Beturbaned seer / MON 1-11-10 / 1980s hardware used Microsoft Basic / 10th century Holy Roman Emperor / Alaska boondoggle 2008 campaign news

Monday, January 11, 2010

Constructor: Ron and Nancy Byron

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Dental work — first words of theme answers are things a dentist might put in your mouth, clued in non-dental contexts

Word of the Day: CROWN VICTORIAS (48A: Full-size Fords) —
The Ford Crown Victoria (commonly nicknamed the Crown Vic) is a rear-wheel drive full-size car first produced by the Ford Motor Company for the North American market in the mid-1950s. Its current incarnation has been in production since 1992 at Ford's St. Thomas Assembly plant. While the Crown Victoria shares its platform and components with the Lincoln Town Car, it shares almost no exterior sheet metal or interior parts. Beginning with the 2008 model year, it has been available only for fleet sales, mainly in police and taxi form, but also for rental car companies.
• • •

What year is it? I didn't even know Ford made the CROWN VICTORIA any more. Sounds like something from another era. Something you would drive to a FILLING STATION, say, if you were ELDERLY (4D: Getting on in years) and needed to refuel your car on the way to the dentist for the unbelievable amount of dental work that you apparently require. Even the computer is old here — IBM PC (28D: 1980s hardware that used Microsoft Basic) ... what is that? Or, rather, don't IBM PCs still exist? Anyway, I guess the original IBM PC is what's meant here, which came out around the time that LE CAR was in its heyday (29D: Old Renault) ("A 5-door hatchback body style was added for the 1981 model year," says Wikipedia). I had a good number of hesitations, but absolutely shredded the majority of the puzzle, and ended up ... right at normal for a Monday, time-wise.

First hesitation: right out of the box. Wanted only WAFFLE at 1A: Go back and forth in deciding. Then didn't pick up WAVER til the third cross bec. I appear to think it's spelled WAIVER. Hesitated at CROWN VICTORIAS (not a model I know well, clearly). I might have tried to put CROWN VICTROLAS in there. Hesitated again at IBM PC (ugly), again at beginning of FILLING STATION — got FOGS, which gave me the "F," which still didn't clear up matters. Hesitated at NAOH (41D: Sodium hydroxide, to a chemist). Probably had -CH or -CL or god knows what. NAOH is ugly on any day of the week. As is OTTO I (31D: 10th-century Holy Roman emperor). Despite getting hung up in all those places, as I said, average Monday time. Not a terribly enjoyable puzzle. I am quite hard on "first words / last words have something in common puzzles," for personal reason. If I see one of them, it had better be good. This wasn't, particularly.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Alaska boondoggle in 2008 campaign news (BRIDGE to nowhere)
  • 27A: Place to get gas (FILLING station)
  • 48A: Full-size Fords (CROWN Victorias)
  • 63A: Gets ready to crash (BRACES for impact)
The whole set reads like a really tragic (or possibly comic) short story about a car wreck. Just move the BRIDGE clue to third position, and it all makes sense.

  • 6A: Traffic tie-ups (jams) — man, there's lots of car stuff in this puzzle. See also the GMC Yukon (37A: Yukon S.U.V. maker) that is T-boning the LECAR.
  • 10D: Western part of Czech Republic (Bohemia) — I learned this in grad school. Before that, I think I thought "Bohemia" was a mythical / fictional place, like Shangri-La or Manitoba.
  • 30D: Beturbaned seer (swami) — humiliating admission of the day: I thought "Beturbaned" was a place name. Possibly some place in India. It was going to be my Word of the Day...

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


lit.doc 12:17 AM  

Thanks, Rex, for pointing out the theme, such as it was. Once again I totally didn't even look for one. Rooky.

Fastest Monday I’ve ever done. Perfect, perfect Monday. This is just the sort of puzz that hooked me when I first started exploring beyond the lame, uncredited POS in my local paper. This is a “Nice work!!” to the constructors, not to myself.

The “grad school, the gift that keeps on giving” momentum from Sunday’s puzz continues today, with e.g. 60D “The wife of ____”. Am guessing that any history-denier puzzlers are vexed that 53A wasn’t five letters. And I was, myself, vexed that 14A wouldn’t accommodate TACO BELL.

If the LAT would just post, I might be able to get some sleep before I have to go herd cats in the a.m.

