the clash of the titans: Kevin Spacey in The Iceman Cometh versus Brian Denehy in Long Day's Journey Into Night. Denehy won the Tony, but those were both extraordinarily charged and memorable performances.

OK, OK...the puzzle. Like everybody else, I got tripped up in the NE. I have heard of ARNEL, but could not dredge it up from memory to save my life. Got all the downs up in that section except (get this): AVON! Stupid me. I had *VON, but could I get the A? Sheesh. Enjoyed this puzzle more than yesterday and I usually don't like the add-a-letter themes.

Appreciate your insights Seth. Excellent work.

the redanman 12:52 PM  

Needed help to finish, with more obtuse stuff than LAT today but not the theme (great theme there today!).

ARNEL!! (and I've worked in a polymer lab - please REMEMBER TO RECYCLE your PLASTIC aka OIL) crossing ELOIHIM & LAROSA - naticksticky for me.

doc alert: ANKLE surgery does not restore lost dorsiflexion very often, usually it's a fusion for arthritis! And I of course had WRIST for a loooooong while. Fingers, toes, thumbs all dorsiflex as well. Dorsiflexion is technically EXTENSION so it's a bit oxymoronic. Enough ORTHO(your OSTEO specialist ...)/ANAT lessons for now.

Good level of challenge for me today.

the redanman 1:00 PM  

Oh yeah, any good rehab specialist is not going to reccomend much BEDREST, but that's another story too boring to tell. Motion is life, life is motion. Danke der Arbeitgemeinshaft fur OSTEOsynththesefragen!

Bob Kerfuffle 1:18 PM  

Yesterday and today, I had nothing to say beyond what others have written, just, Nice puzzle, nice write-up. But today I can add that when I was a kid, I watched Arthur Godfrey (A local boy, he at least at one time lived just two towns away from me, and famously flew in and out of Teterboro Airport, also very near-by.) It must have been in the summer, since as I recall the show was on 9 or 10 AM weekdays (I'm not googling the details). I don't remember the LaRosa firing though, if I even saw it.

DJG 1:20 PM  

Yeah, the ARNEL/ELOHIM crossing was an egregiously bad (but forgivable due to the overall quality of the puzzle.

It was a complete guess for me and I wrongly penciled in 'I'. I remember in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" Indy has to spell out an old name for God, for some reason, and it starts with an 'I' (I don't remember the full name), so I based my guess on that.

Doug 1:24 PM  

Probably could have dethorned (neutuered?) the NE but instead chose to just gaze behind the curtain at SethG as the Wizard. Thanks for filling in man, CUZ them's hard shoes to fill.

Liked the theme--Just about right for a guy with one eye on a database that's being processed as he thinks about synthetic fibers!!! I'm having exclamation mark withdrawal after ACM...

PuzzleGirl 1:29 PM  

Finally got to the puzzle. I enjoyed it, but I guessed wrong on the L in the ARNEL/LAROSA crossing. If I had run the alphabet I probably would have realized that L was a better guess, but I was so eager to read Seth's write-up that I didn't want to spend the time.

Thanks for the West Wing clip. I do love that show!

I don't have any problem with universities being referred to as "schools." I do it all the time. ("Where did you go to school?," "Back when I was in school...," etc.)

allan 1:29 PM  

This puzzle gets my vote as the best of the year so far. And Seth, your write up gets my vote for best of the year too.

Two Dire Straits links ( I remember that West Wing episode), two words of the day; great. Now to help you keep ent and eft straight: ent: a word form inserted in certain abbreviations to form a new word, i.e. dist/dENTist. Eft is a suffix placed after the single letters d, h and l. Hope that clears things up.

Susu 1:35 PM  

The puzzle fell flat for me, and seemed old, with little humor to redeem the weird phrases. EUROPEAN UNCTION makes no sense; thumbs-down today.

HudsonHawk 2:02 PM  

Exxxcellent, Smithers! Two thumbs way up for DIREctSTRAITS, especially with a MARK Knopfler crossing. I highly recommend Local Hero for your Netflix queue. It's the first movie soundtrack Knopfler ever did and makes a charming film that much better.

