Astronaut in 1973 David Bowie hit / TUE 1-11-11 / Blue blood informally / Cab Calloway's signature line / Little girl in 1935's Our Little Girl

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Constructor: Sharon Delorme

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: COCKTAILS (59A: What 17-, 24-, 34- and 51-Across are) — theme answers are, in fact, names of cocktails:

  1. RUSTY NAIL (17A: Something found in an old board, maybe)
  2. SCREWDRIVER (24A: Tool belt tool)
  3. SHIRLEY TEMPLE (34A: Little girl in 1935's "Our Little Girl")
  4. GRASSHOPPER (51A: Term of endearment for the Karate Kid) [Note: this appears to be an error—"GRASSHOPPER" is a term of endearment in the '70s TV show Kung Fu]

  5. ["Arise calmly, grasshopper, and brush the indignity off your trousers!"]

Word of the Day: Michael ENDE (66A: "The Neverending Story" author Michael) —
Michael Andreas Helmuth Ende (12 November 1929 – 28 August 1995) was a German author of fantasy and children's literature. He is best known for his epic fantasy work The Neverending Story; other famous works include Momo and Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver. His works have been translated into more than 40 languages and sold more than 20 million copies, and have been adapted into motion pictures, stage plays, operas and audio books. (wikipedia)

• • •

[It's pledge week here at the Rex Parker site (thru Sat.) —read my pitch for donations in the opening paragraphs of Sunday's write-up, here ... and thanks for your faithful readership (and the many kind messages I've received so far)]

The grid had such a strange shape, I felt for sure that there was going to be yet another early-week gimmick on display (see yesterday's surprise BOUNCING BALL). But this one turned out not only not to have a gimmick, but to be about as straightforward and, frankly, dull a theme as I've seen in a Times puzzle in a long time. Those theme answers sure are drinks. Yes they are. I guess the hook is supposed to be that they are clued in non-drink ways. But so what? They're just drink names. There's nothing playful or clever here. No ambition. Just ... drinks. Normally, I'd love to see any one of these theme answers in a grid. They're all pretty lively. But this theme concept is something I'd expect to see in a much, much lower-rent puzzle. Do the black squares make some kind of cocktail shape? Anything? Something? I don't know.

Best answer in the whole grid is MAJOR TOM, which I will play for you now ("Space Oddity"):

Other than that, the grid is mixed. Strange, cool big corners (this puzzle has just 74 words) and some sassy gems like HIDEHO (55A: Cab Calloway's signature line) and RAP SHEET (35D: Record of arrests). But on the other side of the ledger, way more ugly crosswordy gunk than I normally like to see. ENDE is at the top of the gunk list (you know it's a Hail Mary because you rarely see it despite its letters being soooooo common). Can't even look at IRANI any more after hearing it derided by an accomplished constructor as a largely out-of-language poor substitute for IRANIAN (10D: Farsi speaker). CAS speaks for itself. There's a host of ERS, ERST, AAR, ESSO-type answers in there. ARISTO is less than great (never seen it anywhere but crosswords) (44D: Blue blood, informally). Wonky all over, leaving me both AREEL and AGHAST. Actually, neither. I just wanted to use those two in a sentence together.

  • 19A: ___ Fogle, spokesman for Subway (JARED) — never understood the enduring appeal of this guy.
  • 57A: Kind of party for Glenn Beck? (TEA) — Not sure how I feel about this clue. Seems somewhat oblique. I know he's generally supportive of their ideals, but he's not their leader or anything... I guess being a cheerleader is enough for the clue to work. I had GOP at first, and then knew that had to be wrong (if only because the "P" in GOP stands for "party")
  • 50A: "Batman" sound effect (BAM) — as anyone who ever read a "Batman" comic or watched the old TV show knows, this clue could go several ways ... or at least two (POW!). I guessed wildly and got it right on the first try.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Anonymous 12:18 AM  

JARED is a jeweler, so what’s he doing eating subs? I figured out Midge but never played with dolls, and, besides, I grew up before Barbie was born. Never heard of MAJOR TOM, but worked it out. So the NE was a little trouble, but that was it. Liked this one. Very solid for a Tuesday. Haven’t read Rex but if Rex doesn’t like this one, I’ll have another RUSTY NAIL (ah, to hell with that, make it a Wild Turkey). Of course, I’m a sot and knew the theme as soon as I got RUSTY NAIL. Liked that SHIRLEY TEMPLE surrounded by black (her married name) in the middle…. And a little SOUR, er, MISH MASH and LIBATION for some extra theme answers ain’t all that bad. In fact, I don’t like this puzzle, I LOVE IT!!! Make that a double, bartender....

Go (hic) Bears

Anonymous 12:30 AM  

Well, I read Rex and wouldn’t change anything in my first post. He’s much too harsh, especially for a Tuesday. So I think I’ll have my Wild Turkey and go to bed....

Chet 12:36 AM  

First of all, is a SHIRLEY TEMPLE really a cocktail, what with being non-alcoholic and all? Secondly, the Shirley Temple is named after, and allegedly created for, Shirley Temple, which seems too literal. You could have just replaced it with vodka and vodka, my drink back in the day At least rusty nail & screw driver are metaphorical. No idea what a grasshopper is.

