Seminal 1902 sci-fi film / TUE 3-6-12 / Raccoon relative / Time Machine leisure class / Silvia mother of Romulus Remus

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Constructor: Wesley Johnson

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "So what?!" — that is the clue for four 15-letter answers
Word of the Day: Zero MOSTEL (CLUE) —
Samuel Joel “Zero” Mostel (February 28, 1915 – September 8, 1977) was an American actor of stage and screen, best known for his portrayal of comic characters such as Tevye on stage in Fiddler on the Roof, Pseudolus on stage and on screen in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Max Bialystock in the original film version of The Producers. He was blacklisted during the 1950s, and his testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities was well-publicized. He was a Tony Award and Obie Award winner. (wikipedia)
• • •

Got a full eight hours sleep for once, but this means I went to sleep when I would normally have been doing the puzzle. And now I have almost no time to write because I teach in two hours. So, to be brief:

Theme is fine. All the phrases work. I like that they're all grid-spanners. Unfortunate drawback is that there is no other long(er) fill to make the grid interesting. Mostly 4s and 5s. Solid, but dull.

I could *not* process the "W" in NOW ON / AWOL (15A: Currently airing / 7D: M.P.'s target). Just didn't compute. Can't ever remember seeing NOW ON in a grid, and M.P.s, to me, are Members of Parliament ("Why would they have a 'target?'"). My brain might have just failed to warm up properly, since I solved this literally minutes after waking up. But I blew through the rest of the grid, so maybe I have no excuse.

That is *not* a famous Kelly Clarkson song (59D: Kelly Clarkson's "___ One Will Listen") ("IF NO"). I own two of her albums. I've seen her in concert. I have never heard of that song. It's on an album ("All I Ever Wanted") that had five singles. "IF NO One Will Listen" was not one of them. The other partial in this grid, "A TRIP", also threw me pretty badly (32D: "___ to the Moon" (seminal 1902 sci-fi film)). But both partials were work-aroundable.

OK, Gotta go. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Z 7:06 AM  

A puzzle with an attitude on a Tuesday. That seems appropriate.

Just a couple of hiccups along the way, triM before PERM, DOES iT CONCERN ME before DOESN'T, and I was writing Aide before my brain processed that it was clued as an abbr. Otherwise, straight forward solve this morning.

My alarm clock radio station was talking about today being the 100th birthday of the Oreo. My first thought was, "Didn't Hydrox come first?" My second thought was, "Hmm - I wonder if that is why @Rex needed more ways to clue 'Oreo.'" Fortunately, it wasn't.

Evan 7:11 AM  

I'm with Rex on the complete inability to process the W at the NOW ON/AWOL crossing. The only answer that seemed to make sense in my brain was NOT ON. I couldn't shake the feeling that it was wrong, because if is something is "currently airing," it is on, and not NOT ON. And the clue for 7-Down, I think, is pretty tricky for a Tuesday, so in went ATOL and Mr. Happy Pencil never showed up. Blasted W. If only I had run through three more letters of the alphabet I'd have seen it....

ArtLvr 7:17 AM  

Re 32D, A TRIP to the Moon", I was just reading about the 1902 film yesterday... Poor Georges Méliès was the creator of the film “Le Voyage dans la Lune”, combining ideas from two authors’ books, but Thomas Edison pirated it for US consumption and never paid the creator any royalties! TAE was a genius, but he also stooped to a number of despicable ploys. Very sad.

Loren Muse Smith 7:21 AM  

I didn’t need an initial tour around looking for gimmes, working this from top to bottom with no poking around elsewhere. That’s a good thing, because I would have written “sudsy” for SOAPY, “twirl” for ORBIT, “dane” for POLE, and probably some others. @Z – I was filling in Aide, too, when I noticed the abbr.

The theme was a good one for me, (hey – I DID live in Jersey) but at 49A, rather than that complete sentence, I would have rather seen a fragment like NOTMYPROBLEMPAL to match the other three fragments.

