Vamp Negri / WED 9-28-11 / Root used as soap substitute / Player of TV junkman / Eighth-inning hurler often / 1960s Bye

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Constructor: Steve Salitan

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: CLOUT (65A: Influence ... and a hint to 20-, 26-, 46- and 56-Across) — "CL" is taken OUT of four familiar phrases, creating four wacky phrases, clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: SETT (59D: Paving stone) —
A badger sett or set is a badger's den, usually consisting of a network of tunnels. The largest setts are spacious enough to accommodate 15 or more animals, with up to 300 metres (980 ft) of tunnels and as many as 40 openings. It takes many years for the animals to dig these large setts. Setts are typically excavated in soil that is well drained and easy to dig, such as sand, and situated on sloping ground where there is some cover. (wikipedia) [I realize this isn't the definition that was clued, but I like this one better— thanks to Chicago sports radio talk show host Dan Bernstein for pointing it out to me recently]
• • •

This is a puzzle I like more in retrospect than I did while solving it. I've seen several versions of the -OUT puzzle before, so this is not-at-all original, concept-wise, but at least a couple of the theme answers are cute, and the long Downs are pretty nice as well, especially REDD FOXX (37D: Player of a TV junkman) and SET-UP MAN (9D: Eighth-inning hurler, often). It always gets me down when the short fill is terrible, and it's pretty damned grievous today. I realize that the best that short fill can be is inoffensive, but if that's the best it can be, then that should be the goal. Even with cheater squares I'm having to deal with EDO (53A: Tokyo, to shoguns) and SETT ... two ugly Latin plurals in the same tiny quadrant with ACTA and SERA (60A: Anti-snakebite supplies, e.g.) ... the World's Worst Partial in AAND. I almost wish AMOLE had been a partial (to go with ACOW) because I botched that one (31A: Root used as a soap substitute). It's not a pretty word. You want people marveling at your nice long stuff, not groaning at the gunk in the works. To sum up: a recycled concept, adequately executed, with some nice longer fill.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Iodine in a barber's first-aid kit? (EAR CUT SOLUTION)
  • 26A: Doofus given a pink slip? (ASS DISMISSED)
  • 46A: One modifying goals? (AIMS ADJUSTOR) — extremely vague (and dull) clue made this one the hardest to get. 
  • 56A: Cronus and Rhea's barbecue remains? (ASH OF THE TITANS) — easiest one to get, by far.
Speaking of Titans, I know who Argus is, but I did not know Argus-eyed meant ALERT. I remembered that THETA  was an [Angle symbol in trigonometry] only after I changed BRIE to PATÉ to get the initial "T" (BRIE tastes lovely while PATÉ tastes like dog food, hence my solving instinct). I've seen POLA Negri in puzzles many, many times (25A: Vamp Negri), and yet still hesitated. Brain couldn't quite accept that POLA was a real name. I had to manually override it. I just googled "serpent" to see how exactly it is different from "snake" (short answer: it isn't), and noticed that "The Serpent" was a 1916 silent film starring POLA Negri's crossword compatriot, THEDA "Don't call me THETA" BARA. Just a little bit of trivia for you to forget in a few minutes.

You know who's a big fan of serpents (by which I mean "snakes")? Dana Delany. You can see her discuss her herpetological interests here, in this interview with Jimmy Kimmel. She also discusses crosswords, including her experience co-constructing a Sunday NYT puzzle with Matt Ginsberg this past summer (interview starts around the 16 min. mark, in show's second segment). I want to thank her for saying such kind things about this blog, and for giving Jimmy the opportunity to ridicule my name, repeatedly, on national television. A huge thrill and honor on both counts.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Pete 12:07 AM  

He didn't ridicule your name, he got the joke. Wasn't Rex Parker your made porn-star/super-hero/40's private eye name? Well, Jimmy's not that smart, he fell for the joke. That sounds right.

