Archer's wife in Maltese Falcon /THU 9-8-11/ Nevada county containing Yucca Mountain / Italian scientist who lent name to number / Episode VI returnee

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Constructor: Matt Ginsberg and Pete Muller

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: "Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" by Tom WOLFE (25A: Author of the 1968 work named in the circled letters (reading clockwise)) — WOLFE is in the grid along with KESEY (44A: Leader of the 35-Across) and MERRY PRANKSTERS (35A: Subject of the 1968 work)

Word of the Day: STU ERWIN (1A: He played Joe Palooka in the 1934 film "Palooka") —

Stuart Erwin (14 February 1903, Squaw Valley, California — 21 December 1967, Beverly Hills, California) was an American actor. Erwin began acting in college in the 1920s, first appearing on the stage, then breaking into films in 1928 in Mother Knows Best. He was cast as amiable oafs in several films such as The Sophomore, The Big Broadcast, Hollywood Cavalcade, Our Town, International House and Viva Villa!. In 1934 he was cast as Joe Palooka in the film Palooka, and in 1935 he had a supporting role in After Office Hours (starring Clark Gable). He co-starred in the Paramount Pictures all-star revue Paramount on Parade (1930). // In 1936, he was cast in Pigskin Parade, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. // In Walt Disney's Bambi, he did the voice of a tree squirrel. // In 1950, Erwin made the transition to television, where he starred in Trouble with Father, which was eventually retitled The Stu Erwin Show. He co-starred with his wife, actress June Collyer. He later appeared in the Disney films Son of Flubber and The Misadventures of Merlin Jones. He also appeared with Jack Palance in the ABC series The Greatest Show on Earth during the 1963-1964 television season. // Erwin has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6240 Hollywood Blvd. He is buried in Chapel of the Pines Crematory. (wikipedia)

• • •

Well, that was something. On the one hand, I like the theme idea, though I don't quite understand what the answer going around the perimeter clockwise has to do with the theme. It's a cool trick, but it is related to the book somehow? No matter, that part is fine, though this is one of those themes that favor (heavily) older solvers. The New Journalism and '60s drug culture aren't really on the radar for people who didn't live through the '60s. I got the references, but I have a Ph.D. in English, so I'm not exactly typical. But, again, fine. Narrow, and old-skewing, but fine. The fill in this puzzle, however, was often less than fine. I'LL NEVER and I LEAVE aren't not free-standing phrases in any way, shape, or form. They are partials pretending to be something more substantial. Will doesn't generally allow partials longer than five letters, but apparently he'll allow Two if he likes your theme and you can dress the partials up as legitimate independent phrases. If the MERRY PRANKSTERS skews old, STU ERWIN skews superold. He also happens to look Horrible in the grid. TRACTILE should have its wordness revoked (17A: Able to be drawn out), and PTUI (30A: Cartoon "Yuck!") and O'TEA think I don't see them, but I do. All in all, a little too much KLUDGE for my taste (44D: Workable if awkward solution to a crossword computer problem).

Had weird issues with the NYT solving applet, which was cutting off the ends of some clues, such as 46D: Last word in a showman's spiel [sp...] (VOILA!) and 48A: Like ruckuses or roadster roofs [roo...] (RAISABLE). OK, RAISABLE should've been on my horrible fill list, above. Firefox hates it (giving it the red underline treatment) and really, a ruckus? Sure, and a fit is pitchable. Bah. I actually thought I might sail through this one at first, when SETH (1D: MacFarlane who created TV's "Family Guy") and TARE (2D: Amount ignored in weighing) and USAF (3D: Org. with the ad slogan "It's not science fiction. It's what we do every day") went right in and gave me the first letters of all those long Acrosses in the NE. I got none of them. Never (or barely) heard of STU ERWIN, even EAST- couldn't get me EASTERLY (tried EASTWARD) (15A: Like the trades) and TRACTABLE (a real word) didn't fit at 17A. After some struggle, picked up the theme and again thought I'd sail through (theme got me a lot of free squares). But no. Clued (and filled) to a solid Thursday/Friday level. Very much liked "YOUR MOVE" and SIDEKICKS. Rest of the fill seemed tolerable to poor.

  • 8D: Nevada county containing Yucca Mountain (NYE) — Oh, *that* Nevada County. [facepalm] [facedesk] [deskfacepalm]
  • 18A: National park whose name means "the high one" (DENALI) — so-named because the natives smoked a Lot of weed. It's medicinal, man.
  • 19A: Bunny fancier (HEF) — there is a new show starting this fall about the Playboy Club. It looks like something that will last ... about five weeks.
  • 39A: Source of the saying "The gods help them that help themselves") (AESOP)AESOP knew that welfare just gives poor people incentive to be lazy. Aesop '12!
  • 34D: Language from which "spunk" is derived (ERSE) — one of the few words less appealing than ERSE is "spunk"
We're having epic rains here: schools canceled, record flooding, 10,000+ people evacuated from their homes. Population centers get all the media attention, but upstate NY and New England have just been getting destroyed the past two weeks. Combine climate change patterns (our last "70-year flood" was in 2006, for example) with climate change denial and general gov. brokeness and unwillingness to invest in infrastructure improvements, and things don't look good for near future. It's enough to make me wanna take some acid and get in a van and go do some merry pranking, man. And I'd do it. It's just that the funds aren't RAISABLE at this time.

Happy 10th birthday to my amazing nephew, Miles.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:10 AM  

Anyone who puts STUERWIN as 1A probably does really mean things to kitties. Dirty, mean things.

That Playboy Bunny show will probably last exactly as long as the Pan Am Stewardess show.

The New Girl 12:26 AM  

My Relative Difficulty: Challenging *for any day of the week* 

Got about 10 entries before getting major stuck. Clearly not operating on the right wavelength for this one. 

24a. "Horrors!"
7d. "No way!"

And I'll just ...
51d. "Leave ___ that!"

CoffeeLvr 12:33 AM  

I had to use IMDB to look up the really old movie references (yes, I know "The Maltese Falcon" is a classic, but even if I had ever seen it, I doubt I would have remembered IVA.) Otherwise, thanks to some familiarity with the theme I could force out the rest. Actually, I had correctly forced out STU ERWIN, but checked it because, as @Rex noted, it looked wrong.

