Ethan Frome's sickly wife / SUN 1-9-11 / Jackal-headed god / Author in 1950s angry young men movement / Sinatra portrayer / Half-human counselor Star

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: "The Long and the Short of It" — phrases where long "I" sound is changed to short "I" sound and vice versa, creating wacky phrases, clued wacktastically

Word of the Day: ANUBIS (46D: Jackal-headed god) —

Anubis (Ancient Greek: Ἄνουβις) is the Greek name for a jackal-headed god associated with mummification and the afterlife in Egyptian mythology. In the ancient Egyptian language, Anubis is known as Inpu, (variously spelled Anup, Anpu, and Ienpw). The oldest known mention of Anubis is in the Old Kingdom pyramid texts, where he is associated with the burial of the Pharaoh. At this time, Anubis was the most important god of the Dead but he was replaced during the Middle Kingdom by Osiris. [how fighting—I really wanted OSIRIS] (wikipedia)
• • •

Happy Sunday, everyone. Before we hit the puzzle, some business—I want to make a brief pitch for donations, which I haven't done in almost three years. The audience for this site continues to grow, and grow, and grow, in ways that I still find astonishing. I hope that you have found the site informative and (at least occasionally) entertaining, and that you have learned to understand and even appreciate crossword puzzles more as a result of reading (as I have, as a result of writing). [And to my solvers in syndication—those solving this puzzle the weekend of Jan. 16, 2011—don't think I don't value your readership just because you come a little late to the party: you're well over half my audience!] I love writing for you all, and I put in a good deal of time and effort (mostly during prime sleeping hours) to get it done.

As I said the last time I made a donation pitch, all I ask is that you consider what the blog is worth to you, and donate accordingly. Whatever the size of the donation, I can assure you I will be extremely grateful. There is a Paypal button in the sidebar there to your right. If you do not care to use Paypal, there's a snail mail address there that you may use as well. It is:

Rex Parker
4700 Vestal Parkway East, #279
Vestal, NY 13850-3770

If you are not in any financial position to donate, then please don't. I completely understand. Please continue to enjoy (or revile) the site, free of charge, with my compliments. This goes for people who simply don't care to donate, for whatever reason. Honestly, I'm grateful that anyone, anywhere, wants to read what I write.

And to those of you who have donated in the past—your generosity has meant a lot to me. Thank you.

OK, puzzle now...
I just hyped Patrick Berry's puzzle website yesterday, and now here he is with another NYT puzzle. Coincidence? Yes, completely.

I picked up the gimmick pretty early, but still had a good amount of trouble moving through the grid. Pleasant trouble, but trouble nonetheless. More specifically, I had two particular trouble spots—the area around the front end of ZIPPO LITTER, and the area around the back end of ZIPPO LITTER. Basically, that answer was a bear for me, and the surrounding entries weren't helping me much. I had the whole middle (i.e. "-IPPOLITT--") and still had no idea what I was dealing with. Hippolyta was an Amazon taken as a wife by Theseus ... I really wanted her to be involved somehow. But even in the rest of the grid, it was slightly slower-going than usual, due mainly to the fact that I was never sure where those ITS and IGHTS were gonna show up. Thankfully, the resulting wacky answers were mostly good. I think THEM'S FITTING WORDS! is my favorite.

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Manic desire to make sweaters when the weekend starts? (SATURDAY KNIT FEVER) — great
  • 32A: Contents of the Visine Gazette? (EYE WHITENESS NEWS) — I admire the preposterous clue on this one
  • 48A: Parts of many cheerleading uniforms? (SLIGHT SKIRTS)

  • 64A: Cleanup crew's goal? (ZIPPO LITTER)
  • 81A: Punchophobic? (AFRAID OF HITS) — somehow briefly thought the answer was going to be AFRAID OF [Shere] HITE
  • 94A: Company whose motto is "Our pilots are moderately intelligent? (BRIGHTISH AIRWAYS) — is "brightish" a word? I don't really care, as I love this answer
  • 106A: "That thar was an appropriate thing to say!?" ("THEM'S FITTING WORDS") — even the clue makes me laugh. I kind of wish the "G" were dropped on this one, but even so ... gold.
  • 16D: Cronkite when at the top of the ratings? (WALTER MIGHTY)
  • 58D: Easily damaged major organs? (TENDER VITALS)
I would like to nominate ESTOPPEL for the Ugliest Word in the English Language (8-letter category). Nothing about it looks right. That -EL ending ... I need to invent a new word, something between "yuck" and "yipes." Yuckipes! There was probably a time when I didn't like YEANING much either (looks like it desperately wants to buy an "R") (116A: Bringing forth young, as sheep), but I'm just happy that I know it now (thanks, xwords), and after all, it still looks a whole lot better than YEAN. I'd have clued ZEENA as [Tennis player Garrison], but this is because a. I know who she is, b. I'm from the '80s, and c. I can't spell (ZINA is how Ms. Garrison spells her name). Very rough to have that "Z" essentially hidden by this piece of literary arcana (64D: Ethan Frome's sickly wife). I thought [Part of a code] was LINE. Don't programmers write LINEs of code (when they're not doing LINEs of coke, of course) (you computer geeks think I don't know what goes on at your Red Bull-fueled, all-night coding parties?!). I think I was influenced by the clue on the cross: 69D: Program problem (GLITCH).

