Singer called Jezebel of Jazz / SAT 10-8-11 / Grandpa player Look Who's Talking / Giant brain 1940s / Dream Children author 1822 / Bandleader Three Little Fishies

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Constructor: Tim Croce

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Jerry SLOAN (47D: Hoops Hall-of-Famer Jerry) —
Gerald Eugene "Jerry" Sloan (born March 28, 1942), is an American former National Basketball Association (NBA) player and head coach, and a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.[1] NBA commissioner David Stern called Sloan "one of the greatest and most respected coaches in NBA history."[2] Sloan had a career regular-season win–loss record of 1,221–803, placing him third all-time in NBA wins.[3] Sloan was only the fifth coach in NBA history to reach the 1,000 victory milestone, and he is the only coach in NBA history to record 1,000 wins with one club (the Utah Jazz). He also coached for one team longer than anyone in NBA history. The 2009–10 season was his 22nd season (and 21st full season) as coach of the Jazz. Sloan coached the Jazz to 15 consecutive playoff appearances from 1989–2003. Although he never won a Coach of the Year award, he is one of only three coaches in NBA history with 15-plus consecutive seasons with a winning record (Pat Riley and Phil Jackson are the others).[3] He led Utah to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, but lost to the Chicago Bulls both times. (wikipedia)
• • •

This must have been pretty easy, as I did it immediately after rolling out of bed, and with the cat intermittently howling for his breakfast, and still finished in well under 10 minutes. There was a kind of false start there at the beginning (where starts usually are ...) when I wrapped up that entire NW section and still had no way to get out. I knew BRASS and AUTOMOBILE and TSAR and couldn't finish any of them off. AUTOMOBILE was a great life line, as it gave me ELAND and then VENT, and then that "V" (combined with AUTOMOBILE's "B") gave me ABE VIGODA (7D: Grandpa player in "Look Who's Talking," 1989), and at that point I was well and truly on my way—from there it was a leisurely stroll to the finish line, with only minor obstacles along the way. You know, little stuff like having IN INK instead of INKED (34A: Permanent, in a way) or failing to remember that horrible Italian partial from Mozart (39D: "___ Pastore" (Mozart opera) => "IL RE").

Bottom half proved Much easier than the top. Wanted PUTS and OPENED before LOCKS and ANSWERED in their respective answers, but I knew both of the names in the SW corner, so unraveling that problem wasn't hard. I think the grid is very nice overall, though there's a slightly off quality to the marquee answers—the central Down and central Across. I hear the phrase DRINK (or DRANK) THE KOOL-AID (15 letters!) a lot. All the time. KOOL-AID DRINKERS (while very inferrable), not so much (37A: Unquestioning adherents). Very rarely. Maybe never. And the "-ED"s on in MIXED AND MATCHED were annoying as well (8D: Like some clothing ensembles). "MIX-AND-MATCH" is a very familiar, in-the-language expression. Put those "-ED"s on there, and the phrase feels clunky. I see, however, that it's used all the time, so I can't get too worked up about it. Never great when you have two answers that are names ending in Roman numerals. Now if there'd been a "III" to go along with LEO I (26A: Predecessor of Pope Hilarius) and TSAR ALEXANDER II (17A: Assassinated leader called "the Liberator"), I'd have found that clever. NOL looks like a negation of LOL, and thus like a perfect expression of how I felt upon uncovering it. NOL-pros? Some legal abbreviation? (yes: nolle prosequi) Terrible.

SØREN was an absolute gimme, as was AT ALL. Those gave me ISLE and KOLN (21A: Largest city in Nordrhein-Westfalen), and thus the NW corner was done. Fast. I thought the [Kind of request in Burns's "To a Mouse"] was going to be a noun, which is stupid, since "kind of" pretty much shouts "adjectival," but my brain works how it works (or doesn't). That ended up being simply SMA, one of many crosswordesey words hidden under somewhat-to-very daunting clues; see also ELIA (31D: "Dream-Children" author, 1822) and ADANO (51D: Fictional Sicilian town in a 1944 novel). ENIAC is crosswordesey, but that clue was daunting in no way (14D: "Giant Brain" of the 1940s). I did not know the Taurus replaced the LTD (11D: The Taurus replaced it). In my head (which is, as we've seen, an unreliable venue) the LTD is longer and boxier, and the Taurus is kind of a fat, rounded version of every four-door sedan on the road. I wouldn't be surprised if at least one person got Naticked by the O'DAY / KYSER crossing (57A: Singer called "The Jezebel of Jazz" / 53D: Bandleader with the hit "Three Little Fishies"). Those are reasonably common crossword names, but crossing two proper nouns, both from old music, seems a little dicey. That "Y" should be inferrable, but ... you never know.

