Nickelodeon's parent company / TUE 8-31-10 / Cremona craftsman / Flier with 10-foot wingspan / Start of either syllable in ginger

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Constructor: Paula Gamache and Ed Stein

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Crossing Twins* — words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently intersect at five different points in the grid*

*unless I'm wrong, pronunciation is not at issue, and they're really just words that are spelled the same but mean different things — central crossing is the big question mark

*now I'm told it's just noun/verb pairs, with pronunciation being a non-issue. That seems correct. Not exciting, or interesting, but correct.

Word of the Day: VIGGO Mortensen (51D: "The Road" star Mortensen) —

Viggo Peter Mortensen, Jr. (born October 20, 1958) is a Danish actor, poet, musician, photographer and painter. He is best known for his roles as Aragorn in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Tom Stall in David Cronenberg's A History of Violence, and his Academy Award-nominated role as Nikolai Luzhin in Cronenberg's Eastern Promises. He also starred in the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road, as "The Man". (wikipedia)
• • •

I am simply assuming that the golf meaning of ADDRESS is pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable. I don't play, and can't imagine someone's saying the word. [first reply from a friend re: the two ADDRESSes: "No, they're pronounced the same. Addressing the ball is like addressing the audience. Stress on the second syllable." I hope s/he is wrong, because if this is so, the theme is *&^ed] The other crosses all feature different pronunciations, so I assume that central one does too. Can't say I cared for this one much. Like it more once I caught on to the different pronunciation angle, but still — once you get the gimmick (right away, likely), that's a lot of real estate you can fill in with very little effort. The easiness was offset for me today by a couple of missteps — DROPS for DRAMS (40D: Small amounts) and VEEGO for VIGGO (51D: "The Road" star Mortensen). But still, the only interest here is the theme — the rest is dull to dreadful. Look at the north. I have never seen so many abbrev. crammed in such a tiny section. ESTH., PFCS, TLC, and HOSP. That's a train wreck. The rest of the grid—except NCAAS (48A: Big tournaments for university teams, informally), yuck—is OK, if loaded with a lot of short and overly familiar fill. Hard to generate much sizzle when your longest entry is seven letters (and five of your answers are simply duplicated).

Theme answers:
  • EXPLOIT (20A: Bit of derring-do + 4D: Take advantage of)
  • ADDRESS (25D: Prepare to drive, as a golf ball + 39A: Lincoln's famous one was just 272 words)
  • PRESENT (10D: Show, in a show-and-tell + 22A: Here and now)
  • INCENSE (56A: Aromatic sticks + 44D: Make boiling mad)
  • CONSOLE (47D: Say "There, there" to, say + 58A: Home entertainment centerpiece)

Write-ups might get a little shorter, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as school starts up for me again this week. Luckily, I don't have much else to say today, except that ODETTE (26A: "Swan Lake" swan) seems an oddly esoteric word for a Tuesday—but I've seen it in puzzles enough that it didn't present a problem at all.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


des 12:15 AM  

The distinctions are that these are all noun-verb pairs, with the noun form having the emphasis on the first syllable and the verb form having the emphasis on the second.

Mark Murphy 12:19 AM  

When it comes to "addressing the ball" -- and I suspect I'm far from alone on this -- every time I hear or see that phrase I can't help thinking of Ed Norton and what he does a little more than halfway through this clip from "The Honeymmooners":

Tobias Duncan 12:29 AM  

Mark you beat me to it !!Hellooo ball...

The clip from They Might Be Giants made my day. Anyone that has not seen the 2002 documentary about them should do so immediately , best rockumentary ever.
Its called "Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns)

harryhassell 12:33 AM  

I suppose it depends on what part of the country you're from, but I'm from North Carolina and while I don't normally pronounce it that way, I am perfectly comfortable putting the emphasis on the first syllable for the noun form of ADDRESS and the second for the verb form, thus keeping the theme intact.

I found this on the easy side. Like you said, the longest answers were all repeated, and the rest of the fill flew by.