As for the other side of ZIPPO LITTER, I had AGEE instead of AMIS (61A: Author in the 1950s "angry young men" movement). Oh, and my biggest problem was "Who the hell are the SOONES!? Some phenomenally popular Christian rock band I've never heard of!?!?" Oh ... The STONES. Yeah, they're pretty famous (36D: Top-grossing concert act of 1989, '94 and '05, with "the"). Stupid nautical TAR, ugh (40A: Naval need of old). I of course had OAR (hence SOONES). Triremes and what not. I think I can go ahead and name the TAR/OAR error the "MOAPO" error, since that was what I ended up with the last time I made the error, under tournament conditions (actual answer was MT. APO). Eventually, you will make the MOAPO error, if you haven't already. I guarantee it.

  • 1A: Thanksgiving staple (PIE) — wanted YAM :(
  • 4A: "Big ___," 1995 Notorious B.I.G. hit (POPPA) — yay. He was in my last puzzle.

  • 50A: Where brown and white meet (TAN LINE) — great clue. Stumped me.
  • 77A: ___ Rosada (Argentine presidential manor) (CASA) — Spanish 101, so even with a relatively obscure clue, this one was easy to pick up.
  • 102A: "Giant" in "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" (ANT) — there was a "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" ride or exhibit or something at Disney Hollywood Studios. As you can guess, I did not indulge. Thus, this clue = ??? to me.
  • 1D: Sinatra portrayer on "S.N.L." (PISCOPO) — Gimme. Helped me get over my YAM fixation at 1A. Hey, look, there's another "portrayer" a little ways over—Ralph FIENNES as Voldemort (12D: Voldemort's portrayer in the Harry Potter films).
  • 33A: Musical featuring "The Way He Makes Me Feel" ("YENTL") — my answer: "ANNIE!"

[This cites "Annie" *and* Notorious B.I.G. ... warning: some profanity]

  • 38D: "The Government Inspector" playwright (GOGOL) — really wanted GODOT despite knowing that he is fictional, and possibly non-existent.
  • 66D: Half-human counselor on "Star Trek: T.N.G." (TROI) — the one Trek-related character every constant solver knows (or should). She has great ... letters.
  • 71D: Drained of blood (ASHEN) — see also 62A: "True Blood" network (HBO).
  • 80D: Baseball Hall-of-Famer with the autobiography "Maybe I'll Pitch Forever" (PAIGE) — I highly recommend James Sturm's "Satchel PAIGE: Striking Out Jim Crow." Great example of how comics can illuminate history.
  • 97D: Winter windshield problem (ICING) — tell me about it. My left wiper is wonky and the parts it couldn't get to kept icing up tonight and I had to drive halfway leaned over so I could look through the clear patch of glass. Not recommended, kids.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


chefwen 1:29 AM  

Had a similar solving experience as Rex, although I'm sure it took me about 10 times longer to finish. Groaned and then chortled (love that word) after every long answer was filled. TAN LINE had me flummoxed for a tad bit also. THEMS FITTING WORDS was also my favorite along with 9A TWOFERS, which was not a theme answer, it's just fun to say.

Good way to spend a Saturday evening, thanks Mr. Berry and Mr. Parker.

Jae 1:37 AM  

More medium for me. Only a couple of hang ups. I also had OAR and LAME for TAME which left me wondering about the nature of LANLINE connections. I also had one of those Andrea deals with SNARE at first for 30d which got changed when it showed up for 117a. Fun puzzle, with quite a few chuckles (which Rex pointed out).

ArtLvr 3:54 AM  

I think it helped that I worked the lowest lines first since that gave me THEM'S FITTING WORDS and thus the theme idea. Crossed with DONATION, it's an apt occasion indeed to mention contributions to your daily feast, Rex, and many happy returns!

Seeing one substitution of a short-i sound for an expected long-i didn't spoil the fun because of the varied positions where the change might go the other way. They were all fresh and clever, but my favorite clue and answer combo has to be those moderately intelligent pilots flying for BRIGHTISH AIRWAYS...

Yes, I tried Genet before recalling GOGOL, and had Snafu before SNARL. GRR. Also, icky ESTOPPEL was my last fill, since BY a point can work but ON a point not so much, compared with ONE POINT.

