Petrified weeper of myth / THU 10-14-10 / Fictional villain given name Julius / 1959 hit with lyric did he ever return

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Constructor: Jim Hilger

Relative difficulty: Challenging

From Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle

THEME: STAY and READ BETWEEN THE LINES (20A: With 40-Across, coloring advice ... and literally so and 58A: With 40-Across, infer something ... and literally so) — STAY and READ "literally" appear sandwiched between two LINES: MASON/DIXON (17A: Border names) and WHITESTAR (24A: Owner of the Titanic), on the one hand, and FREETHROW (52A: Unblockable shot) and PRODUCTION (61A: Factory output), on the other.

Word of the Day: MOSHE Arens (12D: ___ Arens, former Israeli defense minister) —
Moshe Arens (Hebrew: משה ארנס‎, born 27 December 1925) is an Israeli aeronautical engineer, researcher and former diplomat and politician. A member of the Knesset between 1973 and 1992 and again from 1999 until 2003, he served as Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Arens has also served as the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and was professor at the Technion in Haifa. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was flat-out confusing to me. Took me longer than a Thursday's taken me in a good long while. In fact, it took me longer than Any puzzle on Any day of the week has taken me for several weeks (11-ish minutes). Admittedly, I wasn't solving under the best conditions: on laptop, on couch, half-listening to TV. But still, yikes. First, I got the theme early and couldn't believe that that was it — READ and STAY ... so what? Who cares? (it wasn't until Well after I had finished that I got the "literally so" part of the clues). But I couldn't make much headway At All in the entire W, NW, and N. Just ... jack. The two LINEs were invisible to me, MASON/DIXON because of the weird way it was clued, and WHITESTAR because I've never heard of it. Had WHITESPAR and then noticed that SPAR was in the grid and changed PENN to the (correct) TENN. (26D: Clingmans Dome is its highest point: Abbr.). Even before closing in on the tough NW, the NE had given me fits with two proper names I didn't know and odd cluing on the stuff I did. I admire the concept of this puzzle, but did not enjoy solving it. Cluing seemed off and vague, and answers just weren't that interesting. Not so fond of Scrabbliness when I have to suffer a HEXA TAK to get it.

Where to begin with the issues. Let's see: MOSHE and BEHAN (13D: Irish writer Brendan), not in my arsenal (though ultimately I just guessed MOSHE from the -HE and from knowing that MOSHE is a Hebrew name). WHITESTAR? Never heard of it. Had INTERCEPT for INTERDICT (37D: Head off). OEO? Not ringing bell (64D: Antipoverty agcy.). DR. NO? No. Had the "O" and could think only of IAGO (34A: Fictional villain whose given name is Julius). DWELT? I had DWELL — figured clue was asking me to recall the idiomatic phrase "to DWELL in the past," and that that was what the "?" was about in the clue [Live in the past?]. But I guess you DWELL "on" the past ... at any rate, I only turned the answer into the "past" tense when DEVOLE refused to be a real word (it's DEVOTE, 34D: Commit). SLEEVE was very hard to see (43A: It might be rolled up on a farm). HOTELs are for lots of people, not just tourists, so that didn't come easily (25D: Tourist locale). Had no Idea what the song lyric in 33A: 1959 hit with the lyric "Did he ever return? No, he never returned" was about. With that lyric, I figured (what else?) "M.I.A." But no, it's that stupid song I never heard of except in xwords, "MTA." Don't think of DISSIPATE as "going away" — thinning out, lessening, scattering, sure (3D: Go away). MASON/DIXON is clued as a plural, so went looking for terminal "S" ... wanted APR for 2D: Abbr. in many car ads (EPA). SCOTT'S is a paper towel to me, so no hope there (4D: Big name in lawn care) (paper towel is actually just SCOTT, it turns out). Raggedy ANDYS? After KENS, I was at a loss (5D: Some male dolls). All in all, a real slog for me in that whole quadrant.

  • 5A: Some Spiders, informally (ALFAS) — as in Romeos. Took a little thought.
  • 15A: Petrified weeper of myth (NIOBE) — terminal letter always gets me. I want to end it in "I," like NAOMI.
  • 28A: Old ___ Bucket (Big Ten conference football prize) (OAKEN) — time at University of Michigan came in handy here—not that it helped terribly much.
  • 30A: Worrying comment from a surgeon (OOPS) — Had "OH NO"
  • 56A: "___ Es el Amor" (classic Spanish-language hit) (ESO) — No Idea, but what else was the answer going to be besides this ultra common bit of crossword fill?

  • 6D: 2018 Super Bowl number (LII) — if you want to make me hate a Random Roman Numeral (RRN) more than I would normally, just clue it via a hypothetical future Super Bowl. And 52 is a good number: cards in a deck, weeks in a year, etc.
  • 24D: Sonogram targets (WOMBS) — took me shockingly long to get this, even with the "B" in place. Could think only of ABS, likely because "targets" just sounds too violent. "We're going to target your abs," sure, in workout parlance. "We're going to target your WOMBS!" Uh, I'd run ladies.
  • 35D: Thatching material (REED) — I don't thatch much these days, so ???
  • 47D: Pressing concern for an astronaut? (G FORCE) — When I see "pressing" and "?" in the vicinity of one another, I'm thinking only of ironing.
Lastly, here are two (utterly unrelated) videos I have come across in the past two days—both excellent, in very different ways. I was going to wait until I had good puzzle-reasons for posting them, but ... pfft. My blog, I'll do what I want. Enjoy. If you want to cry then laugh, watch them in order. If you want the reverse experience, then reverse the experience.

[The crying one]

[The laughing one]

Oh, and Happy Birthday, Sandy :)

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


foodie 12:32 AM  

Thank you Rex for rating it Challenging! My QDI says it's Medium-Challenging (the 6/24/2010 STEEP NOSEDIVE puzzle being way up there since I started tracking). But I think that's because Thursdays can have tricks and rebuses and visuals, and this one did not, so I think it's intrinsically challenging. I fought for every blessed letter in this puzzle. And, Andrea please don't kill me, but I did not get the full theme. I of course got the READ and STAY BETWEEN THE LINES, and I even had a malapop, where I wanted the Titanic owner to be XXXXLINE (before it proved untenable) but did not get the implicit 4 lines that are part of the theme. And generally stumbled everywhere you did and then some. Greatest fun, and surprising the easiest part, was the scrabbly SW corner.


