WEDNESDAY, Sep. 23 2009 — 1992 presidential aspirant Paul / Apology starter / Island east of Java / A place you can go in 1979 #2 hit

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Constructor: Jonathan Gersch

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: HENRY HUDSON (55A: Explorer who sailed into 46-Across in 1609)
— 400th anniversary puzzle (?) commemorating Hudson's sailing into NEW YORK HARBOR

Word of the Day: Paul TSONGAS (8D: 1992 presidential aspirant Paul)Paul Efthemios Tsongas (pronounced /ˈsɒŋɡəs/; February 14, 1941–January 18, 1997) was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a one-time candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. Previously he also served as a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts and held local political office as well. (wikipedia) — he won the New Hampshire primary, but James Carville dubbed Clinton the "Comeback Kid" because he did so well following a spate of bad press, and Clinton did indeed come back and leave other candidates in the dust.


An utterly straight tribute puzzle that is crammed to the gills with theme answers, yet somehow produces zero joy. Fact. Fact. Fact. Zzzzzz. I have some tolerance for cross-referenced clues, but there isn't a single theme clue here that doesn't involve being directed to another theme answers. I lost interest at 1A. Of course the non-theme fill isn't that hot — you can't expect it to be with the serious restrictions placed on it by the theme density. In the end, it is what it is. If you enjoy uncovering little bits of trivia, this is the puzzle for you. Just not the puzzle for me.

Theme answers:

  • 1A: With 69-Across, ship of 55-Across (HALF / MOON)
  • 67A: With 8-Across, business of 55-Across's backers (SPICE / TRADE) — really wish SPICE and TRADE could have TRADEd positions here.
  • 18A: Aptly named ship on a later voyage of 55-Across (DISCOVERY) — how is a "later voyage" relevant to this event-specific theme?
  • 20A: Body of water sailed in by 55-Across (ARCTIC OCEAN) — sailed in generally, sailed in in 1609 ... ?
  • 26A: Like most of the voyages of 55-Across (TRANSATLANTIC)
  • 46A: See 55-Across (NEW YORK HARBOR)
  • 55A: Explorer who sailed into 46-Across in 1609 (HENRY HUDSON)
  • 61A: 55-Across's destination when returning to Europe (AMSTERDAM)

There are a TON of names in today's puzzle, which is fine by me, but do all their clues have to be so incredibly dull and straightforward? The most interesting one is 68A: Stephen of "V for Vendetta" (REA), and that's only because the movie involved is relatively recent and not "The Crying Game" again.

  • 6D: Attorney General Holder (Eric)
  • 11D: Laura of "Jurassic Park" (Dern)
  • 12D: "A Day Without Rain" singer (Enya)
  • 14D: Mrs. Gorbachev (Raisa)
  • 19D: Psychologist Jung (Carl) — those last four Downs are sequential
  • 32D: Educator Horace (Mann)
  • 33D: Mayberry boy (Opie)
  • 38D: Nabokov title heroine (Ada) — those last three are sequential
  • 49D: "24" agent Jack (Bauer)
  • 59D: Hall-of-Fame QB Graham (Otto)

All Downs, all clued with zero panache. I think my favorite clue of the day is 48D: German children (kinder), if only because it's an interesting / unexpected clue for KINDER (what with English options being readily available). Ooh, and I like the symmetrical HOODLUM in FETTERS (45D: Tough + 4D: Chains). That's nice. Otherwise, kind of a drag.


  • 24A: Cornstarch brand (Argo) — went with SAGO ... isn't that right? No, SAGO is a starch for baking, but it's not from corn, but from the SAGO palm. Dang, I can see a can in my mind ... something to do with baking ... brand name ending "O" ... not named after Jason's ship ... grrr. Aha, it's KARO, and it's corn syrup. OK, I feel better now.
  • 17A: Gossipy type (yenta) — unexpectedly common, this word. Started the puzzle by guessing HIYA (1D: Informal greeting) and confirming it off of this answer.
  • 40A: Apology starter (Mea) — as in "mea culpa"; that eastern section took me longer than it should have because I dropped in TONGA (!?) where TIMOR was supposed to go (29D: Island east of Java).
  • 3D: Nickname for someone who shares a name with the 16th president [of the United States] (Linc) — so, all name clues are boring, except this one, which is awkward and unwieldy. Great.
  • 57D: "A place you can go," in a 1979 #2 hit (YMCA) — again, what is with the clue? Of all the lyrics in that song, that's what you pick? But ... "you can get yourself clean." "You can have a good meal." And best of all, "you can hang out with all the boys." Come on!