Zeke 12:33 AM  

Does that Ogden Nash dude have any cute mnemonics for the one-l vs two-l Idylls? Because pastoral poems are idylls.

chefwen 1:11 AM  

First time I saw the name VIGGO Mortensen was in the comic strip Between Friends, he had an off and on stint there for a few weeks.

Puzzle was super easy but fun. Ms Gamache usually sends forth something with a little more trickery involved, but what the heck, it's only Tuesday.

Rube 1:30 AM  

A very pleasant and easy romp. My sister will be interested to know that the only O.T. book that does not mention God is ESTHer.

Hopefully, one of you will bring up a topic that will make this puzz more memorable.

Robin 1:43 AM  

39A would have been better-clued as "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." The golf ball thingy definitely has the emphasis on the second syllable.

Robin 1:44 AM  

Well, never mind. I guess that is a regional thing, too.

Steve J 3:00 AM  

I liked this. As des said, I saw it as noun/verb pairs, not pronunciation pairs (although all but, possibly, ADDRESS have the dual pronunciations as well).

Agreed that the north is very rough, but the rest of the puzzle flowed nicely for me (only writeover was PVTS for PFCS). Bits of obscurity like ODETTE and DELON were easily picked up from crosses. I suspect OMNIA/AMATI is going to be tough for some Tuesday solvers.

Captcha: gelers. I'm surprised I haven't actually seen this in a puzzle (e.g. "Hair product users").

Nighthawk 4:58 AM  

As des put it so pithily. But I too am from a region where ADDRESS as a noun can have the stress on either syllable and be equally correct.
Just for the sound of it though, I would rather have seen, instead of across-es, the nouns as downs.

acme/ack me 5:05 AM  

Drat, I had just discussed this same idea with my friend/some time collaborator, Michael, luckily he talked me out of it.
I envisioned it as EVERY word in the puzzle having a pair. There are usually 74-78 words in a puzzle so I thought you could have about 30+ words the same. MB thought that made no sense. And we abandoned the idea, so how odd to see it today.

Never realized there was any sort of rule that nouns emphasized the first syllable like PRO-duce, but verbs were pro-DUCE...until I taught ESL and a student pointed it out!

(Is it too prosaic to say you learn so much more about your own language when you try and teach it to someone else?)

Since ADDRESS vis-a-vis golf meant nothing to me, a lot of this theme was lost on me, bec I kept expecting many more examples.

Anyway, I suspect this week is about playing with the form a bit? And of course, I applaud that.

imsdave 5:34 AM  

Forgive my lack of understanding as to how pronunciations should be written, but...

For where I live, I say add-dress with equal stress on both syllables.
For setting up to a golf ball, I say uh-dress, stressing the second.

That probably didn't help.

Fun idea for a puzzle, but I agree with the host on the execution.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:23 AM  

Ha Ha! It's fun when the rules are broken a bit, as Andrea suggests.

Not so funny: My one write-over was at a theme answer; put in COMFORT before CONSOLE.

dk 8:17 AM  

The shared/paired words made this one a n easy Tuesday. I am happy to read more than a few of us punctuated our morning with Hellllloooo Ball. When I played golf my only ADDRESS to the ball was an expletive.

** (2 Stars) I/We are off to a slow start this week star wise.

Favorite fill: ACUTE

Doug 8:20 AM  

39A should have been clued "Where you live" Easy puzzle, I thought. Figured Rex would go postal over the theme, so I applaud his restraint. I tried COMFORT first, too, instead of CONSOLE. And yes, Hello Ball was one of the most memorable lines in Honeymooner history. I'm sure denizens of the show know it was done in front of a live audience, long before the laugh track. I think I read somewhere that Gleason rehearsed maybe once an episode, and often encouraged improv. Even the blown lines (very occasionally) don't matter. Today's TV producers should be ashamed they can't come up with a sitcom nearly as good.

jesser 9:07 AM  

Blogger (not a dingo) ate my comments yesterday, and I was entirely too consumed with work to retype them. Loved everyone else's input.

On to today...

I thought this one was rendered *entirely* too easy by the repetitions. No writeovers, whatsoever, and if I were the type to time myself, this would have registered like a lightning bolt.

