Terminal Bliss actress Chandler / WED 8-3-11 / Tevye's good / Tackle-to-mast rope on ships / Teleflora competitor / Toledo tidbit

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Constructor: Paul Guttormsson

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Ts — every answer contains at least one "T" and every clue starts with "T"

Word of the Day: OTTO Harbach (13D: "The Touch of Your Hand" lyricist Harbach) —

Otto Abels Harbach, born Otto Abels Hauerbach (August 18, 1873 – January 24, 1963) was an American lyricist and librettist of about 50 musical comedies. Some of his more famous lyrics are for "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", "Indian Love Call" and "Cuddle up a Little Closer, Lovey Mine". (wikipedia)
• • •

Lesson to be learned from this puzzle: just because you *can* do something doesn't mean you should. What kind of joy can anyone get out of a grid loaded with Ts? More to the point, what about Ts justifies the absolutely substandard grid required to make the T gimmick come off? I I saw all the T clues and the two-part T.T. long answers, and thought "Why?" Then I saw the additional layer—the fact that every answer has at least one T. Then I thought, "Dear lord, WHY?!" If you want to know why there is nothing remotely interesting about this grid except two of the three long answers—*that's* why? "Gotta make sure every word has a T!" But ... it's T. It's not a desirable letter. ETTA (56D: "Tell Mama" singer James) and ETTU and ATTA in same 4x4 section of grid? How can this appeal to anyone except the constructor (marveling at his T-cramming abilities)? Painful all around, everywhere I looked. Finished quickly, but not successfully—turns out I put in the sensible verb RENDS at 21D: Tears instead of the much odder noun RENTS. At that point, I really didn't care. So I had DOV instead of TOV (36A: Tevye's "good"). Seemed reasonable.

Theme answers:
  • all of them, I guess
Greatest clue was 10A: Turkey club? (NATO). Don't know if it's original, but I like it. Worst clue was 52A: Trap or record preceder (SET A). If you are serving up crud (e.g. this partial), then don't dress it in a tutu. Just put some jeans on the thing and let it go. By which I mean, a simple fill-in-the-blank clue will do. "Preceder" implies one word, but I get two, and one of them is "A." Ugh. I get that the phrase is one thing, hence a "preceder," but you see how I am talking about SET A instead of (in an ideal world) ignoring it? Innocuous clues for terrible fill—that should be the rule. Never heard of ESTEE Chandler (40D: "Terminal Bliss" actress Chandler) or OTTO Harbach. Also, never heard of "Terminal Bliss" or "The Touch of Your Hand." ESTEE Chandler hasn't acted in who knows how long and doesn't even have a Wikipedia page (could've clued her via "Teen Wolf Too"). OTTO Harbach seems to be quite a bit more famous, though "The Touch of Your Hand" isn't even mentioned on *his* Wikipedia page (he was lyricist for "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," among other things). But the T god must be served.

  • 6A: TV/radio host John (TESH) — former "Entertainment Tonight" co-host.
  • 23A: Tackle-to-mast rope on a ship (TYE) — more less-than-winning fill.
  • 53A: Teleflora competitor (FTD) — Teleflora sounds more like a Telemundo competitor.
  • 68A: Two-color horse (PINTO) — also, exploding car of old.

["People don't understand why I do certain things..."]

  • 6D: Toledo tidbit (TAPA) — always hurts to see this answer in the singular, however valid.
  • 12D: Two-time All-Star Martinez (TINO) — briefly forgot his name and went with TITO. Why not? It's got another "T" in it, after all, so it must be good.
  • 26D: Title for Sulu on "Star Trek": Abbr. (LIEUT.) — forgot this, if I ever knew it.
  • 35D: "The Closer" airer (TNT) — never seen an episode. Couldn't tell you the premise. Only know of its existence from watching ... what? "Conan?" NBA Playoffs?
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


George NYC 12:08 AM  

This is really a stinker. I am shocked that Will let this through. I've seen better puzzles in the backs of airplane magazines. This is the epitome of gimmicks that make the constructor smile but work against the spirit of the enterprise. It's the Tea Party of crosswords.