CoolPapaD 1:18 AM  

Really enjoyed furthering my dental education from Sunday's puzzle, and I didn't have to fight tooth and nail to finish this one. As the mercury hit 70 today, I anxiously awaited the arrival of Monday's offering - was a bit down in the mouth until it arrived. I really liked this puzzle, as well as Rex's write-up, and I'm not just paying lip-service here.

Sorry if you feel the above was tongue-in-cheek, but I hope it at least makes you smile!

Steve J 2:19 AM  

Rex, it's for good reason that you're thinking the Crown Vic is a relic: it hasn't been available for consumer retail sales since the 2004 model year. It's made just for taxi and police fleets now.

And IBM PCs are actually a relic, too. They sold that part of the business to Lenovo in 2005, and ThinkPad laptops have been sold under their name since (and IBM got out of the desktop business at least a decade ago).

I wasn't wild about this one as I was solving it, but looking back I'm a bit more appreciative. While doing the puzzle I thought there were too many straight-up/literal clues (like "Roman 552"), but looking through again, there aren't that many (and, frankly, I'll take that kind of Roman numeral cluing over pulling some random historical fact out of thin air). And the 15-letter answers are nice on a Monday. And the fill was a step up for Monday. Not a lot of junk here.

@lit.doc: I had the same thought about some people out there wanting KENYA for 53A. I'm sure they'll bemoan how the NYT is now being used to further the conspiracy.

andrea swami michaels 2:52 AM  

Totally with Rex on WAIVER/WAVER. It's gotten to the point I honestly can't remember any more which is which...
If you hesitate in saying goodbye, are you a waivering waver? Or a wavering waver? Or can just sign a waiver and be done with it?

I did sort of feel sorry for newish crossword folks under 30 solving how would they know Jack WEBB, Eliot NESS, CROWN VICTORIA, GMC, IBMPC, NORMA Jean, except thru puzzles?

My least favorite part was the SWE/WISC, tho half of Wisconsin is probably made up of folks from Sweden who crossed over way back when...

I've been so Simpsonized, I was ready to put in HAVEACOW.

Here's what I loved:
SWAMI (where I pictured bugs Bunny beturbaned)
AGGIE (bec that was my dog's name) and a BRIDGETONOWHERE seemed fresh.

Actually I thought the emphasis would be on the second half of the phrase...
I anxiously anticipated a theme about places:
something like that...

Two "missed it by THAT much" clues for me: ACNE and APEX!

DvN 6:48 AM  

I believe the original use of PC was as a model name, which later became a generic descriptor, as did Kleenex, Xerox, etc.

imsdave 7:58 AM  

Not much to say about this one. Enjoyed seeing "the LeCar" in the write-up. It reminded me of "Mickey Blue Eyes" and the mob hangout of 'The La Trattoria'.

Norma Jeane not Jean 8:27 AM  

It's not true I had nothing on, I had the radio on.

joho 8:31 AM  

I wish they could have worked mental floss into the grid.

@Andrea ... I know, my pen was poised to write in Acme ... twice!

I liked BRIDGETONOWHERE and BRACESFORIMPACT which is something I hope I never have to do.

@Rex ... please let us know when you make your move to Beturbaned.
I hear it's really hot there.

chefbea 8:31 AM  

found this very easy today. Had acme at first also.

Can someone explain observed=not iced. I know you can observe many things, and many things are finalized. But if they are not finalized are they just observed??? Or if my cake isn't iced, it's observed????

nanpilla 8:39 AM  

I felt like FOGS from the ETHER, SORE (when it wears off) and POST (Like an implant)added a little spice to the theme fill. And didn't we just talk about dental BRIDGEs used to SPAN a VOID?
Overall, a solid Monday.

nanpilla 8:40 AM  

@chefbea - you do realize it's NOTICED - one word, right?

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

@chaefbea - observed = noticed, one word

Rex Parker 9:02 AM  

Hey, you know how they take their tea in Beturbaned? NOT ICED. Which is weird, because I hear it's really hot there.


chefbea 9:04 AM  

@nanpilla and e-rodent..DOH!!! what a dummy I am. Didn't parse it right

Emily Litella 9:07 AM  


dk 9:09 AM  

30D: Me too Rex! Except I was about to fill in Swede as I was sure Beturbaned was just outside of Malmo.

CROWNVICTORIAS = Example of all that caused US auto manufacturers to fail - government subsidized gas guzzlers so save the FILLINGSTATIONs.

LECAR = Fe2O3 bucket

BOHEMIA, ski area in the UP, very old school.

