Marshy habitat / MON 6-20-11 / 7's retail partner / Employee-abetted crime / Show for early to bed crowd / Zionist's homeland

Monday, June 20, 2011

Constructor: Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: adjective-bodyparted — hyphenated adjectives where the second part is in the form [body part + -ED]

Word of the Day: Dorothy HAMILL (47D: Champion figure skater Dorothy) —

Dorothy Stuart Hamill (born July 26, 1956) is an American figure skater. She is the 1976 Olympic champion in Ladies' Singles and 1976 World Champion. // In 1993, the Associated Press released results of a national sports study. Hamill was statistically tied for first place with fellow Olympian, Mary Lou Retton as the most popular athlete in America ranking far ahead of other major sports stars such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Troy Aikman, Dan Marino, Wayne Gretzky, Joe Montana, Nolan Ryan and 800 other athletes. [!?] (wikipedia)
• • •

I did this in 3:20, so don't freak out about the "Medium-Challenging" rating. That just means I was demonstrably slower than my avg. Monday time. In many ways this is a typically easy Monday puzzle, but I ran into brief but discernible trouble for two reasons: a dumb mistake, and a dumb clue. I got seduced by the alliterative quality of a couple of the theme answers I had in place and so when I saw -HEARTED, I plugged in "HARD" up front. Nevermind that it didn't really fit the clue, or the amount of space provided (!?). So that screwed me up. The dumb clue that screwed me up was 28D: Show for the early-to-bed crowd (MATINEE). I guess this is a Broadway thing, because the MATINEEs I know are movies, and they are morning and early afternoon, such that there is no way in the world I would associate them with when one does or does not go to bed. Also, even if I saw a Broadway MATINEE, that doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to bed early. I could be doing any number of things. You don't know. I doubt the "crowd" at a MATINEE would consider itself "early-to-bed" as a rule. And what does "early" mean, anyway? Seems a very relative term. So: I went looking for an actual "show," like, say, the 10 o'clock news or something. Something, anything relevant to "bed" time. But no. Dumb me + dumb clue = very choppy western portion of the grid (and way too long uncovering INSIDE JOB (34D: Employee-abetted crime). Other parts that slightly held me up: couldn't spell HAMILL right on the first try, and found clue on CHEF very late-week (i.e. tricky, toughish) (32D: Food processor?).

I liked the WONK (22A: Policy expert) in the WETLAND (22D: Marshy habitat).

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Easily offended (THIN-SKINNED)
  • 28A: Inclined to mince words (MEALY-MOUTHED)
  • 46A: Lacking courage (FAINT-HEARTED)
  • 62A: Cowardly (LILY-LIVERED)
I didn't like that three of the body parts in these answer are organs, and one isn't. Two are alliterative, and two aren't. BIRD-BRAINED? HEAVY-HANDED? I don't know. There's gotta be a way to tighten this baby up.

  • 32A: ___ Pet (sprouting figurine) (CHIA) — "sprouting figurine" is a phrase at once fancy and revolting.
  • 52A: Respectful Turkish title (AGA) — I thought an "AGA" was an official. Didn't know it had anything to do with "respect."
  • 5D: Timmy's TV dog (LASSIE) — I wonder what age you have to be (i.e. how young) before this becomes a mystery/non-gimme. I knew it even though I never saw the TV show, so it must be (or have been) "in the air," as they say. The joke about Timmy's being able to understand LASSIE's barking as if it were speech is still current, I think.
  • 49D: 7's retail partner? (ELEVEN) — we don't have those convenience stores here where I live, but they're all over California (where I grew up) and presumably much of the rest of the country.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Anonymous 12:13 AM  

Rex - Think weak kneed. The themes ansers all deal with timidity, so your hands and brains don't work. Sometimes I wonder about you. Are you okay?

Tobias Duncan 12:19 AM  

This one came in at easy medium for me. I think the mistakes Rex made today, esp hard HEARTED would only be made by someone solving at the speed of sound,so I will predict that many will disagree with his rating today.
This theme, like so many, does absolutely nothing for me, but that is just fine because I have come to believe that crappy themes often make for smother fill which is far more important to me, so thumbs up for this puzzle even if it is a little on the boring side.
Is it just me or does it seem like the constructor is trying to call someone a #$%@#?

thursdaysd 12:24 AM  

That was pretty smooth, nice shortage of names - even I can handle HAMILL and LASSIE and RAE. So-so theme.

I must be a CYNIC, I thought the TSA was a passenger aggravation organization.