Gill I. P. 12:21 AM  

Well, this was my kind of puzzle. Not only are the clues clever but the answers are just plain fun. I wasn't the least bit bothered by the short fill. I really couldn't find a thing that made me want to go HUH??
really liked CATCHALL, ONTOPIC, BICOASTAL, REDD FOXX with DR J sandwiched along side RUSHDIE.
I'm only a bit disappinted that EYJA whatever has 16 letters.
REX...I don't know what PATE you ate but dang - dog food? Pate de foie gras is one of the most exquisite foods to grace this planet.
More Please Mr. Salitan; I really enjoyed this puzzle.

foodie 12:55 AM  

ASS DISMISSED is pretty funny!

My main complaint about the puzzle is SETT... I mean it is intersecting the all-important reveal word and what the heck is it? It seems to me it deserved some reworking-- although I realize that it would not be easy...

Rex, this was good PR, that Dana Delany bit. And now I know how to spell her name..

syndy 12:59 AM  

Does one make CLAMOLE by adding avacados or chocolate to one's clams? Why does this puzzle discriminate against REPS? Where does JIMMY KIMMEL get off making fun of anybody else's name? questions to ponder!I kinda liked ASS DISMISSED-it's just so wrong.EARCUT SOLUTION made me stare for quite a while

Tobias Duncan 1:07 AM  

SETUPMAN was hard won for me and sounds idiotic.
Pate(or anything liver related) is an acquired taste and so rewarding once you've acquired it.Best to start with a good German braunschweiger and work your way up.
I had not seen Kimmel before, pretty funny guy.Made me want to go back and do her puzzle, but I just seem to hate sunday puzzles for some reason.

@syndy , I dont know about CLAMOLE but that Mexican beer on ice with Clamato thing is outstanding.If you ever make it, add a splash of pickle juice.So refreshing!

syndy 1:10 AM  

Looking at the Parker House roll I'm fairly sure that VEEjah and olivia were separated at birth.should we tell them?

CoffeeLvr 1:20 AM  

I confidently entered yucca for the soap plant; did not know there was another.

I liked the clue for TDS. A little bit of 3 sports, just enough.

I was underwhelmed by this puzzle, but I suppose it was 'ever enough for Wednesday.

chefwen 2:04 AM  

I've been fooled by the XXout before and today was no exception. Kept wondering what clout had to do with any of the long answers and had a major DOH moment when I figured it out. Maybe someday...

Left the partially filled out puzzle laying around while I attended to other tasks and my husband picked it up and filled in 9D SET UP MAN, bless his little heart, it would have taken me ages to fill that in using all crosses. Love most sports but that was a new one for me.

Rube 2:20 AM  

Got all the puzz in good time except had a true personal Natick at the AMOLE/ADIA cross... had no idea! AidA, yes. ADIA, no.

Yes, Rex, we are in perfect agreement re PATE. My cats won't eat the stuff either.

@Tobias Duncan: what are you talking about with respect to Mexican beer, pickle juice, and Clamato. Sounds good.

I believe that Kimmel's inhterview was mentioned on the LAT website yesterday. @Rex, you've been pre-empted.

Despite the Natick, enjoyed this puzzle. Definitely a Wednesday level solve.

Cyrus 5:39 AM  

Rex, you're either sampling *really* great dog food or half-ass pate. Try D'Artagnan for a good store bought terrine, or better yet, make one of Julia's some holiday. Pork, veal, ham and pistachio. It's too good for lots of my good friends, let alone their mutts.

88CalBear 6:29 AM  

SETUPMAN was a gimme for me, but if you're not a baseball fan, I don't know how you would have any clue on that one -- kind of like half of the stuff in most puzzles for me.

pauer 7:16 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Donne 7:22 AM  


BEFORE I sigh my last gasp, let me breathe,
Great Love, some legacies ; I here bequeath
Mine eyes to Argus, if mine eyes can see ;
If they be blind, then, Love, I give them thee ;
My tongue to Fame ; to ambassadors mine ears ;
To women, or the sea, my tears ;
Thou, Love, hast taught me heretofore
By making me serve her who had twenty more,
That I should give to none, but such as had too much before.

dk 7:45 AM  

Hmm I was thinking of serving duck liver PATE to some guests on a homemade baguette Saturday but now that I know I can save money by buying Alpo. Not to mention the joy in the eyes of my geese....

This week has been filled with puzzle deep thoughts. First my conversations with Andrea, then exploring the 4th dimension with Peter C. I now have more lenses than an optometrist with which to view our daily offerings. But, I choose to stick with what I know and that is IMHO. So I look for the story that pulls the puzzle together rather than grid wizardry, clue links, panagrams, etc. A good story line is worth a star or 2 in my book... err post.

