The Pirates of the N.C.A.A. / WED 8-4-10 / Czech Currency / Dagger in "The Mikado" / Residents of 10 Downing St.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Turn to Stone— 5 answers have anagrams of "stone," alternating in the first or last word.

Word of the Day: KORUNA (Czech currency) —
The basic monetary unit of Czechoslovakia, introduced as the Czech crown after the 1914-18 war (abbrev. ), and replaced and revalued after the 1939-45 war as the crown of the Czech and Slovak State (abbrev. ); 1 = 100 hellers. Also, a coin corresponding to this unit. (
• • •
Caleb Madison here again, filling in for Rex today and tomorrow. In a perfect world, I'd have some sort of theme song whenever I come on the blog... Any suggestions? Brendan Emmett Quigley has already coopted "Tom Sawyer" for his 'Behind the Puzzle' posts. For now, I'll go with this:

There's a long intro, but you get the point.

On to the puzzle! When I saw the byline, I got my magic markers out, ready to draw a martini glass or a spider or a museum on my grid... no such luck. Seeing Elizabeth Gorski's byline on a puzzle is kind of like seeing Joss Whedon's name on a T.V. ad or John Woo's name on a movie poster or Big Boi's name on an album cover. Whatever it is, you know it'll be good. This puzzle was no exception. 6 solid theme entries, plus nice open corners with stacked 11s and 9s intersecting. Unusual, nice grid. The theme itself is pretty nice too. We've seen STONE as the basis of a theme before here, but here, a totally new twist.

Theme answers:
  • 17a: Unwritten reminders- MENTAL NOTES
  • 23a: The Pirates of the N.C.A.A.- SETON HALL
  • 29a: Robert Frost poem about a snowfall- THE ONSET
  • 43a: It may have wire binding- STENO PAD
  • 50a: Oranges, reds and golds- FALL TONES
  • 61a: Petrify... or what five alternating words in 17-, 23-, 29-, 43-, and 50-Across can do?- TURN TO STONE
Never heard of "The Onset" but it was easily gettable with both the theme and the crossings. Also, FALL TONES is a bit hackneyed, but again, the theme was tight enough that it didn't really matter.

  • 18a: "Top Gun" target (MIG) — Any reference to "Top Gun" automatically makes me like a puzzle, as does a reference to "Buffy," "The Wire," Hall & Oates, or Phillip Marlowe. Is two "Top Gun" links too much? Nahhhhhhhh.

    [Warning: NSFW]

  • 14a: Gorged, gorged and gorged some more, informally (ATE UP A STORM) — as far as longer answers go, this and ONE SENTENCE (64a: Many a Twittermessage) seem a bit of a stretch. I've only used 'dance up a storm', and the arbitrary-number-in-front-of-a-unit thing is never too great. The only not so great answer in the whole puzzle is...
  • 65a: Taxonomy suffix (ZOA) — inferrable (like protozoa) , but not pretty. It's the price a constructor pays for FRIZZ
  • 45a: Trees loved by squirrels (OAKS) — Makes me think of...

  • 35d: Wham-bam-thank-you ma'am types- CADS— I have a hunch who's responsible for this clue- the same person who's out in Pleasantville with Will Shortz right now, trying his hardest to fill the shoes that I left when I interned for Will two summers ago. Forget it, Natan Last. Never gonna happen. You're probably just as inferior to me as an intern as you are as a constructor.
  • 37a: Shaped like pizza slices- WEDGY— I would have put this in the 'bad stuff' category... but I kind of like it. It's marked 'rare' in the OED (I'm working there this summer, so that's the source I'm using), and I can't imagine using it, but it bears so much resemblance to another word that it's fun to say. Also, it's a word they'd use in "Buffy"
  • 44d: One with no tan lines- NUDIST— That's one way to look at it.
  • 10d: Residents of 10 Downing Street- PMS — This clue could also have been Once-a-month condition for Natan Last. This was my one mistake. I hastily filled in BUSMAN for 5a: Urban commuter's aid (BUS MAP) and didn't check/know the crossing. In retrospect, BUS MAP makes way more sense. Not a Natan Last-sized mistake, but a mistake all the same.
And I leave you today with a cover of a song by 15d: Dolly who sang "9 to 5."

