Florida city on Gulf / MON 10-10-11 / Midwest city whose name is poker variety / Stogie holder / Footwear may be worn with PJs

Monday, October 10, 2011

Constructor: Ian Livengood

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: 10CC — ten two-word phrases, where both words in each phrase start with "C"

Word of the Day: "RIGOLETTO" (3D: Verdi opera) —
Rigoletto is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi. The Italian libretto was written by Francesco Maria Piave based on the play Le roi s'amuse by Victor Hugo. It was first performed at La Fenice in Venice on March 11, 1851. It is considered by many to be the first of the operatic masterpieces of Verdi's middle-to-late career. (wikipedia)
• • •
Not much to say here, except 10 is a hell of a lot of theme answers.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Stogie holder (CIGAR CASE)
  • 21A: Florida city on the Gulf (CAPE CORAL) — not familiar...
  • 27A: What a TV host often reads from (CUE CARD)
  • 33A: Place to hang a jacket (COAT CLOSET)
  • 43A: Sign of alien life, some say (CROP CIRCLE)
  • 49A: Army do (CREW CUT)
  • 59A: Fessed up (CAME CLEAN) — jumped the gun here and wrote in COME CLEAN, inferring answer from crosses and figuring surely a theme answer would be in present tense...
  • 66A: The French Open is the only Grand Slam tournament played on this (CLAY COURT) — ugh, this clue. Just write [French Open surface]. Done and done.
  • 8D: Bit of razzing (CAT CALL)
  • 44D: Auto maintenance (CAR CARE)     
Weird to have long Downs that are not theme answers when shorter Downs are. Other than that, I honestly don't know what else to tell you. ARF under SPCA is a cute juxtaposition. I have never heard anyone refer to their footwear as MOCS (1D: Footwear that may be worn with PJs), especially when pajama-clad. The clue appears to mean "slippers." Also, [Scratch] for MAR doesn't quite work for me as an equivalence. This is like cluing HUNT as [Shoot at]. Maybe, but not necessarily. If I scratch your back, or a lottery ticket, I've marred neither (not if I'm doing it right, anyway). If I scratch your car, and it's barely visible, MAR seems too strong. I thought CHIC was COOL (27D: Trendy). I didn't know OMAHA had anything to do with poker (54D: Midwest city whose name is a poker variety), nor did I know TAFT's father co-founded Skull and Bones (38D: President whose father co-founded Yale's Skull and Bones). The COLTS (8A: Football team with a blue horseshoe on its helmet) are still without Peyton Manning and continue to suck in unfathomable ways, as do I in my football pool.

Have a nice day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Oh the Humanity! 12:14 AM  

I came here to check on Sunday's comments, and scrolled down as quickly as possible to avoid a spoiler of Monday's puzzle. Not quickly enough avoid having the sentence fragment "suck in unfathomable ways, as do I in my football pool" immediately above a picture of Boy George etched indelibly on my mind.

Wish me luck sleeping.

Gill I. P. 12:20 AM  

A fine Monday morning puzzle.
10 CC's from Ian C. to boot.
Not too hard, not to easy and filled with lots of fun gettable words.
I usually have a favorite (or two) theme answers but this time, I really liked them all. Well, maybe CAME CLEAN as I picture a handsome gypsy stunt-man I went out with at one time. I told him he had to clean himself up before meeting my grandmother and he CAME CLEAN....
Gracias as usual Mr. Livengood; this puzzle gave me a smile.

xan 12:21 AM  

CC for christopher columbus, maybe? too much of a coincidence not to be, but it seems like that should have been indicated somewhere in the grid.

syndy 12:31 AM  

my write over was EKE for 1 across and my final answer was 60 down! Lively chic charming-a usual Livergood.

