Sweet frozen treat — THURSDAY, Dec. 17 2009 — Subject of Hoffman's Potion / Locale in Carlo Levi best seller / Allen and * old comedy duo

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Constructors: Francis Heaney and Patrick Blindauer

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: NOAH'S ARK (21A: Craft that's the subject of this puzzle) — six different animals appear TWO BY TWO (51A: How the passengers went in 21-Across) in the grid, i.e. SEAL next to SEAL, CAT next to CAT, etc., with each ANIMAL (54A: Brute) trying to escape an ALL OUT (19A: No holds barred) FLOOD (31D: Reason for 21-Across)

Word of the Day: ADÉLIE (63A: Penguin from Antarctica) — The Adélie Penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae, is a species of penguin common along the entire Antarctic coast and its nearby islands. They are among the most southerly distributed of all seabirds, along with the Emperor Penguin, South Polar Skua, Wilson's Storm Petrel, Snow Petrel, and Antarctic Petrel. In 1830, French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville named them to for his wife, Adélie. (wikipedia) [sadly, it appears the ADÉLIE was not allowed on board the ARK. He will be missed]


What a weird, fun puzzle! I knew what the theme was going to be before I ever made it out of that tiny piece of real estate in the NW ("SEAL next SEAL ... pairs of animals ... NOAH'S ARK"), but the puzzle still held many surprises and was plenty tough for me, if only because of that damned OTTER POP (22D: Sweet frozen treat). When I was done I looked OTTER POP up online and instantly recognized them from my childhood, but I can't say that I've seen or even heard about OTTER POPs since the early 80s. I had the far scarier / less appetizing OTTER PIE there at first. If Eskimos can have pies, why not OTTERs? Actually, I had OTTERPYE, figuring the nickname of the mystery astronaut was GORDY (bec. GORDY Howe would have been too easy?). Then I changed it to GORDI (!?!?!). Finally had put in PBA, which I'd suspected was right all along, at 49A: Group of pin-heads?: Abbr., which changed PYE/PIE to POP, and I just knew that was the right answer. GORDO! (45A: Mercury and Gemini astronaut, informally). It means fat! Rest of the grid was far easier to navigate than OTTER POP valley.


  • 14A: Hipster (CAT)
  • 17A: Tractor make, briefly (CAT)
  • 38A: Spicy sauce (MOLE)
  • 41A: Marilyn's mark (MOLE)
  • 60A: Frank (DOG)
  • 64A: Follow relentlessly (DOG)
  • 65A: Viking foe? (LION)
  • 68A: Louis VIII nickname, with "the" (LION)
  • 2D: It makes an impression (SEAL)
  • 3D: Navy commando (SEAL)
  • 33D: Basketball shooting game (HORSE)
  • 34D: Gymnast's equipment (HORSE)

Obviously forcing identical words alongside one another Really ties your hands when it comes to filling the grid, and considering that restriction, I think things look really good. Only the east, with its crosswordesey mash-up of I, TOO, LIRR, and ILLE, gave me any pause at all. Favorite answers of the day are GAY LIT (45D: Works stocked by a bookstore with a rainbow flag) and SCOTTIE (39D: Certain terrier) — the latter primarily because it appears in the same grid as James DOOHAN (8D: James of "Star Trek"), who played SCOTTY on "Star Trek." Completely forgot that DOCTOROW wrote "Billy Bathgate" (24D: "Billy Bathgate" novelist, 1989) — kept wanting John Irving to fit. Also totally forgot that SOON-YI was a Previn (15A: A Previn). Had that terminal "I" and thought "Did Andre have a brother named ... ALEXEI?"


  • 61D: "That's gotta hurt!" ("Ooh!") — if you're gonna have "AHH" (32A: Physical sound), then by all means, throw "OOH" in there as well.
  • 5A: "What Do You Do With ___ in English?" ("Avenue Q" song) ("A B.A.") — about the best way ABA will ever be clued, though I wouldn't look for it to take over primary cluing duties from the American Bar Association any time soon.
  • 23A: Subject of "Hofmann's Potion" (LSD) — made an educated guess here. Never heard of this. Also never heard of CLEM Haskins (36A: _____ Haskins, 1960s-'70s N.B.A. player) or Allen and ROSSI (9D: Allen and ___, old comedy duo), though the latter feels like a name I've said I don't know before.

