1976 Pulitzer winner for Air Music / THU 6-2-11 / Pioneering puppetteer Tony / Baccarat alternative / Banned medicine used to treat asthma

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: BORDER / STATES (26D: With 28-Down, theme of this puzzle) — BORDER (or edges) of the puzzle made up entirely of names of STATES

Word of the Day: ISOLATO (38D: Person who's out of step with society) —

noun, plural -toes.

a person who is spiritually isolated from or out of sympathy with his or her times or society. (dictionary.com) (*not* in my Webster's 3rd New International)

Styx - Mr. Roboto

• • •

The grid is nice, but I didn't care for the theme. I kept thinking how are these *BORDER* STATES? I saw that they were on the BORDER of the grid, but ... what was their relation to each other. FLORIDA and ALABAMA BORDER each other, aha! But ... ALASKA and MONTANA do not. Maybe they're on the BORDER of the country. MONTANA and ALASKA, yes! WYOMING and NEVADA? Ugh. Finally realized, very anticlimactically, that the fact that they're on the BORDER of the grid was all the BORDER action I was going to get, and that the pairs or intersecting STATES had precisely nothing to do with each other. Let down.

But as I say, the grid is lovely. Very typically BEQ, in a lot of ways, with tons of proper nouns, many of them quite contemporary. Also, I tend to think of his proper noun clues as being particularly long, like 9D: Doctor whom Nixon called "the most dangerous man in America" (LEARY) or 33D: TV character who said "Him a beauty. Like mountain with snow — silver-white" (TONTO) or 56A: Stephen of Joyce's "Portrait of the Artist of the Young Man" (DEDALUS), which is only long because the title of the book is long, I realize, but still, you get my point. A couple of the names in this puzzle I did not know, most notably ISADORE Freleng (12D: ___ Freleng, creator of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck). Isn't there a FRITZ Freleng? Oh, crud, there is—only it's FRIZ Freleng, and that's actually how ISADORE Freleng is (much) better known. I don't feel so cartoon-stupid after all, now.

Crosswordese knowledge came in very handy today, especially with names. Gimmes included Tony SARG (51D: Pioneering puppeteer Tony), ODILE (5D: "Swan Lake" swan), Ned ROREM (30A: 1976 Pulitzer winner for "Air Music"), and (the first answer I put in the grid) "I, TINA" (52A: 1986 rock autobiography). I was also greatly aided by the Nabokov clue, which was a gimme for me (13D: Actual name of Nabokov's Lolita). The opening of that book features a terse yet lyrical passage in which Humbert catalogues the various incarnations of her name:

She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.

Creepy, right? Such a good book. I bought copies of "Lolita" and "The Road" for my local public library this past weekend. Was very happy to see them on the library's wish list, i.e. was very happy not to have to send yet another James Patterson novel out into the world.

  • 15A: Banned medicine used to treat asthma (EPHEDRA) — I know this only as a diet drug. Confusing clue. Was it banned in treatment of asthma too? Wouldn't [Banned asthma medication] have worked?
  • 18A: Where "Lucrezia Borgia" premiered (LA SCALA) — this is how I figured out that ISADORE was not ISIDORE.
  • 20A: Baccarat alternative (FARO) — olde-timey card games. I know nothing about either.

  • 29A: "Drawing is putting a line round an ___": Henri Matisse ("IDEA") — nice quotation—IDEA is much better than my initial guess, AREA.
  • 44A: Org. that combats illegal file sharing (RIAA) — rough for me. Had to get every letter from crossings. I'm guessing this stands for Recording Industry Association of America ... and I'm right.
  • 49A: Approximate year in which Eric the Red was born (CML) — thumbs down to "approximate year" clues.
  • 8D: Syllables following "Strike the harp and join the chorus" ("FA LA LA") — "... LA LA, LA LA LA LA, DON WE NOW OUR GAYYYYY APPAREL etc."
  • 41D Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, 1987-95 (SAM NUNN) — I remember him as "that Hawkish Democrat who is going to run for president some day." I'm guessing that ship has sailed.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


CY 12:18 AM  

For a while I wasn't sure that I was going to finish this one. Although I liked the theme when I finally cottoned to it, having 8 theme answers essentially unclued was making me pull my hair out at the beginning of the puzzle. Combine that with a sprinkling of fairly esoteric (to me) answers, and you have the makings of a very challenging Thursday.

Stumbling blocks:
The center frustrated me for the longest time, mainly because for 29 across, "'Drawing is putting a line around an ____': Henri Matisse", I had guessed arEA (like Rex), and the answer fit so well that it was a long time before I reconsidered it.

41-down was another tough section, as I didn't know SAM NUNN, wasn't sure of the RIAA, and had no idea when Eric the Red lived, though I suppose I should have. Still, I did have a feeling that the RI?A was the RIAA, and there were a limited number of Roman numerals to choose from, so I eventually managed to suss it out.
Like Rex, I had ISiDORE for 12 down for a while, before correcting it based on LA SCALA, which I only vaguely knew of as some sort of theatre.

In yet another sad demonstration of the state of my geographical knowledge, I had to go to a map to ascertain that BORDER STATES described only these states' locations in the puzzle; not their locations in the United States. (Had I considered that a coastline is not a border, I would have twigged to that myself: I might not know where to find Wyoming exactly, but I do know where New York is, at least. Also Nevada. I know Nevada because it spoons with California.)

Pete 12:23 AM  

That passage, and the first paragraph, from Lolita are probably the only two paragraphs I can quote in the entirety of the English cannon. The missing 'a' from Stephen Daedalus always confused me, did Joyce think eliminating it would make the linkage less obvious?

It would have been nice if the border states were actual border states.

PS - You sure they don't just annually ask for a copy of Lolita so they have something to burn in righteous indignation?

syndy 12:31 AM  

This was the eeriest solve I've ever had;totally channeling BEQ I just kept writing.got the ne section first then the middle then nw kept writing but now was thinking at the same time ""Even I know NEW YORK and NEVADA don't touch!"I almost balked at GEORGIA because of the ISOLATO thingy but finger was pretty sure!!! I don't know if this counts as automatic writing? FREAKY

thursdaysd 1:01 AM  

I had to google TONTO to finish, but I got a lot more of this than I would expect on a Thursday. But ISOLATO? Not in American Heritage or OED or Chambers besides not being in Websters.

Lot of names I didn't know, but once I realized the theme it got easier, just had to run through the states for the SE. Had some doubts about putting in INACAST, I figure I'm on the mend when it comes off.

