Hollyoaks actress Atkinson / TUE 11-9-10 / Chest: Prefix / Big name in GPS devices / Scott in 1857 Supreme Court case

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Constructor: Daniel A. Finan

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: JRR TOLKIEN'S "THE / LORD OF THE RINGS" (19A: With 55-Across, source of this puzzle's quote (which starts in box #38)) — quote reads: "NOT ALL THOSE WHO WANDER ARE LOST"

Word of the Day: Sarah ORNE Jewett (56D: Author Sarah ___ Jewett) —

Sarah Orne Jewett (September 3, 1849 – June 24, 1909) was an American novelist and short story writer, best known for her local color works set in or near South Berwick, Maine, on the border of New Hampshire, which in her day was a declining New England seaport.
• • •

Man, this took me about a full minute longer than my average Tuesday, and I have no (clear) idea why. Nothing seems particularly hard (except GEMMA! WTF is "Hollyoaks" and WhoTF is GEMMA Atkinson?—I've heard of neither ... OK I just looked her up and she and her show are British ... !?!?!?!? ... it's Tuesday, for god's sake, and you're giving me some B-grade "TV personality" who isn't even from this country? It's bad enough I have to keep track of crap TV on *this* side of the pond...). DIESELOIL (16A: Fuel for some trucks) and AMAZONANT (63A: Insect known for conducting raids) are not impressing me. The first barely feels like a thing and the second exists only because of all of its common letters. I'm actually not fond of the theme at all. I'm sure it looks cool, but ... I always thought that sentiment, "NOT ALL THOSE WHO WANDER ARE LOST," was something New Age-y or Grateful Dead-y. I get how the circles express wandering, but ... as far as I can tell, those circles are still lost. No idea what they're leading to or why. And JRRTOLKIENSTHE is up there among the ugliest bits of fill I've seen in a while. I admire the creativity of the theme, but the execution left me cold.

Got held up briefly in many places. The GEMMA region, for one. And then the STETHO- (?) (33A: Chest: Prefix) region. That and A TOOL were both tough to get (24D: "You're such ___" (teen put-down)). Tried EVICT and EXILE before (the always horrid) EGEST (40A: Cast out). Thought 45D: Zephyrs were BLIMPS, not BREEZES (clearly I was thinking of Zeppelins). Went with LIMA bean instead of FAVA (57D: Broad bean). I think that's it for the missteps. Still, slow(er) going. Wish I liked the non-theme fill better, considering my tepidness toward the theme.

  • 6D: Year the Department of Homeland Security was created (MMII) — I, strangely, had MIII for a while.
  • 32D: Like a space cadet (DITSY) — only want to spell this word DITZY. You are a DITZ, not a DITS. Well, not you, specifically (probably).
  • 23D: "Morning Joe" TV channel (MSNBC) — I used to watch this some, but cannot stand politics in the morning any more (I'm a "Mike & Mike" viewer now).
  • 41D: Big name in GPS devices (GARMIN) — Do not own one and likely never will. It would be more distraction than aid. I would almost certainly drive my car into a lake. Also, I think farming out your sense of direction to a machine—maybe not so great an idea. I can see they might be useful in emergencies (like last weekend, when my directions to PuzzleGirl's house called for me to go down a highway that was closed...), but otherwise, I'll pass.
Gotta go watch "Conan."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Tobias Duncan 12:16 AM  

This one took me a while for a tuesday.When I was done I absentmindedly poked around at the theme bubbles while still digesting the puzzle.When I realized the snakelike quote I sorta gasped "nuh my god". Am I the only one seriously impressed by the constuction here ? Am I too easy?
I am kinda blown away right now.

REx is clearly not feeling the love.
The only brit ladies I care about come from new DR Who series.Amy Pond and Billie Piper RRRRRrrrrr.

Anonymous 12:54 AM  

My favorite expression from my Garmin GPS is "Recalculating" but it's good for finding the closest ATM at my bank when I'm away from home....

foodie 12:59 AM  

Very impressive construction, but not a smooth solve.

I would have liked the quote more if it said WoNDER instead of WANDER.

Rex, I like that you ended your commentary with the discussion of sense of direction, given the theme of WANDERing and being LOST... Not all who wander have misplaced their GPS...

For the longest time, I thought I had the worst sense of direction. Until a few years back, we were in Rhodos, and I could find my way around perfectly while my husband was totally lost. I realized that I use specific local cues instead of a broad sense of orientation. So, in a place with twisty, windy streets but lots of variety, I shine. It turns out females (even mice) simply do it differently from males...

The Corgi of Mystery 1:18 AM  

Thought I was headed for a slowish Tuesday time after crashing and burning in the NW, but still ended up with my average. I *did* rather like the theme, but mostly because I'm a fan of the quote and the verse it comes from.

John V 1:24 AM  

Maybe just me and a my CA temp venue, but this one just did not resonate. Yes, more challenging, but not, IHMO, worth the effort. Sorry. Claiming cranky pants for the day.

SethG 1:29 AM  

Mudville. A bit slower than my average Wednesday time.

For the oil, my first try was DIESOLINE.

chefwen 1:56 AM  

This was a very slow Tuesday for me. Ended up Googling GEMMA, who the hell names their kid GEMMA? Also Googled that Danish astronomer TYCHO. Cannot remember ever cheating on a TUESDAY, oh the shame of it all!

I am directionally challenged, got lost driving up to our arboretum, mentioned it to the husband and he said "you live on a freaking island, how the hell can you get lost, just look for the water". I don't mention these things to him anymore.

andrea ditzy michaels 2:50 AM  

My goddaughter is named GEMMA...actually a fairly common name in England...I think it's lovely...like a gem!