[My favorite accidental DISCOVERY of the day]

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. Will has asked me to post this info about the upcoming tournament in Pleasantville, NY. (And by "upcoming" I mean Two Days From Now) Sounds like a good time. You should go. I found out about it too late or I'd be going myself. I know Caleb Madison will be there. He's adorable, so that alone should be enough of a draw. Come on, if you're in the area anyway, you should go. You don't have Friday plans, anyway. No you don't. Oh, come on, you're not fooling anyone.

Pleasantville Crossword Contest

This Friday, Sept. 25, will be the 13th annual Westchester Crossword Puzzle Tournament, held in Pleasantville, NY, hosted by Will Shortz. The event will go from 7:30 to about 9:45 p.m., at the St. John's Episcopal Church, 8 Sunnyside Ave. (corner of Bedford Road). The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. The puzzles will consist of the Monday through Thursday crosswords from next week's New York Times. Two of the four constructors are expected to be on hand as officials. Prizes are awarded in many categories. Regular Times constructors can't compete, but are welcome to help judge. The cost to enter is $30 (or $45 for a doubles team), which includes coffee and dessert, with all the proceeds going to the Pleasantville Fund for Learning. Registration can be done at the door. The site is convenient from MetroNorth or by car. For more information, call 914-773-7794 or visit <>.


Abacuk Pricket 8:18 AM  

Quadricentennial articles and Pictures

joho 8:21 AM  

@Rex, I was stunned by your negative write-up this morning. I know a lot of posters here don't like it when clues refer to clues, but I was amazed by the number of theme answers and impressed that Mr. Gersch could pull it off.

So, thanks to Jonathan for a most interesting Wednesday puzzle, only a Q and a Z short of a pangram.

HudsonHawk 8:37 AM  

I always love a shout-out to my great-great uncle Hank, but I have to concur with Rex. Impressive theme density, but the cluing fell short. Great video DISCOVERY, though. Best use of a Mets jersey in recent history.

nanpilla 8:43 AM  

I really liked this one. The theme density is very impressive, and although some of the fill is necessarily dull, none of it is groan-inducing. I liked FETTERS, and think it is the first time it's been used in the NYT puzzle. Also liked IM UP and SO THERE. The latter is probably what Jonathan felt when he managed to finish this puzzle with all those theme answers.

Denise 8:49 AM  

As a native New Yorker who lives elsewhere, I was excited to have a chance to be part of the party for Henry Hudson!

But, there should be a rule that one across CANNOT refer to another clue - it is important to start with that spot!

I hope everyone will enjoy a NEW YORK STATE OF MIND today.

Brendan Emmett Quigley 8:49 AM  

Just a thought: since there's so much trivia in the theme, I suspect the cluing skewed more toward the straightforward if only to allow for the solvers to get into the puzzle.

An impressive construction without being a particularly memorable puzzle. A for effort, B for delivery.

Jim in Chicago 8:55 AM  

Well, after MY meltdown yesterday, today is Rex's turn. I didn't mind this puzzle nearly as much.

@Denise. The the comment about the importance of 1A gave me a little chuckle. I sympathize since I always look there first, but on Sunday I'm much more likely to start in the SW since it is closer to the hand that's holding the paper while I write.

I liked how SET crossed with GEL, the only thing in the puzzle that made me smile.

I'm still puzzling over the clue for CONGA, as it says that "[conga] might produce a line...." Is this a reference to the drum? What's a "conga"?? Is it the name of a song that's always played at that point? (I don't get out to parties much!)

Would the spelling of the body of water in New York have been harboUr when he sailed in?? Just trying to be true to the period.

PIX 8:55 AM  

I for one, thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle. Theme answers with lots of history. Wish more puzzles were centered around history or science or music or some other topic of substance like this puzzle was. Who cares that some of the non-theme answers were less than exciting; still rather do this than many of the word-game type puzzles that are so common.

Thought for sure that puzzle would somewhere mention that fact that on Hudson’s final voyage the crew mutinied and placed him and his son on a small boat and left them to (presumably) die. Guess it doesn't pass the breakfast test.

MikeM 8:55 AM  

Was hoping for a puzzle dedicated to Bruce Springsteen today, it is his 60th birthday.
LINC? Sorry, found that a little lame.
For a bit I had SPACE TRADE which didnt smell right... somehow had ASTA for ASTI. Those damn crosswordese words get mixed up.
Finished the puzzle while under the HUDSON river on the bus in the LINColn Tunnel. Cheers.. MikeM

Leslie 9:05 AM  

LINC made me laugh because it reminded me of "Mod Squad". One's black and hip! One's white and hip! One's a chick and hip! They all look good while fighting crime--hiply!

