Bat used for fielding practice — WEDNESDAY, Jul. 15 2009 — Kingly title in Spanish Latin / Christogram part / Fandango offerings slangily

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Constructor: Joon Pahk

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: IT MAY BE TAKEN OUT (38A: Statement about 17-, 24-, 49- and 59-Across)

Word of the Day: ORIBI (51D: Graceful African antelope)
n., pl. oribi or -bis.

A small brownish African antelope (Ourebia ourebia) having long legs, short horns, and a short tail.

[Afrikaans, from Khoikhoin arab : ara, to provide with stripes + -b, masculine n. suff.] (

I am lukewarm on the idea of having instructions or directions as fill. Grids are for cool answers, not dull observations. That said, this idea is clever and the grid is very nicely filled. I'm more impressed by the overall quality of the grid than I am by the theme itself. My favorite part of the theme may be the (unintentional) bookends for the central answer in the west and east. IT MAY BE TAKEN OUT is a great answer to have running through AMIE (26D: French girlfriend), since it adds another dimension (you can take your girlfriend out). And on the other end of the grid, STET provides ironic counterpoint (37D: "Leave it in" mark). IT MAY BE TAKEN OUT ... but we're gonna leave it in.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Feeling of nonfulfillment (frustration)
  • 24A: Frequent home acquisition (mortgage)
  • 49A: Burgers and fries, often (fast food)
  • 59A: Item that may have a date stamp (library book) — my library copy of "The Way We Live Now" does not have a date stamp (just a receipt from self-checkout). It also doesn't have pages 47-78. And so my quest to read this book continues. I'm beginning to think "The Way We Read Now" is via Kindle. If I had one, I could have the entire novel in my eager hands, for free (public domain), in a matter of minutes. I know you can download books to certain cell phones and iPods, but a. I don't have one that's capable, and b. the phone I do have got Destroyed yesterday when I had a rather serious fall. Well, it felt serious. Ended up with no injuries ... except a phone-shaped bruise on my right thigh.

BOFF? I've heard of BOFFO to describe a big hit in Variety-speak, but I've never heard hit=BOFF. Ugly (1D: Big Broadway hit). EAST LYME felt very contrived (40D: Town near New London, Conn.) — is there any reason anyone outside the immediate area of EAST LYME should know about EAST LYME? Or New London, for that matter? A KEY is pretty bad as partials go (57D: "The House Without _____" (first Charlie Chan mystery)). I wonder if Joon will tell us why LIBRARY BOOK is the last and not the first theme answer in the grid. At quick glance, it appears the "Y" (in EAST LYME) and "K" (in "A KEY") would be easier to wrangle if LIBRARY BOOK were up top, but surely there were other factors I can't see right now.

Solved this puzzle in slightly odd fashion, as THE / X-FILES made me jump tracks, abandoning the east (where I hit the clue, 43A: With 45-Down, "Trust No One" series), for the south and southwest. I honestly don't remember any snags at all. There must have been hesitations or problems of some sort, but none stand out. The SE was probably the oddest part, but even that went down fast, I think. The element of the puzzle that took the longest to get was the central theme answers, actually. And a word about that — shouldn't the clue have an "or" in it instead of an "and?" I mean, if it's a statement about 17-, 24-, 49- *and* 59-Across, then wouldn't the "IT" in the answer be "THEY?" I think you need the "or" to make the singular pronoun in the answer work. I'm willing to hear rebuttals.


  • 16A: Brian who produced or co-produced seven U2 albums (Eno) — this guy has crazy, eternal crossword fame. This is one of the easier ways to clue him, though *any* time you looking at *anything* having to do with modern rock music in three letters, this guy should get first consideration. Assuming it's not ONO.
  • 42A: Hall-of-Fame QB/kicker George (Blanda) — just before my time. His name rang bells, even though I put in BLANCA at first.
  • 44A: Fandango offerings, slangily (tix) — forgot briefly what Fandango was. Then remembered really really really annoying pre-movie commercials for their service. Like that Fandango is in same puzzle with FUNGO (49D: Bat used for fielding practice).
  • 63A: Like 36 piano keys (ebony) — you may not remember that there used to be racial problems in America. It's true. Then one song put an end to all of that:

  • 64A: Original Thanksgiving fare (maize) — this word will forever remind me of an old margarine commercial from the 70s where some Native American woman, explaining the origins of corn oil says, of corn, "We call it 'maize'." Wonder if youtube can find it for me... man, it's like magic:

