German/Polish border river / MON 3-22-10 / TV show with many doors / Dashing actor Flynn / Richard's partner in Carpenters

Monday, March 22, 2010

Constructor: Andrea Carla Michaels

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: LADE (35D: Stow, as cargo ... or an anagram of the last word of 17-, 35- or 52-Across)

Word of the Day: REX Reed (14A: Film critic Reed) —

Rex Taylor Reed (born October 2, 1938) is an American film critic and former co-host of the syndicated television show At the Movies. He currently writes the column "On the Town with Rex Reed" for The New York Observer.

• • •

Well, this was easy, and though it pains me to say it, very unsatisfying. The theme is just D.O.A. LADE? That's your hook? Your pivot answer? A four-letter word with zero charisma that constructors use only when they have to? And there are anagrams ... why? I just don't get it. Further, the theme answers aren't very interesting. And with only three theme answers, and 78 words (the max) to work with, the non-theme fill should have been much, much, much better than it was. DIASPORA (11D: Scattering of an ethnic group) is about the only interesting thing in the grid. Otherwise, all the typical partials and abbreviations and tired names that you hope not to have to see much of in an early-week puzzle. IRMA (24D: "___ la Douce") *and* ELSA (30D: "Born Free" lioness)? Well, I guess it could have been worse. Could have been ERMA and ILSA. No joy in Rexville today.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: All around, as on a trip (OVER HILL AND DALE) — I read "all around" as "all-around," though I'm not sure it would have helped to have read it properly. This is a phrase I've only ever heard in one context: that "Caissons Go Rolling Along" song. I know "ALL OVER HELL AND GONE." And I know "CHIP AND DALE." And yet, time-wise, not blowing right through this one hardly seems to have mattered. Still came in under 3.
  • 35A: TV show with many doors ("LET'S MAKE A DEAL")
  • 52A: Move into first place in a race (TAKE OVER THE LEAD)
Had a number of missteps, but clearly nothing catastrophic. Went with DRIVES over DROVES (1D: Herds), HEE over YEE (13D: "___-haw!" (cry of delight)), and OLES over RAHS (4D: Stadium cheers). Precision of my European geographical sense is not reliable, so RHONE/RHINE is always an adventure. Today, I picked correctly: RHONE (49A: River of Arles). "Arles" is commonly associated (in puzzles and elsewhere) with Van Gogh. I sort of like the symmetrical corner pieces MUDDY (9A: Foil, as the waters) and PADDY (60A: Rice field). PADDIES are MUDDY, right? Anyway, as words, they stand out against the mass of ecru that is the rest of this grid.

  • 30A: Dashing actor Flynn (ERROL) — only just noticed that his name is the (last) name of another famous, crosswordesey actor, spelled backwards: Peter LORRE. Also, if you add an "S," it's an anagram of SORREL (33A: Horse color).
  • 51A: Richard's partner in the Carpenters (KAREN) — her voice is truly beautiful. I could listen to her all day long. Also, many Carpenters hits were simply good songs. One of my favorite albums of the '90s was an anthology called "If I Were a Carpenter," with Carpenters songs covered by modern rock groups. There were a couple of duds on there, but most of it was hauntingly fantastic.

  • 31D: Title before Rabbit or Fox (BRER) — Remember when Roger Rabbit and Samantha Fox teamed up to do that dance video? Or did I dream that? Or am I thinking of "Opposites Attract?"


  • 34D: German/Polish border river (ODER) — ah, four-letter European rivers. Who doesn't like those?

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


chefwen 2:45 AM  

As much as I admire Andrea, I thought this puzzle was way too easy, even for a Monday. The only interesting word was DIASPORA.

Shout out to me kitty boy at 60A, PADDY. He's the best!

Steve J 3:04 AM  

I hardly notice themes on Mondays, and that was the case here. It doesn't strike me as especially weak, but it doesn't grab me, either (then again, anagrams rarely do). Would have been nice to see more of the playfulness I recall from past ACM puzzles.

Agreed on the excellence of DIASPORA. And I'm surprised KAREEM doesn't make it into more puzzles.

