First senator in space — THURSDAY, Jul. 9 2009 — Joe Friday's employer for short / Cap'n's underling / Two-time Banderas role / Bogota bears

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Constructor: Ashish Vengsarkar

Relative difficulty: Easy-Challenging (New Rating: I just made it up)

THEME: Reverse Cryptic Anagrams — Theme answers are really the clues in this one: familiar phrases that signal (cryptic crossword style, via their second word) an anagram of the initial word in the phrase (that anagrammed word is the all-caps letter you see in the clues). If you're still confused, see "Theme Answers," below.

Word of the Day: CERN (58A: World's largest particle physics lab) — The European Organization for Nuclear Research (French: Organisation Européenne pour la Recherche Nucléaire), known as CERN (see Naming), pronounced /ˈsɜrn/ (French pronunciation: [sɛʀn]), is the world's largest particle physics laboratory, situated in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco-Swiss border, established in 1954.[1] The organization has twenty European member states, and is currently the workplace of approximately 2,600 full-time employees, as well as some 7,931 scientists and engineers (representing 580 universities and research facilities and 80 nationalities).


The World Wide Web began as a CERN project called ENQUIRE, initiated by Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 and Robert Cailliau in 1990 [3]. (wikipedia)

A breath of fresh air today — for the most part. Sailed through this, admiring lots of clever clues and interesting answers along the way. The theme was almost instantly obvious to me, and those answers were among the easiest to fill in (especially considering the anagrammed word was always the first word in the phrase). Would have liked a slightly greater overall challenge on my Thursday, but the smoothness and wit of the puzzle took away any disappointment I might have felt. But one problem, and it's kind of a biggie. The PAGET / GARN crossing is the closest thing to a quintessential violation of the NATICK PRINCIPLE that I have seen since I coined that phrase. Again, this does not mean it was impossible. Clearly some people know GARN (8D: First senator in space), some know PAGET (6A: Debra of "The Ten Commandments), and some even know both. But I am telling you right now, if it was a flat-out, blind, shot-in-the-dark guess for me (and it was), then that crossing is going to crush tons of people today. That "G" isn't intuitable in any way except that of all the letters that could go there, "G" makes 6A (PAGET) most name-like. I know a PIAGET, and that is the ONLY reason I guessed "G." GARN looks and sounds wholly made-up. Different people have their blind spots, yadda yadda yadda, but crossing not-exceedingly-well-known people like this at a letter that's not inferrable is just Bad Form. There can be no "aha moment." Just a SHRUG (18A: [I don't care]) and a guess.

Theme answers:

  • 19A: TROT? (TORT reform) — TORT has been "reformed" to make TROT
  • 21A: HATER? (HEART transplant) — letters of HEART have been "transplanted" to make HATER
  • 36A: RIFTS? (FIRST amendment) — FIRST has been "amended" to get RIFTS
  • 52A: GATES? (STAGE adaptation) — STAGE has been "adapted" to make GATES
  • 56A: HOSE? (SHOE repair) — SHOE has been "repaired" to create HOSE ("repair" is kind of a stretch here as an anagram indicator, but you gotta love the foot-oriented pairing of HOSE and SHOE)

Love how fresh, colloquial, and slangy the puzzle is. Felt very contemporary — a living, breathing thing and not a slog through the language graveyard. I got RICAN easily but don't know that I've heard it as a self-standing word before (39A: San Juan native, slangily). Rhymes with REEKIN', so can't see how that's good. I have a friend from PR; I'll have to ask her what's up with that. Like INK at 43A: Tattoo, in slang, and I even kind of like the partial "A PIP" just 'cause of the way it's clued (55D: "You're _____, ya know that?": Archie Bunker), even though having A PIP very near A POP (53D: Each) is a little ridiculous. Words I love most in this puzzle are TORPOR (10D: Lethargy) and PHISH (63A: Attempt some Internet fraud). The former is a familiar summer feeling, and the latter is fantastic contemporary coinage (and a tedious - to my ears - jam band).


  • 11A: Joe Friday's employer, for short (LAPD) — it's Joe Friday's week this week ... and not even Friday yet. Place bets now on whether he's mentioned in tomorrow's puzzle.
  • 17A: Bogotá bears (osos) — Gabriel Garcia Marquez is from Colombia. I learned that yesterday. Reading 100 Years of Solitude because it's my good friend's favorite book. That is all.
  • 44A: Mother, in British dialect (mam) — wow, really. Is that pronounced like any of the following: MA'AM, MOM, MUM?
  • 59A: Two-time Banderas role (Zorro) — forgot there were two of these. I read "Zorro" (Dynamite Comics), so this was easy. Bruce Wayne's parents are killed just after the family has emerged from a screening of a "Zorro" movie (actually, as is common in comics, this event plays out somewhat differently in different retellings).
  • 28D: Cap'n's underling (Bos'n) — a word I learned from Shakespeare's "The Tempest" and never, ever forgot. 11th grade English. Mr. Berglund could teach the hell out of a Shakespeare play.
  • 30D: Racket makers? (tennis pros) — none of the ones I knew growing up actually *made* rackets. They strung them ...
  • 34D: Stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway (Omsk) — one of my favorite crossword cities.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Anonymous 8:13 AM  

Great puzzle, and not to hard for a Thursday. Sorry but no Natick for me at the Garn ,Paget crossing. The only pause I had was mam, had heard of mensch but did look it up to see if the meaning was correct. Golfballman

treedweller 8:20 AM  

You hit all my complaints today. The G was a google for me, because I couldn't even come up with a plausible-sounding guess. CERN was a mystery, and, well SCI? Really? Do they come into work and say, "Hey, let's do a little Botany today?" Or, "Maybe today we'll do some chemistry?" I suspect not. I suspect every day they do a very specific kind of SCIence, namely physics. Crossed with SDI, a physics-based scientific program, dERN made much more sense to me than CERN. And I will add nothing to your comment on MAM.

