Lemonlike fruit / MON 2-22-10 / Parts of a bride's attire / Caesar whose forum was TV / Depressed urban area

Monday, February 22, 2010

Constructor: Steve Dobis

Relative difficulty: No idea

THEME: 28A: Parts of a bride's attire for this puzzle — theme answers start with words that can follow SOMETHING (as in the phrase "SOMETHING old, SOMETHING new, SOMETHING borrowed, SOMETHING blue") (36A: Word that can precede the starts of 18-, 20-, 53- and 58-Across)

Word of the Day: NEW CALEDONIA (20A: Island east of Australia) —

New Caledonia (French: officially: Nouvelle-Calédonie; colloquially: (la) Calédonie; popular nicknames: (la) Kanaky, (le) Caillou), is a colonial collectivity of France located in the subregion of Melanesia in the southwest Pacific. It comprises a main island (Grande Terre), the Loyalty Islands, and several smaller islands. Approximately half the size of Taiwan, it has a land area of 18,575.5 square kilometres (7,172 sq mi). The population was estimated in January 2009 to be 249,000. The capital and largest city of the territory is Nouméa. The currency is the CFP franc. // Since 1986 the United Nations Committee on Decolonization has included New Caledonia on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. New Caledonia is set to decide whether to remain within the French Republic or become an independent state in a referendum to be held between 2014 and 2019. // Nouméa, the capital, is also the seat of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (formerly the South Pacific Commission), an international organization. (wikipedia) [notice how "Australia" appears no where in this discussion...]
• • •

Welcome back! Wait, you guys didn't go anywhere. I was the one who was away this weekend. The tournament in Brooklyn was a lot of fun, though I did not participate. That last sentence appears to make little sense, but is true nonetheless. I was on the periphery of the tournament all weekend, seeing friends and meeting new people and turning my voice recorder on at various, occasionally inappropriate times to try to capture the wisdom, eloquence, and occasionally drunken ramblings of various constructors, editors, and solvers. While the participants were solving, I went into Manhattan for soba noodles (Saturday), or slept late (Sunday). I also got to see really good friends and their brand new baby. There wasn't nearly enough time to see or talk to everyone I would have liked to. There is a new champion, as most of you know by now: Dan Feyer, a guy who trained for his first tournament by solving every crossword I ever wrote about and reading every write-up I ever wrote. One of the first things he told me two years ago was, "I'm probably the only person besides your mother who's read every word you've ever written." And now he's the champ. The other two finalists, Anne Erdmann and Howard Barkin, would have made excellent champions as well — I don't know Anne, but I do know that she was the only woman besides Ellen Ripstein to be on the stage for the finals in the past quarter century; I do know Howard, whom I met at my very first tournament three years ago and who is possibly the nicest guy in the world of crosswords (populated almost exclusively by very nice people). Tyler Hinman was out of the running because of a tie-breaker rule (he finished the main round of 7 puzzles tied for third). This was disappointing to me and a lot of people, as we would have loved to see him defend, but he was gracious in defeat and generous in his praise for Dan and got a *huge* standing ovation when he was announced as the fourth-place finisher (and, for the last time, champion of the Juniors division). It was actually pretty moving. Everyone was excited for a new champ, but everyone still (rightly) stands in awe of Mr. Hinman's skills (and string of 5 championships in a row). Like the Terminator, he'll be back.

OK, on to this puzzle. I did it on paper, with the grid in the wrong part of the page (upper left is great if you're left-handed; I'm not). I wish I could figure out how to make Black Ink (my software) MOVED THE DAMNED GRID TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PAGE. If anyone has the answers, please hit me up with an email, thanks. Plus I was bus-lagged, despite not changing time zones. Anyway, I was slow, but refuse to believe it was the puzzle's fault. Grid construction is cool / odd / possibly harder to flow through because of that creamy middle that you can only access via narrow passages at E and W. Also, NEW CALEDONIA!? I've heard of it, but had no consciousness of its position vis-a-vis Australia. ALLE is not a German word I ever care to see in the puzzle again, but it was pretty inferrable (6D: It means everyone to Hans). The clue on THEME confused rather than clarified things ... for a bit. Once I hit SOMETHING, the rest of the puzzle went down fast. Bottom half is a breeze when you can put in BORROWED and BLUE without even reading the clues involved. I know I have seen variation(s) of this theme before, but not executed in this cockeyed, interesting way, with a Beatles song in the middle. Generally interesting theme answers and gigantic NW / SE corners also give this puzzle added interest. I want to say "Approved," but fear that is ©Brendan Emmett Quigley. Hell with it; I'll pay him later. Approved!