@Andrea and Joho -- I was set to acme as well... with the radio on of course.

*** (3 Stars) Fine Monday fare. Thank you Ron and Nancy Byron.

ArtLvr 9:19 AM  

We recently had "To Sherlock Holmes, she was always THE woman", i.e. Irene Adler and today we have the story in which she HEXED him: "A Scandal in BOHEMIA"... Also, Beturbaned seemed to me to be as VICTORIAn a term as wheelchair-bound.

@nanpilla, I'm glad you NOTICED the POST as a bonus implant in the jaw... Somehow Monday is an apt day for dentistry!


PIX 9:26 AM  

took me forever,not sure why...

71A: Bygone anesthetic: ether...actually ether is not totally bygone...still used "recreationally" Hunter Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas..."[after listing all the drugs he had with him]"...but the only thing that worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless than a man in the depths of an ether binge."

It's also used to make freebase cocaine...but is very dangerous to use...

fiddleneck 9:33 AM  

Have a cow may be Simpsons, but this expression goes back to the general time of the puzzle, or before.

ArtLvr 9:52 AM  

p.s. @Chefwen, delighted to read yesterday that you'd fax me the mango cheesecake recipe! My fax is 518-465-6511. Thanks very much!


fikink 10:02 AM  

@chefbea, I hope your parsing today invites a discussion of Descartes by Clark.

@tptsteve, thanks to 47D, you are free today to speak of your brass instrument.

"Steve, how is your embrasure?"

"Just fine, how is your shish kebob?"

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

this was fun; as is often true on monday! looked at 27A and thought servicestation was a possibility until bridge and braces jumped off the page! had part of 48A as "WNV" and was sure something was wrong, until crown as the thematic choice made perfect sense. ecoli (14A) seems to be popular lately? three vowels in a five letter clue is helpful, i suppose. can't wait for tomorrow!

fikink 10:16 AM  

As my friend, Dave, so kindly pointed out - I meant "embouchure," not the architectural "embrasure".

Thank you, Dave.

Ulrich, where are you?

With egg on my face,
I remain,

retired_chemist 10:20 AM  

A fun puzzle. Easy - my first puzzle ever under 5 minutes.

Nothing to add about the clues.

NAOH 10:22 AM  

@Rex, do you REALLY think I'm ugly? Have I, all my life, just been living a lye?

PlantieBea 10:22 AM  

@chef bea: love the NOT ICED parsing :-)

This puzzle went too dental for my liking. Thinking about FILLINGS and CROWNS with other answers like GRAB, VOID, HOED, and an ETHER FOG makes my whole head SORE. At least the puzzle didn't go birther.

In my first job after graduate school, I had an IBM PC. Other groups envied our amazing computing machines. I even got a modem with which to access the internet. Hard to believe these days, but it was a big deal.

Charles Bogle 10:28 AM  

@PIX-took me forever too. Hang-up was middle WW...of course, when we need gas I always say to the family,"I"m off to the FILLING station..." Alas, didn't notice a theme until I came her. Really enjoyed the shout-out to TRUMPETer Dizzy Gillespie and the birth of beibop; am anxious to read Terry Teachout's new bio "Pops"

OldCarFudd 10:35 AM  

@andrea - Hand up for HAVEACOW - and I'm not into the Simpsons, so the insidious infiltration of its expressions into the language continues.

@dk - great description of LeCar.

Interesting that BRACESFORIMPACT comes immediately following the TV special by that name last night.

I thought this was easy-breezy, perhaps because I'm of a generation that recognizes a lot of this stuff. I'm sure Andrea's right about its being harder for a young solver. Fun puzzle!

Two Ponies 10:43 AM  

Funny write-up today.
The puzzle did make me feel like a time traveler.
Andrea, I had that exact Bugs Bunny thought about swami.
What is an aggie and why is the team called that?
ArtLvr, good luck with that cheesecake because I doubt you will find any mangoes of the same quality that Chefwen probably has growing in her yard.

Judith 10:46 AM  

I guess I'm not a young solver -- thought this was a breeze. Actually had a Renault in 1985, tho mine was an Alliance. It had a luggage rack on the back -- totally nonfunctional. We appeared to be Yuppies--think we spent about $8,500 on the car I loved it, until someone rear-ended it, and that was the end of that.

Fun puzzle--I also missed the theme.

slypett 10:47 AM  

Went through this one like a knife through water. Not a lot of fun. A TON of crosswordy FILLINGs. A better clue for STARS would have been 'They make up seven sisters.' (The Pleiades.)