You are not alone...the construction seems super fresh and fun. I think it would have been more well received without the "THE" attached to JRRTOLKIEN. That uglified massively what is a brilliant idea.

(Also, I don't think you're too easy. Seems some speed solvers get cranky if anything slows them down)

This was mixed for me...thing that threw me, besides names I didn't know (ORNE, TYCHO, GEMMA) was this odd negative vibe, esp in the NE
plus ATOOL and SIMP (and HOS!) floating around.

One X short of a pangram. I liked the J and Q sort of hanging out in corners, felt like extra effort put in to an already remarkable idea.

Just learned GARMIN when my sisters and I bought one made for a golf course for my mom's beau's 80th and he was very happy.
Hey, Mort! Thanks for being in our lives!

Over all, couldn't wait to solve it when I saw the snake.

crosswordnovice 3:26 AM  

I for some reason thought today was Wednesday and though I'd done so well only to come on here and find out it's only Tuesday. :( Oh well.

It was kinda lame, not gonna lie. Though I did love TYCHO Brahe being the astrophysics major that I am. And I didn't know GEMMA Atkinson even though I've lived here for 1 year and a half now and Hollyoaks is everywhere. It was easy enough from the crosses though. Actually I don't think I know anyone personally that actually watches the soap - everyone here is hooked on xFactor

Brendan Emmett Quigley 6:12 AM  

Just sayin', Mike & Mike are two of the most winsome people on ESPN, and yeah, that's saying something.

The Hag 6:37 AM  

While I acknowledge its cleverness, I had my usual problem with this kind of puzzle. I like using the grid to work out the theme, but because I'm a huge LOTR fan, I got JRR and the rest of the theme filled itself. And I completely agree with Mr. Parker - the rest of the grid was kind of meh.

Also - I had a house full of teens for the last 6 years and never ever heard any of them say, "You're such a tool". It is, however, a phrase I've heard in the workplace.

I was also very anti-GPS but bought one for exactly the reason mentioned - one too many times getting lost because the route I'd figured out from Mapquest had an emergency closing.

Oscar 7:15 AM  

ADMEN/TMAN and STY/STYE in the same grid make me sad. Ok, more annoyed than sad.

Also, the wandering path is not *quite* symmetric, though it easily could have been. WTF?

John Holmes 7:30 AM  

"You're such A TOOL" is vulgar. Tool being slang for the male anatomy. Just sayin'

Bilbo 7:42 AM  

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

The poem is about Aragorn.

Dr. L 7:49 AM  

A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

The Hag 7:50 AM  

@John Holmes. Actually in this context it's not. "Tool" implies an actual tool - an implement used to perform a task as in "Management is treating you like a tool, not like a person" or "You are working too hard on trivial things - lightening up and stop being such a tool."

At least - that's how we used it. On further reflection though, maybe you are right and that's the meaning of the "teen put-down" and the teens I know are just well-mannered?

*toldfu - The ancient art of telling someone off as in, "My toldfu is strong."*

Diana Holquist 8:04 AM  

On first quick glance, thought that pic of the lovely lady up top was Sarah Orne Jewett. Local color indeed....


Loved loved loved this puzzle, although DNF because of yar/pyrite cross. Not a JRR fan, so it wasn't obvious to me until the bottom worked itself out. Then reveal was fun, surprising, Tuesday fast. I loved the wandering circles. New and fresh to me.

Bravos all around.

(Spelled "luau" today PDQ after pausing, erasing, puzzling yesterday. Twice in a row, baby! I feel the brain cells multiplying...)

Diana Holquist 8:07 AM  

@oscar Must one wander symmetrically?

dk 8:16 AM  

Nice and smooth for this hobbit.

** (2 Stars)

I am taking @foodies advice and getting a female mouse to replace all this search and rescue crap I drag around, not to mention what I will save on a GPS if I ever own a car new enough to have one.

Installed a PC (work requires it) last night.... what a step back in time. My desk used to be neat and tidy now I have wires running every which way. Even the mouse has one. My cable modem is currently refusing to recognize the PC. I think the modem is being a little passive aggressive... must be transference.

That GEMMA certainly makes an impression.

chipperj 8:30 AM  

Love my GPS. Like many people, I didn't want one. But now... just try to take it away from me. Just try.

(and btw, your saying "Grateful Dead-y is a bad thing?)

joho 8:32 AM  

I really liked the theme and the "wandering" quote.

Also, like @andrea ditzy, I enjoy near pangram puzzles and love seeing Q's and J's in the grid.

I get STETHO now, like stethoscope I imagine, but at first went for STErn something ... couldn't be STERnO!

Thanks Daniel, better than average Tuesday for me!

Anonymous 8:37 AM  

Trucks run on Diesel Fuel not oil!!

glimmerglass 8:37 AM  

Dislike LOTR intensely, but I got 19 & 55 Across just off the JRR, coming out of the NW. Actually Tolkien is pretty new-age-y, full of pretentious-sounding pseudo-wisdom. (Not all those who are lost wander, too. So what?) Thanks for the Dion clip.
The teenagers I knew said, "You're such a simple tool," meaning, "You're dumb as a rock," Without the "simple," it just means, "You're a dick." Apologies to anyone named Richard. Never heard of Ms. Atkinson, but Gemma is a fairly common name, and the crosses are all easy. Nice picture. Medium Tuesday, for me.

The Big E 8:38 AM  

I liked the puzzle, but am I the only one who had issue with "source of the puzzle's quote" being somewhat vague? JRR Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" refers to three different books - it's the name of a trilogy. The line in fact comes from "The Fellowship of the Ring."
Maybe I am being overly technical? I just think each book should be appreciated individually and not always referred to as "The Lord of the Rings."
I would take similar umbrage if someone were to have made a puzzle where the source was listed as "The Chronicles of Narnia" and the quote came from "the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe."
Just sayin..