PS to NYT: AcrossLite needs to be updated to work with latest version of Mac OS X

thursdaysd 12:09 AM  

Everything Rex wrote, and then some. Much worse even than yesterday, which I hated. The week started so well, but it's gone downhill really fast.

foodie 12:11 AM  

This seemed like an easy Tuesday. At one point, I glanced at the constructor and saw "Paul G" and jumped to Paula Gamache in my mind, and kept thinking really? Doesn't feel like her! Well, may be because it wasn't her.

This is the anti-pangram (not to restart that discussion :). But the constraint of putting T in every answer really limits the range of letters. Although there is that V in TOV... I too had RENDS and DOV...

I kept thinking there would be a reveal about Tea Party...

lit.doc 12:12 AM  

Suspiciously fast Wednesday, so should have checked my work. Finished in one Across pass and one Down pass, which left me with 21D RENDS.

Mazel dov, all!

Oh, good, Rex has posted. Hmmm. I wonder how many other RENDS will show up today. And how many others will not even have noticed the purported theme.

Anonymous 12:14 AM  

This very same puzzle, well almost (B's instead of T's), was foisted upon us and reviewed (reviled?) almost a year ago - the Hog Queen of Podunk County.

lit.doc 12:16 AM  

@George NYC, LMFAO re "the Tea Party of crosswords"!

Matthew G. 12:17 AM  

Hahahaha -- T-pain!!

I also made the RENdS/dOV error.

That is all.

PK 12:26 AM  

Hand up for rends/dov, but worse than that, nano/nino, with a ? mark penciled in next to nano. Which I still don't get even though I now know it's nato. Still don't get it.

At least I finished it, albeit incorrectly. I put a letter in every square. *sigh*

santafefran 12:27 AM  

I wish the Tea Partiers were TEETERTOTTERING instead of flexing their muscles.

ANTENNA made me groan since I just bought and installed a new AM/FM one today which didn't eliminate the annoying hum that has popped up on our receiver/tuner when we are trying to listen to NPR.

POSIT is the only positive thing I can say about the puzzle. :-)

Ataturk 12:27 AM  

@PK - The country Turkey is a member of NATO.

CoffeeLvr 12:28 AM  

Another hand up for RENd/dOV. I didn't like it either, but one day closer to Thursday.

The T beginning constraint on the clues made some of them perplexing, for example, Tensed.

@PK, the country Turkey is part of the NATO club.

Evan K. 12:31 AM  

What a Ts?

Anonymous 12:51 AM  

Another rends/dov here, and another who didn't notice the theme until I read Rex. Sigh.

P.S. Does anyone else HATE the latest upgrade for iPod/iPhone? Ugh.

George NYC 12:59 AM  

Try grounding your receiver or tuner. There might be a grd terminal/screw. If not, experiment by holding a wire to input/output terminals. If that doesn't work, you can always turn the bass down when you're listening to NPR.

Jenny 1:25 AM  

Must agree with Rex and others that this was horrible. Really surprised this passed muster. Not that I've ever constructed myself. Still, this seemed subpar. Many people will be Teed off today (groan).

I didn't end with the DOV error, as I knew TOV (after some crosses ). Instead I invented the word TYA (RaNTS works for the clue 'tears'.

Not sure that I get the clue 'Turkey club?' for NATO.

And I must admit that while solving, I didn't notice that all the clues began with T.

Captcha: shambla (a shambles! How apt!)

antrea carlat mitchaels 1:49 AM  

Hand up for RENd/dOV...
Since Tevye is Russian, not Israeli, I don't even think he spoke Hebrew...maybe Yiddish but "good in Yiddish is Gut, right? So even tho I know some Hebrew, I missed that, thinking DOV was Russian, bec it is something like Dobra, right? And b/v gets exchanged in a lot of languages
(Spanish, Greek, etc) Linguists?

Well, I didn't hate it!
(Throw Tomatoes) bec it is hard to clue every clue with a T...I thought we liked it when someone did that with the letter C a while back, no?

And I thought that little quadruple T thing in the SW corner with the little footie extensions was cute!