One generally does not wish to see a SPEEDO next to ROLLS. Ugly visual.

I hate the (to me) non-word PLED. To my sensibilities, it should always be 'pleaded'. (Ditto 'proved' and never 'proven'.)

Is OMEGA really the opposite of ALPHA? Is the end of a series the opposite of the beginning? Is death the opposite of life? Have I had enough caffeine yet?

BITE me, Blogger.

Sestio! (so spaketh my Spanish uncle) -- jesser

Van55 9:23 AM  

Easy theme. Trite fill in overabundance. Disappointing.

Last entry was the G in VIGGO/GESSO

David L 9:23 AM  

It didn't occur to me to wonder about different pronunciations of the repeated words, or whether they were noun-verb pairs -- I just took them as freebies that helped make this an easy puzzle.

@zeke: idyl and idyll are alternative spellings of the same word, according to MW11. I prefer the two-l version and have only seen the one-l version in crosswords. Maybe the Guild of Crossword Constructors leaned on the Academy of Dictionary Makers to certify the one-l version as legit.

joho 9:42 AM  

The best thing about the theme is that it was something I've never seen before. But once I got it, immediately at EXPLOIT/EXPLOIT it was just too easy (downhill?) from there.

Still, I admire the effort.

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

Favorite clue was 62A, "producer of sweat and tears but not blood" for GLAND. The theme itself, and the remainder of the puzzle, seemed markedly below Paula Gamache's usual standard.

Tinbeni 9:57 AM  

Will: I think this was more of a good Monday puzzle. Too easy for Tuesday.

The rest, what @Van55 said.

Sparky 10:00 AM  

Found it easy today. Enjoyed fiddling with the rules per @Bob and Andrea. Like a buy one get one free coupon. Off I go. Good day to all.

retired_chemist 10:04 AM  
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Ulrich 10:10 AM  

I have a completely different take on this puzzle: I did not worry about pronunciation or noun/verb pairs. To me, it inverts a common feature, same clue/different answers, into its opposite: different clue/same answer (based on spelling)--so, indeed it breaks a rule, but in a structured, i.e. symmetrical, way that is gettable (easily) and thus establishes its own logic (draw the crosses on the grid!). Any art form, major or minor, lives by innovation, and if the possibilities are exhausted, it dies. This puzzle demonstrates to me that there is still life in puzzle construction--Bravo (with an o!), PG

retired_chemist 10:11 AM  

Easy, and an enjoyable solve. No more to say here. About the puzzle, anyway.

13 1/2 year old girl Bree, the foundation of our breeding program and producer of three champions, came down with idiopathic canine vestibular syndrome yesterday. Sudden onset (a couple of hours), loss of ability to stand and move, nausea, and disorientation. Moves to the right (except she falls mostly) and tilts her head the other way.

Fortunately, mostly it is a problem which improves substantially over 2-3 days and is gone after 3 weeks or so, with little need for concern about it repeating.

Basically a disease of the balance sensing part of the ear and maybe associated nerves, but no CNS involvement and no stroke (as it is sometimes erroneously diagnosed). her bloodwork is fine - kidneys, liver , etc. normal.

Very scary to see but she should be much better soon. Thanks for letting me unburden. You can see pix of Bree as a young(er) girl: follow the link to “my web page,” then click on Bree.

Rex Parker 10:15 AM  

@ret-chem, very sorry about your dog. I hope all is well soon.

Matthew G. 10:20 AM  

I agree with Rex. The NYT Wordplay blog praised this puzzle, but I wasn't a fan. I guessed the theme immediately after completing the NW corner and the rest of the puzzle flew by effortlessly. This, even though I've never heard of GESSO, ODETTE, AMATI, or DELON. When there are that many answers I don't know and I still breeze through the puzzle, the constructor was probably trying too hard to make a theme work, such that the theme swallows and becomes the puzzle.

In short, this felt more like an idea than an actual puzzle.

Jim 10:24 AM  

Given the theme, bristled at crossing SALON w SAXON.