The NE was a little ugly, but it didn't slow me down much. I would have liked 40D better if it had also been clued like 6D. ATTA boy and ITSA boy...

Jim in Chicago 2:55 PM  

Hated it.

Waaaay to many *_____* clues with stupid answers:

Patience IS A virtue
I OWE you one
Santa ANA
Come ON IN
Just A SEC
ITS A deal

The crossing of ITSA and ISA almost made me throw the paper right in the recycling bin.

A couple other groaners that don't include a blank are:

NO MORE for "I've had it"
ENGINES for "They're under hoods"
GOOD AT for "accomplished in"

Clueing SCH as "K.S.U., L.S.U. or M.S.U." just makes my stomach hurt.

I think of Cinema as being artsy. What they make in Hollywood are MOVIES!

A place for a headphone is an EAR? I guess, kinda, but find it very awkward. Anybody else seeing the fad of people walking down the street with ipods plugged into GIANT headphones? I saw one yesterday that was shiny gold. The person looked like C3PO.

Other comments are correct that something that is FLAT would be TWO D(imensional). Something that is ONE D(imensional) is a POINT. I'm holding out hope that the puzzler meant ONE D to be an apartment (flat) number, but ONE D isn't an abbreviation for that.

Finally, I also am not fond of "American Alternative" as a clue for a DELTA. While their routes do overlap somewhat, they really fly to very different destinations, and from different hubs meaning that American is seldom an alternative for Delta.

Sorry, guys, I hated this puzzle.

Oh. The mystery of "Costa Rica" vs. "Bermuda" continues. My printed edition had "Bermuda" as the clue.

Unknown 3:43 PM  

As a mathematician...
OK - by the standards in here I'm not really, but I did have to do a differential equation yesterday...
A POINT is zero-dimensional. A LINE is one-dimensional.

Hate just seems like a rather extreme sentiment to apply to this puzzle. I liked it, and thought the theme was clever (but as has been mentioned above, the LAT theme was *very* clever IMO).

Yesterday and today went much quicker than normal for me, until grinding to a halt on the last couple of clues. Yesterday it was FORKITOVERBUDDY; today, like a lot of people, it was the top right corner - I didn't know LAROSA, LOIS or ARNEL.

fergus 3:43 PM  

STREAMS instead of STRAITS, PINE instead of FIRS. These added a surprising amount of time.

A matter of arbitrary taste, but I found today's short fill pretty good, whereas yesterday's seemed very clunky.

Once again, extraneous solving instructions mar the puzzle a bit. Why not: "26 Derive (from) ... or theme hint"? Even that seems like slightly heavy-handed editing. It just seems as if cleverness like this shouldn't be pointed out.

PIX 3:47 PM  

"EXTRA-CT". CT can also be short for a CATscan. SHOWTHEDOCTOR, TRAUMA, OSTEO, ANKLE, BEDREST,ENDO,NITROUS ACID...I thought the theme was going to be something medical.

Elaine 3:53 PM  

I agree with lots of today's comments -- the puzzle was ok, but the theme answers fell a little flat (that would be TWO-D, of course...)

And, turns out, not knowing the Fleetwood Mac song "Sara," I had "How so?" for the question that demands an explanation. So, I thought I'd had a good time, but I had a mistake.


Elaine 3:54 PM  

...of course, I meant I had "how to" INSTEAD OF "how so..."

Jim in Chicago 4:00 PM  


I'm red-faced at being caught with a mistake in the middle of a rant about a mistake!

Of course, it's a LINE that's one dimensional, not a point, which as you point out has no dimension. Leaving us with the question "Is a line flat?"

davidb 4:20 PM  

On most days I must read through the comments to get a little window into sethg's mind and its penchant towards arcane esoterica. Was a nice treat today to have such a generous dose of it staring me right in the face immediately upon entering the blog. (Of course there is oodles of entertainment and learning to be gleaned from the comments that do not come from sethg.)

