Introduction of 1927 — THURSDAY, Nov. 26, 2009 — Rabanne who was costume designer for Barbarella / Time manager's directive / Introduction of 1977

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Constructor: Paula Gamache

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: PARADE BALLOONs in the MACY's Thanksgiving Day Parade — three theme answers are famous characters clued by when they debuted as balloons in the MACY's Thanksgiving Day parade.

Word of the Day: PACO Rabanne (17A: Rabanne who was the costume designer for "Barbarella") Paco Rabanne, born Francisco Rabaneda Cuervo on February 18, 1934 in San Sebastián (Donostia in Basque) in the Basque Country, Spain, is a fashion designer. He fled Spain for France with his mother when the Spanish Civil War broke out. He originally had an architect's education but became known as the enfant terrible of the French fashion world in the 1960s // Rabanne started his career in fashion by creating jewellery for Givenchy, Dior and Balenciaga. He started his own fashion house in 1966. He used such unconventional materials as metal, paper and plastic for his outlandish and flamboyant designs. // Paco Rabanne is known for his costume designs for such films as Barbarella. Also Françoise Hardy was a big fan of Rabanne's designs. // Rabanne also has an interest in paranormal phenomena, and became infamous for his false prediction of the Russian space station Mir falling to Paris in 1999. Some media referred satirically this episode as "Pacolypse". (wikipedia)


Good morning and happy Thanksgiving (U.S.). I plan on doing a whole lot of nothing today, so much as I love Paula and her puzzle, I'm going to make this reasonably short. This seems a really original and fitting idea for a puzzle. Nice bit of serendipity getting the three different fictional animals and the theme-revealer to come out symmetrically, especially since other float possibilities would likely not have had the same ["x THE animal"] syntax that all of these do. For the second day in a row I blew through the puzzle like the Blackhawks through the Sharks' defense last night (that's for Tyler). Misplaced by a day, difficulty-wise, but I have no problem with the idea of throwing people a (relative) softball on Thanksgiving. Don't stress folks out — give 'em something they can do easily, perhaps with family (you could even show this one to your kids, as they'll at least know who KERMIT is ... right? They know KERMIT, right? Tell me they know KERMIT!).

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Introduction of 1977 (Kermit the Frog)
  • 31A: Introduction of 1927 (Felix the Cat)
  • 40A: Introduction of 1963 (Elsie the Cow)
  • 51A: What 20-, 31- and 40-Across were each introduced as by 47-Down (Parade balloon)
  • 47D: See 51-Across (Macy's)

New to me was ADORA (11D: Marie Osmond's _____ Belle dolls). That's by far the most desperate answer here, and it's completely inferrable from the pun the answer produces — ADORA Belle = adorable, good one, Marie. I had issues with ROUX (21D: Gumbo thickener), mostly involving spelling it ROUE, aargh. "ROUX" Means "red-headed" in French, so I figured the thickener must be the other spelling, but no. A ROUÉ is a "lecherous, dissipated man" ( Then there's RUE meaning "street" and RUE McClanahan from "Golden Girls" and "You'll RUE the day!" and ROONE Arledge ... so much to keep track of.

La Roux - Bulletproof - Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

Loved YESHIVA and JACKKNIFE. Learned IMARET and RAREE from constant crosswording. AS FIT and EMAGS can bite me. Thankfully (thankfully!), they're outnumbered by good stuff.


  • 14A: First step in a series (A to B) — I probably had more trouble in this wee NW corner than I did in the whole puzzle. Was looking for a command, e.g. "Put tab A in slot B" or the like.
  • 55A: Big diamonds, maybe (aces) — did Not get this until I was done. The ACES are cards. Couldn't think only of rocks or baseball.
  • 28D: They may be found in a tank (GIs) — same as with ACES. Couldn't parse it, and when I did, couldn't imagine what GIs had to do with tanks. How's that for dense? I was thinking "... like a drunk tank??"
  • 1D: Sound on "Batman" ("Zap") — Did I miss the part where he carried a laser gun around?
  • 22D: Time manager's directive? (edit!) — "Time" here = magazine. Feels a *little* clunky, this clue.
  • 24D: "Solomon and _____," 1959 biblical epic ("Sheba") — Come back, little Sheba!