D_Blackwell 1:13 AM  

ISOLATO is in RH, 2nd. Interesting that it isn't in the OED. It gets a mention with ISOLATE in the Online Etymology Dictionary.

thursdaysd 1:22 AM  

@D_Blackwell - I should have been more precise. Isolato is not in the Concise OED, don't have the big one. RH = Random House?

Anonymous 1:26 AM  

Ugh, Lolita is SO good

alabama carla michaels 2:25 AM  

Thought this was terrific! Way too literal to expect them to be border states outside the grid as well!
People's expectations are getting a little absurd, imho.

hand up too for arEA...love the correct answer so much better.
Only other writeover was isSEI/NISEI.

ISOLATO freaky and fun and I will now self-define myself that way, is ISOLATa good?
So would have to rate this easy, first time EVER(ly) for me and a BEQ puzzle!

"Lolita" has got to be one of the best written books ever...I feel we had this discussion years ago on this blog, but I always urge friends who balk at the subject matter to read it for the wordplay alone and the mind-blowing reality that he wrote it in his, like, 5th language...

So, yay BEQ!
And I have to roll out my favorite joke as a child, learned off a Dixie cup circa 1970:
"What is the capital of WYOMING"?


chefwen 2:26 AM  

The usual groan escaped my lips when I saw BEQ on top. A couple of Googles to get me in the door (not unusual with this constructor and me) DEDALUS, indeed, SAM NUNN a total unknown to me, but when the states started falling it ALL started falling into place and I finished rather quickly. In the end, I quite liked it.

I will try not to groan in the future. Thanks Brendan.

Octavian 2:48 AM  

Fun little Thursday romp. Very well suited for this day of the week. Made you panic for a split-second, then settle in and start to solve for the missing clues.

Re the theme, very much the same sentiment as Rex. Thought they would all be actual border states as Montana and Alaska fell first. But then I got Florida and Alabama and realized they were only bordering the grid. That's pretty cool, for sure, but not as cool as if the grid were geographically correct.

Re FARO -- fascinating story. There should be an anthropology thesis written on how a game like this migrates from place to place, and what the popularity of various card games say about culture.

Originated in Ireland, was banned in Louis XIV France, then migrated to the United States and became the most popular game of the Wild West. Whenever you see men in saloons in Westerns playing cards, they are almost certainly playing Faro -- not poker.

Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday both famously ran faro games in Tombstone Arizona, and you could find illegal faro games in every major US city from the Gilded Age right through Prohibition.

Then it died out, and almost without a trace. Very strange.

A lot of the betting lingo of Wall Street stems from faro. In the '20s, if you wanted to insult someone on the Street, you told them you had "coppered their bet." That came from a play in the card game where you could place a six-sided piece of copper, or a penny, on the deck, and the value of the next card would be reversed. If it was a player's card (a winner), it would become a banker's card (a loser). On the Street, this meant that you had sold short an idea that someone else had told you they went long.

Eight stars (one for each state).

jae 2:59 AM  

Challenging at first, then I got the theme and it was still challenging until I figured out that REAL BORDER STATES wasn't the theme. @andrea -- you are right, in retrospect it was an absurd expectation. So, med- challenging was where I ended up, and, other than OKAYS for YESES, no real missteps. And yes, another great BEQ workout. Who knows, he probably wanted us to go for true BORDER STATES at first.

DJG 3:42 AM  

I feel the opposite of Rex on this one, in that I liked the theme, but didn't care for the fill so much. Too many not-so-well-known proper nouns (especially in the brutal southeast).

Decent puzzle overall.

JaxInL.A. 4:40 AM  

A Thursday BEQ in under 30 minutes, no help. Just had to come say hooray! Being more willing to guess at stuff really helped. E.g., didn't know the Matisse quote, but know a bit about him, so IDEA was my first guess into the grid.

chefwen 4:45 AM  

@Octavian - What I learn from this blog never ceases to amaze me. Thanks for all the interesting info.

Kareem 6:34 AM  

I liked this puzzle. While it would be nice if they were actual border states, I never had the expectation so it didn't throw me off. Started out slowly today, but "FALALA" and "SAMNUNN" got me into the puzzle. For some reason he always sticks in mt head as the last of the democrats who were really republicans. For some reason "ICERINK", "IDEA", "SEWS", and "NOWNOW" came right away, then I was stuck for a while. Stumbled upon the theme while staring at "-L-SK" and then it was relatively smooth sailing. I have to credit my 8-year-old as we were working state capitals this evening. Agree with CY that 10 (if you could the hint clues) "theme" answers was a bit daunting, but also concur with JaxInLA that a Thursday solve in under 30 minutes makes me do the happy dance.

Cheers, BEQ!

I skip M-W 7:55 AM  

I've been absent for quite a while, mourning my father, who died at 100.

Pleased to return to this, because after a little empty spell at the start, it fell with ease (for me). In NW, S in 6D gave me violist for 17A, which led to Kat, Then 19 A fell, yielding yell, got New York and Nevada, well before I had the border in 'border states."

I've never heard the quote, but guessed that Matisse would have said " a line around an IDEA" from the a. Folks, you must admit, "a line around an area" would be lame, certainly uninspired, which Matisse was not.

Hesitated on filling in writer for Steinbeck, but Dolores and Dedalus were gimmes . Couldn't BEQ have cited Ulysses? to make clue shorter. Never heard of Sarg.

David L 7:59 AM  

Didn't care for this one. Frustrating at first, because so many clues are theme-related, then when I finally got it I just thought, oh, is that it? RANDOMSTATES would have been better.

Plus all the crosswordese, and cluing VIOLIST with Zukerman is just too cutesy -- he's known above all as a violinist.

joho 8:03 AM  

I have to agree with @alabama carla michaels and @jae that expecting these to be actual border states doesn't border on but IS asking too much! The fact that BEQ has managed to border this puzzle with 8 states is fantastic.

My only blip along the way was zEAl before HEAT which kept me from seeing TONTO for a bit.

I loved WHOOPED next to YELL, SUNLESS and DIM and the reference to Steinbeck with WRITER and JOAD.

I also was surprised to realize that JFK would have just turned 94!

I really enjoyed this solve, thank you, Brendan!

Smitty 8:17 AM  

@I Skip - sorry for your loss. 100 years old - wow!

I didn't get the border state thingy either, but finished (almost) except for Sam Nunn

Intelligent puzzle. Me like..

jackj 8:36 AM  

The irrepressible BEQ, channeling the Queen of Hearts, was overheard saying:

"Fie on your moans; they're border states because they circle my square puzzle and, more importantly, because I say they are border states!

