Abdul-Jabbar's trademark shot / WED 2-3-10 /  Jubilee weekly 1950s country music program on ABC / Infamous motel of film / Amish conveyance

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Constructor: Kristian House

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Parental orders — three parental orders, with a possible response to those orders in the NE/SW corners ("BUT WHY!?"), and finally an imagined reply to that question: BECAUSE I SAID SO

Word of the Day: OZARK Jubilee (14A: "___ Jubilee," weekly 1950s country music program on ABC)

Ozark Jubilee is the first U.S. network television program to feature country music's top stars, and the centerpiece of a strategy for Springfield, Missouri to challenge Nashville, Tennessee as America's country music capital. The weekly live stage show premiered on ABC-TV on January 22, 1955, was renamed Country Music Jubilee on July 6, 1957, and was finally named Jubilee USA on August 2, 1958. Originating "from the heart of the Ozarks," the Saturday night variety series helped popularize country music in America's cities and suburbs, drawing more than nine million viewers. The ABC Radio version was heard by millions more starting in August 1954. (wikipedia)

• • •

Since when is SEE-THRU a spelling?? (9D: Like a sheer nightie) I see that it is being used by various people on the interwebs, but I've never seen "THRU" except on street signs and at drive-THRUs. Is the shortened "nightie" supposed to cue me to "THRU?" That's pretty weak (see also the fact that double-E RANEE was supposed to cue the rarely-seen double-E SAREE, ugh: 65A Ranee's wrap). Almost didn't bother to look at the clue for SEE-THRU — I had SEET- all lined up up there, and the only reason I looked at the clue was to see if the answer would be SEETHED or SEETHES ...

Further, I challenge "cybermovie" as a thing that actually exists ... when I google [Define cybermovie], I get a crossword blog as one of the first hits — 35D: 1982 Disney cybermovie ("Tron")

And yet ... this puzzle has a cute theme with a nice, quirky additional theme answer in the corners. Enjoyable. Do real, non-TV parents really talk like this? — the patter is very familiar, but in a 1950s TV kind of way. I'm all for making your kids do stuff, but "BECAUSE I SAID SO" — that's just sad. Still, it's certainly conventional, familiar, in-the-language, etc., so OK. I do have a hard time imagining a whiny "BUT WHY?" being asked in response to really obvious, ordinary chores. PICK UP YOUR TOYS, maybe, but BRUSH YOUR TEETH? Presumably you've explained the "BUT WHY?" of tooth-brushing to junior before. If he's going to resist you, he's not going to pathetically question the intrinsic value of brushing his teeth. He's going to whine about staying up til the next commercial, or til he's completed the next level of his video game. Can you tell I get impatient with whiny kids and impotent parents? Kinda wish the last theme answer had been something shocking like "JESUS HATES WHINERS" or "WHERE'S MY BELT!?"

(do I need a note here saying I'm not serious, do not condone corporal punishment, etc.?)

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Parental order #1 ("BRUSH YOUR TEETH!")
  • 31A: Parental order #2 ("PICK UP YOUR TOYS!")
  • 39A: Parental order #3 ("DO YOUR HOMEWORK!")
  • 13D: With 57-Down, possible response to 20-, 31- or 39-Across ("SOD OFF!")
  • 53A: Reply to the question in 13- and 57-Down ("YOU ARE GROUNDED!")
I really loved the NW corner of this grid, which is where I started. It's bouncy and bubbly with BUGGY (17A: Amish conveyance) and BOBBY (1D: Coventry cop) and OZARK and SKYHOOK (5D: Abdul-Jabbar's trademark shot)! In general, the grid had a few too many odd names for my taste — stuff like YALU (21D: River to Korea Bay) and ILYA (32D: Kovalchuk of the N.H.L.), and then whoever this BEA person is (28A: Actress Benaderet of "Petticoat Junction") — I've actually seen her before, but give me the late great BEA Arthur any day: her last name (which looks like a first name) provides an easy opportunity for a misdirect, if you're looking to make the clue harder. To me, a CARB is a thing in pasta (10A: Dual-___ engine) and a ROWEL is ... well, I don't know what a ROWEL is; that was my problem (59A: Wheel on a spur). Anyhoo, this went down in slightly better than normalish time.

  • 1A: Infamous motel of film (Bates) — just rewatched this, after reading David Thomson's "The Moment of Psycho" (interesting and informative, if somewhat rambling and pretentious)
  • 17A: Amish conveyance (buggy) — there are many road signs in these parts that warn you about the possible presence of buggies on the road. I don't think I've actually seen a BUGGY, though.
  • 27A: Dr. with several Grammys (Phil)
  • 48A: Rapper with the #1 hit "Empire State of Mind" (Jay-Z) — with Alicia Keys; a great song.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

  • 7D: Slangy "That's obvious!" ("No duh!") — HA ha, I haven't heard anyone say this since I was 10.
  • 28D: Wild tusker (boar) — "Tusker" sounded made-up, but it isn't.
  • 33D: Science fiction writer Frederik (Pohl) — a very useful name to have in your crossword bag of tricks. I'm going to try to shove ILYA and YALU into that bag right now.
  • 47D: Patisserie artisans (icers) — They're "artisans" now? Fancy.
  • 50D: Exchange of TV smears, maybe (ad war) — an odd phrase. I think I've seen it in puzzles before, and it's certainly a familiar concept, but it did not spring readily to mind. Not even close. I'm telling you, that SE corner ... only real sticking point today.
  • 56D: Where James T. Kirk was born and raised (Iowa) — if you say so. Again, SE corner.
  • 62A: One of a Disney septet (dwarf) — I HAD DOPEY!!! Again, SE corner.

Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


David 7:52 AM  

"Dopey" almost caught the flavor of this puzzle.

