Champagne Tony of golf / TUE 2-23-10 / Camera openings / Salsa singer Cruz / Sainted 11th-century pope

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Constructor: Joanne Sullivan

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: LANDFORMS (68A: Geographical features ... or what the circled squares in this puzzle represent) — circled squares spell out — and visually represent — various LANDFORMS

Word of the Day: Tony LEMA (53D: Champagne Tony of golf) —

Anthony David "Champagne Tony" Lema (February 25, 1934 – July 24, 1966) was an American professional golfer, who rose to fame in the beginning of golf's modern era, but had his young life and career cut short in an aircraft accident. // On the eve of his victory in October 1962 at the Orange County Open Invitational in Costa Mesa, California, Lema joked he would serve champagne to the press if he won the next day. From then on he was known as Champagne Tony, and his handsome looks, and vivacious personality added to the legend, such that Johnny Miller has stated that at the time of his death in 1966, Lema was second only to Arnold Palmer in fan popularity. (wikipedia)
• • •

I spent much of the day constructing, so my eyes are tired of staring at grids. I was ripe for puzzle grumpiness — if I'd spent hours trying to polish my grid, and then had to face a published puzzle with subpar swill in it ... well, I wouldn't have been happy. Then I opened the Tuesday puzzle, and my eyes glazed over at the sight of circles splattered in apparent haphazard fashion across the grid. Resolving not to prejudge, I started in. Fast at first, and then a bit slower as I worked clockwise from NW into the NE and E. GLACÉ gave me real trouble (36A: Candied, as fruits), and I mysteriously blanked on Mrs. Arnold Schwarzenegger, despite knowing exactly who she is and being able to picture her clearly (MARIA). Rounded the corner, into the SE via a great guess at CELIA (51A: Salsa singer Cruz). Botched 61A: References at first by dropping in ALLUSIONS, but fixed it when none of the Downs east of UND would work. Only then did I notice the theme-revealing: LANDFORMS. Only then did I look up and see what the circles were doing — forming the shapes of and spelling out various LANDFORMS. I used knowledge of the theme to put in MOUNTAIN in the S/SW, and ended my geographical journey at the MESA (mysteriously positioned in the Bay Area of the puzzle). Having finished in a slightly slower than normal time, I checked out the completed grid ... and I have to say, I really, really like it. Easily my favorite Tuesday puzzle of the year. I know, Tuesdays frequently suck and so being the best Tuesday sounds a bit like being ... like ... like Anthony Michael Hall's character (Brian? The Geek? Farmer Ted?) in "Sixteen Candles, who calls himself "King of the Dipshits." He's like ... the leader of the social outcasts. Anyway ... he ends up being very likable. And this puzzle is very likable. I'd be surprised if it didn't turn out to be one of the most imaginative and well executed Tuesdays of the year.










I think I was slightly slower than usual for several reasons. First, the circles. They're distracting and have me wondering, in the back of my mind, WTF? Second, the occasional odd fill.I've heard of MESS HALLS but had to infer MESS CALLS (34A: "Come and get it" signals in the Army). Is that "signal" a bell? Is MESS not at a regularly scheduled time? Front end of that answer is in the yuckiest part of the grid, around the area of ET ALIAE (ay ay ay!) (26A: And other women: Lat.). No idea what a PALP is, though I assume it has something to do with PALPating (2D: Sensory appendage). Yes, says PALP = "An elongated, often segmented appendage usually found near the mouth in invertebrate organisms such as mollusks, crustaceans, and insects, the functions of which include sensation, locomotion, and feeding." Biggest snag, however, was 53D: Champagne Tony of golf (LEMA). Before my time, and not seen in the NYT puzzle in 12 years (!?). Appropriate that he abuts OOPS (54D: "Well, that was stupid of me!"), as I dropped the ball here for a bit.


  • 31A: Grappling site (mat) — I'm sure this answer has at least one of my faithful readers all hot and bothered (the same one who was wearing an "Iowa Wrestling" T-shirt on the last day of the tournament)
  • 38A: Org. that approves trailers (MPAA) — remember that seven-part review of "Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace" I showed a while back. Well, here's a *trailer* (HA ha) for the review of "Episode II: Attack of the Clones":

  • 52A: Song whose title is repeated before and after "gentille" in its first line ("Alouette) — I used to think "gentille" was "jaunty"
  • 21D: Tint (dye) — tried HUE at first
  • 22D: Trader ___ (restaurant eponym) (Vic) — always reminds me of "Werewolves of London"

  • 30D: Brideshead, for one (estate) — aargh. Held me up badly, as my Evelyn Waugh knowledge completely failed me.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


andrea what's it all about michaels 12:49 AM  

I found it unbelievably hard for a Tuesday...even as I got stuff, I frowned a bit.
(I guess I should just say, "what Rex said!")
but I too found it wildly inventive...

Yay that once again the puzzle is by a woman...I don't know if it's Joanne Sullivan's first or not, but very sophisticated grid with all that stacking business...and the circles making descriptive there a name for that? Pictograms?

it's interesting, bec at the breakfast we had of the women constructrixes that Orange graciously organized for a third year in a row:
Orange, Karen Tracy, Deb Amlen, Donna Levin, CW Stewart, Bonnie Gentry, Karen Tucker, ET ALIAE!
(ie Liz Gorski had a puzzle in the tourney, but didn't make it to the event...and Paula Gamache was there, but perhaps otherwise engaged)
a couple of us actually DID discuss that it is a pleasure that one of the inroads that has been made is that women in the grid are NO LONGER defined by who their husband is...
and yet, boom, here we go today with MARIA!!!
Boo, hiss

She may be a bit "skeletal, what is wrong with her exactly I can't put my finger on it?" -looking, but she is certainly more than "Mrs. Arnold Schwarzenegger"!!!!

One step forward...

Loved seeing everyone at the ACPT...still kvelling...decided to stay in NYC for a few more days just to hang with Patrick Blindauer and Tony Orbach and maybe throw a celebratory lunch for Dan Feyer on Friday :)

Will never take off the beautiful necklace Mac made me for as long as I live... (Or till it clashes with an outfit! But doesn't tourquoise go with EVERYthing?)

It IS a bit scary that everyone at these ACPT's are SO smart and SO nice and feel like family from word go...bec then you want the rest of life to be like that!

no complaints if you don't actually show up! ;)

ArtLvr 1:13 AM  

Good morning, Rex, did you complete the puzzle you're constructing? Do keep us posted!

I thought this one was rather cute too, especially with John MUIR tucked into the SE corner at 56A and the UTE and TEPEE higher up by the PLATEAU and MESA, totally appropriate. GLACE has a hint of glaciers on the MOUNTAIN too, the CLIFF surely promotes UPDRAFTS, and your ESTATE may sit in the VALLEY... The ROSS SEA complements the LANDFORMS, as does CLIME. Very nice.

Richard Henry LEE of the Virginia Lees deserves more of a salute than merely a Founding father, as he was a major mover in rejecting the Stamp Act and getting the other colonies together in protest, leading to our Declaration of Independence!

