First part psychosexual development / THU 3-17-11 / Hundred-eyed monster myth / Devout Lhasan / Politico memoir Courage Consequence

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Constructor: Anna Shechtman

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: IT'S ALL GREEK TO ME (41A: Totally confused response)— rebus puzzle with four Greek letters (ALPHA, BETA, PI, OMEGA) located in squares throughout the grid

Word of the Day: MALLOMAR (24D: Chocolate-coated treat) —

In the US, Mallomars are produced seasonally at Nabisco. A graham cracker circle is covered with a puff of extruded marshmallow, then enrobed in dark chocolate, which forms a hard shell. Mallomars were introduced to the public in 1913, the same year as the Moon Pie (a confection which has similar ingredients). The first box of Mallomars was sold in West Hoboken, NJ (now Union City, NJ). Nabisco discusses it with a short story printed on Mallomar boxes. // Because Mallomars melt easily in summer temperatures, they can become difficult to find during the summer: they are generally available from early October through April. Devoted eaters of the cookie have been known to stock up during winter months and keep them refrigerated over the summer; though paradoxically, Nabisco markets other fudge-coated cookie brands year-round. Seventy percent of all Mallomars are sold in metropolitan New York. The issue of Nabisco's choice to release Mallomars seasonally became a parodied topic on a sketch delivered by graphic artist Pierre Bernard on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. // According to the box, Mallomars are made in Canada by Kraft Foods. In Canada, these are known as "Dream Puffs." (wikipedia)

• • •

This didn't work for me, despite the fact that I think the rebus-square-containing answers are pretty genius in places. I'm almost certain I've seen a theme like this before, but that's not the real problem. I just don't get the letter selection. Random Greek letters??? Why these letters? Further, why lead with ALPHA BETA and then follow with ... PI OMEGA?? Boo to not being St. Patrick's Day-themed, first of all (not the constructor's fault, obviously), and then double-boo to PI and OMEGA. I went looking for St. Pat's theme, and then when I got the theme I went looking, naturally, for GAMMA DELTA. That's the progression. There is no "aha" to getting PI OMEGA. More of an "... oh. Huh. OK." Not a fan of arbitrariness. That said, very impressive the way OMEGA got worked in here as part of INCOMEGAP and HOMEGAME. ORALPHASE (1D: First part psychosexual development) and BETAWARD (19A: Annual prize won multiple times by Beyoncé and LeBron James), also nice. Fill on the puzzle was just fine. Theme just fell flat for me.

Theme answers:
  • TIBETANMONK (9D: Devout Lhasan) / BETAWARD
  • WHOOPI (63A: First name on "The View") / LIGHTPINK
Not buying LIGHTPINK (42D: Color of many nurseries). Buying PINK, but not buying LIGHTPINK. Not loving the NW corner at all, where NOBIS (Latin) (2D: "Dona ___ pacem" (Catholic Mass phrase)) and esp. SIEG (Ger.) (18D: German "victory") were completely avoidable (I can fix that corner sitting here, without any software aid at all, which means there must be many ways to make those weak foreignisms, as well as the horrid plural SETAE, disappear). Top of the puzzle much easier than the bottom, mostly because of the GAMMA DELTA goose chase. PI, not surprisingly, was the hardest of the four Greek letters to find—much easier to turn up a big sucker like OMEGA than a slip of thing like PI. Had to sing "Over the Rainbow" to myself, and still couldn't find the end because the song kept getting interfered with in my brain by Whitney Houston's "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" (an unexpected downside of watching "Idol" right before I solve)

  • 5A: "Big Love" setting (UTAH) — never watched it, but I understand it's about polygamy.
  • 15A: The "doll" in Ibsen's "A Doll's House" (NORA) — no idea. I'm more a NORA Dunn / NORA Charles kind of guy.
  • 14A: Politico with the memoir "Courage and Consequence" (ROVE) — forgettable title = forgot this book ever existed. Now "Bush's Brain," I remember.
  • 32A: Setting for Seurat's "Un dimanche après-mide à l'île de la Grand Jatte" (ÉTÉ) — the "setting" is summer? Boo.
  • 48A: Big inits. in Detroit (GMC) — General Motors Co.
  • 53A: Lion : pride :: ___ : husk (HARE) — no idea. Doubt it gets used much, since googling turned up primarily sites dedicated to animal collectives (murder of crows, etc.), i.e. curiosities, not common terms.
  • 69A: 1998 Goo Goo Dolls hit ("IRIS") — relentless radio hit of the late '90s. I used to call it the "Sea Chantey." You'll see why. Or you won't. It made sense to me:

  • 7D: Hundred-eyed monster of myth (ARGUS) — guardian of Io until he was slain by Hermes. His story is told in Ovid's "Metamorphoses," among other places.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Matthew G. 12:19 AM  

This is one of those puzzles where you have to enjoy the challenge of the solve, I think, and shrug off the arbitrariness. I think the fun here came in realizing that the placement and identity of the Greek letters wasn't going to be either symmetrical or obvious, so you really had to think about where they would make sense. In too many rebuses you know just where the rebus squares are going to be, and at that point, what's the use of a rebus? This worked for me because I had to hunt for each rebus square.

