Joy of Cooking author Rombauer / TUE 11-16-10 / Native of land known by natives as Eesti / Basketballer nicknamed Big Aristotle / Woodlands mate

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Constructor: Ian Livengood

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: TURNED THE TABLES (37A: Regained one's winning status ... or a hint to this puzzle's circled letters) — six sets of circles, each arranged to form 90-degree angles, spell out types of tables


Word of the Day: IRMA Rombauer (1D: "Joy of Cooking" author Rombauer) —

Irma Starkloff Rombauer (30 October 1877 – 14 October 1962) was the author of The Joy of Cooking. It is one of the world's most-published cookbooks, having been in print continuously since 1936. She graduated from the all-girls preparatory school Mary Institute in 1901 and later attended Washington University in St. Louis. Rombauer privately published The Joy of Cooking in 1931 in St. Louis, Missouri. It was illustrated by her daughter Marion Rombauer Becker, also a graduate of Mary Institute (1931) and at the time an art teacher at local private school John Burroughs School. The Rombauers self-published early editions of the book; it was picked up by a commercial printing house, the Bobbs-Merrill Company, in 1936. (wikipedia)

• • •

After a poor start (GUESS for INFER at 1A: Surmise, and then a total blank on 4D: Native of the land known by natives as Eesti=>ESTONIAN), I hit my stride and tore through the puzzle in slightly better than average time. No theme answers to deal with, so it was like doing a very easy themeless puzzle — this is why I didn't think the puzzle was very exciting: never even noticed the "tables." Didn't have to. I can appreciate the cute idea and nice construction after the fact, but the theme was oddly detached from the whole solving experience. Irrelevant to it, even (unless, for some reason, you were stumped by a circle-containing word ... then I guess the theme might have helped; I just can't imagine where the stumping might have occurred). ROUND is kind of the odd man out here. All the others are types of tables, whereas there is only one ROUND Table (I'm teaching a course on Arthurian literature right now, and yet my first thought on seeing "ROUND" was "Seriously!? 'ROUND' is a type of table!? That's pretty weak. Why not 'RECTANGULAR?'").

Not much to say about this one. Didn't like the clue on 6A: Say "Oh, that was nothing," say, first because of the two "say"s, and second because it sounds more like an expression of modesty than someone SCOFFing. On the other hand, I really liked the somewhat tricky clue on MOVIE (15A: "M," W." or "Z"). Got it almost completely from crosses, and then had a nice aha moment. BEEF STEW (40D: Hearty entree that may be cooked in a Dutch oven) made me laugh because it made me think of Tracy Morgan calling John Stewart "STEW BEEF!"

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Tracy Morgan
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

Honestly, I think that's all. I gotta go check on Monday Night Football. Last I checked, it was a crazy blowout (Eagles over Redskins). This matters to me because I picked the Eagles and Ian (today's constructor) picked the Redskins and I am still Way behind him in my football pool. He's in first. I'm in last. Though, to my credit, I've made up a lot of ground the past few weeks, and even in last place I'm only 8 games back for the season.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Anonymous 12:02 AM  

I’m telling all you young people to quit now before it’s too late. Or when you’re old like me and watching a one-sided football game with nothing to do but tomorrow’s Times puzzle, you’ll be guzzling the sauce too much. But even that won’t help when you have a puzzle like this one. What do you wind up with? A bunch of circles spelling different kinds of tables! I’m sure Ian is a nice young man, but what the hell kind of theme is that? As boring as watching MNF with the visiting team running up the score faster than the home team fans can run home to get out of the miserable f’n rain....

David 12:31 AM  

Don't have much to say about this one, either---fine, but not fantastic. But on "round table," I thought of a regular discussion group before the Arthurian example. It's still not really a type of table in the way you mean, but I personally don't have a problem with it as a theme answer.

Doppleganger 12:35 AM  

Well, I liked it fine.

". . .but the theme was oddly detached from the whole solving experience.. . ."

I don't know that that is odd. It's pretty standard for these circle gimmicks to detach the getting of the theme 'entries' from the solve.

I don't know that the theme entry has to be a particularly particular type of table. That's a requirement that you're adding. If one takes off points for ROUND TABLE, then I think that points have to be taken off for PRIZE TABLE as well. The former is probably closer to tightening the theme; round table discussion.

chefwen 12:52 AM  

Think they switched Monday and Tuesday again. Really flew through this one, not one write over.

