Big Cup maker — WEDNESDAY, Sep. 9 2009 — Colossus locale / Art show that might feature Fish Magic / Unmerciful Athenian lawgiver

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Constructor: Richard Chisholm

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: EEES (25D: Some shoes ... and a feature of this puzzle's theme) — five theme answers all feature three consecutive E's

Word of the Day: ROSELLE Park, N.J. (27D: _____ Park, N.J.) Roselle Park is a borough in Union County, New Jersey, United States. As of the United States 2000 Census, the borough population was 13,281. [...] Roselle Park has a rich railroading heritage. A steam locomotive adorns the Borough seal, and the town is very welcoming to railroad enthusiasts. It all began when zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (wikipedia, except the z's, which are all me ... should this place be known to anyone outside its immediate geographical area, i.e. the northern N.J. / NYC area?)

I wrote this on Twitter last night: "You know what I like in my puzzles: lots and lots of Es. Always exciting. Can't have too many." That pretty much says all I have to say today, but I'm going to go on anyway. EEES is, itself, an ugly answer, and it's arbitrarily placed in the grid. Some of the theme answers are nice, self-standing phrases; others (KLEE EXHIBIT?) aren't. Mostly, this is a fine, ordinary puzzle, but the E obsession is mystifying, in that it fills your grid with the deadliest (i.e. most common) of letters. The only thing worse (possibly) would have been a grid chock full of ESSES (29D: Some hook shapes). Also, I feel like I've seen the triple-E theme before. And I wish just two more squares (one in the NE, one in the SW) were white instead of black. Maybe a couple more long Downs (which those white squares would have created) would have livened things up a bit. EWE (53D: 12-Down producer) next to EWERS (52D: Still-life pieces) isn't helping.

The last month has seen a marked dip in overall puzzle quality (with some notable exceptions). I don't really understand what's going on, but I hope it stops soon. I hope it's just end-of-summer doldrums.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Arborists (tree experts) — hey, I know one of these.
  • 24A: Capitalism (free enterprise)
  • 40A: Disagree (don't see eye to eye)
  • 50A: Tuneful Ford (Tennessee Ernie)
  • 62A: Art show that might feature "Fish Magic" (Klee exhibit)


  • 11A: Smoked fare (BBQ) — BBQ season is winding down ...
  • 14A: J. Lo title role (Selena) — always want to call her SERENA.
  • 15A: Common command in Basic programming (go to) — takes me back to 9th grade computer science. 10 years before the internets went worldwide.
  • 31A: Margaret Mitchell family (O'Haras) — backwards, it spells SARAH O.
  • 35A: Allen and Coen (Ethans) — more plural names, huzzah. I wants JOELS here at first. There's a JOEL Allen, right? Hmmm, no. Maybe I was thinking of JOEL Gray.

  • 71A: Colossus locale (Rhodes) — Whence the term "Rhodes scholar." Or so I'm guessing. I'm no RHODES scholar, so I prefer guessing to looking things up. [OK, people are already taking me seriously and writing me earnest notes about Cecil Rhodes, etc. ... I Was Not Being Serious. How high does the facetious-o-meter have to be set?]
  • 2D: Times Roman typeface feature (serif) — lots of discussion with PuzzleGirl about SERIF and sans SERIF fonts as we redesign this website (coming soon ... for real this time).
  • 4D: Big Cup maker (Reese's) — really would have liked a bra manufacturer here.
  • 8D: "What hath God wrought" sender (Morse) — he had a code.
  • 23D: Unmerciful Athenian lawgiver (Draco) — got my Athenian lawgivers mixed up (it happens) and wrote in SOLON.
  • 49D: Roy G. Biv part (indigo) — talk about your My Lai massacres. Or should I say MY LAY — because that's how I spelled it, leading me to enter YELLOW for [Roy G. Giv part].

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Doug 8:20 AM  

Despite the sleeepy theme, I really liked this puzzle, mainly because I had to solve it by jumping all over the place, even after figuring out the triple-E. Thoughtful clues, and it took me a couple of breaks over b-fast to finish. I liked bestirred for the word of the day.

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

Enjoyed this one. BESTIRRED? - feh!

Anonymous 8:29 AM  

You need a modifier for the Word of the Day. Today's was the Ignominious Word of the Day. There is no reason for anyone who hasn't lived within 5 miles of Roselle Park for at least 10 years, had a paramour who lived in Roselle Park, and/or had a parent who grew up in Roselle Park to know of Roselle Park.