This is a beauty, Patrick Berry -- many thanks!

ArtLvr 4:13 AM  

p.s. I hated Reagan's Surgeon General KOOP at the time, because he made such a huge deal about cigarettes while totally refusing to admit that there was a more crucial AIDS epidemic rampant then. Not a SOLID scientist, just a political toady!


r.alphbunker 5:50 AM  

ZIPPOLITTER was my downfall. I had _IPPOLLUTER and needed the machine to show me that the crew was cleaning up litter. And even then I wanted the first 'I' to be the theme one. It is sad that my brain has associated cleaning up with pollution rather than the more benign litter. I guess it is a comment on the times we live in.

Otherwise it was a smooth solve.

mmorgan 8:31 AM  

I also had a very similar solving experience to @Rex. The theme answers were fun, if occasionally groan-inducing (but in a good way). Much of the fill, though, was a slog. I actually found many of the theme answers much easier to get than most of the fill! I would stare blankly at a section for a while, then look away, then come back and fill it in... Letter. By. Letter. The NW in particular was resistant.

@Rex says the theme is "phrases where long 'I' sound is changed to short 'I' sound and vice versa," but more specifically, isn't it "IT" and "ITE" (or "IGHT"), as in "The Long and Short of *It*"? Even cleverer.

I was getting stuck when I was about 90% done. Finally -- worse than HTG -- I had to ask my wife for help (heh). Thanks to her fresh eyes in a few trouble spots, I was able to finish.

Beer and skittles = FUN? Not for me (well, maybe the beer part). I actually liked ESTOPPAL (maybe because I was delighted just to get it).

I'm so glad to learn the word YEANING (116A). That should come in handy pretty often.

Most satisfying answer = PARS for 4D. Yay! Only 3 or 4 more months till golf!

imsdave 9:04 AM  

I was so ready to tell the MOAPO story (always fun to needle Rex and DougP) but, as usual, our host was way ahead of me.

I'm not a physician, nor do I play one on TV so TIBIA off the B instead of ELBOW slowed me down a bit.

Totally exhausted from the stress of watching both UConn basketball games yesterday. The men won by ONEPOINT and the women by three (after being down five with four minutes to play). Yay.

Got the theme off of WALTERMIGHTY and found it extremely helpful in the solve.

Challenging and FUN puzzle. Thanks Mr. Berry

joho 9:07 AM  

Last thing I got was ZIPPOLITTER.

I thought all the clues and answers were "wacktastic," my favorites being BRIGHTISHAIRWAYS and EYEWHITENESSNEWS.

This puzzle hit a HOMERUN, thank you, Patrick Berry!

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

@imsdave - Please go ahead and explain MOAPO for those of us who don't know it.

imsdave 9:22 AM  

Should've looked for this before posting. Amazing three point shot from yesterday's game.

Kemba Walker

mitchs 9:50 AM  

Hand up for the OAR/TAR confusion, but I took it a step further by concluding that LABLINES were where brown and white met. Brown labs, white labs...and I've never heard of the SOOBES, but hey, I'm an old fart.

Then, ESTOPPAL crossing ONAPOINT had me already formulating a complaint on this blog. It's BY a point, never on a point.

What the hell has happened to me?

quilter1 10:01 AM  

Slow start but fast, fun finish once I saw the theme. Fav theme answer was THEMS FITTING WORDS ala Yosemite Sam. Also BRIGHTISH AIRWAYS made me chuckle. My last entry was the u in ELIHU for which I had Elias, but once I cleaned up that little mess I was done, and before church, too.
Today, Drake vs Indiana State. Go Bulldogs!

jackj 10:06 AM  

A rare feat which the Patrick Berry's of the crossword world are able to pull off while mere mortals are woefully deficient. That is, in concocting a brilliant set of theme entries while still giving us sparkling non-theme clues and answers.

Unabashed praise for Patrick; you're the best.

chefbea 10:38 AM  

What a great puzzle. Took a while but once I got the theme, was pretty easy. Loved Zippo litter!!

Of course I got 87D right away. That's what Mr. chefbea did before he retired.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

It would take a lot for me to get even remotely political on a Sunday morning, but, re: a previous comment ... "Koop" and "AIDS" absolutely belong together. Koop sounded the alarm early and loudly about HIV (and does so even today). The only criticism Google and I could find of Koop activism on HIV was from the the right, saying he went too far.

SethG 12:06 PM  

BEER AND SKITTLES was clued last year as [A bowl of cherries, in Chelsea]. Until today, I thought that was British slang for a bowl with cherries in it.

potagiere 12:11 PM  

Notnew, oar, snate? soomen? lan????. It was all wrong.
Tortured, I almost gave up. Anyway, thanks Rex for your dedication to the blog, especially the funny inserts you dig up. Definitely worth a couple of buck from all of us out here in the blogosphere.

foodie 12:14 PM  

Fun puzzle, which I just did on the plane to LA and had to stop myself from chortling and waking up the neighbor. The Brightish Airways seemed especially timely, albeit a little scary!