Did you hate WRITER for the Steinbeck clue, too?

Good grief; off with your heads!"

Great fun from one of the most interesting of constructors

GILL I. 9:09 AM  

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out.
My experience with this puzzle.

No BS 9:24 AM  

One of the chief reasons I do these puzzles is the way they illustrate to me the subtle workings of my own mind. I really appreciate the "aha" moments that come from seeing the various problems involved in solving from the constructor's perspective--generally a little outside the box. When I read the blog I am always struck by how similar the solving process is for all of us. I don't really admire puzzles that only go in one direction: read the clue, fill out the answer, repeat. The best puzzles go both ways, I think: sometimes the clue yields an answer, sometimes an answer or two reveals the meaning of an obscure clue. (If you haven't done the Sunday Acrostic, I recommend trying a few--they generally are about equally bi-directional).

In this puzzle, the process went like this for me: first I got some states, then I got "states" then I got "border" and saw that it was not used in the most obvious sense, then--AHA, THAT kind of border! For me, that's fun.

By the way, observing and enjoying ones process like this while solving takes (and,imo, makes good use of) time. Racing through puzzles day after day makes about as much sense to me as racing through a museum, a meal, or a lovemaking session. Though I admit I stand in awe of the fastest solvers.

OldCarFudd 9:25 AM  

I thought this was going to be an epic dnf. Then I sussed out BORDER STATES before I had a single state. And then I quickly got Nevada, New York, Florida, Alabama and Georgia, and decided the states were on the edge of the country, bordering Mexico, Canada, or an ocean. Then i got Wyoming, which was a serious wtf moment. Finally reduced my expectations a tad and finished. A fine puzzle!

ArtO 9:26 AM  

Typical BEQ esoterica (if I may!) but too much ado about the border states not being actual U.S. border states. Not only is it a terrific puzzle, but a beauty of a grid - simple, elegant.

Rex Parker 9:35 AM  

For me, the way BORDER was being used here (literally) was the *obvious* part, not the "aha" part. I mean, those essentially unclued answers are Very Clearly all on the BORDERs of the grid. So, I see that ... and yet because it's Thurs. and because it's BEQ, I kept waiting for the Next Level. The "oh, wow" part. And it never came. Doesn't make puzzle bad. Just disappointing, like a really good novel that gets your hopes and expectations up and gets you invested and then just ... ends. Still a good book, enjoyed reading it, but my final feeling is one of dissatisfaction.

David 9:35 AM  

This started out as a big-time Saturday. Stared and stared, got 2 or 3 answers, no idea how to approach it. Then I figured out all the theme clues were on the puzzle's edges. That, and the one D I got from JOAD gave me BORDER, and all of a sudden I was flying.

ICERINK came very early, if only because there have been a few Ottawa Senators clues in puzzles of late, yet the SE was the last section to fall, as I didn't know Stephen DEDALUS and I didn't feel confident with WIDEN for Reams Out.

Once I knew the theme the only state that didn't come to me was WYOMING (how could there be a state that ends ING???). I was doubting GEORGIA and contemplating INDIANA, fortunately NISEI had to be right so I kept the faith.

I also think this is a very strong puzzle for a Thursday.

DrGaellon 9:36 AM  

Isolato? Oh, puke.

chefbea 9:38 AM  

Had to google a lot. Easy to fit the states around the border of the puzzle. Had keno for the longest time instead of faro. But finally did finish!!

Rex Parker 9:40 AM  

Also, come on, this doesn't even rate, conceptually, alongside most other BEQ creations. He put some state names on the edges of the grid and then put BORDER STATES inside. Simple, yes, elegant, maybe, but at best average by BEQ standards. His own puzzles (at brendanemmettquigley.com) regularly put puzzles like this one to shame. Pretty sure he's just giving the NYT his less imaginative discards now ... there's a reason I pay BEQ more every year than I do the NYT.


John V 9:42 AM  

Like @OldCarFudd, thought I was looking at a world class DNF. After my first pass through, I was in awe of all the white space staring at me. As remarked, a bit of panic at 8 un-clued theme answers. As to the borders being only puzzle borders not geographical borders, this is not a problem for one with a typical New Yorker's sense of geography who really could be persuaded that virtually any state could be a border state ;)

In the end, finished with no errors, albeit a bit slow. More challenging for me but I'd say this is the most gratifying puzzle for me in a very long time.

FWIW, Everly Brothers and Ned Rorem were right in my wheel house, given my DOB and music shtick.

Lindsay 9:44 AM  

This seemed a little crunchy for a Thursday; on the other hand I finished in the SW thinking G-what? There aren't any states that start with G! So maybe I was not in top form.

TuRn for TART at 53D led me to conjecture that Joyce's Stephen might be a seducer, then a deducer, then ....oh, it's a name.

Tobias Duncan 9:49 AM  

My crosswordese was not equal to todays task.

If you liked "The Sopranos", you will love "The Borgia". So far they have painted Lucrezia as very sweet and innocent. I cant imagine they are going to keep that up in the next season.

hazel 10:01 AM  

Do hawks usually get nominated (repeatedly) for the Nobel Peace prize? Though Sam Nunn was/is certainly a conservative Democrat, don't think he's widely considered to be a hawk. He voted against the first Gulf War, e.g. Since retiring from the Senate he's been a leading voice in global disarmament. I'm pretty liberal, but I've always liked Sam Nunn (and don't like to see his name sullied!)

And I liked this puzzle too. Not a real wowzer, but 10 clueless clues did have me puzzling hard before that first domino fell. Once it did, they all started to go toot sweet and I finished in better than avg. time. Like the Matisse quote alot.

Rex Parker 10:11 AM  

@hazel, you are wrong, and a simple google search will show you so:

"though considered a hawk on defense matters"

"may be known as a defense hawk, but..."

"Nunn is as much of a hawk as John Stennis..."

and on and on.

Whether it is *true* or not, he is, in fact, "widely considered to be a hawk."

And George W. Bush was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.


Matthew G. 10:11 AM  

I crushed this puzzle! (By my standards.) My best Thursday time ever, by a considerable margin, and it's on a BEQ? Crazy but true.

