All Way Lyricist / WED 6-15-11 / Leftorium proprietor on Simpsons / Noel who played Lois Lane / Sid's sidekick / Diamond complements /

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Constructor: Jeffrey Wechsler

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: What X has? — three pairs of theme answers. First answer of each pair is just an answer, while second has a clue that asks [What [the first one] has?], a clue which is meant to be taken literally; thus HAAGEN-DAZS has a HIDDEN AGENDA, because "AGENDA" is "HIDDEN" inside the answer "HAAGEN-DAZS" ...

Word of the Day: LEO Gorcey (25D: Actor Gorcey) —

Leo Bernard Gorcey (June 3, 1917 – June 2, 1969) was an American stage and movie actor who became famous for portraying on film the leader of the group of young hooligans known variously as the Dead End Kids, The East Side Kids and The Bowery Boys. Always the most pugnacious member of the gangs he participated in, young Leo was the filmic prototype of the young punk. He was the shortest and the oldest of the original gang. (wikipedia)
• • •

The theme is loose, to say the least—three pairs of answers that have virtually nothing to do with each other besides the literal meaning of the second clue in each pair. No thematic unity. There have been two INSIDE DOPE puzzles since I started blogging (here and here). The second one inspired me to write my own version (here). Cute wordplay involved in today's puzzle, but lack of theme coherence made it less than totally enjoyable. Also less than enjoyable were the random oooolde-timey actors I've never heard of: LEO Gorcey? Noel NEILL? (50D: Noel who played Lois Lane) LILA Kedrova? (57A: Oscar winner Kedrova) Then there were the olde-timey names that are genuinely famous, like IMOGENE Coca (9D: Sid's sidekick of early TV) and Sammy CAHN (1D: "All the Way" lyricist). We get it. You like old stuff (see Wechsler's last puzzle, here). OK. Enough already. Give the last quarter century some love. If anyone wrote a puzzle that was as aggressively contemporary as this one is aggressively dated, people would lose their ... let's say "minds." To this puzzle's credit, it has NED (41D: Leftorium proprietor on "The Simpsons"). Also to its credit, despite the slew of obscure proper nouns (LEO, NOEL, and LILA), it was very doable. I was under 4 minutes—fast for me, for a Wednesday, and faster even than yesterday's puzzle. ENNEADS (40D: Diamond complements) and CEMENT NAIL (10D: Fastener for basement flooring, perhaps) are less than lovely, as long answers go, but USED CAR LOT is OK (26D: Sleazy salesman's site, stereotypically), and overall I thought the puzzle was reasonably enjoyable.

[LILA Kedrova as Madame Hortence, a role for which she won the Best Actress Academy Award]

Theme answers:
  • 16A: Food product whose name is an example of "foreign branding" (HAAGEN-DAZS)
  • 22A: What 16-Across has? (HIDDEN AGENDA)
  • 28A: Guest worker, e.g. (RESIDENT ALIEN)
  • 39A: What 28-Across has? (DENTAL FILLING) — this is the answer that caused me to get the theme. Took a few, awkward seconds.
  • 46A: Ribbon-cutting event (GRAND OPENING)
  • 58A: What 46-Across has? (INSIDE DOPE)
  • 21A: Thousand-dollar sums, slangily (GEES) — I would not write out "GEE" like that. Just the letter. Five Gs, e.g.

  • 24A: Quark-binding particle (GLUON) — all the -ONs, (MU- GLU- etc.) I know about only from crosswords. "Glue" binds, so GLUON is one of the easier -ONs to remember.
  • 27A: Hobby farm denizens (ANTS) — Are there other "hobby farms" besides ANT farms?
  • 2D: Computer serviced at Genius Bars (IMAC) — *might be* serviced at Genius Bars (which is just the name of service desks in Apple stores).
  • 7D: Former NPR host Hansen (LIANE) — Will's weekly interlocutor for many years.
  • 47D: Piece of kabuki costumery (OBI) — I'm just including this because I like the word "costumery."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Anonymous 12:11 AM  

I was really confused by your clip of LILA Kedrova, as I read the clue as [some tennis competition] winner Kedrova. Which only goes to prove that none of us knows our Kedrovas, and it's simply another variant on the famous RWN (random woman's name) clue.