Golfballman 8:41 AM  

As one travels the hi-ways and by-ways of America one will see thousands of signs for diesel FUEL.

efrex 8:42 AM  

Clever theme, and I don't mind the JRRTOLKIENSTHE, but far too many ambiguous clues for a Tuesday for my taste. Had HIP instead of HEP, IMAM instead of EMIR, EJECT for EGEST, and still don't understand SIMP; made for a slow Tuesday and sloppy-looking grid at the end. On the other hand, liked POKE/STY/STYE, PYRITE, and CLONE.

Eh, they can't all be winners.

Doug 8:46 AM  

Totally, totally agree with Rex on this one. Not a Tolkien fan so that's a bad start. But TYCHO and EGEST and ATOOL? Maybe this puzzle was for ditsy simps?

Wikipedia 8:54 AM  

@The Big E. "Although mistakenly known to most readers as a trilogy, the work was initially intended by Tolkien to be one volume of a two-volume set along with The Silmarillion. However, when Tolkien submitted the first volume entitled 'The Lord of the Rings' to his publisher, it was decided for financial reasons to publish the work as three separate volumes, each consisting of two books, over the course of a year in 1954–55, creating the full 'Lord of the Rings' sequence."

JaxInL.A. 8:57 AM  

Wanted EvicT or EjecT for cast out, but that left poor Espana under EL cOL. I don't have a car (yes, I really live in L.A.) so no GPS. I must have run across EGEST before, but ugh! Does this word ever appear in the wild or is it confined to xwords? If I understand Natick right, this GARMIN / EGEST cross can't be a Natick because one is not a proper name, but that's how it felt to me.

I got all the other weird stuff. Knew TYCHO Brahe, even knew Babi YAR. A wonderful history prof in junior college had us read Anatoly Kuznetsov's Babi Yar: A Document in the Form of a Novel. The book is written from the author's experience as a 14-year-old boy in Kiev during WW II about a ravine where Nazis executed over 100,000 people, including 33,771 Jews in a single campaign over 3 days in late September 1941. Kuznetsov's voice in the book makes it remarkably engaging to read, even with the devastating content. Yevtushenko wrote a poem and Shostakovich wrote a symphony about the events there.

And on that cheery note, I leave you. Sorry.

Matthew G. 9:04 AM  

A few points:

@Rex: Agree with you bigtime about DIESELOIL. The big problem, as one can see if one Googles this phrase, is that the term "diesel oil" generally refers to the _motor oil_ for diesel vehicles, not to the diesel fuel they run on. So, yeah, that's a weak clue. I also agree with you that JRRTOLKIENSTHE is horrid, which is a shame, because I actually liked the wandering quote part of the theme very much.

@Chefwen: Gemma is a very common name not just in England but also in Australia. Though I completely agree that this particular Gemma is someone no American solver should be expected to know on a Tuesday morning. I certainly didn't, though having heard of others by that name made it easy for me to accept that answer with the crosses.

@The Big E: Actually, no. Tolkien regarded "The Lord of the Rings" as a single novel divided into three volumes solely for his publisher's marketing needs, and it's historically been analyzed and referred to as a single work. He didn't even like the titles his publisher gave the individual volumes (especially "The Return of the King," which he thought revealed too much of the plot), but so it goes. In any event, I actually think citation to "The Lord of the Rings" is better than citing to one particular volume.

chefbea 9:06 AM  

Never read Lord of the Rings but found this a pretty easy puzzle

Had wimp for simp and never heard of Gemma.

retired_chemist 9:14 AM  

I liked it. Not loved, but certainly liked it better than several (Incl. Rex). Do agree that JRRTOLKIENSTHE is pretty lame. DIESEL OIL seems to google as a lubricant and not as a fuel, so I'll go along with the complainers on this one.

The snaky quote is IMO a tour de force. Each letter in the quote must fit across, down, and in the quote.

Also wanted STERNO @ 33a, mike @joho, and came to the same realization eventually.

TOOL was the term for one who studies hard where I was an undergraduate in fifties. I prefer to think of the putdown that way instead of the more vulgar option.

Thanks, Mr. Finan. A bit flawed but overall more good than bad.

Mike Golic 9:16 AM  

@BEQ - Where do you get off calling me winsome? I'm a friggin defensive lineman for god's sake. I'm 6'5", weigh 290+, and have a face that looks like a football used for an entire season.

fikink 9:18 AM  

I am really ambivalent about this puzzle (owing possibly to the time I did it, circadian rhythms and all that).
@foodie, love your replacement of "wander" with "wonder" - seems to me the wondering is imperative for finding one's way in fact - grow those neurons!
Isn't TOOL used by the young the way "knob" used to be? @The Hag, I think you are giving the teens too much credit for civility.
@Mr. Finan, I cannot say this was an enjoyable puzzle, given the less than elegant fill, but the construction is impressive, IMO.

Glitch 9:37 AM  

Perhaps the author used JRR Tolkien's THE Lord of the Rings to differentiate it from any other LOTR's (vis a vis Bram Stoker's Dracula) ;-)

I agree with @R_C's:

The snaky quote is IMO a tour de force. Each letter in the quote must fit across, down, and in the quote.

Thus give today's puzzle an A for construction, C for solving. Additional deduction for circles waived.


OldCarFudd 9:38 AM  

Does Gemma have a hard or a soft G? Inquiring minds want to know. The Gemma in the picture has assets that are, no doubt, soft, however she pronounces her name.

Agree about diesel oil/fuel.

Enjoyed the theme when I finally figured it out. It got me the first t in stetho, or I'd still be struggling.