Signed, Caleb Madison, Serf of the CrossWorld, Better At Everything than Natan Last

Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Update from Natan Last:

1. At least I'm not ugly.

2. If you wave your wand with just the right amount of swish, you'll note that CALEB MADISON anagrams to I AM LORD VOLDEMORT. Wassup wit dat?

3. Did you guys know that Caleb
I think at least four babies brutally and was on the run from the law for, what, three years, until puked on himself, i think someone said "it helped his look" only to find he was naked in front of the whole auditorium to which the girl replied, "in your dreams" and I swear if Caleb edits this at all need a stick for walking.

4. I love you CrossWorld!


Tobias Duncan 12:14 AM  

I effing LOVED this puzzle !
In fact, I Tobias Duncan ,plan on proposing to this puzzle later this evening , if she says yes, you are all invited to the wedding! One more glass of wine and I should have the nerve...

(not sure if I should invite this Natan Last person...)

Rube 12:21 AM  

Think this is an excellent puzzle. Had two writeovers at ISLe/ISLA and seaS/TONS. Really raised an eyebrow at 35D, CADS. Got it, but wait a minute.

Liked STENOPADS and all of the 11's. The fill was, fo the most part, acceptable. ZOA was mentioned as less then desirable and I agree.

Didn't like the pop culture answers like NENA and RAE, but have learned to accept them.

SETONHALL is a fine school, but does not come to mind when the term NCAA is used as the clue. How many other Pirates are there in the NCAA. Anyone?

des 12:41 AM  

I'm not as enthusiastic about this one because of clunky spots such as 14A - I wanted ATE LIKE A PIG and 50A - I wanted FALL TINTS. 37A is a no-no, at least the other way it is spelled ("Wedgie") which refers to underpants and what happens when they pulled up too tight. Ugh!

Finally, 61A TURN TO STONE is grammatically incorrect for what is meant, i.e., that the words "STONE" can turn. Huh?

Rex Parker 12:50 AM  

Don't think I love the theme (I mean, it's fine, but at core just an anagram theme), but the grid is wicked good, as Caleb noted.

I'm going to have to have Caleb and Natan co-blog some time. When you add their ages together, they are almost my age. I enjoy seeing them tear each other down.

Wife and stepbrother and brother-in-law are in the Theater (this house we're staying in is Ridiculous) watching the first Star Trek movie like a bunch of nerds. I'm going to pop open another KORUNA and read "Cloudsplitter" by Russell Banks until I fall asleep.


SethG 12:53 AM  

No problem with this puzzle. No problem with ATE UP A STORM. No problem with Holy Diver as your theme song. (Maybe Natan's can be this?) Definitely no problem with Top Gun.

Rube, there are 6.

Steve J 1:19 AM  

Loved parts of this, not so fond of parts of this. I too was looking for shapes, symbols, runes, etc. upon seeing Elizabeth Gorski's byline, but I'm happy with a unique grid that didn't have many duds caused by construction (the aforementioned ZOA aside, but like Caleb said, it's a fair exchange for FRIZZ).

I didn't like both EAT and ATEUPASTORM both appearing in the puzzle, and WEDGY was dodgy. But I loved the cluing for SOUR and NUDIST, and it was great seeing all kinds of uncommon but great words (SAMOA, MOTETS, SATORI).

The theme itself seemed almost immaterial to me. Didn't notice it much, and I was too busy enjoying other good bits.

@Rube & Seth G: The only other NCAA teams I can find through some searching are East Carolina and Southwestern. Seth, what are the other four?

Falconer 1:31 AM  

Fantastic puzzle. Loved everything about it. Fun theme, amazing fill, including Frizz, Ate Up a Storm, L-Dopa and Steamship. Nice going, Gorski.

andrea iwill michaels 1:36 AM  

it;s official! The young boys have taken over. If only they weren't so f%^ing charming. At least the constructor was a woman who knows her stuff...big time.

