Funny Wilson — THURSDAY, Oct 29 2009 — Goddess of breezes / Tricolor pooch / Doctor Who villainess

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Constructor: Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: Air? Oh. — Theme answers start with those sounds

Word of the Day: "ARROWSMITH" (18A: Sinclair Lewis novel) Arrowsmith is a novel by American author and playwright Sinclair Lewis that was published in 1925. It won the 1926 Pulitzer Prize for Lewis but he refused to accept it. Lewis was greatly assisted in its preparation by science writer Dr. Paul de Kruif, who received 25% of the royalties on sales, but Lewis is listed as sole author. Arrowsmith is arguably the earliest major novel to deal with the culture of science.

Lewis's letter to the Pulitzer committee:

"I wish to acknowledge your choice of my novel Arrowsmith for the Pulitzer Prize. That prize I must refuse, and my refusal would be meaningless unless I explained the reasons.

All prizes, like all titles, are dangerous. The seekers for prizes tend to labor not for inherent excellence but for alien rewards; they tend to write this, or timorously to avoid writing that, in order to tickle the prejudices of a haphazard committee. And the Pulitzer Prize for Novels is peculiarly objectionable because the terms of it have been constantly and grievously misrepresented.

Those terms are that the prize shall be given "for the American novel published during the year which shall best present the wholesome atmosphere of American life, and the highest standard of American manners and manhood." This phrase, if it means anything whatsoever, would appear to mean that the appraisal of the novels shall be made not according to their actual literary merit but in obedience to whatever code of Good Form may chance to be popular at the moment." (wikipedia)


A Monday or Tuesday-type theme given torturous clues in order to give the puzzle something Thursdayish about it. End result is pretty unpleasant. AIRO is probably the thing I dislike most about this puzzle. Three full words/names and a prefix, fine. AIRO? Ugh. Fitting that it intersects STOP/GO (4D: Like some traffic), which is also ugh. We've all been in STOP *and* GO traffic. I was not aware that people ate the "and." Liked that the puzzle had HOME and AWAY in it, and on opposite sides of the grid; baseball terms are timely, as the World Series got underway last night. I also like SOUP SPOON (20A: Setting piece) though I'd like it better if it weren't one of those long Acrosses that look like theme answers but aren't. I almost like DATES BACK (54A: Has been around since, with "to"), but that clue is convoluted. Problem with the cluing throughout is that it's either bland and vague or too cute for its own good. Take NYET for 65A: Putin input? There's an off-putting I'm-so-witty quality about this clue — "Putin" and "input" are anagrams of one another. Hurray. But "input" relates to NYET how? Very indirectly at best. My "input" can be any damn thing I want to add to a conversation. The only "aha" moment in the whole puzzle came with HOME TEAM (10D: They're out standing in their field), and even that one is undermined by its reliance on a tired play on words: I remember seeing a greeting card in the 80s that had the "someone out standing in his field" gag on it. All in all, way more "Oh" and "ugh" moments than moments of entertainment or revelation.

Theme answers:

  • 18A: Sinclair Lewis novel (ARROW smith)
  • 26A: Series of sorties (AIRO ffensive)
  • 46A: Gateway Arch designer (EERO Saarinen)
  • 57A: Bomb (AEROsol can) — by far the hardest for me to get (an example of difficulty achieved through terse/vague cluing). Had Walk-INS and couldn't accept that ODD LOT was really the answer at 47D: It doesn't end in 00. There must be some technical, very specific meaning of ODD LOT that I don't know about that deals with quantities by hundreds. Unforgivably, I couldn't come up with TALENTS for what felt like a long time (43D: Biblical money units). They have a parable and everything!

  • 15A: First word of the Lord's Prayer in French (notre) — i.e. "Our..."
  • 30A: Tricolor pooch (beagle) — went looking for a specific, famous pooch. Snoopy has only two colors.
  • 49A: Made a switch in a game (castled) — given trickiness of cluing, though "switch" might be a thin stick or branch ... not sure what game you'd play with that ... !
  • 62A: "Doctor Who" villainess, with "the" (Rani) — Chess ... Doctor Who ... you really only want to inflict your particular nerddom on your audience so much.
  • 59A: Funny Wilson (Owen) — I went with the funnier Wilson (no offense, OWEN) — FLIP!