Dan 12:14 AM  

I don't get why 34A (Anonymous surname) is ROE, not DOE. Can anyone enlighten me?


retired_chemist 12:23 AM  

As usual I liked it. Agree on easy-medium. Theme was fun.

I have waited a long time for a baseball team to be referred to in the sports pages as an ENNEAD. I suspect I will continue waiting, as for Godot.

Nice to see IMOGENE Coca. Geezer friendly puzzle.....

retired_chemist 12:26 AM  

@ Dan - Richard ROE is often the second anonymous name if there are two. John DOE's sidekick, e.g.

chefwen 1:00 AM  

No WIENER jokes yet, c'mon people, bring 'em on.

Thought the puzzle was pretty easy, finished faster than I would of liked. Only two write overs 6D ADD to before ADDED and ROE over dOE. REWIND in, out and in again.

marciem 1:02 AM  

can someone help on 37d "having four sharps" = INE .???

marciem 1:05 AM  

ok, nevermind... lightswitch on ... In E ... gotme

DJG 1:06 AM  

Liked the theme more than Rex, but though the fill was not very good. Although, in the constructor's defense that's almost certainly a function of an ambitious grid.

@marciem It must be, IN E -- music.

Dan 1:37 AM  

@retired_chemist Thanks for clarifying; I never knew that. I'd just assumed you'd have John Doe 1 and John Doe 2. I'm still not fond of the cluing (esp. for a Wednesday), but I'm clearly biased by being upset that I was wrong. :)

syndy 1:46 AM  

Also I thought it maybe was referring to ROE vs Wade where ROE was used instead of the woman's real name. (I had doe until my pencil wouldn't get happy)not much joy-once you got it there it was.HAAGENDAZS did take a little staring.noel neill was lois to george reeves superman on television in the fifties.

Princess Kosmonopolis 2:09 AM  

Hmmmh. So Haagendas has agenda hidden in it. and resident alien has dental as its hidden agenda. and grand opening has dope hidden in it. Hmmmh. Maybe that's what Rex meant by a "loose" theme?

lit.doc 2:19 AM  

Oh yeah, hit me again right there. Really terrific, fun-to-ferret-out theme, solid grid, and an excellent chuckhole at 40D. Had 60A “Give AN OK to” early on, and between that credible answer and the difficulty I had construing the “Diamond complements” clue—nice one!—it was a challenging and enjoyable Wednesday outing for me.

The single most vexing spot was 16A, where the answer came a good bit faster than did the spelling thereof. Argh. Question of the Day: should we eat anything that we can’t spell?

@Rex, I don’t know if this is progress or just plain sad, but when I read the clue for 1D, “Four-letter song writer who wrote the words for ‘Whatever’”, I just plugged in CAHN. Kinda like plugging ARIA for “Four-letter something with an Italian title where only the first letter is capitalized”.

@Dan, yeah, that one was begging for DOE, which I complied with initially, but the sense of the clue turns out to be Roe v. Wade, as @syndy noted above. Jane Roe was the alias used my Norma L. McCorvey for the famous lawsuit. That one reeeally slowed me down.

andrea delirious michaels 3:31 AM  

I loved this! Thought it was super clever...and as @DJG noted above, very ambitious grid, so the GLUON stuff: EDT, NEA, TEL seemed forgivable.

Is this the same man that gave us that ancient names puzzle just a week ago???!!! Wow, he is lucky to get two puzzles, A Friday and a Wed published in the same month!!!

This one was also filled with eeky-creeky names as @Rex pointed out (And I'll bet his NED was originally clued as Rorem or Beatty) but this time I really liked the puzzle, and didn't find the theme that incoherent or loose as they all were long phrases with words hidden inside.

Six long themes! The fabulous and hard to spell and totally crazy HAAGENDAZS! The DELIRIOUSly delicious DELIRIOUS!
SADEND was very cool, even CEMENTNAIL had an appealing, tho oddly clunky-sounding charm!

He missed TWO opportunities to have
ACmE (what with ACRE and ACNE) but I forgive all!!!

And having LIANE in there on the week of her retirement and WIENER during this whole Weiner wiener debacle is sheer synchronicitous brilliance!!!
ALL my thumbs up on this even tho I didn't know who/what LEO, NEILL and COZEN were.