I picked up the rebus at TI_N MONK, and struggled the most with the NW, where ORAL PHASE took a while to make itself clear to me. Last part filled was the GAD/LOG/DOG/MALLOMAR area, where the unfamiliar confection confounded me.

Anonymous 12:35 AM  

I agree with Mathew. I much prefer when rebuses are both arbitrary and asymmetric. Otherwise it feels like cheating. Great puzzle, IMHO.

PurpleGuy 12:36 AM  

First, a thank you to all for the kind words and thoughts. It helps.

Theme would have worked for me if the last two letters of the Greek alphabet had been used: psi, omega.
Then there would have been the first two and the last two.
The rest of the puzzle was okay, and of a medium rating. Good Thursday.

Today is my dad's birthday. He would have been 104. He and mom are celebrating again finally.

Happy St. Patrick's Day all. Erin Go Braugh !!!


DJG 12:50 AM  

Similar feelings to Rex on this one, but I think I enjoyed it a bit more.

I like PurpleGuy's comment about using PHI instead of PI. Not only would it have been more consistent, it would have gotten rid of PI, which is the weak link. The other greek letters are woven in very nicely.

syndy 12:54 AM  

Resisted the rebus as long as I could till WHOOPI made it unavoidable.beta and omega fell right in then but since my rusty latin had put in novis ,ALPHA took a little longer. Impressive but also ICK.On the other hand like a puzzle that makes you sing!

chefwen 1:15 AM  

Is it kosher that 19A uses the A twice? It's BETA aWARD not BETA WARD. That one did not sit well with me, what am I missing?

I asked for a rebus and I got it, lovely. It took me way too long to figure it out, finally got it when I had BET SONGS and looked down to 41A which I had already filled in and did the forehead slap thing and aped Homer with DOH!

retired_chemist 1:23 AM  

Got the theme at (BET A)WARD but it still was a sloooowww slog, albeit fun. Had OPRAH @ 63A, erased it several times, went through the entire cast of The View, which non-puzzle wife watches (I only see it in passing), decided NONE fit, and then - D'oh! - IT ISN'T OPRAH. Had AN(AL PHA)SE @1D for a while. Also TORAH for KORAN at one point.

Nice one, Ms. Schechtman. More please.

retired_chemist 1:27 AM  
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retired_chemist 1:28 AM  
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retired_chemist 1:29 AM  

@ chefwen - it's BET Award, for Black Entertainment Television.

Clark 1:53 AM  

I am a rebus fan. But I do agree with Rex -- something else was needed to makes some sense of why these letters. Maybe there is something we're not getting. Whatever. Still fun. It took me forever. I got it when I had ___NMONK. That made ALPHA pretty easy and then PI. OMEGA was the last to fall. Appropriately.

jae 3:10 AM  

@ret. chem -- I also got it with BETAWARD and I'm with Mathew G's take on this one--fun solve that took some work, e.g. I started with OPED, then tried TRYST for 3d so, it did take a while. The kinda arbitrary Greek letter selection between ALPHA and OMEGA seemed strange but, to me, made this one more interesting. Nice Thurs.!

chefwen 3:53 AM  

@retired_chem - Thanks, I Googled them both after your comment and BET AWARDS and BETa AWARDS do exist. How many red carpets am I supposed to look at? Personally, I shun them all, even the Oscars, Emmys, etc. Gimme a good football game any day.

Erik 5:05 AM  

Is it weird that NOBIS was my gimme?

SethG 7:58 AM  

The Beta Awards are for excellence in Western New York Information Technology. BET is Black Entertainment Television. This probably didn't confuse many people.

There was nothing Medium about my Challenging--this was hard. No problem with OMEGA, but the PI and (especially) ALPHA corners were thorny. Having PLUS column _forever_ didn't help, and the symmetry of PI/BETA threw me off when I finally got there. Nice work.

conomist 8:52 AM  

Any other iPad solvers have a problem with this one? All my answers are correct, and still it won't accept it. I'm figuring this has something to do with the rebus-ness of the puzzle, but I've never had this issue with other rebuses. Or maybe it's just me.

jesser 8:53 AM  

I'd like to say I figured it out and finished, but that would be a big ol' lie.

