Chilean novelist Allende / TUE 1-31-12 / Victime of springtime hoax / MP3 player that weighs less than ounce / Newspaper puzzle with anagrams

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Constructor: Doug Peterson

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Olla podrida — theme answers are familiar phrases whose last words all mean "mishmash"

Word of the Day: Katherine HEIGL (30D: Katherine of "Knocked Up") —
Katherine Marie Heigl  (... born November 24, 1978) is an American actress and producer. She is possibly best known for her role as Dr. Izzie Stevens on ABC's Grey's Anatomy from 2005 to 2010, for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Drama Series in 2007. She has also starred in films such as Knocked Up, Zyzzyx Road, 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth, Killers, Life As We Know It, New Year's Eve and One for the Money. (wikipedia)
• • •

Weird, I just added Katherine HEIGL to my database, like, a couple days ago.

The theme is hardly brilliant, but it hardly matters. This is what a Tuesday should be: easy, solid, well-filled, with bouncy theme answers and some interesting other answers thrown in for good measure. Fill seems a *tad* on the mundane side of Doug, but that's more the nature of the grid than anything else (lots of short stuff). I know it as simply the JUMBLE, but the "DAILY" part sounds at least familiar. I had LEMONADE and no idea what followed. So there was at least a few surprises and a mild amount of drama, despite the overall easiness. Stuff like YAKIMA, GO UP TO, and GIRLIE make me happy. Nice when your mid-range stuff is so snazzy. Not much else to say today—and Tuesday and Thursday write-ups could be a little brief for the foreseeable future, as I start back up at school tomorrow with a godawful early start time that makes early-morning write-ups impossible. So everything has to be done at night on the very night I need to be getting to sleep earliest. Anyway, this is just to say that if T and Th (or T and R, in my Univ's code) seem a bit thin, there's a reason.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Newspaper puzzle with anagrams (DAILY JUMBLE)
  • 28A: MP3 player that weighs less than an ounce (IPOD SHUFFLE)
  • 47A: Frenzied rush (MAD SCRAMBLE) — I had MAD STRUGGLE ... maybe I thought JUMBLE was RUMBLE and SHUFFLE was SCUFFLE and just invented a new theme in which STRUGGLE would be the logical answer; yes, I like that.
  • 63A: Tart powdered drink preparation (LEMONADE MIX)

Screw-ups: DALE for VALE (DALE works too, right? Yes! "Synonym: VALE." We really should get rid of one of these words); that and MAD STRUGGLE may have been the only real stumbles. Took me too long to get ADJS (5D: Sm., med. and lg., e.g.)—and that clue has far too many "." in it. Never have liked YOS as a plural answer (69A: Informal greetings), though I know I've been tempted to use it on more than one occasion. I wrote an entire puzzle around the answer APRIL FOOL'S! once, so 11D: Victim of a springtime hoax was a nice familiar face. I have read exactly one ISABEL Allende novel—in college (67A: Chilean novelist Allende). It was required. And it wasn't "House of the Spirits." I want to say it was "Of Love and Shadows." Anyway, clearly it didn't leave a lasting impression. She lingers in my mind primarily because her first and last names are very grid-friendly.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Boy's Life Magazine 12:06 AM  

Let's all play that kid's game where they show you pictures of similar things, and you have to find the one that's different, only with words, ok? Trust me, it will be fun.


Which one isn't like the other three?

Pete 12:10 AM  

I read the same Isabel Allende book, but it wasn't Of Love and Shadows.

jae 12:14 AM  

A very fine med. Tues. for me.  Smooth grid with a smattering of zip (GIRLIE, YAKIMA, POX, MADSCRAMBLE, ....).  RIFLER for ransacker seems like a stretch but it's a funny sounding word.  Nice one Doug.

GILL I. 12:37 AM  

@Boy's Life...I'm still trying to guess which one. Oh, DUH.
Did not really enjoy this puzzle. I'm not sure I can put my finger on the why. Maybe because it felt a bit too contrived. Lots of good words but the YOS, DUH, AINT, BEANED were just yawn. AINT EVE GIRLIE stands out. So do the three ups. goUPto, actsUP and Mr. TaUPin.
One day I will really find out why spitting image (15A) is a double. Where in the world did THAT come from.
A nod to Andrea at 10D-SEE YOU!!!!
Finally meeting up with our Queen of Monday's this Sat. in San Francisco and I doubt we will be eating any 19A.

Anonymous 12:45 AM  

Not sure why, but I am reminded of something my close friend Charles said recently. He belongs to the Club International which is a very nice dining room at Tne Drake Hotel in Chicago. Fireplace, mahogany wood paneling and a marvelous view ovewrlooking Michigan Avenue. It's private except for guests staying at the hotel. There's an initial fee and then annual dues and it is not inexpensive if you only dine there a few times each year. So after he paid his annual dues this year he received an notice that the Club was closed for the next four months for remodeling. Maybe it's the Goya painting over the fireplace that makes me think of this. Not sure.

Anonymous 12:48 AM  



Tobias Duncan 1:02 AM  

I was quite a bit faster today.This pen and paper thing might not be that bad after all .
Still would have been almost twice as fast in acrosslite.
The big difference today was clear legible printing, not at all my style but it really helps.

Greg Charles 1:45 AM  

No one else naticked by YAKIMA -POTOK, huh? Sigh, just me then.

Arena Camel Madscrambles 1:46 AM  

JUMBLE, POX cha cha cha...loved it!

HUGE bleedover: NEST!

GOUPTO is freaky and unparsable... Didn't help that ACTUP was in there.

I was doing this puzzle in a competetive situation...sitting next to a sweet 15 yr old and all I kept thinking is, "poor David, he's not going to know POTOK, ISABEL, HEIGL, GALLO, TAUPIN, etc. Or maybe even the expression GIRLIE magazine...
It was amazing how distracting that was!

Doug being the nicest man alive, what more is there to say?

chefwen 2:01 AM  

Thought it was super easy and enjoyed every minute of the solve. Smiled throughout the whole thing.

Have been having a MAD SCRAMBLE twice a day trying to give my dog some meds that he needs for an infection. He's winning! @retired_chemist has been giving me some advise but I'm afraid I am fighting a losing battle. Back to the vets tomorrow.

Great Tuesday Mr. Peterson, thank you.

Deb 2:49 AM  

@jae, I disagree; When I realized the answer must be RIFLER, I smiled in appreciation. The term is usually reserved for an antagonistically snoopy and harried search, so it seemed a very apt synonym to me, since "ransacker" also conjures up both of those states.

@JFC, that Charles is such a wag!

@ Tobias, I just finally today managed to finish an online puzzle in close (not quite there, but close) to the same time a typical Tuesday took me with my Bic on newsprint (man, I do miss it) after six or seven weeks. So, courage, fellow soldier! You'll get there!

About the puzzle specifically, I really enjoyed it. After reading Matt Gaffney's book "Gridlock" at Rex's suggestion, I've decided it's OKAY that I don't really like most themed puzzles a helluva lot. Too much is lost, IMO, too much contrivance has to happen to make the "theme" work. So Mr. Peterson's mini-theme was much more pleasing to me: A handful of words that have the same general meaning but are cross-worthy in their own right.

One last note: If you haven't seen the In The Actor's Studio episode with Elton John, I urge you to seek it out. You'll never forget Bernie Taupin's name again. (Even though I needed three letters to recall it!)

jae 3:19 AM  

@Deb -- Ransacker = Hun invasion, RIFLER = cat burglar.
Just sayin....

and...Bernie was a gimmie for me because next to the poster from the Beach Boys Endless Summer album on my office wall was the poster from Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy.

Musing without a muse 3:22 AM  

iPods use the MP4 format so I was trying to think of a non apple product. iPods do play MP3s but that is not the regular Apple format.

Deb 4:17 AM  

@jae (again), my mother ransacked my room whenever she thought I was straying too far from the bidden path, but I didn't (quite) consider her on the level of the Huns. She most certainly RIFLED through every thing she could lay her hands on in the process though, so the terms are pretty synonymous to me.

Z 6:03 AM  

I especially liked the 1 oz. IPOD SHUFFLE right above my 33 1/3 rpm SIDE ONE. Curious thing - I haven't owned a turntable in 15+ years, but my dark metal loving son owns one and goes out of his way to buy certain albums on vinyl.

I thought Ms. Allende and Mr. POTOK were a tad obscure for a Tuesday, got both from the the crosses, finishing with the vowels for ISABEL and the P---K for POTOK. YAKIMA could have been a Natick, but it is one of those funny sounding names that one remembers.

@Boys' Life - I got it, MAD SCRAMBLE is the only one with a recurring vowel. Am I Right? Am I Right?

@JAE and @DEB - Your debate is illin.

Oscar 7:00 AM  

Too many ups get me down. (ADDUP, GOUPTO, and ACTUP) Clearly, some constructors (and some editors) don't care about that sort of thing, but that doesn't make it right.

exaudio 7:25 AM  

Can someone explain ADJS at 5D? Adjustments? Adjudicators?

Aúlr 7:25 AM  

Do the Daily Jumble online and beat the clock.

The Daily Jumble even has a Blog.

Anonymous 7:44 AM  

Adjectives .

exaudio 7:49 AM  

Thanks, Anonymous 7:44.

John V 7:54 AM  

Hand up for not understanding ADJS. Do Chicken POX pass the breakfast test? I suppose. Thanks for the easy crosses to get TAUPIN, who is completely unknown to me, right along with Katherine HEIGL; both new names to me on this Tuesday. Same as @Rex, wanted DALE for VALE. Not sure initially if it was YAKIMA/O. Nice indirection for this Prius owner, who wanted HYBRID or such, not AUTO. Otherwise, fun, easy, a good Tuesday. Thanks, Doug.

Loren Muse Smith 7:54 AM  

At first I blinked at LEMONADEMIX. I was expecting it to end in two consonants and then LE, but I'll take it.

@GregCharles - I naticked at 18D and 23 A, too.

@Evil Doug - did you notice the LOOP/FOOL/GIRLIE crosses? Just sayin'.

Love the word TACIT and have been known to go out of my way to use it.

BEANED. The first article I ever read in Sports Illustrated was on Tony Conigliaro, lauching a lifelong terror of playing softball or baseball. My kids play lacrosse, which is probably just as dangerous.

Nice Tuesday. Thanks, Doug!

David 8:00 AM  

Big smiles and thumbs up for this puzzle and particular DAILY JUMBLE, which I still do in the Reading Eagle every day, and which often reminds me of the Seinfeld episode with Elaine feigning deafness to the limo driver so she doesn't have to endure his enthusiastic dronings on the Jumbles.

Familiar with Chaim POTOK, never heard of ISABEL Allende, and have seen Elton John a couple of times (awesome) so am very aware of the great Bernie TAUPIN.

joho 8:01 AM  

I was so happy to come here to find that @Rex liked this Tuesday puzzle. I thought it fits the bill perfectly. Fun, fresh theme with unforced answers throughout. Loved it: thank you, Doug!

@M&A, 9 U's! Plus 4 V's, 4 Y's and 2 X's. Nice.

The Pez Dispenser 8:13 AM  

Jerry's Apartment

George: ...pianist. A *classical* pianist. She *plays* the piano. She's a

*brilliant* woman. I-I-I sat in her living room... She played the

*Waldstein Sonata*! The *Waldstein*!

George: We did a crossword puzzle together, *in bed*. It was the most fun

I ever had in my entire life. Did you hear me? in my *life*!

GEORGE: Lunch is fine at the beginning then you move on to dinner. you don't move back to lunch. It's like being demoted.

I'll never do another crossword puzzle with her again. I know it.

KRAMER: I like the Jumble You ever do the Jumble?

r.alphbunker 8:16 AM  

ADJS is an abbreviation of adjectives and sm, med. an lg. are abbreviations of adjectives.

evil doug 8:16 AM  

"@Evil Doug - did you notice the LOOP/FOOL/GIRLIE crosses?"

Of course I did, Loren. Also:

The bar scene: "Piano---tray---Gallo---rum---ales"

The come on: "stride---go up to---girlie---Diva---Loni---Heigl---Isabel---asks---acts up---I give---unclasp---oil---side one---ate---epee---peter---nest---mad scramble"

The aftermath: "ebb---camel---placate---see you---evict---run"


dk 8:17 AM  

All praise vanilla. The simple joy of a Tuesday puzzle well done.

**** (4 Stars) a big yo yo bro to you Doug

@deb, I liked GIRLIE and LONI as she has appeared with clothes UNCLASP in same. Just ramblin.

Now if everyone would just join Tobias and the rest of the cool kids and solve with pen on paper -- oh happy day.

RUM and coke. To make this a great drink buy the 8 ounce bottle (with cane suger) pour equal parts of RUM (dark or cane e.g., Zacapa or Mt. Gay) and coke over crushed ice and squeeze half a fresh lime adding the result to your adult beverage. Stir slowly once or twice and sip. A POX on you if you add mint.

Now find a sunny spot to sit, sip and contemplate the DAILYJUMBLE.

dk 8:20 AM  

oops @Loren that was you not @deb.

John V 8:21 AM  

Thanks, @r.alphbunker for ADJS. Feels like forced, crosswordese to me.

Blogger now making us re-do captcha after preview, twice. Bah.

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle. I loved the reference to side one of a record album. I sure miss those vinyl monstrosities. At least there was plenty of room for fabulous artwork.

I only knew about Yakima because my kids watch the show icarly

quilter1 8:49 AM  

Great Tuesday, great fun, very enjoyable. Liked everything, including the absence of a flight arrival time (I thought it was a requirement).

Baking for tomorrow's concert lunch--a marble cake with chocolate chip streusel topping and yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting. The painting will be finished today, huzzah.

efrex 8:55 AM  

Zipped through this so fast that I totally missed YAKIMA (all the better, since I'd never have gotten it without every cross anyway)... Lots of fun stuff everywhere, with a bit of a retro vibe (SIDEONE, TAUPIN, GIRLIE), and a nice clean theme set.

Loved the cluing for NEST (whoa, deja vu from yesterday) and BEANED ("conk" is just a fun word). GIRLIE apparently passes the breakfast test; glad to see it.

Seeing SIDEONE and TAUPIN in the same puzzle had me flashing back to "Two Rooms," an Elton John/Bernie TAUPIN tribute album which featured some fun covers (including a very cute musical in-joke on the intro to the Who's version of "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting").

Excellent work, Mr. Peterson!

jesser 9:06 AM  

Like everyone else, I liked it.


In New Mexico, CHILe is never never never spelled the way Mr. Peterson wants it to be spelled at 67A. I had to force my pen to put that heretical I in the square, but I did it out of respect for Ms. Allende.

Anyone on this blog who doesn't know the song "Writing," by Bernie TAUPIN and Elton John needs to hie out and get a copy of the aforementioned "Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy." It's a great album, and that song alone is worth the purchase.

Your AVERAGE SYRIAN doesn't know much from GIRLIE magazines, I'm guessing. DUH!

I hope everyone takes Tuesday in STRIDE. I have a decidedly unbusy day ahead, and I plan to make dents in the piles of papers bearing weight on my desk.

jberg 9:07 AM  

I once bought an Isabel Allende book - I think it was a memoir, not a novel - as I was about to fly home from Madrid, thinking I would improve my Spanish - but I only got through about 40 pages. I enjoyed it, but the effort was too much to keep me motivated. But of course the reason I remember her is because of her first counsin once removed, Salvador, the Chilean president overthrown and killed by Pinochet. So that part was easy; but TAUPIN required crosses on every letter.

I'm with those who didn't like the MIX. If you're going to have a theme at all, it seems to me, it has to hold together a little more. With a line like AIN'T EVE GIRLIE?, this would have been fine with no theme at all.

YAKIMA, though - everybody should know that! Not only an unforgettable name, but a good way to get in a K, so you're bound to meet it again. A POX on your complaints. (Confession - my first thought was Chicken POO, as gardening season approaches.)

Save the Pain 9:08 AM  

@John V

Don't bother entering the captcha until after you're done previewing and ready to post.

Ignore the error message.


jberg 9:09 AM  

Forgot to add my objection to 19A - should have been "Bourbon alternative."

chefbea 9:20 AM  

Good puzzle. Of course noticed the NEST and also uke...didn't we have that yesterday as well?

@John V that's been happening to me for about 2 weeks. @Save the pain Thanks for the tip.

Of course I am making two spicy cook off dishes for Super Bowl.

Tita 9:36 AM  

Nice- just nice...ho hum theme with nice words, as mentioned, plus PLACATE and SESAME

Like the image evoked by 24A Genteel gathering - TEA. Not many of those going on at Downton Abbey these days...

do EMUs make NESTs? Both recent bleedovers.

Whatever happened to the GALLO brother who was sued by his winey brothers to keep him from naming his cheese company "GALLO Cheese"?

Deb 9:40 AM  

@jesser, you don't recognize "chili" because you don't understand what we northerners do with your chiles. We make kick- ass chili with it. Come by anytime for a taste.

jackj 9:56 AM  

A pure Vanilla offering, but had expected something more complex, (akin to Ben & Jerry's "Everything but the..." flavor, maybe), to more properly agree with the JUMBLE theme.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with Vanilla, I understand it's America's favorite ice cream.

UNCLASP seemed from a different era and one can imagine a proper Victorian era lass (GIRLIE?) fending off an advance by an overheated suitor with, "UNCLASP me at once, you shameless libertine!"

'Twas a proper Tuesday puzzle.

jesser 10:02 AM  

@Deb, I am unfortunately scarred for life by what northerners call chili. I was in Cincinnati one time for a Jimmy Buffett concert and some friends of mine said I just HAD to go with them to a place called Skyline Chili. So we went. The 'chili' consisted of spaghetti noodles sprinkled with cinnamon. I had to ask for some Tabasco sauce just for some heat. It was pathetic. I no longer talk to those people.

And over in Texas, they put beans and ground round steak into a greasy soupy mixture that they call chili. With an i.

In New Mexico, we cook chunks of beef with green chiles and onions for a green chile stew that is so addictive the heroin industry looks to us for instruction. With red chile, we use pork, and THAT stuff is arguably the crystal meth of foodstuffs.

Come on down. We'll show you the light! There is no pasta or beans involved at any point in the process.

Loren Muse Smith 10:16 AM  

@dk - I imagine LONI UNCLASPed would be quite the sight. Would you call your recipe a Cuba Libre?

@Evil Doug - Touche! Serves me right trying to run with the big dawgs. You managed to smear my nose in my puzzle inexperience in such a fun, lighthearted way that I enjoyed it! I NEVER would have seen all those connections. In fact, I never noticed any crosses until I stumbled upon this blog.

Which brings me to a question - Do constructors purposely try for these crosses, or are they just fun coincidences?

jbsnadb 10:18 AM  

Best chili I ever had was in Kansas City. Missed the cook-off at work this year (won't make that mistake in 2012).

Puzzle seemed super-easy to me, obliterating my old fastest time for a Tuesday by almost a full minute, and almost that much faster than yesterday. Didn't hurt that I didn't suffer too much from fat-finger syndrome on the good ole iPhone app.

Noticed the three "UPs" and the recycled materials from yesterday. Read POTOK's "The Chosen" as a kid, and have been to YAKIMA, so no worries there. Everything just seemed to fall into place, making for a very enjoyable start to my Tuesday morning.

As an aside, my captcha word is "rumsider". LOL

jbsnadb 10:19 AM  

Another side note, as I clicked "Submit", Elton John began to play on the radio. Ah, serendipity.

Two Ponies 10:51 AM  

First, I want to thank Rex for finding time for us in his busy schedule.
Thanks Doug for a fine Tuesday.
My favorite part of this is the rhythm of saying jumble, shuffle, scramble, mix out loud.
@ jesser, Your dishes sound delish. Being raised in the midwest, however, just gotta have beans.

r.alphbunker 10:51 AM  

A friend sent me the following image in an email:

A caption for this might be a permutation of the down column starting at 6D EVAC! GO UP TO MAR[s]

cw stewart 11:17 AM  

Nice smooth puzzle. Thanks, Doug.

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

since when is epee a sport and not a fencing blade?

Doug P 11:29 AM  

Thanks for the nice comments, folks. This one was inspired by the iPod Shuffle. I'm not normally a gadget guy. My cell phone barely makes phone calls. But I love my iPod Shuffle. It's cheap, easy-to-use, and nearly indestructible. I also thought it would be fun if the puzzle ran right next to the Jumble in some newspapers. Might make people think there's a puzzle page conspiracy.

oldactor 11:41 AM  

@jesser: Chili was born in San Antonio and no Texan I know would tolerate beans. Ground beef is also a nono.

Green chili stew is made with pork and hominy here.

All your New Mexico "variations" sound teriffic, but your description of a good old Texas Bowl of Red is way off base.

chefbea 12:00 PM  

Anyone ever have chili-mac at Steak and Shake??? My chili is sorta like their chili. Yummm. Two of the ingredients are chocolate and coke!!!

retired_chemist 12:08 PM  

Kinda medium. Nice job, Doug. I agree with all the good stuff others have said.

Had ARIA @ 14A. Used D'OH for 50A and that led to ACT OUT for 36D - originally missed that it was clued in the third person. 38A was ROLL off _O__. Had HOLE for 61D (now THERE'S a bra size) off the __LE. And MORE! All easily, albeit not rapidly, fixed.

5D is a nice clue - did not see it since I did the upper midwest mostly with acrosses.

Thanks, Mr. P.

Masked and Anonymous 12:16 PM  

Puz can have all the UP's it wants. It's in the high country, IMO.

Fave fill: the UP brothers, all in DOWN answers. Is that what y'all'd call "ironic"? I need to take one of Professor 31's classes. Not one of them "sunrise semester" horrors, tho. Some of my comments are pretty "ironic", I'll betcha; they sound like things a dude hit in the head with an old steam iron would say.

Fave clue: "Followed a downsizing plan?"

Theoda3rd 12:20 PM  

Same booboo with dale vs vale otherwise easy peasy.

Rube 12:23 PM  

This was a mild mannered puzzle, not good, not bad. It had some harder-than-Tuesday-level answers but, except for TAUPIN, were hiding in the recesses of my mind.,, never heard of him, (or her, with Elton John you never know). Also didn't know HEIGL, but all of these were gettable with crosses.

Still, PLACATE and YAKIMA, (I used to live there), made this a fun puzzle. Only writeover was SEEYOU/Solong.

Lewis 12:26 PM  

@boy's life -- answer, please. From you.

I was surprised to see this rated easy/medium. I thought it was easier than yesterday, and I thought yesterday was easy. Maybe I was just on Doug's wavelength.

Rookie 12:29 PM  

Just want to thank @rex for all of his efforts to provide us such delight despite the challenges of his teaching schedule. It is appreciated!

mac 12:53 PM  

Excellent Tuesday! I don't know why, but I loved "beaned". Had a write-over at 16A: chicken fox.

Couldn't believe to see nest again!

@doug: the Intl. Herald Tribune will have the jumble next your puzzle.

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

I agree with jberg. As an amateur baker and former professional nit picker, I'll point out that good rye breads are all sourdoughs.

Boys Life Magazine 12:59 PM  

@Lewis - Seriously? MIX stands out like a sore thumb. Three words ending in LE, then MIX. Three playful words, then MIX. I was trying to gracefully point out that MIX as the last theme entry was a huge disappointment.

LR 1:04 PM  

Sort of like "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy."

Boy's Life Magazine 1:05 PM  

Let me expand - I can't believe that Will didn't send this back to the drawing board, waiting for a fourth theme entry along the lines of the previous three. I just thought about it for 30 seconds and came up with DIDNTMINGLE, clued as "Acted like a wall flower".

Sparky 1:18 PM  

Had Tacoma before YAKIMA. POTOK fixed it. Was expecting 63A to end with LE so had a Huh? in margin till I came here. Other than that, easy.

Thanks @Save The Pain. I have had the same problem as @JohnV and Chefbea for a while now. Will try your suggestion.

Gareth Bain 1:28 PM  

@Boys: That is what is known as "not a lexical chunk," to borrow a phrase from Amy R. It'd never even be considered by Will Shortz as a possible entry. The theme is four synonyms. You may want it to be something else...

Bird 1:34 PM  

All this talk of CHILIS has got me hungry again. And I just finished lunch.

After I saw X and Y I thought it was a pangram, but L, M, N, O, P, . . . No Q. Just as well.

Nice puzzle Doug, thanks. I liked SANDDUNES - can't wait for summer at the beach on Long Island.

I miss playing albums on my hi-fi, checking out the art work and reading the liner notes. But then again, making playlists for the I-Pod is alot easier and faster than making mix tapes.

Anoa Bob 2:04 PM  

If you're ever looking for another clue for ISABEL, there's a deep south Texas Gulf Coast town called Port ISABEL. We describe it as a sleepy little drinking village with a serious fishing problem.

Boy's Life Magazine 2:07 PM  

@Gareth - I wasn't suggesting that it would have been acceptable, just that I, a defunct magazine with no cognitive process at all, was able to come up with something along the lines I was suggesting quickly.

I get that the theme is four synonyms. However when the first three are polysylabic words ending in LE the puzzle would have been better if the fourth was also a polysylabic word ending in LE. MIX was an unsatisfying fourth.

Two Ponies 2:35 PM  

@ Boy's Life, I found it to be just the opposite. As I said earlier I like the rhythm of
jumble, shuffle, scramble, mix.
As someone else also said earlier
like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
Maybe Bernie Taupin could work that into something.

John Le Carre 3:11 PM  

I chose the title Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy based on the age-old child's rhyme Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor [....]. I liked the dissonance that changing Sailor to Spy introduced: it disrupted the rhythm, changed the expected and innocuous fourth person to an ominous one.

MIX seems to do the same; some like it, some don't. De gustibus.

Masked and Anonymous II 3:29 PM  

@joho (8:01 am) Thanx for the shout out. So encouraging to see a fine crossword constructor such as yourself appreciating the gourmet aspects of their art. You are hereby my Fave Constructor of the Week.

I also groove on grid layout oddities. Like oddball cheater square choices. Or the semi-rare black center square, like in today's. Makes the solving experience different. Different's usually pretty darn fun.

De bustagut.

jae 3:34 PM  

@John Le Carre -- Nicely said.

@Deb -- Unless your mother can trace her roots back to the mongols I guess we need to agree to disagree.

sanfranman59 4:00 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)

Tue 7:45, 8:51, 0.88, 16%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:14, 4:34, 0.93, 28%, Easy-Medium

Is anyone else having an issue the "Word Verification" thing lately? I usually preview my message before posting it. After I do so, it doesn't prompt me to enter a "captcha" word. If I then click "Publish Your Comment", it used to post the message. But now it comes back and prompts me to enter another "captcha" word. On more than one occasion over the past couple of weeks, I haven't noticed that and I've ended up losing my message. Is this only happening to me?

Anonymous 4:07 PM  

@sanfranman - Save the Pain answered that question earlier.

retired_chemist 4:10 PM  

@sanfranman59 - same here. They now seem to want a new captcha if you preview.

As always, I suggest that anyone at least copy his/her msg to the clipboard before doing ANYTHING online.

Mr. Benson 4:23 PM  

Interesting that Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl are the Word of the Day on back-to-back days. Knocked Up was hilarious.

Doug P 4:38 PM  

@Mr Benson - That's not a coincidence. We constructors are paid handsomely for sticking promos into our puzzles. Besides a payment from the NY Times for today's puzzle, I'm expecting checks from Apple, the Daily Jumble syndicate, Country Time Lemonade, and Katherine Heigl's publicist. So go out and see her new movie! The reviews are spectacular.

Anonymous 4:42 PM  

Two easy puzzles in a row! Good for the ego....

chefbea 4:43 PM  

@Sanfranman me too. But I took Anonymous's advice and preview first and then type the captcha.

Tita 4:49 PM  

@John LeCarre - well put indeed...

Lewis 5:50 PM  

@boys -- I understand your point completely, and it is well put. I was actually hoping that it was an old brain teaser with a clever answer (that I didn't get)!

Anonymous 6:01 PM  

We get to see "Jeopardy" early here--Will Shortz made the big time! He made "Jeopardy" in the form of a question!!

fergus 7:23 PM  

While I still don't get ADJS, I found this to be quite an elegant puzzle. When I'm finished and haven't figured out the theme I'll spend a trice wondering what it was and usually don't care. Then when I read this blog I'll find there's also some extra artistry I hadn't noticed.

Recalling another Seinfeld episode where the self-abasing doorman presumes that Elaine would disdain his devotion to the JUMBLE made me feel just a tad odd. If I attempt it (once or twice a week), I am ususally surprised at how much more it vexes me than the Xword. Even a Friday or Saturday puzzle. This probably indicates that capable solving is a matter of habit more than it is of innate ability.

Loren Muse Smith 7:42 PM  

@fergus - I should come clean, too. I'm like a deer in the headlights with the Jumble. I completely buy into the fiendishly clever way they organize the letters (talk about misdirects!), and can hardly ever figure out the word. My husband, who has never done a crossword in his life, kills me every time in a Jumble show-down.

fergus 8:03 PM  

Despite the stupid cartoons, the DAILY JUMBLE's status should be raised a notch. The cleverness I've most noticed is that there is a single, isolated soution to each set of scrambled letters. As an anagram enthusiast (and player of refrigerator alphabet magnet games) that continual production is worthy of some respect.

skua76 8:40 PM  

@Aúlr, thanks for the DAILY JUMBLE link, it does NOT appear next to the LAT crossword or anywhere else in my local paper. @fergus, a good point, I think I remember ONCE that I found two solutions to a set of letters.

I had a different issue with 63A...after getting the MIX first I plopped in gatOrADEMIX at first since I'm a bit more familiar with that. Thanks Doug, a good one!

quilter1 9:06 PM  

When we went to Tinker Tailor, etc. the audience was mostly people over 50. If you remember the original on PBS, you were not disappointed. IF you blinked you missed something important and so many things left unanswered or unresolved, just like life.

fergus 9:57 PM  

btw -- is beloved, persnickety Martin also a fierce critic in writing to certain NYT editorialists? (Such a writing style seemed evident in response to David Brooks's latest homily.)

Peter 10:40 PM  

@fergus - I don't think that's the same Martin. I think our Martin is a Californian, the one who's having a field day with Brooks is an Oregonean. Of course I could be wrong.

I fear I may have introduced the whole "tribal" concept into the mix, from way back in a December column.

sanfranman59 1:18 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
Tue 7:46, 8:51, 0.88, 17%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:26, 3:40, 0.94, 25%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:07, 4:34, 0.90, 18%, Easy

Anonymous 11:31 AM  


Spacecraft 1:43 PM  

Right from the getgo: APEG was a new one on me. Both LONI and HEIGL crossing GIRLIE? Fantastic. ADJS was a tad unfortunate, but plainly unavoidable. And sorry, purists, but I like my CHILIS BEANED. You can still make it as hot as you want by adding more chili powder. (Please don't all flog me at once!)
Good Tuesday fare, and finished fast because of the &@$#^ presidential press conference. I didn't have The Price is Right to distract me.

witraver: Our Fearless Leader.

Solving in Seattle 2:11 PM  

Nice puzzle in spite of a couple of goofy fills.

Isabel Allende is an author I read because of my visits to Chile. I especially like "Ines of my Soul," a fictional account of the settling of Chile, and her take on "Zorro," one of my childhood favorite TV characters. I didn't realized she has published 18 books, a good body of work.

Solving in Seattle 2:14 PM  

forgot to mention a chuckle as ISABEL (Allende, from Chile) crossing with CHILIS

Red Valerian 8:24 PM  

Isabel Allende wrote the most amazing love-making guide/cookbook. Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses

Here's the first sentence: "I repent of my diets, the delicious dishes rejected out of vanity, as much as I lament the opportunities for making love that I let go by."

You can read a different short excerpt at the link above. The book would, I think, appeal to practically everybody here--food and sex... what's not to like?

(@Deb--unlikeDay of Honey, it's not political, at least I don't remember it being)

Red Valerian 8:36 PM  

P.S. The excerpt includes a recipe for "Reconciliation Soup." I can attest to its effectiveness.

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