Rube 1:52 AM  

If I were to give a theme to this puzzle it would be "wimps. Not only do the theme answers describe wimpy people, but there is nothing of any substance in the fill. There's nothing that's particularly bad... there's just nothing that stands out... nothing new or interesting. But, then again, it is a Monday.

andrea cato michaels 2:08 AM  

Loved seeing MOTORHOME, as winning one on "Wheel of Fortune" continues to be the highlight of my life...
Unless you count today, when I
spent the entire day with puzzle folks...
@sethg and his lovely gal were in town for his sis's wedding which he officiated...and apparently stole the show.
Walked around North Beach and then got together with two of the Brown wunderkinder Josh Kagan and Zoe Wheeler (youngest girl ever to be published in the NYT)
They are both in the Bay Area for fab summer internships, as is a third of their club, Aimee Lucido, whom I've sort of tried to mentor.
She's down at Google with Young Tyler.

Jonah was feeling ill, @Stehg was off on a romantic camping trip, so Zoe and I took off on a 4 hour walk...on what was the most beautiful day here...
Crossed the Golden Gate Bridge by foot first time in the almost 20 years I've lived here! For some reason I always walk halfway across and then halfway back, but today one end to the other...

Resisted jumping even tho I was with Zoe who is younger, taller, prettier, smarter and nicer than I'll ever be /ever was!

arlo carlo michaels 2:10 AM  

ps re:50A nice shout out to @dk!

CoffeeLvr 2:22 AM  

I found this a bit harder than most Mondays, needing to check the crosses before entering a few. I also entered faA before TSA, while thinking NTSB fits the idea of safety even more. And Hook before SMEE.

I am fat-fingered, in that I am not a speed typist. My accuracy is usually okay, unless I let my nails grow too long.

chefwen 2:48 AM  

I thought this one was a "cookie cutter" Monday puzzle, really easy. Almost a self fill, my only ? was at 22A WONK, a new word for me. Wasn't sure how to spell HAMILL, two M's and one L or one M and two LL's, crosses steered me in the right direction.

Let's hope for a crunchier Tuesday.

Anonymous 4:32 AM  

Actually, I believe all four are organs. (The mouth is part of an organ system and skin is, in fact, an organ.) So, a pretty solid theme, after all.

Rex Parker 5:45 AM  

Everyone knows the skin is "in fact" an organ. The mouth, not so much.


Anonymous 7:02 AM  

Couldn't help sticking with MATLOCK as the show for the early-to-bed crowd. It used to put me to sleep at any rate.

The Bard 7:06 AM  

King Lear > Act II, scene II

OSWALD: What dost thou know me for?

KENT: A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a
base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited,
hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a
lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson,
glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue;
one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a
bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but
the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar,
and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I
will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest
the least syllable of thy addition.

Macbeth > Act V, scene III

MACBETH: Go prick thy face, and over-red thy fear,
Thou lily-liver'd boy. What soldiers, patch?
Death of thy soul! those linen cheeks of thine
Are counsellors to fear. What soldiers, whey-face?

Titus Andronicus > Act III, scene I

TITUS ANDRONICUS: Faint-hearted boy, arise, and look upon her.
Speak, Lavinia, what accursed hand
Hath made thee handless in thy father's sight?
What fool hath added water to the sea,
Or brought a faggot to bright-burning Troy?
My grief was at the height before thou camest,
And now like Nilus, it disdaineth bounds.
Give me a sword, I'll chop off my hands too;
For they have fought for Rome, and all in vain;
And they have nursed this woe, in feeding life;
In bootless prayer have they been held up,
And they have served me to effectless use:
Now all the service I require of them
Is that the one will help to cut the other.
'Tis well, Lavinia, that thou hast no hands;
For hands, to do Rome service, are but vain.

Glimmerglass 7:38 AM  

I'm with chefwen.

k2p2 7:49 AM  

I am with @chefwen about "wonk" - I've always associated the word with nerds not policy experts - a new meaning for me. SMEE, switched to HOOK and back again.

Z 7:56 AM  

I thought it was me, so I was pleased to see that this was medium challenging for RP. Seemed like I had to wait for crosses all over the puzzle, and had to work up out of the SW to finish.

With TSA in the middle, I wondered if the theme was referring to it. I've never once considered the TSA an "passenger protection org," and I think @thursdaysd is more accurate.

The clue for 18D is not accurate, as foul balls are IN PLAY until they hit the ground (or stands).

Of all the words today MARC spelled correctly is my favorite.

Yosemite Sam: 7:56 AM  

Any one of you lily livered, bow legged varmints care to slap leather with me? In case any of ya get any idears, ya better know yer dealin' with. I'm the hootiness, tootiness, shootiness, bob tailed wildcat in the west.
[Fires his guns at the ground as they lift him in the air]

efrex 8:22 AM  

Enjoyed the "genteel insult" feel of the theme answers (no way to fit "yellow-bellied" in there, I guess...). Resisted putting in HOOK before SMEE, but foolishly threw down MOTELROOM before MOTORHOME - quickly corrected, but made for an unusually messy Monday grid. Came in at about medium time; agree w/Rex on the unusually chewy CHEF clue, but a bit of bite on Monday is always welcome.

Berry on Sunday and Lempel on Monday: this week is off to a great start! (Just watch, it'll be a BEQ creation tomorrow just to get me grumbling)...

Randy 8:26 AM  

I don't get the MATINEE issue. When I have a "MATINEE" I usually use the bed, and it's well before the time when I usually use a bed.

John V 8:54 AM  

Played very, very easy for me. Enjoyed the "weak" theme, which fell easily into place; no write-overs. Just a Monday, is all I'm sayin'

Brian 9:09 AM  

I don't want to say it was so light as to be boring, but it wasn't very fulfilling. But then I tend to be overly critical of most puzzles where the second answer is ARLO. I just think, "Really? This is how it's going to be?" I did like INSIDE JOB and MOTORHOME.

jackj 9:30 AM  

Yesterday, Patrick Berry told us to SITDOWN! And SHUTUP!

Today, Lynn Lempel hits us with LILYLIVERED! and MEALYMOUTHED!

Was it something we said?

chefbea 9:33 AM  

Nice to know I am a food processor - not the electric kind!!

Met Dorothy Hamill back when she was a star and I was living in Greenwich Ct where she is from

Never heard of wonk.

Easy Monday puzzle

santafefran 9:47 AM  

The idea of Elsie as a spokescow made me smile. Also liked CONK and WONK.

Ditto @thursdaysd about TSA.

Fine Monday puzzle for me.

bequa--a fan of BEQ's puzzles

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

I'm 27, and was able to get 5D on the first go... though I don't know how much younger you could go. Any younger and the Lassie re-runs stopped showing on Nick at Nite growing up..

Stan 10:18 AM  

Nice rural/agrarian feel with LASSIE, ELSIE, Chagall ("I and My Village"), a HOG, HATCHing OVA, OTTER in the WETLANDs, ELK and GEESE.

Fun puzzle.

Tom 10:24 AM  

Just for once, I would love to see WOODROW for Guthrie instead of ARLO... I was shocked to the see the rating...

Mel Ott 10:26 AM  

When my wife and I go to a Broadway show, we usually go to a MATINEE specifically to avoid being up too late (1 1/2 hour train ride from NYC). So that rang true for me.

Glad to see Dorothy HAMILL in the puzzle. Her brother was my doctor for many years.

Nice smooth puzzle.

joho 10:30 AM  

Sometimes I think Monday easy can border on boring. But there are some nice words here: CONKS, WONK, YANK,CYNIC, MOTORHOME and INSIDEJOB.

There's a mini animal theme, too: HOG, CHIA, ELSIE, LASSIE, OTTER, GEESE and ELK.

Karen 10:45 AM  

I so wanted 32D to be "chew". But it didn't quite fit with the clue "food processor". I guess "chef" was better. It was my last fill :-)

fikink 10:53 AM  

Ugh, didn't really need to listen to Vic Chestnutt this rainy Monday morning, @Rex, but I thank you for posting him. Very sad.

I read your organ comment as bait, @Rex, and was delighted that you got a nibble, anonymous though it was. Well played!

I'd forgotten about Lynn Lempel, but had a very positive reaction to her name appearing today. Such solid weaving

mac 11:01 AM  

Good Monday puzzle. Had to think hard to get "hatch" for some reason. I like motor home and inside job a lot, as well as wonk.
Agree that the clue for "chef" is later-week, but it's good.

retired_chemist 11:02 AM  

What everybody said, pretty much.

Easy-medium. Agree mouth is a poor fit to the dictionary def. of "organ," but not terribly bothered by that.

The dictionary in the Mac OS 10 dashboard has a definition of WONK as "a person who takes an excessive interest in minor details of political policy." Doesn't seem necessarily to make an expert IMO. Did the term originate as the reverse spelling of KNOW?