The only corner that filled itself in was the SE, and I was puzzled about what the hell INCoP was. I would like to think that if I'd put it aside and come back later, the light would have gone on in my cranium. As it is, the cranial area is dark.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Edagg! (an electronic birthday wish for Mr. Bumstead) -- jesser

mmorgan 8:53 AM  

Lots of trouble in the corners... I knew there were Greek letters in there somewhere but I just couldn't make it work. Having ADOS (for ROWS) at 10D and JAL (for ANA) at 11D didn't help. And after finally getting Alpha and Beta, of course I wanted Gamma and Delta.

(@Erik -- me too, also weird.)

Nice clue for 32A -- I'm sure @Greene enjoyed it for the 'Sunday' connection.

Never seen 'The View' but I'm sad to see 'Big Love' coming to a close.

Strange puzzle.

tptsteve 9:00 AM  

Haven't posted for a while, but I liked the puzzle a lot, even though nothing jumps out at me to explain why. Maybe it's because it was more challenging than the usual Thursday. and took me forever to pick up on the theme.

In any event, I didn't like it as much as I like my Mallomars-- they're the best, particularly frozen.

OldCarFudd 9:10 AM  

@Erik - Not weird at all. It was mine, too, and I'm not Catholic and never took latin.

I didn't even realize this was a rebus until I got to the SE corner and realized that COM had to go into 57D. Then 70A had be looking for two consecutive rebus squares. Then the light dawned, and I could finish that corner and go fill in the holes in the other corners. I'd never heard of BET awards.

retired_chemist 9:37 AM  

What OldCarFudd said about Nobis.

Sports fans who are also old farts might have appreciated the clue if it were Linebacker on the 1960s NFL all-decade team."

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

I work at Justice in a Division that goes by the name ATR. Was hoping 40 down would be that once I had the AT. Though my husband said that would have been unfair since ATR is an acronynm not known to outsiders. Ah well.

Nancy in PA 9:45 AM  

I got the theme at ITSALLGREEKTOME, and alpha, beta, and omega fell pretty easily. Then I (like PurpleGuy) really wanted psi for symmetry. Having "lavendar" in for the nursery color didn't help me find WHOO(pi). Well, 3/14 WAS Pi Day, which in this household was celebrated with Boston Cream Pie, but in nearby Princeton was celebrated with a Pi recitation contest--first prize in the 7 to 13 year old category was a kid who knew 315 digits!

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

Re: 12D - considered and rejected MIR several times before crosses forced me to use it. Mir was a space station - even though it's in orbit, I don't consider that a "satellite."

Re: 40D - did ATF get re-orged? I thought it was part of the Treasury Dept.

retired_chemist 9:52 AM  

@ Anon 9:47 re 40D: Yes.

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

I started "confidently" by putting TV RATING for 22D and GO AWOL for 55A. Took me a while to correct this. I got the IT'S ALL GREEK TO ME early on. Then not much progress. Google helped me fill most of the puzzle.
Then I stared blankly at A BET SONGS and ORASE, TIBN MONK and BWARD, IN COP, WHOOP and LIGHT PNK and gave up. I must admit that I was totally clueless about the rebus until I read Rex comments.
It's not that I don't like rebus puzzles. It's just that I only seldom get on the same wavelength as the puzzle constructor.
For me it was like listening to a good joke but missing the punch line altogether.
Now after the debacle of last Friday and Saturday I am going to pass on the puzzle for the next two days (I think).

Matthew G. 10:23 AM  

@Anonymous 9:47 a.m.: Anything that orbits a planet is a satellite. That includes moons (also known as "natural satellites"), space stations, communication satellites, navigation satellites, and random pieces of space junk. Although layman's usage has come to use the word "satellite" more narrowly, the scientific usage is far broader.

@chefwen: I think the (BETA)WARD clue was fair, even if there's also something called the "Beta Award," since the clue referred to two very famous black celebrities, pointing in one very specific direction.

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

From the ATF website:

Effective January 24, 2003, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was transferred under the Homeland Security bill to the Department of Justice. The law enforcement functions of ATF under the Department of the Treasury were transferred to the Department of Justice. The tax and trade functions of ATF will remain in the Treasury Department with the new Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

Two Ponies 10:31 AM  

Impressive rebus.
Too bad it crushed me.

Arundel 10:37 AM  

Yowser - this one was definitely on the challenging side. Inc-omega-p crossed with h-omega-me was great. But I think this was just about the full extent of my Greek alphabetic knowledge!

I was very pleased to see Mr. Happy Pencil today. I think this is one of the rare occasions that he's shown up for a rebus.

Have any of the other Across Lite users found a way to insert multiple letters using just keystrokes, instead of having to go through the Edit/Insert/Multiple Letters song and dance?

retired_chemist 10:44 AM  

@ Qrundel - on a Mac, the escape key gives you a box to enter multiple letters. Don't know about PCs.

imsdave 10:59 AM  

Pretty close to Friday hard for me. I rarely disagree with the host, but I thought this was fine fare. Rebuses shouldn't be confined to the constraints of other puzzles (IMOO). I loved it.