I found TOODLEOO ugly, as well as some of the one's @Rex mentioned: RAISABLE, O'TEA, TRACTILE (I wanted ducTILE, which wouldn't fit, plus I already had SETH in place.) A FIRST is another long partial.

Lots of words I only use in crosswords in this one: EREMITES, AVOGADRO, CENSE, EEK, PTUI.

KLUDGE is great; definitely in the language for younger geeks.

I will be very interested to read the comments from people who didn't remember the "nonfiction novel." I never read it, but remember the buzz it generated. Took me a long time to dredge up Tom WOLFE, in fact I had KESEY in that spot at first; kept seeing Wolfe in his white suit, but no name. Apparently, there is a movie of the book due out some time this year.

Orange 12:35 AM  

I found that the Pitchable Fits' second album didn't live up to the promise of their debut. Their groove is much better than that of the Raisable Ruckus, though.

Anonymous 12:48 AM  

This was about making up words and names that looked less bad than the alternatives. Iva? Celie? Enate? Eremites? Indic? All new to me... Ptui.

SethG 12:50 AM  

Nice theme, though a bit random, but that NW corner especially was brutal.

Lots words where I had all but one letter in place but still had no idea. I hate when that happens.

In summary, O, TEA.

Gill I. P. 1:14 AM  

I lived most of the 60's decade in another dimension. Spain and Franco weren't really into the LSD scene. I knew of Wolfe but mainly through his "Bonfire of the Vanities."
I'm still not sure why this particular title was chosen as a crossword theme. After I was done, I said "so what?
I did need Google help. AVOGADRO could have been avocados for all I knew. Didn't know 1D SETH or 44A KESEY or 45A IVA. Never heard of 54D FORA.
I did like DENALI, PTUI and a few others. Isn't it supposed to be sesame seeds? Never heard of SESAMES. And as far as TOODLEOO goes - ugh - I prefer toodle pip.
Well, I LEAVE now before I get CARTED.

syndy 1:27 AM  

Okay I'm OLD raced though this puppy (except of course the NW)got the theme (thew in KESEY as author-OTS)and the went back up to STEU who?had tracable put in I'LL NEVER and took it back out several times!Not sure how you would use WRIER in a sentence without being slapped.never did parse STUERWIN as two names.I did like EREMITE and EASTERLY- chacon son gout

jae 1:33 AM  

Tough Thurs. But, I'm old enough to be familiar with the book/author and STUERWIN, so, it was doable. I do agree there were more than a few awkward answers. Things that contributed to toughness for me:

Reading the title starting with TEST.

MPS (Missing Person) for MOS.

Some version of HERMIT for 10d.

OPEN for the start of 37d.

Oops Pow Surprise 2:54 AM  

Loved AVOGADRO, hated about ten other answers. Especially "TOODLEOO." Isn't it "too-de-loo"?

ANyway, I found this one really lacking in both theme cleverness and word selection. Thursdays are usually my favorites for both those reasons. Bummer.

lit.doc 2:57 AM  

Wow, man, what a flashback. Like syndy, this was a fast Thursday for me—though that’s a confession of oldness, not a brag.

Like Rex said, an English Ph.D.—and having taught the theme novel along with Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest a bunch o’ times—made the theme answers come pretty easily. But the fill was like that brown acid at Woodstock.

STU ERWIN crossing NYE failed to achieve Natickdom only because the N was pretty much the only game in town once the Downs were filled.

SETH at 1D saved me from even considering DUCKTILE, thankfully. But seriously, TRACTILE? There are some words for which documentable existence is no excuse.

PHEW before PTUI, LISP before RASP, and DDE/AES before AES/JFK (reflexive SWAGs are fast and easy on a computer).

Do current crossword conventions condone leaving words out of titles? Even lowly “The”? This puzzle makes me wonder once again if most circled-letter puzzles aren’t attempts to resuscitate themes whose main answers simply aren’t susceptible of symmetrical gridding.

And I spent enough years doing software design to know that KLUDGE rhymes with FUDGE.

jae 3:28 AM  

@lit.doc -- I was looking for the "THE" too. Some how seems incomplete. And I should have added LISP and TRACABLE too my above list.

I skip M-W 5:21 AM  

I was at Stanford about the same time as the merry pranksters were around but never even heard of them until I came across Wolfe's book a bit later. Never dropped acid myself, but knew plenty who did. Thought I would wait to try it until reaching 75, but now that that's in sight, I'm chickening out.

Got little in puzzle until SE, Avogadro was a gimme, and soon after noticed clue to circles. Wanted "The" also but quickly gave up on that. And rest of puzzle hove into view. Surprised to learn that Stu Erwin died as far back as '67. I was under the vague impression he's still taking new roles on TV. I didn't mind tractile, but o'tea and some of the other stuff I agree totally with @Rex. Still, I enjoyed seeing the happy pencil.

apresski carted michaels 5:27 AM  

Yay old people! Have a copy of the book in the case, yellowing with age, along with my eyes, teeth and liver.

Would have been great if it was the anniversary, but you have to love making the title circle the grid! How many titles of books could you do that with and have it go around on all sides? That is incredibly cool
(Kool?) and worth the kludge (new word to this luddite) I had to push my way thru (hate when 1A is literally the last thing I fill in, even tho I had the TEST.)

But I loved the inventiveness.

Sort of agree about the partials,
(esp bec they both start with I) but I feel I'LL NEVER was a conflation of "WELL, I NEVER!", that or I've misheard that phrase my whole life.

Gloria says to boycott the bunny show, and as I've always listened to her (except what's with going from saying she wouldn't marry bec she finds it impossible to mate in captivity, and then she goes and marries some super-rich guy?) I will boycott the bunny show!

Sophisticated French-now-English buildup of APRESSKI, over VERITE,
over ENTREE.

I will bet thisis one of those puzzles that the more you look at it, the more you will love it.

Most fun was figuring out what being like Don Corelone with only four letters.
Anyway, Pete and Matt are a combo to be reckoned with and then raise a ruckus over!

MountainManZach 7:18 AM  

Ugh. Too young to have this be a real thing, though I have seen enough VH1 specials on The Doors that this was at least on my radar (though I couldn't shake the notion that it was called "the magic KOOLAID ACID TEST"). I actually got MERRY PRANKSTERS early on, but that was because of a reference in season 2 or 3 of 30 Rock, and WOLFE and KESEY were right out.