This is one of those glorious Crossworld days where every intuitive guess turned out to be the correct one. The first clue my eyes lit on was {______ Brothers}, and EVERLY just called to me. That gave me VISOR, which gave me IDEA, which gave me FALALA, and then I guessed correctly that the quote was about LEARY, and bam, there's AEROSOL ... I had the entire center of the grid in less than two minutes, which for me on a Thursday is light speed. Figured out quickly that the edges were random states, and that then made getting the outside very easy. All that was left was the area between the outside and core, and with both the beginings and ends of so many of the clues, that was easy too. This was the first time I've ever been so fast at a Thursday that I actually didn't notice a number of the clues.

Only stumbling blocks were ROREM and SARG, which were completely unfamiliar to me, and, like Andrea, trying ISSEI instead of NISEI. Also had ODILE misspeled as ODELE for a bit.

hazel 10:39 AM  

thanks for the internet info. i think i'll just rely on my own poor brain and remember him for his body of work - as opposed to some slapdash phrases picked off the internet. The fact that GWB was nominated for the Nobel continues to sadden me - although it has nothing to do with Sam Nunn's nominations (for his work on global disarmament) - or that of many other worthy nominees, for that matter.

quilter1 10:44 AM  

JOAD was my first entry and then i sailed through. Always enjoy BEQ puzzles, and agree this was on the easy side. I really surprised myself that I thought of ROREM immediately, didn't trust it and so looked in the almanac to check. Just savored the Matisse quote, which I had heard before, delicious. I know SARG but can never remember him. Got him from crosses.
Very enjoyable for me. Thanks, BEQ.
My street continues to be destroyed. Very tempting to sit on the front porch with an adult beverage and just watch the proceedings.

Two Ponies 10:48 AM  

Too many proper names for my taste.
I guess I don't know as much about fishing as I thought. Have to look up dap.
I knew it couldn't be Keno if it is being compared to Baccarat. Faro and Baccarat are fairly complex games of chance but even my dog could play Keno.
Why bother with the Eric the Red stuff? Just say "Insert random Roman numeral".

EG in TO 11:03 AM  

This was a toughie for me. After one pass throughout the clues, there was a whole lotta white space staring at me. Finally got some traction in the middle, and painfully, slowly worked my way out from there. Had to google a lot.

At some point I suddenly saw a whole bunch of state names in the corners, starting with Wyoming, and that helped a lot. But because I had ISOLATe for ISOLATO (never heard of that word), I didn't see GEORGIA for a ridiculous amount of time. Me: "There's no state name that begins 'G-E-E!' There must be a mistake in the puzzle!" Um, noooo. Felt pretty dumb when it all became clear.

Also, thought I was incredibly clever dropping down limo for "Big stretch?" which held me up for a long time.

Never heard of FARO or ROREM, didn't remember SARG, lots of other unusual answers for me. All in all an enjoyable puzzle, thanks BEQ!

Bassetwrangler 11:40 AM  

I eventually got Isadore though, as Rex pointed out, he was always created as Friz Freleng. Sufferin' succotash!

syndy 11:46 AM  

@Tobias not so sweet and innocent as all that in real life she was a very good woman never poisoned anyone in her life and was a good wife to D'Este once her family let her be but yes I'm sure HBO won't have her that way.(so much more fun their way!)

foodie 11:47 AM  

Rex, I think what you expect from BEQ is the equivalent of a great plot, as defined by John Barth: "the perturbation of an unstable homeostatic system and its catastrophic restoration to a new and complexified equilibrium."

I think that is, in fact, the path to great accomplishment-- in literature, science and puzzledom... Really hard to deliver but worth aiming for.

CoffeeLvr 11:58 AM  

I am very proud of myself for resisting the temptation to use various cheats, and simply saving the grid and sleeping on it. It was very hard not to look at the globe as I passed it more than once. Completed the puzzle successfully this morning.

@ISkipM-W, my sympathies on your loss.

@NoBS, when I was younger I would have attempted speed solving. I now like to savor the puzzle as well. Your closing is so well put, speed for it's own sake doesn't enhance most experience. That said, if I could solve fast, I would!

I wrote a very stream-of-consciousness style comment when I first got here. I will try to edit it down to bullet points, as others have described parts of it well.

I am thanking my liberal arts education for knowing DEDALUS immediately, so that got me into the SE.

When BORDER appeared, I saw and entered STATES immediately. For a moment, I thought of a Civil War sesquicentennial theme, which is a big deal here where the annual football game between Kansas U and Missouri U is called "the border war." But the states I already had in place nixed that idea. So I thought BORDER of the country, edge of the country, etc. like many others. In the SW I had NDAKOTA (down) crossing ARIZONA (across) for a while, but eventually realized that maybe some of those answered I had erased to force those states in were probably correct.

I knew RIAA was in some corner of my memory from my teenaged son's rants against it justifying (in his mind) his illegal music downloads on MY computer. But it took some crosses and what felt like a long time to crawl out of the corner.

Only other real stumble was hanging onto zEAl for HEAT for far too long.

evil doug 12:05 PM  

Calling someone a "hawk" doesn't sully his name any more than "dove" does. I suspect Sam Nunn would agree: There are times when we must engage, and there are others where we would be wise to abstain from combat. Obviously we all draw the line at different "borders".

And when one surveys the Nobel Peace Prize winners there are some questionable names. Some would say Obama hadn't earned his when he won it, and (what with authorizing assassinations and extended combat in a couple of debatable wars) wouldn't make the cut today. It could be said that Menachem Begin was a terrorist early on, and Anwar Sadat's war against Israel wasn't his finest hour.

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
John Stuart Mill


Karen 12:28 PM  

Way too hard for a Thursday, even with the theme. I agree with Rex's comments - those aren't border states in any sense other than on the grid. Plus, many of the answers were esoteric (isolato????)

mac 12:34 PM  

Daunting to start with, then surprisingly easy for me. I went for the 26 and 28 D first, and then started spotting the states on the edges.

Love in a cast, retinue and isolato. Also thought Dedalus needed an a.

@Rex: what a brilliant idea for a library fundraiser, a wishlist of books (and maybe cds and dvds). I'm passing it on.

JenCT 12:36 PM  

@ISkipM-W: condolences on your loss, and welcome back.

I'm thinking of changing my name to ICan'tFinishTh-F-S,Goddamnit!

Anyone else think of another word first for 33a? (Mother _______)

@Rex: I was looking for U.S. border states, also.

Friz 12:58 PM  

@Bassettwrangler: That's thufferin' thuccotash to you.