Jesser: only makes sense given the expression "I am the alpha and the omega", i.e., the first and the last. If there was such an expression as "I am the A and the Z", the clue would also apply.

Never knew jack Sprat growing up but have come to love it. Glad to see him makee an appearance today.

Two Ponies 10:36 AM  

Way too easy for a Tuesday but I did enjoy the nanosecond of huh? when I saw the first repeat.
Re: the regional dialect, PuzzleMate is from southern Ohio and while he might police the area he also watches out for the
poe-leece. It drives me crazy but this theme reminded me of it.
No idea who the French actor is but never saw the clue.
I liked the clue for Soft G because I had to pause and read it twice. Then I started to wonder how many other words that could apply to.
"In the cellar" must be a sports term.

Ulrich 10:41 AM  
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Ulrich 10:44 AM  

@Two Ponies: Alain Delon, to me, was easily the most beautiful actor of his generation.

BTW PG is a little stingy today with her trademark French entries.

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

Doug. Another great comedy was The Sid Caesar Hour. Caesar never did the dress rehearsal. A less famous comedian, Milt Kamen, did Caesar's role in all the sketches while Caesar watched from the control room then stepped in for the live broadcast.

Unusual technique. I remember this as I was a page at ABC at the time and remember the writers: Woody Allen, Mel Brooks and Neil Simon to name a few. Not a bad lineup.

Lindsay 10:55 AM  

My college rowing coach was forever telling his crews to "address the oar." We thought it was funny.

foodie 10:57 AM  

I had fun with this one, a la Ulrich, but feel it should have been a Monday. My Quick & Dirty Index is still confused about Tuesdays, but I'd guess Easy or Easy Medium. We shall see what The Man says.

I chuckled at DELON, because I used to have a massive crush on him as a francophile teenager.

@Andrea, I believe you're right, that you learn a lot about language when you teach it to others. By the same token, when you learn a new language as an adult, you grasp it in a very different way, and you notice patterns, as your student did. I would throw these little rules at my kids-- when G's and C's are hard vs. SOFT for example-- and they'd stare at me in amazement, like who knows such weird stuff?

Also @ Andrea, doing a whole puzzle this way would be pretty amazing, if it can be done without sacrificing too much to the construction challenge.

We're in Grand Rapids, MI to see the Dale Chihuly glass sculptures in the Meijer Gardens. I love glass in all forms, so it should be cool.

Stan 11:09 AM  

Liked it. The crossed double meanings were in-the-language and elegant. Thanks, Paula & Ed!

Two Ponies 11:15 AM  

@ Ulrich, Thanks! You are right. I still don't recognize him but as a push-over for Sharif and Olivier I think Delon fits right into my fantasy line-up.

Jax_inL.A. 11:19 AM  

As a west coast solver, even when I get up early and FLY through a puzzle like today, I still get to read loads of comments. New to posting on the blog but for some reason crossing AMEX with IMAX tickled me enough to want to comment on it.

CoffeeLvr 11:33 AM  

I am glad this puzzle was easy, because I am short on sleep. I liked it; @Ulrich said it well.

Hand up for major crush on Alain Delon as an early teen.

Hand up for COmfOrt before CONSOLE. Also had Saab before AUDI (yes, I know it is Swedish, but I am sure they sell them in Germany), and EtAl before MISC. Since they are all in the South, I must have worn out my synapses. Not my usual Tuesday results.

tedio - how you feel listening to Morning Edition for the second time.

Clark 11:43 AM  

I'm a pushover when it comes to liking puzzles. I liked that initial moment of realization: "Yes, we're going to break a rule today." The crossings made it easy; but, it is Tuesday.

@retired_chemist -- We will be crossing fingers and pressing thumbs, hoping for the full recovery of Bree.

JenCT 11:44 AM  

Only writeover was BOLL for BALE.

Thought I was mistaken when I got the first duplicate answer. Never knew about the noun/verb pronunciation differences.

I'm up to 74 Monarch caterpillars/chrysalises - looks to be a better year than they had originally forecast.