I really felt that most of the fill was just bad news. The NE with ENATE, CELIE, EREMITES, SIDEKICKS (more because the clue doesn't exactly ring true to me) CENSE destroyed me.

@lit.doc Where did you do your software work? I've always heard it as KLUGE rhyming with huge. Maybe it's a midwest/Chicago thing.

Glimmerglass 7:42 AM  

Well, I'm old. I put in ELECTRIC KOOLAID ACID TEST just from TSET, perhaps because I'd read it. How many long book titles end in ". . . [four-letter word]. . . Test"? That gave me WOLFE and KESEY, and MERRY PRANKSTERS (off just the M). How hard can a puzzle be if you have all four corners, the middle 15-wide, and two other gimmes? So I rate it easy, but this is a case of "You're either on the bus or off the bus!"

jackne 7:56 AM  

Add to long list of ugly words: wrier.

dk 8:07 AM  

Often wished I was on the bus but they were all 3-5 years older at a time when that was important.

College pal lives near the Kesey diary farm.. Or where it was.. Not sure of the status.

Got the theme right away. Did not like SIDEKICKS as I found it a stretch along with the Ciao fill that shall not be named.

Delays with paper delivery have driven me back to the iPad. Sigh... I miss the paper. I also miss the greek themed paper coffee cups, along with bagels in white paper bags and noshing on my stoop after a night of microdots and CBGB... oops wool gathering. AKA acid flash back.

** (2 Stars) Great visuals but a little to much strychnine.

"You're either on the bus or off the bus." 8:31 AM  

"Everybody, everybody everywhere, has his own movie going, his own scenario, and everybody is acting his movie out like mad, only most people don’t know that is what they’re trapped by their little script."
— Tom Wolfe (The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test)

Sort of like being stuck in a grid.

evil doug 8:41 AM  

USAF is getting to be stranger than fiction, with kids raised on video games flying drones over Afghanistan from the comfort of a stateside hangar 7500 miles away. Lucky my Air Force days were actually in the cockpit.

Read all about real pilots in Wolfe's "The Right Stuff", or even better in a piece he wrote about Navy pilots in Nam entitled "The Truest Sport: Jousting with Sam and Charlie."

...speaking of flying (and sexy babes, who love pilots), I'll be watching Pan Am and Playboy Club, but with the sound muted. They're going to look great and sound awful. I'm boycotting Gloria. She's tiresome. Go away.


Z 8:44 AM  

I was never on this bus. I like AVOGADRO (and avocado) AESOP, and DENALI, the clue for USAF, and not much else.

I wasn't in middle school yet when STUERWIN died and this book came out, and the only person left who thinks of me as young is my mother-in-law. And let's see.... she would have been a newborn when Palooka hit the big screen. Palooka is not skewing super-old, it's skewing archaic, though I am happy that some people who have seen it are still with us.

Had several reallies (i.e. the plural of "really?") as I worked through this - TRACTILE, IVA (eVA/eNDIC work just as well for me), PTUI, CENSE, WRIER, TOODLEOO, RAISABLE, NOLIMIT (doesn't that describe the game, not the betting?), CELIE (another book that I doubt I will ever read), EREMITES, OTEA, ENTREE (because I don't get how this one answers the clue).

ILLNEVER be on this bus. My feelings on this puzzle are matched by the weather outside - not as bad as upstate NY, but very wet, gray, and cold.

Howard B 8:52 AM  

Here's the thing with these specifically themed puzzles.
The more you know of the subject, the more you can embrace the puzzle; the more it brings back memories, the stronger the 'a-ha' moment.

If, like me, you've barely heard of the subject (book) in question, the whole experience just goes (thud). I was born in the 1970s and didn't meet with this culture. And that is a shame here. (I did read Kerouac though).

A theme relating to an author, say, has a wide scope and a better chance to partially reach people. This one is much narrower, so if it hits, great. If it misses, it misses by a mile.

I do appreciate the ambitiousness of the theme and the grid design, though.

Be safe and dry out there. We're pretty saturated here, too.

exaudio 8:58 AM  

Okay, I guess I'm pretty old, because I caught the theme as soon as I had TEST. Would have finished, but was stupidly trying to i.d. Hugh Hefner by his initials, which left the northwest out of my reach.

Try to stay dry, New Englanders and upstate NYer's!

Blue Stater 9:09 AM  

Almost as wretched as last Thursday's, but not quite. Is WS conducting a Bad Puzzle Contest?

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

>>I like the theme idea, though I don't quite understand what the answer going around the perimeter clockwise has to do with the theme.<<

Maybe that's supposed to simulate the experience of tripping?

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

As a fellow Anonymous, I agree with the Anonymous who said:

Anyone who puts STUERWIN as 1A probably does really mean things to kitties. Dirty, mean things.

I mean why do such a thing?

I know most of the solving population is probably older than 30 something but this kind of clue I feel is almost straight "google" material. To even have a conscious memory of seeing this movie in the theater you'd have to have been born in the 19teens.

This is worse than those obscure Broadway musical clues constructors trot out. Gross!

David 9:16 AM  

Wow. Finally, my DeadHeadedness helps me solve a puzzle. The Grateful Dead basically came into being at the Acid Tests, and though they were a small part of Kesey's book they were a big part of the Tests themselves, many of which I have on CD (weeeird).

Still, this was a nasty puzzle, felt very Fridayish to me. I flailed around for quite a while, even with 1D and 2D in the books right away. The NE, which was still tough, gave me my first foothold, and fortunately ELECTRIC gave me everything (except the NW, which was brutal and took a long time to crack).

No writeovers, but wanted PFFT for PTUI, had a tough time with KLUDGE, RAISABLE, ILEAVE, ILLNEVER and especially TRACTILE.

"The bus came by and I got on
That's when it all began
There was Cowboy Neal at the wheel
to a bus to Never-Never land"

GD, "The Other One"

John V 9:18 AM  

Hands up for the "old" team. Read the book, read most of Tom Wolf, was in college in the late 60s so this was in the proverbial wheelhouse. That said, is was one of those that, after first pass through the accrosses, I had, oh, maybe 4 letters filled in. Same with down. Just had to keep raking it over and over.