Thanks Ms. Shechtman,

ps - to any who will be attending the tourney this weekend, I will be at the bar at the Marriott sometime between 3 and 4 tomorrow afternoon. Look for the old guy in jeans and a black sweater with a scraggly gray beard.

Hoping to see many of you there!

quilter1 11:03 AM  

My first rebus entry was the Whoopi/pink cross and that gave me the others. I finished pretty smoothly and rated it medium.

Nobis was a gimme--have sung that song many times as a round ever since church camp fifty+ years ago. It is in our hymnal. Having just wound up our b-ball season I knew 70A had to be homegame so omega came easily. Alphabet songs easy. Already had the monk so once I knew I was looking for a Greek letter Tibetan fell in.

I really enjoyed this one. I can feel smart all day long while cleaning bath and guest room for my brother's visit tonight. Happy St. Pat's all.

Stan 11:09 AM  

For me this was difficult but fun to unravel. Happy not to see the humdrum "Beta test" which I expected. Tibetan Monk, Oral Phase and the aforementioned Omegas were lovely.

High-quality puzzle!

Tobias Duncan 11:18 AM  

I am just not good with rebupodes.
Just when I think I am getting a handle on them, we get a super tough one.
Big Love is brilliant.Underneath the frenetic pace is an amazingly subtle study of Utah, Mormonism, and a particularly American brand of bland religious fervor.It must be watched from the beginning and in order, but the payoff is huge.

Vega 11:29 AM  

It took me too long to acknowledge that there was a rebus. I *knew* it had to be TIBETENMONK and LIGHT(blue or) PINK (and yes, it's just pink), and WHOOPI's the only "View" person I know. It was fun finding the Greek letters, and I don't mind their random placements, but I'm with others that the arbitrariness of the four chosen was off-putting. That said, I think HOMEGAME/INCOMEGAP is a stroke of genius.

archaeoprof 11:32 AM  

Had to come here to figure out what was going on in this puzzle!

Now that I see it, I like it.

Wofford plays BYU tonight in the NCAA tournament. Go Terriers!

Greene 11:37 AM  

Loved this puzzle, although very challenging for me. Like others above my first entry in the grid was NOBIS, but I'm a Catholic boy from way back when the mass was actually said in Latin.

I knew there would be a rebus at 57D. Just knew this had to be INCOME GAP, just didn't know how it was going to fit. Confirmed rebus at ALPHABET SONGS and everything fell into place from there.

Did not help that I solved this at 2AM after traipsing all over NYC yesterday and seeing 2 shows (one horrid and one excellent). I was pretty exhausted and not sharp at all.

My favorite answer in the grid was MALLOMAR (although it looks weird without the terminal S) because as Billy Crystal teaches us:

"What so bad about this? You got Dick Clark, that's tradition. You got Mallomars, the greatest cookies
of all time. And you're about to give the Knicks their first championship since 1973.

@mmorgan: Correct. I loved the clue for 32A. Sunday In the Park is an all time favorite.

@IMSDave: See you tomorrow, buddy.

Arundel 11:41 AM  

Thanks, @Retired_Chemist. Although it's not the same on a PC, you did give me the clue. As a matter of fact (Doh!) it's the Insert key. I found it via Literate Software [], which also has a few other useful hints.

And for whoever was mentioning it, I haven't had any problems downloading Across Lite using Chrome as my browser.

BTW, I just noticed that Crossword Butler, which had been out of action for quite a while, is back in business. Useful for one quick download of a whole list of puzzles.

retired_chemist 11:54 AM  

I don't get the complaints about the irregularity of the Greek letter placements or the choices. It seems to this non-constructor that finding four such that work as crosses, two of which are five letter and one four, is a real challenge and that the present success in so doing nears virtuoso quality. There was one in each corner of the grid, with alpha in the NW, beta in the NE, and omega in the SE. I don't think I should expect more.

Matthew G. 12:13 PM  

I would go further, retired_chemist, and say that today's puzzle is improved by its irregularity. The unexpected placements make it more of a puzzle and less of an attempt to make a pretty grid.

As I've mentioned a few times, I think I comparatively care less than our host does about grid structure and comparatively more than he does about the originality of the kind of thinking a puzzle makes one do on the way to the solve. Not saying my philosophy is better, but it does mean this puzzle rates higher with me than with Rex.

Three (point-one-four-one-five) and out.

Lindsay 12:13 PM  

Liked the puzzle a lot, but found it very, very challenging. I got the greek-letter rebus gimmick early, but not knowing which letters were going to crop up, or where, set me back on my heels.