What the hell is decorative cookware? Enameled cookware is functional. Anyone out there have a frying pan with an enamel pigeon or anything on it?

chefwen 12:41 AM  

Our number one favorite commenter in the number one position, very appropriate. Way to go Andrea!!!!!

Kind of liked this one, then again, I like cocktails. Can't imagine having a RUSTY NAIL, SCREW DRIVER, and a GRASSHOPPER in one sitting, makes my head hurt. Took me half the time to complete as yesterdays.

Only write over was AGHAST OVER agHAst, apparently my spelling leaves much to be desired.

Danny 12:53 AM  

Um...just me, or was there a factual error in this one? To the best of my knowledge, "Young Grasshopper" is a nickname from the TV series Kung Fu, which predates the Karate Kid (and my birth, incidentally) by about 10 years. Not sure that nickname is *ever* used in any of the Karate Kid movies. Can anyone back me up (or smack me down) on this one?

Desecration of our cultural heritage notwithstanding, I'm inclined to be a little gentler on this one than Rex was, if only a little: the fill never dragged and there were a couple of real high points (though maybe not enough of them to excuse the hideous IRANI); I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it, either.

Oh, and sorry, but ARISTO? Really? Has that ever, in the history of the English language, been used in a non-crossword-related context? I doubt it. Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh.

And finally, the perfect captcha for this puzzle: rummiest!

SethG 1:22 AM  

GOP at first. Tricky around HIDEHO, because that could have been spelled just about any way you want. And tricky around MIDGE, because I could only think of Skipper. Jill's gone as Skipper for Halloween a coupla times, I was Jared one year.

1A!!!! 1:46 AM  

@anon 12:18
Jared is a jeweler????
wow, that piece of trivia is almost worth the amazing rudeness of not reading Rex before posting! (almost)

Yes, how can I not like a puzzle that starts with ACME (bleed over from yesterday!)
I would have to say it's a bit shocking this one wasn't Monday and yesterday's today.
(Oddly today is my syndicated one with Kent, that was also sort of a Monday on a Tuesday...actually it was meant as a Monday Night one!)

By coincidence, had just looked up SHIRLEYTEMPLE ingredients in response to a funny little exchange on FB between Young Caleb and Rex (in his Clark Kent/Bruce Wayne mode)
and they (wikipedia) specifically said it is indeed a COCKTAIL, just without alcohol...with alcohol it's called a SHIRLEY TEMPLE BLACK or a Dirty Shirley, which seems too graphic for our little Lollipop's almost like those Japanese vending machines that sell used underpants!

Yeah, I guess super- straightforward, but that's what would have made it a nice Monday, esp with the bounciness of MISHMASH, GEEZER, CUATRO (wished that started with a Q), IMPASSE, POOCH and even AGHAST.
All those words bring a smile.

It's in my contract to complain about how Yiddish words are defined, and in this case "Good Joe" felt a smidgen off, as per usual, because Joe is like the least Jewish name there is.
(Oh all right, Jesus's dad was Joseph, but there you have it!)

I'd have even preferred "Good egg", as I can't think of a name that would have triggered MENSCH.

But I liked that the religious thing kind of set off the drinks:
ABRAHAM, CRUSADES, MENSCH, ELDERS, SIR (and those are just the downs!)

AND I'm STILL AREEL over BEQ's discovery of the whole
AbraHAM LINcoln thing of yesterday!

Was speaking with PB (if you haven't finished his 10-puzzle contest, there is still time!) and we agreed we should all have our own private VPs in real life!

Anonymous 2:15 AM  

There's a jeweler named Jared, but it's not Subway Jared.

acme 2:34 AM  

ohmygod, I fell for a drunk guy's joke. My bad. Thanks, @anon 2:15!
(I had JARED in my syn puzzle too, coincidentally, and Rex chose it as his WOD but it was Leto.)

Rube 3:38 AM  

Didn't particularly like AREEL. Never used it or heard it used. Feels "made-up". Didn't know Midge and wasn't sure if it was a G or J in JARED. 'Course didn't know MAJORTOM either, but all of these were easy guesses.

Only writeover was puting an A in WORT... know better, just going too fast.

Had CR____ for Holy wars and wanted 'CRimes against humanity", but it wouldn't fit.

As usual for early week puzzles, didn't even look for a theme until the reveal. Then thought, clever, had all those drinks and didn't even realize it... must be turning into a real sot.

Re ENAMELED. We have 2 Le Creuset enameled cast iron pots which are about the only ones of our pots and pans I will put on the dinner table. FWIW, most of the rest of our stovetop utensils are AllClad.

Good puzzle. 3-1/2 swizzle sticks for Ms Delorme.

r.alphbunker 3:39 AM  

Normally I disagree with RP when he booes a puzzle but not today. I too thought the theme was watered down.

foodie 4:03 AM  

Yes, I agree @1A, the days felt switched on this one. And it would have been particularly apt to put it on a Monday because of 1A!