Got the theme in the NE.

How many ways can one mis-spell Kesey? Oh, you cannot imagine. Mister Eraser is my friend.

So, this I rate this one 35 miles; started going over the Mianis River Bridge, finished at my desk on lower Broadway, making it about an average to slightly easier Thursday.

I do not understand why ETC is an answer to 4D, Move quickly?

This NY software engineer does Klooodges, for sure, but I was looking for UGLY HACK, which are my two middle names.

Never heard of IVA @45A or STU ERWIN; just got lucky on the crosses.

jesser 9:19 AM  

No love here. Never ever heard the word KLUDGE. Likewise CENSE. And how a letter of recommendation translates to ENTREE is beyond my reptilian brain. And that area where they all cluster-effed together resulted in a DNF for this 'solver.'

I got the perimiter title and WOLFE quickly, but I never read the damn thing, so KESEY was not coming to mind.

Writeovers (like it matters) were boy before LAD at 58D and EASTERns before EASTERLY at 15A.

I could look at this a long time, and not like it. I was Naticked from here to Sunday breakfast.

No BS 9:25 AM  

Umm...can someone please explain how loners are sidekicks?

joho 9:28 AM  

I thought the NW was brutal mainly because of STUERWIN. Even after I got it, I wondered exactly who this was. I finally decided that he starred opposite Marilyn Monroe in something I couldn't remember.

KLUDGE was my WOTD, good to know.

I did know the book which helped a lot. And in the end I found this to be very creative and certainly different which is always appreciated. So I say, thanks, Matt and Pete!

No BS 9:28 AM  

Jesser, A letter of recommendation can provide you with an entree (in the sense of opportunity) into a job or other relationship.

deerfencer 9:29 AM  

Ugh. Consider this a Friday/Saturday puzzle. Even though I like the theme, some of the obscure fill is just brutal.

P.S. Coincidentally, I just recently finished reading Robert Stone's memoir of the 60's, Prime Green, but can't recommend it. Stone was a good friend of Kesey's and remains one of our better novelists, but this book was full of the navel-gazing narcissism that characterized those LSD-drenched days.

Zak 9:29 AM  

Another miserable crossword. Just awful.

APRESSKI? Christ that's bad.


STUERWIN? Worse than the Beach Boys.

ERSE? My erse.

Evan K. 9:30 AM  

I was generally on the right wavelength for most of the clues today. However, the center sunk me because I have absolutely no idea what the heck these references are.

Without knowing the work in question, how in the heck am I supposed to know it's about MERRY PRANKSTERS? It's not like that's a generally inferable phrase. And who's KESEY? WOLFE.... authors were always my weak point.

Point is, many of the down clues overlap two of these answers. So the center? Not happening. Even getting, say, WPM, OTEA, and ETUI.

It was a cool idea, especially for those in the know, but I got screwed in the end on this one.

That said, I did better today than on most Thursdays -- given as I've only been solving a few months.

Pete 9:41 AM  

I spent some time last evening trying to come up with a joke as to how the crap fill could be some relationship to the acid referenced in the theme. Lit.Doc came closest, it was the brown acid at Woodstock. Still not enough of an excuse.

@No BS: SIDEKICKS was clued by Secconds, not Loners.

As to timeliness of the theme, they did recently find the original films the Merry Pranksters made of their trip, which has been all over the news lately.

David 9:45 AM  

@No BS, you confused 9D and 10D. Seconds are SIDEKICKS, Loners are EREMITES.

The only (weak) thought I came up with for the clockwise movement of the book title is the idea of the spinning kaleidoscopes that were part of the Acid Tests.

No BS 9:45 AM  

OOps! Thanks Pete

PuzzleNut 9:47 AM  

Certainly some questionable fill, but in the end nothing that you couldn't infer from the crosses. I figure that is one of the best ways to learn new words (although I doubt if I'll ever uses RAISABLE in any conversation).
Had no idea of CELIE or VERITE. Had AVA off the ?VA and never checked the down. KLUDGE was also new to me, and worked much better than my first guess (BLUDGE).
Overall, a relatively tough puzzle, but not in a good way.

DBGeezer 9:59 AM  

@John V 9:18,
4d is moRe, quickly
not moVe quickly.
Thus more expressed in a rapid abbreviated fashion is ETC

John V 10:30 AM  

@DBGeezer. Thanks, got it. Always amazed how, once I've misread a clue, it is soooooooooo hard to see what is actually on the page.

arlene 10:33 AM  

I had the ST (because I knew about the Kook Aid by then), and then the U - and I thought to myself, "the answer can't be Stu Erwin" - but then everything else fit. Talk about OLD - I watched The Stu Erwin Show in the early 50's on a B&W TV (I was under 5 at the time)- and I still have a mental image of the slanty scripty letters on the title of the show. But honestly, I don't think that name has come up since then.

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

Kind of strange to come out with aren't not three sentences after stating that one has a P.H.D. in English.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

There's no such thing as a cup O'TEA. There's a cuppa tea, or more accurately, just a cuppa, but no cup O'TEA.

quilter1 10:41 AM  

Hard but I finished. Remember Stu Erwin in Trouble with Father on '50's TV. Of course know of Wolfe and Kesey, the book title seems familiar, but I guess I was busy with other things in the 60's as the Merry Pranksters are off my radar.

The NE fell very quickly for me, NW last to be filled in. I agree tractile is a terrible word--tractable is more common. Never heard of kludge, spelled toodleoo wrong at first, and chuckled at raiseable.

Felt good to finish.

regratee: one who declines an invitation to shred

chefbea 10:42 AM  

Never heard of Kool aid acid test
Never heard of Wolfe
Never heard of Merry Pranksters.
Never heard of Kesey.

All in all a tough puzzle for me. Needless to say DNF

Hated the puzzle

evil doug 10:43 AM  

From the Free Dictionary:

1. Informal courage or spirit;
2. Brit.: a slang word for semen"


...and that perhaps gives new meaning to this, from the Mary Tyler Moore show:

Lou: You know what? You've got spunk.
Mary: Well, yes…
Lou: I HATE spunk.



Grammar Nazi 10:44 AM  

@Anon 10:37 - Kind of strange to (incorrectly) challenge someone's grammar when you can't even spell PhD.