  • 59A: Paris's Rue de ___ (Rivoli) — Only barely familiar to me. Sounds Italian.
  • 4D: ___ City Hall, Nobel ceremony locale (Oslo) — I like that a lot of the crosswordese in this puzzle was giving odd or interesting or unusual cluing. See also the cluing of I, TOO as a piece of verse, and not just the poem title at 37A: "___, sing America": Langston Hughes.

Finally, please allow me to direct you to a bonus puzzle, constructed by me and one of today's NYT constructors, Patrick Blindauer, in honor of a certain television show that turns 20 today. Click on "Print," below, or go here, to Amy Reynaldo's crosswordfiend.com forum, and download a .puz / AcrossLite version of the puzzle. You can comment on the puzzle (and find a link to the solution) here. Thanks so much.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

20 Years of Detention


David 7:25 AM  

Ah, the Rue de Rivoli - we had a Paris vacation apartment there, and our favorite restaurant in Paris, Chez Gabriel, is nearby on the Rue Saint-Honore.

A lovely puzzle, although crossing SOONYI with DOOHAN seemed obscure to me.

Greene 7:41 AM  

This puzzle knocked me for a loop. I got the side by side SEAL answers pretty quickly, but figured that wasn't allowed, so I took out one of them, left the NW incomplete and moved on. When I got CAT on CAT I finally remembered it was Thursday and some kind of hijinx were at play. Once I got to 21A it all became clear and the rest of the puzzle was a blast. I had a bit of trouble with the ILLE/LIRR cross, but guessed the L and got it right. Terrific puzzle and just right for a Thursday.

Loved the ABA clue. Ah, what song to link from the salacious Avenue Q (a sort of Sesame Street meets South Park kind of musical which boasts "full frontal puppet nudity")? The tune stack includes such numbers as "The Internet is for Porn," "If You Were Gay" (sung by a couple of puppets who bear more than a passing resemblance to Bert and Ernie), "It Sucks to be Me, or my personal favorite "Everyone's a Little Bit Rascist." My absolute favorite line is when the Gary Coleman character complains that he can't get a taxi. Priceless. Somehow this doesn't seem quite so offensive when coming out of the mouths of puppets.

Parshutr 8:05 AM  

Gordo was the nickname of Gordon Cooper. Has nothing to do with fat. In the movie, "The Right Stuff" he was portrayed by Dennis Quaid.

Rex Parker 8:07 AM  

I link to the astronaut, who was clearly a very fat Spanish man.

Parshutr 8:14 AM  

There were no fat astronauts; they had to fit into capsules built for men shorter than 5'11" and less than 180 lbs. And LeRoy Gordon Cooper, Jr., was as Spanish as [name your favorite non-Spaniard].
Wiki reports that Gordo logged more time in the air than all the other Mercury astronauts combined, was the first to sleep in space, and on the launch pad during countdown.

joho 8:17 AM  

I give this puzzle my high-pitched, barking SEAL SEAL of approval!

Same hard spots as @Rex with OTTERPOP, which I've never heard of or seen, and SOONYI.

Thanks to Francis and Patrick for a pefect Thursday ... definitely A HOOT.

nanpilla 8:17 AM  

The ashes of both Gordo(n) Cooper and James Doohan were on the same rocket launch as my brother's ashes last year. The rocket failed to reach orbit, so they will try again sometime soon.

I won't be able to see Doohan's name from now on without also remembering that exciting final at the ACPT earlier this year!

Liked this puzzle a lot. So glad he was able to fit in the horses!
(@two ponies from last night: too late, I was traumatized as a child, also!) Other ANIMALs represented:
the owls were AHOOTing
the sheep were BAAing
hens were in the COOP
ULEE's bees

CoolPapaD 8:34 AM  

Absolutely wonderful puzzle. After getting the CATs and HORSEs, I scanned for the linking clue, found 21A, and things moved from there - still slowly, but somewhat smoothly. The plethora of proper nouns was balanced by very gettable crosses, thought this puzzle had more unknowns to me than most.

Do OTTERPOPs come attached to each other like popsicles? If so, we could count them as a theme answer.