And Rex, I have to pick a nit with one of your errors. A zeppelin is not a blimp; their constructions are totally different. A zeppelin's shape comes from a rigid structure, like an airplane's fuselage; its lift comes from gas bags inside the framework. A blimp has no structure; its shape comes from the inflated gas bag itself, which supports the hardware (cabin, engines, fuel tanks) by being heavily reinforced. Both are types of dirigible, or steerable, airships.

I don't yet use a GPS for navigation in a car. A hand-held one is a useful toy. If you're coastal kayaking and fog rolls in, it's great for telling you which island is looming out of the murk. But you'd still better know something about compass navigation in case you drop the GPS overboard or the battery dies. Old car nuts find GPS useful; I thought the speedometer in my Stanley Steamer was understating my speed, and I was right; when my son was driving it at an indicated 40, my granddaughter pulled out the GPS, and it said we were going 50. In a 99-year-old car, that's damn scary! GPS has spawned a fun outdoor game called geocaching. Someone hides an object in an obscure place and publishes its GPS coordinates. Players then try to find the object, and sign into a log book when they do. Sounds easy. Isn't.

fikink 9:45 AM  

@OldCarFudd, her assets are both soft AND pronounced.

retired_chemist 9:49 AM  

I am an unabashed GPS junkie. I don't think my use has diminished my sense of direction/location at all, and a GPS certainly has helped my wife and me find places we are unfamiliar with, e.g. last night taking a friend to her hotel in a town both she and we were unfamiliar with.

archaeoprof 10:03 AM  

Another "Mike and Mike" viewer here.

Got GEMMA only on crosses.

We use GPS systems on digs, and they're fantastic for surveying and elevations.

PlantieBea 10:07 AM  

This one falls into my good but not great puzzle group. I liked the wandering quote, but not the JRR Tolkien's THE line.
I first heard of the name Gemma (Jones) while watching "The Duchess of Duke Street", a British miniseries made by the Upstairs Downstairs folks. My teen turned 16 today. He has never used "tool" as a putdown, well at least not in my presence.

nanpilla 10:12 AM  

I have a GPS for my car(a gift) that I never even remember is in my console. The Garmin on my boat, however, is a game changer. So nice to be able to mark a particular ledge or reef to come back to. And the charts that they come equipped with even show no-fish sanctuaries and wrecks. When the fog rolls in, it can be a lifesaver. It leaves a trail of "bread crumbs" so you can always find your way home.

Back in the days before GPS, my first time running our boat myself (hubbie stayed home with baby, a friend and I wanted to go fishing), I had to navigate with only a compass, and still managed to find the bouy out in the middle of Delaware Bay that I was aiming for in the fog. When it loomed up out of the mist, I almost did a jig! There is a certain satisfaction to doing it the hard way, but I wouldn't want to go out without my GPS these days!

Being a LOTR fan, I liked the puzzle, but agree it was unfortunate to have to tack THE onto JRR TOLKIEN's name.

quilter1 10:12 AM  

I ignored the quote and knew almost everything. Got the rest from crosses. I liked HADJ next to EMIR and thought NADA next to GNAW in the SE was kind of punny (nah, we don't have any). Also liked POKE next to STY. In fact, until I saw that the SW corner didn't have semi-related side by side downs I thought it might be a mini-them. Quick and easy for me.

quilter1 10:17 AM  

Also meant to say, we travel by car to the west coast a lot to see kids and grands. We use our Garmin for almost everything. Programmed in all rest areas, Trader Joe's and eateries from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives show on Food Network among other things. Never drove into a lake or off a cliff although once, due to bad coordinates, we went looking for Trinity College in Dublin on a golf course.

ArtLvr 10:22 AM  

I too had to give up Wimp fpr SIMP right at the end. Then I read Rex and thought he was a bit PICKY! I liked pig in a POKE and Babi YAR (grim), GARMIN and other not-so-common Tuesday fill, especially STETHO. Also, the WANDERing phrase was a good surprise: well done!

Then I looked up at the TV screen at Rex's mention of Morning Joe, and found I'd moved on to CNBC -- where the headine was "Grupo Bimbo to take over Sara Lee's bakery unit." Can't wait to google this DITZY (sic) -sounding outfit! A GEMMA of corporate naming?


Anonymous 10:28 AM  

I didn't mind the theme so much -- pretty much saw it with the "JRRT" in the NW. But the B-list British Celeb and STY/STYE in the same puzzle were just lame. There must have been a better way to make the theme work.

Two Ponies 10:33 AM  

Impressive construction but I'm not sure it was worth the price of admission.
Yeah, I don't think you would get very far if you put diesel oil in your tank.
Gemma's assets look far from soft.
More like hard plastic.
Not only do I love pen-and-paper for my puzzling but I also adore maps. Real maps. Out here in the Mojave if you stay on paved roads there are so few choices that it's very difficult to get lost. As for you boating folks, I think you have a valuable tool. I also know tool as Mr. Holmes explained.

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

As a huge Tolkien fan, I loved the puzzle and especially enjoyed finding the much-loved quote! More often than not, quotes in puzzles elude me - what fun to find one that I was familiar with!

Howard B 10:35 AM  

Well, I really liked the concept of the twisty quote, as it treats figuring out the actual quotation as a bonus which may help with the answers, instead of requiring the crossings. So the quote and crossings can actually help both ways. I hope this quote puzzle style is used again in the future.
Not a fan of this fill in this one though, agree with Rex on that. Some brutal stuff in there, possibly to up the difficulty a notch?

Agree in that the split of the author/work is a bit awkward, and disagree in that referring to the "LotR" trilogy as the source is inaccurate. It's less specific, but still valid for this purpose. People may often refer to a quotation from "The Bible", without citing the testament, book, etc. but the general, informal idea of the source is understood. I do agree, however, that I wouldn't cite it this way in a bibliography.

