TUESDAY, Sep. 29 2009 — War aid program passed by Congress in 1941 / Irish Rose's beau / Big chipmaker / Osprey's claw

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Constructor: Paula Gamache

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: AT SEA (71A: Clueless ... or where the answers to this puzzle's starred clues were all first used)

Word of the Day: LEND-LEASE (8D: War aid program passed by Congress in 1941) — Lend-Lease (Public Law 77-11)[1] was the name of the program under which the United States of America supplied the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China, France and other Allied nations with vast amounts of war material between 1941 and 1945 in return for, in the case of Britain, military bases in Newfoundland, Bermuda, and the British West Indies. It began in March 1941, over 18 months after the outbreak of the war in September 1939. It was called An Act Further to Promote the Defense of the United States. This act also ended the pretense of the neutrality of the United States. Hitler recognized this and consequently had his submarines attack US ships such as the SS Robin Moor, an unarmed merchant steamship destroyed by a German U-boat on 21 May, 1941 outside of the war zone. (wikipedia)


This was a fun puzzle to solve, but as I was solving, I had no idea what the longer phrases had to do with one another. They sounded kinda slangy, but their connection seemed tenuous. Then (as if by design ...) I hit the final Across clue at the very end of my solve, and all became clear. "Huh ... interesting." The concept seems a bit straightforward, since there's no wordplay and nothing binding the phrases except the very general fact of their nautical origins, BUT ... I do love repurposed crosswordese, and this has to be the best use to which AT SEA has ever been put in a crossword puzzle. Further, the idiomatic theme phrases are all colorful, and there are crammed CHOCKABLOCK inside the grid, so high marks for construction prowess. The non-theme fill is kind of dire, but the fine execution of the theme mostly makes up for this.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: *Dangerously unpredictable sort (loose cannon)
  • 11D: *Likely to happen (in the offing)
  • 39A: *Junk (deep-six) — I always get this phrase confused with "eighty-six," which also means to "junk" or "scrap" something (originally, unwanted clientele at Chumley's bar in N.Y. — oh no, that's wrong. Dang. Leave it to World Wide Words to shed a light on the origins of idiomatic expressions: see note on "eighty-six" here).
  • 25D: *Jammed (chock-a-block)
  • 61A: *Inviolable, as rules (hard and fast)

Same basic grid shape as yesterday — or rather, same theme answer placement, with each theme answer relegated to a corner with an extra theme answers stuck in the middle, only this time that middle answer has long answers running through it connecting it to other theme answers. So it's actually a somewhat more restrictive grid than yesterday's, and that shows in the non-theme fill, which is decidedly sub-Gamache. Leaving aside crosswordese, there's a lot of suboptimal stuff:

  • ALKA
  • EPI
  • CPI
  • NONONO (OK, it's fun to say, but it's not much of an answer)
  • IFAT (I think I said this after finishing off daughter's birthday cake this past weekend)
  • XII
  • TADAS (really? More than one?)
  • TSA
  • AAH
  • AWEE

One thing I will say about NONONO and AAH — they make for interesting parts of the puzzle's lone sex scene: "NO NO NO, HARD AND FAST! AAH ... OH YES." I would add that HARDANDFAST, AAH, and OH YES are interpenetrating, but that would be overkill.


