Illustrator Edward / MON 11-7-11 / Retired hockey great Eric / Any of seven dwarfs by profession

Monday, November 7, 2011

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: P.Blank. Something — theme answers begin with two initials, the first one "P"

Word of the Day: Eric LINDROS (39D: Retired hockey great Eric) —
Eric Bryan Lindros (pronounced /ˈlɪndrɒs/; born February 28, 1973) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey player. Lindros played junior hockey in the OHL for the Oshawa Generals prior to being selected first overall in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by the Quebec Nordiques. Lindros refused to play for the Nordiques and was eventually traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in June 1992 for a package of players and draft picks including Peter Forsberg. [...] Lindros started his NHL career with the Flyers during the 1992–93 season. Lindros was an exemplary power forward, and averaged more than a point per game. His hard-nosed style caused him to miss significant time with injuries, and he had many problems with concussions. Lindros captured the Hart Memorial Trophy and Lester B. Pearson Award after the lockout-shortened 1994–95 season. In August 2001, Lindros joined the New York Rangers via trade. He signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 2005–06 NHL season. He finished his career in 2006–07 with the Dallas Stars. (wikipedia)
• • •

I thought this was oddly thorny for a Monday, though my time ended up being something close to normal. It took me Forever to get the theme, because PECLASS was nonsense to me (couldn't even see it at first) and then PSI- at beginning of the Beatles clue just looked wrong so I abandoned it (mind you I'm doing all this at breakneck speed). I get P.T. BARNUM easily but have no idea how it's thematic. Not until PhLEVEL do I see a pattern. Then, of course, it's not so tough, except for LINDROS. Actually, I knew LINDROS, but he's not a name I expected to see on a Monday, i.e. far from a household name (except maybe in Canada—who knows?). Also, if I ever knew illustrator Edward SOREL, I totally forgot him (30A: Illustrator Edward). Another non-Monday guy. Speaking of names, the puzzle loves ANYA Seton when it comes time to clue ANYA, but apparently not when it comes time to clue SETON (32A: Determined to do). I blame sexism.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: 1964 Beatles hit ("P.S. I LOVE YOU")

  • 19A: Part of school that includes push-ups and situps (P.E. CLASS)
  • 23A: Showman associated with the quote "There's a sucker born every minute" (P.T. BARNUM)
  • 23D: U.S. mail holders (P.O. BOXES)
  • 44A: Chinese restaurant chain (P.F. CHANG'S) — is this national? I know about this restaurant only because of one I went to in the Flatirons Mall in Colorado.
  • 48A: Acidity or alkalinity (Ph LEVEL)
  • 52A: Rating of "Avatar" (PG THIRTEEN)  — not a big fan of the numeral being written out like this, but I'll allow it
Wanted LUSH for LUXE (39A: Sumptuous), which is not a word anyone actually uses. Had TRIM instead of TIDY at first (57A: Neat). Have never heard the word (phrase?) OUTGO before (59A: Expenditures). Wrote in AUTIC (!?) instead of AURAL at first (14A: Ear-related) (I was clearly thinking OTIC, which is not uncommon in crosswords). Anything else? Nope.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


foodie 12:07 AM  

This was also strange for me in that it felt hard but my time was faster than normal. I did not know LINDROS or SOREL, but I think the crosses made it all very doable.

The theme is very dense and once you tumble to it, then it actually makes things very easy. It's sort of a cool observation, that there are a lot of common phrases with P.X.------

A little Halloween remnant with SKELETON, but my favorites are NEBULA and ARBORETUM.

Clark 12:45 AM  

ARBORETUM will always mean Ann Arbor to me. @foodie, I thought of you. This was tough for a Monday.

MaharajaMack 12:52 AM  

LINDROS was a cheap thrill for me because I remember his rookie season - he was one of the greats from my childhood. Very depressing to see that he retired four seasons ago.

pk 12:54 AM  

Are we missing something here, y'all kids? Can a theme really be just random things that start with "P?" ???

David Steinberg, you could help us out here.

pk 12:55 AM  

P.S. pk has always started with p

chefwen 12:58 AM  

I'm clocking in with easy. I zipped right through this one without one write over.

Love P.F. Chang's lettuce wrapped chicken. Yummo!