I'd totally forgotten about the "If I Were a Carpenter" album. Great selection with the Sonic Youth cover. Best one of the album, as I recall. "Haunting" is definitely the right word.

andrea abashed michaels 3:30 AM  

If it makes you feel any better, I don't even like this puzzle! It has given me nothing but heartache.

So, all, feel free to be honest, bec I won't take it personally today.

I was trying a new style...wrote this more than a year ago...I noticed E-A-D-L made four different words, so I tried to come up with phrases for them, mostly bec I wanted LETSMAKEADEAL!
(Did you know Monty Hall is both dead AND Canadian?!)

They were not meant to be anagrams of LADE, per se...just that there was no phrase that ended with LADE
but I wanted a fourth in the puzzle
(And if there WERE it'd have to have the right amount of letters on top of it all)

Originally I had two 13s and one 15
(I had TAKINGTHELEAD) which avoided having the word OVER twice...but Will thought that too light, so I redid the grid from scratch so it was two 15s and a 13.

But if I was to be totally honest, I too wish this puzzle was a lot better, at least theme-wise.
I was trying out one of those MEAT, TAME, ATEM type-deals but Rex is totally right on, there needed to be much more going on.
(At least I snuck REX into the grid!)

Anyway, bad karma around this puzzle all around...I don't even like the fill in retrospect, except MUDDY, KELP and THATLL.

But this has been so not worth it, I even got wrist-slapped for a very sloppily researched cluing job.
I thought SAMIAM were the FIRST words of "Green Eggs and Ham" (They are the last);
I wrote the ODER was between Germany and Russia (who knew? I guess that's what fact-checking is for!);
I never knew it was "The Treasure of THE Sierra ____" (and I've said the title a dozen times...); plus I made the dread IMPLY/INFER mistake something I would never mix up in real life conversation), etc.
(Not to mention several other errors so my editor was none-too-pleased, again rightfully so).

Anyway, ick ick ick.
Plus I had hurt one of the nicest and most prolific constructor's feelings last week by making a crack about HIS St Patrick's Day puzzle on THIS blog.
Bad bad bad timing as my puzzle, possibly the least creative I've ever made, was then given to him to blog about today "over there"!
I apologized profusely, and was prepared to take very serious lumps in return, but PM was very professional about the whole thing and 'sides, Patrick Creadon guestblogged about it instead, so, all is well and I will live to create another day. :)

So, what else can I say? Enjoy the Karen Carpenter video and the other puzzles this week!
(Is that a zeugma?)

Elaine 4:53 AM  

I must say, I did not think this puzzle was terrible. It's Monday.

I have used the phrase OVER HILL AND DALE, an evocative turn of phrase that always makes me think of the two cross-country trips our family made--BEFORE there were interstates OR air conditioning in family cars--headed for Dad's next duty station. The Artillery Song goes, 'Over hill, over dale,' to be precise, (said the artillery officer's daughter.)

I rate the vocab a bit higher--EMBARKED, REVEL, SCAMP, ANISE, SORREL, INFER-- hardly run-of-the-mill, especially on Monday.
Hope others will agree in later Comments.

Greene 7:13 AM  

Good heavens, such sturm und drang over a breezy little Monday puzzle? Rex, lighten up -- you're in the grid. And Andrea, stop flagellating yourself -- this puzzle is just fine ("if not up to Mr. Porter's usual standard") ;). At the end of the day crossword puzzles are about entertainment and I, for one, had a good time with this one. So how about a little love for Andrea? As the Moustache character in Irma la Douce would say:

"Shows you the kind of world we live in. Love is illegal - but not hate. That you can do anywhere, anytime, to anybody. But if you want a little warmth, a little tenderness, a shoulder to cry on, a smile to cuddle up with, you have to hide in dark corners, like a criminal. Pfui."

Bill from NJ 7:28 AM  

Well, I for one, will nor hide in the corner like a criminal to show a little love for our Andrea.

As a nice Jewish boy, DIASPORA was worth the price of admission and, furthermore, I share a birthday with the naughty, naughty ERROL Flynn.

