Comic actor Dom / MON 11-29-10 / Bouquets-to-order co / Wildflower from which cultivated carrot originated / 1950s Ford flop

Monday, November 29, 2010

Constructor: Elizabeth A. Long

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: HEAD / BAND (35A: With 37-Across, hair accessory ... or a literal hint to 19-, 27-, 47- and 56-Across) — First (HEAD) words of four theme answers are all BAND names: QUEEN, KISS, TRAFFIC, CREAM

Word of the Day: Dom DELUISE (2D: Comic actor Dom) —

Dominick "Dom" DeLuise (August 1, 1933 – May 4, 2009) was an American actor, comedian, film director, television producer, chef, and author. He was the husband of actress Carol Arthur from 1965 until his death, and the father of actor, writer, pianist, director Peter DeLuise, actor David DeLuise, and actor Michael DeLuise. He had starred in various Universal Animated Studios films, such as All Dogs Go to Heaven and An American Tail. (wikipedia)

• • •

Felt a bit harder than normal, but I came in at a hair over three, which seems pretty normal after all. Times being registered at the NYT site seem slightly higher than average, so who knows. If it's tougher, it's barely tougher, so Medium. Love the concept, though it took me a while to understand—I had finished the puzzle and was looking over the theme answers to try to make sense of them. "A QUEEN band, A KISS band ... I don't get it ... Oh. OH! Hey, that's pretty good." SHAFTED BY seems a terrible answer to me, but most everything else seems at least acceptable (I don't want to revisit how I feel about PFUI—you can read about it here; I have begun reading Rex Stout, and allegedly this will make me change my mind...). There are lots and lots and LOTS of one-named bands, which makes me wonder "Why these?" But they are all famous and all likely to be heard on Classic Rock stations, so why not these? Still, this could easily be a Sunday theme. BREAD BASKET? RUSH LIMBAUGH? TRAIN WRECK? CHICAGO BEARS? Stop me when you've heard enough ... HEARTACHE? POISON IVY? BOSTON CREAM PIE? JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH ...

Theme answers:
  • 19A: Wildflower from which the cultivated carrot originated (QUEEN ANNE'S LACE)
  • 27A: Something that is ultimately ruinous (KISS OF DEATH) — struggled with this until I uncovered the "K"
  • 47A: Orange item set out by a highway crew (TRAFFIC CONE)
  • 56A: Very best (CREAM OF THE CROP)
Getting IRAQ WAR (1D: It started in 2003 with the bombing of Baghdad) straight off made QUEEN ANNE'S LACE easy in a way that it really should not have been for me, the botanically challenged one. KISS OF DEATH took a bit of work. Blew through all the big corners *except* the SW, where I couldn't drop either ORACLES (40D: Magic 8 Balls, e.g.) or CARRERA (41D: Classic Porsche model) off their initial letters, and SHAFTED BY (32D: Handed a raw deal from) ... well, it was my first thought, but I couldn't really believe it was real. Finished in one of the least sightly places in the grid (PFUI / HIED). Still, all told, I liked this one.

  • 57D: Long-eared equine (ASS) — ooh, that's a good euphemism. "Long-eared equine." I'm gonna use that.
  • 39D: Bouquets-to-order co. (FTD) — which I will only ever associate with the late great Merlin Olsen (who died in March of this year)
  • 5A: "Nonsense!" (BOSH) — this clue should've read [One of an overhyped Miami triad]
  • 64A: German river where American and Soviet forces met in 1945 (ELBE) — I did not know that.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


D_Blackwell 12:10 AM  

As a themeless Monday, I liked it fine. If it had to have a theme, I would have dumped the revealer and used HEAD and BAND as nice cross referenced entries (a big improvement) and used a title for the hook to hang the theme entries on.


retired_chemist 12:13 AM  

Medium it is.

Had only vaguely heard of the bands but assuming they are not obscure it was a nice theme.

QUEEN ANNE'S LACE the genesis of carrots? Who knew? Cool!

61A PFUI was not my first choice. Needed crosses there.

Steve J 12:19 AM  

I didn't parse the band connections while doing the puzzle (or after, to be honest), but looking at it now, I like it.