As for Maria, her parents the Shrivers moved into a condo near us when we lived in Silver Spring MD, and there was speculation that her dad Sargent was planning a run for office, U S Senator or? It didn't work out that way, but he created the Peace Corps for brother-in-law JFK and served under LBJ too.

Anyway, congrats to Joanne -- and to @ Andea on the promotion of our constructrices!


CoolPapaD 1:29 AM  

Loved this Thursday-esque puzzle - much harder and a helluva lot more fun than a typical Tuesday! The theme totally helped me conquer this - especially the mountainous SW.

Agree with ACME and host re the obscurity of the proper nouns, as well as SABOT and ASANA - new words both for me.

Hey CLIME - how about a little T and A!

RSVP before SASE made SW slow for a while. I think I remember GLACE being French for ice cream (high school, class of 82), but I've never heard it in reference to candied fruits.

Thanks to whomever it was a few months ago that pointed out that LON NOL was a palindrome - I'd never remember that name otherwise!

Clark 1:47 AM  

This one gave me a rough time for a Tuesday. I had YENTL instead of YENTA (so my Yiddish is a little rusty) which gave me some trouble in the SW cause I could not think of anything that started LNN____. Some kind of natural logarithm thing? Eventually I sorted it out.

Can anyone give me a sentence in which the adjective AMPLE and the participial phrase 'having plenty to spare' are substitutable? I'm sure there's a way, but I just can't see it.

Nice to have all you competing puzzlers home again. Congratulations to everybody.

ArtLvr 1:52 AM  

p.s. It should be noted that Maria Shriver does NOT go by her husband's name. Her website is "Maria Shriner, First Lady of California" and she's as active with her pro bono concerns as her mother Eunice was with creation of the Special Olympics, etc. Eunice died just last August, a mover and shaker in her own right up until her last year, at age 85.


chefwen 1:54 AM  

We are certainly off to a wonderful week of puzzles. Absolutely loved this one with all its peaks and valleys. Asked golf ball loving husband if there was a golfer named LEMA and without batting an eyelash he said, yeah sure, champagne Tony.

I did get into a little pickle by putting seniors in for the prom goers and obese before AMPLE, but both righted themselves in short order.

Fingers crossed for an equally enjoyable Wednesday and Thursday. Still get the heebie jeebies when facing Fri/Sat., but I'm getting better.

lit.doc 1:56 AM  

Grade-Crunch Hell Day yesterday for me but, as @Elaine queried, “Where [was] everybody?” Else, I mean. Anyhow, back to Stuff That Matters.

Wow, what a cool puzzle. Took me easily half again as long as a typical Tuesday, part of which I ascribe to mass quantities of benadryl (cedar fever time down here) and the rest to the imagination of Joanne Sullivan.

Time would probably have been better were I working on paper, as scanning the clues for the theme-reveal is a pain in the Across Lite, but Ms. Sullivan was kind with the Acrosses. APERTURES and VALENTINE (a bit late, like my high-school girlfriend) went down like, well, my high-school girlfriend. Sorry, I’ll stop.

NW stalled briefly on PALM (“Could 1D be EURO?”), aggravated by 19A’s clue. Note to editor: “Too much e-mail” is fine (despite the why-bother hyphen), as is “Too much of [insert possessive pronoun] e-mail”, but as worded it’s pretty odd. Nonetheless, NW filled was sufficient as a theme reveal and, as all good circled-square themes should, abetted further solving.

lit.doc 2:08 AM  

@CoolPapaD, geez, you're as bad as I am! LOL. And me too re RSVPS before SASES.

@ArtLvr, I've gotta wonder if "constructrices" doesn't run a bit counter to the sexual-political progress that Andrea You Don't Need a Dick to Construct Michaels was celebrating. "One step forward...[another locution backward]".

Elaine 4:57 AM  

Hand up for HUE before DYE--though otherwise I found this puzzle easy EXCEPT for the wee personal Natick MPPA/ASANA. Phooey on that. I finally put in an I, because nothing really came to mind other than R for RATING.

For some reason PALP and CLIME popped up at once. When I finally spotted the terrain of the theme, it washed away my brief annoyance re the many tired three-letter words. Really enjoyed this puzzle!

Somewhere deep down I'm betting you know that the bugle played--probably still plays--the calls on military bases and posts. (Think Taps.) The MESS CALLS for meals--"Soupy, soupy, soupy,/ Without any beans..." might not be as familiar, but I'm also betting most military kids can 'play' you the sunset gun call, too. There was always a general hustle to get past the gate before that started, because otherwise the car had to stop, and the person(s) in uniform had to step out and salute until the end of the call, by which time the flag would have been lowered.

DrGaellon 7:00 AM  

I too went for HUE before DYE. SABOT I knew, but ASANA is new for me. I had to look up LEMA and CELIA Cruz.

@Clark: a definition doesn't have to be perfectly substitutable. "An ample supply" means "a supply having plenty to spare" perfectly reasonably.

@CoolPapaD: CLIME bugged me a mite, too; I wanted the clue to say, perhaps, "Weather of a region, poetically" - I've never seen "clime" used except fancifully. OTOH, a meteorologist of my acquaintance quipped, "Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get."

Smitty 7:39 AM  

@Rex - you mean I'm not the only one who thought it was Jaunty Allouette until this very morning?

Thanks for the Jackson trailer.

Falconer 7:39 AM  

Fantastic puzzle for a Tuesday as it had definite Thursday overtones. Rare to see two triple-stacked 9s even outside of a Friday puzzle. Amazed the constructor accomplished a nifty grid and managed to create the shapes as well.

Odd moment for me was when I got "Alludes To" via crosses and then tried to figure out what the Latin phrase "Allu desto" meant...

Love those saints and popes named Leo. Had no idea there were 9 of them. Probably more. This one was born in Germany, was known as Bruno to his mom and friends, and was a pal of the Scottish king Macbeth, of Shakespeare fame.

chefbea 8:01 AM  

I agree - a tough Tuesday puzzle.

@Rex why the postman - I guess it's the guy from cheers?? Could have been Mr. Bea. Two more days at the post office and he's through. Then off to NC!!

What does MPAA stand for?

Sara 8:01 AM  

Jaunty comes to English from "gentil"! (I used to think it was jaunty, too)

bookmark 8:14 AM  

I loved this puzzle! My favorite circled answer was CLIFF.

Now off to yoga class for an hour of ASANAS.

fikink 8:17 AM  

-- F
-- F

just SCREAMED Wylie Coyote! Loved this puzzle.

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

Tough for a Tuesday. Paused when F-stops didn't fit 1A, and 38A had me thinking transportation for a while. But what a nifty piece of construction.

@ArtLvr- thanks for brining home the John Muir tie-in; appropos with a nature puzzle

@CoolPapaD- I'm ROTFLMAO

fikink 8:25 AM  

@Clark, "She has an AMPLE bust."

Hungry Mother 8:27 AM  

"He has an ample waistline."

I didn't have an ample brain this morning and was stymied in the SW.

joho 8:33 AM  

Oh, I loved this puzzle! Such unexpected fun for a Tuesday. I nominate for an Oryx!

