Indian bovine — SUNDAY, Nov. 8 2009 — Group with 2002 hit Girlfriend / Diner manager waitress in Garfield / Sherry-like wine / Gibson necessity

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Constructor: Robert W. Harris

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: COLONIZATION — "ANT"s are added to common phrases, creating (occasionally) wacky phrases, which are then clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: CESURAS (39D: Pauses during speech: Var.) (more commonly CAESURAS) — also n., pl., -su·ras, also -su·ras, or -su·rae, also -su·rae (-zhʊr'ē, -zʊr'ē).

  1. A pause in a line of verse dictated by sense or natural speech rhythm rather than by metrics.
  2. A pause or interruption, as in conversation: After another weighty caesura the senator resumed speaking.
  3. In Latin and Greek prosody, a break in a line caused by the ending of a word within a foot, especially when this coincides with a sense division.
  4. Music. A pause or breathing at a point of rhythmic division in a melody.

[Latin caesūra, a cutting, from caesus, past participle of caedere, to cut off.]


Just add ANTs. That's it. Two problems: it's a boring concept, and the resulting theme answers are almost all complete duds. ANTHEM LINE? BASE TENANT? If you're going to go wacky, Go Wacky. These answers just die on the page. Props to PEDANT XING and MADAM, I'M ADAMANT for having at least a modicum of cleverness about them. Otherwise the theme is pretty listless and dull. Not much more to say about it than that.

If you want to see a cool ANT-themed puzzle, check out this Blindauer / Michaels creation from earlier this year in the Wall Street Journal. No "wackiness," but 30 different ANTs in the puzzle, and black squares that are asymmetrical and are made to resemble the paths that ANTs make in an ANT Farm. Very cool.

Theme answers:

  • 23A: "O say can you see" or "Thru the perilous fight"? (ANT hem line)
  • 25A: Resident of a military installation? (base ten ANT)
  • 40A: Tropical fruit seller? (pl ANT ain dealer)
  • 61A: Place to get drunk in the kitchen? (p ANT ry bar) — wtf is a PRY BAR? Is that like a CROW BAR? I guess it is.
  • 67A: What overuse of a credit card might result in? (gi ANT bill)
  • 84A: Gentleman's intransigent reply? ("Madam, I'm Adam ANT)
  • 105A: Where nitpickers walk on a street? (Ped ANT Xing)
  • 108A: Online beauty contest? (web page ANT)


  • 37A: Confronting boldly (bearding) — a cool word you don't hear very often. ACCOST and BUTTONHOLE are synonyms. When a gay man who doesn't want to be seen as gay and so takes a woman out in public, she is his BEARD (i.e. she gives him coverage, makes him appear straight). Whether she could be said to be "BEARDING" him, I don't know. "What are you doing tonight?" "Oh, I'm BEARDING for this friend of mine whose parents are in town ..."
  • 53A: Philadelphia's historic Gloria _____ Church (Dei) — never heard of it, but DEI is a common enough answer in puzzles, meaning "Of God," so I got it easily enough.
  • 65A: Original nuclear regulatory grp. (AEC) — Atomic Energy Commission. Learned it from xwords (it's before my time).
  • 78A: Old brand in the shaving aisle (Neet) — tricky, as using NEET (a depilatory) doesn't involve "shaving" at all (does it?).
  • 112A: Group with the 2002 hit "Girlfriend" (N'SYNC) — here's a different "Girlfriend"

  • 9D: Bygone Buick (Electra) — I've seen this clue before, but not this answer. Don't remember this model at all.
  • 10D: Indian bovine (zebu) — learned from "The Simpsons." You see it from time to time in crosswords — a handy terminal-U word.
  • 14D: Tallow ingredient (suet) — took me a while, as "tallow" makes me think "candles," and modern candles don't make me think of animal fat.
  • 16D: Sci-fi weapon (phaser) — may be set to "stun" or "kill"
  • 34A: Heavy sheet inside a book's cover (endpaper) — a good answer. ENDPAPERs are often decorative, and are found just inside a book's front and back covers.
  • 49A: Object of a scurrilous attack, maybe (libelee) — well that's an unfortunate word. Not as bad as ALIENEE, but not great.
  • 50D: Like surveyors' charts (platted) — yuck, really. I know what PLATs are (area maps), but PLATTED ... does that just mean folded up? Or divided into little maps? Looking up ... PLAT can mean "to plait or braid" or "to make a PLAT of"; so the charts have either been braided, or they've been ... made into PLATs. I guess that works...
  • 69D: Diner manager / waitress in "Garfield" (Irma) — there is a special corner of crosswordese hell labeled "Tertiary Comics Characters (Non-Dog)". IRMA lives there. As does ASOK and ARN. I'm sure there are others.
  • 77D: Gibson necessity (gin) — mmmm, GIN.
2 oz. Gin or Vodka
2 drops Dry Vermouth
Garnish with Pearl Onion

Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass (from
  • 85D: Sherry-like wine (Madeira) — if a seven-letter word can be crosswordese, this one is. Learned it from xwords, and see it a lot.
  • 92D: Cartwright of "Make Room for Daddy" (Angela) — I assume she was not "Daddy."
  • 97D: Subject of a museum in Yorba Linda, Calif. (Nixon) — "museum" threw me. Was expecting an artist, despite the fact that Yorba Linda screams NIXON (he was born there).

See you tomorrow,

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Bob Kerfuffle 8:19 AM  

OK puzzle for today, a gentle letdown from the Sturm und Drang of yesterday.

Had to smile at the shout-outs to the Rex-o-sphere at 5D, ACMES, and 105 A, PEDANTXING (You know who you are, . . . . er, I mean, we know who we are.)

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

If you take the "ant" you get a more common phrase

F.O.G. 8:44 AM  

Enjoyed the "Madam I'm Adam" palindrome at 84A, and the "Plain Dealer" residue at 40A.

"CAMEL" at 20A was cleverly clued and stumped me for awhile. I came up with Nabisco and Bass Ale, neither of which fit.

chefbea 8:48 AM  

such an easy puzzle. The only thing I googled was Supra after I put it in cuz I had never heard of that model.

We deserved this after yesterday's fiasco

JannieB 9:06 AM  

I groaned when I saw IA - If a puzzle starts with that sort of fill, I know I'm not going to love it. And this one was true to form. The theme is tired, much of the fill is dated, and there was little joy to be found.

I feel sorry for any constructor who had to follow yesterday's masterpiece. Most anything would have paled in comparison.

Greene 9:19 AM  

I dutifully filled this in, but it was a joyless experience. MADAM I'M ADAMANT and PEDANT XING provided some pleasure, but if I'm expected to solve a 21 x 21 I just need more.

I still own hundreds of LPS. I play them rarely, but I've found that when framed they make terrific artwork. I've got them hanging all over the house and office these days. Now what to do with all those CDs?

@JannieB: I don't know that "most anything would have paled in comparison" to yesterday's puzzle. Most anything humorous or clever would have made a nice weekend bookend to the Saturday massacre, say one of those Liz Gorski creations or a fluffy confection from ACME. I'm still licking my wounds after that assault from Bob Klahn. He is the true God of Carnage.

The Corgi of Mystery 9:24 AM  

Not a big fan, unfortunately. I would have overlooked the plainness of the theme phrases if the fill had been a little snappier, but this puzzle lost me somewhere between LIBELEE and INUTILE. Probably would have enjoyed this much more as a 15x15 with just the choicest answers.

Elaine 9:38 AM  

Me, too.
The lamest theme entry was PANTRY BAR...I mean, huh? Since I lived near Cleveland for so long, I enjoyed the PLantAIN DEALER along with the PEDant and ADAMant bits. Otherwise...
@Rex--Yes, pry bar is a common term

Oh, and I was all Naticked up at the crossing of CARLY and CESURAS; should have asked the non-puzzler hubby. Paul Simon was the only one I could come up with, then tried Simon Early (well, it's a name) and Simon get the idea. D'oh. It little matters, as I am still only 3 feet tall from yesterday's flattening.

Frances SC 9:42 AM  

I was stuck in traffic recently and as I crawled along I passed a subdivision-to-be with a huge sign advertising its land as "Platted." The word was new to me and I thought it meant something related to plateau, i.e. flattened on top. I looked the word up when I finally got home and found several definitions, including: a map showing actual or planned features, as in surveyed plots of land.

I also found the word on the survey map of my own property, as a plat of my subdivision.