The themed phrases were too familiar, having been repeated to me many times back in the 1950's - but aren't they very dated? I mean - TURNOFFYOURIPOD or STOPTEXTINGANDEAT or.... well, the challenges of a modern parent are a bit more complex, aren't they?

Who is Kristian House? Associated with "Hangover" or a British racing cyclist? :) Inquiring minds want to know....

Anonymous 8:19 AM  

Thought this puzzle was dedicated to me when I started...Bea, Ozarks (near where I grew up) and Bobby - one of many names I answer to. (never end a sentence with a preposition). I do own a Bobby whistle - used to be carried by all cops in England.

Had to google a couple words but all in all an easy puzzle

Thought Rowel would be word of the day. Never heard of it

chefbea - blog wont accept me!!!!! what's going on

Anonymous 8:22 AM  

Kirk was born in Iowa in the TV series but born in space in the recent movie.

nanpilla 8:30 AM  

This puzzle sounded painfully familiar to me - although I had PICK UP YOUR ROOM, before TOYS.
@David - your entries are certainly more common these days. I didn't mind the timelessness of the answers. And it's a pangram.
Rex, your write-up was hilarious!

I don't wear ROWEL spurs, just the standard Prince of Wales. One of my best barn buddies does, though. In some ways they are less severe, because you can just roll the rowel on their side, rather than using just a single point of contact.

Jim H 8:36 AM  

BEA Benaderet didn't just do Kate on Petticoat Junction; she was also the voice of Betty Rubble. As such, she deserves at least equal acclaim as Bea Arthur.

Rex Parker 8:39 AM  


Thanks for the additional Bea info. I completely disagree with your claim that the BEAs are thus equal in any way, but to each his own.


lit.doc 8:48 AM  

For me, an easium Wednesday—easy (for the day of the week) from NW down till I ran into that hardish SE corner. The theme was fun but also helped me to solve the puzzle, which is a combination I really like. Finished in 24:50, which I’m OK with, though a really disproportionate amount of that time got eaten by SE.

Elsewhere, just a few bumps. EYCK was DYCK till the E was boxed in, INQ was AUD, and I’ve actually never seen REQUITE in a positive construction before. And, based on life experience, I thought that to be EXED meant to be divorced with extreme prejudice.

But SE had me staring at A__, ROW__, and SARI_ for freaking ever. Thinking about the phrase “putting on airs” perplexed what should have been the obvious broadcast meaning of AIR. “Ratchet and pawl” is quite familiar but ROWEL’s a new one. So I ended up with googles for ISERE and ROLFE, both of which totally annoyed the crap out of me, because I knew that I knew ISERE from CW101, and knew ROLFE from elementary school. SAREE is duly file alongside SARI.

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

Rex, your commentary made me laugh out loud - great start to the morning. And props to Dr. DRE on 27 A.

dk 8:55 AM  

Sure corporal punishment is fine for us but....

This is a Monday - Tuesday puzzle. I liked some of the fill and the step twins found the theme: familiar

The movie TRON and Alphaville are favorite sci-fi flixs. See a young Jeff Bridges in Tron and go see Crazy Heart.

Speak for yourself John ROLFE was a common phrase in the young dk household.

Went on the Universal tour some years ago and got BATES Motel towels for a summer home I once owned. Wish I still had the towels.

Off to ski the bumps. Man this new job is really going to cut into my free time

ArtLvr 8:58 AM  

Nice pangram here, and a fun theme for one no longer in the daily fray of family dynamics!

If I hadn't known ROWEL or ISERE, the SE might have proved more of snag. Hands up if one tried Alden for John ROLFE?

Jan van EYCK was noteworthy too. Kudos, Kristian!


jesser 9:01 AM  

Dr. Phil. Rex, you kidder, you! The r in AIR was the last to fall for me, because here in the arid southwest, we don't think about Pocahantes much, and I wanted ROLFE to be wOLFE, and that was not -- as Dr. Phil might say -- working out for me one bit. When AIR finally popped into my brain, I got to grin and put this puppy away.
It's a rare rainy morning in Las Cruces. Momentarily, I'll prep (DO my HOMEWORK) for my weekly radio show to update our residents on what's going on in county government. In the old days, when I was five weeks behind, I would take the dead tree version of the puzzle with me to the studio and work on it while the two DJs did their schtick. Today, I'll take a BEQ that I printed out last night. If anyone in Rexville cares about county business in southern NM, you can tune in via the internets to 101gold.com at about 8 a.m. Mountain Time. I go on anywhere between 8:02 and 8:15, depending on their schedule.
Hope everyone has a terrific Hump Day.

chefbea 9:19 AM  

@Jim H and @Rex All Bea's are great but they are all different - some act..some cook and do crossword puzzles

hazel 9:22 AM  

@Rex - Starting out with Stephen Colbert in the morning - AWESOME AND THANK YOU!! Props to you for that - whatever they are!!

The puzzle - Miss Nitpick has reared her tiny precise head again - why exactly are the Parental Orders numbered? As archaic as they are, they appear to be in the just the opposite order as a parent would order them?

Aside from that minor technicality, and the INQ - which I thought would be singled out for its badness - I still thought the puzzle a cool one.

@Jesser - good catch on the Phil. something seemed amiss but it went right over my head.

Elaine 9:27 AM  

Well, I am surprised at all of the trouble with SE. John Smith, Pocahontas, and John ROLFE-- as lit.doc said, from elementary school. The F would save you from DOPEY instead of DWARF.
And cowboy spurs had ROWELS--they were the part that made your spurs go jingle, jangle, jingle, you know!

I was fine with "Ranee" cluing SAREE; (older novels had different spellings such as "Esquimaux, Owhyhee" as well.) I was hesitant about ADWAR for a second-- smears are usually part of political campaign ads, not general advertising,k which was what came to mind.