Overwrites were all 3 letters: PIG =>HOG, FAA => TSA. MSN => AOL.

Thanks, Ms. Lempel.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:33 AM  

My word for today's theme would have been "pusillanimous", except that I can't spell "pusillanimous"; had to look it up in the dictionary.

Masked and Anonymous 11:47 AM  

Liked it plenty good. Known several folks whose mouth was consistently a major organ. Great fill. Thumbs up.

Best ever 2-panel New Yorker cartoon...
Panel 1. Timmy's stuck in some old pit, yellin' up at a collie, who's lookin' down from the edge, "Lassie, get help!"
Panel 2. Lassie's layin' on the couch in a psychiatrist's office.

Lewis 11:52 AM  

After Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Monday and Tuesday feel like the "crossword weekend" to me, where I get to metaphorically lay back and sip tea by the pool... helps keep my crossword sanity.

GILL I. 12:02 PM  

I've done more fun Monday's but this seemed ok since I love the word LILY LIVERED.
I put in wank at first instead of WONK and thought that just can't be right for a NYT puzzle.
Andrea Cato Michaels, when I first arrived in SFO I rode my bike across the Golden Gate. I knew that I had arrived in heaven. It was cold and the fog was rolling in; my kind of weather.

hazel 12:16 PM  

mm. (that's what detectice harry hole says when he's thinking). i think this namby-pamby theme is an excellent one. Particularly love @bard's efforts today because it reveals two more more awesome "genteel insults" - whey-face! and worsted-stocking knave (love the genteel insult term too @ efrex!)

Whats interesting to me about this theme is how colorful these phrases are, each steeped in a literary past - and all dating back to the 15th or 16th c. The fact that these insults are really directed at what makes you "you" - your physical being, is a bit fascinating. All that to say, I thought it was a v. interesting theme, and a good puzzle.

P.s.@Rex - thks for the Vic Chesnutt. I knew him in Athens. Wicked wicked wit. So so sad.

syndy 12:17 PM  

That CATO wouldn't even make a proper WONK! he thought their worst problem was people wearing pants!Hands up for the MATINEE crowd!and if we stick a harmonica in it... IT's MONDAY it's suppose to be week!!

Anonymous 12:23 PM  

The Chicago White Sox have an agreement with Seven Eleven that they will start all their night games at 7:11 rather than the standard 7:05. Yup, everything's for sale.

JenCT 12:26 PM  

@hazel - good points re: phrases.

Couple of writeovers: HUBBUB => HASSLE, FAA => TSA, CHEW => CHEF.

@andrea - sounds like a lovely time!

Liked the puzzle.

fikink 12:32 PM  

@MaskedandAnon, favorite Lassie episode is when the barn is belching smoke while the family is eating dinner and ignoring Lassie's alerts. So she comes in and writes "FIRE!!!" in Timmy's mash potatoes ;)

Bobby Seale 12:34 PM  

@JenCT - Finally, some love for our Ebony Sister - about time!

jberg 12:47 PM  

What everyone said, easy, fun solve. I liked "spokescow." Agree that TSA is not about protecting passengers, particularly, but close enough to get it, and had the same desire to see Guthrie cluing "Woody" some day.

Z 12:57 PM  

@Randy - I guess we now know where the name comes from.

mac 1:00 PM  

Happy Birthday, Bill in NJ!

Masked and Anonymous II 1:06 PM  

@fikink... Yep. Remember that episode. Doesn't the mom (June?) say somethin' like, "Lassie's right, I need to warm up these mashed potatoes!"

Finally got around to constructin' own crossword, with a little help from a friend. Has 8 U's in it. Figured, these guys are professionals...try this at home. I call it "Jackass, The Puzzle".

Two Ponies 1:15 PM  

Speaking of TSA I will be in their hands, literally, in a few hours. As the proud owner of a medical implant I get the "up close and personal" treatment each and every time. I hate it. See all of you in 11 or 12 days!

CoffeeLvr 2:05 PM  

@Masked and Anon, thanks for the chuckle about those with big mouths, and a LOL for the New Yorker cartoon.

I loved Lassie, and believed in her. (I was five!) I remember seeing my Dad tear up during an episode, and that made a huge impression on me.

ksquare 2:10 PM  

@Rex 5:45, Retiredchemist 11:02 & syndy 12:17 A HARMONICA is a MOUTH ORGAN although it is neither a mouth nor an organ, but it does bring MOUTH and ORGAN together.