Had no problem with round table, according to Mensa snob dad, that is what Mensa means "round table society". Like Doppleganger, raised an eyebrow with prize table.
Agree that the tables added nothing toward the solve, at least for me.

Anonymous 1:02 AM  

Now I know I've had too much sauce. Rex, where is the f'n completed puzzle on your writeup or have you conceded to Mr. Happy Pencil or got too engrossed with Michael Vick pulling a Robert Redford "Natural" role for pro football?

W Strunk 1:02 AM  

Ah, the correct usage of INFER vis a' vis imply. My work here is done.

agra carla michaels 1:06 AM  

I feel dumb, I don't even know what a prize table is...

Loved the clue for 15A MWZ, reminded me of that brilliant puzzle Jeremy Horwitz made last year (can someone find and embed?)

I liked that this shook up the across thing by having them all at an angle...but I wished they formed a table of some sort. Maybe that's too much to ask.

Something about GOFISH made me smile.

@Ian, a tiny bit of a dark undertone with NICKS from shaving, ODS in the ER, COMAS from post-accidents, GOTH, Vendettas...

and what are we to make of @Rex not even commenting on Grandpa ABE?

I had a writeover...since I had gLOp for BLOB, I wondered why I had never heard of the Supreme Court Judge Stephen Greyer!

And as I get greyer, I first thought of BACK IN THE DAY and BACK IN THE SADDLE before BACK IN THE USSR...and I love the Beatles more than anything else!

I'll match your SMITTEN with today's SWOON. ;)

One tiny bit of synchronicity I'd like to share. I got a picture today of my friend Valerie with her beau Lee in front of the Taj Mahal (in AGRA) and it seemed really romantic.
(Till I remembered he went there for a hip replacement!)

andrea blob michaels 1:12 AM  

OH! The tables are TURNED! OK, like it even more!
And Still don't know what a prize table is even having looked it up. Why am I so out of it? Is it just a table you put prizes on?

Ted Turner 1:15 AM  

If you don't like a Tuesday puzzle like this, you need to turn the other cheek, turn your world upside down, turn it up a notch and turn the lights down low.

Speaking of which wasn't there a Turn, Turn, Turn puzzle not so long ago? We need to turn the page on this idea.

Anonymous 1:24 AM  

@Ted Turner - I understand that Jane (a name as boring as the theme) Fonda turned the page on you some time ago....

For all of those who have no clue as to what a prize table is, it is my end table (which also happens to be round)....

Anonymous 1:37 AM  

@Rex, where is your completed puzzle? Mr. Happy Pencil is laughing at me because I don't have yours to compare against mine....

jeffz 2:52 AM  

@anons 1:02 and 1:37
Rex is probably asleep at this hour. Go to "Diary of a Crossword Fiend" for the completed puzzle if you can't wait.

jeffz 2 3:26 AM  

Or you can click on Xword Info (NYT puzzle stats) -- last entry in Rex's sidebar of Other Sites.

Rube 3:51 AM  

Was thinking of something more like "demur" instead of SCOFF. Like @Rex, thought more of modesty.

Had two write overs, TOM/raM and ROUSE/RaiSE. No biggies.

Had to go slowly in the North and NW, but otherwise a very easy puzzle.

Wouldn't call an OPTIONPLAY a ploy. It's just an option. A flea flicker or on-side kick are ploys.

I agree with @Andrea & @deppelganger in questioning PRIZE as a table.

@Chefwen, it sounds as though your Dad is doing well in the mental arena. Hope he is doing better healthwise. I had a Godmother who actually "graduated" from hospice.

Anonymous 4:15 AM  

Am I the only one who was surprised to see the phrase "Dutch Oven" in the NYT? It's pretty common slang...

JaxInL.A. 4:52 AM  

The more I look at this solid puzzle, the more I gotta marvel at Mr. Livengood's prowess. No random Roman numerals, no forced plurals, only one partial phrase, nice cluing and that extra bit with the words turning corners.

