Even more certain: Lat. — TUESDAY, Jul. 21 2009 — Anglo-Saxon laborer / Diacritical squiggle / Old-time Norwegian skating sensation

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Constructor: Donna Levin

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: The day after the moon landing ...

Word of the Day: A FORTIORI (59A: Even more certain: Lat.)adv.

For a still stronger reason; all the more.

[Latin : ā, ab, from + fortiōrī, ablative of fortior, stronger.]


This one feels a day late and a dollar short — moon landing anniversary was yesterday, and L.A. Times ran its own somewhat more elaborate tribute puzzle yesterday — but I guess it's not terribly surprising to see the NYT engaging in a bit of self-love, building the puzzle around its own headline rather than the event itself. What's odd is that the first two theme answers relate to the Times coverage, but the third and fourth (the message left on the moon) don't. But since today is the anniverary of the day the astronauts left the moon, I guess the left-behind message ties in that way. It's a very straight tribute; no tricks or bells or whistles. It's well constructed enough, but pretty blah for an NYT puzzle.

I would have rated this straight-up EASY, but A FORTIORI is so not-Tuesday that I figured many people would wrestle with it at least a tiny bit, and so I jacked up the difficult rating a notch. No real trouble in this puzzle except not knowing the moon message straight away. Needed several crosses to start in on it, and then I wrote WE COME IN PEACE. Knew EDINO was not a word, so I worked it out. Also had MENKIND at first because I opted for the STELE spelling of the inscribed pillar (39D). Valid, but (in this case) wrong.

Moon message should have read: WE GOT HERE FIRST. SUCK IT, RUSSIA.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: New York Times headline of 7/21/69 ("Men Walk On Moon")
  • 28A: Subject of a photo beneath 20-Across (Neil Armstrong)
  • 45A: With 55-Across, message left by 28-Across for future explorers ("We Came in Peace / For All Mankind")

The spice in this puzzle was the long Downs. TALK BACK has the lovely pair of "K"s, and DOPAMINE adds to the pleasures of the lower half (38D: Pleasure-associated neurotransmitter). Those pleasures include ORGY (56D: Bacchanalian revelry) and Jim ROCKFORD (36D: 1970s James Garner title role). I have been engaged in many a ROCKFORD ORGY, as I enjoy putting on my Season 1 DVDs and watching old eps two and three at a time. He's my TV detective hero. The SE corner gave me less pleasure, not because there's anything wrong with it, but because I couldn't round the corner off of TAINTED very easily. Wanted to run through the T-, E-, and D- Acrosses, 1-2-3, but couldn't come up with anything for T---- at 61A: Diacritical mark (tilde) or D---- at 67A: Opportunities, metaphorically (doors). Went to the Down crosses and worked it out. These little hesitations (and horrendous typing) are what separate me from the real speed solvers.


  • 1A: Almost half of U.S. immigrants in 1840 (Irish) — what do you call it when you look at a clue, think "I don't know that," move on to next clue, and in the middle of reading, the answer to the previous clue suddenly comes to you. Well, that happened here.
  • 5D: Whom Hamlet calls "A man that Fortune's buffets and rewards / Hast ta'en with equal thanks" (Horatio) — Nothing sadder than an elided "K."
  • 16A: Console used with the game Halo (XBOX) — You can play on PCs/Macs as well. Halo is a massively popular first-person shooter game, a trilogy that has sold around 25 million copies and spawned spin-off games, comics, novels, etc. Really, it's huge. I feel like Halo (and gaming in general) also might mark the very dark cultural dividing line between me (Gen X) and the generations behind me. I have no purchase on modern gaming. At all. By the time it became big business, I was already an adult who had learned to waste his free time on other things. I know enough about playing video games as a kid to know that they are a rabbit hole from which I would Never, Ever emerge. A time evaporator of the highest order. I don't think I can touch the stuff, because I'm pretty sure I would never get anything done or see my family ever again. Part of me is curious ... but part of me is curious about heroin, too.
  • 22A: Letters that please angels (SRO) — "angels" back shows with $$$. Thus, they like seeing Standing Room Only signs, bec. they equal success. I learned this meaning of "angels" from xwords.
  • 33D: Old-time Norwegian skating sensation (Henie) — lots of vowels make her very common.
  • 10D: _____ 67 (onetime Montreal event) (Expo) — I went to EXPO '86 in Vancouver. I bought a commemorative Swatch watch there. That was the week Andrew and Fergie got married. Both the watch and that marriage are no more.
  • 13D: Stores for G.I.'s (PXs) — I like this. Can't remember seeing it in a puzzle before.
  • 58D: D.E.A. seizure, maybe (kilo) — DEA is what I entered first at 25A: 1988 Dennis Quaid/Meg Ryan movie ("D.O.A.").

