Sir Anthony formerly of 10 Downing Street / TUE 9-7-10 / When doubled breath freshener / Driver's nonverbal hello / Lily of Africa

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Constructor: MaryEllen Uthlaut

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: IN-"LET" — "LET" is added to familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: Sir Anthony EDEN (37A: Sir Anthony formerly of 10 Downing Street) —

Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC (12 June 1897 – 14 January 1977) was a British Conservative politician, who was Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957. He was also Foreign Secretary for three periods between 1935 and 1955, including during the Second World War. // Eden's worldwide reputation as an opponent of appeasement, a 'Man of Peace', and a skilled diplomat was overshadowed in the second year of his premiership by his handling of the Suez Crisis of 1956, which critics across party lines regarded as an historic setback for British foreign policy, signalling the end of British predominance in the Middle East. [...] He is generally ranked among the least successful British Prime Ministers of the twentieth century, although two broadly sympathetic biographies (in 1986 and 2003) have gone some way to redressing the balance of opinion.

• • •

Without a good theme-revealer, this one feels a little limp. Also, I got really distracted by PUPPET SHOW (17A: Entertainment you might have a hand in?), because it's got the "?"-cluing, length, and (I initially thought) placement of a theme answer. So I'm flying along, and I'm thinking "... PUPPET ... CUTLET ... ??? ..." Wasn't until I got to RAINSTORMS (58A: Nor'easters, often) that I was certain PUPPET had nothing to do with the theme. Until then, I thought maybe there was some letter string in there that had been added, and that I just needed to try harder to see the base phrase. Finished up the puzzle in the east, which was by far the hardest section for me to get into. Just couldn't see AGREE (35D: Share an opinion) or WAGE (40A: Carry on) or SHIRE (43A: English county) with the sparse crosses I had in there at first. Misread meaning of each clue (took "Share" to mean simply "give," took "Carry on" to mean "rant," and went looking for a specific "English county"). Oh, and STRETTO? Not coming easily either. But RINGLET TONES settled things down nicely in there. The musical sub-theme was almost too aggressive. We get it. You like classical music. PPP and RONDO let us know that ... but then STRETTO and ATONAL (64A: Keyless) come along to drive the point home.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Meat slice on the highest shelf? (A CUTLET ABOVE)
  • 27A: Advertising sheet blowing in the wind? (LOOSE LEAFLET)
  • 44A: Curly lock tints? (RINGLET TONES)
  • 52A: Dribble from an icicle? (EAVE'S DROPLET)
I have no idea how the constructor's name was spelled in the paper, but in the AcrossLite version, it's misspelled. Or, rather, mis-uncapitalized. The first "E" in "MaryEllen" is supposed to be capitalized. Or so I'm told. In case you were wondering. Which you likely weren't. But there you are anyway.

Here's a rubber stamp I bought yesterday for ... what I hope are obvious reasons (sadly, I did not buy it at the "Irony Store"):

I've got relatives from NZ in town, so just a few bullets and then I'm done.

  • 8D: Lily of Africa (ALOE) — First instinct: Lily is a person. Second instinct: SEGO (would have been a good guess if "Africa" had been "Utah").
  • 28D: When doubled, a breath freshener (SEN) — good example of a former "Word Of the Day" (SEN-SEN) that stuck, and hard. I remember very clearly the Patrick Blindauer puzzle responsible for my learning about this bygone (it's bygone, right?) freshener.
  • 56D: Driver's nonverbal "hello" (TOOT) — still not sure about the tone of "hello" here. Is it "hey, what's up, how's it going?" or "HellO! Get back in your own lane, you #&$^!"

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Why would anyone care about my name? 12:09 AM  

Man, I'm glad you cleared up the MaryEllen fiasco. I was sure it was MaryellEn.
Ever so smart, I never thought of Lily the person. Just the Arum Lily. Man, I loved me my ARUM Lily for a good 10 minutes.

Rube 12:24 AM  

This seemed to be more difficult for a Tuesday so I agree with x44's rating. However, my only writeover was TOOT for hOnk.

STRETTO! Googled it and still don't uderstand what it means. Images of strega and stilletto come to mind. I guess I've heard the term before, but...??

The theme has a lukewarm feel about it. Seems we've had similar themes recently that have been better constructed. Otherwise, an enjoyable puzzle.

foodie 12:26 AM  

Rex, I totally agree. About everything. Especially the question mark after the PUPPET SHOW confusing matters.

And the sag under the SAG area.

