Slapstick puppet show — TUESDAY, Jun. 23 2009 — Villain in 2009's Star Trek / Bygone barrier breakers / Simpson and Kudrow

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Constructor: Caleb Madison

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "(Mama Said) Knock You Out" OR "Down Goes Frazier" — beginnings of four theme answers represent four punches, the last of which drops the guy to the canvas

Word of the Day: HADJ (10D: Journey to Mecca) (also HAJ or HAJJ) — In Islam, the pilgrimage to Mecca required of all Muslims at least once in their lifetime, provided they are physically and financially able. It is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. By tradition the pilgrimage is undertaken between the 7th and 12th days of the last month of the Islamic year. At Mecca, the pilgrims are obliged to perform several rituals, including walking seven times around the Ka'bah shrine. They must also visit holy places outside Mecca and sacrifice an animal in honor of Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac. In conclusion, they return to Mecca and perform a farewell circling of the shrine. (Britannica Concise Encyc.)

A solid effort from Mr. Madison. At first I didn't like DECK, which is punch+result where the others are just punches. But then I realized that DECK was probably last in the sequence for precisely this reason. After being pummeled several times, the imagined opponent finally goes down. The puzzle seemed to be of average Tuesday difficulty, though I got gummed up several times with wrong initial answers: STAND for ALTAR in the NW (1A: Place for an oath), ISR. for SYR. in the SE (65D: Leb. neighbor), and finally, SHARE for SHOOT in the south (54D: "Tell me"), and worst of all, UAR for UAE in the middle (41A: Mideast fed.), which meant that Citi Field was occupied by a team of MR. T's. I would pay to see the Dodgers play the MR. T's. I usually see the local AA Binghamton METS (36D: Citi Field team) play several times a year. "Citi Field" still does Nothing for me in terms of "signaling" "METS"; I'm still stuck on SHEA, I guess (a much more familiar and less off-putting name).

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Slapstick puppet show (PUNCH and Judy)
  • 33A: "I'm ready for anything!" ("SOCK it to me!")
  • 44A: Go get some shuteye (HIT the sack)
  • 57A: Yuletide tune ("DECK the Halls")

Some great pop culture fill that was right up my alley, like ZZ TOP (17A: "Sharp Dressed Man" band), the 2/3 bearded trio that was hugely popular when I was a teenager (early MTV era). My favorite of their songs:

A couple of comics answers helped me out today too: STAN LEE and INKER (39D: Worker on a comic book). I'm glad to see that INKER is becoming (or so it seems to me) a more common and legitimate word, as it is certainly a distinct and important job in the making of comics, especially for the big two, D.C. and Marvel. Not that thrilled that STAN LEE (9D: Co-creator of the Fantastic Four) has to share the puzzle with LEE (29A: Kind of tide), which is so close by, but that's a minor problem. Saw the new "Star Trek" a few weeks ago, and the (sadly one-dimensional) character of NERO has been on mind a lot. Coincidentally, just prior to solving this puzzle, I finished reading the second issue of a three-part adaptation of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." So I went from "Star Trek" comic to a puzzle containing both "Star Trek" and comics. Cool.


  • 6A: It's bugled on a base ("Taps") — wow, "bugle" is really ugly as a verb, especially in the passive voice.
  • 14A: Electron tube with two elements (diode) — helps to know the words ANODE and DIODE, even if you're ignorant like me and don't really know what they do. CATHODE is far, far less common as far as crosswords go.
  • 23A: Didn't bother (left be) — another place that slowed me down, as I couldn't get LET BE to stretch out to six letters.
  • 55A: Drink said to prolong life (elixir) — in medieval alchemy. Apparently you were supposed to be able to distill the ELIXIR of life from the Philosopher's Stone. What were they smoking?
  • 62A: da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM (iambs) — well that's an original clue.
  • 70A: Bygone barrier breakers (SSTs) — barrier = sound
  • 1D: Carpenter's tool with a curved blade (adz) — because I went with STAND at 1A, I went with SAW here.
  • 23D: Simpson and Kudrow (Lisas) — I'm a fan of both.
  • 58D: Casino game with Ping-Pong-like balls (Keno) — you don't see the adjective "Ping-Pong-like" much.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


joho 7:55 AM  

I loved every minute of this puzzle ... it was like an ELIXIR to me. It's a pangram, too.

