God of south wind / THU 2-24-11 / Fashion rule for liberated / Muscovite prince moneybag / End of 1978 new-wave album title

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Constructor: Gary Cee

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: NO UNDERWEAR (35A: Fashion rule for the liberated ... or one of four arrangements found literally in this puzzle) — letters "NO" are found underneath the letters "WEAR" four times in the grid

Word of the Day: GIING (64A: Cleaning, as if for military inspection) —

tr.v. Slang, GI'd, GI'ing, GI's.
To clean (barracks, for example) thoroughly for or as if for an inspection.
• • •

People will probably like this one for its sassy theme — which is undeniably clever. I didn't care for the construction of the grid overall, though, which is disappointing, because I really want to like this puzzle. I just didn't think the fill was, in general, up to the quality of the theme. I want to love WE ARE DEVO (20A: End of a 1978 new-wave album title), but the constructor in me balks at the idea of the "end of a ... title" (esp. one of that length) being a suitable stand-alone answer in the grid. The NE felt a little icky — ARIANA (11D: Afghanistan's national airline) is one of those answers constructors know and (speaking for myself) try hard not to have to use because it's a relatively obscure proper noun and a massive grid crutch, giving you lots of handy letters in a handy arrangement. PHENOL crossing wasn't lovely either (24A: Embalming chemical).

But let's write my reaction in that NE corner off to personal prejudice. Fine. My dislike for the SW corner is going to be harder to write off. That is one ugly mixture, from the insanely improbable-looking GIING (dear lord) to the random pope+Roman numeral *crossing a prince+Roman numeral* (!!!) (44D: 10th-century pope interred at St. Peter's Basilica + 58A: Muscovite prince known as "Moneybag") to the apostrophized WEARIN' (50A: "The ___ o' the Green" (old Irish ballad)) to the bizarreness of an alleged god named NOTUS (54A: God of the south wind) . . . yikes. ROSSSEA (46A: Body of water named for an English explorer) is like ARIANA to me — all I see is "exotic crutch." It's hard not to love a puzzle with a GOLD PIANO (55A: Elvis instrument now in the Country Music Hall of Fame) and NO UNDERWEAR, but I didn't love this one. Again, smart theme, but subpar fill.

Side note: didn't like the clue on the revealer, NO UNDERWEAR. Specifically, I didn't like "rule." It's a state of being, not a "rule." Do people really make the non-wearing of underwear a "rule?" What a weird issue to be a hardliner about. Also, did not like that the "WEAR" in "WEARIN'" is from the same semantic universe as the "WEAR" in UNDERWEAR (whereas the other "WEAR" strings have nothing to do with clothing or the lack thereof).

  • 1A: Zapper's casualty (GNAT) — me, immediately: "TVAD"
  • 43A: Lötschberg Tunnel locale (ALP) — just ... an ALP. One of them, over there, somewhere.
  • 55D: Sound heard at the end of "Bohemian Rhapsody" (GONG) — I do not remember this, and yet I got it off the first "G"

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Anonymous 12:32 AM  

Sorry, Rex but count me as one who loved this puzzle for its theme and some of its clever clues (EIDERS, PEANUTS AND STROBES, e.g.). Just had to laugh out loud when I realized the theme. Great puzzle for a Thursday and am not turned off by the fill....

Clark 12:39 AM  

The Lötschberg Tunnel is in the heart of Switzerland. I recommend the hiking all around it. Surrounded by alps of course, and where there are alps there is always an ALP.

I thought WE ARE DEVO was good. It's a self-standing unit of the whole. Any puzzle that goes commando is ok by me.

jae 1:25 AM  

Yeah, I really liked this one too. Med. for me with no real problems. Clever, funny Thurs. How many kinds of TETRA are there?

I skip M-W 1:46 AM  

@Rex "Fashion rule for the liberated" struck me as an amusing oxymoron. You can't have fashion without rules, can you, yet to be liberated is.... Made perfect sense. Many of the clues seemed too easy for a Thurs., yet overall puzzle wasn't. Only trouble was with the NW, where I had no idea of Devo title, and didn't get uni as single at the beginning (tried Eve) until "grownup for big," now gave it all away.
@Rex, Your blog is giving me a mini-education in pop songs I've missed over the decades, e.g., Queen and Devo, but the Elvis you show is certainly not the Elvis of the gold piano.