KarenSampsonHudson 2:15 PM  

Liked the theme today, puzzle was smooth as silk, the way we like 'em on Mondays!

KarenSampsonHudson 2:17 PM  

Two Ponies, I get that PSA treatment also, as a former athlete with "hardware" in my bones and joints! I wish that there could be a separate line for those who know they will set off the alarms. :-(

Sparky 2:35 PM  

Had YENTe before YENTA. Fixed with crosses. Liked clue for BLTS. I felt the theme to do with lack of courage rather than body parts. Went pretty easy.
@JenCT. Thanks for the pic update. I was wondering how the other chick was doing but was afraid to ask.

retired_chemist 3:24 PM  

@ ksquare - I suspect I am not alone in fighting the temptation to play off the last clause of your 2:10 post as a straight line.....

sanfranman59 4:09 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)

Mon 6:25, 6:52, 0.93, 25%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:43, 3:40, 1.01, 58%, Medium

JenCT 5:06 PM  

@Bobby Seale: Yes, I finally got a picture of the 2 pullets together - they got so big!

@Sparky: they're both just fine.

The orange one (Peeps) is a Rhode Island Red; the dark one (Cheeps) is a Black Star - very pretty.

andrea thinskinned michaels 9:21 PM  

I think theme was a 2 for one...
cowardly + body I think @Rex suggestion WEAKKNEED is brilliant, plus two Ks! Alas it is but 9 letters when the others were 11x12x12x11
so even tho HEAVYHANDED is 11, it might have actually diluted the doubleness to the theme, but there was something slightly loosey-goosey about it that I can't totally put my finger on.
But I liked!

I screwed up in a lot of places...from not reading carefully: REfi for REPO, Snee for STAB and CHEw for CHEF.
(Plus I spelled OTTER with three Ts and ETC with an S! which is what I get for doing the puzzle as my midnight snack!)

Anonymous 9:35 PM  


Thx for the compliment about WEAKKNEED. If I ever construct I'll come up with another 9. You're still my favorite Monday.

PS. I'm also the one who doesn't like to see hillbilly in the puzzles.

Rex Parker 10:01 PM  


THIN-SKINNED does not mean "cowardly." Not by a long shot. Neither does MEALY-MOUTHED. They are both negative traits, sure, but they don't indicate cowardice.


Princess Kosmonopolis 12:11 AM  

I have a tee-shirt that says "WOOF, WOOF, WOOF," and then underneath that in parentheses says (Timmy's in the well.) I am surprised when anyone under 30 understands it.

Kierkegaard 2:09 AM  

@ Princess, your narcissism is heartfelt.

Kierkegaard 2:09 AM  

@ Princess, your narcissism is heartfelt.

acme 3:52 AM  

agreed, I don't know why I wrote that; that's why I thought WEAKKNEED would fit in better than THINSKINNED and then another 9 for MEALYMOUTHED...
I was just riffing trying to think of what would work...
It seemed a double theme, but, as you say, not cowardice, just negative stuff.
So negative + body part adjectively
Still fun, but not totally tight as you originally wrote.

Milo 3:48 PM  

I still don't get hassle unless big brother is a verb....then I still don't like it

Bob Kerfuffle 4:39 PM  

@Milo - Time to make that appointment with Lenscrafters - the clue says "big BOTHER."

Anonymous 5:30 PM  



Rex always has to spoil the fun.....

Anonymous 4:22 PM  

Your numerous points notwithstanding, Rex, the early-to-bed crowd would be less inclined to see a show that was not a MATINEE, so that would the show for them.

Clue for 18d is indeed incorrect. Ask any Cubs fan whether a foul ball is in play.

@Milo & Kerfuffle
yeah, I had to reexamine that clue once I formed HASSLE from the crosses. I don't think it's an eyesight thing so much as a brain-wants-to-complete-the-familiar-phrase thing.

Dirigonzo 6:18 PM  

From syndiland, where the party never stops, my first run through the clues by the numbers produced a completed grid - which practically never happens - with only one write-over (ARNe/ARNO) so I have no quibbles with the cluing (but @anony 4:22PM, I feel your pain) and thought the theme was just fine.

@acm, I'm sure winning that MOTORHOME was a big thrill but really, Sweetie, you need to let it go - we love you for lots of reasons, but that's not one of them.

Dirigonzo 6:27 PM  

Just noticed that the clue for 29d, Busybody (parts), seems to play into the theme - no? Too much of a stretch? Sorry, never mind. (Since it runs smack down the middle of the puz I thought maybe...)

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