I had a malapop at 38D when I confidently INKED in ETUIS. Of course the correct answer is CACTI, but what's at 30D? ETUI!

A perfect Tuesday ... thank you Caleb!

dk 7:58 AM  

ADJ and zax (tool for punching holes in roofing tile) are two of my favorite Scrabble gotchas. Yes, I am one of those Scrabble weasels who cannot win with long words so I resort to cheap tricks like ADZ and zax.

I suppose I should have heard of a LEE tide but I have not.

I had CeOs making FOCI: eOCI. So I thought it must be loci, then I started humming ELO tunes.... maybe I got hit a few two many times at the Portland Boxing Gym.

I think Caleb is really 50 something given the clueing he often uses.

Solid Tuesday for me.

Another day in the 90s here in the Twin Towns.

John 8:18 AM  

Groucho Marx AND the Simpsons in the same puzzle?? Will wonders never cease!

mac 8:27 AM  

Perfect Tuesday puzzle to me. Jeff in Chicago is going to be happy and Rex has his Simpson fix. I think dk has a point, some of the clues are very, let's call it, mature. Love the redheads' tempers!

We're having a few minutes of sun in CT before the heavens open again.... People are now talking about 40 days and nights of rain!

Leon 8:42 AM  

Thanks Mr. Madison.

Welcome back RP.

Groucho’s walk is part of a Marx Brothers in NYC tribute in a Blog devoted to walking in NYC.

For you EOCI fans:
EOCI - Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution
EOCI - Electric Overhead Crane Institute
EOCI - Earth Observation Consultants International

edith b 8:46 AM  

From the beginning, Caleb Madison has always skewed older than his actual age. I like to think it reflects his interests as I am in my early 60s and have found his puzzles compatible for want of a better word.

The theme itself reflects this and I enjoyed this one more than any other Tuesday I have done.

Anne 9:13 AM  

I timed myself today and it makes for a very different experience. I usually sip coffee and stare out the window and mull over stuff. Today I didn't think about anything but keeping my pencil moving. Suffice it to say that I am very slow. For one thing I got blogged down in the genus - quoi area. But I thought it was a good Tuesday and I liked the theme.

sillygoose 9:14 AM  

I always like Caleb Madison puzzles and this was no exception. There is something about his cluing/answers that seems a little more ... all over the place than anybody else's. ALTAR to ADZ to ZZTOP is a nice little A to Z corner that kind of illustrates what I am getting at.

As far as solving goes, je ne sais how to spell QUOI which made SHOOT my last answer. I'm not up on my Spanish liqueurs, so that little area took some serious time to work out. Actually, that area is another good example of how Caleb seems to draw from so many sources when creating his puzzles.

Lestat 9:24 AM  

What's Rex's name for a puzzle that uses all 26 letters? Surely that's worth a point or two for the creator?

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

An alternative clue for 44D could be: "What do Caleb, Natan,and Tyler have in common?"

chefbea 9:32 AM  

Easy fun tuesday puzzle

However I think 62A is completely wrong!!! The bra IS the cup!! A bra doesnt hold cups... it holds boobs.

PuzzleGirl 9:38 AM  

Fun puzzle. Nice job, Caleb. (Did we ever come up with an appropriate nickname for you?)

I confidently entered HAJJ, forgetting about the other (correct today) spelling.

METS v. Mr. T's. Heh.

Thanks for the LL Cool J, but criminy! "Legs"?!?

Rex Parker 9:39 AM  

Using all letters = "pangram" puzzle (not a term I invented). I rarely notice such things. Sure bonus points, if you think it matters.


foodie 9:41 AM  

Excellent puzzle. And it has two of my countries in it in clue and answer: Lebanon and SYR. Not to mention scrabbly words and a very action oriented theme. Loved it!