Re supporting this site: May I add how much I appreciate the lack of ads or endorsements, which is congruent with Rex's forthrightness in all manners of ways? Speaking for myself, I cannot put a price on the pleasure I get everyday from getting Rex's perspective and from the amazing people this site has attracted. Some of them have become my friends,for which I am eternally grateful to Rex. And others are part of my virtual world. Just today, I chuckled at GLITCH and thought of Edith B as I wrote NEON.

Shamik 12:23 PM  

Brilliant medium-challenging puzzle, though had a wrong square with the LANLINE and LAME. Sometimes having a wrong square puts me off the puzzle, but not this time. A few old fashioned gimmes in there with TROI and TRINI. Chagrined that I didn't know PISCOPO right out of the box. It goes with my recent lapse in names...not just famous people, but people I'm acquainted with. Ick.

Is anyone else dismayed at the picture of Jared Loughner at the book festival with what looks like a giant crossword puzzle next to him? Yeesh. Very sad times here in Arizona.

muckczt...the situation in AZ

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

Rex etal,

what's the best puzzle construction software for MAC?

many thanks for this great site,

Rob. E. Eeler

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

@RP - You hereby estopped from nominating ESTOPPEL for anything. It is not the Ugliest Word in the English Language (8-letter category). In fact, it is not even a part of the English Language. It is only a word used by lawyers for their own selfish purposes and only they know what it means. Nobody else is supposed to use that word or even know it exists. In fact, it should never be used in the NYT puzzle because it does not qualify as a word for any purpose other than what lawyers, especially lawyers who seek equitable remedies, want. It is not even a word fit for geeks and other such intellectuals. I have to go know to seek an injuction against the NYT estopping them from ever using that word again....

Go Bears

mitchs 12:36 PM  

@Foodie, well said, as always. Recently I was having trouble downloading the puz, and I refrained from lurking or commenting so as not to glean the answers. Talk about withdrawal!

If anyone doubts the value of this unique blog, imagine that, for whatever reason, it was no longer available. Yikes.

BTW, great puzzle. LOL at clue and answer on BRIGHTISHAIRWAYS.

Sammy 12:39 PM  

Great post as usual, but I'm surprised you didn't cover the clever crosses of REFINES and [RALPH] (pronounced "RAY") FIENNES. Also, perhaps due to my age, I had "HARTMAN" as Sinatra portrayer for quite some time. Cheers and keep up the excellent work.

Vocation, vocation, vocation 12:46 PM  

Estoppel is commonly used in real estate law, usually as a shorthand reference to a Landlord or Tenant Estoppel Certificate. When a buyer or a lender wants some assurance that the asset they're buying or loaning money on (the income stream from the leases)is not compromised from the outset. The buyer or lender gets those assurances from its seller/borrower in the form of covenants or representations, but the only recourse for breach of those covenants/reps is against the party making them. So it's usually a condition of the deal that the seller/borrower get the third party to the lease (the landlord or tenant) to give an assurance that there are no defaults under the lease, how much of a security deposit is being held, that there are no undisclosed agreements, etc. "Have all the estoppels come in?" is a common phrase when lawyers are going over the deal conditions checklist before closing. (The word has wider meaning, of course, but that's one of the contexts for it.)

Rex Parker 12:51 PM  

@Rob Eeler,

I use CrossFire for constructing on the Mac. I like it.


David L 1:06 PM  

As someone who's not usually thrilled by themed puzzles, I would just like to say that I really enjoyed this one. Clever and funny. "Them's fitting words!" -- I'm imagining Al Swearengen saying that, in one of his more magnanimous moments.

I made the OAR/SOONES error and, even worse, didn't correct it before putting my pen down. Excuses: (a) the cat fell asleep in my lap mid-solve, allowing me to trim his back nails before he realized what was up, and (b) interrupted by phone call just as I was almost finished...

Anonymous 1:07 PM  

@Anon 11:37 Goto:

It supports what you say and more about Koop. Koop was against smoking but he also encourage Reagan to do more about AIDS, at a time when it first became an issue and so little was known.

Also, don't understand what anybody has against a Surgeon General who was ahead of his time in fighting lobbyists and politicians to show the perils of smoking, at least in 2011?

I think Koop's strong anti-abortion stance was really the main gripe of Liberals. He was also a little wacky because he actually wore a uniform while in office, but, hey, isn't wacky why we are all here today?

