Flapper of old toondom / MON 9-13-10 / Wabbit's wival / Ending for female smurf / Scandalous 1919 Chicago baseball team

Monday, September 13, 2010

Constructor: Aimee Lucido, Brown University '13

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: BROWN (40A: Word that can precede the starts of 17- and 62-Across and 11- and 35-Down)

  • BEAR WITH ME (17A: "I'll be through in a minute")
  • SUGAR DADDY (62A: Husband of a trophy wife, maybe)
  • BETTY BOOP (11D: Flapper of old toondom)
  • NOSEDIVES (35D: Loses altitude fast)

Word of the Day: AUGIE March (66A: ___ March, Saul Bellow protagonist) —
The Adventures of Augie March (1953) is a novel by Saul Bellow. It centers on the eponymous character who grows up during the Great Depression. This picaresque novel is an example of bildungsroman, tracing the development of an individual through a series of encounters, occupations and relationships from boyhood to manhood. (wikipedia)
• • •

A very Monday Monday. I typically do not enjoy these "special week" puzzles. Usually, concessions are made in puzzle quality in order to accommodate whatever big idea is supposed to unite the week. Today, the puzzle is just fine, though I have heard several times, from several editors, some version of "I'm not keen on accepting 'word that can precede / word that can follow' puzzles any more; too trite a concept"—and yet, here we are. A straight-over-the-plate 'word that can precede' puzzle. As that theme type goes, this is a good puzzle. Many lively answers, and (god bless you, Aimee) almost zero crap. Rock solid, everywhere you look. Could've done without the EPSOM / EPSON pairing (and so close together), but other than that, no complaints. Love PORK CHOP (despite the awkward clue — 4D: Serving in Homer Simpson's favorite dinner — "serving in a dinner" is horrible phrasing) and and BETTY BOOP and BLACK SOX (40D: Scandalous 1919 Chicago baseball team). Nice work.
Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?
Lisa: No.
Homer: Ham?
Lisa: No!
Homer: Pork chops?
Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal!
Homer: Heh heh heh... ooh... yeah... right, Lisa. A wonderful... magical animal.
I got mildly slowed down at 1A: Homes for hens (COOPS) (I wrote NESTS—idiot), and then 9D: What a paleontologist reconstructs (SKELETON) (confused paleontologist with archaeologist), and 55D: Freak (out) (FLIP) (no idea what I was thinking, but I had to hack at crosses to see answer). Those slow-downs were pretty minor, and I ended with a pretty average Monday time (very low 3s). I really should be solving on paper now—that's how it's done at tournaments, and on fast puzzles I swear I spend a good chunk of my time fixing my own stupid typos. Whatever time I'm gaining by typing (fast), I'm losing by clumsily navigating the grid with these lummoxy fingers of mine. Ugh.

I think Natan Last, who was (I think) Will's assistant this past summer, is also at Brown, so I'd be shocked if we didn't see a puzzle from him this week. . . I'd also be at least mildly surprised if it wasn't the best puzzle of the week. We'll see. . . we will see. No pressure, Natan.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Zeke 12:08 AM  

The only comment I care to make about this one is that it made me feel very old. When I saw Brown Univerity '13 in the constructor byline, I was more comfortable thinking of 1913 than 2013, that it was geezer week rather than tyro week. Yes, I'm that old.

Tobias Duncan 12:26 AM  

Brown nose? Does that pass the breakfast test?

D_Blackwell 12:34 AM  

". . . too trite a concept . . ."

I wouldn't mind seeing the "jam letters in a square" gimmick dialed way back. I like 'em fine, but would prefer fewer. Throw me the "quote" gimmick once in a while; they seem to have fallen so far out of favor (with questionable justification) that not many people want to make them. Give me less theme and better fill. I don't need crosswords chock-a-block with theme squares. The principal of 'less is more' ought be added to the reading list.

Robin 1:04 AM  

I am always happy when I can get 1A...maybe a shout out to Farmville? Loved Sherpa and Tomboy and Sugar Daddy. NO idea why. Oh, shoot, maybe I am not supposed to refer to answers before everybody has had their morning coffee and puzzle. If so, please delete this comment, Rex.
"dingler" - sounds naughty, but could be resident of Dingle Peninsula in Ireland?

andrea koala michaels 2:12 AM  

You have NO idea what high praise
"Almost no crap" means on this blog!
I'm so proud of you!