I also wished that the resulting theme phrases were more amusing. But LOOSE LEAFLET just sits there, even though it should flutter. CUTLET ABOVE is the only answer that would earn your "wacky" characterization.

But I did like seeing Anthony EDEN, instead of the usual cluing of EDEN, and the novel way to clue ALOE. GAMBIT may be my favorite word in the puzzle.

Back to school, sadly...

Tobias Duncan 12:43 AM  

Good lord this puzzle seemed to drag on forever.Is anyone watching the AMC show Rubicon ? It drags on as well but in a good way somehow. It has a look and feel kind of like "Smiley's People" and it has a minor crossword sub-theme. Its not Madmen but I recommend it.

Unknown 12:54 AM  

ACUTLETABOVE made me smile. EDEN/SEN did not. Knowing neither, I was certain only that "N" would not be the crossing letter. "It's a Tuesday," I reasoned to myself, "So EDEN would not have been given a more obscure cluing when it crosses a similarily obscure breath mint." Silly A PRIORI reasoning!

PurpleGuy 1:02 AM  

Hand raised for the PUPPET SHOW confusion. Slowed me down for just a bit, as I tried to find how it fit with the theme.
I love classical music, cantor in church, sing in a choir
and read music. I have never encountered STRETTO. Got it entirely from crosses. Like @Rube, I GOOGLED it and I still don't understand either.

I suppose I should feel bad that Labor Day weekend is over, but wait. . . I'm retired from teaching and everyday is like a weekend !!!!

Happy Tuesday all !!!
Shanti -

Bob Cain/PurpleGuy

Clark 1:16 AM  

Here's an example of a STRETTO, in case anyone is interested.

So the theme did lack some pizzazz, but I liked the music stuff (a little payback for all the usual sports stuff). And it's hard to argue with A PRIORI reasoning.

shrub5 2:03 AM  

Had RAGE for 40A 'Carry on' awhile so that made 40D 'Question of identity' = RHO. Couldn't come up with any good reason why the Greek letter rho had anything to do with identity. An alphabet run on -AGE led me to WAGE and thus (the now obvious) WHO.

This puzzle exposed once again the fact that my ignorance of musical terms (STRETTO, RONDO, PPP) knows no bounds. When I come across these words, they just don't stick around for long.

On an entirely different note, the clue: Sound before "Your fly is open" reminds me of David Letterman's Top Ten ways to inform a person of this situation. Favorite one: The Buick is not all the way in the garage.

andrea carlet michaels 2:41 AM  

yes, I needed a "reveal" of LETITBE or INLET or LET(something)IN.
Maybe she can do a sequel
ie take OUT the LET and have the reveal be DROPLET.

Yes, that PUPPET thing confusing but cute clue! Maybe that whole corner with PPP/ORU/DOPA/too-long- PUPPETSHOW should have been rethought.

Not a great sign when you spend half the solve wondering how it could have been better!
However, nice little wrestling shout out to Puzzle Girl (38D PIN)!

r.alphbunker 2:48 AM  

In a desperate attempt to get 17a into the theme I briefly considered "puppet tent".

chefwen 2:55 AM  

About the fly is open statement I just say to my dog Skippy, "put the mouse back in its house".

Puzzle seemed a little crunchy starting out, but I fell into a rhythm rather quickly. Like @Rube did not knot STRETTO but the crosses worked, so what the hell, something else I do not know. Another unknown was PRIORI, just did not look right to me but I guessed at the right letters, now I will have to Google it and get a little education.

My brother used to eat Sen Sen to cover up his smoking, it did not work, just made his breath smell worse. UGH!

Rube 3:49 AM  

@Clark, Thanks. Tomorrow morning after I've mowed the lawn and trimmed the hedge, I'll sit down at the piano and see if your explanation makes any sense. Actually, I'd probably be better off if I ask our organist.

The Bard 8:09 AM  

King Lear Act I, scene IV

ALBANY: How far your eyes may pierce I can not tell:
Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.

joho 8:25 AM  

I also PONDERed PUPPETSHOW for too long wondering how it could possibly fit into the "add a LET" theme, which of course it has nothing to do with. Definitely distracted from the actual theme which is cute.

I was bothered though that ACUTABOVE, RINGTONES and EAVESDROP are phrases that become wacky when LET is added... ACUTABOVE being the most active and fun ... but is LOOSELEAF really a phrase?

Loved seeing MINI Cooper in the puzzle because I love mine!