But, though I doubt if any tennis players ever made a racquet (maybe the very first . . .), several do make a racket when they play.

I'm lukewarm on this one.

Jeffrey 8:33 AM  

Just the facts, MAM.

16X15 was one letter too many for me. I tried PALET/LARN but it was just close my eyes and type a letter. Nothing you can do. Can we ban all mentions of US senators?

Overall a good puzzle. SHRUG.

Brendan Emmett Quigley 8:48 AM  

GARN is almost but not quite at the level of other crosswordese celebs, so no Natick here. Never really had the opportunity to thank you for having a Principle named after my work. In my mind I always see that as "BEQ's Natick Principle," but that's just me cuz I'm a narcissist.

Nice work Ashish. Keep it up.

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

What is a natick principle?

joho 9:00 AM  

@anon 8:49 ... look to the right under "Important Posts">>>>>>>

I absolutely LOVED this puzzle even though I had bERN not CERN. I was thinking a Swiss city made sense. I also wondered if this is the place that was fictionalized in "Angels and Demons" or was it "The DaVinci Code?"

The cluing was clever: Cold shower? Racket makers? Store that hard to find? Z producer ... who else wanted snore here?

Great words in the grid: PHISH, CRED, MENSCH, TORPOR and CASHEW!

Thank you Ashish for a terrific Thursday!

(Oh, Al Gore didn't invented The WWW?)

edith b 9:01 AM  

I remember when Sen. Jake Garn (R-Utah) went into space, the point was made that he was the first sitting member of Congress to go into space as John Glenn went up before he was elected to the House.

As a big fan of B-Movies on TV as a young girl, Debra Paget was a familiar face in western, gangster and pirate movies during the 40s and 50s. The Ten Commandments was the highlight of her career. I know my actors and actresses from TV as I dearly love old movies.

I had more trouble with this one than Rex as my cryptic puzzle skills are not guite up to snuff.

And Rican? One of my first teaching assignments in the NYC School System had a considerable number of Puerto Rican students who, I think, turned around a racial epithet and referred to themselves as Ricans perhaps to remove the sting of prejudice

dk 9:03 AM  

Lived across the street from Jack Webb's old house when I was in Grad school. He was also a consultant for the LAPD and a little to the right of Atilla the Hun.

Loved all the cold clues as it will be 98 here in The Land of Enchantment.

I am still not sure I get the cryptic, however I finished the puzzle.

Lovely wife is doing these on her own this week, so congrats if you got this one and Hi if you come here.

When I think of Banderas, I think of Shrek, hairballs and something cats sometimes do.

I stand corrected the mtn. we climbed yesterday is 12.5 k making it a tweener not a teener.

dk in abq.

Anon see important post for a description of natick, sorry if this is the billionth time for this: me type slow.

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

Got the anagram early, took a while for the REFORM/TRANSPLANT, concept to appear. Once it did, I thought this would have been a beautiful, and brutal, puzzle if the anagrams of TROT, HATER, etc were rebus-ized.
Still, excellent Thursday.

Denise 9:14 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle -- loved CASHEW's clue.

I have been trying to learn to do cryptics. A very nice man at the Brooklyn tournament gave me a lesson, and I have a friend who does them. But I didn't realize that there was always an anagram. That helps a lot.

Thanks, thanks every day.

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

I'm another who knew GARN and PAGET. Have to be old enuf to have had Paget-based fantasies.
NEVER saw the anagram stuff.

PlantieBea 9:33 AM  

What Rex said...I did get the lucky G in PAGET, but messed up with SDI/DERN in place of SCI/CERN. It took a long while to see the anagram, but once I figured out the theme, I quickly finished the puzzle.

I enjoyed this Ashish Vengsarkar!

HudsonHawk 9:36 AM  

Fun puzzle, Ashish! With the Trader Vic's clue, I was hoping Rex would supply a little Warren Zevon.

For 56A, I parsed the second part as RE-PAIR, so that the four letters were paired up differently. OK, it's a stretch, but it worked for me.

Rex Parker 9:39 AM  

I linked to the explanation of "Natick Principle" right there, there, right in the paragraph, there, where I talked about it. In the same sentence. There. Yes, there. That phrase that's in a slightly different color? That's a link. Internets!

And BEQ, re: GARN. Great, crosswordese I've never heard of. How does that happen? Cruciverb has nine examples, but only two NYT, and both of those were Sundays w/ very gettable "G" crosses (i.e. not PAGET). You and P.Berry together are responsible for a third of all GARNS perpetrated on the world (acc. to Cruciverb database). Congratulations?


JannieB 9:40 AM  

I loved this one - no problem with Paget & Garn. Thought it was all very fresh and clever. Lucky guess at Cern/Sci but the theme answers showed themselves early and helped me to a better-than-average time.

John 9:47 AM  

The puzzle was intriguing and enjoyable.

The theme, BFD!

poc 9:56 AM  

Very good puzzle, though I agree that SCI is weak. I can't believe people haven't heard of CERN, but I guess I hadn't heard of OTT, EFT or ARN before I started doing the NYT puzzle. Loved many of the clues (Cold Shower = REDNOSE!).

MAM is indeed a dialect form of MUM, the more usual British equivalent of the American MOM.