@Rube, yes, Le Creuset is a good example. And these things are not only decorative but indestructible. One of mine is over 35 years old and looks perfect.

Who thinks up the names of these COCKTAILS? Are there Namers involved? And is one of them a hunky guy with a tool fetish?

Anonymous 4:11 AM  

Glen Beck is very well associated with the Tea Party side he "sponsored" that big rally in D.C.

Binny 4:13 AM  

Danny -

I came to this blog solely to point out what you did; that is absolutely a factual error. "Grasshopper" is from "Kung Fu", NOT "The Karate Kid."

Anonymous 5:11 AM  

David Bowie had classic British Teeth back in the day...

The Dot Comic 6:01 AM  

But have you ever had a Liz Taylor?

That's a Shirley Temple without the cherry.

JaxInL.A. 7:34 AM  

Two requests:
1) Andrea, is there a link to your syndicated puzzle, please?

2) If you come here daily (or close), consider sending a contribution. I did mine, and we are really strapped. But it's a little like public radio. If you had to drop a quarter in a machine before you could see this blog, you probably would. Or maybe a dollar. It's totally worth it. And a quarter a day for 30 days is about $7.50. You can do your own math on the $1 a day. Times 12 months is what this is worth to you.

So my request, Rex, is to know if there a way to set up a recurring, subscription-like monthly donation where a person could set it and forget it? I can't find a reference to this on Paypal. I think I can set recurring payments through online banking with my own bank, maybe including having the bank mail a regular check. Will have to investigate. Maybe others would consider treating this like a subscription, since we all come here all the time.

I'm just saying, if you can, do.

Glimmerglass 7:55 AM  

Aristo is, I think, British slang.

The Dude 8:05 AM  

I wanted WHITERUSSIAN for 24A but it wouldn't fit.

Binny 8:27 AM  

Likes this. (above comment)

joho 8:31 AM  

I agree, ACME is right where she should be.

I was a little let down by this puzzle and also agree if it had been Monday and yesterday's today I don't think I'd have felt let down at all.

I liked @Rube's swizzle stick rating and wished SWIZZLESTICK had actually appeared in the puZZle.

Unfortunately theres a new JARED in the news but he will never show up in the crossword.

Thanks, Sharon Delorme!

Samantha 8:41 AM  


I love it.

Samantha 8:46 AM  

BTW, if you haven't actually read The Neverending Story, I highly recommend it.

Also, I agree with Danny: ARISTO has simply got to be made-for-crossword slang. Gross.

jesser 8:48 AM  

This puzzle was fun, but I'm puzzled by both 27A (MHO, which appears to be OHM backwards) and 8D (NOL, which is the inverse of the clue). Although I caught on to the COCKTAILS theme, I kept thinking there was going to be a reveal somewhere about weird backwards 3-letter answers. Is there really a MHO? Did I just learn something?

Exate! (Only because I finally fed the bastard) -- jesser

David Pearce 8:53 AM  

I think I'm on Team Rex with this one.

I like theme puzzles, generally, maybe I was just dissatisfied with this theme.

Gotta agree with R about 19A: don't understand the ENDURING appeal either.

I'd like to see a theme puzzle with the word amanuensis, or see one if anyone knows if there already is one.

Thanks, Rex!

7thecow 8:55 AM  

"The siemens (symbol: S) is the SI derived unit of electric conductance and electric admittance. Conductance and admittance are the reciprocals of resistance and impedance respectively, hence one siemens is equal to the reciprocal of one ohm, and is sometimes referred to as the mho." I did not know that. Had RHO and YESR.
My favorite word today was LIBATION, a la W.C. Fields. Could have used a few last night after
my Ducks lost on the last second field goal. We'll be back!
captcha: clewer- how apropos

efrex 9:08 AM  

Like a couple of others before me, I think I'd be happier if yesterday and today were switched. This felt like a Monday puzzle, except for the NE. Minded AREEL more than ARISTO.

Generally solid fill made up for the relatively weak theme. Biggest complaint from this persnickety boozer: the majority of the theme answers are mixed drinks, not cocktails, but what can you do?

L'chaim, Ms. Delorme!

Unknown 9:14 AM  

I haven't seen last year's Karate Kid remake. Is Grasshopper used in it? I just can't believe that Will Shortz would have messed this up. He's got an article on NYT describing how he never errs on a clue.

chefbea 9:33 AM  

Had troube with the north east when I drew a blank on Barbies BF. All in all fairly easy puzzle

@Rube I too have lots of All Clad. and Le Creseut. Also have an enamelled pot of Martha's which is just as good as LeCreuset and a lot cheaper

mmorgan 9:37 AM  

For some reason I put in SHIRLEY TEMPLE right away and thought that was going to be the theme -- kept looking for her movies or songs or reference to her diplomatic career or something, assuming it was her birthday or somesuch. I actually got a smile from COCKTAILS because I hadn't seen that they were all drinks as I filled them in.

Momentarily thought 1A might be APEX but no, of course, we start with a nice shoutout to our own "PINK LADY."