  • 67A: Kingly title in Spanish (El Rey) — "The King"; paired, interestingly, with 18D: Kingly title in Latin (Rex). P.S. if intersecting REX with HEX was some attempt to curse me, you should know that OBEAH gives me immunity to such things.
  • 4D: Violinist Heifetz (Jascha) — an unusual name to have appear in the puzzle twice in one week. Cool.
  • 8D: Christogram part (chi) — when candygrams just feel too secular: Christograms!
  • 13D: Robert who won a Tony for "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (Morse) — also won Tony for the much shorter (and far more crosswordtastic) "TRU."
  • 36D: Former baseball commissioner Bowie (Kuhn) — All-Star Game was last night. No idea who won. Don't care. Don't like it. Also, Home Run Derby = most pointless baseball-related event ever. But worse than the Derby itself was the breathless, earnest coverage it got on some sports shows. I'd rather watch those players pull tractors with their teeth or eat 50 hot dogs in ten minutes or something.
  • 39D: "Clear Light of Day" author Desai (Anita) — no idea who this is.
  • 48D: Like "Survivor" councils (Tribal) — that's where they vote people off. "The Tribe Has Spoken."
  • 61D: Uracil-containing molecule (RNA) — "uracil" should have been my word of the day, but the definition involves "pyrimidine," and then That would have had to have been word of the day, ad infinitum.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


retired_chemist 8:37 AM  

Nice one, Joon! Enjoyed the theme. Better clue for STENT (47A) than the last one I saw.

Good clues for BANJO (1A), HAL (30A), OCEAN (14A - was looking for a color), and HEX (23A). Kudos.

Not sure how NOIR (55D) is hard-boiled – expect it will soon be explained on this blog.

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

started with CATS for 1 down....

A pod of whales
A pride of lions
A plague of cats.

Denise 9:11 AM  

Eland, Okapi -- but Oribi? Didn't know.

Check out Turner Classic Movies for NOIR films with hard-boiled detectives and glamorous blonds.

Thanks for "Ebony & Ivory." Isn't Paul adorable?

Bob Kerfuffle 9:14 AM  

Might the (presumed) proximity of EASTLYME to Lyme, home (or at least namesake) of the dreaded Lyme disease, be enough to assign some notoriety?

PIX 9:16 AM  

Lot of science today!

@61D: uracil is found only in RNA not DNA (it replaces thymine which is only found in DNA, not RNA) so unlike usual cluing there was no DNA vs RNA ambiguity.

@65A: a cosine curve starts at one goes to minus 1 at PI and then back up to 1 at 2PI. Point is that a cosine has to be between one and minus one, which narrows your choices even if you don't remember anything else about cosines.

@50A: chloride and carbonate are ANIONS because they are negatively charged (positevly charged ones would be CATIONS).

fun puzzle.

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

George Blanda played for the Chicago Bears awhile back. And then went on to play for the Oakland Raiders ( I believe). At one time he held the record for the longest field goal kicked. think he played for years and years.

Doug 9:43 AM  

For some strange reason I gummed up the section with IVORY instead of EBONY. Otherwise, routine. Agree about the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby. Would rather watch a bad Triple-A game.

Kurt 9:52 AM  

Solid Wednesday fare, in my view. BANJO, BOFF, OCEAN & FETCHED slowed me up a bit. But otherwise it was smooth sailing.

I was craving MOBSTERS, SMELLY GARBAGE and CHINESE FOOD as additional theme answers, but I guess they'll have to wait for the sequel.

Great puzzle, Joon. Great write-up Rex.

ArtLvr 9:58 AM  

I enjoyed joon's puzzle and managed to finish with crosses, though there were several unknowns here for me -- FUNGO? Egads. Last week my son told me he had to buy a "vang" for his sailboat, and that's still a mystery too. Sounds like a fang for a vampire... Make a MENTAL NOTE, sports fans!

At least EAST LYME is familiar, as the Old Lyme area was a well-known art colony for a top group of American impressionist painters. Nice job, joon.


XMAN 9:58 AM  

@Will Shortz: It appears that BOFF could mean "Big Broadway hit" only by a very long extension. While "boffo" is an adjective derived from BOFF, that word is used only to denote a punch, e.g.--or a quickie.

@Rex: At first I thought to quibble your quibble, but then I had a quibble with that.

fikink 10:05 AM  

Enjoyed reading your assessment of this one, Rex. We often say "What you call MAIZE," to focus on a difference in perspective owing to that commercial.
@joon, a fine puzzle which I completed like one would paint - all over the canvas. The fill I did not know, I was able to weave into the puzzle with crosses - my favorite kind of solving.
@Bob Kerfuffle, I did not know that East Lyme gave its name to the disease. Interesting.

pednsg 10:06 AM  

Agree with all that's been said thus far, except for this being an easy puzzle. I managed to finish without errors, but I can't recall a Wed puzzle with so many blanks after an initial run-through.

