Marquis de Sade delivered his eulogy / TUE 2-14-12 / Coal-rich region of Germany / Cocktails made with Southern Comfort sloe gin amaretto orange juice / Anti-bullfighting org

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Constructor: Paula Gamache

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: AMO, AMAS, AMAT (64A: Classical trio found inside 18-, 28- and 49-Across) —those three words are "hidden" inside three theme answers

Word of the Day: JITNEY (60A: Small bus) —
A dollar van (also known as a commuter van, jitney) is a privately owned type of bus service used to carry passengers in the United States of America. Dollar vans typically operate in neighborhoods within urban areas that are under-served by public mass transit or taxis. Some of the dollar vans are licensed and regulated, while others operate illegally. Passengers may board them at designated stops along their route or hail them as share taxis (although the latter practice may be technically illegal). The name comes from the fact that it would only cost about one dollar or so to ride with such transit. Dollar vans are primarily owned and used by inner-city African/Caribbean American, Latino, and Asian American populations. The vehicles used range from 15-seat Ford Econolines to 29-seat minibuses. Travelers cite cost and greater frequency as factors in choosing jitneys over larger bus service, whereas safety and comfort are cited for choosing buses. (wikipedia)
• • •

I did this puzzle under unusual circumstances (with two TV cameras trained on me), so my estimation of its quality might be off, but I generally liked it. Seemed slightly harder than a normal Tuesday, but that may be because I was talking and commenting while solving. That SANTA MONICA clue was a stumper (for a Tuesday). I kept scrolling my mind for Italian place names beginning SANTA and eventually got SANTA MONICA almost entirely from crosses. Also, getting to DECI- from [Prefix with bel] proved nearly impossible, for some reason. Also, I continue not to know the word JITNEY, despite having encountered it now several times. Also, the SW was oddly tricky: had SOIL for ROIL (56D: Make muddy) so couldn't see the FARM and certainly couldn't get FAST [Partner of hard]. I wouldn't have put hard and FAST together except in certain contexts which I'm *sure* the NYT wasn't intending. Theme answers aren't exactly scintillating, but the Latin-hiders are all 15 (nice), and LATIN LOVER is an interesting bonus. I wonder if Paula didn't have a number of AMAS- and AMAT-containing answers at the ready; I say this mainly because I know how hard it can be to cross *three* theme answers *six* times (all the Downs in the far west and far east, essentially). Seems like it might take you several organizational attempts to get that section of the grid to work out so smoothly.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Neighbor of Venice (SANTA MONICA)
  • 28A: Cocktails made with Southern Comfort, sloe gin, amaretto and orange juice (ALABAMA SLAMMERS)
  • 49A: Perfect Sleeper and others (SERTA MATTRESSES)
  • 39A: With 42-Across, one who might memorize 64-Across [i.e. AMO, AMAS, AMAT] (LATIN LOVER)
I do like a puzzle that repurposes crosswordese. Take the tired, stale fill (AMO, AMAS, AMAT) and make something new and pretty out of it. It only just now occurred to me that today (which is to say, tomorrow) is Valentine's Day, and that this puzzle's Latin loveyness ties right in. Cool. Much nicer than that pseudo-heart-shaped grid we got on Saturday.

  • 9A: Cathode's counterpart (ANODE) — pretty easy. Just notice that both of these sound like girls' names. The Ode sisters: Cath and Ann.
  • 16A: Examiner of sunken ships, perhaps (DIVER) — this also took a little thinking. I'm telling you—ever-so-slightly thornier than your avg. Tuesday. 

  • 36A: Anti-bullfighting org. (PETA) — not how I usually think of them, but that makes sense.
  • 4D: Old Spanish coin (PESETA) — doesn't sound "old" to me. Is that because it's simply the pre-Euro denomination?Yes. Well that explains that.
  • 19D: The Marquis de Sade delivered his eulogy (MARAT) — I did not know that. I was pleased to get MARAT off just the "R."
  • 47D: Paris and Hector, e.g. (TROJANS) — helps that I'm teaching the Aeneid. I'll have cameras trained on me tomorrow while I do that, too.
  • 63D: Fad item of 1962 (YO-YO) — It's not really a fad if it never goes away, is it? Or did the YO-YO really have its hula hoop moment in 1962? I wasn't there.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:05 AM  

Another very smooth grid which was on the tougher side for me also.

ALABAMASLAMMERS did not ring a bell but who knows what the kids are drinking these days.  Does anyone have a gin martini or scotch rocks anymore ?

 MARAT, AMYL, and TROJANS could be zippy answers.

Clever Tues.  I liked the theme.

Anonymous 12:06 AM  

@Rex - Yes.

Anonymous 12:14 AM  

The one thing in this puzzle that really popped for me was AMYL Nitrate. Helps with the old AMO/AMAS/AMAT/AMAMUS/AMANTUS/AMANT. Without them I am, as is presumeably also true for Paula, only good for an AMO/AMAS/AMAT.

Anonymous 12:17 AM  

IDO over GAY in the SE after Washington signs gay marriage into law. The time is NIGH!

TROJANS is timely as well.

Tobias Duncan 12:21 AM  

Never made an ALABAMASLAMA as a bartender but swap the amaretto for Galliano and vodka and you have a "Slow Comfortable Screw Against the Wall". Made many of those, they were big in the early 90s.
Never heard of a jitney and went with TROyANS for some stupid reason so that corner took a minute.
Never called my time in the service a STINT seems more prisiony to me somehow.

Pretty good puzzle for a Tuesday.
I tip my hat to all the lovely ladies of Rexville. Happy Valentines day !

Noam D. Elkies 12:40 AM  

Yes, a nice V-Day Tuesday, even though only two of the AMO/AMAS/AMAT hiders are grid-spanners, not all three (see 18A:SANTA_MONICA). Does this make the puzzle 9A:AN_ODE to love?

Another nice touch for a Tuesday (though entirely independent of the theme) is to start with a pair of U-less Q's at the 1A/1D crossing.


Anoa Bob 12:41 AM  

Nice Valentine's day touch but what jumped out at me was the gratuitous plurals for two of the themes at 28A and 49A, making two 15-letter grid spanners out of 14- and a 13-letter entries. Is that kosher?

Saw lots of JITNEYs while living in the Philippines. It always sounded to me as having more of a "Jeetny" pronunciation, and I tried to spell it here as "Jetney" until crossings contravened. I assumed it was some kind of pidgin variation of Jeep. Many of them appeared to be built on a Willys Jeep chassis.

santafefran 12:57 AM  

LOL at the "Ode sisters".
Had similar ?? as @Rex re DECI and SANTA MONICA.

Write overs included CAKE--CLAW and NEAR--NIGH.

Overall, a nice Tuesday puzzle in the Valentines Day pantheon. Thanks, Paula

Anyone know what @Rex is being filmed for?

pk 1:08 AM  

Thanks to NDE for highlighting the U-less Q's at 1A and 1D - and thanks to Santafefran for pointing out my error at 1A/3D. Was positive the TV seller's station was QVS, which made the crab dish slaw, which didn't sound familiar, but sounded possible. Think I had CVS pharmacy confused with QVC channel, which I never have seen. I just don't do my shopping on TV.

Otherwise, a fabulous, enjoyable puzzle. Thinking of the Latin Lovers on their Serta Mattresses. Hope they remembered their Trojans. *Smile*

Anonymous 1:10 AM  

Hampton Jitney. Avoids one driving the LIE. Fun puzzle. Thanks Ms. Gamache. HVD to all and finally my nine years of Latin came in handy.

Anode Claw-la Michaels 1:12 AM  

Yes, it's kosher to make 13 and 14 letter entries into two 15s ...if that's what it takes for them to match!

Plus 15s look more elegant (even tho @rex is slightly wrong about them all being's actually 11 15 15 11 plus two 5s...that's a heckuva a lot of theme... 62 theme squares) AND super appropriate for Valentine's...

(tho I'm happy Valentines Day is almost would have been easy to ignore this year as it's a Tuesday and who goes out Tuesday anyway? But this year, it suddenly stretched into five days!!! What's up with that?!)

I guess i have never understood that MARAT Sade wasn't one in the same person...
Hard for me as I fell for a lot of things Near/NIGH, spcA/PETA, ELoiS/ELVES, SOakS/SORTS

Couldn't even start at 1A, couldn't remember the shopping channel letters...I even put in NINE aM inexplicably.

But of course, gotta go nuts over starting with QTIP...and I will say this every time it's in a puzzle from now till the end of time, as it's become my new mantra:
Quit Taking It Personally!

chefwen 1:34 AM  

Love the word PSHAW, try to say it as often as possible. Had the same double take at 18A, Oh, the other Venice, O.K. that'll work.

Had a few empty boxes around the JITNEY/TROJANS area, non puzzle husband knew both. Pretty humbling when the non puzzle person has to finish a TUESDAY puzzle.

Never have had a ALABAMA SLAMMER, the contents alone brought on a slight headache. Pass.

Greg Charles 1:40 AM  

Being a West Coaster, I had no trouble with Santa Monica, but then I had cERTA MATTRESSES, and couldn't figure out what APLUc could be for a really long time. So, yeah, a bit tough for a Tuesday.

Anonymous 4:15 AM  

Alabama Slammers
never heard of it
sounds nasty
Overall, harder than normal Tuesday puzzle

Anonymous 4:47 AM  

Another poor Tuesday outing.

I may be biased cause I never took Latin in school (like most people) but I hated the theme. Using some of the oldest crosswordese and making that the theme? Really not impressive to me. I lost interest after I figured it out halfway through.

r.alphbunker 4:56 AM  

ALABAMA SLAMMERS brought to mind Ogden Nash's "Candy's dandy but liquor's quicker".

The NE is the Latin quarter with ERAT, DECI and OVID.

And then there is AMMO which is the 1st person destructive singular of amo.

exaudio 7:08 AM  

Liked this one, thought it was a little on the difficult side for a Tuesday, but that's good because I'm working at about a Thursday skill level and Monday and Tuesday can get boring. One more day until the holiest day of the year in my family, when you can buy chocolate half-price.

Mary Rose G 7:09 AM  

Alabama Slammers were big at SUNY Albany bars back in the early 80's, along with the Kamikaze - we 18 yr olds could slam one down in the on-campus bar (The Rat) in between classes. Ah, the good old days!

Fun puzzle!

dk 7:39 AM  

Puzzle reads like an ode to GAY love from an earlier EPOCH with AMYL nitrate (AKA poppers) TROJAN, LOVER and MARAT, Nice send up for V-Day if this was the case synchronistic if it was not.

I side with Anon at 4:47AM. Bad puzzle Tuesday is back. I think we need an intervention. Maybe Tuesday could be picture day or better yet puzzles whose theme was something we all or at least the constructor hates. For example: butter on a roast beef sandwich.

** (2 Stars)

Loren Muse Smith 7:59 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 8:00 AM  

Terrific Tuesday IMO!

@jae - yes, we're still out there. I'm Bombay on the rocks,and my husband is Woodford Reserve neat.

@ACME - I work at a country club, and we're filled to capacity tonight with reservations for dinner, so at least here, people will go out on a Tuesday!

@anoa bob - I had a JITNEY/jeetny experience when I saw "tight" end written for the first time. I played powderpuff football in high school and thought it was "tide" (southern drawl) end because they went with the tide, as it were.

I get up at 6 am on weekdays, and even though I'm really not a master solver, it was just a matter of time before I solved this one and played around with its theme in this paragraph. Fun, fun, fun! Thanks, Paula!

John V 8:01 AM  

Great puzzle, perfect for Valentine's Day. LATINLOVER was the highlight. CAKE before CLAW, SPOTS before SORTS @35D, ditto @Rex puzzling over SANTAMONICA/Venice, even having been to both. Hmm. Just thinking of rollerskating in Venice drinking an ALABAMASLAMMER; nah, probably safer on the L.I.E. Medium Tuesady, rating 1 block, my walk to Panera's to pick up the paper.

efrex 8:06 AM  

I tend more towards the "meh" crowd on the theme: not a LATIN LOVER, I. Then again, anything that raises the cultural bar a bit in these benighted times should be applauded, I suppose.

The OVID clue reminds me of one of Mel Brooks's 2000 Year old man bits where he recalls the headline of the Roman Tribune: "Ovid Ousted, Augustus Disgusted!"

joho 8:17 AM  

Lovely Valentine's Day theme --that's all about love -- smoothly done.

LATIN LOVER was a great bonus.I never studied Latin so took a few minutes to figure out what the "classical trio" meant ... and that was a subtle and welcome aha moment for me.

Terrific Tuesday, thanks, Paula!

jberg 8:24 AM  

@jae - I've had both of those drinks within the week. My favorites, esp. Islay. Never understood the fad for vodka, since the whole idea is that you can't taste it. But as for YO-YO, he's still going strong.

As commenters have pointed out collectively, this puzzle is just full of love, far beyond the official theme answers. (Depends on how CRASS you're willing to be. 16A?) And I DO is not only above GAT, but right after AMO AMAS AMAT. And personally, I loved the puzzle once I put down the Q as my first letter, and moved right along to PSHAW.

I avoided the crab Cake error because I had the L already, but got held up by SANTA MONICA because I was trying to think of a place in . . . Florida! (SANibel, but too short). Spring break is coming up, and our week in Captiva is on my mind!

Sue Mc 8:26 AM  

Liked this one a lot, with the exception of DECI, which I hated. Got stuck on SANTA MONICA, too. But other than that, felt this was easy, and I really liked the not-so-overly-mushy Valentine theme.

quilter1 8:48 AM  

I thought this one was easy and fun. I've ridden in JITNEYs in the Bahamas. Taken the grandkids to Santa Monica pier so that was easy. Nice straightforward clues/answers with the least pop culture possible. Unless its none.

Off to de-ice the car. Making apple pie this afternoon thanks to Sunday's puzzle. Happy Valentine's Day.

batspa: update to the bat cave

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

never a fan of paula's puzzles and this one is no exception. just not much enjoyment out of it at all. to me this is another example of the perk's of being will's assistant or whatever her title might be.

Sam 9:02 AM  

Overall liked it...had trouble in SE since I wanted Trevian instead of TROJAN, and couldn't understand why there were more letters than I wanted. Also, never heard of NIGH.

Why all the cameras?

A Cougar 9:07 AM  

All LATIN LOVERS should be DIM. It makes them more manageable.

Tobias Duncan 9:09 AM  

@ Anoa Bob, I used to date a Filipino girl and the ones in the Philippines are called Jeepneys.I can't believe I knew that word and not the jitney it is derived from.

Ferdinand 9:27 AM  

I'm as peacable a bull as they come, but some young stud comes into my herd, sniffing around my cows, and he's in for the fight of his life. I don't care what this PETA guy thinks, it's none of his damned business!

jackj 9:32 AM  

Paula’s only other NY Times Valentine’s Day puzzle was in 2007 and it romanticized as to what happens when you TURNUPTHEHEAT on ICE; yes, it goes first to WATER and then to STEAM. (The full theme phrases were ICEHOCKEY, WATERHAZARD and STEAMENGINE.)

Boy, that must have had the looking-for-love, Valentine’s Day, NY Times solving public swooning, for sure!

Today, Paula plays Hallmark wannabe and goes all hugs and kisses with lovey-dovey sentiments sure to melt even the hardest of hearts among us with that classical romantic trio of, AMOAMASAMAT, (relayed by a mysterious LATIN LOVER, no less), as her theme.

Each of the love words are then teasingly buried in three separate romantic phrases, the best of which is clearly, SERTAMATTRESSES where you’ll find AMAT and the implicit message of, “He, She or It tests the box spring while lovingly waiting for their soul mate”.

What a giant step up from her H2O focus of 5 years past!

Now that Paula has found her X's and O's stride, we expect her to next be shooting Cupid’s arrows on Sadie Hawkins Day; get those sneakers ready, ladies.

Oh, be still my heart!

(What I really meant was, thanks, Paula, for a fun puzzle).

archaeoprof 9:55 AM  

Didn't get the theme until 64A, and it brought a smile.

Nice play on LATIN LOVER.

But 57A was my least favorite clue.

@Rex: do tell, when can we see you on screen??

Tita 9:55 AM  
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Tita 9:59 AM  

"Some makeup" crossing "I'm tired of your lies" reminds of of my elderly uncle-in-law in Donegal, Ireland...
Upon seeing a girl powdering her nose in her car mirror, he said
"A little bit of powder and a little bit of paint...
Will soon make a lassie look like what she ain't."

@Rex is probably getting his nose powdered by the TV crews...

@Tobias - I too put in TROyANS - baffling, but I did...

Jitneys abound in Manila, Mexico City, São Paulo...colorfully decorated, absurdly overcrowded.

@chefwen - I'm worried about you - you gained 5 lbs with yesterday's food-rich puzzle, and today a hangover headache from that booze...!! I dub you The Puzzle Whisperer...

Loved the puzzle too - thanks Ms. Gamache!

chefbea 10:17 AM  

Just saw that blogger ate my comment that I posted over an hour ago.

Thanks Paula for a "lovely" puzzle.

@jae people still order Scotch on the rocks just ask me or tinbeni...I think he has his neat tho

Two Ponies 10:23 AM  

I liked it. Latin lover was a nice kicker.

@ archaeoprof, I sent you an e-mail yesterday.

Gotta run. Friends bought the entire season 2 of Downton Abbey so I get to see next weeks episode today! No spoilers I promise.

treedweller 10:29 AM  

"I do like a puzzle that repurposes crosswordese. Take the tired, stale fill (AMO, AMAS, AMAT) and make something new and pretty out of it."

I continue to be mystified by your hatred of the Krozel pangram a couple of weeks ago. It was not technically repurposing old crosswordese, but taking the much-maligned pangram and making it an integral part of the puzzle seems analogous to me.

As for this one, I give it a meh. The fill was a little dry for my taste.

DBGeezer 10:30 AM  

@anon 12:14AM, I believe the 2nd person plural of AMARE is AMATIS. I'm surprised that other LATIN LOVERs did not bring this up earlier.

The Latin Channel 10:44 AM  

@ DBGeezer

Wood 10:49 AM  

Nice puzzle -- high theme density (including LATIN LOVER which to me is the theme and reveal rather than AMO AMAS AMAT), plus the amorous extras pointed out by everyone else.

Very little to grumble about. Mystified by @Anon 8:54's comment. Sounds like sour grapes to me.

Old as an EPOCH 10:50 AM  

@jae. Yes, I drink gin martinis (with vermouth) and my partner drinks scotch on the rocks, but in the heat of summer it's 'ritas or pinas.

When I was young we went on family drives in the JITNEY (the family car). Don't know why my father called it that--he was English and there were only four of us.

Nice and easy-enough puzzle. Fun, too.


Ulrich 11:09 AM  

Ovid was not only Latin, he actually wrote about love, or what went under that name in his days, as Rex reminded us the other day. So, this was a nifty little romp in the key of A.

foodie 11:11 AM  

This was a smile-inducing puzzle :)

And SANTA MONICA was indeed remarkably hard to come up with, even though I lived there for 3 years! I totally loved being there too. I was 3 blocks from the ocean, and nothing was better than taking a walk on the beach at sunset, watching couples, kids, dogs, kites, volleyball games. I always thought I'd go back and live there sometime. Shows what I know!

Great twist on marking Valentine's day. A PLUS!

GILL I. 11:13 AM  

It seems to me that Monday and Tuesday puzzles are getting better or maybe I'm just paying more attention to them. There are lots of words to AMA(r) in this one. JITNEY crossing TROJAN, PSHAW, ALABAMA SLAMMERS (ugh drink) hot TAMALE. By the way @Tita, JITNEY's are everywhere in Latin America - usually pronounced guaguas or, if your Cuban, waawaa.
A good TAMALE isn't really hot but it is spicy. The sauce can be hot. Maybe in this case Ms Gamache is talking about the candy or better yet, some LATIN LOVER.
I love Valentine's Day. It's the one holiday that I'm lavished on. I love seeing all the men running around with boxes of chocolates and big red roses....
Cheers and happy VD to all.

Anonymous 11:25 AM  


perhaps sour grapes. i just think her puzzles are never all that. nothing wrong with not loving puzzles - it happens here all the time. when you combine that with being the editor's assistant - something is up in my opinion. making a puzzle and making a snappy puzzle are two different things. not to say that i havent liked a single puzzle - but most of her puzzles arent all that special - at least to my tastes.

John V 11:27 AM  

@Gill I.P. Love happy VD neologism :)

wyonative 12:03 PM  

I took Latin in 7th, 8th, and 9th grades at a Catholic school. That's when I discovered a love for languages. I should have been a linguist, which I didn't even know existed as a specialty until too late. The trio is a sestet for me: amo, amas, amat, amamus, amati, amant (I'm unsure about amati: is that right?)

I thought the puzzle was great: just enough trickiness to keep me thinking.

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

I liked this. I kept waiting for the Valentine's Day connection. After I got AMO and AMAS, plus MATTRESSES (but only the A of SERTA) I figured it out the theme.

I took Latin in HS and read the Aeneid in Latin in grad school. The world needs more LATIN LOVERS.

@wynonative: amatis is you (plural) love.

Evan 12:45 PM  

@ Anonymous 11:25 am:

There have certainly been a few puzzles by Paula Gamache that I haven't liked. In fact, I usually find her puzzles to be more difficult on average for whatever day of the week it is with a little too much arcane information or crosswordese than I would prefer, so I can understand why her puzzles might not be to your taste.

This puzzle, on the other hand, I think is quite good. While I'm not crazy about SERTA MATTRESSES as a theme answer (simply for the fact that it's a little arbitrary and not particularly in-the-language), I think it's very cool how she was able to take a Latin phrase that literally refers to love and have LATIN LOVER tie it all together. And as others have mentioned, for funny adult reasons I think TROJANS is a great complement to that theme.

In addition to all of that, I don't think one can really ascribe ulterior motives on Will Shortz's part. While I'm aware that Paula is his assistant (and I myself have gotten rejection letters on his behalf from her), I don't think anyone can really know exactly how much favor that carries. We don't know how many puzzles she constructs each week or each month, and we don't know how many of those that Will accepts and rejects compared to other constructors. My guess is that she works pretty hard at her puzzles and probably gets plenty of rejections just like every other serious constructor does.

That's not to say that one should like her published work -- as I said, if it's not to your taste, that's fine -- but it's a much bigger step to claim that "something is up" because she's Will's assistant, and that's not a step I'm willing to take.

foodie 12:57 PM  

@Rex, I too am curious about your TV appearance!

@Evan, I agree. PG puzzles are distinctive and very good to excellent by most standards. They are a not chock full of sports and such, which I always appreciate, and they often have some cool twists and factoids, such as the MARAT bit today. One can like or not like her unique style, but that is a far cry from claiming any kind of favoritism. I'm usually happy to see her name in the byline!

JenCT 1:20 PM  

@Mary Rose G: ALABMA SLAMMERS were big on all the SUNY campuses, I think - I may have had some...

@Evan: I agree too.

The FAST/FARM crossing took me the longest.

I'll leave the off-color comments to others...

I really liked the puzzle - phooey on those who panned it!

Lewis 1:25 PM  

So it turns out that a DECIbel is one tenth of a "bel" which, according to Wiki is a "seldom used unit", in case anyone was wondering.

@r.alph -- once again you made me laugh

GAY over HMO made me think of HMOsexual...

FearlessK 1:27 PM  

Not that long ago, I saw in these blog comments a quote with which we're all familiar: "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.". IMO, clueing and the fill are legitimate targets for commentary, and I enjoy the personal notes (babies, cats, travel, food, etc.) that create a sense of community here. As for the rest, I'd prefer zero ad hominem posts. And all the Latin the law (Will?) allows :) thanks to all you lovely Rexites, and a very happy Valentine's Day to you, however you celebrate it (if at all...)

Anonymous 1:47 PM  

Even in this day of grade inflation, 100 is not an A Plus...

Bird 1:58 PM  

Nice Tuesday puzzle. Not too easy, not too hard. Only nit is the partial DECI.

I knew it was Venice, CA because the Italian city is an island and islands don’t have neighbors. Yeah, I know. They do, but somehow I knew which place it was.

Only writeover was ALOT (parsed as A LOT, as in a property lot) for FARM so the SW corner was a little messy. I left 36A blank (unsure if SPCA or PETA) until I got at least one cross.

@Mary Rose – Back in the 80's Clarkson also had The Ratt where plenty of Slammers and other college cocktails were served. I remember many a night going through the good book and trying something new. That is until the drinking age was raised to 21. By then we were living off campus, just a short walk (or stumble) from downtown.

I myself now enjoy a nice Jameson Black Barrel neat when I get home from work. Cheers!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the lovely ladies.

quilter1 2:30 PM  

Driving to work I remembered that once a year in elementary school we would have an assembly where a yoyo trick artist would demonstrate for about a half hour. Many of the boys would run to the corner store after school for yoyos. Upon reflection, since I can't imagine it was just a way to sell yoyos, I think it was to give the teachers a breather. It still seems an unlikely thing for the school to do, but those were different times.

Anonymous 3:23 PM  

@Quilter1 - Actually there were travelling yo-yo experts, funded by the manufacturers, whose jobs it was to give demonstrations just so the boys would run to the stores.

R. McGeddon 4:02 PM  

Yes, yo-yos did have their hula hoop moment. I remember arriving at my elementary school one spring morning and finding the playground hopping with yo-yos. It was like every kid had one. It happened literally overnight.

But I'm not sure about the 1962. I think it was the year before.

Mel Ott 4:06 PM  

Left VERO Beach this AM on my way back north from the Keys.

I seem to remember that YOYOs came back in vogue 2 or 3 times during my childhood. By 1962 I was a serious college student and would not have been engaged in such a trivial pursuit. ;-)

Acme acmo acmas 4:07 PM  

@anon1:47 pm
I was wondering about that 100 = APLUS...
Isn't 100= A?
We could ask the professor, but he's apparently too busy getting ready for his close up!
(i assume it's the CBS thing he's alluded to before)

I would think JITNEY is very familiar to folks in NYC who go to the Hamptons in the summer...isn't that what they call the bus that goes out there, for those not in their own private limos?!

I know you are on some self-imposed rehab, but no comment on MATTRESSES? Really?!
(and I'll have to go for syncronicity on the underlying homoerotica...
And, hat tippers, where are the valentine greetings for the men? I mean, as long as we are doling out blogesque anonymous affection, shouldn't the men be included too?)

Back in the day, before I was a namer, I used to do a joke about not understanding why condoms were called the whole idea was to sneak inside the walls...and then open up and everyone jumped out...doesn't exactly make you feel safe!

@anon 8:47
As for Paula getting preferential treatment, let's not forget she actually won Rex and Orange's Oryx for best puzzle back when they gave out that award...
( tho she's openly not a fan of this blog and those who choose to participate!)
But a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T , please...She is one of the long time standing most prolific constructors whom Will trusts to help with his judgment and correspondence...not some college intern who is new to the biz!

treedweller 4:41 PM  

I know grading systems vary, but where I came from 90-93 = A- 94-96 = A and 97-100 = A+

How would anyone ever get an A+ if it required a grade above 100 percent? Similarly, how would anyone ever get a B+, since 89 would apparently not be a plus and 90 would presumably be an A (minus)?

sanfranman59 5:14 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)

Tue 8:48, 8:52, 0.99, 55%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:55, 4:35, 1.07, 75%, Medium-Challenging

archaeoprof 5:16 PM  

Put me on the list of people who admire PG's puzzles.

Kotter 5:17 PM  

Here's my suggestion for the grade scale:
A+ = 100
A = 90 to 99
B = 80 to 89
C = 70 to 79
D = 65 to 69
F = Fugheddaboutit

Anonymous 5:29 PM  

What, Paula's not a fan of this blog? I'm shocked. Has she no decency (or maybe it's the other way)?

A little bit of Monica, an Alabama Slammer, a Serta Mattress, a pack of Trojans, dim the lights and a smile on a Latin Lover who is a gay caballero. Don't mean to be crass but it sounds to me like Paula would fit in....


santafefran 7:14 PM  

@Acme acmo. Hilarious remarks about Trojan condoms!

Z 7:42 PM  

Not too much to add, so just put me in the "I liked it" column.

Let's all take PG's advice at 68A and SMILE.

Anonymous 9:29 PM  

I don't get the N N N, to Greeks clue/answer : nus

Anonymous 9:34 PM  

Anon at 9:29 -- NU, NU, NU = NUS. If you still don't get it, get off this blog (only kidding in my Mark Levin imitation):)....


Anonymous 10:01 PM  


Anonymous 10:16 PM  

Figures! You're a mark levin fan!

Anonymous 11:53 PM  

Only reason I got Jitney was from the August Wilson play - bet all the former drama majors got it too.

sanfranman59 1:44 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 5:49, 6:49, 0.85, 4%, Easy (5th lowest median solve time of 138 Mondays)
Tue 8:50, 8:52, 1.00, 55%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:18, 3:40, 0.90, 9%, Easy
Tue 4:53, 4:35, 1.07, 72%, Medium-Challenging

Acme 4:14 AM  

For Nu Nu Nu, go to YouTube and search
Charlotte No No favorite video of all time!

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

I did it right but had to check on- line as I cannot figure out who the "trio" was in the SantaMonica, AlabamaSlammers, SetaMatresses and the final answer did not make sense to me. I never took Latin!

Solving in Seattle 2:21 PM  

@anonymous 5:29 you get the daily blog award. I'm still chuckling.

@jae, make mine a Beefeater martini with extra olives.

I liked this puzzle - no arcane poetic contractions or Pulitzer Prize winners from 1930. I grew up on the SoCal beaches so SANTAMONICA was a given.

To those who panned Paula's puzzle, PSHAW!

Dirigonzo 3:00 PM  

From syndiland, I found this to be a love(ly) Tuesday puzzle that would have been very comfortable appearing on Wednesday. There were several "near miss" theme answers appearing in the down words, with (M)ARAT at 19d, AMAN(A) at 46, (T)AMAL(E) at 50d, and maybe even AMMO at 55. Seems like a LATINLOVER (especially a DIM one) might make these mistakes after a couple of ALABAMASLAMMERS.

And of course I especially loved the shout-out to my home state and our Canadian neighbors to the northeast at 69a (wait, does that make it part of the theme?).

Spacecraft 6:53 PM  

This was a nice Tuesday; I agree with OFL that the middle must have taken several tries. It's not easy to go 1-3-5 across six words.

I am baffled by those who find "no joy" in this. With all that love?

I, too, could have sworn that the ingredients listed for 28a made a Slow Comfortable Screw.

Not know JITNEY? Never visited Atlantic City, then??

There's a nit or two to pick: NUS, UVA,STA; but, as the "screw" in Shawshank said, "Some contraband here, but nothing to get in a twist about." And thanks, Paula for resisting the temptation to soil (if not ROIL) the clue for 47d.

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