Two final things before I wrap up. First, Doug Peterson and Andrea Carla Michaels made a birthday puzzle for me entitled "King of the Blog." It is brilliant, but also sooooo insidery (all about this blog and its comments section) that I'm not sure how doable it will be for someone who reads me only casually. Still, you are more than welcome to give it a try. Get it in .puz or .pdf form here. Thanks, Andrea and Doug. It's an amazingly detailed and thoughtful puzzle, as well as an incredibly sweet gesture.

Lastly, please please please check out / distribute the puzzle I wrote to support Christina Applegate's breast cancer foundation. I wrote it a couple months ago, rewrote it over the past 48 hrs, and released it yesterday (Christina's birthday). To read about the puzzle and print it out or download it, go here (or just scroll down if you're on my main page — it's the post immediately before this one). And anything you could do to promote the puzzle to solvers you know would be greatly appreciated. (Thanks to Amy Reynaldo / Diary of a Crossword Fiend for hosting the .puz versions of the above puzzles)

I'm thankful for all y'all who read this, and to Will Shortz for putting on such an interesting show.

Signed, Rex Parker, 40

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


foodie 7:59 AM  

Happy Thanksgiving, to Rex and Everyone in Rexville! And Happy Birthday Rex! Forty is a wonderful age, if I remember correctly...

Loved the puzzle! We've been debating whether or not to take the time away from cooking and take my granddaughter to see the Macy Thanksgiving Parade. The puzzle clinch it for me. So thanks to Paul as well! And in your honor, Rex, I'll make sure she meets Kermit.

Wishing you all a joyous day!

foodie 8:00 AM  

I mean Thanks to PAULA G!!

Jeffrey 8:06 AM  

Happy birthday Rex. Nice of your whole country to take the day off in celebration.

Elaine 8:21 AM  

Hand up for trouble with silly old NW... I even knew PACO Rabanne, much to my surprise. Finally figured out OBOE...then ZERO....then ZAP...and sat and sat and thought, "Oh, surely not...!"

Happy Thanksgiving! all over the USA! and Happy, Happy Birthday to Rex. The Forties are a grreat decade! Enjoy yourself! (Loved your B-day puzzle, too!) Keep on keepin' on!

bookmark 8:41 AM  

The far NW corner was my tough spot, too. The theme was appropriate and, on Thanksgiving, a family-oriented one.

Happy birthday, Rex. We are all thankful for your passion and dedication to the crossword community.

dk 8:47 AM  

While I cannot spell YESHIVA I can spell Happy Birthday Rex!

Paula, great t-day puzzle.

Parshutr 8:48 AM  

Happy birthday, kiddo!

John 8:48 AM  

Happy Thanksgiving!!
Rex, G.I.'s can be found in drunk tanks, dont think they cant! Have you ever seen NO TIME FOR SARGENTS?

Parshutr 8:50 AM  

my only glitch came from putting in TAIPAN instead of SHOGUN. Strange for an author to have two best-sellers each six letters ending in N. Or maybe not so strange...

mac 8:53 AM  

I have three puzzles waiting for me, the Christina one, the Rex one and today's NYT, but I want to say Happy Birthday to Rex and Happy Thanksgiving to all my blog friends!

ArtLvr 8:58 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
nanpilla 9:06 AM  

Happy Birthday, Rex!

Did all three puzzles last night, and thoroughly enjoyed them all.

Happy Turkey day to all...

imsdave 9:15 AM  

Happy Birthday Rex! Nice puzzle today (anyone else try OKRA for ROUX?)

Enjoy the holiday folks.

Ben 9:22 AM  

Agreed, it was easy for a Thursday. Halfway down the grid I was still looking for a Thanksgiving angle and happily Paula delivered a nice one.

Happy birthday, Rex.

David 9:24 AM  

Happy Birthday, Rex, and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here and especially to Paula and Will for a very enjoyable start to the day.

I'm a newcomer here, and the sense of community gives a great start to the day! Thanks!

SethG 9:29 AM  

Happy Birthday old man!

retired_chemist 9:37 AM  

Happy birthday Michael! (Rex is a supernatural hero, to judge by his avatar, and doesn't have birthdays in the mere mortal sense.)

Enjoyed the Macy's Day puzzle - but if you haven't done the birthday puzzle, do! It is a lot of fun but, as Rex pointed out, will be tough, even inscrutable, to those who are not regulars on this blog.

Re Paula's puzzle - the NW was my sticking point also. Refused to believe PACO Rabanne until the P and C emerged.