I skip M-W 1:48 AM  

I meant grownup for "big, now"

andrea campari michaels 2:18 AM  

This would have taken forever if not for thinking Liz Gorski's last Sunday was going to be a W under BAR.
So the theme fell quickly and was super helpful in getting the NE and SW.

Got the SW corner, but agree with Rex that LEOVII crossing with IVANI and GIING with a little NOTUS
(that would have been impossible for me without the theme) was a bit of a mess.

I had a DNF as I never got GOLD piano...couldn't get past wooD.
So despite NEAR/GYMS I never got OBOE/GONG/LOAM :(
My lack of eduction made me think perhaps Bach played the lyrE.

As for the NW, since I didn't know ARIANA, I debated between INePT or INAPT.
PHENOL seemed so mysterious till I remembered PHENOL Barbitol (whatever that is).

Fellow "Bachelor" fans will chuckle since we were just treated to the hometown date of Shawntel, the funeral director from Chico, whose romantic time with Brad was spent showing him how she embalms people!

She actually got him to lay down on the slab even after he told her that death freaks him out!!!
His poor penis is probably still in a fetal position.

Rube 2:50 AM  

I'd rate this more than a medium. Had three Googles, two in the NE, NORAH and ARIANA, and OBOE in the south. Like ACME, wanted lyrE for for JJB's instrument, but nothing would work, so Googled.

Actually, the NW was the last to fall. Googled for a vampire fish but nothing came up that made any sense. Finally figured out AVIATION and the puzzle fell. Needed every cross to get WEAREDEVO. Why constructors put this kind of pop culture clue/answer in puzzles is beyond me.

Loved the clues for PEANUTS and EIDERS.

It was about 25 years ago when I was on a job in Italy that the waiter asked me after dinner if I wanted a "digestivo". After my blank stare he went on to explain that it was "bitters". Thinking Angostura, I passed. Now, 25 years later I finally understand what he was saying, CAMPARI! Oh, the enlightenment of crossword puzzles.

I'm concerned that our fearless leader did not question the
lack of symmetry of WEARY and ISWEAR on the RH side of the theme.

Despite the need to Google, this was a great puzzle. NOTUS is my WOTD.

jae 3:20 AM  

@Andrea & Rube -- Me too for LYRE, just didn't want to admit it.

CoolPapaD 4:59 AM  

Wow - found this quite hard, but rewarding in the end. Like @ACME, the WUNDERBAR theme a few days ago helped me with this one: once I got the theme, I was able to fill in the blanks in WEARIN and NOTUS. Still ended with an error (CAMPALI/PLOW), but after staring at a blank grid for so long, I'll take it!

Had the lovely KELLY O'DONNELL in at 16B for the longest time. She in an NBC Nightly News Washington correspondent who cut her teeth on the local news in Cleveland when I was growing up.

PHENOL is the active ingredient in Chloraseptic, that nasty, pseudo-cherry spray that we've been using quite a bit of during this cold/flu season. Nice to know my throat is numb /embalmed. I'm not sure if there is any relation to PHENObarbital, an anticonvulsant now used mainly in infants.

retired_chemist 5:56 AM  

Anybody else mildly put off by the first NO (in NORAH, 16A) NOT being under WEAR?

Peon 6:51 AM  

in the spirit of GIING:
ASCIING - questioning code
ET ALIING - going on and on
NOTUS - North of the United States

foodie 8:05 AM  

I totally agree with Rex. Great potential, disappointing execution. Like @Retired Chemist, I did not like seeing another NO that was not UNDER WEAR. I also could not believe that SW corner.

Still, there was a naughtiness to it that was redeeming. I could imagine weaving a story a la Joho-- Someone caught by his SPOUSE, in Flagrante Delicto, wearing NO UNDERWEAR with two glasses of CAMPARI and a bowl of PEANUTS on the GOLD PIANO. While she rants and RAVEs, temper AFIRE, he repeats: "NO, NO, NO, NO, I SWEAR...I'm so GLAD to see you!"

@Andrea, you almost make want to watch the Bachelor! May be if I can see it as a situation comedy...

joho 8:09 AM  

I really liked the clever theme but agree with @Rex about the NE and SW. GIING??? LEOVII/IVANI and NOTUS were really offputting. I ended up with an error at INePT. I guess the "A" in ARIANA should have been obvious, but not to me.