45D (“Me, too”) is like those playground retorts; the possibilities are so great that the only way to get them is through the crosses.

Liked TWANG, the fresh cluing for PUMP, and the clue and fill for ISE. I didn’t understand the cluing for NERDS. Does it have to do with those beanie hats with propellers?

This was a hissy puzzle with 16 fills beginning with S!

Thanks, Wesley. I enjoyed it.

(On my preview, I notice the word "working" seems to be some kind of link. What the heck is that about?)

Evan 7:25 AM  

In addition to my last comment, this puzzle had some fairly tricksy and ambiguous cluing throughout, causing me multiple write-overs. A hand up for each of the following:

* PEDI at 1-Across (a wrong answer right from the get-go)
* STASH at 41-Across
* SO DO I at 45-Down
* SLEW followed by A LOT at 60-Down
* TKO at 66-Down

I can't remember having that many wrong ideas on a Tuesday in quite a while, so I put this more in the Medium-Challenging category for me, even though all of the theme answers were relatively intuitive (and they all look nice, too).

dk 7:36 AM  

@Artlvr, see Hugo if you have not.

Snarky little thing this puzzle be.

Off to buy Oreos. New clue 100 year old snack? @Z thanks for the reminder. Sorry about your assimilation but, we are the Borg. MAFIA... Nothing but but a fly on our hive.

*** (3 stars) no color option on the pad. Nice job Mr. J.

Did you know that credit card companies and PayPal want to censor ebooks? Go to for the details and petition.

John V 7:47 AM  

Feels like Monday and Tuesday got switched on us this week. Only write-over was 10A, writing in OHMS initially (duh). Otherwise, just filled 'er in. Very easy Monday experience here.

Favorite clue, 24a, "Ones putting out feelers", ANTS; cool! I half expected a bit of indirection for 1A, "Slate offering", thinking the blog, but this is Tuesday, after all. Good, fun puzzle, Wesley Johnson. Thanks!

Anonymous 8:17 AM  

No skin off my *back*? I put NOSE.

Sue McC 8:31 AM  

Can't believe it...all the times OREO shows up and there are none today?

I was in a fog on this one. Slow getting started, and never really got into it. Was able to fill in most of the theme answers easily once a few letters popped in from crosses. Was just kind of so-so all around for me.

orangeblossomspecial 8:37 AM  

I always preferred Sunshine Hydrox to Oreos, but Hydrox is no longer available. Too bad for me.

AnnieD 8:52 AM  

I agree with @JohnV...felt like M and T were switched for me too...long clues fell easily and really had no issues anywhere.

"Trip to the Moon" always reminds me of my 13th bday gift was my gfs and I were taken to a local ice cream parlor for a "Trip to the Moon" which was a giant stainless steel bowl full of one scoop of each type of ice cream (probably 25 or so), covered with each type of sauce, then covered on top with whipped cream, and an upside down cone with a cherry on the top. The four of us managed to finish it off, spooning the last melted liquid in the bottom of the bowl like medicine, one to was a wonderful/awful/memorable experience.

David 8:53 AM  

As a kid I loved both Oreos and Hydrox, but one time I got the flu just after eating a few Hydrox, so I blamed it on the cookies and never ate them again. That psychosomatic bufoonery didn't keep me from continuing to enjoy Oreos, though.

Also had DOES IT CONCERN ME at first, and needed COULDNT CARELESS to figure out how to box my way out. Aside from the themers, only 4 answers had over 5 letters. Wow - never noticed these things until finding the blog...

chefbea 8:54 AM  

Very easy. @Loren I too wanted sudsy and twirl.

Favorite clue was Miss, after vows!!!

Wood 8:54 AM  

With 1 and 2 down in place, I tried to write in DOILOOKLIKEICARE off the DO. That would have been a great theme answer... ALAS, one letter too long.

Beat yesterday's time today.


jackj 9:03 AM  

“So what?!”