I have to wonder how one goes about constructing something like this. Did he start making a puzzle and then notice a couple of coincidental words-that-turn-corner and decide to make a theme? I have a hard enough time figuring out how people do the ordinary downs and acrosses without getting all tangled up. Doing it in two directions...

Well, bravo.

And @ArtLvr, is the CS puzzle the Christian Science Monitor? Where does one find the CS thang? You have piqued my curiosity.

Anonymous 8:02 AM  

No trip to the prize table for me....

I didn't beat the spread last night. I had Philly by 32.

mmorgan 8:10 AM  

Reasonably enjoyable puzzle with some nice clues, but even when I was done I couldn't see what ROUND, COFFEE, DINNER, etc., had to do with each other. Forgot about the hint offered in 37A but even that might not have helped. But the head-smacking light bulb went off when I got here.

Oops, I had a typo on ONEiL -- which is excusable for me since I don't know basketball -- but ESTONIiN is not.

I'm with ACME on MWZ and GOFISH!

glimmerglass 8:15 AM  

Round tables could be a generic term, but why does Rex think the tables are all plurals? The theme could be pool table, dinner table, etc. I thought PRIZE TABLE was a stretch -- I suppose at an awards banquet, there's a prize table, or maybe there's a prize table printed along with the contest rules, but it's not as common a phrase as the others. Pretty Mondayish puzzle.

joho 8:16 AM  

I wanted to like this puzzle more than I did. It sort of left me flat, you know, like a flat table.

efrex 8:34 AM  

Well, by golly, I liked it. Minimal fill (REA & POM being the more irritating ones for me), a handful of chewy clues (MOVIE took much too long for me), and a cute-if-not-brilliant theme concept: just about what I want for a Tuesday.

Well done, SENOR Livengood. You're welcome to sit at our TABLE for some al DENTE PILAF and BEEF STEW any time.

David L 8:54 AM  

Didn't help that I filled in the theme reveal from crosses without looking at the clue, so was confronted with six apparently random circled words that I couldn't make heads or tails of. So now I at least understand five of them, PRIZE being the exception, as others have observed.

I wanted SHRUG for "Oh, that was nothing." I agree with Rex that it's an unconvincing way to clue SCOFF.

Good puzzle, I thought. No silly abbreviations, partials etc.

PlantieBea 8:56 AM  

The themed entries were just okay, but I liked better the long MENTAL IMAGE of the OCEAN BOTTOM, or the foodie PILAF and PO BOYS.

jesser 8:58 AM  

Well, technically, unless it's manufactured by Brunswick, it's a pocket billards table. But I'll let it slide. :-)

In fact, what @ChefWen said. And @Andrea and I not only had the same writeover, but neither of us has ever heard of a PRIZE table! I'm going to SWOON!

The clue to 48A was painful for those of us who never have attained such a spectacular SALARY, and likely never will. Tax the rich, Mr. President!

Finally, although I liked the puzzle over all, my biggest nit to pick is that I have never ever heard anyone refer to the OCEAN BOTTOM. Bed, yes. Floor, yes. Bottom, no. One cannot, I think, spank the ocean. If one did, one would be an ocean spanker. One would definitely not earn $100,000 a year doing such a thing.

There is something oddly wonderful about the thought of WOOLY EMMYS, but I best not go there.

Happy Tuesday, Rexites!

Tylaul! (A truck that you move your stuff in and, when you drive it, relieves your headache) -- jesser

Newbie 9:16 AM  

Well, I guess I turned the tables one too many times, and thought it was "table prize." (Look under your plate at the banquet and see who won the table prize?)

Kramer 9:21 AM  

Had ARISE for 14 Across and MINT for 3 Down which threw me for a bit in top left corner. I think the Fed is closer to minting than funding at this time. Natick violation at beginning of puzzle with IRMA / ALDO also compounded issue. Otherwise fairly easy Tuesday. POBOYS always a good answer - particulalry catfish ones which are more river bottom than ocean bottom

Howard B 9:26 AM  

Very nicely done. I thought that ROUND fit just fine, whether you choose the Arthurian or discussion forum definition. (Dinner table can also be figurative language). They don't necessarily all have to fit the same exact mold of a physical table, although I agree that the best themes do fit a completely consistent critera. If we required all puzzles to rise to that bar, though, themes and answers would duplicate much more frequently, and we'd bemoan their lack of originality. As long as there's a satisfying consistency and a unifying theme, that works for me :).

