Actor David of Rhoda / WED 1-27-10 / Daily since 1851 briefly / Quiz show scandal figure Charles Van * / Unthinking servant

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Constructor: Alan Arbesfeld

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: State Anagrams — phrases that involve a state name + an anagram of that state name

Word of the Day: David GROH (6A: Actor David of "Rhoda")

David Lawrence Groh (May 21, 1939 – February 12, 2008) was an American actor best known for his portrayal of Joe Gerard in the 1970s Mary Tyler Moore spinoff series Rhoda, opposite Valerie Harper. [...] From 1983-1985, Groh played D.L. Brock in the ABC soap opera General Hospital, leaving that daytime serial to appear in Off Broadway play Be Happy for Me (1986). The New York Times drama critic Frank Rich found Groh "completely convincing as the brash gold-chain-and-bikini-clad Lothario".[4] Other New York City theater credits include Road Show (1987), and The Twilight of the Golds (1993). // On television, Groh appeared in guest roles on such series as Melrose Place, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Law & Order, Baywatch, Murder, She Wrote, The X-Files, JAG and L.A. Law. His movies included Victory at Entebbe (1976), Get Shorty (1995), and many independent films. (wikipedia, which warns you that David GROH is not to be confused with David GROHL, former drummer for Nirvana and current Foo Fighters frontman]

• • •

Not much to say here. States. Anagrams. Awkward in the middle and dull on the ends. Wanted to dial *something* for Florida ... if not "M" then maybe "F"; something. And KNOW RYE is pretty pathetic as state anagrams go. "NY" and NEW YORK are both in this puzzle, but you knew that (NY TIMES -> 39D: Daily since 1851 briefly). Aside from the new-to-me GROH, the one remarkable feature of this puzzle is how often I had vowel trouble and/or wanted a different answer because the clue was a cheap trap. Let's see. There's GAEA (24D: Earth goddess), which I think can be spelled GAIA; -IBLE (19A: Suffix with convert), which couldn't have been -ABLE though my brain sure considered it; DRINK (29D: Have trouble passing the bar?), which I had as DRUNK at first, despite its not working, part-of-speech-wise; BE STILL (5D: "Hush!"), which really wanted to be BE QUIET; GIFT (24A: "It's a ___"), which really really wanted to be GIRL; and then DOREN (26D: Quiz show scandal figure Charles Van ___) and ARAM (38D: Composer Khachaturian), which I knew ... -ish. Guessed at their spellings and was right. Used Mamie as a guide to Charles's name, and just crossed my fingers on ARAM.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: What helps pay the governor's salary in Austin? (Texas taxes)
  • 26A: Try to telephone some snowbirds? (dial for Florida)
  • 42A: Be familiar with a city near White Plains? (know Rye, New York)
  • 54A: Some film work Down East? (Maine anime)
No NAVE AD for Nevada? MICHIGAN, I'M ACHING!? MOST INANE MINNESOTA?? DELAWARE EEL AWARD? Of course those are all ridiculous ... but better ridiculous than tepid.