“So what?!’

That’s all? Whaddaya mean, “So what?!”

“It’s no big deal, that’s what!”

What’s no big deal?

“So what’s no big deal, that’s what”.


“Ah, just fuhgeddaboudit!”


Howard B 9:03 AM  

NOW ON was some nasty trickery. Messed me up pretty well.

As far as the Clarkson song, agree that it's kind of dirty pool. I've found, though, with those little irregular-bin phrases, their clues end up in another category: titles that aren't famous at all, but can be gleaned from the context. So you have to unravel the mini-puzzle of what words would make sense in the phrase, instead of trying to remember the title itself.
Hey, it helps to spackle up those rough spots in the fill. So that's all I can say there :).
Happy solving.

Ulrich 9:04 AM  

I'm with those who adhere to the switcheroo theory of our last two puzzles, day- wise (spelling checker didn't like this as one word). Was on the constructor's wavelength with this one from beginning to end. Experienced a strange diagonal down-right pull throughout, no doubt as a result of the grid shape.

retired_chemist 9:05 AM  

Liked it. With Rex on the high quality of the theme.

Smiled at A TRIP to the Moon because I had seen and very much enjoyed Hugo.

About 90 seconds spent realizing that 12A was not LADES. Note to self: Check the downs in reverse order first. Otherwise a fast (not Fat) Tuesday by my standards.

AWOL was a gimme. I think that clue is pretty common. No time today to check....

Objected to PIKES since the usual plural is, well, PIKE. But the clue contained fishes - so, points for consistency.

Thanks, Mr. Johnson.

Tobias Duncan 9:06 AM  

I was sitting in the coffee shop yesterday morning listening to all the buzz about the Taos Shortz film festival(no relation to the puzzle Czar)When two friends of mine came in excitedly saying that they had found the perfect woman for me.They explained that they had seen a very short documentary entry about a lovely, brilliant woman in San Francisco who constructed puzzles.
"Oh that must be Andrea I have know her for a while now, we email all the time!" I could feel my stock rising.Another friend chimed in with "Didnt you send me a link to a video about her a while back?"
Turns out the woman who interviewed ACME last year entered her short in the festival and it did pretty well.
I love living in a small town where people believe that I am actually in the same dating league as the Queen of Mondays.

The Puzzle today was easier than yesterdays by a good stretch. I had just about the exact same time but today I solved on paper which is usually a huge handicap for me.

Pete 9:15 AM  

I was irked by the lack of the pronoun at the start of the first two theme entries I entered, then more so when it appear in the third and not the fourth. It was akin to listening to a piano with one key out of tune, and only occasionally out of tune at that.

I had "I FOR one will listen" as my Kelly Clarkson song. I barely know of Kelly Clarkson's existence, much less any song she's famous for and very much less than any song she's not famous for. I do think that's a better title for a song than "IF NO..."

I'm not saying I'm proud that I don't know anything about Kelly Clarkson, I'm saying I'm old. Pop music is geared towards young folk, giving voice to their existence, celebrating their discovery of sex and romance, or offering platitudes in attempt to ameliorate the pains of young adulthood. I appreciated it when I was young. I looked at it with paternal smugness when I wasn't young, appreciating its necessity for those that were young. I'm old, and now it's all just a load of crap. You punks didn't discover sex or romance, it's been around for ever, get over your damned selves. You know what happens to you when something doesn't kill you? You live, but you're scarred for life. You may make something of the scarring, but it's still scarring. In the words of the eternal bard:

"If you're under thirty and not Rimbaud, shut the f!#k up.
If you're under thirty and are Rimbaud, please shut the f!#k up."
--Leonard Cohen.

I am one cranky old man!

joho 9:20 AM  

Cute theme.

I, too, couldn't parse NOWON for the longest time. Kept thinking NOWiN as a phrase. It wasn't difficult to get with AWOL, but still it just did't compute in my brain.

Only other trouble spots were SudsY before SOAPY and lOsER before GONER.