I agree with Greene: I was entertained.

sam i'm not 7:33 AM  

I loved the vocab too, esp. liked seeing DIASPORA and EMBARKED, and appreciated the fact that they are even in parallel positions w/i the puzzle!
It was a fun and very agreeable way to start the week.

chefbea 7:35 AM  

@Andrea - thought the puzzle was good, easy and entertaining , what a Monday puzzle should be.

imsdave 7:37 AM  

Okay for a Monday. Only quibbles are over/over in the theme answers, starting with initials in 1A, and esl/dsl in the same row.

SethG 7:52 AM  

I was expecting something like DON'T TOUCH THAT DIAL for the third theme answer. Or ITS OVER, SO DEAL would have made a nice middle one.

Roger, Roger, and what's Victor's vector? KAREEM! It's too bad you couldn't clue SAFER as [Morely secure].

I'm looking forward to a words from the puzzle story with SAM I AM, A-Ha, a SEDER, and POT. Maybe it'll start with Hello MUDDY, hello PADDY.

Rex Parker 7:53 AM  

Evaluate the puzzle, not the person.

I love Andrea, but all that self-flagellation (above) seems unnecessary. Apologizing for not liking Patrick's St. Pat's day puzzle that *hardly anyone* liked?! Why would you do that? There are blogs for blowing sunshine up every single puzzle's skirt. This isn't one of them. If I'd heaped love on this puzzle, I'd (rightly) have been accused of playing favorites with my friends. I'd rather take idiotic "lighten up" comments (a dime a dozen) than say what I don't believe.

Hold this puzzle up against ANY Monday in the NYT this year. (Go ahead ... seriously) It's simply not up to snuff. To say simply "It's Monday" in an attempt to defend this puzzle is to insult all the great Monday constructors (including ANDREA) who work hard to make Mondays something other than just ho-hum.


Crosscan 7:56 AM  

@andrea - Your research is still lacking. Monty Hall is not dead. And your puzzle is fine.

jesser 7:59 AM  

I gotta agree that the the theme was less than inspired, especially given that She Who Must Be Adored is so creative and funny, and this was, well, not.

BUT! High points for DIASPORA, SAM I AM, KAREEM, KIT and SORREL! Those are great fun, especially for a Monday.

I wonder who did the clue for 35A, because I wonder in whose world three doors = "many doors."

The only depressing thing about this puzzle was going backwards through the presidents and realizing, for the first time, at 51, that DDE was president when I was born. Eisenhower? Me? I'm off to find my Geritol.

Teedlite! (when one is only very slightly mildly pissed off, like Rex today) -- jesser

joho 8:31 AM  

I agree. The puzzle wasn't Andrea's best. Some of the words are fantastic, my favorite being DIASPORA. Andrea is a gifted constructor. Did not like the two OVERS. MUDDY/PADDY is fun, epecially when spoken by @SethG. Everybody's human. More magical Mondays to come from ACME. THAT'LL be the day we all celebrate.

@Rex ... I was fascinated by Dick Cavett's interview with Rex Reed but now I want to know what was bleeped. Anybody?

PIX 8:47 AM  

Mediocre puzzle at best.
@Rex: I admire your ability to be honest, even when a friend is involved. Very desirable trait in a teacher.
@Andrea {????} Micheals: Even Babe Ruth made out once in a while and even Tiger Woods bogies a few. Rex is right: skip the self-flagellation and get to work on the next puzzle...we are all anxioulsy awaiting it.

ArtLvr 9:06 AM  

@Andrea -- Cheers! It's not perfect, but there's hardly a puzzle that comes and goes without any quibble if not a major blooper. This was my fastest Monday ever, so thank you. Onward and Upward to your next xword, please!


JenCT 9:15 AM  

Didn't know DIASPORA or TVA; got them from crosses.

Breezy Monday puzzle.

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

If I knew how to adopt a new temporary blogger name it would be "Van idbe 55" today.

I have to unhat to rex's brutal frankness and Andrea's equally brutal self analysis.

Yes, the theme is blah. But it is also unnecessary. The rest of the puzzle is mostly OK for a Monday. While I have not gone back and reviewed them I am confidant this is not the worst NYT Monday puzzle of the year so far.

dk 9:24 AM  

@Andrea, you talk/blog/think and dare I say whine to much. You are great and so we, and you, expect greatness. Sometimes we/you (but not Rex :)) only do well. And, for that we press our hand on a hot stove?

