MONDAY, Oct. 5 2009 — Dance craze of the '90s / I Spy co-star Bill famililarly / Hotpoint products / Ice house Var.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Constructor: Mark Feldman

difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: RIGHT ON THE MONEY (35A: Exactly ... or where to find 17-, 25-, 43- and 57-Across?)
— theme answers are people on large bills ($USD)

Word of the Day: SALMON P. CHASE (43A: $10,000)Salmon Portland Chase (January 13, 1808 – May 7, 1873) was an American politician and jurist in the Civil War era who served as U.S. Senator from Ohio and Governor of Ohio; as U.S. Treasury Secretary under President Abraham Lincoln; and as Chief Justice of the United States. [...] Chase served as Secretary of the Treasury in President Lincoln's cabinet from 1861 to 1864, during the first three years of the Civil War. That period of crisis witnessed two great changes in American financial policy, the establishment of a national banking system and the issue of a legal tender paper currency. [...] Most recently, in order to honor the man who introduced the modern system of banknotes, Chase was on the $10,000 bill, printed from 1928 to 1946. Salmon P. Chase was instrumental in placing the phrase "In God We Trust" on United States currency. (wikipedia)


This puzzle probably broke somewhere between Easy-Medium and Medium-Challenging depending on whether you had any idea who SALMON P. CHASE was. I did not. Oh, it rang some little bell deep in my brain, sort of, but only enough that when I got the entire name through crosses, I believed it to be correct. Still finished the puzzle in a reasonable Monday time (i.e. fast), but definitely felt held up by Mr. CHASE. I'm not criticizing the answer at all, just describing my experience with it. Puzzle has nice theme density and interesting premise, but it's slightly unfortunate that the bills don't/can't appear in ascending order of value. It's also unfortunate that the theme density forced a lot of icky fill like IGLU, ETH, ALIS, KAI, COS, and OSH. Also ISH crosses DISH, PRORATE crosses PROV., TAFT crosses NAFTA, and ALLIS crosses ALIS. No one of these words / crossings is taboo, but the cumulative effect is a bit AARGH-inducing (14A: Cry of exasperation).

Theme answers:

  • 17A: $500 (William McKinley)
  • 25A: $5000 (James Madison)

He thanked me and hung up. I wondered who could have given me the plug. I thought it might be Sewell Endicott and called him to find out. BUt he had been out of town all week, and still was. It didn't matter much. Even in my business you occasionally get a satisfied customer. And I needed a job because I needed the money — or thought I did, until I got home that night and found the letter with a portrait of Madison in it. (Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye)
  • 43A: $10,000 (Salmon P. Chase)
  • 57A: $1,000 (Grover Cleveland)

I had minor trouble / hiccups / stumblings in and around

  • PRORATED (52A: Divided into appropriate amounts) — which I just noticed has ORA right on top of it, come on!
  • SNORE (49D: Cause unrest?) — good trick clue of the type not often seen on Mondays
  • ALL IS (11D: "_____ well" ("Don't worry")) — I was thinking OH, well
  • CANAAN (10D: Ancient Palestine) — I wrote in JORDAN :(

  • 1D: Fancy marbles (taws) — mildly surprising answer for a Monday. Hard to believe marble types still appears when no one but no one plays marbles any more.
  • 38D: Dance craze of the '90s (Macarena) — I often say the '90s were the worst decade ever. Since some of you still don't believe me, I am forced to give you this, Exhibit M:

[youtube user comment: "this is deff the worst thing thats ever hapin to the latin community"]

  • 43D: Hotpoint products (stoves) — haven't thought of this brand in years.
  • 58D: Hitter's stat (RBI) — both wife and I initially read this clue as "Hitler's stat." Not a clue I want to know the answer to.
  • 59D: "I Spy" co-star Bill, familiarly (Cos) — this one irked my wife no end. "COS? Really, [mockingly] 'Hey, COS' ... who calls him 'COS?'" "It's valid" "When? When did anyone ever call him COS?" "I don't know, but they did" "'COS' ... pfft." Etc. He did host "COS: The Bill Cosby Comedy Special" in 1975, featuring Loretta Lynn and Tony Randall ... I'd love a clip from that show.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. Caleb Madison has just started publishing a monthly online crossword for his school newspaper (!). They are generally geared toward younger, inexperienced solvers and are never harder than a Wednesday NYT. First one is school-related, but after that they will all be general interest. Here's the link.


dk 8:27 AM  

Igloo spelled as IGLU is a new to me. The rest of my fill was RIGHTONTHEMONEY.