Fun Tuesday, thanks, Wesley!

Rookie 9:25 AM  

ICOULDNTCARELESS what day this was supposed to be. It was way easier than Monday. Someone got his days mixed up

Kevin 9:30 AM  

ATRIP to the moon is actually very topical considering Hugo was released on DVD this week!

Tita 9:34 AM  

SOlved this WAY too late last night...
Therefore, am unable to separate the annoyed theme from the puzzle, which I therefore found very annoying.
@David - similar to how you projected onto those blameless Hydrox cookies...

Only 1 mistake, IT instead of N'T.
Liked "The Time Machine" leisure class clue.

@AnnieD - our ice cream place called it the Kitchen Sink...I never got through it myself - kudos!

@Tobias - great story!!

@Ulrich - that diagonal shape detoured me to the right, and forced me back up through the grid.
(Wanna watch my instant replay?)

jesser 9:34 AM  

What @JohnV said. I blew through this one, mostly off the downs. I bet I did this in two thirds the time of yesterday's puzzle. That said, it was still fun, and it was nice to see OCHO Rios off the aft deck of yesterday's VALOR.

My favorite GONER of American literature is Sgt. T.S. Garp, the comatose father of John Irving's title character. Love that book.

I would like to write more, but my schedule is nuts, so I am not ABEL. Happy Tuesday, Rexville!

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

This just in PIKE (61A) is plural and singular. Like trout in the plural, there is no "S."

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

Malapop at 41 across..

"STOWE" would have meant "TWIPTOTHEMOON", a much later version starring E. Fudd.

archaeoprof 9:58 AM  

Looks like @JohnV is will get more votes today than Ron Paul.

This comes up once per year 10:01 AM  

@armagh - There are several species of PIKES, just as there are seveal species of trouts. If you caught three of one species,y you caught three pike. If you caught one each of three species you either caught three pike, if you don't care about the species, or three pikes if you care about the three species.

This applies to any animal where the plural and the singular are the same, if you use the plural you are referring to different species.

John V 10:14 AM  

@archaeoprof: Wow. Talk about damning with faint praise! :)

Two Ponies 10:29 AM  

Didn't care for the negative vibe of the theme entires.
Yep, Mon-Tues got switched.
@ Pete, You might be cranky but I enjoyed your rant.
@ Tobias, Funny story.
I have seen and love A Trip to the Moon. You folks have me curious about its connection to Hugo.
Now off to batten down the hatches.
70 mph winds predicted today!

Evan 10:39 AM  

@ Pete:

That's alright. I'm still part of the young crowd and I've basically always thought that hit pop music was a load of crap. Gimme Radiohead any day, every day over that.

(Although I will admit to being fond of Lady Gaga. I don't have to explain nothing to nobody! :)

Oh, and if anyone thinks the captchas are annoying now, try doing it on a smart phone. Pretty much impossible.

Sparky 10:52 AM  

Hand up for DOES IT. Amass before STORE, EkOI first. I never quite remember that one. Foamy before SOAPY. Trying to speed up as prep for ACPT by not erasing which worked okay. But missed lOsER for GONER due to poor proof reading. Win some, lose some.

Definition of NERDS seems to change with each clue. To me they wear plastic pen liners in shirt pocket but not propeller beanies.

Greg Charles 11:12 AM  

I pressed the wrong buttons and loaded a Saturday puzzle from 2010 by mistake. "This is the hardest Tuesday ever!" I thought in despair. It was a big relief to discover my mistake.

I'm genuinely surprised to hear that any Kelly Clarkson song could be considered famous.

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

I don't know much about Kelly Clarkson, but I do know that she really made it big after Idol, sold lots of records, etc. While some solvers object to not-exactly-famous titles in crosswords, I feel like if they fall into Howard B's category of "titles that aren't famous at all, but can be gotten from the context" they are totally legit.

jae 12:40 PM  

Zippy theme, smooth grid, pitched right for a Tues. (yesterday's took me longer)....what more could you want?