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


chefbea 8:36 AM  

Happy day after!!

Never heard of afortiori. Knew it would be the word of the day.

Loved places to put briefs and the shout out to Sandy.

Neil Armstrong could have put my red, white, and blue cole slaw on the moon.

treedweller 8:36 AM  

I like your statement of the theme here. I quickly saw where we were going, but somehow felt I'd just been there (despite not working the LAT).

Along with AFORTIORI, which I never heard of, I had sticky points at ESNE and STELA, which delayed my figuring out the message left behind, which made DOPAMINE slow to come. A little slower than average for Tues. A little duller than average, too.

I don't have a name for getting the answer right after you give up on it, but I know it well.

joho 8:53 AM  

@Rex & @Treedweller ... I think it's called DB for "Delayed Brilliance." Or SG for "Slow Genious." Oh, c'mon, somebody can coin something for this, can't they?

Wonderful write-up today. But, just like yesterday, the puzzle was just OK.

Loved the Doors clip. I totally can see Will Ferrell doing a parody of Jim Morrison ... it could equal his cowbell routine I think.

Orange 8:58 AM  

@chefbea: Cole slaw is no good when it's dehydrated and reconstituted, astronaut-style. Trust me.

Brendan Emmett Quigley 9:25 AM  

I hear you with the rabbit hole re: video games. I was all in pro-vids right up through the whole Street Fighter craze. But shortly after that it seemed you had to (a) memorize pages of combination moves in order to play them competently and (b) suddenly there were more controls than I had hands/digits to manipulate them with.

That whole more-controllers-than-hands thing was a cute feature first used for great comic effect with Defender in 1980, but nowadays, I dunno. Call me a fossil.

Victor in Rochester 9:27 AM  

@Rex: It's called an "Aha moment" and there's lots of research on how our brains continue to work on problems while we consciously move on. See: http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2005/07/understanding_aha.html

retired_chemist 9:28 AM  

Enjoyable. Almost Monday easy. The theme is ingrained in my memory because we were home in late July 1969 with our daughter Robin, who was born on July 12. Nothing to do but watch the moon landing and take care of the baby.

Other shout-outs to the past – MARLO, HENIE, GOTTI - nice for this geezer. Too new for me – only XBOX (guessed it right anyway). Rex is right - gaming of any sort separates me from his generation.

retired_chemist 9:30 AM  

Forgot to add - said Robin was the dau. who gave me the NYT puzzle online last Christmas. Thanks, Robin!

Glitch 9:31 AM  

Ok puzzle, normal Tues time, thought the cluing was "on target" more than usual (not one "ugh" for me today).

My new WOD was afortiori too, but felt all it's crosses were Mondayish (except perhaps dopamine, for some, but the i was inferable) so it didn't bump up my rating from "easy".


slypett 9:43 AM  

I thought the KIRI/EDINA cross was unfair, but maybe that's just because I'm not an opera buff. And EDINA had me completely fooled because I thought it was something like agida.

PlantieBea 9:58 AM  

Only a few bumps solving this one including the KIRI/ROCKFORD and STELA/ALI crossings. Didn't know AFORTIOORI but it fell in through all the crossings.

@Rex, I appreciate your thoughts on video games. With teen boys who might easily disappear down that rabbit hole, we've resisted the whole trend by never providing the game consoles. Son (former beet hater, 17 yo) is saying that Halo is an incredibly well designed shooter game, fun, though not as addictive as World of Warcraft for which one needs only a computer and internet access (along with a monthly fee). Even he is saying he won't play the latter because of the black hole that game can be.

PhillySolver 10:10 AM  

I appreciate tribute puzzles like this one. Perhaps because memories fill more of my brain since I've lived more years than many. I don't do other crosswords (talk about a rabbit hole), so the one I do is important. I suspect Ms. Levin didn't write this one to focus on the NYT headline so much as to find good symmetrical fill. 'Men Walk on Moon' happens to be a headline that I recall clearly. There are a few others like 'Obama Makes History.' I hardly ever can speed through a puzzle, but I slowed down reflecting and after finishing this one I took a few minutes to think about that evening in July and what it meant to me and the nation.