Also not a fan of "A TOOL" used in this manner. I've only heard it used as a lesser vulgarity substitute, with no other context. I can accept and appreciate that it's one of those terms where the original meaning/intent has probably been lost since I've heard it (long, long ago...). One of those fun things about language, it's always evolving.

Van55 10:39 AM  

This, to me, is one of those self-indulgent puzzles created more to demonstrate the constructor's brilliance than to entertain the solver. The snaky quote added absolutely zero to my solving experience.

As usual I hated the random Roman numeral -- even though it's a more or less contemporary date. Or maybe because it's a contemporary date. We don't generally use Roman numerals in this century. Well, maybe on the cornerstones of buildings.

The clue for EGESTS is off to me.

20 proper nouns today by my count.

Stan 10:46 AM  

Found the JRR(etc.) part almost too easy, but ended up enjoying the puzzle and the bonus quote.

I'm the spatially challenged partner in our marriage. My wife never gets lost--sometimes I call her from the car and describe my surroundings to find out where I am. I don't think it's gender-specific, just randomly distributed. (Don't feel bad, @chefwen.)

Bob Kerfuffle 10:51 AM  

Thank you, Bilbo 7:42, for posting the poem. Without it I never would have caught on to the theme-relatedness of 47 D, It glitters but isn't gold! (PYRITE)

Otherwise, impressive construction with less than maximally enjoyable solve, as almost everyone else said.

Sparky 10:52 AM  

DNF. Spots in the top eluded me. Agree re DEISELOIL. Don't like using IDIOT that way. Bozo's a clown, dumb. Idiot is a serious condition. Liked the snaky quote. How is a STY a container? Is a corral a container? Vague clues.
Have been in Florida for Mother-in-law's wake. She was 95 and will be sorely missed.
Here's to a good week.

Matthew G. 10:55 AM  

I actually think A TOOL, whatever its origins, has at least evolved a more specific kind of put-down meaning. When I hear it used these days, it generally seems intended to connote something along the lines of what this person on Yahoo Answers claims it means:

A tool is a person who is so disrepectably easy to exploit, use or otherwise take advantage of that they are treated as an object. A tool is often a person who, like an actual tool, has no say in how they are used by people. The reason such a person is so readily victimized varies: naiveness, neediness, etc.


I think that's right, since I usually hear this expression addressed to someone who's kind of giving in and going along with somebody else's lameness. Of course, the Yahoo Answerer also admits the other, simpler, less crossword-appropriate meaning.

On balance, it doesn't bother me. but I'm not a prude so long as there is at least one step removed from any crudity. I'm fine with Will letting this one into puzzle.

CaseAce 10:56 AM  

chipperj, Upon Recalculating... we wouldn't dream of prying your trusty GPS from your cold dead hands. It's definitely one direction we'd dare not go!

Jim 11:02 AM  

To me, the anti-GPS argument makes little objective sense, except in the following way. It speaks to a certain world view: namely, a self-absorbed, inward-looking one.

It's the same logic that says 'why learn anything when I can always look it up intwo seconds'.

There IS virtue in knowing how to navigate using a compass, the sun, the stars, or some internal mechanism, even if this could never be as reliable as a GPS device. Why??

One, it shows a capacity to synthesize a skill that relies on several methods of thinking (spatial, logical, etc). Further, however, it's impossible to hone a sense of direction without SOMEHOW developing an appreciation for those who came before us: geologists, physicists, cartographers, astronomers. If you believe navigation is as easy as no more difficult than some computerized tart telling you to turn left at the next block, then you likely have a similar lack of appreciation for knowledge in general, and history in particular.

Btw, some of these same deficiencies are seen in obsessive texters, news feed-types and, IMO, technophiles in general.

The beauty is in the journey, not the destination.

ArtLvr 11:20 AM  

Egads -- I just googled Grupo Bimbo: it's the largest bakery company in the world! Founded in Mexico in 1945, the name has no meaning in Spanish. As of December 2008 it acquired Weston Foods and thereby became the only bakery with a national footprint in the US. Today they own dozens of brands such as Arnold, Boboli, Thomas, Brownberry, Entenmann's, Freihofer's and Stroehmann. Now Sara Lee too, for nearly a billion. Their logo is a cute white teddy bear wearing a chef's toque. Who knew?


foodie 11:21 AM  

@quilter1, I love that show--Diners, Drive-ins and Dives! I saw an episode about a Syrian place the other day, and I can attest to the fact that it is as authentic as it gets.

@chefwen, I would say that an island would be particularly confusing to me. There's water everywhere you look-- what kind of cue is that! Disoriented women, unite...

Geek alert- a neuroscience factoid ahead: for any new environment, the hippocampus, a brain structure that vaguely looks like a Sea Horse, creates a map. There are cells that get excited whenever you are in a particular location in that space, and quiet down if you move elsewhere. So, we have our own GPS device, and all kinds of cues are used to establish the information. If you're a glutton for punishment, here's more info:

CaseAce 11:25 AM  

I refused to play the Simp, instead of getting Bog-ged down, I solved it PDQ, Purim simple!

Mel Ott 11:37 AM  

I liked the puzzle more than @Rex did. Kind of a Thursday-style puzzle with Wed.-Thurs. difficulty.

I thought the clue at 4A demanded an adjective so I started with DUMB.

I own 2 diesel engines (on a boat) and we usually call the stuff that goes in the tank simply DIESEL. Sometimes DIESEL fuel. Never DIESEL OIL.