I wonder if a Vampire TETRA mates with a NEON TETRA you get a fish with a really bright smile?

nanpilla 8:30 AM  

I really wanted IRON for Ferry's front. Seems like you could build a puzzle out of those....

Snake head (Tin)
Agamemnon's beginning ( Silver)

@retired_chemist - more?

Agree that the Wunderbar controversy helped suss out this theme early. Thank goodness, because like others, there were areas that would have taken forever without it.

JenCT 8:32 AM  

@ACME - you are too funny! (Fetal position)

Had MOTH for 1A for way too long. WEAREDEVO was a gimme for me, as were PATAKI and GONG. The rest of the puzzle, not so easy - took me forever to get PEANUTS.

I'd rate this one challenging.

Tennessee Tuxedo 8:59 AM  

Notus was one of the Titans (his Greek name is "Them"), along with Aeolus (goddess of nipples) and Scrotus (god of the nutsack.)

Ben Hassenger 9:14 AM  

To any DEVO fans, check out some footage from my DEVO cover band "Re-evolution", which made its live debut in the last few months:


Seeing that in the puzzle made my night, always stoked to see one of my favorite bands mentioned in the grid.

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

I'm with Rube; this was challenging. I had no trouble figuring out the theme but still had to google 3-4 clues to finish.

David L 9:53 AM  

More than challenging for me -- DNF. Couldn't figure out what kind of PIANO was wanted, and despite getting NEAR in that section I couldn't finish. Would've helped if I'd come up with OBOE, but I was fixated on LUTE or LYRE.

GIING was nasty, but nowadays, whenever I see a short answer clued with a middle-ages pope, I stick LEO in and play around with Roman numerals until I can make some sense of it.

OISK 10:01 AM  

Problem with NW made this a DNF for me. (Second Thursday DNF EVER) I had wasp instead of gnat. I got Tetra, and even tried wearedevo, although I have no idea at all what it refers to. (Knew I neaded a "wear" there) Never thought that single at the beginning referred to a prefix - I had "Eve." FAA center - I was looking for a city. I have only the slightest notion of what a "rave" is - I will take your word for it that they may start at 2 AM. Not the fault of the constructor that I happened to put in so many wrong answers in one quadrant, but "wearedevo" is too weird evo to include in a Thursday puzzle...

(I never Google. If I can't finish on my own it is a DNF, and I go directly to this site. Three DNF so far this year, as many as I had all of last year. Are they getting harder?)

Pete 10:12 AM  

Would that I believed in God I would have thanked him for having me miss seeing GIING, else I would have put my fist through my monitor and cancelled my subscription to the puzzles.

Pete 10:15 AM  

Oh, and I thought that the "Brown strip" was a tie-in to the theme. Or, the antithesis of the theme.

Lindsay 10:15 AM  

Oh dear. An error. I had LEO VIx, which I now see isn't a random roman numeral at all, but rather nonsense, crossing with GxING. The "x" sounded very military to me, like px, maybe?

And weren't we embalming people just last week? Anyway PHENOL helped, and I needed the help because I've never flown ARIANA or watched NORAH.

So yeah, I'll agree with RP on this one, an entertaining premise weighed down in a bog of slogginess. To paraphrase.

imsdave 10:45 AM  

Flat out challenging for me. Friday hard.

Still winciing at GIING. OBOE clue might just as well have read, 'intrument played by Sally Fedenbacher, in the Peoria Jr. Symphony Orchestra circa 1937'

Two Ponies 10:46 AM  

I can't believe I was able to soldier on to the end. I, too, wanted to like a puzzle that goes commando but it just didn't happen.
Fortunately I have all of you to amuse me when the grid fails to do so.
No fee in an apt. ad? What does that mean?
Some of the clues were clever but others were just trying too hard.
The Oriole in the singular was odd. Considering all of the trivia here today (such as the tetra and Este) why not find some obscure bird fact?
Did not write T Rex for dino but considered it.

Howard B 10:47 AM  

I like the playfulness of this theme.
However, the less said about GIING, the better. Did not notice that while solving, and am glad I didn't. Not generally a complainer on puzzles, but that one is really rough stuff, espcially in the area of a tsar and pope with Roman numerals.

JaxInL.A. 10:56 AM  

Sassy theme, but the NE killed me. HTG for NORAH after first convincing myself that Rosie had had something to do with news at some point, or was in the news... Yeah, lame.  Had 'now I'LL' for "______ never know" and recite instead of PARROT.  I have to remember that stupid Afghan airline. Honestly. It is VERY obscure.  Up until the NW I had my fastest Thursday ever.

