1948 John Wayne western / MON 3-5-12 / Nickname for Louis Armstrong / Dwarves' representative in Fellowship of Ring / Hirsute carnival attraction / Hit HBO series set in Baltimore

Monday, March 5, 2012

Constructor: Mike Nothnagel

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: HIDE AND SEEK (62A: Children's game hinted at by the circled letters) —circles inside theme answers, when read in order, spell out "READY OR NOT, HERE I COME"

Word of the Day: MOSHER (48D: One in a pit at a concert) —
v., moshed, mosh·ing, mosh·es.
To knock against others intentionally while dancing at a rock concert; slam-dance.

To knock against (someone) intentionally while dancing at a rock concert.

[Perhaps alteration of MASH.]
mosher mosh'er n.
• • •

Mike's a great constructor, but this is a puzzle type I don't much care for—non-contiguous circles spelling things inside longer, unrelated answers.  BEARDED LADY is a nice answer, but the rest are less colorful than I'd like. Biggest gripe is 33A. Man I hate that answer so bad. There's just too many different intonations with which one can read both clue and answer there. And no matter what my intonation, I can't make clue fit answer. I would use "OH, OK" to express revelation—when I didn't understand and then you clarified it for me: "OH, OK." Or when I didn't want to do something but you convinced me, although there I'd probably be more apt to say "Oh, alright." Anyway I had AH, OK at first, figuring AGRA- was some other accepted farming prefix (if both AGRI- and AGRO- are acceptable, then why not ...?). But I knew that couldn't be right, so went back and ran all vowels to get the "O." What's worse is that that answer, awkward as it is, is completely and utterly avoidable. Mike must've really liked it as an answer, because nothing necessitates its being here. There are a million (give or take) other options. Any one of you could figure out how to make, say, OHIO work. I guess this is a matter of taste. Also a matter of precise cluing. Normally, I love the colloquial stuff, but between the (awk) AGRO- cross and the really poorly-worded clue, OH, OK just didn't work for me at all.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Hirsute carnival attraction (BEARDED LADY)
  • 24A: Trying to make sense of (SORTING OUT)
  • 37A: Hit HBO series set in Baltimore ("THE WIRE")
  • 51A: Eleventh hour (NICK OF TIME)
  • 62A: Children's game hinted at by the circled letters (HIDE AND SEEK)

Had trouble with 1A: Nickname for Louis Armstrong (SATCH), since the only nickname I could come up with was the (I think) more common SATCHMO. 14A: Table of data, e.g. didn't get me to ARRAY nearly as quickly as I'd've liked. Got GIMLI only from crosses—it's a name that stuck, but not one that I could just come up with on the spot (47A: Dwarves' representative in the Fellowship of the Ring). The clue on HALF MILE is clever but tough if you have no conception of horse track lengths (as I don't) (38D: One-third the length of the Belmont Stakes). Even MOSHER was somewhat trickily clued, with the orchestra "pit" misdirection (48D: One in a pit at a concert). These are some of the reasons that this took me longer than the average Monday, hence the *relative* difficulty rating.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:08 AM  

Tough Mon.  I'd like to blame it on the roast chicken dinner preceded by a scotch but I think this was just tough.  Very smooth grid which is typical for MN.  

Trying to make some variation of SATCHMO fit got me off to a slow start and it didn't really get better (e.g. HERETICS).

However pretty nice for a circle puzzle.  A little extra effort on a Mon. can be  a good thing.

r.alphbunker 12:17 AM  

Almost Naticked the GIMLI/MOSHER crossing. For whatever reason, GINLI/NOSHER did not sound as good although I could imagine somebody getting the munchies at a concert.

In retrospect, given that I didn't know what a MOSHER was, I am surprised that I chose it.

Tobias Duncan 12:35 AM  

I feel like there must be some further component of the theme that I am not getting.

I wanted SATCHmo right off the bat and just would not let go of it.The first use of Satchmo for me was in the Tim Minchin beat poem "Storm".If you fancy yourself a skeptic and have not heard it you should check it out.

There is some mild cursing, and this in not newage friendly.

Noam D. Elkies 12:47 AM  

48D:MOSHER looks kosher. (Just about when "mosh pit" entered the lexicon I took a graduate topology course from a mathematician named Mosher.) Four days ago we might have had a SATCHMOSHER.

The clue for 38D:HALF_MILE is indeed tough for a Monday, but if we must have a horse-racing clue, better that than some random horse's name!


pk 1:13 AM  

I don't know if I can leave a comment b/c of the blurry thingys, but I will try...

Thought the puzzle was more difficult than most Mondays...don't know if Satch is a legit abbrev for Satchmo....but that certainly started things off on an "off" note

I actually filled in the circles and wrote them out for the top half, so was able to easily plug them into the bottom half, which was fun. I usually HATE circles and other such gimicks, but this one worked for me. Not that I ever want to see another one again, because I don't.

Greg Charles 1:22 AM  

Pops is another nickname for Louis Armstrong. Keep it in mind constructors! I was trying to figure how to stretch that to five letters when crosses gave me SATCH. Sigh. Also had heretics for heresies and fixing it cost me a full minute.

Rube 1:35 AM  

Did the online version rather than print today... won't embarass myself by giving my time. Just thought I'd try it.

It's SATCHMO, not SATCH... end of argument.

Had the only serious trouble with the GIMLI/MOSHER cross. Wanted GIrgI although subliminally knew this was Girgi form " The Black Cauoldron". Oh well, a WAG got me MOSHER and the Happy Pencil. MOSHER??? Probably the topic of the day, although I think I've seen this efore.

Furshliginner robot... let me try again.