Rex, you're putting quite a burden on poor Caleb. Now he has to go be adorable on Friday for a bunch of strangers. Yikes!

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

Really enjoyed this puzzle!

Glitch 9:26 AM  

@Jim in Chi

A conga is a dance where particpants form a line, one behind another, and move snakelike through the venue.

As to spellings "true to the period", I believe the correct one would be "unnamed", but in Dutch :)
Overall, I rate this puzzle "mostly harmless".


hazel 9:27 AM  

Very nice puzzle - I guess I like self-referential puzzles, at least the ones which have downs that are right in my wheelhouse, that is, which are names from the 80-90s (as Rex observes) and clued at a 4th grade level (paraphrased from BEQs comments).

I liked the mini-theme tribute to excellence (ACERS, ELITE, and ATEAM - and if stretching, Jack BAUER).
Also liked the grid's symmetry overall, but particularly in the corner acrosses.

Otherwise, wished JUDO and HI YA! had been a little closer together and I don’t know anyone with a NEON lamp. Lava lamps yes, neon signs yes. Neon lamps no. Great puzzle.

foodie 9:29 AM  

what BEQ said...

Since I knew none of it, it was quite instructive. And remarkably, given the name density, was still medium.

JEU d'esprit, does that appear often? I like the playfulness in the French expression...

Today, joy is my grand daughter coming from NY to visit (well and her parents of course)... SO THERE.

slypett 9:36 AM  

Well, now that everything's been said, I just want to add that any puzzle with Yiddish in it is okay by me. Fun puzzle.

Rex, that video was a stone gas!

Jeffrey 9:45 AM  

Yeah, what they said. A+

Van55 9:51 AM  

Add me to the "I really liked this puzzle" side. Rex can sure be cranky sometimes.

Difficulty of the theme cluing and answers is compensated for by the simple down fill.

Rex Parker 9:52 AM  

Caleb couldn't help being adorable if he tried. No effort involved.

Yes to impressiveness of theme density. But boo to straightforwardness / dullness. I realize this is largely a matter of taste.


Rex Parker 9:53 AM  

And come on, Crosscan, "A+"? — there's nowhere above that, and you can't possibly believe this is the best puzzle (or even one of the twenty best puzzles) of the year. Grade inflation, I say!


Deb Amlen 10:00 AM  

Rex, if I tell you that Will has banned me from holding any actual writing implements, will you change your mind and show up? (He did say that I could have as many of the free snack as I want, which is why I'm going :))

Jim in Chicago 10:02 AM  


I know what a conga line is, my quibble was with the cluing which says "it might produce a line" indicating that the CONGA is something that FORMS the line, not the resulting line.

Susan 10:02 AM  

@ foodie, I don't think of jeu d'esprit as a particularly common expression. At least it's not in French (where it means something slightly different from what was clued).

The cross of GEL and SET made me smile today.

Susan 10:04 AM  

@Jim, I think the idea is the song (which is called the conga) when played causes the dance to begin and the line to form. I agree, it's a little bit of a stretch...

Elaine2 10:05 AM  

I liked it, too -- especially, like Denise, being a New Yorker far away from home...broke into a big smile when the theme emerged.

BTW -- I just discovered that New York and Amsterdam have been celebrating this anniversary together this year. Cool.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:05 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle. It seems to me it fit very well with the way I do puzzles: Paper spread out on the kitchen table, glancing at clues and grid as I cut up a piece of fruit or butter a slice of bread, etc. I can understand how all the cross-referencing could be annoying if done in AcrossLite, etc.

Just one write-over: had ORB before URN for Part of some garden statuary.

fikink 10:13 AM  

Very enjoyable and took me some time, jumping about the grid. How does one speed solve one of these? I keep losing my place!
@Edith, NEON was for you.
Agree with Rex, FETTERS and HOODLUM, nice.

Thanks for the Wednesday wake-up call, Mr. Gersch.

retired_chemist 10:21 AM  

An easy Wednesday. Did it fast and had NEWPORT HARBOR for 46A until I checked it. Knew German children were not TINDER but KINDER and LYE, not LPE, was the caustic. And then I caught on to the theme....

Liked the multiple possible answers for several of the clues. Tried SEEDS for both ”Top players” clues sequentially – wrong both times. Citizen alternative was ALIEN before SEIKO. FAKE for Bigfoot photo needed fixing, but I still liked the consequential FOODLUM @ 45D. There is some suspicion that the mob runs the seafood industry in Dallas, so maybe….

dk 10:22 AM  

My vacation reading of Raymond Chandler made bubs to MACS simple enough.