Donnie 9:38 AM  

What's a Shirley Temple?

Walter 9:39 AM  

You are out of your element @Donnie

ArtLvr 9:45 AM  

Hola, ACME! Nobody mentioned GEEZER, but it was appreciated next to ELDERS, plus DERIVE crossing screwDRIVER letting me fill in the NE in spite of males unknown. I did recall MIDGE somehow... It might have been harder in the NE too, if that HAM crossing abraHAM had had a Biblical clue as well. I loved St John's WORT and worry whence that name derives? My WOTD.

I'm not thrilled to see the Beck clue for TEA, since an ARISTO-sounding Earl Grey would have been cozier now we have another snowstorm looming.


quilter1 9:47 AM  

@Andrea, don't forget the first Biblical Joseph, son of Jacob, he of the many colored coat. He was truly a good Joe as he saved not only Egypt from famine but also his own family, forgiving his ten treacherous brothers. He really was a mensch.

I found this a quick and easy solve with no hitches, no complaints. Sadly this is the day we must liberate the snowblower from the shed. Four snowblowers were stolen from homes yesterday not far from my house.

David Pearce 9:51 AM  

You sure 9A isn't Madge, the Palmolive manicurist?

Aah, gowan, yer all soaking in it! :)

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

Rex was on the money. This puzzle was Times unworthy. Editor should have caught Karate Kid-Kung Fu mix up snafu and if a Shirley Temple is a cocktail, then I am an alcholic.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

Can someone enlighten me as to "cas?"

efrex 10:24 AM  

Anonymous: separate the words. When spelling something, someone might say "C as in cat"

OldCarFudd 10:25 AM  

No gripes. Enjoyed it. Aristo is very Brit. Loved the definition of a Liz Taylor. I always thought a mixed drink was something like scotch and soda, or bourbon and branch, while a cocktail (other than a non-alcoholic one like a ST) had more than one kind of booze. Have I been wrong all these years? Moi?

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

Maybe the definition of a cocktails is a drink with a "name," rather than a list of ingredients {scotch and soda).

Two Ponies 10:34 AM  

If that grasshopper clue truly is an error then I'm aghast. Is Will asleep at the wheel?
Agree that if this had run yesterday it would have been more appreciated.
I never played with dolls so Midge took awhile. I wanted Stacy but that is Lisa Simpson's doll, Malibu Stacy.
@ Glimmerglass is right about aristo being Brit slang.

Van55 10:38 AM  

My write over was OMNI before MINI . I, too, think Rex is too harsh. I like the theme despite theverror in flying GRASSHOPPER. I hated CAS, but had no issues with the rest of the fill.

Is Thom McAn current or a historical artifact. I don't remember seeing one ofbthe retailnstores since my childhood.

efrex 10:43 AM  

OldCarFudd: Picky drinkers consider a cocktail to be a carefully balanced mix of cordials, while a mixed drink is something whipped up to get you sloshed while disguising the taste of the alcohol. A screwdriver (vodka & orange juice) is a mixed drink; a rusty nail (scotch, Drambuie, and a lemon twist) is a cocktail. Mind you, there can be tasty mixed drinks (I'm partial to mimosas and cape codders myself), but a well-made cocktail is a thing of beauty. Most people don't really care, though, and I can't say that I blame them.

7thecow 10:44 AM  

@Alpine Joy: Hand up here, plus JEROD until I got IONIZE and the rest of the downs fell into place.
What kind of a cocktail is a RUSTY NAIL?
glumst: how I felt last night after the aforementioned game.

Bob D. 10:44 AM  

Rex I was happy to contribute via PayPal and I hope you keep your BLOG running for many years to come.

I think we are on different planets (although I believe I'm geographically near you - Rockland County, NY)

Whenever I am completely stymied by a puzzle I check your site and you have labled it "Easy - Medium"
Then I rip through a puzzle like this (Tue 1/11) one and you have it labled "Medium - Challenging".

Whatever. Just keep it coming.
Your fan,

Bob D.

Rex Parker 10:49 AM  

Thanks, Bob. It's nice to have a place where people from different planets can intermingle without starting some kind of space war.


Anonymous 10:59 AM  

@RP – I must say seeing “But this theme concept is something I'd expect to see in a much, much lower-rent puzzle” made me cringe. It seems mean and reflects a frustration unbecoming someone of your stature. You are asking for contributions this week. Didn’t you recently post someone emailed you saying they were never coming back because you were mean?

John from Chicago

Howard B 11:10 AM  

I just think this is one of those puzzles where the fill that's not part of the theme outshines the theme itself. MAJOR TOM, MISHMASH, RAP SHEET, MENSCH, GEEZER. For early in the week, it had some pretty colorful answers.

I guess I accept that not all themes are perfectly tight or crazily original, and there's only so much room for puzzles that really break the mold. This one was a nice offering for Tuesday, an even puzzle that doesn't break your brain. Although granted, there's a few rough spots in there (as already said). LIBATION was also a nice little bonus.