Near Impossible to Please 12:59 PM  

Only ten theme-related answers, eight of them intersecting. 31 black squares and 74 words. Almost "borders on" qualifying as a themeless grid. Freshest fill you'll ever see. Ho-hum.

hazel 1:07 PM  

@evil d - i just knew you were going to weigh in on this topic!! calling Sen. Nunn a "dove" would also have sullied his name in my book too. I suppose I dislike the idea of reducing a complicated public figure (and a native son to boot!) to a one-word caricature. Was just trying to provide some context to his career....

I'll steer clear of any sort of Nobel debate - and just mention that I'm off to slow cook some ribs. Seems safe enough!

Rube 1:31 PM  

Started this puzzle last night and saw I had only 6 answers so went to bed. This morning finished the NE in a flash -- despite not knowing ROREM or ISADORE -- got the theme and voila. Actually had several writeovers, most mentioned here: HEAT/zEAl,NISEI/isSEI, MONTANA/indiANA, FRET/Fume, VEES/Vtop.

Thought of a jillion brothers, including Smith and Blues, but had to get__LY before EVERLY showed.

Considered that YESES was a crummy answer at first, then realized that "Nods" was the plural not the verb.

Excellent puzzle with just the right amount of difficulty for my taste without Googling. Will now look up FARO and see how it's played.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:41 PM  

Three points of my ignorance exposed: 17 A, had PIANIST before VIOLIST; 59 A, had IC_PARK before ICERINK; and 19 A, is that ATTOL or ATOLL? And one bad guess, 4 D, had RANT before YELL (and obviously, long before I had NEWYORK!)

I found this more difficult than the usual Thursday, and very satisfying to finish.

melvinpesuit 1:55 PM  

For the life of me, I couldn't figure out how Wyoming and Nevada were border states, since the first two states I got were Florida and Alabama, states that serve as part of our national border. Did not know until I saw Rex's solution and realized that they were the borders of the puzzle. Fun puzzle.

jberg 1:58 PM  

As someone once said to me, all this hawk and dove stuff is for the birds. SAM NUNN was my last entry, though - I could even remember his first speech in the Senate (promising to carry on like Richard Russell), but not his name - hampered by looking for a surname starting with S.

Other hangups were 20A, as 'Baccarat' naturally meant a maker of fine glassware to me - so I had LALO (actually, they make jewelry, not glasses), and was trying to figure out who Dr. Leale might be.

First entry was LA SCALA - a guess, but where else would Donizetti (if it was Donizetti) have wanted to premiere it?

Ideally, the top of the puzzle should have had states bordering on Canada, the bottom bordering Mexico, Atlantic and Pacific on the E and W, and "border states" from the Civil War running horizontally across the middle. But you'd have to first get the states to change their names so that they would fit.

Oh yeah; my other hangup was that LA SCALA had me primed to see DON JOSE at 35D, which delayed getting NOW NOW.

And finally, NUT TREE? Fair enough, but I kept trying to see it as some variety of nut.

@thursdaysd, you've made me feel really old, having to google TONTO.

@Iskip, very sorry to hear about your father.

Joel 2:07 PM  

Thought this one was one of the hardest Thursdays of the year. The theme took me a long time to grasp, mainly due to my inability to get any footholds in the grid. Overall though, pretty cool theme with really hard fill made for a fair but very challenging puzzle.

miriam b 2:14 PM  

Today I found myself comfortably situated on BEQ's wavelength. This puzzle was an unalloyed pleasure for me. I always enjoy a puzzle with a modicum of sports references and a lot of liberal-arts ones.

ovenou: result of forgetting to use a potholder

fikink 2:18 PM  

Ditto @Pete on the missing "a" in DaEDALUS giving me pause. I think I just always mentally put it in there.

@JaxinLA, Congrats on your 30-minute BEQ. I, too, balked when I saw his name and thought I was in for more names of indy bands and hipster cant. In that regard, I hear BEQ describing someone as ISOLATO much the way we heard Tom Lehrer saying we went "escalatio" in Viet Nam. (chortle)

@Octvian, thanks for the FARO explication. It has wonderful Frankie and Johnny undertones. Also, nicely inflected with Wall Street argot.

@Iskip M-W, my condolences to you. Glad you're back. Agree with you on the Matisse quote, "a line around an area" BORDERs on redundancy.

@OldCarFudd, yours was my exact experience with the theme! Being state-locked in Iowa, my perspective was a group of states from which you can leave the country rapidly, should, say, we are confronted with a Palin administration. ;) And then came WYOMING.

@foodie, nice Barth quote and yes, in art, too. "Complexified equilibrium" - Very Duchamp.

@Evil and @Mill, well put! If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

@BEQ, I had a great time today. Thanks.

captcha: scarynag - that's me!

CFXK 2:37 PM  

Strangest solve ever. Totally bass ackwards for me. Got the theme after solving only 3 clues -- 4,6, and 7 down, which gave me _ _ _ Y _ RK. For some reason I immediately saw this as New York, figured that the other "see xx" clues had to be states, and that therefore the theme had to be border states. Filled in "border states" for the theme clues, did just enough in each corner to figure out the other states, got all those, and only then attended to the rest of the puzzle. Totally bass-ackwards, but fun. I certainly have never gotten a theme that quickly and with such scant information. Will have to wait until Friday to be humbled, I guess.

Stan 2:48 PM  

Big grin on my part when I realized that BEQ had given us *ten* answers with no information whatsoever except that two of them were the theme. Then, the puzzle turned out to be quite doable through the traditional means: crosses, crosses, crosses.

Plus excellent, fresh stuff in the non-theme clues and answers.

Something I neglected to point out yesterday was that FEY made me think of the term 'fey grace' -- which turns out to be from Lolita.

alaska cml michaels 2:49 PM  

As always, things are about expectations...the expectation of how tough when we see BEQ's name, if we are on his wavelength, how difficult it will be, etc.
but I have to weigh in again for those expecting actual border states...

I mean, this may be, according to @Rex a discard puzzle compared to his usual fare on his blog, but I'm personally in awe of his cleverness of taking a VERY limited set of possible words (50) and finding 6 that are seven letters, 2 that are six, AND from that subset finding ones that share a beginning letter or ends on one that begins another, or shares an ending letter.

Seriously, does EVERYone realize how hard that is AND the genius of even thinking that up AND being able to pull it off AND getting a tip off internally????!!!!!!

This is not a rant about "if you criticize it then try to construct yourself"...this is a plea to slow down and admire the construction and the idea behind it.
To me, brilliant is an understatement and if it's but a discard, well, wow!