Off the couch and on to the puzzle. Andrea's puzzles always take longer than they should because I day dream about the constructor. I know it will come as a surprise to all of you that I have a major crush on her.

I was shopping for SORREL and kosher salt yesterday so the mini passover theme worked. As I am a SCAMP, BORE and EGOtist I love it when they make it into the grid.

As always the themes escape me so I do these as puzzles. As a puzzle this was an unremarkable Monday sprinkled with the little jewels we expect from a certain whinny constructor.

** (2 Stars)

Secret confession: As a college DJ I would slip Guitar Man (Karen Carpenter) in when ever I could. Despite playlists where the NY Dolls were considered mainstream I was known as the a-hole who would not take requests and would play KAREN at 3AM.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

Of course Greene liked the puzzle- see the clue for 38A. I've got no problem with it either.

In fact, SAMIAM is an answer I'll never forget. While I don't remember the book from childhood, I do remember the last line from an episode of St. Elsewhere.

hazel the friendly tutter 9:35 AM  

Adam Lambert looks an awful lot like Rex Reed to me. The interview dynamics were very interesting. 2 people who really like to hear themselves talk.

The puzzle - Well, LADE IS a bit of a buzz-kill, but I thought the rest of the puzzle was kind of peppy. With words like GIRLIE and SAMIAM, its certainly nothing to be abashed over.

I also posted my fastest time ever - so for that, I give the puzzle two tuts, warp-speed.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

nobody seems upset at DDE for 1A. since i was positive it was IKE, droves of trouble followed! in fact, i looked at DDE forever beofre realizing it was Dwight David Eisenhower! i guess for somebody my age, J.F.K. was really JFK. that was his name!! none of this explains how i missed Danny Devito (2D). bring on Tuesday!

Elaine 9:47 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
mac 9:55 AM  

Line of the day so far: "blowing sunshine up a skirt"! Literally LOL!

Thinnish theme, but otherwise fine Monday puzzle. I also liked Diaspora, embarked, paddy and girlie. Hope someone will explain TVA. Revel and scamp together were good.

Elaine 9:56 AM  

Wow, 'St. Elsewhere!' That's how I recall SAM I AM, too. I loved all the early Seuss books (_If I Ran the Circus/Zoo_, _McElligot's Pool_, Horton Hatches the Egg_) but I never read the later ones, especially not one with 'green eggs.' Breakfast test!

Don't feel too badly. I actually recall Ike's run against Adlai Stevenson. And still earlier than that, reading a headline: 'Truman Calls MacArthur an SOB.' (I went and asked my parents, 'What's a Sob?' and all they did was laugh.)

Van 55: Happy Birthday.

Gotta go make some eggs. Yellow-and-white ones.

addie loggins 9:58 AM  

Light and breezy and just what I need to start the week. I love easy Mondays, and this one was one of those rare puzzles for which I was actually slowed down by being left-handed (usually, I'm just not quick enough for it to matter).

When I saw REX at 14A, I half expected to see ORANGE, BERRY, GORDON, QUIGLEY, et al. elsewhere (when someone figures out how to clue BLINDAUER, I will be truly impressed).

I also love ACME's Monday puzzles because I can trust my first instincts; any other day (and most other constructors) and I would have to wonder whether SAMIAM was a trick question/answer, but here I can write with confidence.

Not wild about the theme but honestly, I didn't even see it until the end.

@dk: no surprise there; I think we ALL have a major crush on ACM.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

nobody seems upset at DDE for 1A. since i was positive it was IKE, droves of trouble followed! in fact, i looked at DDE forever beofre realizing it was Dwight David Eisenhower! i guess for somebody my age, J.F.K. was really JFK. that was his name!! none of this explains how i missed Danny Devito (2D). bring on Tuesday!

Glitch 10:02 AM  


Your post was a nice pre-emptive strike.

Between that and the puzzle, you can't lose today!



Anonymous 10:03 AM  

[Sightless Hungarian violinist]

Lanier 10:05 AM  

Being completely honest, it wasn't that bad a puzzle to me. A little on the easy side but average in quality for a Monday. I would even say it was smooth, which matters.

