1991 Jackie Chan film / FRI 3-30-12 / Actress Watson / First name in 1970s tyranny / Tell Me More broadcaster / Pirates hangout

Friday, March 30, 2012

Constructor: Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: EMMA Watson (13D: Actress Watson) —

Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson (born 15 April 1990) is an English actress and model.
Watson rose to prominence playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series. Watson was cast as Hermione at the age of nine, having previously acted only in school plays.[2] From 2001 to 2011, she starred in all eight Harry Potter films alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint.[3] Watson's work on the Harry Potterseries has earned her several awards and more than £10 million.[4] She made her modelling debut for Burberry's Autumn/Winter campaign in 2009. (wikipedia)
• • •

If I never saw another quad stack again in my life, that would be fine. Ideal. It's been done many times, and the whole set-up usually doesn't allow for very interesting fill—though this stack is not bad, by any means. In fact, this is as much as I've enjoyed a Krozel puzzle in a Long time (amazing what you can do when you're not stunting or going for a super low word-count). I think the puzzle might actually be Easy—I was somewhat faster than my average, but I see now that this puzzle is super-sized (15x16), so that makes my fast time even faster (relatively speaking). Took many of the small crosses to bring down a lot of those 15s, but in the end there were only a couple points of any significant struggle:

  • Couldn't figure out 30D: Formed another congress. Had RESAT, and then REWED (stupid ETHS can be spelled EDHS, as well, hence the D/T confusion) (40A: Old English letters). Got to REMET only after I somehow figured out IMITATION BUTTER (38A: Promise, e.g.). To do that, I had to change SEWN ON to SEWN IN (22D: Like many monograms on clothing).
  • My John Paul II was a POPE before he was a POLE. I can't be the only one who made that mistake. I also wrote in EPIC instead of EPOS at first (53D: "Beowulf" or "Gilgamesh").

Every other part of the grid, I moved through steadily. Stuff like DOMES and ISTH. and ARRESTEE took some pondering, but not too much. My favorite part of the grid, by far, is TRIPLE WORD SCORE (29A: Great red spot?). Great answer, even greater clue—and I despise Scrabble.

  • 17A: Dubious claim after crying wolf ("I MEAN IT THIS TIME") — took a lot of work, esp. since I came at it backwards.
  • 56A: 1991 Jackie Chan film ("OPERATION CONDOR") — Wow. Talk about your wayback machine. This is several years before Chan became a star in America.
  • 61A: Megillah book (ESTHER) — "Megillah" is a new word for me. I'm guessing it's not meant to be followed by the word "Gerillah." 

  • 6D: First name in 1970s tyranny (IDI) — first thing in the grid.
  • 31D: N.B.A. great Thomas (ISIAH) — another significant gimme.
  • 32D: Pirates' hangout (PITTSBURGH) — "Hangout"'s a bit of a stretch, but PITTSBURGH's a good-looking answer.
  • 46D: Starbucks has one (AROMA) — virtually everywhere has one. :(
  • 57D: "Tell Me More" broadcaster (NPR) — they really like shows with "Tell Me" in the title, apparently.
  • 58D: Runner with a hood (CAR) — another semi-strained clue, but very gettable, nonetheless.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Here's a birthday / tribute puzzle for you. Warning: it revolves around the lyrics to a song. If you don't know the song, the puzzle will be doable, but at least partially mystifying. The song was very popular, so I'm hoping it resonates with at least some of you. You can get the .pdf or .puz file here (at Amy's place). And here's the SOLUTION. And (spoiler alert) here's the song it's based on.


jackj 12:03 AM  

Another trademark multi-stack puzzle from Joe Krozel who seems to concoct these beauties with such ease one wonders if he has a secret cache of crossword elves doing his first drafts.

This one has an impressive quad stack, smack dab in the middle of the grid and a quick search tells us that there have only ever been 6 single quad puzzles published by the Times during Will’s reign and, surprise, surprise, 4 of them are by Joe Krozel.

And, if you really want to be impressed, the big daddies of stacked puzzles are those with two quad stacks in the puzzle (that means that 50% of the puzzle is made up of 8 clues) and there have only ever been 4 of them in the Times, with 3 of them being by Joe Krozel!

The only problem with today’s crossword was that the 15’s seemed to come too easily and perhaps it might be best to point out that Joe might be making them too accessible but, still, he has given us some wonderful shorter entries like RASTA, PITTSBURGH, SORTA , ZELDAS and SLURPS*, good stuff which helps to sooth the voracious appetites of crossword masochists .

Kudos again to Joe K., King of the Quads.

*- With apologies to Joe, I can’t help but mention that Patrick Berry used SLURPS in a puzzle also, in 2003, cluing it as “Conspicuous consumption?” Wow, these guys are good!

jae 12:23 AM  

I think Amy's right.  Fri. puzzles have been on the easy side lately.   This one was easy-medium at best for me.  Which is fairly typical when you have a bunch of 15s.  

Me too for SEWNON, POPE and EPIC, plus SPLIT before ENDIT.

Straight forward solid Fri. with out much zip unless you want to count DABBA, RASTA, and SORTA.  I SORTA don't. 

Jakarta Dan 12:31 AM  

Nice Friday, especially after yesterday's hubbub.

I tried to weigh in yesterday -- neither loved, nor hated the musical theme, and thought difficulty was right on for Thursday -- but couldn't post a comment, as the wi-fi here on the beach in Bali is spotty.