Thought of OKRA @ 21D, imsDave, but didn't try it.

Personal shoutouts to my older daughter CAROL and my father DEWEY - cool.

Was hoping for a SNL clip for the unisex PAT.

Happy Thanksgiving to everybody.

Leon 9:38 AM  

Thank you Ms. Gamache.

Thank you RP and Happy BD.

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate. I toast you all with some Beaujolais Nouveau.

According to a Parade History site, Elsie was retired in 1968 and Felix was retired in 1938.

Of course, Kermit is still flying.

Meg 9:39 AM  

I'm spending a lovely morning making stock, watching the parade (does everybody lip-sync?) and doin' the puzzles.

But somebody help me! What's with the circles on the King of the Blog?

Happy Birthday, Rex, the man who hates crosswords and Happy Thanksgiving all!

Bob Kerfuffle 9:48 AM  

Wonderfully appropriate puzzle; I did it while watching the beginning of the Parade this morning. (Now if NBC would only tone down the promotion of NBC shows a bit!)

Thank you, Paula G, for a great puzzle.

Thank you Rex for your ongoing efforts and Happy Birthday.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

Happy Birthday Rex. Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a goodnight. Golfballman.

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

PS what happened to all the avatar pics? Am I just now noticing or have they been gone for awhile? Golfballman.

PIX 9:53 AM  

Perfect, quick, puzzle for Turkey day.

Thanks to all of you for teaching me so much about crossword puzzles.

JC66 10:08 AM  

Happy Birthday 'kid'!!!

Thanks for all your daily efforts.


Grandpappy Steve 10:12 AM  

Happy Birthday, Rex & Happy Thanksgiving. Loved this puzzle, a bit on the easy side but that's ok because I've got a lot to get done this morning.

NW corner was the last to fall. Got OBOE right away but nothing else would come to me. Once I finally saw ZERO, the rest was cake.

Tried OKRA for 21D but that only lasted a couple of seconds before I corrected to ROUX.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and Happy Birthday,RP. Nice theme for the day. This puzzle took me longer than usual- I let my 10 year old daughter 'help' me. And she kept distracting me by asking when the parade was on.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:13 AM  

Downloaded the pdf of the Birthday Puzzle. Took me 15 minutes, blazing time for me. Does that make me an almost insider?

Will you post the answer, just to check, not that I have any doubts, but more importantly, so we can speak openly about our guesses about the figure created by connecting the circled letters in appropriate order?

(I don't believe any of the above constitutes a "spoiler".)

PlantieBea 10:25 AM  

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to Rex, Happy Birthday.

I finished this last night while waiting for my kids to fly home through the turbulent southern skies. Struggled a bit with the NW, and ended with an error of ZAM/MACO! Grrr...glad to meet you PACO.

Thanks for the extra puzzles and special thanks for the daily NYT puzzle blogging, Rex. I'll save the puzzles for turkey cooking time later today.

slypett 10:31 AM  

Happy birthday, Rex! And to all his friends out there in Rexville, USA, a happy (if it's to your taste) Thanksgiving.

Meg 10:43 AM  


Got it! I connected the letters in order and got a praying (preying?) mantis.

Kurt 10:43 AM  

I loved the puzzle too. Just right for the day. Thanks, Paula.

Happy Birthday Rex! Thanks for all that you do.

Skua 10:51 AM  

@bob and @meg: Thanks for your Sharpe insights.

Two Ponies 11:17 AM  

Best wishes to everyone and esp. Rex today.
My day started with taking the dogs to the park and stopping to grab a NYT on the way home, just like I do most Saturdays. I'm working the puzzle thinking "Hey, this is easy for a Sat!" The joke was on me.
Second day in a row with an unknown (to me) fashion designer clogging up my NW. Thanks to constant solving I now breeze through things like yeshiva, imaret, and raree. A year ago or so everything was much different.
@ r_c, I thought of Just Pat from SNL as well.
Time to get busy in the kitchen. Very traditional fare today with my favorite oyster dressing!
I hope I have time to check out the bonus birthday present puzzle. Who am I kidding? Of course I will!

retired_chemist 11:25 AM  

I was just confused on my first look at the circles in the birthday puzzle. The praying mantis reference now mystifies me.


Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?


By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.


Methinks it is like a weasel.


It is backed like a weasel.


Or like a whale?