PurpleGuy 10:11 AM  

Found this an enjoyable Tuesday puzzle. Liked the continuation of the moon landing theme.
Was enjoying my R&R leave from VietNam at the time, so I remember it well. PX(Post eXchange) brought back memories.Don't recall seeing it in a puzzle before,either.
Like the others above,got AFORTIORI from the down crossings.
Great writeup as usual, Rex. Thanks.
Watch out for those rabbit holes and Heroin.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

"A fortiori" is a pretty common expression in the legal profession. In practical terms, it means if you've established X, you've also established Y because the case for Y is even stronger. Simplistic example: "slapping someone is a crime; a fortiori, running someone over with a car should be a crime."

dk 10:13 AM  

Magnum and Tom (as in Selleck) cross a coincidence.. I think not. This may be a Rockford-Magnum smack down puzzle disguised as a lunar tribute.

Comments on video games remind me of the lectures I got from grandparents on the danger of comic books and from my dad on the brain draining that would no doubt result from my continued reading of Mad.

I liked the lunar theme and DOPAMINE studies were all the rage in my grad schools days. It was touted as spanish fly for the geriatric set. We had a great poster in the lab titled "Grannie Get Yur Gun" with a wild eyed Grampa rounding the barn at full tilt.

Donna fine early week puzzle.

Jeffrey 10:13 AM  

Is this memory lane week? Moon landing was one of my earliest memories (I was nearly 7) and at Expo '67 I was younger than that by two years (you can see why I'm an accountant, figured that out in my head).

At Expo '67, I remember this big booth which had a video phone; you could talk to and see someone in an adjoining booth. We were all going to have one in a few years. Now I have a webcam on my laptop but never use it because why would I want someone to see me?

Rex, you were that American teenager at Expo '86, right? I remember you. Also the world's largest hockey stick.

Of course, I have to mention that Expo '67 is the source of the name of my favorite baseball team , the Toledo Mud Hens.

Hobbyist 10:26 AM  

The Rockford Files was a great program. the often-pained Jim, the unctious Angel, the affable Rocky, Jim's beach trailer...
As for Magnum PI, sheer dullness in comparison.

santafefran 10:29 AM  

Greetings Rex and everybody!
Been back to my lurking tendencies but just had to make a comment today.
Rex, I am surprised that you didn't comment on the crossing of Kiri (from New Zealand) and Kiwi and that no one else has mentioned it.
Great memories of the moon landing and how exciting it all was.

Frances SC 10:33 AM  

I liked this one because it spanned generations. My grandson has an XBOX and I remember seeing Sonia HENIE skate in the Olympics when I was about 9 or 10. I also remembered AFORTIORI from HS Latin, and the IRISH immigrants from recent position as MS History teacher. But the theme felt a day late to me as well; my first reaction was, wasn't this yesterday? (Senior moment?) Nevertheless, still, as always, fun to figure.

Two Ponies 10:34 AM  

This is the puzzle I wanted yesterday while I was strolling down memory lane remembering the moon walk.
I'm sure dopamine was a gimme for foodie.
I would not have been sure about the message left behind had it not been for the tribute show on the moon landing I watched last night. The bonus was the Walter Cronkite footage. My childhood was definately influenced by Walters - Cronkite and Disney.
Given that info it should be easy to guess where I stand in regards to video games.

Jim Weed 10:38 AM  

whereas i used to play video games to avoid responsibility, i'm now using xwords.

have there ever been world of warcraft answers or clues in NYT xwords? (ORCS, HORDE, ALLIANCE) haven't done xwords long enough to know. 11.5 million monthly subscribers with $15 monthly fee. not bad, blizzard.

fikink 10:52 AM  

Speaking of gaming, this is priceless:

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

Had TUG for TUB and MAVERICK for ROCKFORD. Those were the only writeovers in an otherwise breezy Tuesday. Neil Armstrong and I share the same birthday (different years) so he was always a special hero of mine. Same with Marcia Brady :)

archaeoprof 10:54 AM  

RELIC and STELA in the same puzzle! Be still, my beating archaeological heart...

edith b 11:06 AM  


It has always been ironic to me that this blog has a Beets thread that runs through it whenever the word pops up. Ironic because this is a Crossword blog but we do love us some beets, don't we.