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Nickname for Andrew Jackson (OLD HICKORY)
  • 20A: Island east of Australia (NEW CALEDONIA)
  • 53A: Dangerous thing to be living on (BORROWED TIME)
  • 58A: First prize at a fair (BLUE RIBBON)
Here's some more crap I messed up on my road to completion. SID Caesar (50D: Caesar whose forum was TV). Easy enough, right? Then why can't I (ever) remember that his is spelled the normalest of all the SIDs. He's not SYD Hoff; he's not (dear god) CYD Charisse. He's just SID. Today, I had him with the HOFF spelling (the nice thing about solving on paper is that I leave visible marks where I screw up, so remembering and writing about them is a breeze). I still have never seen a CITRON in my life (19D: Lemonlike fruit). Isn't that make (or model) of car? Anyway, I had CITRUS there, though knew it had to be wrong — couldn't think of any [Depressed urban area]s that ended in "U" (Unless Elvis was really singing "In the GATEAU!").

I figured the nose picked up SCENT, not SMELL (my answer is much more natural-feeling and in-the-language ... just wrong) (50A: What the nose picks up). I tried AMIDST for AMONGST at 1D: Surrounded by, but petered out at about the fifth letter (how did it take me that long!?) when I realized it wouldn't fit. Otherwise, mostly smooth sailing.

  • 39A: Smart ___ (wise guy) (ASS) — wouldn't put this in because it just seemed too crass for the NYT. Maybe this is the donkey kind of ASS, so permissible.
  • 61A: Force felt on the earth, informally (ONE G) — a great piece of crosswordese that must leave many people baffled the first time they see it. "Are you sure it's not OLEG, honey?" "Yes I'm sure!"
  • 4D: People's worries (CONCERNS) — OK, this I don't get. Why is "People's" in this clue. Whose worries are they gonna be? Woodchucks' worries? That part of the clue was so weird that I figured "People" must refer to the magazine, and so I considered RENEWALS.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Anonymous 8:24 AM  

Difficult for a Monday, Flowerlady9

Elaine 8:31 AM  

Where is everybody?

I admit I have little to say about this puzzle, other than it was interesting and fun to solve. This had something for ALLE, even if you didn't know the name of a [classic punk rock band] or the location of NEW CALEDONIA--knew the name, not the location. Only thing needed to make it more perfect? 'Sixpence' somewhere in the puzzle, as the old rhyme actually has one more line: 'And a sixpence in her shoe.'

I use a lot of candied CITRON, citrus peel, dates, and dried cranberries in my holiday fruitcakes. I've never seen one that wasn't pretty well chopped into tiny pieces, but I believe in them.

slimpura-- a nonfattening tempura? If only it were so...

mac 8:31 AM  

Breezy little Monday puzzle. Elvis's gateau had me laughing out loud early in the morning! The only answer for which I needed ALL the crosses was "theme", 28D.

There are a few more (some very funny) reports on the tournaments in last night's comments. I learned a lot and am adjusting my practice. May take a little break first!

Hungry Mother 8:50 AM  

Slowed down by a few spots, but enjoyed the more challenging Monday offering.

fikink 8:51 AM  

Puzzle was a piece of GATEAU, with sound fill and much texture for a Monday (imo).
Loved the Village People, Rex.

Bob Kerfuffle 8:59 AM  

Agree with Mac (how could I not?), a very nice Monday puzzle. I thought I felt reverberations of one of the ACPT puzzles, if that is not giving too much away.