Mr. Chase came to me via the crosses.

My mom and uncles played marbles (potsie) and had saved their aggies, taws and favorite shooters. This comes in handy for x-words and when taking the licensing exam I knew what lost your marbles meant :).

Note: Every year there is a National Marble Tournament (not hosted by Will Shortz) in Wildwood (of course) NJ.

Nice Monday puzzle.

joho 8:40 AM  

Fun, fresh Monday puzzle, wasn't perfect but different and interesting.

Now I can't stop wondering which of the theme answers might be THICKSET with either brown eyes or curly hair.

Thank you Mark Feldman!

PIX 8:44 AM  

Nice Monday puzzle; great theme answers...even knowing about Mr. Chase (remember the old Chase Manhattan Bank?)at least a medium for a Monday.

MikeM 8:49 AM  

Knew Salmon P Chase from the book Team of Rivals by Doris Kearn Goodwin. Actually downloaded Across Lite and completed this puzzle on my laptop for the first time ever. I am going to have to get used to it; I may have done it faster than normal but it wasnt any more enjoyable. Something about pen to paper - call me old fashioned. In any event great puzzle. Cheers..

Jim in Chicago 8:50 AM  

Meh. Easy Monday for me, even without knowing Mr. Chase, which I got from the crosses like Rex.

Just a couple normal Monday guesses that turned out to be wrong - DORK instead of JERK for "bozo" and I tried to use EDG(e)Y for nervous even though it didn't fit. Both easily corrected.

I now know who to blame for having to walk around with "In God we trust" on our currency. Right up there with " nation UNDER GOD...." which got inserted fairly recently. This might make a good crossword theme "phrases added for political reasons".

Recent Tec Convert 9:11 AM  

Nice puzzle.

Thanks for the Raymond Chandler (you should have included his dissertation on blondes as it was classic, though totally irrelevant to the puzzle). At least partially through this blog I decided to read some "Non-Important" fiction recently, and "The Long Goodbye" was impressive as hell. Much better writing than much of the "Important" literature I've read lately.

slypett 9:25 AM  

We had a Hotpoint refigerator. It always annoyed me that it had such an
inappropriate name.

Easy puzzle, as the names of the worthies all were familiar and gettable with few crosses.

Fun, though.

edith b 9:28 AM  

I don't know why, but the people who are on large bills have been in my Fund of General Knowledge since high school. I was always one who memorized lists of things like state capitals and Presidents and Vice Presidents. Yes, it's true: I can't be fooled by a Vice President from the Buchanan administration. It drove my parents crazy but it was a useful skill to have in the pre-Shortz days of doing crosswords. After all, I still have various shellacs committed to memory.

I have to thank Rex for teaching me the relationship between theme density and weak fill. I may have noticed it before but never knew why.

This blog has taught me that crosswords are as much an art as they are a science.

HudsonHawk 9:36 AM  

Yes, Sandy, really. Why? Just be-COS.

Fun Monday challenge, though I was surprised to see UNREST in the cluing, and NO REST in the grid.

Charles Bogle 9:38 AM  

Thanksa for the Raymond Chandler bit"s coin of the realm seems to be "Benjamins" or, as my kids would say to a special gift, "Hello, Mr. Hamilton.". Agree w joho puzzle wasn't perfect but was different and interesting. Still, RP's comment re "icky fill" is right on the money-a turn-off/MikeM gives good lead to look at Team of Rivals for SP chase-also recommend Safire's historical fiction "Lincoln" where emphasis is more on Chase's beautiful and smart daughter, head of the household when mother died....agree w dk: never heard it referred to as IGLU

Dough 9:39 AM  

The puzzle was fine. I think there is a generation gap because these large bills were all discontinued many long years ago. Those of us who are old enough knew about them (and I would love to own several Salmon Chase bills!) The younger folks here seemed totally unaware of them (and for good reason). This puzzle should have been written by one of the long-time constructors several weeks back.