I noticed the long theme answers and all the clues starting with T but didn't notice that EVERY word had a T in it (even if I hadn't made the dOV mistake) so I think that's neat!
Plus he only used the crutch of starting with "The" like four or five times: The UN, The Beatles, The Ten Commandments, The Closer...none of them gratuitously!

My only complaint is it should have been a Tuesday, but for those of us who did it tonight, it was!

retired_chemist 1:55 AM  

The blog ate my comment. bah. Hand up for dOV/RENdS. Also bah.

Highlight 10A NATO and clue. 47A TEETHES next best.

Overall - somewhere between like and meh. Theme answers felt lame. To T or not to T, that apparently is NOT the question.

Thanks,Mr. G. Sort of.

PK 1:57 AM  

HAha, ACME - yes for those of us who did it tonight, it was Tuesday.
@Ataturk & CoffeeLvr: Thx. Turkey being a member nation of NATO doesn't make any of that any less painful. Yicky-poo.

acme 1:58 AM  

ps I was hoping Rex might post this, but I don't see it and I'm leaving town for a while...so...I have made a little puzzle honoring one of my favorite cruciverbalist pal's recent engagement that you can download on Orange's Crossword Fiend's Lost Island of Puzzles:


syndy 2:15 AM  

My thought while I was solving was that the theme was crap fill!my error was SEETHE/ESSEE!but now that you mention it everything does have a tee-could see that forest for the undergrowth.

Joseph 2:18 AM  

Really? *That* bad? True, the "T" theme twas tforced tat times, but this excoriation is a bit heavy-handed. Under the parameters the constructor set, I'd say he did a yeoman's job. As for the quality of the parameters themselves, I see less intriguing ideas from the pages of the NY Times every week. Maybe your objection is with Shortz for placing the puzzle on a Wednesday. But, to compare this puzzle -- standing alone -- to one found in an airplane magazine constructed by a pilot on his coffee break is taking the criticism way too far. Paul, I think you did a fine job.

shrub5 2:22 AM  

Well, I didn't notice that all the clues started with T nor that every answer has a T, so I really must have been solving on auto-pilot. Just the three 15s with T-T phrases. Rather meager for a Wednesday, I thought. Should have seen the light about the Ts with ETTA, ATTA, ETTU, ETAS, SETA, ETTES....
Still, I had a nice little chuckle when I finally figured out what 'takes a step toward biting?' was getting at: TEETHES.

chefwen 2:46 AM  

Me thinks Will got his puzzles out of queue this would have made for a cute Monday. Didn't notice that all the answers had a T and all the clues started with T before coming here. I can be a little obtuse at times. Learning that made this a lot more fun and interesting.

lit.doc 3:13 AM  

@acme, nice puzzle! Given how many Patricks there are, good that you had a proper reveal. Please reassure me that 28A wasn’t a sly honeymoon joke.

Question from a kindergarten-level construction student: did you finish the grid in the center, closing in on your central cross? Felt much harder there, no pun intended.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:36 AM  

My version: I wanted to limber up for Lollapuzzoola 4, so I sat down and ripped through the puzzle as fast as possible (for me, not that fast), so I failed to notice the "every clue/every answer starts with/contains T".

The truth: I probably wouldn't have noticed no matter how much I "savored" the solve.

Hope to see many Rexites on Saturday!

Z 7:37 AM  


Hand up for REnDS and sEETHES, both of which seemed obvious, now.

Didn't see all the answers had a "T" and all the clues started with "T" 'til I came hear. Takes my opinion of the puz from a T+ to a C-.

I suppose including Heston in this T-Party is probably appropriate. Working in Cantor would have been good, too. I guess Bachman and Palin aren't true T-Partiers, but Newt should be back in the Turkey club.

Z 7:38 AM  

@George NYC- There is an across lite update out there. A link was posted a couple of days ago in the comments. I'm sure you can google for it, too.

Anonymous 7:40 AM  

Made worse by the fact that we all know that the right answer to "Tell Mama singer" is Dave Walker. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZM8z_jF8Os

efrex 7:48 AM  

Ripped through this in record time for a Wednesday, and completely missed the "every clue starting with t" thing. One more for the RENDS/RENTS writeover.

