Paul who played Laszlo / TUE 7-12-11 / Sporty Spice's other nickname / Cousin of yarmulke / Rocker Turner's autobiography / Palin parodist Tina

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Constructor: Bill Thompson

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: DAY (68A: Word that can follow the first part or precede the second part of 22-, 28-, 46- or 55-Across) — that pretty much says it all

Word of the Day: Paul HENREID (10D: Paul who played Laszlo) —

Paul Henreid (born Paul Georg Julius Hernreid Ritter von Wassel-Waldingau; 10 January 1908 – 29 March 1992) was an Austrian actor and film director. Henreid's best remembered role is as Victor Laszlo in Casablanca (1942). (wikipedia)
• • •

This is one of those themes that, at best, elicit a "huh ... interesting" upon completion. In general, if you're going to do a "Word that can follow / precede / follow&precede" theme, then your actual theme answers, those phrases that actually appears in the grid, better be bouncy, interesting, original. These are just bland. I dutifully went through, after I was done, and plugged "DAY" in (mentally) where it was supposed to go in each answer. Yep, mostly works, though I don't know what a DAY LILY is. But who cares? I kind of liked the due north section (MOOCHED next to GRILLE), but otherwise, I had to endure some Dreck—MESNE? Again?? ARAM (59D: Ancient Syria)? OCAT OCTO MELC (39D: Sporty Spice's other nickname) ELY YESI EEN *and* OFT *and* ETERNE ULEES ESSE LIENEES (ouch, man I hate that word), to say nothing of that HENREID guy, who was that HENNEID guy until I found my error—and for what? Not much. With only four real theme answers, this puzzle should have been Much smoother in the fill. MUCH smoother.

Theme answers:
  • 22A: Remove snow from, e.g., as a car (CLEAR OFF)
  • 28A: Go-ahead signal (GREEN LIGHT)
  • 46A: Holiday bloom (EASTER LILY)
  • 55A: One with a 1.0 G.P.A. (D STUDENT)

Started out fast with DAILY / DOUBLE (1A: With 1-Down, "Jeopardy!" feature), but then hit LIENEES, which I never think of (for good reason), and slowed down some. Got slowed down a little in the SW when I realized that the crosses had 55A starting DST-, and that couldn't possibly be right (erase erase ... oh, crap, it is right). Also took a while with MINT TEA because I had the first "T" and knew the answer would involve TEA and so wanted the answer to be something TEAS, despite the non-plural clue. So, flailing there a bit. Got ARAM entirely through crosses without ever seeing the clue, thank god. Couldn't remember what the name of the LAWN in Central Park was. FRONT? Got GREAT from crosses. HENREID killed me (as I noted above) because I had CLEAN OFF instead of CLEAR OFF. I think I resent HENREID more than I might because of the way the clue just presumes we all know who Laszlo is. That movie is overrated.

  • 6A: Chat room "Yikes!" (OMG)OMG stop saying "chat room!" I don't even know what that is anymore. Who goes into chat rooms? What year is it? OMG is shorthand internet-wide, not just in some *bygone* "room."
  • 20A: Cousin of a yarmulke (BEANIE) — And here I thought BEANIEs were TREF (13D: Not kosher).

  • 60A: Rocker Turner's autobiography ("I, TINA") — clues for this answer never fail to generate a lot of Google traffic, despite the fact that the answer is ultra-common and you'd think everyone would know it by now.
  • 29D: M.R.E. eaters (G.I.s) — and survivalists. Don't forget them.
  • 66A: Nut with a cupule (ACORN) — another clue that tends to generate Google traffic for my site (yes, this clue is recycled). "Cupule" is an unusual word, so the bafflement is sort of understandable.
  • 38A: Palin parodist Tina (FEY) — read her book "Bossypants" earlier this summer. Very enjoyable. Lots of stuff in there on becoming "Sarah Palin." Book is worth it for the chapter on her father alone. Sweet and hilarious.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


santafefran 12:14 AM  

This is a first. Another quick solve. Liked TROUNCE and MOOCHED. OK for a Tuesday.

Daylilies are lovely perennial flowers where each blossom lasts only a day. Mostly in yellows, oranges and some pinks. I have some salmon-colored ones blooming in my front yard right now.

santafefran 12:19 AM  

I meant to say that this was the first time that I was the first poster! Lots of firsts in that sentence--sorry.

planti--what was required to get those daylilies to bloom in my yard.

thursdaysd 12:26 AM  

Ouch. I had to google to finish the center - didn't know GREATLAWN, MELC or MESNE, and then had the same CLEAn/CLEAR problem as Rex.