ArtLvr 10:04 AM  

IGLU was from way back when too, along with TAFT and the theme people. Right up my alley!


Orange 10:15 AM  

Hey, I saw it as [Hitler's stat] too! I've been enjoying the YouTube videos that apply fake subtitles to the same dramatic Hitler movie clip, where he's both angry and sad, Like this one, where he rants about the contest-winning name for the new Vegemite/cream cheese spread, "iSnack 2.0" (a brand name so widely mocked, Kraft took it off the market mere days after its introduction). Fair warning: There are swear words in the subtitles. (Other videos: Hitler learns there's no Santa, Hitler responds to news of Obama's speech to schoolchildren.)

SALMON P. CHASE was the only one I knew without any crossings. My childhood love of nerd trivia was not comprehensive enough for me to know about those other denominations.

The dictionary told me that the word igloo comes from the Inuit "iglu." So from now on, I'm going authentic and I'm calling it an iglu instead.

Denise 10:26 AM  

Credit & debit cards are the end of big bills!

I couldn't submit my puzzle last night because of an error, which I still don't know what it was, which made me think how much I am enjoying Frank Longo's VOWElLESS CROSSWORDS. I never have to deal with the ENCE/ANCE dilemma, for example.

Loved the Chandler. Thanks.

Two Ponies 10:29 AM  

A Monday puzzle that teaches me something is always a good thing.
I'm wondering if Mr. Chase is the only non-president pictured on a bill.

retired_chemist 10:37 AM  

Actually a pretty easy Monday for me. Did not know any of the theme names from their clues, but with a few crosses they all stood and were recognized.

Another hand up for DORK @ 25D. Re the Macarena clip - I watched in fascinated horror. Probes the limit of how bad it can get.

54D TAFT is another dead president, presumably to make up for Mr. Chase, who isn't.

mac 10:41 AM  

Nice Monday, easy for me, probably because of the automatic fill and some good guesses. Salmon came through crosses. I like 45A "what the weary get", and Thickset, good word. "All is" felt odd because we're so used to All's.

Isn't prorated a little more specific than "divided in appropriate amounts"?, like time-related?

Very happy to have taken Rex's advise re Raymond Chandler, love his work now.

These days I never seem to have anything above 20 dollar bills in my wallet...

Ulrich 10:41 AM  

@Two Ponies: Doesn't Franklin also appear on one?

And Iglu is how it's spelled in German--I now know the source--thx, @orange. The upshot is that I always have to think a sec. when I have to spell it in English...

My favorite Chandler quote on women (from Fair Well, My Lovely): "Whatever you wanted wherever you happened to be, she had it."

Ah the puzzle: Perfectly fine Monday for me...

retired_chemist 10:53 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
retired_chemist 10:54 AM  

@ Ulrich & Two Ponies -

$100 - Benjamin Franklin, the source for the slang for the bill as a "Benjamin."

fikink 10:56 AM  

Hello, Everyone! (in my best Karl Haas voice)

Nice Monday fare to attempt reentry. I especially liked the Hotpoint recall and Mr. Fikink's grandfather was named Grover Cleveland which seemed curious to me when I met him.

Being away from this blog for a week (I have been climbing hills of scrap metal with Brother Dit) has been disorienting - felt all week that I had forgotten to feed the dog or turn off the iron. (Who irons anymore?!)

Happy to be home.

Geezer 10:58 AM  

@Rex, May I ask at what time you 'publish' your analysis? Please include the time zone.

I live in California, and wonder how early I have to get up to read this.