I'm not feeling the hate for this one. The fill isn't particularly gross (we've certainly seen worse); my only nitpick is that it ran on the wrong day. Seems more Tuesday-ish than Wednesday. Not the most inspiring theme, true, but a nice smooth solve.

joho 8:19 AM  

I can't believe I didn't see that the clues all started with T's until coming here, maybe because I was half asleep or puzzling over the theme just being three 15's with T's. I was happy to learn that there's more to itttttttt.

I think everybody would be happier if this had run on Monday or, better, Tuesday.

I loved seeing ETRADE because it immediately conjured up the baby in the crib with his smartphone singing, "Nobody knows the trouble ..."

Congratulations, Paul, this couldn't have been easy to pull off. Does the fact that your name has two T's have anything to do with it?

mmorgan 8:31 AM  

RENd/dOV here too.

Jimmie 8:33 AM  

T is actually for Texas and Tennessee. Additionally, it is for Thelma, the woman who made a fool out of me.

dk 8:38 AM  

Huh! Every clue did start with a T.

This is a Tuesday puzzle in every way. I mean all the clues begin with a T: duh. Most even seem to hate it like it was a Tuesday. But I need it to be Wednesday -- my favorite puzzle day.

** (2 Stars) except for TETTERTOTTERING which is 5 stars IMSO (in my self-agrandizing opinion)

I am on the holiday count down. Sunday I leave for a week on Catalina Island where I will commune with the goats. So Acme if your travels take you L. A... "26 miles across the sea."

@SanteFeFran, what george said and I have started listening on line as I am in a bad reception area for WI public radio. Sometimes you lose the station due to buffering but generally it works well.

jesser 8:47 AM  

Well, before coming here, I *thought* my only error/writeover was ESTEr before ESTEE at 4oD, but I now see that I effed (teed?) up 36A with the trendy dOV. Never noticed all the Ts in the clues. Surely noticed them in the answers, which makes me even pissier at me about dOV.

TEMPORARY TATTOO seems oxymoronic to this tattooed man. It either is or is not a tattoo, and tattoos are permanent. Those henna things are not tattoos, but I can't decide what else to call them.

@Santafefran: I hope you are not tuning in to the legendary Taos Hum! Google that puppy!

Happy Hump Day, amigos! (No_e which le__er _ha_ sen_ence lacked!)

Brian 8:54 AM  

Totally tepid, at best.

I appreciate that it wasn't easy to construct, but I agree with Rex: what's the point of constructing a puzzle with a theme that isn't particularly fun or challenging to solve?

The fill was less than inspired and the cluing was dreadful in places (I understand now that is because of the "T" requirement).

This puzzle needed a clever reveal to save it.

"TParty" would have done it.

jackj 8:55 AM  

Needn'T boTher To Take The Time To Trash iT.

GuTTormosson/ShorTz Talking Tongues?

TuT, TuT, Tsk, Tsk, pTooey.

jberg 8:56 AM  

Nice to know I'm not alone in a) RENdS/dOV, and b) not noticing that the theme was more than long acrosses where both words started with T. Can't say I hated it, but I wasn't thrilled - once I came here and learned the full theme, I was a little more impressed.

I did like the SW corner, once I noticed it - on the other hand, I really don't like SUETS, or ETAIL as a verb.

Glitch 9:01 AM  

@George NYC (and any other LION users)

Updated Across Lite Link

BTW: AL is a product of Literate Software, The NYT (and many others) just offer their puzzles in it's format.

Program issues should be directed to Literate, content issues to The NYT ;)


foodie 9:05 AM  

Rex, I'm constantly amazed at the associations you make and the stuff you find in such short order to illustrate your blog. T-PAIN!

Actually, T-Pain's real name-- Faheem Rasheed Najm means: Smart Wise Star!

@andrea acme, loved that puzzle! Like a Tuesday time for me, but a real fun solve. It must be quite a thrill to receive such an engagement present!