And I have to say I have not missed the political discussions that detract from an admire-BEQ day!

sanfranman59 3:01 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 20:13, 19:05, 1.06, 67%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Thu 10:29, 9:12, 1.14, 78%, Medium-Challenging

D_Blackwell 3:15 PM  

Well, I was disappointed. I appreciate the construction challenge and that it is awesomely done and whatever, but this was a construction that shouldn't have been built, a bridge to nowhere with no warning that I was about to rocket off the unfinished end.

When I got the BORDER STATES gimmick, I wanted BORDER STATES. I just did. And when I didn't get them, I wasn't very happy with whatever it was that I did get, these random states strewn haphazardly around the edge of the grid.

I was left wanting. So I snuck into the cookie jar and things got better.

CoffeeLvr 3:35 PM  

@JenCT, sure, I confidently wrote in Mother NATURE. That is what you were thinking, right?

ksquare 3:38 PM  

Re: Japanese generations, ISSEI is derived from ICHI (one, so first) and NISEI from NI (two, so second).

Arundel 3:43 PM  

Anytime I can get a fairly crunchy BEQ puzzle in a relatively smooth solve, I really feel like I've accomplished something. Thanks, BEQ!

Besides, I learned something from this one which makes it even more worthwhile. I finally googled Tony Sarg (after he had fallen into place in Georgia) and learned enough about him to take him out of the just-remember-the-name crosswordese category and make him a real guy.

Yes, he was indeed a very respected puppeteer, but that wasn't his only talent. He was the guy who basically devised the Macy's Thanksgiving parade helium-filled floats, as well as creating the mechanized Macy's Christmas window displays.

Tony Sarg was also a well-known painter and illustrator who created some very interesting kid's pop-up books. He lived on Nantucket, and it was there that he really made a mark! He orchestrated a very cool hoax, the Nantucket Sea Serpent that came ashore on one of the town beaches in the summer of 1937. This is a 20th century version of the Cardiff Giant, for which I think he should really be remembered!

The Nantucket Historical Society has photos of the serpent from nearly every family photo album of the time.

I think Tony Sarg is sufficiently memorable now!

CY 3:50 PM  

Follow-up comment after reading the comments of others. Here are some of the things I had in common with other commentators:

Like I skip M-W and Matthew G., had never heard of SARG, not as a puppeteer, nor even as a generic surname.

Like Matthew G., EG in TO, and Rube, had never heard of ROREM.

I had heard of Stephen Dedalus, despite not being a fan of James Joyce, having covered Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in freshman English. Spent most of my time avoiding reading the book, but couldn't avoid coming across the protagonist's name, which tends to stick in my head precisely because of its weird spelling.

Like chefbea tried kenO for FARO, at first. Although Two Ponies has explained why the answer wouldn't really fit so well, my ignorance of Keno, Faro, and Baccarat, allowed me to think of KENO as plausible. The truth is, as Baccarat and Keno can both be played at casinos, I think KENO does fit the clue "Baccarat alternative".

Like "alabama carla michaels" (whom I gather is better known as Andrea), Matthew G., and Rube, wanted isSEI for NISEI. I'd thought that that mistake was just some personal quirk of memory, but with so many people making it, I went to look up the terms on Wikipedia, and learnt the following:

"Issei (一世, first generation) is a Japanese language term used in countries in North America, South America and Australia to specify the Japanese people first to immigrate. Their children born in the new country are referred to as Nisei (second generation), and their grandchildren are Sansei (third generation). All of them come from the numbers "one, two, three" in the Japanese language, as Japanese numerals are "ichi, ni, san." (since I typed this comment, but before I posted, ksquare has made the same point)

I don't think I'd ever quite had that straight before.

Wanted EPHEDRIN for 15 across (although of course that wouldn't have fit); tentatively guessed EPHEDRA instead, because it sounded similar and possibly rang a vague bell; turned out to be right.

Did not know Lolita's first name. DOLORES? That makes me think of a middle-aged spinster, not pre-teen jailbait! In fact, now that I look her up, Lolita wasn't her name at all? Dolores Haze? Really?

I wonder whether I should just read the book. Anyone want to tell me whether it's worth the read?

Misremembered ODILE as ODETTE for a while (that would have been too long, but I thought perhaps ODETE was it). Wasn't at all sure about that, though, so it didn't block me from seeing the crosses and I eventually corrected that.

The breakthrough state for me was NEW YORK.

@Arundel, thanks for the info about Tony SARG. That does make him more memorable.

quilter1 4:04 PM  

The Everly Brothers grew up in Shenandoah, Iowa. Just FYI.

joho 4:12 PM  

@alask clm michaels ... Hear! Hear!

r.alphbunker 4:14 PM  

I liked the puzzle. When done, I too expected that the border states would be actual border states and that they would be have the correct geographical orientation.

I am reminded of a recent BEQ contest where he stuffed the names of the 9 members of the Brady bunch into a puzzle and had us guess the theme. First of all it was hysterical that BEQ would do a puzzle about the Brady Bunch. But he also arranged the names in the same order as they appeared in the image displayed at the beginning of the show.

quilter1 4:14 PM  

Oh, and all you word-lovers, the Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals are on tonight at 7:30 CDT on ESPN. That's all, folks.

william e emba 4:26 PM  

Of course ISOLATO is in the OED. Why of course? Because it was apparently coined by Melville, it's in Moby-Dick, chapter 27: "They were nearly all Islanders in the Pequod, Isolatoes too, I call such, not acknowledging the common continent of men, but each Isolato living on a separate continent of his own. Yet now, federated along one keel, what a set these Isolatoes were!"

In other words, BEQ for the win!

(It's not in W3I, but I assume it's in W2I--I'll have to check at home.)

chefbea 4:36 PM  

@D-Blackwell What kind of cookies????

D_Blackwell 5:03 PM  

@chefbea - Snickerdoodles with real butter, triple cinnamon, a bit of nutmeg, and a touch of clove.

JenCT 5:12 PM  

@CoffeLvr: ummm, yesss, eggsactly...

Matthew G. 5:26 PM  

I've never been so thrilled to see sanfranman's report. Today is the closest I've ever been to his "Top 100 solvers" number on a late-week puzzle.

Sfingi 5:49 PM  

@EMQ - Thanx for SICILIA and Sinatra's EPITAPH. Another stone with a song is Louis Prima's "Just a Gigolo." Recommend www.findagrave.com to easily see these graves.

Had coraL before ATOLL, Meg before MIL, Juke before JOAD.

@Arundel - Thanx for info. Never can remember this SARG guy.
Didn't RIAA, SAM NUNN's jobs and spelling of EPHEDRA.

Mini-theme: Dark.