Favorites today were LSD (got it with the S), FLOSS, and GORDO (one of my nicknames - my MIL is Mexican, and she makes a killer green MOLE sauce).

Van55 8:35 AM  

Outstanding puzzle even though some of the fill was pretty arcane.

MsCarrera 8:47 AM  

Would someone please explain how PBA (Policeman's Benevolent Association?) is a group of pinheads? Thanks.

Dough 8:53 AM  

Fun puzzle overall, but was too frustrated by NE area with the Star Trek guy. I suspect that there is a conspiracy of constructors and puzzle checkers who all are fluent in Star-Trekkery, leaving us non-Trekkies up a tree often (of course, everyone knows ... from Star Trek). The other was the Otter Pop. I, like Rex struggled with PIE and PYE. The EBA is the English Bowling Association, so it took me forever to abandon that. I read a neat anti-Intelligent Design argument that asked how come if all animals came off the Ark at Ararat, some traveled great distances (like the kangaroo and its kin) leaving no examples of its kind along the way. Why didn't the dear little penguin also travel up to the equally appropriate arctic, etc.

MsCarrera 8:58 AM  

I guess PBA is Professional Bowler's Assoc. - hence pinheads.

Elaine 9:03 AM  

This puzzle was a challenge, even though large chunks went in quickly and seamlessly. Had to struggle in the West Coast-- Rue de LA PAIX...had to go when TWO BY TWO was apparent. CAFFE Americano finally appeared after I took out NORTE, then discarded both AHOOT and THROWN OVER, then put back AHOOT...you get the idea.

Finally got all of that straight, and the LAST, last LAST thing to go in was OTTERPOP. I even knew GORDO... OTTER????POP ...Nevah heard of it. Still do not believe in it. Must be another Yankee thing.

Terrific puzzle, I thought. Medium with just a touch of Challenging! Thanks!

CoolPapaD 9:03 AM  

After the FLOOD, the earth's human population could have been replenished much faster if there were more Tigers on board the ark...

Elaine 9:13 AM  

A son's friend, who earned A BA in English, once commented that one had to look down quickly when answering the question, "What did you major in?" Still cracks me up.

Surely, surely you have read Tom Wolfe's _The Right Stuff_??!! Having been alive and aware for all of that history, (Oh, the day Sputnik hit the news!) I was fascinated to learn the background. The Original Seven Astronauts were idolized; what a shock to see a fuller portrait...

Stan 9:20 AM  

Aaaaargh! Such a great puzzle and I finished with a mistake: OTTER PIE.

Favorite animal clues were for the two MOLEs, plus canine and FLOSS.

Once saw SOON YI on Madison Ave. sidewalk, holding hands with... wait! must put this creepy image out of my mind.

ArtLvr 9:23 AM  

Late-night solving left me with MAA at 6D, AMA at 5A and ABA at 49A, with that unfamiliar OTTERPYA which seemed to be a send-up of Eskimo Pie. Oh well... the rest was easy. LSD today, after THC just yesterday!

Like David, I found Rue de RIVOLI a gimme since I lived with a family there as a student, right across from the Louvre. And I somehow recalled ROSSI. Loved SPARE ME and the LIRR.

@ Nanpilla -- please explain a bit about your brother's ashes?


Ulrich 10:04 AM  

@Stan: I'm with you re. otter pies--you have to drizzle some lemon juice over them to get rid of the slightly fishy smell, but aside from that, as delicious as steak-and-kidney pie.

I also loved the puzzle--my only complaint: it's very mammalocentric--where are the doves and ravens (fresh in my memory from perusing Crumb's Illustrated Genesis recently)?

dk 10:13 AM  

OTTERPOPS and LSD, breakfast of champions.

**** (4 Stars or 2 Stars side by side)

I can only hope the two horses were not roan (red) otherwise a certain deux cheval will jump the track.

Two great puzzles in a row. woo woo!

Thanks Francis and Pat.

Elaine 10:24 AM  

@Two Ponies @nanpilla
I will use up my last legal post to hark back...sympathizing with your reaction to "The Red Pony" movie. It did not even honestly reflect the book, which was depressing enough. And the music was a waste of Aaron Copeland's talent. Shudder. Why must the puzzle constructors subject our tender solver sensibilities to these assaults? There are plenty of clues for RED that won't renew childhood trauma, right?