Moonchild 11:13 AM  

Unfortunate timing of Jared in the grid. That guy's grinning mug shot on the front page really creeped me out.
Cocktail theme was OK for a Tuesday, the red-headed stepchild of the week.
@ Rex, Thanks for Cab Calloway.
I love that song.
I did finish with an error. Yesr (short for yes sir?) did not seem right but I have seen Rho before. Can't say I have ever seen Mho.

oldactor 11:21 AM  


A Rusty Nail is Drambuie and Scotch served on the rocks. Tasty after dinner.

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

@anon 10:59AM - Rex is well aware that blogs without opinionated opinions don't thrive. I thought this puzzle was fine for a Tuesday, but Rex bitched (correctly) about the crosswordese; less accurately about the theme, but it is just his so very humble opinion.

It's a Tuesday puzzle: It's meant to be easy. I had no problem with some random theme like cocktails.

I agree with you that the words "a lower-rent puzzle" made me cringe. Hey, Rex, someone submitted it, and Shortz accepted it.


fikink 11:46 AM  

A very gracious response to Bob D., Rex - that is because you are a MENSCH, the clue to which ("Good Joe") gives it short shrift. MENSCH carries the dimensions of "Gemütlichkeit," imo.

Just heard GRASSHOPPER in this context on a commercial. This term of endearment seems widely appropriated.

@ACME, certainly you've seen that obnoxious commercial for the jeweler where she takes a photo of the ring he just presented her when he leaves the table, captioning the photo, "He went to Jared's!" (Don't get me started.)

My "veil of tears" mother had a personal distaste for the whole Barbie mindset and presented me with a MIDGE doll.
No wonder I'm in therapy.

Hey, it's 1-11-11 !!

The puzzle was fine for a Tuesday, IMO.

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

i believe that mensch has a more intense connotation than a good joe or a good egg.

i seem to remember grasshopper from karate kid but i must be wrong.

Sfingi 11:56 AM  

@Rex - agree on Jared. Yet I hear him mentioned all the time. One time I was talking about an actual city subway, and away they went yakking about Jared. Didn't know his last name - some form of the German word for bird.
Also did not like ARISTO AREEL or CAS.

Fairly easy Crossword. One right-over - GOES on else. But one Google - MHO; and it added that this - Ohm spelled backwards - is not the correct word. Thank goodness, since I took electricity and electronics >30 years ago.

The GRASSHOPPER was my favorite drink in my yoot. I can get booze down only with a little bit of sugar and cream. Anybody describe the incredients? Creme de Menthe, Creme de Cacao (transparent), Cream.
GEEZER, codger - I resemble these remarks.

Didn't know MIDGE, Barbie's NBF. So, she rejected her flat-chested old best friend, Jill, Ginny's big sister.

Love everything David Bowie but especially his movie, The Man Who Fell to Earth.

Love Cab Calloway. However, his nephew(?), Northern Callaway, refused to sign an autograph for my son. I now know Northern died of the effects of mental disease.

Wanted Rep for TEA. My ancestor, Gen Joseph Palmer, who dressed as an Indian at the Revolutionary Tea Party, would never have invited him. To begin with, all that boo-hooing. The women in our New England Yankee family don't even cry. Man up, guy. And we swore off TEA back then.

@Chet - "decorated" would have been better.

chefbea 11:57 AM  

Here's a scotch and water to Tinbeni!! (even tho he drinks his neat.) Hopefully he'll see this puzzle!!

william e emba 12:30 PM  

MHO, the measure of conductance, is simply "ohm", the measure of resistance, spelled backwards. Its symbol ℧ is an upside omega Ω, the symbol for ohm. The official SI unit of conductance is now the siemens, symbol S. The good news is they are the same unit.

As has been mentioned, ARISTO is standard British slang. I've only come across it in my reading in the plural. I'm more familiar with the variant used by Walter Jon Williams Aristoi, plural of Aristos, his name for the galaxy's elite class. (I highly recommend pretty much all of his science fiction.) Be glad the term "arista" hasn't become crosswordese. No, it's not a female aristo.

I also highly recommend ENDE The Neverending Story. By all rights, it ought to have been a cheesy embarrassment, but no, Ende (and his translator) pulled it off perfectly. Be absolutely certain to read from a bichromatic (red/green text) edition, like the original hardcover or some of the late paperback printings. I've also read his Momo and The Night of Wishes, pleasant diversions, but not required reading.

The movie was mostly tolerable, except for the fact that it was exactly the first half of the novel. And the second half of the novel was pretty much the whole point! Ugh.

The original Karate Kid, by the way, was a DC Comics superhero from the 30th century Legion of Super-Heroes, introduced in the mid-60s. The surprise success of martial arts movies/TV led DC management to insist that DC issue its own version immediately, so they spun off the popular Karate Kid into his own book, stranding him in the 20th century for 15 issues. And no, they did not call him "grasshopper" either. (The later movies used the name Karate Kid with DC's permission, and this fact is mentioned in the credits.)

retired_chemist 12:33 PM  

Easy here. What everybody said.