Loved the puzzle...6 anagrams AND a reveal??? that is hard hard hard hard hard hard.

I wish "IWILL" was themed Beatles-wise as it's my favorite song of theirs, and then the boys, even tho they probably don't know who the Beatles were, could have embedded the video.

Only thing I'm not a fan on are nontheme answers as long/er as themed ones...but in this case, as they are stacked on top, then all is forgiven.

OK, I said "stacked on top"... have at it, boys! ;)

Will Shortz 3:21 AM  

Caleb -- nice write-up.

But, sorry, the clue for CADS was neither Natan's nor Liz's. It was all mine.

--Will S. (who has been blessed with some terrific summer interns, even if they like to razz each other)

fikink 3:36 AM  

Should we believe that was really Will?

Thanks for Jolene, @Caleb.

Good puzzle. BUSMAP wants, but SATORI is awesome, especially in the flesh.

Greene 3:57 AM  

This has really been an excellent week of puzzles so far. All the constructors have been women too. Coincidence? I think not.

I love seeing Liz Gorski's byline. You know the puzzle will be smooth, clever, and expertly constructed. This one certainly did not disappoint and I am completely in awe of the construction elements which have been pointed out by Caleb, Rex, and Andrea. The NW and SE corners (with those dizzying, intersecting, stacked 11s and 9s) are things of elegance and beauty. Additionally, the puzzle was actually quite fun to solve and made me feel like a better solver than I actually am, if that makes any sense.

I like how STDS and CADS sort of wink at each other from across the grid. I don't think I would have been able to resist using a saucier clue for STDS in this instance. Stupid breakfast test. STDS crossing THE ONSET sort of gives the latter a different meaning as well. Okay, enough. On to another TOPIC.

Thanks for another wonderful puzzle Ms. Gorski. You're the L-DOPA in my Sinemet! Oh, you ARE TOO! Will I love your puzzles forever? I WILL! Do I gush on and on? I DO!

Oh...and Caleb. Wonderful writeup. Just the right balance of insightful commentary and hilarity. I feel sure all your former teachers and mentors are proud and vying to take credit for you.

@Fikink: Go to bed!

chefwen 4:03 AM  

Super easy, fun, puzzle (I say that a lot, don't I)

I don't make MENTAL NOTES anymore, gotta write 'em down, it's an age thing.

Love PEPPERONI pizza.

Finally met @Clark, his semi puzzle partner Robbie, and friend from Barcelona, Philip. Had a
good two hour chat, very diversified, interesting trio. They fell in love with Paddy cat, so they are alright in my book. And they finally took the damned muffins home. Hope they like them.

ztzer - new anti acne cream

Clark 6:58 AM  

Phil and Semi-puzzle partner and I have now met the lovely @chefwen. We sat on the Lanai looking over the ocean as night fell on this island that is hard to distinguish from paradise. Paddy cat acted as messenger, sending greetings via the all-one cat to our Obi and Gracie. The muffins were worth the wait -- moist and bursting with hawaiian flavor! (Thanks for not taking your husband's advice and eating them all yourself!)

The puzzle was fun. We weren't so sure about WEDGY. But it's kind of sassy. Top gun and TIARAS -- I like it.


Oscar 6:59 AM  

"wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am" is quite vulgar and whoever wrote it is a major CAD, imo.

I'm guessing that FRIZZ was forced in there so the grid would have *some* interesting letters.

Doug 7:52 AM  

I really liked this puzzle. When I first scanned the clues for some easy ones, I thought, whoa, this is going to be a hard Wednesday. PARTON got me to MAST and then SSN got me to STEAMSHIP, which I suspected but wasn't certain of. Then I jumped to RIEN and all over and didn't worry about the theme till I was done. The perfect Wednesday for an average solver, in all.

retired_chemist 8:15 AM  

This puzzle and the writeup both get my nod. Well done all.