On the other hand, lots of funny comments today.

Aggie 10:52 AM  

@Two Ponies: Texas A&M = Texas Agriculture & Mining. There was a time, particularly in western schools, where those two were the only things worth studying.

Jim in Chicago 11:01 AM  

I went to the dentist recently, to notice that the practice had been bought out and they had been rebranded "The Filling Station" in a misguided attempt at cleverness.

After a few minutes of poking around in my mouth, the dentist proclaimed "well, one of your molars is really loose and since it is the anchor for part of your bridgework if we don't do something soon you'll have 'a bridge to nowhere'". As he began to chip away he got out his little hammer and asked me to "brace for impact."

Crown Victorias? I got nothing.

Mike Lewis 11:21 AM  

I was flying through this puzzle, until I got about 2/3 of the way down, then I stalled a bit as Crown Victoria to a moment to click, and I had NACL in NAOH's place, because I didn't read the puzzle closely enough. End result: almost exactly my average Mon time. Didn't see the theme until I looked through the completed grid...

lit.doc 11:41 AM  

@Rex, no reason to feel bad about 30D. It is a place name. Just a typo in the puzz, in need of @chefbea to parse it correctly. Should have read "Be Turbaned. Seer". It's a var. sp. of the seat of Champaigne County, Illinois-- Turbana--and to be Turbaned (alt. Turbanized or Turbanated) is what happens if you move there. Just the Swami making a suggestion about where to attend the U of Ill.

Doug 12:05 PM  

Spooky puzzle for me: Had great times in high school in WISConsin driving in my friend's LECAR. It was so crappy that he would pull plastic parts off the dashboard as we were driving and then snap them back in. Our local diner was George WEBBs. Looking at my yearbook I see every other person's name is either "son", and "mann" so lots of SWEdes der, fer shur.

treedweller 12:35 PM  

@lit.doc don't feel bad--I looked and looked for a theme and, even having solved yesterday's puzzle, never saw it.

Imposter! any aggie would know it was agricultural and mechanical. Hell, even this longhorn knows it. Now they don't officially stand for anything. The letters, I mean, not the aggies.

ArtLvr 12:47 PM  

re Texas A&M -- my friend there on the faculty says that, thanks to a mega-bucks backer, the Physics dept. is aiming for tops in the country, and already hired three Nobelists in Physics. Wow.


George NYC 12:48 PM  

Most NYC taxis are CROWN VICTORIAS, though they are slowly being replaced by various makes of hybrids.
Crown Vics are also popular in crime fiction as the standard conveyance of police detectives and feds.
Wasn't there a movie called "The Turbanator"?

joho 12:51 PM  

@George NYC ... I saw "The Turbanator." Interesting flick and especially noteworthy because it was all shot on location in Beturbaned. Tough shoot, though, because you know it's really hot there.

bookmark 1:05 PM  

My husband-to-be had an old Crown Victoria in the 60's when we were dating in high school. After he drove off, my Dad would go out and wash off the oil leak on the driveway... every time!

@Jim in Chicago: Loved your story, whether it's true or not. Made me laugh.

Easy puzzle, though I wrote NACL for NAOH without thinking. I do need to slow down.

Tinbeni 1:10 PM  

Early IBM PC's models were the IT & AT (wow, the AT had 30mb hard drive) so that slowed me down until I realized the BRIDGE TO NOWHERE had to SPAN something.

Haven't heard the full name for the CROWN VIC in a looonng time.

@lit.doc. your observation re: 15-a is on-the-mark, damn, Taco Bell will NOT fit. LOL

NOAH totally by crosses, not a chemist, NACL is only one I am ever sure of. Maybe I should review chemistry ... naaah.

Anonymous 1:14 PM  

Didn't pick up the theme until I read RP. Nothing memorable- at least I didn't feel like spitting and rinsing.(sorry for the visual)

Squeek 1:40 PM  

I'm waiting to see if Crosscan takes the bait with Rex's Manitoba joke.
Maybe he is still thinking about Prairie Provinces from yesterday.
In my neck of the woods I often heard them called Lee Cars. Those midwesterners weren't up on their French. They also said Renawlt as well of course.

Meg 2:24 PM  

I waited for ROOTCANAL, but it never showed up. Crown Vic's are routinely mentioned in crime mystery novels and nobody says "filling station" anymore.