  • 12D: Not natural, in a way, after "in" (vitro) — tone deaf clue. Saying that something's not "natural" has disparaging connotations.
  • 26D: Goddess of breezes (Aura) — first guess, though I don't think I knew AURA was a goddess of anything. AURORA I know.
  • 37D: Actor Sim who played Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair) — gave me trouble earlier in my solving career. Not today.
  • 21D: Coin "swallower" (sofa) — went with natural answer SLOT here.
  • 10A: Maintain (have) — if you say so.
  • 27D: Charles and others (Noras) — I'm guessing this is the fictional NORA Charles of "The Thin Man" and not some guy named Charles NORA.
  • 32D: What's barely done in movies? (love scene) — if answer had been NUDE SCENE, I'd have called this clue brilliant. There were LOVE SCENES in movies well before "bare"ness was tolerated.
  • 2D: Refinery products (gasolines) — now there's a word that needed pluralizing.

[he supported McCain...]

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Brendan Emmett Quigley 7:59 AM  

Love Sinclair Lewis's letter. A+.

Unknown 8:18 AM  

At 10A, I had save, which gave me some team for 10D.

"Save" works as well as "have" for the clue maintain.
Some team sounded just cute enough for "they're standing out in their field".

Elaine 8:19 AM  

This one took me a bit of time...I could NOT come up with a "Wilson" comedian--Chip? Shep? Duh...Finally saw it after INBORN came to mind. Since I've never seen "Dr. Who" I had to wait for crosses on RANI. Agree with you, Rex, on NYET.

Disliked SCOWS for "Punts"--as punts are small and scows are large...and then I finished CASTLED last--thought it clever!

I loved ARROWSMITH-- and books like _The Microbe Hunters_, and (later) _Rats, Lice, and History_.

Anonymous 8:19 AM  

An Odd Lot in stock quantities is a number of shares less than 100

Elaine 8:20 AM  

Hand up with Robert-- I overlooked H and a possible there. SOME TEAM worked for ME!

bookmark 8:35 AM  

I thought the puzzle was fairly easy, except for AEROSOL CAN. Took me forever to get this one and was the last to fall.

Thanks for the Sinclair Lewis letter, Rex.

Jeffrey 8:52 AM  

An ODD LOT of a puzzle. Harder than the Wednesday, easier than a Friday but didn't seem like a Thursday, if you know what I mean and I sure don't.

And that Flip Wilson clip. Who would ever believe a phone could fit in a purse?

Skua 9:01 AM  

Instead of the letter, Lewis should have sent Max Bigfeather to pick up the award.

joho 9:05 AM  

This is one write-up I totally agree with. I, too, initally had WALK-INS, SLOT, FLIP and NUDE. Took me a while to correct everything and in the end I just KNIT my brow and pet my BEAGLE, for which, by the way, I wanted MERLE which didn't fit and is wrong anyway.

@BEQ ... very clever way to make a positive comment ... to which I agree. Mr. Lewis was on to something.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Sinclair Lewis, however, was notoriously full of shit and a nasty customer all around. He had no issues accepting the Nobel Prize a few years later, which is what he was always angling for.

Denise 9:12 AM  

I babysat a lot as a kid, and there was one house I loved because they had books -- I used to read "Arrowsmith" whenever I was there. I never thought to ask to borrow it.

Puzzle was challenging, but in a weird way. My favorite was SOFA but of course I had SLOT first.

We used to call things BOMBS -- an aeresole can you would set on the floor, "set off," and run from. They killed roaches, I think.

JannieB 9:16 AM  

There was a theme?

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

39 A. Set on the court. Assist. Somebody please explain. I know what an assist in hockey is but was not aware that you got an assist in basketball, or how set on the court relates. Tough puzzle but too cutsey with some of the cluing. Golfballman

deerfencer 9:26 AM  

This was a real stinker for me, poorly clued and just plain nasty--kind of like being stuck babysitting a kid you just can't stand. I walked away from it and then felt better after reading Rex's spot-on write-up.

Big thumbs down--NYET!

Orange 9:32 AM  

Loved the Geraldine clip and the purse phone!

Thanks, Rex, for your remarks on the VITRO clue. I was feeling the same way but didn't manage to convert the feeling into words as you did.

The Corgi of Mystery 9:36 AM  

I thought it was just OK. On the plus side: nice open grid with good multi-word phrases. On the down side: inelegant clueing and theme not really befitting a Thursday. I've also never had the slightest desire to see EERO SAARNINEN appear as a theme answer, but that may just be me.

John 9:37 AM  

I put FLIP Wilson before OWEN Remembered Bug Bombs, but AEROSOLCAN did me in.

Blue Stater 9:40 AM  

What Deerfencer said. In spades.

nanpilla 9:43 AM  

Could the set on the court be referring to volleyball? I've never heard it called an assist, however.

Really didn't want to remove nudeSCENE, it seemed too good.

@crosscan - felt the same way - and I don't know what to call it either. Maybe ACME can help.

Lachhlan Guthrie 9:47 AM  

Seeing Joe Krozel as the constructor I expected a great word game inside the puzzle, as he has created so many beauties. Kept looking for at least a rebus. Thought I found one at Stop and Go, where the P square would be "PAND". But Soupandspoon didn't make any sense.

In the end it was definitely an odd duck for a Thursday. Maybe we're just spoiled and it's really hard to come up with what we consider to be a classic Thursday.

This was more like a Tuesday puzzle with Friday cluing, which I suppose averages out to a Thursday.

Unknown 9:48 AM  

painfully clever cluing (vis-a-vis satisfyingly clever cluing). not fun. my unpleasant experience is somewhat redeemed by the sinclair lewis quote.

agree w/ rex on NYET. i speak russian and i thought NYET fits the 4-letter space and is familiar enough to be in a crossword, but what does it have to do with "Putin's input?"?

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

A set for a kill in volleyball is an assist, yes.

Elaine 9:52 AM  

Think SET for a volleyball spike shot, eh?

And I once "bombed" a friend's place because they had an explosion of fleas--unbelievable. I walked in, and my ankles were black! (I was taking in their mail, etc., while they vacationed.)

that's it for today! Three and away,

Ulrich 10:03 AM  

@LachhlanGuthrie: "Tuesday puzzle with Friday cluing" sums up my feelings nicely--with the added comment that I found the theme lame--are the initial syllables in the 4 theme answers really homonyms? "Eero" (a gimme for an architect and the game starter for me) cannot possibly sound like "arrow"--or does it in the US?

Bob Kerfuffle 10:11 AM  

Almost thought I had the theme before coming here. Didn't see the AIR-O. And anyway, as Ulrich notes, the ARR in Arrowsmith is not the same sound as AIR, or EER, or AER.

Glitch 10:32 AM  

@Ulrich & @Bob K

Actually, EERO does sound like "arrow" in the original:

Pronounce EERO (Finnish)

I happen to pronounce all 4 the same, but then, I'm the only one here without an accent.

On the other hand, we should expect the usual comments whenever the theme is based on "sound alikes" :)


CoolPapaD 10:35 AM  

I've never agreed with a write-up more than I did today, except that this seemed much harder than it really was. I, too, fell into the NUDESCENE, FLIP, and SLOT traps. During a phase when all of my friends were getting married, I was notorious for giving GRAVYBOATs as presents, and I put it down without thinking twice and was so hesitant to change it.
In high school, I remember doing a paper on Sinclair Lewis - I LOVED Babbitt! I forgot all about the Pulitzer event. It's one of the reasons I dislike award shows so much, and olympic events such as ice-skating - how do you rank art??

Geezer 10:40 AM  

Mrs G. served QUINOA for dinner the other day, and I immediately thought it would be a great word for crossword puzzles. Four vowels, two consonants, and they are Q and N! Have any of you constructors ever seen or used it?

Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%), making it a healthful choice for vegetarians and vegans. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights. Wikipedia

william e emba 10:44 AM  

Tricolor BEAGLEs are white, black, and tan. Snoopy may be the most famous beagle in the world, but he's an albino monocolor.

The Nobel prize is awarded for "outstanding work in an ideal direction", which is vague enough that there was nothing hypocritical in Lewis accepting that prize.

Two Ponies 10:52 AM  

Nice write-up and great letter. Thanks Rex.
Putin must be a really negative guy if all he says is nyet.
Wanted adjustors for actuaries until stop/go put an end to that.
Didn't we just gave stopandgo traffic this week?
Odd Lots for me is a chain of liquor stores in London.(I know it was not a plural) Patsy, of AbFab, conveniently lived over one.
Odd Lots also describes the clues.
So Eero sounds like arrow? Well, that's my factoid of the day.

JaneW 10:53 AM  

Count me among those who had SAVE instead of HAVE for 10A.

BTW on Daddy Yankee's Gasolina -- he did offer his support to Obama first, but was turned down. McCain's PR group apparently didn't catch on that Daddy Yankee just wanted publicity for his raunchy song.

dk 10:57 AM  

I have to succumb to the negativity of today's post and blog responses. I had most of the aforementioned errors (Flip, mop, etc.), found the clueing to be all over the map etc.

I liked the interesting fill: SOUPSPOON, LAGOON, being a former chess club member in high school CASTLED and an avid Dr. Who fan RANI are neato.

Note: Just in case you are wondering why I am no longer doing a LOVESCENE with Acme reread the above paragraph. Apparently nerds with PH.Ds are not her cuppa. No worries I am over it --waaaaahhh. And, todays rain drops may OMIT my teardrops. THIS SUMS IT UP

I wish I could remember how to spell EEROSAARINEN it would STAVE off much grief.

For outstanding their field I could only think of the bad joke that refers to Farmers as....

Joe, the puzzle was a challenge and I thank you for that. And, I will be rereading ARROWSMITH for that I give Rex 25% thanks :)

@geezer, you are almost as boring as me:). Thanks for a killer Scrabble word

Van55 11:01 AM  

Even withoit a random Roman numeral I disliked this one. Too "cleverl by a half.

Stan 11:10 AM  

Well, more slant-rhymes... Nothing wrong with this as a theme but not really exciting.

Did like ACTUARIES, SNAP OFF, GOING AWAY, and NORA Charles (since we're so familiar with Asta).

Best film actuary ever: Edward G. Robinson in "Double Indemnity."

slypett 11:16 AM  

Had lots of trouble with this one. Scattered answers till I got into the South and muscled my way up the grid.
Two hits off Auntie Google's pipe, ESTO and ALASTAIR.

Put me in the gang that agrees with Rex.

Ulrich 11:17 AM  

@Glitch: I know, I know--the usual comments when we get homophones. But I can't help asking: Do you really pronounce "arrow" like "Eero" in the sound clip, i.e. with the first syllable being long?

Which reminds me of a friend who likes to crack me up when he imitates how his students in German class at the University of N. Carolina conjugated "sein" (to be): Ich bee-en, du bee-est, er ee-est...

Howard B 11:18 AM  

Got caught by 'SLOT' too. Lots of plausible-but-wrong and completely wrong guesses all around here to dig myself out of (SHEKELS for TALENTS early on, etc). New term for AEROSOL CAN which stymied me as well - hadn't heard that definition before, and the AE gave me pause until I finally worked it out.
"Putin's input" was a cute clue stretched to make the answer word fit (sort of an aural palindrome, like German manger, etc. there's been crossword themes done on exactly these kinds of phrases before, too).

