Big Apple list / MON 1-30-12 / Ones not entirely gay or straight / Soothing juice / Food giant whose brands include Gerber and Goobers / Wrist elbow connectors

Monday, January 30, 2012

Constructor: Francesco Trogu

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: NEST (66A: Where 38-Across [BIRDS] lay 1-Across [EGGS] ... or a word hidden in 20-, 27-, 44- and 51-Across) — just what it says

Word of the Day: SETH Rogen (9D: Rogen of "Superbad") —
Seth Rogen (pronounced /ˈroʊɡɪn/; born April 15, 1982) is a Canadian stand-up comedian, actor, producer, screenwriter, and voice artist. Rogen began his career doing stand-up comedy during his teen years, winning the Vancouver Amateur Comedy Contest in 1998. While still living in his native Vancouver, he landed a small part in Freaks and Geeks. Shortly after Rogen moved to Los Angeles for his role, Freaks and Geeks was canceled after one season due to poor ratings. He then got a part on the equally short-lived Undeclared, which also hired him as a staff writer. // After landing a job as a staff writer on the final season of Da Ali G Show, for which Rogen and the other writers received an Emmy nomination, he was guided by film producer Judd Apatow toward a film career. Rogen was cast in a major supporting role and credited as a co-producer in Apatow's directorial debut, The 40-Year-Old Virgin. After Rogen received critical praise for that performance, Universal Pictures agreed to cast him as the lead in Apatow's directorial feature films Knocked Up and Funny People. Rogen and his comedy partner Evan Goldberg co-wrote the films Superbad, Pineapple Express, and The Green Hornet. Rogen has done voice work for the films Horton Hears a Who!, Kung Fu Panda, Monsters vs. Aliens, and Paul. He became engaged to fellow screenwriter Lauren Miller, with whom he married in October 2011. (wikipedia)
• • •

Here's the thing about "hidden" word puzzles: the "hidden" word should touch every word in the theme answer. That's the ideal. If not, then your answers better sizzle, but the only one I really like here is BONE STRUCTURE (and that is the lone answer where NEST actually does touch every word in the answer). The puzzle has a somewhat bigger problem than banality of concept, however: ITUNES TOP TEN is a terrible, terrible answer. I have used iTunes for years. I have no idea what TOP TEN is being referred to here. One of many lists off to the side telling you what's selling well in a certain genre? That is hardly a thing. Google the phrase inside quotation marks and you get 200K+ (not great), with many of the hits being phrases inside sentences rather than references to a Specific List. By contrast, to choose a random example: if you Google "Sherman Alexie" you get 1.4 million+ hits.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Not-so-fancy places to stay (ONE-STAR HOTELS)
  • 27A: Maryland's nickname (OLD LINE STATE)
  • 44A: Big Apple list (iTUNES TOP TEN)
  • 51A: Osteoporosis threatens it (BONE STRUCTURE) — very weird clue. BONE STRUCTURE is a phrase I've heard *only* in relation to someone's face. Osteoporosis threatens your bones, period. This is like saying that faulty wiring threatens my house structure.

Made a tremendous number of tiny errors for a puzzle this easy. FLUBS for SNUBS (not sure what I was thinking there) (5A: Social slights); ULNAE for ULNAS (understandable) (24D: Wrist/elbow connectors); AXIS for AXLE (semi-understandable) (63A: Wheel turner); SINCE for HENCE (not-so-understandable) (57A: Therefore). Love the long Downs on this one, particularly GAG ORDERS (3D: Judges' decrees to keep information from the public). The rest of the fill is average. Grid is so easy to fill that I'm not sure why there are cheater squares*, but there they are.

*black squares that do not add to word count—they exist solely to make grid easier to fill and are generally kept to a minimum and used on an As Needed basis. Here, the black square after ALSO / before FARM.