Very like a whale.

Hamlet, Act III, Scene I

Denise Ann 11:25 AM  

Happy birthday to my Rex, a day brightener seven days a week! And Happy Thanksgiving to all the posters! What a gang.

So, I made two pumpkin pies last night, and then sat down to do the puzzle -- and I loved it!! Some year I am going to take the grandchildren to Manhattan for the parade!

And yes, they know Kermit -- but they love Elmo.

jae 11:29 AM  

Happy T-Day to all and happy birthday Rex. Sweet easy puzzle on a day to relax. Interesting to see IPANA pop up again so soon. Time to print out the bonus puzzles and start cooking!

chefwen 11:36 AM  

Happy Birthday Rex and Happy Thanksgiving all.

Fun and easy TG puzzle.

Yup, through in okra right off the bat, thinking YUK, I hate that stuff. Also had irate before LIVID and afros before GALAS, all easily fixed. Last fill was the AP in the NE corner.

Time to go sling some hash.

Go Packers!

Unknown 11:46 AM  

Looks like we all provide the birthday wishes today and Paula brought the balloons. Cooking up a storm here and hope everyone enjoys their crossword time, their meal and their families today.

PS I think I will roux tomorrow.

CoolPapaD 11:48 AM  

Rex - Happy Birthday! What you do really means a lot to me and this whole community - enjoy!

All three puzzles are terrific today, so congrats and thank you to all of the constructors. Rex's B-day puzzle was a blast - all I'll say is that one particular area was a bit hard, but the remainder was quite doable for those that visit here daily.

Anyone else here blown away that Felix the Cat is more than 80 years old?!

Two Ponies 12:05 PM  

I just finished the birthday puzzle and it was so much fun. Thank you Andrea and Doug for the custom-made treat. So full of insider tricks.
The regular visitors here will be thrilled. (I'm pouting a little but I'll get over it.)

Greene 12:34 PM  

Happy birthday Rex. Your writing and the commenters on this blog have become such a part of my daily routine that I can scarcely recall a time when I didn't come here to check my answers, learn, laugh, and commune. Many happy returns to all!

I thought Paula's puzzle was charming. My wife and I spent part of our honeymoon in Manhattan (naturally) and it was the only time I've ever seen the parade live. A good friend surprised us the night before by taking us to the Upper West Side so we could watch the balloons being inflated and then stored under giant nets to keep them earthbound. It was incredibly festive with street vendors and buskers in abundance, a light snow falling, and KERMIT THE FROG blowing up right in front of us. Good times.

Meg 12:41 PM  

@ret chem:

If I have mystified you, then my work this day is done. I was just having a bit of fun or harking back to an earlier discussion of dot connecting. Don't know about Bob Kerfuffle. He may have found something.

There is an order to the letters, whatever shape you may see.

Do the puppies get something special today?

jeff in chicago 1:17 PM  

I'm thankful that today's puzzle was easy and fun! Downright ROCKSOLID. (Yes, the NW slowed me down, too.)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Happy Birthday Rex!

I also liked the Rex b-day puzzle, and am glad I've been reading here long enough to get the personal references. LOVE that it's jammed with crosswordese. Haven't figured out the circles (yet).

The Applegate puzzle was a good time as well. I plugged in on Facebook via my friend Connie Schultz, who had just written a piece about breast cancer. (Connie is a Pulitzer-winning columnist I used to work with at the Plain Dealer in Cleveland. She is married to Sherrod Brown, the Democrat senator from Ohio, who is working hard on the health-care legislation. I recommend "friending" Connie on FB and reading her stuff.) to stuff my gut with great food! Y'all be good!

Matt 1:23 PM  

I'm usually stuck in syndication-land but today I was able to do today's puzzle on a plane en route from O'Hare to DFW, and it was just challenging enough for my sleep-deprived brain to complete at an earlier hour than I usually arise.

I read the blog every time I finish a puzzle and it has helped my completion skills tremendously. For that I thank Rex and all the commenters who explain the clues I didn't understand the first time around.

Happy Turkey Day!

mccoll 1:26 PM  

Hippo birdies two ewes!
Good puzzle PG. The first thing that was on the Tellie this morning was the Thanksgiving Parade.
Give thanks, there is no where to go but up.

retired_chemist 1:45 PM  

@ meg - puppies get nothing special. We prefer not to deal with what their sensitive innards would do with stuff they aren't used to. Definitely not breakfasty.