The day lilies are long over here in sweltering NC: I was wondering about GREENDAY, which I thought must be another version of Earth Day but google now tells me is a rock band?

CoffeeLvr 12:37 AM  

Yes, Rex, HENREID (who?) playing Laszlo (who?) was my downfall. I say "Clean off the car." And CLEAn DAY slipped right past my review - a cross between "clean slate" and "cleaning day" (which goes back to my mother - don't disrespect her; she had "wash day" too, but I don't think it was on Monday. Cleaning day was Saturday, the better to put me to work.)

Anyway, I was ticked off too.

I had never heard of a nut with a cupule, but what else could it be?

It is funny, Rex said "Mesne, again?" and I said "Oh, I know it, I know it this time!"

Had Poinsettia before EASTER LILY (hadn't gotten to the reveal yet.)

I didn't find much to like in the puzzle, except SEX and EROTICA. I did like Rex's writeup, a lot. Made me laugh! "And here I thought BEANIEs were TREF."

Tobias Duncan 1:02 AM  

Hand up for GREATLAWN, MELC and MESNE not to mention broccoli RABE. Just read about that one on wikipedia and I bet its good.Nutty and bitter, sounds kinda like arugula. In fact I bet it would have gone well with the Pasta Puttanesca I made tonight for the first time. Who would have thought that a whole tin of anchovies could disappear into a sauce and not make it fishy.

There are still places that look sorta like chat rooms on the net.

Question for constructors:how much would you have to get for a puzzle to make it worth your time financially.How long does it take to make one and what percentage of your work is NYT worthy?

syndy 1:13 AM  

Pasta Putanesca sounds like erotica to me!?I think/thought cupule as a small cupola easy puzzle with whole lot of dreck -I misread the revealer clue and wasn't sure that LIGHTDAY passed the breakfast test (OFFDAY?)

Tobias Duncan 1:20 AM  

@syndy.... er you must know a bit of Italian eh? For the rest of you, better not to dig too deep on this one...

Rube 2:05 AM  

A big fat DNF. And on a Tuesday! That hell hole at Tennessee got me with _LAkE, taLC, MaSeE, and tAk, (_LAWN, MELC, MESNE, and MAW). Knew none of them. Got a question for you New Yorkers: is the GREAT LAWN the same as Sheep Meadow? If so, when did they change the, (perfectly good and classy), name?

Had HENnEID also.

Here's another question: shouldn't AFTER DARK refer to the morning? Strange language is English and it's idioms.

chefwen 2:29 AM  

OMG it's so good to be home, seeing family and old friends is fun but as Dorothy would say "there's no place like home". Now all I have to do is get my brain and body into the correct time zone.

I was surprised at Rex's rating, I was in the easy/medium area. My only write over was at 22A where I had to brush OFF the snow before I saw my brother at 7D with MOOCHED. Remembered O CAT and MESNE from previous puzzles.

Loved yesterday's debut by Ellen Leuschner and Sunday's Body Enhancement puzzle saw me through 12 hours in the air, made the trip seem a lot shorter.

PurpleGuy 3:02 AM  

Exactly what @Rex said and did. I love "Casablanca" and still had HENnEID and CLEAnOFF. Sigh.

Didn't remember ever seeing MESNE and hadn't a clue about MELC. What the hell does that stand for as a nickname? Who in their right mind would want that ? Were drugs involved ? That was my Natick point.

@Tobias- I'll sharer a recipe or two, if you'll share yourPasta Puttanesca recipe. Damn, come on over to Phoenix and I'll fix a gourmet dinner for you in my newly remodeled kitchen. See my profile page for my email.

@syndy - love the EROTICA subliminal subtheme. :)
Shouldn't SEX and ADIEU be under a redlight ?

Wasn't a bad puzzle, but agree with @Rex about the blandness of the theme answers.

Enjoy your Tuesday all.


Anonymous 3:07 AM  

I kinda thought "Daily Double" might have actually been the theme of today's puzzle - even if wasn't perfectly executed and seemed to need a bit more explanation in 68A.

@Rube The well-named (indeed classy-sounding) Sheep Meadow (which was once home to a couple hundred sheep) is a smaller, sloped grassy area to the south of the much flatter, much larger Great Lawn.

Anonymous 3:12 AM  

Purple Guy:

MELC is actually Mel C... as in Melanie Chisholm.

shrub5 6:37 AM  

My only writeover was TROmped before TROUNCE. Fixed that but then began to doubt it as I didn't think MELC was correct. I've only heard of Mel B -- didn't know there were two Mels (not a big Spice Girls Fan, obviously.)

I also said "MESNE, again?"