Then again I didn't mind the St. Patricks day puzzle either. Kind of liked it actually.

JenCT 10:08 AM  

@mac - TVA = Tennessee Valley Authority

Bob Kerfuffle 10:10 AM  

I came prepared to plead an inability to be objective. But since Rex and Andrea have covered so many aspects of the puzzle so well, all I can say is that it is quite a few letters short of an accolade.

Looking forward to a newer (or do you have a ten-year-old puzzle in the pipeline, as BEQ did?) and better received puzzle next time.

Ulrich 10:13 AM  

@Andrea, dear: Just for future reference: You are crossword ADEL ("nobility"). And oder is German for "or"--no need for geography here--as in Bei dir oder bei mir? ("your place or my place?"))

the redanman 10:21 AM  

Easy yes, but other than TAKEOVERTHELEAD (awkward) it was a very clean puzzle.

Anonymous 10:34 AM  


during the great depression, the Federal gov't started the Tennessee Valley Authority to bring electrical power plus other good stuff to an area that really suffered in the 1930's.

Two Ponies 10:40 AM  

Because I am fond of Andrea I am unable to objective.
That being said, I enjoyed the puzzle. Mondays can be very boring so knowing the constructorette gave it the extra spark of fun for me.
Even if your chocolate cake falls how bad can it taste? It's still sweet! That's how I feel about this one.

foodie 10:49 AM  

I did the puzzle last night, then read Rex's comments and thought "hmmm, what do I really think?" My opinion is so distorted by pulls from opposing directions-- my admiration and friendship for Andrea and my trust and respect of Rex's expertise and integrity. If this were a committee or a formal review, I'd recuse myself. So, I did what we do in scientific reviews when we're stuck-- asked for an independent opinion. I picked someone who introduced me to NYTimes puzzles in the first place, has been doing them for decades and never reads a blog. In response to my query, he said "I's cute and easy. Nothing special. Has a light-hearted side, a scamp and girlie gal going over hill and dale and playing let's make a deal. But also a dark side with virus and diaspora. But the worst of it is the bore with the ego".

I think I agree :)

Tinbeni 10:57 AM  

Easy? Yeah, It's Monday.

DIASPORA was a learning moment, always a plus to me.

IDBE, THATLL & YEE (Hey I saw Red River) were OK.

Steve J 11:06 AM  

It is tough to rate work by people you know. I admire Rex for his ability to do so, and I would hope he never "lighten(s) up". Ultimately, I don't think it helps people improve their craft by being less than honest with one's evaluation.

The subsequent SAMIAM talk reminds me of my most-favorite Saturday Night Live moments: Jesse Jackson reading "Green Eggs and Ham". I simply cannot come across any reference to the book without thinking of its being read in the classic cadence of the gospel preacher.

OldCarFudd 11:19 AM  

Foodie's critic summed it up well. I enjoyed it - not great, but nowhere near deserving of the sack cloth and ashes being heaped upon it.

@Jesser - On the 25th anniversary of JFK's assassination, I was walking to my office through the sea of sweet young things that populate insurance companies. On of the SYTs stopped me and asked: "They say everyone who was alive then remembers what he was doing when he heard Kennedy had been shot. Do you remember what you were doing when you heard Kennedy had been shot?" I realized all the SYTs were hanging on my response. I said: "My dear child, I remember what I was doing when I heard Franklin Roosevelt had died." I'm sure, from the looks on their faces, they thought I had personally witnessed the death throes of the last dinosaur in the La Brea tar pits. You will have moments like this -savor them!

PlantieBea 11:23 AM  

The theme was lite and clunky, the clueing very easy, but I did like seeing that SAMIAM, a name etched permanently in my brain after so many readings of Green Eggs and Ham. I also liked DIASPORA, SCAMP, SORREL, ANISE, KAREN Carpenter, and KAREEM.

This puzzle was a real confidence builder for the plant husband, an occasional puzzle doer. He buzzed through in record time, thought the puzzle dandy as a result. He thanks you, ACM.

Clark 11:36 AM  

This was more like an ordinary Monday puzzle for me, less like a special ACME Monday puzzle. But that’s ok. (I didn’t notice it was Andreas’s until I had finished it.)