I did try HALS instead of EYCK, forgetting that Franz was the first name. D'oh. And then I visited Amy Reynaldo's site and learned that the mud bath site was SPA, not "sty." Oops. I did not even look at the Downs! That would matter in a tournament.

Agree that REQUITE is seldom seen; it was my last entry. Do people really abbreviate INQ? Ah, well.

Blue Stater 9:35 AM  

I don't get the point of the following items in Rex's "Theme Answers":

13D: With 57-Down, possible response to 20-, 31- or 39-Across ("SOD OFF!")
53A: Reply to the question in 13- and 57-Down ("YOU ARE GROUNDED!")

They aren't what *I* get (BUTWHY and BECAUSEISAIDSO), and, according to Rex's grid, they aren't what Rex gets either.


miguel 9:41 AM  

An unrequited love for this one as it told me to "sod off" as Rex aptly ascribes to 39A.

red stater 9:47 AM  

@Blue Stater No wonder Scott Brown won.

CoolPapaD 9:50 AM  

The puzzle and write-up were fantastic. As the father of two small kids (too young for homework), the theme answers seem very timeless. And we say "no duh" all the time.

If you put on Dr. Phil's "Dark Side of the Mind" at the same time you start "The Wizard of Oz," it'll blow your mind!

joho 9:59 AM  

I'm sorry to say that I recently heard a parent say BECAUSEISAIDSO to his son.

I always love a pangram so I can forgive INQ. And I quite like REQUITE.

Time to do my homework. BUY WHY?

slypett 10:02 AM  

Rex, while I'm still high on them, I want to thank you for the Ozark Jubilee and the Alicia Keyes clips. Patsy Cline not only has divine pipes, but her personality could sell Satan to God's angels. Alicia Keyes' duet with Steven Colbert was a masterwork of music and comedy. She is a good sport and Colbert showed himself to be a consummate entertainer. Ole! Brava! Bravo!

Slypett? That's me!

Unknown 10:08 AM  

Hand up here, put in Alden, and was sure, too...same year as the memorization of 'Evangeline'- 7th gr.
Re van Eyck: stared at "Virgin and Child" at the Frick for twenty mins. 2 days ago, ("van Eyck and Workshop") and couldn't get the order of letters today. Duh.
Basically, I spent the whole time in front of the work trying to figure out the contribution 'the workshop' painted (Conclusion: the underpainting) when I guess I could have spent a few seconds on the Y of the name.

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

Thank you for getting up so early in the morning to do your puzzles. You save me so much frustration... particularly later in the week!

OldCarFudd 10:10 AM  

I found this harder than the usual Wednesday. I agree see-thru should be clued as an alternative, or "for short", or something. I don't mind saree and ranee; these words are not only not of English origin, but they're not written in Roman letters in their own languages. Transliterations tend to be a bit loosey-goosey; think emir/emeer/amir. Enjoyed the pangram, and was actually looking for it near the end when I lacked Q and X.

Rex, I much prefer your exchange between parent and brat. There are times that some swiftly administered corporal punishment will straighten out a problem quickly. Now I will be flamed by at least half the bloggers, and probably banned from the blog for at least three weeks!

Ruth 10:11 AM  

For Amish buggies in upstate New York: take a nice drive on a Sunday to do a wine tour around Seneca Lake, then drive from Watkin's Glen to Penn Yan to Canandaigua--you will see (and hopefully not collide with) a million of 'em, at least.

slypett 10:14 AM  

Formerly darkman coming at you from the land of cosmic (comic?) corrections.

The puzzle went down in Monday time! What's wrong with me? Did I catch something overnight? I can only hope it's chronic and incurable!

Deb Amlen 10:20 AM  

I had ROOM instead of TOYS at first, and also tried SMITH and ALDEN before I got ROLFE.

I was amazed that I got SKYHOOK, and not just from crossings. It’s apparently the only sports clue I know.

In my house, we’re less a BECAUSE I SAID SO crowd, and more of a “Things I Never Thought I Would Hear Myself Say As A Parent” crowd, such as “No running with cheese! You’ll take an eye out!” or “I don’t care WHO wrote on the dog. Someone other than me is cleaning that up!”

Zeke 10:24 AM  

I fear greatly for all those children who never had to respond positively to BECAUSEITOLDYOUSO. WTF are they going to do when they grow up, get a job, and have a boss?

PlantieBea 10:25 AM  

Funny write-up today, Rex; full of YUKS. I got a kick out of the puzzle, too. I still tell my youngest, now a teen, to brush his teeth, clean up his room, put away his computer, and finish his homework; these commands typically punctuated with a RIGHT NOW.

I ended with a sloppy error. I entered FOAL for COLT and never checked the downs on the way out; okay for the POOP, but it left me with some strange Amazon mdse.

I'm always glad for a BEA in the puzzle; those with sibs who called their so-named sister "beatin' rice" probably didn't want it in their youth, but appreciate it now :-)

SusanMontauk 10:25 AM  

Puzzle was cute, and made me nostalgic for my 50's childhood, but the best part was the blog and comments after. Rex, very funny and I loved the Alicia Keys/Stephen Colbert clip. And Dave and Deb, love your alternatives. Good way to enjoy a coffee break.

dk 10:30 AM  

Puzzle pals.

The research I have done on our responses has morphed into a larger values study. Please click on my little picture and complete the survey by following the link (see posts) on my blog site. If willing forward the survey link to anyone else. This is a pilot test and not associated with any marketer of anything.

I only ask for your help as you have been a part of the prototyping.

Thank you in advance,

Davis (ala dk the BOAR)

Alex G. B. 10:30 AM  

No one recognizes AT&T vs Verizon as being in the midst of an ADWAR about their network coverage?