Stan 12:48 PM  

A very smooth puzzle -- I agree it seems somewhere between a Monday and a Tuesday. No problem with that.

Liked ACME at the top and ENDE at the end.

syndy 1:21 PM  

While waiting with bated breath for the denouement of grasshoppergate I must say that I found the puzzle quite enjoyable(bottom line)but hey why not start the morning with a cocktail!

Anonymous 1:24 PM  

The Times will have to print a correction regarding the mistaken
Grasshopper clue.
I'm surprised that goof got by all those test solvers.

Jeff Chen 1:45 PM  

Well constructed puzzle, but I agree with Rex. Aren't there dozens of other drinks with names that mean other things?

archaeoprof 1:46 PM  

MHO was news to me.

@fikink: but how about the Jared commercial with the football players -- "are you crying?"

ksquare 1:48 PM  

A GRASSHOPPER goes into a bar and asks for a cocktail. The bartender asks him "Do you know there's a drink named after you?. He says "What kind of a drink is a Charley?.

retired_chemist 2:02 PM  

Physicists do have a sense of humor.

MHO is not the only inverse unit named by spelling the original unit backwards.

YRNEH (pronounced "Ernie"), a unit of measurement for reciprocal electrical inductance, is thus derived from the name of unit of inductance, the HENRY.

mac 2:15 PM  

Ah, here's our Monday. I agree about the listless theme, but there are lots of great words in the fill: impasse, enameled, libation, Major Tom and mishmash!

I needed the sedge for Hideho, and don't like a-side very much. Abraham visits us again! Can't give you an opinion on the Grasshopper. Aristo is definitely a British term, just pick up a copy of "Hello". (Actually, don't).

Shamik 2:19 PM  

Second easiest Tuesday ever. Meh.

Doc John 2:26 PM  

Is it me or is that book cover photo just a little creepy?

Matthew G. 3:07 PM  

As I observed yesterday, the difficulty level has really ramped up in the new year. But whereas I rather liked yesterday's puzzle, which was fun-hard, this one is annoying-hard. Not sure if it's my worst Tuesday time ever, but it's got to be close.

Pretty much agree with Rex down the list today. I much prefer finding things to praise than to criticize, but all I can honestly say today is that I've rarely found a hard (for its day of the week) puzzle less interesting. The theme is barely there, and if you're going to have fill this weak, it ought to be propping up a good theme, which it isn't. The only thing that made me laugh was the reveal. Really? They're COCKTAILS? Thanks for clarifying.

Have heard the name Cab Calloway before, but did not know his catchphrase. I cannot abide jazz music, so that would probably be why.

I hope we get LINCOLN in tomorrow's grid so that we'll have had HAMLIN, abraHAM, and LINcoln on consecutive days.

sanfranman59 3:20 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 8:15, 8:54, 0.93, 34%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:28, 4:34, 0.98, 48%, Medium

Ulrich 3:43 PM  

@Andrea: I'm shocked, shocked that you can't think of a name in connection with MENSCH!!!!!

Sfingi 3:44 PM  

@Matthew - All jazz?

@Anon124 - the 5th commenter (3rd non-anonymous commenter), Danny, caught the error.

@Doc John - Glenn Beck is always creepy. He's the Uber-creep.

@Ret.Chemist - Thank goodness you 2 are scientists. Did you catch Dilbert, today? Doctor says, "According to our records, you're an engineer. We classify that as a disease, now." And the only class I've ever met with "hygiene" problems.

David from CA 3:58 PM  

Thought this was a good puzzle: took a little work, eventually completely without any guesses - meaning all names were crossed with gettable words. Theme was well executed - 4 long (9,11,11,13 letters) answers with a 9 letter reveal. Also was a theme that could rally help the solver (at least me) since it was clear and all the answers were reasonably familiar (even though I'm not a drinker). Can't say I understand the objections - just because there are many other drink names that could have been used people object to the choices made? And if GRASSHOPPER is a generic term of endearment for a karate student then that clue seems valid, if a little stretched, to me, even if the term wasn't actually used in the movie.
@Mere Mortals: The only article I've seen by WS on the subject admits that he does make mistakes, but rarely, and gives examples.

Anonymous 4:00 PM  

@ret.chemist: my husband had a student named Herny (dyslexic doc?) one day he went out to his car to find the name Herny scratched on the hood. next day he approached the student and asked, "Why did you scratch my car?" student responded indignantly "How do you know it was me?"

william e emba 4:03 PM  

Yes, "yrneh" (=henry backwards) is in one or two dictionaries. I'm certain that it's one of those fake words with no existence outside of dictionaries, whether to detect illegal copying (esquivalience, meaning "the willful avoidance of one's official responsibilities" in the 2001 NOAD) or through an internal chain of errors (dord, meaning "density" in the 1934 W2I).

william e emba 4:20 PM  

Shortz does admit to errors, although often with great reluctance and sometimes he's in denial. Notable errors include cluing Larry as the brother of Moe and Curly, saying Mt Everest was visible from a certain lowland spot (it appeared to be so on the map, but there are other mountains in the way), thinking "fore" is shouted before you swing in golf, cluing Colin Powell in a Sunday diagramless as a former Secretary of Defense (which rated an official correction), thinking that arbitrageurs are speculating on Wall Street, cluing Telex as a fax predecessor, thinking baseball has a salary cap, implying all the animals entered Noah's ark two-by-two, and lots more.