I believe it is the NY Yankees TV/Radio announcer that has "see ya" as his signature call for home runs.

The theme seems a little off to me as it clues manufacuring while all the references clue plantlife. And , of course, this blogs Favorite Red Veggie runs through his puzzle PRUNE ROOT and 25D's clue.

And as far as nonsense songs go, another "car song" went:

Chicken in a car
and the car won't go
that's the way you spell-

Jeff? Orange? Ring a bell to you guys.

ArtLvr 11:16 AM  

Front page headline in today's local paper -- "Blight like a 'nuclear bomb' " with an article explaining at last the sickliness of my tomato plants! Farmers in upstate NY are losing crops like tomatoes and corn, and root crops like potatoes to a lesser extent, all due to a highly contagious blight fostered by our cool and rainy summer to date. Ugh. Beets are not mentioned... but beware!


Anonymous 11:27 AM  

It seems to me that it would be impossible even to just type in all the answers to the clues in the time that the first through tenth (or so) finishers purportedly do, never mind read the clues and think, even for a nonsecond, about them.

So, if they're cheating (and I'm not claiming that they are; if you have another hypothesis, I'd be more than happy to hear it), why would they do that? And how do they do that?

Noam D. Elkies 11:49 AM  

13D:PXS is a breath of fresh air compared with EXS which is how constructors have been accommodating ?XS recently. Maybe now those EXS will stay in Texas and away from the NYTxword.

a fortiori (59A) also appears in the mathematical literature, though I don't think I'd realized its literal meaning before — thx, Rex.

One of these days, to the moon?


Bastad 11:54 AM  

Au contraire, mon frère. Swatch watches are still sold to preteens in malls, though nowhere near as popular as when I had one in high school in the '80s. And yes, I have to admit, I haven't SEEN one on a wrist in years.

foodie 11:55 AM  

Oh, I smiled through the whole thing! one IRISH immigrant hanging with a descendant of IMAMS, watching MEN WALK ON MOON with NEIL ARMSTRONG planting the US Flag and leaving the message: WE CAME IN PIECE FOR ALL MANKIND! That was the story of my life on that day, and thinking of it released DOPAMINE!

And it all unfolded so easily, A FORTIORI, I loved it!

Video games also release DOPAMINE, as does gambling, puzzle solving, eating chocolate and other unmentionables.

retired_chemist 11:58 AM  


DXs: types of SLR camera

FXs: ditto

MXs: missiles deployed from 1986

RXs: prescriptions, briefly

VXs: nerve gases

More options than I thought.....

PurpleGuy 12:16 PM  

In answer to your query, speaking for myself,
I have a Sunday subscription to the NYT, so I have access to their website at no charge.
I am able to get the next day's puzzle after 7pm
local time(10pm Eastern). Sometimes I do it then,
sometimes wait until morning.
Definitely no cheating involved.

still_learnin 12:17 PM  

OK, show of hands...

How many people had OLAF pop into their heads before they reached the 3rd word in the clue [Old-time Norwegian skating sensation]?

HudsonHawk 12:27 PM  

KIWI and EXPO for Sandy and CrossCan. Nice.

My dead tree version of the NYT today had a special insert with a reproduction of the front page from 40 years ago. Definitely a promotional tie-in to the puzzle.

I am only a gamer when I'm hanging out with my teenage nephews. Needless to say, I don't win very often. I worked in a fairly small start-up business about 6 years ago, and one of the guys in my office put an XBOX in the conference room. At 6 p.m., we often convened for a four-man game of Halo. It is addictive (and fun). I didn't win very often at Halo either. My sister-in-law was less than thrilled when I gave the game to my nephew for Christmas that year.

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

The persistent xword use of "angels" to refer solely to Broadway backers is odd given that the word has much broader usage. Letters that please angels could just as easily be IPO (in a different puzzle, granted). Heck, there's even a National Angel Capital Association -- and I suspect few to none of its members have ever invested in theater (beyond ticket purchase, of course).

mac 12:45 PM  

I have smoke coming out of my ears - too much sambal oelek on my leftover chicken and broccoli!

Easy puzzle, very well put together. Like the Kiri/kiwi crossing, and funny about the Toms and Magnum! I enjoyed the Doors clip, always think of Jim Morrison buried at Pierre Lachaise in Paris. According to my sister, who visits sometimes, there are always flowers on the grave.