Two Ponies 10:49 AM  

I got the theme almost immediately and loved the vivid memories that it brought to mind. Then I trudged through the rest and was amazed (not in a particularly good way) at the rest of the grid.
Cup o'tea? Really?
I can see that if you are not in the demographic group that was targeted today you might be saying Eek or even Ptui. This Kool-aid kid had a (mostly) fun solve.

Tobias Duncan 11:21 AM  

Seems so odd that Kesey and the Merry Pranksters are considered obscure.
Growing up in Taos I heard about that book all the time. If you ask any aging hippie around here what brought them to New Mexico, at some point you will hear about a Kesey inspired road trip.

JaxInL.A. 11:34 AM  

Because no one else has done it yet:

EREMITE comes from an ancient Greek root that means "person of the desert." Hermit comes from the same root word, which has traveled through Latin and Old French to reach us in the 21st century.

The posturing before the president's speech tonight makes me want to become an eremite. Why have we become so uncivil and unwilling to listen to each other?

John V 11:35 AM  

@Tobias, re: Kesey/Pranksters being obscure: Equally significant about the Electric Kool Aid Acid Test is that it, along with "Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers", just a bit after it, were two of Tom Wolfe's best know examples of the New Journalism " of the 60s. Not yesterday, to be sure, but pretty well know stuff.

deerfencer 11:39 AM  

Agree with you, Tobias. Even my 17-year-old daughter is familiar with Kesey, Kerouac, and that whole gang. In fact she read "On The Road" for English class at our local high school junior year. Unless you lived in a cultural vacuum in the late 60's and early 70's, I don't see how Kesey or (especially) Tom Wolfe can be considered obscure. Like it or not, The Beats are now firmly entrenched in the canon of American lit, and have been for quite a while. Now pass the ether.

Everything old is new ... 12:08 PM  

A kludge (or kluge) is a workaround, a quick-and-dirty solution, a clumsy or inelegant, yet effective, solution to a problem, typically using parts that are cobbled together. This term is diversely used in fields such as computer science, aerospace engineering, Internet slang, and evolutionary neuroscience (@foodie?).

It (arguably) dates back to 1960's, WWII, or 1919, and (arguably) rhymes with stooge or judge, depending where you look.


Anonymous 12:09 PM  

I come here not to praise but to pound. This was my era but never a Tom Wolfe fan and I am not sure which was more forgettable - the movie about the cartoon boxer or the actor who played the lead. Matt should do more pluzzles with Dana Delany. Not only are they more fun but I could never be critical of anything Dana does. I knew there was something about Evil Doug. He was a USAF pilot.

Chip Hilton 12:15 PM  

Saturday tough for me. Answers new to me: TRACTILE, AVOGADRO, TARE, KLUDGE. I'm old enough to remember STU but spelled his last name with an initial I. Got the WOLFE title fairly easily, it was just those slammers that led me to toss in the towel.

Hope you get to dry out soon, Rex. Here in CT, Univ. of Hartford had a parking lot mostly submerged this morning, packed with cars of the unsuspecting. And Gov. Perry sez 'No' to climate change?

Bob Kerfuffle 12:16 PM  

Is it possible I was the only one to have 36 D as YOURTURN before YOURMOVE?

Otherwise, as a superannuated solver, found everything gettable, tho it took awhile.

I also remember watching STU ERWIN first-run on TV.

jackj 12:21 PM  

The erudite EREMITES hoot at the risible RAISABLE and the CENSE of TRACTILE reminds them of KLUDGE while AVOGADRO dances a buck and wing and STUERWIN rides the EASTERLY to Palookaville.

AsTimothy Leary might explain today's puzzle.

evil doug 12:27 PM  

That's right, AnyMouse, USAF and proud of it. In fact, it turns out that Rick Perry and I were both flying C-130's at the same base, same time (sister squadrons, though, so I didn't know him). As brothers in arms I'm going to hit him up to be the next---and last---Postmaster General in his administration. Or mebbe ambassador to Monte Carlo....


mac 12:27 PM  

This one was tough for me, although I remembered the title, but I think @Andrea is absolutely right, the more you look at this puzzle, the better you like it. My favorite answer is "apres ski", followed closely by Not above and Your move.

It's bad in CT. Saw a friend who was told, this morning, that two dams in the river she lives on were being opened. Too late, her basement door already floated by....
Stormdrains on the main roads can't handle the water. A little sunshine right now, hope it will last.

GeezerJackYale48 12:27 PM  

Well, I don't agree that the "theme favors (heavily) older solvers. Talk to me about "kludge". What age does that favor? Fact is I got all the puzzle except the k for Kesey/kludge. No way I could get that cross. Us heavily older solvers may have been around for the 60's, but the reading material for very few of us extended to the "New Journalism and drug culture". You merry pranksters probably know more about it than us old square folks.

Campesite 12:29 PM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle.
I'm on the same page as Deerfencer, John V and Tobias--I think Tom Wolfe is by no means an obscure author, and the 60's are a fascinating era to young people. It seems to be more than just boomers beating it into the heads of their offspring--good young bands are covering loads of songs from the 60's, and even the pop culture juggernaut American Idol had a Beatles theme a while back (not positive on that last point, as I've never watched the show).
I was born long after the Dust Bowl and the 50's, but I read The Grapes of Wrath and On The Road, and we all read Mark Twain.

hazel 12:35 PM  

another polarizing puzzle, it seems. i'm definitely on the bus. too young to be a prankster, but not to read about their exploits when i was in my early twenties. it seems odd to me too that they are now considered so obscure. I guess there are people saying that about STUERWIN and his ilk too. Time marches on.

What is not to like about a freaking title circling the page?!! its just pure cool for cool's sake and so the poor "The" didn't make it on the bus at the start of the trip. Big deal. I'm sure they found one hitching a ride somewhere in the midwest.

Liked it alot, obscure $3 words and all!!

Lindsay 12:38 PM  

Hmmmm. Came here with a blank where AVO?ADRO crosses KLUT?E. Now I see that TOOtLEOO is actually spelled TOODLEOO??? You must be kidding. This reminds me of my father ranting as he graded a paper in which the (college!) student had written about "shudders" on a house.