Even EDSEL juxtaposed so closely with USEDCARLOT was fun.

Loved it, you big LUG!

Anonymous 5:35 AM  

Old coots like me may not do the puzzles as fast as some, but I grew up on the Bowery Boys movies and LEO was the first word I entered. By the way, the old man who played the owner of the drug store where they used to hang out was Leo's father. Don't forget Huntz Hall who played Satch. I have a vague recollection of his being in a puzzle last year some time.

Anonymous 5:39 AM  

Dan - For men it's John Doe and for women it's Jane Roe. Thus, Roe v. Wade.

Anonymous 5:43 AM  

Rex - Was wondering whether you would comment on the 4-2, 4-2 and 1-3 split but you did not. So I assume that is not important in construction.

Anon @ %:35 - Dittos.

I liked it.

Anonymous 7:31 AM  

Doe? Nope, Roe. D'oh!

Z 7:39 AM  

Wasn't overly fond of today's puzzle. Ditto on Rex's observations, old and truly famous are okay, but a 1950's costar, a 1964 best supporting actress, and a WOD whose career ended before I was born (and I ain't that young)? Throw in the HAAGENDAaz/HAAGENDAze/isn't it HAAGENDAz? debate and it was a longish DNF for me.

Finally, if only Weiner had been frank from the beginning.... He should have done the cover-up before the tweet, not after.

The Bard 7:43 AM  

Romeo and Juliet – Act 5, Scene 3

In faith, I will. Let me peruse this face.
Mercutio's kinsman, noble County Paris!
What said my man, when my betossed soul
Did not attend him as we rode? I think
He told me Paris should have married Juliet:
Said he not so? or did I dream it so?
Or am I mad, hearing him talk of Juliet,
To think it was so? O, give me thy hand,
One writ with me in sour misfortune's book!
I'll bury thee in a triumphant grave;
A grave? O no! a lantern, slaughter'd youth,
For here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes
This vault a feasting presence full of light.
Death, lie thou there, by a dead man interr'd.

Laying PARIS in the tomb

How oft when men are at the point of death
Have they been merry! which their keepers call
A lightning before death: O, how may I
Call this a lightning? O my love! my wife!
Death, that hath suck'd the honey of thy breath,
Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty:
Thou art not conquer'd; beauty's ensign yet
Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks,
And death's pale flag is not advanced there.
Tybalt, liest thou there in thy bloody sheet?
O, what more favour can I do to thee,
Than with that hand that cut thy youth in twain
To sunder his that was thine enemy?
Forgive me, cousin! Ah, dear Juliet,
Why art thou yet so fair? shall I believe
That unsubstantial death is amorous,
And that the lean abhorred monster keeps
Thee here in dark to be his paramour?
For fear of that, I still will stay with thee;
And never from this palace of dim night
Depart again: here, here will I remain
With worms that are thy chamber-maids; O, here
Will I set up my everlasting rest,
And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars
From this world-wearied flesh. Eyes, look your last!
Arms, take your last embrace! and, lips, O you
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
A dateless bargain to engrossing death!
Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide!
Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark!
Here's to my love!


O true apothecary!
Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.


Yea, noise? then I'll be brief. O happy dagger!

Snatching ROMEO's dagger

This is thy sheath;

Stabs herself

there rust, and let me die.

[Falls on ROMEO's body, and dies]

[Enter Watch, with the Page of PARIS]

evil doug 7:47 AM  

"He missed TWO opportunities to have
ACmE (what with ACRE and ACNE) but I forgive all!!!"

Yes, every puzzle should include "acme". In fact, if Shortz is still in the house, I suggest not even wasting time with a clue. Just have the crossword appear with "acme" already filled in---like the free space in bingo.

Seriously: Thanks to Jeffrey for avoiding what's becoming a cliche answer to rival "Asta"---and Asta's at a disadvantage since he can't write himself in, unlike some people here....


Anonymous 7:55 AM  

Lighten up, Rex. It was a well constructed puzzle. You never heard of Leo Gorcy, so this is a bad fill?