So this puzzle. No story but a cute theme and plenty of sixties references. It clears by a whisper the Wednesday bar.

** (2 Stars) Agree with Rex this one is better in reflection like most of my relationships.... Bitter! Table for one?

Black bear on my neighbor's patio the other day. She was wearing a tee shirt: Got Cat?

Campesite 7:46 AM  

Big week in RexWorld: wedding anniversary, blog birthday, and a rave about this site on a network late night talk show by a famous actress. Great stuff. I used to work at Comedy Central when Jimmy Kimmel was on a couple of shows there, and he was a really friendly and absolutely hilarious guy.
Redd Foxx worked very blue, so dirty it's hard to fathom he starred in a massive sitcom (the infectious Sanford & Son theme song is actually my ringtone). Weird to see his name in the grid, particularly with the X's at the start of their crosses.

jackj 7:58 AM  

Fun theme entries, coupled with some unfortunate fill needed to keep the theme goodies intact, creates a conundrum for solvers, (and commenters on puzzles), do we say "yea" or do we say "nay" to the puzzle overall.

ASSDISMISSED, alone, was enough to coax a "yea" out of this solver though BOIS, ICEL (twice in one week?!), AAND, AMOLE, ADIA and SETT made it a close call.

(The one which cries out to be clued in a friendlier fashion is AMOLE which would have been better received if it was clued as say, "Whack-..." for, you got it, "Whack-a-mole").

But, there were also a goodly number of redemptive fill bits like DULLARD, BICOASTAL, SETUPMAN and CATCHALL which overrode the groans and made the puzzle a credible Wednesday effort.

DavidB 8:34 AM  

How is ANO a "part of mayo"?

SethG 8:36 AM  


All of the long downs were better than any of the theme answers. But, AAND.

AAND is barely a step away from cluing POLA with [___ND (European country)]. I looked her up--I've never even heard of any of the movies she's been in. Knew SETT, though.


joho 8:39 AM  

The SE was the most difficult for me as I had FOREseen before FORETOLD AND Outdo before ONEUP. I thought SETT had something to do with mosaics. Anyway, once I got that corner right I saw ASHOFTHETITANS and EARCUTSOLUTION suddenly made sense.

Loved REDDFOXX in the grid. ASSDISMISSED is fantASStic!

I enjoyed this fun Wednesday, thank you, Steve!

(@DavidB ... think in Spanish)

Anonymous 8:40 AM  

@DavidB - The month May (Mayo) is part of a year (ANO) in Spanish.

shrub5 8:41 AM  

Progress in the NE was slowed by not knowing French (BOIS, TOI) and figuring the 8th-inning guy must be a reliever. Couldn't recall Ms. Negri's first name and thus ended up with my one error PuLA. Wanted Caesar's unlucky number to be XV, as in the ides of March, but quickly realized it was XIII.

@jackj -
Whack-A-MOLE (good one!)
(clue = whack_____ (arcade game at Chuck E Cheese) Alternate clue = 'suffix' with guac?

That Redd Foxx clip was funnnny. His real name was John E. Sanford.

The SETT definition was indeed interesting, surely more so than paver info.

Noted a little political abbreviations mini-theme with DEMS, IND and SEN.

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

I'm still mulling over the idea of a bear on the neighbor's patio wearing a tshirt.

hazel 8:56 AM  

SETUPMAN was a gimme. I am going to potentially the last game of the regular season tonight and I hope to see our SETUPMAN (Johnny Venters) in a hold situation because that means we're still in the game with a shot at the post-season. What a long strange trip its been for Braves' fans this September.

OTOH, for me, eating PATE is like eating veal. Know too much about the process and can't get past it and won't eat it. Sausage - no problem!

puzzle seemed a little offbeat. i liked it, perhaps moreso in retrospect too.

jberg 9:09 AM  

So guacAMOLE is made from a root?

How come no one is complaining about XIII at 64A? I guess it's a nice misdirection - if I hadn't already had the first I from RUSHDIE, I'd certainly have put ides in there. But still -- was 13 unlucky for Romans? Caesar's actual unlucky date was the 15th, wasn't it?