Strangely enough, got WE ARE DEVO off of the EVO at the end.  And if @ACME hadn't started that W under bar conversation on Sunday, I too would have taken longer to get the theme and the help it offered.

@David L, I also use LEO for random pope clues and then play with the Roman numerals. It nearly always works. Similarly, Ivan usually works for Russian monarchs.

@nanpilla, I like your theme idea, except then I would need to learn more of those two-letter element abbreviations that I have picked up randomly.  The periodic table and I have never been formally introduced.

@joho, TETRAs hah! :) 
@Tennesee Tuxedo, @ACME and @Paul, I guess the theme of the puzzle set the tone for the day. Thanks for the racy laughs.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

@andrea comedian michaels: Too funny!

PuzzleNut 10:58 AM  

Finished without any errors, but also not much confidence in several answers. Had to come here to check my results (no Happy Pencil for us dead tree solvers).
Finished the SW before I got the theme and thought that GIING was somehow missing its underwear (maybe BVD or FOTL was missing from several answers). But no, it was just an ugly looking word. I skimmed over the pAst, so the upper middle was my last fill. Tried for the longest time to fit WE ARE MTV'D in there, but GRADE A finally came to the rescue.
Count me in the lyrE, lutE camp. The LOAM clue was iffy, IMO, but once I tried GOLDPIANO, I heard the GONG and the rest cleaned up nicely.
I guess the missing S's from the ALPS and the ORIOLES ended up in the ROSS SEA.
@imsdave - laughed out loud at your OBOE clue.

quilter1 11:23 AM  

Who knew Afghanistan had an airline? I recently read Three Cups of Tea and look forward to the sequel Stones Into Schools.

The NW was the last to fall for me, again solving from SE and up. Liked the clues for PEANUTS, EIDERS and AVIATION.

I imagine Johann Jacob Bach surveying the range of instruments available after his numerous siblings grabbed what they wanted (Dad dominated the organ and harpsichord) and noticed an oboe lying in the corner. Aha! a new Bach specialty. Being the son of a great man is difficult.

Stan 11:23 AM  

NOTUS sounds like Lotus Notes to me. Maybe he's the God of Mark-Up.

Aren't STROBES being mixed up with "Mirror Balls" at 42D?

House of RAVE

SethG 11:43 AM  

Great theme, okay implementation, terrible corners. Which is pretty much what Rex said.

Ricky 11:53 AM  

Bohemian Rhapsody was actually playing on the radio (70's on 7) when I hit the bottom half...only way I got GONG!

Sparky 12:06 PM  

DNF-had ATMs at 65A led by idea of apses and niches. 56D became aBEt.

Like @quilteri thought about the Bach family needing a reed player. Good clue for old friend OBOE.

Recite at 12D but once I had the theme and started to fill in WEARs and NOs that corner fell.

@Andrea, yes, something under something came to mind from Sunday. Fetal position--tee hee. @joho--funny. And, @Stan--good question.

Over the hump and then some. Looking forward to Friday.

ksquare 12:18 PM  

When I was in the army (i.e. U.S.) in
WW II, cleaning up the barracks on Fri. night for Sat a.m. inspection was known as a 'GI party'. Hence GIING is not so outlandish as the answer to 64A-Cleaning, as if for military inspection.
Being old(er) sometimes helps with these puzzles.

Brendan Emmett Quigley 12:25 PM  

Too bad he didn't go for the Misfits instead of the Devo clue.


mmorgan 12:52 PM  

Late start today.

I think I liked this more than it liked me. Got NO UNDERWEAR right off -- and figured out the trick -- but it didn't help me all that much, and I did this one in fits and starts... Struggled mightily with the NW, but got it eventually. Thought a lot of the SW was weird but just closed my eyes and hoped it was right (it was!). In the end, like @Andrea, I just didn't know that piano was GOLD (tried USED, HAND, all kinds of silly stuff), which left me a DNF in the South. Like @David L, I had NEAR in place, too.

Also had KELLY O'DONNELL for a while. And even though it clearly fit, I had concerns about STROBES (42D) being "Balls" -- I only know them as lights. Does this refer to those horrid mirrored disco balls or what? And I also guessed wrong on INePT.

I also thought WEARED EVO was strange (at least till I got here; I don't know that band).