CoolPapaD 12:47 AM  

Haven't left a comment in a while (it's been quite busy), though I've been reading just about every day. I almost never have time to watched Rex's embedded videos, but tonight, for some reason, I wanted to see what the sad one was all about. All I can say, nearly 13 minutes later, is that that was one of the most powerful, heartfelt speeches I've ever heard an elected official deliver. That video needs to be shown in school assemblies across the country. Amazing. Misting up over here.

I really loved the puzzle, only because I too felt it was a bear, and had a sense of accomplishment upon its completion. Like RP, I didn't get the literally aspect until staring at it for some time.

Goodnight all - please show your kids and grandkids that video.

Anonymous 1:10 AM  

Agree with challenging and sense of accomplishment upon finishing. The last time I made a political suggestion in this blog I ran into an insane diatribe and was cut off from responding. Rex is right when he says it's his blog and he can do what he wants with it but Johnny Carson lasted as long as he did because he was apolitical and joked about both sides equally. When I was 15 (almost6 decades ago) a classmate and friend/neighbor killed himself by shooting hinself in the stomach with a shotgun but not because he was gay. He wasn't gay and he wasn't harrassed. He was just profundly unhappy. If you want to preach, be a preacher. I come here for the insights to the NYT xword puzzle but that's not the END ALL....

foodie 1:53 AM  

I agree with @CoolPapaD that this was an incredibly moving video.

@Anonymous, it's interesting that this video can be seen as a political statement. This should not be about right or left, republican or democrats. As far as I know, neither side wants kids to be harassed or driven to suicide because of sexual orientation or any other reason. This is about what we do to each other, as humans, when we don't accept people for who they are and understand their struggles. Sadly, there are many ways that people suffer and some of them kill themselves for reasons other than being gay. Some of it is preventable and some of it not. But here is a clear trigger, something we can actually do. If we mount a campaign to tell kids not drink and drive, text and drive, have unprotected sex, etc., can we not mount one to teach some civility, because bullying can be as much of a killer as drinking? Is this politics, or is this civilization?

chefwen 2:52 AM  

CoolPapaD said it exactly as I would have, most likely better. Every child should be shown that clip, tolerance is the answer, but how do you teach that effectively? I wish I knew.

Puzzle was a medium to me, two Googles and a little help from my part time puzzle mate who filled in a couple of holes (sports related)FREE THROW, and some input from my Hawaii "son" who rents our bachelor pad attached to our garage, the boy is living the life of Riley. I'm trying to turn him into a puzzle person.

Thanks for a good Thursday puzzle Mr. Hilger.

andrea apex michaels 3:59 AM  

This puzzle was hardish, but it was worth it to come here and read
it gave Rex a HEXA TAK!

30A OOPS made me smile! It's rare when you can get a real joke into a clue, not just a pun or regular wordplay, but an actual joke!!

my malapop was thinking WOWED for both the thrill clue and the "Color me Impressed" one
(But stay within the lines!)

And I can't kill you, bec I too didn't get that all those other answers were lines...MASONDIXON, etc. till I read it here!
My problem was I thought the expression was color WITHIN the lines, which was a letter short.

('sides, I only get upset when people don't get/notice/care early week themes bec they are doing them too fast! SO then the puzzle that "someone" spent weeks creating is lost in a three minute speedfest, but that's as political as I'M gonna get tonight!)

I didn't know this whole Burns spelling of TAK...looks like a book title of one of those cheap "Star Trek" novels, rather than a classic poem.

Anyway, I particularly liked the 43A rolling up your SLEEVE on a farm seemed visual and evocative.

And of course I put in ACME before APEX, self-involved little me...again, the Scrabbledy-ness of the X saved me, but then fooled me up above with the Roman numeral... tried to put an X somewhere up there.
(I think this use for Roman numerals LII is much better than for 52 weeks or a deck of cards, bec the Superbowl actually USES Roman numerals, so it's not some weird faux arbitrary use of one.)

And, of course, I love ROZ Chast!
Expected one of her cartoons in the write-up as she is the first and one of the only women who get cartoons in the New Yorker...but it turns out, it's Rex's blog!

I knew BEHAN, did not know MOSHE, so tonight I am a credit to the wrong race.

Parshutr 6:04 AM  

Challenging? Not for me, my fastest, easiest, not-one-answer changed Thursday solve ever.
But [of course] I have a quibble. The ALFA (acronym) Romeo's weren't spiders, but Spyders.

VaBeach puzzler 6:55 AM  

I went thru all the throes that Rex described -- and more. Got the stay/read between the lines early on so I figured this was a clue for a rebus, so I started trying to squeeze 5-letter words into 4 spaces. Fortunately, that didn't work for long and I finished up pretty quickly. Alas, with PENN for TENN. Another reason I'm a tournament flunk-y. I don't check my answers.
Have been too engrossed in watching the Chilean miners surface to listen to blogvideos but kudos, RP, for posting "it gets better."

nanpilla 8:14 AM  

Hand up for thinking that this puzzle was terribly thin on theme material by completely missing the other four theme answers!

Most of the puzzle went down fast, but the NE corner took a while. Like @Rex, guessed MOSHE, but needed every cross to get BEHAN.

@foodie - as is so often the case, you said what I was thinking, but so much better than I ever could.

Overall, an interesting and fun Thursday. Thanks, Jim Hilger!

donkos 8:28 AM  

Other than the Northeast (two relatively obscure names side-by-side - a pet peeve of mine in clueing), this was my best Thursday ever. I think it helped that I got Whitestar right away and got enough downs in the north to get MasonDixon.

It's inspiring to know that I can hang with the 'big dogs' timewise - even if for only this one puzzle and this one day!

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

oolala, ohlala, oohlahlah, etc. C'mon pick one or the other spelling Will. And yes the spider clue was a definite misdirection, whether by accident or not, needs better editing.

Orange 8:40 AM  

Super-challenging for a Thursday for me, too. Took me a Saturday amount of time.