I decided I would try to do this rigorously from the NW corner, as in, no blank spaces above or to the left of any entry. Then I could not remember Ike’s first name and initial to save my live.

One of my little sisters went through a Green Eggs and Ham phase. We all got to know that book forwards and backwards, coming and going, over and over and over again. 38A was a gimme is what I’m sayin.

OBI (the cat) says thanks for the shout out.

Sfingi 11:52 AM  

@Andrea = even though it was super easy and the theme blah, I loved the 10 fill-in-the-blanks. It felt like jumping from stone to stone across a pond. Didn't know I like them so much.

@Hazel - both gay and good-looking.

Speaking of mini-Passover themes, has anyone seen grape flavored matzos recently?

YEE Haw. The cowboy one. There's Gee Haw for horses' right and left and Hee Haw for donkey laughing.

My dad was a PACEr. Not as in trotters and PACErs, but as in carpet. He literally wore a bald line into the cheap, retro rug.

I always thought "There's NO I in team," was weak, since there is a "me" in team, and it's half the word!

Why is rice in PADDies and cranberries in bogs?

The TVA was part of FDR's New Deal with the rest of the alphabet soup. It still exists. I remember the big push for bauxite to build aluminum airplanes. I espect new nuclear facilities will be the next project. Can you imagine Obama trying to get it passed?

Diaspora is the dispersion of seed. Usually we think of the Jewish diaspora, but there are many other ethnic diasporae(?).

It's finally spring in Upstate NY, and soon I'll be eating sorrel as I pull it out as a weed. Today, I have a field of purple crocuses (croci?)and snowdrops are disappearing. Lilacs are developing buds. Praying my Father Hugo blooms after being stolen back from my g'father's yard. Still some dirty piles of snow.

dk 12:13 PM  

@sfingi, do you use the young dandelion greens in salads. I like your idea of a SORREL hunt.

@addie, please note than when I find others with a crush on ACM --- there will be blood :).

On the PADDY/bog string. I do not think the wild rice harvesters call it a bog.

A fine spring day here in MN. Makes me think of 26a.

andrea leda michaels 12:19 PM  

Hi again everybody!

Busted! Ha! Excuse the rather protracted "preemptive strike" last night, but it was what I was honestly feeling.
As you know I love this blog and want to feel like I have a (safe) place to totally express myself, but from time to time I get a lot of personal flak OFFline for "daring to criticize other constructors"
(a direct quote from one at the ACPT, who, needless to say, does NOT have a crush on me!)

Last week was one of those times (by the way, I wasn't apologizing for disliking others' puzzles from time to time, since I tend to like most of them, I was apologizing for making a jokey comment that was deemed snide and hurtful to the constructor personally)
In any case, I went thru a lot of "sturm und drang" some of which spilled over into my first late-at-night comment.

I too am glad for Rex's integrity (plus I think he's hilarious as a writer, esp the stuff that's not even about the puzzle) and it can be nigh impossible not to evaluate some constructors as a person as opposed to their work, esp if there are expectations.

(I was asked privately by another constructor to think about "who was I to throw stones..." when my work is sometimes less-than-inspired, etc. and now I have! That said, my stack of pebbles is at the ready!)

I wasn't trying to ward off criticism as much as express how I felt when I re-visited the puzzle last night AS A SOLVER MYSELF after a lengthy absence between constructing it and re-solving it (including what I've since learned as a constructor from this blog...) and I wasn't thrilled with it with distance and perspective and was expressing that. It's about my own standards, as I'd like each one to be better than the last, or at least as good!)

On a positive note, this morning I woke up with an improvement!!!
Instead of the ugly LADE
(@Seth, even in French LAID is "ugly") I could have had LEDA!!!

Then defined LEDA as "One who was transformed into a the "transformation" of the endings of clues 17A, 35A and 52A.
Better, yes?

Monty Hall is alive???!!!

mexgirl 12:35 PM  

I do so like
green eggs and ham!
Thank you!
Thank you,

And I do think we all have a crush on Andrea.

'Nuck Basher 12:38 PM  

@Andrea - If you can call being Canadian being "alive", yes he is.

jesser 12:42 PM  

@ Andrea: Yes! Tons better!