At some point we stopped using "IBM CLONE" and just stuck with PC. My first computer experience was in high school. It didn't have a monitor and we used a tape with holes in it to store the data. Do programmers still use "do-loops?'

Being older, this puzzle was a breeze, and I always enjoy not being able to guess the theme from the 1st two long entries.

Isn't there almost always a theme on Mondays?

Not thrilling, but OK for a Monday.

Clark 2:25 PM  

Oh @chefbea, Thank you. I laughed and laughed. We see what we do.

@dk -- I haven’t been to BOHEMIA since it became a ski area. In my day it was a beautiful high point in the forest with a fire tower that you could climb and look out over an achingly beautiful scene of woods and water.

@fikink -- Descartes. Hmm. Are you thinking of the passage from the First Meditation where he says “I am here, sitting by the fire, wearing a winter dressing-gown, holding this piece of paper in my hands” -- what could be more certain etc. -- the set up for doubting everything. What he did not say (though it has no doubt been revealed by careful analysis of his manuscripts) is that while sitting by the fire he also had next to him a cup of tea that was NOT ICED.

PIX 2:35 PM  

@41D: Sodium = Na from Latin..natrium

hydroxide = hydrogen (HYD)= H + oxygen (oxide)= O

I'll let retiredchemist explain why it is OH and not HO.

Martin 2:45 PM  

The PC was officially both the Model 5150 and the IBM Personal Computer. The phrase was already generic usage. Along with using third-party components (very significantly including Microsoft's operating system and other software), using a non-copyrightable name was a strategy to establish an open industry standard. "PC" was not an official product name, but was used universally without objection.

toothdoc 2:57 PM  

Nice to see the profession get some love today in the puzzle. Sad to say I didn't even notice the theme until I was done - and I did this puzzle right after doing a CROWN and while waiting on a patient to get numb for a FILLING.

Don't forget to brush.

sanfranman59 3:16 PM  

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

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

Mon 6:47, 6:54, 0.98, 51%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:44, 3:40, 1.02, 63%, Medium-Challenging

fikink 3:36 PM  

@Clark, perhaps I was thinking of FST's meditation, "How can you be in two places at once when you're not anywhere at all?"

Elaine 3:45 PM  

Here I am! Late to the party, missing all the fun.

I sat there with this rather sore crown prep in my mouth and filled in this Easy puzzle like a flash--without ever noticing the theme. D'oh.

Even the automobile answers were dead give-aways...well, as soon as a couple of letters were in place.

I, too, did a double take at the Fake Aggie's claim that A&M was Agri and MINING. Never in a million years. Actually, come to think of it, it IS entirely possible that an Aggie went to A&M, graduated, and never knew what the M stood for! When we lived in Dallas, a popular party gift was a brick (the kind with the three holes in it) labeled, "Aggie Bowling Ball."

I am waiting for Retired-chemist to help out on that explanation. I put in NaHO-- hydroxide has the Hydrogen first, dammit!--so of course I had to change that, the only brief hitch in a smooth solve.


andrea jeane michaels 3:55 PM  

Congrats to Nancy and Ron, by the way. (Altho I usually prefer my Byron puzzles Waldenized.)

Going to the dentist tomorrow, I guess I should print out one of these for Dr. Chee.

(I got a free filling and a deep cleaning for giving him the slogan
"Smile and say Chee" way back when.)

My Aggie was not named for the Texas A & M school, but bec it means "Baby" in Korean and I was living next to Koreatown in L.A. when I rescued her from being someone's post-hysterectomy dinner
(I kid you not...and that's not a racist swipe...apparently it's considered good luck)

She was a good girl. I wish I knew how to upload a picture...
Some thoughtful Texan gave me an "I'm an Aggie's Mom" bumpersticker and it was a prized possession, till I lost it on my own personal bridge to nowhere, aka my life.

Martin 3:56 PM  

How about a layman's explanation for the moment?

Compounds generally are written with the cationic ("metallic") part first and the anion second. Hydroxide (-OH) is an anion. While it's a little simplistic, a reasonable model is that the oxygen atom has two bonding sites. One is taken with the hydrogen atom but the other is the site for bonding with the cation. For example, the sodium atom (or ion) bonds to the oxygen portion of the hydroxide ion. So NA-O-H is a more accurate model of the molecule. This will be the case with any hydroxide.

Entropy 3:58 PM  

Did not catch on to the theme until after I had them answered. Thought ETHER was an additional theme answer.