Toughest part for me was the middle where I needed to erase ONSET and AMASS.  

A fine medium Tues.!

treedweller 12:43 PM  

Since REx was behind and didn't have time to link it: So What!

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

OCHO/MOSTEL crossing is brutal, but mostly because of the cluing.

Obviously OCHO Rios is a layup for an experienced solver, but that doesn't change the fact that both MOSTEL and OCHO, as clued, are obscure proper nouns.

When there is such an easy workaround in the cluing for OCHO, there is no excuse.

Yawnfest of a puzzle. Theme answers are ok, I guess. Played very easy I thought.

Rube 12:52 PM  

The only slowdown for me was the "House of the Seven Gables" clue. Wanted Prince Edward Island or was it some other Maritime province? Then, when SALEM appeared, I realized I was thinking Anne of Green Gables. Decided to See if "...Seven Gables" was on Netflix. Did you know that Shirley Temple made a whole series of short movies, (including the Gothic ...Seven Gables as well as The Little Mermaid), and they are released as the "Shirley Temple Storybook Collection"?

It's mindboggling what you get from these xwords and their blogs.

Masked and Anonymous 1:23 PM  

This puz didn't even muss up the eraser, at our house. That, along with the four 15-letter "so what" phrases, seems just about right for a TuesPuz.

First three themers start with contractions, so wanted "AINT...suchandsuch" for 65-A. But that's getting pretty fussy. Need a new 6-letter contraction for NOTANYSKIN... Skain't?

Could've opened up the down alleys, I suppose, to give 31 a little more sustenance. On the upper left, AREYOUNUTS would be a great fit at 3-D. On the lower right (33-D), EXHILARATE was all I could think of. That X looks like fill trouble brewing, tho. Maybe if BACK was NOSE in 65-A?...

Gack. Starting to think too much like a constructor. Will go lie down (or watch reality TV), until feeling passes. Problem may be caused by mal-nourishment, due to bulletless Tuesday...

Susan 1:28 PM  

All I can say is that after Monday's puzzle which I found annoyingly difficult for a Monday, this one was a pleasant surprise. Started fast, stalled, and then picked up speed. Back to work!

Bird 1:54 PM  

Easy, straightforward puzzle. Thanks WJ. My only do-overs were ONSET for START and AMASS for STORE.

I was disappointed, though, that OREO and cousins OLEO, OLIO & OHIO didn't make it. Happy 100th Birthday Mr. Oreo!

@Tita - Curious where you ate the Kitchen Sink. There was a parlor in Rockville Centre, NY that used to serve the same. Something like 16 scoops of ice cream, a couple bananas and all kinds of syrup. We used to go there for birthdays - imagine 20 kids eating out of the same giant bowl. I'm sure it's served elsewhere, but wondering if you heard of Jahn's.

captchas "ilexis leply" morph into "sexy lie pill".

Tita 1:59 PM  

@Bird...YES!! It was Jan's...or Jahn's?
Was in Eastchester NY - don't think it's there any more. Didn't know there was more than one.
(And I never did it myself, though a brother-in-law could get through it on his own...!)

Anonymous 2:19 PM  

Guess all you non-veterans wouldn't get the M.P. clue - Military Police.

mac 2:24 PM  

I did not need the mood of this puzzle.
Noticed Econ. and Ecol., good placement.

lawprof 2:46 PM  

Lucky guess for me at the 62D (KALE) and 70A (ELOI) crossing, which, as I understand it describes a Natick -- where the solver is stymied by two crossed answers and has to guess at the common letter.

Actually, the term "Natick" doesn't work for me because I'm familiar with that Boston suburb (friends live there) and the Boston Marathon goes right through it. So it's probably not as obscure as many of us puzzlers would like to think.

Mighty Nisden 2:54 PM  

Hand up for fOAmy instead of SOAPY.