ZEPHYR is a funny word. It means a light or gentle breeze, but it feels like it ought to mean a stronger wind.

chefbea 11:52 AM  

I have seen many Bimbo trucks here in Wilmington. Thought they were another company making pastries. Had no Idea they are the owners of almost everything

J Gutenberg 11:57 AM  

@Jim - So, I shouldn't have invented the printing press, because it enables all you simpletons to just buy a book? Foolish me.

Real or Fake? 11:58 AM  

And, the winner is Two Ponies!

Masked and Anonymous 12:03 PM  

On the whole, liked this puz. The criticisms mostly seem valid, altho my own engine light didn't flicker much while solving. Puz put up a fight in the GARMIN and PURIM/ORNE areas, but sparred my way thru it. Wandered, but didn't get lost.

Neat theme. Different. Refreshing. Puz was flirting with U-lessness, until LUAU saved its bacon in the SW. Had fun with it; that's mostly what I ask from a puz. Don't know this GEMMA, but good to see that she looks so healthy. I'd give it all a wanderin' thumbs up!

Masked and Anonymous 12:11 PM  

P.S. Putting diesel oil in yer tank would definitely make the engine light go on!

J 12:24 PM  

The NW corner sucked big time.

Bad cluing.

DIESELOIL? When was the last time a person with a diesel engine asked someone to "fill it up with dieseloil"?

Just fill it up with diesel.

SIMP now has a more "wishy-washy" connotation than "not bright." Simp, wimp, etc.
Simpleton would be different.

PALE--better clue would have been "visibly ill."
"Visibly terrified" connotes more of a shaking, teeth chattering vibe.

GEMMA Atkinson? Oh, I knew who she was....

EGEST? Puh-leeze.

Masked and Anonymous's last silver bullet 1:03 PM  

P.P.S. I mean, you could put a Little oil in with your gas, if you got yerself a two-stroke engine, but not Straight diesel oil. And even then, the oil's the lubrication, the gas is the fuel. Had a snow-thrower like that, once.

Still liked the puz, tho.

The Hag 1:04 PM  

@Jim. I see your point but feel it is not valid in all cases. When your beauteous journey has detoured onto a back road at 2am, you are driving by yourself and running low on gas - the destination looms rather large in importance.

I actually have a very good sense of direction. I love maps and have a good selection both in the car and at home. I don't use the GPS a lot, but I'm glad I have it on those occasions when I need it. It's A TOOL, in the good way. And I believe that one can appreciate history without being a luddite.

As for the puzzle - I did like PYRITE. EGEST always makes me think of sea cucumbers which have a interesting defense mechanism. Definitely doesn't pass the breakfast test.

Jim 1:04 PM  

J Gutenberg:

I fail to see the corollary. However, the point I'm making is not a new or even particularly profound one. It's simply this: the more you subcontract out what used to be activities of the mind, and rely on technology, the basis of which relatively few have any grasp, the less the ancillary benefits to society one will see from one's use of those brain functions.

Ask yourself this question: have you ever tried to engage in conversation with someone who sends 3000 texts a month (which, btw, is the average for teenagers now)? I rest my case.

stix2metunesmiffin 1:15 PM  

Got JJR and blasted in the entire theme in 5 seconds, so no "aha" there. Then the fill slogged on with sim(p)ilar hold-ups.

Since NYC is know as a lousy place to own a car I'm a little iffy on car stuff in general the GPS stuff especially(and didn't we just have "onstar"?). Speaking of GPS, have you guys seen this going around Facebook:

1.Go to Google maps. 2. Go to "Get Directions". 3. Type Japan as the start location. 4. Type China as the end location.......5. Go to direction #43

chefbea 1:38 PM  

@stix2metunesmiffin...that's a riot!!!!!

J Gutenberg 1:49 PM  

@Jim - It's exactly the same at the core, people simply decrying new technologies on the basis of isolated examples of use of such. Is a GPS such a bad idea when the alternative is trying to drive and read a map at the same time? Where do we draw the line at what is a good method for getting from point A to B? GPS? Google Maps? street maps? compasses? stars & sextants? Globes? It's just the same stupid argument that's been going on for millenia: kids these days I don't know, back in my day...

True that, double true 1:57 PM  

Or go from Honolulu, HI to Taipei City, Taiwan, with three different oceanic crossing options. I'm not sure why this is popping up now; it's been around for a while.

Tobias Duncan 1:59 PM  

When you kept your nose in a book you were called a bookworm and criticized for not taking part in what was going on around you ...

Martin 2:17 PM  

"Diesel oil" is short for "diesel fuel oil." You never know what will bring out the "I don't know that word so it doesn't exist" crowd. I'm afraid the entertainment value today was eclipsed by Gemma's picture.

chefwen 2:30 PM  

@Andera ? Carla - Sorry, I had never heard or seen the name GEMMA (and I lived in Great Britain for 5 years)in my mind off of GEOL I pronounced it with a hard G, much prettier using the soft G.

mac 2:37 PM  

OK puzzle, no real problems, but I have to agree with the criticism. Particularly dislike sty/stye, admen/Tman.

Remember Hollyoaks from Brit TV (not the Beeb!).

Liked the wandering quote the best of all.

Van55 2:41 PM  

According to this site: http://www.babynames.co.uk/meaning_origin_name_Gemma.htm "Gemma" was the 253d most popular girls name in the UK as of 2008.

Slippery Individual 2:52 PM  

@Martin: Both you and Masked & Anonymous are probably correct, if you get into the "is short for" arena:
Diesel Fuel Oil = fuel (Although, usually hear it referred to as "Diesel Oil" more in the running of furnaces. Usually just hear "Diesel" or "Diesel Gas" when referring to truck fuel.)
Diesel Motor Oil = lubricant (Have seen this referred to as simply "Diesel Oil" occasionally in some ads.)