But I am still a bit sleep-deprived, apparently, since I had NEW CALADONIA, which left me with ALLA instead of ALLE, but I was going ahead so fast I didn't notice!

I haven't read yesterday's comments yet, so I will throw in a few remarks about the ACPT today:

Zowie! Lots of fun, and it was so good to meet so many of the Rexites in person, starting with my guide and mentor, Mac, who really got me through the weekend. The only people I knew by sight when I arrived were Will Shortz, Brendan Quigley, and Andrea Michaels. All of them took my juvenile, star-struck adoration in stride, but dear Andrea treated me as an old friend from the minute we met. I hate to omit anyone, but I was so happy to be with imsdave, Nanpilla, Karen from the Cape, Shamik, HudsonHawk, and Treedweller, saying hi to Crosscan, and finally locating Ben Bass on Sunday morning. My apologies to anyone I may have forgotten. And of course Rex, who like all the young people these days seemed glued to his laptop, and Sandy.

I had said going in that I would be happy with the 700th place trophy. In fact, its seems I came in 217th place. No trophy for that. Mainly it was a matter of time, since I was just plugging away at my usual rate, no flying fingers like those of the top finishers. Looking at my grids online, it seems I did have one letter wrong among the seven puzzles, and not one I feel too bad about. I don't think it would be giving too much away to say that in Puzzle #4, at the cross of 33 A and 33 D, I had a W instead of a Z. It worked for me at the time, but that one error cost me 195 points!

Loved it; hope to go back next year.

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

Nice write-up, nice puzzle, not the usual Monday gimme. Had many of the same write overs RP had, and initially wanted Grav for ONEG, which, pronounced with a long O, is a Jewish Sabbath celebration.

New Caledonia reminded me of this great Woody Herman hit

jesser 9:05 AM  

Rex, you are even funnier when sleep-deprived! :-)

For 20A I just slapped NEW zealand in there. And then noticed three more squares. And I said a Very Bad Word. REDD Foxx somehow gave me enough ammunition to write CALEDONIA over my error, and that was the only hiccup in the whole grid.

I, too, was bothered by the clue for 50A, since SMELL is the sensory ability to pick up an aroma/scent. But the puzzle has FARSI in it, and the RAMONEs, so I shant pick nits.

OK, one more nit: OLEOS? Really? I know there are different brands of oleo, but does one really go to the grocery and peruse the selection of OLEOS? Maybe. But me no likey.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Nucties (no comment) -- jesser

dk 9:08 AM  

Congratulations to @Bob K, the 217th greatest solver and stay away from Andrea. Although as you observed she charming and gracious. Hard to resist.

Very nice easy/breezy (as said above) Monday puzzle and Rex post. I will be humming YMCA all day. Several restraining orders prevent me from singing aloud... any where.

This puzzle had a spring like vibe/aura or gateau (@fikink you show off). Just the ticket for a Monday.

Thank you Steve.

**** (4 Stars)

PIX 9:14 AM  

@42D: "Al dente refers to the desired texture of cooked pasta in Italian cooking. It literally means "to the tooth". When the pasta is cooked al dente, there should be a slight resistance in the center when the pasta is chewed."...dente...dental...tooth

For a Monday, took a long time.

New Caledonia was important to the Americans during WWII: "American Allied forces built up a major naval base in New Caledonia to combat the advance of Imperial Japan toward Australia, New Zealand, and the Solomon Islands" Wiki

Brendan Emmett Quigley 9:21 AM  

Approved on the appropriation of the word "Approved."

Glitch 9:25 AM  

Oldie -

Why didn't they send the donkey to college?

Because nobody likes a 39A.


OldCarFudd 9:31 AM  

What a neat Monday puzzle! Who says easy has to be boring? And two thumbs way up for smart ass!

The ACPT sounds like fun. Maybe my wife and I will go next year, and solve as a couple. Is that kosher?

joho 9:34 AM  

Lovely Monday puzzle which I guess can be rated Al DENTE as it was something to chew.