@dk: and were they right? ;-)

A friend's son is disappearing down the online poker rabbit hole... Don't know what is worse. I'll stick with puzzles and dark chocolate.

I also had to get a fortiori from crosses, and oreo as well, since I had no idea what a McFlurry was. Is it some sort of frozen drink at McDonalds?

Two Ponies 12:55 PM  

@ mac, Jim Morrison's grave is indeed always adorned but not just with flowers. There are packs of cigarettes, empty booze bottles, and other debris. It's really sort of a mess. I found Oscar Wilde's grave in the same cemetary also very interesting.

Lisa in Kingston 12:56 PM  

Easy puzzle for me, as I filled in all the theme answers with no crosses. I will never forget watching the moon landing: me almost 10 years old, in awe of a fuzzy picture on an old black & white TV, my dad taking a polaroid picture of the screen as the first step on the moon came down.

Elizabeth Sandifer 1:03 PM  

This one was a mess for me, largely because of a NATICK principle violation, as a Minneapolis suburb I've never heard of collides with both a Soprano I've never heard of and the moon message, which could easily have been WE COME IN PEACE as WE CAME IN PEACE. Absolutely nothing on any of these crosses that I could readily have tried to break in on - probably ED_NA looks better than ED_NO, but KIRI could have been KIRO or KIRA without my having had a single way in on it.

Karen from the Cape 1:10 PM  

Per xwordinfo, the last time PXS was used was about 5 years ago.

Anon 11:27, all those names for the fastest ten look known and legitimate. Some people just are that fast, sorry. Check out Tyler Hinman on youtube someday. For me this was an easy Tuesday puzzle, although not a record breaker.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:15 PM  

OK puzzle, no problems, agree with just about everything Rex wrote including STELA/STELE.

So, a tangent: Listening to The Doors, "Stars fell from the sky for you and I." Sure, it rhymes, but how that "I" grates when it should be "me".

However, I know of one song where "For you and I" is used correctly. Any other geezers/pedants/prescriptivists know what I mean?

chefbea 1:21 PM  

@edith b Did I miss beets in today's puzzle?? 25D???

@Bastard I have a couple of swatches..the very thin ones, and I still wear them

retired_chemist 1:30 PM  

@ Philip Sandifer - EDINA, ESSEN, ERIE, and ENID were covered in Crossword Geography 101. Did you cut class that day? ☺

joho 1:37 PM  

@retired_chemist ... I agree, EDINA is a crossword staple. I grew up there, so it's a no-brainer for me, but still, I can't count how many times I've filled in this suburb of Minneapolis over the years.

@Edith B ... I think you're critiquing Monday's puzzle today ... that's where the beets were!

chefbea 1:43 PM  

@Bastad.... sorry I spelled your name wrong. My face is as red as a beet. I'll send you some beets so you will forgive me.

jbum 1:54 PM  

MARLO would have been a nice way to work in a "The Wire" clue...

Rex Parker 1:58 PM  


I'm wearing a Swatch watch right now, so I'm not sure why you're lecturing / shilling / au contrairing.


John 1:58 PM  

O.K. Puzzle, seems like I did it yesterday.

Im a huge Rockford fan.

That movie ( 1988 D.O.A ) didn't hold a candle to the 1950 original.

My friend's son is severly addicted to online gaming. Once she tried to wrest the keyboard from him and he stabbed her with a fork! Such are the depths the truly addicted will go.

edith b 3:23 PM  

@joho & chefbea-

I had the flu since Friday and haven't posted since Saturday. I got my days confused and posted Monday, then erased because I thought I made a mistake and posted on Tuesday what I had originally posted on Monday and discovered from your posts that I had completely botched everything.

I think I'll take a deep breath, try and get my self re-oriented and start fresh again on Wednesday.
My apologies to those I confused.

chefbea 3:30 PM  

@Edith b Glad you are feeling better. Eat plenty of your red veggies and you'll be as good as new.

Doc John 3:33 PM  

Not much to add about the puzzle today except that IRISH reminded me of this (paraphrased) scene from Blazing Saddles:
"Everybody but the Irish."
"OK, the Irish, too."

