Fish salted for bacalao / WED 3-28-12 / Splitsville resident / Bygone muscle car / American Leaguer since 1954 / 1974 John Wayne film

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Constructor: Joe DiPietro

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: Stuff of People — familiar phrases following a "___ OF ___" pattern are clued as if the word following "OF" were someone's first name. Thus:

  • WORK OF ART = 18A: Man's labor?
  • CRACK OF DAWN = 23A: Woman's flippant remark?
  • ARTICLES OF FAITH = 37A: Woman's journalism? 
  • BUNDLE OF JOY = 53A: Woman's package? (?!) [if you discovered the woman you picked up had a "package," I doubt you'd think of it as a "BUNDLE OF JOY" ...]
  • BOARD OF ED = 59A: Man's plank? 

Word of the Day: TINO Wallenda (41D: One of the flying Wallendas) —
The Flying Wallendas is the name of a circus act and daredevil stunt performers, most known for performing highwire acts without a safety net. They were first known as The Great Wallendas, but the current name was coined by the press in the 40s and has stayed since. The name in their native German, "Die fliegenden Wallenda", is an obvious rhyme on the title of the Wagner opera, "Der fliegende Holländer" ("The Flying Dutchman"). [...] Tino Wallenda, Karl's grandson, started on the high wire at age seven. He is the family patriarch of the Flying Wallendas and is still performing (2008) the Seven-Man Pyramid with his daughters and son, his brother-in-law Sascha Pavlata, son-in-law Robinson Cortes and family friend Jade Kindar-Martin. (wikipedia)
• • •

Not much to say here. Fine and forgettable. This felt much easier (both in terms of content and cluing) than most Wednesdays. Didn't set any record times, but was a good minute faster than last week. All the clues felt exceedingly straightforward. The only things that threw me were [Spiral shape] (I had CURL not COIL); [Like some amusement park passes] (I had ALL-AGE not ALL-DAY); [Conk] (I had BEAT not BEAN); and the Wallenda clue (like I know all the damned Wallendas, come on—my TINO started out as a TINA). The best part of this grid is clearly IN A JIFFY (40D: Right away), though I also like EX-WIFE (6D: Splitsville resident)—something about the odd "XW" combo (also, great clue). Honestly, I can't think of a damned thing to say about this puzzle that I haven't already said, so maybe some bullets, and then goodnight.

  • 15A: Added, in commercialese (XTRA) — "commercialese" is not a word I've seen much, if at all. Wonder if it would fly as an answer in its own right.
  • 34D: 1974 John Wayne film ("MCQ") — would never have known this movie existed were it not for crosswords. Other grid regulars include RUHR, INCA, GTO, LUAU, and HEDY Lamarr.
  • 45D: The Clash's "Rock the ___" ("CASBAH") — That's Monday-easy for me. You just handed me all those delicious first letters in the SW corner. Too easy to tear through a puzzle that's so generous with its cluing.

  • 46D: American Leaguer since 1954 (ORIOLE) — mildly interesting, in that the clue sort of appears to want a specific human being, but the answer is instead a team mascot. [On second thought, as someone pointed out in Comments, that "specific human being" would have to be very, very old for a Major League ballplayer... maybe this hypothetical "human being" was a ballplayer who went directly on to coach and manage ... in the American League ... and is now roughly 80 ... ?]
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. because my mom will want to see it, here's a picture of me—yesterday's Binghamton University "Photo of the Day"


foodie 12:07 AM  

I think that Tuesday and Wednesday got switched this week.

I liked this puzzle. It managed to use totally standard phrases, not distort them and recast them. Good show!

My only objection is BOARD OF ED... Is that a reference to EDUCATION? Don't people go ahead and say the whole word? My favorite is BUNDLE OF JOY...

jae 12:09 AM  

Finally, the Mon. puzzle shows up.  No pauses and no erasures.  And, I agree with what Rex said about the theme.   

For some reason 18a brought the recent leprechaun puzzle to mind?