Speaking "Something" --nice that you saw that in the middle @Rex -- that Beatles' song would be a nice tune to describe the bride.

Great way to start the week ... thanks Steve Dobis (who for some reason I want to call Dobie Gillis!)

joho 9:35 AM  

chew "on" and speaking "of" "Something"

GenJoneser 9:42 AM  

Remember New Caledonia from watching "McHale's Navy" as a kid with my Dad who recently passed away. It was our favorite show and the hilarious Tim Conway as Ensign *Parker* never let us down. Thanks, Steve Dobis, for adding a chuckle (and a tear or two) to my Monday morning.

nanpilla 9:46 AM  

Hearing NEW CALEDONIA reminds me of McHale's Navy.

The ACPT was a blast again this year. So good to see so many of you again, and to make some new friends, too. Sitting in the bar with @imsdave, @karen at the cape and her mom, @mac and my sister, then having Merl Reagle sit down with us and try to anagram Dave's name was the highlight of the weekend. So good to meet @Bob Kerfuffle, and @Shamik and her husband. (They celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary at the ACPT!) Nice to get to say hello to @BEQ. He did a fantastic birthday puzzle for my sister, so it was nice for us to get to say hi in person.
I thought the puzzles were easier this year (other than 5), and maybe that is why the top people seem to end up so bunched up that the tie-breaker rules have to be invoked. I hate to have to say it, but I think they are going to have to make the puzzles harder, or institute a tie-breaker puzzle to separate those that are at the top. When I can finish puzzle seven in 21 minutes,taking two minutes to check my work, it is too easy, because I'm not that good. I was pleased not to have any mistakes, other than puzzle 5, where I totally face-planted!

I thought today's puzzle was cute, and had some interesting fill for a Monday.

PlantieBea 9:50 AM  

Nice Monday puzzle--at least a medium with some chewiness.

Congrats to all who competed; sounds like it was a fun event.

spdinny 9:58 AM  

@joho So did my High School classmates

Newbie (still) 10:06 AM  

Picked up the theme right away, so found it very easy (that's saying a lot for me), and fun.

@Rex - I read it as O Neg and thought, really? Then had to laugh when the realization hit.

Loved today's write-up, and enjoy hearing about the tournament. If I can ever get over being so totally intimidated by the solvers on this blog, I may show up to one some day.

John 10:15 AM  

I liked Merle Reagle sunday puzzle "A Crossword grows in Brooklyn". My friend is always ragging on me fo being from NJ where the "Boids Choip". Ill have to show it to him.
The ACPT sounds like a blast!
Todays puzzle was fun. I always try top do them on paper. sitting at the computer is no where near as much fun. This one was no exception! BTW Mchale's Navy also.

Sfingi 10:20 AM  

NEWCALEDONIA has some real crossword possibilities - SOMETHING new for 4-letter and vowel>consonant: Tiga, Lifou, Touho, Noumea, Poum, Puoya, Kone.

ALLE is one form of German "all," depending on inflection. The rest are allem, allen, aller, alles. Favorites:
Geld ist weg, Mädel's weg, Ach du lieber Augustine, alles ist hin. -Money's gone, girl's gone, all's gone.
Or Goethe, for dative:
Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh...

@Elaine - love fruitcake, and not just for building construction. Send 'em here.
Never heard the Sixpence line.

Agree with @Jesser on OLEOS.

For those waiting for the LAT-
there's another APE waiting for you.

Something about having the word "nose" near "picks"...might not be breakfast-worthy.

slypett 10:30 AM  

I've been complaining a lot lately (maybe even a tad whiny), so I see no reason to change my ways--except, this puzzle was fresh, and, as someone said, springlike. I'd like to buy a star to put next to dk's ****.

tptsteve: Thanks for the Woody Herman. Swing can soothe, excite, and elevate one's geist. Is it just that it's an expression of an era gone by, which one looks back at with hazy eyes? Or does its vibration go deeper than rock-'n'-roll? (Not kidding, folks.)