  • 1A: Intimate inn, familiarly (B and B) — my sincere thanks to whoever coined the term "ampersandwich" for this type of fill. It's a very handy word.
  • 20A: Mother's urging at the dinner table (eat) — not "shut up" or "stop picking your nose" or "leave your brother alone."
  • 33A: Broadway play about Capote (Tru) — I'm directing a senior thesis about Capote. Specfically, the student is making a graphic novel about Perry Smith, one of the killers in "In Cold Blood." Looks fantastic so far. Maybe she'll let me post images eventually. I owe her a lot, as she has been my undergrad T.A. all year — she brought me coffee before every class in the fall and yesterday, on the first day of "Spring" term, actually brought me sushi. I mean, I called her and ordered her to, but it was still thoughtful...
  • 34A: Major in astronomy? (Ursa) — love it, but it *can't* be new.
  • 40A: Whimsical roll-call response ("absent!") — love it.
  • 58A: Vogue competitor (Elle) — a no-brainer unless you think of "Vogue" as a late-80s Madonna-inspired dance style. Not sure what the "competitor" of that would have been. Line dance? Fox trot?
  • 59A: Unthinking servant (robot) — hmmmm ... depends on how you define "think." As modern robot stories go, I highly recommend "Pluto," a contemporary revision of "Astro Boy" by Naoki Urasawa.
  • 25D: Retro hairstyle (afro) — a. I still see these. All the time. b. I had the "O" and wrote in UPDO (?)
  • 44D: Online reads (E-zines) — I see that there are people online using this term, but I've never heard it uttered by a human being. It is a step up from EMAG, but not much of one.
  • 52D: Team Gil Hodges both played for and managed (Mets) — which is "stem" spelled backwards. Surely there is a mediocre puzzle theme in there somewhere.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. thanks to a certain beloved commenter for sending me a link to an astonishing blog parody. It's moderately entertaining as a write-up, but what's most astonishing about it is the Comments section. The comments are so spot on that I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Enjoy.

P.P.S. my wife had swooning, hilarious nostalgia over this video yesterday. Apparently some cultural group in N.Z. made the following into a big mid-80s hit. Enjoy:

[Eventually, there's breakdancing]


Anonymous 7:42 AM  

At first, I thought the puzzle would involve vowel swapping after filling in 17A. No such luck with the rest of the theme answers, and I don't like anagrams. Never have, probably never will.

I really wanted something about old people in 26A- I don't think about phoning an entire state. Must say, however, I kind of liked MAINEANIME, but maybe that's because Maine is a beautiful place.

Hands up if you started with girl in 24A. That messed me up for a while, since gladly fit in 6D.

My captcha is exing, which is what crosswords do. How appropriate

Bob Kerfuffle 8:00 AM  

D'oh! I like anagrams, I saw the anagrams, the anagrams were a help in an easy solve. But until I read Rex's write-up, I had overlooked the fact that they were all anagrams of states!

Speaking of "write-up", what's with PONYUP and WRAPUP?

Just one quick write-over, 62 A, had TRIPS before TREKS.

lit.doc 8:08 AM  

I can hardly wait to see Rex’s write-up and the other solvers’ posts in the a.m. I really liked this one, and wonder if it’s just that I’m still so easily amused or that it really is a nice, clever, anagram-themed puzzle with nice, accessible fill.

Having spent some time in music school, I knew ARAM, but I wonder if any solvers will fill fast enough to not notice the anagrams (how often do we finish and say “Oh, yeah, it had a theme, gee.”) and end up with one white square left at KNOW_YENEWYORK, thinking “Natick!”

My times have ramped up very smoothly this week (18:30 tonight). I hope the Hour-Long-Plus Roller Coaster Ride to Hell doesn’t start again tomorrow. No, wait, I mean on Thursday, tonight still being Tuesday. Isn’t it? I’ll go check.

Learned a really cool new CW word today (thanks to @Eric Maddy over on BEQ’s blog)—flansir (“familiar looking although never seen in reality”), coined by Merl Reagle. Seeing EZINES again brought the flansir issue into sharp focus for me.

fikink 8:21 AM  

I don't think I've ever watched someone perform a song chewing gum prior to watching your David Grohl embed, Rex.

The theme clues seemed tortured.
MOST INANE for Minnesota is much better - and fun (no offense, northern neighbors. But -wait -aren't you the people who came up with Idiots Out Walking Aimlessly to remember how to spell IOWA?)

E-ZINES? I've only heard them referred to as "zines."

joho 8:26 AM  

DIALFORFLORIDA doesn't make any sense to me.

OTOS, ohno! IBLE schmible.

I did like RYE over SALAMI: EAT!

@Rex: regarding the Comments Section in the parody, after reading I'd say "cry."

Loved the "Michael Jackson" Maori in the clip, he's brilliant!