  • 1A: Moth-repellent closet material (cedar) — tripped on this, since I was looking for the material that moth balls are made of, and not the material that the closet itself is made of.
  • 6A: Osprey's claw (talon) — lots of raptors up near the woods where we walk every day. Doubt there are ospreys, though, since they are sea hawks and we are quite far from the sea. Mostly we get ... land hawks. And owls.
  • 38A: Sleuth, slangily (tec) — no one really says this. It should be put in the moth-repellent closet.
  • 56A: Three-stripers (sgts.) — a fine abbrev., but part of the worst section of this grid: the far east. VIENNA is By Far the prettiest thing over there (50A: _____ Boys' Choir).
  • 4D: Marketers' "language" (adspeak) — I like this a lot. I'm working my way through season 1 of "Mad Men," all about the advertising industry in 1960. Great stuff.
  • 13D: Roster at the Oscars (stars) — "roster?" I had SLATE.
  • 22D: Collette of "The Sixth Sense" (Toni) — speaking of the Oscars ... I mean the Emmys, TONI Collette just won one for "The United States of Tara," which hardly anyone has seen 'cause it's on "Showtime." The fact that TONI Collette is a great actress only somewhat mitigates my anger at the failure of the Emmy voters to give the award to Ms. Applegate of the unjustly canceled "Samantha Who?"
  • 24D: Big chipmaker (Intel) — computer chips, not tortilla chips.
  • 47D: Healthful claim on labels (less fat) — lots of trouble interpreting this one quickly, for some reason. Plural "labels" might have been part of it, but I think overall density on my part was the bigger factor. I wanted LESSONS (!?).
  • 54D: Any Beatles tune, now (oldie) — I was thinking something like the Opposite of this word, given that no band has been more in-the-news of late, what with the remastering and rerelease of their entire catalogue (an instant sell-out), and the release of The Beatles: Rock Band across multiple gaming platforms. [Any Dave Clark Five tune, now] would have felt more solid, though the given clue is true enough.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


MikeM 8:05 AM  

I first had Saran for SABER thinking Saran wrap was a "cousin" to aluminum foil. duh. Other than that smooth sailing (pardon the pun) and most enjoyable. Thanks Paula. Cheers, MikeM

Jeffrey 8:08 AM  

Well, I was going to mention the NONONO surrounded by NOs in LOOSECANNON, NOELS, NOT and ECONO all leading to OH YES, but you kind of took that in a different direction, so never mind.

Today continues better-than-average puzzle week, which started about 7 days ago.

Elaine 8:32 AM  

Another quick-and-easy puzzle, but I did enjoy finding the theme spelled out in the final entry!

For more evidence of the "interpenetration" of ATSEA-originated phrases, read Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey/Maturin series. Given the lengthy world-wide importance of wind-powered sailing, it's not surprising that so many such usages entered the language...

Doug 8:36 AM  

I thought the Boys' Choir was HARLEM and insisted this was correct until INTHEOFFING looked like the only logical possibility. VIENNA never dawned on me. If I hadn't been so "sure" I would have finished this puzzle rather quickly. I liked the little touch that EPI-center is in the middle of the puzzle going down. Somebody ought to deep six TADAs for awhile.

ArtLvr 8:44 AM  

Very enjoyable mariner's theme, in keeping with NY's ongoing quadricentennial of Henry Hudson's exploration of what was called the North River, now the Hudson. Bits of the fill played in too, from INLET, REEL and STOKE (as shoveling coal for a steamship's boiler) to navigation by the STARS...

Always pleased to have more from Paula G IN THE OFFING...


dk 9:10 AM  

Easy Tuesday fare.

I researched the term eighty-six as I was/and remain certain of its nautical foundation. I came to a dead-end at a Chumley's bar references that eluded to the nautical beginnings of 86.

To ad to the sex theme (NONONO, I can't help my inner 14 year old). Not that I know anything about this but "Got Wood" is a phrase associated with the first part of HARDANDFAST.

Thanks Paula! Smooth sailing this morning.

joho 9:14 AM  

Well, I knew the theme was nautical but I didn't realize how naughty until reading Rex's write-up!

I liked the words EAR and LOBE touching ... the perfect spot for a pirate to hang his earring.

Thank you, Paula, for a frothy ... I can smell the saltwater ... puzzle.

Rex Parker 9:21 AM  

Someone added "NATICK" to The Urban Dictionary (?!):


Stan 9:22 AM  

I actually learned something from this theme! Now busily looking up the phrases.

What Rex said about the non-theme fill, but nice to see SABER for once instead of that other one.

slypett 9:30 AM  

INTHEOFFING is, to my mind, the most interesting of the theme answers.

TEC has got to go. I've never even seen it in print (except for NYT xword), let alone heard it in norm-speak.

Fun puzzle because of the hitherto unknown (to me) nautical origins of common phrases.

Sam 9:40 AM  

It's likely that 'tec' appears often in Rex's collection of paperback detective tales.

Denise 9:42 AM  

BTW, "The Diane Rehm Show" (on NPR) is discussing "Where the Wild Things Are" tomorrow. I wrote to one of the producers about the recent puzzle/blog/comments referring to Sendak's other book.