Not seeing the theme, I had FALL TINTS almost until the end. KIRUNA sounded workable, albeit slightly odd, @ 46D but TENSY was clearly wrong @ 53D. Fixed in the final check.....

NENA - don't know them. WEDGY - kinda clunky, except with ATE UP A STORM, EAT, PEPPERONI, COLA, and KORUNA (as Rex almost said, almost CORONA), there is a minitheme working......

Thanks you, Ms. Gorski. And thanks to Messrs. Madison and Last for all they do.

joho 8:21 AM  

I really liked the puzzle but loved the writeup even more. Hilarious!

WEDGY is wonderful.

I'm in awe of Elizabeth Gorski and for good reason. This week has been so above average so far, I can't wait for tomorrow!

@fikink ... no!

redhed 8:24 AM  

Really enjoy Ms Gorski's puzzles. I have to think about the clues, but usually work them out so I feel both challenged and rewarded when I finish her puzzles. I so so love the ones with the embedded image! LOVED the clue for CAD! Nice to know that was Mr Shortz's input.

PanamaRed 8:36 AM  

This was a fun puzzle - easy for a Wednesday to me.

But my comments are for the write-up by Caleb - and the Top Gun clip. I'm a huge QT fan, and that was hilarious. Very funny - thanks for that, Caleb.

And thanks, Liz for the puzzle.

dk 9:07 AM  

Nice tight write-up and puzzle.

I annoyed the step twins by making them watch Monster's Inc. last night. I love Roz. Tonight it may be UP followed by Babe.

Only do over was ISLA than began life as isle.

Fun fact ELO did not play at Woodstock due to the rain. I was well past Barstow (obscure Hunter Thompson reference) by that time so I should check my facts.

First thought 14A was "ate a pasture."

*** (3 Stars)

Only the best people come from the Claremont Colleges, it must be the Afghan fries at Walters (best eaten with Chutney).

New APA approved job title: Consumer Psychologist, you can call me Dr. Debt.

jesser 9:11 AM  

I didn't realize I had put them on, but I seem to be wearing the Cranky Pants today.

I pretty much hated this puzzle. It felt WEDGY, what with ATE UP A STORM, LENT AN EAR, STEAM SHIP, PEPPERONI (yum), IN A TRANCE and ONE SENTENCE just... sitting there, doing nothing for the theme, which was -- as Rex points out -- OK but not spectacular.

As Caleb pointed out, ZOA is just fugly. I normally am a major Gorski fan, but today I am not feeling the love.

And so, wearing said Cranky Pants, I shall go about my day and think not of this puzzle any further. Unlike Caleb's obvious crush on Nathan, in which he can think of little else. I'm guessing they're adorable together!

Nice write-up, Caleb! Buy him roses!

Impsida! (Oh you are, are you? Well, I'm way more psida than you are!) -- jesser

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

Hilarious write-up; superb puzzle, as smooth as a 40 year single malt.

Dough 9:28 AM  

Good puzzle. Nice writeup. How about a round of applause for the modest "WSW." Puzzles usually head East (ESE or ENE). I know it gives us the hedgy WEDGY, but it was so nice to go in a different direction once in a while. FWIW, I think the clue for CADS is a little too too. I picture a poor innocent lured from a dive bar by some aging roue for a quick bang in the alley. Maybe it's just me, but it's a little too graphic for my morning coffee!! :)

Van55 9:29 AM  

I noted the STDS/CADS symmetry right off and was disappointed that the cluing didn't draw a connection.

WEDGY and PEPPERONI in the same puzzle is good.

I was disappointed by the reliance on SSN and the random geographical direction answer.

PMS could have been given a racier clue as long as we're going to tolerate the wham-bam thing.

Fun puzzle -- easier than yesterday's.

Enjoyed the write-up, Caleb.

SethG 9:42 AM  

Steve J, also Armstrong Atlantic State University, Hampton University, Park College, Whitworth College.

There is of course no more Czechoslovakia. Caleb, you should work for a more-updated dictionary. A Czech crown is currently worth a nickel, so they've deprecated the use of the heller as well.