Detour 1:10 AM  

Needed a nice breezy Monday after Sundays arduous puzzle. As for MOCS (moccasins) think LL Bean's suede slippers with fleece lining. (Eek! Just google to find that Bean and Lands End have Merrel type suede slips on called MOCS. Bean also calls their duck boot shoe a MOC. Isn't the latter blasphemy in ME?)
Moving right on to MAR...I thought of scratch in terms of furniture. As when my pups scratch my new dark wood table with their claws and MAR it! Darn dogs.

candrea carla michaels 1:18 AM  

10! Curse you Ian Livengood! STOP raising the Monday bar, immediately!

That said, I liked it, eaxcept I've never heard of CAPE CORAL and I wanted COAT Check.

Rex can kick me, but I liked learning that a CLAY COURT is ONLY in the French Open...Little bit of trivia that enriched the puzzle.

you had a malapop!
I, too, with ATAD where ABIT was...and then it showed up below.

I would say a little tennis subtheme with CLAY COURT, SERENA, ACEIT and WINO.

and a forshadowing of a future Ian puzzle with SOSAD and SPACESUIT.
He needs but 8 more.

Detour 1:20 AM  

Didn't we recently have a CC theme? I thought I remembered a 10 CC's video previously.
@Humanity: You could always replace your CultureClub image with Wham.

chefwen 1:32 AM  

As @Detour said, a welcomed relief after Sunday's slog/groaner.

I wear MOCS with everything, as I have stated before, my footwear of choice. Minnetonka brand only.

Got the two CC theme early and it did help with the solve which was over very quickly. Had to print the Merl Reagle Puzzle to get me through the Milwaukee Brewers playoff game, Go Brewers, and the Packer game, go Pack. A good day in Cheesehead land.

Modesty Blasé 1:38 AM  

The French Open (played at Roland Garros, Paris)is the only Grand Slam tennis tournament played on this particular surface.

See Rex, it could have been worse.

Thanks for the 10cc vid. That was one of my defining songs in high school.

CoffeeLvr 3:18 AM  

I was consoled by Rex's comments on MAR & MOCS, as I had to stop and really think for that final letter (yes, it is the initial letter of in the grid, but the last letter I filled in.) I could not get scratch golfer (pAR) out of my head, but pOCS are not footwear. And sOCS is not how you spell socks or sox, which some people even wear while they are sleeping.

Anyway, since I watched the Chiefs come back and beat Indianapolis this afternoon, 8A COLTS was a gimme.

Found a mini word ladder: ORC, ARC, ARF.

shrub5 5:58 AM  

Ian is one Cool Cruciverbalist, a highly Competent Constructor creating many Catchy Clues.

Clue found on the cutting room floor:
Highest paid pitcher in MLB, and a hint to this puzzle's theme.

Wasn't there a movement awhile back to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day? What happened with that? ... a brief check in wiki shows IPD is celebrated in Berkeley and a few other places around the US. Some have renamed it Native American Day. Many localities have discontinued Columbus Day celebrations due to lack of interest or budget cuts.

imsdave 6:24 AM  

So many theme anwsers on a Monday! Very impressive that it still played out as an early week puzzle. Nice work Mr. Livengood.

Oscar 7:24 AM  

The initial C's in CIGAR and CIRCLE sound like esses, but that's a minor nit to pick.

Just under 4 minutes means this was quite easy (or I'm just getting smarter).

Z 7:45 AM  

Ten. Rigoletto, an Opera I have heard of. Ten CC - one of my older brother's favorite groups. A good morning.

@chefwen - I'm rooting for your Brewers to play my Tigers.

joho 7:52 AM  

10 theme answers is very impressive, indeed! And whether its intentional or not, I love the CC theme appearing on Columbus Day. Plus, even with the theme density, the fill is smooth sailing.

Thanks, Ian!

@candrea carla michaels, how does WINO fit into a mini tennis theme?

jp 7:57 AM  

Fairly easy one for a Monday. Finished in a bit over 10 minutes which is a near record speed for me. 10 CC is impressive

Mike 8:02 AM  

Great Monday puzzle!

dk 8:03 AM  

An OTHER 75 degree day here in Western WI.