  • 6A: It's often popped on a shoulder (AUTOMOBILE TRUNK) — Another grid-spanning answer that seems slightly clunky, if technically correct. You pop (the colloquialism you've chosen) your TRUNK, not your AUTOMOBILE TRUNK. The very phrase is impossible to imagine in normal human speech. "Do you mean pop the elephant trunk? The steamer trunk? Be specific!" I also resent that the answer isn't HOOD. If you're on the shoulder, chances are *that* is what you've popped. I guess people keep their jacks in their TRUNKS, but still, "pop the hood" is the phrase I most associate with automotive problems. "Pop the trunk" is something we mostly say before loading or unloading luggage.
  • 12D: "Xena: Warrior Princess" role (ARES) — and here I was trying to remember the name of her special little friend.
  • 61D: "Forgot About ___" (2000 Grammy-winning rap) ("DRE") — Feels like it's been a while since I've seen DRE in my grid. Here's the rap in question (all profanity silenced)

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 8:30 AM  

Nol-Pro? Sorry I'm so dense, but I don't get it. Thanks, Rex.

Yogeshvara 8:37 AM  

Suits with brass name plates? Won't that make the lapels sag? I didn't think knights needed tags in their armor. Enlighten me someone, please.
Lucky Lusso seemed too silly or I would have gone with Blass Name Plates....

dk 8:46 AM  

Huh, 58 minutes and 20 seconds later only to find out this one was easy. Perhaps if I had a brain or an ENIAC.

Stared at Hadden for about 2 minutes wondering What The Poop (WTP). Enough, the puzzle is done.

*** (3 Stars) FOND of this one

PHUN PHACT: Teaching outdoor rescue and recovery this weekend and one of the items you can carry to help start a fire is DRYERLINT. If you ever get lost you should build a fire. It keeps you busy and rescuers can see and smell the smoke. Carry 3 ways to start a fire with you when you hike (reading glasses count) and you should have the same in your car perhaps in your 16A. Let me tell you if you can get that spare tire (not the one around your waist) burning you will be found. Finally you want to be rescued... not recovered.

d(lack LUSTRE)k

pauer 8:49 AM  

Pretty fun one, I thought. Must've been on the easy side, as I was able to finish in one sitting. Good work, Tim! I wanted Xena's friend to be THOR, and my ININK became INRED before becoming INKED. I'm guessing the AMYL/ILRE crossing will be tougher than ODAY/KYSER for most folks, but maybe that's just because I know old timey pop music better than old-timey classical music.

@Yogashvara - The suits in question are business executives, who have BRASSNAMEPLATES on their desks (or the doors of their offices, I suppose).

Oh, and my company, Puzzlewright Press, has started a Facebook page and a Twitter account (@puzzlewright), if you're into that sort of thing. Like or Follow us for assorted puzzly musings and freebies.

SethG 8:51 AM  

A bit blah, 'cause so much of the longer stuff was blah. Fantastic cluing can help overcome that, but this was just average. An average NYT puzzle is of course a very good puzzle, but this certainly didn't stand out.

Why did I think it was Forgot About EVE? Maybe a bit too early in her career for that title, but that wrong answer was my high point.

Glimmerglass 9:06 AM  

Nolle presequi (NOL PRO, for short) means the DA (or whoever) is unwilling to prosecute the case, usually because there isn't enough evidence. The BRASS NAME PLATE is on the suit's desk ("suits" are executives). But I love the question, Yogeshvara. Is ANIL (indigo) in the pea family? Who knew?

quilter1 9:17 AM  

I second the easy rating. Since it is Saturday I kept questioning my answers, as in, it can't be this easy.