Dough 9:07 AM  

Just saying, if you had figured out that every answer had a T, then DOV can't be right... It had to be TOV. Right? I say that variety is the spice of life and a T puzzle for a Wednesday is a good thing. Mazel Dov to the constructor!

EG in TO 9:21 AM  

Here's a weird variation that left me with a DNF:

Not only did I have RENdS instead of RENTS, I dropped in mEnacE instead of TEETHE for "take a step toward biting."

This gave me:

ESmEE for ESTEE-- what do I know, I've never heard of her anyway.

NATSAT instead of EATSAT -- seemed plausible.

ETC for ETH -- didn't understand the clue so why not?

And lastly E_ENa for "track meet component" crossing dO_ for "Tevye's yes." Stared at that for quite a while, going over all the clues and confirming my answers. Ran through the alphabet. Nothing.

Came here and felt stupid. That is all, thank you very much.

EG in TO 9:27 AM  

Oops, I meant "Tevye's good."

Lindsay 9:32 AM  

Started with 7D ENTR crossing 15A ANTE and it went it downhill from there. Not interesting. At all.

Hand up with @Jenny for RaNTS/TYa. And I'm usually good with components of sailing ships. Sigh.

John V 9:44 AM  

Easy, Monday grade. I was sure about LATOYA, but not TYE, so had and I there saying TIE. Also never saw the theme until I came here.


slypett 10:00 AM  

Fliends, Lomans, countrymen, RENd me your ears. The only thing worth noting about this mouse of a puzzle is what Andrea said. Though Tevya spoke Yiddish, not Hebrew, he may very well have said "Mazel TOV" on occason.

joho 10:15 AM  

@acme ... just did your engagement puzzle: so much fun! What a wonderful, thoughtful gift!

David 10:32 AM  

Didn't see that every clue began with a T until the writeup, nor that every answer had a T in it, only noticed the staggering number of Ts, over and above the 3 long answers.

Only reason I finished correctly was that I knew TOV meant good, from mazel tov. But of course it was a writeover. RENTS??? Ok....

Finished yesterday's in about 6 1/2 minutes, over my average, and set what I figure is a Wednesday record today, about 5 mins 55 secs (I don't time later week puzzles much, but I think my record was around 8 or so)

retired_chemist 10:33 AM  

Tevye's Dream lyrics include:

Grandma Tzietl:
A blessing on your head
(Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov)
To see a daughter wed
(Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov)
And such a son-in-law
Like no-one ever saw
The tailor Motel Camzoil

And,while I am at it, would not the clue for 21D be better as "Tenants' expenses" or similar?

ArtO 10:47 AM  

thought this would get a "very easy: for wed. as for DOV vs. TOV, Tevye would say MAZEL TOV or Good Luck. An expression that would be familiar to most regardless of religious persuasion.

DBGeezer 10:54 AM  

@georgenyc, I have MacOSX Snow Leopard up to date, and across lite works fine. Did you update your across lite?

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

The newest is now MacOSX Lion...

JaxInL.A. 11:19 AM  

@mmorgan, you have been missed. Nice to see you again.

I get Rex's criticism of themes that force fill he finds substandard (partial, obscure, etc.). For most, though, it seems that this puzzle's main transgression is getting published on the wrong day.

@Brian is right that a "TParty" reveal might have made this bouncier. I liked all the Ts. So shoot me.

Neville 12:02 PM  

Amen, RP.

Rex Parker 12:02 PM  

It's not whether TOV makes more sense than DOV — it clearly does. But RENDS makes *so much more sense* than RENTS (a word no one would use in sense of "tears"(n.)), that TOV likely never made it to many people's radars. Most probably thought "[shrug], Yiddish, what do I know?"

Better clue on RENTS makes this whole issue DisApPear.

mac 12:03 PM  

T-Party puzzle LOL!

What Andrea and Joho said. I'm looking for my Wednesday puzzle! I expect to have a tapa or two in Salamanca next week.

Great gift to the engaged couple, fun puzzle!

Looking forward to seeing a lot of you in NY this weekend.

Rube 12:27 PM  

Me too for RENts/RENDS and not noticing the "T" theme. Bothersome as I just learned a few weeks ago from a XWord puzzle that TOV means good.