Broccoli RABE (aka rapini) is quite tasty, though I've only had it in restaurants. I don't think I've seen it in my grocery store's produce section. Not the same thing as broccolini.

Wanted to put ex-STUDENT before D-STUDENT.

Enjoyed the puzzle with its before and after theme, ...or rather its after and before theme...whichever.

Mary 6:49 AM  

Like Rex, was felled by CLEAn OFF/HENnEID.

Otherwise, thought this was medium difficult at best (as a New Yorker who eats a fair amount of Italian and was in my teens during the Spice Girls era, Mel C, Great Lawn and Rabe were all gimmes).

But ooh, that HENnEID makes me mad. And unlike Rex I adore Casablanca.

dk 7:31 AM  

The 1A and 1D of DAILY DOUBLE followed (in a puzzle way) by two days as the theme and accented by AFTERDARK (which of course is day) seemed kinda cool to me.

I looked for Doris Day in the grid... maybe she is the GHOST.

This puzzle was the last straw. I am buying ULEE'S Gold today. However, I am not buying a One O-CATgame.

OMG! A rather pleasant Tuesday. Made nicer by the fact that I am taking the DAY OFF.

*** (3 Stars) I doff my cupule to you Mr. Thompson.

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

Surprising that the clues of Yarmulke for Beanie and Not kosher for Tref figured in a puzzle with Easter Lily. How ecumenical is the NYT?

My preferred spelling is TRAYF.

This was more like a Monday for me.

efrex 8:12 AM  

This yarmulke wearer had no problem with BEANIE.

Thought the theme was fine (not sure what a "clean day" is, though), as was the bulk of the fill in the north part of the grid. The bottom half, though, just had some really gross stuff. MELC crossing MESNE and OCAT crossing ETERNE are just ludicrous on any day, let alone a Tuesday.

The GREAT LAWN entry reminds me of the great Paul Simon concert that I saw there 20 years ago... *sigh*... Thanks for the memory, Mr. Thompson!

joho 8:18 AM  

Somebody actually called me a "Nut with a cupule" once so that was a gimme.

After just having the Spice Girls in a puzzle clued with "sporty" it was interesting to see MELC named.

We have beautiful DAY Lilies out back which amaze me as they manage to bloom in this suffocating heat!

@efrex ... that's a CLEARDAY.

Thank you, Bill Thompson, you are definitely not a DSTUDENT!

SethG 8:29 AM  

I CHAT, I TINA, GIS, YES I, TO I, that's a lot of uses of the word I. And MAW is at least as dreckful as the dreck you mentioned.

Broccoli RABE is yum.

Brian 8:53 AM  

A not-difficult puzzle, but as Rex pointed out, a little, "Ah! Meh." I liked that the theme was not evident to me right away because that kept me guessing: CLEANOFF and GREENLIGHT? Where do they come together?

And then the reveal and I thought, "Interesting . . . sort of. But what the heck is 'CLEANDAY?'"

Seriously: HENREID? Wow. I had no idea. Learn something new every crossword.

When I looked back over it and saw DAILYDOUBLE, I liked the theme a little more. It's clever, if not exciting.

John V 9:06 AM  

Played easy on the New Haven this morning. My WOTD is 13D Tref. Worked in Manhattan for the better part of 40 years, pretty good at Yiddish/Hebrew, but this was new to me.

Had ITT for GTE for a bit which slowed the train, somewhere around Mamaroneck.

S'bout it. Stay cool today, New York.

Not Dead Yet 9:22 AM  

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a form of real-time Internet text messaging (chat) or synchronous conferencing.[1] It is mainly designed for group communication in discussion forums, called channels,[2] but also allows one-to-one communication via private message[3] as well as chat and data transfer,[4] including file sharing.[5]

IRC was created in 1988. Client software is now available for every major operating system that supports Internet access.[6] As of April 2011, the top 100 IRC networks served more than half a million users at a time,[7] with hundreds of thousands of channels[7] operating on a total of roughly 1,500 servers[7] out of roughly 3,200 servers worldwide.[8] [Wiki]

@Rex: There's a BIG world out yonder, once you get past blogger, twitter, and facebook.


dk 9:30 AM  

@joho.... err, um... Everybody calls you a nut with a cupule. All the time.

d (monkey with a note) k

Lindsay 9:33 AM  

What in the world is a GREEN DAY? Is this when you recycle all your crosswordese?

My abutter's day lilies are on my property. Not the sort of thing one would normally get upset about, but this abutter just ..... ggggrrrrrr.