Nebraska Doug 9:59 AM  

It took me a long time to figure out the theme, but once I did, it all fell into place. The G in paget/garn was a guess for me, it was the only letter that sounded right. Cern was a gimme for me as I read lots of science for the layman type of magazines and books. Really enjoyed "no score" for "love all, say" that one has me for a long time.

fikink 10:03 AM  

Great puzzle, and enjoyed your write-up, Rex. The "G" in GARN was my last entry.
Happy to hear One Hundred Years of Solitude is still being passed around. I read it when my cat, MENSCH, was still with us. Nice Thursday morning memory.

retired_chemist 10:15 AM  

Good one, Ashish. I liked the theme – got it from HEART TRANSPLANT but then it was fun figuring out the second words of the theme answers. STAGE ADAPTATION was the only one that was a challenge. The others were just cute.

Overall, solid fill. Picked HERTZ to start @ 16A – easy to fix because the crosses were straightforward. Tried URSI @ 17A because it resembled both the Latin ursa and the Portuguese urso, even though I knew it was snarky as a Spanish plural. Also easily fixed.

LOVED 1D CASHEW (fun pun), 63A PHISH, 32A NO SCORE, 40A RED NOSE. Clues were slightly misdirecting and I smiled at each answer when I got it.

Had MUM at first for 44A – like others, still think it is the better answer. ULOHAS surely means “hello and goodbye” in some obscure language. Salve atque vale doesn’t fit.

Didn’t like the clue for 23A ERGS – no requirement that an erg be a burst. It’s just a very tiny amount of energy. Nice shout-out to physicists though, with that, 58A CERN, and 56D SCI (prefer PHY, as do others, which is all that CERN does AFAIK, but no….).

Ulrich 10:32 AM  

@anonymous at 9:27: I'm another geezer who remembers Debra Paget fondly, especially when she played an Indian with shoe polish on her lovely puss.

I also was intrigued by the puzzle--solved it bottom-up and got held up at the top when my first guess for the HATER anagram was EARTH. TRANSPLANT finally made me see my errant ways--BTW this word has 10 letters only 2 of which are vowels!

@Denise: There isn't always an anagram in a cryptic. But when there is one, it's obliquely hinted at like in the theme answers of today. One of the tricks in doing cryptics is to recognize these anagram hints (I'm still learning).

slypett 10:33 AM  

At first, blank terror: first pass hardly touched the grid and utterly flummoxed by theme clues, I considered throwing in the do rag. But, MENSCHik as I am, I persevered. The details of the struggle are not worth mentioning; the ending was happy.

A lovely puzzle.

DJG 10:52 AM  

I guessed 'C' as my Natick letter, because I once knew somebody with the surname Carns and Carn is close to that, oh well.

Very good puzzle though, I really enjoyed it. Almost great, but not quite. The Natick, three partial 'A' entires and a bit too many abbrv.'s bring it down just a notch.

Also, how are TENNISPROS "racket makers"? I get the tennis-racket pun, but are tennis pros just racket users?

archaeoprof 10:57 AM  

Love your rating for this one, Rex.

Didn't see the theme for awhile. Even wondered if it was a rebus. Then the lights came on.

My last letter was the N in NISSAN. "Z producer" had me totally stumped. Actually had to go through the alphabet. Got to N and laughed out loud.

Great job, Ashish.

Two Ponies 10:57 AM  

I was a victim of the Paget/Garn crossing but I threw it off with a Shrug because there was so much to love about this puzzle.
Shoe repair was my link to the theme answers. As they floated to the surface I really had to smile.
Loved all of the "?" clues.
Perfect for a Thursday.
I seem to remember having a lot of fun the last time Ashish gave us a puzzle.
Nice observation, Ulrich, re: transplant. It cannot be easy working a word like that into a puzzle (like I've ever tried? Not.)
I have never heard a Brit say Mam. Mum? Yes, all of the time.

PanamaRed 11:09 AM  

I was 15 when The Ten Commandements was released, and I thought Debra Paget was hot, so I got that immediately.

Took me a while to get the gimmick, but everything went quickly when I did.

Fun Thursday.

Glitch 11:15 AM  

Interesting that BEQ felt GARN was just short of being a *crossword celeb* when most of those above solved via PAGET. Relatively few knew both.

Did anyone get the G off GARN alone?

For me, Debra PAGET, tho a bit before my time, clicked, yet GARN (Flew 1985) still rings no bells, even after googling.

My WTF WOD: MAM - *Used in place of mum or ma in Northumbrian dialects such as Geordie as well as throughout Ireland*.

But then that wouldn't be a problem for all the Northumbrians out there :-)


GenJoneser 11:23 AM  

@Glitch I got the G off Garn, but I'm a space nut.
Fun puzzle!

slypett 11:24 AM  

May I take exception to the deinition Of ERGS used in this puzzle? To my mind they are units of work, measurements, not "bursts of energy". Such a manifestation could result in work being accomplished (ergs expended?).

mac 11:35 AM  

Great puzzle, Ashish! Wish I had saved it up for a time of the day when I could have a good glass of red wine while solving it....

Somehow Paget rang a bell, though I haven't seen the film, but Garn is still a total unknown to me.

OOo, I only just now figured out the clink preceder. Does the C in CERN stand for Compagnie?

I got the trick with shoe repair, and had a lot of fun figuring the anagrams after that, and the transformation bit. First amendment is beautiful!

55A is surely the gentlest thing Archie Bunker ever said, I was sure it had to be pig at first. Cute to have the sneeze and the red nose close together. I think everybody got served by this puzzle, the oldies and the younger ones.