The highlight for me is TYE, my WOTD.

Lewis 12:40 PM  

@acme -- thanks for the link. It was a fun solve, toughest part right in the middle with the last name and Norse gods word.

captcha: INEQUA, surely a new drug we'll see ads for on the evening news, perhaps to reconcile a difference in the length of one's legs, or perhaps to cause same.

Robin 12:44 PM  

Tevye would not say "tov" for "good." "Tov" is Hebrew. Tevye would speak Yiddish, where (I think) "good" is "gut."

George NYC 12:55 PM  

@Glitch, @db
Thanks re Lion tip.

Mike Rees 12:57 PM  

RENTS? I call BS. Rex had it right with RENDS, which is grammatically accurate. Editing FAIL. Or should that be "faulT"? Different clueing and I would have aced this puzzle.

slypett 1:19 PM  

Y'all: Tears can be a noun, as 'I had two tears in my jeans.'

Glitch 1:28 PM  

@Rex et al

Agree RENDS is a better answer to the clue, but it doesn't contain a "T" and you have to go way down the dictionary entries to justify.

If RENDS were the answer, the complaint would be that it was the only exception to the "theme".

BTW: This should not be considered an endorsement of the "theme", but FWIW there was one, thus "every answer has [needs] a "T".


Martin 1:49 PM  

I find it interesting that the phrase "rent in the side" has over three million hits, most of which are relevant. Other than @Mike Rees, most people here at least grudgingly admit that there is a noun "rent" and it means "tear," but I have no idea why "rent in the side" is so popular, or why I googled it.

I posted this yesterday at Wordplay, and offer it here as well without comment.

Sparky 2:09 PM  

sEETHE/ESsEE for me too. Sailed through fast for me. Noticed all the Ts and that helped fix RENdS as I said Doh to TOV. Then I saw all the Clue Ts. Didn't think it was all that bad. @acme: agree, the box in SW is cute. I'll check the present puzzle later. A crunchy doable Thursday would be just fine, please.

Stan 2:59 PM  

I really did like this better than the "B" puzzle, which I still remember.

The fact that I didn't notice the clue T's must mean they were pretty smooth. 1A was awkward, but that should have tipped me off.

Would like to see more from Icelandic-sounding Paul.

sanfranman59 3:27 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Wed 9:51, 11:52, 0.83, 16%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:34, 5:52, 0.95, 39%, Easy-Medium

JenCT 3:51 PM  

Only theme I noticed were the double Ts in the theme answers, not the other Ts. D'oh - on autopilot, for sure!

Looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday!

fergus 3:52 PM  

I must have glanced over it, but have seen no mention of a certain mohawk-sporting, muscular fellow who's more partial to another Letter on his team, and whose trademarked phrase could well be employed today?

Rex Parker 4:08 PM  

Come on.

Martin's comment about "rent in the side" shows up on first page of a search for ["rent in the side"], which tells you all you need to know about the phrase's "relevance." Can we agree that Google searches are an extremely inexact and unconvincing way of establishing the "in-the-language"-ness of words/phrases?


william e emba 4:20 PM  

The suggestion that Tevye did not know TOV, since it was Hebrew and not Yiddish, is completely off the wall. To start with, it's his own name! "Tevye" is a corrupted version of "Tuvya" or "Toviah", based on the Hebrew for "God is good". (I suspect this may even count as improper cluing!)

Moreover, in addition to him knowing "mazel tov", he would certainly know "yom tov", the Hebrew word for holiday. Yes, it was corrupted into the Yiddish "yontif", but both are used. In addition, the prayers are all in Hebrew, and TOV in various forms is quite common.

For what it's worth, "Dov", usually pronounced "duv", like the English "dove", is Hebrew for bear, by the way. Some names are given twice, Hebrew then Yiddish, and "Dov Ber" is common enough.

I know I shouldn't smirk, but I never even had a chance to make the RENdS mistake.

Martin 4:22 PM  

I said it was interesting, not proof of anything. But since you mention it, an awful lot of people are using a very specific phrase. Why is that not relevant?