But overall, I liked it -- it was a real rush when I figured out the "Brown strip" at 41D was PEANUTS -- with just the P in place!

Masked and Anonymous 12:57 PM  

Influenced maybe by the gal with the many ponies, friend Erul proposes a more satisfying 35-A clue:
"Commando state . . . or what's found four times out of five in this puzzle"

Warts and all, I for one really liked this . . . thing. It's just so admirably wonky. NOS crossin' NO at the O. NO-ON anagram. ON/NO square in the 32&35 area. Ivan I crossin' LEOVII. Rebellious. Askin' for the wrath of 44.

Glorious, weirdo fill, even for a ThursPuz. WEAREDEVO. PHENOL. Vampire TETRA. CAMPARI. ROSSSEA. (Trip S. Nice.) NOTUS/PATAKI. ARIANA airlines. Har. Brave stuff. I'm in. Puzzle of the year, in the prized "schlock" category.

Is GONG (55-D) really a sound? Thought it was an instrument. (Unlike Bong, which can be either.) Kinda like callin' "Clarinet" a sound. Or callin' "Ooompah" a brass wind instrument.

Mel Ott 1:02 PM  

Finally finished it, but I thought it was challenging for a Thursday.

Agree with all the rants about the disaster in the SW: crossing pope-prince-roman numeral x II; NOTUS; GIIING. I would add that NIKON should not be clued as a "word" - it is a brand name, not a word.

And there are several NOs floating around (32D, 10D) that are not UNDER WEAR, altho only one of them (16A) is horizontal.

Look Up Guy 1:09 PM  


Definitions of GONG on the Web:

•a percussion instrument consisting of a metal plate that is struck with a softheaded drumstick
•sound a gong

ragtimepiano 1:16 PM  

I am new to the NY Times Crossword, working my way up through Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and I found this one difficult and off-putting. GIING? NOTUS? Way too obscure!

Masked and Anonymous II 1:26 PM  

@Look Up Guy: So . . . no definition that says "sound made by a gong", huh? QED time.

While I'm here dept.: Almost forgot to single out and honor the delicious GIING. Now there's something that sounds like a sound! Recommended clue:
"Sound made by Batman hitting Mister Freeze".

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Someone please explain

One Eyed guy 1:40 PM  

Jack, way back in times of yore, was a generic reference to any male, usually one inferior in station. A particularly low Jack would be a peon.

GILL I. 1:48 PM  

I'm with Rex on this. It just didn't float my boat.
Thanks to @Tennesee Tuxedo though I learned about Aeolus, Scrotus and Notus.
The European Union (except for Germany) has banned ARIANA landing rights because of safety issues. They fly ancient 727's and a couple of discarded AirBus. At least this was so several years ago.
However, a pilot friend of mine once flew them from Kabul to Dubai and said the in-flight service was excellent. One man's cup....
I guess I'm off to go GIING.

Kendall 2:03 PM  

I might go so far as to say that GIING is my new least favorite crossword fill ever. I know Rex and some others will argue that PFUI will forever hold the top spot as worst, but I actually spent 5 minutes looking at the SW convinced I made a mistake because I figured there was no way that was correct. *Sigh*

I don't like the clue for 2D at all. "Give me an example" would be more like "Prove it" in my mind. NAME ONE seems like the ONE implies something specific that the clue doesn't have. Or maybe I just pick weird clues to dislike, I guess.

Last one that bugged me was "Tops" as GRADE A. Wouldn't that just be top, singular? Or maybe "Classy" or just something other than the actual clue. Again, this could just be me being in a bad mood in general about this puzzle.

I did in the end get a kick out of the theme so not all was lost. Just lacked strongly on the fill.

stingl 2:19 PM  

@Kendall -
Me: There is crossword fill that is so bad, so very, very bad, that it can totally ruin a puzzle.
You: Give me an example!, or
You: Name one!

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

Nikki Reese: "That ball wouldn't have made it out of a lot of parks."
Vaughn: "Name one."
Nikki: "Yellowstone?"

fergus 2:53 PM  

Here's the full, legitimate result of my search:

Present participle of GI.

That says it all.
The STROBE Ball, by comparison, has near universal penetration.