I also enjoyed the mini Hawaiian theme in the southwest with LEI over POI which connected with OAHU. Aloha!

CoffeeLvr 1:49 AM  

No key overs, but I am not sure how fast I was since the AL clock did not start for me.


I suppose I am supposed to be impressed with 7 "theme" entries, but I would rather have 4 related ones.

PurpleGuy 1:56 AM  

Everything @Rex said. Same experience.

@chefwen - thought of you with the mini Hawaiian theme. Aloha indeed!!!

Happy Monday all.


syndy 2:33 AM  

Malapopped the GAT in at 36 across.PF CHANGS are herein Calif-I've never been.The outgo is what can excede the Income.and my favorite NEBULA is the Crab.

andrea pc michaels 2:34 AM  

SEVEN theme answers! @CofferLvr, you should be impressed! :)
They ARE related!
There are even more PF FLYERS, PR FIRM, and maybe even PU, that stinks!

But he had a PF, and there is no match for PR FIRM...
This was fun and a cute observation.

@pk it's not just's a pattern. Two letters + word, and thematically linked bec they are Ps and you have to say the letter P.
It would be fun to add some ones where the P was at the end...
like Magnum, PI...or TYLENOL PM.

I think this is terrific...
and LINDROS, SOREL, PFCHANGS do not really belong in an "easy" Monday, but as @foodie said, the crossings were fair and we all learned something (I think!)

And I liked that there was a bonus theme answer going straight down the middle, plus an X.

There were lots and lots of Bs as well (7 also, I think) which is a semi-unusual letter.

And @chefwen got a major shout out.

Plus two different gangster guns!
I think this puzzle had lots of little subtle sweet things to it...and the fill was supersmooth
(like PB...and J)
Hey! That matches PRFIRM!!!

And, of course, tonight being the first Monday of the month means only one thing (to me) in SF...
Beatles karaoke!!!!!!!!
I guess this is a sign I am to sing PS I LOVE you you

dk 7:03 AM  

The theme was easy to get and I am sure hard to construct.

OUTGO was a common term used by my CPA dad so that was a gimme.

Making snow here in the upper midwest and my ski area (Wild Mountain) is open...albeit with only one or two runs. Now if we only had a TBAR. Can we clue that as retro lift?

Maybe I can get Andrea to dedicate her song to moi? I am banned from singing in all fifty states... something about a tune and a bucket.

** (2 Stars) What I wish is that the P.Blank themes were more related (as noted in an earlier post).

exaudio 7:13 AM  

@clark, I have the same mental leap to Ann Arbor when I hear the word arboretum. When I took my daughter to the UM info session I learned that the Nichols Arboretum inspired Robert Frost to write "The Road Not Taken."

Some education programs for the deaf that eschew sign language are called "aural/oral." An unfortunate case of near-homonyms.

I thought this puzzle was a great example of Monday-easy but still theme-intensive.

joho 7:23 AM  

I thought it was a really fun, easy Monday even with the non-Monday names. The theme is definitely different. And I discovered something quite interesting. If you write the theme answers in order: PS, PE, PT, PF, PH, PG and cross out PF, you end up with SETHG.

So, what I'm thinking is, either that is one huge shout out to SethG or he and David Steinberg one and the same!

Z 7:39 AM  

Took my son to PFCHANGS last night for his 15th birthday, so that was a major gimme this morning. Already having PECLASS and the P in PSILOVEYOU, I had the theme early. Knowing the theme helped me not to think too long before writing in PHLEVEL.

I first went to PFCHANGS in Milwaukee about 5 years ago when I was there for a tournament. We have at least two in metro Detroit. So it is a multi-state chain at least.

I didn't know SOREL, but didn't realize it until I came here. I never even saw the first gun clue since I had that whole section from the downs. There were a number of other clues I never read, so the fill was very smooth for me. LINDROS was a gimme (I'm not Canadian, but I live in the city that styles itself "Hockeytown"). Was prepared to question OUTGO, but I see that others recognize its legitimacy, so it is only my own ignorance.

All-in-all a typical Monday for me. I was a bit surprised by the medium rating.

Crosscan 7:42 AM  

Well, LINDROS is a household name in Canada but PF CHANGS in unknown so crossword symmetry is maintained.

