French newspaper since 1944 — WED., Oct. 21 2009 — Barrio quaffs / Dharma's sitcom spouse / Ruby's live-TV victim / Flying A competitor

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: POP stars (65A: Genre for 1- & 22-Across, 22- & 26-Across, 26- & 46-Across and 46- & 49-Across) — (1980s) POP star name chain: BOY GEORGE / GEORGE MICHAEL / MICHAEL JACKSON / JACKSON BROWNE

Word of the Day: OVOLO (31D: Convex molding) n., pl., -li (-lī').

A rounded convex molding, often a quarter section of a circle or ellipse.

[Obsolete Italian, diminutive of uovo, ovo, egg, from Latin ōvum.]


Fortuitous POP star name lengths result in neat symmetrical pattern. Not much else to say about that. Makes for an unusual Wednesday, though I'm on the fence about whether it's good or bad "unusual." The theme is fine, but I find long Across answers with no thematic purpose kind of distracting. Did the puzzle so fast I never saw the clue on POP, and so spent a minute or so trying to figure out the theme. Didn't. Then went and looked for a theme-revealing clue. Aha. OHO. Yes. I see. Here I was, like a sucker, trying to think of a TREASURER (23A: Club official) who DUMBS DOWN (17A: Oversimplifies, as educational standards) a SALES SLIP (47A: Proof of purchase) after a CRASH TEST (58A: Job for a dummy?), whatever that means.

Only resistance in the puzzle came near the end, as I circled back up into the east from the south. Mexican state JALISCO (42D: Guadalajara's state) gave me a bit of a fight, in that I might have heard of it before but TABASCO was the only state coming to mind. Once I worked that out (via JINGLE, 42A: Ad music), I went into the east for my last stand. First, despite years of Latin, I always @#$! up the phrase "Ab OVO." OVUM is a neuter noun, which means it's pluralized as OVA, which is always what I want to write (instead of the proper ablative OVO). Grr. But the real issue over here is OVOLO (31D: Convex molding), not so much because it's an odd word I can't recall seeing before (that happens all the time), but because — as I shouted at fellow xword blogger Amy Reynaldo at about 10:05 last night — there is no way on god's green earth that OVO should be crossing OVOLO in a crossword puzzle. In fact, ideally, they shouldn't even be in the same grid at all. Those three letters "OVO" mean both words come from the same root word (Latin for "egg" — actually "OVO" *is* that word). You wouldn't cross OVO with OVULATE or OVOID or OVULE, and OVOLO should be no different. I know constructors who work really hard to avoid this kind of stuff — just worked with one who insisted on pulling a word out of the grid entirely because another word *clear across the grid* had the same root word (and unlike OVO and OVOLO, those words actually had really different meanings). Thumbs down for lack of attention to detail.

Theme answers:

  • 1A: "Whew!" ("Boy!")
  • 22A: Dragon-slaying saint (George)
  • 26A: Archangel in Daniel (Michael)
  • 46A: Mississippi's capital (Jackson)
  • 49A: "Hägar the Horrible" creator Dik (Browne)


  • 21A: A.E.F's conflict (W.W. I) — glad I never saw this clue, as I didn't know what "A.E.F." stood for: American Expeditionary Force.
  • 40A: Noted 1945 photo site, briefly (Iwo) — what a weird clue. Another clue I never really saw.
  • 43A: French newspaper since 1944 (Le Monde) — the only one I know, I think. One letter off from LEMONADE, btw.
  • 8D: PC-linking system (LAN) — Local Area Network, a true acronym.
  • 22D: Dharma's sitcom spouse (Greg) — ugh, the 90s.
  • 38A: Barrio quaffs (vinos) — "barrio" + "quaffs" = two words that have never been adjacent to one another in the history of humanity.
  • 32D: Baseball's Al a k a the Hebrew Hammer (Rosen) — sounds like a kind of hotdog. I find the way "a k a" is written, with spaces like that, and no periods, really disconcerting.
  • 34D: Sportage automaker (Kia) — this make of car has clearly been a boon to constructors everywhere. I'm still campaigning to get the KEA into heavy rotation as crosswordese. It's a New Zealand parrot, common as a pigeon in some parts of the South Island. "KEA! ... because KIA is already played out! Vote KEA!"
  • 38D: End of a Caesarean boast ("Vici") — "Caesarean boast" sounds like something an OB/GYN would exclaim. "You should have seen my incision, man! Flawless!"
  • 44D: Ruby's live-TV victim (Oswald) — like the clue on IWO, this one's weird. Also "live-TV," while adding an interesting trivia tidbit to the mix, does nothing to affect clue difficulty. [Ruby's victim] is plain enough. Maybe you were supposed to imagine that Ruby shot OSWALD on tape, and some other guy live.
  • 45D: City on the Loire with a quarter million people (Nantes) — off the "N"! That's what doing a lot of xwords ... or living in France, I guess ... will do for you.
  • 55D: Where traitorous Vidkun Quisling lived (Oslo) — O man, I love this guy, as much as you can love anyone who betrayed Norway to the Nazis. Vidkun Quisling is an iconic Trivial Pursuit answer to me, one which, in the 80s, defined "WTF obscurity" for me and my sister. The very question "Who betrayed Norway to the Nazis?" became a joke, an exclamation, an aborted "Who's on First?" comedy routine that ended with the (to our ears) hilarious reply: Vidkun Quisling! It's a really funny name, is all.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. check out Tyler Green's interview with Liz Gorski about her recent Guggenheim anniversary tribute puzzle at "Modern Art Notes"


Elaine 8:18 AM  

Good write-up for a fairly okay-but-not-memorable puzzle. I am with Rex on the OVO/OVOLO cross. I did not know OVOLO but of course the crosses filled most of this.