I've only seen this "mam" in Irish books, I think. The Rican was a guess, but not a tough one.
All in all really fun clues and interesting words.

retired_chemist 11:44 AM  

@ mac - CERN = Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (en français)

@ XMAN - right on re ERG.

Elaine 11:45 AM  

Fun puzzle! I had two theme answers filled in via crosses before I "got it;" then I sailed through the rest. (Don't do cryptics, but maybe I'll start...)

Dredged up PAGET from the back of my brain -- had NO IDEA about GARN. (Kept being annoyed that GLENN didn't fit...)

@mac: the "C" in CERN is for Conseil (council) -- the original name for the organization that established CERN was the European COUNCIL for Nuclear Research (in French, of course, but I can't type accents.)

Unknown 11:50 AM  

On Coronation Street, Gail calls her mother Mam. Since it has been on television, therefore it is correct. ;)
Just yesterday, husband and I were amusing ourselves with nut-related puns and totally cracked ourselves up with the atchoo/cashew one. I think we need to get out more.

Good puzzle, even though it naticked me.

Dough 11:54 AM  

I knew Debra Paget (great name). @Rex, I don't know if blogspot has a little survey applet, but it would be interesting on days like this to take a survey of who knew Paget, who knew Garn, who knew both, who knew neither. I was surprised at how many never heard of either, but then again, I often surprise myself at the stuff I'd never heard of.

JC66 12:03 PM  

Immediately knew PAGET, but when GLENn didn't fit had to wait for crosses to get GARN.

Also, originally wanted DATSUN for NISSAN (-:

gjelizabeth 12:03 PM  

Lovely, fun puzzle, although I wanted TRIAL for "Clink preceder". I was happy to see OATER as I remember a discussion a while back about it being stale. I encountered it a week or so ago in Gale Storm's obituary. She had been a star in B-movies, especially oaters (yes, the obituary used the term), before her move to TV in MY LITTLE MARGIE and THE GALE STORM SHOW. If it's in an obituary in a main stream newspaper I figure that's "in the language".
Loved CASHEW clue.
Loved everything.

bookmark 12:10 PM  

@XMAN: Loved your phrase "blank terror." This is exactly what I experience in most late-week puzzles.

Clark 12:15 PM  

I went to sleep last night with some blank spaces, including PA_ET/_ARN. But I woke up knowing that the guy in question was Jake GARN. Funny how that works. (@Glitch, put me in the got-it-off-GARN group.)

@treedweller -- SCI seemed to me to be too general to be right too, but then I figured, my Gracie is a ragdoll, is a cat, is a mammal, is a vertabrate, is an animal. Anything on that list is true of her, so why not say that SCI is the subject at CERN. It is Thursday after all.

@r_c -- compared to zero even a tiny bit of energy is a boost, it seemed to me, in my OK-it’s-Thursday mode. (Beautiful puppies, by the way. Congratulations.)

Ashish 12:22 PM  

Thanks for all the comments and feedback.

@NATICK: I could have removed that annoying guess (G) with PAW AT crossing WARN, and EMTS becoming AMTS. Didn’t like AMTS too much, and felt either PAGET or GARN would be familiar, hence made a conscious choice.

MAM: I wasn’t too happy about MAM, but I absolutely loved the rest of the fill around it (MENSCH, MAITAI, ALOHAS and PHISH) - so decided to keep this variant in.

@retired_chemist: I think my science/engineering background shows with CERN, SCI, ERGS (what's wrong with energy bursts? :-))

For those who love this anagram cluing game, here are a few theme entries that were left on the chopping block (number of letters in the answer in parenthesis): EMIT (12), TADA! (14), DOOM (12), TEAL (11).

Unknown 12:38 PM  

"AS ONE MAN"? what about the rest of us--you know, women? whats up with the gender specificity? other than that, good puzzle.

poc 12:38 PM  

@Glitch: re MAM, I can't categorically state that it's not used in some parts of Ireland but when I was growing up the preferred form was MAMMY, also MA. In fact there's song from my home town of Belfast entitled "I'll tell my Ma" (I'll tell my Ma when I go home / The boys won't leave the girls alone).

I do believe the Northumbria association though.

Two Ponies 12:57 PM  

@ Ashish, Thanks for dropping by!
I'll make a lame attempt at the clues left on the cutting room floor.
Emit - time shifters
Tada - data manipulate
Doom - mood altering
Teal - late edition
I'm sure others will do better than these but it's a fun game.
Thanks again.

Doug 1:01 PM  

Started on the bus ride home, finished on the bus ride in. I have to agree the new EASY-CHALLNEGING rating as it was a bit polarized, wasn't it? Certainly had LOTS of new fill.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:21 PM  

My nomination for a possible Natick goes to the crossing of 41 A, ENE, with 39 D, Rapper MC REN, since rapper names are not bound by usual rules of spelling or usage, and especially because I never heard of him/her. As for compass points, clearly the choices are limited, but the difference between NNE and ENE isn't so great.

Loved MAITAI lining up against ALOHAS.

slypett 1:26 PM  

Doesn't the crossing ISAAC Stern and MENSCH deserve a mention? If he ain't a MENSCH, the word has no meaning.

retired_chemist 1:39 PM  

@ Ashish - Do appreciate your dropping in.

No quibble with your qualifications of course. Still don't see what about ERG implies a burst or vice versa. I do have occasional (OK, maybe more than occasional) trouble with question marks in clues and maybe I am missing something that that is trying to tell me. Hate to ask you to explain your own clue - kinda like getting an artist to put a paragraph below his/her painting to explain what it is supposed to mean. So maybe someone else who gets it....