Favorite clue was 6D - I initially thought it must have a laundry answer, but the "o" was the last letter to fall, after my "aha" moment with LOAD (don't think I've ever encountered OCHRE before - I think that's tasty stuff when deep-fried just right).

George Blanda was one of my idols growing up. For a time, he held the all-time NFL record for career points scored (maybe still does), and I don't recall any subsequent players with such dual roles.

The oleo commercial totally made my day. I remembered it like it was yesterday!

Fun puzzle - funner write-up!

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

Ugh--hate it when I have trouble and then see and "easy" rating. Never, ever heard of FUNGO. But then, I'd rather eat dirt than watch baseball.

joho 10:14 AM  

Years ago we named our company "Sassaby" which is another African antelope along with ORIBI, eland, dik dik, kudu, bongo, oryx, wildebeest, gnu and reebok, among others. Wonderful words.

I enjoyed this puzzle but it wasn't BOFFo to me. I was a little disappointed it missed being a pangram by Q, V, W once I saw all the other scrabbly letters. Still, a nice job, thanks, Joon.

Maybe somebody should work on creating an African antelope puzzle???

retired_chemist 10:19 AM  

@ fikink - I think Bob K. said Lyme itself was the eponym of Lyme disease. East Lyme is the eponym for East Lyme disease. :-)

Agree there is a lot of science today - but in general NOT of the sort only scientists have a crack at without crosses. That is kudosworthy. Some may not recall that 2π (radians) = 360 degrees, though.

PlantieBea 10:21 AM  

This was a difficult Wednesday for me. Many of the answers (BOFF, FUNGO, BLANDA, JASCHA, ORIBI, and more) came only slowly through the crosses. With answers like FRUSTRATION, MORTGAGE, FAST FOOD, LIBRARY BOOK, I figured the theme would be related to a RECESSION.

Loved seeing MRS. Dalloway which I read recently (really wonderful, complex, unique novel worth a reread for adults who only read such works in college classes), ANIONS (made complexed ZIRCONIUM ANIONS in graduate school), ONE for cosine of 2 pi, and the whole idea of LIBRARY BOOKS of which we have stacks and stacks.

So, thanks Joon Pahk for an interesting and challenging (for me :-) Wednesday workout.

tony 10:24 AM  

okay Wed., but my least favorite puzzle of this week; Mon and Tues were stellar. FRUSTRATION seems inconsistent. you take your frustration out *on* something. it's not something you take out, like a MORTGAGE or a LIBRARY BOOK

Campesite 10:25 AM  

Thanks for a really fun puzzle, Joon.
As an Oakland native, and a boy in the 70's, I was a huge Raider fan, and George Blanda was one of the biggest characters on a team full of them. He looked like an older version of my dad when he retired at the age of 48, and I'd held out hope that he was the grandfather I'd never met.

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

Really enjoyed this puzzle, Joon!

easylob 10:35 AM  

Very smooth wednesday puzzle, with colonel mustard in the middle! Thanks Joon Pahk.

Last night's game actually turned out to be a good one -- lots of confrontations between great pitchers and equally great hitters, which is what baseball is all about, IMHO.

fikink 10:42 AM  

@retired chemist, LOL, you are correct, sir!

I did not know that either.

(Also, I should have written, "I completed the puzzle 'AS' one would paint.)

Crosscan 10:56 AM  

One day Joon and I will live in puzzle harmony. That day has not yet come. It’s a fine puzzle; I just had extreme FRUSTRATION crying UNFAIR trying to solve it. Props for making ONE and THE seem like fresh lively fill.

Martin 10:58 AM  

In Retroworld, puzzles clue TMA as an actress in "GAUUACA."

PuzzleGirl 11:20 AM  

I really like this puzzle, although it was more of a medium for me (which is typical for a Joon puzzle). I got really slowed down in the SW where I initially had no fair for UNFAIR, never heard of FUNGO, and I thought the math was looking for something a little more ... interesting. PIX's comment completely cracked me up. There may have been no DNA/RNA ambiguity to you! And, yeah, narrowing down all the things I know about cosine was a chore. :-)

Love the clues for FETCHED and MENTAL NOTE, and Rex's commentary on EBONY.

dk 11:40 AM  

Liked the puzzle Joon. Thank you.

BOFF, one-a-cat (trace memory from earlier this week), FUNGO and take-out, reminded me of my days living in NYC and listening to NPR. At that time I had no FRUSTRATION with my MORTGAGE (short sale pending), had completed Organic Chemistry (shout out to ANION, Uracil and RNA), ESPN did not exist and the only MOE was a stooge.