Noam D. Elkies 11:53 AM  

Didn't I just mention that 2002 April Fool's puzzle here a week ago?...

@Matthew: Naturally the NYTimes blog praised this puzzle. It praises practically every puzzle; that must be what the NYTimes pays for.

Still, I enjoyed this one, in part because I recognized the O.T. trivium used to clue the second Across entry 5A:ESTH, so felt I had a head start, though it's hardly necessary on a Tuesday puzzle.

Yes, nothing longer than 7 letters (makes sense when the theme answers are all that long) but still a nice open grid for this early in the week; it can't be that often that a Tuesday puzzle has an all-white 5x5 square (see the NE and SW corners). The grid is also more symmetrical than usual: not just central symmetry but also rerflection about the main diagonal (appropriately for this theme).


fikink 12:05 PM  

Love the idea that the different pronunciations circle the center ADDRESSes. It is so cosmic!

@retired_chemist, I am so sorry to hear of Bree's condition, but absolutely psyched that the prognosis is one of recovery. Gus sends his good thoughts, too.

@clark, I'm still looking for Roxie.

@Rex, thanks for WMFU.

"iscluse" - one who lives in the PRESENT.

FN7700 12:07 PM  

I'm a long time viewer...first time sender. Very much enjoy the comments and "sharing" the experience. I do the syndicated no comments on today's puzzle (I just finished the whole sheebang). I do have a question. As I am a 'pen/paper' type, I'm wondering what the time comparison is between paper and electronic.

Rex sometimes does it on paper and comments that doing so 'adds' to his time.

I'm not a speed merchant, but just wondering what some of you folks might think as to what the time differential is.

I usually do M-W in 9-15 min...Th-FR in 18-25 and swear a lot on Sat.


Anonymous 12:11 PM  

Like several others, I smiled at the thought of Ed Norton "addressing" the ball. Surely this was Gamache's intent with the clue. That's worth some minor pronunciation quibbles, no?

@Jax_inL.A. I'm in SF, so I'm with you on the comments. It's great to read through a pile of impressions on my way to work in the morning.

Sadly, however, it means my big news is buried: this was my fastest solve ever! A great way to start Tuesday.

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

Oops - didn't mean to post anonymously above. Hello!

Clark 12:23 PM  

(@fikink -- You missed the picture of Roxie the other day (and semi-puzzle partner too).)

chefbea 12:40 PM  

Like the puzzle and thought it very easy. No more to add

The Big E 1:30 PM  

very easy - finished a few seconds faster today than yesterday. Both good times, so I am happy. But I agree with others - very Monday feel for me.

@retired chemist - keeping my fingers crossed for Bree! Also checked out the photos - she is a beautiful dog! Gave me a mild chuckle seeing the word "bitch" used with the non-derogatory/offensive definition. :-)

@Ulrich - we scooped up a couple of empty seats much better than what we should have had last night (ours were in the nosebleeds, 4 rows from the top!), and watching Federer hit that "between-the-legs" winner down the line was amazing! SO glad I went!!!

Sfingi 1:46 PM  

Very nice that 2 lovely things, Alain DELON and ROLLS Royce crossed, otherwise the theme was odd. Just bought a copy of Big Guns.

Had BoLl, then BALl, then BALE. Had SOng before SOLO. Well, an aria is a kind of song, at least the way I treat 'em.

No new words, (except sports abbrev. NCAAS) but it shared words with the "other" puzzle: TORTE, EYES/EYED.


@Jen - I have tons of milkweed - but no monarchs! Boo-hoo. Saw a gorgeous skunk last night. The branch of Pratt here has been whisking them away to the woods.

joho 2:02 PM  

@retired_chemist ... I, too, am sending warm thoughts to you and Bree, hoping for a speedy and full recovery.

ArtLvr 2:14 PM  

@jesser -- I felt the same distrust of PLED at a most unfortunate moment, challenging it in a Scrabble game with my brother ages ago. He's a lawyer, uses it all the time and rubbed it in! I still feel the blush.

@retired chemist -- fingers crossed for Bree! Can humans ever get this too, do you know?