Deborah 10:33 AM  

I don't even know what to say.
Yet another example of why this country is going to Hell in a hand-bskt.
Is Will on vacation?

Charles Bogle 10:40 AM  

@bluestater-I think those are not "mistakes" by RP but humor to keep us humming...had experiences and reactions similar to those of @lit.doc, @hazel...remembered EWER from CW101...loved REQUITE...puzzle had nice blend of interesting, developed theme, geographic locations, translations, colloquialisms etc. Did have to google some geography which I hate to do ...my hand's up as parent who goes out of his way NOT to address his children in these ways BUT confess that sometimes due to sheer exasperation find myself turning to these dictates as a last resort! Like @elaine, had problems in SE, going w Smith not ROLFE and Dopey not DWARF...all in all, a fun, medium Wed...

Ulrich 10:41 AM  

To change the subject: When I went to arch. school, students had to complete at least half a year working on a construction site. When you were unlucky, workers on the site hated architects and used the opportunity to make your life miserable (like having to spend half a year pulling nails out of used concrete forms and straightening them for re-use --these were the early sixties, and people still believed in recycling!). The lucky ones who did not find themselves at the mercy of sadists became the butt of all kinds of jokes--the favorite was being send to the tool shed to pick up some sky hooks. Smart as we were, we played along and came back with the message that all sky hooks were in use--to much hilarity all around--in other words, the puzzle made me nostalgic--in more than one way (I was a kid once, too)...

fikink 10:47 AM  

So this is true: The city fathers of a small town up the road (population of about 1,000), declared their town, "the future birthplace of Capt. James T. Kirk."
The city park sports a replica of the USS Enterprise and every year (in July, I think) the town hosts its "Trek Fest,"
Such efforts have filled the city coffers and culminated in William Shatner's "Invasion Iowa" hoax. (Many were not amused, but appreciated his cash gift.)
For more, google Riverside, Iowa.

Two Ponies 10:50 AM  

The theme was cute but there were an awful lot of proper names in order to pull it off.
Where's my belt was a well-known threat in my childhood. Rarely used but usually justified.
I learned Esquimaux recently while reading "The Terror" but had to nearly say it out loud before realizing it was Eskimo. Thx Elaine.

Stan 10:53 AM  

Fun puzzle (except for a few spots noted above), with wonderfully in-the-language theme answers.

The write-up and blog had me grinning like an idiot...

Bob Kerfuffle 11:06 AM  

Having James T. Kirk born in space would deprive us of the most memorable exchange in all the Star Trek movies. As lifted from some website:

He said it in the the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

Gillian (jokily): "You're from Outer Space..."

Kirk: "No I'm from Iowa. I only work in Outer Space."

To quote Garrison Keillor et al, "Why did the Amish couple consider divorce? Because he was driving her buggy."

Nice puzzle.

retired_chemist 11:13 AM  

Nice puzzle, nice writeup. Bea Benaderet died in 1968,which I think predates Rex. So he's excused.

Caught STY (44A) as the place for a mudbath in the recheck. POOT and ILYY just seemed wrong.

I expected trite phrases for the theme and was not disappointed.

OOXTEPLERNON did not smile upon me. STY was not my only 3 letter writeover: 46A ADO => DIN and 50A DON => AIR. INQ came from crosses.

Thanks, Mr. House.

slypett 11:19 AM  

This is slypett, formerly darkman. I glitched myself, somehow, and aim for a quick recovery.

OldCarFudd 11:19 AM  

@Ulrich - Your skyhook experience took me back to more than 50 years to a similar stunt. I spent 34 years with Prudential. I joined it long before the days everything was on line, and there were paper forms for everything - loans, surrenders, death claims, reinstatements, lapses, you name it. And they all had to be stamped. About three weeks into a rookie's career, his boss would send him to see Joe in a nearby department for the "Death Revival Stamp". By the end of the day, that kid had bent sent to every department in all three home office buildings. And some of them never did catch on.

lit.doc 11:36 AM  

@Rex, just had time to paste the comments I wrote last night before heading for the traffic jam, didn't mean to ignore your coffee-egested-on-the-keyboard emendations to 13D and 53A. And speaking of humor, was I being too generous to think that @Jim H was being similarly ironic re BEA?

@Deb Amblen, laughed till I cried when I read your comments! :)

@OldCarFudd, you're wrong. The only way to get flamed by half the bloggers around here is to say "cool, another Simpsons clue!"

retired_chemist 11:49 AM  

@ lit.doc - I think it's an age thing about the "other" Bea. Bea Arthur fits your and Rex's time line, Bea Benaderet fits mine as well. Presumably ditto for JimH's.

Being a Libra I just HAVE to respond and use the CAPTCHA mensasep. I missed norro, who is presumably a Scandinavian swashbuckler.

slypett 11:53 AM  

And I'm not getting follow-ups on my e-mail!

OldCarFudd 12:08 PM  

@lit.doc - Yeah, I think you're right.

@Ulrich et al - BTW, did y'all know there really once was a Skyhook? Back in the '60s (I think), Cessna started naming all its single-engine personal planes Sky-something; Skyhawk, Skylark, Skylane, Skywagon. They actually introduced a four-seat personal helicopter they called the Skyhook. I wasn't very successful, and I believe it had some problems. I'm not sure there any any left. But it did exist.

Three and out.

Steve J 12:10 PM  

After I'd moved out of my parents' house and was living on my own, they came over for a visit. I no longer remember what the exact circumstances were, but one of them wanted to do something in my place that I didn't want them to (probably rearranging or "fixing" something). When they asked "why not," I got this big grin and responded with, "Because I said so." I got way too much sadistic glee out of that turnabout.