Matthew G. 7:50 AM  

Perfectly fine Monday fair. Not sure why there's quibbling over the theme -- I don't expect much more theme complexity than this at the start of the week.

Got the CHANGS part of PF CHANGS but needed the cross for the F. I saw one of these once on a trip to Boston, but I've never eaten at one. I'm not big on Chinese food--if I'm going out it's going to be Thai, or Indian, or Mexican, or Italian ...

Count me in the "this felt harder than it was" crowd. I definitely hesitated over both LINDROS and (especially) OUTGO, so I was surprised when my time popped at faster than normal.

jberg 8:04 AM  

I don't want to sound snobby, but I actually thought this was too easy for a Monday - felt like the Boston Globe puzzle, which I try once every 3 years to see if it's become any better. Right from the SPAS/SWAP cross in the NW, I worked my way S and E through crosses, skipping a beat only for PECLASS (which we always called Phy Ed) and PSILOVEYOU. And once I got those, the other theme answers were gimmes.

To reinforce my point, look at 31A, "WSW's opposite," as a clue for ENE. Too easy for a Monday, I say.

Still not wanting to sound snobby, I read the New Yorker every week, which is SOREL's stomping ground, so that one was easy; and there's a PFCHANGS here in Boston. So LINDROS was the only unknown answer for me.

One quibble with AURAL - I think it means sound-related rather than "ear-related," but it was clear enough what was meant.

Then there's the P soup. I can't think of one, but what this theme needed was a clever revealer; that would have made it more fun. What it needed even more was some kind of relation (better than spelling someone's name if you leave out two of them) among the second initials.

That said, it's a lot of theme answers, with the down intercepting two acrosses (though one was on the P, not too hard).

Tita 8:07 AM  

Also spent 5 minutes wondering how they connect.

Like that the test pattern of my mind is now reset to PSILOVEYOU.

Don't like clueing for NEBULA...
Part of a galaxy? Answer could be, very literally, nearly anything in the (known) universe...comet, sneaker, tree...
Even Joni Mitchell knew "We are Stardust"

Also, it's not really a "part" - like a wheel is a part of a bicycle.

How about Cloudy Milky Way object...

David 8:12 AM  

Fun start to the week - got this one in a normal Monday time, a little over 4 minutes. Did have 2 writeovers, LUXE over LUSH and AURAL over AURIC. Otherwise, stared at my OUTGO answer at 59A for a few secs but let it go. Enjoyed the theme, not picking it up at PECLASS but at PSILOVEYOU.

Big fan of PFCHANGS, been to a few of them in the East, so if there is one in CO it may well be a national chain.

TM 9:00 AM  

To me, this puzzle seemed very easy. I also kept getting a feeling that this puzzle was done before? Maybe it is just déjà vu all over again.

jackj 9:05 AM  

P+1(NMI) gives us a clever theme headlined by PSILOVEYOU and, if he is a crossword fan, drawing gripes from prolific wag PJ O'Rourke who finds himself on the outside looking in.

Cluing, overall, is Monday level with a tolerable amount of crosswordese, but a couple of names which may spell trouble for some,(LINDROS and SOREL) but those are trumped by that clever quartet NEBULA, ARBORETUM, HOHUM and SLOBBER.

Early week solvers who didn't like this puzzle had best consider whether they should redirect their efforts to KenKen.

Good show, young Steinberg!

You don't have to eat there 9:14 AM  

As of 2010, P. F. Chang's operates more than 200 restaurants in the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Kuwait City, and Dubai in United Arab Emirates. The company – ... has its corporate headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona ... The restaurant chain is frequently referenced in the animated sitcom South Park ... It has also been frequently mentioned by Howard Wolowitz, a fictional character in the sitcom The Big Bang Theory..

At least according to Wiki.


John V 9:15 AM  

Felt at least medium to me. No PF Chang's in NYC so that was Greek to me, if I may mix metaphors. EMO? Got it with the crosses, but new to me.

I kept expecting a word letter theme.

Anyhoo, this is a NEW YORK Times puzzle with no call out to PC Richard???