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

Did you get lost between "less than totally enjoyable" and "reasonably enjoyable"? Where did you find "bad"?

joho 8:24 AM  

I don't know why, but I loved USEDCARLOT. Not so much CEMENTNAIL, ENNEADS and CANID.
Oh, and WIENER is so timely, perfect.

I enjoyed the theme. I figured it out with INSIDEDOPE and found it elsewhere going back up the puzzle.

I also learned how to spell HAAGENDAZS!

Thanks for a fun Wednesday, Jeffrey Wechsler!

. Terence Aloysius 'Slip' Mahoney: 8:28 AM  

Mr. Parker, it's been an extinct pleasure.

Tobias Duncan 8:58 AM  

Liked the theme more than Rex did.
Obscure bygone actors are only one small notch above athletes in my opinion so I am glad he said his peace.
Andrea I think it was BADEND
I really miss LIANE Hansen, I have only been doing crosswords for a few years but I have tuned in to the Sunday Puzzle from the very beginning.

jp 9:07 AM  

I thought the concept was very clever. There was a pleasant and surprising aha moment when I discovered the theme midway through solving the puzzle.
I agree that the ambitious theme required some less than attractive fill in some places. But all in all it is a nice Wednesday puzzle perhaps easier than usual and more enjoyable than usual

jesser 9:11 AM  

I really liked this one. The theme was new to me, and fun to parse out. Tragically, I failed. I didn't know what to do with the intersection of NEIL_/AL_A at the 50D/63A cross, so I plunked in an e. Poot.

But I'm still happy about any puzzle that has both Yorkies and WIENERs in it. Too funny! I give this one A NOD!

Now off to do radio shows. Happy Humpday to all in Rexville!

jackj 9:13 AM  

A fun twist to the oft seen hidden word trick gives us six lively theme clues and gives all language mavens a chance to learn how to spell HAAGENDAZS. (Their Lemon Sorbet is the best, by the way).

Surprised that COZEN isn't getting more recognition. Friendly COZENage is what makes crosswords so much fun, after all.

Nice puzzle , Jeffrey Wechsler.

CoffeeLvr 9:35 AM  

I was too annoyed with myself for my errors to post last night. But I actually enjoyed working through the theme and finding the words inside the others.

I tried very hard to fit ConcreteNAIL in at 10D, as CEMENT is an ingredient used in making the concrete in my basement floor. However, a quick check of Google shows that the answer in the grid is in the language. Please, no HORSE controversy over this quibble.

Loved seeing LIANE, DELIRIOUS is wonderful, and GLUON is well clued for this non-particle physicist.

What did we learn on the show tonight? ALLA breve; I could do without score directions in all future puzzles. Another name with two L's, besides my son's hated middle moniker, Lloyd. How to spell a brand of rich ice cream. And I will try to keep ICBM, which I usually know, closer to the correct filing slot in my brain. On the other hand, I did remember EULER, another word which I don't use in everyday conversation.

My Captcha is "dopeli" which is pretty much how I felt last night after I entered hounDS for BREEDS, despite it clearly being in the clue, and then proceeded to accidentally click Reveal instead of Check to verify it. (Remember, I have already confessed that I couldn't recall ICBM, even with the M in place.)

John V 9:43 AM  

A bit off topic, but I just noticed that blogger now detects mobile phones and presents an interface that works much better, IMHO, on my DroidX than the web/desktop view. So, this is a **good thing** for reading Rex and Co on the train, easing the delay going through 125th Street this morning. Typing in comments with a phone is still a work in progress; traditional keyboard is still better.

As to the puzzle, for this solver who dates to back to Will Weng, the retro aspect was fun for me, although I did finish with one error, the 40D/57A cross, as didn't know Lila Kedrova or enneads.

quilter1 9:51 AM  

Anything with ice cream in it is OK by me. I also got the theme at DENTAL FILLING after asking, how does he know? And then aha. I liked COZEN which isn't used much. Huge fan of IMOGENE and Sid. That was real comedy to me. Thanks, Jeffrey.

