Sicilian resort city — WEDNESDAY, Sep. 2 2009 — Anne of HBO's "Hung" / Contents of hoedown seat / Available as London limo

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Constructor: Jim Hyres

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Midtown Manhattan Map — grid depicts Broadway (spelled out by circled letters) "crossing" 5th through 8th Avenues

Word of the Day: SCHAEFER (18A: "The one beer to drink when you're having more than one" sloganeer) — Schaefer Beer is a brand of beer from the United States.

Schaefer was, at one point during the first half of the 20th century, the world's best selling beer. By the 1970s, however, it had ceded the top spot to Budweiser. [...] A popular advertising campaign for Schaefer was the tagline, "Schaefer is the one beer to have when you're having more than one." This was put to music and used as a jingle from the 1950s-70s. The music was written by Jim Jordan of BBDO, on his son's xylophone. Louis Armstrong once performed the jingle in a television advertisement campaign. Music composer Edd Kalehoff also appeared in a 1973 advertisement showing off his Moog synthesizer.


I'm sitting here wondering how I've never heard of a beer that used to be "the world's best selling beer." From the world's best-selling beer in the 60s to completely off-cultural-radar by the mid-70s. Talk about dying a hard and fast death. This beer registers a big zero in my consciousness, and I've been seeing / watching beer ads since the mid-70s. Pabst Blue Ribbon and Schlitz malt liquor and Hamm's and "Tonight let it be Lowenbrau" and all that ... no SCHAEFER. The slogan is so goofy (might as well read "Ask for SCHAEFER — the beer alcoholics prefer!") that I thought for a few moments that the beer might be fictional. I'm not complaining about the answer at all — just marveling at how fast a brand can go from everywhere to nowhere on a dime like that.

[Ladies Love George Benson]

A very creative puzzle today, even if BROADWAY doesn't actually "cross" EIGHTH or FIFTH in this grid. What's nice about the circled squares is BROADWAY actually does hit EIGHTH at a "circle" — Columbus Circle. I also like the snakiness of BROADWAY in the grid, which does a good job of mimicking the actual path BROADWAY takes across Midtown. Compromise fill — a common byproduct of fancy themes like this — is present but not excessively so. ASASON is at the top of my "To Go" pile (60A: How a particularly close nephew may be treated) — it's about as legit as IN A BAG or TO A PARTY or WITH SOME CAKE. The RE-twins aren't much prettier. REOPEN is a great word (22A: Come back following renovations, say), but the far uglier REWOVE (19A: Fixed, as a tapestry) is wearing the same RE-dress and standing far too close to REOPEN, compromising her splendor. Finally, I'm not an ADORER of ADORER (17A: Rabid fan). Else, good.

Theme answers:

  • 9D: Superfluous person (FIFTH wheel)
  • 24D: Intuition (SIXTH sense) — also known as "Avenue of the Americas sense"
  • 13D: Like some Adventists (SEVENTH Day) — there are other kinds of "Adventists?"
  • 27D: Quaver (EIGHTH note) — hardest of the themes, for me. I learned this meaning of "quaver" from xwords, so I eventually pulled it out.

I sailed through this until the SW, where I came to a dead stop at CHO-S-E- (58A: Stir-fried entree). That looked like Nothing to me. Plus, I don't think I've ever had CHOP SUEY (it's some Americanized noodle thing, right?). Anyway, all three crosses were screwy for me. I had the wrong meaning of [Ticked off] in my head for 42D (was thinking about marking items on a checklist, for some reason) but was wondering about the legality/plausibility of ANNOTED (ended up being ANNOYED). I wanted SPAT where SUIT was supposed to go (53D: Dressy attire for a man), and then I misread the clue at 46D: Certain filers as [Certain fliers]. When I ended up with RASPS, I thought maybe the answer was WASPS and TETRAD (45A: Foursome) was wrong. Bah. Anyway, I think I spent half my time in this corner and still ended up with a good Wednesday time.


  • 1A: Source of the music for a 2001 theatrical hit (ABBA) — a really oblique way to come at ABBA ... and yet I got it no problem.
  • 49A: Contents of a hoedown seat (hay) — "Contents" sounds weird here. The seat is made of HAY. It is HAY. I mean, there's twine involved, I guess. Maybe the whole clue is designed not to use the giveaway word "bale."
  • 54A: Available, as a London limo (on hire) — Did the UK rename the American 80s crime drama to "Spenser: On Hire"?
  • 16D: Anne of HBO's "Hung" (Heche) — this is about a man with a big penis who becomes a male prostitute when he falls on hard (!) times. 9 episodes have aired to date. I know this only from reading the shows Wikipedia page.

  • 28D: Dog doc (vet) — ours told us yesterday that our chocolate lab tested very positive of Lyme's (despite being on flea/tick meds, !@#@@!@%) and so now she has to take copious antibiotics for a month. Every day this dog is inventing new ways of getting sick / trying to bankrupt us. Her sister, on the other hand, is unbreakable. Even pitbull maulings can't keep her down for long.
  • 44D: Lady Lindy (Earhart) — she is a featured character in the Vertigo comic book "Air," which I read.
  • 57D: Sicilian resort city (Enna) — I wonder how many people put in ETNA and then wondered why anyone would want to treat his nephew AS A SOT.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Aleman 8:04 AM  

SCHAEFER (32D: Beer brand since 1842) - May 24, 2008 (Sat.)