Thought the non-theme fill was pretty good (other than EWERS, which I've long had an irrational dislike for), with some nice meaty stuff for a Monday. I loved using the Magic 8 Ball to clue ORACLES. I got a nice big chuckle out of that one.

Finished in average Monday time for me. The PFUI/HIED cross was also the last to fall for me. Otherwise, smooth sailing throughout. Nice Monday puzzle.

Anonymous 12:21 AM  

Is the reveal supposed to read that the HEAD of each of the 4 long across phrases is a BAND? That's an alternative to BAND being the start of the prases? Because if it is, that sucks. For one reason, HEADBAND is one word. It doesn't parse.

Maybe these bands are HEADBANDS, as a thing. Do pot HEADS specifically listen to those bands as opposed to others? FMPE, Traffic & Cream yes, the others, not so much.

Man, if Shaft were still around, he'd be all upside your head about this one.

andrea scuffle michaels 3:07 AM  

Liked this a lot, but surprised if it doesn't get more of a semi-challenging tag in the end...
esp with oddities like NEWAGENDA/GOSS for a Monday.

Asamatteroffact, ELBE, GOSS, BOSH, CARRERA, NEWAGENDA and SHAFTERBY, pushes it closer to Tuesday, IMHO.
Plus those stacks of 7 makes it classier looking than most Mondays.

Speaking of classy, TIMPANI going down the side is very cool! SCUFFLE is super fun and WILLI adds to the musical ambiance, no?

Got QUEEN... for the first theme answer, and then KI... for the next theme so immediately wrote in KING...; so the KISSOFDEATH part of my grid is messy... but I love that phrase!!!

I get this whole HEAD-BAND discussion, but I sort of took it as sort of HEAD(banging)BANDs...

Never saw while solving (but see when looking over the grid) the freshness of "HES Just Not that Into You" clued as the 2009 film. The book changed my life and I genuinely wish it had been written 20 years earlier, would have saved me SO much heartache. I give it as a gift every chance I get.

joho 8:21 AM  

I have to agree with @andrea scuffle michaels that this skewed torwards a Tuesday. GOSS was totally new to me ... and before somebody says "just because I don't know it doesn't mean it's not Monday worthy," I still say it's not a Monday answer ... bOSS, lOSS, rOSS, tOSS maybe even hOSS are.

I loved the puzzle. It was fun discovering each opening band. I have visions of QUEEN arriving at a restaurant in NYC ... Freddie Mercury all in white made quite an entrance! Forgive me for mentioning this again.

Thank you, Elizabeth Long for a great start to the week!

ArtLvr 8:26 AM  

It was amusing to read Rex's recap today! This was a theme that may have escaped many in my geezer cohort. Yes, I'd heard of KISS, but none of the other BAND HEADs rang a bell. It was relatively easy anyway, since I knew QUEEN ANNE'S LACE was part of the carrot family for a starter.

I did wonder if there were two more hidden theme answers in NEW AGE and SHAFTED? No matter, it all was gettable so I won't say BOO or PFUI -- even though the latter is one of my favorite words. (Silent P, as in psychiatry or psoriasis.)

Fun Monday. ∑;)

Diana Holquist 8:31 AM  

Also couldn't figure the theme till I came here, but thought the puzzle was fun and easy.

I'd like to come at most of these guys w/ more than a headband. Pass me the scissors.

(Remind me never to exchange gifts w/ ASM. Geez, that's harsh!)

Evgeny 8:31 AM  

- what do Eric Clapton and coffee have in common?
- both suck without CREAM

my only very very minor complaint about the theme is that there's three British bands and one American. "placebopill" instead of "kissofdeath" would've made a nice run through the history of British rock: Cream covers the '60s, Traffic the '60s and '70s, Queen the '70s and '80s, Placebo '90s until now. Yeah, i know Queen are still around, but they're not the same band since 1991.

ArtLvr 8:34 AM  

@ joho, I sympathsize with your not recalling Porter GOSS. I only remember his name because US paper money is printed on Goss printing presses, and I knew the founder of that firm. That would have made a really obscure clue!


chefbea 8:57 AM  

I agree - more Tuesdayish. Got the theme though I never heard of Cream.

Can someone explain why nik is the suffix for refuse??