To the people yesterday who were encouraging me to try borscht: when I was a kid, my elderly Orthodox Jewish grandfather ate it and I thought it was the grossest thing ever. It's been a long time and I still can't get that impression out of my head. I'll make an effort to try it next time I go to my favorite deli here in San Diego. (Do you know which one, jae? *wink*)

As for gaming, when Roller Coaster Tycoon came out, I was all over it. When I realized that I'd played it for 8 hours straight, though, I knew that had to stop. So when Howard bought me the latest version, he couldn't understand why I wouldn't even install it!

Noam D. Elkies 3:35 PM  

@Karen ftC: thanks for looking up PXs. Did any of Ulrich's other suggestions (FXs, VXs, etc.) ever appear?

@Bob K: It's easy to construct sentences where "for you and I" is correct, rather than a hypercorrection, as in "Let's switch to a station with better grammar, for you and I both know the Doors got it wrong" (using "for" in its "because" meaning), or "he has eyes for you and I have eyes for your sister" (so "for" applies to "you" but not "I"). I don't know from song lyrics, but Google turns up a song "For You" with the line "I'm for you and I'm dying for your love", which is my second approach give or take a contraction; and "And I, I am for you / And I, I will love you" ("I Am For You").


des 3:47 PM  

I'm not sure why you are so upset about the NY Times centric headline. Since this is Tuesday, the 21st, the anniversary today is of the headline (the day after) as well as the words they left on the moon. Makes sense to me.

I was also suprised that you didn't complain about the NY centric GOTTI clue (not hard for those of us in the metro area, but elsewhere?)

Speaking of missing terms, what do we call the phenomena of never having even seen the clue or the answer until you describe it? Your discussion of DOORS brings that to mind since this is one of those that I obviously got completely from the crosses and never even read.

joho 4:11 PM  

@edith b ... sorry to hear you've got the flu ... hopefully not the swine kind! Feel better soon.

Charles Bogle 4:33 PM  

Thanks for the apt write-up and great links @RP

Agree also w @treedweller, @hobbyist, @twoponies

Yesterday's LA Times moon theme puzzle struck me as livelier and better thought-through--but no real beefs here

Didn't know TILDE, ESNE, EDINO-hope I remember when next I see them

I never studied Latin, but have 30 years as a litigator. Always thought "it necessarily follows that" was best translation of AFORTIORI...but, as we lawyers also like to say, probably "a distinction without a difference..."

foodie 4:47 PM  

First, sorry for misspelling PEACE in my previous post! Man, I need a new brain.

@Edith b, speaking of which, the flu really does a number on the brain, albeit temporarily. I mean really, but I will spare you the details : ) Get well soon!

@Doc John, I'm kinda with you about borscht...

As a child, having to eat something that did not appeal was my biggest torture. So, when my kids were little, I vowed never to force them to eat anything they didn't feel like eating (cheese for one, tomatoes for the other, and mayonnaise for both). I've never regretted it. They outgrew most of it (except the mayonnaise, which you can certainly do without).

@XMAN, at one point, I think someone from EDINA (had her home town in her nom de blog) used to post regularly, and I think Orange called her Crossword Royalty... It helped me today...

Oh yeah, I believe it was "cinedina" and I think Orange parsed it as C in Edina. Am I remembering this correctly? Please someone say yes, so I feel better about my brain.

(Rex, your experience today just happened to me-- I was sure I could not recall the whole name, and then just as I went to preview, cinedina popped in my mind).

fergus 5:00 PM  

Choosing SONIA rather than HENIE messed up my grid. My Bacchanal was first a RAVE, then a Rage, and then properly an ORGY. Slips and SKIPS made this more difficult than Easy for me.

The Brits spell LOATH without the A, which is the one occasion where they're more economical with letters.

Ruth 5:01 PM  

Bob K, are you referencing "Jeannine, my queen of lilac time?" (I listened to a lot of Mitch Miller records when I was a kid.)

Karen from the Cape 5:02 PM  

@Noam: PXS and RXS were both used about four times over the past 12 years. No FXS, VXS or DXS. MXS was one lonely time in 1997. EXS has been used five times, but always with the same clue: "All my ___ live in Texas"

joho 5:07 PM  

@foodie ... if only my brain worked as brilliantly as yours!

About getting the answer you just couldn't remember ... I think it's because you stopped trying so hard to get it. The more you try, the more you blank. It's like creativity, too. The harder one tries to be creative, the less one is. It just doesn't work the way. So, I think when you move on from a problem, you give yourself the ability to relax and remember or come up with something new.