Go Bears

hazel 1:32 PM  

@David L - I can't imagine under any circumstances Al Swearengen saying "Them's fitting words"!! although I love imagining him saying almost anything. Rooster Cogburn maybe, but not Al Swearengen (sp?).

Thought this was a quintessential Sunday puzzle - containing everything it should, and nothing it shouldn't. Jist finished reading Life, which made THE STONES so so easy. It might have been easy anyway, but I like to think it was because I just finished Life.

Go Falcons.

treedweller 1:36 PM  

I was not feelin' as generous as Rex on THEMSFITTINGWORDS. I felt strongly that the dialect required the dropped 'G'. (GRR!)

But, as I (and many others) have said, Sundays tend to be too big and a slog; I finished this one, so it must not have been too bad.

mac 1:39 PM  

What a great puzzle! But there was chuckling here not for the theme, but also the write-up and the comments. My husband doesn't even ask anymore why I'm laughing.

My solve was very similar to Rex's, although probably not as fast. The last area to fall was Washington State, I knew estoppel, just felt sure there should be an a at the end. That made me waver about several other entries. IDs and Idahoans cleared it up, finally.

@SethG: LOL! Life is but a bowl of cherries...

@sammy: I think this Ralph pronounces his name "rafe".

@David L: good job with the cat!

I would find it very hard to put a value on Rex's blog, but I tell you, I miss it a lot when I can't get to a computer on my travels! Let's send him a token of our appreciation.

CoffeeLvr 1:43 PM  

I chewed at this puzzle last night for a long time, but I agree that it is a very good Sunday puzzle. I had one cheat (I was sort watching TV, and searched for True Blood to find HBO, as TNT and AMC did not work!) Then still had one letter wrong - knew ESTOP, and figured the long version ended in PaL. Assumed that ONaPOINT was some regionalism or arcane phrase from some sport I don't follow. YEANING is one for the "You Must Remember This" file.

I found a dark undercurrent to the amusement overall: ABYSS, NADIR, URN, FATAL, Voldemort, ASHEN, ENVIES, ANUBIS. Must be me - time to see some sun!

Liked ADROIT, FINESSE, FOUNTS, and oddly, NAH.

I realized today that I gladly pay the NYT to get the puzzle online, but I subscribed to the puzzle so I could get it in "real time" and join this community. So I need to "subscribe" here also!

mitchs 2:05 PM  

Estoppel is actually pretty interesting. I'm no lawyer, but I believe that it stems from common law/tort law, wherein the court prevents an action. The idea is that once certain actions are taken there is no ex post facto remedy, so the action is pre-empted.

All lawyers, please correct. BTW, "legalese" gets a terrible rap. It has to be precise and unambiguous while dealing with the most complicated of issues.

archaeoprof 2:36 PM  

Nice Sunday. Favorite answer: ZIPPOLITTER. Thanks Patrick Berry!

@Hazel: just started reading Life. Keith has lived more in 50+ pages than I have in 50+ years.

sarah 2:42 PM  

Had "lambing" for YEANING for quite a while, which slowed me down a bit. Embarrassingly, I completed the puzzle without ever quite getting the theme ("hmm, something about adding "igh" and "itt" for other things, but it's a mystery to me..."). My excuse is that I just took the redeye from CA to NY, so I'm not wholly on my game. Puzzlemakers love ESTOPPEL and its cousin "estop" -- lots of handy vowels and consonants. And what would a Sunday puzzle be without the fabulous Brian ENO? As always, had to google some of the sport references (knew TORRE, didn't know PAIGE). BRIGHTISH AIRWAYS rules!

hazel 2:49 PM  

@archaeoprof - a few more pages and you'll be calling him Keef.... I found it to be a surprisingly compelling read, downloading some Xpensive Winos and Wingless Angels because I just couldn't get enough!

Falconer 3:39 PM  

Absolutely fantastic puzzle -- hard but not obscure, fun, plays with the language, interesting answers.

Patrick, you are a master at the top of your game. Thanks for the great Sunday morning diversion.

Rex, I only like what you write about half the time but I'm going to contribute via Paypal anyway because I appreciate your effort. Putting out a daily blog is much harder than most people realize, and you do it in a reliable, responsible, high-quality way.

Stan 3:52 PM  

All-around excellent puzzle: Not too easy, genuine wackiness, laugh-out-loud answers, and lots of solid fill. I liked "Where brown meets white" and "All too public tiff" as clues, since they suggested nothing at first, but turned out to be completely accurate.

We're also caught up in Keith's "Life" and associated merch: borrowed "Shine a Light" from the local library and bought the "STONES in Exile" DVD. Have a guitar in 5-string G-tuning. Fun stuff.

CoolPapaD 3:56 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
oldactor 4:12 PM  

My favorite wrong answer was RUM before OAR before TAR.

Thank you Rex for reminding me how much I appreciate your blog, and for the opportunity to express that with a contribution.

imsdave 4:12 PM  

@CoolPapaD - please send me an e-mail - this is a discussion that does not belong on this blog. Our host is extremely good about keeping the discussion relevant to the puzzle at hand. I once went into a political discourse that went way off course from the puzzle, out ot anger. Rex repudiated me (rightly), and I deleted it. My e-mail address is available by clicking on my name on the blog.

Connie A. 4:46 PM  

Three cheers for Elihu Root. For all you Republicans out there, he bears study, as he stood for the sanctity of privacy (not the Patriot Act) and private property (not Eminent Domain, to build a stadium in Texas...) and peace, not Second Amendment "remedies."

CoolPapaD 4:57 PM  

Took the advice of imsdave and deleted comments re 109D.

Still so sad...

syndy 5:15 PM  

estopage and godot did flummox up the northwest! todays showed what yesterdays lacked for me (I.E. a fighting chance)didn,t think i could find mj any creepier but wow! Eulitick-may not be P.C. but it sings

mac 5:33 PM  

@CoolPapaD: agree, so sad.

Robin 6:15 PM  

Loved the puzzle, including estoppel, which is a word that I find a use for on almost a daily basis. Until you fold it into your vocab, you are estopped from criticizing it. So, pooh to you naysayers.

@Rex - Love your blog almost as much as the puzzles themselves. The check is in the mail, unless I figger out how to do the Paypal thing. Keep it up, sweetie! I sense that you are a little tired, or bored, or burned out or Something. I hope you will keep making my day for as long as the NYT continues to publish.

michael 6:43 PM  

Had on a point and estoppal. But the mistake I don't fee; too badly about is Big Boppa

showing my age, I guess

Stu 7:44 PM  

The behavior Keith Richards describes in his book is the sort of thing most right-thinking folks would usually morally condemn--casual misogyny, refusal to take responsibility for the consequences of one's own actions, gleeful recounts of drug and alcohol abuse (the guy is nearly 70 years old and still bragging about this stuff), little remorse for neglected children and wives and serial philandering--but for some reason this PC crowd celebrates him as a lovable rogue. That says a lot about the state of our culture.

Martin 8:04 PM  


I support your right to condemn anyone, but why is the opposite "PC"? Is political correctness somehow a synonym for "libertine"? Is the notion that people who laugh at the antics of antiheros don't want to offend them? I really don't get it.

David Pearce 8:34 PM  

Great, and now I see that Jared Lee Loughner, the Tucson Maniac, is shown in a Times photo at the 2010 Tucson Festival of Books, smiling and looking SO pretty. And he's posing next to a large crossword! Great! Just what the crossworld needs, a maniac posing next to a crossword. What a mixed-up, stupid idiot bastard!

Van55 8:54 PM  

Excellent Sunday puzzle. No complaints at all.

Geometricus 9:10 PM  

I loved how ELBOW crosses LBO, continuing the REFINES crossing FIENNES connection.

Rex, I didn't know I was looking for a blog like this until I found it. I always wanted to share my interest in crosswords with others, but when I tried to share a clever clue/answer with someone in my family, it would be greeted by a huge yawn and rolled eyes. On this blog I am constantly delighted by what delights others because usually it delighted me too.

I am on the fence whether to make a donation. Hmmm...lets see, how about I will donate if Andrea Donation Michaels makes an appearance today in the comments. [Her comments are my absolute highlight on this blog.] I will keep checking back!!!

truddy 9:22 PM  

I wanted yam too...not a pretty way to start!

Toggle 9:33 PM  

Thanks, Rex, for the great blog. The amount I just donated is small indeed compared to the pleasure I get from this community and the increased joy in doing the puzzle due to my increased skills. Before finding this blog I couldn't begin to attempt a Fri. or Sat. - now I usually can finish without even Googling. Thanks for that.

The Inspector General by 18DGOGOL is a short, hilarious read, a devastating satire on bureaucratic corruption. You don't have to be Russian to relate to it! Read it; you'll love it.

Thanks again, Rex!

Anonymous 9:36 PM  

@truddy - you make more sense than I can express on this blog....

Anonymous 9:43 PM  

@Geometricus - Man up! Either donate (even if it's $5) or not. We don't need any excuses. Acme has a life of her own and what she does should not influence what you do.

@Rex - I wish you had not posted that pic. You ruined my mind's eye....

Geometricus 9:54 PM  

Anon @ 9:43:
Fair enough. I'll toss at least a five into the hat and stop flirting with Andrea.

Anonymous 9:56 PM  

@Stu - All that might be true but he is 70 and rich, so he will likely live his remaining years in comfort, and he's got that going for him, which is nice....

Anonymous 10:01 PM  

@Geometricus - You're a good man (but what is a Catholic with 6 children doing flirting?),....