A Solzhenitsyn 9:02 AM  

@chefbea - a refusenik was someone who was refused exit from the old Soviet Union. Once one became a refusenik, you both had to stay, were denied employment and any other 'right' one possibly had in the Soviet Union. They were essentially the walking invisible.

mitchs 9:03 AM  

@chefbea: I thought it was a synonym for "naysayer" but apparently it stems from people who were refused permission to emigrate from Russia. It's now means "protester".

ArtLvr 9:15 AM  

@ chefbea, in the days of the USSR, those citizens who applied for permission to emigrate and were denied were known as Refuseniks. The very act of applying to leave often led to government harassment, the loss of employment and often a sentence of incarceration in a mental hospital or in Siberia. Targets included Jews, political dissidents, and other minorities.

Sometimes there were windows of softened policy in response to outcry from other nations, and I was lucky enough to be able to help the family of one such scientist in getting out and resettling in the US. It took several years, but was hugely successful. It remains one of the greatest thrills of my life!


mmorgan 9:19 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle, it had a bit of bite for a Monday (which I liked); but every time I got slowed down I was able to work my way back in via crosses. The HEAD BAND reveal was of no help at all, and even when I was done I didn't understand it until I got here.

Loved @RP's earlier write-up on PFUI!

unmenti -- a typo that produces an unintended word

OldCarFudd 9:19 AM  

I thought this was a pleasant puzzle despite never having heard of any of the bands, hence missing out on the theme altogether. Interesting new (to me) fact about queen anne's lace. For 32D I was semi-expecting "screwed by", while telling myself the NYT would never stoop quite so low. And it didn't; "shafted by" isn't quite so low!

v. 9:26 AM  

And on a lighter note...
@ Rex...Which Stout are you reading? Can you post the title tomorrow? Some are stronger than others, as with any large body of work.
Of course, Archie Goodwin is consistently great in all of the titles: smart, tough, talks back to cops, and funny. Sharp dresser, a great dancer, woman-charmer...

John V 9:28 AM  

Ah I don't know. Got the theme instantly, as, for me, knew all of them. Ditto @Rex re Pfui, but what the hey. For me, typical Monday. Nothing special.

Hey, could Pfui be the response to, "Turkey sandwichs on Monday?" Just saying.

Matthew G. 9:30 AM  

This definitely skewed toward a Tuesday, but I finished with a Monday time mainly due to luck. I used to live in Florida near, although not in, the district Porter GOSS was representing in Congress at the time of his appointment as CIA Director, so he was a gimme for me, which I doubt he was to many others. Had oddly just listened to "Bali HAI" with my wife earlier in the day, so that filled right in too. Didn't have trouble with ORACLES or SHAFTEDBY, but CARRERA is a car I don't remember.

Would not have remembered whether Dom was DELUISE or DELoISE if the U had not been preceded by a Q in the crossed word. Thanks, constructor!

PFUI? Wow. I always thought it was "phooey."

Surprisingly, I didn't understand the theme even after finishing the puzzle, despite the fact that QUEEN is one of my favorite bands. I like KISS and CREAM well enough as well, although I was unaware of any band called TRAFFIC.

A fun, solid Monday!

fikink 9:36 AM  

Loved refuseNIK and TRAFFIC CONE.

Mother Eleanor is turning in her grave over SHAFTED BY being in The Old Grey Lady.

But my fav, of course, is QUEEN ANNE'S LACE which - much to the chagrin of neighboring farmers who consider it a noxious weed - I take in the house for table centerpieces during the summer.

Nicely textured Monday puzzle, Ms.Long.

chefbea 9:44 AM  

@artLvr thanks one and all for the explanation!!!

Van55 9:48 AM  

I'd agree that it's medium for a Monday.

The theme doesn't do much for me, but most of the entries seem fresh.

21 proper names.

Very nice start to the puzzle week.

quilter1 9:49 AM  

Liked very much. I always enjoy seeing Queen Anne's Lace in the ditches in summer along with the bright blue chicory and pink clover--instant bouquet, no FTD needed. Did not get the theme until coming here, although I have heard of all and have heard some.

John V 9:55 AM  

I was remiss on not commenting earlier on Queen Anne's Lace, which is a real favorite. When I was a child in Western New York, we would set up baseball games in fields of this flower. I still favor it, some 50-odd years later, for its simple beauty and rememberances of days past.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:55 AM  

Definitely a better-than-average Monday puzzle.