Evan 12:12 AM  

I think the idea was clever and like almost everything in the grid, but like @foodie, I also object to the answer to 59-Across. I'll expand on foodie's comment by asking, isn't BOARD OF ED cheating a little bit? Consider:

A) It's an abbreviation for Education where the other theme answers do not include abbreviations, so it's inconsistent.

B) The clue itself doesn't have an abbreviation to signal that there would be one in the answer -- though I'll admit I'm not sure how one would do that since we're treating the theme answers as "[Action] of [man/woman's name]" rather than the actual phrase.

C) Does anyone really say BOARD OF ED, either in writing or in conversation? I've heard people call it by its full name (BOARD OF EDUCATION), I've heard people refer to it simply as Board (as in the famous Supreme Court case Brown v. Board), but BOARD OF ED seems, I dunno, off. Perhaps it shouldn't; after all, we shorten the word education for terms like Sex-Ed and Phys-Ed. But I've never heard BOARD OF ED used in that sense before.

Anonymous 12:20 AM  

Rex - ORIOLE. 1954 to now would be one helluva long time for any player to be playing. But you were close. An ORIOLE is not the mascot but the baseball player on the Baltimore team. Clearly this puzzle did not rouse your interest for whatever reason and you mailed it in tonight. But you're entitled.

I liked the puzzle...a lot....


pk 12:48 AM  

Agree with Rex and jae - puzzle was easy and Monday-ish. I guess I will print this one out for Mother rather than Tuesday's.

Certainly a lot of the usual suspects showed up tonight, which is what made it so straightforward.

Was all set to be upset by the theme as I thought it was going to revolve around gender stereotypes, but then it just turned out to be names, so I couldn't work up to being offended, really. Might have been a nice touch to work in "A Boy Named Sue" or some such.

Like it that the female names are so sparkly - Dawn, Faith, Joy - and the guy's names are okay, too -Art and Education!

@Rex - Thanks for the Rock the Casbah. Hadn't thought of that song in ages. Had to do a little happy dance which caused the BBD to look quite befuddled.

Also had to try to see if typing in IRobot/Roomba would mess with the mind of the anti-robot robot.

Tobias Duncan 12:53 AM  

BOARDOFED was the first theme answer to fall and I wish it wasnt because I hated it and it tainted the whole puzzle for me.
The only stuff that slowed me down at all today were names I did not know.I beat yesterdays time by several minutes.

Spring in Taos is beautiful, come visit, my new guest room is done!

Anonymous 1:43 AM  

Ew. Article of Faith? Bundle of Joy?

And Work of Art??

Santorum much?

pk 1:53 AM  

@anon 1:43 - oh gawd that sounds like a bible verse...I don't think there is any Santoruming going on in this puzz

chefwen 2:37 AM  

Watched a recent showing of The Amazing Race where the Travelocity gnome was a big feature, mentioned to my husband that I needed one of those to watch over my herb garden. He groaned, but I think that would be very cool.

Super easy for me also. Only write-overs were IN A SECO before I figured out that I needed an extra square to finish second at 40D and my detergent choice was All before ERA.

I agree that we are juggling days again, but this one was a lot of fun. @Rex - You had me choking on my wine with your Woman's package comment.

Anoa Bob 3:13 AM  

Thought "dorado" would be the answer for 30A "Golden, in Mexico". Didn't fit.

Seems like another example of a gratuitous plural in a theme entry to make the letter count fit in ARTICLES OF FAITH (37A).

Hand up for never having heard or seen BOARD OF ED.

Anonymous 5:53 AM  

Where I come from (Indiana) we often use the term Board of Ed. I guess it's a regional thang.

Z 7:12 AM  

I'm offended that we are taking the Christ out of XTRA.

BOARD OF ED is a very common shortening here in Michigan, or "the Board," or just "The Seven" (think "Nazgul" as you read it and you'll hear my intonation).

@anon/JFC- Al Kaline has been an ALer since 1953, any Tiger fan will tell you so.