(By the way, on some of the other blogs I am getting credit for mentoring Aimee, but this was written well before we "met" and I think it's totally wonderful, solid, colorful, appropriate, what with the BROWN dead center! This was not just a thiswordcangobefore idea that I think is being unfairly pooh-poohed...I mean the theme for the WEEK was BROWN and Aimee was clever enough to have her puzzle itself be all about BROWN!!!!!!! Attention must be paid to this young gal!)

Speaking of POOH-POOHED, I imagine there will be lots of opinions on BROWN NOSE, and it's scatalogical derivation (ick!) but that so escaped me, I couldn't even figure out what the fourth theme answer was! (I always get thrown when some are across, some are down)

What threw me for a loop is the definition for SUGARDADDY and the whole wife, thing. Trophy or not, who marries their sugar daddy? Um, that's the whole point is NOT to marry them! Isn't it? If it's not, Will, we have to talk! ;)

Anyway, let's hear it for a wonderful debut, from a girl who still managed to get in a Simpson's and a BLACKSOX clue...

Also, this is one of those puzzles you can HEAR: ACHOO, BEAR WITH ME, I BET, etc.
HOOTS and hollers for you, Aimee!!!

fikink 5:01 AM  

Does anyone even think of the derivation of BROWN NOSE anymore? Do people stop to think what SNAFU originally stood for? Aren't some terms just subsumed over time? Anyway, didn't bother me, doubt there will be much spewing of morning coffee over it.

@Aimee, a solid effort IMO. Particularly liked BEAR WITH ME and KOALA in the same grid, even though the latter is just "bear-like."

I agree with @Andrea on SUGAR DADDY clue, tho, and also think the clue's notion of TOMBOY is a bit dated.

But, as @Rex says, "no crap fill" and that is saying something!

Jamie 5:50 AM  

Enjoyed this, normally NYTimes is too difficult for me to do without my partners help. But this one flowed nicely.

As an aside, here is another Augie March from my home country (and the reason I got this so easily).


Vega 8:12 AM  

This was wonderfully smooth! So many good good words. Nice to see another young woman constructor, yay!

I too started with nests, immediately fixed by CABLE. Thank you for LIVE and let die and YOURE the one that I want, two OLDIEs I still can't get enough of.

I agree that the clue for (and even the word) TOMBOY was jarring -- do they use it anymore?

ArtLvr 8:29 AM  

Very easy, but well done... I really appreciated the BROWN theme, so appropriate! BEAR WITH ME, I don't mind scatalogical derivations here and there in puzzles, if the current usage isn't too raw.

Congrats, it's a lovely lucid debut from Ms Lucido!


dk 8:39 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
dk 8:41 AM  

SUGARDADDY - Sweet sucker that lasts a long time.

EPSOM - Tub salt of choice for the above

*** (3 Stars) Fine Monday puzzle.

Nice mix of old OREO and new XERS. Always had a thing for TOMBOYs so memory lane was triggered as well.

Agree with Rex this was a straight over the plate puzzle, Each fill had me saying this makes sense.

Again, good work. Makes me wish I had a puzzle club when I was in college. I would have bagged Organic Chem to attend.

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

DEALWITHIT fits in the same space as BEARWITHME and means something similar...

mac 8:51 AM  

Great, solid Monday puzzle. If this Brown '13 hadn't been included in the byline, it would have been hard to guess the age of the constructor, this puzzles covers a lot of ground!

joho 8:55 AM  

This is such a pure and simple puzzle, just perfect for a Monday. Elegant and entertaining. Congratulations, Aimee on your solid debut! I'm looking forward to more from you.

4D made me think of Dylan's "I got the porkchops/ She got the pie/ She ain't no angel/And neither and I" from "Thunder On The Mountain." Great way to start the day!

The Big E 9:10 AM  

Loved the puzzle - is there an association between Will and Brown? Just curious as people seem to be talking about it this morning as though there was!
I thought it was the best Monday I have seen in a while, and count me as one of those who doesn't mind word preceding/following puzzles.
Anytime there is a good Simpsons reference (see "no more Apu"), I am happy!
And for those who may not have heard it (hope I don't get deleted), one of my old favorite jokes was what is the difference between brown nosing and *** kissing? Answer - depth perception!

Happy puzzling all!