When I was a kid, we called Queen Anne's lace "wild carrots."

As did many, I finished the grid without having understood the theme, then looked it over and said, "33A!"

PlantieBea 9:56 AM  

Ahh..beautiful, fragrant QUEEN ANNE'S LACE, an invasive exotic with edible roots (when young). Be careful to identify it by the small purple floret in the center, so as not to consume its look-alike and receive the KISS OF DEATH from the deadly poison hemlock.

Knew all the bands here--the awesome rock band CREAM and the more sophisticated (at times) TRAFFIC being my favorites. DH, who solved this one with me, assumed the more druggy HEAD band definition from the theme. We found Lou REED hiding by his lonesome self in the bottom.

Just a thought 9:57 AM  

@Van 55

Perhaps if you started a daily correlation of your proper name count with Sanfranman's ratings your effort would be more meaningful? ;)


Ulrich 10:00 AM  

Head[Black square]Band is called a HINT, not a THEME! The black square separates the two parts and the referral clue for 35A combines them. I see absolutely nothing wrong with this, and I enjoyed the puzzle very much--got the theme with the hint and was just waiting for CREAM to start the last theme answer--@Evgeny: I'm with you on this one! LOL

retired_chemist 10:07 AM  

Apparently Queen Anne's lace is not known in all parts of North America - I don;t know it in Texas. But it is a fascinating plant, with allegations of contraceptive ability and a resemblance to poison hemlock.

Van55 10:10 AM  

@just a thought. - intriguing idea.

My guess is that there is no direct correlation between the number of proper names and relative difficulty, but I may be wrong.

There is almost certainly a direct correlation between the degree of familiarity (or lack thereof) and degree of difficulty.

JC66 10:17 AM  


Your comment about the silent P in PFUI couldn't help bringing a smile to my face as I recalled all the times that my father reminded us that it's silent in toilet, too.

Unknown 10:39 AM  

Good puzzle. As usual for Monday, I ripped through the Down clues first. By then, the theme clues were all obvious to me. Still, I was a tad above my normal Monday solve time, so I guess the puzzle was a measium ?

@ Rex: I just knew your first video was going to be Fat Bottom Girls. Am I the only one who thought so?

A sad day in puzzledom for Wordplay bloggers. Jim Horne and Patrick Merrill announced their pending retirement. They will be replaced by the able Deb Amlen, but there's quite the eulogy going on over at the blog.

Don't ever do that to us Rex. At least have the decency to wait until most of us die.

dowinted-- Interested in the stock market, or chemically eradicated.

Two Ponies 10:45 AM  

Nice theme today.
Love Cream and Traffic, Queen a bit less so, and never got into Kiss.
I knew Queen Anne's Lace was a wild carrot. If you have ever picked it you might remember the pungent smell of the foliage.
Good start to the week.

Jim 10:52 AM  

Remember Porter GOSS (though I initially remembered it as vOSS) first because he's got a great spook name. Second, because he was one of those infamous W appointees steeped in scandal and forced to resign (see: Michael Brown, Bernie Kerik, the young crazy in the justice department, Goodling or something, et al). Don't remember the specifics surrounding his demise after, like, 30 days, but one can guess. Ah, the Bush administration...

To all: thanks for the explanation of refuse-NIKs.

Ulrich 10:55 AM  

@Artlvr: Forget to mention this: From all I can tell, "pfui" passed into English from German and the p is not silent there. The combination "pf" creates a spitting sound that underscores, very effectively, the meaning of the word: You're spitting into someone's face, linguistically speaking.

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

The tut, tutting about whether the puzzle is a Monday or Tuesday level makes one ask if a "Medium Monday" or an "Easy Tuesday" is a distinction without a difference?

Fun puzzle today, whatever it is.

archaeoprof 11:15 AM  

Easy one today. Theme made me smile.

Didn't TRAFFIC record "low spark of the high-heeled boy"? Listened to that a lot freshman year of college.