@ulrich and the Big E -- I caught the clip where Federer explained the stance for that slam shot-between-the-legs, ending with a twinkle and the caveat that guys should be very very careful when trying it...

As for ADDress, that bothered me too as the clue doesn't work with Gettysburg AddRESS! (and I'm not sure if Brits would ever accent the first syllable in that word?) Cute idea otherwise, but too easy.


retired_chemist 2:15 PM  

Thanks all for the kind words re Bree. Also keep your fingers crossed for my wife's 94 year old father who has just entered the hospice program. She has just flown to Detroit to see him and start thinking with her sister about final arrangements.

So don't expect much from my posts for a while - but I will still be doing the puzzles.

retired_chemist 2:18 PM  

@ ArtLvr - apparently so.

Masked and Anonymous 2:19 PM  

@44--Har. Well, good mornin', sunshine. Unlike yesterday's snark-o-gasm, I kinda see where you're comin' from today. But this TuesPuz still was fun to solve, even with it's foibles. Cool it had the two authors--one to come up with the theme nouns, and the other to dream up the verbs, maybe.

Speakin' of puz occurs to me that the NYT hasn't come up with yer "perfect" xwordpuz yet. Pick yer fave. No matter what it is, either 44 or yours truly (or some other nut) could probably smoke some little nit out of some corner to snark unmercifully to a crisp. And it's all pretty much subjective; no scorin' system in place. Kinda like pickin' out bananas at the Piggly Wiggly. Still, glad we've got 44's blog and comments to get a mornin' howl out of.

Think my scorin' system would rely heavily on numbers of U's. Let's me think on it...

Hi-Yo, INCENSE-INCENSE, away . . .

fikink 3:32 PM  

@Ulrich said: "Any art form, major or minor, lives by innovation, and if the possibilities are exhausted, it dies. This puzzle demonstrates to me that there is still life in puzzle construction."

@Noam said: "The grid is also more symmetrical than usual: not just central symmetry but also rerflection about the main diagonal (appropriately for this theme)."

To my ear, both of you point to the elegance of the literal AND the figurative symmetry (to recall yesterday's discussion) of this puzzle. It is getting better and better to me the more we consider it.

Nice going, Paula AND Ed !!

sanfranman59 3:40 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 7:06, 8:52, 0.80, 3%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Tue 3:55, 4:34, 0.86, 6%, Easy

Well darned if we don't have two Monday puzzles this week. This one's on pace to go down as one of the two or three easiest Tuesdays in my database.

retired_chemist 3:51 PM  

@Naom said "not just central symmetry but also reflection about the main diagonal (appropriately for this theme)."

perhaps a geometrically inclined colleague might think this through and see if it is only appropriate or is actually mandatory for the theme: five symmetrically placed seven letter answers crossing other seven letter answers, including one such in the center. I'm betting not mandatory but d**n near.

Noam D. Elkies 4:12 PM  

@retired_chemist: It's not too hard to design a grid that accommodates the five pairs of theme answers but has no more than the standard crossword symmetry. Just move the 1x3 black bars in the NNE and SSW one square close to the NE and SW corner respectively. Or even easier, add a symmetrical pair of "cheater" squares on the boundary.


P.S. "N"=Noam, not Naom.

P.P.S. captcha = tries, not just a word but a very common one...

chefwen 4:34 PM  

@Retired_chemist - Toby and Skippy have their paws crossed and are sending positive vibes to Bree.

Matthew G. 4:35 PM  

Oh, yes, I too agree with Jesser that PLED is at least arguably a non-word. The AP Stylebook calls for "pleaded" and specifically prohibits "pled." I'm curious what the NYT Stylebook (which I do not have a copy of) says on that one. Anyone?

JenCT 5:09 PM  

@sfingi: I feel your pain.