The big puzzler for me today is why Acme feels tennis and wino go together. Of course it is true that before I became a wino I did play tennis... but that was 40 years ago. Often would play on a CLAYCOURT and the balls were white.

This puzzle is cute but oddly unsatisfying.. like the ghost shaped and colored Marshmallow Peeps. Rex's "not much to say here" about sums it up for me.

** (2 Stars) Was Columbus day once a school holiday? I did learn from Will's puzzle show that Indians are so named because Columbus et. al. thought the Americas were India... I think that is because the call center for the chandlery was....

Off to Seattle tomorrow morning.

jberg 8:55 AM  

Oh dear, I just noticed that I forgot to do 26A, SNL - but I saw it before I looked at Rex's grid, so I guess I still finished. As everyone said, impressive theme density. I wanted 'yip' for 47A, "Chihuahua's bark" but otherwise enjoyed the clues.

Since 36D might have been a theme answer, as Rex remarked, and was an SS rather than a CC, I thought I was missing something, but since RIGOLETTO had to be right I decided it was just a coincidence.

Brian 9:01 AM  

It's a fine puzzle. Fitting 10 theme answers into the grid without it feeling crammed is pretty impressive. That said, I'm with @dk: oddly unsatisfying. Probably because the theme answers are common, with the exception of CAMECLEAN, which I thought was a good one. Still, a good puzzle. Nothing to moan about at all.

Well done, Mr. Livengood.

chefbea 9:22 AM  

Easy Yummy/dee-lish puzzle!!

@chefwen poor Cardinals:-(

John V 9:28 AM  

Medium/Easy here. A welcome Monday after a) a fabulous wedding on Saturday and b) trying, with partying-diminished synapses, to tackle the BEQ of yesterday -- yeah, not so much.

Mini theme? Rigoletto next to Serena Williams: La donna e mobile: http://classicalmusic.about.com/od/opera/qt/ladonnaemobile.htm

Rigoletto is one of my "desert island" operas.

jackj 9:57 AM  

There is something off-putting about this constructor's continued practice of jamming 8 or 10 or whatever number, simple-simon theme entries into a 15x15 Monday grid as if proclaiming, "Hey, I'm the cleverest dude around."

Much, too much of a good thing, Ian; please scale it back and give us quality over quantity.

dk's description, as "oddly unsatisfying", seems to hit the right note though I'd drop the "oddly".

JenCT 10:09 AM  

My fastest Monday ever - go figure. Nice, after yesterday's slog, which I never did finish...

I'm still not over the Giants' loss yesterday. Eli Manning uses OMAHA often, as a signal before the snap...

Good puzzle.

quilter1 10:29 AM  

I wear my suede, fleece lined MOCS from Overland around the house all the time, not just with pjs. Good Monday puzzle. Smooth and easy.

hazel 10:33 AM  

I nominate that 10cc video to be included in a SETI probe representing the 70s and launched into space - accompanied by the band's Wiki article, officially the longest Wiki article I've ever seen about anything. Talk about the Me Generation.

I thought this was a fine Monday puzzle, and have become a big fan of Ian C. Livengood. I am also a fan of CROPCIRCLES and SPACESUITS. Of the 20 Cs, only one is a verb.

Two Ponies 10:36 AM  

I thought this was a perfect Monday puzzle. Theme was dense and fill was very nice.
Loved kaput.
Well done Ian.

Larry 10:42 AM  

Yale president was a great misdirect in that "Poppy" Bush would be just the type of guy who's father would found skull and bones.

archaeoprof 10:55 AM  

What @Two Ponies said.

Enjoyed the shout-out to @ChefBea at 67D.

chefbea 11:13 AM  

@archaeoprof and 20A ?