OldCarFudd 10:34 AM  

Rex and I are on exactly the same wave length today. I could have made his points in his words. Since now I don't have to, I'll shut up.

Non-rouge deux cheval 10:49 AM  

What fun!!!
Another puzzle pushing the envelope.
I got the theme answers long before the rest of the fill.
Gay Lit after gay apparel yesterday and LSD after THC yesterday as noted by ArtLvr.
The sprinkling of animal, otter pop (???), and Adelie tightened up the theme density and kept me on my toes.
I was proud of myself for figuring out Renee from our frequent fill answer Nee.
Everyone is still being so funny. That must also be a bleed-over from yesterday. What a good week.
Big wink to @dk.
@ nanpilla, Sorry my warning came way too late.
Two Ponies

slypett 10:52 AM  

Damn! My fastest Thursday ever ruined by SOONYI and James DOOHAN--an even odder coupling than the historical one.

A bright and shining puzzle.

PlantieBea 11:23 AM  

What a fun Thursday. I too grinned at the equine pair. I ended with the OTTER PIE, and would never have remembered the POP in a million years without Rex's photo. PBA and bowling...who knew?

Thanks Francis and Patrick for this imaginative Thursday puzzle, and to Rex for the write-up.

Stan 11:32 AM  

@Ulrich: Garlic is essential for a really good otter pie.

mccoll 11:33 AM  

AAAAAARGH! OTTERPOP? This is a wtf to me. I had OTTERPYE and left it even though EBA means nothing.

Even so, I really enjoyed this one. Thank you, gentlemen. Indeed, God rest ye merry. I can see a pair of moles groping their way up the gangway to be met by a pair of anticipatory lions accompanied by the barking of seals and dogs and the baaing of sheep directed by Woody and Gordy. Great stuff!

mac 11:42 AM  

Fantastic puzzle! My only problem was that last night on facebook there was a discussion going on in which otter pop was mentioned, and I remembered when the "otter" part was filled in....

Mole/Mole was my first and favorite. PBA was tough, because I had saggy for baggy for a while. What does TCBY stand for again?

Isn't it deux chevaux?

william e emba 11:42 AM  

Again, I'll criticize TWO BY TWO. Some ANIMALs (including the ones in today's grid) went on NOAH'S ARK as a male and female pair. Other animals went on fourteen by fourteen.

Here's a fat GORDO.

Tuesday's NYT op-ed was about the menhaden, which little fish killed some of us way back when. In the paper edition, "menhaden" was part of the big font money quote even.

Rex Parker 11:45 AM  

"Geezer" accidentally posted this in the wrong comments section:

The center had me totally at a loss till I saw our CiC's solution. I still haven't heard of OTTERPOP, (or NEATO) and only now did I realize that COOP was not where you keep chickens but was a CO-OP.
BTW what is PBA, and how is it a group of pinheads?
My first double animal was LION, and I thought that was a crossword no no, until the other clues clued me in.

Unknown 11:51 AM  

I can at least answer why there were no fish on the ark. Noah did not want his grand opus to be turned into a carp ark.

The center section added ten minutes to my solve time after zipping around the edges pretty quickly. I am among those who spent time on the Rue Rivoli and enjoyed dining in the First arrondissement. Another enjoyable Thursday and still my favorite puzzle day.

Steve 12:01 PM  

We get big boxes of OtterPops at Costco! Maybe it is a west coast thing. (I get the impression most puzzle-solving people are easterners.)

One of my top five favorite puzzles of the year!


Clark 12:27 PM  

@MsCarrera -- Thanks for figuring out the PBA thing.

I don’t think they were called OTTER POPs when (or where) I was a kid. They sure were good though.

@mac -- That’s ‘The Country’s Best Yogurt’.

Sweet puzzle!

VaBeach puzzlers 12:32 PM  

I have never bungled a puzzle so badly. Had OTTERLOG, even though I knew that made no sense, and for 50D,SAGGY, which did make sense. I rationalized the resulting GSA for pinheads by telling myself that the Girl Scouts wear all those pins or medals or whatever they are... But I did get all the rest. And really enjoyed it.