The Big E 9:10 AM  

Loved the puzzle - is there an association between Will and Brown? Just curious as people seem to be talking about it this morning as though there was!
I thought it was the best Monday I have seen in a while, and count me as one of those who doesn't mind word preceding/following puzzles.
Anytime there is a good Simpsons reference (see "no more Apu"), I am happy!
And for those who may not have heard it (hope I don't get deleted), one of my old favorite jokes was what is the difference between brown nosing and *** kissing? Answer - depth perception!

Happy puzzling all!

chefbea 9:11 AM  

Great puzzle!! Loved the theme and all the fill except as has ben said epsom/epson.

Ulrich 9:40 AM  

Brown '13 in the byline mesmerized me: How old is the constructor?

Super-fast Monday for me. I was slowed down only by becoming reckless and starting to fill in answers w/o looking at the clues--ABET for I BET etc.

This puzzle came right after we had watched "Harry Brown" in HD on our Bravia, a very good thriller with the great Michael Caine playing a pensioner-turned-vigilante--so, the puzzle was the icing on the cake, as they say here, or the "little cream bonnet" (Sahnehäubchen), as they say in the old country.

jesser 9:41 AM  

OK, so much gushing! I'm afraid I'll have to BROWN NOSE and concur that this was a perfect Monday, especially after Saturday kicked my ass. Still haven't done Sunday yet. Had friends show up from Illinois, quite unanounced, and we spent the weekend exploring the Organ Mountain foothills in Wild Hair. Then we came home and played pool and drank in copious quantities. My liver is screaming.

Unlike Fearless 44, I had zero writeovers today. It just all flowed, like a river into the sea, which is a lyric I just stole from someone. Couldn't tell you who. Last night, we played pool and listened to Jesse Winchester at volume levels best suited for concert venues. God bless my 1981 Technics stereo system with Cerwin Vega speakers.

I used to live with a guy named David HODGE. He died in a crazy car wreck that also claimed his father. Seeing his name evoked both grins and tears. Funny how life works...

I'm babbling, so I'll stop. Great puzzle.

OldCarFudd 9:51 AM  

Very, very smooth. I'm too dumb to have noticed the connection between the centered Brown and the constructor's college (thank you, Andrea), but what the hell, I went to Princeton. Nice job, Aimee!

I remember the word tomboy well. In its heyday, girls were supposed to be frilly and feminine. Tomboys were notable because they were athletic when other girls weren't. Yesterday I cheered on my 70-year-old wife doing her first sprint triathlon, a cancer benefit. There were only 5 in her division - ages 70 to 75 - out of over 1500 participants. Times are changin' - tomboys rule!

fikink 10:08 AM  

@OldCarFudd's wife:
You GO, Girl!

Tinbeni 10:08 AM  

Rex, excellent write-up of a FUN Monday offering.

After my week at Hedonism II, Negril, Jamaica, all I can say is my *all-over* deep BROWN tan is once again ... perfect.

Best part of the week at an "all-inclusive" resort is not having a bar tab to pay when checking out. Trust me, it would have approached National Debt proportions!

Now I have to make my own coffee and breakfast and somehow try to remember how to engage the brain cells early in the morning.

I already miss sitting on the DOCK. Enjoying a local smoke (that will send you for a LOOP) watching the sunrise.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:35 AM  

Very good Monday puzzle. It felt so fresh that before coming to Rexville, I checked at Jim Horne's site for the Freshness Factor. Not that high overall, but noteworthy that three of the four theme answers (and a couple others) are appearing in the Times puzzle for the first time (in the years covered by the database). Only SUGARDADDY has been seen before.

I felt a little slow in that I had not originally noticed the connection between the BROWN theme and Brown University, but I had caught on before I got to Andrea's post.

Congrats, Aimee Lucido!

archaeoprof 10:38 AM  

Fresh and spunky. A+ for Aimee!

After the theme reveal, 62A made me think of one of the all-time great rock and roll songs.

40D reminded me that the 1919 World Series was won by the Cincinnati Reds.

Two Ponies 10:41 AM  

Very nice Monday.
Skeleton and dinosaur in the same puzzle made me think of our
@ archeoprof, just no country music.
Brown in the center was a nice touch.
I don't know much about Smurfs or Smurfettes but I wuv Elmer and the wascally wabbit.
Doughnut also fit the pork chop spot.

Stan 10:45 AM  

Cool puzzle with a nice 'aha' moment at 40A. I'm looking forward to the rest of this week!

Hodge was also the name of Samuel Johnson's cat; he has his own statue in London.

Sfingi 11:07 AM  

Smooth, clear Monday.