Geezer 11:40 AM  

@dk Thanks! Flattery will get you everywhere,

edith b 12:16 PM  

I usually like Joe Krozol's puzzles but not today. I think a moratorium on "sound alike" puzzles is in order because of the international flavor of the solvers involved. I accept that what sounds like one thing to me sounds different to others and Brother Glitch is on target in that "sound alikes" always generate disagreement.

And I concur with Van55: too clever by half.

ArtLvr 12:25 PM  

This was rather STOP (&) GO for me too, easy to KNIT-pick in spots but I enjoyed the challenge of the puns and skewed cluing. STAVE off for Hold off, yes, but HAVE for Maintain seemed weak? HAVE an opinion or anything else doesn't sound strong enough for Maintain: one expects Hold, at least.

REED as Wind element, SLINGS being Carriers of arms, TALENTS for Biblical money and SOFA as Coin "swallower" -- all good, plus the bug bomb too. I agreed with others who found Natural/INBORN and Not natural/in VITRO somewhat awkward.

@ Elaine -- in my experience, SCOWS are any flat-bottomed boats large or small -- punts are on the small side and are poled or rowed, E-class sailboats are flat-bottomed but large enough to carry more than one good-sized sail, and garbage scows can be barges that are blocks long, depending on the waterway.

As for Für ELISE, did anyone hear the recent news that this old favorite published after Beethoven's death was not completed by him? Not sure of the name to which it was attributed!


MikeM 12:46 PM  

Did not like this "theme" at all. I work for an insurance company and still struggled with 3D, tried ADJUSTERS and EXAMINERS before I got ACTUARIES, even though I had a meeting with one of them last night. Rex, you are right... I am in traffic all the time commuting into NYC daily and have never heard STOPGO.

Clark 1:21 PM  

Because it was a Thursday I was pretty sure there was something rebusesque going on somewhere. I had these double letters scattered around the grid, like SCOreS instead of SCOWS (would that have to be Canadian football?), spEED instead of REED, etc. And then, having SLOT but seeing it had to be SO _ _ had me thinking there was some kind of reversed letter thing going on. Gradually the grid filled itself in. I liked it. (Had I had to cheat to finish I would not have liked it.)

Putin input:
Vladimir, you should let us put our defenses in Poland. They are not against you.
You should join us in sanctions against those bad guys in Iran.
But, don’t you think it’s time for more cooperation between our countries.

mac 1:33 PM  

I didn't look for a theme, I'm ashamed to say, and without that worry I thought the puzzle was just fine. Actually told someone this morning that today's was good.

My first entry was stopgo. I would have worried about the "and" if I hadn't seen it just like this in another puzzle recently. Only rewrite I had was "hails back" instead of dates back, but that didn't last long.

Nice to see Eero Saarinen in the puzzle in its completeness. I also thought the 12D clue was a little uncomfortable.

Quinoa is delicious, absorbs flavors of other ingredients well, and looks nice with a little silver ring around every grain.

@Two Ponies: Are you thinking of Odd Bins? The one on the Kings Road was a regular stop.

@Rex: thanks for including Sinclair Lewis's letter.

HudsonHawk 1:39 PM  

@Golfballman, as others have said, the clue for 39A refers to volleyball. But basketball also records ASSISTs as an official stat, for the player making the pass immediately preceding a made basket. Some coaches believe that the two preceding passes should be recognized, as in hockey.

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

I wonder if it was Ari Fleischer's dream to appear as a clue in the NYTimes Crossword Puzzle but never told anyone that.

AV 1:48 PM  

This was one instance where knowing the constructor's past work is a clearl disadvantage. I was clearly looking for more complexity, or subtlety, or trickery. You got me again JoeK!

@Rex: Thanks much for the Lewis letter - I learn much about literature through this blog!

Two Ponies 2:19 PM  

@ mac, Yes, that was it! Duh.
Too much time spent with Patsy and Edina perhaps?

Anonymous 2:21 PM  


Ben 2:44 PM  

Per your opener, the clues may been difficult, even tortuous (full of twists and turns), but they certainly weren't torturous (involving torture or excruciating pain).

edmcan 2:52 PM  

needlessly obtuse cluing. Hated it.