Still, I enjoyed the puzzle. I too had OUTDO before ONEUP, which slowed down getting the theme - but somehow I realized the revealer must end in OUT, and so it had to be CLOUT, and then I could see all the theme answers, so that was my real 'aha' moment.

Other bits of confusion - wanting Mayo answer to be either BLT or some weird abbreviation for Ireland; and figuring serpent must refer to the Renaissance wind instrument, which didn't help me at all.

efrex 9:10 AM  

Like Rex and others, really liked the theme and the longer fill, but really hated the short fill. Took a guess at the ADIA/AMOLE cross, and BOIS/ICEL, ORDS,TAE, POLA, AAND etc. were just a bit much. On the other hand, SETUPMAN was a gimme for me, so maybe that balances out a bit.

Having FORESEEN before FORETOLD made getting the CLOUT revealer a bit difficult.

Surprised nobody's been kvetching about 64A: Caesar's unlucky number was 15, not 13, no?

For those who will be celebrating tonight: shana tova (happy new year)!

quilter1 9:14 AM  

I caught the theme at 56A and after that it fell easily. So funny. I like it when the puzzle makes me laugh in the morning. I also like the funnies.

Yeah, bear in tee shirt. Hmmm. Did you get a photo?

Also liked the Kimmell/Delaney interview. You can't buy that kind of publicity.

John V 9:24 AM  

Today's rating = 16 miles, Stamford to New Rochelle. Average to easy for a Wednesday. Had to guess for ADIA/AMOLE and guessed right; I'll take that, thank you. Had FORECAST @41D for a bit, but eventually got that gnarly SE okay. SETUPMAN was a gimme for this Yankee fan. Also, as an insurance IT consultant, (CL)AIMSADJUSTER was where I got the theme. (Also helps to have survived three teenage drivers, who actually introduce you to claims adjusters.)

Did not know Iceland could be abbreviated ICEL, but the crosses made that easy.

Wrote in IDES @64A first pass through, but REDD FOXX cleared that up.

A happy Wednesday, all done, all right.

For me, much easier than yesterday.

chefbea 9:36 AM  

@Rube..I mentioned the Jimmy Kimmel interview here yesterday. I Had seen it the night before!!

finnished the puzzle but didn't get the theme til I got here.

Knew sett would be WOD

MountainManZach 9:37 AM  

@Tobias: It's called a michelada. Add hot sauce to take it to the next level!

@jackj: Agreed about whack-a-mole. Almost doesn't feel like a partial, because I'm too busy laughing about how whack-a-mole is actually a thing.

@Rex: Turns out, you're not alone. SCIENCE!

mac 10:03 AM  

I liked this one! Caught the theme after "ass dismissed", so the aims and ash were easy.

Liked many of the long answers, and only really disliked AAND, the rest is just regular fill to me, sometimes very helpful. Don't ask me why I knew the term set-up man.... I didn't realize argus-eyed is not a common English expression; it is in Dutch, but it means more than alert. You watch "argus-eyed" when you are worried to get fooled. The sett area was the last to fall.

@hazel: for a moment I thought there was going to be an Asta in the SW!

JenCT 10:07 AM  

Hard to believe people don't know ADIA; seems like you couldn't turn on the radio without hearing it: Sarah McLachlan

Just a few writeovers: CAT to CPA, TOU to TOI, SERS to SERA.

I didn't know REDDFOXX was so raunchy!

Great Rex shoutout by Dana Delany.

pauer 10:08 AM  

Yay! Congrats on your 2nd solo NYT puzzle, Steve! Enjoy being on top of the xword world today.

quilter1 10:09 AM  

I recently saw sea serpents at the aquarium in Long Beach, CA. They are a species of sea horse and very beautiful.

foodie 10:12 AM  

@MountainManZach, I know that, some day, I will find it in my heart to forgive you for showing me this article...

slypett 10:12 AM  

Indeed, Julius Caesar had two unlucky numbers. We all know about the Ides, but much less well known is the date January 13. That was the day Caesar lost his last tooth. Forsooth!

JaxInL.A. 10:30 AM  

@MountainManZach, that scientific paper is hilarious! How in the world do you know about it?