I was thisclose to posting the "It Gets Better" video myself. Luckily, it is not remotely political, unless one thinks there are two sides to the issue of LGBT teen suicide (pro and con) or that (possibly) gay kids *should* be bullied relentlessly in school. Oh, wait, there are people out there like that. It's one of the tragedies of American culture, truly.

joho 8:41 AM  

I, too, missed the complete theme thinking STAY and READ was incredibly weak. So happy to come here to be informed.

I wanted the clue for PRODUCTION to be "Broadway play" but now understand why it had to clued as a "line." Thank you, Rex, for making sense of the this puzzle for me.

I had hAe before TAK but took it out when I got NAE.

Liked the "sad" clip very much, not so much the "happy" clip.

Interesting puzzle but when it's this difficult to see the theme I'm wondering if it really worked.

Happy birthday to you, Sandy!

Diana Holquist 8:50 AM  

Flew through the bottom, then DNF in the NE. Now that I see the answers, I'm kicking myself. Put in a quick "o" to start 13D, 'cause, y'know...

I hate when I leave questionable stuff in and then forget and then I'm stuck. Also, completely missed the theme.


I hear it gets better....

(loved the first video. too disturbed by the second to comment. watched till about 2 mins and decided it will NOT get better...)

jesser 9:04 AM  

I may have had something to say about the puzzle, but the video sidelined me. Thanks, Rex.

@Anonymous 1:10 a.m.: I feel sorry for you if you think young people killing themselves is a partisan issue. I wish you could have met David. I wish David were still around.

The things I wish...

PanamaRed 9:04 AM  

I once had a red 1964 ALFA ROMEO Spider (it was not spelled Spyder) - one of the prettiest cars I've ever owned - and still, that F was the final letter to fall.

Enjoyed this - was a pretty fast Thursday for me.

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

Just to add to what PanamaRed said...ALFA used/uses the Spider spelling. I think it is Porsche who used/uses the Spyder spelling.

John V 9:16 AM  

I'd say medium/challenging. Last to fall for me was N, alfas, mason dixon, SuperBowl number. Got the theme late, but that's how I saw MasonDixon. This non-speedster rang in at about 30 minutes.

Marian 9:17 AM  

I must be older than Rex Parker. MTA was an easy answer for me. The full title is Charlie on the MTA (which is why fare cards on Boston's T are called Charlie cards) and was a big hit for the Kingston Trio. In those days the T was the MTA.

JayWalker 9:29 AM  

First - the puzzle. I actually did pretty well with it. No mistakes but lots of headaches. BUT - really enjoyed it!!
Second - the video. Thank you Rex for the courage to post something as moving and as controversial as this will undoubtedly be. I know exactly whereof he speaks.
I probably would not have seen it had you not posted it. I will disseminate it widely to all (straight and gay) that I know.

Anne 9:38 AM  

I very rarely comment any more but I want to thank Rex for running the "it gets better" video. I think it's a responsible use of his blog and if even one person begins to think about this issue differently, then it's worth it. And I thought this was a really good Thursday puzzle.

CaseAce 9:39 AM  

All this nattering about the Alfa Romero spelling of Spider/Spyder is actually quickly resolved by simply turning to the www!

The Hag 9:49 AM  

The fill was mostly boring but at least the theme was worth it. Oh wait - no it wasn't! At least not to me. O.k. - personal bias here - I think that a theme should not just be clever in construction but also amusing in execution. PRODUCTION, FREETHROW, WHITESTAR? Not fun, IMO. MASONDIXON was good as was the clue. Very sneaky.

On the plus side - I found it challenging for a Thursday with just enough sparkles to not be a total slog. I liked "It might be rolled up on a farm" and "Head of Haiti"

chefbea 9:53 AM  

Hard puzzle today and I too did not get the other theme words til I got here.

Happy b-day Sandy

mmorgan 9:54 AM  

Wonderful -- required lots of careful thinking. Had DISSAPEAR for DISSIPATE and didn't even realize it was spelled wrong, so that held me up for a bit (along with a typo on INTERDICT). DRNO was a totaly fortuitous guess!

I sensed that the theme wouldn't be too difficult -- and it wasn't (I thought), once I got READ and STAY -- and I thought it was reasonably clever, but no big deal. I didn't recognize all the "literal" lines until I got here -- so now I'm much more impressed with the theme.

But some of the fill was nasty tough (or just slow going) for me.

The general middle stayed blank for a long time... but most of it eventually fell and left me with __X for 7D and __OA_D for 8D, and I just couldn't get either one (partly since I didn't have the R in WHITESTAR).

Had ACME and PEAK before APEX (Hi Acme! I love Roz Chast too!)... and I had ASI instead of ESO (ES EL AMOR). And I was baffled by Spiders, thinking they were some sort of sports team.

I thought the song was called "The Ballad of the MTA" so I hesitated putting in MTA alone in case there was something else going on here. Nope.

Finally had to come here to get FOX (DUH!) but I didn't type it in the gird, since I don't deserve Mr. Happy Pencil if I have to come here first.

Great puzzle!!

(I don't think this blog is an ideal space for "political" discussion -- among the posters, that is, Rex can do what he wants -- but I couldn't agree more with @Jessor. How on earth this could be construed as a "political" issue with "two sides" is simply beyond me.)

PuzzleNut 10:16 AM  

Liked the puzzle and didn't have any real problems. Had one write-over, aPr for EPA, but everything else came together from crosses. Some days, things just work out that way.
Not a big fan of RRN's, but at least I had some idea on this one. My parents were big GB Packer fans and the Pack ruled in the mid-60's, so I knew the first Super Bowl was around that time.
Thanks for the videos, Rex. I watched some of the PBS series over the past few nights about religion and it got me pondering about how divisive this country (and the world) has become. Then I wonder if that is really true, or does it just seem that way with the information revolution the internet (and other communication outlets) has wrought us. Why can't we all just get along!! Instead of looking for common interests, we seem to pick at minor differences until they fester and explode.
I usually try and limit my rants, but couldn't help myself today.

Sara 10:21 AM  

Thanks for posting the first video, Rex. (maybe I'll check out the other one later)

Kurt 10:28 AM  

Maybe it's a geezer thing, but I sailed through this puzzle. Easiest Thursday in some time. For me, MTA, WHITESTAR, SCOTTS, PATINA, MASON DIXON were gimmes. And then theme answers fell very quickly. Everything else just followed kind of naturally.

I do agree with Rex that NIOBE would look better if it ended in an A.