Two Ponies 12:34 PM  

@ mac, If deux chevaux is correct blame @dk. Darn those French plurals. I only know "tourist French" but I always get treated well on the Rue de Rivoli because at least I try.
TCBY = This Can't Be Yogurt
@ william e. emba, Who went in groups of fourteen and why?

treedweller 12:46 PM  

Predictably enough, I saw the double SEAL and thought, "They can't do that!" Took one out, then put it back when I found the next animal. I thought it was a lot of fun, though I did it while on the phone and didn't really giver it enough attention to appreciate it.

@Two Ponies
I'm no biblical scholar, but I'm guessing the 14ers were there because the two lions had to eat something, and Noah wasn't willing to give up his family.

chefbea 12:55 PM  

I still don't get PBA. Maybe I missed the explanation

Fun puzzle. Got the 2 seals first and thought one was wrong cuz you cant hae the same word twice in a puzzle... then got noah's ark

Going to make potato chip cookies!!!!

Sarah 12:58 PM  

OTTERPOP? That sounds like the worst ice cream treat ever. What's next, krillsicles? FrozCod? I actually found this puzzle fairly easy, but was totally stumped by that clue. But I do remember the TCBY stands in various malls around the US (do they still exist?).

On the other hand, the Noah's ark theme was really fun: when I first got SEAL/SEAL I thought "Oh, hell, did I mess this up?" Then got to 21A and realized what was going on. Pretty plain sailing from then on.

MikeM 1:05 PM  

I finished, but had OTTERPIE... although I knew EBA was wrong. Great puzzle though - loved the constructon.
Wanted James TKIRK for the star trek clue.
Avenue Q was an excellent play although I believe it is now closed. Took the LIRR this weekend.

Steve J 1:15 PM  

@treedweller: Yes, some animals were brought in in larger quantities for food. But I don't recall if it was for food for Noah's family, or for the other animals.

@chefbea: PBA = Professional Bowlers Association.

Liked this one more after I finished it than I did while doing it. At first the doubled-up animals was really bugging me, even after I'd filled in NOAHSARK and TWOBYTWO. Then the lightbulb went on over my head. Finished it in almost exactly my average time, although I could have finished it more quickly if I'd remembered my hurricanes correctly (had IVAN first, then ERIN, neither of which made any sense with the crosses).

MikeM 1:16 PM  

PS... Can some Good Samaritan out there send me a PDF of Rex's and Patrick's Bonus Puzzle? I am at work and cannot get it as I have an old Adobe. My email is mmcfadden@clarendon-ins.com

Thanks in advance if anyone can do this! I will post again if I receive it...
Happy Holidays.. MikeM

Bob Kerfuffle 1:20 PM  

Great puzzle! A lot of fun even if it was a bit easy for a Thursday, and even though I have never heard of OTTERPOPS.

As I worked the puzzle, I just knew william e emba would remind us that:

Genesis 7

1Then the LORD said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. 2Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate, and seven pairs of the birds of the heavens also, male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth. 4For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground." 5 And Noah did all that the LORD had commanded him.

chefwen 1:32 PM  

Got CAT CAT right off the BAAt and had it pretty much figured out. My dad worked for Caterpillar most of his life, mom called them killerpellers. Not sure where she was going with that. Every time we would see one dad would have to explain the various functions, capacities, tire size, etc. etc. YAWN!

Have a friend who has two daughters that can eat Otter Pops by the boxful, so that was an easy one for me.

DOOHAN/SOONYI area the most difficult for me. Other than that, a fun, cutesy Thursday puzzle.

william e emba 1:36 PM  

Thanks Bob K. I believe standard exegeses has all the animals were vegetarian until after the Flood. Certainly humans were.

The 14s were the "clean" species. The extras were sacrificed on arrival.

scooper 1:48 PM  

writeup smacked a little of buddyism today, rex; you've ranted on numerous occasions about the kind of proper-noun mashup going on in the NE. this was an interesting puzzle, more or less what you'd expect from a francis heaney/patrick blindauer collaboration, kinda goofy, kinda clever, pushing the envelope of the xword form a little bit, but better cluing for either EYER or SOONYI or DIRK would have made that section feel less artificially impenetrable to me. perhaps it's because so much of the rest of the puzzle was so easy that they felt compelled to lay it on up in that corner. made for uneven solving in the end. rest of the puz was smooth like silk.

Van55 1:50 PM  

I liked it!