Never buy a house near a hospital.

slypett 9:35 AM  

This puzzle put me in neutral and started me down the hill. There were a couple of bumps along the way, but they didn't slow me much. All the way down, I kept thinking "Who's steering this thing?"

chefbea 9:42 AM  

Same Natick as @ Purple Guy. Other than that pretty easy and another wonderful buffet for us - Eel,Broccoli rape, salad, pie and all washed down with mint tea.
@tobias duncan you bring the puttanesca.

captcha=wheeni We'll have them as well

quilter1 9:43 AM  

I thought it was easy and a little ho hum. Filled it all in without an error. GRILLE and MOOCHED were ok. The ACORN clue was good.

I wish I could find broccoli RABE in my town.

repor: fill my glass again

joho 9:45 AM  

@dk ... :)

I just did the LA Times puzzle which is also by Bill Thompson. Talk about a DAILY DOUBLE!

BocaBoy 9:45 AM  

Same problem with CLEAN before I settled on CLEAR. It always makes me feel better to know that you got tricked in the same way I did!

quilter1 9:50 AM  

LA Times puzzle today is by Bill Thompson. I'll see if I like this one better, Joho

Ed B 9:55 AM  

Rex, "Casablanca" may in fact be overrated, but it is nonetheless brilliant, if that makes any sense. There are a few other movies that a beloved for excellent reasons, but not that good. A partial list:

Fast Times at Ridgemont High
10 Things I Hate About You
Love Actually
The Searchers
The Maltese Falcon

All these films are severely flawed but I love each of them, and would be a poorer person had I not seen them.

jackj 9:59 AM  

With DAILY DOUBLE leading off, it looked like the puzzle had promise. That was quickly dispelled, as a totally blah theme emerged and it became one of those puzzles that you dutifully finish and then try to forget.

Any puzzle which clues EAGLE as "Feature of old quarters" is struggling beyond repair.

Mr. Thompson compounds the irritation as he seemingly makes a bid to replace "Natick" with "A Thompson" as he crosses MESNE with MELC. Gimme a break!

Paul Henreid 10:08 AM  

You never heard of a DAY LILY?

Bob Kerfuffle 10:19 AM  

OK for a Tuesday.

If a BEANIE is a Cousin of a yarmulke, a cupule is, too!

DBGeezer 10:25 AM  

Decades ago, that is in my time, I thought that 1.0 was the highest grade, so I entered A STUDENT, and needed to write over from the cross DIFF

Two Ponies 10:38 AM  

Maybe I would have liked this better if it had followed yesterday's fun and sparkling grid.
No problem with Henreid/Lazlo. I never understood how Ilsa could dump Rick for that wimp.
No idea about the mesne/MelC cross but I don't let those little personal Naticks bother me. I'm no lawyer and I had pop music so almost any vowel could serve in that square.

Lewis 10:48 AM  

Sorry Rex, but saying that Casablanca is overrated is like saying the Sistine Chapel is overrated. The whole concept of "overrated" always seemed a bit arrogant and absurd to me anyway: either you like it or you don't. Don't presume to judge the artistic opinions of others.

Lewis 10:58 AM  

@purpleguy I hate that I know this but Mel C is short for Melanie C (not sure about last name), one of two Melanies in the Spice Girls (the other being Melanie B, or Mel B). Shoot me now.

Rex Parker 10:59 AM  

Anyone who thinks "Casablanca" is comparable to the Sistine Chapel cannot be trusted to render judgment on anything. I am judging your artistic opinion, and I think it's bad. Terrible, in fact. This is America; I'll judge all day long. Loudly and obnoxiously if I want. As Bobby Brown said, it's my prerogative.


Lewis 11:11 AM  

@rexparker I don't believe that I made a direct comparison between the two, I am simply stating that they are both masterpieces in their respective media, and I would guess that a very large percentage of movie lovers/critics/academics would agree. For you to invalidate such a consensus smacks of ignorance, arrogance, and intolerance. But you're right, this is America, and those qualities are not in short supply.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Green Day is a band? If you say so.

Just one more example of why I let this blog tell me about themes.

(OTOH -- I knew what a lienee is)

evil doug 11:16 AM  

Dean Vernon Wormer: "Here are your grade point averages. Mr. Kroger: two C's, two D's and an F. That's a 1.2. Congratulations, Kroger. You're at the top of the Delta pledge class. Mr. Dorfman?"

Flounder: [drunk] "Hello!"

Dean Vernon Wormer: "0.2... Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son. Mr. Hoover, president of Delta house? 1.6; four C's and an F. A fine example you set! Daniel Simpson Day... HAS no grade point average. All courses incomplete. Mr. Blu..."
[sees Bluto with a pair of pencils in his nostrils]

Dean Vernon Wormer: "MR. BLUTARSKY... ZERO POINT ZERO."
[Bluto shrugs]

archaeoprof 11:18 AM  

Smooth sailing today. Just one writeover: for/PRO.

FAKER over FRISK in the SW corner was interesting.

ITINA sounds like an app for something...

JaxInL.A. 11:20 AM  

MESNE is old law French and is usually pronounced "mean."  It only turns up in legal contexts. 

Middle; intervening; as, a mesne lord, that is, a lord who holds land of a superior, but grants a part of it to another person, in which case he is a tenant to the superior, but lord or superior to the second grantee, and hence is called the mesne lord.

Mesne process, intermediate process; process intervening between the beginning and end of a suit, sometimes understood to be the whole process preceding the execution. --Blackstone. Burrill.

Mesne profits, profits of premises during the time the owner has been wrongfully kept out of the possession of his estate. --Burrill.  

I knew that expensive law degree had to be good for something.

Oh, and some pix of day lilies. I thought they were so named not because they bloom for a day (I've seen them last for weeks) but because they close up at dusk and open when the sun shines bright.

OISK 11:30 AM  

Crossing Melc with Mesne should not be allowed on a Tuesday! I had no idea, although I did guess the letter "e" that turned out correct. Henreid, though was a "gimme" for me. As to the quality of Casablanca - a matter of taste, perhaps, (I do NOT think it is overrated) but as a matter of fact, is there any other movie that contains as many lines that have entered American culture and stayed there? This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship...Here's looking at you, kid...Round up the usual suspects...I am shocked, shocked!.. Play "as time goes by." "We'll always have Paris..."

Other than the Melc, I thought it was a decent Tuesday puzzle, although I did not understand "clear day " or "green day" until I had completed the grid.

Billie Joe Armstrong 11:39 AM  

Green Day videos
I never heard of any of you, either.  

Sparky 11:54 AM  

Put the first E in MESNE as a guess as I remembered long discussion from the last time but could not remember how to actually spell it.

Day lilies are those beautiful orange flowers that grow free of charge by theside of the road. They always mean here is summer to me. As Queen Anne's Lace means summer is getting along. On to Wednesday.

Matthew G. 11:57 AM  

Surprised by the Med-Chal rating -- I actually finished with a better time today than on Monday's, although that's more because I fell into the traps Rex noticed in Monday's puzzle than because of anything today.

I recently came back from living for a year in central Vermont, and perhaps that's why I had no hesitation at CLEAR OFF. Scooping off snow may get your windshield clear, but it sure as heck doesn't get anything clean.

I think Roger Ebert's take on Casablanca is the right one. As he observed, "[n]o one making 'Casablanca' thought they were making a great movie," and its success was "largely the result of happy chance." No, it doesn't have a sophisticated story to tell or a nuanced screenplay. But it what it does have is a lot of actors who were perfectly suited to the roles they played and the lines they were asked to deliver, and largely because of that it captures a certain mood and moment that is pleasant to experience. It's a not an artistic triumph, but it's a reasonably classic example of a kind of workmanlike entertainment-making.

Cheerio 12:00 PM  

Both "Tref" and "Mesne" were in recent puzzles.

Cheerio 12:01 PM  

And "recur" has recurred.

Joe 12:03 PM  

Good puzzle, except for the noted dreck and the SE corner. C'mon....ONEOCAT?

AS for "Casablanca" and Roger Ebert....Ebert not only provided commentary on the Special Edition DVD, but it's always in his Top Ten of All Time list.

chefbea 12:12 PM  

@thursdaysd where in NC are you?? Your blog is beautiful!!

Masked and Anonymous 12:17 PM  

IMO: "Casablanca" is one of the best; thumbs up. "Citizen Kane" is overrated. The new "Green Hornet" flick is sure rated about right, tho.

IMO2: @31 can toot out his opinion anytime he darn well pleases. I always find it interesting. Ditto, for all you cool commenters' opinions.

IMO3: Guessed MiLC/MiSNE. Don't much like guessin' on a TuesPuz, but I'll live. Had conREID at first -- knew what (Victor) "Laszlo" meant, but brainpan drain is soooo clogged, anymore...

@Tobias Duncan: If they offered a thou bucks per daily puz, I'd even be goin' for it. And I'd probably Never get one published, because so would everybody else. Obama and Boehner would be sending 'em in, to help pay off the nat'l debt. Even at $200, a passel of new authors keep turnin' up. And some keep coming back for more. Must be worth their time (but mayhaps not in a monetary way).