Clark 3:05 PM  

diesel fuel –noun
a combustible petroleum distillate used as fuel for diesel engines.
Also called diesel oil.


My dad, who was a navy vet and drove a diesel car, used to use 'diesel oil' and 'diesel fuel' and 'diesel' interchangeably.

Martin 3:26 PM  

The GPS is the greatest invention since the computer, or maybe since the pillow. I can't believe there are GPS-Luddites.

The directions part is pretty cool (and if your spouse is navigationally challenged, it could be a marriage saver) but the point-of-interest database is the real roadtrip changer. Let's say the sun is setting and you're near West Buttfork, Montana. Rather than worrying about having to sleep in the car, you punch "nearest motels," call one to confirm they have a room and then hit "navigate to." With a little bit of "google sense" you can even locate a pretty decent Thai restaurant in rural Wisconsin and other similar surprises. We drove 13,000 miles from California to Cooperstown and back in 2000 in a rented Camry with a Neverlost and I was sold.

Now the one in my Droid is my new favorite. I prefer it to the one built into the car because of the voice activation. The maps and POIs are always current, and it's free.

SAE International 3:27 PM  

Startability Benefits of Multigrade Diesel Oils
Date Published: 1977-02-01
Paper Number: 770629
DOI: 10.4271/770629
Author(s):A. R. Nolf - Oakville Res. Centre, Shell Canada Ltd.

The cranking and starting characteristics of four multigrade and two single grade crankcase oils have been evaluated in three popular makes of diesel truck engines. . .

sanfranman59 3:35 PM  

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

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

Tue 10:07, 8:58, 1.13, 85%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:10, 4:37, 1.12, 86%, Challenging

Sfingi 3:46 PM  

Had to Google for GEMMA, and couldn't figure out the circles. Got sports on crosses, only. This is too young a wave length for me.

Mini-theme - Pig's containers.

@Chefwen - romance languages pronounce soft G after I or E.
GEMMA is also the name of an olive oil.

A SIMP thief stole my back-up camera thinking it was a GPS. I like to imagine the fence saying, "You're such A TOOL." I'm sure it was a guy.

@Jim - women like all tools that render them stronger and safer.
Did I ever tell you the story of the handloom weavers vs. the "dark satanic mill"? (Moral - don't be a Neo-Luddite.)

fergus 3:56 PM  

I much prefer my directions from a paper map ...

Lived in England for several years and never met a GEMMA, but have encountered numerous Hispanic grade school girls with that name.

Compliments to Rex for being such an incisive critic of Crossword style. Today's analysis, especially, demonstrated such a pointed examination of the quality of the puzzle. And while I don't always agree, the essentials of literary criticism are not lost in the rating of a puzzle.

Anonymous 3:57 PM  

@Sfingi said...


@Chefwen - romance languages pronounce soft G after I or E.


Except when they don't. Get outa' here, Girl!

Blast from the past 4:12 PM  

Using a GPS is stupid. So is doing a crossword on a computer.

Clark 4:13 PM  

@Anon 3:57 -- 'Get' is from old norse. 'Girl' is probably from old english.

Don't be so quick to correct 4:14 PM  

Uh, Anon 3:57 Last time I looked, Get and Girl were English words, and English isn't a romance language.

Anonymous 4:22 PM  

Well, I loved it. Cranky a little?

JenCT 4:29 PM  

One of my favorite features of the GPS is knowing what time I'll get to my destination - that's very helpful when I have an appointment.

Anonymous 4:59 PM  

Jon Stewart: In addition to having a captive audience of 200,000 people and forgetting to remind them to,um, vote... years before, he got the date wrong for the Dred Scot Decision in his first best seller, America. Believe it or not, in a highlighted box, he has the date as 1858.
Give the president a hard time, but blow kisses at William Kristol, an architect of the Iraq invasion.
Quel role model!

fergus 5:00 PM  

For those of us already geographically inclined GPS is only really useful if it can accurately show the traffic flow. In and around Silicon Valley, there are some sites that offer this service, though it's yet to be determined whether they're more useful than the ordinary radio crap.

(captcha = verboof, n.f. a misuse of an action word)

Evgeny 5:01 PM  

Don't like LOTR at all, but got the theme from JRR and the quote from ALL, so that was a big help. Amazing construction, imho!

Got GEMMA from the double-m, knowing that hollyoaks is a British show - there's hardly a more popular British/Oz name for a girl, if she was born in the '80s. I don't know many Brits, and there's still more that one Gemma among them (All roughly my age, 25-ish, that is). This particular one is easy enough on the eyes to forgive her the B-Celeb status...

@Mr. Parker: Absolutely agree about DIESELOIL. AMAZONANT is legit, however - it's a very interesting species
and a pretty famous one.

retired_chemist 5:28 PM  

@ JenCT - I too like the arrival time feature of a GPS since it lets me call ahead to tell how late I will be.

Matthew G. 5:37 PM  

I think if you lived in Britain before the last decade or so, you'd be unlikely to have encountered the name. A Wikipedia and Google survey reveals that there are indeed plenty of celebrities named Gemma --- but almost without exception, they are from England or Ireland and were born after 1975.

So it has become a common name, but it has done so fairly recently. For my money, I have to say I like Gemma a good deal better than the last-names-used-as-first-names fad that has inverted the drivers licenses of so many American girls of the same generation. So many Parkers, Madisons, Taylors, Mackenzies ... I'm not a fan. Gemma, as neologic names go, is simple and pretty.

Anyway. I do think we can all probably agree that there is nobody named Gemma who qualifies as famous in the United States.