Elaine 10:36 AM  

I thought of Dobie Gillis, too! but couldn't come up with any kind of wordplay that might fly; thought I'd be here at my desk chuckling All Alone!

You know, I've made these fruitcakes for about 20 years, but there got to be so many jokes that I started feeling really self-conscious. I mean, people would gobble them up (well, all that brandy didn't hurt) but maybe they were just being polite? On my fridge is a cartoon showing a 'tell-all' book: _Six Who Ate Fruitcake_....

Maybe for next year's ACPT I can award a fruitcake to whomever comes in 63rd.

Oh, and I had the same 'take' on the clue for SMELL @50A. Along with ASS, makes you wonder if Will got a head start on sniffing the Sharpies?
Bis nach spader!

Til tomorrow!

Two Ponies 10:44 AM  

Very nice Monday puzzle. As I solved it I was thinking that this should please the veterens and newbies alike. Not always an easy feat.
Very funny today Rex.
I thought of the Citroen for 19D as well.
Hand up for Mchale's Navy too.
I'm still chuckling at Elvis singing about cake.
I even learned something today. I did not know the R of RCA stood for radio. Always a plus.
I remember being so disappointed that the Village People were gay. They emerged when male dance troupes were gaining popularity and their characters portrayed female fantasies so well. My younger naive self had her eyes opened by the news that men had the same fantasies!

xyz 10:51 AM  

Generally "easy" considering the theme was a flat out cold "write 'em in" sort of affair. (OLDHICKORY + 28D = EASY) Still fun. I generally like to break themes early as I don't time - knowing all the answers I can't break 2:30 just filling-in the grid)

ASS also slowed me a sec, but the three downs made it quite clear what was intended, in fact I even thought ARSE before ALEC, mind in the gutter me.

CoolPapaD 11:10 AM  

@tptsteve - I never saw ONE G as ONEG, but I did try and fit ETROG into 19D. I never knew CITRON was its own fruit - I always thought it was French for lemon!

I also may be the only person who has never understood the expression associated with today's theme. Many female co-workers just informed me that a bride is supposed to wear each of those four entities on her wedding day - news to me!

Stan 11:21 AM  

Well-constructed Monday. Smooth and easy enough, with longer-than-average word lengths and some nifty vocabulary. I liked the DISMAL/SEMINAL/ALAMEDA corner for some reason.

ArtLvr 11:31 AM  

CALEDONIA made me think of the song by that name sung by the legendary Muddy Waters, father of the modern electric blues band. She was a woman in the song, not the old Roman name for Scotland peopled by ancient Celts. Now I wonder how the French territory came to be called New Caledonia...

I also liked the puzzle, quite a cut above the usual Monday! I enjoyed the THEME (never heard of the sixpence line!), and other far-away places in the fill -- PAPUA, EGYPT, ANKARA and the Persian language FARSI which escaped me for a moment. I suppose ELAL and NADA belong AMONGST the foreign touches too, but we see them regularly.

Welcome back to Rex and tournament goers: it sounds as if it was much fun!


retired_chemist 11:38 AM  

Welcome back all from the ACPT. Nice to hear how it went for you.

Loved the grid itself as well as the symmetry of the answers in the grid. I join in the mild surprise that Smart ASS made it past the Gray Lady's sentries. Despite the gimmes OLD HICKORY and ALAMEDA county (lived there), and despite getting the theme quickly enough to make it utile, I still didn't break 5 minutes. NEW CALEDONIA wouldn't come (call me DUMB ASS) and I spent a long time on it with crosses.

Some less than stellar fill. What everybody said about OLEOS. Using contorted plurals, as this one is, is IMO a hallmark of lesser crosswords. TROVE doesn't sound right for a chest either.

Meh. Approved with reservations. Two stars.

one of the 4 Nancys @ACPT 11:39 AM  

Another "I like it" vote for today's puzzle (but as I've said before, I like them all). I never connected Sixpence in Her Shoe to the theme rhyme..knew it only as the title of a book of essays by Phyllis McGinley.