Emily Lash 12:23 PM  

@ Billie Joe Armstrong - don't worry some of us not only know that green day is a band ( really, people? Green day is about 50 times better known than heinreid/heinneid) but think you definitely deserve your
Many, many Grammy awards and many Tony nominations for American Idiot .
A quick puzzle with a slightly clunky theme.. I was excited with the start "daily double" thought hmmm... This seems like it will be fun, but didn't live up to that quick start.
Looking forward to tomorrow.

andrea clearoff mooches 1:23 PM  

I'm with you! DAILY DOUBLE seemed like such a pizzazz-y way to start I got my hopes up!

But even tho I felt slightly let down at some of the fill, there was a lot of interesting stuff to like/love:
the titillating threesome: SEX, EROTICA and FRISK; the shout outs to GREEN(DAY), Casablanca, Tina FEY.

(Hey! How about the sequel to "Bossypants" being called "I, TINA FEY?!!"
That's a theme waiting to happen!)

For the record, "Casablanca" remains my favorite movie of all time!!!
"Sweetnessheart, what watch. -10 watch. -Such much?"

Then again, @Rex seems to think I'm over-rated these days, so it's all of a piece! ;)

I too put in A STUDENT, thinking
1.0=the best!
@Evil Doug

Booooo MELC as an answer...
Yaaaaay Will thinking we'd know a Spice Girl nickname on a Tuesday!!!

As for pay for constructors, don't get me started!
But don't you think $225 would be a lot cooler than $200 so we could say, as writers, instead of $1 per word, we get $1 per square???

acorn cupula michaels 1:31 PM  

Themewise, it's really nice to have something come both before AND after AND be smooth...
so, although not super-exciting phrases, I definitely liked not being able to figure out the theme while solving...and think D-DAY and DAY-STUDENT is an especially nice piece of construction...

And to echo Joho:
Having BOTH the LA Times puzzle AND the NY Times puzzle is truly a DAILY DOUBLE and worthy of many huzzahs!!!!

Also, it continues to fascinate me that @Rex can find a new rapper every day that has the name of something in the puzzle!!!!
BEANIE Sigel, non-Jew (I'm guessin')...who nu???!!!

And, I will NEVER get used to TREF as how you would transliterate TRAYF/TRAIF! The spelling seems paradoxically non-Kosher!

connie a 1:33 PM  

@ Rex: Actually went into Pip's chat room recently and told all 3,000 Pip devotees all about you! OMG!...about this blog and what a whiz-kid you are.
Who's Pip? The red-tail hawk eyass. The chat room was sponsored by none other than the City Room @ the NY Times. Where is Pip now? Flying around Washington Square Park. She fledged on June 23rd, @ 11:55 A.M.

WesIsland 1:35 PM  

Always dangerous to slam "Casablanca"'s pitch perfect for some of us.

Masked and Anonymous II 1:46 PM  

@Acorn Cupula: Come to think of it, even if they paid some one person (dibs! --just in case) $1 for every black square that ever gets used in any NYT puz, it'd still be a pretty meager monthly income.

santafefran 1:49 PM  

@JaxInL.A. Indeed each individual blossom just blooms for a day and then permanently closes up shop. A stand of daylilies just has a big supply of new buds. OTOH, morning glories open in the morning and retreat in the afternoon only to show their lovely blooms again the next morning. Waiting for my Heavenly Blue glories to start blooming.

I think we all come back to this blog every day because @Rex voices his own unique take on the puzzle/world with no holds barred which often generates a lively discussion here.

@Andrea--no way you can be overrated!

jousto--a medieval board game

JenCT 2:47 PM  

@santafefran: You beat me to the explanation of daylilies! You're absolutely correct...


Why do I always want to spell Broccoli RABE as Raab?? That held me up.

Forgot about MEL C - could only think of MEL B.

@Lewis: LOL "Shoot me now."

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

Loud and obnoxious judgment is part of America's problem today. Ditto Lewis at 11:11

600 3:10 PM  

What a great day for me--to finish the puzzle in near-record time and then come here to find Rex rated it "medium-challenging." Hurrah, Hurrah!

I was helped by getting HEINREID off just the first EIN even though I had no idea what movie or what character Laszlo referred to. After coming here I actually had to Google to find that out so I'd know what movie Rex found overrated. (Can't say I agree there.) It also didn't hurt that I had a lucky guess at the MELC MESNE intersection. I hope I never see MELC again, and I hope I remember MESNE for next time.

Hands up for POINSETTIA the first time through, easily fixed once I tackled the downs.

@Ed--Every time I think of "Love Actually," I smile. Every single time. So thanks for the smile.

@JaxinL.A.--While day lilies do indeed bloom for weeks, each individual bloom lasts only a day. A great metaphor for . . . something.

Wrote this like three hours ago--forgot to hit send. Hope it isn't all repetition now.