Elaine 8:46 AM  

Hand up for all of the "first thoughts" Rex mentioned, although happily GROH, ARAM and ZAHN were gimme answers. I caught on to the anagrams near the end of the puzzle, with MAINE ANIME....

This was just OK for me, Dawg. It will be difficult for us to work up anything to argue over. I hope we do hear from that handsome Doc John, though! (she trilled)

How many of us remember the charming first appearance of David Groh as Rhoda's love interest on the Mary Tyler Moore show? (My hand is up...)

iralse-- impulse to post a crabby comment

Billy B 9:00 AM  

Last night, I tried to fit ANEWTA for 59A, Unthinking Servant. Reading the writeup, now it doesn't seem quite as foolish.

As much as I like wordplay, anagrams do absolutly nothing for me. Saw it a TEXASTAXES, when it just became a tool to fill in letters. No fun.

Unknown 9:06 AM  

I would go with [Hot place to sit in a sting?] - NEVADA D.E.A. VAN, personally.

dk 9:08 AM  

Wednesday's to me are new sneakers in spring. It is an occasion to run faster, jump higher preparing ones self for the coming events known as.... well, the rest of the week puzzles.

David GROH to me is a parody or living symbol of the 70's. They may be the same thing: annoying.

This puzzle did nothing for me.

* (1 Star)

PIX 9:09 AM  

How is Maine "Down East"? Maybe if you live in Canada, but the Times is an American paper.

Gaea as earth goddess ties in with at least some peoples thinking as expressed in the Gaea hypothesis that:"...the biosphere and the physical components of the Earth (atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere) are closely integrated to form a complex interacting system that maintains the climatic and biogeochemical conditions on Earth in a preferred homeostasis."{Google} Translation: don't worry, the earth will fix itself, like a living organism sometimes can.

I think most people are going to find this a very very easy puzzle for a Wed.

ArtLvr 9:17 AM  

I liked the TEXAS TAXES with PONY UP on the next line, crossing HAS PULL. Figured we were in for an old-timey rip-snorting oater... But no, the rest petered out down to the WRAP UP. Je N'AIME pas MAINE ANIME...

@ Thomas, the western D.E.A. VAN was a good idea!


Anonymous 9:18 AM  

@Pix It's a term that refers to the time folks sailed from Boston to Maine. The wind was at their back, and they were going east.

Anne 9:22 AM  

I haven't posted for awhile after deciding my time was better spent reading the write up and becoming a better solver, but I have to say thanks for the blog parody. It was brilliant and I loved it.

Naama 9:31 AM  

Oh, me, me, me, hand up! About GIRL for GIFT... And sheesh I was all set to rant about the non-theme, when anagrams! I feel like Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby... "All of them, witches!"

God I loved Ralph Fiennes in Quiz Show. And Aram Khachaturian. And the clues.

And this puzzle in general. Tight.

I kept myself honest with time today, however, and it took me 13 minutes to solve, and I didn't hesitate over for more than a moment, and I was almost entirely focused... How does 5 minutes happen...

Scarlet-O 9:44 AM  

@Rex, that video, Wow. Just, wow. At Incendiary Blog Post, meh. Why bother when there's so much unintentional self-parody here in Nerdsville. :-)

Rex Parker 9:46 AM  

This comment explains the obvious.

PIX 9:52 AM  

@tptsteve: Thanks for the explanation...I am a life-time New Yorker and have heard/seen it used, that I can recall...again, thanks.

OldCarFudd 9:52 AM  

So-so today. I thought DIALFORFLORIDA was pretty weak.

@Rex - good one on most inane Minnesota. I spent six years there and thoroughly enjoyed it, even though the biggest item on the 6 a. m. radio news was the hog futures.

@Thomas - D.E.A.Van: brilliant!

Elaine 9:53 AM  

Actually, Rex Parker is a robot, and therefore he is capable of superhuman speed-solving, with one hand clicking the arrows and the other tapping in the letters so quickly that his robo-fingers are a blur!
No, but seriously: I have no idea how the speedsters do it.