Hand up for yucca for AMOLE. Fixed it, but the crossing with ADIA was a Natick for me. Thanks, @JenCT, for the link. I remember the song but never knew the title.

ASS DISMISSED gave me a Wednesday smile. Thanks, Mr. Salitan!

L'shana tova umetekah (a sweet and happy new year) to all.

archaeoprof 10:47 AM  

@Rex: remember us when you come into your kingdom.

Like @hazel, I found this one a little offbeat.

Writeovers included: apropos/ONTOPIC, reliever/SETUPMAN, foreseen/FORETOLD.

Sarah McLachlan did that song about a "stark old hotel room." Or was it a "dark cold hotel room"? Or a "stark cold hotel room"? Or a "dark old hotel room"?

Always have wondered about that.

Mel Ott 10:48 AM  

Other than ASS DISMISSED I found the theme answers kind of dull. Some of the original phrases were more interesting than the confected ones, e.g. CLASH OF THE TITANS vs. ASH OF THE TITANS.

I found the longer fill answers much more interesting than the theme: DULLARD, BICOASTAL, CATCHALL, OLD MASTER, ON TOPIC, etc.

The non-sports folks probably wouldn't know SET UP MAN, but it should be gettable from the croses.

jesser 10:55 AM  

Late start. Great puzzle, although the SE was a writeover festival with FOREseen before FORETOLD and Outdo before ONE UP. What a mess! But it all worked itself out.

I greatly liked the theme and watching the long Acrosses emerge.

Other writeovers were den before SEA at 27D and blt before ANO at 48D, both of which I thought would hold, until they didn't.

And ultimately it was a DNF because I had to guess at the intersection of 6A and 9D; I went with a lET UP MAN and BOIl de Boulogne. I know little of baseball or Paris parks, obviously.

@600: Thanks. :-)

And I remember someone said it's time for me to write a story soon. I promise that I will. But not today.

Onward, Rexites!

Two Ponies 10:59 AM  

@ Rex, Are you saying you actually have tried dog food??
Being mentioned and made fun of on national TV is great. Any fallout yet?
@ dk, I want a photo of that bear in the t-shirt too!
Puzzle was worth it just for ass dismissed.
I liked the misdirection for XIII.
I don't know if the Romans were concerned about that number but with the "?" i knew it wasn't ides.

evil doug 11:00 AM  

So: Dana Delany is into snakes....

Ass not dismissed.


Gill I. P. 11:08 AM  

@MountainManZach: I'm still giggling. I have two images stuck in my head now: @dk serving Alpo on a grilled baquette and the line-up of the test subjects drinking Clamato.

Jim 11:10 AM  

What a slog! SW corner was a vile, wretched mess with a box only a constructor could love. Restof the puzzle fades away, and that's the taste that lingers. Although I should fault myself, b/c SAHARA was very slow in coming (SAHses...who the hell is SAHses?)

I watched the innterview and it's good to see Dana is holding up so well. Don't watch Jimmy much, but I like him. And he's perfecting that david Letterman deadpan. "It sounds fun". Damn right, it's fun!

Blue Stater 11:18 AM  

Nasty puzzle, though not quite as nasty as yesterday's, which gave me a DNF Tuesday for the first time evah. I don't think you really use an atlas if you're planning a trip; never heard of Mo-Tze; it's "claims adjuster" with an "e" not an "o." And SETT, a piece of stand-alone ugly. I'm amazed that the Times copydesk lets this stuff go through day after day. OTOH it wouldn't surprise me to learn that the puzzles don't go through the copydesk at all. Wish they did.

Shamik 11:26 AM  

I would like to dismiss my ass.

Challenging time for me at 8:02! Liked the theme. The fill...well, it's fill.

David 11:42 AM  

I liked this one a lot. Long Downs were terrific, esp. ONTOPIC, which was also a writeover (ON TOP OF). I tend to barely notice the crosswordese as I'm filling puzzles out, with occasional exceptions. Was a full minute and a half faster than yesterday.

ASS DISMISSED by far my fav of the themed answers, AIMS ADJUSTOR a bit weak, and the other 2 were just fine.

Really enjoyed the Dana Delany interview....PEACE out.