So, I was pleased to see platted in today's puzzle. However, that was about the only spark for me, the rest being rather ho-hum. Three hours to football... :-)

Alamogordo Dan 9:46 AM  

Maybe the most pedANTic Sunday crossword the Times has ever published.

ArtLvr 9:47 AM  

Nice and easy, mmm, with a few cute moments like EGOS for Cause of star wars, BEARDING as of a boss in his den, and the SNOOD.

PEDANTXING led me to check out SUET, and I see that Tallow is just rendered suet (beef fat)-- that's the entire basic "ingredient" in tallow. Also in old cheap candles, other than a wick! Agents to add color or scent are optional.

Soap came to mind too: with beef fat (suet) your soap will be brown. If you use pig fat (lard) it will be white and vegetable oils will give you a creamy off-white bar, ECRU. The other ingredient in soap is lye water, plus possibly an essence for pleasant scent.

ENTREE? There's cooking with suet too as in chili, where directions may specify a particular source like "beef kidney suet". May go well with APERITIF or MADEIRA in the PANTRY BAR, with Rex's recipe for the Gibson.

(NERDIER goes well with all of the above. OOPs) That's A WRAP.


Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Mixed the Grain & the Grape (SW)
Camel Cigarettes
Pantry Bar
Crony Smoking Cigars
Conclusion: People with hangovers shouldn't write crossword puzzles

treedweller 10:05 AM  

Ah, come on. No love for finishing with ANTSY? GIANT BILL? The surprising EA of PAGEANT?

I suppose I can imagine myself making similar complaints on a different day, but I had fun. I got the several mini-thrills of guessing the riddles, plus a 21X puzzle that didn't feel like a slog. But then, I like the groan-worthy jokes.

CoolPapaD 10:08 AM  

@Elaine - Had I not grown up in Cleveland, I'd have never heard of PLantAIN DEALER. Does Plain Dealer have another meaning that those not lucky enough to have spent time in America's North Coast would know?

I got nailed in the CESURAS / ARETE region - had a few blanks in those never-heard-before words. Since when does DIS mean "Run down" in slang? I'm not dissing the constructor, but I just don't DIG (my guess) it.

Wow - I think this is my first somewhat negative post, something I swore not to do (since I don't construct), so I want to have a few positive things to say. I really enjoyed most of the themed answers, especially PANTRYBAR and PEDANTXING. I liked CASSETTE (though I really liked REELTOREEL in a recent puzzle - can't remember whose it was!). AIRFARE was cute as well!

joho 10:21 AM  

@treedweller ... there's also TYRANT AT 56D, but it doesn't mean anything. ANTSY is a nice touch and also the welcome end to this puzzle.

Filling in the blanks just isn't a lot of fun.

@pednsg ... thank you for trying to come up with some positives. I, too, hate to be negative as I could never construct a puzzle. SNOOD is a good word.

JenCT 10:23 AM  

I disagree that this puzzle was Easy - more like Medium for me. Never heard of CESURAS or PLATTED. Liked PEDANTXING and WEBPAGEANT.

Question: I've been doing these puzzles for about 2 years now; when do they get easier to solve??? About how long have others, who find these Sunday puzzles easy, been doing NYT crosswords? Just curious. :-)

Grandpappy Steve 10:49 AM  

What? No tweets of the week? I've grown to look forward to them on Sunday morning.

dk 10:50 AM  

Extra! Extra! Despot for TYRANT ZAPS East Coast for dk.

Andy of Mayberry was in B&W for the young dk household so who knew OPIE had red hair -- outside of seeing Ron Howard before he lost most of it.

@anon, again for you I will not comment on the fill for 5d.

Thinking of PLANTAINS 4 dinner, sautéed with rum, butter (unsalted) and currents.

Last day of Indian Summer here in the mighty midwest so its outside to play.

CoolPapaD 11:00 AM  

@JenCT I'm with you! I've been doing these since about the time Wordplay came out on DVD - roughly 2.5 - 3 years. I do the dailies (M-Th), and will try most Friday's, successful (no Googles) in about a third to half. Saturday is another story! I also do some BEQs, Jones's, and the Onion (and others) whenever I have time, in addition to several Shortz compilations I've received.

I find most dailies and Sundays "easy," but to me, that means finishing without help. They can take a LONG time. I never time myself, and when I see that some do Sunday in 8 minutes, I just smile! Don't think I'll ever be there, and I don't care! Like some other things in life (good meals, good music, yada yada yada), sometimes you just don't want it to end so soon!