PIX 8:30 AM  

@23D: Draco…Put the first written constitution of Athens on steles for all to see. But they were harsh…Draconian.

treedweller 8:32 AM  

I actually considered TREEdweller for awhile, since I failed to notice the plural in the clue. I left it as TREE_______ until I had several crosses. Thanks to RC and WS for the EXPERT title. Our profession can use all the credibility it can get (often, I think people see us as glorified gardeners).

I'm not usually one to complain about "appropriateness" of words/clues, but the My LAI civilian massacre does not create happy, puzzle solving thoughts in my brain. I'm not sure if I think it should be allowed in the grid or not. Of course, nobody asked, so I won't worry about it much.

The random Roman numeral clue helped today; I did not know the KLEE reference, and was considering "knee" something until I saw that the "n" would not work in a date.

I agree the theme seems rather arbitrary and not all that exciting, but I enjoyed the puzzle anyway. I guess it pays to work in those trees (and to work those trees in).

bookmark 8:32 AM  

Good, easy puzzle for a Wednesday. My only write-over was IMBED for the misspelled INBED. Didn't figure it out until DMZS became apparent.

I agree with Rex about ROSELLE but was easily gettable with crossovers.

Rhodes Scholarships, from the early 1900s, are named after Cecil Rhodes. Husband and I visited the Greek Isle of Rhodes two years ago, but, alas, no Colossus.

Jeffrey 8:33 AM  

I answered Rex's tweet with: Shortest RP post ever? Nuff said.

I'm a railroad enthusiast. You cut ROSELLE off at the best part! It all began when the young and recently chartered Elizabethtown & Somerville railway began laying rails through what would become Roselle Park in 1839.

Was there a puzzle?

Orange 8:43 AM  

@treedweller: The rule of thumb seems to be that dreadful things that befall Americans and Western Europeans are off limits in crosswords (NAZI, KKK), but things that befall people in the rest of the world are deemed safe. Thus we get IDI AMIN all the time (Africa), BABI YAR sometimes (massacre of Jews in the Soviet Union), and My LAI (Vietnam) fairly often.

joho 8:44 AM  

Wow, I loved this puzzle. It's a pangram for one thing which I always find interesting. I definitely DONTSEEEYETOEYE with @Rex today!

A EWE goes BAA. A SATYR celebrates SEX. ADMIT ONE gets you into a KLEEEXHIBIT or, at one time, into see SELENA.

I loved how RECKON crosses TENNESSEEERNIE because that's something he would say.

Thank you, Richard Chisholm!

retired_chemist 8:56 AM  

First theme in a while that helped me solved the puzzle. So I liked it. The theme, that is. But the puzzle as a whole was good also.

Agree with the consensus that ROSELLE is irksome. Spent time trying to think of Edison's town in NJ (Menlo Park) and when I remembered it (a) I was done with the puzzle, and (b) it doesn't fit. Also thought about TREEDWELLERS @ 17A - didn't fit for me either.

Writeovers: 44A NESTLE <= CUDDLE, 39A CRTS <= LCDS.

Feelin' proud: 7A AMAJ was my first fill. Knew it was MAJ, thought the A sounded right, lucked out. Bet NDE likes it.

hazel 9:11 AM  

I knew Roy G. Biv sounded familiar. I thought he had a role in some musical - *JKQ@XZ% you, chemo! The fact that I hate musicals probably also makes it hard for me to remember their details, but I prefer to blame it on the chemo. Anyway, I had trouble in that area. I didn't think this puzzle was particularly easy. The whole EEE just seemed unnatural.

My comment is a pangram.

Denise 9:25 AM  

I love when Rex shows his true colors! Speaking of which, I love Paul Klee. And Joel Gray.

HudsonHawk 9:31 AM  

When I saw the length of the answer for Tuneful Ford, I thought TENNESSEE ERNIE. But I didn't write it in, because I wasn't seeing a statehood connection to the other themed clues. I liked the puzzle more than Rex, but didn't love it.

I know NJ geography well, but ROSELLE Park was in the deep recesses of my brain. Pretty brutal.

slypett 9:46 AM  

Splish-splash...I dove in and came out clean.

Had most of ROSELLE on crosses, but I don't know why it exists in my memory.

MYLAI actually gave me a start, and I wondered if it had a place in entertainment.

Thought the theme was week, but, hey, any port in a storm.