Being from an enthusiastic golf-oriented family, "Champagne" Tony Lema was a gimme. I even saw him play when I a kid ... he did sparkle. I chuckled at 14D: "Caddie's bagful." I see the caddie emptying his golf bag upside-down, making a mini-mountain of tees.

I had never seen "gentille" written before today and I, too, always jauntily sang "jaunty!"

Brava to you, Joanne Sullivan!

chefbea 8:33 AM  

Just realized that the postman's name was Cliff doh

jesser 8:53 AM  

This was a bearcat of a Tuesday for me. PALP? LEMA? GLACE? ASANA? SABOT?

I've mentioned before that, for whatever reason, the circles don't show up worth a crap when I print the puzzle grids out, so they were neither a distraction nor of any assistance. Kudos to Rex for figuring out how to illustrate what they were doing!

A bag full of TEES? Really? You should only need a maximum of 18, and that's if you're using a whole tee on a par 3, which No One Does.

I give this one points for brass, but I think it's more suited to a Thursday gimmick puzzle, based on the number of times I had to rely on crosses and guesswork. The middle A at the intersection of 28D and 38A was the last to fall.

Loved the Warren Zevon clip. My favorite song of his is "My Ride's Coming," which Bruce Springsteen covered shortly after Zevon's death. What a tribute, and what a sad loss.

Gunde! -- jesser

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

knew you would like this one. difficult for me.....tricked right off the bat with dollar competitor....took the monetary route of course...

Parshutr 9:14 AM  

Can't resist this story. According to Ken Venturi (retired golfer, 1964 U.S. Open winner, and friend of Tony Lema), Tony called him and asked him to make an excuse for not fulfilling his promise to Eddie Lowery (his erstwhile sponsor) to speak at a meeting, for free, because he had accepted a $10,000 fee to be elsewhere. Venturi blasted him for his ingratitude (both had been bankrolled by Lowery, who had been Francis Ouimet's caddie long ago and was then a successful auto dealer in San Francisco) and told him that he'd regret the decision for the rest of his life.
Lema's life ended the next day, in the plane crash Rex cited.

imsdave 9:18 AM  

I am totally awed by this one. While I never got the gimmick during the solve, the post puzzle review took me to a complete OMG moment. Thank you Ms. Sullivan!

@andrea - how about this for an alternate clue to MARIA - A problem to be solved?

And speaking of movie musicals, seeing the Richard Henry LEE entry reminded me of one of my favorites:


Sandy 9:24 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandy 9:30 AM  

It was always "chante" Alouette to me and it never occured to me until this morning that "chante" might not be a word in any language. (I quest the rains down in Africa...)

You know what else fits in the LEOIX spot? PIOUS. Stuff like that slowed me down all over the grid.

@Elaine. You might lose that bet!

hazel 9:33 AM  

This puzzle totally rocked - and I think it was a NYT debut! All sorts of connections going on - in addition to the landforms, which were really cool, I love ArtLover's list. I had the PLATE in the NW and looking at the crazy circle pattern, thought maybe Plate Tectonics were going to be involved! Which would have been super delicious.

Regardless, this was an excellent and very crafty Tuesday puzzle. If only she could have squeezed a little pahoehoe lava in somewhere - even though its really not a tuesday word, now that I think about it.

Serious awesomeness in this puzzle.

Stan 9:46 AM  

Lovely theme -- John Muir would approve!

Thanks to @ArtLvr for pointing out details I hadn't noticed.

Hands up on thinking it was 'jaunty' Alouette until this morning.

Zeke 9:51 AM  

A sentence I never thought would pass my lips - "A damned fine circle puzzle!". Ok, my finger tips, not my tongue.

Morgan 9:59 AM  

Great puzzle, and about twice as hard (in minutes) as the usual Tuesday.

Doug 10:01 AM  

Great Tuesday puzzle, and pretty hard, and I didn't know SABOT and had lots of little spots where I was stuck for a long time. As for MAT, yes, an Iowa Wrestling T-shirt is a very big deal, but back in my day, if someone strode into a wrestling room with a NIPPON or CCCP warmup, that was a very, very big deal! It was Olympian.

dk 10:04 AM  

@fikink, I always heard it as AMPLE bosom, or as my grandfather would say: "You could put a clock on that mantle."

@andrea, good one! Be my 15A! Also note that in the WASP community Maria was seen as marrying beneath, way beneath, her station. Arnold was/is often referred to (by WASP wags) as Mr. Shriver

In the dead tree version the squares are shaded making the theme easier to see. Please note I am now solving with a Stablio pointVisco fine point (.5), but making my own lattes as I am saving my pennies for a trip to SF.

I do not like puzzles with cute tricks, as the trick often masks, or creates, construction problems degrading the solving experience. I am happy to report this puzzle is the exception.

Agree with all the praises sung for this one and think the inclusion of MUIR and APERTURES with the theme of LANDFORMS could have only been improved by having Ansel or Adams in the fill.

Only regret wanted skypilots (look it up on youtube under the Animals) instead of CHAPLAINS.

**** (4 Stars) Ms Sullivan I dub thee LIONESS of Tuesdays.

Secret word: ologa - sound made by @oldcarfuds horn.

coyote 10:04 AM  

I loved this puzzle. Thanks Joanne! Had a great time at the tournament and met so many people that I knew by name but not by face. Special thanks to Andrea, Puzzle Girl and Amy for introducing me to so many people. It was fun meeting you, Rex, and Sandy...I really enjoyed talking with you. So many nice people!!! C.W.Stewart

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

this is a little joke that relates back to sat's puzzle & write-up...

if you are american when you go to the bathroom and you are american when you come out, what are you while you are in the bathroom?


tee-hee, deion

ps @ rex - i have not commented of been to the site in awhile, but when & why the format change? alot of the images/links are not coming up on my PC. alas. is it some sort of PC vs. Mac thing?

retired_chemist 10:06 AM  

A nice puzzle, but my experience was marred by trying to use it to get used to Black Ink, which has a different look and feel from AL. I may learn to love it, but right now, no. Slower than it should have been because I kept having to find and fix typos.

Hand up for using MESS CALLS to rule out LOTUS @ 28D.

There are XIII Pope LEOs. The movie Saving Grace was about the fictional Pope Leo XIV.

Elaine 10:12 AM  

Really? Even when I mention TAPS it doesn't make someone think "Bugle calls!"? (The movie "From Here to Eternity" was filmed on the post where my dad was stationed. Of course, by the time we lived there, I think it was a record, not a real bugler, coming over the sound system.)
Reveille ("I can't get 'em up in the morning") is somewhat of a perennial presence...remember it in oater movies? old stand-by songs? I'm pulling out all the stops trying to tickle a memory synapse...

Fruits cooked in sugar syrup until candied are "glace"...with a little accent on the E. If you go to Nice (which I certainly recommend) you will see shop after shop with elaborate trays of glaceed fruits, ready to be shipped post-paid to your friends.

Hmmm...spulized-- As in, "He spulized his mouthful of beer when he suddenly caught on."
See you all tomorrow...

Martin 10:27 AM  

I learned the "words" to mess call as "Come and get your chow, boys, come and get your chow."

Van55 10:33 AM  


While largely worthy of the effusive praise for this effort, it has some aspects that troubled me just a bit.