HudsonHawk 8:06 AM  

Fantastic puzzle. I didn't get the connection between the circles to the numbered avenues until I had only a few cirlces left. From Columbus Circle to the Flatiron Building, just an awesome grid.

My eyes must be going, as I also had fliers/WASPS before filers/RASPS.

SethG 8:28 AM  

I have old man arches above my eyes, and SCHAEFER was Wade's beer of choice in high school. Yup for fliers. Wanted AQUAMAN for the mythical sea creature. Got EIGHTH NOTE quickly from the theme, but took a few tries to spell EIGHTH.

Interesting that one's ego may be either stroked or massaged. That must be what Clarence Carter was talking about. Nice puzzle!

dk 8:38 AM  

Like @SethG the "spilling of eigeth" eluded me.

I remember SCHAEFER as the beer of old f*rts.

The only CHOPSUEY I ever had came in a can and my limos are always oncall.

Enough about me, a great puzzle and one of my faster Wednesdays (insert EGO stoke about here)

ps. Clarence Carter does a great version of Dark End of the Street (favorite cheating song)

Elaine 8:42 AM  

I had never heard of Schaefer, either. And I lived in Cincinnati, home of Schoenling (spelt with umlaut over O or OE), Hudepohl, and many more... a very German city. Learned something new today, check.

Fort Ord, CA-- SO constantly chilly that winter uniforms are worn all year round. Honest! Been there.

I enjoyed this puzzle as it was not too simple, yet a quick solve. Rex is right--Chop Suey is American; but it is not as good as it sounds. (Gag)

And I must ask: is not an eighth note too long for a quaver? We could as Caruso...or Callas, who also came to mind.

Elaine 8:46 AM  

Oops...ASK Caruso or Callas. These new glasses, I don't know...

Yes, the chop suey came in a can! Just like Mom used to make. Words are inadequate to describe the mess. (Merciful curtain of darkness falls...)

hazel 8:47 AM  

Talk about your New York centric puzzles!! This one completely rocked. It is like a literal and conceptual map of midtown from W. 58th to E. 23rd. Not just Broadway starting its path at 8th and xing 5th, 6th, 7th - but the fill also seems very Broadway, v. old school, and slightly dishy. - a night starting out dressing up (HEELS, SUITS), taking in an SRO show (ABBA?), maybe some MERMAN (the belter, not the sea creature), winding up at TWOAM - with a few SCHAEFERs. Seems reasonable for a night in the city w/ lots of DIRT & EGOs to boot.

Even CARUSO lived at B'way & 42nd for a while.

One tidy New York package. Awesome puzzle.

Doug 8:57 AM  

As a NYer I loved this puzzle, though I started with the beer clue and sang the jingle for like three minutes and still didn't remember the brand. The SW got me going as well as the 7th day clue. Eighth note done only with crosses. I thought Tetrad was the word of the day -- you just don't see it that much, or at least I don't. Would have preferred an "Ethel"-type clue to get to merman -- which is kind of archaic (mythical sea creature? what a stretch...).

Greene 9:06 AM  

Count me among the admirers of this puzzle construction. Didn't love all the fill, but I realize compromises need to be made in order to get everything to work. Would have liked to have seen BROADWAY take a more southerly course between SEVENTH and SIXTH (as it does in NYC), but that's just being really ultra picky.

Good work Jim Hyres. A great mid-week puzzle celebrating mid-town.

Ruth 9:33 AM  

Schaefer beer hosted rock concerts in the Wollman skating rink in Central Park in the late 60's, which is why I remember the name. During a memorable 4-week stay in Manhattan in 1969 I saw Jethro Tull, Joni Mitchell, The Mothers of Invention, Lulu, and a few others there--all totally awesome, in the summer leading up to Woodstock. Didn't go to Woodstock, though (we had to go back home to Iowa!)

CoolPapaD 9:33 AM  

Finished the grid without too much problem, but it then took a lot of staring to see the connection between BROADWAY and the down themes. SCHAEFER was familiar to me from my junior high school days, collecting beer cans as a hobby - does anyone still do this any more? I remember picking through trash cans in Manhattan during a family vacation, looking for new cans as my relatives looked on in horror!

MERMAN was just in the puzzle! I thought that merman, as a male counterpart to mermaid, was a word my three year old daughter made up (she is obsessed with all things mermaid), and did not think it was a real thing!

duaneu 9:41 AM  

The New England Patriots once played in Schaefer Stadium.

ACOA Member 9:41 AM  

The SCHAEFER jingle was omnipresent during my childhood, but always confused me. "When you're having more than one"? When does anyone ever have just one beer? Certainly not part of my childhood! Were they talking cases here?

JannieB 9:42 AM  

Not a New Yorker, but still enjoyed this puzzle. Where @Rex misconstrued Ticked Off, I couldn't figure out ERA - my mind was back in the 70's and I tried to abbreviate amendment, not average. Knew that Levee was probably correct, but took too long to see ERA as a baseball clue. Yeesh!

PurpleGuy 9:45 AM  

Couldn't get the beer jingle out of my head. Remembered it vividly growing up on Long Island.

Really enjoyed this puzzle, and had one of my best times for a Wednesday.

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

Could someone please explain "CAS" in hat?
Because I would really prefer the word "CAT".
It's a small lit nit,
but I'm in such a snit,
And for now I'll just leave it at that..

Brendan Emmett Quigley 9:48 AM  

Not gonna lie: I rolled my eyes when I saw the circles, thinking we had yet another example of gimmick-for-gimmicks-sake crossword. Not gonna lie: I liked the puzzle. Didn't feel forced at all. Well done.

Oh, and that's some serious analog synth pornography in that Edd Kalehoff vid. The Moog 55. Whew. Badass.

retired_chemist 9:52 AM  

@ anon 9:46 - that would be C as in "Cat."

DJG 9:54 AM  

Yeah, cool puzzle. I do believe I've had a Schaeffer before. I've at least heard of it and I always confuse it with Ballentine for some reason.

Elaine2 9:58 AM  

@ anonymous: "C AS" in CAT.

Like BEQ, I saw the circles and and thought, "oh, no," but I LOVED THIS! Great puzzle!

retired_chemist 10:02 AM  

Enjoyable, even to a non-NYer. Didn't get the theme even when I saw BROADWAY in the circles. Needed to get the explanation when I came a-blogging.

Count me in the CALLAS before CARUSO crowd. SCHAEFER didn't come readily to mind, but it was familiar enough once I had 4 or 5 crosses. Got 6D by its crosses and wondered what IN CAN was when I checked. ("Where INTI?" He IN CAN.")

Love the thought of treating the nephew AS A SOT.

slypett 10:16 AM  

I remembered the jingle so well I felt something like a sensation that I'd heard it recently, but the name...the name. Then I got the AE and the F, but never had more than one, or even one, for that matter. My Uncle Bill, who was the beer drinker in our family, drank only Ballantine, the beer of the Yankees, of which he was an ardent fan. SCHAEFER, I learned in JH's blog, was the beer of the Dodgers.

Sara 10:19 AM  

When I was born, in 1961, my father made up a little song about me, based on the SCHAEFER jingle. In my self-absorption, it never occurred to me until today that everyone in the world didn't know that jingle!

jeff in chicago 10:26 AM  

Fun. Clever. You don't see MERMAN in the puzzle often. Liked that a lot. My three favorite fills are SHUE, SHA and SHH. [/sarcasm]

@Elaine: Music notes have some funky names:
Whole note - semibreve
Half note - minim
Quarter note - crotchet
Eighth note - quaver
Sixteenth note - semiquaver
32nd note - demisemiquaver
64th note - hemidemisemiquaver
128th note - semihemidemisemiquaver

Ulrich 10:39 AM  

My complaint was not so much with the fill, but with the cluing: It felt unusually pedestrian to me. However this may be, the splendid construction more than made up for it.

Since Schäfer means "shepherd" in German, the so-named beer came readily to my mind, even if I don't remember ever having one, let alone more than one...

@Jeff: If I ever see "demisemiquaver" in a puzzle, I'll hold you personally responsible!

Jeffrey 10:56 AM  

I love this type of "you-can-only-do-it-in-a-crossword-puzzle" puzzle. I will take it with me next New York trip so I don't get lost.

Is there a Chinese restaurant outside Madison Square Garden at the corner of CHOP SUEY and ARENA?

Susan 10:58 AM  

I didn't know the beer, either. Hey was the upstate NY beer from the other day Saranac? Because I had one the other day. Really yummy.

@Seth et al I also could not spell eighth. Sigh.
@JanineB I also thought of the ERA instead of baseball.
@ pednsg You said, "I thought that merman ...was a word my three year old daughter made up ... and did not think it was a real thing!" Um, your daughter didn't make up the word, but it is NOT a real thing!

Thanks for the explanation of the theme, Rex. I sort of vaguely got it but did not see the intricacy/beauty of it without your help!

joho 11:02 AM  

Lovely, lovely puzzle.

I, too, started with Flier/WASPS. I also wanted reindeer for Comet. But mostly I just moved along down the avenues at a good pace enjoying every step of the way.

Jim Jordan hired me as a junior copywriter in my very first job at BBD&O on Madison Avenue. He wrote the Wisk "Ring Around The Collar" campaign among others, but I never knew he wrote the Schaefer jingle until now. He was a two-fisted drinker, that's for sure, so the sentiment "When You're Having More Than One" definitely applied to him.

Thank you Jim Hyres for a wonderful Wednesday in the city.

fikink 11:11 AM  

@Ruth, haven't heard someone mention Mothers of Invention in so long, forgot they ever existed.
@pednsg, don't know about cans, but microbrew bottle caps seem to be the collection of choice these days.
@JannieB, me too on trying to abbreviate amendment; an ERA clue goes from proposed changes to the constitution to laundry detergent and finally to baseball in my head.
@jeff, thanks for the music info. I put it on a stickie on my desktop til I learn them.

Nice puzzle!

P.S. My nephew IS a sot.

Glitch 11:19 AM  

From Wiki:

Chop suey is widely believed to have been invented in America by Chinese immigrants, but in fact comes from Taishan, a district of Guangdong Province which was the home of most of the early Chinese immigrants; the Hong Kong doctor Li Shu-fan reported that he knew it in Taishan in the 1890s.


My Dad's favorite when eating out in a good Chinese restaraunt, but in a can, it loses much in the translation ;-)

Coincidently, he drank Schaefer beer.


archaeoprof 11:21 AM  

A map of NYC, too cool. Thanks, Jim Hyres!

Now can somebody work in the subway lines?

@Elaine: Hudepohl, Schoenling, and don't forget Wiedemann...

Stan 11:26 AM  

This theme really worked for me.

Great comments from the New Yorkers (esp. @hazel and @joho)!

Karen from the Cape 11:32 AM  

I made the fliers/filers misread also.

I thought it was cool to have a countdown starting and ending at a random number. Then I wondered what connection Tyra had to Abba's Broadway production. Thank goodness for blogs.

Maybe I should try some chop suey for lunch, all I associate it with is gooey noodly canned stuff that never touched a frying pan.

PIX 11:33 AM  

@Schaefer beer: When we were growing up this (and Rheingold) were THE beers of the city. 15 cents a glass at the local bar (which was a big deal when we were 16 pretending to be 18). As mentioned Schaefer also sponsored the concerts in Central Park where you could sit on a hill outside and watch for free. The beer is inexpensive but does have a very distinctive bitter flavor. They are still in business; my local beer distributor still carries Schaefer. Whenever I bring some to the beach club, everyone comes up to me and tells me stories of the old days. Anyone passing through Massapequa NY is invited to stop by my house and we’ll go buy a couple of six-packs and “have more than one.”

Chop Suey is a standard NYCity Chinese takeout dish.

Great puzzle; a real tribute to NYCity. Sorry if the out of towners don’t fully appreciate it.

mccoll 11:36 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle. Even for Wednesday I don't rate it as high as medium, but the theme was awesome. I took a while to realize what it meant but New Yorkers would twig right away.
There are no noodles in Chop Suey; it is a stir-fried vegetables dish. Rex, you are thinking of Chow Mein which is stir-fried noodles and some form of protein such as chicken, pork, or shrimp. Both seem to be North American inventions based on traditional Chinese dishes. We'd go to ON-ON's in Vancouver, pig out and never order either dish. 8-}

fergus 11:39 AM  

Wow. I found this strained and awkward. Winced a lot, and felt sorry for the opprobrium Jim Hyres was likely to face from the tough crowd. Guess I'm in the distinct minority today.

Fort ORD is pretty much defunct. It's now Cal State U. Monterey Bay, which is seems a fine switch of resources. I like what's happened at the Presidio of SF and Alameda NAS, too, in the swords into plowshares sort of vein.

dk 11:45 AM  

@Jeff from hog butcher for the world :) and @Ulrich

Great new clue: What prefix denotes a doubled a 64th note.... SEMI (semihemidemisemiquaver from hemidemisemiquaver).

@fikink, the lyrics first sung by my son at age 2: "Watch out where the huskies go don't you eat that yellow snow!"

Me I'm movin to Montana to raise dental floss.

dk 12:00 PM  

@pednsg, from yesterday and apologizes to the woeful Acme. Last years pig had about 3-400 pounds on this years. Loved the sow with the millions (it seemed) of piglets.

The first MN State Fair I went to (moved to MN from Manhattan for last 2 years of college) featured the NY Dolls (lame link to todays puzzle) playing on machinery hill. David Johanson (name dropping like Acme today) suggested I visit the poultry barn as he never knew so many varieties of chickens existed.

3 items or more so I am out the door.

JC66 12:02 PM  


Chow Mein and Chop Suey were the staples of NYC Chinese-American restaurants in the 1950/60s (when Shaeffer beer was in it's heyday). Back then, there was no such thing as Szechuan cuisine.

Here's a very unPC audio of Buddy Hackett's Chinese waiter bit that describes the ordering of a family dinner at such an establishment..

ArtLvr 12:02 PM  

I did this late last night and loved it -- but I was compulsively looking for hints of the first four numbers too. EGO = I, in Latin, TWO A.M., 4 in a TETRAD, great. 3? Maybe in three-layered OREOS?

Today's puzzle concept'S way above AVG, anyway!


Anonymous 12:02 PM  

Strangely enough, I was at BBDO during the Schaefer heyday. We used the strategy to get a number of beer accounts including Storz (#1 in Omaha and surrounding areas!) and Lucky Lager.

The sense of the strategy may be of value again as many beer drinkers tire of chewing their way through, for instance, Full Sail Golden Ale, and long for a beer that doesn't make you feel as though you have eaten your way through a turkey dinner.

Pilsner Urquell! The one beer to have when you are having more than one!

John 12:06 PM  

My father drank Schaefer. I never liked it. Im a Bud man.

There usd to be a Schaefer brewery west of Allentown on the Pennslyvania Turnpike.The company that bought Falls City (Cincinnati Beer) bought them, and now its a Fall City Brewery.

JC66 12:15 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 12:17 PM  

Yeah, I know ... BBDO again!

But I can't llet a mention of chopsuey go by with out a remembrance of taking, the train from Minneapolis to Duluth, drinks at the Black Bear Lounge, and then those client meetings with Gino Paulucci the father of ChunKing!

The commercials with Stan Freberg were responsible for taking chinese out of the one-arm joints and into America's Formica 1950's home kitchens!

Joseph 12:36 PM  

Terrific puzzle. I know NY well, but as a SF'an, not well enough to know what crosses Broadway at 8th, 7th, 6th, and 5th. Rex says the circle in NW is Columbus, if so, what's the circle at 5th (TYRA, ISMY)?

Someone mentioned the various squares (times square, etc). Anything here that is actually found on a NY map? Let me explain: always looking for hidden words/meaning, am wondering whether there is anything on BWay and 8th related to ABBA, Enrico Caruso, or Brow. Likewise, what's at 7th and BWay that relates to tapestries? Anything at 6th and BWay related to "on hire" .. I dunno a cab stand (stupid, but I'm searching).

Great puzzle, deeper meaning or not.

JC66 12:37 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC66 12:44 PM  

Correction, the intersections where Broadway crosses an Avenue are called squares (even though they're rectangles):

Park Ave @ 14th St - Union Square

Fifth Ave @ 23rd St - Madison Square

Sixth Ave @ 34th St - Herald Square

Seventh Ave @ 42nd St - Times Square


Mike 1:12 PM  

Ruth, I went to loads of Schaefer Music Festival shows in the 70s in Central Park. I think later it changed to the Dr Pepper Music Festival. Tickets on the roof were $2.50 and tickets on the floor were $4.50. We used to get the roof tickets then jump down to the "good" seats.
If you never heard of Schaefer beer you definitely are not from NY.

Clark 1:18 PM  

O. Henry

The Fifth Wheel

The ranks of the Bed Line moved closer together; for it was cold. They were alluvial deposit of the stream of life lodged in the delta of Fifth Avenue and Broadway. The Bed Liners stamped their freezing feet, looked at the empty benches in Madison Square whence Jack Frost had evicted them, and muttered to one another in a confusion of tongues. The Flatiron Building, with its impious, cloud-piercing architecture looming mistily above them on the opposite delta, might well have stood for the tower of Babel, whence these polyglot idlers had been called by the winged walking delegate of the Lord.

Clark 1:32 PM  

@Jeff in Chicago
We might as well add that rare creature: the breve - double whole note. Can be notated as a whole note with two short vertical lines left and right, or as two whole notes touching each other, or, my favorite, as a square note. See, e.g., Bach, Well Tempered Clavier II, E Major fugue, book 2, bar 8.

mac 1:40 PM  

@Clark: that's my neighborhood! I on the y in Hay. Did you read Jack Finney's "Time and again" and "Time after Time"?

Beautiful puzzle about a great part of Manhattan. I figured out the Broadway part, then was in too much of a rush to think about the rest. Thanks Rex.

Schaefer wasn't hard, not because I've ever tasted it, but I must have heard about it, plus it was my MIL's maiden name.

@Hazel: great comment.

Whisk is my detergent of choice, for several reasons. Think people don't care about ring around the collar anymore?

Anonymous 2:33 PM  

any other rock music fans smile at "CHOP SUEY" placed right over "OUTSHINE(d)"?

chefbea 2:45 PM  

Saw Broadway right a way but had no idea what fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth had to do with it til I came here.

Thought quaver might be the word of the day. Also read filer as flier

I remember chop suey and chow mein - made by chung-king. They came in two cans that were taped together!! Then you sprinkled some crunchy chinese noodles on top. They came in another can. The whole meal cost under a dollar.

Pete M 2:57 PM  

@Rex: I though you were joking about the plot of "Hung". Wow, I'd love to have been in the pitch meeting for that one.

andrea adorer michaels 3:28 PM  

Loved this puzzle's construction!!!
At first I wondered why the FIFTH, SIXTH, etc didn't go from right to left and was looking for first, second and third, till I saw the so so cool!!!!!
Rex write up so right on!!!
I was moved to write "Fabulous!" over my puzzle for no one to even see!

Very inspiring, despite tiny bit of compromise fill...I will take them as traffic snarls or potholes.
(Hated CAS)

Will bet dollars to donuts that MERMEN was originally clued a la Ethel...
Jim on-Hyre(s) clearly spent a ton of thought on this!
(And @dk that does NOT count as name-dropping since
a) I don't know him and
b) I stopped name-dropping like a year ago and no one's noticed! ;))

Damned if I knew Shaefer's or how to spell it once it rang a dim bell.
(Oops, just reread my post, and apparently I still don't know how to spell it!)

Bleed over from Ashish's Sunday fest: FIFTHWHEEL

@jojo, Jannieb, Fikink, Susan, et al
ERA is a PERFECT example of boy clue vs girl clue!!!!!
We should resurrect our CrossChicks club, tho I'm in too good a mood lately to be cross about anything! (I think some of the therapy has kicked in!)

And I love the idea of treating my nephew as a sot, even tho he's only 15! We'll see how that goes!

Save me a seat retroactively!!!!!

mac 3:50 PM  

@Andrea: we noticed, and we are very disappointed.....

Eric Day 3:54 PM  

6-pack of SCHAEFER cans at Key Foods in Astoria: $3.99! A quality cheap beer!

sanfranman59 4:00 PM  

Monday 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 10:19, 12:17, 0.84, 16%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:33, 6:01, 0.92, 26%, Easy-Medium

Schaefer was a gimme for me. I remember it well. I think it's what my father had on hand for my college graduation party (1981). Very cheap ... not very good. Fortunately, I hadn't yet developed a DISCERNing palate for beer.

Elaine 5:18 PM  

Amazingly, NYC has begun allowing tourists to visit after many decades of quotas, checkpoints, and OUTLANDER STAY OUT! campaigns. We won a VISIT NYC LOTTERY in 1979, and it was our honeymoon destination on our way back from Europe. Despite having to change all of our money and leave our overalls, bandanas, and bluegrass cassette tapes at the border, we enjoyed our visit and actually learned how to ride in taxicabs! Unforgettable! (wink)

Oh...yeah. I forgot about The Clearances. A good thing, I am sure, but once again it makes me feel Even Older. And then, is that still a good clue for a crossword?

Please, please NO MORE! The nighmares about the ChunKing Chop Suey dinners had finally begun to fade after only 54 years--(at age 8 I once sat in front of the plate of slime til 10 p.m., hungry but unable to overcome the gag reflex.) And now YOU have reawakened it all with your detailed description, she said with a quaver in her voice...

chefbea 5:23 PM  

@Elaine sooo sorry. Just think of roasted beets to get the awful thoughts out of your head

Ulrich 5:25 PM  

Is anyone going to see 2nd round action at the US Open tomorrow? If so, and if you're interested in having a chat there, please e-mail me--I may go myself if I get out of bed early enough to catch a train.

Ruth 5:55 PM  

@Mike, glad to hear from another Schaefer beer fest veteran! Inflation was steep in the 70's--I'm pretty sure the concerts were $2 or $2.50 for the top seats in 1969! The good ones were almost always sold out--only way I got in to see Joni Mitchell was she got rained out but rescheduled to the next night, and I was able to buy a ticket off a disappointed guy who showed up at the rink (as did I) on the original night. A transcendent moment in my young life.
And Zappa! He opened with, "It's so great to be playing in New York City, because we know New Yorkers are SO SOPHISTICATED (pause while big cheer goes up from the crowd). . .that they only like the VERY WORST kind of music. So that's what we're going to play for you. . ." Crowd was stunned but quickly got into it.

Bill from NJ 6:00 PM  

Among my crowd in the early 60s, SCHAEFER was already being seen as an "old persons" beer, as dk noted, but I came of beer drinking age, not to be confused with legal age, in Washington DC. Schaefers was a national brand so I don't know what regional differences might be involved here.

It is odd that I remember Chop Suey in a can from roughly the same time period

Doc John 6:00 PM  

Took me a few go-rounds to finish this one but liked it just fine.

I loved what Rex had to say about Schaefer because that's what I thought about that catch line, too.

Was I the only one who had "kraken" for [sea creature]?

CoolPapaD 6:19 PM  

@Susan - Mermaids and mermen ARE real, as are unicorns, flying ponies, and all of the other creatures that are now part of my reality, taking up an unbelievable amount of room in the house!

@JC66 - Thanks for the Buddy Hackett clip - I was looking for this about a year ago and came up empty. Not PC, but very funny!

Noam D. Elkies 6:21 PM  

Much fun. The circled word explained what happened to FIRST through FOURTH (or should I say PARK). Being an ex-New Yorker helped.

Just as well I didn't know about "Hung" (apropos 16D) when solving, even though it was several hours past breakfast time.

Thanks to retired_chemist for explaining the "C AS in carbon" clue (20A). D'oh. We now await "_____ beet" as a Fri/Sat clue for BASIN. [Not my discovery: cribbed from an Enigma verse puzzle, #8 in March '08 by "Scarab" = Victor Barocas of St.Paul, MN.]


Charles Bogle 6:53 PM  

Terrific puzzle-thank you Jim Hyres-and super write-up. Comet as a CLEANSER totally threw me (and my very intelligent daughter in the hospital who figured out, eg, FOURTHNOTE for Quaver); agree w @Jim Horn-hey, I'm in Seattle, at Harborview Hosp); "Refuse" as a noun instead of a verb was great...only thing I didn't like was ADORER. TETRAD-wow, new one on me. Also liked: DISCERN, OUTSHINE. Ethel "MERMAN" and CARUSO together at last! My New York roots memory of SCHAEFER, one, affordable, two, the jingle, three, they hosted the Saturday night NY Rangers games on ch 9 w Bob Wolff--am I right, sirs and mesdames?.

The lullaby of Broadway 7:07 PM  

Manhattan Squares

Charles Bogle 7:14 PM  

Hey check this out--today's LA Times puzzle, 37A "Streaker with a tail...". Coincidence?

Two Ponies 7:20 PM  

I have never been to NYC but Puzzlemate lived there as a cab driver for several years. I explained today's theme and he loved it. What a tolerant person he is. He listens to my puzzle chat from time to time and even has taken to our dinner time Jeopardy ritual.
Very cool puzzle and great way to start the slide down the difficulty trail toward the weekend. This must have been very challenging to construct.

fikink 8:17 PM  

@dk, Ruth -
My favorite Zappa lyrics, apochryphal or not:

What's the ugliest part of your body?
Some say it's your nose,
Some say it's your toes.
But I think it's your mind.

andrea e.r.a.! e.r.a! michaels 8:31 PM  

are you going to the alameda thing? who are you? do you want to carpool?

Kukstis 8:45 PM  

Has "Fifth Wheel" been a common answer recently, or is it just me? I know for a fact (because I just got around to solving it) that it was in the acrostic last Sunday, but I feel like I saw it in another puzzle recently as well...

Mike Lewis 8:47 PM  

Uhoh, someone else posts here as "Mike." Anyone know how I can change my username with a Google account?

Also never heard of Schaefer, and while I didn't fall into the fliers/filers trap, I did misread [Identity theft targets] as [Identify theft targets], so I was trying to think of things like "case the joint" that might have abbreviations.

I liked this puzzle, though the theme didn't really add much to it for me.

Mike Lewis 8:50 PM  

Oh, and thanks for the "C as in Cat" help. I was completely not parsing that correctly.

Ruth 9:15 PM  

@fikink, yep, I know that song--humming the tune right now!

Sfingi 9:19 PM  

Schaefer used to be bottled in Brooklyn, is now owned by Pabst.

Saranac is made here in Utica by Matt Brewing at the West End bottling plant, a most beautifully clean coppery plant, which gives tours. Utica Club, another product, sells many collectibles, at The Brewery Shop, including 2 new steins every year. They also co-sponser the Boiler Maker race. Also some unusual soft drinks.

I've never been able to finish a beer, let alone 2, so I can't tell if they're good.

sanfranman59 9:26 PM  

@Andrea ... I'm afraid that my crossword skills are far from tournament-ready. I'm able to get through Monday through Thursday without cheating, but I rarely solve a Friday or Saturday without at least one cheat and even then, it usually takes me at least 30 minutes to finish. I was thinking of showing up just to watch the proceedings if nothing else. Feel free to email me at if you want to carpool.

mac 9:44 PM  

@sanfranman59: that's what I did in Brooklyn in 2008, and that's what convinced me to sign up for tournaments afterward. In hindsight, I could have just signed up, it's so low-key and friendly, most people don't even discuss standings and final positions.

sanfranman59 9:58 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 6:16, 6:55, 0.91, 23%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:15, 8:30, 0.97, 49%, Medium
Wed 10:25, 12:18, 0.85, 16%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:19, 3:40, 0.90, 25%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:14, 4:22, 0.97, 49%, Medium
Wed 5:24, 6:01, 0.90, 22%, Easy-Medium

Matt Ginsberg 10:33 PM  

In 1980 (I think), Schaefer changed its motto to "Schaefer City", which was supposed to signal generic goodness. They had this ad campaign where you filled in a piece of paper and one was drawn raffle-style; the winner got to go to the Superbowl with with a (stunningly attractive) actress (Marcy Hopkins) who played a blind date on a very popular ad.

To make a (very) long story short, I entered the contest about 45,000 times and won! Anyone who wants more details, corner me at the ACPT.

HudsonHawk 10:53 PM  

@sanfranman59--what mac said. Go, compete, have a blast. You'll regret it if you just go to observe without taking a stab at the puzzles in real time. I competed as a rookie this year at ACPT and Lollapuzzoola and in each case, there was only one puzzle that kicked my butt. If you can do Thursday puzzles without help, you'll do just fine.

Anonymous 11:11 PM  

My problem with Schaefer is that the jingle has NEVER left my head. Never. Now that the puzzle has reawoken the tune, it'll be buzzing around for days.

retired_chemist 11:20 PM  

I listened to the jingle and decided I had probably heard it, but I did not remember it. I don;t think it was big where I grew up.

Stan 11:37 PM  

@Ruth (and others): Loved the posts about Wollman Rink shows.

Sometime later, I went there a lot. (It was walking distance from where I lived). Southside Johnny, Tammy Wynette, the Pretenders...