And, sad to say that is what I remember most about this puzzle. Liked the walk down history lane but once you got it the fill did not require any real knowledge, more like fill in the blanks.

Still impressive construction around a relevant theme so I am in the A for effort, B for delivery and C for excitement camp.

Lame, albeit fun, morale booster at work: When confronted with a Dilbert-esk scenario we ask WWJD (What would Jack Bauer Do).

Jeffrey 10:33 AM  

Select your favourite response:

1)I grade on a curve, using the last 10 days. At least this was a real puzzle.
2) You are right, I’m wrong. B.
3) Who said A+ was the top of my scale. If tomorrow brings a 15th anniversary tribute to the 1994 Expos, greatest baseball team never to have had an opportunity to win the World Series, I’ll give it an A+++++
4)I am the Anti-ReX
5)I had fun with all the theme answers. Isn't that the point? Your mileage may vary.

Two Ponies 10:38 AM  

I started out not liking this puzzle and made a list of why: ruer, acer, icier, Enya, Rea, Asti, and Opie. Then I got the theme and began to warm up to it.
I liked that the first and last Across answers tied it all together. In the end I let the weak fill slide because the pay-off was worth it to me.
Cross references like today make me glad I solve with pen and paper.
So the Half Moon was renamed the Discovery?
Also, wasn't New York called New Amsterdam at one time?

william e emba 10:42 AM  

About two weeks ago, the NYT ran a front page article about the oldest NYC murder (still unsolved, by the way): John Colman, who sailed in with HENRY HUDSON on the HALF MOON, and was killed a few days later.

So I kind of enjoyed the puzzle a little more than I probably would have otherwise.

Other proper nouns are MOHS scale, NIELS Bohr Institute (ooh, different!), SAO Carlos (and not Paulo, boy that really fooled everyone!), TIMOR, IKEA, ASTI.

Also, I really like JEU. The reason I really JEU is because of "JEU de taquin", literally "the teasing game", the French name for Sam Loyd's 15 puzzle. For obvious reasons, the name was adapted into a part of mathematics concerning moving squares around in an array. What I find amusing is that half the textbooks that have need to refer to the concept are written by people who apparently have no idea whatsoever that it refers to the 15 puzzle.

ArtLvr 10:44 AM  

Loved this puzzle, dense with meaty theme clues and answers. Love history and ships too, and I found it a riot that ARGO was clued with Cornstarch brand, and not Jason!


SethG 10:47 AM  

I learned a lot about a subject I don't care about. I will forget most of it by this afternoon. I was still able to finish in normal Wednesday time. Tonga is east of Java, it's just 4000 miles further east than Timor is. Paul E Tsongas is the only former presidential candidate whose name anagrams to Gaseous Plant.

I do not know what any of that means. I also do not know why not liking a puzzle as much as some others automatically makes one cranky. At least no one made an assumption about incorrect sleeping locations yet; I hate when that happens.

Ulrich 10:48 AM  

There's trivia and there's trivia--I liked the ones I learned today, all of which added to the one bit I knew about HH, namely his more spectacular end, as told by @PIX--the Hudson Bay has never been the same for me after I learned this--agree, too bad it wasn't part of the puzzle.

FETTERS compensated for a lot of the duller fill, closely followed by KINDER, of course, and a few others--all in all, a good Wednesday experience for me.

retired_chemist 10:59 AM  

@ Seth G - Paul E. Tsongas <=> "gaseous plant" - à la Dave Barry, who also noted that "grow a penis" was an anagram for Spiro Agnew.

Stan 11:00 AM  

Really liked this for its symmetry and balance (pointed out by @hazel).

The Rex aesthetic seems to focus more on freshness and wordplay, so I'm not surprised he didn't care for it.

Saw the Half Moon replica once at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. It looked amazingly small and cramped -- definitely not the sort of craft you'd want to cross an ocean with!

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Please, someone... explain the bubs & MACS mystery!

Anonymous 11:14 AM  

To question the relevance of ARCTIC OCEAN demonstrates a clear lack of knowledge of the life of Henry Hudson.

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

Not even to mention the DISCOVERY.

PlantieBea 11:19 AM  

I liked it although finished with an error that my husband caught last night. I had entered GEIKO for SEIKO thinking (and spelling incorrectly) that GEIKO/CITIZEN were insurance companies, thus also ending with TSONGAG. I also tried SEEDS smack in the middle for top players.