@ OldCarFud: Thanks for that. I will try to savor.

@ Shamik, DK and Mac: Thanks for your comments yesterday. Made me grin (although I can't answer the silkworm question on account I dunno)

Pallyo! (What a fox hunter sometimes says when sucking a lopllipop on the field) -- jesser

Crosscan 12:49 PM  

@andrea Not only is Monty Hall alive, but on today's Let’s Make a Deal” he makes television history with a sixth decade of appearances on the game show. He will appear with host Wayne Brady every day this week and play one game on his own with audience members of his choosing.

@'Nuck basher - 14 Gold Medals.

Art Fleming 12:54 PM  

He is ALIVE!!!

william e emba 1:01 PM  

Andrea: I'm not good enough at these puzzles to be a connoisseur, unlike some people here.

But I am disappointed that you wanted a LADE ending phrase and did not have THE BATTLE OF LADE!! Fifteen letters even!

Stan 1:04 PM  

Interesting question about whether we are influenced by the constructor's byline. But I still feel there's a smoothness and generally classy word set here that's characteristic of Andrea's puzzles.

g$ 1:05 PM  

@Crosscan - 13 non-curling Gold Medals.

Trebek was Canadian too, but Wink Martindale and Chuck Woolery are USA-all-the-way. I have a bear named Wink Chuck.

'Nuck Basher 1:19 PM  

@Crosscan - Perhaps you took my comments too harshly. I have tremendous respect for 'Nucks and their accomplishments. Taking the habits of drunken ice fishermen, seeing who can slide their empty Labatt's bottles into their neighbor's fishing holes, and turning it into an Olympic sport is not to be dismissed as a minor accomplishment. Adding the sweeping element to the sport so that women can be included - pure Canadian genius!

Doc John 1:29 PM  

My first sub-4 time. I don't care how people rated the puzzle, I think it's a nice start to my week.
Thanks Andrea! :)
P.S. The puzzle definitely had a Jewish sub-theme, with TEL (Aviv), SEDER, DIASPORA

Howard B 3:28 PM  

Rex, you've officially arrived even larger on the scene, as you now have obnoxious off-topic trolls. Congrats! :)

Gentle readers: Please do not feed them.

Good to hear that Monty Hall is alive and well.

Patrick Merrell 3:36 PM  

Since it's been brought up, I'd like to make clear that I have no problem with anything that was said here, or on any other blog, last week about my ST PATRICK puzzle. Sure it wasn't my favorite reading matter, but I regained my sense of humor about it the next day. There was one comment that annoyed me, though, and I decided to get it off my chest in a civil, private way. My feelings weren't hurt, I was annoyed. I didn't ask for an apology. The issue was resolved amicably, and I moved on.

On another matter, is the line "We blow sunshine up every single puzzle's skirt" taken? I kind of like it.

Patrick Merrell

fikink 3:47 PM  

@Elaine, Adlai is still revered in these parts...along with the late Paul Simon.

@Glitch, I think the charatcerization, "pre-emptive strike," is mean. just sayin'...

@Ulrich, Bei dir oder bei mir? ;)

@sfingi, @Tinbeni, speaking of bogs (as opposed to PADDies), rumor has it the peat bogs which fuel the peat fires used to dry malted barley for use in Scotch whisky, i.e., which gives scotch its distinctive smokiness, are in peril. Any truth to this, Tinbeni?

And @Andrea, my rival for @dk's heart, you are out there doing it, "GIRLIE Girl" (Think Music Man, right @Greene? ) All hail the enchanting mensch!

william e emba 3:47 PM  

Please do not feed the trolls!

Rex Parker 3:51 PM  


There was a troll? I missed it. I confess that sometimes when it comes to comments, I ... well "skim" is probably too generous. Even now, I'm not going back and reading whatever comment it is you're referring to. I feel life will be better that way.


ArtLvr 4:04 PM  

@Andrea LEDA -- excellent afterthought, Swan, combined with Ulrich's ADEL "noble". Wow!

@wm_e_emba -- many thanks for the link to the Battle of LADE, which puts everything into cosmic perspective.