Anonymous 1:49 PM  

Berners-Lee and Cailliau?! I thougth Al Gore invented the world wide web?!

poc 1:57 PM  

@anonymous 1:49: That was the Internet, not the same thing.

BTW Al Gore in fact *did* have more of a hand in supporting the early Internet than many people realize.

Daniel Myers 2:23 PM  

Loved the puzzzle. But I suppose I should comment on all this to-do about "mam". It's - in my experience in the UK - baby talk, like "ma-ma" or "da-da".

Otherwise, it's what we - euphemistically - denominate substandard English over there. In other words, it's what Eliza Doolittle would have called her mother before she met Henry Higgins.

The word's so very prole, as, ahem, certain Brits would say.

Clark 2:25 PM  

@r_c -- (I got my boosts and bursts mixed up in my previous post.) Why is an ERG not a burst of energy? It's a little burst to be sure, but it seems to me that the unit names a discrete packet that can be thought of as a burst. Oh look, X ergs; oh look now, suddenly X + 1 ergs. How would that not be a burst? (Just trying to learn to live with those question marks.)

Anonymous 2:45 PM  

I too dispute the Natick citation here as it was so simple for me. Start writing in GLE(NN) (WTF) for 18D, fix the errors you discover with crosses, leave what you've no clue about, and you're left with PAGET & GARN! What's the big deal?

poc 3:04 PM  

@Daniel Myers: sorry, MAM is no more "baby talk" than MOM would be in the US. See for example

foodie 3:09 PM  

I loved this puzzle! It took me a while to figure out the theme, but then it all unfolded beautifully. Well, except that I couldn't remember Joe Friday's employer, and had NOFAT instead of LOFAT, NAP? was left staring me in the face...

I'm nerdy enough to have CERN on my bucket list. The sheer beauty and magnitude of the projects they do is amazing and I've always secretly wished I could have been a physicist. May be in the next life...

Ashish, the leftovers sound like fun! Can we hear what you had in mind? Like @two ponies, I was tempted to try my hand and independently came up with:

TEAL- LATE EDITION (like @two ponies)

Rex, I love the rating! I cannot tell you how often I have felt that way!

andrea omsk michaels 3:09 PM  

Loved the puzzle!!!!! LOVE Ashish!
Loved the whole CASHEW, SNEEZE, REDNOSE run (someone send him a Kleenex!)

Very smooth....which I was glad about bec I first started at 2 am when I should have been going to sleep...luckily it was the easiest Ashish (bless you) puzzle I've done.

APIP APOP would have gotten a minor battle from me were I collaborating...

Put me down in the Knew Garn, didn't know PaGet. Here is where a mini-one-letter malapop might have helped! Say you started to write Glenn before you realized it was wrong and then you accidentally left the G there!
Seriously, I think the G there triggered Garn from the recesses of my mind...certainly not from crosswords, but from real life.
that name JAKE GARN very odd and abrupt somehow. Didn't know about the space thing tho, just the name.

I thought the phrases (SIX!!!) were all very nice and smooth...the whole TORTREFORM, HEARTTRANSPLANT SHOEREPAIR (I know I'm just listing, but say them out loud and you can really appreciate this puzzle again and again.

@Bob Kerfuffle
E of REN my last fill too.
I swear to god, my geography is so bad and it was a clue about Minnesota! But I couldn't remember if Sioux Falls was North Dakota or Iowa!
SO I had RNN and thought maybe it was a rapper dressed up as a nurse. Sadly, I kid you not...

And again, it pays for me not to know SCI, so the ERG and CERN were right and gettable for me for the wrong reasons...

Very funny about Joe Friday week!
I loved Lynn Lempel's puzzle and commented too late to be seen maybe that the odd-man (um, person, @Melissa) out in that one was not Doris Day, but the fact that Joe Friday was fictitious when the others were all real. And I couldn't remember his real last name till dk's comment about Jack Webb!

(@dk the fact that you communicate with your lovely wife thru this blog intrigues me!)

And again, the Jewess in me will be happy that folks will learn that MENSCH is a good guy, not the opposite, which is what it sounds like.

TOAST to Ashish!

Daniel Myers 3:13 PM  

@poc: Sorry, but the OED begs to differ with you, and that "Where's me mam?" in your link is exactly the sort of prole babble to which I refer.

You simply don't say "me mam" when you go for a job interview in London, if you want to be taken on, that is.

ileen 3:20 PM  

I would have preferred PAGET Brewster as the answer (another actress-perhaps named for Debra?) since I didn't know GARN either.

I can almost picture Archie Bunker calling someone A PIP, but since meathead & dingbat were his insults of choice, that was tough even for a regular viewer of that show.

MeAndMeMAM 3:21 PM  

@Daniel Myers - Excuse F***in' me.

william e emba 3:29 PM  

Senator Jake GARN was not only famous for using his position to get onto the shuttle, he was famous for setting the record for spacesickness.

If you study in the least the background to the current economic crisis, GARN also comes up as a role model: he was coauthor of the bill that deregulated the S&L industry that led to its collapse.

Having gotten the CERN gimme, I was having great difficulty with the nearby "Z producer" clue.

Anne 3:30 PM  

It took awhile to see the theme as I was working around it and having some difficulty with the fill. But eventually I did see it and had a much easier time after that. Paget came out of the blue -I'm always surprised by the all the stuff I have stored away. I have never heard Ricans used - it seemed disrespectful somehow. Glad to know it's not. All in all, I loved this puzzle - it was difficult, fresh, and clever.

retired_erg_chemist 3:37 PM  

@ Clark et al. We are all ignoring the question mark, which says there is something not to be taken literally which I still don't get. I bet that's Ashish's point.