Took me forever to get MOSTEL - thinking only of the movie actor Topol. Never knew Zero was in the stage version.

Also had on now before changing to NOWON. Once I was through that the rest was not too bad.

Now time to eat some Oreos!

chefwen 3:04 PM  

Kind of a depressing puzzle, so much negativity. I did whip through it however with only one write over (because I ignored the Abbr.) and had to correct aide to ASST.

@Anon 2:19 - You were kidding, right?

jae 3:05 PM  

@lawprof -- You should check the definition of Natick in Rex's FAQ.

Bird 3:07 PM  

@Tita - Jan's could be right. It's been a long, long time. I Googled and Wiki has a page for it (it is Jahn's - the last one is in Queens). Here is the address (sorry I don't know how to paste as an active link):'s

Happy reading.

sanfranman59 3:13 PM  

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

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

Tue 8:04, 8:51, 0.91, 27%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:26, 4:35, 0.97, 45%, Medium

oren muse 3:14 PM  

First unaided comment from new enrollee, Oren Muse, 82 year old retiree.

During my recent visit with my daughter, she persuaded me to enroll.

Kudos to me for completing my second NYT puzzle without her help, which involved a bit of cussing, fussing and frustration (as much in working with my wife accessing it and printing it out - thanks so much chefbea - as the solving itself). I'm sorry I sold my set of encyclopedias thinking my wife knew every damn thing. Now I know!

Being a beginner and after reviewing the comments, I was surprised at some of the problems incurred with 7D, AWOL and 15A, NOWON, which I had no trouble with. I did struggle with 62D, KALE, for clue "Moolah" and 4D, MOSTEL. If these puzzles have a lot of Broadway references, I'm in for a tough row to hoe.

In closing....enjoyed the puzzles and comments very much.

efrex 3:19 PM  

Probably just have a fried brain after a long workday, but this played a little tougher than usual for me. Much more familiar with "no skin off my nose" than "no skin off my back," and Google backs me up on that (4x more popular), but "back" seems to be in popular enough usage...

Took a while around the short fill, but worked it through pretty straightforwardly nonetheless. Thanks, Mr. Johnson!

John V 4:03 PM  

@Oren Muse: Welcome and don't be a stranger, from a 64 YO, not yet retired, long time NYT puz fan.

Lewis 4:10 PM  

Seemed just right for a Tuesday, no big hitches, but some minor snags which were quickly fixed. Maybe NOSKINOFFMYBACK is more familiar to older people? Like @mac, I liked the symmetrical placement of ECON and ECOL.

A just right Tuesday on Super Tuesday.

chefbea 4:33 PM  

@oren Muse welcome to rexville. Glad I can be of assistance.

Loren Muse Smith 4:41 PM  

Dad - Yeah! You're going to get a kick out of this place. Fun, interesting people.

I didn't have a problem with AWOL and NOWON, either. I actually smiled at the newish feel to NOWON. Must run in the genes.

Way to go! I bet you can get through tomorrow's, too, if you're patient.

Anonymous 5:04 PM  

NOWON gives me an idea - a palindrome theme! Oh, never mind.

jackj 5:22 PM  

Welcome, Oren Muse!

We all go through various degrees of cussing, fussing and frustration, (especially on Saturdays), but, you needn't bemoan the loss of the encyclopedia set when you have google at hand.

Anonymous 5:22 PM  

@ Oren Muse, Welcome. I've been a Rexvillian for years and it's a vital part of my day. The recent addition of your daughter has been a good match.

aloha careless mafias 6:32 PM  

Strange! Now it all makes sense as I saw Regina's posting, she won an audience award for her short!!!!!!!!!!
(Wish I had known she was entering the fest, AND going to Taos, I would have come with her!!!!! Such a small world!)

But I am too old for everybody now, perfect woman for no one, including myself! Even my cat is beginning to question his relationship with me...

Now the filmmaker herself you should check out! Young, beautiful, sweet, smart, modest, wonderful film editor/now filmmaker!