PurpleGuy 9:53 AM  

I agree with @treedweller about the bad feelings associated with MY LAI. Being a VietNam vet myself, it was one of the things that helped cement "baby Killers" in the conciousness of the protesters, and made our return home rather unpleasant.

I like the ERNIE from TENNESSEe over DMZS.Made me think of ERNIEPyle from WW II.

Puzzle was easy for a Wednesday,but as others have noted, not very exciting.

Oscar 9:54 AM  

EEEw! TREEEXPERTS and KLEEEXHIBIT are totally arbitrary, made-up phrases, MSGR is the ugliest abbr. I've seen in a LTYR, and TENNESSEEERNIE was only ever spoken when his mother was mad at him.

If there were a grade between D and F, that's what this would get.

Elaine2 10:14 AM  

Hi -- I'm with those who liked this, even while not finding the theme particularly interesting. Got Roselle Park ONLY from crosses -- never heard of it, despite being from NY. Hubby is from NJ, and he did recognize it when I asked him about it this morning.

@Oscar -- MSGR is a standard abbreviation for Monsignor, so although not lovely it didn't bother me.

Fine for a Wed!

CoolPapaD 10:20 AM  

I am amongst those who really liked today's puzzle, and I agree with retired_chemist that knowing the EEE theme was a big help today - it was slow going before that.
I'm not sure if I SEEEYETOEYE with Rex regarding the overall puzzle quality this summer - I tend to like the overwhelming majority of these. I also like to find beauty in every face I see, so maybe it's just me. I do think that the quality of the write-ups is constantly terrific, always bringing a smile to my face, though I was really, really hoping for a Get Smart video this morning. Whenever I finish a puzzle with only an error or two, I can picture Max, with his hand up, saying, "Missed it by THAT much!"

kumar 10:33 AM  

Stumbled over the Roy G. Biv part. Kept thinking I'd heard this name, and Indigo seemed the obvious fit, but knew that Indigo was clearly not a part in any play or movie I had heard of.

Must be a cultural thing. The mnemonic I learnt growing up in India for the colors that make up white light was VIBGYOR, not Roy G. Biv. Duh!

Brendan Emmett Quigley 10:38 AM  

Not much to say about this puzzle. I completely agree with the assessment of the underwhelming puzzles lately. Somebody get Carlos Slim on the horn and tell him to get it together!

Why not try a timely puzzle today on my blog instead?

retired_chemist 10:43 AM  

ROY G. BIV here too. Anybody else remember BBROYGBVGW?

PlantieBea 10:52 AM  

This puzzle was a medium Wednesday for me. On the other hand, my family puzzlers are ready to throw in the towel. The cluing is definitely Wednesday level.

I liked the shout out to this blog's tree expert, but I threw in TREE HUGGER before I got the theme. Also liked seeing Klee, SERIF, and RECKON. Never heard of TENNESSEE ERNIE.

fikink 11:11 AM  

I found the puzzle a pleasant trifle this morning but am more appreciative of your IMBEDs, Rex.
With Denise, Joel Grey is also a favorite of mine, and so much crap has been written about the art of Paul KLEE, it is nice just to see a reproduction of one of his pieces without comment.
I was hoping for a clip of TENNESSEEERNIE Ford singing "Sixteen Tons." That song used to scare me as a child, but "another day older and deeper in debt," has resonated through the years. Maybe if Wade drops by, he can tell us whose version of it was truest to songwriter's intentions.

mac 11:13 AM  

I found some nasty little words that I could only guess at all over the place. Who are Ernie and Roy? Smoking on the BBQ? You need soaked wood chips in a metal container for that, nothing straightforward about it.

I tried to put tree dweller in, as well, and Serena instead of Selena. Beats by a hair is nips?

I guess I didn't have the greatest time with this one.... Theme was ok, though, and FIVE of them!

retired_chemist 11:16 AM  

@ PlantieBea - Tennessee Ernie Ford was BIG in the fifties, and known well enough to have lingered in the public consciousness for decades after. Think "Sixteen Tons" and "Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier."

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

Put me in the liked-the-theme and liked-the-puzzle columns. I had TREEHUGGER early in the game, before the reveal at 25D. WAX at 6D forced me to EXchange HUGGER for EXPERT, which pretty much foretold what the theme would be. I do agree with Rex that the 3 x 3 corners in NE and SW lowered the grid's overall rating.