Rob C 7:37 AM  

For 18A couldn't help but think of the puzzle from two weeks ago - WORK O' FART, maybe cled as "Tire tracks" - yeah, I know I should have kept that to myself.

Also, Rex's comments on CURL vs. COIL reminded me of my long-gone grandfather who spoke with a heavy NY accent in which words such as oil and boil were pronounced "url" and "burl". I don't think anyone still speaks like that.

GILL I. 7:51 AM  

Nice,safe, old time feel puzzle.
9, 11, 15, 11, 9. I like the theme answers sequence.
I went looking for some JIFFY, up-to-date words but they all seemed to want to linger around the era of when mastodons became extinct. TEASE, CHARM, FRAY, YAK even very old FODOR.

GILL I. 7:59 AM  

P.S. @JohnV: Welcome to the world of perpetual smiles....

joho 8:02 AM  

I was done with this "Monday" puzzle INAJIFFY.

@Rex, I knew you'd make a comment about a "Woman's package?" I thought the same thing.

And, @jae ... I, too, couldn't help parsing 18A with an Irish accent!

I wish the clues had been cleverer and the theme answers zingier. ARTICLESOFFAITH is kind of bland for the center 15.

evil doug 8:03 AM  

Joy has a package, but Dawn has a crack. Maybe they got together after the Splitsville....

Loren: Dogsled!


John V 8:05 AM  

First, may I say thank you to all who offered kind words yesterday on seeing pictures of my grandaughter and family. It is my pleasure to share such a joyous moment with friends.

Except for one little spot, this was easy, certainly easier than yesterday. I just could NOT see EQUAL, I suppose because I never put sweetener in my coffee. Never heard of MCQ until March 28, 2012. Same with RIEL, which I wanted to be RIAL.

We say BOARD OF ED in Norwalk, CT, commonly with unprintable words appended and prepended to that phrase.

Really liked the theme which I found fun and clever. Great density -- 55 if I count correctly -- with good fill to boot. That's pretty cool. SE got a tad dicy, what with ADFEE, ETC, ORALB, but that's a nit.

Thanks, Joe DiPietro, for another good one.

Tita 8:05 AM  

Hoorah for salt COD! (Bacalhau in Portuguese). Fishermen had to preserve their catch in pre-frig days by salting it for the months-long trip back from Cape COD to Portugal.
It is one of my all-time favorite kinds of food.
Lots of other food too: SPECK (German for ham), EGGY, BEAN...

Almost Natick'd at McQ and the Nutrasweet rival, because I had RIaL in my wallet, leaving A_UAL to not ring any bells.

Board of Ed is how it is said in these parts...

Love the ref to the o' parsing - lol!
Happy Wednesday all!

jberg 8:09 AM  

Lots of fun, and nice gender symmetry in the theme answeres - women in the center, men on the edges.

I've heard BOARD OF ED a lot, even though I live in Massachusetts, where we have "school committees" instead (and PTOs instead of PTAs). But I grew up in Wisconsin.

The only think I didn't like was ALGA - not a word anyone would ever use in any context, as far as I know.

orangeblossomspecial 8:18 AM  

The Beach Boys recorded little GTO (7D), Pontiac's muscle car. Back in the days when Plymouth Barracudas came in alarming colors.

Hoagy Carmichael composed Baltimore ORIOLE (46D).

Who could forget Baja Men's Who let the dogs out?, which seems appropriate for 27D's "Sound from a pound".

Sue McC 8:20 AM  

Overall, a quick and easy Wednesday. But for some reason the clue for 31 Across "Not stay rigid" (BEND), felt really clunky to me.

LOL @RobC...would be "Skid marks" around here :-)

Jp 8:22 AM  

I had to google for MCQ and RIEL but otherwise this felt easier than a typical Tuesday. I was slightly discomfited
to see in 18A the "F" so close to "ART". I thought to myself what the $&@?!. Just does feel right for a family oriented puzzle.

dk 8:23 AM  

A line from Emotional Weather Report: I'm so horny the CRACKOFDAWN better not come creepin around here.