Moonchild 2:55 PM  

What a weird puzzle.
No fee sounds more like credit card or bank ad. What fees do you for an apt? I pay rent.
Of all the things to skim over, why a lake?
Did we need that long bio for Ravi?
Simply Shankar would be enough.
One oriele and one alp. Usually it's the plurals that bug me.
I'm supposed to know Ariana?
Whose wind god is that?
It wasn't all bad but I'm afraid the bad stuff stuck with me more than the fun stuff.
Also liked XII for noon besides the things already covered.
I guess I'm dithery.

TimJim 3:02 PM  

Hand up for INEPT. Got the theme, but it didn't help much as I forgot about it when slogging through the tortuous SW. Bud's place = EAR? I don't get it.
An ear of corn?

GILL I. 3:05 PM  

@Acme @joho @imsdave
Another 2-ply kleenex for me today.
I love this blog!

sanfranman59 3:28 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)

Thu 19:50, 19:07, 1.04, 66%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Thu 10:58, 9:13, 1.19, 81%, Challenging

I got my comeuppance today for yesterday's personal best solve time, posting my 4th highest Thursday solve time in a year and a half. I take some solace from the fact that the online solve times are in the challenging end of the spectrum. The consensus trouble spots were also mine (NORAH/ARIANA/PHENOL, ALP/LEOVII/NOTUS/GIING). And I made the mistake of confidently entering hOur for 37D: XII, maybe, making the theme revealer and ROSSSEA more difficult than they should have been.

@Foodie: How does your index rate this one?

Geof C 3:30 PM  

Thanks for the UTube clip of Bohemian Rhapsody Rex - what a great track that was. However, to be accurate, it was a Tam Tam not a gong that is struck at the end.

Yes but 3:47 PM  

@Geof C

Since a Tam Tam is a type of gong, your "not a gong" is not exactly accurate either.

•A percussion instrument, the tam tam is a type of Gong. It is unpitched. Its sides are turned under and it has somewhat of a flat shallow plate appearance. It is suspended and struck with a dampened stick.

chefwen 4:05 PM  

Unable to get going on this one last night I looked at it with fresh eyes this A.M. and with the help of Uncle Google in a couple of the trouble areas it all fell together and I was able to finish. I HATE Googling on a Thursday, that is usually reserved for Fri. and Sat. but today it was necessary, didn't know NORAH, ARIANA, or PATAKI. Didn't mind GI ING, thought that was kinda cute.

The comments today are cracking me up.

Plus the bribe to the super 4:08 PM  


When an apartment rental is "offered" by an agency, rather than the landlord, there is a fee (usually one or two month's rent), paid by the rentor.

I suppose this mostly a "big city" thing, I ran across it for the first time when I moved to NYC.

JenCT 4:19 PM  

@TimJim : iPods come with EARbuds

Moonchild 4:30 PM  

@ Bribe the super, Thanks. As you said, must be a big city thing.
To answer my own question I looked up Notus. Evidently he/she is one of four Greek wind gods, the
Anemoi. I thought it had a Scandanavian sound to it,wrong.
I suppose that is where we get anemone, or wind flower. Sea anemones do look they're blowing in a breeze.
The things I learn from xwords!

chefbea 4:54 PM  

too tough for me. Couldn't do it.DNF

Anonymous 5:13 PM  

I solved this puzzle completely without any help. Either this was an easy puzzle or I am finally getting better after more than thirty years of puzzle solving. I'd like to think of the latter possibility.
The key is tenacity and not running to Google right away. Sometimes leaving the puzzle unfinished and coming back to it a few hours later helps.
I totally agree with Rex. The theme is clever and fresh. But the execution left something to be desired. I did not like WEARIN, and WE ARE DEVO. WEARY and I SWEAR are OK. Just kept asking myself what is "IS WEAR". Didn't see I SWEAR.
I did not like RAVE and RAVI next to each other. I did not like LEO VII and IVAN I intersecting each other.
And you had a NO in NORAH that was not UNDER WEAR. A big NO NO.
But liked many of the down words in NW and SE corners.
Thursdays are becoming for me my old Wednesdays (hopefully).

archaeoprof 5:16 PM  

Two writeovers today: recite/PARROT; aglow/AFIRE.

Devo came out in 1978? Weren't we all doing disco that year?

Joe 5:16 PM  

Too many "just for letterheads" clues and the fill didn't always help.

mac 5:44 PM  

Add me to the inept group. I agree with Rex's critique, but I still enjoyed this puzzle.