Moved briskly (for me) through today's puzzle with the exceptions of getting hung up on TEeS (carried around in golf carts) and falling for the POpE gag, which I shouldn't have, since no long clue without a ? would yield an answer starting with PONG.

Best regards,

pk 12:32 AM  

Brilliant puzz - but any Friday I can actually solve falls into the Brilliant category.

@jackj - think you are right, JK is making them more accessible, but I'm happy about that.

My WTFs were ISTH, ETHS, and ARRESTEE (which NO ONE has ever actually said out loud, or probably ever even written down - if you know otherwise, please provide proof).

Thought SORTA was sorta cute.

pk 12:36 AM  

P.S. Thx Rex for the bonus puzz. It was fun to solve. Can't wait for you to post the solution so I can see how badly I screwed it up.

Aroma peCuliar Mantomans 12:38 AM  

Lots of fun!
This was a total bottoms upward puzzle for me, as I had to wait to see if it were yABBA or DABBA...

Loved it, loved the TRIPLESWORDSCORE, tho Hasbro has been messing with the color scheme on the Scrabble board lately...very disconcerting to hardcore players.

Normally ignore crossword folks who go out of their way to announce how they despise Scrabble...(or detest pangrams, etc.) It always sounds so needlessly bitter. Otherwise, @Rex is my hero! ;)

Fave phrase and cluing today: IMEANITTHISTIME!

Anyone else coming to the St Paul Library crossword tourney fundraiser tonight?

Clark 12:42 AM  

How does anyone remember how to spell ISIAH? I can never remember. Tricks anyone? That together with SEWN oN and REsaT got me into a heap of trouble.

@Tita -- Loved your cat from yesterday. Calls for a change of avatar. Obi doesn't know nothing about any 26 letters, but he know a Japanese sash when he sees one.

Tobias Duncan 12:43 AM  

This was really three separate puzzles. I hate when the grid shape cuts off your momentum like that.

I ran through the top third like a man on fire.It seriously felt like a Monday. I was sure I was in record breaking territory but I slowed way down once I hit the middle quads.

Was a bit irked by the commercial feel of Promise and Starbucks.

I have not watched a karate movie since I was about twelve, used to love em but now I seem to hate all action films.Something about having to sit still while adrenaline courses through my veins is very unappealing to me.

Still grinning from that run through the top third, it was the kind of performance I fantasize about pulling off at ACPT.

kirble 1:08 AM  

Had the same issues at POLE, EPOS, and SEWN-ON.

My brother and I used to watch Jackie Chan movies a lot, so I got Operation Condor off just the R in PITTSBURGH. Can't tell if I should be proud or embarrassed.

Octavian the Pirate 3:00 AM  

Sensational puzzle. The quad stack is amazing, with such vibrant phrases and words throughout.

I love it when the puzzle seems to be talking to you: "No need to thank me -- I mean it this time!"

Never heard of the word EPO so even though I had it in the grid on crosses I needed to look it up post-solve. Had epic originally but ESTHER was a gimme in that context for a book of Megillah.

"The whole megillah" ought to find its way into a quad stack one day, if it hasn't already. For any non-Jews outside of NY or L.A., it is an anglicized Yiddish idiom for "the whole enchilada". The Megillah is one of the sections of the Old Testament and includes a long and winding set of tales, including Esther -- an epic if you will.

Youtube has some interesting readings of the Megillah. Here is one in rap: Beat boxed Megillah

Thanks Joe -- great work.

Zach 4:37 AM  

What's up with the puzzleSocial app on FaceBook? Is it excruciating slow for anyone else? Very frustrating.

Loren Muse Smith 7:01 AM  

Hand up for SEWNoN, POpE, and EPic. The first thing I wrote in was "scan" for SKIM.

For "defense option," my first thought before looking at the spaces was "king's indian," and I haven't played chess in years.

I like the word PECULIAR and need to use it more.

For LITER, I would have been happier with a soft drink kind of clue; we see "litre" a lot for gas in other countries, but I don't think "gas" when I see LITER.

Favorite was TRIPLEWORDSCORE. We play Scrabble as a family, and since we're all pretty bad, we end up with this constipated mess in the middle that just makes everything worse. Then we argue a lot, and someone usually gets really angry. Plus, my husband instists we use a dictionary from the 1950s, so "google," "app," and "laptop" are unacceptable to him. Fun times.

dk 7:44 AM  

A birthday tribute to a Scottish tool perhaps?

Will miss the St. Paul tourney as I am otherwise engaged in St. Croix Falls - annual banquet where I will no doubt SLURP too much wine.

LONGTERMPARKING was my Homer Simpson moment in an otherwise workable puzzle. Like many of you I sailed through the top half, got the middle from the downs and slogged through the bottom.

Not so excited about the fill but bonus points for the construction. My inner 14 year old was hoping for fart as a unit of gas.

���� (2 Skulls) Thank you Joe

dk 7:46 AM  

My skulls did not work so 🌟🌟 (2 Stars)

Loren Muse Smith 8:21 AM  

@dk - My inner 14 year old self entertained the same thought.

Z 8:23 AM  

Rex pretty much described my solving experience. REwEd would have had a nice Liz Taylor/Richard Burton SORTA symmetry with END IT. Oh well.