Clark 11:16 AM  

Seeing the 3E theme early made this easy going. But I got held up for a while trying to get __EE E_H_BIT. I guess my memory groups words by sound not sight. I was scanning words that rhymed with 'free', apparently, judging by my surprise when I realized it was a word that rhymes with 'clay'. Does everybody do that?

balto 11:21 AM  

I kinda liked the puzzle -- once I got EEES -- a common size in my large-footed family -- it helped a lot.

The one thing I hated was the BASIC command GOTO -- any programmer knows never to use it. It's a horror!

dk 11:24 AM  

@BEQ: Shameless plug, but thank you.

INGENERAL any day that includes SEX.......

However, I will not equate SEX in the puzzle with the fact that today is hump day as it would be childish

Was opining to the step twins last night as to the literary importance of history (yesterday was the first day of school and they have an ancient history class (insert dead civilization whining about here)). This AM I showed them the DRACO fill and they were happy to learn that DRACO Malfoy has a historical antecedent.

Note: Go to Oranges blog site to see a real cute kid.

The puzzle: I thought the 3Es were a neat trick so I am hanging with my homey @JOHO.

PlantieBea 11:26 AM  

@R_C: Thanks for the link. I just visited youtube for 16 Tons, which I've heard, but wouldn't have connected to TENNESSEE ERNIE. My mom is here telling me that we may have sung it in Girl Scouts??

Anne 11:49 AM  

Blah, blah, blah for the puzzle, but I liked the comments a lot. @dk, you make me laugh. @Orange, a very thoughtful and correct statement. @treedweller, I have come to greatly value tree experts and I definitely don't think they are glorified gardners.

Anonymous 11:57 AM  

A tale of two cities:

Roselle Park, New Jersey
population: 13,124
claim to fame: "Andy Garcia and Andie MacDowell filmed scenes in 1998 for Just the Ticket in town."

Roselle, New Jersey
population: 21,158
claim to fame: "On January 19, 1883, the first electric lighting system employing overhead wires to ever exist began service in Roselle, and was built by Thomas Edison to demonstrate that an entire community could be lit by electricity."

Probably should have dropped the Park and gone with Roselle.

chefbea 12:05 PM  

Thought it was a great puzzle.

Nice shout out to treedweller. I love Paul Klee.

I still have some of my peanut butter brownies left - made with little cups, not the big ones.

That recipe was mentioned at crossword confidential the other day. Its yummmmy

ArtLvr 12:15 PM  

I worked on the puzzle in the wee hours, one of the fastest I've done on a Wed... Must admit to liking the pangram, not so easy with the other constraints, and the WWW and EEES each tucked between two theme answers were amusing too.

Not much to it, except EUGENE OR escaped me for a few seconds. DRACO was my favorite fresh fill.


Shamik 12:23 PM  

Easy puzzle today. Kind of liked it, especially INDIGO. And a day is always good with muppets in it.

Karen 12:48 PM  

Being from New Jersey, got a kick out of Roselle Park in the puzzle. My husband went to Roselle Catholic High School and he's going to the school's 50th anniversary celebration this month.
Yes, no one unfamiliar with central/north Jersey would know this one!

poc 12:50 PM  

Growing up in Ireland, I'd never heard of Roy G Biv till now. Our acronym was Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain.

(Other favourites: Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, and All Hairy Gorillas Have Big Feet Good For Climbing :-)

Anonymous 12:54 PM  


BBQ, CRTS, MSGR, DRS, LAI, ESC, WWW, DMZS, NYT, XER, and of course the famous mid-first century date of LVI.


Joe 12:58 PM  

Maybe the theme is EEE because the date is 999. An III theme would have been more appropriate. Also way harder.

Stephen 12:58 PM  

Agent 99 clue on 9/9/09--cool!

DJG 1:02 PM  

Mundane-typed puzzles definitely can work for me, if they are bursting with awesome non-theme fill. In fact I prefer them to played-out-theme puzzles. But the fill was rather ho-hum, so overall, not such a hot puzzle.

Charles Bogle 1:35 PM  

I'm in the seeming minority of so-so on the theme and so-so on the puzzle; do agree overall quality has gone down here (while the LA Times seems to be making a comeback). Liked: NESTLE. RECKON, KLEE (who famously said "a line is a dot that went for a walk..."