Went to the midnight show of Harry Potter and saw about leventy bajillion ads for Fandango: I knew TIX.

MENTALNOTE: increases medication for REX as he is having paranoid HEX fantasies. Perhaps he is taking too much magic MAIZE.

I had HAIR for Broadway hit and heirs for handpicked making this a medium day for me.

Thanks again Joon, although this pandering to your reviewer has go to stop. REX, ELREY and a Simpson's clue.......;)

jeff in chicago 11:55 AM  

Like pednsg, my first run-through resulted in a very empty puzzle. But I adjusted my thinking cap and got it done, in a longer than average Wednedsay time.

For "friend of Falstaff" - at 3 letters - I wanted NYM. Loved that it's HAL, also known as Henry V, which is the name of the play I will be appearing in weekends in August in Evanston!!! (yes...more shameless plugs. E-mail me for info. It's free!!) It's sure to be BOFF! (ugh)

BANJO is also a character, based on Harpo Marx, in "The Man Who Came to Dinner." I got to play him about 4 years ago. Much fun.

Really liked the clues for HEX and LOAD. MUSTARD crossing FASTFOOD - now I want a hotdog...

Greene 12:23 PM  

@XMAN: I agree with you about BOFF. As near as I can tell BOFFO is a showbiz adjective coined by writers at Variety to denote a money-making, lines-around-the-corner theatrical smasheroo. Etymology is probably a play on the words box office (although not all agree with this derivation). BOFF, on the other hand, is a transitive verb which indicates a fairly anonymous, pants-around-the-ankles, quickie.

I don't claim that BOFF has never been used to describe a hit show, but I sure can't place it that way and I've looked in 3 dictionaries this morning.

Love that Robert MORSE is referenced in the puzzle. How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying always does Boffo at the box office. Morse's turn as Truman Capote in TRU (1989) on Broadway is a highly cherished memory. His portrayal was so spot-on, bitchy, and hillarious that he might as well have been Capote. In my view, far better than recent portrayals by Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote) or Toby Jones (Infamous). You can currently catch Morse on the hit TV series Mad Men where he plays Bertram Cooper, the eccentric boss of the ad agency Sterling Cooper. This is one of the finest shows on television and is not to be missed. Season 2 is now out on DVD if you need to catch up.

@Jeff in Chicago: I can totally see you as Banjo. Bet you chewed up quite a bit of scenerey in that part. What did 'ya do for the first 2 acts?

Anonymous 12:26 PM  

I put RUM in as the word. I then put in GANJA in as the thing that's handpicked. I then thought, "Something seems very, very wrong here."

Fixed the mistakes eventually. Good puzzle. Dumb solver.

Next time around, I'll try not to complete the puzzle while drunk and stoned.

poc 12:28 PM  

Can someone explain TIX?

mac 12:53 PM  

Nice puzzle from the Westport champ!
Considering I learned a lot of new words and names today (boff, Blanda, Kuhn, anion, fungo and Szyslack) I call it a medium, although I finished with just one mistake, an E instead of an I in Nia/Anion.

Loved the clue for "load", had okapi for a bit, and wondered about unpeg. How do we feel about unpeg?

I have the "Mrs. Dalloway" movie with Vanessa Redgrave, it's beautiful.

Karen from the Cape 1:02 PM  

I'm calling it medium-challenging for a Wednesday, never knew FUNGO, BOFF, BLANDA, didn't know MORSE or CHI. I had big problems remembering MELINDA's name, even though they refer to it every so often on NPR. Strangely I did know the ORIBI.

New London is also known in the NE for the ferry to eastern Long Island. I stayed in East Lyme last year before the Westport crossword tournament. It's near Mystic CT, famous for sea history and a nice aquarium.

fikink 1:10 PM  

Mystic, Connecticut is also famous for having hamburger all over the highway in an FST offering.

George NYC 1:20 PM  

New London / Lyme / East Lyme are well known to anyone who takes Amtrak north from NYC area, or drives the dread Interstate 95 there. New London, aside from the ferry, has a major bridge with a nice view of the former nuclear sub facility in neighboring Groton. There is also a drawbridige as you pass through the Lymes.

mac 1:29 PM  

Today would be a perfect day for a visit to Lyme and Mystic, not too hot, a nice breeze, and maybe a clam roll for lunch.... I remember sitting in the cafeteria and hearing the seagulls dropping clams on the roof to break them open.

chefbea 1:41 PM  

Great puzzle Joon. Never heard of fungo and thought that would be the word of the day.

Loved case of bad spelling

Yummm clam roll

sanfranman59 1:56 PM  

@poc: TIX = short-hand for tickets. For a fee, Fandango allows you to avoid lines at the movie theater by purchasing tickets ahead of time and either printing them at home or picking them up at special kiosks at the theater.