JOhn in CT 11:19 AM  

This puzzle suckedy-suck-suck-sucked!

JOhn in CT 11:20 AM  

This puzzle suckedy-suck-suck-sucked!

SethG 11:22 AM  

I like MADAM, I'M ADAM ANT better than MADAM, I'M ADAMANT. There was French, but I got it from the crosses. I wonder if I will ever see ____ Barrett and not think of EDNA Garrett. In the long run, I'll be dead. &&&&.

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

The whimsical ANTSY in the SE corner didn't redeem this pedANTic waste of time, but it did relieve the pain a bit

JannieB 11:25 AM  

@Greene - you're right, of course. A clever and/or amusing change of pace would have been a good weekend companion piece. A graphic Gorski would have been perfect!

Ulrich 11:27 AM  

@treedweller: I'm on your wavelength--the fun was finding out where the ANTs would be added from a few crosses and then guessing the phrase being amended--in some cases, you got a real surprise...and ending with ANTSY shortly after encountering those crossing pedants was a nice finish. I've seen better, I've seen worse...

...and I use a pry bar a lot in my DYO construction work, which almost always starts with prying old sheet rock or siding away from some studs.

AV 11:39 AM  

I quite liked this simple theme - agree that a couple of the initial theme entries were standard fare, but the pace and zinginess picked up with MADAM I'M ADAM, WEB PAGE, GI BILL and PED XING. Also, loved the subtle "ANTSY" in the SW!

The INUTILE section was rough and LORCA was new to me, but the crossings at LORCA were fair.

Meg 11:39 AM  

OK, so there was not much joy in this one, but I did learn a completely new meaning for "BEARD". Such an interesting definition for a common word.
That's just about it for my reaction to this puzzle. If I had to choose between yesterday's experience and today's, I'd rather be Klahned to death. It was more fun.

AV 11:40 AM  

I have always needed help with directions .. I meant ANTSY in the SE!

Karen from the Cape 11:44 AM  

JenCT, I estimate I've been doing the NYT for about six years now (which I'm sure is short compared to others) and it did take a few years to up to speed. Although I started with only the Sundays. The more puzzles you do, the faster you improve.

Shamik 11:59 AM  

I agree with Meg. Given a choice, I'd choose finishing with 4 wrong letters on a deliciously dastardly puzzle vs meh. Yesterday was enough to text my out-of-town husband, wax eloquent to my stepdaughter and tweet. Klahn gave us something to talk about.

This? I feel like we were respected enough yesterday to be given a challenge. Today...pablum.

JenCT 12:00 PM  

To Karen and pednsg:

Thanks for the input! Now I don't feel so bad. I always do Mon-Thurs, but Friday & Saturday are beyond me. And Sunday is hit or miss for me.

chefbea 12:03 PM  

@JenCT I have been doing the NYT puzzle for almost thirty years. I never time myself. Usually have a tough time on Friday and Saturday and love Sunday's. I find if you have trouble - leave the puzzle, do some chores and then come back. I assume you are from CT? What town?

retired_chemist 12:18 PM  

Liked it, liked the theme, didn't love it. Agree with the many who wanted an easy puzzle after yesterday.

Only serious thought areas were central and southern CA.

Central CA - had something I don;t remember for 46D, then got LORCA (57A) to leave 46D as S?C???, which I turned into SUCCOR :-(. Took a while.

Southern CA - ANODAL? I would (and briefly did) say ANODIC. 87D was GRAPPA at first. That may even be a correct answer.....

INUTILE was a gimme but it still is ugly. 31A was TEL. The correct STE was a WTF - do female French saints have business cards? Oh, Suite. OK......

BATES (237D) was a gimme. Weird. But so was Psycho.

The puppies' latest page (Nov. 6) is up. You can link back to previous pages at the bottom. Sometime this week the furkids get weaned. You will not want to see their first meal while you yourself are eating breakfast.

mac 12:26 PM  

I thought this puzzle was perfectly fine for a Sunday, actually less of a slog than they usually are. I also prefer Thursday - Saturday level, but this IS Sunday.

I really liked the GI bill and Ped Xing answers. Like Rex I did not know this version of "beard".