PlantieBea 9:41 AM  

I enjoyed this one too. Thanks Caleb Madison. My write-over was NEET on NAIR and then LEE tide where I had LOW. Loved the SOCKITTOME which nudges Country Joe's Rock and Soul Music out of the depths.

Rex Parker 9:42 AM  

"Legs!" It's a fantastic song.

Goes great with "Lyin' Eyes," "Open Arms," and "Baby Got Back."


treedweller 9:46 AM  

I second sillygoose on QUOI/ANIS. It wasn't too tough to work it out, but QUOI still looks funny to me, even though I know now that it's right. Two foreign words crossing on a Tuesday seems like a bit much. Fortunately, AN_S couldn't be much else (well, given the clue, anyway). I am glad that ANIS wasn't clued as an obscure (outside of crosswords) bird.

I liked it (especially ZZTop, who are from Texas, though neither "SDM" or "Legs" would make my top 10 of their songs) but I expect some early-week solvers will cry foul.

jeff in chicago 10:09 AM  

One must know their tide terms in crossword-land. Neap, lee, ebb, rip, red, high and low.

I like that we have to hair removal products than start with N. No gimme there!

And my grand plan to slowly phase out Simpsons references with Marx Brothers references seems to be coming to fruition. Muah-ha-ha-ha!

I'm memorizing my lines for "Henry V" right now so I'm all about the IAMBS. In fact...I should probably get back to that right now.

Orange 10:20 AM  

Rex, have you never been bugled? Have you never tried to find a comfort from inside you? Have you never been happy just to hear your song? Have you never let someone else be strong?

Two Ponies 10:24 AM  

Good solid Tuesday puzzle.
Having loci instead of foci for a bit made me wonder what a CLO was.
I did the same Isr v Syr but also had Gig for Meg making some slow going in that corner.
A pangram, a theme, and no strained fill. Well done.

slypett 10:26 AM  

I'm blushing. I mispelled FIERY, so had MRG as a computer unit and BEA as a cup holder. I'm so embarrassed, I can't even look Daisy (my dog) in the eye.

@chefbea: Have to call you out on this: A BRA has (holds) two cups, which, in turn, hold boobs. Petty, petty.

Ulrich 10:43 AM  

@Caleb: Very enjoyable puzzle--looking forward for more of the same

@chefbea, XMAN: I'm so glad we got that straightened out.

@jeff: Which part are you playing? (or did you mention that already?)

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

Liked this puzzle. I took "left" to be a "punch" too... Actually, cathode is quite common in puzzles, just in abbreviated form "CRT".


Brendan Emmett Quigley 10:48 AM  

In the odd chance that Caleb reads this: solid puzzle. Keep that up. I like how you make sure the long entries are colorful (GROUCHO MARX and FACT CHECKER in this case). The thing you should take away from this one is resist the temptation of putting in old hackneyed dinosaurs of rock/cliched crossword entries like ZZ TOP just so you can get a pangram. You're young. It's okay to put T-PAIN in there instead. In fact, it should be your duty to be putting youth culture stuff in puzzles. Keep making them, and keep making them for the young ones. Approved.

Jeffrey 10:54 AM  

I'm starting a new spreadsheet to track how long I listen to Rex's songs.

LL Cool J - 0:19
ZZ Top - 1:20

I'm shocked at the disgusting level of violence in this puzzle. PUNCH? SOCK? HIT? DECK? SLAYS? SHOOT? INKER? Shocking! In response, I will immediately cancel my subscription to People magazine.

ETUI I say.

I did like the shout-out to me at 44 Down.

mexgirl 11:06 AM  

A very clever puzzle.
And that's all one needs to say.
Cheers, Caleb!

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

Very good puzzle, but I hate it when my underwear gets included in the answers. I like my privacy.

Doug 11:28 AM  

Excellent 10 minutes spent last night on this puzzle--Also because the 16 year old and 14 year were out of the house instead of terrorizing the 11 year old and 3 year old.