Zeke 9:42 AM  

Yesterday I reminded myself of the pure joy of childhood, today I get reminded of the joys of a talented, exuberant youth in the writeups. I'm so looking forward to the rest of the week, which will doubtless remind me of the cruel viscisitudes of life, which beat us down so that ones only joy in life is to pretend that one is a hillbilly for amusement.

Man, I love this blog.

captcha: kolikin - The one word you definitely don't want to hear when your barn manager calls you at 3AM

chefbea 9:43 AM  

Good puzzle!! And I agree - easier than yesterdays
Wanted triangular instead of wedgy but it wouldnt fit.

fresc= new soda with less calories

PIX 10:06 AM  

@40 across...if anyone cares Nena was both the name of the band and lead singer of the band (Wiki). Also, it turns out the English lyrics were a very unfaithful translation of the German lyrics; the German lyrics are much more interesting (to the limited extent i can read them.)

A rather easy Wednesday...and disappointing in the sense that so many of MS. Gorski's puzzles have been much more fun.

ArtLvr 10:29 AM  

Very enjoyable Wednesday puzzle, especially as I'm partial to picking up beautiful STONEs at the beach. MENTAL NOTE for xword constructors: the Michigan state stone is the Petoskey, petrified coral. And I have no quibble with ZOA. Fine fill...

I did need the theme at the end for a couple of EENSY corrections: FALL TONES rather than Tints, and STENO PAD instead of Stunt pad as the clue at 39D "Sounds good!" gave me Yum at first, not YES. Hunger pangs came foremost on that one!

So many thanks to Liz G, and to Caleb who nearly STOLE the show!


John V 10:30 AM  

Far and away the easiest Wedneday in memory. Had it all filled and took 10 minutes to figure out the theme. Turns out my anagram synapses are deprecated -- whatever that means.

XConstructor 10:31 AM  

Great review by Caleb - now you can tell this kid has created some great puzzles himself, understands the beauty of the creation, respects the great Liz, and yet, has the temerity (balls) to pick on some pedestrian fill (while acknowledging why some of it is needed - ZOA/FRIZZ).


Loved the razzing with Natan. Keep at it guys.

Willz dropping in here on this blog - is this a first?


JenCT 10:39 AM  

I thought this puzzle was SO easy, until I got stuck with ATE UP A STORM - couldn't see it for a while.

I hope those CADs get some STDS and a huge WEDGY.

Two Ponies 10:48 AM  

Well, you Southerners got your RC Cola today to go with your Moonpie yesterday. (Those two things together don't pass my breakfast test but to each his own.)
@ jesser, Make room for me in those cranky pants. @ Caleb, Thanks for sitting in but I feel like I'm listening in on a private phone call when I shouldn't be.
Pizzas aren't wedgy but underwear is.
Wham-bam isn't cute at all. The first thought I had was "johns".
I doubt that was the real Will S.

Mel Ott 11:34 AM  

@Rube & @SethG

East Carolina U Pirates

I also thought Univ. of New Orleans, but I guess they are actually the Privateers.

Wonder why Seton Hall? It's not obvious.

retired_chemist 11:39 AM  

@Mel - I don't understand your Q re SETON HALL. SETON is the anagram required by the theme.

joho 11:46 AM  

I forgot to mention before ... did anybody else have BUSNAP? As in somebody getting some much needed ZZZZZ's while commuting to/from work?

Mel Ott 12:10 PM  

@retired chemist

Sorry. Why is Seton Hall the Pirates?

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

@Mel Ott, @Steve J listed East Carolina and Southwestern.

Tinbeni 12:26 PM  

I thought the reason ELO didn't play at Woodstock was because their debut concert took place on April 16, 1972 at The Fox & Greyhound Pub in Croydon, U.K.

@Two Ponies
RC COLA and a MOONPIE makes for a great breakfast.

What are "Tan lines?"
Haven't had them for over 30 years, so I guess that makes me a NUDIST.