Sparky 11:24 AM  

Smooth sailing. The M for MAR and MOCS took a while as others have noted. I think Little Orphan Annie's dog says ARF, chihuahuas no. Pleasant start to the week after yesterday's drag.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:31 AM  

@xan et al -- Christopher Columbus! And there I thought the CC stood for Canadian Celebration today. Happy Thanksgiving to Crossscan, Waxy in Montreal et al!

Lewis 12:05 PM  

For the first time I tried playing "against the clock", rather than Across Lite, and it seemed so clunky. Didn't like it. I'm wondering how others compare the two options...

Stan 12:06 PM  

Nice theme density, but where is the Leif Ericson puzzle?

foodie 12:28 PM  

This puzzle is crying out for Coco Chanel, especially given the Chanel Logo, 2 C's that look ambivalent about their relationship...

KarenSampsonHudson 12:31 PM  

Spiffy-quick Monday to do and get out the door. I agree, foodie---Coco Chanel would have been icing on cake! (Coconut cake?)

John V 1:01 PM  

Coco Chanel, Coconut Cake and Canadian Club with Coca Cola is what I'm saying!

JenCT 1:43 PM  

Cookie Crisp?

chefbea 1:53 PM  

Charlie Chaplin?

Nighthawk 2:01 PM  

Fun and solid.
Neither was I, but thought
But I get @RP's general take with the choice of music titleit was pretty darned good for the Monday slot. After counting the themes, I knew we were gonna get a 10CC tune, but thought it would have been this one.

I too am wondering now about Serena's drinking issues, @ACME.

Wearing my lambsuede LL Bean mocs as I type this. But agree with @RP about the start of the puz. Skipped 1A and 1B initially. Neither came to mind "right off the bat."

Letter from college: No mon, no fun, your Son.
Reply: Too bad, SO SAD, your Dad.

andrea cc michaels 2:25 PM  

@joho, @dk
um, the addition of WINO was a joke. It seemed to call for one more entry to make it a subtheme. Sorry. (You're the only two who read me carefully anyway!) ;)

Now that I'm reading about all the other CCs I'm wondering why Ian didn't have 15 of them in a Monday!


Tho I do think a CH/CH puzzle which may have been done before, would have given this one the CHarge some folks felt was missing.

But if the theme WAS 10CCs for Christopher Columbus Day, then everyone needs to clap clap for Ian!

chacme 2:27 PM  

for the scientists, Catalytic (sp?) Converter, carbon copy...

Maybe we can make a group one for CH?
CHACHA (too short)
CHARLIE CHEEN (too wrong)

mac 2:41 PM  

I think I've figured it out: people who say P.J.'s also say mocs.

@xan: you may be right! We inadvertently ended up watching a little of the Columbus Day parade (before we were allowed to cross 5th Ave.

Really good Monday puzzle, I especially liked crop circle and cat call.

About 85 degrees in NY, and it's crowded with tourists!

mac 2:49 PM  


joho 3:10 PM  

@chacme ... I thought you trying to see if we were paying attention.

CHARLIE CHEEN is too wrong and way funny!

fergus 3:57 PM  

My bank was closed due to observance of Columbus Day, but it also said in Spanish Dia de la Raza, which isn't quite the same. (Not sure which heritage, or just in general, is implied?) Not surprisingly we have IPD here in Santa Cruz, too.

Masked and Anonymous 4:17 PM  

@31: MAR and MOCS clues not so bad. I recently worked a puz where the clue was "CAB-, PAP- or M- ending".

@ACME, Darlin': Yep now you need 11 theme answers, just to get yer foot in the door. All thanx to Ian C.

Really good puz. I thought it put up a heck of a fight, for a Monday. Lots of C's, which are like another infrequently-used letter on its side...

Almost forgot. Answer to the clue up near the top is OOSE. Har. Desperate cruciverbalists are a hoot.

sanfranman59 4:19 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)

Mon 6:13, 6:51, 0.91, 17%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:29, 3:40, 0.95, 31%, Easy-Medium

Lisa Feather Art 5:02 PM  

Fun puzzle! 'Not too much crosswordese, and some fun words. Also, perhaps because I knew it, CLAYCOURT seemed like a great clue. It's always fun to learn a bit of trivia or realize that the odd thing you happen to know is actually useful-ish.