Oh-- Ralph Fiennes was better looking than the real Charles Van Doren, but what the heck. Boy oh boy, was I one disillusioned 7th grader when that scandal broke.

How could you? David Groh was a fresh face once, you know!

dizerict-- a zone in which persons experience vertigo; Rye, New York

Scarlet-O 9:54 AM  

Actually it IS kind of unintentionally self-parodying, the IBP, with its tedious, OCD-knowledge of the Form of the IBP, and cliquey assumption that everyone's drinking the KoolAid. (Well, every potential reader probably IS drinking the KoolAid...) Plus, it gave me a headache. Even more than those clumsy state acronyms.

Naama 9:59 AM  

@Elaine, Are you calling Rex a mindless servant? :-D

PlantieBea 10:26 AM  

LOL, funny link, Rex. At least comments on eternal salvation don't appear here.

Easy puzzle today. Writeovers on TRIPS and ROVER. I also started with a convertABLE. I like the idea of the state anagrams which I got only after MAINE ANIME, but wish they had been a bit wackier.

Adam 10:30 AM  

I came to 29D with D_INK and, not having looked carefully enough at 33A, thought that [Have trouble passing the bar?] was a great clue for DOINK! As in, hit a soccer ball of the crossbar or something of the sort. I'm sure I won't find anyone else who did this, as TRU wasn't anything difficult, but I really wish the answer could've been DOINK.

Two Ponies 10:31 AM  

Rex's write-up was far more interesting than this bland puzzle.
Knowing the theme was the only way I got the R in Rye. Never heard of the place.
Rex and Thomas created much more entertaining anagrams. Thanks.
Speaking of hot dry Nevada, we are far from it lately. Last week we got more rain than all of 2009! It's raining again today.
Of course I liked Pony Up!

Van55 10:31 AM  

I found this one quite enjoyable, myself. Enjoyed the acronyms, even though I am not AMOK about DIALFORFLORIDA.

Unknown 10:35 AM  

'ampersandwich' emerged from a blog discussion about 18 months ago and there were several candidates for the term. I think it was the blogger formerly known as "Bill D" who kept the theme going and used it, but someone else may remember more details. It ought to have been ACME who introduced it, but she has malapop to her credit and Rex gave us Natick. I guess ACCA and Pantheon posts are all slipping into folk lore.

I recorded one of my better times for a Wednesday puzzle getting the previously used TEXASTAXES to catch the theme. I have scissors, scotch tape and a magic marker set aside for tomorrow's puzzle.

retired_chemist 10:37 AM  

I liked it - sort of. Medium.

@ 24A - not GIRL. I had 18D TIFFS before I saw the clue.

Hand up for GAIA. Thought Charles Van BUREN @ 26A. These errors made 31A HUTILS - easily fixed.

Before I got the theme, I mulled over ten letter answers to who pays my guv Rick Perry's salary (17A). You don't want to know some of my hypotheses.

Unknown 10:44 AM  

Thanks to joon, I found the ampersand discussion thread and this post...
"Bill D said...
As for a naming convention for the "A AND E" type of answer (which always throws me), I tried to work out something with conjunctions, but nothing short and catchy came up. Then I hit on AMPERSANDWICHES - silly, not short, but not something you'd likely forget!
6:03 PM
Feb 21, 2008

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

Another hand up for GIRL which worked well with GLADLY for 6D. I did wonder what TIRFS 18D were, and finally a phone call to FLorida was a GIFT

Ulrich 11:11 AM  

Hands up for girl and gladly here, too!

I pass Rye by train or on I95, never stop--so, I wonder: are them good ol' boys still drinking whiskey in Rye?

Tinbeni 11:20 AM  

Texas Taxes brought a grin.
Then three of the stupidest anagrams for state names ever = lame theme.

Liked the BandB and Hotels.
ACLU & ABAB in two puzzles today.ugh.