And to you and @Doc John ... I had a horrible beet experience as a child and will never eat them again, be it as borscht, roasted or hidden in chocolate cake. Well, maybe that would fake me out.

fergus 5:21 PM  

DOPAMINE and TALK BACK were the keenest entries of the day. A while back, someone would construct an image of the haphazard scene, verbally. I also loved Emily's crossword drawings.

Clark 5:25 PM  

@Hudson Hawk -- I have also been a bit of a gamer when with the nephews. I have disappeared for a couple of days at a time into World of Warcraft. Scary fun. Best time was when I got trapped in a cave surrounded by, what are they, Kobalds or something -- some kind of cave demon. Whenever I would hit reset and go back into my dead body they would just kill me again. One of my nephews came to the rescue, entered the game from another computer as some incredibly powerful fairy creature, travelled to the site of my troubles, and kicked the you know what out of those nasty creatures. When I head home the game doesn’t come with me.

@Bastad, chefbea, Rex -- My favorite watch is a Swatch that commemorates the time an ELAL security guy who was new to the job thought I fit some terrorist profile. They worked me over for more than two hours before finally clearing me and letting me board the plane at the very last minute. Because I kept my good humor throughout, I guess, they gave me a coupon for duty free with which I bought the Swatch. My Israeli friends (who were unavailable to confirm that I was in fact coming to visit them) said that ELAL security giving out coupons was completely unheard of. Sometimes a bit of plain old midwestern nice is just what is needed.

fergus 5:56 PM  

My impressions as a nine year-old at Expo 67 in Montreal were that I believed in a fantastic future, and I remain credulous now. Habitat apartments never became commonplace, however.

And the world hasn't advanced that much since then, except for mobile phones and available satellite weather maps. (Op. cit. lunar)

The Museum of Science and Industry, visited many times in my youth in Chicago played a huge role in my optimistic outlook.

Not dashed as yet, but confounded.

SethG 6:04 PM  

Not sure why they don't clue UPA as the Ultimate Players Association?

There's an ultimate team at Edina High School, but next year I'll be helping out the math team instead. As far as I know, CinEdina's son has no interest in joining either team.

Lisa in Kingston 6:33 PM  

@Foodie, I have a similar recollection of C in Edina.

Ulrich 6:40 PM  

Those cheater squares sure look ugly in the puzzle--but if we accept the theme, I think we have to accept them a posteriori...

@NDE: How did you find out that ret_chem was my Doppelgänger?

@Bob K: I definitely feel your pain--perhaps we have some Doppelgänger thing going, too...but that's strictly between you and me.

Soul Solver 6:42 PM  

I didn't notice a mention of it yet so let me just say that "For All Mankind" featuring rare NASA footage of the moon mission is an awesome movie. It ran at the now defunct UC Theater in Berkeley about twenty years ago and I went two nights in a row. Thrilling.. but especially on the big screen.

mac 7:00 PM  

@foodie: when you google Cinedina, you get some information on a studio, and then Rex's blog site where she commented and there were 120 comments! It's sometime in February of this year.

hazel 7:11 PM  

@mac - we were just at Pere Lachaise cemetery - Jim Morrison's grave was notable not for the fresh flowers, but for the armed guard and other "tokens" of affection. The cemetery itself was fascinating - lots of fresh flowers in the most unlikely places. To me, the most interesting grave we saw was Oscar Wilde's - which had a pretty cool Art Deco sculpture, absolutely covered with kisses.

Otherwise, v. much liked the sentiment of the puzzle. If only we could all have such a perspective, being able to look down on our world - see it as a tiny little ball and believe it possible that everyone living on that tiny little ball could stand as one in peace for all mankind.

fergus 7:39 PM  

The same sentiment at Pere LaChaise almost 30 years ago. But that was Christmastime in 1979, where I, and a high school friend, were already feeling old.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:41 PM  

@Noam D. Elkies, Ruth, and Ulrich -

The song I had in mind is "True Love", with the lyric, "For you and I have a guardian angel . . .", which falls into NDE's first category of "for = because".

I found the lyrics of "Lilac Time", Ruth's suggestion, a bit more difficult to parse, but I think the meaning there is the same.

In any case, here is True Love performed by Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly. If any of you young-uns watch, be patient - the clip is five and a half minutes long, and the singing only starts after three minutes

Two Ponies 7:44 PM  

@ hazel, Glad you concur with my 12:55 post. What was funny to me was where most those kisses were planted on Oscar Wilde's elaborate memorial. No guards at JM's when I was there.

hazel 7:56 PM  

@Two Ponies - I don't know how, but I actually missed your post!! Maybe I read it subconsciously... I got sort of distracted while I was reading through the comments.