@TwoPonies (Friday) glad you enjoyed Edmond. I have two rules for film: 1) Watch all David Mamet, 2) Watch all Coen Brothers.

@sanfranman59 (Friday again) thanks for the tour de force of on-line solving, a real eye-opener to this dead-tree solver.

General comment on blogger eating comments: Before I type the capcha and preview, I simply Control-A|Control-C in the comment box to copy my comments to the clipboard, as a backup.

ArtO 9:22 AM  

For those of a certain age, ps I love you was The Hilltoppers or Rosemary Clooney.

Anoa Bob 9:24 AM  

This one didn't exactly SLOBBER knock me but had to guess the final "N" at the P.F. CHANGS, LINDROS crossing.

"Calf's meat" for 18D sounded odd to me. I was thinking What kind of meat does a calf eat?

The adjacent downs NEBULA, ARBORETUM, BABEL were very nice and made up for the rather HO HUM P.O. BOXES.

chefbea 9:24 AM  

Found this pretty easy although did not know Lindros or Sorel. I do the sorrel the herb!!

And speaking of the Beatles - did anyone watch the ice skating show on NBC yesterday honoring the Beatles?? There were 4 guys singing all the songs and they looked exactly like the Beatles!!! and sounded like them as well.!!! It was amazing

quilter1 9:30 AM  

This was easy for me. I caught the theme early and got the hockey player from crosses. I've only ever eaten at PF CHANGS in Phoenix, but we have one in Des Moines. I liked NEBULA and ARBORETUM. Nice puzzle, if it did have a little too much common fill, like SPAS, ETA, and LEI. Jane Eyre was absent.

I was trying to tell my daughter that I received a gift card for a manicure and pedicure for my birthday but it came out "medicure." Freudian slip?

Rex Parker 9:47 AM  

If the puzzle is "typical" for that day of the week, then, by definition, it's "Medium."

I added a poll to the sidebar—just 'cause I'm curious about your solving habits. Participate if you wish.


Shamik 10:02 AM  

Easy-medium here and I liked seeing a theme on a Monday. I like Mondays 'cause I have the time to enjoy the puzzle without it taking away from things I HAVE to do. This was a fun little number.

mac 10:05 AM  

I liked this puzzle, with only the autic/aural write-over. Especially liked the P.O. Boxes down the middle!

As someone said before, all the Ps are pronounced separately, even the one before the h in PH level. Clever.

DBGeezer 10:11 AM  

@Rex, in looking over your blog, I saw and checked Syndicated Puzzle. I got an old puzzle, and don't understand what syndicated has to do with anything.

JenCT 10:14 AM  

Count me in as liking the puzzle, and also finding it crunchier than usual for a Monday.

The LINDROS/MALI/MINER crosses held me up briefly.

jackj 10:15 AM  

Rex Parker@9:47AM- You may want to consider a tweak to your poll to record "on paper" or "on-line" solving.

I voted "newspaper, AcrossLite and other" in an attempt to earmark a vote for "on paper" solving, (I print out the puzzle using AcrossLite to allow me to solve on paper).

Gill I. P. 10:19 AM  

This went PDQuick and made me PDHappy.
There's a MALI (42D)Lagoon in Malawi and I only bring this up because The Amazing Race filmed last night's segment there and it makes me want to go POst-haste.
Thank you David Steinberg for a Monday smile.
Happy B-Day to @quilter1 and Madame Curie.

Matthew G. 10:33 AM  

I voted for both "Tablet" and "Newspaper" in the poll. I have a Saturday/Sunday subscription to the dead-tree NYT, so I do both the Saturday and Sunday puzzles in the paper on Saturday mornings (the NYT delivers the NYT Sunday Magazine on Saturdays now[!?], so I get both the Saturday and Sunday puzzles at dawn on Saturday).

During the week, I generally solve on my iPad using the Crosswords app by Stand Alone, Inc., while riding to work on the subway. Every now and then, I print out a weekday puzzle for a change of pace, particularly on Thursdays or Fridays when I know my pace will be more leisurely anyway.

Gill I. P. 10:40 AM  

Ditto @jackj 10:15

Matthew G. 10:40 AM  

As John V. says, chain restaurants are often going to be tougher for NYC folks to get, because a lot of the big chains don't bother expanding into the five boroughs. Heck, before the 1990s there weren't even any McDonalds in Manhattan!