Otherwise I agree with @Andrea Scuffle and @Joho.

syndy 11:19 AM  

knew the bands but not the theme-liked the puzzzle a lot anyway. Is there any other oracle in the modern world except the magic 8 ball? (ask mark and brian)@ rex stout even the weaker works are a clear delight codosyl -the hidden part of the will

Sparky 11:59 AM  

Went through nicely. I think my brain came back. Tred to figure HEAD as meaning more cerebral type of BANDs then came here. DOH. @Ulrich: you are right, one can over think this stuff. Thought SHAFTED a bit frisky for Times. Love driving upstate and in New England and seeing the Queen Anne's Lace and later, Orange Day Lillies by the side of the road. Pleasant start to new week.

eighth grader 12:09 PM  

@ JC66 - the P is silent as in swimming.

fikink 12:31 PM  

@archaeoprof, I cannot think of Traffic and Cream without thinking of Blind Faith. Seems a band sorely missing from this puzzle.

Rube 12:43 PM  

I would think that an incoming administration would be concerned with implementing their NEWAGENDA.

Didn't know that about QUEENANNESLACE, but being a boy from a specific area of Seattle, enjoyed seeing the name in the puzz.

Had heard of KISS and CREAM, but couldn't tell you anything about any of these bands, and certainly couldn't tell their sounds apart. (Would recognize KISS from their outfits.)

@Van55, I hear ya. I used to try to judge puzzle difficulty by the number of clued current pop culture "musicians" and actors. Now I, (more or less), judge a puzzle by those same names, but whether I have not seen them similarly clued before in a puzzle. E.g., I, (more or less), know elo, emo, Eno, Umy, and Enya only from xwords.

The puzzle? An enjoyable quickie with a minimum of pop culture.

Rube 12:45 PM  

That's Uma.

Rex Parker 12:47 PM  

Tipping your political hand (a bit): OK. Insulting others for tipping theirs: goodbye to your comment. Please find some MSNBC or FOX or ... well, Any other blog, where that stuff is par for the course. THANK you.


Nighthawk 1:03 PM  

Like many, even after finishing, I didn't get the relationship between the revealer and the theme answers until reading @RPs writeup.

@PlantieBea-I'm with you. Chuckled at the hidden Lou REED.
@archeoprof-yes, but I always liked their initial releases better - "Mr. Fantasy" and "Traffic."

Pretty fun and zippy for a Monday. I thought it was tighter than most, thinking that a mistaken identification of QUEEN ANN'S LACE would be the KISS OF DEATH.

Apropos of nothing, while watching arch rivals Ole Miss and Mississippi State battle for glory and bragging rights in the "Egg Bowl" I flipped back and forth to a pretty good History Channel piece called "Woodstock Then and Now," which was a clear-eyed, fascinating and a demystifying look at the event. Later, I took in a Netflix movie that happened to have arrived that day, with Diane Lane, Liev Schrieber, Viggo Mortensen, and a very young Anna Paquin, about love, marriage, fidelity and the lure of freedom for adults and teens, set in a Catskill's resort in the summer of 1969 called "A Walk On the Moon" in which, among other things, the Lane character attends one day of the nearby Woodstock festival with the Mortensen character. Pretty good flic. Lane and Schrieber are great. I briefly wondered if Schrieber was making a minor specialty of Woodstock related movies after also having appeared in "Taking Woodstock." So, today, I couldn't help wondering whether the revealer should have been "bands that did not play at Woodstock?"

wormica: rotten countertop

Anonymous 1:19 PM  

@Rex – So let me understand your rules of discourse. It is ok to write “keep your red-baiting, hackneyed, utterly stupid socialist-name-calling comments to yourself and your drinking buddies”* and falsely accuse Peter Goss of resigning as Director of the CIA because of a non-existent scandal. Got it. Thanks.

*September 21, 2010 by Jim

efrex 2:26 PM  

Too much to like for me to nit-pick, except that I didn't really pick up on the theme at all. Maybe a bit too much crosswordese (ISM, SOU, AGRA, and the already-maligned PFUI), but really intelligent crossing to make some of the unknowns very doable (never heard of QUEEN ANNES LACE), and I'm glad to see a Monday-level puzzle on Monday again.

Traffic 2:37 PM  

Well, here's a little puzzle

You can all join in

It's pretty simple

And I hope it's new

Make your own words up if you want to

Any old words that you think will do

Ah so good . . .

archaeoprof 3:09 PM  

@Nighthawk: agreed. But I know "low spark" because freshman year I couldn't ever seem to get a date. Sat around listening to music instead.