Here is a question I had: in the back of my mind, it's "Wini, widi, wici." (I had to go back and change the W to a V in order to make VINOS work at 38A.) Is this some old style/new spelling conflict with the Latin? Maybe someone who has taken years of Latin can elucidate.

Other than that, a smooth, quick --and forgettable-- solve.

Anonymous 8:19 AM  

Well ... I love to see the letter J in a puzzle. It happens too rarely. But having two Js so close together seems kind of lopsided.
that's about all I can say about this puzzle...not (and never was) a fan of any of those POP stars.

I loved the comment on 38D! So true! You've got to give P Collins credit for trying out a new way of cluing an old standby though.

Unknown 8:24 AM  

How do others feel about auras crossing aurora?

It didn't sit well with me.

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

@Elaine: 'w' is supposedly the classical Latin pronunciation for the letter 'v' -- so it sounds like that but doesn't look like it (this is just thanks to my three years of HS Latin; maybe others can elucidate further.)

and oh yeah: VINO for 38A??
I mean, we know this indicates that the answer should be Spanish and all, but the feel is all wrong between the terms VINO and 'barrio' ... my opinion.

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

re 38A, meant VINOS not VINO ... of course.

Elaine 8:33 AM  

thanks, anony-person! Obviously I mis-recalled (and I never had any Latin)...but I'll remember next time. All of "my Latin" has been picked up casually; not always a reliable method! Vini, vidi, vici!

dk 8:44 AM  

JACKSON BROWNE was great in the No Nukes concert and album (pre cd days). LISTEN TO STAY

CRASHTEST Dummies is a pop band as well.

I thought this a biblical puzzle as I filled in the North. By the time I got to JACKSON (hotter than a pepper sprout) I realized I was dealing with saints, baseball, WW1 and 2, and POP stars.

Like yesterday plenty of fun fill and a quirky theme

Jeffrey 8:46 AM  

Question time. Did anyone get the theme without 65A? I sure didn't.

The Load/Stay brings back tons of memories as Jackson Browne's "Running on Empty" was one of the first tapes I ever bought.

Anonymous 8:46 AM  

Relatively new at this, but I have to ask: what's this hidden rule about not having words with the same root? If people don't read blogs, how are they supposed to know this is a "lack of attention to detail?"

Parshutr 8:49 AM's VENI VIDI VICI...I came I saw I conquered. Boston Latin School 1957 Alum, 5 years of Latin.

PIX 9:04 AM  

Some history in this puzzle…Council of Trent (19A), a big part of the Counter-Reformation (Catholics dealing with the issues of the Protestant Reformation) …And 45D=Nantes….Treaty (Edict) of Nantes, 1598, granted religious freedom to the people of France (later revoked)….as per Professor Google.

Jim in Chicago 9:12 AM  

I liked the theme, and found this puzzle to be generally well constructed.

I'll add my small complaint about OVO/OVOLO just way too many v's and o's all piled up together.

IWO makes its second appearance in a short period of time, and again grates on me. I don't think I've ever heard it shortened to IWO except in crossword-land.

The clue for IRA is a bit lame, as a 4.0 APR could apply to almost anything (even mortgages these days).

While I have NO problem with SALESSLIP as a term, I just note it now seems very old fashioned. When's the last time someone actually wrote you out a sales slip, they're almost universally a receipt printed from a machine.

nanpilla 9:12 AM  

@dk : I thought of the crash test dummies as well - I have several of their CDs. Loved the Jackson Browne, and the write-up was great today - thanks, Rex!

@crosscan : without 65a, this would have felt like a Matt Gaffney - especially with all the long fill that had nothing to do with the theme.

MikeM 9:14 AM  

Inkpot? Never heard of it. Saw Jackson Browne many times in concert over the years. Good stuff.

JannieB 9:16 AM  

@Crosscan - definitely NOT. No idea where this was going because as Rex pointed out - the long acrosses were, for the most part, not theme answers. When I did see the revealing clue, it all made some sense and I decided I liked it.

And of course, Veni, vidi, visa - I came, I saw, I shopped!

An okay Wednesday.

Glitch 9:22 AM  

Agree with most of the above, and add:

Don't like AURA as SAINTLY glow, not all auras (aurae?) are good / saintly. Had HALO at first.

@Jim in Chi

I have a "machine printed" receipt from a local nursery and right at the to is printed "***SALES SLIP***".

@Anon 8:46a

Not to be funny, but that's the reason for these blogs!


Bob Kerfuffle 9:22 AM  

Thought the theme was very clever.

My only objection, as noted by anon above, was to 38 A, Barrio quaffs - VINOS. Any further discussion from Spanish and/or Italian experts?