Whoopi Goldberg spells her name without an "e"? The Maine state legislature is improving its time with a bill to make whoopie pies the official state desert. I may have to emigrate.

The NW (last corner) nearly sunk me. I'd written down all the greek letters I could think of, and "alpha" wasn't on the list. Not exactly a classical scholar. Plus, it slipped my mind that there was any OT peak other than Ararat. Not a biblical scholar either. Never took psychology, so I was convinced psychosexual development would involve Oedipus and his complex, even though that didn't mesh well with my memoirist gOrE.

Eventually it all worked out.

I'll be the hick at the bar recuperating from her life-altering encounter with New York City traffic. Unless I bail at Stamford and take the train in.


JaxInL.A. 12:35 PM  

I'm putting my failure at this puzzle down to the cold I have had all week. Rough night, so I filled in nearly everything and still, like @Anon 9:53, I just never saw the rebuses / rebi / rebera (?). What is the plural of rebus?  

Even if I had gotten the rebus idea, though, the SW would probably have defeated me.  HTG for The View cast, where I learned that two of them have five-letter names: Rosie and Sheri, both with crosswordy combos of letters.  I know the phrase "He sufficeth me" from a Bahai song (college roommate) and since it fits in the same five letters as KORAN, well... 

Best of luck to all who attend the ACPT! I hope you will find some time to come here and let us know how it's going.  Wish I could meet a few of you.  I'm starting to think I might go to the L.A. Tournament on May 1.  

CoffeeLvr 12:38 PM  

I will make my invective as short as possible. (1) I'm supposed to remember an arithmetic teaching concept (ONES column) at my age? Even without a calculator, I can do the math without ever needing to use that concept anymore. (2) Crossing SETAE which I could not quite remember, which (3) crosses ROVE, which I did not begrudge Googling, but had to. (4) My greatest fury is reserved for ORAL PHASE, because Freud wrote about stages, not PHASEs. I don't know the Mass, so did not have a prayer of coming up with NOBIS - I translated the clue loosely, and ended up with a John & Yoko earworm: "all we are saying is give peace a chance." And finally(5) the corner closes out with "ALPHA"BETSONGS which are used much earlier than kindergarten these days. Oh yeah, I also hate Mallomars and their ilk.

Other than that, I liked the puzzle. Figured out the theme at bedtime, when I observed that the middle had gone smoothly, but the corners were all incomplete. It occurred to me that 41A was a reveal. Put down puzzle, turned out light, tossed and turned (mentally), got Whoo(pi), turned on light. Fought my way through all of the rest, starting with (omega), then (beta), then gave up. Got up this morning, no new insights, got out the Greek alphabet list, and still could not crack the aforementioned NW.

It has been said before, but I will repeat, the rebus in the NW is not symmetrically placed! Yet the NE and SW are symmetrical! So I kept trying to put a Greek letter where the V in Rove is, after I had erased EVENT! If the other pair had not been evenly place, I wouldn't have tried so vainly, so long.

Can you tell that when I complete a puzzle with errors, even after "cheating," it really ticks me off? My apologies for the rant. An impressive puzzle, just not on my wavelength in the NW, with the double Naticks, and a Greek letter.

william e emba 12:42 PM  

About two years ago the Sunday puzzle was a half-rebus where the Greek letters had to be spelled out in one direction while they ganged up to make up fraternity names in the other direction.

There was a Greek alphabet rebus more than ten years ago--the one answer I remember was Φladelφia.

Because I was happy with HOME for 70A, I took forever to get HωME. After having his name drummed into my head enough times in the puzzle, I was actually able to rely on EPPS.

For 64D I originally had PIE, as in hipPIE. If I only knew how close I was!

I did not know if 49A Major crossroads was singular or plural, so I opted for CRISeS crossing Eris. I figured one more Greek mythology reference to go with Argus up north was a way cool idea by the constructor.

I had no problem with NOBIS (Latin 101). I don't know Catholic masses, but "Give __ peace" had to be us (in the dative), so it was a gimme.

Masked and Anonymous 12:45 PM  

@44: Think you're right, about the slight dejavuosity of the puz today. I've been workin' thru the Will Shortz's Favorite Puz book lately, and have had that feelin' a couple times this week. (I've been tryin' to beef up for the tourney--maybe can be the new "444"?)

Peter Gordon has a greek letter puz in the "Favorites" book. And Alan Arbesfeld has a Malt-Mult puz in it.

Mind you, Dejavuosity per se don't bother me much. It's gonna happen, odds are. Both new variations were real good, fun puzs. Today's puz even put up a fight, altho I'd just recently done the "Favorites" one! Har.