@fikink: don't know how to work Blind Faith into this puzzle. Maybe that's why Kiss got in...

Joe 3:27 PM  

I didn't think this was difficult at all.
Picked up the "theme" (or whatever you want to call it) quickly.

PFUI can go PF*** itself.
Why not FOOEY?
Look it up in the Urban Dictionary.

Jim 3:28 PM  


Hmmph. Seems you're right. Two years...and certainly resignation was hardly scandalous (although he never offered an adequate explanation).

Unfortunately, the passage of time and fading of memories has led to guilt by association for nearly everyone with that administration (notice how no one else objected, as it seems perfectly plausible).

Anyway, my apologies to Mr Goss, who seems to have been a perfectly respectable (if hyper-partisan) man.

sanfranman59 3:48 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 7:03, 6:56, 1.02, 61%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:54, 3:42, 1.05, 80%, Medium-Challenging

Anonymous 3:50 PM  

Jim: Thanks for the post.

From Answers.Com: "Critics accused Goss of being too closely tied to the Bush administration and of politicizing the CIA, while his supporters claimed he was trying to lead a moribund agency in new directions. Goss refused to explain his surprise resignation in 2006, telling a reporter from CNN that the reasons were 'just one of those mysteries.'"

Wikipedia reports: Goss is an avid organic farmer. According to a September 13, 2004 article in Roll Call, Goss has a farm in Virginia and spends his summers on Fishers Island in Long Island Sound.

We should all be so lucky....

JaxInL.A. 5:21 PM  

Hey, @Sparky! Welcome back and hope you are on the mend.

So hemlock masquerades as QUEEN ANNE'S LACE? Thanks, @PlantieBea.

PFUI comes from German? This stuff is why I keep coming back. Always learn something interesting.

Liked the puzzle, liked the theme, thought that the fill was excellent (Rex's diatribe against PFUI notwithstanding), and remarkably free of the stuff we usually complain about here.

We had two full Turkey days, so anyone who wants to come over for dinner would be more than welcome. Not sure how to store/eat all this food!

Clark 5:31 PM  

@Jim -- "notice how no one else objected". If you say something I disagree with, about, oh, say, the conjugation of a Greek verb, or the meaning of an obscure legal term, or whether this or that clue may or may not be misleading, then I feel a certain impulse to object. And in such cases, while you would still be foolish to take my failure to object to be some kind of agreement, I can at least see why you might make that mistake. But it would be a serious confusion on your part to take the silence of commenters on this blog to be a confirmation of something you may have said about politics.

"People come here to trade, make a little profit, do a little business. . . . Let's talk. Come inside. Leave your weapons here. It's the law." -- Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

Anonymous 5:39 PM  


I say Bravo, but, alas, Jim has the law on his side. Justice Cardozo once wrote: Silence means acquiescence. Of course Dickens wrote: the law is a long-eared equine....

retired_chemist 5:58 PM  

!@ Anon 5:39 -

Thomas More's famous statement of July 1, 1535 that silence gives assent predates Cardozo by several centuries.

sanfranman59 6:09 PM  

Anon @10:59am's post got me to looking at the data I've compiled to date to see what the quintile ranges are for each day of the week (quintiles are the fancy statistical term for 5 equal proportions of a distribution of values, which is what I use for my Easy, Easy-Medium, Medium, Medium-Challenging, Challenging scale). Here are the current ranges for the All Solvers group by day of week:

(Easy 0-20% | Easy-Medium 20-40% | Medium 40-60% | Medium-Challenging 60-80% | Challenging 80-100%)

Mon | 5:46-6:21 | 6:24-6:39 | 6:40-7:02 | 7:03-7:30 | 7:31-8:42
Tue | 6:40-7:58 | 8:01-8:22 | 8:25-9:10 | 9:11-9:49 | 9:52-11:47
Wed | 8:17-9:53 | 9:57-10:51 | 10:54-11:47 | 11:48-12:55 | 13:11-18:03
Thu | 12:59-15:13 | 15:15-17:18 | 17:22-19:01 | 19:18-21:34 | 21:50-30:44*
Fri | 17:30*-22:27 | 22:38-24:52 | 25:12-27:42 | 27:43-29:55 | 29:56-35:55*
Sat | 21:07-26:44 | 26:45-29:29 | 29:37-31:23 | 31:30-34:15 | 34:31-42:09

*Since the actual highest Thursday and Friday solve times (34:05 and 39:54) and the lowest Friday solve time (12:47) are outliers, I've omitted them from this summary. The 30:44 Thursday time is more than 2 minutes above the next highest time (28:24), but I decided to leave it in the table anyway.