HudsonHawk 9:24 AM  

Quite the musical puzzle today. In addition to the theme answers and the CRASH TEST Dummies dk and nanpilla pointed out, we had JINGLE, BACH, Jerry Lee LEWIS, TRENT Reznor, RAGE Against the Machine, all singing I SHOT the Sheriff.

Ulrich 9:24 AM  

I started in the NE and moved down diagonally in a SWerly direction, only to get sidetracked and ended in the SE corner, where I found the hint, which then led me to realize what 1A was supposed to be, and the remaining links in the theme chain became easy, too. All in all, a very satisfactory experience.

I like the way in which OVO and OVOLO form a cross in the grid, no matter what the purists say...

@PIX: Very perceptive--respect!

Blackhawk 9:27 AM  

IRA clue is flat out wrong -- an IRA is an investment Acct that may hold equities or bonds or cash -- all with variable rates of return. It does not have a set annual percentage rate. The cluer must have thought it was either a CD or a loan.

Liked the pop musician ladder but overall puzzle had easy Tuesday or Monday feel it it. No resistance anywhere.

Liked 58d as it was at least honest about asking for a random year in Ronan numerals.

Unknown 9:33 AM  

good point rex on OVO/OVOLO.

where is OHO a cry of surprise? (and in what century?)

Elaine 9:42 AM  

Oh, my. Aha, and likewise OHO. Thanks, Parshutr. I will write this 100 times or something.

Re MDCI (29D): He had it coming. That's MORE history!

I won't give up useful phrases no matter how old they are, Dave. Nor should I.

Three and out the door

Orange 9:45 AM  

Aw, Rex, you weren't shouting at me. You were shouting with me.

"L" - LO - LEO - LEON - LEMON - Greg LEMOND - LE MONDE - LEMONADE. I hadn't noticed the Le Monde+A = lemonade bit before.

My mom's great-uncle or somebody was in the AEF. I still forget which war it was in.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

When I got to 65A and started putting the names together, my immediate reaction was "Jackson Browne is gay??"

PIX 9:48 AM  

Blackhawk said the IRA clue is "flat out wrong." I agree with him; it just doesnt make sense...BUT my experience with this blog is someone usually comes up with an explanation that I hadn't thought about...anyone want to defend it or is this just a bad clue?

randismcgee 9:57 AM  

Ruby's victim only wanted to be Max. I was puzzling how to make Max 6 letters and understand how these nice bunnies victimize each other. Now I'm living with the jingle

Max and Ruby, Ruby and Max.

I need to sell my kids.

ArtLvr 9:59 AM  

@ Blackhawk -- I agree that the clue for IRA was completely wrong. You explained it well...


Anonymous 10:05 AM  


Taking the clue literally, an IRA 'might' have a 4.0 APR.

Have to say i like the progression of the theme answers - some of them were schlocky, but you can't argue with them being pop stars.


ArtLvr 10:08 AM  

p.s. re IRA -- I have to share my favorite quick daily news resource:

william e emba 10:14 AM  

There's one used bookstore in my area where every in-store purchase is accompanied by a hand written SALES SLIP, complete with book titles and prices, with the totalling and tax worked out on one of those large big-button four-function calculators. The proprietor, although aged, is not against technology as such--the store is on the Internet. But business moves slowly enough, and there are no untrustworthy employees, that the urge to get a cash register has never risen.

Google reveals lots of companies willing to sell customized blank sales slips. Now if you want carbon paper for that genuine old-fashioned appeal on you sales slip pad, you're probably out of luck.

SethG 10:14 AM  

Had AULD and SYNE before LANG, then relied on the reveal to get GEORGE. I'd like the ladder except that a) I despise Jackson Browne and b) whatever my feelings, I do argue that Jackson Browne did not sing POP. The others are all great, or at least "great", though.

POP is incidentally the name of the top women's ultimate frisbee team in Minneapolis...good luck at Nationals next week!

The OVOLO/VINOS cross bothered me more than the /OVO one. Barrio is the Spanish word for neighborhood, but in the US it often has a lower-class connotation. In any case, I guessed A, U and even E before the O here.

What Would Andrew Ridgeley Do? Or the Worldwide Jewish Media Conspiracy?

Stan 10:21 AM  

What Rex said on Ovolo/Ovo. Otherwise perfectly fine puzzle.

My wife and I were listening to a lot of New Wave compilations in the car last Spring. "Karma Chamelion" really stood out -- lovely song. Who'd a thunk?

Jeffrey 10:26 AM  

@Seth: Somebody's Baby isn't pop?

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

re 44D - Another example of how something from one person's experience is trivia or obscure reference for others. Kennedy's assassination was a traumatic and dramatic national event, with much TV coverage through weekend followed. I was 8 and saw the Oswald shooting on live TV. I was more affected emotionally by images of Kennedy's three year old son at the funeral.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

To anonymous #9 above... I guess the answer is, "we nerds know about this stuff, and we might even make up some new arbitrary constraints, so we can out-nerd each other in comments".

Two Ponies 10:43 AM  

A few sticky spots in this one for me. If the curved molding isn't an ogee then I don't know it.
I felt like a crash test dummy myself for a short time while sorting out the intersection of a French city and newspaper with a North African capital.
Are vinos in the barrio drunk from paper bags?
The Hebrew Hammer? Is that for real? Could you get away with that now in these PC days?
My only real huh? was grouping Jackson Browne with some, how shall I say, sexually adventurous types. If I were Mr. Browne I think I might be offended. Each of the other three has been arrested for their behavior as well.
Funny write-up today.

slypett 10:43 AM  

Everything's been covered and not a fracas to be had! O woe!

pete1123 10:45 AM  

My only regret in writing this puzzle was (aside from the fact that someone might call me on the carpet for honoring an alleged heroin user, men's room solicitor, child molester, and domestic partner abuser) was that Loverboy was one word. Then I could have had the chain:

Of course, including Loverboy could have led to some really horrible video clips involving red leather and headbands.

Parshutr 10:47 AM  

Cutest might be felt on your head.
Nice puzzle for us elderly folk...AEF, ESSO and flying "A", AEF, Greg, Oswald...and no SIMPSONS or SURVIVOR!
Gotta go...runnin' on empty!

ImARocker 10:50 AM  

Jackson Browne is not gay; he dated Daryl Hannah before he beat her up. JFK Jr was set to have him offed over the incident

Charles Bogle 10:50 AM  

I considered OVO/OVOLO a personal Natick (and felt for the first time Natick was correct usage) but now after seeing the commentary am not so several others with less than half a year's experience but terrific blog tutelage I'm unsure what the constructor's faux pas was here?

In any event, I thought the theme was clever, the fill interesting and quirky..BUT totally agree w Blackhawk on IRA being incorrectly clued, and with the poster on OHOS being "cries of surprise,..."

I'm sure I'm reading way too much into this, but seemed to me that constructor also was having a lot of fun showing how many ways the letter O could look and sound... eg OVO, IWO, BOY up left, POP down right, ESSO, VINOS, BROWNE, ONDECK etc

Parshutr 10:55 AM  

@Two Ponies...Al Rosen's nickname was not as well known as Sandy Koufax's (the Big Jew). But contemporary Jewish ballplayers (like Shawn Green, whose grandfather shortened the name from Greenberg) have been better assimilated and accepted.
Koufax, by the way, was an adoptee from a non-Jewish background. Both he and Green refused to play ball on Yom Kippur...but neither fasted or attended synagogue on that day.

retired_chemist 11:18 AM  

Hand up for being a big Al Rosen (& Cleveland Indians) fan in the early fifties. Never heard the Hebrew Hammer phrase. Ever.

Hand up also for having _ONGS for 30D and not getting past BONGS until I got the cross, 29A.

Theme was irrelevant for me. Didn't get it until Rex explained.

Started with STOAT for 9A, which gave me AULD instead of LANG for 12D. Which took a minute or so to sort out....

Anyway, it was good fun, but not memorable.

PlantieBea 11:18 AM  

Ugh, Rocker, I had forgotten about the Jackson B/Daryl Hannah domestic violence. I do like Browne's music (thanks for the clip, Rex) and Browne has been generous in performing for a "save the steel bridge" cause in my home town where I'm currently visiting family.

My hangups in this puzzle included Estee for NIVEA, and MMI for my 10th century year (duh). Once those fell, I worked through this fairly quickly. My last letter was the V in OVA which we've seen before. I could only think of ab initio for a long while.

Yep, this one definitely needed 65 across.

TheGuyWhoComplainedAboutCirclesInPete'sLastPuzzle 11:37 AM  

Circles! Where are the F(*#$%^&*^ng Circles? If only this one had F#$@#%ng Circles!

See Michigan Pete, you just can't win with some people.:)

Glitch 11:45 AM  


This is as close as I can come to defend the IRA clue: CD IRA, has a fixed 1.9% APY (Yield) not APR (Rate).

Maybe we can release IRA from the "flat out wrong" catagory on a technicality?

House Arrest (mostly wrong) would seem to be safe until all the evidence is in.


Glitch 11:47 AM  

I forgot to mention the clue contained the weasel word *MIGHT*

CoolPapaD 11:52 AM  

Was Jackson Browne the Chris Brown of his day?

@retired_chemist - I grew up in Cleveland (60's-70's) and knew of Al Rosen, but I also never heard of the nickname. There was a crazy, somewhat stereotypically offensive movie a few years ago called The Hebrew Hammer, about a Jewish Superhero, which was corny, stupid, and quite amusing!

I just found this link (while reading about Al Rosen)

I had no idea there was a Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and the list of honorees is impressive. As a Tribesman, this made my day.

Shalom, y'all!

foodie 12:01 PM  

I have a soft spot in my heart for Michigan Pete.

I also thought it was a very clever word chain. It would have been wonderful if the long answers had managed to fit into some loose category... TREASURER AND SALESSLIP sort of do, and DUMBSDOWN and the Dummy in the CRASHTEST sort of do... A challenge for Pete in the future to create a dummy secondary theme.

JINGLE reminded me of the C&H clip that Rex posted yesterday, which I played before going to sleep.