STDS and CADS were perfectly placed.
WEDGY and EENSY brought the FUN element.

syndy 12:37 PM  

put in motets -took out motets;ate up a storm seemed a little off-mental notes are a recipe for disaster-loved the clues for stenopad and pepperoni;puzzle a little uneven but good over all.I believe it was will who visited- i believe in joss whedon i believe the soap opera of caleb and natan will continue tomorrow stay tuned

Rex Parker 12:55 PM  

That was almost certainly Will.

I think I have a cold, which is really the saddest, stupidest thing that can happen to you on a SUMMER vacation. Bro-in-law has now hooked up the Wii, so I gotta go.

Thanks again to Caleb (and Zeke yesterday) for filling in so admirably (and weirdly).


joho 1:05 PM  

Wow, I was sure that was a fake Will. That's fantastic that he stopped in.

@fikink ... sorry I doubted you!

Jeff Chen 2:22 PM  

I snorted from laughing so hard while reading the blog today. That, along with an awesome grid, what more could you ask for? Although it makes this wannabe Gorski sad to realize how far I have to go...

P.S. I give Caleb 3 to 2 odds in a slapfight with Natan. Takers?

JC66 2:23 PM  

@Mel Ott

Why the Pittsburgh Pirates?

If Seton Hall Pirates is an alliteration, maybe the P in Seton Hall is silent, like it is in toilet.

Sfingi 2:28 PM  

This was challenging and nary a Google, a good combination.

I had issues with LA's today and both on Mon-Tues.

It's always good, if there must be initials, that there be a possibility of more than one choice. For instance, RC could have suggested Roman Catholic.
@Vans - agree, and that WEDGY, PMS and STDS could have been clued entirely differently, so those against the CADS clue shouldn't complain. Didn't we have BOFF recently?

I didn't actually know the sports, but got them anyway. This is good.

Are there still STENOPADS, what with no stenographers? If so, do youngsters know why they're called that? Like blotters?
And, as @Tinbeni pointed out, you don't have to be a NUDIST to have no tan lines. Actually, I have a freckled tan on my left arm, so I do have 1 tan line.

How about SPREE and SPEE? Cute.

My only grimace was for SSN, a special CW I hate to see.

Our local Indian Casino is called Turning Stone, and it never put me in mind, until now, of TURNTOSTONE.
I do see people exit in such a state, though. Around here, they solve their problem by embezzling from their employers.

However, I truly don't get the write up about Caleb and Natan.

Speaking of old age, my MENTALNOTES are totally in pastel ink on my hand. Or the margins of my CWs.

mac 2:29 PM  

Did the puzzle in the huge airport-like jury waitingroom in a Bridgeport courthouse: most fun thing of the morning! I liked it, and, when I got home, the write-up very much. The NW was the last area to fall, which was a pain because it's where I usually start.

Wonder what the boys are bringing to the party tomorrow.

Shamik 2:32 PM  

Fun, medium-easy puzzle for a Wednesday. Great write-up....BUT....

Loved the Tarantino clip. Watched it and was ready to move on. Husband had to know why, when and where it was created. I still don't understand why that was important to him. He doesn't know why that it wasn't important to me. Marriage.

Bonus in my life today: first viewing of the northern lights.

BTW, what happened to the box on the NYT puzzle page that lists earliest and fastest solves?

Howard B 2:35 PM  

Well, appreciate the writeup, Caleb, but to start things off with Dio, man, that's a tough act to follow. Nice job.
Holy Diver!

retired_chemist 2:37 PM  

@ Mel - now I understand the Q, I have no earthly idea why they chose to call themselves the Pirates. Professor Google is basically no help, at least not within the time I am willing to invest.

If you find out, tell us.

fikink 2:48 PM  

@joho, no apology necessary. Remember I was the one who thought that I was talking to the real Billy Collins on this blog. :)

At least it would mean that we can get messages to Will if we know he is reading us.
@Will, "wham-bam-thank-you,-ma'am" is just RUDE. IAMSo disappointed!

@Zeke, do you do Hillspeak in your pretend world? "MR DUCKS"

@Greene, what were you still doing up?