As for the puzzle, totally agree on the Monday/Tuesday swap...and I have this nagging feeling I've seen it before, but I still loved it.
To have four perfect symmetric grid spanning entries with not a clunker in the bunch and so "spoken" and a great subject is wonderful.

ACPT has come thru, I'm packing already to come...Will is sort of letting me be an Ambassadress-at-large (which means I'll be collecting and distributing puzzles and sitting around in the lobby if anyone wants to hang!)

Stan 7:48 PM  

od solid theme for a Tuesday. Fun puzzle.

@Tobias, et al.: I can't embed but try to check this out

I especially liked Black Jack's cameo. The other films in the series are good too, and I'm glad to see them getting some festival recognition.

Andrea: You're not too old for anybody...

Stan 7:52 PM  

od solid theme = Good solid theme.

Z 8:08 PM  

@Pete - Great rant. Very in keeping with today's theme, "Popular music, so what?"

JenCT 10:56 PM  

@Bird and @Tita: (if you're still here! ) We used to split The Kitchen Sink among our entire table at Jahn's in Brooklyn (and yes, it's gone now.)

Liked the puzzle a lot.

sanfranman59 1:40 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 7:58, 6:50, 1.17, 95%, Challenging (8th highest median solve time of 141 Mondays)
Tue 8:10, 8:51, 0.92, 30%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:13, 3:40, 1.16, 94%, Challenging (10th highest median solve time of 141 Mondays)
Tue 4:17, 4:34, 0.94, 33%, Easy-Medium

acme 3:05 AM  

TO be fair, since I implied I'd done this before, COULDNTCARELESS has been a theme answer three times, but the others only had three theme answers and the other two entries in all cases were different...and no one has done four.

And I think San Fran man's statistics do bear out what most of us felt, that this was a Monday and yesterday was a Tuesday, whatever that means!

Red Valerian 12:30 PM  

Guess I'm the first from Syndi-Land.

@Pete--Yes, great rant! I just guessed at the Kelly Clarkson tune, and stared as 22A (kind of store) for far too long--surely "APP" is an abbreviation, no? (I liked the clue for 12D (Shell feature), as it really slowed me down but wasn't an age thing. Except insofar as everything is slowing me down...)

@Evan--So, do you really think that Radiohead isn't pop? I'd classify them as alt-pop, but pop nonetheless. Which is not to say they're not good!

I liked the SOAMI and SOAPY placement. And thanks to whoever it was who pointed out ECOL and ECON.

One of my pet peeves is people who say "I could care less" when that's not what they mean. grrr.

Spacecraft 12:57 PM  

Very easy, but kinda interesting. Four phrases that convey the same thing--and every one the same length. How do people stumble onto this stuff? Despite the noted lack of longer fill, I thought it had a little more oomph than most: MOSTEL, TWANGS, SOAPY. The -ISE thing is a stretch, but I guess legitimate enough. Didn't know whether it was SOAMI or SOdoI at first, and that was the only SNAG.

Agreed that the Monday and Tuesday entries this week should have been switched.

Solving in Seattle 1:27 PM  

First of all, I can't believe how many comments this @anonymous guy has.

Anyway, I agree with @anonymouns 8:17 - NOSKINOFFMYBACK? I've always heard "nose."

@Lawprof, had the same issue with the KALE/ELOI crossing. I guess I'm semi-literate, never having read "The Time Machine."

Nice to see Zero MOSTEL in the puzzle. If you haven't seen The Producer you haven't seen the funniest movie made.

Thanks, Wesley, from Syndiland.

Solving in Seattle 1:28 PM  

I'm sure sepllin gud taday.

Dirigonzo 4:41 PM  

Anybody who complains about this puzzle is an ALF/HOLE in my opinion (you really have to have been paying close attention to recent comments to know where that comes from, and I don't mean to offend anybody - I just wanted a chance to use the phrase). But I did love the puzzle - and yes, it was easier than yesterday's.