Thanks Mr. Hilger & Mr. Parker

Enjoy the day.

Paul Gottlieb 10:44 AM  

If you've never heard of Brenden Behan ("Borstal Boy", "The Hostage", "The Quare Fellow"), blame your parents and teachers, not the puzzle maker. And if you're just going to get mad and pout every time you don't know something that millions of people do know, you ought to be at a Tea Party rally, not solving puzzles

Tinbeni 10:48 AM  

Happy Birthday Sandy!
21 again?
I'm not surprised.

Though I am surprised to learn that Rex had never heard of Titanic's WHITESTAR line.

A bit more of a slog than recent puzzles but that's a good thing. Right?

I liked the theme. Enjoyed a learning moment of an Irish writer I'll forget by noon.

If a clip is over 4 minutes I generally don't watch it.
Thanks Rex for a great 13 minutes that should be shown in every school.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:50 AM  

I feel deflated, since I had no idea about the literal meaning of "between the lines" until I opened Rex's comments. So what seemed a so-so puzzle was actually very good, indeed too clever for me. Nevertheless, what I was going to say was, "I like my Thursday puzzle to stray outside the lines!" Still true, but I can't say it quite so loudly now.

Thank you, Rex, for the Roy Orbison video. I consider myself a big fan, but I didn't think of this one.

Happy birthday, Sandy.

Two Ponies 10:50 AM  

Lots of write-overs on my dead tree version but I thought it was tough in a good way.
We had Brendan Behan not too long ago referenced by his book/play Borstal Boy.
I thought the theme was clever. It took some time for me to get it but there seemed to be something missing hmmm, ah yes! Line!
There is a Titanic exhibit here in Vegas that is worth a look (alongside Bodies, the Exhibition, excellent too). I bought a replica coffee cup that has the White Star logo on it. If not for that I might have needed more crosses.
Happy B'day Sandy.
Now to watch those videos.
Good day in Chile yesterday.
Calling the miners heroes is a bit of a stretch. Admirable survivors, yes. The heroes are the ones who got them out.

ArtLvr 10:56 AM  

I too tried DISAPPEAR for far too long, though I knew the WHITE STAR Line. I put in many correct answers like FOX and REED and LODGER, then took them out again -- just didn't DEVOTE my full attention to the JOB until I was half way through. Even Raggedy ANDYS came very slowly...

It was fun to recall the Kingston Trio's MTA, and I was relieved to END ALL successfully, finally, and find that many others had struggled as much as I did. The clues were quite mind-bending in spots!

Kudos to Jim Hilger, and to Rex for the write-up, and Happy Birthday to Sandy too.


Van55 11:01 AM  

This one was right in my wheelhouse. Easy peasy. Loved the solve and didn't let LII give me a second thought.

DB Geezer 11:15 AM  

I'm sorry that Across lite tells the wrong answers right away. It makes solving less thought provoking. For a couple of days it has kept me away from the RP blog, but I'm glad I came to day to read his excellent write-up and to expand my view of the theme from just the 20, 40, and 58 clues.
I'll keep coming back Rex.

BTW is there anyway to turn off the automatic correction gimmick?

Jim 11:20 AM  

DNF for me. Ultimately, though, I'm OK with that. Got 2/3 to 3/4 on my own. Came here to get GFORCE (duh!) and most of the rest fell easily. NE was a total mystery. Wanted afro, had OhLALA and thought 'Pit' referred to a snake pit. Let alone the former Israeli Defense Minister (lol) and an atypical (to Americans, anyway) Irish name.

Character builder today. Speaking of which, I'm of several minds on the video clip. First of all, happy this was done in Dallas / Fort Worth, where the bravery required to stand up for gay rights is more significant.

And to those who say this is not a political issue, well, the other side has boxed itself into a corner on this and has made it one. While not being for gay teen suicide per se, they do believe homosexuality is a sin, and many of them believe suicide is an acceptable expiation to God for said sin. I.e., it's a terribly tragedy, but the acceptance of homosexual rights is worse.

Make no mistake, we are in a real fight with religious zealots and just plain bigots, who have no qualms about promoting and enforcing, through culture and law, their version of America. It is incumbent upon us who believe in equal rights to push back wherever and whenever we can.

This'll probably be taken down, but thanks for reading.

OldCarFudd 11:24 AM  

I found this very easy for a Thursday. Add me to the list of people who solved it without catching on to the theme. Only writeover was dissipated over disappeared.

When clouds dissipate, they go away.

I don't normally watch the videos on the blog, but the comments made me turn to the "sad" one just to see what the fuss was all about. WOW! That's as moving a speech as I've ever heard. I agree it should be shown in schools. I'd suggest it be shown to the jackass who's running for NY governor, but he probably wouldn't stop fulminating long enough to watch it, let alone to seriously consider its message.

mmorgan 11:25 AM  

@DB -- I never even knew about auto-correction!! Yes, that would be a drag.

In V2.0x, click Options, then click the Solving tab... then Deselect "Indicate incorrect letter immediately."

And Bob's your uncle!

Chip Hilton 11:45 AM  

For me, a fast Thursday solve with one error. The OEO and ICEE crossing had me vacillating between an E, an I, and even an L (-icle as in Popsicle? But, no...). Alas, I chose the I. I enjoyed the puzzle and the reference to Alfas. Will they ever resume importing to the US?

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

I totally object to the clue "Half of a dance" for 23-across (CHA), because the proper name for the dance is "CHA CHA CHA" (3!). Of course I had "CAN" until a cross ended that. Grrr.

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

A couple of weeks ago, a friend mentioned that he had been asked to visit someone in the hospital who had just attempted suicide, and barely survived. I asked how he was involved in this, and he said that the person had been instructed to make a list of five people who might be able to help him. My friend wondered what the hell he could possibly say that would be of use. I thought about it for a while, and what I came up with was that if you can find five people who you think could help, and are willing to do it, you've got hope, and if you've got hope you can go on.

This guy gave a lot of people hope two days ago.

On very, very, rare occasions humanity doesn't suck.

SethG 11:59 AM  

I almost left my BEHAR and DEVOLE in place. INTERCEPT, APR, AFRO, CAN, OH NO, and AS IT I fixed earlier. Off and vague indeed.