Tita, your love of salted COD scares me, sez the fisherman's grandson.

*** (3 Stars) easy but fun... Like ??, chortle

Albert Shanker 8:23 AM  

In NYC "Board of Ed" is the common usage.

Boog Powell 8:28 AM  


Baltimore Orioles (1954–present)

St. Louis Browns (1902–1953)
Milwaukee Brewers (1894–1901)

David 8:30 AM  

Tuesday was 6+, today was 5+, so yeah, they were switched up.

@John V, I lived in the next town over for 13 years, Westport, and most definitely echo your unprintables comment re: BOARD OF ED. Also echo yours and Tita's RIAL/RIEL writeover, I almost missed EQUAL as a result (ADUAL/MCD?)

And, had a big flip-flop on DOGSLED, confidently tossing in SLEDDOG first.

George Michaels 8:52 AM  

'if you discovered the woman you picked up had a "package," I doubt you'd think of it as a "BUNDLE OF JOY"'

Speak for yourself, Rex

jesser 8:57 AM  

I don't use artificial sweeteners OR sugar, and I had RIaL at 33D, so I got the crap Naticked outta me at the saloon where John Wayne sauntered in and ordered Q. Poot.

'Rock The Casbah' brings back memories of college. As does 'If I Had a Rocket Launcher,' by Bruce Cochburn.

Took me longer than I want to admit to see the theme, but once I did, those all pretty much flew into place. BOARD OF ED didn't bother me, except to the extent it reminded me that Coach Porter employed his own BOARD OF EDUCATION on those of us who misbehaved in gym class in junior high. It was a wicked thing, and he was unafraid to take a full swing (or several). Those were the days.

There is a mobile home park in Las Cruces called Encantada Park. There's something in the air over there -- maybe radon -- that compels its residents to compete for DE ORO in Lawn Ornamentation. Garden GNOMEs, ceramic deer, fake shrubbery, alarmingly weird shit everywhere. I drive through there for sport.

And I second Tobias. Springtime in Taos is incredible. Go.

Happy Hump Day! I'm off work until Monday, so I may or may not check back in before then.

chefbea 9:08 AM  

Way back when father took me to all the baseball games in St. Louis. The Cardinals and the Browns. Then in 1954 the Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles. I'm still a cardinal fan.

And two days in a row we have batters....having nothing to do with baseball.

Fun easy puzzle.

Loren Muse Smith 9:10 AM  

My resolve this morning was to make myself complain about something. Oh well. This one’s just too elegant. Aside from AD FEE feeling a bit forced, at least for me, I thought this was a smooth WORK OF ART.

After COT, I had to sniff around to look for other gimmes. Glad I held back from “feeble” for UNABLE and “button” (belly) for SCREEN. Really liked GRR, WOOF, and YAK all in one puzzle.

@Z – I wish I’d thought of your X crack!!! Good one!

For some reason, I always want to spell the grill Webber and the Infamous Fab Five Time Out Caller WEBER. (For what it’s worth, he did not lose that game for Michigan. We were winning when he called that time out.)

@Evil – Yep. As an avid musher, I got a kick out of the DOGSLED/GNOME cross. Yeah, yeah, the Iditarod ends in Nome. Not GNOME. Just sayin.’ Dad and I volunteered with the Iditarod one year and it was a total hoot. GRR. WOOF.

More on GNOME. When I was a long term 8th grade English sub, I pleaded with my students to come up with, um, crunchier nouns when we made up sentences. Garden GNOME and upholstery tacks were a couple of our go-to phrases.

JC66 9:28 AM  

@ Albert Shanker

I wonder how many here know who you are.

jackj 9:38 AM  

The Y chromosome crowd gets short shrift, with one less theme entry than the ladies’ and blander answers to boot. No surprise, since we men only seem to be allowed to shine as peacocks but, admittedly, WORKOFART can’t hold a candle to ARTICLESOFFAITH.