In this one, the central answer is what pulls this one together nicely. Hey, he could have gone less concrete with WATER, TIMES, or heck, PERIODIC if another table of that length exists. Seemed like a good set of tables.

Not requiring the theme to solve the puzzle makes it part of a smooth, accessible Tuesday-level solve.

What 9:35 AM  

Wow, I didn't know lexicographers were such publicity whores. Refutiate? Based on the amount of teasing Ms Palin received for that abomination? I would guess the only reason that was selected was to maximize their media exposure for the announcement.
The only good that can come out of this is that she will refutiate the award, as it comes from liberal elite Brits.

quilter1 9:38 AM  

Smiled at GO FISH as that is granddaughter's and my favorite card game to play together when she's not beating me at Monopoly or Sorry. I don't think of Dutch Oven as slang. It is just the name of a big and often heavy cooking pot. Just the thing for BEEF STEW. PRIZE table not unfamiliar. I've seen them at different events. Actually didn't notice the circled theme answers until coming here.

Matthew G. 9:43 AM  

Got slowed down a bit because I initially guessed PLAY ACTION instead of OPTION PLAY and LEND instead of FUND. Completely agree with Rex that saying "Oh, that was nothing" does not come across as a SCOFF in my book. So mainly because of the upper third of the grid, I found this to be about average difficulty for a Tuesday.

Like many others, I have no idea what a "prize table" is. If indeed it is just a table you put prizes on at an event, that's pretty weak. If that qualifies as a thing, why not "flower table" or "phone table" or any other kind of thing+table?

Alternatively, maybe it means a table of the printed variety where you look up what prize you will win for doing X, Y, or Z. If so, I think that's a thing, but then it doesn't really fit with the rest of the theme answers, which are physical tables.

But the theme is basically extraneous here anyway, so no great loss.

Van55 9:46 AM  

@ACME -- yes, a prize table is just that -- the table on which the prizes for an event are displayed.

It's nice to finally get a Monday puzzle this week. This was so much easier than yesterday's. How could Will have gotten the order so wrong.

This was a better than decent puzzle. I agree that the theme was largely incidental to the solve, but it was semi-cute. Not much crap fill. (ATNO next to GOTO being exceptions.)

16 proper nouns by my count.

Matthew G. 9:47 AM  

And, @Rube: I actually had DEMUR in the spot eventually filled by SCOFF. Glad I wasn't the only one.

nanpilla 9:47 AM  

@Howard B: In the middle of reading The Disappearing Spoon, so periodic table came to my mind, too.

It seems like the theme is rarely necessary to an early week solve, so this one didn't bother me. It was fun to find the tables when finished.

distin: what some of the other elements do to Sn.

JC66 9:57 AM  

@Rex, et al.

Saying "Oh, that was nothing" is modesty if you're referring to yourself and SCOFFing if it is referring someonemelse.

JC66 9:59 AM  

SB someone else.


Doug 10:02 AM  

Rombauer clues always make me second guess myself because I always think "You're thinking Erma BOMBECK so it can't be "IRMA Rombauer." Wrong-o once again.

What's the problem with "prize table?" It's a common enough word is just where miscellaneous prizes at an event are displayed for lucky winners to choose from.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:02 AM  

Apparently it's just me, but . . . I thought "Regained one's winning status" was a tad strong for TURNED THE TABLES. I can see the point, but I don't necessarily associate turning tables with actually being the winner. Very minor point; decent Tuesday puzzle otherwise.

retired_chemist 10:02 AM  

Easy enough, not too interesting. I just started filling in and, soon, it was done. Also started with GUESS @ 1A. Also ignored the theme until I had finished.

I understand that early week clues are not supposed to be sneaky,but I still would have hoped for more pizzazz in the clues.

I have a MENTAL IMAGE of a PRIMO DINO (Martin) SAGA: SWOONing over POBOYS. OK, unfunny. To the OCEAN BOTTOM with it.

Answering For ArtLvr? 10:11 AM  

@chefbea - I believe "CS" is the Washington Post/CrosSynergy puzzle. It is covered at Amy Reynolds's Diary of a Crossword Fiend blog, to which Rex has a link.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

@Anon 2:43 on Sunday, there is a third category -- those who think they know but reveal they don't (no humility involved, just plain ignorance).