Ulrich 1:35 PM  

@orange: I think you're right. Question: Where would you go? Expand the realm of unpleasant reminders tolerated in puzzles, or shrink it to nothing? And no, I wouldn't buy the argument that these answers are educational--as I said before, if we have to rely on xword puzzles to teach history, we are in deeper shit that I think we are....which brings me to

@dk: I hope you kept the twins out of school yesterday lest they get brainwashed by listening to that socialist/fascist [pick one or two] in the White House!

chefwen 1:35 PM  

Really liked the puzzle, very easy and fast for a Wednesday. Only write-over was ESTD over estb.
The K in KLEE was my last fill as I didn't remember him until I came here and saw Paul, Oh Yeah, I know that guy.

Hats off to our very own TREE EXPERT, Mr. Dweller.

doug md 1:47 PM  

I read that the NY Times now assigns Shortz Numbers to all puzzle authors-how Orwellian! i agree about the "doldrums"; so many so-so puzzles lately

chefbea 2:04 PM  

@poc I give up ... what is AHGHBFGFC ???

Bob Kerfuffle 2:32 PM  

@doug md - The Shortz number is the order each constructor was first published in the NYT during the Will Shortz Era. Doesn't sound any more Orwellian than the numbers assigned to the works of Beethoven or Mozart to me.

Stan 2:49 PM  

@poc: I second @chefbea's question on "All Hairy Gorillas..."

icculus 2:50 PM  

Liked the puzzle well enough - I prefer a theme that actually helps me fill in the grid (like today), rather than one that only makes sense after the grid is filled (like yesterday).

Roy G Biv was nice - there are three 6-letter possibilities, but a single cross will nail it down. (Unless it's the 5th letter G).

-icculus (formerly one of the Mikes, changing ID to avoid confusion)

slypett 2:55 PM  

@BEQ: If you can't be shameless here, where can you go?

Thanks for the timely puzzle. I had a good time.

MikeM 3:06 PM  

@icculus - sorry! I am the other Mike, I meant to mention to you I can use MikeM from now on to avoid the confusion. Please feel free to change back if you want to ! Yegards, MikeM

jeff in chicago 3:09 PM  

Puzzle was all right. Nothing to write home about. (Not that I've ever wrote home about a puzzle.)

Wimpy East Coasters - putting away your BBQ grills! Here in Chicago those grills are worked all winter long. Back porches remain a kitchen annex no matter how cold or how much snow.

icculus 3:13 PM  

AHGHBFGFC is for the coefficients used in the conic equation (things like circle, ellipse, etc). One thing it's used for is to determine if two different conics are actually the same size and shape, just moved and/or rotated.

SethG 3:18 PM  

I did call her Serena. Other trouble spelling: I couldn't remember which letter would fit in ESxROW (it's not a G) or EXxIBIT (it's not a Z, not even a C). Just the other day I asked for help remembering the difference between Standard and Daylight time. No one helped, and I got it wrong again. REESE'S and NESTLE both make chocolate.

So are Rhodesian Ridgebacks named for Cecil Rhodes then? What about Rhodes college, in TENNESSEE? Rhode Island? (They are, indirectly. Nope, and not the island either. From the dutch word for red.)


poc 3:24 PM  

@chefbea and @stan: written thusly:


it gives the general form of the matrix of coefficients for quadratic equations representing conics (circles, ellipses, parabolas and hyperbolas). I learned this in high school but had to check with a mathematician friend to remember what it meant, i.e. the mnemonic was there but the meaning wasn't :-)

It's probably one of those things that isn't taught any more.

sanfranman59 3:26 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Wed 11:29, 12:14, 0.94, 33%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Wed 6:05, 6:01, 1.01, 58%, Medium

Another big disparity today between the percentiles for the two groups of solvers. On a typical Wednesday, the median time for all solvers is more than twice that for the top 100. Not so today.

Anonymous 3:37 PM  

@ SethG, Thanks for the Rhodes rant. So Rhodesia is, like, Red Land? I always assumed it was named after someone.
Also, your spelling problems had me thinking about exhibit & inhibit.
Can you simply hibit?

chefbea 3:41 PM  

@poc etal sorry I asked!!! Don't try to tell me what a conic is. I would never understand

@sethg You are right - nestles and reeses both make chocolate. However, nestles does not make peanut butter CUPS.

As for the time... Daylight time is daylight savings time=in the summer. Standard time is in the winter.

andrea 999 michaels 3:57 PM  

what you said...e-x-a-c-t-l-y

That really gives me something to think about...

Are you kidding? Is that really the mnemonic???