I've only seen P.F. CHANGS when traveling. And I don't watch TV, so its pop culture presence didn't help me. Perfectly fair entry, obviously -- just hard for moi.

Two Ponies 10:43 AM  

I like a Monday puzzle that makes me think. PE class made me pause but with PT Barnum I was off to the races.
@ JohnV, I second you on the Coens and after Edmond I will now seek out more Mamet.
I thought PF Chang's food was rather bland. With a large Asian population here in Vegas there is no reason to go to a franchise.

TM 10:48 AM  

Similar to Matthew G. I do the M-F in Across Lite (or xword on linux) and then weekends tends to be in the paper.

Rex Parker 10:55 AM  

If you print it out using Across Lite, then the answer is Across Lite. I use the applet some days, Puzzle Solver (akin to AcrossLite) other days. So I voted for both.

Mel Ott 11:03 AM  

My brother was 5 years older than I. When he went to school they were calling that part of school PT, for Physical Training. By the time I got there they were calling it Physical Education.

syndy 11:19 AM  

@DB GEEZER many other papers across the country run the NYT crossword in syndication-it's (I think) 6 weeks old (2 on sundays)many of us started this BLOG from syndication and then went online to do the puzzle and join the conversation!

hazel 11:28 AM  

@rex - cool idea with the poll. looking forward to the distribution when the poll is over (not so much each individual's response in the meantime). just one humble opinion!

thought the puzzle was clever. had 2 huhs then got the gimmick with PT. definite thumbs up, with an enthusiasm level just a notch below ACME's!

also, nice observation @joho. i'm leaning towards a shout-out, subliminal or otherwise.

Stan 11:29 AM  

I liked SLOBBER, SCALP, NEBULA, and HO-HUM as answers.

Had a little problem with the mixed difficulty level: from very easy to proper names like LINDROS and SOREL. I had GOREY for the latter, who I think would be more at home on a Monday.

My favorite P.J.'s are Polly Harvey, the musician, and P.J. Soles, the actress ("Carrie," "Halloween," "Rock 'n' Roll High School").

Bill Earle 12:07 PM  

If your outgo exceeds your income, then your upkeep will be your downfall.

shrub5 12:16 PM  

I will now go change my vote. I go to or and print out the puzzle using AcrossLite, solving on paper.

@RP: I enjoy polls so I hope you will use them now and again to survey your readers about issues that come up.

Like @syndy, I malapopped GAT where ROD belonged and then found a new spot for it further on down. Another hand raised for the AURic to AURAL error. There are a couple of PFCHANG'S in the greater Sacramento area.

Enjoyed this puzzle quite A BIT but I didn't even look for (or notice) the theme until I was done. Missed seeing POBOXES going down the middle (thanks, acme.)

DigitalDan 12:26 PM  

To me the fun thing about PF Chang's is that PF stands for Paul Fleming.

Tita 1:04 PM  

Not that you need a multitude of categories, but...
Many of us use AcrossLite not as SOLVING software... but simply as a means to PRINT, then solve on paper.

I would use PDF, but the blacks are too black, so I use AcrossLite.

Print from AcrossLite as category?
Print to paper?

Depends on what you want to learn from the poll.

Over-engineerer Tereza

Sparky 1:04 PM  

I tried for speed today so didn't notice LINDROS or SOREL because they filled in with downs. GAT on top, then changed when it turned up again later, as others have noted. I do what @jackj (10:15) said. Not the same every day. Nice start to the week.

ThemeCop 1:22 PM  

Just to keep the record straight, pH - which is how it's written in the real world - is not the same as the other theme answers, which all involve caps. PR FIRMS, as Andrea mentioned, would have been more consistent. Enjoyed the puzzle, though.

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

Enjoyed the puzzle; thank you Mr. Steinberg.

Add me to the AURAL/AURIC, ROD/GAT group. Started to write PHYSED before I realized it didn't fit, then went back and entered PECLASS after getting theme from PSILOVEYOU and PTBARNUM.

I solve in the paper (home delivery 7 days) and usually in order (all acrosses then all the downs). I enjoy getting the Sunday magazine on Saturdays as it gives me two puzzles to solve in one day.