My first thought for 32D was PNC Park, PITTSBURGH is much better. It also provided my anchor in the south, which was my last section to finish (middle, north, south - three separate puzzles indeed).

With ESTHER firmly in place I realized that I don't actually know what makes an ode an ode. EPOS is unfamiliar to me, but the long crosses fixed my ignorance. I am still ignorant of who EAP might be, having tried TSE to begin with. I'm also wondering how TEAS fits the clue.

I do believe this is my first clean solve of a Krozel puzzle. Obviously, his constructing skills are improving. (that's a joke for you literal-minded readers)

captcha - elinole snessi - Danish cold?

jberg 8:25 AM  

EPOS? Really? Since @acme already knew it, I guess it's a word - coulda fooled me, though. Is it ancient Greek, or a modern shortening like demo or repo?

I had all the same writeovers, and while I knew Promise was a commercial product, I was thinking dish detergent, so that took me some time. Also tried TRIPLE WORD SpacE first, and washED before RINSED.

@Loren, I guess LITre would have to be petrol unit;but you're right, we don't use them for gas.

I can never just write in OTOE (33D) because I always think, "well, it could be CROW." I should just accept that it never will be.

@Jakarta Dan, I feel your pain!

Tita 9:45 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
David 9:46 AM  

Very much enjoyed today's and yesterday's puzzles, though my solving experiences were completely different - failure yesterday, cruised today.

Huge Scrabble fan over the years, but still hesitated on TRIPLE WORD SCORE even though I had it with just a few crosses. Was that square really Red? I guess so.... POPE for POLE briefly hid LONG TERM PARKING, and also had EDHS for ETHS, as well as YABBA for DABBA. Caught onto the Promise word play immediately, but originally though MARGARINE for BUTTER. Thank goodness I didn't throw that in....

Also like the tiny 6/8 letter stacks with MANTOMAN/SYNTAX and BALLAD/PECULIAR.

evil doug 9:47 AM  

Clark: "A before I except in Isiah."

Why crosswords are superior to Scrabble: In crosswords you have a limitless number of letters with which to engage in battle; in Scrabble, only seven. Talk about aggravation....

This puzzle reflects what I mentioned yesterday. I'm sure Joe---I agree, a brilliant constructor---and Will were pleased with themselves over the multiple stacks and lack of black space. But to me, that unnecessary and selfishly ego-satisfying goal made the puzzle waaaaay too easy for a Friday.

Read the long answers---Do they compel? enthuse? enlighten? sparkle? Not for me. And the relatively pedestrian nature of the long answers made the easy verticals solve the stacks without much effort. That 'pope' v. 'Pole' thing could have kept me busy for a while, except that the lengthy, trick-less horizontals made the fix self-evident without breathing hard.

One other thing: With these multiple long answers, the number of clues/answers is greatly reduced. Yesterday there were 35 across clues; today only 24. To me one of the great pleasures of late-week puzzles is the need to get into the constructor's head, to try to envision the twists and tricks of their more wicked cluing. With fewer clues/answers, there are fewer opportunities for the creator to present me with those wonderful 'aha!' moments.

Yesterday's challenge was aggravating, but at least it was a challenge. Today was a waste of $2.50 and a disappointment.

Speaking of which: At that price, the biased rag that the once great Times has become is making me seriously consider getting the on-line crossword package---even given the pleasure I find with pen on newsprint. Heresy, I know....


Tita 9:49 AM  

I solved 2 puzzles last night:
Top third fell relatively easily, middle 3rd was far crunchier but gettable...

And a 3rd puzzle this morning:
Got more along the bottom third, but nearly gave up twice. Removed that 2nd P of POpE, looked at _ING_ERM_ _R_ING, and finally saw the answer!

@Rex...Megillah Gerillah - my first thought too...

Malapop - oreS got Carted around at 18A, till they wound up at 59D

I'm guessing POpE, SEWNoN, and EPic will be the most popular writeovers...
My John Paul started out as ital, thinking the e.g. meant abbv.

@Z - TEA carts are de rigeur in all proper households...

@Clark - good idea - avatar change coming soon!

@Zach - go back to yesterday's posts - I answered you there.
What is that you DO like about PuzzleSocial, btw?

jackj 9:53 AM  

One of the problems caused by solving late and writing a comment late while pushing to post and get to bed is that mistakes are made.

Case in point, my comment about two quad stack puzzles noted "(that means that 50% of the puzzle is made up of 8 clues)" which is true but not at all the point I was trying to make.

Even today's puzzle, which has eight 15's in all meets that test and the point not made was to have been a nod to the monumental feat of including two separate groups of four 15's in a 16X15 puzzle.

Humbly submitted with full awareness that this may qualify as the nerdiest comment ever.

Edgar Allan Poe 9:56 AM  

I am still ignorant of who Z might be.

Sir Hillary 10:25 AM  

About as enjoyable a puzzle as can be with eight stacked 15s. I was expecting some really crappy down fill in the middle, but amazingly there isn't any - DABBA is about as dodgy as it got today. Maybe, as some here are asserting, this is too easy for a Friday, but I'll take that over a slog of garbage fill any day. Some nice cluing at 3A, 19A, 29A, 55A and 26D (which I initially thought might be DANNY, as in the news anchor).

I didn't fall for the trick at 52D (felt that clue would never be used for POPE on a Friday) but I certainly flailed elsewhere, most notably with EPIC. Having gotten some other parts of 60A, I almost convinced myself it was LINEFORMINGHERE, which isn't language on any sign I have heard of.

Count me a supporter of this one.

orangeblossomspecial 10:46 AM  

Don't know what an EPOS is.

The puzzle evokes some interesting songs:

An early Bing Crosby hit was "I found a million dollar baby in a five and TEN CENT store". (5D & 54D). Five and dimes were the equivalents of today's dollar stores. Inflation hurts!

Opening of baseball season is a good time for Damn Yankees and "You gotta have HEART" (28D).

42A is a fitting tribute to Earl Scruggs, who died two days ago: "The BALLAD of Jed Clampett".

http://kazakhstanii.blogspot.com 10:51 AM  

Loved "Triple Word Score" as I am a Scrabble-a-holic. At first my mind went to Saturn.

I was sure that Pope was too obvious, so I went with Pole.

Laughed out loud at Megillah Gorilla ... so I'm not the only one whose mind goes down such random pathways.

Is it me or was Rex a little more cheerful today? :-)

http://kazakhstanii.blogspot.com 10:52 AM  

Oops, guess that should have been Jupiter.

JaxInL.A. 10:59 AM  

Still haven't plowed through all 124 comments yesterday. It's quite a conundrum, wanting more people to join in on the blog versus becoming unwieldy in length.

Fine puzzle, though I agree with @Tobias that it's three puzzles with tenuous links. Is it coincidence that my favorite entries are the two long downs? INTOXICATE and PITTSBUTRGH. liked the clues for them, too.

Matthew G. 11:08 AM  

Such a shame Doug had to bash the Gray Lady in his final paragraph. Until he got to that I was about to say I agreed with every word in his post today!

But like he says, this was way too easy for a Friday. It's a very good easy themeless, but because the NYT won't run even an easy themeless earlier than Friday, it comes on a day when I want more challenge. Maybe quad-stack puzzles, stunts that they are, should run on Thursdays. I wasn't even tricked by the John Paul II clue--I immediately thought, "POPE is too obvious for a Friday, so it's POLE." EPOS and ALATE provided the only difficulty.

Matt Gaffney had an awesome edition of his Weekly Crossword Contest last summer that featured TRIPLE WORD SCORE as a grid-spanner and the answer to the metapuzzle spelled out in the squares where the TWSs would have been if the grid were a Scrabble board. I submitted my answer via a photo of a Scrabble board.

That said, I, too, hate Scrabble. Anyone else out there find that everyone expects you to love Scrabble because you love crossword puzzles? To me, the games appeal to entirely different sensibilities.

Two Ponies 11:09 AM  

A bit easy for a Friday but I did struggle some in the bottom puzzle for the same reasons as everyone else. I was surprised at the straight-forward clues/answers for trees and car.
Epos is my WOTD.

archaeoprof 11:10 AM  

Enjoyed it. Agree with @Rex on the medium difficulty.

FWIW, "megillah" (accent on the last syllable) is Hebrew for "scroll." ESTHER belongs to the five smallest books ("little scrolls") in the Tanakh.

That said, the clue made me think of Magilla Gorilla too!

@Evil: try a paper subscription. Much less than $2.50/day.

imsdave 11:14 AM  

Same initial errors as everyone else. Other than IMITATIONBUTTER, I thought the 15's were all stellar. I'm getting to like the somewhat easier Fridays

@Rex, enjoyed your puzzle, but didn't get it at all. Guessing that's just me, who knows nothing about popular music since 1975 (disco made me quit listening to it).

KRMunson 11:17 AM  

Joe, liked your puzzle a lot! Not too hard, not too easy. Rewarding to finish in a respectable time with no mistakes (which is unusual for me on a Friday).

JenCT 11:34 AM  

My malapop of a sort was plunking in POL (as in Pol Pot) for 6 down.


AROMA's clue is lame.

Off to try Rex's puzzle.

JaxInL.A. 11:36 AM  

Rex, I liked your puzzle, too, but other than recognizing the artist and song title, I miss the theme answers. I feel dense and old. Ah, well.

Is there a way to have a separate comment stream to explain it to the clueless?

@jackj, I agree that Scrabble and crosswords are quite different, but there's a pretty big overlap in skills and appeal. I like both.

Mel Ott 11:37 AM  

@Clark @Evil - Mr. Thomas' spelling of his name as ISIAH is unusual. The more usual spelling, following most English Bibles' rendition of the Hebrew prophet's name, is ISAIAH ( with an 'A' before and after the 'I'.

I like these quad stacks more than @Rex does. I thought this one was faily easy for a Friday, but I still fell into the usual traps: SEWN ON, EPIC, POPE.

r.alphbunker 11:39 AM  

For a long term parking sign that has an airplane on it look here

The length of the arc indicates the type of parking, e.g., the short term parking sign has a quarter arc.

This is page for a London airport. I do not recall ever seeing planes on long term parking signs in America.

mac 11:57 AM  

This puzzle made me feel good, but I'm glad with Rex's extra puzzle today.

The top third was much easier to me than the rest, but the rest was easily gettable with a couple of short crosses. Epos is a normal word, really fill, to me. Surprised some people don't know it.

Peculiar is a beautiful word, and Pittsburgh looks very good in the grid.