Pope Hilarius? Bet he kept the joint jumpin'.

Old school solver 9:30 AM  

Seemed like about a Thursday to me, given epic fails previous two Saturdays. Usually you don't see so many straight-ahead, non-clever gimme clues such as _ Lingus, or even "answered the door" as the answer to the last across clue. Maybe the Jobs puzzle upset the schedule.

RW Bush 9:45 AM  

Some Saturdays you can finish the puzzle... Have another cup of Coffee and go back to bed. Agree with everyone else, many of the long answers were a yawn.

David L 9:52 AM  

Mostly easy, but I was naticked not by ODAY/KYSER but by SANK/ADANO in the same corner. I had SINK, which fits just as well with the clue, and IDANO seemed plausible enough. ODAY, KYSER, and ADANO all seem like pure crosswordese to me, so putting them all in one little corner strikes me as a tad mean.

optionsgeek 9:55 AM  

Couple of quibbles here. A BRASS NAME PLATE is not something I would associate with a "suit" anywhere but the hospitality industry. Now a "suite" seems much more apt. Seems like a good opportunity for a ? clue. Also, crossing crossing ODAY with not just ADANO but KYSER as well should be a punishable offense. 20 lashes with a wet noodle.

mac 10:01 AM  

Nice and easy, but not really sparkling. I doubted I had some of the long answers, because they were so simple. On the other hand, eight 15s is pretty spectacular. The Koolaid drinkers are my favorite!

Let me change that, Rex's write-up was my favorite. Very funny and well-written. I guess that's his morning voice!

JenCT 10:05 AM  

Totally stuck at ODAY/ADANO/KYSER crossings - no idea at all.

Not all KOOLAIDDRINKERS are unquestioning adherents; think the clue should have said "Some..."

Also wanted MIXANDMATCH, without the ED.


Anonymous 10:09 AM  

SØREN but not KÖLN in the write-up? Dis the Deutsch day! Just joking.

Agree on easy-medium - SØREN led to KÖLN led to BATIK. A couple bumps along the way, including forgetting that Bakersfield is west, not east, of LA.

jberg 10:11 AM  

What @Rex said, except for me it was harder precisely because so many of the answers were clunky. "Automobile trunk? That can't be right!" was my thinking, until forced to decide that it was right by the crosses.

So many of the clues should have begun with "ancient" -- IGA chain, Kay KYSER, etc.

I finished with an error thougy -- DRiER crossing AMiL. Spelling is the first thing to go, I guess.

jackj 10:17 AM  

One often hears political types taunting foes with "he drank the Kool-Aid" meaning, (usually), the foe had blindly agreed with the correctness of a position that was anathema to the speaker, making him an "Unquestioning adherent(s)".

Perhaps some among us are not aware that this phrase sprang from a horrible event in Guyana in 1978 when 900 men, women and children, all followers of San Francisco based cult leader Rev. Jim Jones, drank cyanide laced Kool-Aid and died in a mass suicide at his behest when Jones could see that the end of his control over his unwitting flock, (which was being challenged by some in the US government), was inevitable.

(The murder, by Jones operatives, of Cong. Leo Ryan, who had gone to Guyana on an official junket to determine if human rights charges against Jones were true, was the final trigger for Jones to implement his deadly plan).

So, for those who might not remember the horror of Jonestown, this is a rather windy way to point out that this entry is not an innocent look at kiddies having a cooling refreshment on a hot summer day.

Overall, a rather routine Saturday effort, though it is always fun to be reminded of ABEVIGODA, if not Jim Jones.

joho 10:37 AM  

Darn, like @jberg I didn't see that I had AMiL/DRiERLINT. I know its AMYL, DRYER not so much.

Oh, well, it was easy anyway.

@quilter1, Pope Hilarius is a hoot!

@jackj, I, too, cringed at KOOLAIDDRINKERS. It's not a phrase I hear often and prefer it that way.

KOLN made me think of Ulrich. Wie geht's!