@Plantie Bea
Count me in as a TREEHUGGER I've beenn in SF too long!

I'm enjoying learning things like that @POC is from Ireland, @Purple guy is a vet...
If it helps, I STILL give Afish shit for having ETHNICCLEANSING in one of his puzzles (it came THIIIIS close being put into ours!)

And since it's sort of a repeat theme, on sort of a repeat date, I will repeat my story that my friend Paul Clay (whom some of you met at the LA tournament) divides folks into two categories...
ones who say "Like the artist?" and ones who...don't.

oh, @Rex
Loved the art work on the blog today and I half-expected a video of Xhibit...or whatever that rapper's name is...

SethG 3:57 PM  

chefbea, they get pretty close.

The dogs are named after the country. The country is named after the guy. The college is named after another guy. The state is named after the color.

I am named after my my grandpa Sam. I am both ept and ert. I do not rant, do not memorize conical matrices of coefficients, and will not remember when the standard time is.

Anonymous 4:11 PM  


Your puzzle is much better than today's NY Times! Thanks!

Anonymous 4:21 PM  

This may have been an "easy" puzzle for long-time solvers. For me it was chock-full of "know it or you don't" answers. Klee? Ewers? Moshe? Draco? Give me a break. Not to mention the too-numerous-to-mention three-letter abbreviations. I'm sure for crossword buffs those come up all the time, but for a casual solver, blech. I got it eventually, but found it tiresome and not very enjoyable.

Ruth 5:04 PM  

Did the puzzle, came to the blog, saw word of the day, said, "Huh, Roselle--is that in there?" Never even saw it since it all fell with the crosses. Hard to get upset over that.
My daughter's friend is named Roselle but is probably less well known even than Roselle Park.

fikink 5:08 PM  

@Seth, forget the coefficients - WHAT is that a picture of? Cute little bugger! Are you going to tell me he's a bedbug or jock-crab or something magnified?

Looks crabby!

When you posted Donna Shalala, weren't we talking about something similar to her last name in the puzzle? Shanana? Irish walking sticks?

Is he your avatar today because of his beautiful color? (that's why I assume he's male ;)

edith b 5:10 PM  

I identified the theme in the Midlands where EEE crossed two theme entries. It took me a while to puzzle out the beginning of 40A. These tired old eyes had a problem sorting out all the EEEs.

When we visited my grandmother when I was a child, she had a metal rack of LPs that used to be all the vogue for displaying albums covers and she sure loved her some Tennessee Ernie Ford, as Rex would say, and I remember the album containing "16 Tons" was prominently displayed. Does anyone remember those racks that ran from floor to ceiling using springs?

andrea roselle michaels 5:43 PM  

By coincidence, in Patrick Blindauer's super clever CrossSynergy puzzle today, the clue for 39A is "EEE, e.g."

SO those who feel our summer of discontent can bop over to BEQ and CS today and be all happy!

(I do think tho, INGENERAL that five super long entrieees today PLUS EEE crossing SEX has got to give you something to like!)

Bleedover: AMAJ

Wouldn't that be scary for your friend if that were NOT true??? ;)

mac 6:02 PM  

@Seth: didn't know that about Rhode Island. I did hear that Martha's Vineyard used to be "Martha's Wijngaard", after a Dutch captain's daughter.

@Andrea, thanks for another heads-up! I tend to like the CrossSynergy
most days. First to Brendan's.

SethG 6:24 PM  

Actually, it was SHA LA LA in the puzzle. Why not just use Donna? This is a velvet mite I found in Uganda. To me, it looks like a raspberry with legs.

poc 6:50 PM  

@chefbea: not for nothing am I a retired professor (but of computing, not mathematics), so despite your exhortations I cannot resist using up my third and last comment to explain what a conic is:

Image a cone. Now imagine a flat plane that intersects the cone (cuts it, if you will). All the possible shapes of the curve where the plane cuts the cone are called conics. Depending on the angle of the plane, some are closed (circle, ellipse) and others open (parabola, hyperbola). There's even the special case of the plane cutting down vertically through the apex of the cone, giving two intersecting straight lines. Or the case where the plane just touches the apex of the cone without intersecting it, giving a single point. The conic equation describes all of these cases in one expression.

That's why math is cool :-)

fikink 7:02 PM  

It is wonderful!!!!
(Baby killdeer look like marshmallows on sticks.)

And that's why Seth is cool! ;)

Out at third.