@Shamik, I had your husband's reaction to the Tarantino clip. Much subsequent googling!.

@Rex, I, too, am trying to figure out how I caught a cold in 90-degree weather this week. I empathize.

"venticli" - ok, I won't go there.

fvigeland 2:51 PM  

This was a great puzzle and an even greater write-up, Caleb! I don't have the same quibbles with anagram puzzles as Rex does -- as long as they're done well, that's fine with me. And this one was done *very* well!

It was a little jarring that ATEUPASTORM and ONESENTENCE were the same length as and stacked with the theme answers -- thought it might have been worth it to put a block at the P in ATEUPASTORM and the T in ONESENTENCE, but who knows, maybe it was easier to fill this way.

Caleb and Natan should write a blog together some time.

Zeke 2:51 PM  

@finik - Yup.

shrub5 2:54 PM  

Enjoyed this stoneanagram. With the K, I tried kopeck for Czech currency which was quickly shown to be wrong and I needed every cross to come up with KORUNA. I started out with plain old busses before BUSMAP. Then momentarily thought 10 Downing St was the location of Scotland Yard (d'oh). Don't think I've heard of the expression ATE UP A STORM, so the latter half of that phrase was slow to emerge. Was thinking of bales of hay bound with wire before STENO PAD!! Way off.

Agree with @chefwen: MENTAL NOTES don't last long, they ooze through the brain sieve way too quickly. "Infant" came to mind for "one with no tan lines."

Caleb, I enjoyed your write-up. Thanks for including that little clip from "Up" -- a funny, poignant movie.

captcha: zookad
wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am type in a cage

sanfranman59 3:25 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Wed 10:30, 11:47, 0.89, 28%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:51, 5:47, 1.01, 60%, Medium

archaeoprof 4:39 PM  

Dolly PARTON! Country music = good puzzle.

In NYC tonight, where my daughter is going to tell me that she's engaged. Little sister tipped me off.

andrea cola michaels 5:08 PM  

Maybe @rex got into a "slap fight" with Madeline Albright on the plane! I saw her on CNN today with the sniffles as well!!!

As long as everyone is grabbing credit for everything today, I'd like to take credit for introducing Natan and least I think I did. ;)

Two Ponies 7:15 PM  

@ fikink, MR2 DUCKS!

If Rex says it really was Will S. then I believe it. He has shown up once before since I have been in Rexville.

Stan 9:39 PM  

Thumbs way up on the puzzle and blog today. Do not believe it was the real Will. I believed Orange was resigning and don't want to be taken in again.

Stan 9:54 PM  

Caleb -- I'm thrilled that you like Joss and John Woo and of course Liz. Big Boi I've never heard of, but will check out, in my usual slavish imitation of smart young folks' tastes.

sanfranman59 10:00 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 7:16, 6:58, 1.04, 72%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 10:30, 8:49, 1.19, 92%, Challenging
Wed 10:33, 11:47, 0.90, 28%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:51, 3:43, 1.04, 71%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:13, 4:33, 1.12, 90%, Challenging
Wed 5:35, 5:47, 0.96, 44%, Medium

Dirigonzo 7:40 PM  

It's 5 weeks later and I'm still here reading, enjoying and learning from the banter of Rex' on-line community; @midj chimed in yesterday so maybe s/he's still here,too and there's a chance we can keep the party going. With the ever-vigilant @Rex lurking around that makes at least three of us here, and hey- that's enough for a party as far as I'm concerned. About the puzzle - rushed home from work so I could finish it and get here before it got too late (does time matter 5 weeks later?). Finished it in about 30 minutes which is lightning fast for me. Started in the northwest which plum eluded me, mostly because I was pretty sure the Titanic was a Shipwreck, which is what that whole section turned into. Rest of the puzzle seemed Monday-easy with only a couple of minor write-overs and once I had the theme it was pretty easy to move back into the offending region and clean things up. Really enjoyed it even though I tried to rush though it instead of ambling along at my usual leisurely pace. Anybody else?

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