I only recognized 96 or so of the 100 movie lines. So the fact that I didn't remember WHITESTAR or MTA doesn't mean I'm dumb or oblivious, it just means they're very old things that don't necessarily have much cultural currency.

humanity 12:07 PM  

i never suck.

Matthew G. 12:42 PM  

I got through it, but I call BS on at least three answers.

First, the spelling is OhLALA, not OOLALA, even though the latter reflects the pronunciation.

Second, as Rex correctly points out, DWELT flat-out makes no sense given the tense of the clue. Just doesn't work, bad clue, Will Shortz made an editing error, full stop. I'm not even sure the verb "to dwell" is sufficiently obsolete to warrant the "in the past" part of the clue (as a lawyer, I frequently see the word "dwelling" used to distinguish buildings where people live from all other types of buildings), but I'd have been willing to grant that part if the rest of the clue worked, which it didn't.

Third, "Round request" just doesn't work for me. Maybe this one isn't a full call-of-BS like the previous two, since it's not objectively wrong, but it just didn't feel right to me. The clue seems to require something done of or to or during a round.

Doc John 12:52 PM  

Thank you for posting that video, Rex. Very moving, indeed.
I thought that NE corner was going to kill me but finally ended up figuring out the names once I got JOB.
Not sure if I would admit not knowing WHITE STAR, though- anyone who's ever seen Titanic has it practically drilled into their brains!

fikink 1:37 PM  

@Orange, I tried to click the "like" button on your post here, but it was not there. Damn straight!

This was one of my fastest Thursdays BUT that is because I decided it was theme-LESS. (Now, @andrea, that's just my narcissism kicking in.)

It struck me, @Rex, that given MASON DIXON LINE and WHITE STAR, you might embed The White Stripes...sigh

@mmorgan, nice avatar! I will watch for it.

@Jim Hilger, this puzzle is impressive. Thank you for the fun.

Ulrich 1:38 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruth 1:46 PM  

Yep, they teach you in "surgery school" that barbers and surgeons must never say OOPS. (especially not with an awake patient!)
And for heaven's sake, Rex (and SethG) just listen to the MTA song and get it over with. It's a cute song, will just take a couple of minutes and it won't be painful. No cultural currency? Don't say that in Boston!

Ulrich 1:46 PM  

Let me back up foodie and others who just cannot see how the issue of bullying gays beyond endurance can be considered "political". Indeed, how can there be two sides to this issue? Is the anonymous poster really FOR bullying? I know all of this has been said already by others, but I'm just too outraged to keep quiet--can't even talk about the puzzle anymore...

Squeek 1:57 PM  

@ Matthew G., Gotta lob back your BS calls dude. We see Ooh and Oo all the time when we la-la in Xworld. Sometimes we lah-lah as well. Ya just go with it and see which one it is.
I'm no Bible scholar by a long shot but I'm betting it's there, a lot. That could be the "past" in the clue.
At my local pub we call for another round at least once. What's the problem?

Unknown 2:04 PM  

R.e. oops - worrying comment from a surgeon
The puzzle maker may have originated this, or perhaps listened to an old Bill Cosby routine from his album "I started out as a child"

John V 2:20 PM  

@Rex Re: MTA song, of interest:

Beth Lomax-Hawes recently passed away:

Jackie Steiner, my friend and musical colleague, is still thriving and singing in Fairfield County, CT; refers to herself as an "aging lefty".

This Yankee fan, who grew up with the Kingston Trio version, once very proudly sang this tune on a tour trolley/bus in Boston!

hazel 2:30 PM  

yesterday we had the Wichita lineman and the o-line. today we're between the lines.

The second video did not make me laugh, neither does a surgeon saying Oops. Or Dane Cook. Different strokes, though. Tolerance is good.

Van55 2:47 PM  


"oo la la" is a perfectly acceptable spelling. Bing search of the phrase generates 17.4 million hits. Search for "oh la la" gnerates 210 million hits. Search for "ooh la la" generates nearly 6 million hits.

"Live in the past" is a perfectly good clue for DWELT. "Dwelt" is the past tense of "dwell" which is synonymous with "live." Thursday cluing is all. A bit dicey, but acceptable in my opinion.

"Bring us another round" is idiomatic, I think. So, again "round request" is a fine clue.

George NYC 2:50 PM  

Many people assume the Titanic was a Cunard ship as the latter is a much more familiar, and still existing, brand. Until a few years ago, the concrete facade of the pier in Manhattan where the Titanic was to dock remained standing along the West Side Highway, around 30th St. The WHITE STAR logo was clearly visible. A poignant reminder that the ship never got there.

Cathyat40 2:52 PM  

Candy pants!

Clark 2:52 PM  

Thanks for the clip Rex.

Puzzle was hard. I ended with DEVOLE. What?

Anonymous 2:59 PM  

STAY BETWEEN THE LINES? To those who quarrel with my earlier posting allow me to suggest respectfully that you missed the point. It was not a statement against or in favor of anything other than sticking to the point of the Blog. THAT IS, I am not in favor of driving disturbed teens to their death, only in favor of participating in a review of the NY Time xword puzzle. Anyone who is not aware of the issue of teen harassment leading to teen deaths (whether because they are too fat, too loose or gay or do the NYT puzzle everyday) has not been paying much attention to the news lately. I come here to escape life’s misfortunes and burdens and society’s miscreants, not to confront them as though I were running for county sheriff. Rex can do what he wants with his Blog but if he continues to add social commentary then I suggest he rename it to something like Rex Parker Does the NY Times Crossword Puzzle and Comments on Society’s Ills....

PanamaRed 3:28 PM  

@CaseAce - more nattering - it's ALFA ROMEO, not Alfa Romero.

Dan 3:28 PM  

I had to repeatedly force myself to not finish _O_BS (sonogram targets) as BOOBS...

J 3:31 PM  

I knew this Thursday seemed to be harder than typical Thu's but I WAS able to finish by sheer willpower.
And...due to some luck. Things came back to me, like JULIUS No and NIOBE. Many I was able to figure out by the fill.
And thank god I've seen a few episodes of Antiques Roadshow for PATINA.
Knew WHITESTAR but always put NAY for NAE at first.

Glad I got through this because Thursday is as far as I go in the week.