Thank you, Tim Croce, for a pleasant Saturday morning solve.

Two Ponies 11:00 AM  

Can't say I enjoyed this one.
I do see that the puzzle covered a lot of ground history-wise.
A book from 1822 to Xena with lots of old stuff in between.
I don't see the point of the "say" in the clue for 59D.

archaeoprof 11:06 AM  

Got DRYERLINT because I was doing the laundry while working on this puzzle.

All in all, it was NOT SO BAD.

@joho: I miss Ulrich too. I bet he would point out that Koln has an umlaut...

skua76 11:13 AM  

Well, I enjoyed it, partly because it fell in one sitting I should have gotten NOL pros right away, they use the term here in the police blotter in the paper. If someone is convicted of, say, DUI, their speeding charge might be nol pros. I first put in alL, at least the final L helped me get ALEXANDER II.

Go Joon!

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

Not very enjoyable. If you're going 15-heavy, make sure you have good 15s. These aren't very good. AUTOMOBILE TRUNK has simply never been said, TSAR ALEXANDER II is a longer, more terrible version of OLAF I / II, and literally *all* the other 15s are plurals or past tense bastardizations of mediocre-to-mildly good base phrases.

Mel Ott 11:32 AM  

A good solid Saturday puzzle.

I liked most of the 15's, especially the tricky cluing ('suits' for 'execs') at 1A.

I think the familiar phrase is PUTS BEHIND BARS, but I guess someone, somewhere might say LOCKS.....

The AMYL/AER/ILRE cluster is really ugly.

One can only hope that one day a modern pope will adopt the name Hilarius.

syndy 11:37 AM  

My time indicated that I agreed with easy medium.I balked a bit at KOOL until I realized the full answer and ew not so amusing.Like Rex I found the nw the hardest-finally EXANDERll fell and the rest worked out.I wasn't able to dredge up SOREN (hate that) RUSSO KOLN NOL all unknown.Usually 15 are gettable but not usually so forgettable.Oh and I started off with ABRAHAM LINCOLN as my liberator!

David 12:04 PM  

Rating of Easy-Medium describes my experience today as well. Breezed thru the bottom half, thought there was a bit of symmetry in the 3 stacked answers.

Much tougher go in the top half - the turning point was TURNPIKES, which gave solid footholds for all 3 top stacked answers. Was able to move right to left nicely from there, with the NW falling last (as opposed to others), even with the SOREN gimme. Liked AUTOMOBILETRUNK much more than others, KOOLAIDDRINKERS too, but agree with comments on MIXEDANDMATCHED.

Guyana Guy 12:29 PM  

Sometimes it seems that the NYT xword constructors, editor, and blogger have a knowledge base a mile wide and tweet deep. 37A KOOL AID DRINKERS clued as "Unquestioning adherents" refers, as @jackj said, to what is considered the largest mass suicide in modern history. Words fail in describing how unforgettably and horrifically gruesome the event was. It was vividly portrayed for weeks and weeks in all the media around the world.

Copy and paste this into your browser bar for a little trip down memory lane:,29307,1859872,00.html

What's next? OUT OF AIR clued to the Bhopal disaster?

foodie 12:31 PM  

The construction of these wide open grids still blows me away.

I think AUTOMOBILE TRUNK sounds particularly clunky because the "Pop" in the clue is so colloquial and AUTOMOBILE is so formal... The mismatch is jarring. I thought KOOL AID DRINKERS was interesting, even though I know the reference is to a horrible event. I liked the way LUSTRE was clued. MAKES AN ENTRANCE on TOP OF ANSWER THE DOOR? Cool. ODAY? No iday...

@ArchaeoProf, is that you in the middle eastern headgear? Very Lawrence of Arabia! you know what is remarkable about it is how you're sitting-- it looks very authentic. It's so weird to me to think that people sit a little differently in different parts of the world! But old middle eastern people, for example, squat of hours on end, something that most Westerners cannot do. Right?