Not crazy about the puzzle, for reasons that have already been pointed out. The theme was an ectellent concepct, but its ectecution was not good enough to justify all the puzzle’s drawbacks. Isn’t “shown the door” much more common (and correct sounding) than “showed the door”? Besides MONICASELECTS, I was not satisfyingly tickled by any of the theme answers.

I am happy, however, to have also guessed correctly on the L in the NW corner.

Unknown 4:32 PM  

@Jim in Chicago
I think a line could be described as straight, but not flat.
I'm sure there's a really nerdy homophobic joke in there somewhere, but I'll leave that to the experts.

Anonymous 4:36 PM  

Could ONE-D be a bra size for someone who is FLAT-chested? (I'm a gay guy who is mostly ignorant on these issues!)

Bob Kerfuffle 5:12 PM  

Serious scientists may disagree, but I have long believed that time is not the "Fourth Dimension."

Instead, it should be the First Dimension. After all, a point must exist in time, or it does not exist. Then a line would have two dimensions of time and extent, a plane three dimensions including area, a solid four including volume. (I know I am not using these terms in a technically correct manner.)

But for the puzzle's usage, perhaps we are in the wrong field. Instead of math and physics, let's think of theater. "The actor's performance was terribly flat, a one dimensional take on a complex character."

Dr. DAN 5:37 PM  

Hi, its doctor Dan from syndication land. I promise I will not do this very often, but lets take a little tour down memory lane. Ya all remember the wed. Caleb Madison puzzle on 3-11 of this year. You know the one with the W.B. Yeats/ylem cross,Xenia/x and y and Ensor/Otero. I had five googles and four incorrect answers. This puzzle just destroyed me. I can't remember a harder Wed. puzzle,the NW and SE where just plain nasty. I think it's a bit odd the way everyone congratulates the constructors,because they is for the most part THE ENEMY. Alas, maybe today will be better, hope springs eternal for the insane.
Later; Dr. Dan

Anonymous 5:43 PM  


need to link to the correct synidicated puzzle. thx

SethG 5:52 PM  

And The 5th Dimension was Aquarius, and eHarmony uses 29 Dimensions™. But those are all of compatibility, so were we to discuss, say, an anti-dawning of the age of Aquarius compatibly existing in time and space, we'd be talking about -34 dimensions. And that's not to mention string theory or M-theory.

I may be nerdy, but I think I'm not an expert of the type Adrian is seeking. (Though I will say a line can certainly be flat).

And Anonymous, a D is not flat, though it's debatable how not flat that is. For one thing, the cup size is partially dependent on the band size--a more snug band size increases the width and depth of the cup. (Dimensions!) Simply paraphrased, a woman who wears a 36B is also likely to fit into a 32D.

anonymous, I'll try to fix it. If I can't, note that if you hit the Page Down key on your keyboard and click Newer Post at the bottom you'll get there in approximately 1 extra second.

Orange 6:25 PM  

As a bra size, ONED would fit a pencil who's stacked. There are not a lot of pencils that are voluptuous enough to need bras.

Anonymous 6:26 PM  

SHOW THE DOOR just doesn't fly.


I'm surprised this error wasn't caught by the proofers.

Dr. DAN 6:27 PM  

Hey; anon. If I go to the correct day and date, nobody posts after me I have tried that,unless there is link that I don't know about ? Dr. Dan

dk 7:13 PM  

Well, Maine is the Pine Tree State (or vacation land) so all day I have been saying what is pURY, an OnC or OeTEO. Where did FIRS come from?

I suffered from the reading disorder that was cured with a Salve as opposed to a slave with a salve.

Seth you are my second favorite blogger who does or has hailed from Minnesota. (Acme has a small caliber revolver pointed at my head as she helps me write this post).

And your tennis sweet spot funny.... dire straits.

ONED=ACNE if you ask me

Time to don the ARNEL and head for the disco.

Great puzzle Mr. Hill.