We had Norwegian friends overseas that bought Bugles snacks, and pronounced them "Buggles." They also claimed to eat them for breakfast, with milk? They might have been pulling my leg, but I haven't decided that yet.

jeff in chicago 11:40 AM  

@Ulrich: I am playing the Archbishop of Canterbury ... and the French King ... and Bardolph ... and Erpingham! The director cast it real Shakespeare style - as few people as possible. We're also doing it outdoors and with virtually no set.

For any of you in the Chicago area, we open Aug. 1 at the Ladd Arboretum. Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. through Aug. 23, weather permitting.

Oh...and it's FREE!

Anonymous 11:41 AM  

I thought it was difficult for a Tuesday. IAMBS ?, Give me a break.

SethG 11:56 AM  

Puzzle was fine, but what's up with the gingerist attitude? Would cluing "Like Irish eyes" be okay for SMILING, or "Can't even count to 140" for BLONDE? Don't even get me started on "Swedish techno band" for REDNEX. I'm angry enough to punch, sock, hit, or deck somebody.

Anis are birds. Someone wanna tell us what Añís means in Spanish?

jimweed 12:02 PM  

solid enjoyable puzzle. guessed NORA for DORA/HADJ, as i did not know either term.

@chefbea - good (and humorous) point about "Cup holder?" it's a bit of a stretch to read "cup" as an adjective.

mac 12:06 PM  

@PG: I seem to remember Rex calling Caleb C-Mad or something like that.

@Doug: I used to know a cone-shaped salty snack in Europe (I think it was an American product) that you could eat by itself, or you could buy a large tube of a cheesy spread that you filled them with. Pretty good stuff.

Anonymous 12:15 PM  

"Legs" is an awesome tune. The vidoe features Jeana Tomasino who went on to become one of the Real Housewives of Orange County:

retired_chemist 12:22 PM  

Nice. More fun than yesterday. Good cluing and not too hard. Solid Tuesday puzzle.

Had to go to Wikipedia to prove to myself that 37A was FOCI. Never heard it applied to a circle before. Had ELIXIR as my first guess at 59A and erased it because I despaired of an 11 letter answer ending in RX for 11D. It came back.

Stan 12:29 PM  

Because of my extremely HIGHIQ, I finished this in under 20 minutes.

Good job CalMad!

Andy 12:35 PM  

Ok...maybe I am missing something, but I still don't get 62A...da-Dum, da-DUM, da-DUM=iambs. I am lucky it was in an easy corner.

Karen from the Cape 12:42 PM  

I had misspellings on NEET and QUOI. I hadn't heard of LEE tide before either dk; per the free dictionary: a tide that runs in the same direction as the wind is blowing; "a leeward tide is dangerous for small boats"

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

an iamb is a metrical foot in poetry. It's an unstressed syllable (da)followed by a stressed syllable (DUM).

Daniel Myers 12:58 PM  

I truly,truly do not like FOCI. I do not like it, Dan I am. In maths, foci (the plural of focus, Latin for hearth) are the points along the diameter of an ellipse, the endpoints of which diameter are always further out than the foci, because an ellipse, by definition, is a curve in which the distance from focus 1 to any point on the curve to focus 2 is always greater than the distance between the foci.

Is is true, mind you, that if you make the distances equal, you do obtain a circle, but one at which the FOCI are the endpoints of the circle, not the centre.

I concede, that idiomatically, FOCUS and CENTRE can slip by in a crossword as roughly equal in meaning. But it still makes my mathematical hairs stand on it were.

des 1:02 PM  

da-Dum is a spelling out of the rhythm of an iamb. That is, an iamb is the emphasis on the second syllable such as in alone, aware, before. I am sure that Rex, in his role as an English professor, could explain it better. In fact, I had thought he was going to use iambs as his word of the day.

Ulrich 1:45 PM  

@Daniel: the def. of an ellipse I know is

the set of all points p so that the sum of the distances from p to two other points, called foci, is equal to a constant (greater than the distance between the foci).

If you make the two foci coincide and apply the def.--bingo, you have a circle--so, it works for me.

archaeoprof 1:52 PM  

@Rex: glad you're feeling better.

Excellent Tuesday puzzle!