I wonder if the students in PECLASS can hear the PA SYSTEM over the teacher's voice.

treedweller 2:07 PM  

how about PBandJ to offset PRfirm? I have to say, I hate that kind of answer, but it has grid cred. Question is, does it fit the theme?

John V 2:38 PM  

Does no one want PCPOLICE? Not that we'd want them around HERE, of course.

600 3:29 PM  

Is it still a malapop when it's the same clue both times? No matter--I'm calling GAT my first malapop since someone here was nice enough to define it for me. (Sorry I can't quite remember who that kind person was.)

Me too on connecting all arboretums to Ann Arbor and the Nichols Arboretum. Didn't know about Frost and "The Road Not Taken," though. Thanks for that. (@foodie--are you connected to U of M? @Clark's remark made me wonder . . . )

Easy puzzle for me. A bit surprised by the "medium" rating. Dare I think I might be getting a little better at this? (I wrote this before I saw Rex's comment about "typical" and "medium." But my time on this was faster than my typical, so I'm sticking to "easy.")

I'm a little concerned about JaxinLA. Strange, since I don't even know her . . . but I sure wish she'd check in.

So enjoyed listening to P.S. I Love You. Wish I could hear @Andrea sing it, but SF is a long, long way from Georgia. Anyway, the sound track of my day is now changed. Think I'll go put on an early Beatles album (okay, CD)--just as soon as I find and vote in this poll everyone's talking about.

chefbea 3:35 PM  

@600 I have been sending @jaxinLA the puzzles til she gets her computer straightened out. We should hear from her soon.

frabbowb - Wow. don't know how to translate that

Anonymous 3:37 PM  

Is anyone else having the problem where Google doesn't let me publish my comments here?

@anonymous 1:54 -- I like you have been doing the acrosses, then the downs, but now I'm experimenting with going by section to see if it goes quicker.

It was a slower than usual Monday for me (maybe because of the above mentioned experiment), but still pretty easy. As someone mentioned earlier, the clue for 31A seemed too obvious for a NYT puzzle.

I know we recently had ARI. And here's something quirky: From the O in OLD, up diagonally to the last E of BEE, it's all vowels - 9 in a row.


acme 3:39 PM  

you see? Others have suggested PJ OROURKE, PC POLICE, PA SYSTEM...
it's fun, it gets you thinking, etc. PT Barnum helped some get PE Class...
EVERYTHING a theme should do, plus! :)
yes, I could take it down a notch and we'd be in sync! But you get the idea...
My captcha is cycos, but I'm not going to take it personally!

(That's my new zen QTIP: Quit Taking It Personally!)

RI Squasher 3:53 PM  

@Matthew G- I grew up in Manhattan (born in 1969) and I ate many meals at both the McDonald's on 57th and 3rd and the one at Union Sq throughout my childhood so there were at least 2 in NYC before the 90s.

I'm not sure how everyone actually solves the puzzle but I like to go through all the acrosses first, then all the downs, then start filling in the blank spaces. Probably not the most efficient method but it works for me. There were more blanks after going through the acrosses than usual for a Monday for me but by the time I did the downs I was in good shape.

Matthew G. 4:32 PM  

@RI Squasher: Interesting. My father (who lived his whole life in NYC until 1987) always told me he never saw a McDonald's in Manhattan. He may have been exaggerating. I'm too young to remember much of what was around in the 80s, and then I moved away from 87 to 03 and missed the big transformation of the city.

In any event, chains are still harder to find here. I just checked -- no P.F. CHANGS in the five boroughs.

Sparky 4:50 PM  

Thanks @JohnV for the tip. Will use it. @Anon 3:37. A lot of trouble yesterday. It kept saying "Create a blog" but I have a blog. Seems to be okay today. @Andrea. That's what my shrink would tell me. I could have used this blog and you then.

mac 4:51 PM  

New York moment: walking by PC Richard on 23rd St, I noticed a homeless man with a sign and cup, doing the crossword puzzle in, I think, the NY Post. They were handed out free on the corner.

aandreaa caarlaa michaaels 5:20 PM  

It's what MY shrink DID tell me!
That will be 5 cents please.