Three and out.

Sparky 4:22 PM  

Started with SHIRLEYTEMPLE and also thought it would be her birthday or the like. Late to post so redundant. @efrex; I never knew all that. Over and out.

Earliest entry wins 4:34 PM  


Actually, Rex pointed out the Grasshopper error in his writeup --- and posted a video as backup.


Anonymous 4:35 PM  

Acme on a Tueday, no my calendar will be off all week.
Not a fan of MHO, AREEL or ARISTO.
But love ACME.

The Jared/jeweler story sounds like urban legend.
There's a jewelry chain named Jared's, but I think there is no relation. Further one of the women in their ads is from Survivor (TV reality folds back on itself, and the unvierse implodes).

"But Fogle, an Indiana University graduate who briefly had a real job at an airline before the Subway gig took off, knows this won't last forever. His
15 minutes were supposed to be up a long time ago.

Having a good laugh
One time he and wife, Elizabeth, a pediatric nurse, stopped in at the bar of the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, and noticed actors
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon looking over and whispering."

BTW, anyone else get the IU connection to a Mr. W. Shortz ???

andrea tea-totaler michaels 4:45 PM  

Syndicated puzzle is always clickable right up top, but you already did it! Remember? it made you late for your meeting!

Oh right! Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat!!!
I know there are biblical Josephs, I just meant that in the last hundred years Joseph is more a quintessential Catholic name, esp in the Italian/Irish Catholic just don't usually meet contemporary Mensches (menschim? menschmen?) named Joe.

And I know I have already mentioned years ago about my mom's uber-Waspy husband who used to say "That guy is such a mensch!" when he meant "schmuck!" ;)

Love the Grasshopper joke! Altho would his name be Charley? :)


Actually, revising my thinking from last night...the puzzle what with FIVE long theme answers (AND LIBATION crossing TEA to boot...that's like 7) makes it too sophisticated perhaps for a Monday.
I don't think the theme was thin tho...nor unworthy in anyway, it's sort of colorful (RUSTYNAIL!)if super-straightforward.
I would never drink something called a RUSTYNAIL, it sounds like you'd get hepatitis before you had the second sip!

I guess I'm more with @HowardB that perhaps some of the fill outshone the theme, and if the GRASSHOPPER clue was incorrect, then that tarnishes it a bit...
but not the constructor's fault entirely.
In general, I say "cheers!"

OldCarFudd 5:07 PM  

@efrex - Thank you!

fikink 5:22 PM  

@archaeoprof, you have reminded me I dislike pretty much ALL of their commercials.

@DocJohn, Sfingi, perhaps gray days in Iowa against a backdrop of blazing guns in Tucson (whence FIL came) and Palin's political signature of "crosshairs" cause me to think SCARY when I see pictures of Glenn Beck.

@Matthew G, I have never run across someone who categorically rejects jazz. I'm blown away by that. (is that an incendiary expression now? - Don't answer that, I might go ballistic.)

@Ulrich, I know you to be a MENSCH, as does is ACME, for that matter.

I agree CRUSADE, MISHMASH, IMPASSE, DERIVE, LIBATION, POOCH, RAPSHEET were well worth the price of admission.

jesser 5:52 PM  

I so seldom get to come back to the blog after I post to make a second posting, but here's my chance! And I'll use it to come out of the closet as no fan of either jazz or classical music. I like my music with lyrics and structure. Caveat: I also hate opera.

Unsol! (Did you sol the puzzle? No, dammit) -- jesser

Anonymous 6:11 PM  

Interesting that you rated it medium-challenging, Rex. I found it medium. But still probably twice as long as you.

Ulrich 6:55 PM  

@fikink: Thank you--and likewise!

BTW The plural is Menschen.

mmorgan 7:28 PM  

@jesser (and others)... no jazz, no classical, no opera?? Oh dear.

As a musician, I strongly feel that there are only two types of music: Good and Bad. Genre has absolutely nothing to do with it.

And now I'm wondering if that applies to puzzles as well!

Anonymous 7:42 PM  

Andrea @ 4:45 - I think you meant cirrhosis, a liver condition caused by alcohol abuse. Hepititas is a liver infection from a virus. A drunk knows these things....

Anonymous 8:09 PM  

I'd be happy to give Rex some money -- I love this blog and what he does -- but I'd like to know: Why? Does it cost him anything to host it (apart from time lost doing other things)? Does he have to pay something by volume to store his comments and all of ours on-line? When NPR asks for funding, they ask because they need to pay salaries (because this country -- unique among developed democracies -- does not understand why it needs to support public service broadcasting, which is a tragedy). I'm just wondering if Rex is accruing any real costs (again, apart from time lost doing other things) that he is asking us to help offset, or if he is just straight out asking for money (because, as so many of us know, academics are woefully undercompensated and because he puts so much effort into this that, morally, those of us who get so much pleasure from his labors should provide him with some financial recompense).