Enjoyed the write-up & Blog Parody with the endless comments. (and I thought I had too much time on my hands, wow!)

Unknown 11:31 AM  

Well, I guess I was the only one with the mind in the gutter wanting hung instead of hunk for Playgirl calendar? Glad I never had to get coffee for my professors when I was a TA!

Charles Bogle 11:39 AM  

I never considered "girl" for "It's a...". I knew the constructor could only be thinking of the W.C. Fields comedy classic "It's a Gift,' from the 1930's, named by the Smithsonian et al as one of the greatest American films of the last 100 years! Easily available on dvd with some snippets on YouTube. @twoponies: you and anyone else who didn't grow up as I did in Westchester can be easily forgiven for not knowing RYE, NEWYORK. Lovely town on the LI Sound perhaps best known for a still-super amusement park, Rye Playland. Loved Redford's "Quiz Show" flick; apparently, van Doren still gets curious uninvited visitors at his upstate NY home. Did not know MAINE was considered "down east"? Liked: JAM, JIBE...btw, haven't we seen ABAB, OTOS and some others already this week? ARTE Johnson again! So over-all, "tepid" moniker works for me. Excuse me while I go hunt down some clips of the great Gil Hodges's Miracle Mets!

mac 11:51 AM  

This puzzle felt very New York to me, with the references to Broadway shows, NY Times, Rye close to White Plains, the Mets and maybe because of that I tried to put in Ann Bass.

Had an unusual number of write-overs, like leak for trap, aware for awake, ante instead of pay up, deal for gift, and Ann Bass instead of the ale.

After Texas taxes I thought: what, again? I was glad it turned out to be a different thing altogether.

@Sandy: loved the video. Know how you feel, I get that way when I see that Heineken commercial....

Enjoyed the blog-parody link!

Parshutr 11:56 AM  

@pix, courtesy of Wikipedia: "Down East in New England is a geographical term that is applied in several different ways.
In the narrowest sense, Down East refers to the coast of the U.S. state of Maine from Penobscot Bay to the Canadian border."
As we native New Englanders say, Ya cahnt get theah from heah.

Parshutr 11:58 AM  


chefbea 12:02 PM  

Fun easy puzzle. I too had girl and gladly for a while.

I forget the word that we use for the word we have to type to post our comments but mine is NOCURE

There is no cure for a crossword puzzle addict!!!!

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

He missed WONKERY for New York and NOMINATES for Minnesota.

PIX 12:28 PM  

@Parchutr...thanks for the I stated above, I am sure it is correct; I just never heard it before.

To those that never heard of Rye NY; it has an amusement park and beach with boardwalk which was featured in "the Woody Allen film Sweet and Lowdown (1999) starring Sean Penn." {Wiki} That may not be much, but I doubt there is a whole lot more one can say about the place.

Doc John 12:45 PM  

Fur Elaine... *blush*

@ Charles Bogle- glad you mentioned Rye Playland, one of the last great traditional amusement parks in the country. Aside from the movies mentioned, the park's classic wooden Dragon Coaster (an ACE Coaster Landmark) was featured in Fatal Attraction and its boardwalk was shown in Big.

Finally, David Groh was a total gimme for me because his character's (and subsequently, Rhoda's) last name was Gerard, my last name. How unusual to see fellow Jews with the last name of Gerard!

Anonymous 2:11 PM  

Thought the boss might like this one.


chefwen 2:14 PM  

Not too much to say today, was O.K. for me. Didn't know RYE NY either, so I had to get that by process of elimination. Finally Googled it to see if there really is such a place. After all the comments it sounds like a fun place to visit. First word in was 24A it's a wrap, well that didn't work and 47D fret for STEW, which really, really, didn't work. Finally got it all to fit.

@PhillySolver - Veerry funny re. tomorrows puzzle.