Doug P 1:48 PM  

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

If you're a Rex regular and you weren't included in his birthday puzzle, please don't feel badly. Andrea & I squeezed in as many of you as we could manage. We were thinking about you all, even if you didn't make it into the final puzzle. There's always next year. :)

Ruth 1:53 PM  

@golfballman: a couple months ago I too found the avatar pics were "gone". Around that same time, my PC had started putting up a security box asking if I wanted to view content "not from a secure server" when I would click on the Comments link. If you click "no" on that, you get the avatars. If you click yes..blank-o. Might be what's happening to you.
Happy Thanksgiving, all, and happy birthday to Rex! With this as your birthdate, how many times in 40 years has your birthday been on Thanksgiving? (I recently met an 80 year old man who informed me that his early April birthday was on Easter this year, had been on Easter the year he was born, and hadn't been on Easter between those 2 dates. Which I kinda doubted. But Easter is much more variable than Thanksgiving)
Rambling. Sorry!

Clark 2:13 PM  

Happy Birthday @Rex. You are a grownup now; I will have to start treating you with respect.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Let the calorie consumption begin.

chefwen 2:36 PM  

Thanks to Andrea and Doug for the fun filled Birthday puzzle, it was a hoot (that's the cheesehead in me coming out)

da kutch 2:47 PM  

Okay, I've been reading this blog since Rex was the 8,947th greatest crossword puzzle solver in the universe, but never felt the need to post (mostly 'cause sooner or later someone would say what I was thinking anyway). But the fact that ACME's birthday puzzle seemed not in the least bit esoteric (not to mention tons of fun) convinced me that I'm spending way too much time with y'all not to say hi ... and its a propitious time (squared) to say: thanks to all of you for brightening up my days, and especially thanks and happy birthday to our inimitable, incisive, witty, sometimes crabby and often hilarious host. You are the King.

ps: also loved Paula G's puzzle, tho I was sure for too long that "okra" was the thickener and that "nobody" was "nemo" -- which inconveniently crosses just fine with "oboe."

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Happy birthday to Rex/Michael.

High-five bear paws to Cal for beating 7-point favorite Stanfurd last Saturday in the 112th Big Game. (Don't worry, I never heard of it either, until I moved to California. But The Game was a different matter.)

Now to the special puzzles...


Larry the Lurking Bear

Steve J 3:26 PM  

Indeed, fun puzzle appropriate for the day. Only had a couple hangups: While I got KERMITTHEFROG quickly, the "introduced in 1977" threw me for a while in terms of sussing out the theme, as I knew for a fact that I had watched Kermit the Frog as a kid in the early 70s on Sesame Street.

And being a little kid in the early 70s contributed to my one problem corner, the SW. Looking it up, Ipana disappeared from the market around the time I was born, and I'd never heard of it outside of crosswords. And even though it was a clue just a few days ago, I couldn't remember it. Combined with not knowing IMARET, the square with the "I" just sat there taunting me for a bit. I had to mentally go through the vowels until something sounded right.

Haven't done the b-day or Applegate puzzles yet. Saving those for part of a long, lazy four-day weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Yanks.

PlantieBea 3:40 PM  

Another Happy 40th to Rex. Thanks for sharing the birthday puzzle link and thanks to Andrea and Doug for the special puzzle. I enjoyed it and was glad to be able to participate in the birthday fun.

Back to the stove...

andrea ONAIR Michaels 3:54 PM  

@happy birthday, SHarp Rex!!!

Happy Thanksgiving all!!!!!!

THis is actually my second aniversary on the blog when my friend forwarded the link and said "Do you know there is some guy who is happy it's your puzzle on his birthday"

@Two Ponies
If you unscramble the circled letters, there is a secret message JUST FOR YOU!!!!!!!

Your puzzle was beautiful...and 17 x 17 to boot! Lovely tribute.
And I connected the extra R's and made an apple pie which was a brilliant shout out to both Thanksgiving and APPLEgate!

Next year???!!! What, a 41st bday puzzle???!! um, ok.

Re: Paula puzzle...

Loved it. Thought ONAIR was nice tie-in, but worried about the JACKKNIFE being too near the balloons to pop them.
I solve top to bottom, so after I had KERMITTHEFROG, FELIXTHECAT and ELSIETHECOW
I had - - - - - - - - L - O N
and temporarily filled in
- - - - - THELION
Ha! That'll teach me to try and out guess PAULATHEQUEEN!