Serioiusly 4:31 PM  

To expand upon WEB's comment that Tevye's not knowing TOV being completely off the wall, IT WAS A FRIGGIN BROADWAY MUSICAL! You know, made up stuff.

mac 4:44 PM  

Never thought of the connection, but the Dutch "tof" also means good, used with a person, as in "he's a good (tof) guy).

slypett 5:00 PM  

Rex: We can agree that 'rent' for the noun 'tear' is rarely used in these days of twittering, but it is still, undeniably, in the language.


Anonymous 6:43 PM  

I got NATO but I never realised Turkey was part of it. Personally, they aren't exactly close to the Northern Atlantic.... ah well. Meh puzzle with meh fill.

CoolPapaD 8:30 PM  

I really dug this puzzle, even though I didn't notice all the clues started with T, nor did I realize that every answer had one. I think this was a terrific feat of construction, and I enjoyed the solving experience.

Paul - thanks!

Love the fact that Foodie either likes T-Pain, or at least had enough interest to Google him. How come my neuroscience professors were never this cool?!!

Sfingi 8:53 PM  

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes was one of my father's favorites, BITD (Back in the Day).

Had to post-Google for ATTA and ESTEE. Glad there's a second ESTEE.

Had reT before ALT. Thought Guttormsson wanted an old style "typist" who had to hit the return bar.

I think it was in Julius Caesar wherein someone RENt their toga, which caused at least one kid to exclaim over how cheap the senators must be.

@Mac - of course, the Germans use "gut" (pr. goot; in Dutch goed is hoot)and Mazel Tov is Hebrew. But the Dutch use both blanc und witt, nicht Wahr? And Okay.

Sorry, but the USA Today was more exciting with US cities ending in TON.

foodie 9:09 PM  

@CoolPapaD, thanks ;) I had heard of T-Pain before. But I didn't know his full name until I googled him. I also liked the names of his kids, Lyriq and Muzik.

At some point, I started watching the "Real World" (in its early days) with my teenage kids and it was a blast. It was also a whole different world, to me. It made me realize that I didn't want to become one of those people who only know what's expected of their age group. And how can I mentor young people if I'm clueless about their lives? Only problem is how much there's to know!

Anonymous 10:18 PM  

Am confused about "tapa." Is there a tapas craze in Ohio?

Anonymous 10:43 PM  

@Anon 10:18 - Not in Ohio, but I hear they're pretty popular in Toledo Spain.

dk 11:21 PM  

My stars! The Lion version of Across Lite has a stand up Mr. Happy Pencil in the icon. The horror. The horror*.

*see Marlon Brando Apocalypse Now soliloquy (in the cave) for a cinematic reference.

80 comments for a not so great puzzle. Thank fully many were congrats for foodie.

Noam D. Elkies 12:01 AM  

Didn't have the chance to solve this one, though it might have been more fun for me than for Rex — an accumulation of ETTA/ET_TU/ATTA [SW corner] can be comical even if the components are slag. Yes, the puzzle theme could have been used to choose between 36A:TOV and "Dov", which makes this a point in the puzzle's favor. I wouldn't have noticed because I already know that in Hebrew "Dov" (דוב) = Bear (as in the animal, also used as a masculine name), while "Tov" (טוב) = good, as in "mazal tov", also "Shanah Tovah" (happy new year, literally "a good year", using the feminine form "Tovah" טובה to match the feminine "Shanah" שנה).

In case you're wondering: in modern Hebrew "mazal tov" (usually pronounced "mazel tov" in Yiddish) does translate literally into "good luck", but its usage is closer to the familiar "congratulations". The reason is apparently that "mazal" מזל is used in an older sense "a sign of the zodiac" (retained in modern Hebrew but less common), so "mazal tov" means a propitious sign, later transferred to an event attributable in folk belief to such a sign.