Carryover from comments of JUNG, and ICIER again.

While it didn't have a wow factor, I thought this was an enjoyable solve.

Alice in SF 11:30 AM  

I made the mistake of looking up Hudson's bio and he and his 18 year old son along with weak or infirm seamen were put in a boat. They to tried to keep up with the ship but were eventually left behind when the ship set sail. What's the breakfast test again? Well this one made me queasy.

Sandy 11:50 AM  

Rex can't come on Friday because
a) our daughter's birthday party is on Saturday
b) our wedding anniversary is on Sunday.
So, not a good weekend for a trip downstate.

Otherwise we'd be there to fawn over Caleb.

Ditto on the neon lamp comment. I've never seen one.

I appreciate all the people who discuss why they disagree with Rex by making reference to the puzzle, not to Rex's mood. We have a new mattress, and we're actually feeling pretty good most mornings.

Sandy 11:50 AM  

Rex can't come on Friday because
a) our daughter's birthday party is on Saturday
b) our wedding anniversary is on Sunday.
So, not a good weekend for a trip downstate.

Otherwise we'd be there to fawn over Caleb.

Ditto on the neon lamp comment. I've never seen one.

I appreciate all the people who discuss why they disagree with Rex by making reference to the puzzle, not to Rex's mood. We have a new mattress, and we're actually feeling pretty good most mornings.

Campesite 11:53 AM  

Groaned with a with a cross-referenced clue at 1A, next entered the crosswordese ICIER and ACER, and then just wanted to be done with the thing. I'm not cranky either.

mac 11:57 AM  

Thought it was a good puzzle, with fetters and hoodlum, which caused me some trouble somehow, my favorites, too.

@Glitch: I think the Dutch sailors and mapmakers used Latin before fixing on a name, but it certainly wasn't New York. Terra incognita?
"The Island in the Center of the World" is still in my daunting stacks.....

foodie 12:01 PM  

@Susan, yes I agree re Jeu d'esprit. I was surprised that it showed up in the puzzle, because it's not all that common. But also, while the clue is consistent with what is in English language Wiki, I've seen it be used more like the meaning of "mind games"...

Clark 12:26 PM  

I must have missed school on the day that Henry Hudson was discussed so I learned about him as he emerged from the crosses. That made me grateful for the easy fill -- like BEQ said. If there were a rule that 1A shouldn’t contain a cross-reference, I think it would have to include the exception: “unless the cross-reference is to the symmetrical entry” (in this case 69A). The cross referencing won me over with its symmetry (putting me in the pleasant company of Hazel and Stan).

Chip Hilton 1:01 PM  

Henry Hudson was an Englishman but he went sailing for the Dutch,

His sailors all were freezing so they argued with him very much,

They put him in a rowboat and since then he has been out of touch.

--from 'The Explorers Song'
aka 'Crazy Chris Columbus'

I used this song (sung to a blues riff) with my fifth graders for years. When it came time for the test on explorers, they had to work hard not to sing out loud at their desks. Whatever helped . . .

So, HENRYHUDSON was my first answer. 1609 rung a bell, loudly.

retired_chemist 1:01 PM  

@ Anonymouse 11:14 - the theme was the discovery of New York Harbor. The question was whether the Arctic Ocean was relevant to that event.

@ several - a lamp covers any device for producing light, not just a household light/lamp. In what you are calling a neon sign, the neon is made to ionize in an electric current and the neon emits light.

Deb Amlen 1:05 PM  

@Sandy: Well, as a mom myself, that's a perfectly reasonable explanation. I was just trying to reassure Rex that there would be absolutely no blow darts involved in this tournament whatsoever :)

bluebell 1:29 PM  

Henry Hudson isn't in the front of my mind. Most of the explorers that are there are in earlier centuries. So I had to work. Also thought he was in the fur trade. Ultimately got the puzzle done, through trial and error. And now I know that our Northern CA Half Moon Bay is named after Henry's ship.

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

@mac: New York Harbor in this case is a retronym, no?

------> Joe in New Amsterdam

chefbea 2:16 PM  

Took a while to get all the answers but not a bad puzzle.

Of course I knew argo

J 2:46 PM  

Not terrible but not really exciting.
The worst two clues BY FAR were

52D Bubs


62D Gumshoe

MACS and TEC ?!?!?!?


Van55 2:56 PM  

"I also do not know why not liking a puzzle as much as some others automatically makes one cranky"

As the author of the "cranky" accusation I should point out that it is my feeling that Rex has been pretty negative about quite a few of the puzzle offerings of late. I was particuraly surprised at his disdain for Saturday's Puns & Anagrams offering.

I suppose it isn't fair to attribute his criticisms to being cranky, so I retract that remark. "Negative" would have been a better, and less pejorative, choice of words.

shruggy 3:18 PM  

I've never been to a party where a CONGA line has broken out. I wanted "cokehead" for that clue but it didn't fit. Guess I keep getting invited to the wrong kinds of parties.

I would like to propose that MEA and REA not be allowed to appear in the same grid. Seems like alphabetical incest.

mac 3:34 PM  

@Joe in NA: I guess both New Amsterdam and New York are retronyms.

chefbea 3:42 PM  

At my daughters wedding we had a conga line. I have a picture of it but don't know how to put it on the blog

Glitch 3:56 PM  

RE; Some comments above, and some trivia

-Decorative “Neon Lamps" are available at .

-The theme is “HENRY HUDSON”, not “NEW YORK HARBOR”

{History trivia}
The area was discovered by Verrazano in 1520, explored by Hudson in 1609

(1609) Hudson named it “Mauritius River” honor of Prince Maurice of Nassau

(1611 – 1614) Dutch surveyors / charters name river “The North River” and the area “New Netherlands”

(1625 – 1674) Several English / Dutch conflict result in the settlement being called, in order, New Amsterdam (1625), New York –after duke of York (1667), New Orange (1673), New York (1674) [Final answer].

As the British settled the region they began calling the waterway "Hudson’s River", but the “North River” name continues to date , to a small extent, on some Maritime maps.
{/history trivia}


Parsan 4:03 PM  

I liked this puzzle and was not bothered by the referential cluing. Really enjoyed its historical nature even if the clues lack cleverness.

@J--I liked both those clues.

@Two Ponies--Yes, it once was New Amsterdam.

@Elaine2--The ties between NY and the Netherlands are strong. State capital Albany has a tulip festival each year with thousands of bulbs from Holland planted in Washington Park. The events include girls dresses in Dutch costumes (including wooden shoes) who wash down the street in front of the capitol.

Earlier this month in celebration
of the 400 year anniversary, the
Crown Prince and his wife from the Netherlands were here to receive a 21 gun salute by a flotilla of Dutch and American ships who sailed up the Hudson. In NYC, the Prince awarded the captain of the replica of the 1609
HALF MOON a medal making him a knight, the highest honor available to someone not Dutch.

It is commonly acknowledged that Gov. Nelson Rockefeller was so embarassed by the shabiness of some parts of Albany when Queen Beatrix was here in 1959 for the 350th anniversary that he formulated a plan that resulted in
the tearing down of hundreds of buildings and the construction of the enormous government complex.

And girls and boys, that's the history lesson for today.

It is commonly acknowledged that Gov. Nelson Rockefeller was so embarassed by the shabiness of parts of Albany when Queen Beitrix
was here in 1959 for the 350th celebration that he formulated the plan that tore down hundreds of buildings and became the new
gigantic government complex.

And boys and girls, that's the history lesson for today.

festival each year with thousands
of bulbs from Holland planted and Dutch costumed girls wearing wooden shoes washing down the street in front of the capitol.

kumar 4:07 PM  

Will someone please enlighten me on bubs? Macs? Saw a cryptic reference to Chandler somewhere up above.

Parsans 4:09 PM  

Sorry about that, too many phone interruptions!

chefbea 4:13 PM  

@kumar Hi Bub = Hi Mac

joho 4:20 PM  

@Kumar ... same as Yo, Bro! What's up, Mac? Hey, Bub, what's shakin'?

slypett 4:24 PM  

Hey, bub! Hey, mac! Hey, bud! Hey, pal! Hey, Kumar!

Parsan 4:24 PM  

@Kumar--They are both nicknames for guys and have probably been replaced in todays slang by "Dude" and "Stud". Such as, "Hey Mac, how do I get to Main Street?". "Bub" was the uncle on the old "My Three Sons" TV show.

Anonymous 5:06 PM  

retired chemist

Perhaps you didn't get it -- it's Henry Hudson, not New York Harbor!

Anonymouse, if you please!

edith b 5:45 PM  

I came up doing puzzles in Maleskan times and, as a trivia buff, was comfortable with "fact-based" puzzles. I actually enjoyed learning Celebes ox and Asian nurse, bookends for 18th Century composers and plant genuses. It made me feel special to be able to do those kinds of puzzles as a young teenager.