George Blanda trivia: inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981; holds a number of all-time NFL records, including most seasons played (26), most point-after-touchdowns (PATs) converted (943) and attempted (959), most interceptions in a season (42) and oldest player (48 years, 109 days). He was the first player to score 2,000 points in his career and held the career record for points (2,002) when he retired in 1975. That record stood until it was surpassed by Gary Anderson in 2000 (Morten Andersen also surpassed Blanda's record in 2001 and is the current record-holder).

So far, today's solve times suggest that the puzzle is in the medium-challenging range for a Wednesday. The Top 100 median solve time stands at 6:48 (previous 5-week average = 6:19). Today's median for all online solvers is 13:42 (previous 5-wk avg = 12:50).

Anonymous 1:58 PM  

Who cares what you think about the All-Star Game? Keep to the crosswords - you're pretty good at that.

Lawrence 1:59 PM  

@poc said...
Can someone explain TIX?
12:28 PM

So you don't have to wait any longer:

TIX == tickets, which Fandango sells online.

Lurking Larry

Frances SC 2:00 PM  

The one that really made me smile was D24 Colonel MUSTARD, since the game of Clue is a favorite with my grandson. I also liked "The word" being MUM. I never heard of a FUNGO, so a new word into my mental notes.

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

Tried like hell to get CATS or AIDA at 1D. This puzzle was at least a medium for me, the NW didnt fall easily.
I've played plenty of Little League/American Legion/High School baseball so FUNGO was a gimme. But, I could see if you never played the game on an organized level you would never have heard of it.
Als, had GETOUT for awhile at 32A and BLACK for 63A, my 2 writeovers.

Thanks Joon for a very enjoyable puzzle. Now I feel lke I have to take something out, like my wife to dinner :)

Charles Bogle 2:17 PM  

I also liked MAIZE; FUNGO

Had lots of trouble (frustration) w the NW corner/ BOFF? BANJO too cleverly clued for me OK but a Wed step backward personally Wait until next week

chefwen 2:25 PM  

I'm in the medium/challenging camp.
Very slow start for me, had Melissa for MELINDA, no fair for UNFAIR and aggies for AGATES. Finally fixed it all but it took me a long time, and I admit to succumbing to Uncle Google for that Heifetz guy, I'm not current on my violinists.

@fikink - hamburger on the highway, huh? Sounds dangerous and unappetizing.

Anonymous 2:34 PM  

What the heck is an ONTHESLY? Ohhh. Now that I type it I see it - On the sly. Duh

Daniel Myers 2:35 PM  

A slight dissent anent puzzle's enjoyability - I don't fancy TIX (What's the singular? Tic? Tick?), FUNGOs and oddly christened violinists (notice how his name intersects w/ BANJO) dancing around in my head. Still, one has to give Joon credit for originality.

As retired_chemist pointed out, one doesn't have to draw a cosine wave to get 65A. All I had to do was remember that UNIT CIRCLE that confronted me every day I slouched into Trig. class in my not-so-tender boarding school years.

So, the monarchy has been restored (in Spain and Rome anyway). The day of revolutionary fervour has passed. I shall miss the barricades.

PS-MRS Dalloway! Ugh! Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I AM!!! Stick with your Trollope, Rex! Woolf had more than just a few pages loose, as it were.

tekchic 2:36 PM  

This puzzle kicked me right in the BOFF. FUNGO? *yikes*. It was all I could do to just work through it and try and understand the answers here while deleting the mess I made in the puzzle :)

I had to Google what "Friend of Falstaff" meant after the fact. Gotta say, MOE was a clever one. I'm a Simpsons fan and didn't know that was his last name!

mac 2:53 PM  

I wonder what Sandy has to say about Rex and his Trollope.

@Daniel Myers: I agree with you in general on Virginia Woolf, but I make an exception for Mrs. Dalloway.

poc 3:14 PM  

@Sanfranman and @lawrence: thanx for the gen on TIX. I'd never heard of Fandango the company and thought it was the dance.

Anonymous 3:25 PM  

Unfortunately, I always wear a TUX at a Fandango. Oh well.

DES 3:30 PM  

I agree with those who felt the puzzle was on the medium-challenging side. I was particularly annoyed with BOFF. It is almost impossible to find a dictionary that includes a theater hit as one of the definitions (Random House has one). On the other hand, FUNGO was easy for me (I never played organized baseball, but as a fan, it was obvious). Overall, enjoyable with some rough spots (I still don't understand CHI, although I got it from the crosses).