9 U's yesterday, BTW. Almost missed that crucial, highly laudable fact.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:31 PM  

Fun puzzle; made me work at it. I had 41 A before I got any of the rebi, so I kept looking for possibilities. The relative paucity of theme answers (well, relative to a Sunday puzz, say) somehow made it more difficult.

Write-overs at 11D, JAL before ANA (as @mmorgan), and 46A, FETE before FEST.

I don't want to re-open a recent controversy, but at 1A, shouldn't it be YOUR instead of ONE'S? I would say to Rex, "I enjoy reading YOUR column," not "One's column." (What's that you say? Shut up and have some M&Ms? . . . . .)

quilter1 1:35 PM  

I just realized reading william b emba's comment that I also put in crises. I figured a pop song about the goddess of discord was reasonable.

brappi: what happens to baby when breastfeeding mom eats sauerkraut

JFe 1:59 PM  

What's "spork?"

Oscar 2:04 PM  

Got ITSALLGREEKTOME first, then PI, then I went looking for H(OMEGA)ME. These always have H(OMEGA)ME.

Anonymous 2:05 PM  

There was a Greek rebus puzzle way back on Dec 14, 2000 - a puzzle that remains one of my all-time favorites

Isabella di Pesto 2:07 PM  

spork is a fork/spoon utensile all in one--a spoon with fork tines at the tip of the spoon's bowl.

John V 2:09 PM  

@Jfe: Spork is a spoon/fork.

Big fat DNF. Knew a rebus was coming but it just never clicked.

To me, more Friday than not. Alas.

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle. I expected to find GAMMA after ALPHA and BETA, and then I got OMEGA, so I figured the missing Greek letter would be the second to last in the alphabet. However I'm probably not alone in not having the answer on the tip of my tongue.
One possible location for that option would be 60A = STO[PSI]GN and
with other changes as necessary.

Rex Parker 3:42 PM  

@MatthewG, I said nothing about "grid structure" or symmetry or the placement of the rebus squares or whatever some other people are remarking on. I said the choice of letters was arbitrary, and it is. You might like that. I did not. IT'S RANDOMLY GREEK TO ME.

JenCT 3:56 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle: I read 1A as a math reference; the ONES column.

DNF for me, although I did get the rebus.

See all of you tomorrow at the hotel - I'll be riding a scooter.

chefbea 4:25 PM  

This puzzle WAS Greek to me. Got some of it but DNF. Didn't really have much time - took a trip to Fayetteville today. Now making corned beef and cabbage and potatoes and carrots. yummm

Bob Kerfuffle 4:48 PM  

@JenCT _ Darn it, I have to remember to use more emoticons! :) ;>) ):-)

No one seems to get it when I try making a joke! Or maybe it's just that my jokes aren't funny? :))

I was just struck by the fact that on Monday the blog went on and on re: the difference between "Melt in your mouth" and "Melt in one's mouth"; and today at 1A we have a poor, defenseless ONES which I was cruel enough to suggest should be replaced by YOUR. If your mind were as twisted as mine, you might find it funny?!? :)

sanfranman59 4:52 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 23:09, 19:10, 1.21, 87%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Thu 14:24, 9:16, 1.55, 96%, Challenging

I'm afraid that my numbers might be a little skewed today by the fact that there have been problems accessing the online interface today (do you suppose that it's pure coincidence that this glitch happened on the very day that the is rolling out their new online pay model in Canada?). The number of online solvers is substantially lower than is usual on a Thursday. That said, my own solve time places this puzzle firmly in the Challenging category. My time was adversely affected by locking in on simply HOME as an acceptable answer for 70A: What players don't have to travel far for (pretty stupid of me in retrospect). If I'd simply clicked the DONE! button as soon as I'd filled all the squares, I'd probably have shaved a good two minutes off of my time (HOME being an accepted entry). As it was, I kept looking at INCOP and trying to figure out what Greek letter could be substituted for the I, N, C or P. DOH!

Like Rex, I was on board with the logic of ALPHA and BETA being the first two Greek letters and OMEGA being the last, but quite annoyed with the randomness of PI (the 16th Greek letter).

JenCT 4:55 PM  

@Bob K: no, it's me - I didn't get the cross-reference to Monday's blog - must be an afternoon slump???

Time to make some coffee and have some m&ms...

Andreigha O'Carla McMichaels 5:54 PM  

I love that PI was the end of WHOOPI for some reason that made the whole puzzle for me...

And dare I admit that I had anALPHAse first and almost fainted!

And yes, theme's been done before but as long as there are new entries it shouldn't matter, theoretically
(Or else I'm smarting bec I didn't know about Alan's M*LT puzzle, but all five theme answers were different)

In terms of dejavu/dejawritten, I'm itching to tell my Mallomar story again with my mom standing in the aisle screaming that she was the crazy lady that bought out the entire accidentally-delivered-stock of Mallomar's in Minneapolis circa 1976!