I too thought 25A was Eve at first. The singular Oriole is fine, there is only one Met in the clue. I happened to notice that before getting the answer.

Early on (I started at the bottom) I thought we were getting a rebus. Was convinced 64A would be some form of spitshining.

Read something funny today: Catholic church says that the confession app doesn't count.

Isn't Johann Jacob a brother of Johann Sebastian? They must have had a George Foreman kind of father.

Matthew G. 6:24 PM  

Definitely Challenging for me.

My first HTG in a very long time, because I could not get a foothold in the NW beyond WEARY and IN A WHILE without Googling "Newswoman O'Donnell" (why oh why couldn't it have been clued as "Songstress Jones"? I studiously avoid getting my news from television in order to maintain my sanity.). Of course, not being able to see INAPT and AFIRE was just inexcusable. It didn't help that there are a thousand answers that can work for "___ never know," none of which is any better than any other. I tried HEY YOU and WE WILL ("Hey, you never know!" is the motto of the New York State Lottery, so that must be why that was firmly planted in my head).

Not one of my good days, at all. I blame my unusually stressful week.

Matthew G. 6:26 PM  

Meant to say "foothold in the NE," obviously.

retired_chemist 7:33 PM  

@ CoolPapaD if you are still here: PHEN- or PHENYL- is the combining form for a benzene ring which is monosubstituted. C6H5- is the formula. So PHENOL is C6H5OH, and phentermine is similarly a benzene derivative but I don;t know the structure, Probably Prof. Wiki does.

@ TimJim - EAR BUD is the thingy for your phone you put in your ear.

Will someone explain HTG to me? I see it all the time but I don't know what it means. Hard to get?

R. McGeddon 7:44 PM  

I second OISK's bafflement at what RAVE has to do with starting at 2 a.m.. I never rave before 4 a.m. But maybe I'm slower than most people.

Rube 8:09 PM  

HTG = Had to Google
DNG = Did not Google

michael 8:30 PM  

I didn't have much trouble with this one, but at one particular spot I was inept.

Two Ponies 8:35 PM  

Whether it's 2 a.m. or 4 a.m. I've never been to a rave because both are closer to my wake up time than my party time.

retired_chemist 9:12 PM  

@ Rube - TYVM

sanfranman59 10:01 PM  

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

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

Mon 6:59, 6:54, 1.01, 59%, Medium
Tue 9:17, 8:56, 1.04, 64%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 9:06, 11:45, 0.77, 7%, Easy
Thu 20:23, 19:07, 1.07, 71%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:41, 3:41, 1.00, 51%, Medium
Tue 4:22, 4:35, 0.95, 42%, Medium
Wed 4:42, 5:47, 0.81, 8%, Easy
Thu 10:05, 9:12, 1.10, 74%, Medium-Challenging

Rube 10:43 PM  

@sanfranman, Thx for your evaluation. I, like several others, thought this was more than a Medium.

Blecht 10:10 AM  

I liked this puzzle. I found it to be medium-challenging, and while some of the fill was maybe a little ugly (Roman nomeral crosses), I was able to finish it on my own with no guesses or Googles.

Lurking, Just Behind You 1:46 PM  

I love that you, one of my favorite constructors, can randomly post a Misfits video. It's nice to know that there are other learned persons out there - over the age of about 25 - that dig the crosswords and listen to the type of music that I do.
Thats what I love about this blog in general....I noticed that there are complaints about Devo, but none about Peanuts...maybe it's just an age thing, but I (heart) the absolute cultural awareness that doing these damn things bring to older and younger generations.

@TennesseeTuxedo - HA!

Boardbtr 1:54 PM  

This one was so far off my knowledge base that I thought Gary Cee must be a BEQ pseudonym.

Karl 1:54 PM  

Perhaps a better clue for 20-across would have been simply, "Are we not men?"...

Dirigonzo 7:01 PM  

I was so certain that I was not going to finish this puzzle that when I did, with no errors no less, I had to come here just to crow a little. The result was satisfying but my overall enjoyment was tarnished by the gawd-awful fill in the SW corner. Please see RP's rant about that corner to know my thoughts exactly.

Spent way too long trying to remember Kelley O'Donnell's name up in the northeast, was totally surprised when the crosses produced NORAH.

tingod 1:24 AM  

Did NOT like this one at all. Especially NW corner. Got nothing. all the rest fell into place. "GIING" stinks. "Alp" was obvious, but silly.

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