Those of you who miss Ulrich, check out his beautiful photography book called "The Snows of 2011"- Ran into it by chance and was so excited to see it was by someone I "knew":

Lewis 12:39 PM  

A blue collar Saturday, providing several aha moments, requiring a bit of Googling. While short of the LUSTRE of some of the Saturdays I've previously done, I'm in awe of anyone who can construct a puzzle like this. So bravo, Mr. Croce.

Anonymous and Anonymous 12:51 PM  

Had no trouble with KOOLAIDRINKERS, MIXEDANDMATCHED or AUTOMOBILETRUNK. They were all instantly recognizable things, and easily gettable with a scattering of letters. And they were nice, fresh entries. Better than getting PAINTTHETOWNRED for the umpteenth time, or the like, IMO. On the flipside, can certainly understand why the trunk closed with a "clunk" for some solvers. Har.

Very good blog essay today, 31. High marks.


archaeoprof 12:51 PM  

@Foodie: my new avatar picture was taken last year during a camel trek in the Wadi Rum. Totally amazing the way the Bedouin are so well adapted to the desert!

Can understand the concerns about KOOLAIDDRINKERS. But like it or not the phrase is very much "in the language" now.

600 12:52 PM  

Easy puzzle. Ditto everyone who said so. I was pretty sure Bakersfield to Los Angeles should have been SSW; a trip to my atlas disenchanted me. Otherwise even the tough crosses--and there were some, already noted--fell my way.

Instead of a favorite answer, I have a favorite clue. Pope Hilarius? Who knew? Okay, probably somebody knew, but not me!

@Two Ponies--I don't see the point of that "say" in 59D either.

@JenCT--You're right that not all KOOLAIDDRINKERS are unquestioning adherents, but one could argue all unquestioning adherents are KOOLAIDDRINKERS. IMHO the clue is fine.

However, @jackj and others, I agree with you. That phrase is never innocent to me. No matter when I hear it (as Rex pointed out, usually as "Drink/Drank the Kool-Aid") I remember those horrible pictures of all the dead families. Not an innocent kiddy drink reference at all.

Dirigonzo 1:21 PM  

M - F syndicated solver here, making a brief appearance to claim my first ever successful Saturday solve. Well, almost successful as when I arrived here I discovered an error - I thought Teddy Roosevelt's MI might be S, so I ended up with tSR instead of the much more obvious (and correct) SSR at 46a.

In an extreme case of syndication synchronicity yesterday's syndi-grid was also a Tim Croce creation with stacked 15s, so this one felt pretty familiar.

Thanks to Rex and everyone who comments here for being so entertaining and educational - I could not have done it without you!

jae 1:49 PM  

Easy plus what everyone else said...solid...bluecollar...enjoyable but not outstanding...

Its finally starting to sink in that SALMA is spelled with an A not an E.

Sparky 2:48 PM  

It had to be easy because I finished. Took a while. Put down, went to market, came back, chipped away.

Bottom filled in first. Had MAKESANappearANCE. Then ANSWEREDTHEDOOR. Then downs fixed things. Last to fall NW. Had Koren--dunno why. Shah before flipping coin for czar/TSAR and BATIK revealed itself.

Still I'm satisfied. And the Sunday magazine section sits on the coffee table singing its siren song. @Z You betcha.

edmcan 3:33 PM  

A clunky and inelegant outing.
:-p Bleh!

andrea coatracks michaels 3:45 PM  

I had Richard PRYCE forever, which I finally changed to PRICE and spent many many many minutes on that area before I realized it was RUSSO!
Plus hung on to Eboli for ADANO.
Eboli is probably a real town, not in Sicily...and I didn't realize ADANO (As in the great "A Bell for ADANO") was fictional!

That's one of those cases where I actually KNEW something, instead of having just made an educated guess based on something I once saw in a puzzle... and STILL got it wrong.

Also, stuck on phones for pay-as-you-go, so had ratehIKES for TURNPIKES. Plausible, no?

Have to agree with everything @Rex said today about how things were phrased...very right on, tho I couldn't put my finger on what was off last night.