I thought they pulled it out of the archives, but how did the author know about Pixar if he's been dead 20 years?

When hubster was in HS (Proctor '60) his Italian teacher said, "A male pig is a boar, a female pig is a..." He did not say SOW, and got in a little trouble, but his friends, all stand-up guys pretended they didn't know who said it.

I asked Hubster for the only sports clue - he generally knows baseball - He said they were the White Sox until the scandal.

Speaking of cooking words starting with "s" like STIR, has anyone had to Sift anything, lately? That must be a thing of the past. I used to do that for my mother.

Anybody remember a PBS kids' show called HODGE Podge Lodge. Once in a while the people on that show could say,
"And there's a BEAR WITH ME today."
There does seem to be a "bear" mini-theme.

For the clue, "Mold's origin," I was waiting for some deep bio-chemical explanation.

Re: BROWN - NOSE, we always used a sign of rubbing the fist around the nose, rather than saying it. Which is worse?

@Stan - love that info. I looked it up and there are many pictures, especially with a red ribbon 'round its neck.

@Robin - I give up. Where do you see Dingler?

@Rube, wherever you are - L'il Abner used to like him a nice PO'K CHOP.

shrub5 11:08 AM  

Wow, Aimee, this was terrific. I share the sentiment of others and hope more of your puzzles are in the pipeline. Guess you'll have a unique answer when someone asks "So, how'd you spend your summer vacation?" Can crossword construction qualify for "independent study" at Brown?

Samuel Johnson 11:12 AM  

@Stan - Thank you for the reference to my cat Hodge!

deerfencer 11:17 AM  

Agree this is a near perfect Monday puzzle. Big cyber high-five to Aimee!

@ Andrea: thanks for the morning chuckle re Will "Sugardaddy" Shortz. You crack me up girl!

Mel Ott 11:17 AM  

Really nice, smooth Monday puzzle. No crap fill. Any minor shortcomings more than made up for by [BROWN]NOSE.

chefbea 11:26 AM  

@sfingi re:sift...some recipes require sifting the dry ingredients together however I use my wire wisk. Does just as well.

Rick 11:36 AM  

Hope Aimee is reading this. I seriously enjoyed this puzzle, and am with @Andrea - really enjoyed that we kicked off "Brown" week with a "Brown" themed puzzle. And a Monday with no crap, and a fairly challenging puzzle. Great job.

MC 11:45 AM  

Surprised Rex (and commenters) didn't pick up on the repeated "OO"-ing all over the grid. Any connection to Brown there? Maybe I just watched too much Jigsaw as a child.


Rick 11:47 AM  

Oh, and according to the Brown Daily Herald, Natan Last is, indeed, last this week out of the six Brown constructors. Three have been published before. Should be a good week. http://www.browndailyherald.com/mobile/six-undergrads-to-puzzle-times-readers-this-week-1.2326641

Sparky 12:00 PM  

Found it easy. A very nice way to start the week. Thanks Aimee. You must be all of 18, yes? Wish you many more puzzles. @Andrea. Also felt you don't marry a SUGARDADDY. Recipes still say SIFT but TV cooks seem to just bang the flour through a sieve, not use those hand cramping tools of yore. Did not register for the Puzzle Construction Course. I barely squeak through solving. Looking forward to an entertaining week.

Masked and Anonymous 12:28 PM  

Always a true pleasure to see the young-un’s chippin’ in some great puzs. Makes tomorrow’s future look more promisin’ than yesterday’s future. Or somethin’ like that. And this MonPuz was a s-u-g-a-r-dandy. Hi-lites for moi included: DINOSAUR, TOMBOY, SHERPA, PORKCHOP, KOALA, SUGARDADDY, BEARWITHME, and the build-it-yourself COOPS-de-grace, BROWNNOSE. Thumbs up.

Hope Aimee really catches that constructin’ bug, and keeps ‘em comin’. But don’t go movin’ to another college, every time you need a new theme subject, girl! And keep yer U count up. (It’s only the 14th most popular NYTPuz letter; needs more respect.)

Primo write-up, 44. Am always happier, when you’re happy. Keep the good vibes comin’.

treedweller 12:54 PM  

This was possibly my fastest solve ever. I know I've come in under five minutes before a few times, but this was almost half a minute faster than that. I felt like I was stalling out a few times, too--go figure.

@sfingi et al.