KRMunson 12:01 PM  

@Rex - I like your puzzle, but I only understood the theme on one level (and you say the title is appropriate on two levels). Maybe @JaxinL.A. and I should talk about this offline - between the two of us we should be able to figure it out :-)

ANON B 12:26 PM  

I have never played Scrabble. Please explain why Great Red Spot
is Triple Word SCore.

ArtO 12:30 PM  

Love the stacks so many thanks to Joe Krozel for providing that enjoyment. Also satisfying to finish a Friday in less than half the time yesterday's took.

Hands up for the same stumbles Rex noted.

Having played Scrabble last evening, got a big kick out of TRIPLEWORDSCORE.

SethG 12:33 PM  

Go Steelers.

Top was the hardest for me, bottom the easiest.

Ankle Clavicle Mandible, we'll see you tonight. Dinner first?

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

@ANON B The bonus squares in Scrabble are color coded, the red one gives you triple the normal word score. Triple the score is great.

chefbea 1:09 PM  

Need help to finish this one. Finally did. Loved imitation butter and Pittsburgh. Now to do Rex's puzzle

Clark 1:22 PM  

Thanks, @evil doug and @mel ott. I do believe I can now add both ISIAH and ISAIAH to the list of words that I am able to spell on command. It is a short list.

Masked and Anonymous 1:28 PM  

Like CAR crossing PARKING.

Like the title of 31's puz. Like it a lot.

John V 1:35 PM  

Running like a crazy man today, so sorry not to have read all the posts.

Seemed medium to me. Hand up for POPE before POLE. Don't know Jackie Chan so that 15 came entirely from the crosses. TRIPLEWORDSCORE was cool; ENDIT took WAAAAY longer than it should.


Lewis 1:49 PM  

Yes, having a four-stack is an impressive feat -- and impressive feats are okay by me if they make for an enjoyable solve. I found this one quite enjoyable, making me work in places, and giving me aha's. Thanks, Joe!

Nostalgic guy 1:52 PM  

Ah, '70s tyranny, so much more direct, simpler, somehow purer than tyranny of more recent years. Good times.

Bird 1:55 PM  

This one was easy for me. That is until I got to the SW corner. I got as far as AR??STEE and parsed it as AR??S TEE, thinking some kind of (screen printed) t-shirt. ARRESTEE? Really?

Anyway, a disappointing DNF. Brain dead from too much stress at work today. Maybe if I waited until I got home and had some Jameson I would have finished. I made the same mistakes as Rex (RESAT before REMET, SEWN ON before SEWN IN and POPE before POLE), but were easily fixed. Another oops was FIVE before CENT (5 and 10 store).

Those wondering the connection between gas and liter, think propane for portable BBQs and lanterns.


Anonymous 1:57 PM  

@Tobias – You don’t like sports. You don’t like action movies. What do you like?

Knicks Fan 1:57 PM  

Did not care to see Isiah Thomas in the puzzle, with his well chronicled history with female employees.

ANON B 2:23 PM  


Thanks. Obviously in 100 years
I wouldn't have gotten it.

Masked and Anonymous II 2:35 PM  

Upon further reflection, I also like CAR crossing PARKING a "lot".

Just finished @#31*!'s puz. Am bursting at the seams with comments and silver bullets, all of which would be way inappropriate spoilers, here. Maybe some other time.

quilter1 2:50 PM  

I liked it and finished pretty easily. I preached on Esther on Wednesday.

@Tobias: if you are on fire don't run. Stop, drop and roll.

I try the bonus puzzle tomorrow.

Anonymous 2:55 PM  

Why single out Isiah Thomas when Idi Amin is in the grid too?

Knicks Fan 2:57 PM  

@Anon 2:55 - Good point. I forgot he was in the grid and didn't see any comments about spelling his name.

Tobias Duncan 3:16 PM  

@ anon 1:57

There are soooo many things that I love , here are a few:
Sci fi
My 67 fury convertible
A well laid out workshop
Skeptic Magazine
Hippie chicks (even though they ask what my sign is)
And my One eyed 100 lb golden retriever who died unexpectedly this week.He was the sweetest dog anyone had ever met.

Anonymous 3:28 PM  

ED - I liked your last paragraph the most. Cannot tell you what pain it caused me to pony up the $39.95 knowing what use the NYT will put it to.

Loren, if you drink one liter of soda that will give you plenty of gas....

Rex seems less cranky today, but I liked his line: "In fact, this is as much as I've enjoyed a Krozel puzzle in a Long time (amazing what you can do when you're not stunting or going for a super low word-count)." Still trying to figure out if that is a compliment or a criticism.

Sometimes when I read comments, especially on this blog, I have the feeling that some people see a connection between Scrabble and the NYT XWP. The only connection I know is that my wife enjoys playing Scrabble on her iPad and I enjoy the NYT XWP. But never the twain shall meet.

I'm hoping nobody wins the Mega Millions so i get a chance to become a billionaire next time. The odds on winning are 176,000,000 to 1. Since the pay-off will be more and likely at least that amount with two winners, this is one of the few times the lottery is actually giving you value for your buck...if you don't mind losing your buck....


Two Ponies 3:30 PM  

@ Tobias Duncan, So very sorry to hear about your pal. Breaks my heart to think about it.
BTW, nice list.
I was glad today that there were minimal sports and pop culture.

Masked and Anonymous III 3:31 PM  

@Tobias... Oh, man. Dogs are the best. Always a bummer to lose such a good bud. Deepest sympathies, for real.