It's amazing how my solving experience has changed. Used to do the puzzle, then went on with my life. Now I'm up at 1am, have finished and there was nothing posted! I wanted to discuss and there was nobody there!
3 years ago I would have cared not.
Now there is an emptiness if Rex hasn't posted!
And yes, KOLN made me wonder wo ist meine Ulrich. Thanks for the link @foodie. Who nu?

As for Yom Kippur, I am counting watching all of Joon's appearances, esp the one with the High Holidays category, as a papal dispensation not to have to attend services today.
(Pope Hilarious must be like one of those rent-a-rabbis they get for mixed marriages who fancy themselves standups and sort of hijack the ceremony)

Wow, I JUST noticed that MIXEDANDMATCHED goes thru SEVEN fifteens!!!!!!!!!!
So, Bravo, Tim Croceverbalist!

Detour (appropriate today) 4:08 PM  

Disclaimer: this post has nothing to do with todays puzzle.

@Jesser: Thank you for your story about Richard & the dog. My dog incident today did not go so well.
Charlie is a sweet little dog that runs from his home on the other side of the lake & often hangs out at our house (we have 2 dogs). Today I found him in my yard w/ a broken leg (compound break, twisted & dangling - apparantly from a car). Couldn't reach the owner (she is often out of town) & called for an hour to find a clinic that operates on a Sat. Knowing the owner is flat broke, I knew I would probably get stuck with the bill (Dont mind paying some, but $5K is alot!). Decide to take Charlie to MSU (even tho it is over an hour away) as they are excellent, but also there was a very slight chance that I could get some partial pro bono work. Just then the owner calls. She's distraught, but leaves with Charlie & promises to take him to MSU. No, Im not really believing her at this point (she is not all that responsible). A followup call finds her at a local vet & she has decided to euthenize Charlie. (Amputation =$2K, operating=$5K). I ask for 5 mins to call MSU and beg for pro-bono. She gives it to me, but then calls back to say she already has her mind made up. I offered many other ways to help, but in the end she wanted to put him down. I am not really happy with the owner right now and dreading telling my children (7 &10) who adore Charlie.

Norm 4:56 PM  

Bummer, Detour. You showed a good heart for trying.

Count me as another thumbs down for KOOLAIDDRINKERS. All the fuss about a little BOOBJOB last week and then Will does this? November 1978 was a bad month: first, the Jonestown massacre and then the assassination of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. RIP.

joho 5:12 PM  

@Dirigonzo ... congratulations!

It truly is amazing how coming to this blog improves our skills and appreciation of the process not to mention introduces us to our crossword kin.

@Rex, you really have made a difference!

joho 5:13 PM  

@Dirigonzo, I forgot to mention, your dogs are gorgeous.

3 and out.

600 5:33 PM  

@Dirigonzo--Dittoing @joho's congratulations AND dog praise.

Can someone tell me how to open a Blogger account? (I want MY name to come up blue too, she said petulantly.) When I tried (through Google) it wouldn't let me change from my email address name to 600. Maybe that's because I have an old account with my email address as user name. Is there a way around that? Help, anyone?

Dirigonzo 5:44 PM  

@Joho and @600, thank you so much on both counts.

evil doug 7:16 PM  

I guess using "koolaid drinkers" is his "cross to bear". I'm going to go back to my game and watch them "blitz" the quarterback before he throws the long "bomb". Look, he's running around like a "chicken with its head cut off". The game's a rout; time to "pull the plug".

Later I've got a date with a young babe; I'm kind of "robbing the cradle" with her. Don't get too nosy; "curiosity killed the cat". Suffice it to say it's a real "dog and pony show". It's a tiny bedroom; there's "no room to swing a cat."

Seems to me complaining about some of our vivid idioms is "beating a dead horse."


Anonymous 7:16 PM  

@Glimmerglass, thank you....more Auxilium Latinum.

skua76 7:16 PM need to go to and create your own "blog". I did that several years ago...basically created a one-page blog with my photo and profile so I could comment on friends' blogs. If you click on my photo in this post you'll see what I did. I prefer not to blog, I'm having too much fun with my web site when I'm not doing crosswords.

Norm 7:42 PM  

@ Evil: Nope. I don't think your other examples are comparable. I would accept some of them in a professional setting. Not this kool-aid one. I was astounded to read archeoprof's take that "it's in the language." Not mine. Use it? You're fired. Seriously. We don't do that.