Quite a clever theme from Joe DiPietro, (known to that band of merry folks in the “Cru” as “Cakey”), and he didn’t skimp on the fill either with nice touches like RIFE, FRAY and EGGY, which Joe liked so much he gave us the same clue he had used for it 9 years ago, (which is better late than never on the recycling).

The best of Joe’s fill entries was INAJIFFY which made its Times debut today, thus allowing it to serve as a sort of stalking horse and helped elevate BUNDLEOFJOY beyond predictable maudlin triteness.

A nice puzzle; thanks for a nice PIECEOFCAKE(y) to go with our morning CUPOFJOE

quilter1 9:58 AM  

Easy but not bland. I liked all the same answers most others did. I got the theme at CRACK OF DAWN and everything fell into place.

@chefwen: I think I've seen the Expedia GNOME in a Hawaiian shirt before. I wonder if they exist.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:58 AM  

Fine puzzle, IMHO.

Here in suburban New Jersey, BOARD OF ED is definitely a common expression, and in a small town like mine, we tend to know all the members of the Board personally (or have one as your brother-in-law).

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

Note that Rex still cites 31st best. Just checked the results of this year's contest but did not see his name (Michael Sharpe) listed. Thought he was competing.

Evan 10:31 AM  

@Anonymous 10:14:

He was sick this year and didn't compete as he had hoped to.

Two Ponies 10:45 AM  

Solid grid but rather bland.
Garden gnomes creep me out.
@ jesser, There's a house in Vegas that has a yard to rival your entire trailer court. I drive by it for sport too.

Tobias Duncan 11:06 AM  

Board of ed is clearly in the language for many of you.I wonder if it is an east coast thing? As a person with no TV living in a small town I tend to miss a lot.

jae 11:24 AM  

@orangeblossom -- That's BAHA Men. They show up in puzzles on occasion and the J can cause one problems (I know).

efrex 11:37 AM  

Not much to add here. Definitely would've been fine with yesterday's and today's puzzles being swapped. Fine theme, and other than the unfortunate double-foreign word entries of DEORO and LEROI, enjoyable throughout. "Board of Ed" is certainly in the language for New Yawkers, and, MTARARAT aside, all the longer fill answers were fun and fresh. Didn't know MCQ, but not hard to work from crosses, so no foul there.

A bit early in the week for Mr. DiPietro, no? Good to see you on this side of the Thursday divide!

Tita 11:46 AM  

My garden is named "Gnomes in the Moss".
The patriarch of my husband's Irish family had a reputation for his many "dirty gnomes", of which we now have 2.

My mother will paint any kind of outfit on them, as she did ours...!

In Bavaria, there was quite a FRAY when IKEA ran ads announcing their latest new store with a GNOME laying across the railroad tracks, headline saying "Despair not - Ikea is coming!"

Jumping in front of trains was a popular way to do away with oneself there, so the ad was considered in very poor taste indeed.

afrogran 11:47 AM  

Seemed like a Monday to me. NO erasures, no problems. I was disappointed, having looked forward to some mind-benders today.
What a crazy week this has been!

archaeoprof 12:00 PM  

@two ponies: garden gnomes creep me out, too.

Rock the CASBAH. So that's what that song says.

Masked and Anonymous 12:01 PM  

Well crafted grid. 9 F's. Only 6 S's. Almost as many U's. Really had a funky feel. Theme was fine, but maybe not the puz's most striking feature. Still, definitely got a thUmbsUp vibe, overall.

By the time I got to 63-A, wanted an EDFEE. Also was expecting "Seven Days in May", but, no... needs to have the "OF" word, I reckon. Maybe "Audacity of Hope" was on Joe's short list, at least.

P.S. "Hunger Games" was much better than I had my jaw set to expect. thUmbsUp.

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

Can someone pls explain 57D Grad for Sheepskin holder? Is that as in graduate? And sheepskin is some kind of diploma? Huh?

Rob C 12:24 PM  

@anon 12:19

Sheepskin is a term for a diploma

mac 1:29 PM  

Nice, easy Wednesday. De oro was the only one I really needed a couple of crossings for.