But, like Orange always says, give me a good themeless anyday, and now, during the Shortz era, names, movies and TV are bookends for a more sophisticated style of Wordplay that is at the heart of Crossword puzzles. I feel liberated from the old obscurities and really like today's puzzles that have a more modern emphasis.

And, fikink, thanks for the shout-out. I notice that "neon" has gained a little currency and that makes me feel good.

retired_chemist 6:01 PM  

Bub is short for Bubba, which is kidspeak here in TX for brother. Lots of Bubbas are actually adults - nicknames stick.

Sfingi 6:21 PM  

The post I thought I made this AM seems to have disappeared; however, @Glitch and @Parsan have covered the NYC name history better. Spelling - Nieuw Amsterdam.

For those not from these parts, there's also a Half Moon and a Hudson, NY. Many other sites around NYC and Albany are Dutch. (Bronx, Bowery, Barneveld, etc.)

Remember the 1969 Sal Mineo flick - Krakatoa: East of Java, in which this direction is actually wrong?

To repeat what I thought I said, this xword reminded me of the difference between writing a program and using one. In the '60s-'80s, with no macros, writing a simple game was very difficult. Using it was no big whoop. Think of Pong.

Liked seeing both Yiddish and German.

ArtLvr 7:46 PM  

Quadricentennial celebrations for Henry Hudson at

Includes, for Sept. 26: Albany Riverfront Park will celebrate the 400th anniversary of Albany’s discovery with music, re-enactors, and much more. The event pays tribute to the rich history of the great capital city on the Hudson River. Visitors can take a tour of the Half Moon, witness modern artisans performing traditional craft techniques, as well as other cultural demonstrations, and enjoy great food and performances throughout the day...

Karen from the Cape 7:56 PM  

A puzzle like this with so many cross-references is awful to speedsolve. However, it is lots of fun to slowsolve, especially since I had no idea until three quarters through the puzzle what the heck the theme was. I enjoyed doing it myself.

I've been to the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, MA, home of some ?minor league hockey team; it also hosts an annual quilt show, and hosted the men's World Curling Championship a couple years ago.

Tiny Carl Jung is a character in the surreal webcomic Dresden Codak.

dk 9:40 PM  

@Anon, from a while back: Bub, MAC, TEC, Grifter, etc. are all terms that you will learn from reading pulp fiction. While not as thought provoking as Yeats it will (in the words of Steppenwolf) git yur motor runnin.

@sfingi, have you read Krakatoa, great book?

@karen for the cape, we have one of the few remaining curling clubs across the river in St. Paul.

The history of NYC is actually fascinating. For example, where Wall Street is there was once, yes you guessed it: a wall.

And, for you who are NYC tried and true Black and White Cookies are also known as Half Moons. My nana claimed they were named after HH's ship but... she dranks a bit... if ya know what I'm sayin.

Anonymous 9:42 PM  

@bluebell said...


And now I know that our Northern CA Half Moon Bay is named after Henry's ship.


Nope, it's named after the shape of the bay.

Neither Henry Hudson nor his ship made it here. Sir Francis Drake, on the other hand...

Lurking Larry (my Google signin isn't working.)

fvigeland 9:59 PM  

I do enjoy these puzzles that cram in a lot of trivia (especially those that use opposite corners, like HALF/MOON here or SPICE/TRADE), so this was fun for me.

I also liked Educator Horace MANN as that's the name of the school I attend.

And I hope to see many of you at the Westchester CPT on Friday!

fvigeland 9:59 PM  

I do enjoy these puzzles that cram in a lot of trivia (especially those that use opposite corners, like HALF/MOON here or SPICE/TRADE), so this was fun for me.

I also liked Educator Horace MANN as that's the name of the school I attend.

And I hope to see many of you at the Westchester CPT on Friday!

HudsonHawk 10:01 PM  

@Larry the Lurker, regarding Half Moon Bay--you are correct sir!

Nevertheless, there is a charming restaurant in Dobbs Ferry, NY that sits on the HUDSON River (and I mean right on it) called HALF MOON. It actually is named for the ship in today's grid. Check it out if you're local.

fergus 10:07 PM  

Ought to check on this but I think Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco, is named for the geographical characteristics and holds no reverence for Henry Hudson. Lots of business names there, like Mezzaluna, referencing the shape of the coastline. Big surf contest, Mavericks, right around the headlands from there, by the way.

fergus 10:29 PM  

One ought to reload the Comments section prior to making a potentially redundant comment. I didn't do that this time either ...