Only Wolfe I've read is From Bauhaus to Our House.

"Marble lollipops!" screamed the true believers.

Noam D. Elkies 12:58 PM  

Rather ambitious grid — open spaces, only 72 words and 32 blocks (including two "cheaters"), two 3x8 and two 8+9 stacks, a bunch of good long entries not seen before (notably 36D:YOUR_MOVE, 50A:NO_LIMIT, and 60A:AVOGADRO, besides the theme 35A:MERRY_PRANKSTERS; also 28A:VÉRITÉ and 31D:APPRAISED), plus a Thursday theme. Yes, some of the supporting fill is less than ideal but for the most part it feels reasonable. Left the 1A/8D crossing blank, thinking STUERWI? was going to be a one-word name.

Very much liked Rex's take on the clues for 18A:DENALI and 44D:KLUDGE. Rest of the writeup skewed old and seemed tolerable to poor ;-)

@Zak 9:29 — "Après-ski" (which has its own WIkipage), and "toodle-oo" (from French "à tout à l'heure"), are legitimate though they might look wrong. "My erse" is funny but I don't want to think about that and "spunk" together!


Cheerio 1:05 PM  

I loved this puzzle. Too young to remember the 60s, but an 8 year spell in Berkeley led me to the Electric CoolAid Acid Test. I think of that book as a cultural landmark. The idea that knowledge of it could already be going seems sobering. Like @CofeeLvr, at first all I coudl remember is an image of a man in a white suit. I remembered Merry Pranksters first, then the book title, then Kesey, and finally Wolfe. Not sure what that means.

Last time Avogradro appeared, there was outrage on this blog.

Two Ponies 1:26 PM  

@ Cheerio, I remember that day re: Avogadro and that is why I got it today. I still don't know what it is but it came in handy.

@ Evil Doug, I know spunk by its British usage as well and got a little smirk when I saw it.

Clark 1:31 PM  

Hands up for on the bus. Got it in the SE. Still, even with all theme answers in, this was a tough puzzle. I only got EREMITES because memories of walking in the lovely little Herimitage valley in Canton Baselland popped into my head. I didn't know this was an English word.

Matt Ginsberg 1:43 PM  

In case people don't see it on the wordplay blog, Pete and I intended this as a Friday, without the circles (think Easter Egg). Will decided (rightly, I think) to out the hidden title and make it a Thursday. In retrospect, we should then have taken another swing, upping the word count and removing some of the ugly fill.

To those who liked it, thanks! To those who didn't, I'm sorry. And to the anonymous poster who thinks Dana and I should co-construct again, all you've got to do is convince her. (She's insanely busy when Body of Proof is filming.)

archaeoprof 1:58 PM  

For me this was about right for Thursday.

Knew the book, but never read it.

Most late-week puzzles are all about using crosses.

Favoritie clue: 21A.

ANON B 2:25 PM  

Sometimes when I finish a puzzle I
look at some of the answers that
I filled in with the help of crosses and say"Oh, that's what he
meant." Then there are the other times,like today when I say "Huh?"
Example of the latter:"Merry Pranksters" What age do you have to be to know that one?

Anonymous 2:48 PM  

@ anon B: go to below link for full discussion on the topic.

quilter1 2:58 PM  

I just heard on a news channel that Binghamton, NY is evacuating due to floods. Maybe not the whole town, but let us hope Prof. Sharp and family are safe and dry.

Anonymous 3:29 PM  

Zac writes:

ERSE? My erse.

You're not actually solving these puzzles are you?

Are you seriously saying that you are solving late-in-the-week NYT puzzles, and have never seen the word ERSE in a puzzle grid before?


DigitalDan 3:58 PM  

Most of you took high school chemistry. As a result, you were exposed to terms such as Avogadro's number, which is actually quite central to this field. I'm also surprised that more folks were not exposed to 70's culture through HS or college English than appears to be the case. Anyway, I'd suggest that "never heard of" might be replaced by "heard of but forgot." Not that it matters at this point. Maybe my problem is that I was too busy learning stuff at school to take advantage of its real value as a social cauldron. . . ?

Sparky 4:03 PM  

Cuppa Tea. Cup O'Joe. @Oops. Me too for Too De Loo. STUERWIN has been in puzzles before me thinks. I think PTUI is the sound of spitting and has nothing to do with Yuck. EEK not Horrors. Which is to say several clues seemed to miss the mark for me.

The theme revealed itself very slowly although I am older. Had Wylie as author for a time. Started reading title in LH corner. Two blank spots: 45A and E_K (Kefauver) at 53A. Liked APRESSKI, VERITE, and TURRET.

@ACME and Mac correct. I like it beter now than I did this morning. Ta Ta. On to Friday.

ANON B 4:08 PM  


I went to the link you provided and got 25 million hits.
I didn't see any referring to the
topic of my comment. I don't even know what the topic of my comment

sanfranman59 4:14 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 23:04, 19:16, 1.20, 85%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Thu 11:54, 9:24, 1.27, 87%, Challenging

Lewis 4:25 PM  

Matt, thanks for checking in. I think it would have been perfect for a Friday puzzle, with no circles. It would have been a terrific AHA to discover the book's title in the perimeter!

treedweller 4:44 PM  

Tom Wolfe was on "Fresh Air" (NPR interview show) recently talking about the book and the Pranksters, so I think that helped me, though I was not as clueless as some seem to have been even without it. He said the white suit was an asset because if he'd tried to fit in it would have been terribly obvious he did not.

I had to google NYE to finish the NW. Is there anyone outside Nevada familiar with this county? I'm guessing maybe Las Vegas is there--I've never been, and it seems like the only reason others might know it.

I got the theme when 9A led to ELECTRIC, though I lost a little time trying to get "the" in there somewhere (and google confirms it is part of the title). Still had to get a lot of crosses for WOLFE (despite the aforementioned radio show, which I remembered as Gross speaking with KESEY) because I had "polish" instead of RETYPE.

I knew CELIE from the movie but not the book so had trouble spelling it.

lots of entertaining KLUDGE photos here.

CoolPapaD 4:49 PM  

@evil doug - hysterical. That scene will forever take on new meaning. I'm floored whenever I remember Ed Asner is still alive. I love that guy.

@David - you have Dead boots from the tests? Really? Would LOVE to hear them!