I sifted some flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder just recently. I will continue to do so every time I bake cookies, as long as my sifter holds out. I bought it second-hand because it was like the one my mother had. New ones that I've found just don't work very well. I suppose when the time comes I will just switch to a sieve, as Sparky suggests, but it seems messier and lacks the marvelous sound that a sifter makes.

treedweller 1:03 PM  

incidentally, where did everyone find out this was a "special" week? As I read comments about Aimee '13, I never really did the math and thought she had graduated in 1913. Now I gather it's going to be a week of current undergrads' puzzles. Should be interesting to see what old/new fill they come up with.

syndy 1:21 PM  

agree, GREAT puzzle, but was hoping for a little Betty Boop from 44 . He gave us literature instead-serious literature-geez!Isn't it wonderful that tomboy is becoming archaic?you go girl

JackStrawfromSoFLA 1:47 PM  

BEAR sub theme could be due to Brown's mascot.

Adam 1:59 PM  

This was also my fastest solve ever. I love timing myself, and I usually finish Mondays at a little over four minutes on average, but this one took me 3:23. I didn't really get stuck on any clues except for the Homer Simpson one, which doesn't make any sense. I'm not here to brag (ok, maybe a little), but I like a little bit of a challenge, even on Mondays--this puzzle would be perfect for the LA Times.

Anonymous 2:37 PM  

There is no such thing as epson salt. It's epsom salt. You may google it and find hits, but I believe its wrongly used by some just like penultimate and fulsome.

The Big E 2:42 PM  

@Anon 2:37 - there are two answers you are confusing - ___ salts, which is "epsom" and big name in printers which is "epson."
I don't think anyone confused the two, did they?


Anonymous 2:51 PM  

@The Big E:

Touche! I don't know how I made the mistake of swapping the clues in my mind.

Apologies to all! Thanks to The Big E for being gentle.

fergus 2:57 PM  

Commenting the other day about why Apple-polisher is such a nicer term for Brown-noser.

Silly me for looking for the puzzle today, having already done it on Saturday. 'Twas a good crowd in Alameda.

archaeoprof 2:59 PM  

@Two Ponies: well, to quote another great rock song, "You can't always get what you want"... :)

fergus 3:03 PM  

(sfman59 -- disappointed that I forgot my favorite current #55, and I hope the next time Will Clues TIM, it will be for the guy I think is still the best pitcher in either league, despite his struggles this season)

I am the 37th Greatest CWP Solver in My Local Area! 3:27 PM  

@ Fergus-

#55 is having a GREAT year...as are all of the G-Men...He just had a bad August....maybe he got dumped at the end of July...

It was interesting looking at this puzzle after seeing it this weekend. Saturday, it was fun, but today was even funer-er - much better looking for themes and with a critical eye than JUST for time.

It was good chatting with you all on Saturday.

epanican - the offspring of an Ecuadorian father and a Panamanian mother?

Anonymous 3:36 PM  

@treedweller 1:03 PM said...

incidentally, where did everyone find out this was a "special" week?


Not so hard if you get the print version:

"Every crossword this week, from Monday to Saturday, has been created by a member of the Puzzling Association of Brown University. Founded in 2008, the student club has about 30 members, who meet weekly during the school year to solve and discuss puzzles. Each spring it organizes a campuswide crossword tournament. Other schools with crossword clubs include Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Texas Christian. Brown's club, though, has the most members with published puzzles."


I spent my college geek time with Duplicate Tournament Bridge and my Sunday mornings with the Times puzzle. Got to do the dailies only after retirement. Sigh...

So much for the Ivies (and TCU!). From Left Coast football:

Cal vs. UC Davis 52 - 3
Cal vs. Colorado 52 - 7

So now Cal ranks #1 defense in the country, FWIW (i.e., nothing). But GO BEARS anyhow!

Lurking Larry

Sfingi 4:00 PM  

@Treedweller - I always see sifters at antique emporia, so this is the place to seek them. Unfortunately, I collect old funnels (Freudian comments unwelcome), and I rarely find them.

@Chefbea - yes, I can see that combining would be the reason to sift these days. In the old days, I recall some sort of clumping problem, but I don't know why. Whatever pre-sifted means. And what is all-purpose flour? The change seems to have happened in my lifetime.
The old sifters aren't just the squeeze kind, but a kind which involves a turning device with a little wood knob on it.