  • 34A: Ones not entirely gay or straight (BIS) — bad fill redeemed by a very progressive clue. 
  • 42A: Soothing juice (ALOE) — I don't think those two clue words go together. "Juice" just isn't a soothing word.
  • 12D: Rostropovich's instrument (CELLO) — I know very well what instrument he played, and yet still, looking at ---L-, my only thought, for several seconds, was VIOLA. Didn't write it in because my brain was like "Idiot. Who ever heard of a famous violist?"

  • 6D: Food giant whose brands include Gerber and Goobers (NESTLE) — "Goobers" is a word I could happily never see again. It's just "boogers" with "b" and "g" swapping seats.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:08 AM  

Rex, with a little help from JEROME KERN and DOROTHY FIELDS I’ve written the following for you to be sung to the music of Just The Way You Look Tonight:

Some day, when I'm awfully low,
When the world is cold,
I will feel a glow just thinking of you
And the way you blogged tonight.

Yes you're snarly, with your barb so sharp
And your touch so deft,
There is nothing for me but to praise you,
And the way you blogged tonight.

With each word your snarky wit grows,
Tearing my fear apart
And that edge that sprinkles your prose,
It touches my foolish heart.

Nasty, never, ever change.
Keep that ruthless charm.
Won't you please arrange it?
Cause I need you, just the way you blogged tonight.


Rookie 12:09 AM  

Can't believe that I am among the early finishers. Must be because we Midwesterners are an hour behind the east coast, so it is not so late to solve.

But this is encouraging. Seven months into solving, and things are easier. Thanks to all of you on this blog who elucidate clues/answers and who amaze me with your skill. You set such a high bar and your excellence challenges and encourages me. Thank you!

jae 12:18 AM  

BIER again with a whole new meaning, coincidence?

Nice meta-theme with the nested word being NEST. Plus a mostly smooth gird.

Medium for me and I liked it more than Rex did.

Deb 12:19 AM  

Thanks for explaining the cheater square thing, Rex. I've run across the term many times in articles about constructing but this is the first time I've understood exactly what was being talked about. Thanks also for recommending Matt Gaffney's "Gridlock" on FB yesterday. I downloaded it to my iPad and am really enjoying it.

Anonymous 12:31 AM  

Does NESTLE count as a theme answer?

Captcha resizedk - What Andrea does in her spare time.

Rube 12:43 AM  

The trouble with Monday puzzles... they go so fast that you don't even notice the theme until you're finished.

To me, the most interesting theme answer was OLDLINESTATE. Googling this yielded: "Maryland earned the nickname “Old Line State” in the American Revolution. The Maryland Line, Maryland’s regiments of regulars, achieved a reputation as the saviors of the Continental Army and the cause of independence." Didn't know that.

Fun Puzzle.

Tobias Duncan 12:44 AM  

The lovely Dvorak is helping to sooth me after the ordeal of paper solving.
Getting faster but still find myself getting totally lost in the clues, reading the downs when I mean to be reading acrosses.At least I am getting better at reading my own writing.

Aces Cello Michaels 1:03 AM  

Did this one in the Silicon Valley puzzlefest in 4 minutes so didn't get to see the theme, which is why speed contests make no sense to me...
(that or I'm bitter for yet again leaving one square blank in my rush!)
Hmmm now that I see NESTLE is that a bonus answer or something to be avoided.
Sometimes i don't know up from down any more.
Rumor has it this was made by yet another 15 yr old boy from the Bay Area, who was "too busy" to come to the fest!?! He could have seen 50 folks doing his puzzle, i had to wait almost 50 years to have seen that happen!
How would he have felt to watch one of the contestants do it in under 3 minutes?!
His name is Francesco so he has THAT going for him, in my eyes, big time! But we'll have to do something about his last name ;)
Never heard of OLDLINESTATE, i originally considered OneLaNESTATE...sorry Maryland!
Fun time was had by all, I think!

pk 1:10 AM  

@JFC - Cool

@Rex - So I googled Sherman Alexie, cuz you said to, but I still don't get what he has to do with our puzz?

I agree that ITunesTopTen is meaningless, and as it is the centerpiece of the puzz, is kinda disappointing, but since (hence) I do not attempt to construct puzzles, I don't feel qualified to say anything further.

Except that I hope y'all watched Downton Abby tonight. No spoilers here, but what did you think? Sorry, I'm hooked.

chefwen 2:13 AM  

Was kind of bored with this one until I arrived at 66A NEST and pulled it altogether. Then, with my newly found obsession with the Albatross release and nesting program, I let loose with a AWW, that's really cute. We rescued one yesterday that had flown into the homelands area and didn't have enough runway to make it out again. Good old Skippy loaned us his shipping cage and we were able to capture and release where he had a good shot at the ocean.

Acme 2:27 AM  

Stand corrected, Francesco is 16 and a concert pianist (link to his blog and performances in the comment section on Wordplay) WOW.
I also see why he'd have been too busy for Morgan Hill, tho I sorta'd like to think I had a life too, but I think somehow this IS becoming my life (in-between naming and resizing dk)

Who are all these prodigies and how cool they all want to construct!

Z 6:18 AM  

@pk - limit your search to "REx Parker Does the NYTimes" and you will understand just how "random" RP's choice of Sherman Alexie was.

A fine Monday. Was surprised at the "medium" half of the rating. The only thing that slowed me down was letting the dog back in from outside.

foodie 7:31 AM  

My hat's off to any teenager who gets published in the NY Times AND is a concert pianist. And two hats off to his parents.

Here's what I thought was very cool about the puzzle: The progression of EGGS in top left, BIRDS dead center and NEST bottom right, with NEST also being hidden in the theme. In a perfect world, the BIRDS would be on top and the EGGS in the Middle, but hey...

I also liked several words that should be easy but tripped me up-- PLIES rather than PILES for example. The cluing of BIS, and the BATTLE AX and GAG ORDERS in the verticals.

But, given that N-E-S-T are very common letters, I did not think the theme answers were great. Several people (including yours truly) never heard of OLD LINE STATE-- not ideal for a theme answer on a Monday, although I appreciate learning something. And re I TUNES TOP TEN-- what Rex said.

All in all, fun puzzle, with perfection in sight.

Loren Muse Smith 7:44 AM  

Fine start to the day! One stare, and I saw the theme.
This one's truly fun!

dk 7:54 AM  

Acme, resizing dk... is that a fat joke? My dove.

It is so tempting to say this one is for the birds. But no SNUBS or SNEER from OlDLINEdk today.

Francesco you are off to a great start. Andrea is jealous, REX has panned your efforts... my guess is he was lusting after Princess Leia at sixteen while you... Envy is such a lovely shade of green don't you think.

As you know the way you get to Carnegie Hall is practice. So keep it up. This puzzle has some flat notes or broken yokes (as we say in the coop). My guess is you know what they are. Fix them next time. For example it is Bone Density not Structure and a CUR is a dog a cad is... well... me.

Very pleased to see we are in the midst of an LSD flashback as our favorite visual enhancer has been in a number of puzzles of late.

*+*=**(2 Stars) Speaking of MOORs

'I'm come home: I'd lost my way on the moor!' As it spoke, I discerned, obscurely, a child's face looking through the window. Terror made me cruel; and, finding it useless to attempt shaking the creature off, I pulled its wrist on to the broken pane, and rubbed it to and fro till the blood ran down and soaked the bedclothes: still it wailed, 'Let me in!' and maintained its tenacious gripe, almost maddening me with fear.

dk 7:57 AM  

Above quote from Chapter 3: Wuthering Heights. Just Writing.

Cheeseguy 8:23 AM  

Too easy-even for a Monday. Unexciting theme and no real good answers(or clues). I applaud a 16 year old getting in to the NYT, but does that mean the standards are different?
Would have liked to at least had a chance to finish the coffee before the puzzle. Maybe I'm just cranky today?

Glimmerglass 8:24 AM  

Foodie found a pattern I'd missed, but this was just too easy, even for a Monday, with the exception of I TUNES TOP TEN ( tough clue for a Monday -- got caught by the Big Apple trap).

jberg 8:33 AM  

Like @chefwen, I didn't like this one until I got to NEST at 66A - not because I have any albatrosses around, but because the theme suddenly became so much neater.

I bet many experienced the puzzle like this--

*You start at 1A, the easiest clue ever, and think you've picked up the Boston Globe by mistake.

*Then you get to 20A, ONE STAR _OTELS (waiting for the cross to see if it's H or M), and figure the theme will be about numbers.

*Then you see OLD LINE STATE (or, in my case OLD ____) and say huh?

*Then you get BIRDS, right in the center of the puzzle, and think "What!? A theme of two 4s and one 5? How lame!

*Then, at last, you get NEST, see that the long and short theme answers are connected, and it all looks much cleverer.

This is just what I want from a puzzle - the aha experience - so in retrospect I really liked this one. (But I didn't like the clue for 25A - calling a MOLecule a collection of atoms is like calling a marching band a collection of musicians, or a thunderstorm a collection of air and water).

Not only BIER, and LSD, but also HASP repeating from yesterday. Does Will Shortz assign words of the week?

p.s. I loved "FORAY."

joho 8:48 AM  

The theme answers didn't sparkle but how nice that they're all tied together with EGGS, BIRDS and NEST!

I rated this very easy.

Congratulations on your debut, Francesco!

Tita 8:50 AM  

@foodie - can we quote you that the chicken-bird does in fact come before the egg???
Given your metier, I would trust you in finally putting this to rest!

I also noticed that pattern, and really liked a bird theme, with cozy NESTS NESTLEd into the grid.

Also had the SPCA keeping an eye on things, and a CUR and ASS to round out the menagerie, plus the FARM where they all live.

Also was not wild about the theme answers, but overall congratulate Francesco. (But there should NOT be a double standard...)

jesser 8:56 AM  

Me likey.

My only writeover was a biggie. I plopped in ONE horse townS at 20A, but that didn't last long At All.

Other than that, it was smooth and fun.

I cannot think of MOORS without recalling David Naughton in 'An American Werewolf in London.' Beware the MOORS. All these years later, I still love that movie. What a CUR he was!

I hope everyone has a terrific Monday!

foodie 9:03 AM  

@Tita, LOL, no I was being visual, not biological-- standard hatching arrangement with BIRDS on top od EGGS on top of NEST. But of course the diagonal is then not ideal.

@dk, you put your finger on it! What was bothersome about BONE STRUCTURE. Either it should be density (which wouldnt work) or It just needed a different clue. Of course, technically, when you change density, you change the microstructure of the tissue. But this is about what's in the language, not technical meaning, which is why it sounded off, and Rex commented on it as well. Where are Will and his team?

jackj 9:10 AM  

Our youthful constructors are tripping all over each other, with the young Mr. Livengood, yesterday, giving us BIER (and pretzels) and, today, the even younger Mr. Trogu gives us BIER again, but it’s not to drink, it’s the answer to a real knee slapper of a clue, that bubbly old chestnut, “Coffin holder”.

Today’s theme entries were vaguely tedious, but Mr. Trogu deserves a cruciverbal gold medal for a non-theme answer, GAGORDERS and, if he had clued BATTLEAXE with a “harridan” tie-in instead of a weaponry clue, he could have received the silver medal as well, (the bronze is no contest, it belongs to BIS).

An interesting debut from another of the Times ever expanding stable of teenage constructors. (But, where are the girls?)

Welcome, Francesco!

Bill NYE 9:25 AM  

BONE STRUCTURE is just wrong. Osteoporosis affects bone density without affecting structure (architecture). Composition? Only arguably. Over 50% loss of bone mass is necessary to change X-Ray appearance.

When has the New York Times ever let the scientific truth get in the way? Will Shortz, you indeed edit poorly when it comes to science and especially medicine.

More bad science:
MOL is an assembly of atoms, not a collection. Collection does not equal Assembly.

More bad science:
Also, a number of RIPE apples are ALWAYS Tart. In fact, that's the kind we buy at our house. Unripe apples are usually just unattractive, wherein TART apples are rather tasty and desirable.

It's a Monday puzzle, no excuse for just plain sloppy.

chefbea 9:25 AM  

Easy Monday. Liked the theme.

Noticed LSD made it again.

Had a bone density test last week. My structure is fine!!

Larry 9:46 AM  

@Bill Nye - Not quite a conversation for a Monday morning breakfast, but osteoporosis does in fact change bone structure, at least in its advanced stages. The bones crumble, causing persistant agony.

MOL is an accepted abbreviation for MOLE, an collection of atoms, a very specific collection one.

Just because some apples are tart when ripe doesn't obviate the fact that apples are tarter when not ripe than when they are. The accumulation of sugars in the apple, which counter-act the tartness, occurs during the ripeneing process.

So, 0 out of 3.

GILL I. 9:47 AM  

I thought the theme answers were pretty remarkable. "..the 'hidden' words should touch every word in the theme answer" didn't even occur to me. Is it because it's the preferred norm? the only WOW factor?
This wasn't a banal concept for a Monday at all. EGGS on top, BIRDS in the middle and NEST at the bottom. Let's see, egg fu chicken nest soup on special today.
Didn't find any crap words and found some refreshing ones: GAG ORDER, FORAY, TART and of course the required ASS and LSD.
Congratulations Francesco Trogu, well done, and I love your name...

efrex 10:03 AM  

I'm with Gill on this one: thought the construction was rock-solid with the EGGS/BIRDS/NEST cross-theme, and clean fill all around.

Well done, Mr. Trogu! (and, contra ACME, love the last name, even if it makes me think of a burninator dragon...)

Cathyat40 10:07 AM  

Almost 30 years ago I took a road-trip with one of my former college roommates to our alma mater. Along with us rode on of my co-workers, the daughter of the Korean ambassador to the U.S. She spoke beautiful English; and she was working a crossword puzzle when we stopped for dinner. She was stuck and asked former-roommate and me for help. The clue was "Spuds" and the answer was TATERS. She knew neither the slang/informal term "spud" or the dialect "tater." When we told her the answer, she gave us a blank look. We laughed and did our best to explain the words; but, I'm afraid we embarrassed her. She was a little distant for the rest of the trip. I still feel bad about it; but it is kind of funny.

Anon 12:31am 10:09 AM  

@dk - resizingdk In this case, chubby <> fat.

NYE for the last time 10:20 AM  

Osteoporosis bones do not crumble, they must fracture to change structure, not directly attributable to the osteoporosis but loading of same.

Not worth responding any further, truth and facts are irrelevant in debates.

And Will is indeed sloppy.

hazel 10:32 AM  

I still have a can of Bird's Nest drink bought in Vietnam 7 or 8 years ago. Th drink is made from the saliva of birds building nests along some remote cliffs. it is a delicacy, and I drank a can because I kind of had to, i.e. , it would have been very rude not to. it was not as bad as you might think - although I've never been able to bring myself to drink that 2nd can, which I just looked at - Its actually called White Fungus Birds Nest drink or Nuoc Yen Ngan Nhi. maybe tomorrow.

Anyway, it was the first thing I thought of when I completed this puzzle which seemed a bit of a jumble at first - i guess these hidden word themes kind of have to be. was happy to have order restored at the end. Liked it.

Two Ponies 10:32 AM  

Because of this blog I pay attention to the names of constructors so I knew it was a debut. I say well done.
As Mondays go this was just fine.
I would not expect perfection on a Monday much less a debut.
Bone structure could have easily been clued differently and kicked this one up a notch.

Rob C 10:53 AM  

@Rookie - Don't be too amazed. This is still the group that brought you TIE DYE SHITS and IN THE RAPY

quilter1 11:40 AM  

@dk: yolks. Yokes are something else.

Came here late as I had to get the wallpaper strippers and painters going. I rated the puzzle easy and liked the theme. I mean, 16 years old! I was a miserable lump at 16, or maybe it only seemed that way. So, wow.

jesser 11:43 AM  

Sounds like some racy wallpaper! Where do I get a couple rolls?

Anoa Bob 12:00 PM  

There were a lot of plurals, which is kinda like using cheater squares. I counted fifteen, including one of the theme entries ONE STAR HOTELS.

I applaud Mr. Shortz for bringing in young talent like today's constructor. Maybe there could be another forum, a "sandbox" as it were, where they could polish their skills, before moving on to the big time and working without a net.

retired_chemist 12:03 PM  

Nice one. Felt easy but my time was easy-medium. Agree that MOL and BONE STRUCTURE could have been better clued.

Not upset by the ITUNES TOP TEN list either, several of which appear to exist. Trap: the Big Apple is NOT NYC here. Good one, Francesco.

Thanks, Mr. Trogu.

Sparky 12:24 PM  

Small mistakes today. ULNAe (thinking Latin plural), ISLeS (thinking Spanish). Over thinking on a Monday, I think. And, wool before YARN. Noticed LSD and different BIER. I liked. Good for Francesco.

@pk and MAC. Loving Downton Abbey. Only two more episodes to go. Superbowl Feb. 5. Battle at our house between the Cuban and the BATTLEAXE.

CalGoldenBear 12:26 PM  

I got almost every clue on the first. Very easy...I never time myself...I blew through this quite someone mentioned, before my coffee cooled. Nice work kid.

Masked and Anonymous 12:28 PM  

NEST is also hidden in FRANCESCO TROGU, in a way. And it spans stuff pretty good. Cool last name, kid. 20% U's. Jealous. Makes me want to become Musked und Anunymous, or some such. And, reminds me of "Torgo"! (Hardcore schlock-flick fans know exactly what I'm talking about.)

Solid MonPuz debut. thUmbsUp. So, understand, everything below is cinnamon roll withdrawl talking:

Fave fill: BATTLEAXE, MOL, NESTLE, and BIS. All for entirely different and conflicting reasons.

Fave clue: "Word said while scratching one's head". Could be a whole new puz theme purkelating here: "Word said while scratching one's ___". Ground-breaking.

Two Ponies 12:31 PM  

@ pk and Sparky, I am hopelessly enchanted by Downton Abbey. Lots to be done in the last two episodes yes?

Acme 12:52 PM  

For the record, dk, I'm not jealous!
I don't think there is a double standard for the young boys, because i learned for example, that One of them submitted 17 puzzles before getting accepted and we've seen far far worse than this from some of the most published constructors...
Will may not have even known till they decided to interview francesco on Wordplay how old he was.
As for crossing all entries, that would be sort of tough without an A in the middle. These NESTs spanned two delicately, tho I'm agreeing with the criticism of how off the clue for BONE STRUCTURE felt, tho I'm no scientist and osteoporosis is a downer clue on a Monday and two of the other four were need-every-crossing for me.
As for "where-are-the-girls?" indeed. Some of us are working on that.
I can tell you one thing tho, speed contests and too many baseball clues are still not natural lures to get younger women making the transition from solver to constructor!

Just gave another free workshop on constructing at the Silicon Valley Fest trying to represent...and encourage...but there are still some basic stumbling blocks for having more girls enter the fray that I'm too tired to go into, esp on this blog.
(Actually, for the record, i was asked to co-present with one of these teenage boy genius 15 yr old phenoms...and he was lovely, and in inspiration, but there were no girls at the workshop save the ones in the back volunteering to sell donuts...i tried to speak loudly!)

John V 1:08 PM  

I mean, REALLY easy, folks, even for a Monday.

xyz 1:23 PM  

soothing juice? more like gel soothing juice is more like 6-letters: WHISKY

Some kid did this? what's he doing handling LSD?

Interesting discussion INRE: cheater squares and "S" endings, never thought of it before, sure helps me with some Sunday puzzles, I'll tell you!

Therefore: I'd like to see a Sunday (23X23?) sized with no "S" endings, tha'd be some feat

Anonymous 1:51 PM  

Which came first the BIRDS or the EGGS?

Sparky 2:03 PM  

@Two Ponies. You bet. The plots thicken.

Tita 2:07 PM  

Speaking of cheater squares, just made up a batch - will be ready to slice and bake for the Westport Library Tourney after-party chez Mac!

CaseAce 2:33 PM  

Rex, Old Top, Your swapping Goober and Booger, is frankly, Snot for you to say!

CaseAce 2:39 PM  

I just commented under CaseAce, for the first time in many a moon on Sir Rex'es blog, over at WP, I'm known as WHH

Anonymous 2:39 PM  

What struck me after completing this puzzle was how ordinary the words were. One name and two references to geography. ITUNES is contemporary but nothing historical except for the OLD LINE STATE (which I never heard even though I lived in Maryland for many years). Otherwise this puzzle really reflects the ordinary. No sports, no movies, no history, no books, no music. Just everyday words. Even the theme is everday. In a certain way this is almost refreshing in its lack of no special knowledge required to solve.

Acme, you should ask Lawrence Summers (Economist and ex-President of Harvard) why all the young constructors are male....


Anonymous 2:40 PM  

What struck me after completing this puzzle was how ordinary the words were. One name and two references to geography. ITUNES is contemporary but nothing historical except for the OLD LINE STATE (which I never heard even though I lived in Maryland for many years). Otherwise this puzzle really reflects the ordinary. No sports, no movies, no history, no books, no music. Just everyday words. Even the theme is everday. In a certain way this is almost refreshing in its lack of no special knowledge required to solve.

Acme, you should ask Lawrence Summers (Economist and ex-President of Harvard) why all the young constructors are male....


foodie 2:49 PM  

@Acme, I'm constantly impressed by how generous and collaborative the constructors are towards each other. Given that the number of great venues for publishing is limited, one could imagine a much more competitive stance. But you guys support each other, collaborate on puzzles, hang out together... I know that you have mentored many, and your feedback to constructors on the blog is always so, well, constructive. It's really great to see. You all take a lot of comments, some raves some pans, and yet remain incredibly open and civil. We could all could stand to learn from you, individually and as a community.

As to the dearth of women in certain fields, it's always a bit of an enigma. I've watched it in my own area, when there were hardly any women in research labs. Now, they outnumber men in grad schools, and the field is doing fantastically well, Larry Summers views notwithstanding. Clearly, the idea that science, math or engineering are not a woman's cup of tea is not the right explanation. And with verbal skills needed for construction, there is not even that preconceived notion... So, it's a mystery to me why the women were serving donuts and not creating puzzles.

quilter1 2:50 PM  

@dk, believe me there is nothing alluring about the '70s wallpaper. Stripping is the only answer, to be replaced with a little light sage leaf. ;)

Bird 2:57 PM  

Congrats to Mr. Trogu in getting published in the NYT.

I thought it was smooth sailing with the exception of 38A. I kept trying to think what layers of eggs were called - TIERS, RANKS. Must be something latin. Not until I got BLU did I go "duh!" Oh, and had SLURS instead of SNUBS.

@redanman - Very good. Jameson is very soothing after a day at the office. I don't think of aloe as juice, though I'm sure it is.

Love GOOBER. Funny word.

I think 51A is clued accurately if you think of bone as singular - the structure of a bone is affected by osteoporosis. As more bones are affected and become brittle and break or become weak, the cumulated affect is a poor skeletal structure.

Concerned Father 2:59 PM  

@ quilter , Stripping is never the only answer,please go back to school and get a proper trade.You are breaking my heart.

John V 3:13 PM  

Sorry, forgot before that I completely concur that ITUNESTOPTEN is completely bogus, made up, phrase, saved only by really obvious crosses; only clue I circled for comment.

Hugh Heffner 3:27 PM  

@Concerned Father - Mind your own business!

Anonymous 3:41 PM  

My fastest time ever on the iPad. Yeah!!

acmeofepitome 3:57 PM  

Rex is obviously a guy who never ate goober peas.

Anonymous 5:04 PM  

Butthead: Hey Beavis, Rex said GOOBER. Heh, heh.

Beavis: That's funny. Heh, heh. You're a GOOBER Butthead.

Butthead: Yeah? Well your mother is a GOOBER!

Fistfight starts as we fade to black and go to commercial.

Sparky 5:07 PM  

Or sang about them. Lordy, how delicious.

Anonymous 5:13 PM  

Per Wiki: Goober & The Peas are a cowpunk band from Detroit, Michigan known for blending odd humor to a darker side of country music. The band was known for their frenetic live shows in the early and mid-1990s. The Austin Chronicle called them "some seriously sick individuals, and quite possibly the most exciting live act in America" after their performance at South By Southwest in 1993. They performed with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Bob Dylan, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Morphine and Uncle Tupelo. Their debut EP, The Complete Works of Goober & The Peas, was followed by an LP of the same name in 1992 and a follow-up LP, The Jet-Age Genius of Goober & the Peas, 3 years later. They also released a Christmas record and appeared on compilations.

mac 6:18 PM  

Easy Monday. I really liked the fact that eggs, birds and nest were all in the puzzle. Nestle is unfortunate., and I also noticed the many plurals.

Love gagorder and battle axe. Never think of the weapon when I hear that last word, @Sparky! Wonder why it's always a female.

@Anoa Bob: shouldn't the editors at the NYT Crossword dept. be the constructors' and our safety net?

contip? Sounds like inside information.

Two Ponies 7:41 PM  

Hmm, after reading @ mac's comment I remembered that the logo for Nestle is a nest, maybe with a bird on it too. A secret theme entry?
I'm probably over-thinking that one.

mac 8:38 PM  

@Two Ponies: you are right about the Nestle logo! That is a brilliant addition to the puzzle, then.

chefbea 8:49 PM  

@two ponies and @mac...just googled nestles and saw the logo. That is ingenious!!!!

sanfranman59 9:13 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 6:07, 6:49, 0.90, 13%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:27, 3:40, 0.94, 26%, Easy-Medium

Anonymous 9:56 PM  

Normal bone has a dense structure. Osteoporosis leads to a porous structure that is susceptible to fracture. For example a vertabrae with a porous structure can collapse from weight and that is a compression fracture. Very painful.

sanfranman59 12:05 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

Mon 6:11, 6:49, 0.91, 14%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:26, 3:40, 0.94, 25%, Easy-Medium

MikeOverHere 3:50 AM  

Semi-regular reader for the past year or so. But I finally know what you meant by "cheater squares"! I know you have referred to them often, but without an example, I had no idea what you were talking about. I just hope now I don't get slowed down in solving puzzles looking for them!

rain forest 4:39 PM  

@Loren Muse Smith: I got it. lol.
Seems to be your speciality.

Easy puzzle, but it includes a well-conceived theme, which is worth mentioning.

Spacecraft 8:42 PM  

OK, I give up. How do you all know the age--or the debut-ness--of our constructors? Is there some hidden page that tells you this that I don't even know about? I hope some late syndiland blogger can answer this, 'cause I'm mystified.
This puzzle was sort of, let's say, whaddyawantforaMonday. An okey-dokey theme, fairly executed, and hot-and-cold fill. Hot: TOFU, GAGORDERS and BATTLEAXE.
Cold: the way-overused (EERIE, ALOE) and the awkward (MOL, BIS).
If indeed this is a first effort--how would I know?--it shows promise. And don't let them rag you about your name; it sounds like a college for cave-dwellers. Heaven knows they need "higher" education.

Z 9:20 PM  

@Spacecraft- You don't believe prime time solvers are omniscient?

Among the many links on Rex's site is one for xwordinfo. Down the page on the right you will see a whole section dedicated to constructors.

Spacecraft 9:58 PM  

@z: Thanks. May your house be safe from tigers. (Anybody remember Alexander King?)

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