Puzzle was good overall, even if the theme itself was a little dull (but it was executed quite well, so it works). I absolutely hated SEETHRU. Well, I like see-through, but I like it spelled like an actual word. INQ was equally crappy: Is it inquiry? Is it inquisition?

And I had a personal natick at ISERE and ROWEL. SE as a whole was a bear. Kinda-sorta remembered ROLFE (which was not a feature of my elementary school days), but wasn't confident enough in it to fill it in right away, and SAREE threw me for a while as well.

My captcha is FOREEL. Wonder what would happen if I entered SNIGGLE?

Ulrich 12:10 PM  

@OldCarFudd: I'm always intrigued when I see how similar circumstances in different cultures lead to similar practices--the Structuralists wouldn't be surprised, I s'pose...now off to dk's questionnaire!

Ruth 12:38 PM  

Amish jokes, eh?
What goes "clippety-clop, clippety-clop, clippety-clop, BANG BANG BANG, clippety-clop, clippety-clop"?
An Amish drive-by shooting!
(typing clippety-clop gets a bit tiring! Not good with my pinky fingers I guess)

Clark 1:07 PM  

So I am reading this Anon 8:19 post, and then I learn that the author is chefbea. It's like those pictures going from 2D to 3D (you know, the ones you have to stare at, and kind of relax, and then . . . ). Nice illustration of the difference (discussed yesterday) between anonymous and onymous (even if pseudo-) postings. The name and avatar turn a comment into something that has history and context. (And in chefbea's case, the avatar is also loaded with cosmic significance.)

red stater's response to Blue Stater's question gets my vote for funniest comment of the year.

Rube 1:18 PM  

Along the lines of our peerless leader, I got to 31A and saw, --CK-P-OUR--- and thought baCKuPyOURdata?... no, how about baCKuPyOURwork?... better, loCKyOURbike?... nah, loCKuPyOURvaio?... now we're talking... wait, that's TRON, oh well. Saw the clue for 53A and filled it in without any crosses, sort of takes the fun out of a puzz. Still, has a nostalgic tone to it.

Being a west coaster, not eating much ice cream, and oblivious of rap, I had a personal Natick at the crossing of EDYS and JAYZ. Put in 'e' instead of 'y'. I'm learning the rappers the hard way, thru xwords - much better than listening to their offensive language, (c.f. the rappers deleted from the Grammys on Sunday). And for the rapper fan (sing.) who is reading this blog, I'm sorry.

Blue Stater 1:26 PM  

@red stater and Clark: Well, OK, but the humor (thank you, Charles Bogle) still escapes me. BTA, so do most of the puns. @red stater (again): Scott Brown won because (1) he ran an excellent campaign and (2) my party nominated an uninspiring Beacon Hill timeserver and then went to sleep.

treedweller 1:27 PM  

I was one brought down by the SE. I knew ROWEL, got DWARF without thinking of Dopey, and those gave me WIZARDS and then SAREE. I just couldn't make the leap to AIR. ISERE? I never even heard of 'er. And I must represent the decline of elementary education in this country, because I am quite sure they never taught me anything about ROLFE (finally googled him to finish the corner). Given that that was around three decades ago, I shudder to think what they aren't learning today.

But I thought it was a fun puzzle otherwise.

HudsonHawk 1:50 PM  

@Ulrich and OldCarFudd: In the Boy Scouts, the Tenderfoot would be sent to other camps to get a left-handed smoke shifter.

The new accountant at a Big Eight firm was usually sent to the CFO to do an inventory of Retained Earnings. Or, in our many hospital clients, an inventory of cadavers. Ah, accounting humor...

Elaine 1:53 PM  

Oh, loved the Amish joke. But no kidding, where we lived in Ohio there were quite a few arrests for "buggy driving while intoxicated."
(This was attributed to too many young men "working among the English.") A lot of teen girls did housekeeping for non-Amish families, but the biggest problem there was that they all put on loads of make-up during the van ride into town. (Driving the Amish-- practically full-time work for a lot of folks.)

captcha: nesses ...There's more than one?

edmcan 1:58 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
archaeoprof 2:23 PM  

@Rex: thanks for the Patsy Cline clip. Country music in the puzzle is always a good thing!

This puzzle did feel a little easy for a Wednesday.

@chefbea: actresses and puzzlers named BEA just can't be beet.

Sandy 2:41 PM  

In fact, I think maybe you're too old to have learned about Rolfe. In the good old days (and the Disney version) we all learned that Pochahontas saved Smith because she loved him. Smith wanted us all to believe he was so awesome that an Indian maiden would come to his rescue. The much less romantic history of political alliances and Pochahontas' conversion, marriage, and death from western disease never really got told much until recently.

chefbea 2:47 PM  

@archaeprof you said it!!! LOL

sanfranman59 3:11 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 10:50, 11:58, 0.91, 27%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:29, 5:53, 0.93, 34%, Easy-Medium

Elaine 3:35 PM  

No way!
Point #1: Treedweller is young! He still climbs trees!

Point #2
How can someone be too OLD to know facts about events a couple hundred years in the past?

Compared to T'dweller, I really am old--elementary school was 50 years ago, and then some-- and I learned the Pocahontas tale and about John Rolfe by reading grade-school biographies. The political realities of course weren't explored by grade-schoolers, but are hardly recent revelations... and Pocahontas' demise was certainly a known fact. Goodness.

By your reasoning, I am too old to know about DNA-- the double helix was "discovered" after I was out of college. Lifelong learning-- what a concept, eh?

andrea no no duh michaels 4:32 PM  

Hilarious...right down to the bag of tricks!!