I have a question for all those who think prize puzzle is weaker than round table: Why did Rex single out round table and ignore prize table?

Answering For ArtLvr? 10:15 AM  

I meant "Amy Reynaldo's", of course. Sorry, Orange!

Doug 10:21 AM  

More fun for the constructor than the solver. Estonian was the hardest part, and who would have guessed movie without the crosses? Like an idiot I tried LEND for FUND which flummoxed me in the northwest until I realized the way of my error.

Two Ponies 10:27 AM  

Only sticky place for me was the NE where I couldn't see the Tom turkey because that darned Ram was standing in the way,
All of these turning puzzles are making me dizzy.

Tinbeni 10:27 AM  

I guess I am the exception. When diving down in Jamaica we often refer to the Sea Floor as the OCEAN BOTTOM.

But hey, We were probably enjoying some of the local products when we spoke.

FUN Tuesday, loved the theme ... almost made me SWOON.

Fun Fact:
According to Bender Mag. the # 1 song from 25 years ago today, "We Build This City" by Jefferson Starship IS the "worst Rock-n-Roll song" of all time ... wish I knew how to embed it ... I always thought it had a nice beat, the kids like to dance to it ... Dick, I rate it a 93.

Toasts to all at Sunset.

jesser 10:31 AM  

@ Tinbeni: If you say it, I withdraw my nit!

According to Dave Barry, the worst pop song of all time is "MacArthur Park." I tend to agree with him.


easylob 10:37 AM  

I looked at the pattern of the circles, saw 37A. and immediately wrote in "TURNED THE CORNER" which seemed a better answer to me at first.

glimmerglass 10:40 AM  

@jesser: From the 5th grade joke book, "Why does the ocean roar? You'd roar too if you had crabs on your bottom."

Sfingi 11:25 AM  

@Anon1202 - so quit. Go away. I haven't been driven to drink, smoke or gamble. Probably the football that made you nutz. I avoid that, too.

@Anon124 - that's my first name, and yes, I hate it. I would hate any one-syllable first name.

@Doug - is that really what a PRIZE TABLE is? Never heard of it.
@Anon124 - Why is an end table a PRIZE table?
@Howard - like your tables best.

Though this was easy, it had some sophisticated answers. I loved GOTH. One of these days I'm going to hit one of these kids as I back out. They're dressed in black and moving fast around the fence between my house and the art school.

Had city before ISLE, Lame before LIES.

@Jesser - I love MacArthur Park. An ode to the lost '60s. My take is (all takes are legitimate) the guy is realizing that that woman he got stoned with way back was supposed to be his true love, but he was too stoned.
I never could understand We Built This City. Hardly.

@Tinbeni - know of anyone who's gone 7 miles down? Me either, speaking of LIES.

@Agra - what's wrong with American hip replacements?

fikink 11:35 AM  

@Rube, @MatthewG, I like your notion of DEMUR for "Oh, that was nothing." Much more civil.

@anon 4:15, products are sold as "Dutch ovens" - I am curious as to your pronouncing it slang not befitting the NYT. Care to amplify your post?

@jesser, are BOTTOMs merely for spanking?

@Howard B, I like your thinking on themes.

@Bob Kerfuffle, I agree with you whole-heartedly on TURN THE TABLES being a bit strong for competition. Perhaps, given my recent experience, it carries with it a more sinister meaning only for me.

@Two Ponies, funny, I was thinking of TOM cat, instead of turkey, as barnyards always seem to have mousers.

chefbea 11:50 AM  

Loved the puzzle but found it a bit harder than yesterday. What's not to like if beef stew is simmering in a Dutch oven.

@REx thanks for the Irma Rombauer history. Who would have known!!! I went to Mary Institute in St. Louis for 12 years. Graduated from MI. Took a class in Music one summer at Washington University. Small world

Glitch 11:53 AM  

To all those upset that not all the TABLES are physical, note the one in ideomatic reveal isn't either (Though the phrase may have originated from one).

To all who simply point out the above issue slightly diminishes the theme execution, I can agree.

To all who critize PRIZE table because they never heard of one, you just learned something.