The ISSEI/NISEI thing was important in my childhood. Now everyone is SANSEI or who cares.

According to Hubster, DOLORES is on the first page - "she was Dolores on the datted line."

Slow going but doable for me.

chefbea 5:58 PM  


thursdaysd 5:58 PM  

@jberg - alas, I AM old, but I grew up in England, without TV. I don't watch much now - in fact I currently have net access but no cable and watch TV on my computer.

@william - why should a word coined by an American author necessarily be in the OED? Interestingly the Concise OED gives the derivation for isolator as ... It. isolato (as INSULATE)

Anonymous 6:04 PM  

@Thursdaysd - Because they read American literature in England.

Clark 6:48 PM  

ISOLATO is in the two volume Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, sixth edition (2007). First appearance of the word is given as mid-nineteenth century.

william e emba 6:57 PM  

I checked, and to my surprise, ISOLATO is not in my Webster's 2nd. That's the really big one that tried to list every last obscurity no matter what, and for which they had to throw out half in order to make room for all the new words in W3I. They missed one.

Note: They tinkered a bit over the different printings--"snark" for example would go in and out with sometimes odd definitions--so I can't give a definite answer.

thursdaysd 7:08 PM  

@Anonymous - not as much as you might think. I attended an academic secondary school (grammar school) and took an Eng Lit GCE A level, and the only American Lit I remember us doing was Hiawatha. Certainly didn't read Moby Dick.

Sparky 7:17 PM  

Agree with @Rex's observatons and yet I really enjoyed doing this puzzle. There is something about a BEQ that makes me happy like listening to Lyle Lovett sing.

JOAD went in first, then DaDeLUS. Back to the top circling the grid. TRA--LA, zeal, glassmaker(?) then keno. PagoPago, NUTmeat, all sorts of little missteps. IDEe before IDEA mais oui. STATES and WYOMING et voila. The words filled in, were corrected, Caught on to states on the edges which helped a lot. Finished with a couple of careless oversights SeTS/NeSEI and HEAl. Onward to Friday.

@Iskip. Sorry for your loss. Welcome back.

skua76 9:01 PM  

Got busy, almost decided not to do the puzzle today, but when I saw it was BEQ...well, dinner will be late. Great fun. First state was Wyoming, the Border part was actually lost on me until I came here, although I did finish successfully. Last problem was ZEAL for HEAT...I was staring at ZOT TEA thinking that was some sort of brand like Arizona. Then (slap on forehead). Great comments Rex!

davko 9:23 PM  

Aside from his fresh, idiosyncratic cluing, there's BEQ's brilliant misdirections and gift for leaving the door open to multiple plausible answers, even when benefiting from solid crosses. Such was the case with SAM NUNN (411D), where I first seized the U and N to write RAYBURN (wrong committee), and again at 35D and 43A, where JOSE and LUST just seemed too good a fit to let go of. I finally came around, but good thing I wasn't on the clock.

davko 9:38 PM  

It just occurred to me what a masterpiece this could have been had the theme answers been border states both on the grid AND on the map. He was already well along with New York, Montana, and Alaska; what would it have taken to work in, say, Arizona, Texas, Idaho, or Maine?... A lot, I gather. And a Sunday, probably.

michael 9:44 PM  

I had to come here to figure out why Nevada and Wyoming were border states. Oh, well. This really slowed me down. as I was doing the puzzle. I kept looking for bordering states/provinces in Canada and Mexico.

OISK 9:44 PM  

Enjoyed it, and finished in average Thurs. time for me. Very slow start, until I got the first state (Florida). Never heard of Rorem or Sarg, like many others here, but I don't like the clue for "real." For "unembellished" I first had "neat."

I liked the theme a lot.

cody.riggs 11:10 PM  

C'mon folks. This puzzle's theme was excellent. I'm with the (always kind and personable) Andrea C. M. (whose nom de cypher I always look forward to.) The laudable Mr. Quigley was limited to ACTUAL STATES NAMES of A CERTAIN LENGTH. How can you expect them to be border states on the actual map? Anyone can see that the states interlock on the "border" of the puzzle. The theme density is great, the grid shape interesting, and lacking any "clunkers." This was a great construction, hands down. The fact that they AREN'T "Border states" on a map was the trick. Quit the nitpicking already! Sheesh!

And I LOVE the word ISOLATO. Sounds like something Benjamin Franklin would say.

I might add, What’s wrong with the “approximate year” clue? It told me that it likely would be a round number (i.e. not have an “I” in it.) This made the stale roman numeral clue fresh for me.

After realizing the theme early, I loved trying to fill the rest in without crossings, by scanning the US map in my mind and trying to make the state names fit. This added an extra dimension to the puzzle that I presume is lost by the speed solvers.

Admittedly I've developed a negative feeling towards speed solvers...I sense that they miss nuances and are p'd off by things that trick or slow them down (i.e. things that make the puzzle fun for me!)

That having been said, I'm very glad Rex puts in the considerable effort to write this blog, and have (really good!) subs when he's not able. That time constraint must create some of the impatience. All is forgiven. I remain a loyal reader, even when I vehemently disagree.

Portland, Ore.

cody.riggs 11:18 PM  

I daresay, as I reread the commentary, I'm confused about the comment above about the puzzle's theme being "simple" and "elegant" (...but somehow not up to par...)?

Those two words should be praise enough. Who cares if the creator has done better other times? Too critical for something so ephemeral!

sanfranman59 1:21 AM  

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

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

Mon 6:40, 6:52, 0.97, 44%, Medium
Tue 7:49, 8:55, 0.88, 18%, Easy
Wed 13:20, 11:48, 1.13, 80%, Challenging
Thu 20:45, 19:05, 1.09, 73%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:43, 3:40, 1.01, 58%, Medium
Tue 4:03, 4:35, 0.88, 14%, Easy
Wed 6:35, 5:49, 1.13, 83%, Challenging
Thu 10:10, 9:12, 1.11, 76%, Medium-Challenging

Syndicate Bob 12:08 PM  

Yes, Lolita is worth the read. It is worth learning to read.

I tried to force the border state of nivana into the nw corner and so didn't finish.

Singer 12:28 PM  

First from syndication I see - Just one comment. For once a random Roman Numeral actually was useful in finishing a puzzle. I blazed through 3/4 of the puzzle, but was somewhat stymied in the SW. Realizing that the second letter of 45 down had to be an i, c, d, l, m or x and that that only state with 6 letters that met that criteria was Alaska broke that corner open. Besides, I just got back from a great trip to Alaska, where the cruise line provided NYT digest with the puzzle. I got to do the puzzle in real time instead of 5 week time warp, but couldn't comment because I swore off internet access for the cruise.