Actually she only taught me QTIP this year after about 20 years of therapy! I just thought I'd pass it on!
But I think it's from AA.
QTIP (Quit Taking it Personally) is my new mantra!
(We'll see if it takes... the problem is, it's great to weed out the bad stuff, but I'm worried it means you can't take credit and/or all the sweet shoutouts personally either, right?)

I gotta get out and eat something...tho I don't think there are any PF Chang's in SF.
One thing I still love abotu North Beach is they don't allow ANY chains!

hazel 5:23 PM  

@acme- - i absolutely was NOT suggesting you take it down a notch! i really liked this puzzle and also your enthusiasm for it.

North Beach 5:56 PM  

@acme: they just drag me down!

uncest = it's all out of the family?

David Steinberg 8:44 PM  

Thanks, everyone, for your comments. There was no second level this time, though all this did get me thinking. . . .

sanfranman59 10:02 PM  

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 6:30, 6:50, 0.95, 30%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:28, 3:40, 0.95, 31%, Easy-Medium

cody.riggs 10:44 PM  

Rex, I don't know what to answer in your poll. I subscribe to NY Times online, so don't think it qualifies as "the paper." I emphatically do NOT use "across lite", either...but print it out in pdf form, exactly as it appears in the paper. Is this unusual enough to qualify as "other"?

Portland, Ore.

cody.riggs 10:53 PM  

I can't help but post a belated comment re:"ATHOL" on Saturday.

A couple of years ago there was an article in the Oregonian about how the residents of La Grande, OR stood up against an Aryan Nation march in their town. The leader of the Aryan Nation? Paul R. MULLET, from ATHOL, Idaho.

How appropriate!

(no offense to Mullet-wearers, I used to have one. But it's still amusing.)

foodie 10:58 PM  

@Clark, thank you :) Yes, I love that Arboretum!

@600, yes, I've named my kids maize and blue ;)

Speaking of AA, I love QTIP! I learned it from Andrea and have passed it on to my students. Taking critique without being offended or upset is an art we need to master in science.

Tita 9:28 AM  

Lots of us do it that way.

(Though as I mentioned, I use AcrossLite top print it, as they give you the option to print the black squares as a light gray, thus saving on tomer!)

Tita 9:35 AM  

Good grief...
*to print

cody.riggs 9:08 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 3:52 PM  

Got confused on PSILOVEYOU, 'cause I had ----oveyou, and was fixated on "She Loves You," but the tense was wrong, so went up the garden path trying to mess with tenses or puns removing the S from other theme answers... you get the picture. It was Monday. Once I saw "PTBARNUM" I slapped my head and got on with it.

Dirigonzo 4:33 PM  

From five (not six as was surmised by someone above) weeks later, my drool started out as Spittle but PSILiVEYOU seemed unlikely, so I changed it to the correct SLOBBER (which around my house is something the dogs do). In yesterday's Premier Crossword by Frank A. Longo OHNO was clued as "Speed skater Apolo Anton ___".

RPDTNYTCP 5 years ago:
- "Solving time: 8:42 (it's true)"
- "Usually I never even notice the ticking clock right over the grid, but this time I became Very conscious of it, to the extent that next time I am clearly going to have to put tape or something on the screen to block it."
- "It's time for another segment of Odd Jobs, wherein we examine all the weird nouns that have been unnaturally forced into existence by the addition of an -ER ending to a verb. "Hurler" and THROWER are both OK, since you hear them enough in baseball talk, but THROWER's intersection of LACER, at the "E" no less, forces me to call an excessive -ERage penalty. It's like hand-checking your opponent in basketball - do it a little, no one's going to care; do it a lot, you're going to get a whistle. Here the foul is flagrant, as we have intersecting "-ER" answers, a foul additionally compounded by the astonishingly weak LACER. What the hell is that?"
- "Another reason my SW was so slow was because I somehow convinced myself that I "don't know opera," forgetting that, when you have ERI TU in your arsenal, sometimes you don't have to know opera. Is it five letters? Perfect. Shove ERI TU in there and move on."
- "In the past 10 days or so I have learned of the existence of two LOTTEs, a Lehmann and a LENYA. Lehmann, a 20th century soprano, has a 19th century counterpart named LILLI. I'm just saying this stuff out loud in the desperate hope that it will all somehow stick."
- There were 11 comments including this reply from Rex to a syndicated solver who had just discovered the blog (while googling for answers, of course): "Yes, visit often. And don't feel bad about tanking a Tuesday puzzle. I totally tanked today's (1/30) puzzle. I mean ... it was a disaster. Usually disasters wait for at least Wednesday to show up."