ArtLvr 12:06 PM  

@JaxinL.A., the CS puzzle is from the CrosSynergy Syndicate and if you subscribe via the daily NYT online crosswords you get several others for free.



Anonymous 12:17 PM  

@sfing, I don't mean to TURN THE TABLES, but Anon 1202 didn't have you in mind and Anon 124 has a single syllable first name and a prized end table, but having read your two postings, I suspect you were smoking something in between because the tones were like a 1960 Ford Fairlane convertible with the top down. Now please tell me why Rex forgot to post the puzzle in his initial blog last night....

Matthew G. 12:19 PM  

I knew the "you're only criticizing it because you've never heard of it" police were going to come out on this one eventually.

No. There are, of course, plenty of things I haven't heard of that are valid answers, and I'm always grateful and humbled to learn about them, when they're actual things. But one of the purposes of this blog, as I understand it, is to critique the quality of the NYT crossword puzzle from day to day. That will sometimes involve criticism of the quality of a particular answer.

In my respectful opinion, when a highly generic compound noun shows up, it is suspect unless in reasonably regular currency at least in some known argot. This is somewhat subjective, but it's fair to say that I think very-generic-compound-noun answers are among the weaker answers a constructor can include, and they can't really be defended on the ground that you can find a handful of people who are willing to say, "Yeah, I guess you could call that a thing."

Nothing I've read in the comments has persuaded me that "prize table" is discrete enough of a thing to have merited inclusion with the rest of the theme answers here. That doesn't mean I disliked the puzzle, which overall I thought was pretty average, but I think that was the weak link in the theme.

And what did I "learn," Glitch? That some people think a table with prizes on it becomes a thing called a "prize table"? I don't feel especially edified.

As for why Rex singled out "round table" and ignored "prize table," he just had a different critical reaction to what worked and what didn't, which is fair. It's his blog, but he's not the only one who gets to critique. I wasn't bothered by one of the tables being a specific table, but I was bothered by one of the tables being something that doesn't qualify as an accepted thing (and as others have said, "round table" has come into wide use to mean any meeting of equals around a table to discuss an issue, so for me it passes the "reasonably regular currency" test in a way that "prize table" doesn't).

In other words, yeah, it's all subjective. Criticism is. I don't intend to refrain from commenting on answers I think are weak just because some people think any two-word combo can make a thing.

mac 12:27 PM  

Decent Tuesday puzzle with some beautiful longer words. Have to agree with the problems with scoff and winning/turning the tables.

I like the NE animal corner, especially the wooly sheep. Linen for bedding material is quite luxurious, and imagine all the pressing/ironing.

I always enjoy giving a Dutch oven as a wedding present, especially a nice heavy one like a Le Creuset. Those things will last a lifetime.

mac 12:28 PM  

P.S. I keep Ephraim's site on my toolbar and have a slew of puzzles at my fingertip.

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

What has really disappointed me about the comments so far is that the real theme of the puzzle has been missed. The puzzle was published the same night as the Eagles TURNED THE TABLES on the Skins. Rex alluded to this in is his posting. However, the constructor, a Skins’ fan, thought that McNabb would TURN THE TABLES on the Eagles. Instead, Vick TURNED THE TABLES on him and every team in the NFL who passed him up....

mac 12:32 PM  

P.P.S. The ACPT has a prize table.

miriam b 12:42 PM  

@chefwen: Mensa is just the Latin for table. IMO, the concept of a round table for open discussion is implied.

Captcha: gingerc. Th8s is oddly apt, as today's lunch is leftovers from yesterday's dinner, which involved. among other things, ginger and carrots.

Stan 12:55 PM  

More conventional than the turning letter puzzle (my downfall last week) but well-executed, with some lively fill. My favorite thing was the period after W -- accuracy counts!

Glitch 12:58 PM  

@Mathew G.

My comment was not directed at you, you offered a reasonable criticism based on your opinion.

My comment was directed at those who's sole criticism is never having heard of it.

OTOH, since you won't accept the notes from other commenters, if you were to google the phrase, you might learn its more than an arbitrary concatenation of two nouns ;)


Shamik 1:01 PM  

@sfingi: Nothing wrong with American hip replacements except the cost. A lot of people are going out of country for more affordable surgery. It's called medical tourism and it's a growing industry.