Brian 11:58 AM  

I dug it.

I thought the theme was "ever."

"Early," it wasn't to everyone's taste, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I didn't find the fill "uttered" the grid at all, not with terrific answers such as CATCHALL, SETUPMAN, ONTOPIC, BICOASTAL and FORETOLD. Not to mention, OLDMASTER, REDDFOXX, and ANTFARM.

ASSDISMISSED is outstanding and one of the best answers in a long time. I wasn't as big a fan of EARCUTSOLUTION, which I found a stretch, but it gets a pass because there was so much more good stuff.

Well done, Mr. Salitan!

miriam b 12:23 PM  

EARCUTSOLUTION gave me the shivers. I'm surprised that no one else has thought of van Gogh's answer to an unrequited love problem. Loved the rest of the puzzle. Love good PATE. @Rex. I thought you were a vegetarian. Want some meatless PATE recipes?

miriam b 12:23 PM  

EARCUTSOLUTION gave me the shivers. I'm surprised that no one else has thought of van Gogh's answer to an unrequited love problem. Loved the rest of the puzzle. Love good PATE. @Rex. I thought you were a vegetarian. Want some meatless PATE recipes?

LR 12:24 PM  

48D is AÑO, not ANO (which means something quite different, as has been discussed here smirkingly many times :-).

ADJUSTOR and ADJUSTeR are both attested by dictionaries, though Auntie Google tries to "correct" a search for ADJUSTOR on your behalf.

Ed 12:35 PM  

As a graduate of 51A, I have to say that was terribly clued, although I suspect it was more done to deal with having AAND in the grid, and Shortz changing the clue from whatever it was originally. (I'd sure like to see the before/after editing on this one.)

Other than that, pretty good for me. Any time you can throw down ASSDISMISSED and REDDFOXX in the same puzzle is a good thing.

stix2metunesmiffin 12:58 PM  

Wicked good shtuff!

Had a genuine "aha" when CLOUT was revealed, and the long downs got me through the short fill without too much pain. Completely missed POLA thanks to a fun-filled filling-in of bicoastal.

I just really enjoyed this one, in a way I haven't enjoyed a mid-weeker in a while. Came out of it smiling.

Off to pray to the gods of baseball for a Happy Soxtober. Go Sox!!!

OISK 1:29 PM  

Like many others, the "A" in amole and adia was a pure guess - I did get it right. I think that is an awful cross, and I still don't know what "Adia" is, (or, for that matter, who Sarah McLachlan is). Still I don't want to condemn what was a really clever puzzle on the basis of one space. I enjoyed the puzzle, and with that one exception, thought it was appropriate for a Wednesday.

KarenSampsonHudson 1:41 PM  

I come from a political family; I have a couple thoughts about that Jimmy Kimmel show. (1)Getting your name before the public is usually good; and (2) Try to make sure the media spells your name correctly---as apparently the NY Times failed to do in Delany's case :-).
Thanks for the link, Rex. I suspect that many, if not most, of your followers are not in the demographic that follows Kimmel's shows, so we wouldn't have known. :-).

hazel 1:45 PM  

@mac - glad I didn't get ahead of myself in that corner. i get the heeby-jeebies just thinking about that little "pooch." might have ruined the whole solve!

mldgibberish 2:01 PM  

I remember Thomas Nast,among other reasons,because the term "nasty" was coined from his name....

fergus 2:19 PM  

Switched to FOREGONE after FORESEEN; oops.

How about (cl)AMOROUS DIN?

Anonymous 2:57 PM  

I had never heard of Pola Negri but I fly with a girl from Belgium named Pola.

Anonymous 3:06 PM  

@Rex - I never tasted dog food so I can't compare, but I do love PATE.


I entered RELIEVER for SETUPMAN so I was stuck at 3rd (lol) for a little bit. I kept reading the clue for 24A as PassPORT instead of PassBOOK - more time wasted until I got the crosses.

Anyway - great theme and enjoyable answers. Some of the short fill could have been better (AAND, ACTA), but I'm not too upset; I got the answers.

And, as a huge Yankees fan, I can't believe I'm doing this, but . . . Let's Go Rays!