I had SAGGY for BAGGY at the end. Figured that the pin clue had something to do with bowling, but couldn't bring Professional Bowler's Association to mind for some reason.

retired_chemist 2:18 PM  

Very clever. Medium-challenging and tons of fun to solve. Took a while to see the side by side animals, and fortunately didn't have NOAH'S ARK all filled in before I saw and understood. Brought a broad smile to my face.

Hand up for OTTER PIE (love the preparation hints) and ESA/SAGGY at first. Fixed those. Also not knowing DOOHAN and being slow on the uptake for DRIED and SOON-YI made me fear I had errors when I finally went to check. But no.... all was NEATO.

retired_chemist 2:24 PM  

Non-puzzle wife has gone back to MI to see her relatives and friends while I sit with the three puppies that remain to be picked up from the October litter PLUS four more from a Dec 3 litter. I NEED NOAH'S ARK. Or, possibly, its competitor CUTTY'S ARK. Yeah, that sounds like more fun....

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

Can someone please explain Caffe Americano? Is this a standard phrase? I too had Norte Americano with which I'm familiar but not Caffe Americano - coffee I suppose but .....

Good challenging puzzle and no bloody rebuses

George NYC 2:57 PM  

Caffe Americano is standard barista speak in POSHER cafes and wine bars. It's espresso with hot water added to simulate a regular "American" cup of joe. Popular with the GAY LIT crowd. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course.

nanpilla 3:03 PM  

@artLvr : The company is Space Services Inc. and you can find them by googling the name. They send small ( 1 gram) quantities of ashes into space, which was one of my brother's last wishes. (That, and Beatles music at his memorial service.) The people at Space Services are very kind and helpful, and the ashes to space service really isn't very expensive. My brother was a bit of a Trekkie, so he would have loved that "Scotty" was there with him. (SCOTTIE and DOOHAN in the same puzzle - funny.) They must have many samples from James Doohan and Gordon Cooper, because they have been going up on just about every flight. Suborbital options are also available. Lots more info at their website.

Your Sommelier 3:14 PM  

Your sommelier suggests that your appreciation of OTTER PIE will be greatly increased by a fine vintage MACKEREL SMOOTHIE.

jae 3:23 PM  

Fun puzzle which was a bit on the tough side for me. Once I had a few letters, however, OTTERPOP was a gimme because my grandson's school gives them out as a reward for running laps. When I pick him and his sister up on Wed. he is usually in line to get an OTTERPOP, which is basically a thin popsicle minus the stick in a plastic case.

Sam Donaldson 3:27 PM  

When I first saw the grid I thought the huge swath of white space running from the SW to the NE was going to be involved in the theme. It looks like a twister sent all of the black squares to the NW and SE corners! Suspecting we would see triple-stacked entries (14-15-14) running diagonally up the grid, I thought, "Wow, it would take a tandem like Francis and Patrick to pull this off."

Then, when I uncovered the delightful theme, I thought, "Wow, it would take a tandem like Francis and Patrick to pull this off."

Kudos, gentlemen, on a most enjoyable collaboration!

Meg 3:33 PM  

COOPBOARD??? What on earth is that? Oh...CO-OP.

Never heard of Eboli or Rivoli. Does this qualify as (a) Natick? Is Natick a noun or an adjective?

I had IVAN instead of FRAN for a very long time, which really screwed up the West. Fran made Cat. 3 and caused 3 billion in damages to the Eastern Seaboard.

For me the PBA is the Police Benevolence Association. They tend to call frequently asking for money. However, I don't think the constructors meant to suggest that policemen are pinheads.

I really enjoyed the puzzle, especially trying to predict where the doubles would fall. On to the Simpsons!

OtterChef 3:33 PM  

To make a mackerel smoothie, would you not require a Bass-O-Matic?
And perhaps a Swedish chef?

Bork bork bork!