The three letter stacks at the top and bottom middle are kind of ugly/trite: TNT UTE RIA and LON UND DEF. I should have known MPAA immediately, but drew a blank and totally didn't know ASANA.

Loved that the landforms were both spelled out and graphically depicted, which excuses the other stuff completely.

addie loggins 10:39 AM  

Wonderfully creative puzzle. Much harder than the average Tuesday, and would have been even more of a bear if I hadn't gotten the theme early on, which provided lots of random letters to help me out.

Ended up with one mistake: I had "a mile" rather than "ample," which gave me "lois" rather than "oops." Seemed weird, but I rationalized that it might refer to the incredibly sexist habit some golfers have of yelling out a woman's name when they hit a putt too short (although, in my experience, the name is usually "Nancy").

Thank you all for the wonderful weekend in Brooklyn. It was so nice to see so many of you (who really do seem like old friends, even those who I just met last year) and to meet so many new folks.

I'm already training for 2011.

Addie (a/k/a PuzzleSister)

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Sometimes I grouse about the puzzles or write-ups, so this puzzle allows me an opportunity to express some appreciation for this blog. When the puzzle contains circles I often come here to see what they're about rather than messing with them on the computer screen. Today's explication was very easy to scope out. Thanks.

I, too, don't have a clue who Celia Cruz is but it didn't matter -- got all the crosses instead.

Jim in Chicago 10:41 AM  

I started out thinking "I'm going to hate this puzzle with all these random shaded squares." But then I got the clue word early on, figured out what was going on and wound up LOVING this puzzle. (See, we don't all have everything!)In a very minimalistic way the squares get accross the idea very well.

My only quibbles would be with "Getting an A+ on" as a clue for ACING, since I've always that that "acing" is a riff on the A - just seems a little to close for my taste.

And, there was the "almost Natick" in the NE where I knew either SABOT or BIFF. I had the entire puzzle filled in except for the B, but then just went through the alphabet and found "biff" and said - must be. Tada. Finished

Nice little Tuesday all around.

Two Ponies 10:41 AM  

Brilliant puzzle!
I loved every minute of it.
The answers that mirrored the shapes were a true delight to uncover. All the related answers were just glace on the cake.
Did I mention I liked this one?
I second @joho's motion for an Oryx prize to Ms. Sullivan.
If this is, in fact, a debut then it is all the better.
I savored some of the tricky bits which only added to the enjoyment. As Rex noted Tuesdays can be an awkward day to fill. Thumbs way up.

Sandy 10:45 AM  

@Elaine. Really. This, to me, is one of the fascinating things about puzzles. They represent an idea of shared culture, yet we don't all share 100% of the same stuff.

@Addie: I'm going to start shouting "Lois" at myself when I goof.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:47 AM  

Wonderful puzzle! Could only repeat most of what has already been said.

@CoolPapaD et al - Not exactly a mnemonic, but SABOT might be easily remembered as (from memory, unresearched and unverified) the basis of the word "sabotage", from weavers throwing their wooden shoes into the power looms which they feared would take away their jobs.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:52 AM  

@Martin - Thanks for posting the link to MESS CALL. Listening to it, I remembered that at Scout camp, we heard that as "Waiters, waiters, waiters, what are you waiting for?", referring to those whose job it was to set the table and fetch the food from the kitchen for a particular meal.

xyz 10:57 AM  

No other comments read yet, but glad Rex and 1st commenter thought it harder as even with getting the theme it was still slow for Tuesday.

For AVIS, had EURO for a while, PALP crap, NW came very hard, but once done cracked code.

LEMA - gimme, MESSCALLS gimme, and by the time I got there LIONESSES and LANDFORMS were gimmes.

PALP - not so good, CLIME, not so good, Brideshead no real help, ILLATEASE? fidgety not too helpful (Thought LATER until I saw PLATEAU shape and the theme was then fill-in-the blank, still more difficult.

MPAA - good clue

Definitely Medium-Challenging, but I'm not sure it was a great puzzle as I thought especially for Tuesday some clues were weak or too tangential. As with Rex, 1st thought - oh crap, circles ...

Give it a B-

OldCarFudd 10:57 AM  

It's all been said. Marvelous, delightful puzzle!

@dk - My cars are too old for a-OOO-gah horns. They have horns, with reeds, like an orchestral instrument. When you squeeze the rubber bulb, you pass air over the reed and it honks; you literally "blow the horn". All but my Stanley steamer, which has a four-fluted steam whistle. When I put 550 psi of steam pressure through that puppy, it sounds like a train at a grade crossing. Even the drivers putting on lipstick or yapping on cell phones sit up and pay attention!

dk 11:08 AM  

@OldCarFudd, LOL & great. I am of an age where I fondly remember the lever controlled air vent rising in front of the windshield (think Jeepster, Plymouth Coupe, TR2A, 58MBZ190, etc). I lament the passing of fresh air in a car. Your horn post reminds me of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park: REDRUM. You must get the oboe clue every time.

Sara 11:09 AM  

@ dk: Maria Shriver is so not a WASP! Maybe a WHIHGRC - White Half Irish Half German Roman Catholic.

slypett 11:09 AM  

This puzzle totally charmed me. It's not just a gem but a diadem.

The SW had the potential for giving me fits, but I was in such a good mood due to the puzzle that I just let my brain sing along until "Alouette" flew out of its mouth. (That was before she was plucked.)

Kudos, Joanne!

xyz 11:10 AM  

Is only 36 black spaces remarkable, especially for a Tuesday? It seemed more of a Friday look to me and I am glad to see someone else commented on the triple 9-stacks, (Yes, it does lead to a mess of threes, but I guess that's what makes it OK for a Tuesday?) I thought "pretty good stuff" as I start to appreciate this kind of stuff.

People not constantly doing puzzles will struggle mightily with this one today methinks.

Steve J 11:11 AM  

Hmm, I know I submitted a comment, but it's not there (and that was like 20 minutes ago). Anyway ...

Looks like this is another one where my impression is distinctly contrary to prevailing opinion. I found this one just, well, odd. I didn't love it; I didn't hate it. Wait, I did love it, and I did hate it.

The theme was very clever. Which, given my normal hatred of circles, is saying a lot. The constructor gets major points for creating a circle-based puzzle I not only didn't hate, but actually liked.

But then a lot of the fill and cluing was just clunky. Lackaday?!?! Right next to Tony LEMA, who I admit I may be too young to be familiar with (not that on the edge of 40 is all that young). I suspect age may also play into why I have no idea who ALFIE is or why anyone's asking him what it's all about. Several other clunkers, most of which had been discussed previously.

But then there was some brilliant fill as well. I grinned after coming to the realization that wracking my brain looking for a currency that starts with A was futile, since we were talking about rental cars. And the "trailer" cluing for MPAA was excellent.

Even if I rated puzzles, I couldn't even begin to make one here. I love parts of it, and I hated parts of it. As I said, very odd.

And challenging. Came in a full 50 percent longer than my average Tuesday time, and right around my Wednesday average.