Anonymous 7:47 PM  

I once stayed in a Flat addressed 2-B, so I vote there could easily be a Flat addressed 1-D.

PuzzleGirl 8:42 PM  

@Dr. DAN: Welcome to the blog! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your interest in participating in a conversation about the syndicated puzzle. But I feel like I need to tell you that this blog works best if the discussion about a specific puzzle stays with that puzzle's post.

Many, many of Rex's readers follow the blog by way of the syndicated puzzle. If you post a comment there, people who are doing that puzzle right now, today will see it. In addition, I'm pretty sure a lot of other commenters check the "email follow-up comments to" box when they post a comment (I know I do), so if I have commented on that puzzle, I'll see your comment pop up in my email, even though it's five weeks later.

Finally, it seems that quite a few readers have taken the plunge and subscribed to the puzzle online (through the NYT's website) in order to stay current with the discussions here. If that's possible for you, you might consider it.

sillygoose 9:01 PM  

Dad and I solved this puzzle together. We had one error - HOWtO/tARA instead of HOWSO/SARA, but we couldn't find it and started to question the ARNEL area.

We went as far afield as ARCYL but finally changed it back.

Not our favorite puzzle ... it seemed to take us a really long time to finish.

On to Friday.

Badir 9:34 PM  

As an actual professional mathematician, I loved that if you start with 57D, but make a quick left (going east!) at the second letter, you get FUNCTION!

And yes, I agree that ONED isn't very good as "flat", either mathematically or in real life.

michael 9:55 PM  

I liked the puzzle, but it took me a long time to get the theme. As a result, I did this slowly for a Thursday.

I can't imagine "hating" this puzzle, even allowing for hyperbole.

Off to google the LaRosa-Godfrey incident...

kennv 2:09 AM  

This was my first Thursday Puzzle in like 7 years. The NE corner stumped me even after AVON, ROC, NITROUSACID, RHO, LOIS and TRAUMA. But so did the NW, I had OKS ONO and HOWSO, but just couldn't get KENO, HEH or OHOH or the SHOWED. Two much three letter nonsense.

I too would didn't get ONED until I read the blog.

Didn't get the gimmick/Theme either, even though I had three of the acrosses and 26D and saw Dire Straits and Monica Seles - just couldn't get it and thought my mind was seeing things that weren't a theme - after all what does a rock band have to do with a tennis player. Too disconnected.

andrea carla michaels 2:29 AM  

Drat, I had HOWTO.

Had to stare at EXTRA CT for as long as it took me to do the whole puzzle to get the theme! (If they hadn't said "2 parts" I'd still be staring even tho I saw DIRE STRAITS from the get go. Is getgo one word or two? Get-go?)

And what is with all the "fill in the ____" this week?
Maybe it would be fun to have a puzzle that was entirely fill in the blanks...altho I suspect it's been done.

@Frieda, Coixt, Glitch
I'll bet the Costa Rica for Bermuda ref was Seth's shout out to's in our sub-contract.

Keep up the good work making Minnesotans proud and don't worry about my torchbearer dk...
(it was only a water pistol).

SethC 3:22 AM  

Great write up Seth. Love the Fury reference, they definitely deserve some recognition!

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

Perhaps ONE-D ((68-across: Flat for short) is a reference to personality, as in a remark that someone is one dimensional, flat, boring...

Sorry for the late post.


John 11:34 AM  

In England the first floor is our second floor. Talk about knocking something into a cocked hat!

boardbtr 2:51 PM  

Five weeks later -- one of life's oddities -- LAROSA was a gimme for me.

Waxy in Montreal 6:00 PM  

Anyone familiar with Edwin Abbott's classic book Flatland will recall the Flatlanders inhabited a two-dimensional world. So unless Oliver Hill was referencing personality (or lack of same) in Flat, for short (69A), the answer indeed should be TWO-D.

Otherwise, IMHO an inspired puzzle in that the the theme-clue answer (26D) actually helped me solve the grid.

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