But who says it skews old? What's old about ZZTop, the Kinks, Arlo, the Monkees, UAE, Tacitus, Liz Taylor, Plato, SOCKITTOME, PUNCHANDJUDY, Groucho, Morse code, ADMEN, and KENO?

Very young and hip. Cutting edge.

Stan 1:53 PM  

"Metrical Feet"

Troche trips from long to short.
From long to long in solemn sort
Slow spondee stalks; strong foot! Yet ill able
Ever to come up with Dactyl trisyllable.
Iambics march from short to long;
with a leap and a bound the swift anapests throng.

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

retired_chemist 1:55 PM  

@ foci of circles fans - Wikipedia agrees with the constructor and Ulrich, and I guess I grumpily accept that meaning too. But, like Daniel Myers, I don't like it.

Daniel Myers 2:35 PM  

@ Ulrich--Let me quote from your definition: "greater than the distance between the foci."
The value "0" does not represent a distance and thus is not valid.

And I made more than a bit of a blunder as well: As your let your p sums approach your focal distance what you get, of course, is simply the focal distance itself, not a circle. The foci are still the endpoints.

The point of all this elliptical discourse being that in maths, the words "FOCUS" or "FOCI" are never applied to circles. Ellipses, parabolae, hyperbolae-Yea--Circles-Nay

@ retired chemist--Except in wikipedia and this Xword, apparently.

jeff in chicago 2:38 PM  

Favorite uses of iambic pentameter:

The lady doth protest too much methinks. (Hamlet)

A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse! (RIchard III)

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. (Henry IV Part II)

The course of true love never did run smooth. (Midsummer Night's Dream)

These words are razors to my wounded heart. (Titus Andronicus)

And my all-time fave: Now is the winter of our discontent. (Richard III)

Ruth 2:42 PM  

I vote with Chef Bea on the bra-cups thing. I've seen this "definition" of bra in clues before and I don't like it.
pl-pl-pl-pl-pl-pl (that's how we spell out a Bronx cheer)

humorlesstwit 3:02 PM  

One thing that has always amused me about comments here is that I think we've each spent a good portion of our lives being the smartest person in the room. It's hard giving that up, and I'm as guilty as the next, when we're in this room, because on any given issue, we're probably not, not even close, with one or two notable exceptions.

All this being said, circles are specific instances of ellipses, 0 is in fact a distance, and Ulrich is right.

Daniel Myers 3:25 PM  

@humorlesstwit--I do not fancy it, but I shall concede to Ulrich that, starting with Appolonius and his book Conic Sections, the circle (I twigged it was a specific instance of an ellipse, one just has to make the focal distance aproach 0 rather than bother with your Fp+F'p values) and therefore has foci that, in the words of and old maths book I pulled out, "coincide." It is given as a special exercise in the book for the student to show how.

Still, this is very awkward. If the circle is conceived as something other than a conic section - as it was, in fact, by Euclid in his Elements - then there is absolutely no need to introduce the notion of a focus.

But, in the interests of a pax mathematica, I concede the, ahem, point.

As for the smartest person in the room phaenomenon: No doubt you're spot on. But it's pleasant enough sussing these things out with others who possess a HIGHIQ.:)

fergus 3:32 PM  

Saw only one comment about the spelling of FIERY, but this must be frequently misspelled, no?

I found this to be a very lively puzzle. I know BEQ meant to be encouraging, and I hope Mr. Madison takes it that way.

Two Ponies 3:55 PM  

@ Daniel Myers, How you do go on some days about the oddest things. All I ask of my puzzles is that they allow people who have a general knowledge of a variety of topics to suss out the answer.
Today was a Tuesday, after all.
As for the bra clue, I guess it was an attempt at humor that didn't amuse everyone.

Anonymous 4:06 PM  

@Fergus - I didn't misspell FIERY - I put in FI__Y and let the crosses fill it out. Because I knew I would misspell it.

Daniel Myers 4:08 PM  

@ Two Ponies, it's been my - perhaps odd - experience that these easy puzzles are the ones that contain clues/answers that seem to me counterintuitive. Last Saturday's, for example, whilst challenging, raised nothing I wished to dispute.