600 3:14 PM  

I meant "@Ed B"

I see my daylily explanation was in fact double teaming. Sorry about that. Next time I'll try to hit send right after I write the message!

@Jen CT--I also spell Broccola RABE raab. That's the way I learned it. Wonder if it's the same thing?

600 3:16 PM  

Broccoli! not Broccola!

Three times and out.

Sfingi 3:21 PM  

@Syndy - Pasta Putanesca is named for prostitutes, indeed! From one of the many words for same (booTAHN in Sicilian dialect).

Didn't know: Unagi, cupule (have to tell my squirrels), ELY, RABE, MELC. Got all from crosses.

Had snitch before TATTLE.

Thought Hans ConREID at first, as in Uncle Tanoose from the Danny Thomas show.
Also thought Sheep Meadow in Central Park, but no fit. Where we gathered to protest the war (that would be Viet Nam).

@SantaFeFran - around here, morning glories are an unwelcome weed that can take over you backyard. But we love our trumpet vine, which is blooming now, easily controlled, and a menace down South.

@John - Tref entered Yiddish from Hebrew Terrafah (sp?), not from German. As in shrimp is an abomination.

CoffeeLvr 3:32 PM  

Just to share, I am truly having an OFF DAY.

foodie 3:36 PM  

Re the clue for SALAD (Soup's partner)

When my son was about 5, a waitress asked him: "Soup or Salad?" He replied confidently: "Yes, I'll have the Super Salad".

ARAM for ancient Syria is not Tuesday fare... most people who grew up in Syria would have to dig deep for it.

thursdaysd 3:44 PM  

@chefbea - thanks for the kind words!! I'm in Cary, aka Containment Area for Relocated Yankees, between Raleigh & Research Triangle Park.

Here we are having a HOT, HOT DAY - heat index is supposed to hit 110. Who should I thank for inventing air conditioning?

Sfingi 3:54 PM  

@Thursdaydsd - Willis Haviland Carrier of Buffalo, NY. After he invented it, everyone moved away. My parents (curses) never used it since it "never got hot enough" in Upstate NY. I have my central air on as we speak.

sanfranman59 3:58 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)

Tue 8:33, 8:55, 0.96, 44%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:42, 4:35, 1.03, 62%, Medium-Challenging

mac 4:13 PM  

Clever puzzle, especially in hindsight. That 1A-D bit.

I don't think day lilies (hemerocalis) are considered lilies at all anymore. Different family. I love the beautiful colors they come in, but the wild orange ones on the side of the road really are a sign of summer in Connecticut.

That clean day/Henneid got me, and no one told me until I got here.

@Tobias: don't spoil the Puttanesca!
Cook the broccoli rabe with some Italian sausage, olive oil, garlic and hot pepper flakes, and toss it with cooked penne.

@Rube: good point re after dark.

MMQC 4:32 PM  

Really guys?? Green Day is a music group. A great one if I do say so myself and even if you're not a fan of their music surely you heard of the Broadway show American Idiot based off of their hit record. In fact NYT called it "invigorating, moving and thrilling" so I'd think more NYT readers would know the name.

Two Ponies 4:36 PM  

Speaking of A/C and nice puzzle people, it's too hot to go outside here in Vegas so I'm solving the puzzles from the 12 days I was gone. A kind person made copies every day I was away. What a pal.

Quo Vadis 5:31 PM  

Yale: "I think Le Witt's overrated. In fact, I think he may be a candidate for the old academy. Mary and I have invented the Academy of the Overrated, for such notables as Gustav Mahler..."

Mary: "And Isak Dinesen, and Carl Jung..."

Yale: "Scott Fitzgerald..."

Mary: "Lenny Bruce. Can't forget Lenny Bruce, now, can we? How about Norman Mailer? And Walt Whitman?"

Isaac: "I think that those people are all terrific, everyone that you mentioned."

jberg 6:32 PM  

I'm pretty sure Rex was just being Rex - but of course a work of art doesn't have to be great to be in a crossword, it just has to be relatively well-known, like Green Day or day lilies.

Hemerocallis never were considered lilies in the botanical sense; tiger lilies either. They just look like them.

I, too, finished with the CLEAnOFF error. I can never remember that Laszlo is not a first name in this context.

thursdaysd 6:34 PM  

@Sfingi - thanks. If it wasn't for Mr. Willis Haviland Carrier I wouldn't be living in the south. Although now I'm retired I'm seriously considering moving somewhere cooler - it's been over 90 for what feels like forever and I'm tired of hibernating. I think I'd rather pay for heating than cooling.