Looked up sifting. A "kitchen chemist" named Rose Levy Beranbaum wrote her masters on sifting! and decided a blender is best. Who knew?

treedweller 4:08 PM  

thanks for the update. I'd like to get the dead-tree version every day, but it's just too expensive. I might bite the bullet, but it annoys me that it's cheaper to go buy a copy at a newsstand than to subscribe (here, at least). The only periodical I know that doesn't offer a discount for subscribing. Anyway, I rarely buy the paper and I solve online.

@sfingi my sifter is not like either of those. Hard to describe, but it's like the one on the left here.

sanfranman59 4:35 PM  

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

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

Mon 6:00, 6:57, 0.86, 5%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:27, 3:42, 0.93, 22%, Easy-Medium

@fergus ... indeed, we should be ashamed of ourselves for overlooking our local favorite #55!

I think I need to learn to write faster if I'm ever going to reach my maximum potential at crossword tournaments. Today's puzzle took me over 6 minutes in Alameda the other day. Since I'm typically about 2 minutes faster on Mondays than the All Solvers median, I should have solved it in less than 5 minutes. I definitely type faster than I write (at least when I'm trying to do so legibly), but a two minute difference seems excessive. I take some solace in knowing that the additional 50 points wouldn't have improved my final rank anyway.

chefbea 4:41 PM  

@lurker O thanks for clarifying the Brown week.

@sfingi I use to collect old kitchen utensils and had several sifters. the kind with the little wooden knob and the squeeze variety.

edith b 5:44 PM  

Words preceding/following theme puzzles are in vogue (but heading out.) Step-quote themes are out of vogue these days but I learned from them that crosswords were more than just tests of vocabulary and for that reason, I am sorry to see them gone.

The only problem I had with this puzzle was the awkward cluing that dotted it. Glad to see BROWN dead center - showed school spirit IMOO.

fergus 7:13 PM  

#16 for football

sfman and andrea, not a couple

Sfingi 8:05 PM  

@Treedweller - I've never seen that kind.
@Chefbea - in the course of my OCD I've found that some collections are controllable. One is the funnels, another Peter Pauper books, and another art postcards. Others that get out of control, I have to kiss good-bye. At least before my demise, since we found out what happens when parents and grandparents don't.

Robin 8:32 PM  

@sfingi "Dingler" was my captcha. I don't sift, either, anymore. Funny the things we twist off on here.

@Lurker0 Go Frogs! I am starting a "continuing ed" course at TCU tomorrow night - will have to check out the puzzler club!

Moonchild 9:08 PM  

Cool puzzle but, pardon me, you guys are off the scale of nerdiness with the flour sifter stuff.
All of those cool words in the puzzle and it's come down to this????

If you are baking a cake you use cake flour, no sifting required.
Oh crap, you all sucked me in!
I'm a nerd too !!!!

Anonymous 9:13 PM  

i believe the purpose of sifting in baking is to aerate the flour and make everything lighter.

Also, you are right the flour used not be so refined. Nowadays I sift out of habit as I honestly believe it helps when baking, as opposed to cooking.

All that aside, tremendous puzzle and looking forward to more Brownies.

sanfranman59 10:43 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 6:04, 6:57, 0.87, 6%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:22, 3:42, 0.91, 11%, Easy

These solve times are the 4th and 7th fastest for the two groups out of 64 Mondays in my spreadsheet.

Van55 2:10 PM  

I tried to post a remark yesterday, but my BlackBerry wouldn't transmit it, apparently. Just as well, as my somewhat contrarian view will be read by few if any.

Without detracting from a very solid debut effort by a 19 year old, to say that this puzzle has almost no crap fill is to overlook answers such as EKES, IBET, IDES, AIDA, CPR and EMIT which, if not crap, are pretty standard and pretty overused stuff.

CrazyCat 4:17 PM  

Just got to this puzzle and loved the BROWN theme especially given that it's BROWN week. Nicely done Aimee.
@Lurker0 Go Bears! (Golden Bears that is).

Anonymous 10:44 AM  

From syndication land: I liked a lot. Thanks for pointing out Brown in the center as school.

Dirigonzo 4:40 PM  

Today I feel like I got just a hint of what the "speed-solvers" must feel like when they have blown through a puz in record time. Of course I have to make allowances for getting up to let the dogs out, and getting up again to let the dogs back in, and pushing a cat off the paper, but still - I finished pretty fast (for me). To say that I was on the same wave-length as the constructor, an 19 or 20 year-old college sophomore, is a grand compliment to her ability to devise a puzzle that spanned the generations. Major kudos to Ms. Lucido.

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