I had "sentries" for 53A for a little while, but the snood put it right. Love that word. I liked the usher and the clue for 64A.

A couple of years ago I gave my husband a litte refillable spritzer for his vermouth as a stocking stuffer - he likes his martini dry. I think he still mostly uses the bottle cap to add it, though.

mac 12:29 PM  

@ret-chem: I also stared at the Ste..... Don't think grappa can be right, Madeira is not an Italian archipelago, but Portugese.

Van55 12:38 PM  

I didn't hate it until I got to the "Toledo to Columbus dir." clue. But I did dislike some from the very start when "Oriole, e.g. briefly" was the infamous ALER.

Didn't know that the NIXON museum is in Yorba Linda rather than Whittier.

Stan 1:01 PM  

Opie might have had both Oreos and Nabs in his lunchbox (as well as a crush on Angela Cartwright).

Anonymous 1:25 PM  

I loved it. MADAMIMADAMANT was clever and brilliant, in my opinion, and it made the whole concept worthwhile. Perhaps it was the original impetus for the theme.

Glitch 1:26 PM  

@joho re: TYRant, Tyr is the god of single combat, victory and heroic glory in Norse mythology :-)

@dk – The Andy Griffith Show B&W 1960-65, Color 1965-68 – (for those w/ color tv’s)

@pednsg – Never been to the mid-west, but Plain Dealer is known to me. Maybe the same way as that local Chicago TV show, Oprah?

And for all those commenting yesterday that the Klahn was so far above them it should not have been published (and only them), feel better now?


Leon 1:27 PM  

Thank you Mr. Harris.

Count me as one who was not ANTi this puzzle.

NERDIER SAPS DIG NEET below the mid-section was amusing.

LENORE & ANTHEM crossing:

An ANTHEM for the queenliest dead that ever died so young-
A dirge for her the doubly dead in that she died so young.


Clark 1:34 PM  

@retired-chemist: I was also surprised to see that French, female saints noted the fact on their business cards.

Elaine 1:37 PM  

If you saw "The Music Man," with Robert Preston and Shirley Jones, you saw Ron Howard lisping his way through his role with lotsa bright red hair. It's still a movie worth the occasional viewing.

Since I lived in Cincinnati and later near Cleveland, Ohio questions (such as McKinley's birthplace) are welcome sights. Ohio calls herself "The Mother of Presidents"--more born in that state than any other.

I used to do the Sunday NYT puzzle when I took The Plain Dealer--no others in our paper. Then a friend here got me hooked because our Little Rock paper carried the syndicated puzzles. I stopped doing MTW for a time, as being "too easy." Now that I have an online subscription, I do them all. One plus is that the comments often add information about how to pick up hints via the way the answers are clued, not to mention trivia regarding current culture. (@dk--please add currants to your dish instead!)

Anonymous 2:22 PM  

I'm with treedweller up there at 10:05 a.m. I enjoyed this puzzle because I'm old as Methuselah and remember the AEC and LENA Horne and OPIE's red hair. MADEIRA made me smile for it ever reminds me of the song "Have Some Madeira, My Dear?" The Lamplighters (?) recorded it in the '60s, if memory serves. Too early for Rex and you other youn'uns, I reckon.

PlantieBea 2:47 PM  

Enjoyed solving this puzzle while half watching football. The puzzle didn't have lots of zip, but it had some funny answers (PEDANT XING, MADAM...)and a new word (CESURA) so I'm okay with it, especially after being completely humbled by the Klahn work. My least favorite answer was INUTILE; blah. Glad for Rex's explanation of BEARDING.

Noam D. Elkies 2:51 PM  

Enjoyed this one, and felt it was about the right level of difficulty for me for a Sunday crossword.

@Anon 2:22 — Rex et al. may well know the "have some madeira, m'dear" song, if only because it's a classic example of comic zeugma.

Is Rex's spelling 112A:N'SYNC correct? The odd spelling is about the most memorable thing about that group, and evidently not memorable enough for me to be sure about N'SYNC vs. 'NSYNC vs. N*SYNC vs. ...