Howard B 9:59 AM  

Yeah, not a fan of the old-skool (umlaut over the O of your choice) acting names, but I did like the twist on the "hidden word" theme embedded in the theme answers. Some easy stuff, some tough stuff, some cool stuff, some not-so-great stuff. Pretty much hit the mid-week vibe.
Had fun figuring it out, and that's basically what I hope for.

efrex 9:59 AM  

Had to guess on the LILA/ ENNEADS crossover, and had MACS instead of IMAC (misread the clue at 2-down; that really killed the top part of the grid for a while). That goof is probably what made this feel more like a Thursday than Wednesday. Having BUSSES instead of BREEDS didn't help either, but that correction got cleared up relatively quickly.

Liked the theme quite a bit, which makes me willing to forgive some of the weird fill and grid shape (four consecutive three-letter downs in the middle?). One of the fun things about themes like this for me is using them in reverse to suss out answers, and I enjoyed figuring out HIDDEN AGENDA before HAAGENDASZ.

I consider CALCulus to be more about derivatives and integrals than "limits and functions" but c'est la vie.

chefbea 10:08 AM  

Took a while to get the theme. Couldn't figure out what food product til I got Haa...then had to go to my freezer to see the correct spelling.

Had Doe - never heard of Roe as an anymous name

thursdaysd 10:26 AM  

This was a slog, but I hate referential cluing. Also too many of the dreaded names-of-people-I've-never-heard-of (not to mention don't care if I never hear of again).

Got ENNEADS from crosses and then had to look it up. Also dOE before ROE, INa before INE (I'm tone deaf), but nice to see LIANE and DELIRIOUS.

foodie 10:31 AM  

I too liked this theme and thought it was ambitious and very well executed. But here's where I see a bit of an inconsistency that may have made it feel loose to Rex and others:

HIDDEN AGENDA and INSIDE DOPE are both expressions that in and of themselves connote the idea of secret information. So they go beautifully with the concept of the theme. But DENTAL FILLING does not. I understand that I'm asking for a lot. I just wanted to analyze why I admired it but did not fully love it.

JenCT 10:40 AM  

@foodie: I totally agree.

As usual, found this waaay harder than Rex and others.

There's actually an Anthony Weiner doll - Warning! - Not for the easily offended: Weiner doll

David 10:48 AM  

I really liked this one - as often happens when I get off to a slow start, I made progress from the bottom up, so INSIDEDOPE gave me GRANDOPENING and thus the theme. From there I enjoyed figuring out the other 4 big clues.

I was "fortunate" enough to watch both the Bowery Boys and the Brady Bunch (alliteration!) when I was about 6 or 7. Loved Satch and Slip, and thus remembered Leo Gorcey's name forever. And Imogene Coca guest-starred on one Brady Bunch episode, ingraining her name into my memory. Amazing I can remember two obscure names from early '70's TV so easily but can't recall an article I read 24 hours ago.......and it was TV Guide crosswords that got me going at a very young age.....

Two Ponies 10:49 AM  

Maybe I'm in a bad mood or something but this one did nothing for me. Hidden word, got it. The rest of the puzzle was a plod through the mud.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:56 AM  

One write-over, at 40 D, had ELEVENS before ENNEADS.

Could have been NED Buntline or Australian outlaw NED Kelly.

Matthew G. 11:01 AM  

I liked this quite a bit. Six long theme entries, and a great theme. Call it loose if you will, but I'm not sure why it's important that the theme have another level beyond "hidden stuff," given that each of the hidden words is a thing that is hidden, or filled, etc.

Believe it or not, my first entry in the grid was HAAGEN-DAZS. I learned a while back that HAAGEN-DAZS was a completely made-up name that was not derived from any real language, and somehow the topic came up among friends over a pint (of HAAGEN-DAZS) within the last week. No, really. So it was near the forefront of my brain when I read "foreign branding." Talk about serendipity.

Knew almost none of the old-timey celebrities in today's grid, but they were all gettable from crosses.

Masked and Anonymous 11:22 AM  

@efrex: inre: 5-A ... As I recall, derivatives and integrals are defined as limits of things made up of functions. So, you're right. And, the puz is right.

Primo-lookin' grid! 42 blackeroos! Burn that printer ink! Theme made me go somewhere a bit different. Put up a bit of a fight, but yet didn't make me O.D. on cinnamon rolls. Real good stuff. Thumbs up.