On the refrigerator, with a gold star next to Will's name.

dk 3:48 PM  

Had Fiat for ALFAS, afro for BASH and it goes without saying acme for APEX.

My parent's cool friends had a Kingston Trio Album with MTA, a fine gimme.

This one was done post gym (you try jumping rope for 3 minutes, 15 minutes on a speed bag... snivel whine) so it was a slow Thursday for me.

*** (3 Stars) Somehow cocaine should have filled a line.

The other stuff:

My dad always told me when in trouble, no matter how bad, home is a refuge and he and my mom may be pissed but they would stand by all/any of us. I told the same to my son... he called and he is here today because of it. @jesser, I wish I could have met David.

Why are you here 4:05 PM  

@Anon 1:10am & @:59pm

Rex graciously supplies links to other crossword sites right on his main page.

You might prefer one of them rather than trying to "correct" this one.


Two Ponies 4:18 PM  

Wow, that first video is some powerful stuff.
As for the second one, if you can hang in there long enough the "punch line" is after the song when the interviewer asks about his day job. (I hope he kept it.)

mac 4:25 PM  

I too first wrote intercept, dwell, devole, MIA and oh no. Totally ignoring the B I already had, I wanted "foeti" for wombs. I agree that it's cha cha cha, so I also had "can" in there for a minute, before and after cha.
Good puzzle, though, enjoyed the toughness. Thank you Rex, for pointing out the second layer of theme....

capcha: onalp. I wish.

Also, thank you for the clip. @Foodie and @Orange said it all where I am concerned.

Anonymous 4:27 PM  

@ Why Are You Here, very ICEE....

Ulrich 4:29 PM  

@anonymous at 2:59: We did NOT miss the point. YOU are the one who called the video "political"--i.e. YOU are the one who suggested that there can be opposing views about it! Don't try to weasel out--clearly, anything involving prejudices against gays is "political" to you!

Lookup Guy 5:10 PM  

Although Wiki calls it the "Cha Cha Cha", the majority of other refrences are "Cha Cha".

Historically, of the 52 appearences of Cha, 18 explicitly went for "Cha Cha", and only 4 for the triple.

A number of others weaseled with "when repeated", and then there were the Chinese "tea" and "hot ___" which took the singular.

Finally, several sources indicate "Cha Cha" is the dance, and "Cha Cha Cha" is the "verbalization of it's rhythm."

Rube 5:11 PM  

Like others, had DISappear, INTERcept, DEVOlE, WHITEsPar, afro, Can, and LvI/LII, but still thought this was an easy Thursday puzzle. MTA was an oldies gimme and TAK is from Auld Lang Syne, which should be a gimme for just about any English speaker.

DRNO was just there for some reason, possibly because it has 46 entries in XWORD INFO. I've seen NIOBE in a xword recently, and got it with a few crosses. The same for MOSHE and BEHAN.

Personally, I fall into the camp that feels that just because I don't know and/or forgot something doesn't make me dislike a puzzle. Crummy fill, partials, and bad abbreviations are good reasons to dislike a puzz. In other words, I liked this puzzle.

(Rented an ALFA diesel in Italy once. One of the most fun cars I've ever driven. Lots of pep and great steering.)

Doc John 5:22 PM  

Now that I have a bit more time, I can comment on OOPS. I, too, fondly remember the Bill Cosby bit about it but something similar happened to me when I was in my 3rd year of med school. I was assisting a resident (kind of a bubble headed guy) in the breast biopsy of a Haitian woman who did not speak English. During the minor procedure the resident let the end of a suture slip (or something equally minor) and I said "oops". To which he began a long lecture about why you don't say "oops" but in the process of doing so must have said "oops" about 20 times! I kept looking at the patient to see what sort of response she had and she just seemed to take it all in easily. Of course, maybe "oops" doesn't translate to Creole!

sanfranman59 5:24 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)

Thu 17:25, 19:04, 0.91, 40%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Thu 8:50, 9:09, 0.97, 51%, Medium

your average blank 6:38 PM  

thanks jim hilger...good puzzle.
sometimes puzzles just fit ones life experiences. Glen Campbell,
Roy Obison, the Kinston Trio...I love it...Hey Rex has anyone ever done an all music puzzle? I bet I am the only one here who would like it.

James Graham 7:08 PM  

I found it easier than the usual Thursday.

Being an old guy helped. Brendan Behan was frequently on television in the 1960s and not always sober. During his Ed Murrow interview Behan was spectacularly drunk.

I had no trouble with Scotts but was stumped by ICEE which I never heard of.

Vega 7:59 PM  

About the puzzle: wow, it was hard, and only after coming here did I fully get theme. Not sure if I loved it, but didn't hate it.

About the video: what (almost) everyone else said. So glad it's out there and that you posted it.

william e emba 9:20 PM  

Whew! After three weeks, I am all caught up again.

I almost found this puzzle medium-easy. BEHAN, MOSHE, WHITE STAR, DR NO, NIOBE were all gimmes. I even figured out the theme gimmick pretty early. But I had guessed DRAW BETWEEN THE LINES off the A, and so I took forever to finish the NW. After a ridiculous length of time, I remembered Raggedy ANDYS, and then it all finished quick.

I had DWELL at first also, and yes, DWELT is perfectly clued, as pointed out above.

As for someone who doesn't know ancient music, well, I actually got MTA off the M--, surprising myself. I eventually realized why. The 1948 song--long before the Kingston Trio got to it--was the inspiration for the incredibly famous 1950 scifi short story "A Subway Named Moebius", about people trapped on the Boston subway for topological reasons, a story I've loved since about the time I learned to read. And Boston Charlie himself was further immortalized by Walt Kelly in one of the greatest nonsense songs ever written.

Sfingi 9:53 PM  

ANDYS was my third thought after GI Joes and Kens.

Was my usual Thurs, difficulty, since I always Google anyway from Thurs. on. Googled for DRNO, WHITESTAR, SCOTTS, ESO, TAK, TENN. Got all 3 sports.

Had SNAFU before ACTUP.

Mini-theme: Prefixes with meter.

@Anon834 - I got the ALFA Romeo spider right away, but agree that OOLALA and other noise words are lame.

Is FREETHROW a line? Asks the unsport.