Daniel Myers 3:32 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daniel Myers 3:50 PM  

I know not what Sandy wouldst say -
Exception noted for Mrs Dalloway -

I don't deem Sandy so violent
If she's made aware of that "e" -

Which is silent!

@DES - CHI is the letter of the Ancient Greek alphabet corresponding to the "ch" in Christ, thus forming the first part of a Greek Christogram.

Sundance 3:54 PM  

Extremely difficult for me! Never heard of Boff before or fungo or blanda. And others. I think that MORTGAGE for a "frequent home acquisition" is questionable. As a san fran guy, the various east coast towns like East Lyme are ones I will never know. And Anions, Uracil?

chefbea 4:15 PM  

Was just reading the Stamford newspaper and lo and behold!!! There is a lecture on Lyme disease tonight at the Avon theater.

Daniel Myers 4:23 PM  

Stamford-upon-Avon? I wonder if Prince HAL will be attending?

SethG 4:29 PM  

A comment from Orange's blog last month: "DESAI is already legit crossword fill, thanks to novelist anita. (and i think... her daughter, who is also a novelist? yes, kiran desai, 2006 booker prize winner. go wikipedia.) but ANOOP, yeah. that'd be great....". The commenter: joon.

Bobby Morse was my uncle's best friend. Why the picture of Ziggy Stardust?

Anonymous 4:32 PM  


With counter-subversive educational priorities the way they are, it really helps our side to re-enlist!!

Daniel Myers 4:47 PM  

@SethG---I wondered about Ziggy too. The only guess I can hazard - and it's admittedly a stretch - is Rex's distaste for the all-STAR game and his (and my) preference for Ziggy STARdust.

Clark 4:59 PM  

@Sundance -- I guess the idea is that frequently when someone buys a house they also ‘acquire’ a mortgage. And it is in the language to speak of ‘taking out a mortgage’, so I think the clue gets an interesting thumbs up. Interesting, because, of course, technically the mortgage goes the other way. The borrower/owner/mortgagor grants a mortgage to the lender/mortgagee. It is actually the lender that takes or acquires the mortgage. That’s what I was thinking anyway.

@Rex -- I think the clue to 38A has to be an ‘and’. If it said “Statement about 17-, 24-, 49- or 59- Across,” then we would only know that the statement was true of at least one of the four answers. The clue as written tells us that it (a single statement) is true of all four. End of rebuttal.

fikink 5:08 PM  

@coixtrecords, Don't point at me, Daddy-O, I'll cut off your finger! ;)

Anonymous 5:16 PM  

Who was Ziggy??? - BOWIE, as in Bowie KUHN!

Daniel Myers 5:21 PM  

@Anonymous---LOL-No, I already discounted that, far too obvious for a subtle fellow like Rex.

Seriously, thanks----for making me feel a right dunce!

fergus 5:37 PM  

Found it tough today. Actually stymied long enough to consider finishing that NW corner at another sitting. Started doubting ACRE and NEUT. I suppose I sensed some fulfillment on sorting it out, however. Typical of my erring today, I chose RHO instead of CHI, so I was wondering whether INCUR or OCCUR could be the opposite of Express? Other five-letter words, with C in the middle, meaning hold it in? FECAL and PECAN? Nope. Laid-back SO CAL? led to slow, through.

Knowing of Westerly, figured EASTERLY would be right over by Mystic. TEMPTS FATE and MENTAL NOTE were appropriate solution entry reminders, neither of which I followed.

Two Ponies 6:21 PM  

Perhaps it is a sign of a well-clued puzzle when I can be led to a successful completion with so many words I did not know.
Thanks Joon for an enjoyable solve.
Loved seeing Moe's last name.
The only fandango I know is from Bohemian Rhapsody.

treedweller 6:45 PM  

over twice my normal time for a Wed. I did not know FUNGO and struggled with many others mentioned already. Tried UNPEn for UNPEG a long time. Googled JASCHA (again). Mostly I just wasn't clicking, I think. When I look back, nothing seems particularly tough or foul, I just couldn't get stuff.

But BOFF? [coff, coff]

PIX 6:56 PM  

@Two Ponies: Here's another fandango you may know (depending on your age etc.) Procol Harum, Whiter Shade of Pale:
"We skipped the light fandango
turned cartwheels 'cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
but the crowd called out for more..."

joho 7:02 PM  

BOFF is off.

Norm 7:08 PM  

PIX@6:56 PM is BOFF. Ah, the memories.

Glitch 7:15 PM  

@Daniel Myers

In my *media years* Pic was singular, Pix was plural, when included on the left side of the script.

That would make Tix plural, and by analogy, Tic the singular --- but never seen that anywhere, at least referring to tickets.