But OTOH, absent the "?", "burst" has to do with suddenness or explosiveness of a change, and the unit "erg" is just a quantity. One can certainly imagine a burst of energy amounting to one erg, but burst has to do with the suddenness of the change and erg has to do with the amount. Seem to be different units to me, like acceleration and velocity are vis-a-vis position.

I think I have now told you more than I know...

Clark 3:48 PM  

@r_c -- I took the question mark to signal the shift from the ERG as a quantity to the ERG as whatever it is you are waving me away from when you say it is 'just' a quantity. I guess that would be the ERG as something that really came in packets, as a quantum.

Glitch 4:06 PM  

Early exit polls seem to indicate Garn catching up to Paget (who had the early lead).

Long shot *both* showed more support than expected, while *neither's* low count was unexpected.

Based on the limited sampling, prediction is the Paget/Garn combo will be blackballed from Natick.


chefbea 4:17 PM  

Hi everyone. I'm back from North Carolina. Had a great time. Very hot and did very few puzzles and no computer around. Great Sunday puzzle thanks to Orange and also did the Lynn Lemple one.
When I went to print out todays puzzle from the Times Digest is was the Lemple puzzle again. Thanks to Orange for sending me the right one - which I found very challenging. Couldnt finnish til I came here.

Had Mum and Glenn

Ate lots of good fish down south and of course hush puppies and grits yummm

tekchic 4:19 PM  

Do you pros ever have a crossword where your brain seems to be out to lunch and not making the connection to the clues? That was me today, haha.

This one required much squinting and head scratching. But then again, I get pretty "puzzled" from Thursday forward. :)

Would love to see some polls for things like PAGET/GARN, (neither of which I got solo successfully today) haha!

Anonymous 4:38 PM  

@ Daniel Meyers, Some days you remind me of my neighbor's yippy terrier. You grab ahold of something like my pantleg and will NOT let go. It's OK to not have the last word, really it is.
Sqweek the anonymouse

Daniel Myers 4:53 PM  

@Anonymous--It's very difficult to explain the nuances of English class differences which are primarily manifested in language--intonation, inflexion, understatement etc. to many Americans. I was merely trying to elucidate - unsuccessfully, it would seem - not to have the last word merely to have the last word. And I did not intend to elicit the virulent response above. I consider myself to be on a probationary period in this blog as it is.

Oh, that's "Myers" not "Meyers":)

Chem_Prof 5:11 PM  

I took the ? as steering us away from the toddler-after-too-many-candy-bars type of energy burst.

While I get the quibble, I didn't have any trouble getting the answer so I can't complain too loudly. ;)

Would "Bursts of speed?" be an ok clue for MPH?

Must join the chorus of mild annoyance at SCI, though I suppose the handicap of knowing that's too general was balanced by having a leg up on CERN... :)

All in all, great fun.

mac 5:12 PM  

Gentlemen! (I think). I took the question mark in 23A to mean something tongue-in-cheek: bursts of energy is an expression, units of energy would have been boring crosswordese. I liked it! Have to admit that I don't know the ins and outs of ergs, have never even used the word except in the puzzles.

Ashish 5:31 PM  

@r_C: Nothing deep or insightful to add on Bursts of energy! The question mark to me suggests "play with the clue, will ya?" or "don't take the words literally".

@rex: Fair and balanced review. I would call NATICK as well if I didn't know PAGET and GARN.

@all: the CASHEW clue and the connection to the COLD theme was Will's handiwork. Also, I was proud of "Cold response?" for SNEEZE only to find out that it has been used before (Barry Silk). "Cold shower?" was a direct lift from the database (Nancy Salomon, my mentor). [After I had "Cold response?" for SNEEZE, how could I resist!].

Clues on the cutting floor:

TEAL = LATE EDITION was a standalone 11-er that was not matched.

DOOM = MOOD ALTERING was passable, I think.

But EMIT = TIME REVERSAL (for the sci-fi fans and physicists) and TADA = DATA CONVERSION (probably too engineering-specific) were not very good (IMHO).

fergus 5:41 PM  

Got GARN with the vestigial G, just like Acme.

Doing a few Cryptics recently probably helped a little bit, since I can now sniff out an Anagram indicator pretty swiftly. Except that such words such as bad and scrambled don't always yield one. But applying the indicators in reverse must have helped the letters drop.

While the ANAGRAMS themselves were kinda dull, the phrases were superb. I was just looking to see whether any of the Verticals were ripe for furthering the theme, but any ideas I've got would offend the five very smooth entries.

I would guess that most TENNIS PROS, the ones that have to give lessons not those competing at Wimbledon, have strung more rackets (raquets?) than you could shake a stick at. Unless there's a machine that does this now?

HudsonHawk 5:45 PM  

Ashish, I liked them all, even those on the cutting room floor.

Put me in the GARN first category, though PAGET seemed familiar to me also.

chefwen 5:54 PM  

Lived in Scotland for 5 years when I was a child and never called me mum MAM, it was always mum or mummy.

Didn't know PAGET or GARN and my last fill was the G, and, hanging head in shame, I googled it. Had shiver in before SNEEZE and a bum before A PIP. After fixing my goofs and getting the theme it all went down easily. A very fun puzzle!