I agree that Coco Chanel would have been nice. The clue could be something like "French fashion icon who briefly served as a Nazi intelligence agent".

archaeoprof 5:37 PM  

@sanfranman59: thanks again for your statistics.

I look forward to your post each day.

Between Rex and you and @Foodie's QDI, we get a very good assessment of each puzzle's difficulty.

600 5:56 PM  

I always feel pretty good when I finish even on a Monday, and especially when for me the puzzle was super easy and Rex says medium. So I'm having a good day. A fine puzzle, and I'm impressed with ten theme answers.

I also loved today's musical choices, especially "I'm not in love."

@mac--So sorry to have misread your post from two days ago! When I read the one yesterday I went back and tried again. I see now what it is that was wrong and that you read! (I thought you meant . . . oh, never mind.)

Someone last week mentioned being a good friend of Adam on Amazing Race. I can't remember who, but you must be even prouder of your friendship today! I'd be proud to call that guy a friend!

Anonymous 6:00 PM  

Rex, I liked your comments. You even showed some self-deprecating humor at the end. That's a good thing. ARF.

PS. Apparently this sets a new record for Cs, the old being 16.

PPS. Mac, you forgot CARBON COPY, which, after all, is what CC stands for.

mac 6:36 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
mac 6:36 PM  

How could we forget carbon copy!!

Sitting here waiting for Jeopardy to start with Joon on his 6th day. We may be a little late for dinner.

Stan 6:38 PM  

Calico Cat
Curtain Call
Crossword Clues
Chinese Checkers
Checker Cab
Cab Calloway
Calvin Coolidge
Coolidge Corner
Charlie Chan
Cotton Candy
Candy Clark
Clark Clifford

But for bcc, I've got nothing...

chefbea 7:59 PM  

Jeopardy is over!!! will discuss it tomorrow

Comrade_Bazarov 8:17 PM  

I have a question (sorry if it is stupid or has been answered already): I have been solving crosswords for about five years now and have been timing myself (especially on Monday ones) or the last three.
What is considered a "good" time? I usually average around 8 min but today I got 6 min on this NYT one.

Thanks. Great blog, BTW. Can't believe I never bothered to look for crossword-related blogs all these years. I will be a regular reader!

Stan 8:43 PM  

@Comrade_Bazarov: Welcome Това́рищ.

Sfingi 8:47 PM  

Si si Senor! Nice puzzle.

I had Cork before CLAY and Corn before CROP, though.

@Stan, et al - thanx, so I didn't have to.

@Mac - what about people who say Jammies? Bunnies?

r.alphbunker 8:50 PM  

I propose a unit of time called the feyer. A feyer for a puzzle is how long it took Dan Feyer to solve it (see http://dandoesnotblog.blogspot.com/)

To convert your time to fayers simply divide it by his time for the same puzzle. So your 6 minutes is 6*60/(60 + 34) = 3.8 feyers which isn't bad.

firewater 9:04 PM  

"We've been thrown off course just a TAD."

"Miss, what exactly is a TAD?"

"In space terms, that's about half a million miles."

...we're also out of coffee."

foodie 11:08 PM  

@Comrade_Bazarov, for online solvers, the MEDIAN time on a Monday is ~7minutes. For the top 100 it's less than 4 minutes. But note that this is a small and highly self-selected group. Also, these are medians. There are people who take wayyyy longer. If you did the means, they would be much higher.

SanFranMan has the more accurate data. Look at his posts (including today) and you will see exactly how you stack up...

The Feyer is a good unit, albeit hard on the ego...

Comrade_Bazarov 12:00 AM  

Thanks for all the answers, guys.

Holy s**t, can't believe people solve this thing in less than two minutes. Pretty impressive.