Thus I must conclude the singular of Tix is Ticket ;-)

Also add me to the can't find support for *BOFF on B'way* team. Off B'way, however, is something entirely different, and memorable.


Two Ponies 7:22 PM  

@ PIX, That actually is more appropriate for my age and I'm a little embarrassed that it was not my first thought. Thanks.
@ Rex, You were very modest not to mention your 18D (and perhaps 67A) shout-out. You may be sure it was not lost on us.

edith b 7:55 PM  

I like joon pahk's puzzles - sometimes - and I can best describe them as intelligent. Often I find them "wordy", or as my Father used to say like he had swallowed a dictionary.

Today I liked it. Like others, on my first pass through, I was surprised to find so much empty space. I panicked at 20A and couldn't figure out what was wanted as I thought 1D was some form of BOFO so OE****** didn't compute.

I had to run through the alphabet a few times before I finally hit the AHA moment. I found it crunchier than a usual Wednesday.

Leon 8:11 PM  

Thanks Mr. Pahk.

Hal was Falstaff's friend ? You wouldn't know it from King Henry IV, part II Act V, scene V :

FALSTAFF: My king! my Jove! I speak to thee, my heart!

KING HENRY V: I know thee not, old man: fall to thy prayers; How ill white hairs become a fool and jester! I have long dream'd of such a kind of man, So surfeit-swell'd, so old and so profane; But, being awaked, I do despise my dream ......

chefbea 8:48 PM  

@ Pix - I remember that song from way back when. Glad you reminded us of it

Joon 8:50 PM  

constructor's ramblings:

first, thank you all for your comments, as usual. they are just the right mix of gratifying and motivational. i'm reasonably happy with this puzzle but i know i can do better, and you lot are pretty good at pointing out the places where i could have done better.

as much as i may have wanted to clue the ... ah ... "colloquial" definition of BOFF, that was never going to fly, was it? not in the gray lady. there does seem to be dictionary support for BOFF as a noun meaning great success. i generally go to merriam-webster as my first choice, and there it is on and no, i haven't eaten any dictionaries, but i do like words, particularly odd little words like BOFF and FUNGO. i apologize if they caused you any grief.

i'm no shakespeare scholar (i haven't even read most of the histories, including henry IV parts 1-2), but my understanding is that "HAL" is friends with falstaff, and when he grows up to become king henry V, he repudiates the ways of his childhood--including his old co-conspirator falstaff.

puzzlegirl (and others), when i opened this up in across lite last night and started filling it in, i also tried NO FAIR instead of UNFAIR. it just seems to fit the clue better, doesn't it? my original clue, {Not just}, wouldn't have that trap, but is probably more misleading overall. (maybe why i liked it so much! oh well.) most of my tricky clues did survive the editing process, though, so i'd agree with the not-rex crowd and tag this one a smidge harder than a typical wednesday. and given the sciency bent to this puzzle (and most of my puzzles, although this one in particular with the clues for ONE, ANION, and RNA), i'm a little surprised rex dusted it so quickly. well, i don't have to tell you all that he's an excellent solver. and i loved the ironic STET theme tie-in! definitely unintentional, and i didn't even notice it myself until rex pointed it out.

i didn't like EAST LYME and A KEY either. they're clunkers. (i had attempted to avoid the partial by using the clue {Caps lock neighbor}, but that's pretty cheap and it was justifiably axed.) also over there, although nobody has complained about it (yet), is my least favorite crossing, STR with SER. yuck. i probably tried too hard to work that Z into that corner, although really, MAÏZE is one of my favorite words for reasons above and beyond its Z-ness. i do like that MELINDA is in there (with my original clue intact). go go gates foundation! that was definitely one of the places where i was attempting to use the crossword as a podium. (sorry! i can't help myself.)

Poins 9:04 PM  

HAL admits in Henry IV, Part I, Act I, Scene II, that his antics had a purpose,:

.... So, when this loose behavior I throw off
And pay the debt I never promised,
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsify men's hopes;
And like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reformation, glittering o'er my fault,
Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
I'll so offend, to make offence a skill;
Redeeming time when men think least I will.

joho 9:10 PM  

@Joon ... thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about your puzzle ... it's fascinating to me to hear what is really going on. You are so good at this ... but it's obvious that you are only getting better and better.

Two Ponies 10:37 PM  

@ Joon, Thank you so much for the "behind the scenes" info. I find it fascinating. You made my day by showing up on the blog. I'm looking forward to your next puzzle. I like the way you think.

foodie 10:51 PM  

Thanks Joon for your commentary, which is great fun to read, and of course for a terrific puzzle! I especially liked the clue for RNA but wondered whether there would be some loud screaming about it. And plucked the response ONE from some recess in my brain I didn't even know existed.