SethG 11:35 AM  

I finally looked up the song. What I found out: the part before plumerai is not the same as that between the alouettes, which I'd thought it was, and apparently the song is about plucking the feathers off a bird. Now, I will take some time to do the things we never had.

Fantastic use of circles. I noticed the theme right away when solving with cliff/plateau. Didn't use it to solve, but did enjoy seeing what the other landforms were as I went along.

I felt slow, maybe cause it took a bit at the start to remember the difference between a cabot and a sabot and to get rid of AIR WAFTS(?). But I finished in average Tuesday time, and was surprised to look later and realize my time is relatively fast.

deerfencer 11:47 AM  

Agree with Steve and got totally hung up in the mid-left section after putting down LOTUS and ORAL. This led me to botch 38 across--I put NSTA, thinking it was a govt transportation regulatory agency--and from there froze up completely.

ILLATEASE and ALLUDESTO were my favorite answers.

George NYC 12:08 PM  

To me, it's a disproportionate amount of hair.

Great puzzle. The print edition (I hate saying dead tree as it reminds me that the industry is dying) did have shaded squares, which first produced a WTF? moment, but once I had the first one, helped a lot. I liked that Ms. Sullivan had the guts to have both a PLATEAU and a MESA.

Shamik 12:09 PM  

Realized the circles were landforms by the time I got to LANDFORMS...but didn't realize the beauty of the visual. Great Tuesday puzzle. Can't tell what kind of time it is for me for a Tuesday 'cause my Word document for my times won't load. Reboot forthcoming.

Believe I forgot to mention how gracious Andrea great-woman-of-note-in-the-puzzling-world Michaels is. But she is as sunny in person as she is in this blog. Still smiling about this weekend.

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

Why would Maria Shriver's Web site be Maria Shriner????
See earlier comment

Rick 12:25 PM  

Joanne Sullivan is a crossword genius in the making. I did some research, and she was mentioned in this blog before, as having one of the best puzzles in Lollapuzzoola 2009, and having turned the puzzle into a mosaic that was handed out as a prize:

Great job!

PlantieBea 12:31 PM  

Ditto, ditto...A wonderful Tuesday creation. Congrats Joanne Sullivan!

CoolPapaD 1:15 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle - thanks for the tip! Just read about this on Wikipedia, and your explaination seems spot on. We'll see if this works the next time...

@tptsteve - thanks! And thanks for the citron - lemon thing. I find it hysterical that there are European cars called Citroens (?sp). This is a car just waiting to break down!

Is GLACE the same thing that my people would call compote? It's this somewhat nasty appearing dessert that all my old relatives would eat around Passover, to ward off the Matzoh-induced constipation!!

Zeke 1:20 PM  

My Evelyn Waugh knowledge fails me on a daily basis also. Unless you're referencing Mrs. Evelyn Waugh, in which case, oddly, it never fails.

Anonymous 1:20 PM  

What a great Tuesday!!! Great theme, actually shouted out loud when I realized what was going on ("landfills" being the next-to-last word I put in). Felt like a Weds, but such a pleasant surprise today. :)

Anonymous 1:24 PM  

sorry, meant land*forms*

I guess I have trash or pollution or something on the brain today.

Though I suppose "landfills" could make an interesting theme as well...


newspaperguy 1:30 PM  

Loved this puzzle even though I was interrupted midway through and lost track of my time.
I don't pay attention to the circles or theme as a rule, but when I looked back on the completed puzzle and saw the circle fills I thought, "This is a kickass puzzlemaker at work."
Very satisfying Tuesday puzzle.

Kelly Hildebrandt 1:32 PM  

Zeke, what about me?

Zeke 1:34 PM  

@Kelly - You're clearly just a copy cat. Of a copy cat.:)

Charles Bogle 1:36 PM  

What Rex and Andrea and Jesser et al said...super puzzle; wonderful write-up; clever theme and grid playfulness. Especially awesome and challenging for a Tuesday. The "fill" is so varied and out-of-the-ordinary, I don't even think the term "fill" is apt here. Congrats Ms. Sullivan!

Tara 2:33 PM  

My friends and I are just starting to do crosswords as a lunchtime activity, and contrary to the comments of most of the long time puzzle solvers, we didn't think this one was too hard. Maybe a bit tougher than normal Tues, but certainly not a Thurs (which usually requires cheating).

Anyhow, I find it amusing how much different backgrounds can affect the difficulty of a puzzle. We had to guess on a couple things (ASANA and LEMA), but surprisingly didn't have any misleading mistakes. I wrote in DYE, GLACE, MESSCALLS, etc without a second thought. So I say cheers to Sullivan for not only a neat theme, but somehow finding clues that novices have as good a shot at as pros!

(Okay, so I'm sure you're all much faster, but it was still satisfying to complete.)

Clark 2:37 PM  

Thanks, @DrDaellon and @fikink, for the response on AMPLE.

Warning! Über-Geek Alert!

Will Shortz says (in “How to Solve the New York Times Crossword Puzzle,” linked from the NYT xword blog): “No matter how tricky or misleading the clues, they will always follow a fairly strict set of rules. Most important, a clue and its answer will always be expressed in the same part of speech and as a rule must be interchangeable in a sentence, with the same meaning each way.” I like to keep an eye on what this ‘as a rule’ might mean. Usually there is a perfectly clean substitution. Sometimes, especially with a verb phrase such as ‘beat in a race’ (OUTVOTE) the phrase will have to make way for, say, an object as in: ‘The Democrats hope to outvote the Republicans.’ = ‘The Democrats hope to beat the Republicans in a race.’ (2.11.2010) And there are other changes (such as changing ‘a’ to ‘an’) which are not a problem.

All that having been said, the substitutions offered for AMPLE (‘having plenty to spare’) are bumpier than usual. Seems like the one who has an ample supply is the one who has plenty to spare, and the one who has the ample bust is the one who has plenty to spare. But the rule of substitution suggests that it is the bust that has plenty to spare. As in, 'She has a bust that has plenty to spare'? Ok. As I said, bumpier than usual.

This is not a complaint about the puzzle. (I am interested in the question of what Aristotle meant by ‘in general,’ ‘as a rule,’ ‘hos epi to polu.’)

chefbea 2:45 PM  

@Tara and the lunchtime group


Anonymous 2:50 PM  

LILATEAFPUFVYAEE etc etc. Oh, God. Was I the only one so bleary this am that it wasn't till I finished the puzzle that I wondered what the theme was and then started to write down the letters?

fikink 2:51 PM  

@dk, ah, "bosom" ...I recall my paternal grandmother Sophie when I hear that word. And yes, you are right, I think it is more often "AMPLE bosom." Nice memory.
But perhaps we should go with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's "busty substances."

@clark, your ponderings delight me! Ponder this: "If you lived here, you'd be home by now."
(FST, of course.)

imsdave 2:52 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle - do me a favor and send me an email (my address is available on blogger) - thanks.

Martin 2:59 PM  


It's kosher to mix the phrase up to demonstrate grammatical equivalence. The key is not having to use extra words or having any left over.

"There is ample room for a garden." "There is room for a garden, having plenty to spare."