@Alex G.B.
Thanks for a really good example of an ADWAR, I had been trying to understand more what it meant. Those Verizon/AT&T commercials are driving me BUGGY...partially bec I have Verizon and AM bummed I don't get to keep my unused minutes! What a ripoff, but I like them for other reasons...and EVERY time it comes on, I keep thinking that Owen Wilson (I think it's Owen) has become quite heavy and his career must be on the skids...it's weird to have that same thought EVERY time!

(And yes, I know that's what the fast forward is for but I don't have a TiVo being half stuck in the era where I recall BEA Benedaret quite fondly but not enough to know she had been Betty Rubble's voice! (Thanks @JimH!)

@Old CarFudd
OK, I'll bite...but lightly. (Esp bec you're already at your three and out!)
"swiftly administered corporal punishment will straighten out a problem quickly."

Well, it will straighten out ONE problem quickly and simultaneously create many more for years to come!
My therapist and others know from whence they speak...
It is a terrible precedence to make a child fear you physically on any level.

OK, back to the lighter side.

Do you really think it's MR. House?
I don't know but Kristian House (in addition to sounding like a church group on campus) has written IMHO a very female-feeling puzzle...the theme feels very motherish and not something I would think would readily spring to a male constructor's mind
(with the exception of the deservedly much-maligned SEETHRU nightie!)

I can't figure out which is worse, poor @bluestater being called out on being iron-y deficient today, or me not fully getting @redstater's comment, having confused Dan Brown with Scott Brown! I'm sure there is a conspiracy theorist waiting to pounce on that!

At the Silicon Valley Puzzle Day, immediately after this puzzle I had a long conversation with Jeremy Horwitz about NODUH... something I've never heard. "Well...DUH!" or just plain "DUH!" yes, but "NO DUH", never. I don't get the whole "No" part.
It seems to intrinsically not make sense and be repetitive/contradictory or something equally irritating, so I had been hung up when trying to pre-parse NOD--.

As for ROLFE, I had SMITH for a lonnnng time which made me really SAREE.

chefwen 4:38 PM  

Hand up for Dopey before DWARF, foal before COLT, don before AIR, pick up your room before TOYS, and ado before DIN. PHEW! That's a lot of write overs, but I managed to do it in a reasonable amount of time.

Good puzzle and a great write up by out leader, kept me laughing throughout. Thanks Rex. Oh yeah, the comments brought more laughter.

Off to dk's survey.

Alex G. B. 4:47 PM  

@ACME - I think it is (one of?) the other Wilson brother. Owen hit the skids by trying to rid himself of all his weight.

@Elaine - Treedweller made the point that he wasn't taught about ROLFE in grade school, an experience similar to mine. Sandy chimed in that for a period of time a highly romaticized version of that particular history was taught, which corresponded to his, and my, experience. Any particular reason to chide them for accurately reporting their experience?

joho 4:51 PM  

@andrea no no duh ... are you related to Yo-Yo Ma?

Actually that's Luke Wilson in those commercials. Owen is his brother.

Oh, my word thingy right now was "tunator" the terminator of tuna?

CoolPapaD 5:16 PM  

@ andrea no no duh michaels - I've used "NO DUH" my whole life (well, at least most of it). Essentially, like 7D, we use it as a PG-rated version of "no sh*t!"

@ OldCarFudd and Ulrich - great stories. I remember a similar rite of passage for some of the male ward clerks in the intensive care unit where I did my residency. The nurses would tell them to urgently order up a fallopian tube from central supply. After the equally clueless supply clerk would repeatedly send up the wrong tubes (endotracheal tubes, etc..), the nurses would send the hapless ward clerk to the OB ward to fetch the tubes. They would come back PISSED!

@ Steve J - fantastic story! I keep my house freezing by most peoples' standards, and nothing made me happier than when I saw my visiting parents start messing with the thermostat...!

retired_chemist 5:16 PM  

@ Andrea no no duh Michaels -

Jim Horne refers to Kristian as male. Never met him so I don't personally know.

Squeek 5:17 PM  

Careful Elaine, Do you know who you are chiding? That's some thin ice, darlin'

Ironically my captcha is caution.

ArtLvr 5:31 PM  

re SKYHOOK -- It also appears as shorthand for a mental crutch like "miracle" in Daniel Dennett's National Book Award finalist in non-fiction, "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" (1995). PBS used the book as the basis for a special on Evolution too.

Dennett used the term "Skyhook" to describe a source of design complexity that did not build on lower, simpler layers, i.e. a miracle. In philosophical arguments concerning the reducibility (or otherwise) of the human mind, Dennett's concept pokes fun at the idea of intelligent design emanating from on high, either originating from God, or providing its own grounds in an absurd, Münchhausen-like bootstrapping manner.

Dennett also accuses various competing neo-Darwinian ideas of making use of such supposedly unscientific skyhooks in explaining evolution, coming down particularly hard on the ideas of Stephen Jay Gould. He contrasts theories of complexity which require such miracles with those based on "Cranes", structures which permit the construction of entities of greater complexity but which are themselves founded solidly "on the ground" of physical science.


p.s. SKYHOOK was also the title of a novel by John Nance which appeared on every remainders' table a few years back, evidently not one of his better tales!

fergus 5:39 PM  

Today, sitting in the sun on my porch, I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle. It made me think, it made me laugh. And critically, it delivered s much appreciation: in theme, gridwork, low quotient of crap, and most notably, the cleverness of the Clues. Pretty much a perfect Wednesday.

(Liked Rex's comments on discipline, btw.)

Stan 6:05 PM  

@andrea: I think you're definitely onto something re: the Dan Brown/Scott Brown conspiracy. (Has anyone ever seen them together?) The plot may involve the Elders of Sion.