Humm. captcha = dedamsol

the damn soul?

600 7:59 PM  

@Skua76--Thank you! I HOPE it worked--this post will tell the story.

@Evil--I agree with @Norm. Not comparable at all. Do any of your examples reference mass death/suicide/murder? I understand the phrase is in the language and I don't think ill of those who use it without thinking of where it comes from, but it still elicits horrible images for me and many others. None of your examples even begin to do that. I'd have to assume you tried to think of some that would and failed, as did I.

600 8:00 PM  

@skua76--Okay, now a triple thank you! It worked! Hurray!

evil doug 8:19 PM  

Blitzkrieg? I guess that we can overlook those pesky Nazi folks sweeping across Europe and leaving hundreds of thousands dead.

And I guess the concept of kidnapping doesn't meet the standard since it's only one baby being grabbed. Sorry.

Let me know when an ugly image crosses your personal threshold. And that, in a nutshell, is the problem with applying PC to language: Everybody's got a different point of being offended.


Dirigonzo 8:23 PM  

@600, congratulations on your new profile - and might I say you have a very handsome dog, too! That's three and out, so now I'll slink back to syndiland but I'll return if I ever conquer another Saturday puzzle.

Deetour 10:02 PM  

Unfortunately, I have to agree with Evil that "Drinking the Koolaid" is part of everyday language and said without horrendous images attached.

mac 10:18 PM  

In the language is in the language where puzzles are concerned.

Forgot to mention, I do my CWPs with a Pentel Twist-Erase 0.9.

600 11:20 PM  

Well, first--I've noticed people remark about "three and out"--but I've just scoured the FAQs and everywhere else I know to look, and I can't find a rule about it. If I'm breaking one, I'm sorry. I'll never do it again.

And thanks, @Dirigonzo. I too think she's quite handsome.

I'm sorry anything I said was construed to mean a clue and answer about drinking the kool aid was inappropriate for the puzzle. I don't think that. Actually, I thought it was a good clue and answer. I suggested that in my first post. I also never suggested it "offended" me. I wonder, @Evil, if you noticed my line "I understand the phrase is in the language and I don't think ill of those who use it without thinking of where it comes from." I only agreed with those who pointed out the ugly images it has for some of us who remember the historical event.

I'm not the language police and don't like being characterized as such. But I'll give you kudos, @Evil, for your ability to provoke.

And now it's so late the rest of you are probably already solving tomorrow's puzzle. No one will ever read this, and no one will know I may have broken a three comment rule on my maiden voyage with Blogger. Oh, well.

mac 11:29 PM  

@600: wrong. I read it. Three and out.

Norm 11:33 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Norm 11:51 PM  

@ Evil. If you'd like to continue this discussion, you can find me at since I don't want to bother the other folks here. I think there is a significant difference between trivializing a mass murder/suicide and the terms you referred to in your latest post. It's not a PC issue. It's not a question of personal thresholds. There is such a thing (I hope) as civility.

Anonymous 12:37 AM  

@600, kudos for the ability to provoke? Seriously? Of course I know Evil Doug can't help it. You know, what wtih him being so "evil" and all...

sanfranman59 1:27 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 7:43, 6:51, 1.13, 94%, Challenging (8th highest median solve time of 119 Mondays)
Tue 6:57, 8:54, 0.78, 3% Easy (3rd lowest median solve time of 120 Tuesdays)
Wed 13:00, 11:52, 1.10, 75%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 12:17, 19:10, 0.64, 2%, Easy (3rd lowest median solve time of 121 Thursdays)
Fri ???
Sat 23:57, 30:10, 0.79, 8%, Easy (9th lowest median solve time of 112 Saturdays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:17, 3:40, 1.17, 95%, Challenging (7th highest median solve time of 119 Mondays)
Tue 3:41, 4:35, 0.80, 2%, Easy (2nd lowest median solve time of 120 Tuesdays)
Wed 6:36, 5:51, 1.13, 86%, Challenging
Thu 6:04, 9:20, 0.65, 2%, Easy (2nd lowest median solve time of 121 Thursdays)
Fri ???
Sat 12:56, 17:11, 0.75, 7%, Easy (8th lowest median solve time of 111 Saturdays)

So ends feast or famine week with the NYT puzzle, with a little bit of the bizarre mixed in on Friday for good measure with the online version differing from the print version.

