Cereal with propeller-headed mascot / THU 7-14-11 / St Pete ball field / Art is fruit that grows in man / Histoire de first in popular series

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley and Ian Livengood

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: Ps AND Qs (51A: Good behavior ... or a hint to two lines of letters in this puzzle) — diagonal line of black squares cuts across center of grid. On one side is a line of Ps, and on the other, a line of Qs

Word of the Day: QUISP (35D: Cereal with a propeller-headed mascot) —

Quisp is a sugar-sweetened breakfast cereal from the Quaker Oats Company. It was introduced in 1965 and continued as a mass-market grocery item until the late 1970s. Sometime afterward, the company sold the item sporadically, and upon the rise of the Internet began selling it primarily online.

Quisp was initially marketed with a sister brand, Quake. Its joint-product television commercials were produced by Jay Ward, a major producer of animated television series. (wikipedia)

[QUAKE *and* QUISP!]
• • •

An elegant puzzle that I could not find the handle on for the Longest time. In retrospect, I don't really understand what went wrong. I think there were two major problems. First, I simply didn't see or come across the theme revealer for the Loooooonnnngest time. It's in a weird place. I kept thinking I'd stumble on it, but that didn't happen. Once it did, I got it instantly (I could see the Q-line developing at that point) and from then on out, the puzzle felt reasonably easy. The other major problem I had was dropping in ADMAN instead of ADREP at 43A: Madison Ave. figure. This may seem an innocuous little mistake, but it really kept me stuck. Since most of the rest of my puzzle was Very sparsely filled in, I suspected there was some major trick, like a rebus, awaiting me somewhere. So when ADMAN got me DMOP- as the opening of 38D: Enlarged letter at the start of a chapter (DROPCAP), rather than figure something was wrong, as a normal person would, I just charged ahead, thinking some gimmick would pop out later and make it all OK. I mean, the AD clearly worked, so I never questioned the MAN. Otherwise, I was simply, unaccountably out of step with the puzzle at first. GUFF for 'TUDE (5D: Cheekiness, slangily). TURN IN for RETIRE (15D: Call it a day). ERAT for QUOD (26D: Q.E.D. part). REPLY for QUERY (30A: "Who?," e.g.). ONT for QUE (39D: Canadian prov.). TOKEN for SCRIP (20D: Money substitute). BBS for QTS (22A: Oil amts.). Just one of those days.

BIP (7D: Marcel Marceau character) and QUISP were just outside my ken. I live reasonably close to Utica, but a million different Native American-sounding names felt like possibilities for the county name. ITASCA? ITHACA? (No; 16A: County of Utica, N.Y. = ONEIDA). None of the fill or clues were terribly grabby or memorable (except maybe SADISTS58A: Crossword editors, say). But I liked the elegant simplicity of the gimmick. Fill was mostly solid. Pretty nice work. And a bonus (second) theme answer in MANNERS to boot. Well done.

  • 1A: Crew and others (SPORTS) — Me: "Uh ... JS? NECKS?"
  • 49A: He said "Art is a fruit that grows in man, like a fruit on a plant" (ARP) — artist in 3 letters? ARP is a good bet.
  • 60A: One not with the Church of England (PAPIST) — again, this term is a pejorative and should be clued as such.
  • 9D: Town on the south shore of Long Island (ISLIP) — I know almost nothing about Long Island, but I knew this.
  • 36D: "Histoire de ___," first in a series of popular children's books (BABAR) — "Histoire" and BABAR rhyme, which is how I finally came to terms with this one.
  • 52D: Ones often calling the shots? (SOTS) — great clue. My first answer: DOCS. It made sense to me at the time.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


foodie 12:15 AM  

I had my ups and downs with this one. First, that sense of disorientation, with gimmick hypotheses galore. Then the SE started to fill up nicely and the PS AND QS emerged. I was off to the races and filled the area around the diagonal and beneath it like a Monday. But then the NW: Nada for the longest time. ACAI helped, though.

It was nice to see QTIP. I expected words like QATAR, just to keep us off kilter re the Q-U Sequence.

Some fun pairs: SADISTS on top of PAPISTS.. QUITE SURE above OUI OUI.

SCRIP= Nooo idea!

All in all: Interesting puzzle, cool to behold after it's done! Had PANACHE!

Lojman 12:27 AM  

Near-record Thursday for me. Couldn't get started in NW, but fell in easily in NE. Started to pick up the many Q's down the E side and figured the theme quickly. Crossed over south and hit the P's. SE fell easily after PSANDQS. Figured with that much luck I'd DNF in the NW, but pulled PANACHE out of thin air, and that was that.

Speaking of PANACHE, can you say Wambach, Solo, Rapinoe, Morgan, Cheney, . . . ? Go USA!

chefwen 12:45 AM  

Caught on to the line of Q's early on and got that section done toot sweet. Started looking for a line of B's and E's and thought that would be a little self serving, so nixed that idea right away. Got the theme and the rest was alot of fun. Got a little hung up in the NW where I had grOupS in at 1A, took a little thinking but that finally got sorted out. 44A also needed adjusting QUITE true before QUITE SURE.

@foodie - Please sent me your email address, I have a book I would like to tell you about.

retired_chemist 12:50 AM  

Good. Very good. Medium - challenging here too.

Had Utica in SENECA County first - then remembered Seneca Lake was too far west for Utica, and ONEIDA fit. Oneida Lake is much closer.

Had JOCK STRAP first for 27A - the snapping being reminiscent of horseplay in Jr. High gym where the bullies twang the dweebs on their rears with their own waistband. Seriously.

Other writeovers: you find a date on a CALENDAR; cut off was ASSEVER, which it turns out is not only wrong but in no way a synonym for SEVER anyhow; MISHAP @ 36A.

I was convinced that it was Nestlé's QWIK, and fixing the W was my last square.

Thanks, Messrs. Quigley and Livengood.

Anonymous 1:00 AM  

What story is that in the DROPCAP image?!

syndy 1:01 AM  

Saw the start of Q's and filled them and then the P's automaticly! also started ADMAN but backed up to REP that was my only writeover.very easy time for a thursday PAPIST means follower of the Pope-if thats a problem....This was bt far the easiest BEQ I've ever seen and props to will for letting 58 stand! (I guess he could stomach it)

Campesite 1:07 AM  

Quirky puzzle by a quality pair. I loved it.
The symmetry of MANNERS and PSANDQS was a nice touch.

thursdaysd 1:08 AM  

Wow, pleased to finish a Thursday that Rex rates Med-Challenging! I got the theme early, and of course putting in all those PSANDQS helped immensely, although the SE was rather empty for a while. Just had to change rIP to BIP to get the happy pencil - total guess either way.

A little surprised to see SENILE for doting, but the online dictionaries OK it. Don't know this ARP person either, but guess I should learn him for crosswords.


I skip M-W 1:12 AM  

Easy medium for me, given my usual pace. Had outdoor instead of open air for Greek theaters, no idea about Oneida, so NW was slow, but when I got to the NE and the line of Q's started to appear , kept filling them in. Then saw the P's. I grew up (in an unincorporated village) in Islip township, but still took me awhile to get it. The rest came pretty fast.

I liked croquet as low-stakes game. Used to play it in Islip.

I agree, elegant.

definitely outicksm (= captcha)

Matthew G. 1:19 AM  

Thursday record for me. Never noticed the Ps as I was filling them in ... but noticed the Q diagonal after just a couple of letters, and then put Qs in all the appropriate spots and flew through the rest of the puzzle. Heck, if I'd noticed it sooner, I might have wound up with a Tuesday-ish time. As it is, I had a time that would be average for me on a Wednesday. I would say that I'm surprised by Rex's rating ... except that I currently have the best time of those who solve on the Crosswords app, and that never happens. Meaning that I was just on this puzzle's wavelength.

Anyway, I liked this a lot. I appreciate that the bonus theme entry at 19A isn't cross referenced with the others even though it's parallel and could be. Just sits there to be noticed. Only place where I hesitated at all was QUISP, a cereal I'd never heard of. Thankfully the crosses left no doubt.

Can't believe TELNET gets a shoutout. A gimme for me, having been an old 'Net guy, but I wonder who's heard of it since 1997.

operapianist 1:22 AM  

Confidently threw down PROPUP (Support, as a weak wrist) and SENECA (Utica county) with no crosses and discovered fairly quickly those were bad apples.
Figured I was in for a tough solve, but unexpectedly finished in 10 mins-- not a shabby Thurs at *all* for me. Just did a Friday puzzle today from the archive that featured a diagonal line of Qs (maybe only 5 or 6 though). Crazy coincidence.

Rube 2:05 AM  

Just was not on the same wavelength as BEQ & Ian today. E.g. had concerti for RECITALS, ADman, jockSTRAP, QUITEtruE, you for HER, etc. HTG to finish. Although did enjoy the diagonal of Qs, missed the Ps until the reveal.

Favorite clue was "Blood counterpart". Got Telnet but was skeptical at first. Debated Ford before deciding BOOP was the better choice for Betty ___. Thinking back, I don't think there were any pop culture items! That's a big bravo to the constructors IMO.

It would have been nice to solve without Uncle Google, but still a very good puzzle.

Michaela 3:15 AM  

I average 20-30 mins on Thursday puzzles (so far -- only recently picked up the habit again) but this one took me 10. Helped that I love the word PARQUET and got that pretty much instantly, then came all the Qs, then the theme hint gave me all the Ps.

Question that's probably been covered, but am noob -- I subscribe to the puzzles via the Magmic iPhone app, but not to the NYT online. Does this mean there's no way I can view the top score pages folks have mentioned? The app only shows the top 10 scores and the "previous days" link in the app always fails.

jae 4:03 AM  

Medium-challenging only because it took me a while to get out of NW and catch the theme. YOU for HER, ITHICA, and WRAP for TAPE made NW slow. Once The Ps and Qs emerged it went pretty smoothly.

@r_c QWIK for me too. Must be channeling Apu.

Liked this a lot. Fun/clever Thurs.

mac 5:59 AM  

I loved this puzzle - got the ps and qs theme quickly (before finishing the NW), then raced through the rest. These two constructors seem to work together well!

Someone is going to be very happy with the record number of Us.;-)

SethG 6:25 AM  

Saw Quip/Quod/Query/Quake, then filled in the line of Qs and their answers, then remembered the Quarfoot themeless with a line of Qs, then filled in the reveal, then all the Ps before I really had much else, but found the rest appropriately Thursday like. This method kept me from having an AD MAN problem, but aside from SPORTS, my first guess for 1A, I was wrong for a while about pretty much everything else up there.

GILL I. 7:37 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. Loved so many of the words - BOOP QUES QUI. However I'm QUITESURE I'll never try QUISP.

evil doug 7:47 AM  

Typically nice BEQ fill, and an admirable gimmick.

But suffered from the same problem as the palindromes the other day: Once one discovered the pattern of all the p's and q's---and I thought it PoPPed uP Quickly---a lot of the answers came too easily for Thursday.


Z 7:55 AM  

ONAHOP to PALMTREE to ESPY was my start and I thought it was going to be a slog. But ESPY gave me QUERY and QUOTES and the Q's stood out. Everything in the East fell like a Monday from there. Had QUISk for about two seconds until I read the revealer clue. That gave me the other side of the diagonal, and everything but the NW fell like a Monday. Then... I just sat there and stared at the expanse of white.

No idea about the supplement (sloe? aloe?), Utica is in Macomb County here in the mitten. ----up for the wrist, and you instead of HER. Finally googled Utica, NY and pieced together the NW from there. Final change was actually looking at rOILUP/rIP and thinking to myself that BIP sounded more mimeish. Lucky guess.

Liked the puzzle a lot. Five Stars for "Low-stakes game?"

GILL I. 8:00 AM  

P.S. @Lojiman: I'm with you. Hope Solo is incredible and what a perfect name for a crossword. All you soccer lovers, tune in on Sunday.

David L 8:08 AM  

Once I changed ERAT to QUOD I saw the theme emerging, and after that I was off to the races. Didn't know QUISP, and QUES seems like an unusual (i.e. made up for the purposes of this puzzle) abbreviation for question. And somehow BIP emerged from some dark recess of my memory.

I don't like ONAHOP -- on the hop, perhaps, or you can talk about a one-hop catch, but on a hop doesn't seem real to me.

Very impressed with the US women. But what to do on Sunday? It's the soccer final but also the last round of the British Open. This is going to be a tough day.

exaudio 8:27 AM  

So excited to have a rare instance of positive arexia, because I finished this puzzle easily and Rex called it medium-challenging. Makes up for all those times I was unable to finish and Rex called it easy.

jackj 8:29 AM  

Like buttah!!

This was that rare puzzle which made me wish it would go on longer.

Elegant?-You betcha. Intelligent?-For sure. Fun?-Tons.

BEQ and Ian seems a constructing match for the ages; keep them coming, please.

joho 8:42 AM  

I thought this puzzle to be near Perfect and unQuestionably brilliant.

@Rex, loved the Quisp/Quake commercial and can't believe what you could say back then.

BEQ and Ian, this is a Thursday I'll remember, thank you!

Brian 9:01 AM  

You know on Seinfeld when Elaine would push somebody and shout "Shut up!" when she was surprised. That's what I did in my mind to Mr. Quigley and Livengood when I discovered the theme early on when I first thought, "Gee, there are a lot of Ps. Look at all these Qs. What the . . .? Shut up!"

Except I literally said, "Shut up" out loud.

Loved it. Congrats and thanks to the pair.

retired_chemist 9:05 AM  

Hand up for PROP UP and QUITE TRUE. I suppose it is not surprising that a number of us come up with the same wrong answers frequently.

jesser 9:08 AM  

The NW was by far the hardest quadrant for me. Like others, I found that line of Qs and inferred the line of Ps and filled those in, which made everything fall together quickly, but gave me No Traction up there in Seattle. I took a shot with MANNERS, which was the key that unlocked it all, but that quadrant WAS the Thursday puzzle for me with its tricky cluing and multiple possibilities (wraP UP or TAPE UP? Aloe or ACAI? OutdooR or OPEN AIR? her or YOU?) I ended up with no writeovers, but I consider myself lucky.

Overall, I give it high marks for being an enjoyable solve with just enough quirkiness to justify a BEQ byline! What a team he and Ian make!

About Sunday: No question at Casa Jesser. The British Open.

John V 9:14 AM  

Save for the NW, this was the easiest Thursday in a long time. Got the theme PDQ. Can this be the same BEQ as last Friday? (was Friday, right?).

Had to make this a minor two-seater. I had the NW entirely blank 'round about Mt. Vernon; read a bit more Colum McCann, "Let The Great World Spin" (2nd time through), and then instantly tore through the NW.

Can that be Will at 58A? Nah.

efrex 9:19 AM  

Livengood is an "in my wheelhouse" constructor, while BEQ is waaaay outside, so I was expecting a pretty crazy roller-coaster ride on this. Got PSANDQS on my first go-through, and a little thinking got the diagonals. Nerd knowledge helped on DENSITY and DROPCAP, but failed me on TELNET, which was the last to fall. I figure somebody will have the vapors over the Old Gray Lady's use of CRIP, but overall an extremely pleasant experience (and I finally finished a post-Tuesday BEQ puzzle!)

dk 9:26 AM  

@Anon at 1 AM. The DROPCAP is Annie's Lover. Follow this link to hear TAj Mahl sing it:


Please note Take a Giant Step is my favorite album ever!

Smooth sailing on this one. Kept my eye out for the usual BEQ trap... The collaboration must have mellowed him.

**** (4 Stars) What a treat.

Jay Ward = Rocket J Squirrel FYI

OldCarFudd 9:45 AM  

Loved it. Similar experience to many of you. Got a couple of Qs, woke up and plugged in the others, then asked myself what might be on the other side of the diagonal that would go well with all those Qs. Didn't see the reveal until all the P and Q words were filled in. Fun! NW was a bear, but it fell eventually.

Lindsay 9:50 AM  

Good lord. Quisp is still around? I thought it went out of production back in the day when I actually had an interest in sugary cereals. Along with the Freakies.

quilter1 9:51 AM  

Agree with all comments on the brilliance of this puzzle. I solved pretty much in the same order as many, whipping through the Q's first and then the P's. I'd rate it easy to medium, though there were not a lot of gimmes for me. Got the baseball answer from crosses as I tried to envision a player retrieving the ball and couldn't see him hopping.

Go USA women! All of us, not just the soccer team.

Matthew G. 10:00 AM  

@David L & quilter1: The term ON A HOP is absolutely in the language. Baseball announcers frequently say, e.g.: "The left fielder plays it ON A HOP, throws home ... not in time!" The words ON A HOP communicate to the listener that the ball was not caught on the fly and therefore does not put the batter out.

As for Sunday's viewing ... my wife and I plan to hit the local soccer bar to cheer on the USA Women. We were screaming ourselves hoarse during this past Sunday's quarterfinal against Brazil. No contest for us -- we didn't even know there was a golf tournament going!

No BS 10:19 AM  

Joho, I listened to the commercial and didn;t notice anything that you couldn't say nowadays. What did I miss please?

Puzzle of the Year candidate?

Joe 10:22 AM  

Good puzzle with some good cluing, except in the NW and SE, which were a little too precious IMHO.


But got the Ps and Qs theme easily.

JaxInL.A. 10:31 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mel Ott 10:32 AM  

I really wanted 27A to be JOCKSTRAP, especially with all the jockish clues and answers.

I've seen the lineup of Q's before, perhaps in one of those NYT puzzle books, but the lineup of P's was new to me. Nicely done.

I liked this so much I could even tolerate ACAI and OCD.

Never knew what that enlarged letter was called (DROPCAP). Learned something today.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:32 AM  

Aside from the amazing construction, I was struck by the solidly straightforward cluing of 42 D, Mass divided by volume, for DENSITY, where any number of indirect clues seem possible ("Inability to parse crossword clues?")

JaxInL.A. 10:34 AM  

Wow, Rex! All of those plausible but wrong answers--who knew that being off the constructor's wavelength could take such a toll, eh?

Yesterday's BEQ in The Onion did me in, but this one with Ian Livengood was a treat. I got a toehold in the middle and so noticed the theme pretty quick.  Clever.  So much to like, including the  

My stupid mistake? Holding on to PALMTREo as 17A: "Where to find a date."  I thought it was a bit out-dated (har har), but I actually still have one so...   

DBGeezer 10:36 AM  

"Mind your Ps and Qs". Where did this expression come from?
When I was a child, I did some of the unskilled work in a print shop. Part of that included taking the wooden blocks into which the individual letters had been set to do the print job. Each letter looks like the mirror image of what it will appear on the printed page. Therefore as I'd take out a 'p', it would like like a 'q', and vice versa, Consequently, to be sure I put these little pieces of type in the correct container for the next constructor to use, I needed to mind my 'p's and 'q's.

DBGeezer 10:39 AM  

Also, could some one translate OCD for me, please?

Two Ponies 10:45 AM  

I detected some funny business going on early, figured out the theme, and merrily filled in the P's and Q's. Getting all of the fill took some gray matter.
I cannot imagine trying to create this little gem. BEQ and Ian, you are a great team.

deerfencer 10:46 AM  

Brilliant and fun summer puzzle--4 stars!

(What's with that lame Arp quote though? Either the quote or the translation needs to be put down.
Hardly memorable other than in its awkwardness.)

hazel 10:47 AM  

agree with @matthewg - infielders catch the ball onahop all the time (go braves!).

good eye, @DK - i was so ready to solve the Taj Mahal mystery, but you beat me to the punch!! I have listened to that CD countless times - and have seen him live many many times.....

@db geezer - I just looked this up! the phrase "minding your p's and q's" dates from 18th c. and is thought to have been directed at children, who perhaps had difficulty distinguishing between the two letters in their writing exercises (thks dictionary.com app!)

On Sunday, I'll be watching The Tour, rooting for Cadel Evans.

David 10:49 AM  

QUISP was the key for me, I saw the clue immediately and knew it right off, as I ate Quisp in the mid-70's and amazingly it is still sold at a local ShurFine supermarket in PA.

The Q and P of Quisp gave me the theme almost instantly, and I sailed from there, with the NW being a hangup (wanted something ending in O (machismo? muchacho? for Flamboyance). And my one writeover was ONEHOP for ONAHOP (I like my answer!) But ELMTREE would have needed one more letter....

Great Thursday puzzle!

Em l 11:10 AM  

Geezer- OCD = obsessive compulsive disorder
Fun puzzle, felt easy breezy for a Thursday but still fun.

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

I think TELNET was mis-clued. It is all but obsolete now, and was never connected much with PC's. Didn't know that meaning of doting. I got 51A long before I saw the lines of letters.

efrex 11:38 AM  

Moment of OCD nitpicking for me: some fly balls might be played ON A HOP; by definition, all (not "some") ground balls are played ON A HOP. Even so, to quote Minnie Pearl, I'm jes' so proud to be here, finally finishing a BEQ puzzle.

archaeoprof 11:46 AM  

Add my voice to the chorus of appreciation for this delightful puzzle!

@Hazel: Taj Mahal received an honorary doctorate at our graduation this year. He played a couple of songs and had the crowd in the palm of his hand.

chefbea 11:50 AM  

Got to the puzzle late. Got the theme but had to google a lot and DNF. Don't have time to read all the posts - maybe this has been answered, but what is crip...blood's counterpart. Don't get it

no captcha!!!

The Man 11:58 AM  

@efrex - Some ground balls end up just lying there, still, on the ground. They then just get picked up, not played on a hop.

Wikipedia 12:05 PM  

@chefbea - The Crips are one of the largest and most violent associations of street gangs in the United States,[1] with an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 members. The gang is known to be involved in murders, robberies, and drug dealing, among many other criminal pursuits. The gang is known for its gang members' use of the color blue in their clothing. However, this practice has waned due to police crackdowns on gang members.

Crips are publicly known to have an intense and bitter rivalry with the Bloods and lesser feuds with some Chicano gangs. Crips have been documented in the U.S. military, found in bases in the United States and abroad.[6]

Rob C 12:11 PM  

Lots of theories on the origin of "mind your p's and q's". Most interesting to me is that it derives from the practice of chalking up a tally of drinks in English pubs. Publicans had to make sure to mark up the Quart drinks as distinct from the Pint drinks.

quilter1 12:26 PM  

Thanks MatthewG for the explanation of ONAHOP. I figured it was a common baseball expression, but not known to me. I still have an image of a guy hopping on one foot while trying to scoop up the ball.

OCD: a miserable ailment.

I've always wondered why the FBI didn't go after the mega gangs via income tax evasion as they did Al Capone.

vingla: what we play after Jenga

chefbea 12:34 PM  

@wikepedia thanks!!!

Old Time Geek 12:46 PM  

Anon 11:15a

TELNET is very much alive and well, mostly used by developers, programmers, and net administrators.

That said, it's a bit esoteric to be used in a NYT Xword, now or ever.

KarenSampsonHudson 12:53 PM  

Enjoyable puzzle, Mr. Q--uigley! (And Mr. Livengood also.) Yes, I agree---perjorative clues should not be used.
I love the "low stakes" clue.
If I ever construct, maybe I'll make a puzzle with the heavy use, or theme use, or both, of "k"....

JenCT 1:04 PM  

Like two different puzzles for me; the entire East fell quickly but the West took longer.

So proud to finish a Thursday, only to see how many rate it as easy!

Plopped in ONEIDA right away - very familiar with upstate NY.

Was never a QUISP fan, but I remember my brother loving it - didn't know they still made it.

Really enjoyed the puzzle.

retired_chemist 1:13 PM  

ONE HOP => PELM TREE => WTF. But fixed....

oldbizmark 1:20 PM  

thought this was a VERY easy Thursday puzzle. After seeing a couple of Qs and Ps just started putting them all in. I did trip myself up by originally adding one extra Q in the SW corner but quickly overcame the mistake with crosses. Thanks for the "medium-challenging" rating. Always lifts my spirits to kick a "medium-challenging" puzzle's butt.