Two Ponies 7:03 PM  

Wow. I just watched the Patsy Cline/Cowboy Copas video and then the Alicia Keys/Stephen Colbert video.
Thank you Rex. They are both priceless and funny. Even though they are decades apart they both exude self-effacing humor and capture such a positive mood for their respective eras. Nice start to my Happy Hour.

treedweller 7:37 PM  

@Sandy and Elaine
I guess I fell between two opportunities to learn about ROLFE. Older people apparently got him in grade school , which I didn't, and I freely admit I've avoided Disney like the plague for many, many years. Well, I'd still watch "Fantasia," but I have no intention of sitting through "Pocahontas" any time soon. Ironic, because in college I used to lament the poor adults who couldn't appreciate cartoons anymore. To be clear, I still enjoy animation sometimes; I just got my fill of the rehashed Disney formula (not limited to Disney--lookin at you, "Avatar"). Ah, the naivete of youth.

As an aside, I booked my trip to the ACPT this week. Obviously, the weekend is pretty full, but if anyone wants to do lunch or a museum or something, I'll be in the city Wed. afternoon till Wed. morning. Let me know -- arborworks at austintx dot com

Second aside to Will Shortz: I just had to learn how much I couldn't spell Pocahontas, but I've got it now (I think), so feel free to stick it in a contest puzzle.

ArtLvr 8:09 PM  

History buffs Alert! There's a short interview with my brother on public radio and TV in Chicago with great new anecdotes about Lincoln and Dr. Charles Dyer in pre-civil-war days in Illinois.

Go to the wttw web site wttw.com, clicking on more videos and go to #5, Fighting Slavery in Chicago. It will probably only be on the site till later this evening...

I just heard the radio tape, didn't see the video!


fergus 8:10 PM  

Pocohantas isn't as difficult as Nietzsche. is it? While I share an aversion to the Disney trade, we both recognize it's not all bad.

I really liked Steve J's story of BECAUSE I SAID SO reversal. There have been a couple of times where I could have strutted triumphantly in similar circumstances with my parents, yet they are getting old and CAGEY humour of that sort they can't hear anymore.

treedweller 8:23 PM  

you just spelled Nietzsche correctly, but not Pocahontas. Take from that what you will.

Sfingi 8:29 PM  

@Rex - the videos were great.
How about "GET me the belt."

"Sod off" seems British or Irish (old sod). Does it mean to die and be recycled in the sod? There was a character in a Philip Roth or Saul Bellow novel who constantly said with glee, "He's in drerde," - in the earth.

John and Priscilla Alden and Miles Standish were Mayflower. John Rolfe, John Smith and Pocahontas were Jamestown. The Longfellow poem, which includes "...speak for yourself, John," is about his ancestors John and Priscilla Alden.
(Longfellow and I share a different set of Mayflower couples - John and Priscilla Howland.)

Didn't know Benedaret or ROWEL. I was taught English riding.

How does a EWER differ from a pitcher? Hope never to see ewered or ewerer.

@Fergus - you have sun?

@Ulrich - During the war, before my mother got married, she worked at Gibbs and Cox, Marine Designers, NYC, as a draftsman(?) of ship's plumbing. The first thing she had to do was look for a SKYHOOK.

@Elaine - part of my elementary school was in the (late) '40s. And I still have nightmares about not doing my homework!
Is Owhyhee Hawaii?
About rwi riding while intoxicated, I had a friend with a dairy farm whose gramps used to get drunk. But he rode a horse, and the horse didn't drink alcohol. The horse took him right home. I often blame the horse when I go to the wrong place.

@Ruth - we have Upstate NY Amish and Mennonites in Herkimer County.
The Amish do not turn down rides. It's OK if Gentiles sin.

@Artlover - Dennett sounds cool, but I do think there are a few (very few) who see something that reverberates in their special brain but can't prove it in their lifetimes, e.g. Einstein. Gould was a bit too wordy, but it's beginning to look like he might be right on punctuated equilibrium evolution.

My alternative to NODUH is "yathink?"

I sign my e-mails to sonster as YOMAMA.

Wedding, or Better Late than Never

Elaine 8:36 PM  

@Alex GB
Um, Treedweller reported his experience, and (being younger than I by a fair...) no, never mind. You would have unraveled it if you had cared to try. Sandy's point was that Tdw was "too OLD" to have the historically-accepted version. Oops. C'mon...you can get it if you try.
I'm over my limit....4 and out

Elaine 8:47 PM  

Oh, Yeah.
Sandy is Mrs. Rex Parker. I am sure she'd like to hide behind that moniker.
Instead, I prefer to respect her as an individual who might not have thought through the whole business (e-mail being as immediate as it is).... because we all speak before we think at times. I am betting she agrees with me.... even the Old Folks learn new ideas.

mac 9:02 PM  

Nice puzzle and really good write-up. I'm grinning about all the good stuff in the comments, too!

I had tv-wars, and I knew Rolfe from my husband telling me about it, but mainly from crosswords. I didn't have a problem with see-thru because of the "nighty". Wouldn't use any of those words myself.

If my son had ever told me to sod off, I'm not sure what I would have said. It would not have been pretty.

@dk: Davis, that was a very long survey. Made me think, though.

@Stan: did Dan Brown offer up his daughters?

Getting ready for the Westport tournament and the after-party and dinner! Ulrich, ChefBea, IMSDave and Karen from the Cape are going to participate. Anyone else want to join us?

@treedweller: most of us will be in Brooklyn as well, email me to get together!

fikink 9:03 PM  


fergus 9:07 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sfingi 9:28 PM  

@Fergus - I hope Oprah doesn't have the pox. And it wasn't his fault either that the Nasties liked him so much. Anyway, it's about 22 and windy here, but it was sunny off and on. Actually, we like clouds at night to hold in the heat.