Del Taco 12:03 AM  

10 minutes solving time??
took me 37 minutes
best clue : "It gets popped on a shoulder"

Dirigonzo 8:45 PM  

Came back to post the latest episode of RPDTNYTCP on this date 5 years ago, so here it is:

- "Solving time: 34:00"
- "Another simple but elusive cross (11D: Use a paper towel on (wipe up) - for which I had SOAK UP) delayed my ultimate mastery of the puzzle, but patience, and my unquenchable thirst for GIN (not TIN), helped me tease out SINGAPORE SLING (24A) and that was that."
- "I may seem to mock the old at times, but I'm very, very aware that they are just me several decades removed (without the super-crotchetiness, I hope)."
- "But Elihu Root was just a diplomat, and they never (to my knowledge) made perfume out of his remains. I do not know what ORRIS is. I know what ATTAR is, sort of, but not ORRIS. Apparently it is the root of the iris plant. Whoa, Hang On! Serendipity - it's one of the key ingredients in Bombay Sapphire GIN. Glorious GIN. Bombay Sapphire is quite great, though by the end of the summer, the wife and I were favoring Broker's Gin for our gin and tonics, and Plymouth for our martinis."
- " I hate guys calling their male friends "buddies" almost as much as I hate women calling their female friends the very redundant "girlfriends" - unless they are sleeping with said friends, in which case, tell me more."
- "Oh, and since we're on AOL for the moment, let me add the following to the list of expressions no one is ever to use again: 84D: chat room abbr. (LOL). If you have the energy to type "LOL," then you are not "LOL," so quit telling people lies."
- "116A: Needle holder (etui)
Back-to-back ETUI appearances. Welcome to the Pantheon, you ridiculously vowely word!"
- "Are you kidding me with this? What the hell is a one-w'd PAWPAW? We just had PAWPAW as an answer. I got the picture wrong and had to retract it. And now you throw this mutant word at me!? Alright, this time, dammit, I'm going to make sure I get it right."
- "Well, we got rid of the ASPS, finally, but now we've got EELS. The EELS want into the Pantheon, but they are excluded on the basis of their being too common a word (and far too tasty)."
- There were 10 comments, of which I liked this one best: "Anonymous 12:44 PM - Your grumpiness makes me snigger.
Love you, Rex"

Richardson 9:19 PM  

another syndalist here: shouldn't 21 across have a German word to indicate that the name was in German, since we commonly say COLOGNE in English?

Anonymous 2:31 AM  

Spacecraft here. Got going in the western enclave, and it seemed from crosses that the first four letters of the central 15 wanted to be KOOL...but of course the only thing I could think of, especially with "unquestioning adherents," was the 900. So for a long time I didn't fill it in because I thought: They wouldn't do THAT. They just...I mean...that takes more balls than certainly I have; I guess I can never become a crossword constructor, because I just simply could not put that one in.
I did have to look up a few things. BONN was a bad start for me in the NW, anchored as it was by the N of SOREN, and then further by the looked-up O of RUSSO (why, oh why not the ravishing Renee?) Never in my life heard of PENTEL. Bic, Scripto, Paper Mate, etc. but not Pentel.
The bottom makes more sense if ANSWEREDTHEDOOR was above MAKESAN ENTRANCE, but what can you do?
Finished--with help, without much joy.

bananafish 12:06 PM  

The clue for KOLN referenced that it was in the Nordrhein-Westfalen region, so it did reference that the answer was in German - in English you would typically say North Rhine-Westphalia. (Pretty clever way of suggesting you should be looking for a city that's spelled differently in English and Deutsch actually.)

KOOLAIDDRINKERS was actually my favorite clue. And yes, I'm plenty old enough to remember the Jonestown images and have been horrified by them.

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