I get LE MONDE on my Kindle every day. The other day, the lead article in LE MONDE was about... how Kindle is trying to invade the world book market, but thankfully for the French, all the books are still in English. Their cartoon of the day showed someone smirking about having access to all the French classic books... in English.

Glitch 12:03 PM  

trying that link again: CD IRA

If it doesn't work this time, it points to


DataGeek 12:05 PM  

My problem with 38A (VINOS) had more to do with the word "quaff" than a Spanish translation of "barrio." Quaff as a verb means to drink heartily, and is usually associated with ale. Thus, the barrio equivalant would most likely be cerveza, not vino.

Steve in NYC 12:06 PM  

@Peter: Loved it! Hiding the theme in the shorter answers gave me a true OHO moment at 65A. Nice work!

Jim in Chicago 12:22 PM  

Still noodling over the Barrio thing.

I checked the OED, and it either refers to a "ward or quarter of a city or town in Spain or in Spanish-speaking country" or "A Spanish-speaking district in a U.S. district or town".

While the Spanish certainly produce and drink a great deal of wine, I typically here the word Barrio used to describe a somewhat lower-class area where large quantities of Cerveza are "quaffed" rather than wine.

Martin 1:01 PM  

The OVO/OVOLO crossing didn't offend me because an ovolo does not bear any resemblance to an egg, etymology notwithstanding.

Banning words with different meanings that share a root would be a pretty tough rule. To my knowledge, similar words with similar meanings are considered dupes in a grid, but I don't know if OVO/OVOLO violates any actual rule. Interesting question, though.

Clark 1:08 PM  

@Blackhawk @PIX et al --

I’m with @Anonymous 10:05. The clue ('It might get a 4.0 A.P.R.') just says that it is something that earns a return. My IRA is an asset, it earns a return, that return can be annualized (expressed as an APR), the APR might be 4.0. The clue seems completely unobjectionable to me.

Doc John 1:14 PM  

Add me to the OVO/OVOLO hate list (especially since I had an N there).
Surprised that nobody mentioned the presence of cyclist GREG LEMONDE in the puzzle today. (OK, he doesn't have an E on the end of his name, but still.)

Noam D. Elkies 1:20 PM  

Rex: ugh, the 90s.

Me: ugh, a 65A:POP quiz. What's 46D:JSBACH doing in this dumbed-down company?

On to Thursday.


mac 1:38 PM  

I thought the word chain was very good, and didn't get bothered too much about the ovo/ovolo crossing. Just something new to remember in the molding family.

I'm with Rex on the Jalisco and AEF answers; inkpot is less familiar to me than inkwell. I also started with stoat and Ghent for Trent.

Anon 9.47: LOL!

On October 28 and December 1 I will hopefully be writing out a lot of sales slips!

treedweller 1:47 PM  

I liked the theme--found it clever and enjoyed that it was somewhat hidden.

Hated OVO/OVOLO. I've probably seen the former (and probably grumbled about it), but it gets lost in a jumble of ara/ora/asa-type words. Never heard of the latter. This was a mistake for me, and it took a long time to find. Since I also didn't know ROSEN, I spent a lot of time googling back through the terrible-looking movie to confirm the name before finally getting to the V. I think I started with an R, or maybe an S. I've mostly gotten over my tendency to cry foul just because I don't happen to know something, but crossing these two just seems wrong. I'm less concerned about the issue Rex brought up there, but it does seem pretty close to using the same word twice.

@Noam D. Elkies
I resent the notion that pop=dumb. I don't know you, so I grant you may be an amazing composer, but I suspect most people who make such a claim would be hard pressed to write a song as well as the featured artists. Simple is not the same as dumb. Complex is not the same as smart. Which is not to say I'm a fan of the theme artists, but I acknowledge that I couldn't do what they do. And I also couldn't write anything like BACH, but I don't much care for his work, either.

While I'm at it, I resent the implication by one or two above that barrio residents are too low-class to enjoy wine. I tend to agree with some of the other objections to that clue, though.

andrea I'm all mouth michaels 2:26 PM  

I know OVOLO for when I get three O's on my Scrabble rack!!!
Didn't know what it meant tho...
just know that if you have THREE O's and a V, not all is lost!

Torn bec of course you can't ban similar roots since they are so cross-pollinated, constructors would have to kill themselves...
but I get why folks are irritated bec a moulding crossing with a Latin phrase is asking to be called a Natick...or in this case, a Natikus ovolum.
(An omelet eaten in Ancient Massachussetts)

I like having no-clue about the theme till the last word, literally, and then going back and admiring the daisy chain...Fun!

Yay to "chiming" in! IT is fascinating to think that they've all been arrested! And yet Ruby who KILLED someone was let go!

I mean, the Georges (Boy and Michael) were set up for personal things that probably shouldn't be arrestable offenses (I know I'm stirring the INKPOT here) and poor mixed up Michael (RIP) :(
But yes for that Woman-Beating Jackson!
It's weird that both he and Chris Brown(e) even share the same last name. History repeats itself, it just drops an E.

Speaking of dropped letters... very cool about Lemonade/Lemonde!
Puzzle waiting to happen there!

I loved IMALL for I'm all ears, that seemed fresh...even tho there was also an ISHOT. I love Bob Marley and that you can parse I SHOT into IS HOT!