OISK 7:44 PM  

No, MMQC, never heard of a music group called Green Day, nor of a Broadway show called "American Idiot" and am pretty sure that if you told me what their great hit was, I never heard of that either. Until I read the comments here, I thought that "Green Day" referred to a special observance by dedicated environmentalists!

foodie 8:13 PM  

@Tobias, I'm with @mac, that the broccoli rabe may be too distinctive and strong, and may not blend well with the taste of anchovies in a puttanesca. I does go well with Italian sausage. I think another good use of it (if you're vegetarian) is with some sort of white beans. The buttery taste complements and softens is. And garlic almost a must. Check out rapini recipes as well as rabe... Makes me want to go out and get some!

chefbea 8:54 PM  

@thursdaysd e-mail me

sanfranman59 1:43 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

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:42, 3:40, 1.01, 55%, Medium
Tue 4:37, 4:35, 1.01, 58%, Medium

NittyGriddy 9:54 PM  

I'm amazed that no one has mentioned the problem of the two nine-letter Down answers, GREAT LAWN and AFTER DARK. This seems to be something constructors all too frequently miss, that they not only have to worry about the theme but also about "theme slopover" -- that is, having long incidental answers that accidentally but not quite follow the theme. In this case GREAT LAWN leads to "great day" but not "day lawn," and even worse, AFTER DARK leads to "day after" and "dark day," a double DAY but not the way the real theme calls for. Wasn't thrilled about the fill words either, or, to be honest, the theme itself, but of all the words that those two Down answers could be, the ones that were chosen are "almost but not quite" theme answers.

I know ... it shouldn't bother me, but it does.

DJ Stone 1:01 PM  

Rex, love your site and visit nearly every day even though as a Portlander (OR) who does the xword five weeks in the past, there's typically no reason to comment since it won't be seen. However, on the off chance you get notified via your blog when comments get posted well after the fact, have to opine (crosswordese?) today.

Casablanca is the best English-language movie of all time, and frankly I am shocked, shocked, to see you call it overrated. I fear that even if we ever met, ours would not be a beautiful friendship.

Anonymous 2:43 PM  

Agree with most of what Rex said, except for the Casablanca comment (I love that movie) but found the puzzle more Easy/Medium than Medium/Challenging.

Captcha - staiver: "Why dontcha STAIVER dinner?"

Deb 4:59 PM  

@DJ Stone - I think Rex has mentioned before that there are actually more syndi-time readers of his blog, so don't be so quiet! Even if Rex doesn't see your comment, we will.

Didn't love this puzzle, didn't hate it. DNF for me as I simply couldn't get past the MESNE/MELC Natick - and I wanted an animal instead of a MAW.

Had the same error (HEINnEID/CLEAnOFF) as many others, even though I know Paul Heinreid's name. I'm apparently of the perfect (advanced) age that my pop-culture experience spans both Casablanca (a film of my parent's generation) and Green Day (a band of my children's generation).

@Pippin, okay, I shall!

Dirigonzo 5:30 PM  

Sporty Spice could be, as far as I know, Old Spice's offspring and I couldn't begin to imagine why he/she/it needs two nicknames. And I too clean off my truck after a snow storm. Puzzle may have beaten me but at least it didn't TROUNCE me.

SyndicateBob 5:43 PM  

Yes, keep your comments coming @DJ Stone. I believe that readers can get emails of comments, even about old puzzles.

From what I gather of the personalities of the stars in NYT puzzle cosmos I bet they can't resist reading the additional comments readers like us provide.

It would be interesting to see if Rex would (or could) change his blog preferences to include the date along with the time of comments.

At any rate I enjoyed your comment, perhaps because I agree with it. Casablanca has the very best movie script every written. Every scene has several quotable quotes. A minor example:

(Louis): What in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?
(Rick): My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.
(Louis):The waters? What waters? We're in the desert.
(Rick): I was misinformed.

Anonymous 11:12 PM  

Each theme answer consists of two words that go with DAY. So it's a Daily Double. I kinda liked that, though EASTER DAY is always EASTER SUNDAY where I come from.

other days spotted in this puzzle:

SALAD Days, BEANIE Day (ball park giveaway),
and my favorite day of the week, SEX DAY.

captcha = mistra

he's a man
with a plan
got a counterfeit dollar in his hand
he's mistra know-it-all

Anonymous 5:14 PM  

Am I the only one who gets a knot in my stomach every time I see a Roe V Wade reference in the puzzle? This blog is not the place to debate my stance on that issue, so I won't. I will say that IMO any abortion related clue/answer fails the breakfast test BIG time. Such a sensitive subject has no place in the NYT crossword puzzle. This should be obvious to anyone regardless of their position on legality. There are other ways to clue the word that won't make anyone uncomfortable. -Kevin in Texas

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