A certain number of teenagers kill themselves in all times and places. We were told to especially watch them in the NYS prison. Even with resources, they think whatever they are going through is the end of the world, when we know better. They need a lot of interference and watching.

sanfranman59 10:24 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 6:01, 6:56, 0.87, 7%, Easy
Tue 11:25, 8:57, 1.28, 97%, Challenging
Wed 12:25, 11:38, 1.07, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 17:18, 19:04, 0.91, 40%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:25, 3:42, 0.92, 19%, Easy
Tue 5:34, 4:37, 1.21, 96%, Challenging
Wed 6:10, 5:44, 1.08, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 8:44, 9:09, 0.95, 50%, Medium

edith b 11:46 PM  


Thank you for your outrage. I know how Rex frowns on commenters commenting on other commenters but sometimes you just have to stand your ground. To Anonymouse 1:10 I would like to say we don't need your kind around here. Don't go away mad - just go away!

Sorry Rex.

David 1:18 AM  

Already thanked you via Twitter, Rex, but wanted to reiterate here---thank you for posting that first video. Incredibly powerful.

I wish I had interesting things to say about solving the puzzle to justify this comment more, hmm. I also thought the theme was a little weak at first---filled in the main parts quickly, and the literal lines much, much later, so I totally missed the larger theme. I agree with those who said it's a much more impressive theme now that I get the entire thing. Definitely a challenging puzzle, a couple crosses where I was doomed to guess, but overall enjoyable. But argh, having just heard MTA for the first time last weekend, I was kicking myself for not knowing its title!

Grant Edwards 1:36 AM  

Help! I need computer advice. I subscribed to the NYT so that I don't have to solve puzzles in syndication anymore (and cancelled my local paper.) Main reason: I want to participate fully in this great blog! However, my computer won't open .puz files. How can I solve this? I see registry fixers online, but don't trust them. I reiterate: any advice? (I have Windows Vista.)

-GE Portland, Oregon

fikink 1:42 AM  

@Grant, go to the NYT site and download the Arcoss Lite app on the puzzle page.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:58 AM  

@Grant - I am a paper solver with very little computer savvy. In the past I tried to use .puz and failed miserably. Then someone told me, "Oh, you use Firefox, but .puz will only work on Safari." I don't know if this is true; I still prefer doing the puzzle on paper.

Glitch 9:34 AM  

@Grant & @Bob K.

@fikink is correct, you need to download and install the AcrossLite application (from NYT site or google for other places), for Vista you want the Windows version, there's another for Macs).

It's independent of the browser. The browser just downloads the .pzl to your computer, AcrossLite runs it there.


chef 1:25 PM  

The White Star Line was the owner of the Titanic and Britainia. Both sank because of, Titanic by icebergs, and Britainia, structural problems with the cheap pot-metal rivets used in the stern and aft portions of the ships. The new steel rivets were not of the same quality used to day. Both were basically slapped together. Bruce Ismay, an owner, was from New York. There are several Ismay families listed on the 1800's federal censuses.

Anonymous 9:02 PM  

Thx @Rex for staying out. I admire what you do on this Blog even if I do not always agree with how you use it. What is sad is that some think I wnat to see people die and the lack of civiity in expressing one's views (though I suspect yours and mine and not the same). If you save one life in posting your video I congratulate you. But I'm here for fun not the dark side of life....

Kim 9:07 AM  

So proud of Joel Burns. I live near Ft. Worth but if I lived in Ft.Worth I would definitely vote for him! Such an inspiration. I saw the video when it first appeared on the internet. Thanks Rex for including it in your blog.

NotalwaysrightBill 1:39 PM  

Syndicated paper puzzler.

Still getting used to how the clues in a Thurpuz can be so much farther-fetched ("Stink"=ADO) and the abbreviations-for-fill-answers more obscure ("Antipoverty agcy."=OEO). Than earlier in the week. Didn't know a few names (BEHAR, MOSHE, ROZ), but the crosses were adequate, for the most part, and the only real quibble I have is with "Gangbusters"=FEDS.

I used to give one extra Scrabble point for challenged words which the dictionary defined as "chiefly Scottish;" so finding both NAE and TAK managed to "Thrill"=SEND me.

Today's captcha: "nocalm": source of the Dylan line, "Maybe in my next life I can hear myself think."?

Interesting the extent to which folk here dogpiled on Anonymous. For his different perspectives. About a bullying issue. THAT'S the "diversity" crowd I know and despise. Gee, it's just a mystery where the kids get it . . . .

Rusty Trawler 4:05 PM  

Another syndicated solver here. I confess, I didn't even notice the "between the lines" part of the theme until coming here. In general, not a huge fan of this puzzle, I guess overall you could say it had a bit too much PATINA.

Bill, I'm not sure what "different perspective" Anonymous brought to the table. He logged in to comment with no other purpose than to complain about a video Rex posted. Just a classic troll: nothing more, nothing less.
Now we all know you shouldn't feed the trolls, but sometimes it can be so damn hard to resist.

I still don't understand the logic. Apparently, teens have committed suicide for numerous reasons, therefore, this particular video is political in nature and should not have been posted. Huh???

Lurking, Just Behind You 5:33 PM  

Cant think of a day that my username has been more apropos.

I guess the big issue that you have with us of the 'diversity' mindset dogpiling on someone gives you a great sense of irony...too bad you weren't my friend in 1979 when I lived in Houston and ended up with 4 broken ribs and a broken wrist when 3 members of my freshman class decided to let me know that my different views on life didn't mesh with their community standards. Or a different freshman, 2 years later, who was rendered blind in one eye (for the GALL of dating a black girl) when he was attacked from behind.

Yep, we diversity crowd can be REAL intolerant.....glad we do it with words instead of with a baseball bat.

Lurking, Just Behind You 5:50 PM  

And by the way, I don't give a shit what anyone's political or religious views are. Teen Suicide is a tragedy. Anything that can be done to stop it is welcome in my book.

Dirigonzo 6:50 PM  

And now back to the puzzle. Liked it a lot - for some reason I saw the "lines" early on so when I saw "coloring advice" in the clue for 20a I knew I was on to something. Only quibble: I was taught, and so I taught my sons, to stay *inside* the lines when coloring so BETWEENTHELINES seemed a little off to me. Enough has been said about the video and the "political" aspects of teen suicide (for whatever reason). What makes me sad is that there can be any disagreement over the issue - but I am sure there are many who would disagree with me.