PlantieBea 11:01 AM  

So little to add, except that I liked the puzzle. SALMON as a first name and the IGLU spelling are new to me . My husband tells me that the big bills were taken out of circulation thirty or forty years ago, but are still considered legal tender. Oh what I could do with a 10K bill: College tuition.

archaeoprof 11:01 AM  

What a relief to know that these large bills were discontinued. I was feeling bad because I've never handled any of them.

Of course, as an academic, I wouldn't see them even if they WERE still in circulation...

HudsonHawk 11:08 AM  

@Two Ponies, Ulrich and retired_chemist, you don't even have to get all the way up to the Benjamins to find a non-prez. Check out that $10 bill in your pocket and you'll find Alexander Hamilton.

Or as they rapped in Lazy Sunday, "I was droppin' Hamiltons like Aaron Burr..."

Two Ponies 11:15 AM  

I don't have enough "dead presidents" in my wallet right now to check but I had forgotten about Ben and Alexander.
Never mind.

Glitch 11:33 AM  

My big bill trivia of the day (from various sources):

Although they are still technically legal tender in the United States, high-denomination (over $100) bills were last printed in 1945 and officially discontinued on July 14, 1969, by the Federal Reserve System

Circulation of high-denomination bills was halted in 1969 by executive order of President Richard Nixon, in an effort to combat organized crime. The Federal Reserve began taking high-denomination bills out of circulation that year.

As of May 30, 2009, there were 336 of the $10,000 bills in circulation; 342 remaining $5,000 bills; and 165,372 $1,000 bills still being used. (@archprof - don't give up hope)


@Geezer: Rex's only commitment is to have the posting up by 9 AM eastern time. He's generally early tho.

Jeffrey 11:35 AM  

It's Monday.

[I win lamest comment ever]

Ulrich 11:35 AM  

@HudsonHawk: So, bills are called "dead presidents" only to confuse us foreigners, right?

BTW In case anyone wondered why I would have to spell "igloo" in English, ever: It's the xword puzzles, stupid!

Jeffrey 11:38 AM  

Less lame: Congratulations to Rex and Sandy for their Canadian television debut yesterday. And Celeb and Emily. I think Orange and I were the only ones at our table who didn't make the Dinner Impossible cut.

Mrs. Crosscan's comment: Is Andrea for real?

Raymond Chandler 11:46 AM  

There are blondes and blondes and it is almost a joke word nowadays. All blondes have their points, except perhaps the metallic ones who are as blond as a Zulu under the bleach and as to disposition as soft as a sidewalk. There is the small cute blond who cheeps and twitters, and the big statuesque blonde who straight-arms you with an ice-blue glare. There is the blonde who gives you the up-from-under look and smells lovely and shimmers and hangs on your arm and is always very very tired when you take her home. She makes that helpless gesture and has that goddamned headache and you would like to slug her except that you are glad you found out about the headache before you invested too much time and money and hope in her. Because the headache will always be there, a weapon that never wears out and is as deadly as the bravo's rapier or Lucrezia's poison vial.

There is the soft and willing and alcoholic blonde who doesn't care what she wears as long as it is mink or where she goes as long as it is the Starlight Roof and plenty of dry champagne. There is the small perky blonde who is a little pal and wants to pay her own way and is full of sunshine and common sense and knows judo from the ground up and can toss a truck driver over her shoulder without missing more than one sentence out of the editorial in the Saturday Review. There is the pale, pale blonde* with anemia of some non-fatal but incurable type. She is very languid and very shadowy and she speaks softly out of nowhere and you can't lay a finger on her because in the first place you don't want to and in the second place she is reading The Waste Land or Dante in the original, or Kafka or Kierkegaard or studying Provençal. She adores music and when the New York Philharmonic is playing Hindemith she can tell you which one of the six bass viols came in a quarter of a beat too late. I hear Toscanini can also. That makes two of them.

And lastly there is the gorgeous show piece who will outlast three kingpin racketeers and then marry a couple of millionaires at a million a head and end up with a pale rose villa at Cap d'Antibes, an Alfa-Romeo town car complete with pilot and co-pilot, and a stable of shopworn aristocrats, all of whom she will treat with the affectionate absent-mindedness of an elderly duke saying goodnight to his butler.