Vincent Lima 3:00 PM  

unremarkable puzzle, but sushi in Binghamton? When I lived there in the 90s, there was one semidecent place and it sucked.

fergus 3:02 PM  

The obvious anagram that I wrote in was KNOW YER NEW YORK, but I had to WRAP UP differently than WIND UP. Also HAFT instead of HILT, becase I'm just a reactionary solver sometimes.

chefbea 3:07 PM  

Lots of good restaurants in Rye, New york. yummmm

Noam D. Elkies 3:22 PM  

I liked the anagrams, and also the pattern: <STATE><anagram> for the shorter outside entries, <anagram><STATE> for the longer inside ones. The long Downs 11D:BABYSITTER and 27D:ITSTOOLATE are good too (I don't care that they're as long as two theme entries). Hand up for "it's a girl".

Yes, NEW YORK WONKERY would have been great (thanks, Anon @12:24: I've seen MINNESOTA/NOMINATES, but not WONKERY, which is much better than the long-obsolete YWROKEN from "to wreak") — even though it would break the pattern. Still, "know Rye" isn't as pathetic as it looks because "Rye, New York" is a real place. I initially thought "White Plains" was way out West, so took a while to realize what was going on after the first few letters I got from that entry were WYO!

The 34A:URSA clue is indeed lovely and not new: xwordinfo remembers the exact same clue from 17 August 2007 and 5 February 1998.

And 25A:AUTOS/22D:OTOS only sounds like a word crossing itself.


sanfranman59 3:23 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)

Wed 11:07, 12:00, 0.93, 32%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:41, 5:55, 0.96, 44%, Medium

andrea itstoolate michaels 3:34 PM  

I LOVE ALan Arbesfeld puzzles, this one no exception...
I think he has really fun ideas, rally fun! If I had to choose one constructor whose puzzles I ALWAYS like, it's him!

Lots of hands up today...but I had "It's a LIFE" (sigh) Said in a Jewish-y tone.

Also had "Are you AWArE?"

Will read the other comments more carefully later, as I'm just breezing by.

Loved the J, Z, @ Xs 4 Ks.

And as I am from MOST INANE, suddenly my whole life makes sense!

Sfingi 3:49 PM  

Had "girl" and "trip" before writeovers. Otherwise, easy.

I did not know David Groh had died.

I heard an old fellow sing at the Home, mostly oldies. He sang a great song I had never heard but somehow should have. "In Her Dreams She Rides Wild Horses." Corbin and Hewitt, 1999.

2D I hope Mr. Arbesfield means figure to be a verb, since area is not a figure (noun) in math.

fergus 3:51 PM  

Seaweed beauty teatment in LA?


Could go on, but I don't expect much approval from Rex.

Anonymous 4:08 PM  

@Sfingi-- a figure can also be a number, which, I think, is the sense it is used here. I wasn't keen on the clue-- would have liked something along the lines of 'it's in squares'- but it's a fair one.

SethG 4:11 PM  

I entered NEXT for [On deck], changed it to ASEA, then back to NEXT. Before I looked at any of the crosses.

BESTILL works for ["Hush!"], and BESTILL would sort of work for [Hush]. And it was symmetric with a HEART, presumably my beating one.

Al GROH was the coach of the Jets. When I call snowbirds, I just call their cell phones now. A MINOR and A TEE were two word phrases, and A RAM, A WAKE, and A NO could have been. HUNK almost crosses SALAMI.

This is the closing sentence of my comment and has no relation to anything else I said.

retired_chemist 4:13 PM  

business card line for a fille de joie from Boise?

Stan 4:40 PM  

I thought the state anagrams were indeed clever and helpful.

Tried my hand at New Hampshire and came up only with idiocy like MEN WEAR PHISH.

fergus 4:45 PM  

An anagram, unless it's merely perfunctory, should have some resonance or pertinence to the original. Just rearranging letters isn't really enough to make an anagram worthwhile. RC's makes sense, I guess, but he's working with a five letter state, and that's playing within the puzzle guidlines, such as they seem.

chefbea 4:53 PM  

If you go to you can put in a word and find lots of anagrams. I did Missouri and got I IS MR SOU.