And I know I've mentioned a half dozen times that when I lived in Greece, they say "It's all Chinese to me"... I also kept looking for a Greek letter in IONIA.

See some of you at the ACPT? I look just like Dave (minus the scraggly beard, and I may wear a beret).

Can NOT get over St P's day in NYC! it's crazy here, HOURS after the parade with EVERY street corner a gaggle of Irish and so much green (tshirts, hair, you name it!) Wow, that's the way to do it, I guess!

In SF it was one small parade (I think maybe even combined with Mardi Gras) down at the Civic Center last weekend!

quilter1 6:48 PM  

re: not buying LIGHT PINK echoed by others, I was working on a mostly pink quilt for granddaughter soon to be born which contains 24 pink fabrics in every shade from rich fuchsia to the barest blush and including bubblegum, shocking, rose gold, petal and many other shades of pink. My point being that pink might need the modifier light as not all pinks are light. Actually a light pink nursery would be kind of boring. Especially for the baby as they see bright colors and sharp contrasts best.

All of you have fun at the convention.

Sparky 7:01 PM  

I, too, had JAL and hung on to home far too long. tAD BEFORE dab. ALPHABETSONGS was my first oh yeah. And IT'S A mystery TO ME for a while. Had the PI in 60D. Finally it all sorted itself out.

Traffic in NYC impossible. My bus took me way out of the way since the 79 St. transverse was closed to traffic because of the parade.

Take heart @Bob Kerfuffle no one ever knows when I'm being funny. I did have to read your comment twice.

See some of you tomorrow. I'm all adither. I'm the tall old woman with the flower print cane.

joho 7:11 PM  

Ahh, @Andreigha O'Carla McMichaels, you bring back such fond memories of St. Patrick's Day in NYC! Wish I were there!

I am also green with envy for those of you who be attending the tournament. Please try to report back to the blog if you can.

I thought the puzzle was challenging and really well done but for some reason this was a rebus that didn't tickle me.

skua76 7:22 PM  

I liked this in general, but after I figured out the rebus in the NE and SW which were symmetrical, I kept looking in the SE for a Greek letter in STREETCAR/TIRES symmetrical with ALPHAbetsongs, which I got early. Never resolved HOME/INCOP until coming here.

Another first for me, I kept getting error messages trying to access this blog comment page (at 7PM ET). After trying for a few minutes, I finally went and registered the error with blogspot/ soon as I did that I got right in. Anyone else have problems?

Good luck to those of you going to the ACPT. Out of my league, but at least I enjoy these NYT puzzles and this group!

Moonchild 7:37 PM  

@ Bob K. I got your joke.
I got the rebus at Whoopi even though I've never seen the show.
Home as it stood seemed plausible albeit a stretch but that was the last to fall.
The NW was a problem of its own since I clung to Gore for too long. My hand did not want to write the evil name Rove. Bush's Brain? What is that? A one page book?
Not enough time or money to jet to NYC for the ACPT but I'm sure I'm missing a good time. Enjoy and share the stories!

ksquare 8:23 PM  

@Lindsay 12:13 If you've braved the traffic in NYC I imagine you might have seen Mount SINAI (Hospital) on 5th Ave sometime.
@Skua76 7:22 I did the puzzle late this p.m. and got error messages too when I tried to enter this comment.
Also, I agree with those who considered 49D Major crossroads to be the plural crisEs.One major crossroad is only a crisIs!

ksquare 8:27 PM  

And thanks ANDREIGHA for your usual
high quality contribution.

retired_chemist 8:28 PM  

Crossroads in fact does mean an intersection of two roads, or a crucial decision point, according to the dashboard dictionary on Mac OS 10. And, presumably, most of all dictionaries.

captcha nomed - a Christian Science dictum.

jberg 8:45 PM  

I couldn't solve this one, rare for me. It wasn't so much that the Greek letters had to be in order, as that the first two WERE in order -- and in the same row -- which set expectations that were not met. I also have no idea about mallomar -- isn't there something called a mallocup? When that didn't work, I tried mallobar. For a while, I actually had 'lime tone' for "light pink." Just a fiasco for me.

Noam D. Elkies 8:59 PM  

Liked the rebus; guessed correctly from α and β that the final rebus square would be ω and even guessed that one of the words would be HΩME; then disappointed that the next-to-last letter didn't show up, but still one thumb up. Not a thumb and a half because "αbet" is taking the easy route (the ALPHA is there for good reason).

Best wrong guess: the Downs-only solving group here found the rebus only after overcoming w wrong turn at the central 41A, which (without benefit of the clue) was first guessed to be IT'S_GREEN_TO_ME in honor of St.Pat's!