I loved this puzzle, but had a few blanks in the CENSE area. Otherwise, as soon as I saw KOOL, it fell fast. Clever, wonderful, and I'm not that old (mid-40s).

ANON B 4:51 PM  


Avogadro's number is a fundamental value in chemistry but of no practical value that I, or any of my colleagues ever encountered in over 50 years as chemists.

Sandy 5:19 PM  

eremite, shmerimite.

And Rex, I downloaded yesterday's LA Times and didn't see your name anywhere???

Two Ponies 5:24 PM  

@ treedweller, Las Vegas is in Clark Co. Living here in NV the topic of Yucca Mt. is constantly in the news so that was a gimme.
I have no idea if this is of national concern but it should be, esp. for everyone living along the travel routes that crap must use to get here.

@ Anon B aka Nate, I think that link was meant to bring you back to this site. The implication being (I suppose) that if you read all the comments your questions would be answered.

nil 5:31 PM  

The OED says that "spunk"is "of obscure history," and Wiktionary attributes it to Middle or Old English. The online Free Dictionary cites Scottish Gaelic = Erse. It's a real stretch to make the clue refer to the word in the puzzle.

william e emba 5:54 PM  

I was slowed up in the NE because I had slier before WRIER. And the only trades I could think of were magazines. And the only Palooka actor I could think of was Joe Besser, which was probably why I went with "cuppa joe" before "cup O' TEA".

Believe it or not, KLUDGE is considered by certain übergeeks to be a variant spelling of kluge. And it does not rhyme with fudge. It rhymes with Stooge, as in Joe Besser who was one of the Three, which is why I know trivia about him.

And I went with anile (an old woman, especially a grandmother) before ENATE, even though I know better. And I had a hard time believing IVA was a name.

APRÈS-SKI is, in fact, standard vocabulary. The term exists for a good reason: there's a certain social life associated with skiers, what with wintry conditions and isolated locations.

Anonymous 5:56 PM  

Matt - Sorry I can't help with Dana but your reply was so polite I almost feel bad about my comment.

Evil Doug - I was wondering how you would construe my USAF remark as it was fairly neutral. You did not disappoint. I was in '65-'68 (JAG). The suit matched my eyes and the time gave me $2 more each month in my social security check. Loved the Air Force!

Z 6:00 PM  

I just read all the comments and there are so many I want to respond to.

First though, Thanks Matt, for stopping by. Your comment helped me make some sense of the clues/answers. I would have preferred the Easter Egg and I think the theme is pretty great despite not being on the bus.

Next- "The Canon" - For better or worse, I do not think a single "Canon" exists anymore, especially of mid to late 20th century works. There is just too much good literature out there to reduce it to 100 or 1,000 or 10,000 works that every well educated person should know. The Merry Pranksters exist in the same cultural noise as the Beach Boys for me. On the other hand, use the Kwisatz Haderach as a theme and I will recognize it immediately.

@Evil - I immediately thought of MTM when I saw "spunk." Thanks for the new twist on that scene. Also, I am quite sure that I would vote for you over Perry.

And finally a Gift idea for your favorite AVOGADRO fan

Jeff 6:14 PM  

without question my least favorite puzzle... ever.

David 6:20 PM  

@CoolPapaD, I just went back through my list, and I think I have 3 or 4 GD performances from the Tests. I have a number of 1966 shows before and around the Acid Tests as well. Feel free to contact me at davendara at gmail dot com and I'd be happy to make you copies!

JenCT 6:27 PM  

@Bob K: had YOURTURN also, & just wouldn't give it up!

DNF for me, too many mistakes: RECESSES for APRESSKI, OJOE for OTEA, too many others. Actually plunked in AVOGADRO, though.

@ACME: took your advice from a couple days ago; The Terrorist is next in my Netflix queue.

It finally stopped raining in my corner of CT; hope everyone else survives this weather intact. Thinking of @Rex & family.

michael 8:45 PM  

Found this easy -- I'm the right age and avogadro and kludge were gimmes. Don't like Tom Wolfe at all, but I've read him.

OISK 12:55 AM  

Up late solving, and missed only "Kesey" with Kludge. Never heard of either, nor of the theme. Avogadro is a gimmee for this old chemist, but I hated this puzzle. No joy, no enjoyment, very unmerry pranksters (wha?) and simply too much reliance on an extremely obscure theme to too many solvers. Bad puzzle. Awful. Worst in years. It was bad no matter what day of the week it was.

sanfranman59 2:14 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 6:36, 6:51, 0.96, 35%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:05, 8:54, 0.91, 25%, Easy-Medium
Wed 12:36, 11:51, 1.06, 72%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 23:18, 19:16, 1.21, 85%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:45, 3:40, 1.02, 63%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:35, 4:35, 1.00, 56%, Medium
Wed 6:07, 5:51, 1.05, 69%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 10:57, 9:23, 1.17, 79%, Medium-Challenging

andrea kool michaels 2:31 AM  

was wondering about CUP O'TEA.
OTEA has been used once in the NYT by Manny Nosowsky on a Sat in 1994 as "Great Barrier Island" and once last year on a FRI by Kevin Der as "Cup ___" (1970's Don Williams song":
CUP O' TEA lyrics - DON WILLIAMS - CachedI don't want to be like the deep blue sea ... / I just want to be your cup 'o tea ... / I just want to be your walking cane ... / You can lean on me. ... / I don't want to be ...

I know this puzzle wasn't most folks Cup o'tea, but seriously look how the title was on the edges! It inspires me to try and think of another one that could possibly be fit into a grid like that!

It would have to have 4 words, that could bend around and form others.
Look how even the KOOL kept intact had such a great clue (Gang leader as in "Celebrate Tonight" by Kool and the Gang") which is so different from the KOOL in KOOLAID!
Ones who didn't know the book, author, subject I could see hating this, but you have to be somewhat impressed by the construction even on a subliminal level, no????!

LI from LA 2:49 AM  

Filled in SETH for 1D, glanced through the clues for the reference to the circles and almost immediately filled in the clockwise you'd think my solve time would be something to brag about. Sadly, my knowlege of the book was as trivia--haven't actually read it--and I mis-remembered it as a novel BY Kesey (who, as the author of "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, is in no way obscure). Big problems, as you can well imagine.