25a, "Beginnings of embryos", had me scratching my head for a while as all that came to mind were four letter words (well just one, actually) but then the crosses produced OVA and it all made sense. But still, doesn't something have to be added to OVA to produce embryos?

Yet another appearance of an eastern Canadian province with ONTario, but still no @Waxy - I'm getting worried.

Not even going to try "Preview" so please forgive typos (inappropriate content is all on me, though).

Ginger 6:00 PM  

Did this in a Dr's office this morning (took a friend)and even with all the ado, it fell rather smoothly. I, too, wanted 'nose' and sudsy, for a n-sec. Never heard of KALE for money, just lettuce, but I guess that explains it.

Nice to have a group of syndi-land (twilight zone) posters.

Ginger 6:05 PM  

@Dirigonzo, please do not change, this is one old lady that appreciates an 'inappropriate comment' or two or three.

Solving in Seattle 6:19 PM  

@Ginger, I've been following Rex's blog for a couple of months now and enjoy the analysis and humor shown by the regulars. It's really inspired me to look at a puzzle from many angles and to find the intended and unintended humor within. The Syndies are like the stepchildren of the blog as most of the meat of the puzzle was picked over five weeks previously, leaving us with the comment scraps. This crowd doesn't miss much. Anyway, I seem to see the same half-dozen or so syndie commenters daily and have found myself looking forward to reading their insights. Ciao.

capha: truccula fervail. Kind of sounds like a Roman cheer...

Ginger 6:34 PM  

@SIS, since coming here on a fairly regular basis, I find my enjoyment has increased, along with my solving ability. Puns just tickle the heck out of me (much to the groans of my family).
Incidently, I'm now watching the Rangers beat up on the Mariners, (UGH). I still hope that this season will be better....Oh well... I'm also a Washingtonian, though way south of Seattle.

Lurking, Just Behind You 6:35 PM  

I too have come to appreciate the commentary from Syndi-land. Let Bob and the rest have their Kurfuffles (ha) - but I like seeing the arguments and discussions about the administrivia of the puzzle run its course before I wade in.

I also like, because I have a few friends that comment here regularly, knowing of some of the Kurfuffles to come, once the puzzle in question is printed.

Dirigonzo 6:39 PM  

@Ginger - there is little liklihood that I will change, and it's nice to know that you appreciate the occasional "inappropriate comment". I promise to keep them coming. And the only reason I knew KALE was from an earlier appearance that caused several comments here, so it was imprinted in my mind.

@SiS - you are certainly right, five weeks later the pickings are slim but it is still enjoyable to read the solving experience and "Time Warped Insights" of other syndi-solvers. But now that email updates are back, we may hear from some of the prime-timers once in a while as several of them follow the conversation back here.

(Dictated but not read, as the old office disclaimer used to put it.)

Solving in Seattle 6:55 PM  

I think I'm at the max for comments, but I couldn't resist @Ginger's mention of the Mariners. They're just keeping up the Seattle sports tradition of being losers. Maybe this is the year. Wait, starting to sound like a Cubs fan.

Dirigonzo 7:05 PM  

(Damn, I love email updates!) @SiS - I don't think the "three and out" rule applies out here in the TWIlight zone, or at least nobody enforces it. We here in New England are used to our teams doing well in the regular season and then letting us down at the end. I'm not sure which is worse, eternal pessimism or false hope.

Solving in Seattle 7:25 PM  

@Dirigonzo, (I'm easily distracted today as I'm doing taxes.) Go Bowdoin Polar Bears!

I'll let you borrow my capcha roman cheer...


Dirigonzo 10:09 PM  

@SiS - "Go, Bowdoin Polar Bears!", indeed. I live about 15 miles from their home ice (until it melts due to "global warming", anyway). But it's time to do taxes, you say? I'll have to look into that. TRUCCULA FERVAIL!!!- wasn't that the rep[y to "ET TU, BRUTE?"

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