To be a "masculine" writer one is supposed to use Anglo-Saxon, that is, monosyllabic words. Thus, seethrough should be preferred to transparent. If you want to write in a manly way. If you're Steinbeck or Hemingway. If it matters.

lit.doc 9:37 PM  

@ArtLvr, wow, that was one well-informed post re SKYHOOK etc! Thanks for putting it out there.

laura miller 9:42 PM  

Elaine, where do you come up with this shit? treedweller said he never learned about ROLFE in elementary school. Sandy, who knows at least a little bit about American history and how it's taught, commented that the true history wasn't taught much until recently. In fact, she specifically said he was "maybe...too old to have learned about Rolfe."

When did she say he, or you, or anyone, is too OLD to know the facts? By her reasoning, you're not too old to know about DNA, you're too old to have have been taught about it in elementary school.

Then you wrote something incomprehensible that I think condescendingly accuses Alex GB of not getting that which you do not get and he does, and then you go on to pretty much to the same to Sandy.

Whatever, I'm sure it's just the immediacy of e-mail.

Rex Parker 10:13 PM  

Some commenters I read, some commenters I don't. I read laura miller.

Squeek 10:44 PM  

See? I told you.

Besides that, Rex is very correct ....
this time.

fergus 10:45 PM  

Read the quips in "Beyond Good and Evil" and perhaps you'll think differently.

Maybe, who knows?

This is just a passing idea where one advocates his preference for a certain delivery of knowledge or art.

Rube 10:59 PM  

@Laura Miller,
Let me tell you an anecdote about my high school education. We all took Biology as Sophomores. The first semester was an overview of the different phyla, (I remember doing a paper on Arthropods). The second semester was a kind of General Health/First aid course, (I remeber doing a paper on the lungs). It wasn't until I got to talking later to my cousin from Portland, (Ore.), that I realized that we had not been introduced to evolution! Apparently the Seattle school district felt that this topic was too controversial in the mid 1960s! (I don't really know if this effected my SATs.)

Interestingly enough, that same cousin was so fascinated by his Biology course that he went on to get his PhD in Marine Biology. Me, I went into Geological Engineering and then Seismology/Geophysics.

It's late and I'm sure that most of you are ready to get on to Thursday's puzz.

Anonymous 11:03 PM  


Feel free to be jealous. We had to solve this problem for homework. Thanks for the bonus points.

Ulrich 11:09 PM  

Was it EdithB who said this blog is like Salon? Or was it foodie?

@Sfingi: No kidding!

fikink 11:27 PM  

It was Bill from NJ, Ulrich...at least among others.

fergus 11:38 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
slypett 11:39 PM  

laura miller: Everyone gets off on a wrong track, now and then. To rake Elaine over the coals is not performing any service, least of all to Elaine, whom I assume you're trying to correct the behavior of. Thus, your barbs only serve to show that you think Elaine has an influence that you think was ill-employed. And to show off what a nice sense of justice you have. Well, brava!

lit.doc 12:03 AM  

Quoting Moonchild from yesterday, wow, "tough crowd". Rex has recently reminded us that this isn't a chat room, it's a CW blog. Did anyone involved in the late-day dustup think to go back-channel, via the edresses on posters' Blogger profiles?? The blog's putative subject matter deserves better, as do all the offended/sive parties.

I'm just sayin'.

sanfranman59 12:35 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 7:39, 6:56, 1.10, 76%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 8:25, 8:44, 0.96, 46%, Medium
Wed 10:51, 11:58, 0.91, 27%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:54, 3:41, 1.06, 74%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:18, 4:28, 0.96, 45%, Medium
Wed 5:10, 5:53, 0.88, 18%, Easy

Unknown 4:39 AM  

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Singer 12:14 PM  

I guess I am first from syndi. Liked the puzzle, except for INQ, but I guess I can accept that one because it allowed for the puzzle to be a pangram.

Didn't know Rolfe, but crosses fixed that. Almost had a Natick at JAY Z and JEANE. I had _EANE and was ready to try D, but then got EDYS and JAY Z came up out of the depths of my brain.

BTW, what the devil is a captcha?

Waxy in Montreal 4:20 PM  

@Singer, it's a word verification such as is used here when commenting. From Wikipedia -

A CAPTCHA or Captcha is a type of challenge-response test used in computing to ensure that the response is not generated by a computer. The process usually involves one computer (a server) asking a user to complete a simple test which the computer is able to generate and grade. Because other computers are unable to solve the CAPTCHA, any user entering a correct solution is presumed to be human. Thus, it is sometimes described as a reverse Turing test, because it is administered by a machine and targeted to a human, in contrast to the standard Turing test that is typically administered by a human and targeted to a machine. A common type of CAPTCHA requires that the user type letters or digits from a distorted image that appears on the screen.

The term "CAPTCHA" (based upon the word capture) was coined in 2000 by Luis von Ahn, Manuel Blum, Nicholas J. Hopper, and John Langford (all of Carnegie Mellon University). It is a contrived acronym for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart." Carnegie Mellon University attempted to trademark the term,but the trademark application was abandoned on 21 April 2008.

queenbeemarian 7:19 PM  

Another comment on Bea Benaderet, who has always been a favorite in our house: Beside "Petticoat Junction" and Betty Rubble, was notable for being the next door neighbor of George Burns and Gracie Allen and a frequent foil for Gracie's ditsy logic. That ought to count for more "Maude".

Singer 7:58 PM  

Thanks, Waxy in Montreal. I haven't had time to Google it today, and have been wondering for a while why people were saying what their captcha was.

Queenbeemarin, I think the clue for Bea was fine - using Bea Arthur is a bit stale, although Bea Arthur also has Golden Girls, which continues to be hilareous. Petticoat Junction was always a bit cute. Burns and Allen, however, were classic.

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