Whenever I seet GALE it brings a chuckle. Being from Florida, if it isn't a Hurricane, who cares.

Time to BALE.

Thanks Rex.

Van55 5:04 PM  

Too easy for me to get much enjoyment. And I won't mention the #%(*&(*$%8ing 21A. LOL

retired_chemist 5:10 PM  

Martin's explanation is close enough. There really is no (covalent) Na-O bond, but by convention the O is written between the H and whatever else is written in the formula. The rationale is that the H is monovalent, i.e. can form only one bond, so it should show up next to whatever it is bonded to and not next to what it is not bonded to.

{Professor mode}The OH can sometimes be written as HO-. since the two -OH groups in ethylene glycol (antifreeze, highly toxic to pets, who are attracted to its sweetness) are bonded to the two different carbons, can you see why we write it as HOCH2CH2OH? The 2's should be subscripts but the blog doesn't allow that tag.{/Professor mode}

retired_chemist 5:14 PM  

Both daughters and one son-in-law are Aggies. Younger daughter gives me the subscription to the NYT puzzles online every year so I had better not make the mistake of saying Agricultural and Mining.

FWIW even Colorado A&M (orig. name for CSU), where mining is king, was Colo. Agricultural and Mechanical.

Anonymous 5:35 PM  

@andrea swami michaels

I only knew GMC, IBMPC, and NORMA. I had to look up the other ones.

PIX 5:37 PM  

@retiredchemist and martin...of course...i just assumed everyone knew that...

@andrea jeane micheals: you stated that:..."I lost it on my own personal bridge to nowhere, aka my life"...makes me sound so have helped me...and i bet many our own bridges...even if they go no where, they are much more magnficant bridges because you have help us build them...i think that counts for something even if you don't think so...thank you for helping me build my bridge, even if it goes to nowhere...

lit.doc 5:37 PM  

One more hand up for A & Mechanical. My undergrad was CSU, which is run by the Ag board. Also referred to as Silo Tech and Moo U.

When I got to Austin, I had real head start on Aggie jokes, as nearly any CSU joke can be transplanted & retooled (if one is either agriculturally or mechanically inclined to do so).

Entropy 5:54 PM  

Apparently I take it you do not like Roman Numerals.
Is it you get confused that D=500 and L=50?
I mean, M=1000, X=10 so 2010 is MMX.
And C=100 as in C-note.
V=5 & I=1
Seems pretty simple to me.

And isn't your statement saying you were not mentioning 21-A LOL, actually a mention of 21-A?

Elaine 6:04 PM  

@Martin and Ret-Chem

OH, just THANKS a whole, whole peachy-keen LOT for helping us out with the NaOH explanation.

or, in other words


I know this is hard to believe, but there are persons among us who never actually took chemistry. Not even in high school. Worse, these persons did not even WANT to take chemistry and have never realized the deprivation and lower-quality-of-life that this situation has created. So sad, so sad.

If I lived near enough, though, I'd come over with a thank-you gift. Of aspic.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:09 PM  

Good puzzle, easy but interesting, just right for my age group, as several commenters have already noted.

chefbea 6:09 PM  

@elaine LOL I never took chemistry. In highschool we had our choice between biology and chemistry. I chose Biology.

Meg 6:11 PM  

@Elaine: I, too, find chemistry remarkably uninteresting; however, you never know when something like the chemical formula for, say, aspic might come in handy!

retired_chemist 6:13 PM  

@ Elaine - hey,aspic sounds good. If I remember correctly, you are in LR, which is only 6 hrs up I-30. Bring it on!

Clark 6:23 PM  

@fikink -- I will now always have connected in my mind (be it Cartesian or otherwise) Descartes sitting by the fire with the FST. Excellent. You have squeezed the wheeze!

Two Ponies 6:40 PM  

@ Entropy,
Welcome. Coming in lately you have no way of knowing that Van55 doesn't need a lesson in Roman numerals.
It's an on-going joke about arbitrary fill using numerals and popes.
@ Van55, good one.
Also, thanks to all for the chemistry info. I skipped over it but I'm glad someone knows that stuff!

slypett 6:59 PM  

fiking & Clark: Who is FST, and why should I care? Was he a Democrat?

slypett 7:00 PM  

I meant 'fikinK', of course.

Squeek 7:08 PM  

@ darkman, They are talking about Fire Sign Theater. Check them out!

Greene 8:03 PM  

Dear Friends,

I think we're all bozos on this bus.