Maybe Rex will get a "shout-out" on the show? Not that he needs any more fans.

Today's puzzle was great.

SethG 9:52 AM  

I've learned a lot from puzzles, but I've learned even more from The Muppet Show.

PLACID is a lake, and would it really have been too hard to change INHALE to MCHALE?

Gotta quibble with the clue for NAMES--July is one. As in Miranda July, though I guess she changed her name from Grossinger or something.

Judith 9:57 AM  

I hate TEC! It never occurs to me...

PlantieBea 9:58 AM  

A medium Tuesday for me with several phrases that are new (...offing, lend lease). My DH did the puzzle last night and had me convinced that ENARO and LAND LEASE must be correct. Lucky for me, I didn't change it. The other little snag was entering AM NOT for AREN'T which worked itself out once I entered OFFING.

If you have Ospreys living in the area, you know. They are very loud with a distinct, piercing cry. They enjoy freshwater fish in their diet, too, and nest along lake shores in the middle of this state.

Charles Bogle 10:15 AM  

Bravo Paula Gamache! One of my favorite puzzles early-week since I've been taking a stab at these this past May...the nautical theme came together for me early...the fill is fresh; the pop culture clues fairly limited...as RP puts it, the idiomatic answers are colorful, What a refreshing start to the day. I almost drowned in the lower, SW corner--struggled until I got SIGMA which I must confess was my one google; who knew-my mathematician daughter isn;t awake yet

Michele Humes 10:16 AM  

I don't know what the hell happened (starting the puzzle late at night/exhausted?), but this puzzle slaughtered me. Slaughtered. I swear to god I've done Fridays faster. Now that I look at the grid again, I don't see anything hugely tough. Maybe I'm losing it. Maybe I'm losing MY MIND.

mac 10:18 AM  

Loved this informative Tuesday puzzle! Easy but well done, except for the ohs and ahs. NoNoNo was fun, though.

@Rex: that's great about "Natick", with your name in the definition and all.

@PlantieBea: what is a DH? A dear husband I hope?

When our son was 4 years old I took him to the Vienna Boys' Choir. His mouth dropped open when the boys donned dresses for the final part, a little operetta.

Charles Bogle 10:18 AM  

@RP; btw, that Urban Dictionary link is great...congrats on adding Natick to the lexicon, the late Bill Safire would be proud and now I'll always know what people mean when they natick something (is it a verb too?)

mee 10:24 AM  

Econe for ECONO gives you IN THE EFFING, which made me think the CRAP fill from yesterday was the start of a trend.

An article in the NYT Science section today demonstrates how wrong one can be about domestic cats. They ARE a threat to the bird population.

twangster 10:24 AM  

On the linguistics front, I've been thinking there should be a word for the tendency to believe that a clue or puzzle is fair if you can solve it and unfair if you can't.

PlantieBea 10:51 AM  

@Mac: Yes, sorry for the confusion, DH is my dear or darling husband. I'm too accustomed to dashing off that shorthand on other forums.

imsdave 11:03 AM  

@PlantieBea - I was thinking designated hitter.

@twangster - how about solvency?

Nice puzzle with a great payoff - thanks Ms. Gamache.

deerfencer 11:22 AM  

Great puzzle and fun commentary by Rex. Very enjoyable fare--thanks

joho 11:48 AM  

That is so cool about Natick making the Urban Dictionary. There should be a Rex Parker Day celebrated at the crossing of 27A and 135D.

Rex Parker 12:13 PM  

I'm not sure "making" the Urban Dictionary means much. I think I could invent a word right now and throw it up there. But I like that someone was motivated to do it in this case.

Jeffrey 12:15 PM  
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Jeffrey 12:18 PM  
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Jeffrey 12:20 PM  

Attention Canadians: The "Dinner Impossible" episode filmed at the 2009 American Crossword Puzzle Tournament will air on Food Network Canada this Sunday Oct 4 at 3:00pm, repeated at 10:00pm and 2:00am Monday (all times Eastern).

Leslie 12:22 PM  

@X-Man regarding TEC: I agree. I always know it's going to be TEC, but it's just so dated. I have actually seen it, but in British murder mysteries from the 1930s, where they even included an initial apostrophe, a la 'tec. To show how cutting-edge trendy they were being with their modern slang.