Noam D. Elkies 12:05 AM  

@Sfingi: Yes, I happened to see that USA Today puzzle. "42A:___ fide (authentic)" and "47D: Bona fide" (both 4 letters) in the same puzzle? Ouch. [Yes, 42A is BONA; 47D happens to be REAL.]


acme 12:58 AM  

I mean, I know Tevye would know TOV in MAZEL TOV, I just meant if the editor/writer were looking for a random Hebrew name (that started with T) they might have chosen a less confusing one than Tevye, under the Jew does not equal Israeli clause! (Not to be confused with the Santa Clause!)

And better to have clued RENTS as "Leases" or something and not one person would have made the mistake.
It's not that DOV = Bear is the tipoff, it's that DOV in teh context of a shtetl Jew from Poland/Russia doesn't register as wrong.
I'm not explaining this well, but I know what I mean.

@Foodie, mac and others who did the engagement puzzle, thanks! I think Patrick liked it and was going to slip it into Rebecca's travel bag today :)
They are a very well-matched couple!
Yes, all the naughty words clued straight was a wink to Mr. Blindauer's sometimes raunchy sense of humor...

sanfranman59 1:17 AM  

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

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

Mon 6:50, 6:51, 1.00, 51%, Medium
Tue 8:37, 8:55, 0.97, 45%, Medium
Wed 9:51, 11:52, 0.83, 16%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:31, 3:40, 0.96, 34%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:31, 4:35, 0.99, 50%, Medium
Wed 5:09, 5:51, 0.88, 21%, Easy-Medium

Deb 1:22 PM  

I finished this one thinking "Damn, there are a lot of Ts in this puzzle!" but never noticed that every clue and answer included one. (Hand up for RENDS/DOV.) I wonder if Rex's write-up would have been completely different if TEA PARTY had been thrown in there somewhere.

@sanfranman59 - Since I happen to be posting right after you (though five weeks later), I'm hoping you might see this and explain the difficulty ratings. There seem to be three times and a percentage, but I have no clue what any of them refer to. Help?

Deb 2:03 PM  

Popping back in to say ALL RIGHT, acme! Enjoyed your tribute puzzle, and laughed out loud at 27 down.

captcha=fleon: Asian refrigerant chemical

Anonymous 2:51 PM  

Didn't notice the T-clues/T-answers until I came here. I'm going against the grain with a thumbs up. Should have run on a T-fer Tuesday though.

@ Anonymous 7:40 AM - I always think of Savoy Brown when I see that clue.

Dirigonzo 2:57 PM  

From syndiland, there have been over 80 comments from the prime-timers and at least one other syndi-solver (Hi, @Deb!)and not one person succumbed to the temptation to make a T-@Rex joke, so I won't either - unless I just did. (But he did tear into it (RENT it?) pretty good, didn't he?)

Same mistake, same obliviousness to the theme as many others.

Now I'm off to solve ACME's puzzle rather than remain teed-off at this one.

Captcha is too good to remain secret: gnompud.

Z 5:14 PM  

@Deb - SanFranMan may correct me, but here is what I understand the numbers to mean...

The first number is this week's median solve time for that day- the middle solve time for the group.

The second number is the average for day of week for as long as SFM has been doing the tracking

The decimal number is the ratio of the first number to the second. So if the ratio is bigger than 1.0 today is harder than average, less than 1.0 and today is easier than average.

The next number is the percentile ranking - the percentage of puzzles on that day of the week that are easier than today's puzzle,

From these numbers SFM gives the rating. He does this for all solvers and then for just the select fastest.

Anonymous 12:15 AM  

Travelers and Aetna merged long ago so Aetna is not a Travelers alternative since they are the same company now, unless they mean the old Little Aetna that was a CIGNA company but I doubt it.

Deb 1:28 AM  

@Z Thank you SO much for taking the time to explain that. It's been driving me bonkers for a long time. And thanks @SanFranMan (who probably will never see this) for providing that info daily.

@Anonymous 12:15, I thought you were commenting on the wrong day and had to scroll back to the puzzle. Never even saw AETNA or SLEET.

@Dirigonzo - Yo! And to answer yesterday's question - hell, yes, I cheat when I'm stumped! I'm no masochist! And bless you for sharing that killer captcha.

Mine is...

reways: A ridiculous word never uttered by human lips that constructors are dying to get their hands on.

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