Joe 3:19 PM  

Hated it as well.
Also agree with anonymous, especially: 也易營造出創新的形象。

chefbea 3:46 PM  

Had save instead of have also.

I remember doing a term paper on eero (pronounced arrow) Saarinen. He also designed the St. Louis aero port.

Anonymous 3:52 PM  

Isn't the anagram of Putin "nitup" not input as you say in your write-up. Also, the anagram of input is "tupni" right?

Anonymous 4:11 PM  

@ Anonymous 3:52


Anonymous 4:21 PM  

Anon 3:52 A tad less tersely, an anagram of a word is another word with the letters rearranged, not solely reversed.

George NYC 4:56 PM  

Sinclair Lewis is no Peter King, if you know what I'm sayin'.

bluebell 5:11 PM  

Because I had soupspoon in place, I, too, confidently wrote adjustors for 3d, only to have to change it later. It did get talents immediately, so perhaps that offsets it? On the whole not my best day. I did like "first couple's home" once I could get my mind away from Barack and Michelle.

jae 5:26 PM  

I actually kinda liked this one, unlike pretty much everyone else. Caught onto the theme about 2/3s of the way through which helped me get AERSOLCAN without too much trouble. I do agree that this seemed like Fri. cluing, plus I agree with the objections to STOPGO and NYET.

Thanks Rex for the Sinclair Lewis background. Nice to learn something!

fergus 5:59 PM  

"Babbitt" is a breeze of a read and very funny. Both satirizes and empathizes with American boosterism. Way more fun than the tedious "Main Street." "Elmer Gantry" is well worth reading, too.

sanfranman59 6:03 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)

Thu 22:54, 18:31, 1.24, 92%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Thu 10:45, 8:57, 1.20, 88%, Challenging

I was away from my computer for a few days, so this is my first post of the week. It seems that Will is making up for last week's relatively easy puzzle slate. I had one of those eerie puzzle-solving experiences with this one. On my flight from Portland, OR to San Francisco last evening, I read a rather sobering article in The Atlantic about flu vaccines and antiviral drugs that references Lewis' Arrowsmith. I almost fell off my chair when I came to that clue in today's puzzle. It seems the universe is telling me that I need to read that book.

andrea amite michaels 6:27 PM  

My fastest JoeK puzzle ever, like 5 minutes, and was excited to think this may be finally something to like about his puzzles (which usually take me an hour or two, so non-in sync are we...) but nope!
(It's going to be so embarrassing if/when we ever meet. In the meantime I am investing in a bulletproof vest for next week)

Always mix up Sinclair Lewis and Upton Sinclair but accidentally guessed right anyway. Only blips were LEAVE for CEASE and HOMEruns...for about 2 seconds.
I remember getting that Out- standing card! I think it was Charlie Brown)

So is AGA KHAN redundant?
Not so sure about AGAS, what with ARIS and NORAS, but let's just say I've been there...and back!

Also had to hunt for the theme and felt apoplectic that it was ARR, EER, AIR, AER (a rip-off of my AIR, ERE, AER, AYRE, + ERR)
but now that I see the + O was involved I think it's sort of nice, esp if that IS how EERO says his name and I really thought it was clever to have the whole name in the puzzle.

LOTS of small moments of synchronicity today:

Had JUST written a note to a good friend AlasDair so misspelled that for a half second.

Also Michael B and I were just discussing the way my sister Elyse spells her name about an hour before I did the puzzle. And was telling him about growing up with strains of "Fur Elise" wafting around our home for years...

Yikes! You know I still love you, I have never worn stilettos in my life...and I beg you to skip over the next paragraph.)

The same starving artist I taught how to do the puzzle earlier this week, and taught the Greek alphabet to, I also taught how to play chess two nights ago and realized castling is a strange concept.
It's been a VERY educational week... (Not all one way, mind you...He's been teaching me about art, patience, sharing, cooking and non-attachment to clutter. But I'm pretty sure the party is over)

Two Ponies 7:11 PM  

# andrea, What an interesting week you are having. All parties end eventually but I say Live it up!
Some people only bring home a t-shirt from Key West but I brought home a man! Seven years later he's still here. Never saw that coming. Can't explain it. Don't want to try.
We all wear stilettos even if only metaphorically.

mac 7:27 PM  

@Two Ponies: that may be my favorite comment ever! Good for you!