PIX 7:50 PM  

@sanfranman59: I for one truly appreciate you posting the daily difficulty scores...I enjoy Rex's evaluation also but that is one man's very subjective opinion...the times you post represent a much larger group and I find them very useful in reinforcing or contradicting-as the case may be-my opinion of the puzzle. Thanks for the posts.

chefbea 8:01 PM  

@poc thanx hope I remember all that

janie 8:11 PM  

love the big cup = bra manufacturer idea. My favourite, Wacoal, would be awesome puzzle fodder.

Stan 9:43 PM  

@poc: Very good answer(s)! I just had no clue, and was curious...

Anonymous 10:27 PM  

I threw in ORANGE for INDIGO: both part of Roy G. Biv, both having six letters, and both correctly crossing EUGENE, which was already filled in. That and having MOSES instead of MORSE screwed me up for a little while.

I agree that the puzzles have been a bit lame lately - except for this Saturday's. That one was brilliant. Nice to see not all constructors need to fill their puzzles with abbreviations. (Saturday's had only two, if you can even count MTM - what the production company was actually called - as one.) I'm too tired to count all the abbreviations in today's puzzle. Yawn.

Stan 10:47 PM  

Hey I have one left -- Here's the Libertines (cut and paste necessary):

Laura 11:09 PM  

Sweet mother of Mary, I had so many problems with this puzzle today, I'm actually fuming!!!
Rex, my friend, how can you give this an easy-medium? I'm a regular Times crossword solver, and this definitely left me stumped. Like some others have said, waaaaaaaay to many abbreviations, and can someone just kill the use of "Mid-century year"? Enough!
I'm 27 years old, and I like to think I know more than most when it comes to music and art, but Tennessee Ernie? And KleeExhibit?
Yipes. Lastly, what does DMZS stand for, anyway? Someone might have said so, but I scanned through 75 previous comments, so.
Ok, and one more: "BeStirred" (11D)? Come on! It sounds like the name of an unusual bug!

sanfranman59 11:15 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:54, 6:55, 1.00, 56%, Medium
Tue 7:31, 8:25, 0.89, 20%, Easy-Medium
Wed 11:38, 12:15, 0.95, 38%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:51, 3:41, 1.05, 68%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:12, 4:22, 0.96, 46%, Medium
Wed 5:43, 5:59, 0.95, 42%, Medium

Unlike yesterday, the midday disparity between the percentile for all solvers and that for the top 100 pretty much disappeared by the end of the day.

@PIX ... you're quite welcome and thanks for the thanks.

@Laura ... DMZ = De-Militarized Zone ... some of that come immediately to my mind are the one that still separates the two Koreas, one in Vietnam and several between Israel and various neighbors.

Anonymous 12:13 AM  

a great struggle! Thanks.

loved many of the clues: Evian water, Jack Horner, IHEARD, Buffer areas, Fish Magic, recovered from, beats by a hair, find innocent, God wrought sender, cote call, go like heck, RoyGBiv, take 3 of 3, Jeanne d'Arc et al, ballot marker, what the?

Laura: a buffer is a DeMilitarized Zone.

Anonymous 12:13 AM  

a great struggle! Thanks.

loved many of the clues: Evian water, Jack Horner, IHEARD, Buffer areas, Fish Magic, recovered from, beats by a hair, find innocent, God wrought sender, cote call, go like heck, RoyGBiv, take 3 of 3, Jeanne d'Arc et al, ballot marker, what the?

Laura: a buffer is a DeMilitarized Zone.

Whitney 2:45 PM  

Couldn't let go of AISLE for 32D. Finally came to terms with the fact that I was wrong when I got IHEARD and DONT...

Overall, a challenging puzzle for me. But I'm relatively new, so, that's a good thing. Gotta keep learning! MOSHE is (kinda) new to me, so was MSGR (Monsignor, really?) and ADA (Nabokov novel). EUGENE was a huge gimme being in OR, and I just visited RHODES this spring. Elli Beach was amazing (if you enjoy suntanning, drinking and lots of European debauchery :)).

Anonymous 4:57 PM  

4D: Big Cup maker (Reese's)

I misread the clue I thought it said Big Gulp maker. I was thinking how can I get 7/11 to fit in the grid.

Rex was thinking about womens undergarments. I wonder how playtex would have fit in the grid?


Anonymous 6:47 PM  

4D: Big Cup maker (Reese's) — really would have liked a bra manufacturer here.

What Rex was thinking


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