NotalwaysrightBill 8:37 PM  

@Rusty Trawler, @ Lurking, @ the "diversity crowd":

Perhaps if you weren't so kneejerk in your desire to squelch the views of the PC unorthodox, you might have stopped to consider the points Anonymous was trying to make.

One was about the dangers of NOT adhering to the Primary Purpose of a given platform, be it a xwords blog, a City Council meeting or a Grammy Awards ceremony. Conye: Let me interrupt and commandeer this awards ceremony to talk about what's important to ME, since my Primary Identity is IT'S-ALL-ABOUT-THE-BLACK." Joel: "Let me interrupt and commandeer this City Council meeting (already dedicated to the good cause of fighting breast cancer) because MY Primary Identity concern (IT'S-ALL-ABOUT-THE-GAY) isn't being addressed right now." Rex: "This blog is dedicated to discussion about NYT xword puzzles, but since it's MY blog, I'll use the space to promote a particular viewpoint of a DIFFERENT concern of mine as well."

I've personally seen many many groups, originally dedicated to very worthy causes in their own right, disintegrate and disband because the leadership allowed or even participated in letting outside concerns interrupt and commandeer the podium, effectively usurping the stated Primary Purpose of that forum. Anonymous seemed to me to be warning of the same thing happening here if Rex doesn't take more care about what he sees fit to promulgate (and what's good for the goose . . .). If experience is any guide, Anonymous could be sadly right in his warning: valid point, IMO.

The second point that I thought Anonymous made addresses PC disproportionate sensibilities. Teen Suicide should be (and should have been all along) a concern REGARDLESS of PC identity. Handwringing over Gay-only Teen Suicide victims, when so many more teens are at risk, in far greater numbers but not of the gay faith, appears to be just so much jumping on another selective, divisive PC bandwagon. This PC DISPROPORTIONATE sympathy is the political aspect that Anonymous refers to. And IMO, what's not to despise about such exclusionary views?

"Trolls?" "Religious zealots?" "Tea Baggers?" Talk to me some more about the negative results of hate speech LOL. Like I said, I wonder where in the world the kids could possibly have gotten it from?

And here's one of my favorites:
Diversity Crowd: I want to have dialog about [name it].
Reasonable person: Well, OK, if you insist. Now that I've heard your views on [name it], here're my views on [name it].
Diversity Crowd: The debate's over!!! The only acceptable position on [name it] is X Y Z!!!
Reasonable person: I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree, because I see things quite differently. Sayonara for now.
Diversity Crowd: Where do you think you're going!?!? I'm not finished with you yet. I said I want to have dialog!!!!

Yes indeedy. The greatest degree and amount of intolerance that I've personally encountered in my lifetime have come from those institutions of scale (say those with 100 or more cars regularly in their parking lots) where the highest percentage of "Celebrate Diversity" bumper stickers could be found, I (captcha=) aseuryoo.

Rusty Trawler 10:50 PM  

Bill, a troll is an apolitical term that refers to someone who posts inflammatory statements in order to start an online argument. I believe that is exactly what Anonymous did, and I stand by my statement.

This is a blog. Blogs have no "primary purpose". The "primary purpose" of any blog is whatever the author or authors want it to be. I would think this to be patently obvious, but maybe not. The author of this blog linked a video (one of six in this post) without commentary, other than to hint that it might make you cry.

Anonymous (who apparently did not cry) was the one who wanted to start a political discussion, so he logged in, without even the courtesy of a moniker, and lectured the blog host on the proper way to run his blog. In my book, this was downright rude behavior, no matter what views he was expressing.

As to your further arguments about PC disproportionate sensibilities, I respectfully disagree. Sympathy for the speaker in this video does NOT imply a lack of sympathy for other suicidal teens. Teen bullying is serious in all forms and needs to be treated more seriously than it is. While certainly there is merit to the argument that liberals can be quick to label and demonize the other side, it also seems readily apparent that your mind is made up about the "diversity crowd". Or so it seems, which would make your greater points about intolerance disingenuous, at best.

One point I'm sure we can agree on is that the back end of a comments section of a crossword blog, five weeks after the fact, is a rather silly place to have this discussion at all. Were we in a physical environment rather than a virtual one, I could buy you a pint and we could discuss this further. Maybe we could vigorously debate the merits of Candypants, as well. But, no.

Rex Parker 11:06 PM  

"Candypants!!!" I'd almost forgotten. Going back to watch it now. Thanks.


NotalwaysrightBill 12:20 AM  

@ Rusty Trawler:

Thanks for the beer summit offer, afraid it'll have to be lemonade for me nowadays. Not sure there's such a thing as a silly place to have a meeting of the minds, though, unless there're good reasons for specific proscription against the broaching of certain topics. Which this blog has had, but inconsistently, off and on (one of the problems, I think).

My problems with the "diversity crowd" is the disingenuity of the term. Everything flows from primary identification. If, within the first, say ten, PRIMARY descriptors of oneself, one lists such lower order characteristics of personal existential condition as race, sexual orientation, gender, etc., one thereby simultaneously defines THE OTHER, arbitrarily setting barriers between oneself and those OTHERS so defined. Less exclusionary than "I am a lesbian Latina" (and therefore naturally wiser than an old white man, a diversity crowd-style primary ID) might be something far more general, like "I am a loved and loving child of God" or something similar that DOESN'T divide brothers and sisters from each other. And when the day arrives when one looks in the mirror and finally understands "I am white, black, gay, man, woman, straight, all of it!" and attaches an adequate descriptor of THAT state to his PRIMARY IDENTIFICATION, he stops being ALL-ABOUT-THE-[fill in the blank]. My problem with the diversity crowd is that by focusing on group identities, they tend to be such an inherently limited and therefore divisive proposition. Get OVER OVER OVER it!!!!

Or maybe we're all CANDYPANTS (captcha=agrear), IDK.

MikeinSTL 9:02 AM  

I too wanted GI JOE in place of ANDYS, only because guys who collect GI Joes get really upset if you call them dolls -- they're "action figures!!!"

As someone said above, I always thought the instruction was "Stay within the lines"... STAY BETWEEN THE LINES sounds more like an instruction to a new driver, along with "Keep the roof side up" :)

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