By the way, it helps to be a baseball buff, I guess. "Yount" a couple of weeks ago, "On a hop" today...

And did learn that doting also meaning "showing a decline of mental facilities." Who knew?

oldbizmark 1:28 PM  

I agree that pejorative words should not be used in these puzzles. I have been surprised in the past to see the word "Jew" used as an answer (or part of an answer), among others. I guess if you care going to use "Jew" might as well use "Papist."

David L 2:11 PM  

@Matthew G et al: My objection to ONAHOP is not that I didn't know what it meant, but that I would say "on the hop." "On a hop" sounds off to me. But since so many people say it's fine, I guess I must be in the minority...

TH 2:16 PM  

Not crazy about two UPs appearing in the same puzzle. There's a crossword P'n'Q that wasn't minded [mound?]..

Greg Clinton 2:23 PM  

Any one else start with dingbat?

Sparky 2:37 PM  

Similar to other folks. The Q side went fast, though had B-S (barrels) first for 22A. For a while thought BEQ possible fills. Can't remember when the P seemed likely and 51A clinched it. Then almost blankin NW. You and Elmira only entries. Left it overnight and erased them in a.m. Looked up county on map and just took a chance on HER. The section fell into place. Hand up for ADman. And a Natick for me at SO-S/-ELNET. Really enjoyed working on this. Thanks BEQ and IL.

Chip Hilton 2:51 PM  

Fun ride today. Getting DENSITY and OCD got me going and once the Q's started lining up, the rest fell quickly. Love the symmetric MANNERS match up with the theme answer.

Sunday Sports Dilemma:
USA Women - a team I love.
The Open at Royal St. George's - a course I love.
Le Tour in the South of France - a region . . . well, you get the idea.
It'll be a clicker-happy day.

Lewis 2:53 PM  

It felt like a Wednesday to me. Got the line of Qs and Ps early, didn't struggle too hard on the NW and SE. Just guessed in BIP because I thought ROILUP would also work for 7A. My most satisfying moment was figuring out DENSITY. I actually tried to figure out what mass divided by volume would be and it was an aha. The Q words seemed very easy to solve...

Lois 2:53 PM  

Jew in its straightforward meaning is not pejorative, although it might have been considered to be so a few decades ago. Someone said to me then that one should say Jewish instead of Jew, but of course those are just two different parts of speech. I don't think one has to say today "one of the Jewish faith," but it's true that questions abound regarding what Jewish identity means - or, that is, what it is to be a Jew.

Stan 2:53 PM  

Awesome puzzle -- I grinned all the way through it. Nice teamwork, guys!

sanfranman59 3:17 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 16:18, 19:06, 0.85, 24%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Thu 8:43, 9:15, 0.94, 46%, Medium

Anonymous 4:16 PM  

How does "Oh, that's definite" (44A)equate with "quite sure?" Shouldn't the clue have been more like "Pretty definite?"

william e emba 5:14 PM  

I'm QUITE SURE you're mistaken there, Anonymous 4:16. In brief: "quite" is one of those hard-to-pin-down words, so the meaning you think is there and the meaning intended are both there, given the right context.

SCRIP is any non-legal-tender money substitute. Companies, co-ops, whole business districts will sometimes issue it.

Saying a neat freak has OCD is horribly overstating things. A neat freak simply has a higher standard than the rest of us, and quits when the job is done. Someone with OCD would keep cleaning an already clean room, over and over again, knowing full well the room is clean.

The puzzle started out challenging, as I could get very few entries at first, and some that I could get, I backed off from--especially all those Q's that just seemed unlikely! This meant I got to the theme revealer rather quickly, at which point I got the joke and finished the puzzle rather quickly.

retired_chemist 5:16 PM  

@ Anon 4:16 -

"2 + 2 = 4." "Oh, that's definite."

"2 + 2 = 4." "Quite sure."

Seems OK to me.

mac 5:17 PM  

@Chip Hilton: the soccer doesn't start until 9 o'clock German time, that's way past the Tour de France is finished. Now you still have to choose between golf and soccer....

Anonymous 6:01 PM  

I had BELNET for 59a (a Belgian internetty thing that I thought was a little obscure) instead of TELNET (almost as obscure), but fit so well 52d (ones often calling the shots) that I don't mind at all.

Tobias Duncan 6:33 PM  

1 across so filled me with rage that once I put it in I decided to quit the damn puzzle.


I figured out the P's & Q's thing pretty early on, but got caught up for a bit when I filled in P's and Q's all the way along the diagonals to the edges of the puzzle (instead of only adjacent to that center line). When I first found that one of those squares HAD to be another letter, I briefly considered that each row contained one erroneous letter as *deliberate* mistake, and that the clue about Crossword editors would somehow tie in and be SLOPPY or some such (i.e., the editor supposedly did NOT mind his p's and q's and had let a wrong letter slip in). I was only slightly disappointed to find out that the puzzle wasn't quite as clever as I thought it was. Still awesome work though.