Found this one to be medium-challenging, but that could be because of the Percocet. I'm foggy enough to not remember our friend's name on here who was having lung surgery yesterday. Anyone know if s/he is ok? Surgery here successful, but more pain than expected.

Shamik 1:04 PM  

@mac: I want to get married again so I can invite you and get one of those Dutch ovens! ;-) I used to keep Ephraim's site handy for other just one click on Alex Boisvert's Crossword Butler. Worth the donation and more.

The Big E 1:09 PM  

Oh the devastating pain and humiliation of being a Redskins' fan. I truly want to wear a paper bag on my head for a long, long time - especially living here in NYC.
I was curled up in the fetal position watching that game.
Puzzle provided a very brief, but fun diversion from my pain this morning.
The demise of a once great and storied franchise continues...

Shamik 1:13 PM  

Thank you all for your good wishes yesterday to me and Sparky. Let's hope we hear from Sparky soon and that s/he is comfortable and healing well.

3rd and out.

fikink 1:16 PM  

"medical tourism" - what a euphemism!

Glad your surgery was successful, @shamik. Can you get morphine pump for pain?

Anonymous 1:35 PM  

My goodness. Such a fuss over
prize table? Surely there is something better to talk about.

OED 1:56 PM  

@What said... refutiate ...

The WOTY is actually "refudiate" which is no better and no worse.

How ignominious to have our language expanded by the ignorance a functional illiterate!

Unban Dictionary 2:00 PM  

Dutch Oven as (raunchy, or at least smelly) slang:

Now you know...

archaeoprof 2:01 PM  

From the O in 11D I wrote "onside kick."

Our football team here runs the OPTIONPLAY a lot. This week they play for a spot in the playoffs.

Who says a playoff system won't work? The small colleges have been doing it for years!

Sarah 2:03 PM  

@OED - You think I'm functional? Hurray for me!

Inquiring Minds 2:04 PM  

When I read the comment from Anonymous at 4:15 AM, I suspected something was amiss. I have just looked up "Dutch oven" in the Urban Slang website. I am not providing a link. If you are under 18, probably you already know the meaning. If you are over 18, probably you don't want to know. Be forewarned.

Kendall 2:10 PM  

Had OPTIONPLAY as ONSIDEKICK, but very quickly realized that was a mistake. Oh well. Aside from that, very simple to finish. Hope tomorrow's is more fun...

Sfingi 2:10 PM  

@Shamik - sorry. I'm 65 and it's a freebie. That's why we need universal. Then you could spend your/our money here. Or we could steal all the Indian doctors. Who, have the time are educated at Hopkins, anyway.

@Anon217 - You must be smokin' since this is my 2nd postin'

@Glitch - I guess, if you've never heard of PRIZE table - probably because you aren't in the sports scene, you can't decide if it's a table that has prizes on it or one that is, say, a valuable antique. So that's a teeny bit more than just never having heard of it. And, I agree with @Matthew B.

@Anon1012 - Rex isn't God.

@Mac - what's the ACPT?
Advanced Composite Products and Technology?
Acic Phosphatase Testicular?
Asian Conference for Physical Tehrapy?
Access Control Policy Tool?
Apple Certified Portable Technician?
Once again - what's a PRIZE table too you.

retired_chemist 2:22 PM  

@ Big E - speaking of devastating pain and humiliation, come on down and talk to Cowboys fans this year. If Jason Garrett turns them around it will provide us some satisfaction, but a 1-7 start in a year in which many predicted a Super Bowl appearance is, well, major league embarrassing.

The Big E 2:38 PM  

@retired chemist - I'll wager dollars to donuts that your Cowboys (who I grant have had a far worse season to date, particularly with the preseason expectations) wind up with a better record in the battle of the NFC LEast.

Anonymous 2:54 PM  

@sfingi, I don't smoke but when I can't tell sfingi from fikink it's time to take the Obamacare pill. Rex might not be God (why, because God is not a Liberal?) but I INFER he is human....

And to those sad sack Skins and Boys fans, remember what Ray, my favorite bartender in my college days, always said some 50 years ago -- "Stick with the Cubs."

Glitch 2:59 PM  


1) PRIZE table is not, per se, a "sports term" as other commenters have indicated

2) "Never having heard of it ..." is a valid comment, "Bad entry because I never heard of it (Ususally followed by 'Will should be shot') is not. I happened to know it from a non-sports context.

3) As I wrote in my 2nd post, I respect, though not totally agree with, @Mathew B's criticism. I was simply pointing out where we agree and where we differ.

You've been around here long enough to know the risk of posting is getting a response, aka starting a discussion ;)

.../Glitch (3/3 & out)

Two Ponies 3:01 PM  

Sign of a boring puzzle when we are reduced to talking about football.

Joe 3:05 PM  

His name is JON Stewart, actually.

Actually, his name is Jon Leibowitz. Stewart is his middle name. His brother is COO of the NYSE.
Look it up.

As for the puzzle, as Senor Wences (or his hand) said: "'salright."

fergus 3:17 PM  

I would love to see a puzzle shaped like a Periodic Table.

Mel Ott 3:30 PM  

"Erster" PO'BOYS are my favorite.

Late today. Attending son's baseball tournament in Fla.

fikink 3:33 PM  

@anon 2:54,
She is too a Liberal!

sanfranman59 3:47 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 8:30, 8:57, 0.95, 43%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:32, 4:36, 0.98, 47%, Medium

mac 4:31 PM  

@Sfingi: American Crossword Puzzle Tournament.

Stricant! Almost as bad as exetera.

Van55 5:33 PM  

@Matthew G: You said,

"In other words, yeah, it's all subjective. Criticism is. I don't intend to refrain from commenting on answers I think are weak just because some people think any two-word combo can make a thing."

Please do a Google Images search of
"Prize Table" and confirm that it generates nearly 10,000 images of the "non-thing" known as a "prize table."

The theme answer is perfectly fine, notwithstanding your own refusal to recognize as real something that is distinctly in the language.

quilter1 5:47 PM  

Shamik, glad things went well. Here's to a smooth recovery. Same to Sparky. Morphine pumps all around!

a-pat 6:12 PM  

So crap fill for others is perfectly fine, it's just your judgment that renders crap fill crap. Do I have that right?

Sfingi 6:15 PM  

@Anon254 - Get me that Obamacare pill right before they take me to the Home.
I don't know a soul who wants to end up there who visits anyone who lives there.
I don't agree with everything Dr. Szasz says, but I do agree that laws against suicide are designed to control people.
By the way, there is suicide tourism.
And, oh yes. Isn't that what Nazis do? Define the "other" as non-human? (Or liberal?)
Why am I responding to a computer generated Anonybot?

@Mac - I know; I was making a point. Apparently not that well.

Speaking of Google images, I was at a restaurant yesterday - after the wake - Sicilians believe it's bad luck to go straight home - and we admired a painting on the wall. A kid took a photo of it and went it through his "app" Google Goggle and we found out immediately who the artist was.

Anonymous 7:11 PM  

Sfingi - Thx for the laugh at the end of the day....

NotalwaysrightBill 9:11 PM  

Syndicated paper solver.

2D Holiday number (=NOEL) was my favorite clue, POBOYS (for 26A New Orleans sandwiches, informally) my favorite answer. Heard of all the different tables, ROUNDTABLE discussions being a commonplace at many seminars. Theme seemed like a lot of work to construct for so little impact on the solving experience.

@ OED:
Don't you libs ever tire of taking cheap shots at Palin? Personally, I'd rather have the language expanded by a "functional illiterate" (key word being "functional") than by an overbrainwashed-at-PC-Univ. nincompoop with the net effect of "Folly, doctor-like, controling skill" (from sonnet 66). Any day of the week. Except for big pop-culture puzzes, of course, when an actual knowledge of geography isn't necessary.

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

I don't understand 15 A.

How "M", "W" or "Z" can be movie.

Sometime Moviegoer 6:18 PM  

@ Red state Democrat - I'm trying to swear off these mop-up comments, but just in case you are serious:

Off the top of my head, not looking anything up:

"M" is the name of an uber-famous movie starring Peter Lorre.

"Z" is the name of a famous movie by director Costa-Gavras. Z stands for the Greek meaning "He lives."

And "W" is the name of a movie about the American President George W. Voldemort.

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