Stan 3:03 PM  

@Tara: Good comment. It seems like such a fine line between keeping things interesting for the puzzle mavens and still appealing to new solvers. Part of the credit goes to Will's editing, I think -- he has to know what will fly on what day of the week.

sanfranman59 3:20 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)

Tue 10:49, 8:45, 1.24, 92%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:31, 4:29, 1.23, 92%, Challenging

This seems like an Easy-Medium Wednesday puzzle wearing Tuesday clothing. My own solve time was badly skewed by having misspelled ALOUETTE with an A on the end (I always sang "alouetta, jaunty alouetta"). And since I had never heard of CELIA Cruz, CaLIA seemed reasonable. I must have scanned the puzzle for 2 or 3 minutes until I found the error. So an Easy-Medium/Medium Tuesday solve time turned into my worst Tuesday since I started tracking my NYT times last June.

Anonymous 3:28 PM  

hey redanman !

tell king klein i said hello when you see him next (brad klein) L O L

tommy nacc asked me back to GCA saying he would appeal directly to the top, but i told him thanks but no thanks, because then brad would have tommy in the next "noose" issue

did you ever think tiger could get into such a situation ?

anyway be well


Steve J 3:32 PM  

@Clark: While it may not mesh exactly for a phrase like "ample waistline," "ample" fits grammatically with "plenty to spare" in other uses: "You had ample warning that this was due today," for example, could easily be said as "You had plenty of warning to spare that this was due today." Exact positioning, as @Martin noted, isn't completely necessary, as both "ample" and "plenty to spare" function as adjectives (and it's acceptable to split up adjectival phrases for reasons I no longer remember).

John 3:45 PM  

Great Puzzle! Totaly forgot about the circles while solving. Then I hit the SE, andfigured out LANDFORMS by reviewing the circles. WOW! How Neat!

Doesn't Gunga Din start "In India's sunny Clime..."?

Joanne Sullivan 3:50 PM  

Aw, Rex, you like it, you really, really like it! Now I know how Sally Field felt. Thanks everybody for your very kind words and gentle constructive criticism. Yes, this is my New York Times debut.

I was surprised when Will Shortz said that he would probably run the puzzle on a Tuesday, but I told him that running it on any day that ends with a Y would be fine with me. I'm thrilled that he accepted it. I was fortunate to have a short conversation with him at the ACPT, and he was very kind and encouraging.

I agree that this puzzle contains several words that are difficult for a Tuesday. I thought it might be appropriate for a Thursday and geared my clues to that level. Mr. Shortz (am I allowed to call him Will now that I've been published?) changed about half of them to make the puzzle significantly easier.

Andrea, you should be happy to learn that I didn't write the clue for Maria. I would hate to let down the sisterhood of female puzzle constructors. Sticking "Mrs." in front of the first and last name of a woman's husband always struck me as sexist. I didn't mind taking my husband's last name when I married him, but I sure didn't want to lose my first name. My original clue alluded to The Sound of Music, which is one of my favorite things. @imsdave, I like your alternate clue. I must be on your wavelength because the Richard Henry Lee song from 1776 inspired me to write the clue for Lee. I originally considered "Major mover in rejecting the Stamp Act and getting the other colonies together in protest, leading to our Declaration of Independence!" but decided that might be a tad long. By the way, Andrea, thanks for picking up my puzzles at the ACPT in such a timely manner. You were working my corner of the room, and were always there when my hand popped up.

@ArtLvr, wow, you read way more into my choice of words than I had intended. Uh, I mean, I'm glad that you recognized all those references that I carefully worked into the puzzle.

@Elaine and everyone else who had a problem with the MPAA/ASANA crossing, I've spent a fair amount of time looking at movie trailers and visiting health spas so I didn't realize how difficult that crossing would be. I don't follow golf so I thought the LEOIX/LEMA crossing was the most unfair part of the grid. And speaking of golf, @jesser, the clue for TEES wasn't mine either. Earl Grey is the only bagful of tea that I'm used to.

@Jim in Chicago, would you have preferred "Getting a 4.0," my clue for ACING?

@Joho and TwoPonies, I feel honored to be nominated for an Oryx. By the way, have the 2009 Oryxes been awarded yet?

@Steve J, I remembered "Lackaday" from the Gershwin song "But Not for Me." I love Harry Connick, Jr.'s rendition of it on the "When Harry Met Sally" soundtrack, but maybe it's not for you. I'm glad that you liked the MPPA clue. I thought that it was initially misleading but ultimately gettable.

@Rick, thanks for the plug, but my puzzle was just a warm-up at Lollapuzzoola. The actual tournament puzzles were much better than mine.

@Everyone who questions the clue for Ample: I didn't write it so I won't try to explain it, but I won't criticize it either. I have ample respect for the editor.

JaneW 3:51 PM  

I had a problem in the SW for awhile because I was wedded to Tony LAMA, a name that was sort of familiar--LEMA didn't register at all for me. Finally got LEMA from crosses, particularly LEO IX. Checked later and LAMA is the boot guy!

dk 3:55 PM  

PC warning

@sara, I know Ms Shiver is not a WASP. Your post was an LOL moment as I recalled mother and grand ps railing on how the catholics and mass-holes should never have been given the vote. After the first round of assassinations The Kennedy family was given a pass (imagine a decree from a papal-like council) and the clan was adopted, in a kinda of a red-headed WASP step child way. Some of the Ks began to appear at summer social events in Northeast Harbor & Falmouth ME and more importantly were welcomed at the Falmouth town landing (those in the know will appreciate the magnitude of this). Thus when Maria was linked, and seen, with arnold (small a on purpose) tongues began to wag. I mean he was an Austrian, a body builder, lived in California and an actor. The fact that he was a republican helped some but did little to tip the balance. Hence my earlier post.

Warning Andrea moment. Years ago I met Jeff Bridges and his wife Susan. Susan was a friend of Arnold who I, through the Bridges, met at a New Years eve party. Turns out he is a great guy with a masterful sense of humor.

Tennis anyone?

d(social A list)k

chefbea 3:56 PM  

@Joanne so glad you stopped by to enlighten us about your puzzle!!! Hope there are many many more.

Clark 3:58 PM  

@Steve J -- You are defending a different clue. The clue was 'having plenty to spare' not 'plenty to spare.' The trick is to get the participial phrase (led by 'having') to function the way 'ample' does. @Martin makes a pretty good stab at it. I still wonder, however, whether the participle in his example is functioning attributively (that is, modifying 'room') as the adjective 'AMPLE' is. The room is ample, but is it the room that is having plenty to spare?

Since this is three and out, I have to say,

@Chefwen -- I just had a Hawaiian Apple Banana. Gadzooks that was good!

George NYC 4:23 PM  


Social Register alert:

"in a kinda of a red-headed WASP step child way." LOL

When Robert Kennedy (Sr.) got into a Boston-area prep school, the Brahmans were appalled. At least SOME forms of prejudice fade fairly quickly in this country. Others not so much.

mac 5:00 PM  

Fantastic Tuesday puzzle! It was a little surprising to have such slow going at first, then figured the theme/circles and had them help me here and there.

I didn't know MPAA, but Asana seemed most likely. Glace (with accent, two syllables) is not like compote, it is a sort of glacing and drying process. Best known here probably the glace cherries, as in Shirley Temples.