NDE (at SLO for the week — fortunately my host gets the NYTimes Magazine and doesn't do crosswords)

joho 3:04 PM  

@Glitch ... I just meant that TYRANT didn't mean anything that was relevant to the theme such as ANTSY did, not that the word didn't mean anything! Thanks for the background info, though.

chefwen 3:07 PM  

I guess I'm with the consensus here, didn't love it, didn't hate it, just did it. I did get hung up on the INUTILE/LIBELEE area (my spell check doesn't like either one of those entries)so I did end up with a couple of holes. Loved MADAM I'M ADAMANT.

Can't compare it to Saturday's puzzle as I did not even try to complete that one, was in fear of brain sprain.

retired_chemist 4:27 PM  

@ anon 2:22 - Have Some Madeira M'dear was written by Flanders and Swann. I remember hearing them sing it (1964) in San Francisco. I believe the Limeliters did sing it, as you say.

bluebell 5:01 PM  

Some of you have far more experience than I in doing these puzzles, so perhaps you'll excuse me if I say it was such fun to work it through with NO GOOGLES, and very little whiteout.

"Have Some Madeira my Dear" is one of my favorites from Flanders and Swann's "At the Drop of a Hat," which we still have on LP, and which opened at London's Fortune Theater on January 24, 1957. "And a beard in her ear which tickled and said, 'Have some Madeira my dear!' Wish I could reproduce Flanders' lecherous growl on the last line. (Different meaning of beard from our puzzle, of course!)

Anonymous 5:30 PM  

At first I was afraid that the theme would be colonial history, or geography, or something of the kind. I was delighted to discover that it referred to the "colonizing" of the grid by ants. Ants all over the place -- at the beginnings, middles and ends of words.

I laughed out loud when the famous palindrome emerged: beautiful.

And finally, ANTSY!

To me, this puzzle was witty throughout.


Stan 6:05 PM  

Re: Justin Timberlake et al.

The group's original name was 'N Sync. Shortly thereafter they officially became *NSYNC.

Around the same time, if I recall, Matchbox 20 became Matchbox Twenty. I'm serious. There were press releases announcing both events.

--Stan (ex-News Librarian)

hazel 6:51 PM  

I didn’t really GET the theme - I mean even after I got it, I didn't get it. The insertion of ant into random clutzy phrases just didn't work for me - for a Sunday NYT puzzle. Might have worked as an LA Times Wednesday, say.

It was definitely not the bean, or the chin music we all got brushed back with yesterday - it was more like a balk - I feel like I'm still waiting for the pitch.

Glitch 6:59 PM  

Since we seem to be in a bit of a "Sunday lull" (until the end of the games?), I hereby present, for your amusement, the Limelighter's version of the Flanders and Swann, Have Some Madeira M'dear .


Not From Cleveland 7:07 PM  

@pednsg, 10:08 AM --

The Plain Dealer is an expression that goes much further back than the newspaper.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:15 PM  

@polly, 2:22 PM --

These days it is so easy to share. . . . Would you care to Have Some Madeira My Dear?

mac 7:20 PM  

Thank you, I never heard that one. There is actually a very good Dutch version by Ted de Braak. I'm going to google it now!

CoolPapaD 7:52 PM  

@Not From Cleveland - thanks. I've never heard of that work. Further Googling revealed the following definition:
1. (a) One who practices plain dealing. (b) A simpleton. [Obs.] --Shak

That does not seem to be the best name for a major metropolitan newspaper!

Elaine 8:12 PM  

Okay, breaking the Rule of 3, but...
it seems that "Plain Deal" would be something like a "Square Deal" or "Straight Deal"-- in other words, no frills, fuss, fiddling, or folderol. Just cash on the barrel-head, a straight trade, with no "pig in a poke."
Prefer to ignore the Shakespearean "plain dealer."

I have some stock, by the way.....

Anonymous 8:33 PM  

Thank you Glitch and Mr. Kerfuffle for the two wonderful you-tube versions of "Have Some Madeira, My Dear." Listening to them made the years disappear in a trice. Polly

archaeoprof 8:39 PM  

Hand up here for a long-ago crush on Angela Cartwright.

jeff in chicago 9:14 PM  

@pednsg: that's hysterical about "plain dealer"

The last 11 years of my newspaper career were spent at the Plain Dealer. Don't really miss it, actually.

The Plain Dealer is also the newspaper that Janet (Susan Sarandon) is reading and then holds over her head as she and Brad (Barry Bostwick) run in the rain from the car to the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry) in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

And thus ends our Plain Dealer trivia segment. Thanks for playing!