I also had a great time at ACPT. It was only my 2nd outing and I jumped 115 places in the rankings, so the puzzles must have been easier. Also reading this blog every day for a year helped immeasurably!

DB Geezer 11:40 AM  

Might an alternate clue for 9D, IS IN, be,
Possible opening words of confession, I SIN

ArtLvr 11:43 AM  

p.s. ALLE reminded me of the German song -- a bit of a tongue-twister if sung at a fast tempo:

Alle Fische schwimmen
Alle Fische schwimmen
Nur der kleine Backfisch nicht!

O Susanna! Wie ist das Leben wunderschön,
O Susanna! Wie ist das Leben schön.


chefbea 11:43 AM  

Very easy puzzle. Thought it was a good theme

Love hearing all the ACPT reports. Congratulations to all. Sorry I missed it

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

@CoolPapaD- a citron is another for an etrog- that's the Hebrew word for it.

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

Easy to a fault. If I hadn't keyed in BEMSTONE, I would have had no delays WhatEver.

imsdave 12:58 PM  

What a beautiful grid, thoughfully unspoiled by bad fill. Excellent Monday fare.

Just wanted to echo what everone's been saying about the tournament - it is an amazing experience. The key point is - it doesn't matter how good you are at the game - it's about the people. When Rex said 'populated almost exclusively by very nice people', I just smiled. I had as good a time with total strangers as I did with my old (and new!) friends. My only only mistake at the tournament (other than the two missed squares in puzzle #5, which is a major success for me) was that most egregious of errors. I had a blank square in #3 - heavy sigh. I tried to be so careful, but let the clock get the better of me on that one.

I was hoping to use the anagram that Merl came up with for my name as a new blogger handle (he generally seemed stumped by it), but have decided against it:


Doesn't quite have the right tone to it.

Thanks again to all my friends for a fabulous weekend.

Rebecca Soble 1:09 PM  

The clue might have been made "People's worries" instead of just "worries" because it's a Monday and that makes it clearer that the word should be a noun. I know "concern" can be a verb too but it's used differently in that form, so I think this clue was just to make things easier for the Monday solvers.

Susan 1:15 PM  

I loved the clue for 50A because it had "nose picks" in it. I am a 12 year old boy. Also ASS? This puzzle was written for me.

Van55 1:23 PM  

I thought this was quite exceptional for a Monday puzzle. Nice theme and minimal bad fill. I was surprised to see ASS and BRA in the same grid.

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

@ArtLvr: I think the song you mean is Caldonia by Louis Jordan.

from wikipedia: The song is best remembered for its punchline, "Caldonia! Caldonia! What makes your big head so hard?"


------> Joe in NYC

Unknown 2:01 PM  


If you don't mind my asking, why did you choose not to participate?

sanfranman59 3:14 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 6:27, 6:54, 0.94, 34%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:22, 3:40, 0.92, 28%, Easy-Medium

edith b 3:40 PM  

Just because a puzzle is an easy solve doesn't necessarily mean its boring. I liked the long fill ALEMEDA LAVERNE. A nice combination of interests - pop culture geography history and a minimum of boring fill.

@Elaine reminded us how the rhyme ends "and a sixpence for her shoe."

All in all, an enjoyable solve.

xyz 4:05 PM  


Also ... BRA was below SAG, but unfortunately not directly beneath, that would have been really funny and good.

MUST be a slow day after the tone-a-mint (as we jokingly refer to the Masters® [golf] tournament)... very low number of posts on both blogs today LAT&Rex NYT.

chefwen 4:38 PM  

What everyone else has said "a fun Monday puzzle" two thumbs up.

Thanks for all the tournament updates, sounds like a blast.

The Cunctator 5:07 PM  

SOMETHING is also a theme answer.

Charles Bogle 5:16 PM  

Am I the only one surprised, but amused, by having "T and A" (SMARTASS and BRA) in the Old Grey Lady paper on a Monday no less! REDD Foxx would have loved it--ever listen to any of his nightclub comedy routines? Beyond blue and hilarious. Perhaps SEMINAL. Rex, thanks for the recap, and must feel great to see one of your proteges crowned!