It's rather a lark, I think, that puzzles are puzzling at times.

Elaine 4:16 PM  

Thanks to Stan for the "Metrical Feet" poem! I knew "iambs," but had forgotten about most of those others...

chefwen 4:18 PM  

@Xman - I too am embarressed to say that I spelled FIERY incorrectly and totally screwed up that corner. Had erg for MEG and who the hell knows what I put in for BRA. Nair for NEET, low for the tide clue for a while and pine, as in the tree, for ETUI. A lot of liquid paper usage.

My elderly mom was visiting a few years ago and actually ate BUGLES for breakfast with milk and sugar thinking it was cereal, causing the spewing of coffee out of my husbands nares.

Unknown 4:44 PM  

Nice, smooth Tuesday puzzle. I usually do the NYT first- followed by the LAT and the other puzzle in the SF Chron- but I did it last today, and enjoyed finishing up with such a nice puzzle.

william e emba 5:19 PM  

The Jay and Silent Bob movies are about comic book artists. In one of them, Chasing Amy, an INKER gets dissed repeatedly: "You're just a tracer." It's absolutely hilarious, but if you're not into comics, it probably doesn't mean a thing.

For "Tacitus or Tiberius" I originally put in NOMEN, not ROMAN. Three correct letters! But of course, that answer is too sophisticated for a Tuesday.

For those who couldn't find the Acrostic on Sunday, I just posted a link to it on the Sunday's comment section.

Charles Bogle 5:30 PM  

Had experiences similar to those of @mac, @plantibea, @retired_chemist; thanks, @des, for explaining to @andy and me what "da-dum, da-dum" and IAMBS have in common; being tone-deaf, I still don't really get it...

Super puzzle, theme in every respect. Had the pleasure of doing it just now in a motel in Great Barrington MA (no sun here either) just a stone's throw from ARLOGUTHRIE's "Alice's Restaurant"

@rex, fearless leader, you linked us to Mr T and Star Wars when Caleb gave you GROUCHO and LISAKUDROW? Am I the only one disppointed?

slypett 6:23 PM  

@Ruth: Being the only registered Bronxite on this blog, I take it you referred to me with your raspberry. Well, back at you: the cups are in the bra and the boobs are in the cups. While this is not on the level of the circular foci kerfuffle, I expect it to be taken seriously--as it were.

joho 6:38 PM  

Does not a bra hold a cup?

Years ago back in California my neighbor was an INKER. He was an intense young man (very handsome as well) and thrived on lots of black coffee and late nights inking. He showed me his work .. I think it's really important to the INKERs to be creative and give it their best.

Oh, and all this math talk to me is ho-HUM, ho-HUM, ho-HUM.

Thank you @jeff in chicago for all your wonderful quotes. I wish you well in your performance(s). Yikes, what to you do, channel Sibyl?

Glitch 7:53 PM  

Despite college level math at an "engineering school in Troy, NY", long ago enough that we used slide rules, I find it a bit difficult to interpret "one just has to make the focal distance aproach 0 rather than bother with your Fp+F'p values" as it applies to the puzzle.

I believe R_C started a "Chemistry in Croswords" side group.

Perhaps someone will offer one for mathematics.


PS: Portable electronic calculators started being widely available in the 1970's, replacing the slide rule ;)

Lisa in Kingston 8:32 PM  

At 62A, da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM I thought "Jaws."

retired_chemist 8:46 PM  

@ Jeff in Chicago et al. - re "And my all-time fave: Now is the winter of our discontent. (Richard III):"

I always think of Richard Dreyfuss in The Goodbye Girl as well when I hear this line.....

Stan 8:49 PM  

@Elaine (on metrical feet):

I had forgotten some of them too, but remembered enough of the poem to Google it. Who knew it was by Coleridge?

Ulrich 8:57 PM  

@Glitch: A math group may be fine for mathematicians--not being one, I cannot tell.