The Big E 8:26 AM  

I had a fun time with this puzzle this morning - good way to start my first day back in the office since Thursday - spend a few minutes on a nice Tuesday puzzle! :-)
Add me to the numerous people who got flummoxed by pet/let and thinking it had to be something with the theme.
Oh well!
Hope everyone had a great Holiday Weekend!


Doug 8:27 AM  

Felt more like a Thurs. puzzle. Had hailstorm first which slowed me down. Kept thinking Puppetshow was a theme answer because of the ? Wanted it to be Pupletshow for some stupid reason but I knew Ldopa was good.

Staples 9:05 AM  


Looseleaf notebooks and 3 hole punches now on sale.

Wasn't that easy?


dk 9:06 AM  

I dream of Jeannie, or at best a puzzle without strained trick-lets masquerading as a theme.

What I like about this one is the fresh fill (e.g., SHIRE, POEM, NOTARY & SUR).

** (2 Stars) Nice job MaryEllen! Solid Tuesday fare.

hazel 9:09 AM  

Definitely Xwordasqaatsi for me today. No puzzle groove. No hazel momentum. The music clues were no help.

I think Tuesday was just trying entirely too hard and the wackiness fizzled for me.

p.s. I dream of George Clooney.

chefbea 9:17 AM  

Didn't know PPP and puppet show got me too. Then I figured maybe there is a LET in the Rain storm answer???

Harder than the usual Tuesday.

Is this Mary Ellen's first puzzle in the Times?

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

Fun and easy. Thought PUPPETSHOW was great until the LET pattern emerged, then had to ponder some. Finally let it go. No real delays anywhere else, though at first I had TOTE or WAGE. Overall, breezy, crisp, and pleasant.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:04 AM  

I thought the cluing was unusually uneven, with many way too easy and others on a Friday/Saturday level, and then there was STRETTO, for which no clue would help for someone like me. Overall, what everyone else has already said.

Cathyat40 10:12 AM  

I found the puzzle straightforward, even easy, but nothing made me chuckle.

fikink 10:13 AM  

How nice to start back to school with an educational cartoon about musical instruments. Thanks, @Rex.

@Clark, knew you'd light up when you encountered A PRIORI...btw, "Heidegger and a Hippo..." is my holiday gift to philosopher-friends this year.

@shrub5, @chefwen My fav is, "Happiness is a warm gun."
(@Andrea, another old Beatles tune ;)

Agree that PUPPET SHOW confused the theme.

PONDER is a lovely word.

Maybe seeing NOTARY as a single word, people will stop calling them "notary republics."

This puzzle was fibrous.

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

@chefbea - Yes, this is a debut puzzle. For more info click on the Wordplay entry in Rex's list of Daily Crossword Blogs. And be sure to read the comments and analyze the names of commenters.

Zeke 10:24 AM  

My only (unmentioned) nit about the puzzle is that a PRIORI isn't really a type of reasoning, it's the absence of reasoning. In, a probably overly strick, understanding of the use of a priori, we know something a priori if we know it from basics, not that we have reasoned it out. In our arithmatic [sic], we know that for all x,y x+y = y+x from the rules of arithmetic. We know that 1+2=2+1 a PRIORI because it is an instance of this rule, it isn't something we reasoned out.
I offer this because if I didn't, I would have to get back to work which I desparately don't want to do.

archaeoprof 10:30 AM  

I share the general mood about this puzzle. Tuesday puzzles often disappoint, don't they.

Two writeovers today: osu/ORU and wave/TIDE.

Two Ponies 10:37 AM  

I was confused about what was a theme answer and what was not.
The _pet was too much like the _let answers but by the time I slowly figured out rainstorms I saw the error of my ways. I also wasn't sure if it was going to be RNA or DNA so the SE was the last to fall.
Thanks to those before me for confirming the debut. No misspelling in the dead tree version as it is all caps.
Nice to be back after a long weekend of meeting and partying with PuzzleMate's family and friends, all of which were strangers to me. Fun but exhausting.
I looked back and saw that @edithB has returned. Glad to hear from you again!

Sparky 10:44 AM  

Same problem with RAINSTORMS and PUPPETSHOW trying to think a LET into them. Only now realize I had PsIOlI for PRIORI. What? Could be a pasta dish. The old comic Smokey Stover had a sign NOTARY Sojak and that phrase always jumps into my head before the correct one. Happy fall one and all.

DBGeezer 10:46 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. There were no references to movies, TV or contemporary music, so I finished promptly - for me - with no Googling. I did need crosses for stretto.