Two Ponies 6:10 PM  

@ ashish, Well, I got half of them right!
As for the erg answer I'm with whoever said it was a playful clue because of the ? and that "burst of energy" is a common phrase. I liked the clue/answer but I'm a real fan of misdirection.
As a side note, I have a book of NYT puzzles collected from the 70's and I cannot believe how boring and straightforward the clues are. Nothing nearly as fun as the ones we are used to (today being a sterling example). My question to the veteran solvers out there is "Do we credit the clever word play on the current editor or is it just how puzzle solving has evolved?"

poc 6:41 PM  

@Daniel Myers: you said two things, a) that MAM is "baby talk", and b) that MAM is "prole". I was responding to the first, as is clear from reading my answer, and I maintain my position.

Regarding the second, I don't have the OED before me but I'd be unamused if it regarded "regional" as equivalent to "proletarian". Perhaps you could quote the relevant entry and settle the matter.

william e emba 6:45 PM  

My question to the veteran solvers out there is "Do we credit the clever word play on the current editor or is it just how puzzle solving has evolved?"

Both: Will Shortz was a major force in evolving puzzles to liveliness, contemporariness, and all-round ingenuity in his pre-NYT career at Games magazine, and as founder of the crossword tournament.

william e emba 6:47 PM  

I just posted to the Michael Jackson memorial puzzle comments page what I believe is the answer to the question of the previous fastest NYT memorial puzzle. My answer is a spoiler: the puzzle itself appeared on Sunday, Feb 9 2003.

allan 6:50 PM  

This puzzle was a breath of fresh air after the 3 breezes that preceded it this week. Put me in the knew Paget but not Garn column.

@ edith b: If you are in the mood, please email me with details about your NYC teaching experience. Worked there from '68 to 2001. Many years in Brooklyn, teaching in a very minority dominated neighborhood. Just wondering where you were when you were and for how long.

fergus 6:55 PM  

Maybe the 1970s were dull in the Clue department? However, I've been familiar with the NYT puzzle since 1980. Off and on spells of interest, in isolation or in haphazard team solving with housemates or work colleagues. (We had a nice five-person blog-equivalent going in the mid 80s -- amusing similarities and differences, if you care to ask.)

But I wouldn't really say that it's the cleverness of word play that has evolved. Maybe the sassiness has developed a bit, much the same way that the NYT isn't the old Gray Lady anymore either. That's my momentary two cents' worth.

fergus 7:10 PM  

Poc, I think Mr. Meyers is merely supplying a contemporary (yet perhaps outmoded) example of London snobbery toward those of northern extraction. One doesn't have to be in England for long to sense that speech is closely scrutinized for class distinction. And yet the intricacies of terms used and vowel sounds belie any simplistic signification. Initially I didn't like the MAM answer, but couldn't argue with dialect designation.

retired_chemist 7:27 PM  

I accept Ashish's exegesis of 23A - livable albeit without enthusiasm from me. As others said, the clue did not prevent finding the answer. Sure did NOT mean to make it today's cause célèbre. And thanks to Ashish for sticking with us - I really did enjoy the puzzle and the 23A question is a true nitpick.*

I look forward with enthusiasm to seeing more of Ashish's work.

*NITPICK AT can be rearranged to NATICK PIT.

PIX 7:28 PM  

@39A RICAN...sort of suprised it made it into the puzzle. I grew up in the Bronx when there was large immigrant population from Peurto Rico. If we ever called one of them a "Rican", that was basically saying "let's start a fight." There were of course other, even more insulting terms avialable in case you really felt like fighting, but "Rican" would have been a good place to start.

slypett 7:48 PM  

@PIX (being the last in line): I was going to stay out of the RICAN to-do, but duty calls. When I was head honcho of a messenger service in New York, the Puerto Rican office manager and the dispatcher and the messengers called themselves Ricans.

edith b 8:24 PM  


Bear in mind this was 30 years ago, but what I recall was some of the Puerto Ricans referred to themselves as Ricans and they did it among themselves, probably as a way to defuse it as an epithet. As you said, woe betide some other ethnic group using it to refer to them.

As a teacher I was, of course, on the outside looking in.

joho 8:24 PM  

@Two Ponies ... I give Will Shortz CRED for the newness and cleverness of the clues and answers. Of course, evolution would bring forth new words and such, but if we had an old school person in his position, it could be we'd all be writing in archaic and ARCANE answers today.

mac 8:30 PM  

@fergus: I have lived in London in the last decade, and visit several times a year, and it has surprised me how many TV presenters, newsreaders and other public personalities now often have very heavy dialects. I'm not sure about Irish, but Scottish, Welsh and Yorkshire(?) is very in. I discussed it with a friend who speaks very proper English, and she confirmed that it seemed to be a trend and helpful to get on in the media business.

I am pretty sure Roddy Doyle and Frank McCourt used the term "mam" but mostly it was "mammy".

PIX 8:37 PM  

@XMAN & EdithB: it was a word that they could use amongst themselves, but if a non-Peurto Rican used it, it was an insult. I am Italian; i can call fellow Italians a WOP but if a non-Italian calls me one, its an insult...

poc 8:42 PM  

@mac: regional accents in the media have been considered acceptable (even trendy) for some years, in contrast to the old "BBC English" standard. I seem to remember the term "Murphia" being used for the Irish, and "Taffia" for the Welsh :-)

Stan 8:54 PM  

@Glitch: I knew neither GARN nor PAGET. (And guessed G -- Yay for me)

@Dan M: "the sort of prole babble to which I refer" is a deliberately insulting phrase (at least to self-identified working-class people such as me). Therefore you received a negative response (not a 'virulent' one). Your own class background is (let me guess) not really up there with Prince Harry? The bloggers here are actually being very nice to you.