Not only were the location of the Wilde kisses funny, but the staid guy on the gravestone right next to Wilde's also had 2 kisses - one on his forehead, and the other on his cheek - got a good photograph of it.

fergus 7:57 PM  

It was desperately cold that Xmas day in 1979 in Paris, but even with offensive tombstones, stars came out.

See y'all at Highgate.

Two Ponies 8:17 PM  

@ hazel and fergus, Pere Lachaise obviously was memorable to all of us. So many famous names there and wonderful tombs with names I did not recognize. Someone had a statue of Sisyphus complete with birds plucking out his liver (or whatever they were doing). I also saw stonecutters etching names into tombstones of the newly buried. I think I spent a full afternoon there. For anyone traveling to Paris I call it a must-see. Authors, composers, philosophers, artists... the place has it all.
Too many and out, sorry.

mac 8:25 PM  

@Hazel and Two Ponies: you both seem to be interested in Oscar Wilde - so am I. I lived in London when the Oscar Wilde memorial sculpture by Maggi Hambling was placed next to the Church of St. Martin in the Fields, home of many beautiful recordings, just off Travalgar square. Do try to see it when you go to London.

fergus 8:50 PM  

Oscar Wilde, celebrated in the original Soho? (No odd capitalization required.)

I'll resist from commenting.

(I know that his remains lie in Paris. And John Keats and Karl Marx lie in the same place in north London?)

fergus 9:36 PM  

Tuesday commentary gone awry, I notice. Sorry Rex for any inappropriateness. (A Dactyl, n'est-ce pas, in a nine syllable word?)

Thanks for your refresher mechanical poem lesson yesterday -- whenever any dickhead spouts about pentameter, he may know that there's an authority that may swoop down and prey upon him.

Noam D. Elkies 9:38 PM  

@Karen — thx for the further info re ?XS.

@Ulrich — sorry, not sure how that happened...

(but no link to Schubert's Der Doppelgänger?)


Two Ponies 11:03 PM  

@mac, You are so right. I also lived in London for a while and Bath for longer. My London neighborhood was Belsize Park (up the hill from Camden and down the hill from Hampstead). Haverstock Arms was my local. Swiss Cottage was my Tube station.
Best time of my life. Thanks for reminding me.

CinEdina 11:07 PM  

Wow!! Just got back from a kid baseball game and saw the EDINA comments!

@Foodie and @Lisa in Kingston-- what great memories you both have! I am impressed! And @Mac- it was last winter when I posted here. Very resourceful Googling. I've since gone back to lurking- spring and summer are pretty hectic and I am usually schlepping kids around (in EDINA).

@SethG-- Yes, you are correct. The school baseball team won out over the ultimate team- maybe in college. No interest in the math team.

Same son loves video games, including Halo, but he is usually too busy to get sucked in by them. There was a time when I became somewhat addicted to the Mario games . . . . Agree that they are a rabbit hole.

I wish I still had my Swatch watch.

@Rex- Excellent write-up, as usual. Loved the SUCK IT, RUSSIA message. I'm wondering if you are a Kathy Griffin fan.

Puzzle was ok- did get a bit tripped up in the SE with DOORS, ANDOR, etc.


fergus 11:49 PM  

My London location was Maida Vale, Warwick Avenue tube stop on the Bakerloo, change at Oxford Circus to get to the City on the red line. London is so much more cool than when I was a mere sprout inveighing against the wickedness. And this was back in the spring of 1989, when I had the temerity to shine on a well-paying job.

Lisa in Kingston 11:59 PM  

I, too had a Swatch watch, many years ago. But after the band hardened up and the battery would not stay dry no matter how new the o-ring...it was time for it to go keep time in some other world.

acme 1:01 AM  

20 years later, my sole memory of Pere LaChaise was looking for a place to throw up...in 100 degree heat, sort of on a date. A good time was not had by all.

And on that anti-culinary note, they are repeating the Food Network Dinner Impossible Crossword Crisis show wed night!

Welcome back CinEdina!

Lisa in Kingston 1:22 AM  

@acme, Pere LaChaise, what a lovely place to be sick! Having had a similar malady, wish I could say the same!

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