Tried Connecticut but I wouldn't dare post the majority of what I found.

miguel 4:55 PM  

Variations on a theme

Look a Ham! Oklahoma
In Navy panels, Pennsylvania
He wins hamper!, New Hampshire
Cows in sin, Wisconsin
Oral horn antic, North Carolina
Wearing Visit, West Virginia

Ha Ha tu tu

fergus 5:17 PM  

No Scottie dogs' comments in Omaha?

This one conforms to the puzzle's absurdity. I'll sign out, but this type of play is hard to resist.

Bill from NJ 5:28 PM  

I, too, remember, David Groh's charming first appearance as Rhoda's love interest on the Mary Tyler Moore show but it was his chilling performance on Law and Order as an unrepentant just released child sexual preadator that I saw shortly after his death, based on the Joel Steinberg case, that I will long remember as a rather weird bookend to his career.

Anonymous 5:36 PM  

Surf, e.g.?

retired_chemist 6:17 PM  

Happy (hour) musings:

Farm animal from near Montgomery with an urge to take a motor tour.

Coward from Butte.

Why was the film rated G in Eugene?

Highest point in the Wasatch Range, to Pierre.

I'll quit now.

fergus 6:32 PM  

Triple A Lamb, and No gore work for me. Thanks for playing along.

captcha could not be better: strange

Doc John 6:50 PM  

@ Bill- David Groh did indeed play a lot of heavies. I remember the first time seeing him as such thinking, "No, no, it can't be. Rhoda's husband is not a maniacal killer!"

Charles Bogle 7:09 PM  

@retired_chemist and @miguel: Hilarious! Great stuff!

Meg 7:14 PM  

Puzzle: OK

New Zealand video: Absolutely wonderful! Made my day!

DIAL FOR FLORIDA is just dumb.

I would have liked KNOW YER NEW YORK

I almost asked about "IT'S A LIFT", but I see now the error of my ways.

Looking towards tomorrow for more fun.

joho 8:05 PM  

@SethG... your closing sentence really stands out as relating to nothing. Profound.

mac 8:58 PM  

I've been staring at Connecticut: not a chance....

@SethG: very good! You learn fast.

Oh no! WV is "sucks"!

sanfranman59 10:03 PM  

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

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

Mon 7:18, 6:55, 1.06, 70%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 7:21, 8:45, 0.84, 12%, Easy
Wed 11:24, 12:00, 0.95, 38%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:49, 3:40, 1.04, 70%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 3:48, 4:28, 0.85, 15%, Easy
Wed 5:29, 5:54, 0.93, 33%, Easy-Medium

lit.doc 10:27 PM  

@Rex, finally home and able to view the video embeds. Wow and thanks. Any idea of that stunning Star Wars series is or is going to be available on DVD? Would be a priceless addition to any SyFy geek's library.

The blog parody was priceless. I'm surprised, somehow, that I see no comments above suggesting or at least wondering if it weren't perhaps, at some level, a covert training video for your own blog posters. Hmmmmm.

fergus 2:10 AM  

A cause qu'il etait trot ...

Some times you deliver it too striaght

andrea (i hope) its(not)toolate 5:50 PM  

Love those anagrams, you should consider doing a puzzle, but it will have to be Sunday-sized...

Bec one of the great things about this puzzle that I think some folks are overlooking, construction-wise, is even tho I love MOST INANE MINNESOTA, it's too long at 9 letters (ie 18)

Alan A was limited to states that were 7 letters or less...which is a very tiny group!
He could use no two word states, much less Connecticut or Pennsylvania, not even ILLINOIS at 8 letters when doubled for the anagram is too long.

Plus if too short, like UTAH or IOWA there are no sensible anagrams, so it's amazing the subset he used and how good it was!

There are almost no other states available AND all the phrases made sense.

So, I know I'm posting this too late for 99% of folks to see, but I just wanted to add another perspective as to why this was a particularly nice puzzle to me.

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