And what about having 49D Thin nail and 32D The Jewish Hammer!That's nice! Esp since there's only been one Jewish carpenter EVER and I think he converted! ;)

Oh, and I mixed up my Roman numerals and had DDI!!!!!!!!
But if you ARE a music fan, you COULD make a pilgrimage to DECCA!

Glitch 2:36 PM  


quaff: verb
°To drink or imbibe, especially with vigour.
°(wine terminology) to sip a wine for itself, as opposed to overindulging for the sake of intoxication. [2 sources, Wiki & Ninjaword]

Couple this with:

barrio: noun
°An area or neighborhood in a U.S. city inhabited primarily by people speaking Spanish or of Hispanic origin.

Putting these together, I have no problem.

I do recognize, however, combinations culled from other sources, or assumptions, could offend some.

.../Glitch (3.5 and out)

@Andrea- Just what we need, another add-a-letter (drop-a-letter?) --- can you make it genererate a wacky phrase too? :)

Van55 2:48 PM  

I don't know why the OVO OVOLO crossing is any worse than the AURA AURORA crossing.

I didn't know who Frank McCourt 'tis.

And the coup de gras is the ubiquitous random Roman numeral early 10th century date.

DA 2:58 PM  

OVOLO is one of those words that almost describes itself - a circular molding etc.

Just like LEVEL is level. And FOUR does its own bidding. Then you got the stuff like MISPELT and CHOHORTLE.

My two favorite 'autologues' are in lower-case:

emot:)on and abont face (with a u-turn). To this elite list we can now add OVOLO.

sanfranman59 3:12 PM  

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

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

Wed 10:27, 11:45, 0.89, 21%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:12, 5:46, 0.90, 21%, Easy-Medium

Joe 3:24 PM  

How come only Van55 mentioned AURA/AURORA crossing?
Bad, but not as bad as OVO, etc.

And, don't forget -- Al Rosen was on first when Willie Mays caught Vic Wertz's deep drive in the '54 Series.

retired_chemist 3:49 PM  

Ah, Joe, did you have to remind me of one of my least favorite memories?

Anonymous 4:37 PM  


If you feel kind of low some time, and just need that one last straw to push you over the edge, get Frank McCourt's book _Angela's Ashes_ and that will do the trick! Except for one passage about a teacher, this was the most utterly depressing and distressing book I've ever read--and I read a lot. Even _Confederacy of Dunces_ wasn't this bad.
However, delighted by the reception of his first book, McCourt went on to write _Teacher Man_ and then 'TIS....

Stan 4:43 PM  


Cool comments, but I think it's just as well Loverboy didn't make the cut. You could use them in a future effort with Journey, Foreigner, and (puzzle-worthy) REO Speedwagon.

Oscar 4:59 PM  

Joe - because OVOLO and OVO are related etymologically, while AURA/AURORA aren't (Aura is from "breath (of air) and Aurora is from "dawn" or "east").

It may not be a rule, but avoiding words with common roots makes things more elegant, puzzle-wise.

fergus 5:09 PM  

Much trouble in the NE. HALOS aren't AURAS, and I was looking for some Latin dude Sen...

Quaff in the barrio? Ill-placed.

Noam D. Elkies 5:33 PM  

@treedweller: I don't have to argue that I can write amazing music, only that having grown up on the truly amazing music of JSBACH, Chopin, Debussy et al. I find almost all pop music insufferably repetitive, boring, and unimaginative. Most of the time it doesn't even seem to be about the music, but rather about providing a predictable beat for dancing or a bland background for the lyrics. Bach and Chopin could do "simple" too, and they did it so much better.


chefbea 5:43 PM  

Just realized today is the 21st...Happy birthday Guggenheim Museum and to my grand daughter as well. Just heard on the news that the empire state building will be lit in red in their honor.

treedweller 5:51 PM  

I think this later comment reveals your bias--not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm just saying, there's good pop and bad pop, for those of us who don't find it all insufferable.

interesting tidbit! As this happens to be my birthday, I'm pleased to find I share it with the FINAL MAJOR WORK OF FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT (Marin County exception noted). Happy birthday to your progeny, as well.

Blackhawk 5:57 PM  

Not to beat a dead horse but ... APR is short for "annualized percentage rate" and is used to describe an interest rate that applies for a year (that's the ''A''). it's used to describe finance charges for a loan, mortgage or credit card.

So it's not an annualized RETURN that you would receive. It's meant to apply to the amount you would PAY. ... I don't know of it being used in any return-type context. Which is why I said it's just wrong.

joho 6:17 PM  

@Andrea Carla Michaels ... LOL.

@Treedweller ... Happy Birthday!

@Michigan Pete ... thanks for dropping in. It's always great to hear from the constructor. Makes the puzzle all that much more interesting.