Larry I in L.A. 1:36 AM  

A HALFMILE to go, and ODDSON favorite REDRIVER has the lead. Damn, IBET on KINGCOBRA. Now its just YARDS to THEWIRE. Will my horse GUNIT in the NICKOFTIME, or will I have LIENS on my house?

If I lose, I'll find solace in that beautiful Imogen Heap song.

chefwen 2:20 AM  

Wow, I thought this was super easy because of the circles. Got READY of off BEARDED LADY and just filled in the rest of the circles making the other theme answers much easier with the letters already in place. Only write overs were 6A clEar before OVERT and 56D ask IN before SEE IN. My only HUH? moment was GIMLI, don't remember him. I guess my long term memory is failing also.

chefwen 2:23 AM  

Six to seven tries to get my fricken comment to print, let's see how long this on takes me before I give up.

array carryme moshers 3:21 AM  

wow, love Mike Nothnagel, but in what way was this a Monday???

In total agreement about awkwardness of starting off with SATCH (IEVEN tried a rebus despite it being Monday to make SATCHMO work), the whole OHOK thing, and GIMLI!!!???!!! On a Monday???!!!

Other things that made this at least a Tues: KOS, ODDSON, HALFMILE, OVERT/AVERT, GIMLI, GUNIT, GIMLI, MOSHER and GIMLI.

Was shocked that Mike had four I-phrases, IBET, IGIVE, IHEAR, IMEASY
but ITOOK comfort in that bec IJUST submitted a puzzle with IDIE and ITISI and fretted over that for hours, but that ain't nothing compared to this!

One thing IDONT know whether to like or dislike, which is an odd feeling, is HYDE and HIDE. If it's on purpose, ILIKE, if not, IWONDER.

Totally crazy fill in some ways for me, esp the whole SEEIN/ASKTO/GUNIT.
And IWOULD sort of argue that CARRYME is just a random phrase.

What's up with all of this? IGIVE.

IDUNNO...ITHINK this is wrong for a Monday, but in the end, ILOVE that HIDEANDSEEK is in plain sight, yet READYORNOTHEREICOME is hidden.

Anonymous 3:29 AM  

I'm a new crossworder. I still can't yet solve full Monday puzzles without being able to check my answers but I'm getting better. That being said I'm surprised that people found Mosher hard since that was to me one of the most obvious ones. What other "pit" could be at a concert besides a mosh pit? That seemed like a giveaway to me. I got gimli too but I'm a huge lord of the rings fan.

Anonymous 3:29 AM  

Unremarkable Monday puzzle
I agree, armstrong's nickname is SATCHMO not SATCH

Evgeny 5:32 AM  

Haha, the age differences. The mosh pit was also the first thing on my mind, so MOSHER was one of the first words in the grid, with no crosses.
@Anonymous 3:29am: The probably more common pit would be the pit where the orchestra is seated at classical concerts.
I guess the younger the solvers the higher the "mosh pit / orchestra pit" ratio of concerts they go to.

Don Byas 5:42 AM  

Cool to see SATCH at 1a. Satchmo, Pops, and Dippermouth are also valid nicknames for Louis Armstrong.

"Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy" is a fantastic album if you're interested.

Z 6:45 AM  

Circles - Meh. This really did seem more like the typical Tuesday to me. Not because of the difficulty, but because it has more of that red-headed step child feel of too many Tuesday puzzles.

I'm in the GIMLI/MOSHER are gimmes age group, apparently. I was at the Black Keys concert Saturday and there was no moshing going on, although there was a little crowd surfing.

My only explanation on SATCH is that it is very common to shorten names to one syllable in conversation, "Hey SATCH, would you like an ESPRESSO?" I got it working back from the east, BEARDED LADY to SABER to SATCH.

I also had the HEREtIcS writeover, but AT ISSUE fixed that in seconds, not a minute.

I like that Nothnagel has two Xs in the puzzle. I don't like that it took EXE and AXE to make it happen.

In the end - Meh.

Loren Muse Smith 6:58 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 6:59 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 7:12 AM  

Wow. Last night my parents called from NC and I walked them through accessing the puzzle and printing it out. Finally Mom said, “Here it is! Monday Mar 5, 1A – “nickname for Louis Armstrong.” I said, “Great! If that’s 1A, Dad will sail through it.” Oops.

Hand up to Acme wondering if it was a rebus, and it was indeed SATCHmo. I, too, noticed the IMEASY, IHEAR, IBET, IGIVE but thought maybe the cluing (and answer) at 58A was a little wink at us? Since I’m not up on all the rules, CARRYME, TRYONE, YESNO, ODDSON, GUNIT, ASKTO, and SEEIN didn’t bother me, and my reaction to Rex’s stinker was exactly that. Really. I thought, “OH. OK.”

@Rube – that NIN was my first low-hanging fruit (I’m a little ashamed to say I read page-turners, not serious, good stuff) further encourages me to find another hobby.

Appreciated the symmetry of KINGCOBRA and DENMOTHER. Just sayin’. . .

GIMLI was certainly not a gimme. Liked BEARDEDLADY and ESPRESSO (c’mon – don’t we all feel secretly a little smug in the presence of people who call it “expresso?). Had HERETICS for too long. With DoT, I stared at ELoAS for a while wondering at who would name anyone that. You’d think by now, if I get NIN, I would know DIT, too.

Unlike some of you, I delight in seeing circles everywhere and really enjoyed this difficult, but absolutely doable Wednesday, er, I mean Monday. It brought back memories of hiding under my bed in Chattanooga and hearing Joanne H yell, "Apple, peaches, pumpkin pie! Who's not ready holler 'I.' READY OR NOT, HERE I COME!"

evil doug 7:16 AM  

From "Words I Never Heard In High School" department:

"I'm easy," and

"I give."

Throw in "ask to", "see in", "rosy", "bearded lady", "moon", "king cobra", "try one", "carry me", "gun it", "ready or not, here I come", "nick of time", and "exit", and there's a story I can only get myself in trouble telling....


dk 7:32 AM  

Same comments as @rex with a different outcome. Found this to be a solid journeyman's puzzle with only OHOK and EGOISM meeting the Monday lame fill criteria.

MOSHER was balanced by NICKOFTIME and ELO in the world of rock and roll.

🌟🌟🌟 (3 Stars) Thanks Mike

@evil as I read your comments.... READY OR NOT HERE I ,,, came to mind as words often spoken in HS.

joho 7:35 AM  

Great comments so far so I don't have much to add.

Mike Nothnagel is one of my heroes so I think I always expect to be be blown away by his puzzles. I enjoyed this but it didn't CARRYME away. I groaned at OHOK and @Rex made a good point ... it must be there for a reason. Also SATCH without the MO got me off to a weird start.

Anonymous 7:55 AM  

I've been doing the puzzle on the Magmic app for a couple of months now, and I have a question. I don't mean to call out anyone in particular, but especially given that this was a harder Monday than average, and given the limits of network connections and the Magmic interface, is it really possible to complete the puzzle in under 2 minutes, as someone apparently did? It seems to me that anyone with magic fingers and the answers in front of him/her would still be doing well to finish the puzzle in that time. So are there really those geniuses out there, or is someone just taking Rex's answers and racing to fill the grid in? And if it's the latter, I wonder how much satisfaction one would derive from being #1 by cheating on something? If I'm wrong and some people are not only geniuses enough to immediately guess the answer but also to fill the grid in superhuman time, please tell me! I'll apologize?

Sue McC 8:05 AM  

This was easy but dull.. Didn't care for the theme. Got snagged on GIMLI and HEREtics/SIES, but fixed easily enough. Meh.

Airymom 8:10 AM  

Nice Monday puzzle--bit harder than a typical Monday, so it makes up for Sunday's easy puzzle.

Alternative to that awful "ohok"...33A--ohio, 41A--ent, which yields 34D--ind and 35D--ots.

We've all seen "ent" clued as the throat doc and "ind" clued either as a NYC subway line or "not rep. or dem." For "ots" it could be a clue regarding overtime periods in sports. I also came up with a different clue,"they help you get a grip." This would be referring to occupational therapists (ots.)

So, no excuse for "ohok'. Other than that, a good, solid puzzle.

John V 8:13 AM  

Pretty much the same as others have noted, esp. @Rex. This was a Challenging Monday/Medium Tuesday, for sure. Tough Monday fare: HERESIES, "Hirsute carnival attraction". SATCH/SATCMO is ATISSUE? I wanted SATCHMO and, too, was thinking maybe rebus, but then checked the calendar for day of the week. The rebus could have been a picture of an HMO?

MOSHER seems a bit of a neologism, but SECONDVIOLIN just would not fit, so had to be MOSHER.

Wanted DIH for DIT, as that's the way I learned to say it when studying for my ham operator's license, back in the 1850's.

So, working from CT this week, the sun is brilliant this Monday morning and life is good. Time to GUNIT, folks.

efrex 8:17 AM  

A mediocre Nothnagel puzzle still beats anything I could come up with. Liked the theme, and, despite some slowdown thanks to the the HERETICS/HERESIES writeover, finished in standard Monday time. Needed every cross for GIMLI, but MOSHER is fully in my lexicon, so that wasn't a real slow-down. Also had ROSE before ROSY, which made my grid a little more writeover-messy than is usual for a Monday.

If you must have circles in your grid, this is not a bad way to use 'em, IMHO.

@Acme: CARRYME is something that I've heard regularly from our little ones when walking long distances. Worked just fine for me. OHOK, on the other hand...

orangeblossomspecial 9:11 AM  

Don Byas is correct. Early in his career, Armstrong was called SATCHel MOuth, which became SATCHMO. The only times I might remember him called SATCH were on TV shows by Bob Hope or Dean Martin, e.g.

King Oliver/Louis Armstrong's Dippermouth Blues is one of the great jazz compositions, recorded under that title and also as Sugar Foot Stomp. Always including the phrase "Oh play that thing!" at the climax of the chorus.

chefbea 9:11 AM  

Never heard of mosher or gimli so that was my natick.

Liked the puzzle but agree..a bit hard for a Monday.

@Loren..where in NC are your parents?

Had people over for B-day dinner last night. The B-day cake I made was a blueberry bundt cake!!! And of course we had espresso with it.

Ulrich 9:18 AM  

Background DOES make a difference. The much-discussed GIMLI/MOSHER cross, which was a gimmie for some, was a completely unresolvable personal natick for me. I cannot blame anyone, not even myself--hell, I didn't chose my background--I'm barely able to chose my foreground--but when this happens early in the week, it leaves me unfulfilled...

...and going through the alphabet only works online, but not with p&p, where I'm still glaring, malevolently, at that empty square:(

@Don Byas: Yes, it's great. But nothing beats, for me, the Hot Five/Hot Seven discs

OldCarFudd 9:21 AM  

And now for something totally different. About 30 years ago, decades before Captain Sully's miracle on the Hudson, an Air Canada jet ran out of fuel due to a concatenation of errors. The captain, a glider pilot like Sully, was able to glide the plane to a disused RCAF base in Gimli, Manitoba. He made a safe landing on the half of the old runway that wasn't being used as a drag strip, despite almost total loss of many flight controls. Everybody walked away, and the plane was repaired and flown for many years. For a great read, Google Gimli Glider. I hope this generates a different clue for Gimli in a future puzzle.

jackj 9:31 AM  

As best I could tell, the BEARDEDLADY was “it” and she was seen hurtling down the grid, looking to shed this unwanted title but, when confronted with the three fantasy possibilities, OBI, KENT and GIMLI, she lost her focus and stopped to wonder which one she most wanted to canoodle with and while she daydreamed they all scattered and she was then forced to slide further down to peek under the HIDEANDSEEK reveal where, just in the NICKOFTIME she found ELIAS, who she did tag and who is now the new “it” and is making his way North in hot pursuit of the “mo-less” SATCH, who was last seen heading East and wailing, “Tag the MOSHER, not me!”. Phew, this game will tucker one out.

There was at least one arguable nit, that the “Inquisition targets” should have been HERETICS, since the HERESIES are simply the baggage they carry, not the physical targets and in my mind this entry remains ATISSUE and needs SORTINGOUT but, IMEASY and won’t press for a YESNO response from Will and Mike. OH.OK?

Evan 9:38 AM  

I like the puzzle concept as the HIDE AND SEEK terms are literally hidden within the theme entries. And contrary to Rex's opinion, I think the theme answers are all pretty fresh and lively phrases. THE WIRE is quite possibly my favorite show ever made. I was also thrown for a loop by 17-Across, since I kept trying to think of which BEAR might be a hirsute carnival attraction. A BEAR JUGGLER, perhaps? Anyway. that was a fun mini-challenge in the puzzle.

However, as an amateur constructor, I have to say that ESSO crossing ESPRESSO is something that really grates on me. I know that the two things have completely different definitions and share only a string of letters, but ESSO is nested entirely within the word ESPRESSO and the two ESSO's cross one other. If 18-Down were, say, GESSO, that might still look a little bad, but at least you wouldn't have one answer in which 100% of its letters are nested in another answer that crosses it.

I don't mind it when small words like "a" or "I" or "an" cross each other, but once you get to four letters long, they really need to be different letters. I wouldn't otherwise mind ESSO being somewhere else in the grid. Mike Nothnagel is certainly a pro -- far better than I -- and has done some fantastic puzzles before, but at present it seems like that section of the grid is poorly constructed. It might be inevitable given the position of the theme clues, but I would have done anything to avoid having those two answers cross one another.

A hand-up for both HERETICS and EGOIST. I wondered if HALF-TILE might be a horse racing term, as it's one of the sports I know literally next to nothing about. Fortunately, I fixed it just in the NICK OF TIME.

Sparky 10:01 AM  

Hand up re SATCHMO. Took a little time but really enjoyable. Slowed by ROSe/ROSY, HEREtics, VCR and Mars. But crosses fixed them. It was HERE I COME, READY OR NOT, in my neck of Brooklyn. Nice start to week.

jesser 10:02 AM  

Well, the circles didn't print for me, so I didn't see the READY OR NOT HERE I COME until I got ready and came to the blog. Nice touch, I gotta say.

I liked this puzzle, and I wish this were the regular Monday level of difficulty, because it took more than two shakes of a EWE's tail to complete it. Me likey.

That center, top area was great fun for me. In my family's circle of friends, I was, indeed, the ODD SON. (Sorry.) Just a couple weeks ago, I sailed upon the Carnival VALOR for a great adventure complemented by serious Dad/Son bonding time. And one of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs -- which I quoted at my father's eulogy -- is "Incommunicado," with the lyric

Now, on the day that John Wayne died
I found myself on the Continental Divide
Thinking, 'Where do we go from here?
'Think I'll ride into Leadville and have a few beers.'

Remember Red River
And Liberty Valance
Can't believe the Old Man's gone.
But now he's incommunicado
Leaving such a hole in a world that believed
That a life with such bravado
Was taking the right way home.

I'll light a TIKI torch tonight in the backyard and raise a double bourbon to Dear Ol' Dad!

Thanks, Mr. Nothnagel!

r.alphbunker 10:16 AM  

I now realize that RP posted a link to a Blondie concert that showed what appears to be moshing.
A good view of it occurs at the 2:30 mark.

When I viewed the video when it was first posted I had the sense that those people were doing something. Now I know it is moshing.

ArtLvr 10:26 AM  

I'm with r.alphbunker, ChefBea, Ulrich and the rest of the elders -- crossing GIMLI with MOSHER wasn't quite kosher for a Monday!

Jeremy Lin 10:29 AM  

@jesser (and only jesser - everyone else go away) - Just between us, I think you, who has expressed sensitivity to certain expressions (think Sissy Spacek) would want to reconsider using the phrase "Me likey." It can easily be taken as a demeaning stereotypical expression.

Two Ponies 10:40 AM  

I liked this a lot more than our host. Loved all of the K's.
Big LOTR fan so Gimli was a gimme.
@ lms, Same here for eXpresso.
@ OldCarFudd, Cool story.

jesser 10:51 AM  

@Jeremy Lin: I'm unaware of the stereotype at issue. It's a term my sister used to use when she was little that we still use in our family, but your point is noted, and I'll avoid it in public from here going forward. Gracias!

JenCT 11:01 AM  

Pretty easy for me, but then I finished with one mistake: had AGRA/AH OK, like @Rex.

Agree w/@Z about SATCH.

GIMLI just looked wrong, but it stayed.

Surprised no one has complained about the clue for NERDS; I disagree that studying a lot makes one a nerd.

Matthew G. 11:13 AM  

This felt hard for a Monday, but when I checked my time, I was only slightly over my typical Monday time.

Pretty much agree with Rex today -- love Nothnagel in general, this rather arbitrary theme not so much.

GIMLI was a gimme. (Or a gimlee? an answer that is a gimme for fantasy/sci-fi geeks only?)

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

For all you Louis Armstrong experts, a quick check of his album titles reveals these two: Satch Plays Fats and Satch Blows the Blues. End of argument.

archaeoprof 11:27 AM  

Heretics/HERESIES was my only writeover.

Never saw MOSHER til I came here.

Felt like a Tuesday to me.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Liked Storm. Had to find and pass on to philosopher/skeptic husband.

Mel Ott 11:40 AM  

I thought GIMLI & BUNDT were pretty tough words for a Monday. Surprised noone has mentioned BUNDT. Am I the only one who doesn't know that word?

When I was a little kid (long, long time ago) we called the game HIDE AND GO SEEK, pronounced roughly HINE GO SEEK.

Lewis 11:43 AM  

Wouldn't have got MOSHER if I didn't have kids who said "mosh" and "mosh pit" all the time. So this was a gimmee.

"OHOK" didn't bother me at all:
"Will you go to the store?"
"Oh, ok." (Hmm, I guess so.)

This took longer than my typical Monday, but that makes it a good thing! I liked this a lot.

John V 11:53 AM  

@Anonymous 11:18, have a look at Wikipedia re Satch or Satchmo and you may find that the argument is not peremptorily ended.

Cathyat40 12:00 PM  

I'm 51 years old and MOSHER is a familiar term to me - and I don't have kids. I'm surprised this stumped anyone. I enjoyed this puzzle and found it easy and interesting.

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

Alternate clue to the vile Oh Ok - 1980s pop band from Athens, GA featuring Michael Stipe's sister Lynda:


chefbea 12:22 PM  

@Mel Ott..I mentioned Bundt!!! But of course I make them all the time

Masked and Anonymous 12:24 PM  

* SATCH - Like everybody else, enjoyed SATCH, but was left wanting MO.
* CARRYME - Puz is starting to bark out orders lately. See also TRYONE.
* OHOK - Goes well with IMEASY. Agree with 31, that AHOK, UHOK haunted me as alternatives. But figured AGRA would be India-town on a MonPuz, and never heard of AGRU. Could've used the extra U, tho.
* KINGCOBRA - Fave fill entry, along with BUNDT.
* I - Almost a subtheme here. IBET, IGIVE, IMEASY, IHEAR. Maybe also the totally mysterious GIML-I?
* ARESO/YESNO - This puz is half 2-word phrases. Uh, OK, actually. I'm easy.

Rob C 12:26 PM  

Didn't quite like the clue for HERESIES. Is it the heretics or the HERESIES that were the target or the inquisition? Or both? Other that that ok puzzle other than OHOK as mentioned numerous times already.

Rob C 12:27 PM  

...should be OF the inquisition.

snowmaiden 12:40 PM  

I wouldn't've gone the orchestra pit route since the orchestra is only in a pit for an opera (or musical theater) performance. In the classical music world, the orchestra is featured on stage for a concert performance. The clue used the word, "Concert", since that would only work with "Moshing". Even as a music snob of 48, I've heard of "MOSH PIT".

Loren Muse Smith 12:50 PM  

@chefbea – They’re in Denver, about 30 minutes outside of Charlotte. Are you in NC?

Speaking of bundts, this first youtube link is the scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the groom’s mom gives the bundt cake. The second one is from the same movie and for me one of the single funniest delivery of a line ever.



Deb 1:23 PM  

@Jeremy Lin, I'm also unaware of the stereotype at issue. Care to enlighten us?

Mel Ott 1:36 PM  

Thx @chefbea. Of couse I meant mention as a toughie or an unknown.

Acme 1:38 PM  

That would be fantastic!!!! A GIMLI is hereby a gimme for fantasy/scifi geeks!!!!! ILOVE it!

The other reason not to have IBET, IMEASY, IGIVE, IHEAR in the same puzzle is because he had ICOME in the reveal...
It's either a leitmotif or a tiny bit careless.

Same thing with SATCH...maybe it IS a legitimate nickname, but much more obscure, therefore much less usual for a Monday, let alone the very first word of the puzzle.
I always contend, but it may be personal, that the first word should or could set the tone for the puzzle, as most folks start at 1A...so if it throws you off, it's possible to feel imbalanced rest of the puzzle.

That said, everyone loves Mike Nothnagel, so it's cool to see him on a Monday, and it probably wasn't his choice anyway which day it appeared, but hopefully this will be taken as constructive...
Just not sure to whom!
Loved the theme tho!

Jeremy Lin 1:48 PM  

@Deb - To quote from a WordReference.com Language Forum, in response to the question, "Lis, why do such childish expresions sound racist to you?, on 10 January 2012, Lis48 replied, "Because it is not actually how children speak. Why should they add a Y to their verbs?
It´s ridiculing how a foreigner might speak. I remember how the song "Happy Talk" got banned for racism from shows of South Pacific and to me it´s similar fake pidgin and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
"No likey" is Chinglish (Chinese/English) and the way in which an English overseer would have talked, in the Empire days, to his Chinese servants. "You go bringy me water and go polishy dat floor as missy likey ... all lightey?"
Today it seems acceptable to use such words if you pretend you are speaking like a child and concealing the racial element."

That said, I accept @jesser's statement that he used the expression innocently.

Wood 2:05 PM  

Definitely felt like Tues/Wed difficulty. Knew MOSHER and never even saw the clue or answer for GIMLI... Fortunately as I would have had no idea.

Evan 2:11 PM  

For @Tita when she gets here:

I left you my submission for the Epic Wrong Answer Walk of Fame on your Crucimetrics blog.

Wednesday, February 15, New York Times
31-Down: "Stereotypical K.P. item"

Doc John 2:14 PM  

I also don't like the "random circles" type of puzzle. This was a typical Monday for me. GIMLI was a gimme.
OH OK was an 80s Athens band featuring Linda Stipe, sister of Michael.

Bird 2:14 PM  

Pleasant puzzle to solve and I thought difficulty level, easy, was fit for a Monday.

I too thought SATCH was wrong, but according to Wiki . . .

“The nicknames Satchmo and Satch are short for Satchelmouth. Like many things in Armstrong's life, which was filled with colorful stories both real and imagined, many of his own telling, the nickname has many possible origins.

The most common tale that biographers tell is the story of Armstrong as a young boy dancing for pennies in the streets of New Orleans, who would scoop up the coins off of the streets and stick them into his mouth to avoid having the bigger children steal them from him. Someone dubbed him "satchel mouth" for his mouth acting as a satchel. Another tale is that because of his large mouth, he was nicknamed "satchel mouth" which became shortened to Satchmo.

Early on he was also known as Dipper, short for Dippermouth, a reference to the piece Dippermouth Blues and something of a riff on his unusual embouchure.

The nickname Pops came from Armstrong's own tendency to forget people's names and simply call them "pops" instead. The nickname was soon turned on Armstrong himself. It was used as the title of a 2010 biography of Armstrong by Terry Teachout.”

Though Satch is short for Satchmo I don’t think we can say Louis Armstrong was known as Satch, even if he did have album/song titles with “Satch”.

MOSHER was easy for me; I didn’t think of orchestra pit until @Rex’s write-up and then said “OH, OK.”

I don’t think OLD is a valid synonym for obsolete. Something may be OLD and not obsolete (my car) and something may be obsolete before it gets OLD (my computer).

I think the anti-robot machine has a virus - it's looking for erdatinf and rneent. I'm not making this up because for kicks and giggles I used an anagram web site and one of the results was "Entrant Definer".

Doc John 2:17 PM  

Oops, make that Lynda Stipe.

Mike Nothnagel 2:33 PM  

Hey folks,

Thanks for the comments (both kind and not-so-much) on the puzzle. FWIW, when this was accepted, Will said he liked it for a Tuesday, or we could Mondayify it. I took out a couple entries (GIMLI was on the list to go, but it just didn't budge), and a Monday it became.

As a few of you have said, I thought the irregular placement of the circles in the phrases added to the "hide and seek" theme. Oh well, to each his own.

For those of you going to Brooklyn next week: see y'all there!


jberg 3:07 PM  

I'm posting right after the constructor, so it's nice to see there's a reason for the non-symmetrical circles. The idea has a lot of neat elements, but of course would be better if there were children's games, or maybe concealment in the theme answers. But I couldn't do it, so I'm not complaining!

I thought it was easy -- must have heard SATCH before, sas I wrote it right in, and then SABER and ARE SO came a long. Also, OBI-wan Kenobi as a partial has to be the easiest clue ever. And ROAMED for roved? Almost too esay for Monday.

I, too, had heretics before HERESIES - but the latter is legitimate. The purpose of persecutint so-called "heretics" in the Inquisition was to eradicate the HERESIES they expoused.

I'm an avid opera-goer, and have never observed a mosh pit in person, but 48D was still a gimme. Folks, you really have to get out more if you want to solve these puzzles.

Wall-E 3:26 PM  

@MN - thanks for visiting. It is a nice puzzle, but I think it would've been better if the letters weren't circled (I mean they're not really hidden are they). Maybe if whole words were hidden in the theme answers it would have been better, though more difficult to construct?

@Bird - re captchas: ROTFLMAO

Anonymous 3:34 PM  

@jberg - my sentiments exactly on your last statment

Ulrich 3:34 PM  

@jberg: Glad to hear that you feel superior to people who never heard of moshers--we all have our ways to beef up our self-esteem vis-a-vis others. Part of mine is that I will NOT go out more just to catch a clue here and there in a future puzzle that I wouldn't have caught otherwise...

Anonymous 3:55 PM  

Louis was called "satchel mouth" and thus satchmo. "satch" is just so wrong

Animator Boot 3:58 PM  

@Ulrich - glad to see that you feel superior to people who get out of their house once in a while and enjoy new experiences and expand their knowledge, just so they CAN complete a NYT puzzle

King Oliver 4:01 PM  

True Story: I called SATCHmo just 'MO once, in reply he called me Queen Oliver, then we had a knock down-drag out fight, knives and everything. Broke up the band. If only we had been polite to one another we could have made history together.

evil doug 4:04 PM  

I know of many pits: Mosh, orchestra, tar, luau, NASCAR, peach, arm---and I feel superior to all of you.

Good talk!


Anonymous 4:17 PM  

Don't forget fire, grease, bottomless, ball, casino and c*ck (the front of the plane)

sanfranman59 4:18 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Mon 7:58, 6:50, 1.17, 95%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:15, 3:40, 1.16, 94%, Challenging

evil doug 4:24 PM  

Some time back, 'cockpit' was quietly morphed into 'flight deck'. Apparently 'cockpit' was found to be offensive to some people. As you know, I am very reluctant to say ANYthing that might upset anyone, anywhere, anytime, anyhow. Me no likey to hurt people's feelings....

Cockpit Illegal since 2004....

Anonymous 4:30 PM  

I stand corrected. Flight dick it is.

Anonymous 4:31 PM  

er, flight dEck


evil doug 4:33 PM  

Yes, be careful. The 'flight dick' is the copilot.


retired_chemist 4:50 PM  

Not my favorite Nothnagel but a decent puzzle.

GIMLI was FRODO and HERESIES was HERETICS to start. Still like HERETICS better.

Through a typo, I had 9D as RED ROVER. In a children's game themed puzzle yet. Almost a malapop...

Matthew G. 4:51 PM  


I want you to know that I proposed the new meaning of GIMLI with the specific hope that you would endorse it. Thank you for the ratification! You are the arbiter of crossword slang in my mind, so I now consider it official.

@Jeremy Lin:

I was unaware that "Happy Talk" was so perceived. Ironic, given that "South Pacific" was specifically intended as an anti-racist musical and the song that came three numbers later was nearly removed for being too integrationist. See: "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught."

Tita 5:11 PM  

I emigrated to Middle Earth in college, so GIMLE was a gimmlee...
(Can't say I care for the movies much, though...) And I take umbrage at putting it in a scifi/fantasy category...let's instead put it in whatever category Gulliver's Travels occupies.

@Loren - I too liked the formidable pair of DENMOTHER and KINGCOBRA

@ulrich- I do the alphabet run all the time on paper...I jsut write in the margin the letters I have, and with the pencil, write the letter (usually just in the air), till I get it.
(Of course now, my "Scratchpad window" let's me do that and also see the effect on crosses - the main thing that converted me to an app solver)

@OldCarFudd - is that the same landing that they then used for teaching in simulators, and no one has been able to do what that pilot did, including him?

@Evan - agreed - the circled letters were playing hide and seek.

Talk about the "Pit" generation gap - does anyone play Hide and Seek anymore? Is there an app for that?

Tita 5:16 PM  


Thx for stopping by Mr. Nothnagel. Always like hearing from the creators...

See you in Brooklyn.

Z 5:45 PM  

@MN - Seeing now that the circles were more than purely random, I like the puzzle a little more.

@Anon 4:30 and 4:31 - Ha! Some sort of Freudian malapop maybe. Mr. Doug is actually a very nice guy (I must say this since a syndiland poster alleges that he and I are one in the same).

@Evil - Loved your unsaid story. It also made me like this puzzle more.

@Tita - Gulliver could be in the Fantasy Aisle at Barnes and Noble if it were published today.

Tita 6:02 PM  

Thx, Evan - I'll add it in!
Yea, I hate the blogger platform...I can't easily do the simple customizations that I want...
I need to change it around a bit, but in the meantime, thanks for adding to the library. Thx.

(And remind me never to work KP with you!)

Ulrich 6:17 PM  

@Tita: I do that, too. But this does not help when you absolutely do not know either of two words that cross each other--you have no way of deciding which of the letters that appear, intuitively, equally plausible in the common square would be the correct one. With Mr. Pencil at your service, you can just put them in and submit, one at a time, until he smiles. But my paper is totally silent--it accepts everything, including the symbols over the numbers on my keyboard--that's what I wanted to say.

BTW the new screensaver word to learn today on my mac is an absolute beauty: triskaidekaphobia (three-and-ten phobia, if I remember my Greek correctly)--an extreme fear of the number 13. See, I did not have to go out to learn this:)

Yawn 6:21 PM  


Acme 6:48 PM  

@evil doug
Nice impressive list of PITS.
Let's freak everyone out and collaborate on a puzzle together! Write to me!

And the gal i just met sitting across me in Starbucks, 51, accountant, four kids, from a long line of German farmers in Northern Calif and can only do Mon/Tuesday puzzles knew GIMLI without blinking and even quoted some line about Long ears...
So, thanks MN for popping in and clarifying...i thought I was the only one who had to change all my "Tuesdays" into Monday!

Matthew G. 7:00 PM  


Hate to break it to your new friend, but Tolkien's dwarves did not have long ears! That would be the elves and (to a lesser extent) the hobbits.

Anonymous 7:00 PM  

While I don't accept everything in Wikipedia as gospel check out the "Satch" entry: nickname for Joe Satriani, Anand Satyanand, Satchel Paige and Louis Armstrong.

skua76 9:55 PM  

It's late, but thanks Mike for stopping by. Other than the SATCH issue already discussed, I enjoyed it, and in an earlier age I've been in a mosh pit or two. Actually I enjoyed your diagramless yesterday even more! Thanks...

treedweller 9:57 PM  

ended up with an error because I never checked the crosses on HEREtIcS. Liked it for the most part otherwise.

@Tita I can see how any movie might fail to live up to any book in a given reader's eyes, but I'm a fan of both in the case of LOTR. Did you ever see the director's cuts on DVD? It makes for three very long movies, but I think the extra footage does a good job of capturing the whole story (and you can just pause the DVDs, so no big deal).

But, since I'd put Gulliver in the "18th century British satire" category, I think we should go with "Early 20th Century British Fiction" or something like that.

sanfranman59 11:38 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 7:58, 6:50, 1.17, 95%, Challenging (8th highest median solve time of 141 Mondays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:13, 3:40, 1.16, 94%, Challenging (10th highest median solve time of 141 Mondays)

Miette 12:29 AM  

I found this puzzle very easy.

Anonymous@4:55: I have often wondered the exact same thing regarding completion times using the MAGMIC app???

Tita 1:38 AM  

In fact, with the movies, it is what was added that I abhor...
As you said, the books are long. Of course the movies can't include everything...I get that.

But why ADD stuff?
(I also can't abide "variations" on Mozart or the Muzak version of the Stones or Maroon 5.)

I confess - the most egregious sin was what they did to "But no mortal man am I" - my favorite scene!! ;)

Solving in Seattle 12:05 PM  

What Rex said. Nothing to add.

@dirigonzo, we had great weather this weekend, so 2 days of golf. Didn't solve the Sunday puzzle until late and thought the golf theme was fun. Thank you Patrick!

Happy belated Easter to all you Syndies.

Red Valerian 1:52 PM  

Thanks, @Tobias Duncan, for that link! Last class of Intro Philosophy of Science on Wednesday... I'm mulling over whether to show it. It's not completely relevant (we just covered realism and anti-realism, which is a dispute within science, not about science), but we have talked about scientism and what Medawar called "scientific meliorism." But we didn't use any cuss words...

@Solving in Seattle: great weather up here in the Vancouver area, too, this weekend, except for the frost in the morning. Got carrots, beets, chard, and spinach in. (not a golfer) Happy Easter Monday, all! (Gotta love these four-day weekends.)

Liked the puzzle, though probably any puzzle would be fine on a sunny holiday Monday. (That is not intended as a shot, @MN!)

SurvivorMaam 3:36 PM  

I can't believe Rex rated this medium challenging. I raced through it thinking I was having a similar experience to Rex when he finishes with those fantastic times. I had heretics for a bit too and must admit I had to come here to discovery my natick at gimli and mosher.

Had to laugh out loud at the exchange between evil doug and anonymous 4:30pm.

Satch was a gimme as I grew up listing to Louis, Ella and the other dixieland greats. Didn't need the circles at all and only bothered to read them when I was done.

Why do people use the @ sign before people's names? Is there a search function in blogger or something?

On to the bridge write up which appears next to the NYT in my newspaper.

Dirigonzo 4:16 PM  

@(I have no idea why)SurvivorMaam - Someone asked the same question a while back and I don't recall any answer being given - maybe nobody knows?

The mention of two provinces, Que. and ONT reminds me, we haven't heard from and syndi-solvers from eastern Canada (@Waxy in Montreal, I'm looking at you) lately.

Red Valerian 4:18 PM  

@SurvivorMaam: I think the "@" is to indicate that you are using someone's blogging alias, which may or may not be their actual name. At least, that's what I've been assuming.


Anonymous 5:12 PM  

Re the 'pit' discussions, What do you call the flight deck with an all female crew? The box office.

Dirigonzo 5:30 PM  

@(still don't know why)Red Valerian - "@" "#" "///" "tags" and the like are all meaningless to me, except as handy substitutes for real letters when I want to write bull@#%& and don't want to offend anyone. I think in the realm of social media they all have some significance to the users of fb, twitter and so on. So I just use @ before names because it seems to be the custom. Or did I misinterpret your "@Dirigonzo?"

And by the way, happy Easter Monday - you Canadians sure know how to make a long weekend.

Red Valerian 5:36 PM  

@Dirigonzo--you did not misinterpret. I thought you might have known (you seem an old hand, so to speak), and didn't see your post until after I'd posted.

Not all of Canada has a four-day weekend. Well, not everybody in my neck of the woods does, given all the folks that work Saturday and Sunday. But in Ontario, it's not even a stat, or so I understand.

In Quebec, @Waxy?

Anonymous 5:41 PM  

Had a little trouble with this one. A bit more difficult for a Monday. However, on to other things. Rex, I am surprised that a word guy like you would use ALRIGHT when the correct form is ALL RIGHT. I was taught that when you are not sure you think of ALL WRONG and you will be sure to get it ALL RIGHT.

Grammar Nazi 5:47 PM  

@Anonymous 5:41pm. I believe that'd be "a word guy such as yourself..."

Solving in Seattle 6:09 PM  

@'s grammar nazi & anonymous 5:41, since I've become a google ninja I thought I'd contribute this tidbit from dictionary.com:

The form alright as a one-word spelling of the phrase all right in all of its senses probably arose by analogy with such words as already and altogether. Although alright is a common spelling in written dialogue and in other types of informal writing, all right is used in more formal, edited writing.

I'm no Strunk or White,
but I've written a fair amount
and I think I write alright.

Grammar Nazi 6:16 PM  

@Solving in Seattle: use/mention...tsk, tsk.

But I do agree that "alright" is alright. But "a word guy LIKE you" is just wrong. The claim being made is not that a word guy similar to (but not identical with) @Rex should use different terminology, but that somebody who is a word guy, for example @Rex, should use different terminology.

You write good. goodly. good-enuf-erly. argh. (And don't get @Rex started on Strunk and White.)

Spacecraft 6:29 PM  

Not sure what all the medium and challenging ratings are about. The only thing that threw me off was trying HERETICS--it seems to me that the big I came down on people more so than ideas. OH, OK, the AGR- prefix ending had me there for a bit (I started with an I), but those two situations resolved themselves quickly enough on crosses.

As soon as I filled in the gimme BEARDEDLADY and saw "ready" in the circles, the whole bit filled itself in, including the game per se at 62a. I still have not the foggiest what "MOSHER" actually means, but I've heard of the pit.

At least as awkward as AGRO/OHOK was the meeting of YESNO and ASKTO in the SE. Also, WAKEN is bad. "Wake," or "awaken," but not that. Mike, you ARESO much better than this.

DMGrandma 6:30 PM  

Enough already!

Red Valerian 9:20 PM  

Dear @DMGrandma: there is the option of halting email notification of follow-up comments. Don't you think that better than, in effect, telling recent and potential commenters that you'd like them to shut up?

I say this with a modicum of trepidation...

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