The dream across the way was none of these, not even of that kind of world. She was unclassifiable, as remote and clear as mountain water, as elusive as its color.

--Raymond Chandler (1888-1959), Detective Philip Marlowe in The Long Goodbye (1953)

Clark 12:00 PM  

@Geezer - You don't have to get up early cause once its up Rex leaves it up all day.

Chase National Bank, predecessor to Chase Manhattan Bank, "was named for former United States Treasury Secretary and Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, although Chase did not have a connection with the bank." (Wikipedia) I did not know that.

@Raymond Chandler. Thanks for posting. Now I will have to read you. Love the harmonic rhythm. I would hang out with the pale, pale blonde. Kierkegaard and Hindemith.

Sfingi 12:17 PM  

I'm solidly there for Mondays. I mistook Hitler for hitter, didn't know Salmon Chase except for the fish, and thought this was way easy.

Hitler's stat:
Hitler was only got one b--l.
Görring has two, but they are small.
Himmler has something sim'lar,
But Dr. Goebbels has no b--s at all.
Sung to Bridge over the River Kwai.

I didn't notice the '90s since 1. I was old and 2. I had the boss from hell for the whole decade.

I learned much from your write-up on Judge Chase.

@Jim - "Under God" was inserted in '54 into the pledge. Francis Bellamy (buried in Rome, NY) did not include the phrase. The Knights of Columbus (!), seconded by the American Legion, sponsored the change.

@Glitch - hey, Nixon had one good idea!

foodie 12:29 PM  

Back from lovely Italy, with a messed up circadian rhythm and rusty puzzle solving skills, but with lovely memories of some amazing food, so life is good.

Nice puzzle, but I kept thinking that I had an error, that there was no one called SALMON who overcame such a name enough to deserve being on a $10,000 bill... glad it was the word of the day.

Greene 12:31 PM  

Excellent start to the puzzle week. Did this one quickly with no problems, although I thought the NE was a little ugly with TAWS and IGLU. I'm happy to add these terms to my ever growing crossword trivia repository. I've actually taken to making flashcards to keep all this crosswordese straight.

It was a happy coincidence that all the dead presidents on the higher denomination money (exception for Mr. Chase) ended up making symmetrical theme answers. And RIGHT ON THE MONEY was a clever way to tie it all together. Well done Mr. Feldman!

@Two Ponies: I answered your question about why "LA" gets short shrift in the song "DO RE ME" but chose to place it in yesterday's comments (where it belongs). Sorry for the delay; I wasn't loitering at the blog sufficiently last night. Thanks for thinking of me.

@Ulrich: You might as well just break down and watch The Sound of Music and see what all the commotion is about. It is certainly one of the most simultaneously loved and hated films of all time. You can always fast forward through the yodeling song (although with Julie Andrews doing the singing, how bad could it be?). :)

@Orange: The Hitler video was hilarious. Thanks for that.

Doc John 1:09 PM  

I think that COS is pretty much his standard nickname.

Does anyone else remember Monty Hall holding up $1000 bills as potential prizes on Let's Make a Deal?

the (sur)real andrea carla michaels 1:37 PM  

Two questions...
a) What is that supposed to mean?
b) There's a Mrs. Crosscan???!!!

I like when you can review a puzzle totally from something in the grid...
so let me just say this was RIGHTONTHEMONEY... for a Tuesday.

I bank at CHASE and will show them the money...I mean, the puzzle.

There are really TWO people named Salmon in the world? Come on, Crosscan, Stan, DK, Joho, and all...where are your list of other funny "fishy" names...I feel a puzzle comin' on!

(Lance Bass?)

Who's in?

Stan 2:12 PM  

@acme: I'm in. Replying off board.

Mark Feldman: Good puzzle all around!

retired_chemist 2:14 PM  

@ Andrea:

Zebulon PIKE
Jim "CATFISH" Hunter
Bill "the TUNA" Parcells

joho 2:23 PM  

@Andrea ... I met Catfish Hunter once! I can't think of anybody with a fish name. I can think of names we could change into fish names like David Soul (Sole) or James Belushi (Beluga) Wailing (Whaling)Jennings, Minnie (Minnow) Driver ...