And for brilliant current perspective, I recommend a book by P R Myers, "The Cleanest Race", which explains why North Korean LEADers rattled sabers of N-bombs at the world recently -- reminding their subservient citizens that all foreigners are degenerates -- and why China is not totally on our side in their case: China is busy extracting their minerals for her own use. No leftist aid plus soft-soap nor rightist bullying is going to shift that rigidly ideological regime from its racist militarism even if famine strikes again! The constant brain-washing against foreign contamination is too powerful.


hazel the friendly tutter 4:26 PM  

@fikink - so nice to have you back! been meaning to say it for a while now.

william e emba 4:31 PM  

The shame of it is had it been there and been chosen as the Word Of The Day, Rex's cut-off quotation from Wikipedia would have been:

THE BATTLE OF LADE was a naval battle which occurred during the Ionian Revolt, in 494 BC. It was fought between an alliance of the Ionian cities (joined by the Lesbians) ...

I'm sure Rex would have found appropriate pictures as accompaniments. Well, we can dream, can't we?

Tinbeni 4:55 PM  

All the Scotch I'll ever consume is already aging.
"Whiskey in the Cask-o" as it were.
As such, what do I care if they run out of peat ...

fikink 5:53 PM  

@Tinbeni, nice "I got mine" 'tude, Dude!

Where's the love? ;)

(The FIL worries about these things at 88 years of age.)

Disgruntled Regular 9:07 PM  

Easy, yes. But way better than sitting in traffic court in Hempstead today.

"Failing to signal a lane change" in New York State must be the New Recession Buster Special Fee to make up tax deficits in the county budget.

Speeding 20 over the limit on the L.I.E. (55 on the L.I.E. is a joke) would have been at least $480 + fees, but reduced to "Failure to signal was still $230.

Rotten Bast@rds.

CoolPapaD 9:14 PM  

@dk - Sorry, but I, too, have a big ole ACME crush!

@Steve J - SNL JJ's Green Eggs and Ham was brilliant!

I enjoyed this, and thought (with the exception of two "OVERS") this was a fine Monday. I only remember Rex Reed from the Gong Show. I wonder if ACME was ever on that game show!

Sfingi 9:55 PM  

Whiskey you're my darlin' drunk or sober.

More on paddies. An American jig my paternal g'ma sang: "Paddy got drunk on fish and potatoes."

Very funny/crazy dialogues about peat and lade. When I tell people on the "outside," that the crossworders got testy, they can't believe it.

Bill from NJ 10:05 PM  

I'm glad Rex clarified his position on the write up today and I am also glad I didn't have to write it up myself.

Rex is a part of the majority that cares a great deal for our Andrea but he still was able to strike a balance between hagiography and fairness. I had some of the same reservation that others (including Andrea)had about this puzzle.
Great job, Rex, for not blowing air up this puzzle's skirt.

foodie 10:06 PM  

@Patrick Merrel, @ Andrea, you guys, the constructors, are in a tough business, and we really owe you. You provide us with great pleasure every day and we get to sit and act "judgy" about it, when we cannot hold a candle to you. I know how it feels, at least to a certain extent, because I write papers and grants and they get critiqued, sometimes harshly, and it's very hard not to take it personally. I really admire the way you accept it, learn from it and move on to create again.

BTW, I took Andrea's comment to indicate her deep regret that she might have hurt a fellow constructor whom she admires greatly-- a sort of public apology for a public statement that may have misfired.

It's always really interesting to learn a bit of background, hear from the constructors, and get a glimpse of how Will does his stuff. A fascinating process!

Anyhow, in the end, everyone comes out looking great today, except for the putative troll :)

sanfranman59 10:26 PM  

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

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

Mon 6:06, 6:53, 0.89, 23%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:16, 3:40, 0.89, 22%, Easy-Medium

@Andrea ... I know you're not much into the numbers, but you might be interested in knowing that today's puzzle came in with the second fastest median solve time on a Monday for the Top 100 solvers and the third fastest for all solvers in the 43 weeks I've been tracking times. The only Monday puzzle with a faster Top 100 median time was the 11/2/2009 puzzle you authored with your neighbor. What's more, 1,075 people posted online solve times ... the most among all of the 234 puzzles I've tracked.

My captcha is a crossword constructor's dream: sesseses

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