That is all. As you were.

Anonymous 8:05 PM  

@fikink- Dizzy's the Man.Enjoy

dk 8:12 PM  

@pix, you hitten on my girl --- to paraphrase a sign I once saw in Maine: Nothing here worth your life.

The Syracuse "Aggies" were known as Stumpies as it was the School of Forestry. Interesting side note -- the most beautiful girl in the world was a stumpy and she sat two rows in front of me in Chem: heavy sigh.

Here in Minnesota we use CH 2 O (formaldehyde) in our meth labs.

A Firesign Theater revival on this blog -- way cool. You will need some LSD or a very large quantity of hash... I read in a book once about some folks who would try to smoke a gram of hash before one side of a FST album was finished, to better appreciate side 2.. but of course it was just a book but the part where they are under the school................

gotta go

fikink 8:30 PM  

@dk, indeed! My fave was "Don't Crush that Dwarf Hand Me the Pliers."

In other words, for you who are not familiar with FST, "Don't toss that roach, hand me the roach clip."

And "You TV for You the Viewer" was a quarter century before youtube.

All with NAM looming large.

ah, thanks for the memories...

andrea aetma michaels 8:49 PM  

Sweet! Thank you. Didn't mean to sound sad...I was just joking.
Don't worry, I won't jump off my bridge to nowhere!

I tried to understand what you wrote and my brain began to bleed, just like in highschool...but like @Two Ponies said, it's neat someone here knows all that stuff!

@dk, @fikink
I am starting to think you ARE meant for each other and I promise to one day visit you in rehab and smuggle in what I can.

Jeffrey 9:17 PM  

@squeek - What Manitoba joke? Rex is correct. It is fictional.

Anonymous 9:28 PM  

@Elaine and ChefBea

I usually don't comment but I have to defend Martin and Retired Chemist's "uninteresting" comments.

There are many topics discussed in this blog - some fascinating to me and others not so much. I know you were joking around but I hope this doesn't lead to hurt feelings and discourage people from making comments that some of us find educational or even just plain fun.

Besides how can you enjoy cooking and not like chemistry or at least want to learn Chemistry. COOKING IS ALL ABOUT CHEMISTRY!!

um...clem 9:40 PM  


As Rex recently offered, you need to establish a "don't read" list for posters that are so self centered they put down others with nobody, never, everybody should, etc.

It's lowered my blood pressure 20 points!

um clem 9:53 PM  

actually, my list, tho dynamic, is short.

mac 10:15 PM  

Coming in very late is a lot of work, reading all those comments after the write-up, but it is also like my personal comedy show! Thank you all!

I was stunned to finned Otto after all the Othos lately. I had natr instead of naoh, but not knowing or remembering much of chemistry I let the crosses fix it.

@Andrea aetna: my favorite new word: Simpsonized! I feel the.... not pain.
I also thought of Bugs Bunny. Seem to think of him a lot lately. Or of toons.

It's funny with those CrownVics. I was once in a taxi from the Westport trainstation to our house, and I noticed some holes in the ceiling and close to the steering wheel. The driver told me that his company got all the cars from a place in Pennsylvania where the police departments from several states sold their aged cruisers.

Stumpies!! How could you go to a school that would make you a Stumpie! It's like moving to Hicksville.

chefwen 10:19 PM  

Thought the puzzle was very easy but my mouth was kinda achy when finished.

Hand up for cow!

@ArtLvr - Recipe on its way, adaptations and all.

Hicksville, Ohio 10:32 PM  

It's "uh, clem."

mac 11:06 PM  

@Hicksville, Ohio: sorry, I don't understand.

Sfingi 11:16 PM  

Easy for elders. Even hostile elders (pun). REVEREND is an adjective.

Did not like the use of REVEREND as a noun. Would a Roman Catholic say about Father O'Malley, "He's a father, you know."

@Mac - Bugs Bunny rules. He's African, you know. And not just because he sang,"I dream of Jeanie, she's a light brown hare."

@Fikink - and pass it on, don't Bogart it.

Here's old - I took chemistry with a teacher who was born in 1895 and said, "And the co-mixture commences to boil." I didn't take physics because I would have been the only girl in the class. No balls, I guess.

There is a site where you can Simpsonize a human picture. The trouble is, it has to be a certain pixel size.