@da kutch
YAY! Welcome and boy you got THAT right!!!!!!!!!!!

The Corgi of Mystery 5:00 PM  

Late to the party here, but just want to say

1) Happy birthday Rex
2) Thanks to (a) the constructors, (b) Will and (c) Rex (again) for keeping us entertained day after day, and
3) Happy Turkey Day to all who care about it

xyz 6:13 PM  

Easy, indeed ... !?!?!?

Once I figured out how hideous the clueing and answers were. Yes, easy. When ...

'Tis funny, PACO (first fill), ACES, GIS, ROUX, MACYS, PARADEBALLOON, the three character answers were my segeways. Then that made how obviously horrid the clue/ans. are/were FER (yuck) me.

I hated stuff like FORA, FER! (Ycccch), nobody=ZERO, "Z". Next time I see Paula's name, I'll know what I'm in for.

That's what I learnt toodae.

xyz 6:26 PM  

Now, after reading the AFORE posts ... If you actually know what ROUX is (instead of not going to say it)it's easy. hahaha

bv1955 6:32 PM  

Thanks Rex and Happy Birthday to you and Christina Applegate!
Enjoyed the puzzle and donated to her worthy cause on the site!

bv1955 6:32 PM  

Thanks Rex and Happy Birthday to you and Christina Applegate!
Enjoyed the puzzle and donated to her worthy cause on the site!

edith b 6:41 PM  

Had a hard time trying to figure out the relationship between ELSIETHECOW and KERMITTHEFROG. Add FELIXTHECAT to the mix and I was really confused. Walked into all the traps others noted but managed to fix them all.

At last, I was able to see what united the three theme entries at MACYS and solved quickly (?!) from that point forward.

@Parshutr Sure sign you are doing too many puzzles when you make the observation about 2 different Clavell novels being 6 letters long and both ending in N. (I noticed the same thing.)

OldCarFudd 7:29 PM  

The Big Four-Oh, eh? No wonder you were grumpy earlier in the week! Many happy returns! I'll testify that, from the vantage point of 73, 40's really pretty good. Many thanks for creating this blog; it gives a lot of pleasure to a lot of people.

I enjoyed Paula's puzzle. Topical, easy but not condescending, and no stale fill. I'll do the other two over the long weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

joho 8:05 PM  

Thank you Paula Gamache for a lovely Thanksgiving puzzle ... just what I was hoping for. Uplifting just like the balloons in it.

Happy Birthday, Rex! 40 is really just the beginning of the best part of your life. You'll see.

I have been at it all day since early this morning and will just now sit down to do the "Birthday" puzzle. I can't wait.

It's been a lovely day and I am very thankful. For a lot things. Crossword puzzles and this blog are near the top of my list.

Enjoy everybody, see you tomorrow.

Bob Kerfuffle 8:37 PM  

(Just back from family get-together.)

@Meg, 12:41 PM - No, I hadn't found anything. I was hoping someone else might have. Too woozy with turkey now; will have to give it some thought tomorrow.

@retired_chemist, 11:25 AM - The following is a true story in spirit. I just forget most of the details except the punchline:


Do you see yonder clouds?


By the mass, and 'tis like the death of Saint Sebastian, indeed.


Methinks it is like Washington Crossing the Delaware.


It is to me much like American Gothic.


All I see is a duckie and a horsie.

Charles Shultz, c. 1962

Rex Parker 8:39 PM  

Today would have been Charles Schulz's 87th birthday.


mac 9:24 PM  

The food is finally put away and the kitchen cleaned up - everybody's downstairs watching a movie and I get a little time for the puzzles and the blog!

Very nice Thanksgiving Puzzle, Paula. Paco Rabanne I only know from the fragrance, a very distinctive one. I used a little roux for my gravy this evening.
I've lived in and around NY for many years but I've never been to the parade. Even so, as soon as I had KER.... I figured out Kermit the frog and guessed the theme. Great fill, I love jack knife (present for Rex with the double k?), figment, rock solid and yeshiva. A good time.