Anonymous 3:42 PM  

@George NYC - thanks for the Caffe Americano explanation - since I'm a New Orleans coffee and chicory drinker it sounds like really watered down coffee and not at all palatable - I want something that puts hair on one's chest

Nothing wrong at all with

MikeM 3:47 PM  


"PS... Can some Good Samaritan out there send me a PDF of Rex's and Patrick's Bonus Puzzle? I am at work and cannot get it as I have an old Adobe. My email is mmcfadden@clarendon-ins.com

Thanks in advance if anyone can do this! I will post again if I receive it...
Happy Holidays.. MikeM"

MikeM 3:52 PM  

thanks Rex!, I got the PDF

Clark 4:05 PM  

@OtterChef -- I think that a Bass-O-Matic is just what is called for. But, Swedish Chef? Bork bork bork? I wasn't getting it. Until I found this. It's not about OTTER POPs or Mackerel smoothies, but it is about yesterday's Frog Legs.

Anonymous 4:06 PM  

Otterpops are quite tasty! Very common out west. I think I remember "Kool-Pop" as a brand of the same item when I was a kid. Sold by the case every summer.
I'd still like to hear a valid answer to what you do with a "B.A" in English.

sanfranman59 4:07 PM  

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

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

Thu 18:50, 19:01, 0.99, 51%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Thu 9:44, 9:08, 1.07, 74%, Medium-Challenging

bookmark 4:20 PM  

The ADELIE penguin is featured in the current NEW YORKER (December 21& 28): "The Ice Retreat : Global Warming and the Adelie penguin."

La Barista 4:23 PM  

@Anon 4:06 - Re ABA in English - Learn what a CAFFE Americano is, and how to make one. See, CWs pose the questions and provide solutions to all of life's problems.

ArtLvr 4:23 PM  

@ nanpilla -- Many thanks for explaining the ashes to space. Who'd have thought? And belated condolences on the loss of your brother too... he must have had a happy-go-lucky spirit!

treedweller 5:09 PM  

Re: A B.A. in English
Sometimes, you become an arborist. It doesn't really help you much if you do, though.

Re: the 14ers
Man, I thought I was joking. That bible seems more messed up every time I take a closer look at it. I can't believe people take it so seriously.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

SueRohr 5:24 PM  

I thought the group of pinheads might be wrestlers so had WSA for a while but otterpow made even less sense than otterpie does to me now. Obviously a West Coast thing. I'm not sure how frank is dog. I always thought TCBY was "the country's best yogurt." Interesting to hear a different interpretation. This was a really clever and fun puzzle.

Jim in Chicago 5:38 PM  

Otter Pops must be regional. We certainly had the exact same thing, but I'm sure they weren't called Otter Pops, which I also had never heard of.

My only surprise was the missed chance at 56 across (animal) being clued as Brute instead of some Ark connection.

chefbea 5:46 PM  

@sueRohr Frankfurter=hot dog... frank=dog

Glitch 5:47 PM  

TCBY (The Country's Best Yogurt) ...Initially, the company's name was "This Can't Be Yogurt", but a lawsuit from a competitor named "I Can't Believe It's Yogurt!" forced TCBY to create a new backronym for its initials.

...and now you know [pause, pause] the rest of the story.


PIX 6:55 PM  

@Treedweller...I fully agree...everyone "knows" that Noah toook two of every animal until you actually read the bible and realize that is not true...Genesis has two creation accounts which contradict each other, there are two birth of Christ(Christmas) accounts which contradict each other...lots of people take it seriously; not sure if any of them actually read it.

on a lighter note: my wife works for LIRR and I was on the LIRR when I did the puzzle...only wish that Soon-yi, Doohan and Otterpops were as obvious...

Fun puzzle in spite of its fuzzy theology.

Two Ponies 7:30 PM  

@ treedweller and PIX,
I'm with you all the way.
I finally "came out of the closet" and sent my
Happy Solstice cards this year.
No one who actually knows me will even blink but
I feel better.

@ Glitch, Thanks for the back story (see 12:34 post)

Orange 7:44 PM  

Hockey player Howe spells his name Gordie, Rex. Little-known fact: That's the anglicization of his real name, Gordo, which his parents gave him because he was a fat Spanish baby.

@VaBeach: Otter Log doesn't come in lime and grape and cherry—only in brown.

Ulrich 7:57 PM  

@Two ponies et al: You miss the point: The Bible contradicts itself b/c God wants to test our faith--it would be too easy w/o the contradictions. Similarly, he put fossils into the rocks to tempt us to believe that the Earth is millions of years old, when, in fact, it's only 6000 years old (or is it only 4000? It seems to get younger and younger;-))

dk 8:23 PM  

Sorry @mac and two ponies it is deux chevaux. I was rushing out the door this am and did not have time to fact check.