General observations:

- There's lots of overlap on adjacent days of the week, particularly Friday and Saturday.

- Easy Tuesday puzzles are comparable to Medium Monday puzzles and Easy Wednesdays are comparable to Medium Tuesdays.

- There's not much overlap between puzzles two days apart, except that Easy Saturdays are comparable to Challenging Thursdays.

- There's a pretty big jump in difficulty between Wednesday and Thursday. Only the most challenging of the Wednesday puzzles are comparable to the easiest of the Thursday puzzles.

fikink 6:18 PM  

Or there is my favorite Will Rogers quip about silence, and probably more to @Clark's point: "Never miss a good chance to shut up."
(not that I have always observed this maxim)

Anonymous 6:25 PM  

@retired_chemist - True, but More lost his head over his statement, whereas Cardozo was writing for the majority....

Sfingi 6:32 PM  

The truck carrying the NYT broke down below Albany. No CW for me today.

chefbea 7:42 PM  

@jaxin LA want some recipes????

Clark 7:45 PM  

@anon 5:39 -- He does not have the law of Bartertown on his side. Nor does he have our law on his side. Silence means acquiescence in the law only in particular contexts where the law makes it so -- not generally. And, finally, I do not think Cardozo said what you said he said (though I would be happy to know where he said it if he did).

CrazyCat 7:49 PM  

Enjoyable Monday puzzle and theme.
@fikink I agree about Blind Faith. Steve Winwood was like 16 or 17. Traffic was a great follow up. Early Clapton, Cream was great too. Can't relate to Kiss or Queen. PFUI! I thought they were "Hair" bands.

I remember Queen Anne's Lace growing wild in the summer when I lived in PA. In Southern CA, you have to buy it at the florist and it's very expensive - same for bittersweet.

Anonymous 9:06 PM  


Rex has banished me from these premises, so do not take my silence as acquiesence in your assertion....

Anonymous 9:33 PM  


As the anonymous poster at 10:59a.m., I was pleased to see my casual comment actually had some merit.

Thanks for the fascinating presentation.

Kendall 9:59 PM  

I loved this puzzle.... other than that bit about PFUI. Really in truly this has been my favorite Monday puzzle of the year even with that awful little fill-in. Don't have much else to say that hasn't been said, but really did enjoy this one a lot.

sanfranman59 10:01 PM  

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

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

Mon 7:03, 6:56, 1.02, 61%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:48, 3:42, 1.03, 64%, Medium-Challenging

Thomas Cromwell 11:14 PM  

@Retired Chemist - Maybe More said that, but look what good it did him.

Stan 11:38 PM  

Very much a fun puzzle. Nice to see a female constructor after what seems like a long string of guys.

We solved driving from Irondequoit, NY, to Wells, ME, and it only took a few exits of the NY Thruway. Felt that HAIR METAL would have been a better theme but only came up with Crüe Socks and Poison (something, ala Rex).

Laurence Hunt 12:40 AM  
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Laurence Hunt 12:44 AM  

Rex, Definitely a good theme. In my world, Traffic and Cream are far more significant bands than Queen and Kiss. Is that a generational thing (60s vs 70s?). Cream and Traffic were indeed "head" bands, as were the Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe and the Fish, Canned Heat, etc. Queen? Maybe. But Kiss - that's headbanger music - still involves the head, but not the same thing!

JaxInL.A. 12:24 PM  

By the way, thanks for yesterday's offer of recipes, @ChefBea. We have a surfeit of stuffing for reasons that are a little unclear to me. Multiple suppliers, mostly. Any suggestions?

Other problems: salad and succotash. The rest got frozen.

And Hanukkah starts Friday. Oy!

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