I of course LOOOVED the birthday puzzle. Received some funny emails about it too! I can just imagine Andrea and Doug working on it together, they must have had a good time. I had to laugh out loud at "Rex Parker does" and "a must". Also learned a couple of things: Bani and Drum. The young Turks!!
Now on to the Applegate puzzle before the hordes come back up.

sanfranman59 10:07 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, 6:55, 1.04, 63%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 9:49, 8:40, 1.13, 81%, Challenging
Wed 9:44, 11:41, 0.83, 12%, Easy
Thu 12:59, 18:19, 0.71, 2%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:49, 3:41, 1.04, 68%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:07, 4:27, 1.15, 85%, Challenging
Wed 5:03, 5:45, 0.88, 16%, Easy
Thu 6:38, 8:51, 0.75, 7%, Easy

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Relative to the normal solve times for the day of the week, this was the 3rd easiest puzzle for all solvers and 9th easiest for the top 100 solvers in the 26 weeks I've been tracking times.

Karen from the Cape 10:33 PM  

One more Happy Birthday Rex, and thanks for sharing your birthday present with us!

Stan 11:53 PM  

My 'aha' moment was realizing that OKRA would not work, and that the correct answer had to be FILE.

ohforgoodnesssake 1:19 AM  

Do NOT connect the circles, just unscramble the letters in them! :)

Doc John 1:55 AM  

I'm surprised that nobody mentioned the early comment about Katherine Hepburn's acting: something like she "ran the gamut of emotion from A TO B."

Doc John 1:55 AM  

Oh yeah, hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving!

Bob Kerfuffle 8:07 AM  

@ohforgoodnesssake, 1:19 AM - You said "Do NOT connect the circles, just unscramble the letters in them! :)"

That's a good idea. But what do we get by unscrambling?

Cherish a lamp

hi, hemp rascal

each lip harms

I hamper clash

hale Sir Champ

Champ, he rails?


Acme, harsh lip?

or my favorite,

Pals reach him?

william e emba 1:34 PM  

Only hiccups were I didn't believe ZAP was a Batman sound, and we just learned earlier this month (11/3) that ELSIE THE COW appeared at the 1939 World's Fair!

The only reason this wasn't my fastest Thursday was because the libraries were all closed, so I borrowed my neighbor's NYT and filled out the grid on a separate sheet of paper and then afterwards returned the paper.
Nephelococcygia and Charlie Brown! What a fantastic combination that was. Schulz claimed that that 1965 Sunday cartoon received more feedback over the years than any other. Lucy, Linus, and CB are lying on a mound. CB makes some pretty impressive faces during Linus' descriptions.

Lucy: Aren't the clouds beautiful? They look like big balls of cotton. I could just lie here all day and watch them drift by. If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud's formations. What do you think you see, Linus?

Linus: Well, those clouds up there look to me look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean. That cloud up there looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor. And that group of clouds over there gives me the impression of the Stoning of Stephen. I can see the Apostle Paul standing there to one side.

Lucy: Uh huh. That's very good. What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?

Charlie Brown: Well... I was going to say I saw a duckie and a horsie, but I changed my mind.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:58 PM  

@william e emba - Thanks for the correction. Seems like I may have had the punch line a bit wrong, as well the spelling of Charles Schulz's name, which Prof. Rex corrected ever so gently.

But, really, Nephelococcygia? Is that really in your standard vocabulary, or did you happen to see it, as I did, on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? last week?

Bob Kerfuffle 2:10 PM  

Her's a bit more on the Millionaire reference.

william e emba 2:21 PM  

Actually, I learned Nephelococcygia from Aristophanes The Birds back in high school. The word is the name of the paradise the birds plan to build. It was popularized by Schopenhauer (in awful German translation) and is commonly known in English as "Cloud Cuckoo-land".

It's an unfortunately way-too-obscure word, but it has a history that maybe someday the OED will acknowledge. See here for some famous scientific usage.

william e emba 2:31 PM  

Well cut off my legs and call me Shorty! Talk about coincidence. Seriously, I don't watch TV, and I only find out about the good stuff later, usually way way later.

I did use Google to make sure I spelled it correctly, though! And no, people didn't suddenly add the word after seeing the show. Wiktionary has had it since 2007.

And thanks for the link!

william e emba 12:19 PM  

When I checked at home, I checked. I am happy to report that Nephelococcygia was in Webster's 2nd International. (You know, the real unabridged Webster's.)

slypett 2:26 PM  

willie e.: You and me both with our hands on the bible of American dictionaries.

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