Should capcha aliesse really be Ali Esse

DBGeezer 10:49 AM  

The dead tree edition has MARYELLEN. All caps and no spaces

Van55 10:53 AM  

I was positive that stretto would be the WOD.

Thought this was an excellent puzzle for a Tuesday. No quibbles.

JC66 10:55 AM  


Me, too.


Thanks for clarifying Rex's stamp cartoon. When I was in elementary school, we took penmanship and used lined paper that looked just like that, so I didn't get the joke until reading your post.

For those who care, in the dead tree version, the constructor's name is shown in capital letters:


joho 10:56 AM  

Congratulations on your debut puzzle, MaryEllen!

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

this one was easy for me...but then, i do music.

i also wondered how PUPPET SHOW and LOOSELEAFLET were connected. seems like a waste of two perfectly good 10s...

stretto literally means "to draw close." so, in a fugue (and it is indeed a feature of the fugue), composers will layer the theme on top of itself, letting a beat or two pass before each voice starts the theme. this is not a canon or a round, but an actual interruption of the theme with beginning of another statement of the theme. think about singing "row, row, row your boat" and rather than the next voice starting on the word "gently", it would start on the word "boat."

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

Open zipper warning in our family is "XYZ" (eXamine Your Zipper.)

The Big E 11:06 AM  

@anon 11:01 - we enhance it with XYZPDQ! :-)

Ulrich 11:28 AM  

With PONDER my first entry, I got off to a good start, and since I remember Eden's Suez fiasco only too well (yes, I was alive and old enough at the time ), I received further help. Stretto held me up, tho, thanks to all who clarified!

Thanks also for clarifying the thorny MaryEllen problem--not that it matters when the real issue is, what kind of Laut is an Uthlaut? We have the Umlaut and the Doppellaut (diphthong), but what the hell is an Uthlaut? And how is is pronounced?

As to the repetitiveness of the theme type: I do believe that there exists only a finite number theme types or classes. It may also be true that we have seen them all--so, if we want to go on having fun with xword puzzles, we should concentrate on how well a known theme type has been executed and, of course, celebrate when a truly novel one arrives.

Belated shout-out to Mrs. Bunker: Glad we have you back!

syndy 11:38 AM  

still don't get the stamp! had argue for 35 down and wanted hamlet somewhere.Puzzle had a lot of nice fresh fill even if the theme lost something to the non theme answers(never say stretto so wasn't bothered by it) (also i wondered if MaryEllen's last name should have come with a punctuation mark)

Glitch 11:44 AM  

@jc66 & syndi

Re: Rexstamp

Take a good look at the spelling of the 3rd word.


Sfingi 11:59 AM  

Sound before "Your fly is open," - shriek or whistle - no, AHEM. Ms Uthlaut hangs out with refined people.

STRETTi is featured in the Italian song, L'Espanol. Hubster says it means "hugs," so STRETTO is a hug.

Very very soft was pian' piano. I guess ppp is an abrev. for very very very soft, though I thought we'd be told they're asking for an abbrev. on a mere Tues.?

Had forgotten about DRAYs.

Didn't know the Firth of TAY.

I never TOOT my horn for "hello" to the point I don't know where it is when I need it.

Very very very cute puzzle. Carino carino carino or ccc.

I knew a woman whose last name was Sensen, which she claimed was German. Sen-sen was the tiny black licorice-like breath candy. Haven't seen them in years.

@Ulrich - if you don't know, we all give up. Must be pronounced Ootlaut.

PuzzleNut 11:59 AM  

No real problems - thought it was pretty typical for a Tuesday. Write-overs for OsU/ORU and rAvE/rAGE/WAGE. Never heard of STRETTO and appreciate the excellent description by @Anonymous10:58. Had PUPPETSHOW before any of the theme answers, so didn't have the issue that many others had. Lot of answers that seemed too obvious to enter at first (SAINT, NERVE, STEER, ETAL).

CoffeeLvr 12:09 PM  

@Rex, love the rubber stamp. At least we cruciverbalists try to spell correctly.

@Acme, there is a non-conventional theme reveal in the clue for 25A. A firth is a long narrow inlet of the sea. Found this out because I had no idea about TAY.

Did any one else pursue the Downs in West first? I threw in "penny" arcade for 24D. My other erasure was GENl for 10A.

I too fell for the PET in 17A. Was helped to realize it was not a theme answer by something I learned on this blog: theme answers are symmetrically placed.