Hey, I'm a big fan of your posts and just suggesting that you edit yourself a little more when you get into an argumentative mindset.

HudsonHawk 9:25 PM  

@Stan, very well said.

fergus 9:27 PM  

Wooo -- as I said, Mr. Meyers seemed to be observing a linguistic bias in society, rather than advocating it. (He can speak for himself, of course, but Stan's comment might wind him up.)

The keen acceptance of regional accents killed off the plummy type that rarely be found nowadays, except in the odd Aussie outpost or excruciating anglophile American book group.

fergus 9:43 PM  

Lest English regional matters predominate, let us recall that Rex might wish that the discussion get back to the puzzle, or at least the history thereof.

JC66 9:58 PM  

@Two Ponies

I was turned on to the Times crossword puzzle over 40 years ago (Margaret Farrar editor) when a co-worker asked me "What's the longest river in the US?"

When I said Mississippi, she said "six letters."

For some reason, OLD MAN, popped into my mind.

I've been doing the puzzle every day since.

Daniel Myers 10:02 PM  

@all who directed comments at or regarding me----The OED defines MAM as a colloquial "infantine" word----As far as myself, I went to boarding school at Winchester (alma mater of Robyn Hitchcock as well Stan, 15 years preceding me) which no doubt gives all here the right to indulge in reverse snobbery and dub me "plummy".

The current cachet for regional dialects in the media excludes one - East End London, or Cockney, which I associate with the use of "MAM". I should probably have employed some Yank equivalent. It's more or less the equivalent of saying to your employer, "My maw...."

What a drubbing this plummy toff has taken today over three letters!



sanfranman59 10:14 PM  

This week's numbers ... the numbers in parentheses are the number of solvers.

Mon (all) 6:38 (879) prev 4 week avg: 6:51 (898)
Mon (Top 100) 3:24 prev 4 week avg: 3:43

Tue (all) 9:25 (848) prev 4 week avg: 8:32 (844)
Tue (Top 100) 4:50 prev 4 week avg: 4:21

Wed (all) 8:17 (795) prev 4 week avg: 13:58 (652)
Wed (Top 100) 4:26 prev 4 week avg: 6:19

Thu (all) 16:58 (611) prev 4 week avg: 16:33 (580)
Thu (Top 100) 7:46 prev 4 week avg: 8:01

This one was a somewhat easier than usual Thursday for the Top 100, but somewhat more challenging for the entire sample of online solvers (although there were more than the average number of solvers). I'm not sure what to make of that, but perhaps the larger group was Naticked by GARN/PAGET and/or CERN/SCI.

Steve in Boston 10:15 PM  

The spacebound senator's name reminded me of this "My Fair Lady" excerpt:

It's 'Aoooow' and 'GARN' that keep her in her place.
Not her wretched clothes and dirty face.
Why can't the English teach their children how to speak?
This verbal class distinction by now should be antique.
If you spoke as she does, sir, Instead of the way you do,
Why, you might be selling flowers, too.

More proof that everything I learned I learned from musicals. Seems appropriate with the MAM thread that's going on here, too.

Two Ponies 10:17 PM  

Thanks to all who have responded to my question. As I solve those 30 year old puzzles I truly appreciate the constructors and editors who give us such pleasure on a daiy basis.
If you are reading, Good night mum.

fergus 10:26 PM  

If only it were Mum, Cricket and Bakewell tart.

I jest, but the one thing that pisses me off about English culture is that there's an asymmetric allowance going on. Some insightful Americans can penetrate the linguistic and manner charade (with sufficient schooling, of course).

But please don't think of Madonna, give a pass to Gwyneth Paltrow, and remember Henry James and some wasteland poet guy.

Anonymous 10:21 PM  

I still don't get the "love all, say"
Could someone possibly explain?

Bob Kerfuffle 8:08 AM  

As Nebraska Doug said, "Really enjoyed "no score" for "love all, say" that one has me for a long time."

In other words, in a tennis match, as I understand it (not a player), "Love all" means both sides have a score of zero, or there is no score.

Bob Kerfuffle 8:09 AM  

Should have added, from memory so could be wrong, "love" comes from French "l'oeuf", or egg, standing for the zero.

Singer 12:36 PM  


I knew both, got it from Paget first, had to dredge a bit for Garn, but the "r" was the letter I had to yank from the deep recesses.


I knew the particle accelerator was in Switzerland, so Bern was a good guess, I thought. The down could be any abbreviation of a physics oriented activity, SBI = System BIoscience and Society for Breast Imaging. I had a "B" instead of a "C" until I came here. Otherwise, the puzzle was pretty easy once I got the trick, which came when I got TORT REFORM, so pretty early - by then I had both PAGET and GARN.

Didn't anyone else quibble with NO SCORE for 'love all, say?' I thought the answer there was a stretch. If I have no score to settle, it doesn't mean I love everyone, I just don't have a reason to pick a fight.

Singer 7:11 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle, should have complete aborbed your comment above before making mine regarding NO SCORE. Love all, in a tennis match is indeed NO SCORE. Thanks for the translation. I just didn't get it.

shrub5 6:15 PM  

Well, I have something a little different to add about the PAGET/GARN crossing. I remembered the name of the actress Debra Paget but could not remember how it was spelled. I eventually convinced myself to put a J instead of a G, because I thought Jarn sounded more likely than Garn.

Completed the puzzle with one Google: SAENS, and one map cheat: Sioux Falls/St. Paul locations (not my neck of the woods...)

Thank you Ashish for a very enjoyable puzzle. And Rex, I loved the Fish Police Opening Credits!

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