PuzzleGirl 2:52 PM  

Enjoyed this one quite a bit.

PuzzleHusband asked me what "Var." means and was not happy with the answer. He said he has enough trouble with the real words.

Martin 2:54 PM  

William Bass
Sarah Barracuda
Petre Carp
René Char
Cisco Kid
Marlin Perkins
Molly Bloom
Porgy (and Bess)
Ray Charles
Kilgore Trout
Theodore Sturgeon
James Snook
Jack Sprat (double header)
Wahoo McDaniel

retired_chemist 2:55 PM  

@ Doc John - re Let's make a Deal - You have out-geezered me. However I DID figure out who your avatar is. That had been bugging me....

Ulrich 2:56 PM  

To all fans of Chandler: Today's comments motivated me to create a thread on my blog to discuss which of his novels you like best (sorry for being gauche and advertising this, but I can't see any other way of doing it)--it's something I have been planning to do for a long time...

sanfranman59 3:19 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)

Mon 6:59, 6:58, 1.00, 55%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:50, 3:43, 1.13, 63%, Medium-Challenging

Bill from NJ 3:31 PM  

Funny story about a $1000 bill.

I worked my way through college at Phoenix Greyhound Park as a cashier. A woman came up to my window with what I thought was a $100 dollar bill and asked for some tickets. I gave her the tickets and her change and sent her on her away. After the race was over, a very angry man came up to me and accused me of stealing $900 from his wife because she had paid with a $1000 bill and she came back to him with only a hand full of tickets and change for a 100. I had turned in my money at the end of the race and the money room had all the money for that race.

While I was explaining this to him - having no luck - the money room manager came running up to me to tell me I was $900 over for the race. I am now getting yelled at from two different directions and I am positively clueless. After all, I am a 21 year old kid working part-time at night and people are demanding answers from me that I don't have!

Security arrives and we are all escorted to the Managers office where the situation is finally resolved. That was my only contact with a large bill and I didn't even remember it.

Karen from the Cape 4:08 PM  

Easy puzzle for me, but enjoyably so.

I'm waiting for the day that KAI is clued as a Star Trek religious leader (Kai Opaka, from Deep Space 9). Weird to have the ENTS without the Tolkein reference. I like the word CANAAN.

miguel 4:20 PM  

@acme, I'm floundering here...signed Moby Dick.
@Crosscan, say hi to Alberta for me.
@foodie, chefb, cehfwen et al, Gourmet Magazine is being closed down after some young MBAs from McKinsey decided the crossword was too hard for them...well sorta.

Most large bills were issued to make interbank transfers more manageable. One of those early American banks, focused on business and was named after Mr. Chase, although he did not own or participate in the bank. Later John D. Rockefeller decided to put his money there which made it the largest in the world. BTW, I have a few Salmon Chase bills and will trade five of them for one Woodrow Wilson bill. Any takers?

George NYC 4:29 PM  

@Doc John
A physician who had suitable vocation?

hazel 5:31 PM  

Thought this was a v. cool and original little Monday puzzle. I liked the old-school cartoon feel with the EEK and the AARGH. Good old Charlie Brown, and whIchever toon(s) actually said EEK.

Also love seeing MAGMA in a puzzle - reminds me of an awesome trip to the Big Island where we watched MAGMA KERplop into the ocean at dusk, then walked across miles and miles of flow field in the moonlight.

It was very nice to take it off autopilot and have something to keep you guessing on a Monday. Also appreciated the big bill factoids from @Glitch & the reminders from @Rex, @Ulrich, & others to go back and reread some Raymond Chandler.

Better luck next year, Bravos!! Go Falcons!

Anonymous 6:10 PM  

"All is" well - usually used when all is definitely NOT well! Remember this scene from "Animal House"?
Kevin Bacon alert!

Anonymous 7:12 PM  

Thank you, Anonymous sir. May I have another?