Also, I had ABODES instead of ADORES as the answer for "Digs." Only two wrong letters - my best result EVER for ANY Brendan Emmett Quigley puzzle HE is a constructor whom I greatly respect, but whose work I normally find disproportionately impossible. I suspect my success this time was because he had a co-constructor to diffuse some of his maddeningly clever obtuseness. :)

Three quarks for Muster Mark! 7:37 PM  

In the days of old in taverns and pubs, mind your p's and q's was a term the bar owner or manager said at the end of the night to the waitresses or cocktail girls. They kept track of what they sold by marking P's and Q's on a peice of paper for all the pints and quarts they sold or disbursed. The bar owner would say, "Mind your P's and Q's, (pints and quarts). That meant for them to tally up their P's and Q's and give a total.

afroqwn 8:47 PM  

Good puzzle today. I started in the middle with the short "q" words, and it was easy from there.
Anyone else like to complete the puzzle without errors, as opposed to finishing it quickly? That's my 'thang'.
My only error today was to write adman not adrep - until the theme became clear, after I solved the 'q' clues.

Cho Da 10:13 PM  

OCD is a miserable condition, but not as bad as CDO, which is similar but with the letters in alphabetical order like they belong.

I've seen the line of P's and Q's before in a puzzle in _The Hartford Courant_ probable 15 years ago. Off to search...

Sfingi 10:22 PM  

What a great, satisfying puzzle!

No Googling, some changing, so clever, so much fun putting in those Qs.

Don't forget Quentin Quisp.

Are there still Bloods and CRIPs?

I remember asking some inmate who used the rowing machine if he was ever in crew before I realized he would have never heard of it.

Of course, my Utica is in Oneida County. This is pronounced with a long I, and is, therefore, an exception to the I before E rule. The Oneidas were Indians of the Iroquois Confederation, and one of the few tribes that were on "our" side.

@Deerfencer - but who else could it be? Artist? 3 letters? Someone said artists should never be allowed to speak. (Who was that?)

@Quilter - most studies show they don't make that much money, and even live with their mothers.

Just one comment, and I'm sure BEQ knows - OCD includes compulsive hoarding, which includes animal hoarding and senile squalor syndrome which are both the polar opposites of the neat freak.

Cho Da 10:28 PM  

Perhaps this: http://www.xwordinfo.com/Crossword?date=2/16/1996
Was the Courant using NYT syndication at that time? I know they did for a while, but readers found them too difficult.

sanfranman59 1:27 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 7:01, 6:52, 1.02, 62%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 8:44, 8:55, 0.98, 52%, Medium
Wed 12:33, 11:52, 1.06, 71%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 16:37, 19:06, 0.87, 27%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:42, 3:40, 1.01, 55%, Medium
Tue 4:37, 4:35, 1.01, 58%, Medium
Wed 6:16, 5:52, 1.07, 72%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 8:28, 9:15, 0.91, 40%, Medium

xwd_fiend 3:17 AM  

An very enjoyable occasional NYT solve for a Brit. Highly delighted that TROP/CRIP was right, but another who invented Nestle QWIK (possibly influenced by our "Kwikfit" car repair chain) and couldn't be saved by the crossing QUISP.

Anonymous 7:50 AM  

Really amazed creator didn't take advantage of the QUISP/QUAKE cereal pairing in the puzzle--but given the obscurity of QUISP that might have upped the difficulty a notch.

BTW, both cereals were nearly identical and both tasted suspiciously like another Quaker Oats cereal, Cap'n Crunch. I was a fan of all three back in the days when it was OK to say "sugar" in relationship to children's food... (Remember Sugar Pops and Super Sugar Crisp-both sold under different names now.)

Anonymous 2:01 PM  

Sfingi said...Are there still Bloods and CRIPs?

Yes, Sfingi! There are still Bloods and Crips operating, mostly against each other in Brooklyn NY.

I was not happy to see this in the puzzle.

pandrea qarla michaels 5:04 AM  

Loved this. Great co-constructor mash-up.
Esp pleased to see QTIP as it's been my mantra lately: Quit Taking It Personally.
If only I could!

Deb 10:06 AM  

Wheeeee, what a ride! I loved this one, too, and flew through it in record time. I was bummed to come here and find out I had an error though: nELNET/SOns. Nelnet is the name of one of the servicers of my son's student loans, so even though it didn't answer the clue very well (nor do sons typically call the shots), I left it in.

Can someone explain to me why PAPIST is pejorative here?

Love, love, love the clue for SADISTS. Ha!

Ben "The Best" Tuthill 11:22 AM  

@Deb - PAPIST is a derogatory term for Catholics, though I've never really understood what was so insulting about it.