Fave clue: "Frank". Coulda been clued as "Frank or unfrank, depending on context." Har. Ain't Congress a hoot?

Fave fills: Shoe-hornin' AMFMRADIO and DELIRIOUS right friggin' in there next to the theme answers. Brave. And with only 72 words. I'da chickened out and put a black square in the middle of those fill areas. Use up some more printer ink.

Honorable mention to CEMENTNAIL -- don't quite no why, but am mysteriously drawn to it. It just says, "Come on and get me, 31!"

Lewis 11:42 AM  

Canid, cozen, enneads -- new to me, plus several names... good learning experience.

@terencealoysius -- made me laugh!

CoffeeLvr 11:43 AM  

@efrex and @M&A, if the clue for CALCulus had been "derivatives and integrals" rather than "limits and functions" this student of one business calculus course 35 years ago would have had a harder time solving it. It is Wednesday, after all.

Oldactor 11:47 AM  

@Rex: re:GEES. I saw a fire engine red Rolls convertible in LA with the licence plate 100GEES.

Mel Ott 12:03 PM  

@Matthew: I was going to post the same thing about HAAGEN DAZS being a made-up name, but my computer crashed. I think it was selected because it sound vaguely Scandanavian. No wonder it's so hard to spell.

LEO & IMOGENE were throwdowns for this geezer, but I did not know the other oldies. I admired LILA's performance in Zorba, but I wouldn't have known her name if my life depended on it.

quilter1 12:21 PM  

I knew EULER from xwords, but can never remember if he is a mathematician or something else. But this was easy to suss out. I thought CEMENT NAIL was OK, even though concrete NAIL, as pointed out, would have been more "materially" correct. I wish the guys tearing up my street would pour a little concrete so I have a driveway again. This is getting hard on the back lawn with all the rain we've had.

Lindsay 12:47 PM  

OMG! Jeffrey Wechsler is inside my brain! Or vice versa!

Sat down to solve with (as usual) a pint of HAAGEN-DAZS in my free hand. Stewing about what might be discussed at mystery meeting scheduled for later in the morning (real estate, as it turned out). HIDDEN AGENDA indeed!

So what if there were some olde-timey names, and DENTAL FILLINGs don't exactly make my heart sing. Still rating this a major on-message success. Freaky.

Also, belated congratulations to Puzzle Girl & Partner. I didn't take time to post yesterday, but enjoyed the twist of feel-good theme answers in service of overall glum.

MikeM 12:55 PM  

Great puzzle, I love hidden words. I must be old at 51; LEO Gorcey was a gimme as was Noel NEILL who I kinda had a crush on as a kid

XWDer 1:01 PM  

Disagree with Rex.

This was an excellent theme, nothing loose about it. Yes, the fill was far from ideal, but finding the hidden inside fillings was a joy. Especially on a Wednesday.

And what's up with these "almost" personal attacks on constructors? If Mr. Wechsler wants to color the grid with oldies, so be it. If you want all-modern, fresh allusions to bands old folks haven't heard of, go to BEQ's website!

Rube 1:15 PM  

To my embarassment had forgotten ALLA breve and never heard of Noel NEILL, misguessed on the L crossing, and thus DNF.

Got ENNEADS entirely from crosses, guessing the "A", and thinking it looked like one of those impossible-to-pronounce Irish female names. Then slapped the head, realizing the Greek. Probably would have recognized it more easily if it had been horizontal.

Tried to stretch Buses into where BREEDS belonged. There used to be a sign at a gas station in Kanab, Utah that said "Busses Welcome" -- a misspelling of great humour to my precocious 10 year old daughter.

FWIW, there is a CEMENT (coated) NAIL. Very popular in construction these days, but not for use in concrete.

Tough for a Wednesday puzzle. Still, I enjoyed it despite the lack of continutity in the theme answers.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

Yesterday's puzzle was Med-Challenging? I had a much harder time today.

Richard Roe 1:28 PM  

Sheesh - is Retired_Chemist the only one who knows me? And I am not a woman..... and unknown women are usually Jane Doe, but not necessarily, as some of you pointed out.

FWIW When Dubya was asked his position on Row Versus Wade he said "Row, obviously, because the Delaware was too deep for Washington to wade."