Term for "fair if I knew it, unfair if I didn't?" Hmm, will have to think on that. "The Oh, Really? Factor." Something like that, but not lame.

Doc John 12:24 PM  

A fun puzzle and nice write-up, too.
But now I have that Ringo Starr song with the lyric "NONONOno I don't *sniffing sound* no more, I'm tired of waking up on the floor" in my head!

HudsonHawk 12:26 PM  

Nice PG puzzle--and educational, to boot. I laughed at the clue for 68A. With some of the unusual NAMES parents hang on their children, I'm sure there are more than a few kids out there named July.

Now I have to go buy my coffee mug with the NATICK definition on it...

retired_chemist 12:28 PM  

The Urban Dictionary apparently will sell you a coffee mug with Natick and the desired definition printed on it. Sounds like a good birthday present, or something for a holiday gift....

TEC could be clued as an acronym but the possibilities are not thrilling.

Elaine 12:32 PM  

@mac and PlantieBea

DH can also conveniently mean D-words than "dear" or "darling" in case of emergency or domestic dysfunction. wink!

I think Natick is a noun--and I can't come up with a verb form that seems to work well enough. Do you have one in mind?

Must rush off to check the Urban Dictionary now...

chefbea 12:38 PM  

Easy puzzle even though I've never heard of loose cannon. Didn't know any of the theme words had anything to do with the sea. Learn something new every day.

Congrats on making into the dictionary Rex. The mug sounds great!!

Ruth 12:50 PM  

Word for "fair if I know it, unfair if I don't"? Something like "It's all about me." Acronym IAAM sounds like Cogito ergo sum so maybe it's a Descartes? Just rambling here, maybe someone can refine this.

joho 12:57 PM  

How about the "Crybaby Effect?"

Greene 1:01 PM  

Another excellent early week puzzle. I really liked this theme and did not realize the nautical derivation of all these phrases. Of the 5, I think I like CHOCKABLOCK the best. Just love the way that trips off the tongue.

Structurally, this puzzle has a lot in common with yesterday's, although the theme density is slightly greater. Fifty-one theme squares in a 15x15 is pretty impressive.

Immediately thought of Mad Men when I got ADSPEAK. Rex, I'm glad you're working your way through season 1 of the series. Stick with it 'cause it just gets better in season 2 and so far, season 3 has not seen a let-up in quality. Quite the best thing on television these days IMO.

Leslie 1:03 PM  

@Ruth: Oooh, "pulling a Descartes?" Maybe! @joho: Straightforward ("the crybaby effect") is good!

Or, how about "heifer syndrome?" A heifer's an immature cow, and I always think people are being immature when they have a cow about a clue just because it's one they didn't know.

@twangster: You've really started something here.

mac 1:24 PM  

How about a me-lemma (melemma)?

twangster 1:27 PM  

Hmmm ... I like the suggestions and leave it to Rex or group consensus to pick a winner.

One possibility would be to wait for the next nobody-knows-that/everybody-knows-that fracas and name it after that answer, a la Natick.

FWIW, I was hoping to emphasize that it's a curious phenomenon, kind of like the Hawthorne Effect, and not merely whining (although that can certainly play a role).

archaeoprof 1:28 PM  

In CrossWorld, Tues is often the most disappointing day of the week. Not this week! Even before Rex exposed its dark side, this was a fine one.

And now I like it even more.

George NYC 1:39 PM  

I live a few blocks from Chumley's which sadly has been closed for a couple of years following a wall collapse. Work on the building seems to have ceased, so it's unclear whether it will re-open. Firefighters who used to bartend there have stored all the furnishings, however, in case the place does come back.

re "86," I find the nautical explanation rather unconvincing. Another factlet in favor of the Chumley's faction: the bar famously has two entrances/exits. One from a "hidden" courtyard, the other via steps leading to 86 Bedford. The story goes that the cops would enter via the courtyard while recently exited customers hung out on Bedford St until they left. So there.

@Rex: nice praeteritio on the sex theme!