But I did teach geometry to architecture students for several years, and this is how I demontrated the definitions I gave hands-on: Put two pushpins (the foci) into a sufficiently large piece of cardboard. Tie a string with one end to one pin and with the other end to other pin, leaving some slack (the length of the string represents the constant in the def.) Then take a pencil, place it against the string, and push it away from the foci as far as the string allows, with the point touching the cardboard. Now move the pencil right and left, keeping the string always tight and the pencil point always on the cardboard: I will draw an ellipse, which will be the more accurate the less you vary the angle between the pencil and the cardboard--that's what the def. says in practical terms.

Now move one pin to the same spot as the other (i.e. reduce the distance to zero) and do the same thing: voilà, you're drawing a circle!

Glitch 9:42 PM  


Perhaps I protest too much.

When I saw "centers of circles" (plurals), I wrote in Foci (plural)and moved on. No problem.

The ensuing discussion is what bothered me. Much like yesterday's Honda debate.

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? All that can fit.

.../Glitch (My glass is twice as large as it has to be)

fergus 10:06 PM  

Yes, ellipses are better illustrations for FOCI than circles.

An elliptical comment (I might add) on circular reasoning.


I only unearthed the Sunday puzzle this afternoon, and am enjoying putting it together in a very piecemeal fashion. BESEEM is a most curious word.

fergus 10:19 PM  

Slide rule commentary:

While I have several of the straight ruler variety, my favorite is a circular one. For obvious (?) reasons, its superiority shows up when you've jumped a decimal. Oddly enough, this device is more intriguing to 7th graders for its simple multiplication and division capabilities than it is for High School students getting acquainted with logarithms.

trishb 12:02 AM  

Totally lost by the math discussion. Got it from crosses. Scored only 400 points on the math portion of the SAT in 1971. I believe 200 of that was for entering my name in the grid. Perfect score on the verbal. Obviously, I never think I'm the smartest person in the room. Nice Tuesday puzzle. Thanks Rex, I really enjoy your efforts.

fergus 2:15 AM  

I'm on of those jerks who got a 780 and was pissed off about my score.

fergus 2:28 AM  

Forget the SAT and the GRE, and all other standard tests.

andrea fiery michaels 2:26 PM  

Yay Caleb!
(a litte too late for the discussion yesterday but loved the pangram.)

Your puzzles always have a nice je ne sais quoi!

Count me in on the initial FIREY/BEA/MRG mistake.

Nullifidian 2:08 AM  

I just did this one in my local paper, the San Diego Union-Tribune.

I have to say I didn't like it. I solved 1 Down through the crosses, so I didn't waste much time considering it, but I was annoyed by the fact that ADZ was used as a clue without noting that this is a variant spelling (the usual spelling is adze).

Another variant spelling that held me up for a while was 10 Down's HADJ. The most common transliteration is hajj, which is exactly what I put. This held me up for quite a while, since I couldn't solve which notable TV explorer had a four letter name starting with J. Again, the fact that this is a variant spelling was not noted in the puzzle clue. If it had been, I would have written down HADJ and the DORA clue would have been much easier.

I was also shocked to see a mid-east clue in the NYT for which Israel was not the answer. I've been doing these for several months, and I've solved my way through a large slice of Israel's prime ministers, several Hebrew months, and a passel of Jewish holidays. I have never been asked to consider that Syria exists. Thus I had to write over that one, because I just assumed that any three letter abbreviation for a country bordering Lebanon and ending in R (I had gotten EDGAR) would have to be ISR.

I had too much difficulty with the center area because of that NEET clue. That's not even a brand named used in either the U.S. or Canada anymore. Having just the N from PUNCH AND JUDY made me think, as I believe most people would under the circumstances, that the answer was Nair.

But I did learn something from today's crossword. I had heard the line "To our wives and lovers—may they never meet" given as a toast by Capt. Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. I didn't know who said it originally, but I assumed it was someone from around the same period as the film (the Napoleonic Wars). When I solved enough of the NE corner to figure out GROUCHO MARX, I smiled to think that they had managed to sneak in a Groucho quote into the middle of the Napoleonic Wars.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP