Former Houston footballer / MON 12-12-11 / Gloomy in verse / Dutch painter Jan / Onionlike soup ingredients

Monday, December 12, 2011

Constructor: Gary Cee

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: ERS (37A: Hosp. parts ... or what the answers to the six starred clues each have twice) — six two-word phrases, where both words end in -ER

 Word of the Day: VLOG (19A: Journal on YouTube, maybe) —
(Video bLOG) A Weblog (blog) that includes video clips to be downloaded and viewed immediately or transferred to a portable player. Also called a "vog," "vid-blog" and "movie blog," the vlog can be exclusively videos with text used only for captions, or text entries may be included. A venue for people who like to remix audio, video and graphics in some artistic expression, as well as novice and experienced videographers and movie makers, the material is distributed in popular video formats such as Windows Media, QuickTime and Flash. See diavlog, blog, audioblog and vidcast.
• • •

I just can't get too excited about a bunch of -ER words. I consider them my mortal enemy. Well, my enemy, at any rate. Hyperbole? Maybe. Yes. But still. I stand by my feelings.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: *One who's an empty threat (PAPER TIGER)
  • 26A: *Willie Mays, positionally (CENTERFIELDER)
  • 45A: *What a waiter might be holding when he says "Say when" (PEPPER GRINDER)
  • 59A: *Lawn-Boy or Toro product (POWER MOWER)
  • 10D: *Enclosure with a manuscript or résumé (COVER LETTER)
  • 23D: *Spider-Man's alter ego (PETER PARKER)
The fill on this one is solid and the interlocking theme answers are a nice touch. This one was very easy, as almost all Mondays are, but there are degrees of Easy ... so let me give you some sense of the difference between fast and blistering. Today I was fast. Normal fast. It doesn't take much in the way of speed bumps to keep me in the normal range on a Monday. It almost always feels like I could break my own speed records, but for that to happen, I have to play the Whole Thing almost flawlessly, and today, I had four slip-ups—they probably cost me only 30 seconds total, but that's an ocean of time on a Monday. First, DUPE (3D: Bamboozle). Just couldn't find it. Couldn't find the handle. D- ... DU- ... nope. Needed the "P" from PAPER TIGER before I saw it. Minor glitch, but the toggling / thought time cost several seconds. Then there was LEGS (13D: Important parts of dancers). I brilliantly wrote in TOES. Seemed a better answer, though admittedly I was thinking of ballet specifically, and not dance generally. Anyway, committing to a wrong answer is a bit of a killer, as the undoing, however quickly done, is costly. Another miscue with POWER TOOLS ... the clue's not even in the plural, so my answer doesn't make sense, but POWER MOWER, in the 21st century, is basically a MOWER, so that phrase just wasn't leaping to mind. Worst of all was STILLERS. I had everything but the "I" and still didn't get it. Figured I had a wrong cross somewhere. Only after getting PEPPER GRINDER did I remember that actors Ben STILLER and Jerry STILLER are son and father. And that, my fellow solvers, is all the resistance it takes to turn a sub-3-minute solve (Easy) into a mid-3-minute solve (Medium) 

  • 16A: Woodwind able to provide an orchestra's tuning note (OBOE) — "able to"? That sounds weird. It generally *does* provide said note. What's this "able to"?
  • 39: Dutch painter Jan (STEEN) — "Daily life was Jan Steen's main pictorial theme. Many of the genre scenes he portrayed, as in The Feast of Saint Nicholas, are lively to the point of chaos and lustfulness, even so much that a Jan Steen household, meaning a messy scene, became a Dutch proverb (een huishouden van Jan Steen)". (wikipedia)
  • 53A: Former Houston footballer (OILER) — the current Houston footballers *just* (yesterday) clinched their first playoff berth ... ever.
  • 62A: Actor/songwriter Novello (IVOR) — crosswordese of a pretty high order.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Tobias Duncan 12:09 AM  

Would have had a great time but I have never heard of LOEWS(I almost never go to the movies),FLORS or STEEN.Took me a while to puzzle that section out and I am still not sure how I was able to do it.

meta4 12:14 AM  

Hah...”een huishouden van Jan Steen” sounds like something from way back in my “growing up years”. We were a Dutch immigrant family in Canada. Once we children started school, my parents spoke English at home, except when they wanted to share a remark between themselves, or to convey something less than complimentary. Thanks for the memories!

Matthew G. 12:34 AM  

This was Challenging for a Monday, in my opinion. I finished with a Tuesday-like time—and with an error. I have never heard of IVOR Novello (Novello IVOR?), and because {"Victory is mine!"} is present tense, I went with I WIN instead of I WON. That alone is a pretty tough crossing for a Monday, and when you add in things like STEEN, the uncertainty of AVER vs. AVOW, and the misdirecting clues like {Ben and Jerry}, this definitely puts up a little more resistance than I expect on a Monday.

I liked the theme better than Rex did, even if I thought it was more Tuesdayish.

Anonymous 12:35 AM  

Ivor Novello song "The Land of Might-Have-Been". From the movie Gosford Park (well worth the listen!):

Noam D. Elkies 1:01 AM  

A double "-ER" theme could still earn 1A:KUDOS by avoiding the ending elsewhere, but here we have 53A:OILER and 27D:RARER (no, I'm not counting 35A:ALTER and 29D:EVER, let alone 48A:AVER, 49A:LEER, and 43D:SNEER). Still looks like a competent enough (AVERage?) Monday.

Pianists aren't the only musicians who practice 14A:ETUDEs. 16A:OBOE players have etudes too, so it's a lost linking opportunity. And no, those etudes aren't just sustaining A440 for long enough to let everybody tune ;-) For a sample, see yesterday's "half-step" puzzle : -♭

On to Tuesday,

retired_chemist 1:29 AM  

Not a big fan of this theme. Tuesday-ish time, but it should have been faster.

21A was AGREE! then RIGHT! before ME TOO! BLOG @ 19A and ROCK for 59A were my only other writeovers.

Thanks, Mr. Cee.

foodie 1:54 AM  

I thought it was easy for me, but I agree about the theme not being very exciting. It needed some additional twist-- either better rhyming a la power mower, or some sense of urgency or alarm to refer to ER, or whatever magic potion Andrea adds to Monday offerings.

SHARP yesterday, PARKER today -- shout outs to our fearless leader who stands by his feelings.

I actually understand what the flawless and blistering experience feels like because of a dumb game I play on my iPad where I am # 2 in accuracy and in the top 10 on speed out of about 10,000 players. My kids think I'm weird but it's cool to master such a combo and compete against yourself...

jae 3:37 AM  

I'm with Matthew G. on this one.

Andrer Carler Michaer 3:41 AM  

Thanks, that's sweet... i dunno about magic potion, tho I do tend to judge Mondays on a sort of "oh, i love this, wish I had thought of it!" but today's didn't evoke that at ALL themewise...Can't place what's off, maybe could have gone with fewer themes but something more unifying about them, like make them all people, or something...

And yes, @nde, boo on all those extra -ERs

That said, i thought the cluing was super lively and fresh...
What fun to have "the rent is too damn high party"!
(insert SNL skit here)

Speaking of SNL, the only Novello I know is Don, aka Father Guido Sarducci.

Kudos for starting with KUDOS
And I loved the Tom and Jerry clue ( tho hardly a Monday level)
And there was a lot of energy..."I concur! I won! Behold!"

Plus I sympathize with @Tobias, if you are not a film person that LOEWS/FLORS crossing might be brutal.

One weirdness, the paper I printed it out on was oldish and had some fade spots so my clue for 41D was Pap's Dr. ___
and my first thought was SMEAR?

Z 6:26 AM  

I stand by @RP's feelings, too.

Looking at those asterisks and the apparently random answers I had so far, PAPERTIGER, CENTERFIELDER, PETERPARKER, and PEPPERGRINDER, I was looking for a really cool theme. Then I worked into 37A and was very disappointed. Junk fill as revealer is mildly interesting, and the theme answers themselves are good, but it was still a big let down.

IVOR was the last to fall, with me guessing O because IViR didn't seem likely. I put it at medium-challenging.

CoffeeLvr 7:12 AM  

Technically, a DNF on a Monday. Like @Matthew G, I entered IWiN. AcrossLite let me know something was wrong somewhere, and I eventually found it, way down at the bottom. Also had a key over as I spelled the theater chain like the hardware stores. And "court" before ARENA.

Tepid theme, with 40A's clue, "Grew disenchanted" an apt description. Agree with @Rex about the redundancy of POWER MOWER (I am not saying manual mowers no longer are made and sold, just that "mower" means power in common usage.)

dk 7:44 AM  

My brother and I were in the same art history class at Syracuse along with at least 70 other students. The class was often a 45 minute slide show, in a dark, warm auditorium -- by the time we got to STEEN the only answer from me would have been snore.

Sussed out the theme (such as it is) at the keystone, looked at 59A and exclaimed lawn MOWER does not have two ERS -- that was my high point.

I did like the super secret shout out to the only way to solve: PENS. I use a Stabilo Bionic 0.5mm and the color d'jour is red.

** (2 Stars) KUDUS Mr. Cee

Driving to New Mexico next week my route will go from St Croix falls, WI, through Iowa (rte 35) to Wichita, cut across the pan handle, then into ABQ. Any great sites, oddities, food stops, etc are appreciated. I will have cameras in tow. Click on my little picture and email me the deets.

jberg 8:07 AM  

@Rex: My MOWER is powered only by me, so I guess I'm in the wrong century! And Dona FLOR (don't know why people keep adding an s) must be one of the 100 or so best novels of the last one, not just a movie.

Other than that, I don't have much to add, except that I had not idea why Ben and Jerry were STILLERS until coming here. Thought it might be chILLERS for a while.

Oh yeah - I did like the SNEER/LEER cross.

SethG 8:18 AM  

Next Monday's reveal is SWORDS, and all the theme phrases will be made up exclusively of words with an S in them. As a bonus, the bottom right corner will be the 1973 film SSSSSSS.

Ok construction and solid cluing, but there are way too many possibilities with this theme, and cover letters and power mowers and center fielders just aren't that exciting.

joho 8:28 AM  

ER ER ER ER ERRRR! All I could think was Mary Martin singing in "Peter Pan." I think it was "Peter Pan." Greene?

I,too, noticed the extra ERs and wished they had not been there.

PEPPERGRINDER was my favorite answer.

Comparitively speaking I'd say this is bettER than avERage.

Er.... 8:30 AM  



PickyPicky 8:34 AM  

If POWER MOWER is redundant, then PEPPER GRINDER is what a waiter *is* when he uses a Pepper Mill.

Tita 8:38 AM  

Liked SOURED with TART...

Enough already with the ARENAs...seems like it can be the answer for nearly any clue at all...which must explain the alarming frequency of its appearances.

13D reminds me of a joke my brother proudly made up at the age of 8...
"What does a cowboy usually have?"
Answer - 13D.

He and next-door kid would constantly argue "Mantle is better than Mays", "Mays is better than Mantle" I knew 26A with no crosses. (ANd of course, everyone knows, Mantle WAS better than Mays.)

And a hilarious movie at 24A, starring crosswordy Sonia Braga.
(@jberg...I'll have to read the book...)

Statistically average guy 8:44 AM  

I've always hated the waiter with the PEPPER GRINDER. We all have one, nice average 4" jobs. Why, when we go out to eat, does the handsome, Mediteranian looking, waiter, with the required 2 day stubble and moonie eyes, have to stick this 12" long thing in front of my wife's face and ask if she wants any? And then keep twisting away, over and over and over, making her beg to stop? When I'm sitting there like a fool paying for this?

Rex Parker 8:47 AM  

Today is a day I wish I could "Like" comments.


Brian 8:48 AM  

This theme shocked me by its ordinariness. It needed something else, perhaps words or terms that have two "er"s but also have something to do with emergency work (STRETCHERBEARER, e.g.). I don't know. Something. I think the theme answers needed to have a secondary relationship for sure.

I found it an easy Monday overall otherwise.

Whacker 9:00 AM  

Agree with @Matthew G and @CoffeeLvr present tense clue.. Past tense answer.. Threw me off.. It definitely felt more like a Tuesday puzzle but i would say that is a good thing.

Fingers crossed.. A job offer from Los Angeles today...

archaeoprof 9:02 AM  

Nothing to add, except that Ben STILLER has already made too many movies.

John V 9:12 AM  

Couple of spots made this feel a shade toward challenging, harder, if you will: wrote in CLOWN @26D and TANG @44A, which made things slower. Loved Ben and Jerry clue! KUDOS was last to fall.

Didn't we see VLOG just a few days ago? Wasn't it then and isn't it still the ugliest neologism of the millennium? Yes, I thought so. How about an ER-LOG?, which is just as real as VLOG.

chefbea 9:14 AM  

Fun easy puzzle today. I too noticed all the other er words...way too many.

22A reminded me's time to make @Mac's onion soup. A bit chilly here in NC.

jackj 9:15 AM  

ER. That’s it, ER?

This one earns the dreaded “Cipher” award; it had a nothing theme, it meant nothing, stood for nothing and added nothing for a solver to get excited about. It’s an acceptable puzzle only because, by publishing it, the Times said so, nothing more, nothing less.

But, KUDOS to the “Ben and Jerry” clue (STILLERS); nothing else merits recognition.

mac 9:29 AM  

Medium Monday puzzle for me , with the win/won write-over. I have to agree with most of the comments and Rex's write-up, but I could see that new solvers might like it

Ashamed to say I needed the beautifully located reveal to get the theme...

Is it ok to have praise in the clue of 1A and the one for 4D?

@meta4: growing up in Holland, my parents would speak English when they didn't want the kids to understand!

Een huishouden van Jan Steen is still a common expression. His paintings are fun, and loaded with symbolism, mostly sexual.

efrex 9:33 AM  

Well, goshdarnit, I enjoyed this one. Pretty clean Monday puzzle, with only LOEWS/FLOR and IVOR giving me a frown. I love puzzles with both vertical and horizontal theme answers, so that was quite nice to see, and the STILLERS misdirection clue was a gem, albeit not at all Monday-ish.

Started to throw down WATERPITCHER before PEPPERGRINDER (that'll teach me to count squares before writing in long answers), but didn't have any other troubles. Thanks, Mr. Cee!

quilter1 9:48 AM  

I don't expect much of Monday puzzles, but this one was OK by me. I had fun getting the theme answers. Had AVow before AVER but that was the only write over. On to BEQ.

Lojman 9:50 AM  

Heard at a LOEWS theater, starring OWEN Wilson:

Jeremy: How many times you gonna do this s*!t? Rule #32: You don't commit to a relative unless you're absolutely positive they have a pulse.
John: Rule #16: Give me an up-to-date family tree. That was your mistake. You made me look like an idiot.
Jeremy: Rule #76: No excuses. Play like a champion!


In that same vein: Rule #82: Who's IVOR? I WIN is more suitable for the clue "Victory is mine!"!!!

Enjoyed the nice Monday, excellent theme density.


Tobias Duncan 9:53 AM  

@ Statistically average guy
I have an electric pepper grinder, just turn it upside down and works automatically.
This morning I felt like some sort of pervert peppering my eggs...

Shamik 10:01 AM  

Easy-medium. Meh. But then, it's Monday and it's supposed to be meh for people who solve daily.

santafefran 10:31 AM  

KUDOS to the movie Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands. Thought I was in the GROOVE for this puzzle but hands up for I WIN before I WON.

@dk, and @Jesser, Tobias and I have been discussing the possibility of getting together sometime Christmas afternoon in Santa Fe for a drink. SWERVE on up and join us? Any and all are welcome!

Two Ponies 10:32 AM  

Wicked cross of Loews and Flor.
Underwhelming theme.

David 10:41 AM  

Pretty mundane theme, but with some decent theme answers. However, since my wife works in an ER I will overall rate it a bit more highly.

Anyway, also had the one problem with Bamboozle, writing in DAZE before DUPE, which just wasn't getting it done. Fortunately, IVOR/IWIN was the very last square I filled in and I took my time, as I've had the IWIN/IWON decision to make at least a few times in the past.

archaeoprof 11:23 AM  

@Whacker: good luck with the job offer!

Newbie 11:26 AM  

I grew up in the Catholic church, where we ended the Lord's prayer with the word "evil." Has it changed since then, or is it a Protestant thing? This is what I get for no longer going to church. Was so sure of evil, I couldn't find my mistake.

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

Speaking of pepper grinders, anyone remember the Rubirosa?

Helpful Guy 11:34 AM  

@Newbie - It appears (at least in Wikipedia) that the doxology:

"For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever."

was added in the 1928 Anglican Book of Common Prayer, and that Roman Catholics stick with the original version from Matthew.

P.S. Anglicans, Eastern & Russian Orthodocs are also Catholics, just not Roman Catholics.

Stan 11:36 AM  

The theme was not groundbreaking, but well-executed enough and a pleasant solve. Good teaching puzzle, I think: nothing terribly unfamiliar or unique to crosswords. Keep them coming, Gary.

Yes, Mondays need to be easy to leave time for BEQ.

I don't like pepper 11:48 AM  

@Statistically Average Guy - If you truly were statistically average, your "job" would be 7 inches, not 4.


John V 11:51 AM  

@Newbie: I also grew up Catholic and have your recollection. However, the "expanded" version, noted by @Helpful Guy, has been in use in the Roman Catholic liturgy for quite some time, goes thus:

Lord's Prayer:

Priest: Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words our Savior gave us.

All: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Priest: Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
All: For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever."

The version you and I grew up with ended before the priest's "Deliver us, Lord ...."

So I suppose that technically the clue does not fit the RC version, as "forever" is not the same as "for ever". Er -- I'm okay with that.


Statistically average guy 12:04 PM  

@I don't like pepper - You've never heard of the curse of the Irish?

I don't like pepper 12:07 PM  

@Statistically Average Guy

Funny stuff. Hoped you wouldn't take it the wrong way. You just left the door wide open.

MikeM 12:27 PM  

I have been doing the NYT crossword for decades. Today was the FIRST day I ever timed myself. I usually do the hard copy puzzle in the paper on my commute into NYC. Once in awhile I do AcrossLite, but I turn the clock off. So today I said, what the heck it's a Monday let's try it out. I didnt hit any real bumps except IWiN and the cross of HAUT and HASP I hesitated for a bit. Took me 6 minutes! I am convinced that even if I knew all the answers beforehand I would never be able to complete in under 4. Cheers,

KRMunson 12:31 PM  

@SethG - kudos for your "swords" comments :-). I also thought this was difficult for a Monday. Way over my average time for a Monday.

Matthew G. 12:38 PM  

This is not the first time I've seen cruciverbal types debate the ending of the Lord's Prayer. Not once have I seen a puzzle acknowledge that some denominations add the "For thine is the power" clause and some don't. Constructors, take note.

alex 1:12 PM  


Anonymous 1:28 PM  

I don't know about other parts of the country, but here in the DC area, LOEWS is a former theater chain. All of the former LOEWS theaters are now called AMC theaters, so I think 22D should have said "Former Theater Chain". Hand up for "Clown" instead of "CutUp" for 26D, but otherwise relatively normal for a Monday. Still hate VLOG.

Bird 1:45 PM  

OK theme, but it's a Monday. This going easy for me, but DNF because I had IWIN.

Liked Ben & Jerry clue.

My neighbor uses a manual push mower and I am rebuilding one that the previous owner left in the garage.

Does Sharpie make pens? I thought they only made felt-tipped markers.

jackj 1:59 PM  

"U" lovers rejoice!

Today's CrosSynergy puzzle from Bob Klahn is titled "Just For Youse" and is chock full of your favorite letter.

Lewis 3:05 PM  

@acme -- laughed out loud at Dr. Smear
@sethG -- laughed out loud at your first paragraph
@tita -- loved the cowboy joke

Hand up for IWIN.

So, you solvers who use Across Lite and go for fast times, what are some of your tricks in navigating the grid to shave seconds off?

Masked and Anonymous 3:27 PM  

@jackj: Thank U. And thank U, Santa Klahn.

Anonymous 3:35 PM  

what's up with everybody timing themselves? who cares how fast you get it over with? don't you want to draw it out a little and enjoy it? I think they have pills now for guys who go too fast, don't they?

Tita 3:56 PM  

@Anon @3:35...I love to linger over the puzzles.
A hard Fri or Sat might take me all week...

Though since coming to this blog regularly, I do try to finish in the same day so I can read and learn.

And LOL - today in particular!!!

sanfranman59 4:14 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 6:56, 6:50, 1.01, 60%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:54, 3:40, 1.06, 81%, Challenging

Lois 4:18 PM  

The handsome Ivor Novello also starred in the silent Hitchcock film The Lodger.

But Who's Counting 4:20 PM  

@M&A: Mr. Klahn's U count of 20 today would have been a new NY Times 15x15 record. The current NYT record of 19 U's is held by Mr. Nosowsky. A recent commenter offered up one here that had even more... but, alas, it was 16x15, so no cigar.

JenCT 4:34 PM  

@dk: Lived in Syracuse for a couple of years; I can totally relate to falling asleep in a warm, dark classroom!

@Andrea: wasn't there a Dr. Pap Schmear in a Mel Brooks movie?

@Statistically Average Guy: TMI

Only writeover was LOWES to LOEWS.

My eyes glaze over when people start talking speed solving...

Bird 5:00 PM  

@JenCT and @Andrea: There is a character named Pahpshmir in "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!"

Anonymous 5:21 PM  

Did the "Month That Was" post his summary for the month of November? Or did he just disappear the same way he appeared (suddenly). Just curious . . .

long suffering mets fan 5:40 PM  

All this talk of the size of pepper grinders and no sign of evil Doug? let us hope that all is ok in Sinsinnati

sanfranman59 10:03 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 6:59, 6:51, 1.02, 63%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:49, 3:40, 1.04, 71%, Medium-Challenging

walia 1:58 AM  

Novel Drug Delivery System (NDDS): Development of nanotechnology-based, sustained release and targeted delivery formulations with NDDS to reduce adverse drug reactions and side-effects in the therapeutic areas of oncology, NSAID, neuro science, arthritic disorders, stress and lifestyle related diseases, immuno chemistry, infectious diseases and wound healing.
treatment of brain cancer

JaxInL.A. 2:03 AM  

The weeds in my back door neighbor's yard had swallowed so many objects (including a fiberglass shower enclosure) that even she could no longer ignore the need to act. Teenagers swarmed the place for a day and, locust-like, cleared out weeds and a truckload of junk. Daylight the next day, however, revealed a piece of conceptual art: a remaining patch of weeds four feet tall with a push mower firmly rooted in the middle.

Tita 8:34 AM  

Jax...great story. To me, the distinctive sound of a push mower in use is like the smell of madeleines to Proust...brinks back memories of my Dad tending his beloved garden.

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

Not much love

no punch, lots of rote answers and generally blah. Medium-Hard Mon.

Lecher 1:06 PM  

Any crossword puzzle offering a KEPT TART, POSH CALL girl, REAR AREA ZONE, BRAS, LEGS, and GRINDing will certainly make me LEER.

Dirigonzo 3:36 PM  

From the land of time-warped commentary, I saw "Wilson" in the clue at 55d and immediately wrote in Otis, the former Chicago Bears line-backer (and I'm not even a big football fan) - had to go back and read the rest of the clue when the crosses didn't work out.

There's a POSH restaurant by the name of AZURE Cafe in my hometown -a very nice place if a little pricey, but the owners do some very good things for the community. Give it a try on your next visit to LL Bean's flagship store, which is just down the street.

Now you'll have to excuse me while I go measure my PEPPERGRINDER.

Anonymous 5:32 PM  

Spacecraft here. @anon. 3:35 and Tita: I'm with you guys. Timing yourself on a crossword solve seems...I don't know--anal?
This puzzle posed no problems for me, though I've never heard a peppermill called a PEPPERGRINDER before. Why say two syllables when one does the same job? It's like my #1 all-time language pet peeve: "crispy." The "y" adds NOTHING! The word is crisp! Use it, and your speech will become more so!

bessise: the language in which "Eet mor chickin" is spoken.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

I have an undated puzzle (from this year), it was a Sunday in Newsday (le gasp). One clue I figured by doing all around it was not something I would understand so someone PLEASE tell me what the answer means.

Clue: Baseball bigwigs: Abbr.

answer: OMS

what is OMS.

I would write to, but he never actually answers an email. I have tried in the past. I have written him 2-3 times and it is quite pointless.

thanks to anyone who can explain it


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