Jeffrey 1:42 PM  

nobody-knows-that/everybody-knows-that: A Simpson

Anonymous 1:44 PM  


Jim in Chicago 1:46 PM  

Nice Tuesday. I had to struggle a little in Florida, but worked through it.

I'm sure if we did far enough we can find someone named July.

Sfingi 1:52 PM  

Always love Tuesday because of easy puzzles and the NYT Science Times.

Messed up SE and went to Google because something wasn't right. Had Harlem for VIENNA, bases for ATSEA, Gene for VEIN, hardasbrass for HARDANDFAST, none of which added up. Once I looked up the Simpsons, things changed. I guess I'll have to watch some new 'toons, since that's one of the subjects that makes a Natick for me. Who knows, maybe I'll like 'em.

I recommend a sign with a line through "whining." I had to point to that many times when I taught prisoners.

Funny stuff today, you guys!

Unknown 2:02 PM  

boo on 68A "May and June, but not July." i ruled out NAMES, thinking of miranda july. oh, did you mean first NAMES? that would be a good clue for FIRST NAMES.

boo on TEC.

boo on CHOCKABLOCK, which i want to say is obsolete but know i'll encounter it within the next two days in some essay on "tchochkes" that somebody forwards to me.

boo on "cocked" EAR.

there was some fun cluing though (I QUIT, ORO, SIGMA, AREN'T, BLASS, VOWEL).

andrea loosecannon michaels 2:17 PM  

Maybe cocked ear fits in with Rex's hilarious sexual subtext, but I wouldn't recommend visualizing too much.

A little boo on the NAMES clue tho.
Esp if you live in a place CHOCKABLOCK filled with hippie's offspring. Maybe not as many Julys
back East, but here you meet them along with many Springs, Tuesdays, SUnshines, et al. Yes, Al.
(I know a Rainbow Rabinowitz)

What? You've never been called a LOOSECANNON?
Oh. Maybe that's just me.
(In a book about naming called "Wordcraft", the writer Alex Frankel affixed that description to me, which I'm sure scared off hundreds of potential naming clients! I however considered adding it to my business card...

Delighted to see it in the puzzle.

@Urban Dictionary
Uhoh. I didn't know anyone could just add to it! That is great...if ever I have a fill I'm iffy about, I can add it and then tell Will it's in the Urban dictionary and I have street cred.
(I'll bet BEQ uses it for his database!)

Last week I put a fun word in a puzzle I've made with Tony O and tho it was not in the crossword database, it was in the Urban Dictionary and I thought that would make it ok...I feel a bit worried now.
(Plus I think we have the dreaded TEC in there!)

Meg 2:33 PM  

Fun puzzle, and I liked not getting the theme until the end.

Bide-awee came out of the blue, and then I realized I had no idea what it meant. Google was not much help. There are bide-a-wee inns and B&B's and golf courses, but what does it mean? Stay next to a little something?

Flitterati 2:44 PM  

Dictionary says April, May, and June are female given names. No such definition for July. Is that too traditional an interpretation?

Meg 2:51 PM  

Well, a bit more digging turned up a Wiki entry. To a Scot, bide-a-wee means "stay a little longer or linger a bit".

capesunset105 3:05 PM  

SHOW TOWELS are my contribution to Urban Dictionary. My finest moment.

Standard Tuesday for me. Had to do a little jiggling (HARLEM/VIENNA, getting my Spanish months just right), but an easy solve overall.

Jim in Chicago 3:07 PM  

I remember "bid-a-wee" from cottage names from my childhood. Sort of like "sit a spell", I guess.

Anonymous 3:13 PM  

Great puzzle today by Paula, but it's hard to call some of those later Beatle songs "oldies."

"Tomorrow Never Knows" is not an oldie.


Elaine 3:20 PM  

@ Meg
I was going to send a pvt post explaining about "bide a wee" but got distracted by the manatee... and then there was no e-mail link...but I see you've got it now. I fear its usage has devolved into "cutesy," as with B&B names, but we still "bide our time" and sing "Abide with Me" on occasion.