Sparky 3:21 PM  

Popped in PhD, Ides, then messed around with XIV. All cleared up eventually. Genuine Ah Hah moment when I separated the CL from the OUT. Thanks @JenatCT for the link. Have neveer heard that song and I am so glad.

HULU has managed to misspell Delany's name. So nobody watches their stories before posting them.

hazel 3:23 PM  

@3:06 Anonymous - if I were a huge Yankees fan, I'd stay anonymous too!! ;~}

Joe 3:44 PM  

Liked this puzzle a lot.
Best in weeks for me.

Two points:

--Dan Bernstein?!?! I hope he doesn't blog here because he is a prime a**hole. I will NOT listen to his station if he is on. I wish Doug Buffone HAD laid him out.

--Dana Delany......will always be a babe. If she knew what I thought about her she would never stop slapping me.

Anonymous 4:01 PM  

The word asty dates back to the 14th century.

Anonymous 4:02 PM  

make that Nasty dates back to the 14th century

sanfranman59 4:06 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Wed 11:49, 11:51, 1.00, 56%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Wed 6:13, 5:51, 1.06, 71%, Medium-Challenging

Anonymous 4:06 PM  

@Hazel - that's not why I am anonymous. I know lots of Yankee fans who are rooting for the Rays this week. Anything to knock the Sox out of the playoffs and make their nation roil in pain and anguish. I couldn't help but snicker at the article in NYT about the Yankee fans buying drinks for the sad Red Sox fans. I just hope they had big grins when they clinked glasses.

hazel 4:39 PM  

@anonyYank - i got your point. was just joking you because i really really dislike the yankees (big big braves fan and through marriage, a red sox fan). our house has had plenty of misery the past few weeks!!!!!

going to the game tonight, though. hope to have something to cheer about tomorrow!!

i'm over my comment limit so dont say anything nasty about the Braves, please!!

Anonymous 5:00 PM  

@Hazel - I just hate the Red Sox (but not in a mean way), not the Braves. And the only Red Sox fans that SHOULD suffer are the a**hole fans. I hope they know who they are.

Good luck and enjoy the game.

Over and out.

Doc John 5:06 PM  

As I solved, I also thought that AAND was the Worst Partial Ever. At least it was clued in a straightforward way (instead of, say, Florida ____M).

skua76 7:15 PM  

I too had trouble with AMOLE/ADIA, partly because I wrote in uND for 42A, my first thought was "undeclared" and I ended up with ADuA for 31A and never saw to fix it. Sorry, Sarah M.

@Rex, I enjoyed the Delany interview, and @MountainManZach, that was a great paper. Much easier to follow than all that neutrino stuff I was reading last week. Hmmm, what's for dinner? (no, I don't own a dog and I really don't care for pâté)

Z 7:52 PM  

Most disappointing moment was writing REDDFOXX and expecting something lively, and getting XIII and XMEN instead. How my expectations have been raised.

Had every letter from column 6 to 15 in and only IND, NTH and desert in the west. Looked at CLOUT for too long before the light went on.

Hand up for FOREseen and Outdo, the aforementioned desert, and the Natick at 31A/D (guessed right), so this puzzle was a struggle for me. I have to agree with RP that I like this more in retrospect than while I was solving.

Spending sometime on Bois Blanc Island helped with the parc.

As for baseball, Phillies will lose to the Diamondbacks, the Rangers will lose to the Tigers, and the story lines will be awesome - 2011 Tigers battling 1984 Tiger heroes for the title.

r.alphbunker 8:12 PM  

Thanks for the Dana Delany clip. She has a lot of class. I particularly liked her comment about constructing reminding her of homework. I am sure that RP's grading of her puzzle didn't help.

BTW, the spell checker in Firefox puts a red line under "Delany" but not under "Delaney".

Chip Hilton 9:09 PM  

Just the thought that Dana delany might have read one of my posts made my day. She was terrific with Kimmel.

Second straight day with a nice Wednesday puzzle.

amole catchall michaels 12:15 AM  

yay steve!
I had ASSDISMISSal for a while. So tough mid-East.

Hard to drop TWO letters and still have clever smooth phrases which he did...esp working with a 14, 12, 12,14 grid! (Aslongas we are mentioning construction from time to time...)