Corby 7:22 PM  

Having been forced to learn how to sail, I was terribly hung up by "un-rig" (rather than the appropriate "de-rig"). All I can now picture is my dad yelling at Will Shortz, and saying that it's almost as much a beginner mistake calling the lines "ropes".

mac 7:44 PM  

@Martin: what a great list! Didn't know some of those were fish.

It's so sad about Gourmet; it's the magazine I have been a subscriber of longer than any other... Most reliable recipes, most interesting articles, best tips for travel.

I may be holding a line on Saturday during the regatta around the Statue of Liberty! Hope it's dry and not too cold....

Unknown 9:16 PM  

I thought Hitler as well. I think it was because the clue prior was D-Day. A great example of priming!

Stan 9:26 PM  

Marina-employed wife says that @Corby is basically correct and that
@mac is cool.

We're both sad about Gourmet -- we get the more humble and how-to
oriented Cooks Illustrated, but Gourmet was at the top of its class.

sanfranman59 9:33 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 7:13, 6:59, 1.03, 62%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:45, 3:42, 1.01, 59%, Medium

michael 9:41 PM  

An enjoyable and (for the day) difficult for me Monday. I don't know those big bills and I'm not young. And Salmon P. Chase seems mighty obscure for Monday.

Elaine 10:14 PM German guests managed to complete this puzzle--though I admit to assisting in some of the denser cultural thickets. When I spelled and then pronounced AARGH, they both "got it" at once. However, IGLU and MAGMA were already in my friends' mental lexicons! Not bad!

Salmon P. Chase was the father-in-law of soldier/explorer Fremont...and most of the presidents could be guessed from relatively few letters on crosses! So, even though fun-- not really tough, even if you are trying to explain RIGHTONTHEMONEY to a non-English speaker.

Fun comments!

Jeffrey 10:17 PM  
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Jeffrey 10:18 PM  

@andrea - Mrs. Crosscan thought you were great and wondered if that was the "real" you or was it just the show. I assured her that you are funnier and even more real in person.

And why are you surprised there is a Mrs. Crosscan? Maybe I don't want to know the answer to that.

fergus 11:20 PM  

Kinda late, but if you're ever down in the Financial District of San Francisco. the local Federal Reserve branch has a nice little gallery museum of money, free of charge, right out in front on Market Street.

You can see genuine issues of the aforementioned notes, and many more. (The $100,000 dollar bill is better than the candy bar.) And maybe gain an interest in monetary policy and some financial sophistication. At the SF Fed, they're a little too strong on Economics education, but they are not short on common sense.

andrea kai-michaels 11:59 PM  

@Mr and Mrs Crosscan
Thank you! (My question was meant as a joke, echoing back as to whether or not SHE was for real...)

@Ret_chem, Martin, Stan
Looks like we got a kettle of fish going, let me sift thru this batch
and see if something sparks. (Insert your own mixed metaphor here!)

Had lunch with SanFranMan where we argued over whether the average solver would know who Salmon P. Chase was...and the difference between a Monday and Tuesday puzzle...
So much for Algonquin Round Table banter!

I really liked this puzzle, and have one more thought:
The upper NE corner 10A CASA could have been CASH with HAYES going down where ASYET is with very little rewriting, and you would have had two more subthemes and maybe avoided the whole DISH/ISH/ASHE thing.

retired_chemist 10:50 AM  

Anon 5:03 wants to sell us insulation paper - all 3M. Google Translate rocks.

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

MUST SEE: "The Ice-Fishermen Cometh" - SALMON P. CHASE and SALMAN RUSHDIE in an IGLU.

Dirigonzo 1:20 PM  

RP - No need to publish this but I hope you will read it. I did this puzzle today, 1-21-2012 (Happy MLK Day!) from one of Will Shortz' collections and when I was done I felt the need to come here see what you and the Rexville community had to say about it 3 1/2 years ago. I've been reading and commenting in syndiland for a couple of years and I guess it has become an essential part of doing the puzzle for me. Thanks so much for maintaining a place that provides so much for so many over the years.

glain anderson 5:39 AM  

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