@ulrich, my youngest sister thanks you from the well of her soul, I forwarded your post to her and now she has another nail to... help her siblings see the light.

@ret_chem, from yesterday: Me I just drinks till I hear that click--then I post.


Tennessee Williams 8:59 PM  

@ d(Brick)k - no mendacity there....


Geometricus 9:29 PM  

I too had SAGGY for BAGGY and hence NSA for "Group of pinheads" because I thought breaking codes or writing in code would involve a PIN number like you use at an ATM. Hence I could not figure out how one would eat an OTTERPIN

Two Ponies 9:38 PM  

@ Ulrich, Tests and temptations ...
I've always been good at both.

@ dk, No worries. The joke kept me happy for hours.

Speaking of hours, I'm deep into the happy one.
Step away from the keyboard.

John 10:45 PM  

Re: The Swedish Chef, Doesn't anybody remember the Muppet Show???

pauer 11:04 PM  

Hi y'all - thanks for the nice comments about the word-baby I made with FH. We wanted to make a puzzle with repeat entries (we usually work very hard to avoid such things), and Noah seemed a natural way to bring it all together.

Neither of us, to my knowledge, are employed by the Otter Pop people nor any corporate parent under which they are currently owned. Yet.

sanfranman59 12:03 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

Mon 6:38, 6:56, 0.96, 40%, Easy-Medium
Tue 9:39, 8:39, 1.12, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 13:21, 11:53, 1.12, 81%, Challenging
Thu 18:59, 19:01, 1.00, 53%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:28, 3:41, 0.94, 39%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:51, 4:26, 1.09, 81%, Challenging
Wed 6:01, 5:50, 1.03, 66%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 9:33, 9:08, 1.05, 70%, Medium-Challenging

I'm not sure why the top 100 solvers found this puzzle to be relatively more difficult than the masses, but that's what the numbers say. And as we all know, numbers never lie ... right?

andrea andrea michaels 3:55 AM  


If only I realized there would have been a POP bleedover from yesterday, I wouldn't have left OTTERPIE in...
No OTTERPOPs in Minnesota, I guess.
Tho everything else is called POP and it's super-annoying.
When I go home for reunions, I feel everyone I used to know has been hired to insert the word POP into every sentence just to freak me out.
"You want POP? Who is bringing the POP? Here is some POP. What kind of POP would you like?"
(At which point I'd like a POP gun to shoot myself)

I hate when I don't get the joke!
Why would there be fish on an ark when they could swim along underneath? What does it mean CARP ARK? Is that a play on CAR PARK?

SOONYI in a puzzle!!!!!!!!??????!!!

TCBY = Bad naming anyway you cut/scoop it

Couldn't parse the ABA clue to save my life...maybe I should've majored in English.

I get EBOLI and EBOLA mixed up.
"Christ Stopped in Ebola and got really really sick" was the original title.

Francis and Patrick are geniuses. And I loved that none of the animals were clued as animals including the word ANIMAL!

LOVED this puzzle.

Singer 2:26 PM  

This was a cool puzzle - I was at first confused by the doubling of the animals because why would you have the same answer twice in a legitimate crossword, but then the theme popped out and made sense. As yesterday, though, I ended up with an error in the puzzle. I never heard of an OTTER POP, and thought that the astronaut nickname was Gordy, so I ended up with Otter Pye. I also had saggy instead of BAGGY, so the pinheads were the ESA. I couldn't figure out how the European Space Agency were pinheads, but gave it up for not being hip to something. I still think saggy fits the clue better than baggy, but who knows what the PSA might be.

BTW, I grew up in Colorado and live on the west coast now, and I have never come across an OTTER POP ever in 60+ years.

But I still really liked the puzzle and look forward to a continuation of a great week.

Anonymous 12:04 AM  

Didn't want to believe the double answers at first, but after got the Noah's ark connection and all fell into place. Fun puzzle.

And the Allen and Rossi clue was great. Marty Allen of "Hello der!" fame. Old farts like me remember them.

WilsonCPU 12:13 PM  

From SyndicationLand(tm): My only quibble was that the doubled answers weren't completely symmetrical, but still darn clever.

Unknown 12:41 AM  

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