Pagliacci clown / THU 2-2-12 / NHL's Laperriere / Oscar Wilde poem By the * / Cinematographer Nykvist / When doubled Miss Piggy's white poodle / L * du jeu 1939 Renoir film

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Constructor: Stu Ockman

Relative difficulty: Medium


Word of the Day: Howell RAINES (42A: Journalist Howell) —
Howell Hiram Raines (born February 5, 1943 in Birmingham, Alabama) was Executive Editor of The New York Times from 2001 until he left in 2003 in the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal. He is the father of Jeff Raines, one of the founding members of the rock band Galactic. He is currently a contributing editor for Condé Nast Portfolio, writing the magazine's media column. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is my Thursday? An incredibly banal quotation? No thanks.

The grid is weird. I do like those looooong Downs (a lot), but the rest, not so much. TACHOIALITHEAIS! Is that corner for real? For real? And was ALET really unavoidable? That section does not look that hard to fill.

Honestly, this is just a dull quotation puzzle with an inexpertly filled grid. While I'm teaching, if Thursday puzzles aren't damn good, I can't spend a lot of time with them. I just can't.

Also: Journalist Howell? Really? Somewhere eventual Hall-of-Famer Tim RAINES is weeping for your silly New York provincialism.

Also: [More] = OTHER = painful.

[I'm hearing from sources (literally, just this second, via email) that this is a debut, so I feel slightly bad, but my feelings are my feelings. If nothing else, this never should've run on a Thursday]

  • 14A: Oscar Wilde poem "By the ___" (ARNO) — nuts. The problem with making your clues for short fill really obscure is that there's no payoff. Just a "... huh. OK." At best.
  • 15A: Ingredient in traditional medicine (ALOE) — I have no idea how "traditional" is being used in this clue. My doctor has never prescribed ALOE.
  • 20A: Man's name that's Latin for "honey" (MEL) — again, nuts. French helped me here.
  • 35A: TV network that broadcast live from Opryland USA (TNN) — the one area that gave me trouble, first because of [More] / OTHER, and then because I'd transcribed the quotation wrong and put a "T" where the "H" was supposed to go (had [More] = OFTER for a bit). 

  • 5D: Not being such a daredevil, say (SANER) — boooooooooo. SAFER is so much more appropriate here. Not clever, just annoying for its trying-too-hardness.
  • 54A: Together, in Toulon (UNIE) — French helped me here, too, though less so. "États-Unis" led me to the wrong spelling here.
  • 10D: "La ___ du jeu" (1939 Renoir film) (RÈGLE) — French helped me here, too. This is pretty tough, as French words in U.S. puzzles go. I knew most of the other proper nouns, like ED ASNER (19D: "Elf" co-star, 2003) and IRENE (26D: Memorable 2011 hurricane) and even TONIO (learned from crosswords) (33D: "Pagliacci" clown). Would've guessed Miss Piggy's poodle was Fifi, but it's not such a long way from there to FOO Foo, I guess. The only Lap... oh, it's not "Lapierre," it's "Laperriere" (!?!?!?! who????). I was going to say "the only 'Lapierre' I know is Wayne."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Happy birthday, dad.


jae 12:07 AM  

Tough Thurs. for me. Lots of write overs.   I'm with Rex on this one. I'm not really fond of quote puzzles and this did nothing to change my opinion.   Plus FOO and KLEPTO were THE EXTENT of the zippiness.   That, and the sketchy fill, put this in the "not so much" column.   That said, the long downs were very nice.

Philosophy 101 12:11 AM  

You know, the only way one can truly be sure of the extent of their ignorance is to know everything, which is probably not what Confucious was getting at.

Anonymous 12:31 AM  

"Ire" and "ore" are not verbs!

FearlessK 1:05 AM  

Nearly experienced a nasty Natick at the STIPE-RAINES convergence. Don't like the fate of Mr. Happy Pencil to hinge on a lucky guess (I vs Y). Nor did I care for AREEL, ORBED, or ALET. Did like those two long downs, though. And KLEPTO: such a nice Scrabbly word in a grid. And WIL brings to mind many laughs watching " The Big Bang Theory": TV for nerds and those who love them! So a mixed bag all around.

Anonymous 2:10 AM  

The constructor wrote on Wordplay:

If I don’t succeed in embarrassing myself with my first puzzle (be gentle, Rex), I’ll surely succeed with these constructor notes. I’m a civil engineer in real life, and I’ve always found constructing things to be an enjoyable challenge.

Rex responded:

While I'm teaching, if Thursday puzzles aren't damn good, I can't spend a lot of time with them. I just can't.

Now I ask you: Who is the whiner and who is the winner?


chefwen 3:28 AM  

I'm on the fence with this one. Not too fond of quote puzzles as @jae stated and found myself counting heavily on the downs. Had Ferrell at 19D which really messed me up for quite a while. I think three of the stars would have fit into that space.
Also had to Google a tad bit which I hate to do on my favorite puzzle day, but too many proper names that I did not know. 36A, 44A, Miss Piggies freaking poodle. Have I mentioned lately that I hate the Muppets?

After the last three days of easy breezy, I guess we were due.

Anonymous 4:41 AM  

I absolutely hate quotation puzzles!

Another thing I hate: TOWS and STOWS being in the same puzzle. Really, come up with something else.

Masked and Anonymous 6:06 AM  

Only 30 black squares and 74 words. Two non-theme 15's. All this in a debut outing. Wouch. Real ambitious. Careful, Stu -- you might injure something.

Fave clue: "A goner".

Fave fill: XAVIER, KLEPTO, BEETHOVENSNINTH. INALLLIKELIHOOD also nice, but ALLHERE came along and rammed into it, and knocked it down a peg.

Fave extents of my ignorance: MEL REGLE. Sounds vaguely familiar.

exaudio 7:25 AM  

I also got tricked by SANER, OTHER, etc., but overall I thought this was an enjoyable puzzle, especially with those long non-theme downs. Loved filling in BEETHOVENSNINTH without any crosses, even though I think I saw that movie in 1979. I guess it made an impression.

Smitty 7:37 AM  

The good?
TOAST for a goner.
The rest of it felt kind of like each word was clued "Some things" -

I had SURE for arm raiser - now I can't get that stupid deodorant jingle out of my head

dk 7:57 AM  

A little Ludwig Van.
The old in and out.

Nope never saw the movie... more than 20 times.

Once created a small sign: HOME. Stuck it up all over town.

The puzzle.... Stu, Stu, Stu. You lost me at ORBED and were TOAST at SANER. Whining (as @anon from behind his hooded sheet might say) aside The quote and long downs are great. The quote works well for me in an x-word... just opinein.

** (2 Stars) Next time back up your excellent grid design and solid "theme" with a little more cement in your mortar.... if you catch my drift.

psst! Stu. Keep this a secret but I think our dear leader had the same problem with his first published puzzle

Speaking of colleges...One of the cousins of my grad school now known as Claremont McKenna seems to have fallen victim to the email spam for the enlarged ... reputation. Next I suppose it will be the gold infused wrinkle remover. To quote an old folk song and play off this puzzles' quote: "When will they ever learn?"


Well I may have snarked my way into big trouble today so I might as well point out -- Anyone else notice how nice @evil doug has become in his posts?

gotta go

Raúl 8:00 AM  

Six "EE"s in the grid. Appropriate, since the constructor is a Civil Engineer.

AnnieD 8:03 AM  

I don't mind quotation puzzles, and I'm always happy to see a Confucian saying that doesn't involve the word "pew". The pace was decent for a Thursday and the long verticals were welcome.

However, the cluing on this one seemed awkward. Others have already mentioned some. And I'll throw in my complaint about "delt". Really?

joho 8:04 AM  

I found the cluing really awkward. More for OTHER? Like a celestial body for ORBED? ORBED? Start of an alphabet book for AIS? Not being a daredevil, say for SANER? Also is that a typo at 35A: TV network that broadcast live from Opryland USA for TNN? The cluing didn't make me smile it made me uncomfortable.

Only writeovers were eAt before LAP and wALL before HALL.

My favorite word was SWIVEL.


I think the nature of the quote made this grid very hard to pull off so I say, congratulations on your debut, Stu Ockman.

evil doug 8:11 AM  

Had Beethoven's Fifth for a while; easy fix when the crosses demanded another numbah.

Grew up in ChiTown; never heard of St. Xavier University. Xavier U in Cincy, St. Xavier High School in Cincy, Loyola and DePaul in Chicago.

Tried Gouda, but no luck on the quote beginning. Parma(san, I guess?) snapped into view, and there I wrapped her up.

A base hit is by definition a single---nobody calls a double or triple a base hit. So the "e.g." might be superfluous.

"Anyone else notice how nice @evil doug has become in his posts?"



David 8:15 AM  

I've never been a fan of quotation-type puzzles either, but this was fine. I like this quote and wondered if there was some kind of inside joke, aimed at crossword solvers...

Anyway, solved this from the bottom up, and almost got killed when I confidently wrote in INNOCENCE vs. IGNORANCE with a few crosses. Very quickly a couple of no-brainer answers showed ignorance to be a bad end to the aphorism.

Then, in the area of aphorism part 1 I easily wrote in SAFER, and with a majority of crosses in except the 1st word of the aphorism (I did have the E and A of REAL), I saw the 2nd error of my ways and finished up with PARMA, which was completely hidden to me.

Love the long downs as well, esp. the reference to Clockwork Orange. Was Singin' In the Rain also in a recent puzzle (not NYT)? Really liked the acrosses in Row 5, ALL HERE and BASE HIT.

Loren Muse Smith 8:16 AM  

After a valiant hour-long struggle, I knew the extent of my ignorance. I did come close to finishing, but I never could quite get on Stu's wave-length. That I had "oath" instead of BANE really mucked up the middle for a while. Frustrating that INALLLIKELIHOOD and BEETHOVENSNINTH didn't help much. Loved TOAST and CLOSET. I won't even say what I was considering for 46A - suffice it to say that I have a teenage son.

Show me a puzzle with a lot of proper nouns, and I'll show you, um. Well it showed me.

Congrats on your debut, Stu. TRES bien.

jackj 8:21 AM  

From the contrarian corner-

What a way to introduce yourself to the puzzle world!

Mr. Ockman, I like your style (and you’re immediately forgiven for AREEL and REGLE).

Even more than recognizing the Confucian adage, one must first bow to the vertical 15’s of INALLLIKELIHOOD and BEETHOVENSNINTH, (but not even a mention of these from our blogmeister?), which give the puzzle an air of elegance rarely seen and are to be savored as serendipitous pleasures when their likes are found.

Confucian sayings can be ponderous at times but this one seems to have been coined with a twinkle in the master’s eye which helps it overcome being the subject in an often dreaded format, that of a quote puzzle.

Little touches, like WOOER for “Beau”, SWIVELS and STINTS, KLEPTO and SOIREES, even AIS, add much appreciated cleverness to this tricky crossword.

This debut was special enough to merit a joyful Welkian shout out, “Wunnerful, Wunnerful, Wunnerful”!

foodie 8:24 AM  

Not fond of quote puzzles either. But this quote is good to keep in mind if you're a scientist. I wouldn't say it's REAL KNOWLEDGE, but it's a start...

The clue for UNIE feels off. Yes, in English, TOGETHER and UNITED can clue each other. But in French, when it's singular, it indicates that whatever is UNI(E) is whole, well integrated rather than together. The slight disjunction is okay in English,but is rare across languages on a Thursday.

A propos Stores (clue for STOWS), I realized while watching Jeopardy yesterday that both in English and in Arabic, a word referring to storage is used for a shop where the point is to sell, not keep. Why is that? So weird!

Ruth 8:27 AM  

Liked it. Hard, but was thinking "original, not the usual stuff, who is this guy?" And behold, it's a debut. Nice job, Mr. Ockman.

PanamaRed 8:37 AM  

@ED - Any time you end up on base after a hit (whether first, second or third) it's a base hit. No one ever limited the term base hit to a single.

John V 8:41 AM  

Good debut, Stu! ORBED/REGLE crossing was a Natick for me. Not sure I like ORBED Otherwise, a fun puzzle.

Initially wanted ELVERS, which is wrong, of course.

Travel day tomorrow, so may/may not post. I'm really looking forward to connecting with CT Rex-ites in Westport Saturday!


evil doug 8:42 AM  

"@ED - Any time you end up on base after a hit (whether first, second or third) it's a base hit. No one ever limited the term base hit to a single."

Baloney. Maybe in Panama, or maybe a hundred years ago, but not here, not now. A base hit is a single. A double is a two-base hit, not a base hit. You're wrong. You're a moron. You don't have a clue. Get out of my face.

"Anyone else notice how nice @evil doug has become in his posts?"


Sorry, had to do it....


dk 8:57 AM  

See what a little pixie dust will do! @Evil Dog our anti hero

Now if we all clap our hands maybe @PanamaRed will take his/her head out of... It is BASEHIT not BASEsHIT. BASE HIT = Single, Bases hit = more than one.

John, Let me know if the Ice Cream factory is still in Westport. My first and only bar fight was there. Who knew the little twerp in the horn rimmed glasses was a ranked golden gloves middle weight. The jerk who swung on me after he hit his date and I suggested he not do that anymore sure didn't. Sigh, the police gave me a ride home.


MountainManZach 9:02 AM  

I'm with Evil Doug on this one. A hit is any number of bases. A base hit is a single. Most commonly used for shallow outfield balls that are too deep for the infield, but too shallow for the outfield. You know, the ones that nobody really hustles for, because, base hit.

OISK 9:06 AM  

I do not mind quotation puzzles, and I liked this quote. I did not like the NE corner, with Orbed, Regle, and Delt. In fact, I had an incorrect square, writing "Regie" instead of "Regle". But I should have gotten it - I don't think the clue for "Delt" is bad at all.

I generally enjoyed solving this one, and don't agree with Rex - thought it was very suitable for a Thursday.

What really annoys me are clues like "Candy used to be seen on it." I had no idea what this referred to, although I have heard (never watched) of SCTV, so once I had three of the letters I got it. Also never heard of Wil Wheaton, or Foo (foo) , but one thing these puzzles do is teach me the extent of my ignorance! Congratulations, Mr. Ockman.

Pete 9:12 AM  

Great, Evil Doug's going all meta with the theme on us today, displaying the depths of his ignorance.

A crack of the bat
Michael Kay: It's a base hit to the gap, Jeter's got a double to lead off.

David 9:19 AM  

I believe @Evil Doug is right, I learned this when I was 11 years old. I had asked a Little League teammate how many base hits he had so far during that season, and he said, "Zero". Huh? "I have two doubles and a triple, so I have no base hits". Confused, I asked my Dad later, who pooh-poohed the kid's answer while also saying it was technically correct.

Jp 9:20 AM  

I have mixed feelings on this puzzle. Guessed the BEETHOVEN'S NINTH right away which helped on the right side of the puzzle. But between an osbscure quotation that takes 45 squares, too many foreign language and other pop culture words, it was difficult to get a foothold. So needed a good deal of google to get the ugly fill. Finishing a Thursday with or without google is nevertheless satisfying. And the quotation reminds me of the saying: "A little knowledge can be dangerous" from my engineering days.

MLB Rule Book 9:32 AM  

A base hit is a statistic credited to a batter when such batter reaches base safely, as
set forth in this Rule 10.05.
(a) The official scorer shall credit a batter with a base hit when:
(1) the batter reaches first base (or any succeeding base) safely on a fair ball that
settles on the ground, that touches a fence before being touched by a fielder or
that clears a fence;
(2) the batter reaches first base safely on a fair ball hit with such force, or so
slowly, that any fielder attempting to make a play with the ball has no
opportunity to do so;

OldCarFudd 9:33 AM  

I started out hating this thing, since I wasn't getting traction from the crossings. (I have virtually unlimited ignorance of pop culture.) But all of a sudden it began to click. When I had maybe a quarter of the quote, plus the first long down, light dawned and I raced through it. Paper and ink with no writeovers. Nice puzzle, great debut. Welcome aboard, Stu Ockman!

jberg 9:38 AM  

Gee, this could go on forever, but I should have thought that a two-base hit, e.g., was a variety of base hit.

I got IN ALL LIKELIHOOD off the first L, and BEETHOVENS NINTH was a gimme, and two 15s crossing 3 15s is impressive - but yeah, some of the fill stinks.

But I shouldn't whine, because I finished with mutliple errors. I was convinced the network was Turner Network Television, or TNt, which kept me from seeing ED ASNER, plus I didn't think of REGLI, had to give up on REinE once I got the theme, and so finally guessed REGnE (never saw DELT, finally put in gEnT, which really didn't fit, but was the best I could do).

And just to show the extent of my ignorance -- oh, I just now got it. I was thinking of a vessel as a boat, and wanted SIEVE for 1A, though I did get PAIL from the crosses. Didn't think of Jack & Jill until I started to type this paragaph.

Blue Stater 9:44 AM  

No polite word describes this. Is there *any* rationale, however thin, for "more" = OTHER? I finished it. I hated it.

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

@Blue Stater - Don't the Republicans have any OTHER candidates, someone along the lines of a viable candidate?

David 9:52 AM  

Good first effort - a modicum of challenge, wth both fresh takes and some standard crossword standby's - "ERI Tu" for instance I only remember from crosswords and when I'm hearing Puccini highlights. :)

And I finished, with the bottom falling into place more easily. The nice attribute of a "quip" puzzle is that one can work backwords on the quip to get a lot of the fill.

Tobias Duncan 10:03 AM  

Absolutely hate quotation puzzles ESPECIALLY when I am solving on paper!Ugg its killing me.
But like dk I have seen Clockwork Orange many times and that clue along with a few nerdy gems like WhIL Wheaton amd DELT really made up some ground.
Spanish and the word mellifluous helped me with MEL.
Time for your humble narrator's eggy weggs.

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

Base hit - smaysh hit. I love Evil Doug. Please stay Evil.

Larry 10:18 AM  

@Anon 10:11 - So, you like it that ED calls someone a moron when they're factually correct but happen to disagree with him? When he sullies up someone else's blog with extreme profanity, exposing the site to the risk of being flagged as "adult", being filtered out by our corporate web policies so we can't see it as work? Makes date rape jokes?

ED - Start a blog. Behave well here. Either.

Cheerio 10:31 AM  

OH, I loved this puzzle! Two reasons. First, I puzzled out the NW corner. I didn't have much except "In all" which made me realize True Knowledge was wrong. Once I replaced True with Real, all the other bits suddenly fell into place. Parma and Arno which could have been anything - both Italian, crossing and falling into place at the same time - very fun! Mel = honey. Another Italianate clue in the same corner. Classy!

Second reason was that after finishing, then I went to Google a bunch of things I was curious about. And was well rewarded. Medgar Evers, Sven Nykvist, La Regle du jeu, Wil Wheaton, TNN - all well worth a google. So, I thought the fill was much above usual.

archaeoprof 10:38 AM  

Can't agree with @Rex today. This started out tough, but then went very nicely.

Nice going, Stu!

@Foodie: not just scientists. In the hyper-overconfident bluster of current pop culture, knowledge of our ignorance is more important than ever.

@Evil: agree with you about XAVIER. But no, I had not noticed that your posts were getting any nicer.

Cheerio 10:42 AM  

But @foodie, one of the things stores do is to keep stuff in stock so that we don't have to.

evil doug 10:44 AM  

"So, you like it that ED calls someone a moron when they're factually correct but happen to disagree with him?"

I'm the greatest second-string third baseman in the history of Palatine High School baseball. You dare to question my knowledge? [If you're too gung-ho to take a shot at me to actually comprehend the satire of my post to ol' PanamaRed and the prior comment about me playing nice, then that's your problem---not mine.]

"Makes date rape jokes?"
More bullshit. I cited, word for word, from a prime-time "Family Guy" episode---and clearly because of the reference to SUNY schools (as I pointed out at the time, but you choose to ignore) because Michael teaches there. Now, if you have a gripe about a show my wife's 8th graders are watching because you're too up and locked to understand its own level of satire, then I suggest you take it up with Seth MacFarlane and Fox TV.

"When he sullies up someone else's blog with extreme profanity, exposing the site to the risk of being flagged as "adult", being filtered out by our corporate web policies so we can't see it as work?"

Do you ignore Michael's own similar words, or ACME's, or many others here? You can't be consistent, because the burr up your ass has my name on it, nobody else's. If Michael chooses to, he can erase my posts (or yours, for that matter). That he doesn't should tell you something.

"ED - Start a blog. Behave well here. Either."

Yeah, I'm going to do what you tell me to do. Let's discuss what you can do: Be honest. Don't take my words out of context. Or leave. All.


lsilogic 10:47 AM  

Painfully bad cluing IMO. I thought Shortz was an aggressive editor but it sure doesn't show here.

Two Ponies 10:56 AM  

Lots of ups and downs in this puzzle. The clues were very strange. I would like to know the extent of Will's influence. Being a debut I will give it a pass and see what Stu comes up with next time.
Really wanted Number twos to have some scatology reference.
Could not care less about the baseball clue's correctness. Enough already!
@ dk, Ah yes re: multiple veiwings of A Clockwork Orange. I want to marry a lighthouse keeper and keep him company.

r.alphbunker 10:58 AM  

@Blue stater
I agree about OTHER. But ANOTHER is okay: "I will have another <-> I will have more"

The clue "Dig it" for ORE perplexed me. I know that there are rules for the relationship between clues and answers. If the clue had been "You dig it" the "it" would be the answer. But ORE is not a "Dig it". Why is this a legal clue?

I like quotation puzzles. It fun taking advantage of the redundancy of natural language to try to guess words that commonly follow other words and then having the whole quotation suddenly emerge. Claude Shannon supposedly conducted an experiment to show the redundancy of English by reading sentences to his wife and seeing how many times she could guess the next word.

Captchas on the other hand have no redundancy. My captcha is prolo and I have no clue at all what the next captcha will be. (it was ungst)

evil doug 11:05 AM  


I guess some computer spits out these random letters/words like a monkey at a typewriter.

When I was in USAF, we had a constant formation call-sign---"Rudy"---when we were doing tactical training (I liked it when my airplane was assigned "Rudy 22"---fun! almost Vaudevillian! we practically sang it to the controllers).

But when we went cross-country, a computer cranked out words at random for our call-signs. One time I was "Zygote". Even worse: "Mucus". I'm sure the controllers got lots of smiles with that one....


Wood 11:13 AM  

Didn't hate it. Some tough short fill though, and I agree the cluing was sometimes unnecessarily obtuse. REGLE is pretty much beyond the pale French-wise... even if I could puzzle out that "rule" was required, doubtful that I would have heard French for "rule" if I hadn't taken a film history course in college and somehow remembered that title after 25 years.

But as a struggling fledgling constructor, I give props to Stu for a passable grid with a good quote and two great long downs.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:16 AM  

@Anonymous 12:31 AM and @ r.alphbunker - The clue for 31 A, ORE, is correct, and yes, ORE is a noun, not a verb.

The clue is of an infrequently used but legitimate form, in which the solver must provide a little extra punctuation: You should see { Dig it } as { Dig "it" }, where the "it" is ORE.

For another example of this requirement of supplying extra punctuation, consider a hypothetical clue { Five in the ninth inning }, where the desired answer is ENS. In proper English, the clue would have been written { Five in "the ninth inning" }

Anoa Bob 11:28 AM  

This puzzle took my ignorance and rubbed my nose in it. This started with "La ___ du jeu (1939 Renoir film)", continued with "'Elf'" co-star, 2003", and then a real beaut "Two-time Oscar winning cinematographer Nykvist(!)".

I figured that should be the end of that kind of clue, but no, up popped "Oscar Wilde poem 'By the ___'". And then "Co-creator of the Flintstones", "NHL's Laperriere", "Pagliacci clown", "Journalist Howell', "Chicago's Saint ___ University", and "When doubled, Miss Piggy's white poodle".

At this point I knew I was toast but as a last gasp desperation effort, I filled in the only Confucian aphorism I know, "Woman who fly airplane upside down bound to have crack up". When that didn't fit, it was no mas, no mas. I gave up. Not only was it a DNF, it was a DEGS (didn't even get started).

Anonymous 11:34 AM  

A base hit is a single. Period. Whoever Michael Kay is, if he used those words, he's as wrong as anybody else who would use "base hit" to describe anything but a single. Here's the right call: "It's a drive (or, it's a liner) into the gap. Jeter's got a double to lead off".

ksquare 11:34 AM  

@OISK 9:06 The CANDY seen on SCTV was John Candy, a comedian who, I believe, died young. since he hasn't been seen lately. SCTV is/was a comedy show with a troupe of multi-talented performers like SNL.

r.alphbunker 11:34 AM  

@evil doug
I knew you were going to say that. :-)

@Bob Kerfuffle
I still don't get it. Five in "the ninth inning" is playing with the use/mention distinction. The solver is tricked into thinking that the clue is using "the ninth inning" to denote an event in baseball but instead the clue is merely mentioning it as a string of letters. An example that is often cited for the use/mention distinction is "Chicago" has seven letters but Chicago does not.

It seems to me that the {Dig it} clue is using "it" to refer to ORE and hence quotations marks are not needed.

Matthew G. 11:42 AM  

I actually liked {More} as a clue for OTHER. It was devious and fit with the overall level of cluing, which I found pretty Challenging for a Thursday. On the other hand, I hate hate hate seeing IRE clued as a verb. I know it can be one, but nobody ever uses it as one, so why ever clue it as one? That's annoying, not hard.

I liked this better than Rex did, even as I found it to be one of the more difficult Thursdays of recent memory, mainly because of the cluing, although some of the proper nouns were incredibly tough too, including REGLE, TONIO and IAN.

I think maybe the reason I liked it is that it rather cruelly proved the aphorism's truth to me. ;)

Larry I in L.A. 11:44 AM  

I'll take the fifth (not BEETHOVENSNINTH) on whether or not @PanamaRed deserved to be called a moron, but regardless of what is printed in the MLB Rule Book, I have to side with Evil Doug in this particular donnybrook.

@Pete's theoretical Michael Kay quote: "It's a base hit to the gap, Jeter's got a double to lead off" leaves out the pause where Kay actually observes Jeter coast into second base. He could have just as easily observed, "It's a base hit to the gap, Hunter cuts it off nicely and holds Jeter to a long single."

If the outcome is the former, the stand-alone term "base hit" will almost certainly never again be used to describe this play; instead, it will be referred to as a double, a two-base hit, a two-bagger, etc. The only plausible exception I can imagine is: "Back in the third inning, Jeter got a base hit that Hunter misplayed into a double," which conveys information about a fairly common occurrence in baseball, the defensive mistake that cannot officially be scored as an error.

If Kay continues with: "That will bring up A-Rod, who had a base hit his first time up," only the most unsophisticated listener will not know that base hit=single (and single only).

Bob Kerfuffle 11:52 AM  

@r.alphbunker - It is because the { Dig it } clue is referring to ORE that the quotation marks are needed (to be supplied mentally). Otherwise we would be required to consider the clue as a whole, where "dig it" means some synonym of "understand".

Can ya dig it? :>))

Matthew G. 11:57 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew G. 11:58 AM  


I think there's a bit of a divide between what the rulebook says and how most people use the term. I, as a fan, would only ever use the term "base hit" to refer to a single. There are some announcers (such as Michael Kay) who will say "That's going to be a base hit!" when a ball splits the outfielders and is obviously going to be at least a double, and they drive me crazy. Those announcers technically do have the rulebook on their side, but there's a problem even with that: the rulebook uses "base hit" to mean what common parlance has simply come to call a _hit_. The rulebook's definition would allow even a home run to be called a base hit, but would anybody say that? No, and the rulebook is antiquated.

Michael Kay is an idiot for reasons entirely unrelated to this issue. I say that as a lifelong Yankees fan who has to listen to his voice 162 times a year. John Sterling, our radio guy, is even worse. How we can afford to field the best players in baseball but consistently wind up with the worst announcers is beyond me.


I dedicate today's comments thread to Tobias Duncan.

Wyonative 12:11 PM  

I usually groan when I see a quotation puzzle, and I groaned ever more seeing the two long downs. But I got "Beethoven's Ninth" and "In all likelihood" relatively quickly, and finishing the SE corner got me off and running with the quip. Had "batch it" for a while before I finally saw base hit: was thinking that "single" could be a verb in someone's lingo. I enjoyed the puzzle. Still don't get how dig it is a plausible clue for ore.

Mel Ott 12:47 PM  

MEL means "honey"? Who knew? I wonder how long before we get OTT clued as something like "Hall of Famer whose first name means 'honey'.

@Michael G: I agree your announcers are awful, but you get no sympathy from me. We Met fans have great announcers (Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez, Howie Rose), but our team sucks.

tptsteve 12:59 PM  

Ugh! Never got a toehold and it beat me to a pulp.

While I don't think Raines was too obscure for an NYTimes puzzle, I had no idea that his son was in Galactic. My son and I had a chance to see its drummer,Stanton Moore, give a clinic a few years ago-- phenomenal player.

@RP- maybe this interview with "the becoming less obscure" Sherman Alexie will make you feel better.

quilter1 1:08 PM  

I finished before I had to leave for work and surprised myself as after my first run through I didn't think I'd even make a dent. But then I started seeing words appear but finished without much satisfaction. Agree that for a debut it was not for a Thursday and lots got by Will that should not.

Mel Allen 1:10 PM  

@Matthew G.
You're right about Kay and Sterling, but we don't consistently have bad announcers. Good, or even great, ones have included Singleton, Kaat, Murcer, Rizzuto, White, Leiter, Barber, and me.

Sparky 1:19 PM  

Do not like quip puzzles. Hand up for SAfER. ORBED sets my teeth on edge. On the other hand, long downs great. Congrats Stu Ockman.

@Tobias. I second Matthew G's dedication. Exciting, wasn't it?

Tobias Duncan 1:56 PM  

@Sparky and Matthew G. I would have clued it "Date that ends in heavy petting"

Cheerio 1:57 PM  

Hmm. I can't resist one more shout-out for the NW corner of this puzzle. Think for a moment about how many rivers in Europe, Oscar Wilde might conceivably have been inspired by. Seine, Thames, Arno. Maybe the rivers through Oxford and Dublin. What about by the Yser? Probably not. Once you get an inkling that it might be the Arno, it makes perfect sense. It seems he was just another kid waxing on naif-ly about Florence. In fact, here is the poem, written when he was just 22. It's not even ironic. How ironic.


by: Oscar Wilde

HE oleander on the wall
Grows crimson in the dawning light,
Though the grey shadows of the night
Lie yet on Florence like a pall.

The dew is bright upon the hill,
And bright the blossoms overhead,
But ah! the grasshoppers have fled,
The little Attic song is still.

Only the leaves are gently stirred
By the soft breathing of the gale,
And in the almond-scented vale
The lonely nightingale is heard.

The day will make thee silent soon,
O nightingale sing on for love!
While yet upon the shadowy grove
Splinter the arrows of the moon.

Before across the silent lawn
In sea-green vest the morning steals,
And to love's frightened eyes reveals
The long white fingers of the dawn.

Fast climbing up the eastern sky
To grasp and slay the shuddering night,
All careless of my heart's delight,
Or if the nightingale should die.

'By the Arno' was originally published in the Dublin University Magazine, 1876.

Lewis 2:07 PM  

I thought this was hard, the cluing was tough for me. I did like the clues for 5A and 22A a lot. I think the cluing was different from what we're used to, and that is not a bad thing. Keep at it, Stu, learn from the comments, but more than that, go your own way!

Anonymous 2:09 PM  

E.D. – Interesting initials for someone who constantly is making jokes with sexual innuendos. That aside, having gone to Arlington Hts. H.S. (which is no longer) one of the best cross body blocks I ever laid was on a poor Palatine end (allowing our all-state HB to walk into the end zone).

Like you, having grown up and lived in Chicago most of my life I had never heard of St. Xavier. Then one day I found myself involved in a transaction that was a financing for their benefit. After the deal closed I tried to get paid but discovered the VP for Finance was in the Caribbean on vacation and nobody else could cut the check. Eventually she returned and we were paid. About a year later the same VP was pleaded guilty to embezzling about a million dollars from the school over a ten year period. Shortly thereafter that while talking to my wife’s brother’s wife (whom some might call my sister-in-law) I discovered that is where she received her undergraduate degree. She taught English in high school and is now retired.

So, what is the point? Neither you nor I knew about St. Xavier even though we grew up in the same community. Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.

PS. Keep up the good fight for truth, justice and the American way….


chefbea 2:18 PM  

Busy today. No time to finish the puzzle. Came here and now no time to read comments. Maybe later

Noam D. Elkies 2:59 PM  

Thanks for the Dudamel clip. Remarkably Liszt arranged the whole symphony for solo piano; here's a performance of most of this movement. (I'm playing it at the end of the month — wish me luck!) Nice to find that 15-letter entry crossing each third of the quote in the right place. Yes, some rough fill, but with only 30 blocks one must make some allowances, even if I didn't know it was a début puzzle (welcome!).


Bird 3:17 PM  

First let me say congrats to Stu for a NYT debut. On a Thursday no less!

I did like the long downs and the quote, but not much else. Cluing not matching fill. Obscure fill. Etc.

I'm in the SANER, OTHER, ORE and IRE crowd - wrong clues (or wrong fill).

I also vote for base hit = single. As a lifelong Yankees fan I cringe whenever John Sterling makes a call that is inaccurate, but it's not that often. I was going to explain the Jeter hit turning into a double, but @Larry did a pretty good job. A fielder probably misplayed the ball (not enough for an error to be scored, but enough to allow Jeter to safely reach second - he is one of the best base runners in baseball) and Mr. Sterling failed to make the observation during the call. The best part of his bit is when he calls home runs. Yes they are corny, but I smile. Jorgie juiced one. The Grandy-man can. A-Bomb, from A-Rod.


Michael Hanko 3:32 PM  

Eri Tu is by Verdi, not Puccini.

acmeofepitome 3:35 PM  

Haven't seen Clockwork in a while, but I seem to recall a Rossini overture somewhere. I kept trying to fit oVErture into the VE from beethoVEn, but nothing fit. Perhaps one of you classical music buffs will know which Rossini overture it was - Thieving Magpie perhaps?

foodie 3:50 PM  

@Rex: Perriere is a stone quarry, so related to pierre. It also means an old weapon that threw stones...

Everyone talking baseball: I am now hopelessly confused. It's okay, though, it's most entertaining! Always fun to TO KNOW THE EXTENT OF ONE'S IGNORANCE through the passionate exchanges on this blog about stuff I don't ever think about. Carry on...

sanfranman59 4:25 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)

Thu 20:46, 18:56, 1.10, 74%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Thu 11:00, 9:16, 1.19, 82%, Challenging

I never could get on the same wavelength as the constructor with this one and ended up with my first Thursday DNF in a year and a half and only my third since I started keeping track of my solve times in June 2009. So I was a tad dismayed to see Rex's Medium rating. But since, by the numbers, it looks like to be in the high end of the Medium-Challenging range, I feel a little better.

As a lifelong baseball fanatic, I too balked (sorry) at BASEHIT. By the baseball rulebook definition, the clue may be correct. But in common parlance, it's rather misleading. Perhaps this is one of those vexing crossword situations where too much specialized knowledge leads to difficulty.

mac 4:48 PM  

What a good quote, maybe I'll remember this one.

The first run-through was scary, not a lot of footholds. Then a cluster of answers in the East helped me out, and the two long downs were a great help. In hindsight I like the odd clues for less and other.

Liked toast, stints and klepto in the shorter fill. Aren't soirees smaller gatherings than galas? They make me think of salons.

Congratulations on the debut, Stu!

I have no opinion on the single/base hit.;-)

Derek J. 4:55 PM  

Damn, according to you guys I've only got 2291 base hits in my Majr League career. Looks like I've got to play another 6 years to make the 3,000 mark.

Loren Muse Smith 5:01 PM  

@mac - I've always wanted to resurrect somehow the salons of the 17th and 18th centuries, but I guess one could argue that this site is a sort of modern e-salon?

Bud Selig 5:10 PM  

@Derek - Not to worry, the Hall of Fame is waiting for you. A HIT is any ball that leaves your bat and results in you safely reaching a base (single, double, triple or homerun), unless there was an error or a fielder's choice. A BASEHIT is a SINGLE - you reached first base and stopped. There might be other situations, but I can't think of any right now. Who has the rule book?

Go G-Men!

Chip Hilton 6:18 PM  

I enjoy a tough Thursday and this fit the bill. Okay, some of the clues and answers were beyond me but crosses got me there, albeit in a longer time than usual.

Sterling and Kay? Eh. As a kid, I loved Mel Allen and hated the understated style of Red Barber. He ruined the magic of 1961 for me and my 12 year old buddies. But then, we were 12.

ranman 6:53 PM  

Boy we're being too literal on the BASEHIT. Ever been at a game and said "boy we could sure use a base hit here!" I have--and I haven't ever meant "and only a single."

I don't need a rule book--just a hot dog and a beer to know where I land. Cheers.

Sir Hillary 7:00 PM  

Hey gang,

First time poster here...been lurking for a few months. I'm a fledgling constructor (OK, a hatchling really, and a long way from leaving the nest) so hat's off to Stu on his NYT debut.

The REGLE answer brings to mind the story of the soccer player in England who last year got a neck tattoo reading “Ma Vie, Mes Régles”, which in theory translates from French as “My Life, My Rules”. However, a French professor at the University of Oslo soon pointed out that the use of the acute accent (é) over the word “Régles”, rather than the grave accent (è), dramatically changes the meaning to roughly “My Life, My Menstrual Cycle”.

I certainly hope this is true.

Tita 7:01 PM  

First of all, congratulations to Mr. Ockman - I can't construct, but I can admire anyone who can, and who can get published here.

Having said that, 100% agree with Rex and everyone else on both likes and dislikes.

Liked all the French, except for TRES jolie? Dull phrase. Thought REGLE had to be plural, so insisted on REINE for too long.

Way too much pop culture - Elf costar? Don't know the star, much less the costar.
Wil someone? Ian someone else? Sven?

Accustoms = ORIENTS?

Massive DNF - was super busy today, which is why I am cranky about it.

Only total gimme - IRENE - I still see her calling cards around my yard!

MLB Rule Book 7:10 PM  

Martin, I'm sorry. I was wrong, it was appallingly arrogant of me to have derided you so, and so often, in the past. You have my heartfelt apology.

If there's any way I can make my past transgressions less onerous to you, please tell me and I will do my best to make things right.

JenCT 7:46 PM  

Thought this was tough, but okay. Favorite answer was SCTV, which took a while to get.

Actually, the entire NW corner took the longest.

Liked the two long downs, and KLEPTO.


Rudy Shankar 8:00 PM  

He who knows not and knows not he knows not BEETHOVENSFIFTH...No... SIXTH... Of course, NINTH the theme in A Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrick he is a child teach him.

This puzzle left me puzzled as to why there were so many odd words; Kubrick and LIKELIHOOD column to column. Like many I envy constructors but who puts the clues together? Is it Will or the author?
Here comes the weekend and getting ready for the Tsunami where good friend Google will come handy.

Evil were right about Seattle's Best on the flight from PDX to SAN even upgraded me,sort of, to Exit Row.

xyz 8:19 PM  

I had gooseflesh whilst doing this one.

Err, no I didn't, not much love, even if I had finished, no.

Still an exercise. Tough one, but not a good one.

What do I know ...

Rube 8:22 PM  

Enough of this baseball prattling, or rather NIT(S) picking. Of real importance is that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, so... "six more weeks of winter it must be". Considering our winter here in the San Francisco area, that's not such a bad thing. It should hit 70 today with sunny skies.

Like many here, I detest quote puzzles, particularly old saws like this one. Unfortunately, had true before REAL and misfortune followed in the NW intil the neat down INALL_ cleaned up the area. Also like many here, found the cluing, to use @Wood's term, obtuse. Also, like many, worked from the bottom up.

HTG for 3 of the culture clues: REGLE, SVEN, and RAINES. However, have seen TONIO in 3 CWs in the last 2 years and I use EDASNER or Anser as my default pop culture answer. He has been in the NYT puzzle 15 times in the last 2 years per XWordInfo.

Had "a tub" for the vessel at first for 1A, and wALL before HALL, among many OTHER writeovers. (Thusly creating a sentence where more can reasonably be replaced by OTHER.)

Happy Groundhog Day.

(Blogger ate this post from this morning. Fortunately I had saved it on the scratch pad and it was still there.)

Z 8:23 PM  

The e.g. is necessary. From the Official Rules:

A base hit is a statistic credited to a batter when such batter reaches base safely, as
set forth in this Rule 10.05.
(a) The official scorer shall credit a batter with a base hit when:
(1) the batter reaches first base (or any succeeding base) safely on a fair ball that
settles on the ground, that touches a fence before being touched by a fielder or
that clears a fence;

Anonymous 8:36 PM  

It’s 7:16 Chicago time and I’m back looking over all the blogs.

1. @Evil was at his best today. I had to read and re-read his posts. Felt like George Scott playing Patton when reviewing the battlefield after he had beaten Rommel’s forces in North Africa and exclaimed about war, “I love it. God help me I do love it so. I love it more than my life.” Not sure about that last one as far as ED’s post are concerned.

2. Amused by the rancor over base hit. If you hit the ball and reach base safely, for XWP purposes that’s a baser hit. If you advance to second or third or home on the hit, even better. But for baseball purists apparently only singles count as base hits. Can’t get too worked up. Never was very good at baseball and it’s a boring game to watch.

3. @Larry said... “So, you like it that ED calls someone a moron when they're factually correct….” This really is kind of a provocative blog with lots of opinions and lots of bad language. So if your company filters it for its content, I say bully for your company, but the blog won’t change, so you might try Wordplay where the discourse is civil and the bloggers polite.

4. @Chefwen, the sparkling pineapple wine tastes great but it tastes even better if you drop a chunk of fresh cut pineapple into the glass before drinking it. Thanks again. I also appreciated the note. I assume you are rooting for the Giants in the Super Bowl but it must be tough.

It’s now 7:34 Chicago time….


stix2metunesmiffin 8:46 PM  

in haste I read "music" as "musical" with the Ludwig van clue, so I have myself to kick for that. It was a true blocker, and with all the crap fill I was lost, I thought there MUST be a Mary Poppins thing I missed in that movie (last seen over a decade ago). I get annoyed with barely passable references to classical music, and "Beethoven's Ninth" is just that. It's a Symphony. Granted, it's so seminal it deserves nicknames, etc., but it sounds like calling a certain Bard's play "The Dream" or "The Gent" (as opposed to "The Scottish Play") or whatever but after a while of frustration, having to deal with a grid that was obviously going to give me a quote that wouldn't change my life, I threw the paper on the floor when I hit eelers. Using Ludwig van like that!? He did no harm to anyone!

Z 9:03 PM  

Apologies @Two Ponies but - "regardless of what is printed in the MLB Rule Book..." can't be ignored.

Colloquially you may never have heard "base hit" to refer to a double, triple, or home run. Nevertheless, they are all base hits. It is definitional, it isn't debatable. If you think otherwise you are simply wrong.

I've now posted twice on this and have only gotten half way through today's comments. I promise to move on no matter how disturbing I find any later comments on the base hit "issue."

Mike in DC 9:33 PM  

Quote puzzles are OK with me, but this puzzle had too much trivia and foreign words. I was about to give up when something made me guess PARMA and the rest fell in place.

ANON B 9:35 PM  

As I said in my initial comment
which seemns ages ago:
Re: Base hit
Nit picking,nit picking,nit picking

Z 9:49 PM  

Congrats to Mr. Ockman on the debut. I like the quote though I don't like quote puzzles. I had a hard time getting a foothold this morning, so I finished after work tonight. I don't much like the fill in the eastern corners, but I think the cluing slowed me down more than the bad fill. And saying that, isn't one of the points of the cluing to be accurate but suggest alternative, wrong answers. If the cluing is too straightforward I would just do the KenKen instead.

Taking in everything, this is a solid debut and I look forward to seeing more.

Finally, whenever I catch baseball games on tv or radio in other cities I realize how lucky I am to have had Ernie Harwell, Paul Carey, Al Kaline, George Kell, Jim Price, Dan Dickerson, Mario Impemba, and Rod Allen describing and commenting on baseball.

mac 9:59 PM  

@Loren muse smith: I agree, this is sort of a Salon, only Rex doesn't do the inviting, we just drop in!

Planning a party-filled weekend: Westport Crossword Puzzle Tournament with Will Shortz and many Rexites, and then the Super Bowl Party on Sunday. What a match-up for us in CT: NY Giants against the NE Patriots. There will be fans of both teams in our house! I'll be in the kitchen.

sanfranman59 10:31 PM  

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

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

Mon 6:11, 6:49, 0.91, 14%, Easy
Tue 7:46, 8:51, 0.88, 17%, Easy
Wed 10:17, 11:50, 0.87, 24%, Easy-Medium
Thu 20:54, 18:57, 1.10, 74%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:26, 3:40, 0.94, 25%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:07, 4:34, 0.90, 18%, Easy
Wed 4:51, 5:52, 0.83, 10%, Easy
Thu 10:25, 9:16, 1.12, 76%, Medium-Challenging

chefwen 10:55 PM  

@mac - Pictures would be really appreciated by all not fortunate enough to attend.

@JFC - Glad you enjoyed the Pineapples. Maybe next year I'll get some popcorn in a Green Bay Packer Tin.
Don't have much of an opinion on either of the teams that will be playing, so I guess I'll cheer for the scores that will earn me some money in the football pool.

Larry 10:55 PM  

1) That your comment was an attempt at humor couldn't have been clearer, that you were just establishing your evilness. It's what you think humor to be, calling some random person a moron, that's the issue. Making it an ad-hominem attack on a random poster, making no point but calling him a moron was lazy, thoughtless, and without any wit.
2) I didn't make up the joke, I just modified it and repeated it? Seriously, that's your excuse? I wouldn't take that as an excuse from a 5 year old, and from how you've said in then past about you raised your children, neither would you.
3) I've never seen Rex or anyone else use explicit profanity here, ever. The point you were making was that Rex euphemized his f-bombs, which somehow is beneath you to do so. Whatever reasons Rex has for doing so, you've no right to abrogate it, specifically when there are likely consequences.

There's no bullshit, no taking things out of context, no misunderstanding things on my part, I'm just presenting a listing of bad behavior on your part. At times you're genuinely funny, at times you sully up the joint.

fergus 11:00 PM  

Mister Doug of Evil,

I, too, grew up in the hinterlands of Chicago. This may be why I tolerate your overt crassness -- or maybe it's because I sense you've got such a kind heart behind all your bluster. Aren't these the traits of the "city that knows how?"

You affect a persona rather different than the Berkeley-type I write with, yet hold a delightful shared insouciance I also employ when when dealing with my agreeable coastal compatriots.

Anonymous 11:50 PM  

@fergus - insouciance - OMG, thank you for a new word!!! Nobody growing up in Chicago knows that word....


Anonymous 12:01 AM  

@Larry - ED obviously can speak for himself, though he is one past his limit today. However, ED is correct in that Rex uses profanity (including fuck, whatever that means) and I seem to recall Acme does too. It shocks my sensibilities as well. So even if we rid this blog of ED we will still have bad language. So I implore you to come over to Wordplay. Rex will miss you but ED won't. I would ask ED to come to Wordplay but they censor comments and his would never be posted....



Am I the only one who was held up until the end at 46A: Number twos, for short? I had "B.M.'S" which I thought was rock solid and expected it to cause much controversy!

becca 1:54 PM  

I agree, don't like 'more --> other,' 'ire' and 'ore' are NOT VERBS, & don't like 'bad demonstration' clue for 'riot.'
Did like 'arm-raiser, informally', for 'delt' - provided a good aha after a bit of struggle.


Can someone please explain "DELT" ? :(

JenCT 3:48 PM  


DELT is short for DELTOID.


Oh. OK, thank you. Clearly not up on my anatomy, here! :)

Anonymous 9:00 PM  

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Dayton Audio DSS6-BC Black Chrome Spike Set 4 Pcs.

Sage of La Mesa 11:32 AM  

Great puzzle today. I love it when so many comment on the smallest of so-called irregularities. It would be so boring if everyone finished in 15 mins. without any provocations. And, Evil D. is a man's man who shall not be stifled, as long as I have my say. Signed, God P.S. Larry, grow up and get real.

Anonymous 9:12 PM  

Oh dear, I'm probably too late to have anybody else read this, but I hope someone does, because I need an explanation for "Arm raiser, informally"=DELT. I am staring and staring at this and I get nothing. A frat brother wants to cast his vote?? WHAT???
That natick (I don't know French) and the NW beat me down. I would wager that half of Oscar Wilde scholars don't know "By the Arno." And AREEL? That word is "areek!" It certainly left me asea--and my blood aboil. None of this was helped by my my mistake re the start of the aphorism: I thought it was "To acknowledge."
But when "The Thieving Magpie" wouldn't fit at 11d, I had my first fifteener. Also I'm chuckling at the BASEHIT controversy. If Yankee fans hate that clue, I love it. How about at the end of the game, with the score tied and RISP: "That's gonna fall for a base hit; game's over! [fill in any team name, except Yankees] win!" Could be in the gap, doesn't matter.

Anonymous 9:13 PM  

Evil Doug is correct. If a "base hit" is any hit, why are there "extra base hits"? I agree, that used to be true, but pitchers used to be called "twirlers" too, and I wouldn't expect to see that in a crossword.

Evil is (was, five weeks ago) also remiss in posting this:

JOE DIVOLA: You know the story of Pagliacci, Nedda?

ELAINE: Uh.. Im Elaine!

JOE DIVOLA: He's a clown whose wife is unfaithful to him.


JOE DIVOLA: Do you think Im a clown, Nedda?

ELAINE: Do I think you're a clown? No, not if its bad to be a clown, if its bad to be a clown then you are definitely not a clown. But if its good to be a clown then, you know, I would have to rethink the whole thing.

JenCT 9:23 PM  

@Anon. 9:12: DELT as in deltoid muscle, involved in raising one's arm.

Anonymous 11:08 PM  

Thanks, JenCT. Short for deltiod, eh? Wow, who knew. I guess we're shortening everything anymore. Soon we'll be just talking in acronyms. IHTDNC (I hope that day never comes).

gerry 5:12 PM  


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