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

XWDer is right. Shortz crosswords are for old people. That's his niche. Newsday too. BEQ is cool. Gaffney is is hep to the hip hop. Onion. Lots of choices.

arcing calc mensa 1:55 PM  

like the BUSSES sign...but have always thought BUSES seems wrong like it would be pronounced "boozes" or "bu-uses" as in abuses.
So that's a misspelling that seems misspelled (not unlike the word misspell)

And it's very interesting about words being harder to suss out when they are vertical
(@foodie, want to chime in on that?)
which is why I like all my theme answers to be horizontal.

yes, I misread my BADEND as sADEND.
But now I like sADEND better as it looks like "saddened" (cf Doug/angela magnus opus on Tuesday!)

@evil doug
LOVE the idea of ACME in every puzzle like the free space in bingo!
(Even tho I can never tell if you are just being mean or tongue-in-cheek...and I won't ask you whose tongue or in which cheek)

Masked and Oldnonymous 2:02 PM  

@Anon 1:52... Yep. That's why BEQ's only had about a zillion puz's in The NY Times. But, you are correct: BEQ is a Mighty cool dude. Ditto on Gaffney and Onion.

M and A's LSB 2:19 PM  

@Andrea Darlin': What, no MANDA free space? Har. ACME it is; U outrank me by plenty.

Anonymous 2:28 PM  

@Rex - Why the "might be" comment for IMACs and the Genius Bar? They ARE serviced there.

Liked the theme, but some of the clues and fill was obscure.

Also some reasonably correct fill was [alas] wrong and slowed me a bit . . .

arms for ICBM
Nec for NCR
dOE for ROE
ANOk for ANOd
oaf for LUG

I loved watching reruns of The Bowery Boys on late night tv with Slip, Sach and the rest of the kids hanging out at Louie's Sweet Shop. Lot's of laughs.

Cheerio 3:08 PM  

I loved COZEN because I hadn't heard of it, but feel that I should have. If you google "cozen used in a sentence" here's what you get from

"Dubya used the threat of weapons of mass destruction to cozen America into the war in Iraq."

R. McGeddon 3:10 PM  

Are there other "hobby farms" besides ANT farms?

Marie Antoinette had one.

LookUpGuy 3:29 PM  

The name, Häagen-Dazs, does not derive from any of the North Germanic languages; it is simply two made-up words meant to look Scandinavian to American eyes (the digraphs "äa" and "zs" are not a part of any native words in any of the Scandinavian languages). ... Mattus thought that Denmark was known for its dairy products and had a positive image in the U.S He included an outline map of Denmark on early labels, as well as the name of Copenhagen.

The playful spelling devices in the name evoke the spelling systems used in several European countries. ...

Double vowels are common in Dutch, but the use of the umlaut is not common in that context. ... The word "haagen" would roughly translate to "Of The Hague". The word "Dazs" cannot be translated, and the "zs" combination is only found in Hungarian ...[wiki]

sanfranman59 3:51 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)

Wed 12:15, 11:48, 1.04, 63%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 6:33, 5:49, 1.13, 80%, Challenging

Anonymous 4:26 PM  

I loved cozen, also. Obama campaigned to cozen Americans he would get us out of war.

Anonymous 4:38 PM  

Acme - Consider the third option - not being mean, not tongue in cheek, just the honest truth....

That's what I like about Evil. You just never know....

But I'm a capitalist (unlike so many on this blog) and I say you should promote yourself whenever, however, and wherever you can. So if you can cozen Will into a free ACME in every puzzle, more power to you.

Sfingi 5:00 PM  

@liDoc - If not CAHN, Anka.

And never eat anything bigger than your head.

As far as Wiener/Weiner, the unfortunate politico should be pronounced with a long I, as in Vine-er or Whiner, since the rules are very clear in German. I think he just wants someone to tell him he's lookin' good, and he ain't.

And Euler is pr. "oiler."

This was very hard for me, esp. the proper nouns: LILA, LEIANE (sp.), LEO, NEILL, all Googled by me.

Hubster tells me It was ROE v. Wade becuase there was a Doe v. Bolton going on at the same time and about the same sort of thing.

@Anon228 - because it "might be" some other Apple product, or you "might be" taking it elsewhere.