Wo that's what those wrestlers do on the mat?

Just saw Sven Kramer be disqualified after a wrong lane change, and he was in first place...

ArtLvr 5:04 PM  

@ Joanne Sullivan -- Many thanks for your details on the changes wrought by Mr. Shortz... One can guess which ones they are, quite often!

On the other hand, Will and others who are so proficient and so immersed in crossword complexities (think Rex) love to toss a curve every now and then, tongue on cheek. It keeps us all on our toes and leads to some extra-funny comments as well as occasional clunkers.

We'll be looking forward to further stimulating contributions from you, and thank you again!


Anonymous 5:05 PM  

@Joanne Sullivan - May your name grace the puzzle page many times!

Ruth 5:05 PM  

@Sandy (from waay back this morning) I, too, though the alouette word was something like "chante." Just sang the syllables as a kid, learned a tiny bit of French at 30, and assumed it was "chantez" i.e. an imperative "sing, you damn bird, while I pluck all your feathers out!" When I learned what "plumerai" meant I was horrified. What a nasty cast to such a "jaunty" song!

Signing off as a white Unitarian Norwegian Peasant social nowhere. . .(so intimidating, all this high society stuff)

jesser 5:10 PM  

@ Ms. Sullivan -- Thanks for dropping in and clarifying so much! I feel much better about the tees AND about my instinct that this one really wanted to be Thursday puzzle. You constructors all -- every one of you -- amaze me!

Ersoau (that lint/goo stuff at the bottom of the golf bag that you encounter when trying to find your last damn tee) -- jesser

Van55 5:16 PM  

@Joanne -- congratulations on a wonderful debut!

I think most of us would be fascinated to see your original cluies for the puzzle and to contrast them with the edited ones. Would you mind letting us have your clues to the extent they differ from the published ones?

Elaine 5:35 PM  

Just checked back in and was delighted to see that our (charming) constructor chimed in.

@Joanne Sullivan: Congratulations on your debut; we'll be watching for more!

I for one was more than pleased with the breadth of vocabulary and topics that supplied so much interest in this puzzle. (Sometimes the puzzles seem to use the same pedestrian words--and definitions--over and over. It's not engaging, aside from the fact that it does nothing to broaden the solver's own vocabulary.) ASANA was new to me, along with MPAA; hence my personal Natick. But now they're on file, I hope.

@Dick Swart
Hand up (eyes cast down) for starting a little list of circled letters at the top of my page. After CLILATEAF I bagged it, hoping that there was no scrambled-word puzzle in the near future.
When I darkened the letters in the (faint) circles, the nickel dropped. I never noticed LANDFORMS in the grid because I had solved that section right to left with the Downs.

One more try: think of the Civil War and western-themed movies when the order "Charge!" is given...or when the cavalry arrives in the nick of hear the bugle call, and I'm betting (still) you can remember what it sounds like...
Of course, I'm not betting a lot now.

I think the Shirley Temple cherries are just 'maraschino' cherries--preserved but soft. Real glaceed fruit has had multiple bouts of cooking in increasingly saturated sugar syrups before the drying phase. Much stickier. Can one of the chefs comment?

Despite still having snow in the yard, today I saw three narcissus in bloom, one forsythia opening buds, and three cedar waxwings. Spring is going to come after all!

Three and out.

Beaten Dead Horse 5:39 PM  

I had AMPLE time to finish the puzzle, have a third cup of coffee and still be early for the bus.


Steve J 6:05 PM  

@Joanne Sullivan: Thanks for the background info. Knowing that it was originally geared to be a Thursday-ish puzzle explains why it felt odd to me. And my objection to "lackaday" in particular was more related to the appropriateness of the clue for a Tuesday. I guess I'll blame Will for that one. :)

(Warning: In the following, I'm seeing Clark's earlier geek alert and raising it by ten.)

@Clark: You're right; I'm not arguing the right clue. I somehow blocked the "having" out of my head. Which does change things. We've gone from an adjective ("ample") to a gerund ("having plenty to spare"). Which means, essentially, an adjective is standing in for a noun. Even allowing for the variances of word order, I'm having a hard time thinking of a workable sentence that allows for a straight switch. In Martin's example, the phrase "having plenty to spare" is in fact modifying garden, not room, so it's not a straight substitution. It's easier to see when dropping "for a garden" (which, as a prepositional phrase, is extraneous to the core grammar of the sentence). "There is room, having plenty to spare" makes no sense, while "There is ample room" does. The fact that the sentence can't work without the prepositional phrase points to "having plenty to spare" serving an entirely different grammatical function.

It's the "having" in the clue that messed things up. I think you're correct that there is indeed an OOPS here. I wondering if in changing of the original clues, an editing mistake was made that left the "having" in there when it shouldn't be. "Plenty to spare" would have worked as a straight adjective-to-adjective substitution, but there's no way for a gerund to do that. At least not that I can think of.

Joanne Sullivan 6:51 PM  

@Van55, I hesitate to show you my original clues because Will Shortz's editing probably made me look more clever than I actually am. You've all been so kind to me today, and I don't know when if ever I'll get this attention again so I'll share some with you. Many clue changes were minor or didn't change the difficulty level much, but here are some of my clues that differ significantly from the published ones:

APERTURES: Photography magazines
SABOT: It's carved from a single block of wood
ILLATEASE: Unsettled
ALFIE: Title role for Jude
SPAM: Brand on a can since 1937
UPDRAFTS: Thermals, e.g.
VASE: Bud ___
MESSCALLS: They come between reveille and taps
YENTA: She sticks her schnoz in other people's business
NOT: "___ Ready to Make Nice" (Dixie Chicks' song)
GNU: African prey
LIONESSES: African hunters
AVIS: Destination for some shuttles
ALLAN: Poe's foster father
TEES: ___ off
TEPEE: One-room dwelling
ASANA: Downward Facing Dog, for one
MARIA: Flibbertigibbet, according to an eponymous song
OOPS: Interjection that may precede an undo command
TALL: It's smaller than Grande at Starbucks
DEF: Three on 3

In Memory of Daniel Myers 7:01 PM  

@steve j

That's 3 and out, right?

just askin'

Sfingi 7:04 PM  

@DickSwart (like the pudding?)- My paper had gray squares rather than circles. I didn't pay any attention to them til I was done. I should have been using them to help speed solving.

@Ruth@Sandy - Alouette - I never knew what the 2nd word was. Or what the first word means. Oh, someone says it means the bird, lark.

I must be the only person who loved the movie Yentl with (and directed by) Barbara Streisand, maybe because I'm a feminist, or I think Amy Irving is beautiful. Even Isaac Singer didn't like it.

@Tara - Greetings! Googling isn't cheating, as long as you're honest about it.

@RetiredChemist - use pastel ink. There are several brands, but only a Flair can be used if you're lying down.

My mother belongs to a group called the Daughters of Founders and Patriots, which I can't belong to because it has to be on a woman's male line, and my dad's German. As you might guess, the keeps getting smaller and meeting in smaller rooms. What were they thinking when they founded it?