The Bard 5:12 PM  

King Henry VIII > Act II, scene I

First Gentleman: I'll tell you in a little. The great duke
Came to the bar; where to his accusations
He pleaded still not guilty and alleged
Many sharp reasons to defeat the law.
The king's attorney on the contrary
Urged on the examinations, proofs, confessions
Of divers witnesses; which the duke desired
To have brought viva voce to his face:
At which appear'd against him his surveyor;
Sir Gilbert Peck his chancellor; and John Car,
Confessor to him; with that devil-monk,
Hopkins, that made this mischief.

retired_chemist 6:21 PM  

@ Noam - thanks for the symmetry info. Not my day for a clear mind, I fear.

ps I know it is Noam - but the same fingers that produce teh for the, form for from, etc, also typed your name. Sorry.

Nhart1954 6:56 PM  

A late word on the pleaded/pled discussion. I remember starting out in law school (as an English Lit grad) with pleaded, but once I actually starting doing criminal defense was definitely fact, always used as a phrase "pled out" not "pled guilty"

Nhart1954 6:56 PM  

A late word on the pleaded/pled discussion. I remember starting out in law school (as an English Lit grad) with pleaded, but once I actually starting doing criminal defense was definitely fact, always used as a phrase "pled out" not "pled guilty"

Citizen Dain 8:16 PM  
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Citizen Dain 8:17 PM  

While I was frustrated with that north box, I counted, and there are TEN answers that are abbreviations (not counting ROLLS, which is clued as "familiarly"). TEN? That is unacceptable. 5a, 14a, 18a, 38a, 42a, 48a, 3d, 7d, 8d

And then the final insult at 48a: "Catchall abbreviation". Couldn't they have caught all of them with MISC and spared us the rest of them?? Ugh. Least fun I have had on a Tuesday puzzle in weeks, despite the sort of clever-ish theme.

P.S. Also, EELER? EELER?!!?

Stan 9:01 PM  

Agreeing with Nhart 1954 (my friend was a Public Defender, and I've served on Grand Jury): Around courtrooms it's 'pled' or 'pled out' -- never 'pleaded'. 'Pleaded' is what you did when someone was breaking up with you.

fergus 9:20 PM  

I found this to be a really great puzzle -- on that teases out the essence of crosswording, which to me means exploiting the different ways that words are pronounced and used.

Seems like there's ample agreement that only ADDRESS has some very subtle differentiation in its noun or verb use, while the others are clearly distinct. The more I think the ADDRESS difference though, the less certain I am about my own pronunciation. Probably the sum of my experience with all types of English usage would lead me to definitely emphasize the second syllable on the verb, and favor the first on the noun. And since this concurs with the accepted interpretation of the theme, I'll take it.

Can't wait to address the ball on the first tee tomorrow, when I finally get a chance for a full round.

deerfencer 10:41 PM  

Thought this was a pretty masterful and very enjoyable puzzle, especially since I have a 20-year-old daughter who's just gotten into the Times's X-words this summer and who found it a pleasure.

Big thumbs up!

sanfranman59 1:05 AM  

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

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

Mon 7:08, 6:58, 1.02, 63%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 7:09, 8:52, 0.81, 3%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:54, 3:43, 1.05, 82%, Challenging
Tue 3:49, 4:34, 0.84, 6%, Easy

Of 63 Tuesday puzzles in my spreadsheet, this was the 2nd fastest median solve time for the All Solvers group (to Alex Boisvert's 4/13/2010 puzzle) and the 4th fastest for the Top 100.

NotalwaysrightBill 9:26 AM  

Can't believe I'm defending anything about this puzzle. But if Peter had been more of a specialist, I can sorta see "Be ye eelers of men." Maybe men of the sort that ended up having "pled" in today's court, vs having "pleaded" back in the day. Nice case of a strong verb form making reverse headway against the entropic just-slap-an-"ed"-on-it drift, a tussle that's been goin' on with "plead" for centuries, apparently (thanks for the reference, @ The Bard Said). Druther "eelerman?"

NotalwaysrightBill 10:26 AM  

A little more on pleaded/pled. OED's earliest quote for pled comes from Edmund Spencer in 1594. Plenty earlier for pleaded, but Spencer's good company fer shur. Anyway, the jury's been out a long time on this one, doubt that it comes in with the final verdict any time today.

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