@Tobias Duncan, I too watch and like Rubicon. I was hooked 20 minutes into the first episode. Yes, it goes slowly, but otherwise I could not absorb the multiple plot lines. I always want more at the end of the episode. It is one of the few shows I can imagine watching again.

chefbea 12:15 PM  

From the Vermont country store

mitchs 12:28 PM  

Okay, here's a wierd one from my family for zip your zipper: "canupdabisca". No idea on spelling or what planet we're from.

Orange 12:55 PM  

You can buy Sen-Sen from Amazon or retro candy stores (like chefbea's Vermont link). The thought of black licorice improving breath horrifies me.

That Albany can shut his trap. As an editor, I tell ya, I do not mar what's well. I improve what's unwell and leave the good parts alone.

ArtLvr 12:59 PM  

Kudos to MaryEllen on her debut! I found this very easy, STRETTO and all.

re Sir Anthony EDEN: I'd forgotten he was the mover behind the Suez Crisis. The thumbnail brought back vivid memories of my 1956-57 year at the U of Geneva, with Israeli and Arab students glowering at each other across the lunchroom, and also the sudden influx of refugee Hungarian students after their fight against Russian tanks.

I helped a number of the latter translate their grade transcripts and referrals through French into English. One stood out especially, as he sent me roses in thanks for my assistance -- and I met him again a few years later on the Princeton campus where he'd won a grant to attend grad school. He lifted me up and twirled me around, a hugely exuberant and heartwarming reunion...


Noam D. Elkies 1:32 PM  

Still barely solvable from Down clues; the trickiest spots (37A:EDEN/28D:SEN as clued, the 35D:AGREE edge) might have been not much easier with the Across clues as well. The theme (guessed from ...EAFLET in 27A and ...INGL?TT...) certainly helped. So did 43D:STRETTO :-) A bit funny to see 64:ATONAL crossing that word, and yes, you might add 56D:TOOT to the musical subtheme.

One nice thing about classical music clues is that with few exceptions (AMATI comes to mind) they're almost always about What rather than 40D:WHO. That's part of what makes p*p culture clues such a turnoff: the interminable parade of purportedly famous names of people and songs, which are churned out by the hundreds each year. (The EDEN/SEN clues in today's grid are no better, even though they come from other domains.) "What" clues usually lead to something structural, be it the structure of music (RONDO, ATONAL, STRETTO) or bowling (SPLIT, GUTTER, SPARE). "Who" clues usually lead to just another disconnected trivium, and almost one that cannot be guessed by an outsider (cf. ATONAL with EDEN). "Three-time bowling champ in the 70's" — so what? Grid constraints sometimes force an ORR or an ERIQ, but that's filler to be tolerated, not celebrated.


JC66 1:38 PM  


Thanks for the hint. I was never that good at spelling and actually looked for a misspelling first before concluding that the stamp joke was a takeoff on the puzzle's music theme.

Noam D. Elkies 1:54 PM  

Oops — should have been "...just another disconnected trivium, and almost always one that cannot be guessed..."


fikink 2:00 PM  

@NDE, agree about the pointlessness in memorizing endless names of public figures, especially in an area I care nothing about. If I can't get it through crosses and the person or thing in question is something that does not impact my consciousness, save through bombardment by the media - e.g., number of days Lindsey Lohan was in rehab - I google.

It's kind of an economy of PONDERing.

Evgeny 2:27 PM  

re STRETTO, no idea how one goes about embedding links here, but search for "Schubert cum sancto spiritu" on youtube and listen to the first hit (yes the one with the inexplicable picture of a hamster) it's the "cum sancto spiritu" fugue from the mass in a-flat major. Final stretto begins at about 4:05 playtime.

That is, if you want to listen to a stretto.

That is, that's what I always thought a stretto is. A bitch to sing by the way.

@Ulrich: it's the noise owls make :-)

Ulrich 2:29 PM  

Friends: Hold your fire--when it comes to public figures, there are differences in historical significance. We may not care for the Attorney General under Reagan, but the British PM who has come to symbolize more than anybody else the end of the British "empire" is at least as memorable as one of his predecessors, Attlee, whom I haven't seen anybody complain about when he makes one of his frequent xword appearances. And I cannot see how "Eden" is any more specialized in the field of recent history than "stretto" is in the field of classical music, or "Satie" if we want to stick to names..

edmcan 2:36 PM  

What everybody else said, but I had Supper Show for the longest time....Music is a long way in my past, unfortunately.

retired_chemist 3:12 PM  

What everybody said. had TDS @ 66A and tried to figure out how DRAT could be a heavy cart. But it got fixed.

No real problems but a medium-challenging time. So I'm OK with Rex's rating.