Lots of intriguing fill: BICOASTAL, ANTFARM, REDDFOXX in full, CATCHALL, DULLARD

Loved the interview...fabulous, hope nice things come from it, tho not sure she should have tackled a Sunday as her first puzzle as it IS a ton of work...but how cool that she is bright and beautiful and seems to love to laugh.

And yes, Happy New Year on all sorts of levels!

sanfranman59 12:45 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 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 6:10, 6:51, 0.90, 14%, Easy
Tue 11:09, 8:55, 1.25, 95%, Challenging (7th highest median solve time of 119 Tuesday puzzles)
Wed 12:18, 11:51, 1.04, 63%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:14, 3:40, 0.88, 5%, Easy (6th lowest median solve time of 118 Monday puzzles)
Tue 5:35, 4:35, 1.22, 97%, Challenging (5th highest median solve time of 119 Tuesday puzzles)
Wed 6:07, 5:51, 1.05, 68%, Medium-Challenging

Anonymous 2:49 PM  

Thank you for noting the alternative defition of Sett as a home for badgers. At the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison (the home of the "Badgers"), the main space in the new student Union is named "The Sett."

Anonymous 1:50 PM  

I'm Argus-eyed every morning. That's my paper.

Nothing unusual about a bear wearing a T-shirt.

Heartbreaking to see the hopeful comments from Braves and Sox fans here in Syndication Land. They have no idea what's in store for them "tonight."

Dirigonzo 7:23 PM  

From syndiland, I loved this puzzle, but then I solved it while drinking bourbon and listening to some great blues on WMPG so who wouldn't love it? I didn't even realize how ugly AAND is until I saw it out of context here - it made perfect sense in the puzzle.

From RPDTNYTCY on this date 5 years ago:
- Solving time: 7:42 "What is up with the last two days' puzzles? I have absolutely torched them (by Rex standards), breaking Rex records for Wednesday and Thursday puzzles on back-to-back days. I even did today's puzzle on screen, with the Across Lite ap, which normally slows me down - but today I entered the first six Across clues one after the other, all (it turns out) correctly."
- "OK, I'm going to stop reliving the psycho-sexual dynamics of my adolescence now. Adam Ant and Shelley Long are enough for one day."
- " Eventually I realized that one does not FLAP A COIN (34D: Decide by calling heads or tails), and the problem was fixed."
- "To her credit, however, Sahra loves all things Looney Tunes and knows the name of Wile E. Coyote's favorite mail-order catalog (given here in the plural): 52D: Ultimate heights (Acmes)." (Andrea has not yet made an appearance.)
- "Is "racistly" an adverb? Because I'm pretty sure you have to say "AH, SO" with your eyes squinted, while bowing slightly. It's something Richard Dawson not only would, but did say, from time to time, on Match Game. You might want to follow up AH, SO with "Confucius say..." or "Ancient Chinese secret." Then start saying your R's as L's, and you're ready to take your Asian-baiting show on the road!" (Recent posts indicate Rex has not softened on this subject.)
- There were 11 comments including a lively discussion among @Howard B, @Orange and @Rex on a variety of puzzle-related topics. RP's avatar which appeared yesterday was not apparent on this day.

Anonymous 8:52 PM  

Spacecraft here. Trust me, if you've ever seen what they do to make the foie "gras," you would never again so much as set foot in any place that offered pate, let alone eat it. I'm not one of those PETA nuts, but dear God! What they do to those geese!
Anyway, a very interesting puzzle today. Some cool pairs: SETT and SETUPMAN, ESAU and EZRA, DULLARD and ASSDISMISSED (rofl!). Then there are two icons right next to each other: DRJ and REDDFOXX. It's the big slam dunk, Elizabeth!! And next to them the remarkably-named RUSHDIE.
Yeah, XIII was surely bad luck for old Julius: must have been when Brutus and the boys were hatching their plot, 'cause two days later...el stabbo.

eestr: One a them hollydays, like Kriss-miss...
I remember one blustery eestr
We caught a pig and we greestr.
We laughed as the kids
Went flipping their lids;
One even wound up on his keestr.

Dirigonzo 10:38 PM  

@Anony 8:52PM (aka Spacecraft) - I always enjoy your posts. Please keep them coming.

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