Tita 3:43 PM  

Sorry to hear this Tobias! So sad.

I hope you don't find this sappy- from Eugene O'Neill's dog...
Last Will and Testament of Silvedene Emblem O'Neill

Anonymous 3:43 PM  

I thought we had gotten past the Rex was cranky/got up on the wrong side of the bed/didn't get any last night thing years aqo.

Oh, the NYTimes hasn't changed in over 40 years. Must be you guys who have changed

Loren Muse Smith 3:53 PM  

@Matthew G - yeah, people always assume crossworders are good Scrabblers. I'm awful. I'm even worse at the Jumble.

@Tobias - I'm really sorry about your dog. The relationship between a human and a dog is truly a magic miracle. James Herriot advises to go out and immediately get another dog - not to replace the one you lost, but the new one helps you grieve. I've found this to be true.

@JFC - I guess soda can do that. I sense there's a story there. . .!For me, it's cooked cabbage. Thirty minutes later, and I can be sky writing!

Rex Parker 3:55 PM  

re: my puzzle, and the two meanings of the revealer. There's the birthday meaning, and then the ends-of-the-theme-answers meaning.


Wood 3:59 PM  

This is interesting. When I read and comment on the blog from my iPhone, which is almost always, each comment post has a little "Reply" link at the end so that you can create a direct reply to someone's comment. I always wonder why people don't use it more, instead of using the awkward @X notation to reply to previous comments. But today I'm reading/commenting on my laptop (also an Apple), and the posts don't have the "Reply" link. I wonder why?

The puzzle felt pretty easy to me but I was held up in NW and SE. CAR, ORE, ARRESTEE took a looong time to see. (Ore is in a pocket? I've heard of a seam, but...) Still, finished in below average Friday time.

Would love to meet my fellow Minnesotan Rexites at the St. Paul thingy tonight, but I am in San Francisco visiting my newborn nephew Chance.

ksquare 4:01 PM  

Loren, in Puerto Rico you can buy gas by the liter and pay for it with U.S. dollars.

Wood 4:04 PM  

Oh, and re Scrabble: I agree that crosswords and Scrabble have nothing to do with each other, and people who make that assumption know nothing about either one. Scrabble is mainly about anagramming and scoring strategy, and crosswords are about clue-solving with letter hints. But it surprises me how often people who like one hate the other. They both engage my word nerd brain in ways few other things do.

chefbea 4:17 PM  

@Rex loved your puzzle and got the theme right away

@loren I do the jumble every day. If you can't get a word right away..put the letters in a circle. Usually just pops out.

Anon 1:57 4:50 PM  

@Tobias - My sincere condolences on the passing of your best friend.

(and I was only poking fun)

I too like SciFi, classic convertibles and appreciate an organized man cave.

Bird 4:58 PM  

I guess I'm one of the few who enjoy Scrabble and crossword puzzles. You just need to put your self in a different mind-set. As @Wood pointed out there are 2 different strategies. BTW - my family refuses to play Scrabble with me anymore.

@Tobias - So sorry to hear about your dog.

jackj 5:10 PM  


Had a ton of fun with your puzzle, which I thought would have been eminently publishable except for the unfortunate timing of the b'day.

Am totally impressed with the "Kamakawiwo'ole" clue!


Three and gone.

Z 6:01 PM  

@Edgar Allan Poe - Had my "duh!" moment driving home from work. Thanks.

Z 6:14 PM  

@Tobias Duncan - Your list brought to mind Kevin Costner's I believe
speech in Bull Durham. (profanity)

quilter1 6:30 PM  

We always had goldens. They're the best. So sorry, Tobias

very touched by u 8:38 PM  


Thank you for the puzzle! It was a fun solve, even tho some of your clues were pretty tough. Got the theme pretty fast b/c how many rappers were born in '62?!
And the title was apropos too!
Please sir, may I have some more?

Sparky 9:01 PM  

I finished. I'm happy. Took all day. Had a time out having taxes redone. Arrgh.

@Nostalgia Guy. Me too. I liked Mr. Maleska. A fine old gent. Hand up for POpe, EPic. Though I know EPOS from previous puzzles.

So Sorry @Tobias. It's tough to lose the furry buddy.

Off to find the @Rex puzzle. Happy weekend.

Sharon 9:51 PM  

I read this blog a lot, but have never left a comment before. I never realized how much I needed Rex's analysis of a puzzle. I've solved his own extra puzzle, though I needed help. Did not get it at all...I do recognize "hammer time" and "U Can't Touch This". But I can't even figure out which are the theme answers to see how Hammer Time relates to them!

Geometricus 10:00 PM  

Kickin myself for not reading the blog earlier, maybe I could have gone to the St. Paul xWord tourney. Would have loved to have met Andrea and others from the blog.