Just asking.

andrea carla menschels 8:32 PM  

Thanks! Or will you just say "Don't Menschen it?"

I think you answered your own question.

Sfingi 8:54 PM  

@Andrea - The Mensch/Schmuck thing caused me to LOL. I know these people. Of course, Schmuck really means jewel, so maybe he meant that...

@Earliest entry - I say, You're right!

@Anon742 - Chronic hepatitis can lead to cirrhosis because of scar tissue. And there is an alcoholic type of hepatitis. Further, cirrhosis can lead to liver cancer.

Anonymous 8:56 PM  

Anon@8:09PM and Andrea@8:09 - Huh?

I think Rex made it clear - Give what you want and what you can afford, or not. If you like the product and want to get more, buy it. If not, forget it. This is not a hedge fund. It's only entertainment. Rex , I am sure, does this for the love of it. Otherwise, we couldn't pay him enough.

Anonymous 9:07 PM  

Sfingi- Thx. Now I have to be concerned about hepatitis and cirrhosis? However, what I said is still the rule....

Anonymous 9:21 PM  

Interesting (I think) sidelight. Lots of "secondary answers" here. "Mini" as in mini-bar. "Ache" as in hangover. "Goes" and "to(i) let" as in bad drinking experience.

Of course, why have a cocktail when you can have a good dick story any time.

Anonymous 9:26 PM  

Anon @9:21 - Not to mention the EMT who save you from choking to death on your own vomit....

BeeBoppa 9:52 PM  

I once was talking to my former MIL while ex was with Dad in the other room, listening to Ella Fitzgerald (relatively quietly). Suddenly, as I was in mid-sentence halfway through a story, she jumped out of her chair and dashed off to the other room, saying, "I just can't take any more of that damn jazz!"

A few years earlier, we had been eating at a fancy restaurant and she praised the music all the way home. It was by a harpist playing (among other things) a Beatles cover (Norwegian Wood).

fikink 9:57 PM  

I have a real hard time understanding the notion that jazz has no structure. Huh?

Ulrich 10:15 PM  

@Andrea: Ha! I will try to introduce this into German next time I'm there.

@fikink: I think jesser was kidding. I mean, ever heard of the sonata form? And you cannot have more structure than in jazz--one chorus after the other whose length and chord sequence are given by the initial tune and over which everybody improvises...if anything, that's too much structure...

fikink 10:23 PM  

@Ulrich, absolutely. I point you to "Tangerine" done by Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond for the intro of the initial tune and underlying structure for all following improvisation. Gangbuster!

Anonymous 10:26 PM  

people who don't get jazz don't hear the structure; they only hear the improvisation, and it just sounds random to them. sad but true.

sanfranman59 12:14 AM  

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

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

Mon 7:32, 6:55, 1.09, 83%, Challenging
Tue 8:16, 8:54, 0.93, 37%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:50, 3:41, 1.04, 69%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:27, 4:34, 0.97, 48%, Medium

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

Very easy unless you're 12 and your parents are tee-totalers

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

A grasshopper hops into a bar and the bartender says "Hey little buddy, you know we have a drink named after you". and the Grasshopper says "You have a drink named Murray?!"

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

The bartender says "Yes, and one named Charley."

NotalwaysrightBill 3:46 PM  

Low-rent syndicated paper solver.

Pretty much on par with my expectations for a Tuespuz.

Beck's Washington rally wasn't an official TEA-party function, nor does he identify himself as a TEA-partier, although he seems to support much of their platform. But what can you expect from a constructor who doesn't know that GRASSHOPPER came from KUNG FU instead of The Karate Kid?

Dearly wish that all the cheap-shot-but-high-rent criticism here of Beck and Palin et al rose to something more substantial and actually factual than "CREEPY" and "SCARY." If lefties ever have an original idea that strays three feet from "Oh, I know: LET'S STEAL IT!!," by all means let me know. Until then it's all a bunch of unsustainable how-stupid-can-you-get chicken-thief drivel to me.

Usually enjoy this blog otherwise.

Dirigonzo 5:31 PM  

Re the discussion about what disease one would get from a RUSTYNAIL - I'd worry first about Tetanus.

Captcha is cohrona which is closer to a Mexican beer than a COCKTAIL.

lodsf 10:34 PM  

It’s the 5 o’clock cocktail hour somewhere, even in syndication land. I liked the puzzle and was happy to do a Monday puzzle on a Tuesday. And yes, I tithed (not the official % but something). To one Anon poster: cost of internet hosting $0, cost of cyber storage $0, cost of RP blog… priceless. (Just think of what you would pay to have it back if it ever stopped – horrors – and contribute accordingly.)

[Couldn't reist captcha -- antateas -- which, changing an a to an i made me think of my general thinking on Mr. Beck & friends.]

Rex Parker 11:17 PM  

Thanks, lodsf. Always good to hear from syndication-land.


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