Better Living through Chemistry. The tv show Breaking Bad is coming back in March for ye chemistry (and meth - we called speed?) lovers.

sanfranman59 11:26 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 6:49, 6:54, 0.99, 52%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:44, 3:40, 1.02, 63%, Medium-Challenging

edith b 11:52 PM  

Lots of folks didn't seem to get the theme today. You can count me among them.

Maybe we'uns who are stay-up-late-solvers rather than traditional doin'-them-over-the-morning-coffee type folks are responsible.

Perhaps there is a sea change afoot. Maybe . . . no more breakfast test??

{Cue "The Twilight Zone" music}

slypett 12:12 AM  

edith b: Speaking of 'the breakfast test', see Wordplay Blog of Monday, where Will shortz shorts that circuit, more or less.

edith b 12:20 AM  


Where do you think I got the idea?

{wink, wink}

ArtLvr 12:25 AM  

@Chefwen -- Mango cheesecake recipe received, and thank you very much! It makes great bedtime reading... I might even gain a few pounds tonight, just thinking about it!


lit.doc 12:52 AM  

N.B. If you aren't seeing this post, it means that Rex's "three and out" filter is working.

@dk and @Fikink, I wonder what state would actually win the "We have the most meth lab's!" competition? Texas's just gotta be a contender. And y'all used "meth" and "speed". Doesn't anyone say "crystal" anymore?

@all of y'all who mentioned or alluded to the Firesign Theater: wow, I've never met or even heard second-hand of anyone who listened to Firesign Theater who didn't typically also do so while on acid. Don't know whether to be alarmed or encouraged.

"He's no fun - he fell right over!"

Tinbeni 1:30 AM  

Your comment to @mac re: Bugs Bunny (and it does make sense) cracked me up! LOL

Sis lives in Missouri and tells me they are the meth capital of the USA. Something to be proud of, I guess.

Advantage of working around the Med.Field, you acquire a hemostat, much easier than pliers.

fikink 8:16 AM  

@Tinbeni, Indeed! We still have our hemostats! Except now they are used in the kitchen to truss chickens.

xyz 4:22 PM  

NAOH is jsut fnie to a dyslexic, but NAOH is just fine to a H.S. CHEM STDT

Only did puzzle just now, was rather easy.

Nullifidian 9:53 AM  

In from syndication-land:

I think I can call a Natick on having two car clues that cross each other in the W of the crossword. Those of us who don't know or care who manufactures the Yukon are unlikely to know the make of a bygone Renault. I hesitated over that final C because LE CAR sounded like a stupid name (but now having seen the actual thing, I can say the name is only as ugly as the vehicle itself) and because I assumed that I was mixing up GMC with that chain of nutrition stores. As far as my experience goes, General Motors is always abbreviated GM.

There were 9 squares, 3x3, that refused to fall in that same area until I realized that 28D was IBMPC. That gave me SPAN, SPAN gave me FOGS, and FOGS gave me OBEYS.

But even before I got to that area, which was the last thing I completed, I already disliked this puzzle because of all the abbreviations in it, and it's fitting that one of the things that held me up was another gd. abbr. We had SRO, NAOH, WED, GMC, NAM, MBAS, WISC, SWE, as well as clumsy fill like DLII, OTTOI, AMOI, ETTE, ABED, and WHEE which crossed with the equally clumsy THEE, thus it was also a case of two words that only differ by a single letter crossing each other, another thing I hate to see.

This really was much, much worse than any other puzzle I've completed for some weeks.

slypett 10:14 AM  

Nullfidian: What you say of GMC is true, unless you include GM-brand trucks, which have GMC on the grille.

Unknown 6:51 PM  

I learned to love Roman Numerals after I met a Vietnamese cow. You know the Borden's cow name of Elsie? Well L. C. Diem is a Vietnamese cow. Can you remember that?

I met the cow online and have never forgotten her.
I was looking for a way to remember Roman Numerals. I had no trouble with capita i which is one and V which is five and X which is ten.

L is 50; C is 100; D is 500; M is 1000. L C D M!

Ever since I met Elsie Diem I love Roman numerals in crossword puzzles.

Unknown 3:03 PM  

OTTO I as the solution to 31D: 10th-century Holy Roman emperor, makes no sense because it was not until the 12th century that Emperor Frederick Barbarossa adopted "Holy Empire" as the name of his realm. The title 'Holy Roman Empire' did not appear until 1254. Otto I died 973 and was crowned "Roman Emperor" in 962.

What's left for a crossword to crow about if it makes up factoids?

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