Anonymous 10:12 PM  


The end part of 17a
35a and
fit with the start of 59a

geordiegirl 10:26 PM  

I was happy that I didn't need to resort to Google today, but hampered by my absolute imperative to start 29A with Kremlin, since I already had the 'r' and the 'l' in place. Still, I suppose that would have needed 'Red' in the clue. Happy ending, all the same.

sanfranman59 1:17 AM  

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

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

Mon 7:39, 6:50, 1.12, 92%, Challenging
Tue 11:15, 8:52, 1.27, 97%, Challenging (6th highest median solve time of 145 Tuesdays)
Wed 10:09, 11:50, 0.86, 20%, Easy
Thu 26:29, 18:58, 1.40, 96%, Challenging (7th highest median solve time of 144 Thursdays)
Fri 20:20, 25:02, 0.81, 19%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:03, 3:40, 1.10, 89%, Challenging
Tue 5:19, 4:35, 1.16, 90%, Challenging
Wed 5:15, 5:52, 0.89, 25%, Easy-Medium
Thu 15:00, 9:18, 1.61, 99%, Challenging (3rd highest median solve time of 144 Thursdays)
Fri 10:11, 12:23, 0.82, 23%, Easy-Medium

Anonymous 4:02 AM  

@Rex and others: You thought of Magilla Gorilla because that was the intended joke. Considering how many of the classic cartoonists were Jewish, I'm sure that the name was no coincidence. As @Octavian said, the Yiddish expression "die gantse Megillah" means "every single thing". Add in the rhyme, and it's a natural name for a very big creature.

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

To Anonymous 10:12, thanks for explaining the bonus puzzle theme. From Rex's intro saying that the puzzle was "based on a song" I would have expected the theme answers to relate to that song or its artist. I sat through the video and even read the lyrics but saw no connection to the puzzle except for title of puzzle and artist's name in one answer. The actual theme is clever but mainly in retrospect after the puzzle is finished.

ShortShrift 1:41 PM  

Got hung up at the start, with wrong guesses for 5D (one not TEN cent store), 6D (pol as in pot, not IDI) and 7D (eli as in manning, not OTT). So NW was DNF. Also had neTH, not ISTH, for 25A. But slogged thru the rest, though I too don't know EPOS. That's a good Fri for me.

Lola505 12:43 PM  

TGIF, Syndilanders! I thought this one was on the challenging end of medium, but a good one.

I had KINDA for SORTA, and, like Rex, POPE for POLE and EPIC for EPOS. Then ... the gas unit was THERM before it was TANKS, so mostly, I caused my own problems before finally getting there.

Joe Krozel made some admirably loooong fill here!

Solving in Seattle 2:10 PM  

POpE wilmA had me screwed up for awhile, then I remembered Fred also yelled yABBA DABBA doo and John Paul II was a POLE.

Joe, I take issue with the clue "Not peruse." Peruse and SKIM are synonyms. Had Scan and then SKIm for awhile but MANTOpAN didn't make sense as a defense option. Finally sussed it out. Otherwise, nice Friday puzzle.

@Tobias, you probably won't read this but having had two goldens over 25 years, I feel your pain. Condolences.

@Loren Muse Smith, you probably won't read this either, but I relate to your suckiness at Jumble. I high five myself when over 500 points. Hate Scrabble.

@Lola505, TGIF to you, too, and to our Canadian and Honorary Canadian Syndielanders.

Capcha: oodizon ensted. What we're going to have after all the ozone layer is gone.

Red Valerian 2:45 PM  

@SIS--if you want, you can post a comment to @Tobias on his blog. Just click on his avatar. (He is (or was) selling his very amazing house.)

Also, any special reason for the greetings to those of us who are Canucks? Just curious. But thanks!

Loved the puzzle, though that might be partly because it was an easy Friday. But it was fun.

ASSEZ already with all the complaining on this blog! Of course, I keep coming back to read it, so I guess I don't MEAN IT THIS TIME.

So, let me try a complaint: what's with the lines ESE ISTH and ETHS EAP? That's PECULIAR.

Loved the clue for 55A (ANTE): "Let go to pot?" The answer was nowhere near the first thing that occurred to me.

Solving in Seattle 3:17 PM  

@Red, It just seems to me since I've joined the Syndies on Rex's blog that most of the posters are from Washington, Canada and our buddy waaaay across the continent in the Republic of Maine, upon whom @Waxy conveyed Honorary Canadianship last week. It's been a lively week of posts. Have a good weekend of osprey observation.

Capcha: mightsh banst. A really powerful deoderant.

Tobias Duncan 3:20 PM  

@Red Valerian and Solving in Seattle

Thank you so much for the kind words.
I had no idea there was a second shift around here! So cool!

If you ever want the puzzle early for some reason. Just drop me a line and if I am around I will email you a pdf.

You guys really brightened my day today, thanks again.

Red Valerian 4:09 PM  

Hey @Tobias. I tried to leave a message of condolence (about your dog) and awe (about your house) at your blog, but it didn't seem to take. So, consider this a repeat.

I always enjoy reading your comments (5 weeks after they were written, dang it, except for any Sunday comments, which are only a week off).

Thanks for the offer of a pdf. I'll probably just stay out here in syndi-land. Another option is to buck up for the yearly subscription, which is not very expensive.

In any event, following this blog can be time-consuming! I think I need to win the lotto so that pesky work doesn't interfere!

Spacecraft 4:45 PM  

I think @Rex may hate "serious," or tournament, Scrabble, which overemphasizes defensive play. A more casual, wide-open approach can produce many an enjoyable day.