@GeorgeNYC - I think the ONLY group my mother (New England WASP)had prejudice against were the Irish. I figured it was because they were the group that followed close behind. Also, there was a real fear of the Pope.

@CoolPapaD - cute original joke!

Had "Euro" before AVIS, "lotus" before ASANA. The lotus is a padma-ASANA.
Did not know ROSS and LEMA.

"Weak coffee is suitable only for working on LEMmAs, not theorems." (mathematician Paul Turan)

"Salsa Queen" Celia Cruz is marvelous. Catch her on YouTube. She's Cuban and is buried (2003) at Woodlawn, the Bronx, where my German g'pa Fritz is and has one of those marvelous mausoleums. She won 3 Grammys and 4 Latin Grammys.

Jack Valenti (Sicilian) was president of the MPAA for 38 years until his death. He was President Johnson's closest confidant.

mac 7:04 PM  

@Joanne Sullivan: wonderful to read your original clues. I bet you live in NY or close to it!
Hope to see you at the Lollapuzzoola.

Sfingi 7:08 PM  

That's CELIA Cruz who has the mausoleum.

@Ms. Sullivan - I would not have got some of your clues - they're too young.

Two Ponies 7:29 PM  

@ Ms. Sullivan, Thank you so much for providing your list. Very insightful indeed. Some of your clues were more to my liking but some of Will's were better. Together you made a great team for a smashing puzzle.
Today might be setting a new standard for Tuesday fun and the number of comments.
@ Rex, When can we vote for the 2009 Onyx award? My favorite was Ashish's.
I'm sure we all remember that one.

One final note @In Memory of Daniel Myers, You make me choke with laughter while I heard Mr. Bill in my head screaming "Ooooh Nooo!"

Stephen 8:02 PM  

Great puzzle, but it felt more like a Thursday for me. Well constructed and well clued and a fun theme that worked for me.

I will kvetch about one clue though... kites are almost never lifted by updrafts. They are designed to fly in horizontal wind, and if you needed updrafts for them they would be terribly difficult and boring to play with. Of course it's possible someone could go looking for a cliff and fly it from down below, but that makes the clue as abstruse as "they are lifted by 8-year olds".

andrea valentine michaels 8:17 PM  

Wow! Super informative...I KNEW you didn't write that clue about Maria! I just wanted to point that out, but rally meant to stress more how cool the puzzle itself was!!!

Wow, so you are a speed solver too?
Did we meet? I wanted to just rove around meeting folks, passing out papers and collecting, so Will let me be a "Good Will Ambassador" rather than a kitchen slave laborer this year! :) A better fit!

Wish you had joined us at the breakfast! My hope is that it gets so big and run of the mill to have women construct that it becomes a total non-issue, suddenly I feel heartened and that we're on the way...
I'm not really as us/them as I sometimes sound, it's just another angle to think about!

Anyway, congrats congrats! Await the next...

Thank you and how cool was that to celebrate your tenth at the tournament???!

You have to ask? Yes!

SethG 8:31 PM  

Stephen, what if it's this kite?
</Martin impersonation>

Joanne Sullivan 8:47 PM  

@mac, Yes, I live in NY. What gave me away, the schnoz in my clue for Yenta? I guess I don't even have to open my mouth to betray my roots. I hope to make it to Lollapuzzola this year. Please introduce yourself to me if you come.

@andrea, Thanks for chiming back in. I couldn't have rested until I was sure that you knew I wasn't responsible for the Maria clue.

No, I don't think I'll ever be a speed solver. I'm in the middle of the pack. The only words that we exchanged were "thank you" as you collected my puzzles. I hope that I have the pleasure of sharing a few more words with you at the next ACPT.

I didn't know about the breakfast, and even if I had, I wouldn't have qualified for it until today.

Thanks for your congratulations. I doubt that my next puzzle will be this original so I hope that I don't disappoint you all. Well, it was nice to start with a bang. I think that I'll treasure your comments for a long time.

Two Ponies 9:08 PM  

I did not look at your link but if it concerns the bird then thanks because that was exactly how I interpreted the clue. It was a clever misdirection that I failed to mention earlier.

Stephen 9:21 PM  

SethG: I'll CEDE the point.

Clues that I would have been entirely happy with, are "They lift gliders" or "soar points".

But wait a mo... Two Ponies actually read the "kite" clue as a bird?! Maybe I should not be doing crossword puzzles, if that's where I have to be. Did others see this as merely a deliberate misdirection? If so, I'm out of my league.

JS?? Can you tip your hand here? Were you thinking of the bird? or messing up on the aerodynamics of flying toys?

xyz 9:41 PM  


I don't think I would have liked the puzzle as much, sorry, many clues too obtuse except for uber-puzzle geeks.

...sorry folks, call me a puzzle-puzzy if you want, I want to have fun and today I did.

Joanne Sullivan 10:04 PM  

@Stephen, I hate to break the three posts and you're out rule, but since you asked, in an earlier post, I mentioned that my clue for UPDRAFTS was "Thermals, e.g." That clue would have been too hard for a Tuesday. I doubt that the big guy was referring to birds with the "They lift kites" clue. That seems a little convoluted for a Tuesday.

@the redanman, no offense taken. I know that I'm no match for WS.

sanfranman59 10:17 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
Tue 11:04, 8:46, 1.26, 94%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:18, 3:39, 0.90, 23%, Easy-Medium
Tue 5:24, 4:28, 1.21, 90%, Challenging

Today's median solve times are the highest for all solvers and second highest for the top 100 of the 37 Tuesday puzzles I've tracked. It seems that Joanne had a better feel for the difficulty of this puzzle than Will. It probably would have been more appropriate for a Wednesday.

Van55 2:19 PM  


Thank you so much for letting us see your original clues. I agree that Mr. Shortz improved some of them, but by all means not all of them. Keep up the great work!

xyz 7:59 PM  

@Joanne Sullivan

The construction was just wonderful, I was just commenting that with all the slants, it would have limited the puzzle's appeal. as it came out it was just delightful for me and not too easy for the geeks.

I look forward to many more puzzles from you.

tony lama boots 3:07 AM  

I have read this post and i think that there is rally good to solve Puzzle every day through that way i like to know more about words and new things. Thanks for this post!

Waxy in Montreal 1:14 PM  

From SynCity:
Wow, great debut @Joanne Sullivan. Many of your clues were more inventive than their replacements by WS - I think the original version of this puzzle would have merited a Saturday. Tony LEMA was a gimme for a golfer of my generation. And thanks for the timely shoutout (probably unintentional) to our 2009 Grey Cup (Canadian Football League) champions, the Montreal ALOUETTES.

paul in sw 3:04 PM  

Been a while since I've read the blog and comments. Came mostly to see if there'd be a youtube embedded for Aloutte. Of course, sang it as a child but took me a while to recognize that I'd been singing the word "gentille". Most interesting column and comments. I loved the comments by the constructor and those who responded back. Saw the landforms almost immediately, starting with valley. And then forgot to apply it for plateau, which would have helped me. Otherwise, about the same reactions. I enjoyed.

Alejandro Moreno 4:25 PM  

My paper had grey squares instead of circles. It looked much nicer. Very enjoyable.

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