@Stan: Is that Russian? I don't understand it.

sanfranman59 12:46 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 6:17, 6:51, 0.92, 19%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:25, 3:40, 0.93, 23%, Easy-Medium

andrea chacha michaels 2:13 AM  

OK, found it, 1998 Tuesday:
Puzzle Info
ID 583
Constructor Janet R. Bender
Publisher code nyt
Date Tue, Aug 04, 1998
Size 15 x 15
Word Count 78
Blocks 38
Mean Word Length 4.79

Theme Info
Theme Type: Alliterations
Theme Comment: C alliterations
Entry L Clue
CHEVYCHASE 10 Washington suburb
CHUMPCHANGE 11 A few coins, in slang
CHINESECHECKERS 15 You can't enjoy this if you've lost your marbles
CHARLIECHAN 11 Detective with a large family
CHOKECHAIN 10 Dog restraint

Theme letter count: 57

Stan 9:52 AM  

@Comrade_B: Yes, Russian -- I just cut and pasted it. 'Tovarisch' pretty much means 'comrade'.

Andrea: Good work. CHUMP CHANGE is great!!

Dirigonzo 5:24 PM  

From the land of the late, briefly had RIGOLETTa but I was pretty sure CRaPCIRCLE was wrong (but plausible, I think), so I changed it.

And in 2006 a younger Rex Parker had this to day about the 11/14 puz:
- "Solving time: 7:48 (Across Lite)"
- "Today's theme is rather pedestrian, but it helps start the healing process after yesterday's affront to my puzzle sensibilities."
- "It's a little strange to see MUFFS in the grid because despite its many everyday meanings, it always looks like a dirty word to me."
- "I guess ABC's must signify basic reading education in general, not just the fact that you know three letters of the alphabet, or even all 26. "Abecedarian" is a very great adjective, relating to rudimentary education - and it seems very crossword-friendly, as 11-letter words go... ooh, it can be a noun or an adjective. Please find a child (or any kind of Beginner) to refer to as an ABECEDARIAN today."
- "I'm not liking that 3rd definition. A WHORL is something that WHIRLS - well then what's a WHIRL? Maybe WHORL is bothering because of how it sounds (I'm literally saying it aloud here at my desk, over and over) or because it is very close to WHORE."
- @Orange, 1 or 3 commenters, said "I like WHORLs. They're in fiddlehead ferns, nautilus shells, and other things."

DJ Stone 8:27 PM  

@Dirigonzo: Why are you quoting Rex from today's actual date, rather than 5 years from the date of the puzzle you're posting about?

Regarding certain governments replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day, what exactly would you celebrate about people staying in (relatively) one place? If that was the history of the world, Africa would be really, really crowded right now. Though apartments in Manhattan would be a whole lot cheaper.

Dirigonzo 10:38 PM  

@DJ Stone: I started doing this around the 5th anniversary of the blog in "real time" so "RPDTNYTCP on this date 5 years ago" didn't exist yet in "syndicated time".

But I still celebrate "Columbus Day" too, so don't rely on me for historical accuracy.

Nullifidian 8:25 AM  

Another late solver (doubly so since it's now early on a Tuesday morning).

I did this one last night but didn't post about it. It was enjoyable, but not striking.

I had A BIT of trouble in the NW corner, because MAR was clued somewhat strangely, though for me it worked when I had figured it out. It's one of those Friday or Saturday-style definitions where the word fits, but only in a certain sense. If I scratch a sculpture, painting, or a cabinet, that can mar it and reduce its value.

MAR came when I figured out RIGOLETTO. I was trying to think of Verdi operas famous enough for a Monday puzzle that were nine letters in length, and the only other candidate was Don Carlos, which was ruled out by OBI-Wan Kenobi.

Speaking of which, if it's your word of the day, why no clips from Rigoletto? I'm sure I'm not the only opera fan among your readers who would have liked that.

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