As for today's puzzle, I had to give up: DNF for the second day in a row. Sorry, I just couldn't make the leap from "Promise, e.g." to a brand name, "Some vaults" to DOMES, or "runner with a hood" to CAR. And ONEAS? Oh, now that I type it out I can see it: you mean 1-A's, those so classified for "the first draft" (GROAN!!) How can you expect anybody to get that? ONEAS. Bah! "Starbuck's has one:" AROMA? Well, I guess it does, but really. Explain to me how I'm supposed to get from one to the other. Now, over here we'll just take the first four letters of "ISTHmus" and call it good. Right.

Now that I have 39a, I'm done.

Red Valerian 4:50 PM  

am having weird problems with my posts. One minute, they're there. The next not. I hope I don't post twice.

Hey @Tobias. I tried to leave a message of condolence (about your dog) and awe (about your house) at your blog, but it didn't seem to take. So, consider this a repeat.

I always enjoy reading your comments (5 weeks after they were written, dang it, except for any Sunday comments, which are only a week off).

Thanks for the offer of a pdf. I'll probably just stay out here in syndi-land. Another option is to buck up for the yearly subscription, which is not very expensive.

In any event, following this blog can be time-consuming! I think I need to win the lotto so that pesky work doesn't interfere!

@SIS--I hate brand name clues.

Texas Syndiland 5:16 PM  

@Spacecraft -- Thank you for your mini-rant. I agree with you. Sometimes I just can't make the leaps of faith that the constructors expect. I probably will never be one of the people that always can complete a puzzle. DNF for me. ISTH? Really?

Lola505 7:10 PM  

@Tobias, Hi, fellow New Mexican! I recognized the architectural style immediately (I'm in ABQ).
Lovely home & views and I hope you find a buyer.
Where will you go when it sells?
Lola 505

Dirigonzo 7:41 PM  

I don't know how JK does it - all those 15s stacked on top of one another and he still produces the easiest (for me, anyway) Friday puzzle ever! Loved it!

The more I read the prime-timers comments the more I like syndiland - folks here just seem more appreciative. And a nice little community of commenters seems to be forming, which to my way of thinking is long overdue; after all, we are over half of Rex's readers.

@Tobias Duncan, if you should happen to drop back in - sincere sympathy on the loss of your friend.

Dirigonzo 9:56 PM  

@SiS - Upon further refelection, and a glass of bourbon, I feel I must object to your reference to the "Republic of Maine" since that would render me, by definition, a Republican, which I most certainly am not! "Democratic State of Maine" is not much better for similar reasons, so I think I must insist on "Independent Territory of Maine", or perhaps "South Canada" as more acceptable terms of reference. It's a matter of political correctness.

Anonymous 10:43 PM  

How does 18A fit the clue? Cart, i.e. golf cart. Golf carted around would be TEES. Who carts around tea? Let alone a plural of them!!!!

Lola505 11:36 PM  

@Anon10:43, little old ladies have tea, served from tea carts -- they have two fairly large wheels and two table legs, and can be elaborately decorated.

Solving in Seattle 12:38 AM  

Syndies, I have just returned from Cinco de Mayo dinner at my golf club and feel that I must respond to my virtual amigos before the day ends here in the left coast, as the sports babe refers to us.

I am feeling, as does @Diri, that we have a bonhomie amongst us that equals or exceeds that of the Real Timers. I've noticed that there is almost no enmity in Syndieland - that we are like an outcast community of virtual friends who enjoy sharing CW experiences as well as life experiences. Not to say that I'm not going to disagree (pardon the double negative) with @Lola or @Red if they flame on an issue, but I do enjoy the esprit de corps that we have as the step children of Rex.

In addition, let me say that I view myself as somewhat of an iconoclast. This is the first blog I have ever posted to. I never even post on Facebook. But there is a camaraderie among Rex's NYT CW solvers that is entirely unique in my social experience, and I enjoy the intellect, the wit, and the, yes, smugness that accompanies reading and contributing to such a cool group of individuals that Rex has attracted.

In vino veritas.

Ginger 12:44 AM  

I'm retired, and it's weeks like this that make me wonder how I ever found the time to work. And trying to solve a puzzle at 2:00 am does not bode well for finishing it. At least that's the excuse I'm using for Thursday's entry. As for today's (Fri), I started it early, then picked it up later. And WOW, I DID IT! I did not find it 'easy'; to me it was challenging. I can't even imagine how difficult is must be to construct it. Thank you JK.

Reading the posts by the prime time players is enlightening, and has helped my solving experience. But, thanks to syndieland commenters.

Starbucks (shout out Seattle) does have a nice fresh smell, but when I see 'aroma' I think cinnabon.

@Tobias, if you get this, the grief of losing a best friend is the price we pay for all the unconditional love and fun they give us. IMO, it would be awful never to have had that kind of companionship. And, goldens are a special gift.

Now, back to Thursday and Friday blogs!

Ginger 12:52 AM  

Oops - that's Wed. and Thurs.

Anonymous 12:32 PM  

Not nearly as enjoyable to solve as yesterday's (which I did today, which is actually tomorrow, which is atually 34 days ago) but some nice long answers.

My only slip was misspelling ISaia early on, which led me to confidently write in crIeS at the start of 39a. Corrected most of that through the crosses but I forgot to revisit that C, so I was left with cEATS ONES BREAST.

The wife played a trick on me yesterday, substituting my usual IMITATION BUTTER with the real thing. I couldn't tell the difference. When she finally told me, I exclaimed "I can't believe it's not I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!"

Thank you, I'm here all week! Please remember too tip your cocktail waitress! Goodnight everybody!

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