Clark 6:25 PM  

@Blackhawk -- Wasn't that a twitch of the horse? The question is whether APR, which does stand for "annualized percentage rate", and which clearly is used as you describe, can be restricted to mean only what you describe. Regulation of lender disclosure has lead to a particular sense of APR being common, in which 'rate' ranges over only certain rates (those of borrowers). But 'rate' is a more general word than that, and we use it to apply to interest on both sides of transactions, ie, both borrowers costs and investors return. These rates can be normalized by annualizing them.

edith b 6:35 PM  

My dad and his Wedenesday night poker guys used to discuss how local sports writers liked to give their home town players nicknames that didn't travel well. The Hebrew Hammer is indicative of that fact. Lou Genrig was nicknamed Columbia Lou by the local New York Press but it was The Iron Horse that stuck nationally.

Treedweller, thank you for taking on the pop culture haters. I don't have the courage myself to do so but my son-in-law is a big Country music fan and I'm not but I don't look down on him for not sharing my tastes as the p*p culture haters do.

Glitch 6:47 PM  

@Blackhawk / @Clark

@NDE / @Treedweller

Remember Daniel Myers?


PS: I miss you DM.

retired_chemist 7:05 PM  

Glitch - Ya think the first (and slightly snarky) post from Daniel on yesterday's blog was DM?

mac 7:19 PM  

@Treedweller: Happy birthday!

@r_c: it couldn't have been. That comment was too short. Plus he didn't come back!

Anonymous 7:31 PM  

@ Glitch, You are a stitch! Oh yeah, I remember DM, esp. on days like today.
You other guys gnawing away at APR are killing me. Must be a "slow news day." Not only is the finance stuff a complete bore to most folks but it was only 3 tiny letters in the puzzle for Pete's (Collins) sake. Then we have the love pop/ kill pop debate. If you get tired of that futile exercise you might want to try teaching a pig to ice skate. Just as difficult but more fun to watch.
Squeek the Anonymouse

retired_chemist 7:33 PM  

@ mac - I am giving DM (potential) credit for cogitation and learning how not to be an a**hole interim. People do grow and change.

chefbea 7:35 PM  

@treedweller - Happy birthday. Hope you had a great day

@DM come back - we miss you

Noam D. Elkies 7:49 PM  

@Treedweller et al.: I probably wouldn't mind the boom-boom stuff so much if it weren't piped into common/public spaces so ubiquitously and loudly. Very little classical music could stand up to that kind of abuse (look at what it did to Pachelbel's canon) — happily for both of us, most classical music doesn't get that kind of forcible exposure — and I can't think of a single piece of p*p that I'd actually welcome hearing for the xillion-and-first time on some mall DJ's whim.

Now what's this about D.Myers?


P.S. Oh yes, about the puzzle — interesting that for once 19A:TRENT appears with a non-Lott clue, though placed so close to 29A:SENATOR.

foodie 7:51 PM  

Rex, thank you for the link to the interview with Liz Gorski about the Guggenheim puzzle. She sounds like such an interesting person and I greatly enjoyed reading about her creative process. Like Tyler Green, I noted a number of answers outside the theme that were associated with art and artists. She said they were not intended. But I wonder if being in a particular mind frame (e.g. art and architecture) makes certain related associations more likely for the constructor as well as the solver. I've always thought this was the basis of "malapops" (aptly named by another great constructor).

I'd never heard about Modern Art Notes-- another bonus!

Anonymous 8:02 PM  

@ NDE, Daniel Meyers was a tireless pedant. Not everyone misses him. He was a bit like having a terrier attached to your sock.

andrea in awe michaels 8:05 PM  

I agree, that interview with Liz Gorski was terrific.
Thanks for linking, Rex!
And of course she must have put those things in subconsciously...or it's in the zeitgeist or something, but it's great fun when others make even more deep connections than one intended.
I love when @Joho or @Hudson Hawk creates those little vignettes that tie things together...

Happy Birthday!
It's so crazy that there are so many of us in this week, from Sandy, to Fergus to me to you...
(insert statistician's comment here that if there are 40 regular commenters spread over 12 moths that the likelihood of us sharing birthday week is greater than 50% yadda yadda 4.3 percent APR...blah blah blah) but still!

sanfranman59 8:12 PM  

I meant to say in my midday solve time report that as a lifelong, die-hard (and, it really goes without saying, very frustrated) Cleveland sports fan, I never recall hearing Al Rosen referred to as the "Hebrew Hammer". I know his nickname as "Flip". He was my mother's favorite player when she was a kid, so I have a special affinity for him. A Google search of "Al Rosen" "Hebrew Hammer" returns a bunch of hits with seemingly legitimate content, so I guess he must have been known by that nickname as well. I'm just surprised that I'd never heard it until last evening.

Ulrich 8:32 PM  

@anonymous at 8:02: I'm totally with you. He suffered from the I-have-to-have-the-last-word syndrome and therefore never observed the 3-and-out "rule"--apparently, he thought the world was just waiting for more pearls of wisdom from him. Why anyone wants to encourage him is beyond me...

fergus 8:54 PM  

Andrea -- how much do I love the locution Natickus ? We share similar birthdays. Mine was the 17th, celebrated on the day as was yours, but your actual date is another, earlier or later ??