Cary in Boulder 2:03 PM  

Back when I was a wee one and first came across the written phrase "Mind your ps and qs," my little brain pronounced it P-ESS and Q-ESS and could not for the life of me figure out what it was about. I thought the explanations here were pretty interesting, esp. the one about typesetting.

One of the easier Thursdays in memory, although I got tripped up by RIP/ROIL. (Paper solvers don't get the help of Mr. Happy Pencil.) Never heard of QUISP but I love Jay Ward.

I automatically recorded Le Tour (OUI OUI!) every morning, so no conflict with the soccer match. It was exciting even if our gals didn't prevail.

BTW, the Mrs. -- who is totally un-HIP to all other SPORTS -- and I are really excited to be headed to Salida for the start of stage 2 of the US Pro Cycling Challenge on Tuesday. Hoping to get close up with Cadel (whom my wife ADORES), the Schlecks and Levi.

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

Loved this puzzle and was so proud to finish a Thursday AND a BEQ!

@Deb - I also wonder about Papist being pejorative here - my first contact with the word was reading a novel about about Henry VIII, in which the term simply referred to followers of the Pope in Rome, as opposed to the Church of England, of which Henry was the head.

SLEETY again? Didn't we just have that one?

I always thought Ps and Qs referred to Please and Thank you (Q). My parents always told me to watch my Ps and Qs ie. be polite.

Anyway this was a clever and most enjoyable puzzle! Best clue - Low-stakes game - brilliant!

Captcha - ampkranc What the teenager next door uses to ruin my peaceful Saturday afternoon.

Anonymous 3:21 PM  

Pretty Quick solve.

Has a clue ending in "and others" ever NOT led to a word ending in S? I've never seen it, so that was my first letter. SPAR a gimme after that.

Proceeded from there to the baseball clue and filled in NE in short time. (I hate HIP HOP but that intersection brought my first smile). Had QTS, QUIP and QUERY, suspected a run of Q's and filled them all in along the diagonal. Glanced at the "or a hint" clue, suspected P'S AND Q'S, noted HIP and CLOP and filled in all the P's on the west side, along with 51a. The rest fell in place rather quickly.

Hand up for jock STRAP. But of course CHIN STRAP snapping is more specific to the Gridiron, while jock strap snapping is more specific to idiots. Only other writeover was Bum RAP

My voting record includes a 1972 check mark for QUISP.

I wondered brief(less)ly whether there has ever been a performance of gEnITALS at Carnegie Hall.

@efrex 11:38 AM
Some ground balls are rollers. And some ground balls are fielded on a "short hop", which for the purpose of describing the play is distinctly different from a ground ball fielded on a hop.

Waxy in Montreal 4:24 PM  

Bad start since I thought the answer to 57A was MAIS OUI and so assumed (wrongly) a rebus was in order. Once that was sorted, props to messrs. Quigley & Livengood for a great Thursday challenge though you can also count me in the BELNET/SOBS crew.

As a lapsed C. of E. member, let me tell you that back in the day in Old Blighty, PAPIST was indeed often employed as a pejorative term, usually prefaced by "bloody" or much worse.

Anonymous 5:45 PM  

@ retired_chemist: I'm QUITESURE you're right; the product is spelled "Qwik." I suppose we must extend Mr. Q a bit of constructic license on that one.
Scanning the clues before starting (an old habit), I generally find that the answer to many of them "could be anything," so vague are they. 12d, "decorative floor," seemed one of those. But after QUERY, QUAKE, QUOTE and QUIT--plus recalling the obvious theme clue at 51a--PARQUET came roaring in. That pretty much took care of the NE/SW corridor. Now a special shoutout for the only six-vowel, no-consonant entry I've ever seen (The McDonald farm thing is only five): OUIOUI. Physics class gave me DENSITY, and it wasn't long before the SE was done.
Then the NW. Had ____STRAP, wanted JOCK but couldn't come up with a 1-d that had J in that spot. Put the puzzle down and took a breather; the only thing that takes today's off the "Easy" rating for me. When I picked it up again, somehow I thought immediately of CHINSTRAP, as if it was the simplest thing in the world to get. "Stand." If that isn't a could-be-anything clue, nothing is. But it occurred that one of the meanings could be STOMACH--yeah, that's it [I said] because the NY county is ONEIDA. Good to know that my trips to Turning Stone produced SOME upside.
So, but for the little hiccup wedging into the NW, I had no trouble today. I'll call it "Easy-Medium." I did have a single-letter writeover, at ONEHOP. The crosses forced an A in there.
The theme makes me think of The Coasters: "You better mind your P's and Q's--and your M's and N's and O's, Because the Shadow Knows; The Shadow knows." Ah, they don't make 'em like that any more.

Dirigonzo 8:54 PM  

@Quilter1 - Just to set the record straight on behalf of my former employer, it was not the FBI that nailed Capone on tax evasion; that would be the IRS.

rOILUP and QwIK spoiled my finished grid but didn't spoil the fun.

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