@Tita: is it true that Portugese girls have to know 100 ways to cook dried cod before they can get married?

I find gnomes creepy, too. I did like "Amelie", though.

Going to Fairfield U. tonight to hear Sarah Vowell on Author's Liberty as a Voice. She's so good.

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

@Mac - I'm going to Fairfield U next week to hear Joe Consonant in Author's Who Agree with Everything. I don't know why I'm going, he's such a mique-toast.

Anonymous 1:51 PM  

I'm sure we're all very proud of Jesser for sharing that she doesn't use sugar. GEEK ALERT

Bird 1:56 PM  

Finished in a good time for a Wednesday. Theme was nice, except, as others have said, “BOARD OF ED” is the only one that doesn’t really fit because it’s the only one with an abbreviation. I don’t know if there are other choices, but it doesn’t bother me (I say BOARD OF ED) enough to go searching.

@jae – That would have been a very funny answer. If allowed.

@Rob C – Dat’s a Brooklyn accent! My grandmother spoke like dat saying, “Flush the turlet” and “Meet me at the corner of Sixty-turd and Ave. T”. I miss her so and sometimes tawk like dat.

To those who find it sporting to drive by houses with GNOMES – is the sport skeet-shooting?

Happy Humpday!

Sparky 2:03 PM  

Naticked by MCQ. Had RIAL. Don't use artificial sweeteners. If I want it sweet I use cane sugar.

Once I got BUNDLEOFJOY, popped the OFs in where they seemed likely.

Solved yesterday in airport and on plane. Turbulence but no berserk pilots. Arrived safely and warm.

Days do seem kind of mixed up but a pleasant solve.

Sparky 2:08 PM  

Hay @1:51 Not funny.

Rob C 2:14 PM  

@Bird -
I grew up in Brooklyn and lived there until I was almost 30. Moved to Penn and been here ever since. The entire family is still there, so I get back often and I will never lose all of my Brooklyn accent. I used to live (and my parents still do) on East Turdy-turd (33rd to non-Brooklynites) and Ave S in the heart of Marine Park. You mentioned Ave T and 63rd - do you have any connection to the area?

JHC 2:28 PM  

I'm with the people who have no objection to BOARD OF ED. My fiancee is a NYC school teacher, and she says it all the time.

Only place I got hung up was misspelling FODeR for FODOR, and trying to figure out how [Towering] could mean LeFTY. I mean, we southpaws have been seven of the last eight presidents, but still.

Bird 2:30 PM  

@Rob C - My father's parents lived in an attached 2-family home in Mill Basin on E64 at Ave. T, just a few blocks from King's Plaza. I lived in Flatbush on E17 between Avenues Quentin and R until I was 8 before my parents moved us to the 'boibs on Long Island (funny how the "oi" and "ur" sounds get reversed). I too, will never lose the accent; "o-a-o, check out dem tree (3) blooboids in dat tree".

Rob C 2:36 PM  

I'm always amazed at how many people I meet from that immediate area. Anyone else??

Over my post limit - Bye.

orangeblossomspecial 2:39 PM  

@jae. Thanks! Too much spanish influence in my mind, I guess. At least I spelled GTO correctly.

Bird 2:49 PM  

@RoB C - Here's one for degrees of separation: the grandparents of a friend of mine from high school lived in Mill Basin and knew my grandparents!

3 and out. Cheers!

Anonymous 2:52 PM  

There is no "ONE" key.

Not A Robot 2:53 PM  

Does "CRACK OF DAWN" pass the breakfast test if clued differently?


Anonymous 3:00 PM  

@Anon 2:52 - You then have a defective phone. I strongly suggest you get another before you need to dial nine-one-one.

Lewis 3:29 PM  

I liked the theme. Does anyone remember it or a similar theme being used before?

When I was a schoolteacher we said Board of Ed all the time.

Felt easy for we Wednesday to me. Was expecting several sexual comments today and you did not disappoint.

sanfranman59 3:36 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)

Wed 10:09, 11:50, 0.86, 20%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:35, 5:53, 0.95, 39%, Easy-Medium

I completed this puzzle almost 4 minutes faster than yesterday's. Granted, I don't think I was hitting on all cylinders when I solved yesterday's puzzle, but still, I think Will got his Tuesday and Wednesday puzzles mixed up this week (an amazingly rare event). Yesterday's solve times place it in the Easy-Medium Wednesday range.

foodie 4:02 PM  

@SanFranMan, thanks, as usual, for your ongoing feedback!

I'm happy that my QDI (Quick & Dirty Index, although I like the Q and Sleepy Index of @archaeoprof) can readily pick up such swings in difficulty, telling the difference between a Tuesday-level vs. Wednesday difficulty.

My impression is that there have been more "misplaced" puzzles of late, as if whatever tool Will uses to rate the difficulty level is slightly off these days? Is this true? I don't have systematic data, just an impression...

John V 4:11 PM  

@foodie. Re difficulty, I share your impression. Perhaps Will's workload gets crazy pre-ACPT?


@anonymous 1:51

Hey! No snarky remarks here!!

Anonymous 5:18 PM  

um jesser is a dude,
not that theres anything wrong with that

oren muse 5:41 PM  

Attempting a Wednesday was a big step for me, and I actually didn’t do too bad. I didn’t finish but was pleased with what I did get. A little discouraging that everyone was talking about how easy it was.
On SLEDDOG. Loren and I did go and help out one year in Anchorage. I can brag that I’ve been bitten by a real Iditarod SLEDDOG. We were taking the dog handlers class so that we would be qualified to help a musher at the start (each musher has 8 adults to help hold back the dogs, and the potential of becoming dragging anchors was very real). As I walked past a line of dogs, damned if one of them didn’t reach up and bite my rear.

Masked and Anonymous 5:57 PM  

@oren muse: Yep... there's a few varmints around here that'll bite a dude in the ass for no good reason, too.

Peace on Earth, good Will toward crossword solvers.

Tita 6:27 PM  

@mac...My mom never heard of the requirement of knowing 100 bacalhau recipes...
She does, however, have a recipe book for 365 recipes...

Of course, 300 of those recipes are vatiations on egg, onion, potato, and olives!!

@dk - I invite you for dinner when you are next in town...I won't send you to a restaurant, as I have never found one this side of the pond that serves it well. Probably the reason that most people don't like it!

Tita 6:42 PM  

Synchronicity - my mom is serving a bacalhau souffle!!

JenCT 6:43 PM  

@Rob C & @ Bird: Marine Parker here, too...

BOARD OF ED common in CT.

One of my t-shirts has a picture of a GNOME on it with the writing, "Gnome sayin'?"

John V 7:01 PM  

@JenCT: Such and iGNOMEnious remark!

chefwen 7:21 PM  

@quilter1 - I'll have to look around for one of those Hawaiian shirts. I'm almost done with the Quilts and the Underground Railroad book, will forward to you when I finish.

Nanook 7:25 PM  

@Oren - Suggestion #3 in the Assistant Handler's Handbook for the Iditarod clearly states that one shouldn't keep a hamburger in the rear pockets when around the dogs. You should have heeded!

Anonymous 7:36 PM  

@Z - And Al Kaline was born in Baltimore.

BTW if you Google Al Kaline you get Alkaline, which might get you real power or reduce the acidity of comments here....

Where did the leprechaun find a WORKOFART? At the CRACKOFDAWN.

sanfranman59 10:02 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 7:39, 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

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

dd 10:31 PM  

Nice Binghamton U. "Photo of the Day", Rex! (Or did I steal your Mom's line?)

miriam b 10:32 PM  

@Tita -

All this talk of salt cod has me wanting to make a batch of Féroce d'Avocat, which is basically a mixture of avocado, salt cod, manioc flour and hot pepper, served as an appetizer with crackers. Friends brought me an Antillean cookbook on their return from a trip to Martinique, and I zeroed in on this recipe. It's SO good.

It's not easy to soak cod around here, what with four cats trying their utmost to get into the refrigerator to help.

Sparky 10:44 PM  

@Bird, RobC, JenCT; Bay Ridge here. Had accent but in 5th term at FHHS we had serious speech coaching because "You will never get into an Ivy League college with that accent." And at Brooklyn College we had serious speech training to pass the Board of Ed speech test. Never went fully away and comes back when I get tired.

mac 10:45 PM  

@Tita and @Miriam: my favorite is brandade de morue.

Sarah Vowell was fantastic tonight.

Tita 11:49 PM  

I am surely over my limit, but can't stay away from the cod talk!
@Miriam - pls share - that is most certainly NOT typical...I must try...
@mac - that is a French classic for sure.

@Sparky - fascinating re: your accent reduction.

Acme who is Bored of Ed 12:11 AM  

They did the same when we moved from NY to Minnesota...they made us take speech lessons, doncha knooow.
Back in Minnesota now and bicycled for the first time in 30 + years and my crack of dawn really hurts...
Speaking of which, hope to meet up with dk, sethg, and the new dr pepper!

jedlevine 1:41 AM  

@jc66: I clicked on your wikipedia link because the name Albert Shanker sounded familiar to me too, and find out that the UFT President Albert Shanker died in 1997!

@Anonymous 12:19pm: Originally, diplomas were made of thin sheepskin, as paper wasn't economically viable to create due to the lack of skilled workers since the fall of Carthage (famous for its paper) to Rome (from wikipedia).

True, we here in NYC still use "Board of Ed," but in actuality, when restructured in 1992, the name changed from the "Board of Education to the "Department of Education."

Solving in Seattle 1:38 PM  

This enjoyable puzzle should have been switched with yesterday's.

Loved DOGSLED and GNOME crossing.

Thought "Branches of study" a weak clue for AREA.

I bet Mr. DiPietro enjoyed the leprechaun puzzle of last month - WORKOFART indeed. Lot's of potential in this puzzle for ribald humor of which the RTers took full advantage.

If I ever learn how to spell ORIeLE then BeARDOFED might make sense.

Also wanted Dorado for "Golden in Mexico." Thought maybe a rebus at first.

RTers discussion of bacalhau made me think they were too hung up on capchas.

Speaking of which...
Capcha: aintherv. A type of motorist I will never be.

connie in seattle 2:36 PM  

@robc - Paula Deen pronounces "oil" and "boil" as
ole and bowl. Drives me nuts,

Dirigonzo 4:47 PM  

When I read the clue at 21d, Fish salted for bacalao, I wrote "Tita" in the margin because I knew she would comment on it - I did not expect to see so may other join in on the topic. I swore off salted cod of any variety a long time ago.

When I was in college I had a GTO that I bought brand new with money I earned from my summer construction job - to replace it today would cost at least ten times the original purchase price.

The store where I work sells WEBER grills, so no problem there.

INAJIFFY can also mean NOT right away, as in, "I'll do it in a jiffy but I need to finish this first".

Needed all the crosses for Christina RICCI and TINO Wallenda.

I really hope @Acme who is Bored of Ed's crack of dawn feels better by now - that must have been some bike trip!

Seattle is well represented here today.

Solving in Seattle 5:26 PM  

I too worked construction in college a couple of summers - roofing carpenter one year and hod carrier another. I drove to and from the job site in the brand new GTO of the son of the owner of the construction company. The car gave us an AURA. Beach parties after work with many of them ending up at THECRACKOFDAWN. Ah, sweet youth...

Capcha: sprte gyala. A beach party with keg ONTAP.

Spacecraft 6:24 PM  

We're all on our best behavior with the CRACKOFDAWN thing; Why yes, of course--a flippant remark. What else could one mean? [Interesting that it crosses with COCA.]

Ah, but now I must leave to observe the Ascot Gavotte. Thank you, TCM!

Solving in Seattle 11:55 PM  

@Diri, I forgot to mention that WEBER was also a no brainer for me - I've got one on my patio.

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