LookUpGuy 9:00 PM  

Definitions of MALLOMAR on the Web:

•Chocolate-coated marshmallow treats are produced in different variations around the world, with several countries claiming to have invented it or hailing it as their "national confection." The first chocolate-coated marshmallow treat was created about 200 years ago in Denmark.

I skip M-W 9:01 PM  

Funny I got the happy pencil with Eris/crises.Some other song no doubt. Just reading Freid, so oral phase seemed fine. don't know what German word is translated as stage and why it can't be phase.

mac 9:21 PM  

A solid medium for me. If @chefwen hadn't begged for a rebus yesterday, it might have taken me longer to figure it out, but I got it pretty quickly with alpha and beta. Of course I went looking for gamma and delta, and when that didn't work, psi and omega.....

"Nobis" wasn't just a gimme, it was an earworm.

When was the last time we saw a j in the puzzle?

Didn't we decide rebus wasn't latin, so no rebi?

@Bob K: always add a ;-)!

@Lindsey: train to Grand Central, then the R train to Brooklyn.

Looking for imsdave? Tall, handsome, whitehaired gentleman with a big grin on his face.

@Joho: reading your comment, I almost heard an Irish lilt!

jackj 9:25 PM  

Coming late to the party but not too late to say "Thank you" to Anna Shechtman, the Swarthmore flash, for a brilliant puzzle.

INC(OMEGA)P was a HOF entry with TI(BETA)NMONK not far behind.

Keep bringing 'em, Anna.

JenCT 9:41 PM  

@Arundel: I tried Crossword Butler, but could only get the NYT puzzle???

Three and out.

GILL I. 9:58 PM  

Oh, I loved this. It took me a while but was happy to finish.
DONA NOBIS PACEM (grant us peace) sung as a round.
@Greene: Will you let us know the one horrid and one excellent?
@Andreigha: I for one would love to hear the MALLOMAR story.
@Quilter 1 can we see a picture?
@Bob K. A two ply kleenex.
I wish I could cozy up to the scraggly's in NY. I love that city and about now would be having a good dry martini.

sanfranman59 10:11 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 7:04, 6:55, 1.02, 62%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 10:07, 8:55, 1.13, 84%, Challenging
Wed 13:21, 11:44, 1.14, 81%, Challenging
Thu 24:47, 19:11, 1.29, 89%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:40, 3:41, 0.99, 49%, Medium
Tue 5:09, 4:34, 1.13, 86%, Challenging
Wed 6:16, 5:47, 1.08, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 13:33, 9:15, 1.46, 96%, Challenging

5th highest Thursday median solve time for the Top 100; 11th highest for the All Solvers group; 2nd fewest online solvers of 92 Thursday puzzles (317)

fergus 11:22 PM  

Can I have been the only one stuck in the ANAL PHASE? I scanned comments and nothing stuck out. Liked Rex's comment on the goose chase -- yes that's exactly what it was for me too.

it's all green to me! 11:29 PM  

Excellent! Wish I had thought of that!

retired_chemist 11:42 PM  

@ fergus - no, Andrea and I both mentioned that.

Anonymous 1:39 AM  

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Linda 12:08 PM  

Posting on April 21. Not knowing how many Greek letters might appear in the puzzle or where, I tried really hard to make KFC offering "Chi-CKEN" and was disappointed that it didn't work.

rain forest 2:50 PM  

Great puzzle. Who cares if the Greek letters were "random". There were four, and eight clues were involved. Good job, for a rebus, of which I'm not totally enamored.

Dirigonzo 6:07 PM  

@Bob K. - You probably don't even remember your ONES/YOUR joke of 5 weeks ago, but I got it (without any "reveal" emoticons) and chuckled remembering how worked up so many folks had been over the issue. It's nice to see that not everyone takes themselves so seriously and can poke a little fun at the community.

As for today's puzzle, I was prepared to hate it until I finished it - now I think it's a pretty decent Friday puzzle posing as a Thursday. I had the reveal early on and (WHOOP)PI was the first greek letter to appear, followed in quick succession by the awesome OMEGA cross and the TI(BETA)NMONK. I would have finished much sooner if ALPHA had been where I was sure it would be based on the symmetry of the other theme answers. But it wasn't so I spent a long time looking at the greek alphabet I had written in the margins, trying to fit the letters radomly into any of the open boxes. Of course it was OR(ALPHA)ASE that finally solved the problem. Oops, just noticed that I finished with OpEd in place of ONES - that sucks.

wcutler 4:42 AM  

I thought it was BETA MUsic award and was looking for a way to make that work. And I was looking for a rIOT A_s something for Melees. I liked the ALPHA/OMEGA, was just expecting there to be more in between. I got whooPI really early on, but didn't know it was Greek until near the end.

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