Had BusseS before BREEDS.

Anonymous 5:14 PM  

Roe v Doe is a personal preference, depending on whther you have a taste for caviar or venison.

mac 5:35 PM  

This one was toughish for me, mainly because of the old names, although the canid/Liane/Wiener area was the last to fall.

When I got the theme with 28/39A, it helped me at 22A and the whole NE.

Enjoyed the puzzle, thanks Mr. Wechsler.

chefwen 5:40 PM  

@JenCT - Cute little Wiener doll, you gonna get one? Think I'll take a pass on it.

unfatt - what we all strive for.

Anonymous 5:57 PM  

@Sfingi - of course other Apples products are serviced at the Genius Bar and IMACs are serviced elsewhere, but the clue does not imply the inverse (reverse? - not implying it's the only product serviced there and not implying IMACs are not serviced elsewhere).

Sung to the Oscar Meyer theme . . .
I'm glad I'm not Anthony Wiener
He's truly feeling the heat
Cause if I were Anthony Wiener
Everyone would get to see
oh everyone would get to see
Everyone would get to see my meat

retired_chemist 6:24 PM  

Are there other "hobby farms" besides ANT farms?

Marie Antoinette had one.

As do some of us gentleman farmers who get Ag exemptions on our taxes....

foodie 6:26 PM  

@Anonymous 4:38-- is self-promotion central to your definition of capitalism?

Wiki says: "There is no consensus on the precise definition of capitalism", and I'm always interested in the associations that people have with the concept. BTW, this is an honest question-- not mean, not tongue-in-cheek.

@Andrea, I wonder if Chinese people would do better with their themes being along the vertical or horizontal axis? I guess some write vertically and some horizontally... Do they have crossword puzzles in Chinese?

Anonymous 6:37 PM  

Foodie - You must be one of those who is not a capitalist. What, pray tell, do you think commercials are? If Acme can get a free commercial, she's not just a capitalist. She's a genius.

chefbea 8:13 PM  

I thought the Genius Bar was where you took lessons to learn how to use your Mac products.

JenCT 8:50 PM  

@chefwen - No, definitely not buying one of those dolls! I just find it really funny how companies are so quick to capitalize on current events.

sanfranman59 10:01 PM  

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

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

Mon 7:23, 6:52, 1.07, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 8:32, 8:55, 0.96, 45%, Medium
Wed 12:20, 11:48, 1.05, 65%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:08, 3:40, 1.13, 90%, Challenging
Tue 4:26, 4:35, 0.97, 46%, Medium
Wed 6:18, 5:49, 1.08, 75%, Medium-Challenging

cody.riggs 1:56 AM  

I just loved solving this. One of the most enjoyable puzzles ever. The ENNEAD clue was priceless, and the theme interesting to discover. More, please!

Portland, Ore.

rain forest 1:27 PM  

I'm with the majority and liked the puzzle very much. I thought the theme was clever and consistent, and the fill about what I would expect. Nice job constuctor and bloggers.

Anonymous 7:12 PM  

DID NOT like. Too many references I DID NOT know. But I did like the theme, which I figured out about halfway through.

Also had DOE instead of ROE initially because I always think of an unknown female as JANE DOE.

And as usual I learned new words - enneads and gluon. And as usual I love the chat on the blog.

Anonymous 7:37 PM  

I keep picturing 45a's math teacher taking roll call" "Euler?
...Euler? ...EULER?" Anyway, nice humpday puzzle. A few too many vowelless fills; even GRR, though at least less common, provokes that very reaction in me. So do the HOI-GAI twins. But all in all a good one.
Dated, I give you that--but it's dated toward my prime. I have listened to Sammy CAHN tunes on my AMFMRADIO, not in an EDSEL though. And "Your Show of Shows" used to make me ROFL long before I knew what that meant. CIAO!

Dirigonzo 7:58 PM  

From syndicationland, finished with an error because I never did figure out the correct spelling for the ice cream - that penultimate "Z" was never on my radar. Got EULER with only a couple of crosses though, so that's progress.

It occurs to me that EDSEL must be the most unfortunate eponym in history - can you imagine having your name forever linked to the biggest automotive dud in history? Bummer.

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