Oh...the puzzle? Did. Not. Care. For. It.

edith b 10:19 PM  

A routine puzzle, especially after yesterdays angst ridden affair. Got the theme relatively early for me and moved in a Southeasterly direction till I reached the Florida Keys and then raced up the East Coast and hit the unusually bad CESURAS/INUTILE(!?)/LIBELEE/PLATTED/SEREST patch in the Mid-Atlantic region that had to be the worst series of answers I have ever seen.

I had the odd experience of working with a couple of gentlemen, one of whom was described to me as being a beard for the other, so I was familiar with the term. Finished in Baja California at PEDANTXING. (I love the geographic description we use to describe the area of the puzzle in which we are working, some of them extremely colorful and inventive.)

michael 11:44 PM  

I thought the puzzle was ok except for "inutile." If there is an uglier, less necessary word in English, I don't know it.

That is to say -- "inutile" is inutile.

Unknown 11:48 PM  

I remember Angela Cartwright from "Lost In Space," but I was never enamored of her. At first, I thought there was a connection with the Original 13 (colonies) somewhere in the answer. Alas, not that inventive of a puzzle.

antrea carlant michaelants 3:23 AM  

Hey! thanks for reprinting Patrick's and my puzzle!!!!!
I was just going to call him and be all harrumph-y about today's theme, and then I opened your blog, et voila!
Ours was rejected for too many black squares, too many three-letter words...fair enough, but the idea was the same, to have the puzzle "crawling" with ants, but to make the grid look like an ant farm.
It was published in the WSJ on Jan 2, 2009, a Friday during vacation, so not a soul saw it!!!!!
It is easily the puzzle I am most proud of...and, of course, it was Patrick's genius that managed to get 30 ANTS in there...and to pull off the grid-as-ant-farm concept.
So thank you thank you for letting it see light of day again...
(Or whatever the updated cyber-metaphor would be!)
Hey, where are the tweets?

On another note, I ran into Manny Nosowsky and his lovely wife Debbie tonight on the BART.
I was returning from my Scrabble tournament in Berkeley (where I continue to be going downhill) and they were coming from the Berkeley Rep.
I learned tonight that he only has two of his puzzles framed: his first in 1993 and the puzzle that had the lowest square count (well, used to have...)
He's doing well and I took it all as a sign...but I don't know of what.
He told me to lose the scarf...
(I was wearing this sort of bath-matty looking one that a friend's 14-yr-old daughter made for my bday, and I'm bound to lose it anyway, so his directive was redundant. He thought I was covering up some hideous neck wounds, but it's really just these rings I've had since I was 6. thus the scarf in the TV kitchen)

Anyway, I'm inspired now to have another West Coast constructor's lunch and will report back. Both of us would like to come to the ACPT, but the prospect of NY in mid-February is less than enticing!

Found an old copy of "Games Magazine" I was leafing thru from 1996 and the ACPT was held April 6-8th!!!!!!!!
There was also a BEQ puzzle in it!
He must have been very young when it was made! I was shocked!
(It's all part of my decluttering intervention...the only problem is I feel compelled to still skim thru everything before I toss/re-distribute.

Neytri 5:57 AM  

Really a very nice article....and huge fan following..

Tetu 12:42 PM  

" have some Madeira, my dear"--said by the rake to the woman he asked up to see his etchings....

In my old cocktail waitress days, a Gibson was just a martini with onions instead of olives--this back in the day when you had to specify vodka martini, rather than now when apparently you have to specify gin martini

Just noticed how much I seem to know about alcohol....

Art Vandelay 8:19 PM  

Interesting article in this week's Newsweek on Aline Saarinen

Aviatrix 8:36 PM  

I'm usually a big apologist for constructors when Rex pans their themes, but this left even me going, "was that it?"

I liked the SATURN/MOON connection, but quibble with MADTV being called "long-running" in the same clue as SNL.

mrbinkey04 11:12 PM  

I'm just posting to say that BLACK EYED PEASANT should have been in the puzzle... and that I'm glad I took a poetry class in high school, because I knew CESURAS, which I personally believe should always be written CAESURAE, because a word with two AEs is awesome.

Anonymous 12:22 AM  

Thought this one was a complete waste of time until MADAMIMADAMANT...a hail mary pass in crossword history.

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