Ulrich 5:49 PM  

There's only one Gemma for me, Giuliano Gemma, star of many a B-Spaghetti Western (well, what do you make of a B version of a genre that is already B?--and I don't include "Once Upon a Time in the West", rightfully praised here some days ago). And yes, both Gs are soft (voiced)--the guy is Italian.

Count me among those who loved the puzzle b/c they admired the construction--I filled in the quote at a point and then guessed what the across/down answers it snaked through would be--in other words, I do not believe in the distinction between construction and solving experience--enjoying the construction is part of the solving experience for me.

Sfingi 5:57 PM  

@Clark - thanx for setting anonymous TOOL straight.
The base of English is Anglo-Saxon, a Germanic language. Single syllables are almost a giveaway that it's Anglo or Danish (Viking); there are a few exceptions there. Old French was the first Romance addition beginning with the Norman invasion (Battle of Hasting).

Gemma olive oil is common here in Utica, but I couldn't find it on the internet.

Red imported fire ants are more common in the States, esp. TX. The main man for that is Bart (Bastiaan) Drees of Texas A & M. Hope he's a cousin!

joho 5:58 PM  

@JenCT ... I just noticed your avatar ... such a cute kitty!

CaseAce 7:29 PM  

Espying the pic of gorgeous "Gemma of my devotion" at 14 across, the clue should read 'Holysmokes' actress!

Corby 7:32 PM  

So, I may be a HUGE Tolkein dork, but my A.D.D./DITSY way of solving puzzles made this puzzle awesome : One of the first clues I looked at was 47d for Pyrite - And I immediately thought "oh, the constructor stole this clue from the poem Bilbo wrote about Aragorn from LOTR", which made the theme so much more awesome, when I found it. It's not Tolkein's fault he got co-opted by New Agers. The rest of the fill was really rather unfortunate, but I liked this puzzle anyways.

mac 7:42 PM  

@Corby: when I see pyrite I think Popeye and fools' gold...

Anonymous 7:47 PM  

I needed a GPS to find my way to the end of the comments....

Moonchild 8:06 PM  

Any puzzle that generates this many comments on a Tuesday is truly a special puzzle. LOTR was an epic part of my young adulthood. A puzzle that brings all of that to my morning is a very good thing. After devouring that trilogy my appetite for other literature was a big part of my life and I never looked back.
Some folks might think it trite but anything that gets a young girl to bury her nose in a book can't be bad in any way.

Ulrich 8:20 PM  

@Sfingi: As someone whose first language is Germanic and who has a grasp of the Romance languages from many years of Latin in grammar school I am, subconsciously, aware of the origin of most of the words I use in my everyday English--I don't know if it is a blessing or a curse, but that's the way it is. Plus, I remember Gemma olive oil from my stint at SUNY Buffalo precisely b/c it reminded me of this Gemma guy.

JenCT 8:59 PM  

@retired_chemist: definitely

@joho: I love that picture! He's full grown now, still just as cute.

Anonymous 9:11 PM  

The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I've seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to your door.

The wild and windy night
That the rain washed away
Has left a pool of tears
Crying for the day.
Why leave me standing here?
Let me know the way.

Many times I've been alone
And many times I've cried,
Anyway you'll never know
The many ways I've tried.

And still they lead me back
To the long, winding road
You left me standing here
A long, long time ago
Don't leave me waiting here
Lead me to your door.

But still they lead me back
To the long winding road
You left me standing here
A long, long time ago (ohhh)
Don't keep me waiting here (don't keep me waiting)
Lead me to your door. (yeah yeah yeah yeah)

courtesy of The Beatles....

andrea mmiichaels 10:29 PM  

In a moment of synchronicity, today's "Tundra" cartoon (by Chad Carpenter...one of those cartoons that must have snuck into the SF Chronicle in the past 20 years but has never caught my eye till today) has folks on an airplane watching a puppet show of "Lord of the Rings"!!!

(One character says to the other,
"Wow, these airlines are really cutting back!"

Stephen 10:32 PM  

I loved the wandering quote. In fact, it intrigued me and I started to solve right there, and soon inferred the quote even without getting all the words that cross through it, so the theme left me with a happy grin. When themes help with the solving I always get a warm happy grin. I was further comforted knowing that Tolkien approved of my once having wandered through Central America for a year.

I also liked STETHO. My first thought was THORAX, but as I pieced it together there was a sudden teaching moment. I won't forget that root any more.

To the GPS Luddite: I used to think that handing kids electronic calculators would prevent them from ever learning mental arithmetic. I've mellowed. Now I regularly do calculus using a tool called Mathematica and I love how high I can stand on the shoulders of a useful expedient like that. It does not spare anyone from having to learn to think. And each tool works best only after you learn its strengths and limitations. But there are great benefits from having more and more capable tools around you.

My kids bought me a Garmin roadmap even though I have a great sense of direction. Now that I understand what it can do for me, I value it as a piece of safety equipment... when going somewhere new that involves spaghetti interchanges around greater NYC, it provides spoken warnings about what will be coming up. That keeps me from making frantic last-moment triple lane changes. No downsides to that!

Madison McKenzie McGraw 12:00 AM  

I find taking a child's name from the bible rather pedestrian, but to take the first name from the first book of the new testament demonstrates a complete lack of imagination.

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

Could be TOOL is evolving into what George Carling called a two-way word. An example is "prick" where you can say in polite company that you pricked your finger - but not the other way around.

Dirigonzo 4:13 PM  

Never read LOTR but still found this to be fun, and hard for a Tuesday (it's still Tuesday, just 5 weeks later). In fact, DNF due to the YAR/EBRO cross. Used to scoff at GPS users until last week when a storm-related accident closed Route 1 and I had to get home on little-known and less-used back roads - the experience led me to a whole new appreciation of the technology.

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