RE: fair/unfair
I'll admit to some muttering when it came to MOSSO. I played a couple of instruments in stage band, concert band, and solo settings--classical, popular, old standards-- and never came across it... We need to allow some room for people to point out confusing, obscure, or partial-phrase entries without saying they are whining. (Just look at the CRAP/CRAPS discussion. Both sides had some good points, and it was educational for lots of us who'd never have given it another thought after solving. Yeah, I got it right away, but I did go, "Hmmm" after reading the comments.) That said, I did laugh at "melemma."

Doc John 3:25 PM  

If Tuesday can be a name then so can July! Actually, if you think about it, I'm sure there are people out there whose names are pronounced "Julie" but spelled July because their parents thought it would be cute.

Sfingi 3:40 PM  

There's another reference to Bideawee. My father grew up in the city (NYC) where the place you dumped or picked up pets was named the Bide-a-Wee, not the Humane Society, or SPCA. And we would laugh and laugh at this and his other city expressions. But it still exists (though there are no chimleys.)Now I suspect, from what youse said, that they got the name from the Scots.

twangster 3:48 PM  

Elaine -- Thanks for jogging my memory. MOSSO from last week and the subsequent comments got me thinking about this in the first place. I submit mossochism (or just a mosso).

sanfranman59 3:50 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)

Tue 8:38, 8:25, 1.03, 64%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:41, 4:23, 1.07, 74%, Medium-Challenging

I'm a little surprised that this puzzle is falling in the Medium-Challenging category since I had a relatively easy time with it. I also had a relatively easier time with yesterday's puzzle than the online sample. Perhaps my week of R&R away from puzzledom did me some good.

I was surprised to learn that DEEP SIX has a nautical origin. I always thought of it as referring to a land burial (as in six feet under). But here's what the Word Detective had to say about it a while back (see the section heading "Six Degrees of Unpleasantness").

Glitch 4:07 PM  

I had a few comments that I was going to post, but I'm only going to make this one:

@sfingi said:

"My father grew up in the city (NYC) where the place you dumped or picked up pets was named the Bide-a-Wee, not the Humane Society, or SPCA. And we would laugh and laugh at this and his other city expressions."


Bideawee's mission is to promote safe, loving, long-term relationships between people and companion animals by providing a continuum of services and programs that are innovative, personalized, and high-quality. [Bideawee.org]

Were "Homeless Shelters" a laugh riot too?


Clark 4:15 PM  

Did anyone else think that 3 NOs were not enough? Here are a few more from 1968:

No no no no no no no no no
No no no no no no no no no no no
No no no no
No no no no no no

Leslie 4:21 PM  

Oh, Glitch, lighten up! S/he was a kid laughing at the "wee" with its meaning of urine. And no, I seriously doubt s/he found homeless shelters a laugh riot. As you well know. Climb down off that high horse before it bucks you off.

BTW, I adore "melemma," "a Simpson," AND "mossochism." Too funny!

Retired_Dr_NO_Chemist 4:25 PM  

@ Clark et al.

Chemical clue: Nitric oxide dimer. Answer: NONO. Alas, there is no trimer.

PuzzleGirl 4:55 PM  

I've been having a hard time keeping up with the blog lately, for reasons that are not the least bit interesting so I won't share them with you. But wow! The last few days (starting with Joon's masterpiece on Saturday) have been terrific.

Hand up for Harlem Boys' Choir. CHOCK-A-BLOCK is an awesome word. And I must be old because ADSPEAK makes me think of "Bewitched."

Glitch 4:55 PM  


You mean there is NO NONONO?


retired_chemist 5:29 PM  

@ Glitch - you got it! NO, NO, NO, there IS no NONONO.

Stan 5:52 PM  

@Clark: I don't even have to follow your link to know you're referring to the great nugget, "Nobody but Me" by the Human Beinz.

sanfranman59 7:21 PM  

Possible verb form of Natick ... "I can never seem to complete a puzzle by that darned Andrea Michaels! She Naticked me again today!"

retired_chemist 7:49 PM  

@ Sanfranman59 -

NO, NO, NO! Not Andrea! OK, Joon, BEQ, PB1, and a list of other suspects. But Andrea? Say it ain't so, Joe....

Glitch 7:52 PM  


"dumped or picked up pets", even as humor, is derogatory to the agencies...

..in the same way Andrew Dice Clay was to women.

@r_c made me laugh, so I guess I've "lightened up".