I too like the Bill and MELINDA Gates Foundation. Their chief scientific/medical officer is a friend and a real class act. They are both driven to help on a huge scale and extremely creative about finding new solutions with big impacts. What a great way to spend one's fortune!

@Rex, when I saw MAIZE, I expected a Maize & Blue response from you!

XMAN 11:27 PM  

@Will Shortz:"BOFF be a lady tonight."

Anonymous 11:38 PM  


BOFF is indefensible.
Just because the word is in the
dictionary does not justify its
use. BOFFO flies. BOFF does not.

PS: What's with the lower-case
style? Something about it looks eerie.

XMAN 11:49 PM  

@Joon: Lissen up, my man, you plug your causes celebres, your enthusiasms
and your heros as you will! This is art, my friend, and all things sre fair in art and love.

Daniel Myers 12:23 AM  

I don't suppose you use the term BOFFIN over here. Today's puzzle was a bit boffinish.

To sleep, perchance to dream,
Ay, there's the rub.

Night all,


andrea onthesly michaels 2:01 AM  

Yeah, BOFF was a b(it)-off, but think of what fun(go) we had conjuring up the real meaning!
What to do? maybe BIFF and ICEAX and make ONTHESLY something else?
I liked very much how the puzzle was so YOU.

After two days in a row of definitely female voices, I thought that this was a perfect illustration of what we (XchiX) have been talking about (male-bias puzzles have lots of sports, science, Simpsons) and yet, all forgivable, bec it's so very you...and your specific tastes and style. The style was so distinct, you could almost guess who wrote it, which I think is hard to pull off.

eg I would probably never have Moe's last name, BLANDA, FUNGO, Bowie KUHN, ESPN, etc. in one of my puzzles...but this was very well-built and inferable thru crosses and obviously many folks here today really enjoyed it.

I had several mini-malapops (REY for REX thinking Latin as in Latin America...); AOKS for signs only to write OKD next flat out mistakes (MELISSA/MELINDA and trying to make ORYX stretch to five spaces)

Great addition on the AMIE/STET theme tie-in!

Scrabble lesson:
AMI takes the back hook ANDREAS!

ONES (Mon AND Tues) became ONE...and migrated from the SE corner to the SW

ps I loved the "Survivor" reference the most!

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

Oh no, now I have found a crossword blog to go with my crossword addiction. Googled "boff broadway" to see if I was missing some term out there and here's where I landed.

East Lyme, CT is next to Old Lyme, CT, where Lyme disease was first identified. At the time I was busy getting Lyme in Bloomer, WI. Bloomer Disease has a whole different ring to it, doesn't it?

mac 8:34 AM  

@anonymouse 8.21: you'll be addicted to this blog soon, too!

poc 12:34 PM  

@Daniel Myers: I'm actually wondering if the British slang use of BOFF is known to Americans. The comments here don't seem to reference it, and it could well fail the breakfast test if they did (for the mystified: think BANG, but not in the sense of a loud noise).

BTW, the Boffins are a family in Dickens' Our Mutual Friend, but I don't know what connection that has to the term for a scientist, if any.

Daniel Myers 1:01 PM  

@Poc--That's really quite funny! I was under the impression that BOFF -in that sense - was American slang. American slang has a certain vogue in England.

According to the OED, despite numerous comjectures, the origin of BOFFIN remains completely unknown. I more or less grew up with the term, my father being an aeronautical engineer.

poc 1:08 PM  

@Daniel Myers: you may well be right. Most of the objections to BOFF in this thread are so elliptical as to make it hard to know exactly what the problem is.

Singer 6:20 PM  

Googled "Boff definition". 5 out of the first 8 had the following or similar as the first meaning:
n. Slang
1. A line in a play or film, for example, that elicits a big laugh: "He doesn't go for the big boffs, artificially inflated, but lets his comedy build through a leisurely accumulation of bizarre details" (Vincent Canby).
2. A big laugh.
3. A conspicuous success. Also called boffo, boffola.

All 8 had the familiar sexual definition, but 3 of them had it second.

Since strange words and archaie words are common crosswordese, I think we should give Joon the benefit of the doubt on this one. And even he didn't like it much.

Nullifidian 6:05 AM  

I was puzzled by 61-Across because in my local paper, the San Diego Union-Tribune, it said "Cosine of 2(Circle-P)". The "Circle-P" stands for "phonorecord and is the symbol for copyright ownership of a sound recording. I was had a fair amount of trouble figuring out a copyright symbol had a cosine function.

I wasn't helped by the fact that I'd never heard of a fungo bat before in my life.

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