Clark 9:20 PM  

@andrea yadda yadda michaels --

OK, if you're gonna count up October birthdays, you'd better count me in. Mine was Oct. 16.

mac 9:21 PM  

All of you must have been conceived in the Christmas holidays. Our son was.

fergus 9:22 PM  

E. Gorski is so sharp and brilliant. The first few words from the interview offer proof, if you needed any.

fergus 9:27 PM  

So many births from Xmas love, or indiscretion

PlantieBea 9:33 PM  

@fergus, clark, treedweller: happy b-day. Clark, we share the same day.

Glitch 9:57 PM  

I’m going over the count because I started the DM discussion.

If you bothered to look at his profile, he was heavily into Proust, plus what I’ll call the “Queen’s English”.

Other regulars on this blog are equally fervent on umlauts, tildes, grammar, theater, medicine, mathematics, atomic physics, biology, behavior, cooking, and many other topics which some others can care less about. Many exceed the 3 and out rule when provoked.

I believe DM was treated unfairly by the mob, he was “learning” the rules, but too many were prejudice [look it up] to allow his continued participation.

There are several regulars that I prefer not to read, so I just skip them (Their names are in bold letters at the top, easy enough to spot).

RP can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this blog is open to everyone, and ONLY REX has the big delete key, which I don’t think he ever used on DM.


Blackhawk 10:02 PM  

Andrea -- as long as we are on the subject of numeracy (the great APR debate), the number of people you need in a room to have a 50% chance of two having the same birthday is 23. .... If you have 57 people in the room, chances are 99% that two will have same birthday. ... It's a standard problem for high school stat class.

fergus 10:12 PM  

When in the depths of despair,I invoke that statistical trick, and adolescents do seem to calm down.

sanfranman59 10:29 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 6:21, 7:00, 0.91, 27%, Easy-Medium
Tue 7:56, 8:36, 0.92, 32%, Easy-Medium
Wed 10:44, 11:45, 0.91, 28%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:25, 3:44, 0.91, 25%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:07, 4:24, 0.93, 34%, Easy-Medium
Wed 5:09, 5:46, 0.89, 20%, Easy

Sfingi 11:47 PM  

When I started, I wanted Times Square for the 1945 photo shot, IWO but couldn't figure an abbreviation. I also wanted charm for 28D CDROM since that's how I treat my zipdrive. Whatever.

Disliked 33A ONDECK and 53A OHOS.

ROSEN crosses OVOLO crosses OVO was a Natick for me. Had to go to Google for Baseball Hebrew Hammer and it came up Ryan Braun. Scritch-scratchy mess in the mid east.

Learned today - There is a Mex. state called Jalisco, not just Chihuhua and Yucatan. Also, that it's a bunch of senators that serve as judges in an impeachment.
@Pix - neat info.

I didn't catch Ruby shooting Oswald on live TV, but I did enjoy the Mad Magazine which had a cartoon with a kid in the background watching the shooting while the real cartoon action made no reference to it.

@Mikem - inkpot was another word for inkwell, inkstand, ink-bottle - which I actually had to use in first grade, with desks made to fit them. Then came the new ballpoints, which teachers hated.

@Blackhawk - did you ever actually work that out? Much more difficult brilliant than one would imagine.

Aura/aurora are what the linguists call "false friends." Another set would be trauma (Greek for wound) and Traum (German for dream)which throws some psychologists.

I don't know what pop is. After the first 2 or 3, I thought they might be gay rockers, and maybe the word "rok" referred to that particular genre (which I just pulled out of the ether, since I had "week" instead of 56D STEP, since 3 months seemed like a rehab period.

So, I was all mixed up today.

@Glitch - oh oh. What is the 3 and out rule? Are there any more such rules?

andrea michael michaels 5:22 AM  

day after you, Oct 18th...I'm still celebrating tho

hmmmm, maybe it's not so much that there are so many of us with the same bday but that Libras feel compelled to comment??
Like, maybe Pisces just like to lurk.
With all the nitpicking and attention to detail, you'd think we were all Virgos

Rex Parker 7:20 AM  

Oh I used the DELETE key on DM once, I think, when either his tone or comment count was Way over the line. But he was a big boy, so blaming the mob for his departure is a bit ridiculous. He left. Voluntarily. Good for him.

Glitch 9:22 AM  

Yes he could be annoying (in content, count, and tone), but personal attacks, from more than one writer, (including today) would make it more of a tactical, rather than voluntary, withdrawal.

Enuf said.


Nullifidian 3:53 PM  

I finished this one easily with no write-overs.

I enjoyed the theme, which as you noted was out of the ordinary. Since I scan the puzzle for a theme indication before I begin, I wasn't looking for DUMBS DOWN, TREASURER, SALES SLIP, and CRASH TEST to make up the theme.

My one criticism, which you've already echoed, is OVO and OVOLO crossing each other. I was happy to learn a new and useful bit of crosswordese, but I agree with you that they should have never crossed.

I've never heard "Those with clout" (4D) described as INS, and I think it would have been far better to have "___ and outs" or have the answer clued as an abbreviation of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Still, it came easily from the crosses.

Anonymous 9:41 PM  

I once had occasion to stay in a Roman-themed "Honeymoon Suite" in a hotel that had many such 'theme' suites. In the Roman-themed suite I stayed in, the headboard of the bed was inscribed "Vini, Vini, Vini."

Dr Purva Pius 1:10 PM  

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