Stan 11:24 PM  

Half Moon Bay / Mavericks (CA):

fergus 11:50 PM  

Stan, disappointed that the link you gave doubled back here. I was hoping for some cool pictures of big waves.

paleolith 2:12 AM  

Yes, he sailed in the Arctic Ocean on the way to New York. Found too much ice and decided to just ignore his contract with the Dutch East India Company, in which he was obligated to search for a Northeast Passage. (Whose potential opening due to global warming has been in the news recently.)

Flowerblogger 7:23 AM  

Did anyone hear of the song "Take me back to Constatinople" which has the line "Even old New York was once New Amsterdam"?
I liked the theme of the puzzle, but was stuck with much of the fill. Like edithb, I'm more accustomed to puzzles with info or tricky word definitions, not TV trivia.

Flowerblogger 7:37 AM  

What does Maleskan mean anyway? Can't find a definition.

mac 8:26 AM  

@dk: Wall Street didn't have a wall, it had a wal, which is like a berm. The Red Light District in Amsterdam is called "de Walletjes" by the locals. The "wal" probably protected the inner city from the body of water called Het IJ. Don't ask me how it is pronounced....

HudsonHawk 8:45 AM  
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HudsonHawk 8:46 AM  

@Flowerblogger, edithb is referring to Eugene Maleska, the previous editor of the NYT crosswords. He edited the puzzle from 1977-1993 and had a distinctly more "old world" style than Will Shortz.

Parsan 10:04 AM  

@Flowerblogger--Thank you, thank you! I could not come up with "Take me back to Constantinoble" even after a Googling search for the lyrics using "old Amsterdam". Don't you hate it when you know something but don't know it?

Dough 10:13 AM  
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william e emba 12:32 PM  

Hudson was looking for the "NorthWEST Passage", which has now opened up due to global warming. The "NorthEAST Passage", over Russia, has also opened up, and was in the NYT two weeks ago.

Stan 2:31 PM  

Fergus: Sorrry that didn't work. Hmm, let's see of this does: My attempt at an embedded link

Magic Seaweed (from the UK) is just a great website with thousands of photos, sorted by geography, rating, etc.

Flowerblogger 6:12 PM  

Parsan, Here are the lyrics:
Four Lads
Istanbul (not Constantinople)
Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

-Artists: The Four Lads
-peak Billboard position # 10 in 1953
-Words by Jimmy Kennedy and Music by Nat Simon

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul not Constantinople
Been a long time gone
Old Constantinople's still has Turkish delight
On a moonlight night

Evr'y gal in Constantinople
Is a Miss-stanbul, not Constantinople
So if you've date in Constantinople
She'll be waiting in Istanbul

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it, I can't say
(People just liked it better that way)

[ Four Lads Lyrics are found on ]
Take me back to Constantinople
No, you can't go back to Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks'



Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it, I can't say
(People just liked it better that way)

Take me back to Constantinople
No, you can't go back to Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks'


Transcribed by Robin Hood

Singer 5:15 PM  

Syndication land comments:

1. Liked the puzzle, didn't love it.

2. Learned a bit of history of NYC, not sure I needed to but it doesn't hurt.

3. Thanks for the Istanbul, not Constantinople lyrics, @Flowerblogger. That's a great jazz song.

Anonymous 5:26 PM  

And my additional lyric courtesy of Ancient History 101 -
Even old Constantinople was once Byzantium...

(you could look it up)

Singer 8:06 PM  

Yep. Byzantium was first. Seems NYC has had lots of names too.

Nullifidian 3:28 AM  
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Nullifidian 3:31 AM  

I have to admit that I was favorably disposed to this puzzle because I like history.

No write-overs, but SEIKO gave me some trouble. I had the initial letter S from TSONGAS, but I thought the correct answer was "slave". I was thinking of the Greek and Roman distinctions of citizen vs. slave, and I seem to have been the only one.

Nevertheless, I didn't write it down immediately but worked on the section and SEIKO emerged from the crosses.

I have two minor complaints:

The first, and least serious, is COAX and HOAX. I don't like it when there are crosses which only differ by one letter.

More seriously, I disliked YENTA, RAISA and ESO crossing each other. That's too many non-English clues in a compact area. As someone who was five when Gorbachev came to power and eleven when the Soviet Union collapsed, I really didn't remember that his wife was named RAISA, and the crosses were no help at all. I'd never heard "Quíen Te Dijo ESO" before and was reduced to guessing that last letter.

It's worth noting that the parts I disliked crossed with theme clues, showing again how many constraints are imposed on a crossword by its theme clues.

Aside from those few rough patches, I thought the crossing was much smoother than the puzzle on Monday, September 21st.

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