Geometricus 10:18 PM  

*big guilty grin*

From Andrea's comment on this blog on Oct 22, 2010 [after I gushed over her birthday-week write-up]: here

Married flirting is the best kind! It's no sin! Just ask Jimmy!
(He's the guy standing between Menachem and Anwar) ;)"

Anonymous 10:35 PM  


My wife emailed me this:

A father, son and grandson went to the country club for their weekly round of golf. Just as they reached the first tee, a beautiful young blonde woman carrying her bag of clubs approached them.

She explained that the member who brought her to the club for a round of golf had an emergency that called him away and asked the trio whether she could join them.

Naturally, the guys all agreed.

Smiling, the blonde thanked them and said, 'Look, fellows, I work in a topless bar as a dancer, so nothing shocks me anymore. If any of you want to smoke cigars,
have a beer, bet, swear, tell off-color stories or do anything that you normally do when playing a round together, go ahead. But, I enjoy playing golf, consider
myself pretty good at it, so don't try to coach me on how to play my shots.'

With that the guys agreed to relax and invited her to drive first.
All eyes were fastened on her shapely behind as she bent to place her ball on the tee. She then took her driver and hit the ball 270 yards down the middle, right in front of the green.

The father's mouth was agape. 'That was beautiful,' he said.

The blonde put her driver away and said, 'I really didn't get into it, and I faded it a little.'

After the three guys hit their drives and their second shots, the blonde took out an eight iron and lofted the ball within five feet of the hole. (She was closest to the pin.)

The son said, 'Damn, lady, you played that perfectly.'

The blonde frowned and said, 'It was a little weak, but even an easy seven would have been too much club. I've left a tricky little putt.' She then tapped in the five-footer for a birdie.

Having the honors, she drove first on the second hole, knocked the heck out of the ball, and it landed nearly 300 yards away smack in the middle of the fairway.

For the rest of the round the statuesque blonde continued to amaze the guys, quietly and methodically shooting for par or less on every hole.

When they arrived at the 18th green, the blonde was three under par, and had a very nasty 12-foot putt on an undulating green for a par.

She turned to the three guys and said, 'I really want to thank you all for not acting like a bunch of chauvinists and telling me what club to use or how to play a shot, but I need this putt for a 69 and I'd really like to break 70 on this course.

If any one of you can tell me how to make par on this hole I'll take him back to my apartment, pour some 35-year-old Single Malt Strath Mill Scotch in him, fix him a steak dinner and then show him a very good time the rest of the night.'

The yuppie son jumped at the thought! He strolled across the green, carefully eyeing the line of the putt and finally said, 'Honey, aim about 6 inches to the right of the hole and hit it firm. It will get over that little hump and break right into the cup.'

The father knelt down and sighted the putt using his putter as a plumb. 'Don't listen to the kid, darlin', you want to hit it softly 10 inches to the right and let it run left down that little hogback, so it falls into the cup.'

The old gray-haired grandfather walked over to the blonde's ball, picked it up and handed it to her and said, 'That's a gimme, sweetheart.'

The blonde smiled and said, 'Your car or mine?'


andrea never on sunday michaels 11:05 PM  

You made my day...Sure, donate donate! Weird, reread the blog and don't even remember writing it! But sentiment still stands.

Embarrassed by this 11:19 PM  

The notorious Loughner xword pic.

mac 11:22 PM  

Yea, Andrea! Just in time!

Sparky 9:47 AM  

DNF. Space in middle. Started in a.m. and then out to Everglades to look at alligators and birds. Home after four. Like @Sarah couldn't quite figure out ights or ittes but knew that sound changed. Thought 81A would be afraid of a puppet of some kind. I'll ante, I'm in.

I like a Berry puzzzle and BEQ too. Here's to a good week.

hazel 10:31 AM  

@stu. i dont remember any of what you "describe" at all. what I found were that many of my preconceptions about Keith Richards were way off the mark, and that he tried very hard to convey how seriously he takes real musicianship. Sure, there was some hyperbole, and he did not always make good decisions, but he didn't sugarcoat any of it and did not glamorize his drug use at all, in my opinion. He was very articulate on describing the toll it took on himself and many of the friends he lost to it.

I will say I've never been described as PC before!

mac 8:13 PM  

@hazel: in addition to that, he seems to be a lovely father and husband. That counts in my book.

David Pearce 9:03 AM  

Just finished the Sunday on a Tuesday.... (well, I'm a tad slower than the rest of y'all).

I did not like Zippo Litter at all because, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that the wacky answer had to make sense in their wackiness, and you have to go very, very far to find Zippo litter--what, is a Zippo user going to throw away an empty bottle of lighter fluid, or that little yellow plastic card that held five new flints?