Leglegl 7:44 PM  

Didn't see the answer to Odd Lot question so here it is.In the stock market an oddlot is a number of shares which is not an multiple of 100, e.g. 90 shares or 125 shares. Therefore an odd lot does not end in 00. The opposite is a round lot, one that does end in 00

andrea oddlot michaels 7:45 PM  

Ever??? Now you are going to break @Crosscan's heart...this is turning into "As the Blog Turns" or the "Young and Blogless"!

@Two Ponies re: GOINGAWAY parties...I'm just hoping when I return home today that I'll still have a laptop! I know the hummous and chocolate-covered grahamcrackers will be gone.

Oh! And I loved learning AURA was the goddess of breezes...I would have guessed Zephyr, tho that sounds masculine to me.

Glitch 8:12 PM  


Re: Your earlier question, yes, I do pronounce them the same.

Now, back to the soaps ... ;)


dk 8:26 PM  

Andrea, just give the knife another little twist... yes thats it....... Very Educational..... my stars...... :)

@two ponies: Do not encourage her!

My grandfather used to call it: As the Worm Squirms.

mac 8:40 PM  

@Andrea: You trying to beat her?? LOL.

Stan 9:17 PM  

I luv it!

As the Blog Turns is much better than either American Idol or Peter King.

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)

Thu 23:02, 18:31, 1.24, 95%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Thu 10:34, 8:56, 1.18, 86%, Challenging

Sfingi 10:36 PM  

Made every possible mistake. Did not see a theme. Had Flip for OWEN, inafro for INBORN, poodle for BEAGLE Inuit for ALEUT, canals for LAGOON, save for HAVE. Finally, used Google 7 times. Didn't finish.

In my defense, I had they feeling that the cluing was uneven - going from obvious to quirkiest.

Don't know why I bought a NYT on a Thurs, except that there was still one in the store at 7:30 PM (rare in Upstate NY). It's a way of saying thanx for even carrying more than one copy.

@Rex - interesting stuff on Sinclair Lewis. I adore de Kruif and what he did back in the day for science history. I have most of his original paperback editions.

I pronounce "ee" in any Germanic language word as long a, which includes my Dutch maiden name.

Which reminds me, the "ui" in de Kruif (Dutch) is a vowel sound that Americans can't get their throats around. Dutch teacher, "Say 'huis.'" Me, "Huis." Teacher, "No, 'huis.'" Me, "I give up."

Oh - I couldn't get the puzzle to enlarge when I clicked it. And w/o "the rest," listed, I needed a magnifier. Ruff on old ratsters.

Barnkitty 12:50 AM  

I went for Flip too in the SE corner, loved the clip. My fave Flip vid is the one with Ray Charles, sorry I'm too stoopid to link.

mac 8:31 AM  

@Sfingi: you are right about that ui (which means onion in Dutch), but there is also eu, almost harder!

PIX 8:09 AM  

struggled and struggled and spent two days looking for the Thursday level theme, beyond the obvious "airo" wordplay...just to come here and find out the theme was only the obvious ("Tuesday level", as noted above) with no other Thursday level tricks...very disappointing

Singer 11:41 AM  

So the theme was a bit weird. Ignore it, and it isn't too bad a puzzle. I also had Flip instead of OWEN, plus I had set instead of SEW for too long and misread "Italian rumbler" as "Italian number" and put in "otto", which made the SW harder than necessary. I also mispelled ALASTAIR, even though I actually watched his movie "Scrooge" last night. SLINGS pointed out the misspelling, and so it went well after that. The puzzle measured as challenging in sanfranman's statistical analysis, but it actually was pretty easy for me, as Thursdays go.

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