Clark 12:21 AM  

@mac -- I have read Jack Finney's "Time and again". I loved the way he got a time travel story going in such a way that all the technical issues about the possibility of it just dropped away as insignificant -- at least that's how it worked for me. I will have to read "Time after Time" sometime.

slypett 12:57 AM  

A Boiler Maker Race! When I was a kid that was my drink of choice, Some old guy in a bar taught me to sink the shot in the stein and drink it as a Depth Charge.

So, what goes on in a Boiler Maker Race?

liquid el lay 6:27 AM  

The contents of a seat, hoedown or other, is a three letter word that begins with “a”

Rex, I’ve had CHOPSUEY once, and it was at the Far East Cafe. The chipped “china” may date back to Marlowe himself. (by mccoll may I now correct myself, it was probably chow mein)

Schaffer was the un-official beer of the UCLA surf team on its road trips in the ‘80’s. Tasted like turned lemons, only harsher.

I wish they would boldface the squares of interest rather then put in these annoying, near invisible circles.

Speaking of visibility, I, also, read “filers” (a weird word) as “fliers”.

Also had AURORAE for AURORAS, and was thus very late for the HEIST which only came in on the EIGHTH NOTE.

Anyway, with WASPS, I had _ETWAD to deal with as a “Foursome”. Now I’m thinking “Most golfers I know are some kind of wad… “

Settled on KETWAD, so that the only sound from the monastery would be CHALK (on a blackboard.)

liquid el lay 6:44 AM  

I like to find a "Comet", if it's not going to be streaking in the sky, to be barrelling down the highway. I don't like to see it so much in the bathtub.

I liked SIXTHSENSE, and MERMAN with his salty cluing.

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

Not much to say that hasn't been said. I knew it had to be eighthnote pretty quick, but couldn't fit it--was holding onto the other ERA until the end and had no idea what the O.T. book was. (Just now figured it out.) Schaefer was one from the deep and shadowy recesses of the mind that fit once I figured out the pattern of the ordinals. Heels was fun, and so was Gen Xers, strangely. I'll scream if I see Abba again soon.

Whitney 2:28 PM  

Loved the puzzle - I've never been to NY but I am going in just two weeks, so it seemed particularly relevant to me (despite the fact that I'm doing the puzzle in syndication...). My boyfriend's mother wants us to go to B'way shows THREE nights in a row. Now, I've never been to a show so maybe I'll love it but going to a show three nights out of the four I'm going to be there seems excessive....

Anyway, count me in for the filer/flier rasps/wasps mishap and even though I had DROSS I couldn't figure out "refuse". To refuse someone/thing? I love clues like that - big AHA moment when I realized I was reading it wrong. Also couldn't parse C AS in cat until I came here. D'oh.

Singer 7:57 PM  

I enjoyed the puzzle. I wondered what the circles were about, and was surprised that there was no reference to them in the clues, which usually is the case. When I was done, I recognized the numbers in the downs, and saw Broadway in the circles, but had no clue what that was all about until I came here. Never having been to NYC, it went over my head. It had no bearing on solving the puzzle, though, thankfully.

Beer - what can I say. I am an old guy, but I never heard of Schaefer before. I grew up in Colorado, and Coors was pretty much the dominant brew. I remember going to Pittsburgh to start working after I graduated from college. The group of new hires I was with went out for beers after work one day. We ordered a pitcher of Steel City beer, which cost $5.00. A guy from Montana said "you've got to be kidding." I chimed in with him on that one, as did a guy from New York, who said "you got that right - a pitcher costs $10 where I'm from", which blew me and the guy from Montana away - we had been paying no more than 75 cents for a pitcher of Coors.

Now I live in Portland, Oregon, which is a great city for high quality microbrews. A couple of weeks ago, I was in Cincinnati, where you can't get a decent beer on a dare, and went to a Red's game. Had to make do with Budweiser, which we really looked down on back in the day in Colorado where we thought we had it made because we could drink Coors. Oy!

BTW, the only glitch I had with the puzzle was the filers clue, which I also read as "fliers". I guess dyslexia runts rampant in crossword solvers today.

shrub5 1:13 AM  

@RP: I too thought you were pulling our collective legs with the plot description of "Hung." I don't get HBO (and don't want to order it) so I put the DVD set for Season 1 on my Netflix queue (no release date yet.)

Nullifidian 8:23 PM  

In very, very late from syndication-land.

I found this day's and the following day's puzzle (for me 10/07/09 & 10/08/09) while puttering around and cleaning up. It was only half-solved, and one of the theme clues was filled in incorrectly—I've only ever heard of the phrase THIRD WHEEL—but I couldn't stop myself from taking a break from my cleaning to solve the rest of it.

FIFTH WHEEL was my only write-over. It became obvious that THIRD wasn't right when I tried to fine an admonition to a rude cell phone user (24A) that ended in "D".

I must have started with the NW corner because that was already filled in, along with bits and pieces of the SW and SE. I finished up the rest of the east, then worked my way down the center to see the full theme.

And I have to say that I loved the theme. This is going to be one of my fond memories of a creative theme that really works. I'll have to tell a friend of mine who works at the NYT, but whom I only recently hooked on their crosswords, all about it.

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