NotalwaysrightBill 1:36 PM  

Syndi-late solver.

ISOLATO not in my '71 OED Compact Edition (19th Ptg.). Not that it has to be. Still gets demerit points for affectedness, Melville notwithstanding.

Not sure that fishermen use the term DAP for light dry fly fishing anywhere outside of Ireland. Goes in the crappy-clueing-for-crappy-fill file.

Lots of cultural and pop cultural names I was clueless about, in some areas where I'm a hopeless cause. The swan in "The Swan" has a name? Don't know that I'll ever confront a stageful of tutus and tights without running out of the theater WHOOPing and YELLing. At least LASCALA would have lots of historic cool stuff to admire while I tried to eat a piece of old wooden seat. Never listened to a Beyonce album either; and was ITINA inspired by I, Claudius, or vice versa?

OTOH, I was pleased to learn something about Tony SARG.

Does LEARY have an EPITAPH? Waddyaknow? "It appears this stage of the trip is now conclusively over." Nope, nope, just somebody's suggestion.

Let's try satisfying a different idle curiosity. Does ISADORE's Bugs' girlfriend have a name? Paydirt! Predictably, in years past it used to be Honey Bunny. But in the nineties he got himself a trophy unit: LOLA. Eh, what's up doc wit dat?

Anonymous 3:27 PM  

I suspected early on that 28d might be STATES based on a couple of potential crosses but didn't have enough to commit. Once I worked my way up to FLO _ _ _ _, FLORIDA seemed likely and I confidently entered STATES. And as all the theme answers were along the puzzle's edge 26d had to be BORDER. I was off and running after that.

Only mistake was in my final entry, which was NUT TypE. Yeah, it was clunky and the crosses looked unlikely but by this time I was ready to put down the pen, so I couldn't see the TREE through the forest.

Raise your hand if you have EVER used the phrase "HD TV SET". I didn't think so. I think TV SET probably fell out of usage long before HD TV's came about.

Didn't Matisse once put a line around an ICEE?

and finally, I really really REALLY wanted I, FIDO at 52a. Because Sam Dunn sounds plausible even if 53d would have been a stretch for "sour". But alas, no Aloska in the US.

Deb 4:25 PM  

I am in absolute agreement with Rex about this one, particularly since six of the eight theme states ARE actual border states.

I had a helluva time with the SW, so it ended up a big, fat, DNF for me (but that's really not why I disliked it).

Waxy in Montreal 4:45 PM  

Enjoyed this puzzle though it did exact A TOLL in the AEONS it took me to complete whereupon I WHOOPED it up. Having WYOMING & NEW YORK early on, like others kept trying to fit in other "real" border states such as ARIZONA & VERMONT. Also, ICE RINK is an awkward description of the venue where an NHL team plays - almost always it's an arena or just plain rink.

Dirigonzo 7:30 PM  

By the time I got to 32a Mother _______. the frustration was building and THERESA was not my first guess (to answer the question somebody asked 5 weeks ago.)

A MIL doesn't strike me as a very big Lotto prize these days (but I wouldn't turn it down.)

I know some folks who considered it a badge of honor to be on Dick's enemy list.

A little help here - how is RDS "Ones on the right track"?

@NarB - They fish for Crappies in Ireland?

Deb 8:16 PM  

@Dirigonzo - That should be "RRS" as in "railroads."

Captcha= conere: A movie starring Nicolas Cage

Dirigonzo 8:25 PM  

@Deb - Thank you, now I see that I (once again) failed to proofread my completed grid. And apparently I didn't look at Rex' grid too carefully either!

Still feel pretty good about (almost) completing this sucker, though.

jamrXUr - I think Blogger hates me.

NotalwaysrightBill 11:55 PM  


Something about rising to the bait makes a good mental picture doesn't it?

Don't think the natural range of anything we'd call "crappie" extends beyond N. America.

The only references to DAP I found were all concerning trout fishing in Ireland.

Have you heard the term or even use it? I'll take it right out of my crappy-clueing-for-crappy-fill file if you do.

Anonymous 4:38 AM  

Ah, the old stacked-sevens trick! Started with FALALA, which yielded LASCALA. DOLORES and her "mother" TERESA fell next. Had a bit of trouble accepting FARO, since it is not offered in any casino that I know of any more. With good ol' Tim LEARY in place, the 8a looked like FLOR_D_. And 14d was _LA (B for DOB? Yep.)__A. So: FLORIDA and ALABAMA. And: those two share a border! So the theme clues came in. Now for the NW, all I had to do was find a 7-letter state starting with the same letter as a six. There aren't that many. In fact, I came up with only one: NEW YORK and NEVADA (Did you know that there are no fewer than eleven U.S. states that are eight letters long?). But these are very far away from each other, and NEVADA is definitely an interior state, so for a bit I thought I had the whole thing wrong. And then I thought: could they really mean just borders of the puzzle?? How mundane! But I got the NW to work, no thanks to VIOLIST, DAP and the rumblin' bumblin' stumblin' entry of HDTVSET (super-ugh!).
On the other side of the coin up there, I was glad to see the EVERLY brothers--and a little surprised that RP couldn't find any footage of them. Instead we get the Styx standard Mr. Roboto, from ISOLATO. I guess you can take liberties with the ISOL-combining form; I recall from chess the term for an unsupported pawn: ISOLANI.
I liked the position of SUNLESS over HEAT, as well as ICERINK crossing ALASKA. (I know, it's more of a Canada thing, but still.)
Finally, don't you spell 42 across "YESSES?" Tsk tsk, Mr.Q. Or should I say "NOWNOW!"

Anonymous 8:21 PM  

Five weeks later...Well, I am definitely not a speed solver, and this time I had a very specific method to examine(as mentioned above). Once I finally got the theme and four of the states, I sat up in bed for an hour in the middle of the night and tried to list all 50 states.. Then I circled all the 6 and 7 letter ones (again mentioned above) and checked which ones would connect up correctly. Proud of my logic, I thought I had it and filled them in (still lots of open space in NW and SE) but realized (again as mentioned above) that E does not appear in Roman numerals. Next morning I went back and saw that I had missed circling New York, probably because it was two words, so was able to fix it.

Unknown 1:56 PM  

NotalwaysrightBill, a trophy? Freleng died two years before WB released Space Jam... so Lola cannot be his trophy...

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