On the other hand, I thought Brightish Airways was pretty damn good!

Thanks Rex!

Paul Abrahams 4:03 PM  

RE 52a: do chickens really eat OATs? I would have thought (and did think for a while) that they're more likely to eat ORTs. But any solver knows that horses eat OATs.

Anonymous 7:30 AM  

oddly enough -- i got many of the clues that rex struggled with -- but struggled with many of the clues rex got. after the last 3 weeks of puzzles i mostly cruised through -- this one left me with way too many empties! thanks for filling 'em in rex.

nurturing 12:29 AM  

Alpine Joy, 'zippo' is a synonym for 'nil', 'nothing', or 'zero'.

David Pearce 8:30 AM  

Nurturing, thank you!

As we answer: Words said with a nod (I SEE) :) . Probably better to say AHA !

In these puzzles, I have learned one shouldn't get too "married" to any one answer, no matter how perfectly it seems to fit; I was so into the brand name of the lighter, I overlooked a fairly obvious idea.


BobbyF 10:00 AM  

One itsy bitsy error. 'bopper' as in the "big boppa" instead of just plain old 'poppa'. Very enjoyable puzzle thanks to Patrick Berry.

Zendelle 11:06 AM  

I had EAGLES instead of STONES for the longest time, which messed up that whole section. Another band that won't die. Loved TANLINE.

My chickens love OATs - either whole grain or rolled.

I am fairly new to these puzzles - but isn't it an unwritten rule that if the answer is an abbreviation, the clue should contain one also? I'm referring to 19A: IDS. Please let me know if I'm wrong here.

GILL I. 1:51 PM  

Well, senor Parker, I am one of those solving this puzzle on Jan. 16.
I've already told you how much I thoroughly enjoy this site. You and your faithful bloggers feel like unseen friends.
I think it was @chaos1 that said something like 'please don't ever stop blogging - at least until I'm dead.'
I echo the sentiment.
The check is in the mail.

Dirigonzo 3:02 PM  

@Rex - The puzzle, the write-up, the comments and the camaradarie that is so apparent among the "regulars" - all of these things give me daily enjoyment and are well worth a few bucks to keep the party going. My check, too, is in the mail (or it will be after MLK Day)and I encourage all other syndicated solvers (over half of your followers - WOW!) to ante up, too. BLOG ON!

Pavel 4:13 PM  

+1 for kudos (and a donation) from we syndicated solvers. This blog is a wonderful community and resource; I'm very glad to have discovered it and I hope it continues for a long, long, time!

One suggestion: could you enhance the comment format to show the *date* of each comment, along with the time? I haven't posted before because I assumed that all of the writers (and thus readers) were from a week earlier than me.

Thanks again!

Cary in Boulder 8:52 PM  

Another satisfied syndicated solver sorry to be so tardy to the party every day, but here none the less. Since I first started doing the Puzzles last Nov. in a largely futile attempt to resharpen my mind, this blog has kept me coming back for more. Some mighty keen wits hereabouts to keep me entertained while my skills ever so slowly improve. I will be kicking in via Paypal.

BTw, really enjoyed Patrick's puzzle (all day long, or so it seemed). I stumbled in the middle, sticking with POLLUTERS and missing ZIPPO altogether, but thoroughly enjoyed it anyway and surprised at how much I got.

Marc 10:41 PM  

It'd rate this puzzle as easy, as I breezed right through it. However, I feel like the idiot of the century for not seeing STONES. Having written OAR, I assumed it was some 80s band I'd never heard of, and left it at SOONES. (Also, having written LAME for TAME, I wound up with LANLINES. Harrumph.

I could kvetch that although "The Stones" is a common way to refer to our favorite bad boys, the band's name is actually "The Rolling Stones", but... I should have known better.

The Stones' Steel Wheels Tour did not come to my neck of the woods until 1990, so I didn't think of them touring in 1989. Also, they skipped Seattle and only played Vancouver B.C. The swine.

A word about C. Everett Koop, Reagan's Surgeon General. As a fundamentalist Christian, he was originally opposed to sex education as well as abortion. However, when the AIDS crisis began, he began pushing for early sex education, which got him in hot water with a lot of conservatives. I respected him for realizing that the public health threat trumped his personal ideological convictions, which is a rare thing.

Valerie 1:52 AM  

While programmers do write lines of code, I would never refer to one as part of a code. Part of a program or maybe part of code but never part of A code.

As for "Red Bull-fueled, all-night coding parties", I guess I'm working with the wrong crowd. I'm one of the oldest and am always the last to leave, especially on Fridays.

Carl 1:16 PM  

"38D: "The Government Inspector" playwright (GOGOL) — really wanted GODOT despite knowing that he is fictional, and possibly non-existent."

I guess we don't know if he's non-existent since we're still waiting.

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