.../Glitch [3 and out]

PS: Had to give up waiting to see if sfingi would respond.

Robert 8:30 PM  

Thank goodness. I thought I was going mad when I couldn't figure out "That is completely the wrong way!" and "That feels so-o-o good!" at first.

jnc 8:45 PM  

An excellent little puzzle, I thought.

sanfranman59 10:03 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 6:18, 6:58, 0.90, 30%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:43, 8:26, 1.03, 65%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:32, 3:42, 0.95, 39%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:33, 4:22, 1.04, 68%, Medium-Challenging

Two Ponies 10:52 PM  

@ twangter, I think mosso is the winner. Just as Natick sprang to a life of it's own mosso has had a similar beginning. I love it.
Nice Tuesday puzzle.
I was called a loose cannon once. I was kind of proud given the circumstances.

Sfingi 11:56 PM  

Wow. We were laughing at Daddy's NYCityisms, which bumpkins up here do (it works both ways, city slickers). Recall that Americans founded the SPCA before they founded any Child Protection agency, so the accent is a bit off in this country. It's only been the last decade that anyone's taken child molesting seriously. And for those a bit closer to the farm, most farm animals would not survive on their own. Turkeys are too breast heavy to run, cows would die of mastitis from not being milked and small dogs would be et by any number of predators. Cats would take over all the continents and eat the songbirds since cats can climb trees. So let's not be so delicate! My best friend prefers dogs to humans, but in a state of nature she couldn't save them all. Have you worked with animals - given them insulin shots, cleaned and cleared up mange? Stop whining and Excuse Me!

Elaine 5:11 AM  

Probably it's too late to post anything on this comment section-- new day, new puzzle. (I just completed Der's little romp; snickersnap!)

BUT just in case, if anyone sees this: it is well to remember than most comments are somewhat off the cuff, light-hearted additions to the discussion, and in the end we have a snapshot or casual aggregate of people's knowledge, associations, and relevant (kinda, anyway) recollections. Surely we should doubt that anyone is making cosmic statements or valuations that need to be taken all that seriously. Instead of jumping on Sfingi, Glitch might have said, "Believe it or not, Bide-a-wee is actually a serious organization with a worthy goal. Please visit the website!" Just like Rex could have ignored Anonymous, and Anon. could have simply taken comfort from all the others of us who thought the puzzle was harder than Medium and declined to extend the ugly exchange, which reflected credit on no one.
Just my two-cents'-worth.

slypett 8:21 AM  

Bravo! Elaine.

Glitch 9:11 AM  

OK, I'm guilty of too quick, off the cuff remarks too.

For the record, I've been involved in feline rescue both capture, spay/neuter, release (or socialize and place) for a number of years. Most at my own expense.

Two of my cats are on insulin, and none of them are allowed out to stalk songbirds.

It was the word "dump" that set me off.


Unknown 9:04 AM  

One of my favorite songs is John Stewart's July You're A Woman:

Singer 1:32 PM  

From syndication land:

For the record, I enjoyed the puzzle. There was some less than satisfying fill, but all in all a pleasant solve.

Why is the 'mosso' argument coming back? That is a perfectly good musical term (from the Italian as usual) meaning 'motion'. It usually is used with a modifier (piu mosso = a little faster, meno mosso = a little slower). I have seen it often - it is not uncommon to a musician, which brings back a rant I have made before that I am astonished sometimes at the lack of musical knowledge among the contributors to this blog. You are all among the brightest people on the planet, and it wouldn't hurt to visit a musical dictionary sometime to improve your solving capabilities. Or better yet, study music!

Anonymous 4:25 PM  

I was convinced this was a great puzzle for a Tuesday, but the comments were more entertaining.

Mumses 2:51 AM  

syndication land here, too. must comment that although I suck at these puzzles (can usually only do monday and tuesday with no googling) I studied classical music as a child and so mosso is an easy word for me. I guess the thing to keep in mind is that no one can know everything...

Mumses 2:52 AM  

syndication land here, too. must comment that although I suck at these puzzles (can usually only do monday and tuesday with no googling) I studied classical music as a child and so mosso is an easy word for me. I guess the thing to keep in mind is that no one can know everything...

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