With KESEY in 25A, had trouble with 5D ending in -PY (even had AFTERSKI and -FY for awhile) and 22D starting with AE-. Also wanted LISP before sussing out RASP. I DID read "The Color Purple", so CELIE wasn't a problem, and walking through my building's lobby last night, I overheard two high schoolers working on chemistry homework so AVOGADRO was fresh in my mind.

My WOTD was also KLUDGE. I'm on good terms with IT (when I call to report a computer problem, they don't first ask if it's plugged in), but KLUDGE has never come up.

Some of the cluing seemed to mis-direct to an extreme degree, but the only answers I really disliked were TRACTILE, ENATE and CENSE.


DigitalDan 6:46 PM  


Didn't mean to imply Signor Avogadro's number was useful, just that most people are exposed to it.

But didn't you ever do molar calculations in your work? Indirectly, depends on above-cited number.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

Hand up for YOURTURN, Bob. I mentally inserted that as the first word in my grid, but didn't write it in because of 50a. Couldn't quite come up with "some poker betting" (and baby, I know ALL of those!) with a T in that spot.
If anyone had told me I'd solve this with no errors and no help when I first looked at it, I'd have called them nuts. Staring, searching for some toehold--anywhere--I despaired. Couldn't get anything going in the SE with SOLO, my first choice for the Episode VI returnee (well, it did fit). Again, no write-in. For some reason, when I saw "noted gang leader," I thought: knowing Will, it's probably KOOL. Hey, JFK...and: JEDI!! Lights were coming on. Then I hit on REMEDIAL, and there it was, KOOLAID, all in circles. Bingo!
Still I struggled nearly everywhere. Entries I had no clue about and had to get 100% off crosses: EREMITES, KLUDGE, RIT. I did have one writeover: thought Georgia was a TERritory. Ah, nyet, it was the OTHER Georgia. 'Twas not on my mind.
Not wishing to add to the list of PTUI! fills here, but can there be SESAMES? I have never seen that word with an S on the end.
Finally, I did enjoy seeing RAISABLE sitting right on top of NOLIMIT. And now, the Spacecraft is "all in."

anktor: an actor with a lot of "ankst," a la James Dean

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

First fill was SETH and I immediately suspected TEST in that corner--well before reading the "circled letters" clue. So when when TRIC eventually showed up in 14d I was able to fill in (the) entire title.

Five weeks go by and nobody's commented on this yet: (the) title doesn't merely circle the perimeter; each word in (the) title rounds a corner of the grid. I was hoping maybe that referenced something in the book--which I haven't read--but maybe it's just Kool placement.

Deb @ 2:51 PM  

This is one of those times when it's really fun commenting five weeks late. Rex, you were a bit too generous in your assessment of how long The Playboy Club would last as it has now been yanked from the schedule after only three episodes, though Bravo may be picking it up.

I really, really hated the Naticky NW. STUE ERWIN on top of EASTERLY. Trade WINDS???? THAT's the "trades" they're talking about here? That's just bad, bad, bad cluing. IMHO. And those both on top of TRACTILE. Ugh. I could not finish this puzzle because of those ugly-assed answers. PTUI, I say.

Waxy in Montreal 3:28 PM  

May need an ENTREE for a REMEDIAL class as I recalled the book title as ending with TRIP rather than TEST so STUERWIN - who I'd never heard of anyway - was just never gonna emerge in the NW.

Perhaps 51D (the ITAT) will be a future Apple offering? If so, undoubtedly will have an elegant, not KLUDGY design.

According to one source, TOODLEOO (horrible word) derives from the French "à tout à l'heure", meaning "see you soon". VOILA!

Anonymous 5:19 PM  

Assume you're just attempting to e funny about "the high one" having to do with weed and that you know the name refers to the highest mountain in the US.Didn't much like your Aesop comment either.

fiddleaway 7:37 PM  

I'm with others mystified by the clue for ENTREE. Can someone provide a literary quote where the anglicized version of this word is used to mean "entrance" .... if used as a french term ... then maybe .... but in that case it seems like the clue should have been something like "recommendation letter for Pierre, maybe"

Anonymous 8:37 PM  

What a long strange trip it's been, 5 weeks. I, like Pete @ 9:41 was looking for a relation between the fill and acid. I was expecting someone to talk about the semi- hallucinatory nature of the cluing, only to have them somehow fit. Kind of like what one of the Prankster, or maybe Dead, bus drivers said about uncertain,umm, 'conditions': "Sometimes you have to drive through the hallucinations."

Dirigonzo 9:10 PM  

In spite of no demand whatsoever, here's another istallment of RPDTNYTCWP on this date 5 years ago:

- Solving time: 20:59
- "My enjoyment level was high despite having to do the puzzle for a second day in a row in pencil (too Lazy to get up and look for a pen) and having to stop twice for various kid-related breaks."
- "At the risk losing my entire audience (exactly 12 lonely people in the Tri-State area, I'm pretty sure), I am going to say that I never liked Seinfeld and that Kramer is a big reason why." Even so early in his blogging career, Rex did it shy away from pop-culture controversy.
- "Normally I end up hating clues that stall me for a good period of time, but this one gave me such a "Eureka!" feeling upon solving it, that I ended up loving it." Present-day Rex, I think, does not show love for any clue that slows him down.
- "I don't have anything to say about sporks, I just like the word, the concept, the way my tongue feels in my mouth when I say it. Spork! It is a word I feel close to. Perhaps because it seems like a word that is perfect for someone who is into sports but is also a dork. Or because it sounds like a colloquial answer to the question: "What kind of meat is this?"" I have to love the youthful enthusiasm here.
- There was one comment.

Red Valerian 10:04 PM  

@Dirigonzo: I'm reading your posts, at least some of the time! What a fun idea.

I enjoyed the puzzle--AVOGADRO was the first fill. (@Z: thanks for the link to that t-shirt...) Didn't know STU ERWIN, but got it anyhow. I think puzzles aimed (sort of) at a particular age group are fine, provided not every puzzle is aimed at the same age group.

Enjoyed a lot of the comments, as usual. Good thing Rex stuck out long enough to have a real audience. Thanks, Rex!

Z 12:37 PM  

@Red Valerian - You're welcome.

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