Sfingi 4:20 PM  

@Evgeny - listened to the stretto - lots of amens.

@Mitch - sounds like put the biscuit back in the can - funny.

I love black licorice, except the salty kind the Dutch seem to like.

william e emba 4:32 PM  

I was not confused about the theme by getting PUPPETSHOW next to ACUTLETABOVE. The former makes sense, the latter does not, unless you delete the LET.

TAY was a word I learned permanently more than 30 years ago, when I discovered the poetry of William McGonagall, who wrote four poems altogether on the Bridge of Tay, considered an engineering marvel in its day for a brief bit: Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!/Alas! I am very sorry to say/That ninety lives have been taken away/On the last Sabbath day of 1879,/Which will be remember'd for a very long time. Those lines have been with me ever since.

"A PRIORI" is commonly applied to knowledge only, not reasoning. But it can be applied to reasoning when used for arguments that are mostly mathematics in their force.

We saw SEN-SEN Thursday, 1/15/2009. In fact, it was the Word of the Day, complete with a picture. As Crosscan said: "SEN-SEN - A completely unknown word the first time you see it in a puzzle that immediately becomes a gimme in future appearances."

I find it amazing that anyone considers 20th century British prime ministers obscure. And as for Sir Anthony Eden, he even had a hat named after him!

Two Ponies 5:56 PM  

The original cellist from crossworld's favorite band, ELO, was killed in a car crash yesterday.
We may not listen to his music much anymore but his band's name lives on.
RIP Mike Edwards.

CrazyCat 7:43 PM  

Just did the puzzle after the last Labor Day houseguest/kid/kid's dog left. I am loving the sound of silence. I thought this was pretty darn easy for the most part. It almost seemed LAT esque to me. PRIORI was an unknown, but got it through the crosses. Had OHARE instead of SHIRE, but since I didn't know STRETTO and I thought Patrick and Nicholas were either unknown actors, football/basketball players, I wasn't phased in the least. Our zipper saying is "hmm - someone seems to have left the barn door open." SEN SEN was popular in the late 60s pot smoking culture, at least where I lived. It tasted a bit like soap. I liked the LET theme. Thought it was cute.
@Hazel - me too re - GC

Citizen Dain 10:34 PM  

What the hell is a DRAY? DRAY and DRAT were both equally nonsense to me, and couldn't decide between TDS and YDS. Both made equal non-sense to me, and I guessed wrong again. How does that always happen? Is DRAY really a Tuesday-worthy word, or is this my fault?

Guessed one letter wrong two days in a row (DORA yesterday instead of CORA, which led to scintillating "DO ME AGAIN" for a down answer). Bad omen for the school year.

CaseAce 11:38 PM  

Barbara Eden was without doubt the sexiest actress ever to star in a much, infact, to this day, I still dream of Jeannie!

Ben 11:54 PM  

Tough for a Tuesday.

Spent the weekend at the US Open tennis tournament. Printed Matt Gaffney's puzzle and the Sat, Mon and Tue NYTs in my hotel business center. Then found both the Mon and Tue NYT arts sections laying around the Laguardia tournament. Had I known the terminal cleanup crew was so subpar, I'd have spared a tree.

edith b 12:08 AM  

When I first started doing crossword puzzles I thought it was about things and names of things that was important. I always had a memory for that kind of detail and didn't really think there was much difference between Sir Anthony Eden and Lindsay Lohan.

It was only later that I came to the general conclusion that wordplay was what was important in puzzling and not memory.

sanfranman59 1:44 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 6:48, 6:58, 0.98, 44%, Medium
Tue 9:49, 8:53, 1.11, 80%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:34, 3:43, 0.96, 33%, Easy-Medium
Tue 5:11, 4:35, 1.13, 88%, Challenging

Dirigonzo 7:17 PM  

ArithmEtic, arithmEtic, arithmEtic...OK, I've got it now. I'm pretty sure I could have spelled it correctly if you had asked me, but honestly - arithmAtic just didn't LOOK wrong to me (had to "look it up in my Funk and Wagnells" to set myself straight). Note to self: past tense of "put" is "put", so if first guess doesn't fill all the squares just throw "ed" on and if it fits, it's probably right. I learned that here, too. Last letter was the "n" in the EDEN/SEN cross, which was pretty much a total guess. I could have used the more Tuesday-like clue "Paradise" for EDEN to provide some confidence in the answer. But still, fun + educational = good puzzle, in my book.

My small-town paper managed to get the constructor's name right, capitalization and all.

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