Shamik 7:21 PM  

Thinking this one was medium-challenging. Why? My fingers have to get re-used to Across Lite? Why? I've been up since 3:30 a.m. eastern time to catch my flight back to Arizona? Why? Why not?

Ditto. Ditto. And more ditto on the ACPT! I am pleased to say that I am the 184th greatest crossword puzzle solver in the universe on my rookie attempt...was actually 17th out of 161 rookies! My goal was to crack 200 and I did and that was all well and good.

However, like everyone said already, it was meeting the people who revel in wordplay just like you do that makes the weekend so special. Nanpilla, Beth, Mac, imsdave, Bob Kerfuffle and other Rexites whose names are escaping me in my tiredness. My apologies to them. Laughter, new friends, appreciating the penguin. Putting faces to the constructors and the surprise at who is younger, older, taller, shorter, etc.

BEQ was as gracious to agree to a photo op with me as he was nefarious in puzzle 5. My claim to fame in puzzle 5 was that i was corrected in yellow. And that's as best as I can say for that one!

The finals are a blast. The play-by-play is a riot. Seeing Tyler Hinman take 4th, a bittersweet opportunity for the new leaders. Getting a prize (ok, two prizes) on Friday night was better than a sharp stick in the eye. And how about my husband who agreed to be my #1 fan on our 10th anniversary by accompanying me to Brooklyn?!?!?

One bummer moment...never saw you, Rex. Not once. Would have liked to have said "hi" and "thanks."

Now off to do Sunday's puzzle so I can read yesterday's ACPT comments!

Stan 8:03 PM  

Some of you may be interested in this (you already know who you are!): Amy Rigby: "Last Night I Was Dancin' with Joey RAMONE".

Ben 8:04 PM  

More ACPT:

Last year, in my maiden voyage at the ACPT, I finished 160th out of 600+ entrants. This year, with that experience and twelve more months of puzzles under my belt, I again finished 160th out of 600+ entrants.

@Bob Kerfuffle paid me a huge compliment when he said it was my encouragement that brought him to Brooklyn. I think my work is done here, as the tournament is so much fun that anyone who goes wants to return. It was great to meet Bob in person after we've exchanged thoughts here and elsewhere about crosswords and NPR puzzles. Neat guy.

I also enjoyed meeting @IMSDave and his Connecticut mafia. Smart and nice. (That is a redundant observation, as pretty much everyone at the tournament is smart and nice, but they are.)

@Shamik: You couldn't find Rex? He was easy to spot: his nametag said "Rex Parker" and he looks dashing and superheroic like his avatar art. :)

Shamik 9:08 PM  

Oh Ben...dang! Don't tell me that was the party going on two doors from my room! LOL! Sorry for not mentioning you earlier...but glad to have met you at lunchtime on Saturday.

Stan 10:47 PM  

Here's more 42A: Ramones on German television, 1978.

Drei and out.

sanfranman59 11:15 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 6:36, 6:54, 0.96, 40%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:18, 3:39, 0.90, 24%, Easy-Medium

Lots of online solvers today (1,052). Only one other Monday has had more solvers in the 36 weeks I've tracked solve times.

slypett 11:34 PM  

sanfranman59: 36 weeks! Time flies like a cream pie aimed at your face!

Nullifidian 4:29 AM  

This struck me as more difficult than usual for a Monday, so I'd rank it a medium. Usually I can solve them in order, but today the NW corner fell last. I blame LAVERNE and Shirley, because I'm too young for that show to be on my cultural radar.

"People's worries" is also a bizarre and vague way to clue CONCERNS, and could just be shortened to "Worries".

NEW CALENDONIA was a little difficult, not to mention a bizarre choice for something that merely had too begin with NEW, but I managed it from the crosses.

Speaking of the theme, I enjoyed it well enough. Since I started in from the bottom, I twigged to the clue after BLUE RIBBON and BORROWED TIME.

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