Miles B. Lewis 7:22 PM  

I do the NYT puzzles as printed in the Orange County Register. This Monday puzzle was easy as usual, but no one has mentioned that the clue for 29D was NOT printed in italics! At least not in my paper. This is my first try at commenting on the blog.

Singer 7:50 PM  

Portland Oregonian didn't have italics either. The clue as presented in the paper made no sense. Still didn't matter much - no write overs and did the whole thing in less than 5 minutes in the paper. Really easy puzzle - I kind of agree with the statement is was too easy for a Monday NYT puzzle - more like a USA Today.

Dirigonzo 8:00 PM  

@Miles and @Singer - I'm on the opposite coast and my paper didn't have the clue in italics either, but it was easily gettable from the crosses.

Waxy in Montreal 8:07 PM  

@Miles & @Singer - here on the other side of the continent, the Montreal Gazette didn't print the clue in italics either.

To describe Eric Lindros as a retired hockey great is really pushing the envelope, especially as he never came close to living up to the hype that accompanied his entry into the NHL. Retired hockey disappointment might be a better clue...

Waxy in Montreal 8:08 PM  

@Dirigonzo - synchronicity again...

Dirigonzo 8:12 PM  

@Waxy - Great minds...

Anonymous 11:41 PM  

Ah, the vagaries of Syndiland! No, my clue wasn't ITALIC either, but easily gotten--as was the whole thing. I think when Rex rates this "medium" he maybe should add (for a Monday).
The Spacecraft didn't have trouble with any of it, though it took me a little while to frok that the central downer was also a theme answer. I've come across this LUXE business before. Where's the DE? I just can't grab that LUXE is a real word all by itself. It's just too weird.
This one has some nice lively words in it, particularly those SKELETONS in the ARBORETUM (a walk, perhaps, with the stunningly lovely Deanna Troi?). Then of course there's the big treat for this Flyer fan: LINDROS. Man, those were the days. Didn't matter if they couldn't go all the way; but every team feared having to play the Flyers. I loved it.
Good puzz, David.

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

How is 29 DOWN "like this clue"? Answer is "ITALIC" But the clue is not printed in italic.

Nullifidian 2:01 PM  

A syndicated solver writing late because my newspaper yesterday was destroyed by the rain. If you call in to get a new one, they always bundle it with the next day's paper.

I think Anonymous immediately above must be a syndicated solver, because my paper did the same damn thing. I hate it when there's a specific clue that requires italicization, and they don't do it in syndicated puzzles.

I'm pleased that you marked this as "medium" because for me it was a total breeze. Hardly needed to check the crosses at all—although I always do just to double check since I do the puzzles in pen and I like a clean-looking grid. Pencil just doesn't provide enough contrast.

My one quibble is that PO BOXES are not uniquely receptacles for US Mail. Mailboxes also serve the same function. But by that time, the theme was completely obvious.

I liked the inclusion of Eric LINDROS because the one sport I do know something about is hockey. "At last," I said to myself, "a sports clue I can answer!"

Nothing special about any of the theme answers, and it could be solved as themeless, but at least it played fair and didn't go crazy with obscure names like "Bonnie Blue Butler". I also liked ARBORETUM and SKELETONS. AMENS I was less pleased about. That terminal S seems ridiculous. Christian prayers and hymns end with Amen. Just one. There's not a chance of getting a second one tagged on.

"___ the ramparts" took me longer than I care to admit to realize it was referring to the U.S. National Anthem. Here's my favorite version of the song, the re-harmonization by Igor Stravinsky, which he wrote as thanks for being allowed to flee France ahead of the Nazis, and the Boston police responded to his act of good will by arresting him for it. Hence the mugshot featured in the video.

I also liked NEBULA just as a word.

All in all, I was satisfied with the puzzle, despite the somewhat perfunctory theme.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP