Source of Erebus Gaia in Greek myth / THU 3-29-12 / Rhône feeder / Carrier whose main hub is Kastrup airport / Cousin of a bittern / Big name in kitchenware / Electrician's alloy

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Constructor: Milo Beckman

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: The opening notes of "TWINKLE TWINKLE, Little Star" and the "NOW I KNOW MY ABCS" song — rebus puzzle with those notes across the ... middle ... sort of. (It's a 16x14 grid, so it's a little wonky):


Word of the Day: CARSON, CA (19A: Community near Los Angeles) —
Carson is a city in Los Angeles CountyCalifornia. As of the 2010 census, Carson had a total population of 91,714. Located 13 miles (21 km) south of downtown Los Angeles and approximately 14 miles away from the Los Angeles International Airport, it is known as a suburb of the city.[8] Incorporated on February 20, 1968, Carson is the youngest municipality in the South Bay region of Greater Los Angeles. (wikipedia)
• • •

An ambitious train wreck. Great idea to run the notes across the ... middle ... sort of, and NOW I KNOW MY ABCS works perfectly (in that you sing it to the tune of the notes on the left side of the grid), but then there's those notes on the right ... and nothing to sing them to ... and TWINKLE TWINKLE, which really only gets you through DO DO SOL SOL ... so the theme doesn't work. [Words sung to the beginning ...]—but what about the end notes? Again, great idea, but just Not There in the execution. Scrap. Drawing board. Next. Hey, HOW I WONDER WHAT is 14. Maybe you could shove YOU ARE in there somewhere. Symmetry would be blown, but at least those damned eastern notes would have something to do. Now, neglecting the fatal thematic flaw, the grid is not bad, and I always enjoy a rebus. Plus, the notes actually *did* (by the end), help me to get one of the answers (the SOL in SOLAR, to be exact) (44D: Kind of power), so fun was had. And I'll take ambitious over yawny (which many puzzles have been of late). But thematically this one just feels like a miss. Maybe a near miss, but still...

I thought the puzzle was actually pretty dang easy except for the whole center area. Even after I'd gotten the note / rebus thing, I had no idea what was going on song-wise, since I had only the eastern notes (broke through at ISERE; 24D: Rhône feeder) and couldn't / didn't sing them so had no idea what they represented. I thought maybe the western notes would be a mirror image. No. Once I finally broke NOW I KNOW MY ABCS open, I put it all together. Which reminds me—that damned SW corner (and, to a lesser extent, the NE corner) killed me a little. ROO instead of OWL (67D: Pooh pal) and DDE instead of IKE (69D: Two-time opponent of 32-Across). Ouch. Up top, I don't know / didn't remember CHAOS as a place (8A: Source of Erebus and Gaia, in Greek myth), and ["Shoot!"] always throws me, as my first idea for a synonym is always "DANG!" So even with -K in place, ASK didn't come right away. Everything else was pretty straightforward. The "L" part of SOL always surprises me, no matter how many times I see it written out. Went in expecting "SO," so MAUSOLEUM took slightly longer to come into view than it should have (28D: Commence hostilities). Time was a few seconds faster than last week's, though I'm pretty sure this one's going to play harder for most folks (if the NYT times being posted right now are any indication).

  • 29A: Carrier whose main hub is Kastrup airport (SAS) — got it off the "S," but didn't really *know* it, and then doubted it after I couldn't make SPA work for 3D: Resting place (SOFA). Things worked out eventually.
  • 49A: Cousin of a bittern (EGRET) — off the "E"; pretty common crossbird.
  • 60A: Place for a butcher and two others (TUB) — Nice one. I like the "...and the rest" quality of "two others." 
  • 43D: Electrician's alloy (SOLDER) — the fact that this word is a noun always surprises me. Solidly verby in my mind. 
  • 14D: Big name in kitchenware (EKCO) — The fashion designer is Marc ECKO. I remember this because "CK" = Calvin Klein = fashion designer. Hell yeah it's a good mnemonic.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


I was in Kindergarten in '06, yeah, 1906 12:15 AM  

I certainly can't claim to remember the lyrics to the ABC song, but what I can recall has NOWIKNOWMYABCS at the end, not the beginning. The beginning, as I recall, was a, b, c....

pk 12:32 AM  

Agree with challenging - TG for "Now I know my ABCs" which became clear through crosses, b/c otherwise I would never have understood the Fa Fa Mi Mi jazz up top.

Had a few groans along the way - i.e. Triple L, Bleed, and Retable. Maybe I didn't even solve those correctly, didn't look for Mr. Happy Pencil, but Retable? Seriously?

Anonymous 12:34 AM  

I find it fascinating that every time Rex completely misses the theme, he blames the puzzle.

It's too late to get this annoyed 12:45 AM  

@Anon 12:34 - WTF? He clearly explained the theme of the puzzle. He went above and beyond, pointing out that the eastern entry corresonded to the cited lyrics while the western entry didn't. So, he missed the theme how?

jae 12:46 AM  

Great Thurs. !  Just what you want, trickiness with a touch of zip (NUDE, WOP, MUUMUU...). This was definitely on the tough side for me.  It seemed harder than last Fri.'s or Sat.'s.  Finally caught the rebus when MATRESS wasn't working but MAU(SOL)EUM would fit the crosses.

I agree with Rex and '06 about the theme problems but it's still a pretty impressive puzzle.

GILL I. 12:52 AM  

Loved it - failed miserably - the only TWINKLE TWINKLE I know is a little star.
I did get a few FA's, the DO for DONUT and the LA for ISLA.
So, my beloved Thursday rebus let me down. Even so, this was tons of fun even thought it made me BLEED>

Anonymous 1:06 AM  

Sorry you missed kindergarten, the lyrics continue as "Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are" and "Now I know my ABCs, tell me what you think of me" fully utilizing all of the notes across.

Anonymous 1:07 AM  

The point is that both tunes have the exact same melody. The first fourteen notes of both of them can be found by singing along 41 Across and then 39 Across, just like the clues say. The theme works brilliantly.

pk 1:35 AM  

Please don't post "exact same" about anything. There are sharks lurking here.

Rube 1:37 AM  

The notes didn't work for me, as I remember the start of the tune... the end of the song, yes. Oh well, my memory isn't what it used to be, (I think).

This one got to me. Had to cheat to finish. Had the top and bottom, but the middle just wouldn't work out. But then, it is a "challenging" Thursday.

Needed the Sol of (Sol)ar to finish the puzz.

Rube 1:39 AM  

The notes didn't work for me, as I remember the start of the tune... the end of the song, yes. Oh well, my memory isn't what it used to be, (I think).

This one got to me. Had to cheat to finish. Had the top and bottom, but the middle just wouldn't work out. But then, it is a "challenging" Thursday.

Needed the Sol of (Sol)ar to finish the puzz.

Tobias Duncan 1:44 AM  

I had the top and bottom completely filled and just could not crack the center for what seemed like a lifetime. I was just not able to accept the rebus.
Had a few errors so DNF in the end.

Anonymous 1:49 AM  

@Rube - I had a lotta trouble too. But the bottom line is that, despite all of the do re mi stuff, it's still basically two kindergarten songs that have the same tune.

The BBD and I are going to bed now.

Rube 1:49 AM  

This revised Blogger is a real POS. First it no longer tells you that your entry is accepted, so you think you didn't get the "robot proof" correct. Then when you repost and realize that you now have a duplicate, the garbage can won't allow you to delete your duplicate.

What was broke that had to be fixed???? Let's go back to the WORKING orgiginal.

Clark 1:54 AM  

I thought this was great! Maybe it's cause I am a musician?

12:15 AM -- It's true that "Now I know . . ." comes toward the end of the song, but the words are sung to the beginning of the tune Do Do Sol Sol . . . so there is nothing wrong with the clue.

The shoe dropped at DO-NUT, confirmed by SOL-DER. I was looking for Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman at first, since that is the name of the old French song. Mozart wrote a delightful set of piano variations on this tune.

Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman,
Ce qui cause mon tourment.
Papa veut que je demande
De la soupe et de la viande...
Moi, je dis que les bonbons
Valent mieux que les mignons.

Even having all of the solfeggio tune written in, getting all the downs was tough. Tricky cluing—for this slow brain anyway.

Two thumbs up.

Anoa Bob 2:29 AM  

Dropped in ADLAI right away at 32A, "Two-time opponent of 69-Down" without even looking at 69D. When I got to 69D "Two-time opponent of 32-Across", I thought that's "Dwight". But wait, there are only three squares! Not fair! IKE was Dwight's nickname while ADLAI was Adlai's real name. Really!

I guess if your first name is Adlai, you don't need a nick name, but if it's Dwight, maybe so.

Have no idea what's going on up there in rebus land. The only do-re-mi stuff I know is from "The Sound Of Music". Didn't help here.

MUUMUU (56D) was nice.

Charles 3:04 AM  

I don't know when I've admired a puzzle more than this one. To me, it was perfect.

Rex, you keep breaking my heart.


Anonymous 3:31 AM  

I hated, hated this puzzle. Worst of the year so far. No fun. Just annoying to slog through.

chefwen 4:37 AM  

Put me in the loved it category. Like others got the top and bottom in WARP speed, the middle stayed empty until I figured out that there was a musical reference involved. Filled in the missing letters of the down clues and VOILA, puzzle solved.

Thanks Milo, my favorite solving day was fulfilled.

foodie 6:03 AM  

Fantastic puzzle!! Even though I'm no musician, once I tumbled to the fact that the rebus ran through the middle, even when I was not sure of the next note, I would run through the notes in my head and the answer for the vertical would drop. So, there were 14 consecutive mini revelations. How impressive is that! DONUT, DOUSE, SOLDER side by side, rebus and all. Wow!

And GAUNTLET, GO TO WAR, SORE EYES, CHAOS, WOE thrown in as a counterpoint to the kindergarten sweetness. Double wow!

Anonymous 6:13 AM  

@anon 1:49 What do you mean by BBD? The options at Urban Dictionary probably are not what you are intending.

Campesite 6:30 AM  

As Val d'ISERE is my second home, I find it a good time to drop in and point out Rex's word of the day: crossbird. Dang Rex, have you used that before or is today its coinage? Wonderful.

I skip M-W 7:01 AM  

Am tone deaf, so very pleased that with a little insomnia, I did finish!

Z 7:53 AM  

The Do Re Mi stuff is totally random to me. I see now how 41A/39A make a tune, but do we really need to know nonsense syllables to represent notes so that we can put a musical tune into a word puzzle? Really? I'd rather not.

Then, the clue for 66A is wrong, the "words" sung at the beginning are "A-B-C..." Wrong nonsense - who knew it was possible?

I see many of you loved it, for me it falls into the "why did I bother" category.

Anonymous 8:02 AM  

Gave up on this in frustration. Since there was no rebus in the top and bottom it didn't occur to me that there would be one in the middle. Also I was thinking that "Baa Baa Blacksheep" also has the same melody, but that wouldn't fit.

Rob C 8:09 AM  

Got my butt kicked thorougly by this one. For a while, I thought the middle of the puzzle was in Aramaic (which I do not speak!).

Erik Estrada, Bob Dylan, Eisenhower, Adlai, Nixon - sounds like the Billy Joel song.

@Sparky - Brooklyn College grad here too

Wreck Sparker 8:14 AM  

Have we gotten so jaded that we cannot appreciate the cleverness of a puzzle like this? Truly a fun solve. there's a word for you. Nice.

SethG 8:15 AM  

Finely constructed, but enough with the musical note rebuses already. For some of us, they offer no joy at all.

joho 8:18 AM  

I loved it! Just what a Thursday should be.

Took me forever to get the rebus but when I did at SO(FA)A(FA)R(MI)MELEM(MI)NGS it was so worth it, so many aha moments to savor across 39 and 41!

I can't decide if TRIPLEL is brilliant or rotten.

Bravo, Milo! Thank you!

ERS 8:20 AM  

Totally agree with anonymous. This puzzle sucked. By far, the worst of the year. How anyone could like this annoyance for a puzzle is beyond me. Interesting to note that the "time" egomaniacs weren't talking about how fast they solved this unenjoyable mess.

Loren Muse Smith 8:40 AM  

I try to leave Dad to his own devices, especially before Friday, but I called him this morning, and he answered, “I’m taking the day off.” I told him this was gonna be one people loved or hated, and now having just read the comments, I see I’m right. I liked it.

@anonymous 8:02 – I wasted a lot of time looking for Baa Baa Black Sheep.

@Clark – my shoe(s) dropped at MAUSOLEUM and STORE. I just kept looking at the MAU_ _ _ _UM and STO_ and kept smelling a rat.

@Joho – after I parsed it correctly, I loved TRIPLEL.

@Rex – hand up for “roo” before OWL and always blinking at the “l” in SOL.

My first malaplop since joining this group – ONS at 20A! Kodak moment!

I feel bad that Dad had to cut his rebus teeth on this toughie. He’s not a musician, is inexperienced with rebuses (rebi?) and can’t hear well, so it was quite the phone conversation explaining 39A and 41A.

I’m not really a musician, either, but when I’m alone in the car with the speakers on full blast, I sound just like Janis Joplin in “Me and Bobby McGhee.” Really.

pbw3 8:43 AM  

Somebody's got to say this once and for all: Rex, you're a depressing curmudgeon! I'm one of those "lurkers" (see last Sunday, 105D) who pretty much reads this blog every day. But it's gotten to the point where you're such a crank that I almost prefer it when you have someone filling in.

A Trainwreck?! Just because you can't sing or miss the subtlety or are just an innate grouch... This puzzle was extremely clever. Poor Will Shortz must be throwing up his hands in exasperation. There's just no pleasing you and it gets... tiresome. Shortz reamed you out a month or two ago and you deserved it. You seemed to calm down a little after that, but you're right back at it, grumpy and self-important as ever. Where's Puzzle Girl when you need her?

PanamaRed 8:54 AM  

Interesting comments - everyone seems to have loved it or hated it. Put me on the loved it side.

Took a while to catch on to the rebus - but once I figured it out, the rest came rather quickly.

And, anytime I can complete a Thursday rebus that Rex calls challenging is a good day for me.

Bravo Milo!

John V 8:58 AM  

A beautiful puzzle, even if it got the best of me. Brilliantly constructed, exceptionally creative theme. Congratulations, Milo Beckman!

I kept reminding myself that this is Thursday/rebus day, but could not crack the string of notes. Didn't help that I'd written in LAURELS for 28D which screwed up that the West.

@archeoprof, what's the term you use for trying to solve whilst only partly awake? Yeah, that's me today. This Charlotte gig sometimes gets in the way of the puzzle.

Re: blogger, I always do control-A control-C to select and copy my draft comments to the clipboard BEFORE hitting preview, fighting with capcha, etc. If blogger blows you away, just open a new comment, press control-V to paste the text back in an you've beaten Satan.

David 9:09 AM  

I love the idea of the puzzle, but boy did I ever not finish it without help. Fuming that I had 85% of the puzzle completed without having ONE letter in the middle theme revealer (?), I gave up and checked here. Once I saw the musical rebus I worked thru the rest, but even then I had trouble and it took a while. I have absolutely no concept of the placement of musical notes - all I can do is name them.

Had trouble in other areas as well - PASTA over PESTO, AROSE over AWOKE, WTA over ATP. At least I worked through all those. March 29, my 1st DNF of the year....good stuff, Milo!

Tita 9:11 AM  

Really a challenge, but liked it for that. Yes, I like rebuses.

Having barE for NUDE helped hide the rebus in the W. Having iteS and istS for LEMMINGS hid it in the E. Then thinking 26D was HOWDy had me thinking meloDY.

Two classic misdirects...Capital of Chile and Still life feature - I got fooled by both for a long time... :(

Even the easy ones were hard...

@Acme - your comment late last night had coffee all over my keyboard this morning!!!!!!!!!

AnnieD 9:17 AM  

I made the mistake of trying this after midnight when the brain was half asleep and couldn't understand why the middle was so tough...the fact that mausoleum wouldn't fit just didn't make sense until this morning. Doh! moment.

When we were kids, we also used the same tune for...

Birdie, birdie in the sky,
Why you doo doo in my eye.
I'm not mad. I won't cry.
I'm just glad that cows don't fly....

It's a real knee slapper....when you're 5.

orangeblossomspecial 9:21 AM  

Here is the 41A/39A theme version by Mozart. Apparently numerous other composers used the melody. Ah, vous dirai-je maman. Thanks to @Clark for pointing it out.

Who can forget Ray Stevens' recording of 46A The Streak? If you don't know it, give a listen.

You probably have your own favorite Bob Dylan (5D) composition or performance, but here is mine. The Chad Mitchell Trio recorded Blowin' in the wind first, but the producer wouldn't release it because it was too controversial. Then PP&M released their version, so the CMT's version was released.

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

Loved this puzzle...thought it was quite clever. As a musician, once I got the use of the scale tonics, and I put the' order it all fell into place, it fits perfectly! The melody line for both songs is musically accurate. It was neither "wonky" not a "train wreck". A nice challenge for a Thursday puzzle.

quilter1 9:28 AM  

The middle took a whole bowl of cereal and a second cup of coffee but I did it! I started to catch on at MAUSOLEUM, and then the rest fell into place. I enjoyed this so much. Clever and inventive and I don't really care if the theme works or not if I have fun. Have a great day, folks.

Tita 9:34 AM  

A few days ago during the Rexville Poetry Festival, you posted your favorite limerick - in Dutch...(!)

I could only make out a third, so asked my polyglot cousin for a translation. She gave me a literal one...
Here, against my better judgement, is my re-limericked version - did we get it right?

In Connecticut did drown my Aunt Liv.
Deep in our well she was a captive.
My uncle still drinks
From that well, tho’ he thinks
He should filter the water thro’ a sieve.

Original, in Dutch
In Connecticut,
In de waterput,
Verdronk mijn tante Eefje.
Nog jaren later
Dronk oom het water
Uitsluitend door een zeefje.

(BTW - I've decided these capchas are how the Basque are subliminally teaching their language to Americans...)

BlueStater 9:35 AM  

Put me in the "hated it" camp. This mess is easily one of the ten worst I've seen in several decades, mostly because it is not a crossword puzzle at all, but some other kind of word game.

I deeply suspect that Anon @12:34 a.m. is WS lurking, because shaming people for blaming the puzzle instead of the solver is an old line of his. I take the view that if a reasonably experienced, well-educated, and well-read solver can't get to first base with a puzzle, it's more than likely the puzzle. We and the New York Times deserve better than this.

Eric NC 9:35 AM  

Try writing this blog day-in and day-out and never having a bad day or a miss. Probably easy if you're unemployed and have the time but to fit it in with everything Rex does is pretty remarkable.
Ignore the occasional bad days and enjoy the rest. The constructors and Will can take care of themselves.

evil doug 9:36 AM  

Yeah, I-80 kicked my ass from San Francisco to Teaneck, NJ. I could get verticals with logical possibilities---lapdogs for lemmings, war or air power, isl instead of isla (yeah, I know, abbreviation doesn't add up there), sod instead of sofa, aft instead of afar, hola with a tip of the hat (or sombrero, I suppose), so forth---but it left me with a useless mess.

What is it about those puzzles that stretch us to opposite poles of love and hate? I like to be challenged, but somehow I, like Seth, don't find any joy here. The long answers---twinkle, twinkle and now I know---aren't compelling. They're pedestrian, childish. And even the long rebus answers are more irritating than awe-inducing.

I don't know squat about music, so maybe it's sour grapes---but I've handled the note rebus stuff before. There are many late-week puzzles that lead me to throw in the towel but that still cause me to smile with appreciation when I yield and check the solution. This one just doesn't....

So I guess it's like Potter Stewart on porno---I can't exactly define what I admire in a puzzle, but I know it when I see it. And today I didn't see it.


evil doug 9:43 AM  

Okay, one thing I figured out: I don't like identical answers in more than one square. Previous note rebuses had the various notes used only once as they popped up around the grid.

I'll keep contemplatin'....


Milo Beckman 9:45 AM  

Hey all, Milo Beckman here.

Really interesting feedback on this puzzle — everybody seems to either love it or hate it. Over on at the moment it has an equal number of 5 star, 4 star, 3 star, and 2 star ratings. Fascinating. To those who liked the puzzle, glad to hear it. To those who didn't, I've got a couple more coming that'll hopefully be more up your alley!

I have no particular stories to tell about the construction process, but if you have any questions please ask away! For starters, I'm always on the look out for a rebus on Thursdays so I had no idea how brutally difficult this puzzle was going to turn out to be...

~ Milo

Sue McC 9:46 AM  

"ambitious train wreck"...sounds harsh! After all, don't we do these for the challenge? Figured it out from SOFa, but yup, it was a toughie!

jberg 9:47 AM  

This was one of those puzzles that I hated until I got it, then decided that it was brilliant! Sometimes that happens - in fact, I think it's what should happen on a Thursday, the big AHA!

Several major hangups:

--Getting the whole North (or almost) pretty quickly, so thinking it couldn't be a rebus even though I could see MAUSOLEUM, STORE, ALAS, & LEMMINGS needed one. Next, I thought it was just musical notes stuck in here and there, perhaps in the order of the scale, until I finally saw that it was the tune.

--Wanting ALI instead of IKE for 69D (seemed obvious to me) and struggling to recall someone he boxed who stared with A.

--repulsed for RETABLED at 50D.

--Just saw a play set in London, where a character says "let's have a butcher's," (rhyming slang: butcher's = butcher's hook = look). So I was trying to relate that to 60A -actually a brilliant clue.

--Malapop: MIME at 36A, "copy cats?" before finding it at 40D.

As for the theme -- come on, it was great! I have to respond to 2 kinds of comments:

1. @Rex did get it, as he makes clear (that's why he wants to put in "How I wonder" somewhere), he just doesn't like it because the other theme answers are matched with the first, 41A part of the tune, while the notes in 39A don't get any corresponding answer. I didn't mind, but he thought it made the puzzle less than perfect. Difference of opinion, but "curmudgeon" overstates it.

2. Griping non-musicians: are you really claiming that you never learned the notes of the scale by name? Or that you have never heard "TWINKLE, TWINKLE Little Star?" Jeez, those are a lot more in our common cultural store than that SEVE guy, or that particular clue for CARSON, but I'm not griping!

OK, had to get that off my chest. What makes horse races, I guess! Or maybe it's a matter of whether you want a smooth solve or a challenge.

John V 9:48 AM  

I see the puzzle as totally fair, all bits in the language/pop culture. I think it is a mighty triumph that a puzzle could be so challenging to many of us, virtually all of whom are advanced solvers. Can't have it both ways, folks. Can't suggest that the week has been too easy and then, horrors, this one is too hard. Just go with the flow is what I'm sayin'. It is okay to get really stompped from time to time. Next time around, I promise I will think solfege and the notes when tackling a Thursday puzzle. I have broadened my repertoire with this beauty.

JC66 9:49 AM  

Tone deaf and tin ear but still loved it.

chefbea 9:52 AM  

The best part of the puzzle (or posts) was hearing @Tita's translation of @Mac's limerick. Sooo funny.

The puzzle..couldnt get it. Had Roo. Had oreo for 41D.. Obviously DNF and DNL.

But I do like pesto!!

Nancy in PA 9:57 AM  

Put me in the "loved it" camp (but as I always say I like them all). Had the same errors as everyone else (Roo, DDE, spa, pasta) and had to go to sleep with a completely blank middle and then finish up with this morning's coffee, but I still loved it. Thank you, Mr. Beckman.

jberg 10:02 AM  

Forgot to mention 74A, ORU, among my list of obscure answers I wasn't griping about. I would have liked it better clued as "Tusal dental school?"

Chris 10:05 AM  

Put me in the following camps:
loved it.
musical, and think the theme works perfectly.
Took a long time to get the rebus (and didn't realize Thursday was rebus day) until finally just broke it on the weight of the evidence in the crosses.
Had owl and Ike, but pasta and maam for how-do

JaxInL.A. 10:15 AM  

Wow. Today I was apparently channeling @Evil Doug, as I had all of the entries he did. I had to look here to get the fact of a rebus. Like one of the @Anon posters above, the absence of rebus squares anywhere else in the puzzle kept me from seeing their presence in the middle. Once I came here and learned there was a rebus it made more sense, but I still struggled.

I didn't hate it, though. I just could not find my way, as @ED says, from east to west in I-80. Love that map thing.

Favorite entry? EVINCES.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

ED - I think if you check that PS quote, he was talking about obscenity, not porno, and attempting to define community standards. But you have the gist of it and I like your application to liking a puzzle.

Rex - I think you are flat wrong about the theme not working but since I am tone deaf and not musically inclined, I can't prove it.

pk - I had the exact same reaction to exact same as you did.

On that other blog Milo conceded Loren's point.

However, I neither love this puzzle nor hate it but I consider it a trifle sneaky. Love Twinkle, twinkle. I had to sing that over and over and over in my early grade school speech therapy so i would not grow up soundoing like Elmer Fudd. staRRRRRR and aRRRRRRRe makes one say rabbit instead of wabbit.


MountainManZach 10:47 AM  

I liked it. There was a genuine AHA moment for me. I immediately plunked BABABLACKSHEEP in the lower 14, it does fit better thematically. I know, that's not how you spell BAA BAA but I have a good reason for doing so.

As an aside, "how could anyone like this" may be the most useless question that exists. You know how you like things other people don't? Yeah, that's how.

Ulrich 10:51 AM  

Another hand up for "Loved it"! Once I got the general idea (which really took me a while), I had to figure out that the melody actually starts in the W, which was first counterintuitive b/c it's a row below the end part--but heck, Thursdays are meant to be figure-outers!

Best Thursday of the year! (Is anybody going to tally the votes at the end of the day?)

Wreck Sparker 10:58 AM  

Wonder how Dr. Fill did on this?

Two Ponies 11:02 AM  

I usually love a rebus but I guess I'm getting jaded as we've seen this rebus used many times. DNF because of mime. I ran through the scale but nothing made sense.
Favorite answer - how do. Very cowboyish.
@ campesite, I too loved Rex's crossbird.
@ AnnieD, loved your cow song.
That Dutch limerick was very funny too.
@ Milo, Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to what's coming next.

jbsnadb 11:02 AM  

Took me almost 25 minutes to realize that there was mass-rebus involvement. Ugh. Then it all started to make sense. I can't believe I didn't sniff it out sooner, with two whole rows of crosses gaping wide open for so long.

Pete 11:09 AM  

@JFC - Potter Stewart's comment specifically addressed whether the movie "The Lovers" was pornographic or not. His comment was that he could identify "hard core pornography" when he saw it. Pornography just happened to fall under the legal umbrella of obscenity.

Anyway, the puzzle. My experience was identical to most of those who ultimately got it, but struggled. The north filled itself in, I had to bypass the train-wreck on I80, the south was warm, comfortable and inviting, then back to I80. The theme presented itself, and it became an exercise in filling in 39A and 41A. An unpleasant exercise for me. Twelve answers where I had to go through the solfege to find one note that yielded a word. Chimpanzee work. Had I musical ability, perhaps I could have filled in 39A & 41A based on the song, but I don't, so I was left with Chimpanzee work: Resting Place: SO_. SODo? SORe? SOMe... Twelve times. Not enjoyable.

So, I admired the puzzle, but I didn't enjoy it.

ranman 11:13 AM  

Had identical errors on my grid to the ones you mentioned (except hola) before I threw in the towel.

lapdogs for lemmings, air power, isl instead of isla, sod instead of sofa, aft instead of afar.

This puzzle did not fit my mind's eye. Glad some others liked it!

jackj 11:40 AM  

Kindergarten jingles from a 15 year-old Harvard student?! Ah, but it’s Kiddie Karaoke and what a blast!! Maybe Milo will treat us to an encore round and we’ll also get to relish “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or, even, “Old McDonald’s Farm”.

The puzzle is wonderfully constructed and cleverly imagined, certain to have the solver humming, (belting out?), the tunes to confirm their entries. Only “TI”, that “drink with jam and bread” misses the cut.

Fillwise, POLISH, the way it’s clued, is excellent and who could complain about EVINCES, MAU(SOL)EUM, LEM(MI)NGS or HOW(DO), with a bit of CHAOS thrown in to boot? Some legitimate clever word play to go with an ample helping of song.

May 4 gold stars TWINKLE on Milo’s forehead.

mac 11:45 AM  

Loved the puzzle. I also got the rebus at mausoleum, and then put in all the notes which made the middle very easy (but not before trying to put ABCDEF...... etc. in, which worked in a couple of places!).

Another hand up for oreo. In the end I found the Carson/Ekco/coin-op area the toughest.

@Tita: excellent translation! The charm in the Dutch version, though, is the simplicity of the language and the diminuitives, especially "zeefje".

Bob Kerfuffle 11:48 AM  

Liked the puzzle.

Finished on paper with one wrong letter: Early on had a slight doubt if 14 D was EKCO or ELKO, so I had left the second and third letters blank. When 16 A became obvious (TWINKLETWINKLE), filled that in. Later had _ARSON at 19 A, so I put in an "L" (seemed plausible), leaving 14 D with an unexamined EKLO. 12:14 PM  

I for one, enjoyed doing this one. I'm a relative newbie to crosswords, after throwing my hands up in frustration watching my mom do them in ink every day over the years. So when I finish one like this, that Rex calls "challenging" I feel like I'm coming into my own. It is a little frustrating when Rex always has a complaint about the puzzles -- I'm all excited when I finish then check the blog -- I feel like I'm just not good enough. It's like going to dinner with my in-laws who always, ALWAYS complain about something. Maybe I'm not ready for the big leagues yet. At any rate, I'm not giving up. Having said that, Rex, you have the right to your opinion (it IS your blog after all!) and I will defend to the death your right to it. I won't stop reading, as I learn something new every day! Just would like to see you like a puzzle for once. (Donning my flame-retardant suit!)

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

I find it interesting that people who are unable to solve a puzzle (easily or at all) so often comment that the puzzle is terrible and that they HATED it. I LOVED this puzzle. It took a while to solve, but solvable it was. Don't blame the constructor if you are musically illiterate and/or don't remember kindergarten. The words for the notes on a scale are pretty common--if only because of "the Sound of Music."

Noam D. Elkies 12:26 PM  

"Train wreck"!? Oh come on. You remind me of my piano teacher's joke where a circus performer bikes on a high wire while using both hands to play Paganini — and some cur-mudgeon kvetches "Jascha Heifetz spielt besser [plays better]". All crosswords compromise; it would have been an extra cherry on the cake if the lyrics to all 14 notes were in the grid, but that's a necessary compromise, not a "fatal flaw". Milo - congratulations, and never mind Wrecks Parker's attempt at music criticism.


Mr. Benson 12:27 PM  

I'm late here, but I'm baffled by Anon @12:34, 1:06 and 1:07 (presumably the same person) thinking it's some kind of brilliant, over-Rex's-head insight that Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the alphabet song have the same melody. Yes, everyone knows that. (Baa Baa Black Sheep, too.) The criticism is that "Twinkle Twinkle" only covers four syllables, while "Now I know my ABCs" covers 7, leaving it lacking in symmetry and reflecting none of the lyrics that are sung to the tune of 39A. It lacks elegance. So stop patting yourself on the back for thinking you've outsmarted the writer of this blog; you're the one who missed the point.

JenCT 12:31 PM  

Took me over an hour; didn't get the rebus until SOLDER and LEMMINGS, and still struggled with it.

Didn't love it or hate it, just found it awkward.

Matthew G. 12:45 PM  

Extremely hard but incredibly awesome. Baffled that Rex and the other top crossword bloggers don't seem to have liked this one. Five stars from me.

Anonymous 12:55 PM  

Really great puzzle IMHO. Challenging but doable. My worst time in weeks, but this is what a Thursday is supposed to be like!

thursdaysd 1:00 PM  

De-lurking to join the haters, but some of it is the result of going to school in the UK. I never heard the ABC song, and I have no memory of hearing the names of the notes outside of Mary Poppins. Since I'm also tone deaf, the middle was a train wreck even after knowing it was a rebus.

Masked and Anonymous 1:06 PM  

Slept in this morning. Just got up. Solved puz. Came here. Saw there were already over 70 comments. Said "Oh, man..." Took forever to scan through all the bipolar reactions. Har. Milo, Milo, Milo!

Good: 8 U's. Rebus. COINOP. MUUMUU. Consecutive resting places. Vertical 7-stacks. Single black fingers at 5 and 11 o'clock. Cute theme idea.
Bad: TRIPLEL. Will, Will, Will! Snort.
Ugly: First part of tune bein' lower in the grid than the second part. @Milo: Reason?

@Milo: Glad you made this; glad you got more. Thanx for droppin' by. @Shortzmeister: Glad you ran with it.

Fun solve, in my book. Hell, just seein' @#31*!'s write-up made my Thursday; wish that dude would take a stand on somethin'.

Ulrich 1:06 PM  

@mac: Tried to do a German version and failed miserably, although the two languages are so close.

@Liz: Loved the in-laws at dinner comparison!

@MatthewG: By way of consolation, at least some top bloggers here (me not included) really liked the puzzle.

Wood 1:26 PM  

Haters gonna hate. I'm not one of them. Actually got this in faster than average Thursday time. I know solfege so once I saw how the rebus worked (with MAUSOLEUM) I just filled it all in straight across (already having gotten TWINKLETWINKLE).

At first I thought there was a mistake in the cluing for 39A - I thought "NOW I KNOW MY ABCS" was the very end of the tune, and so not the "beginning of 41/39 across" -- but when I came here remembered that the last phrase is "next time won't you sing with me." So the clue is valid and all you complainers are just that.

Reminded me of a Sunday puzzle from quite a few years back that had the entire tune of Auld Lang Syne spelled out A-G on the long acrosses. Not a rebus because there was only one letter per square. But pretty amazing!

Bravo, Milo and Will.

laurie 1:28 PM  

Was dnf until coming to this blog. But the more I looked at the clueing on 16A and 66A, the more brilliant it became in terms of word play. Words sung to the "beginning" of 41A (do do sol sol) are twinkle twinkle... and the 41- before the 39- setting up the upside down reveal of the tune. Then in 66A, "beginning " now clues the entire run of 41A versus 39A. While I agree that it might have been elegant to refer to (or play with) the "end" of the run also, it in no way diminishes my fascination/amazement. Great puzzle Mr. Beckman, hats off!!

Brooklyn College girl 1:40 PM  

Agree with Rex that it was challenging, but I loved it.
Taking music appreciation courses at Brooklyn College helped somewhat.
So my votes are: loved puzzle, and Rex was NOT curmudgeony today.

oren muse 1:47 PM  

I usually go around and try to fill in the easy three letter answers to get started. I was really frustrated that I couldn’t get a single one. Now I’ve learned about a rebus and that what I thought were threes weren’t. Loren told me that if I keep at it and keep reading this blog in a year I’ll see a puzzle like this and get a kind of sixth sense that something is off. Well, since we’re talking songs today, mine is “Fly Me to the Moon.” I’ll report back in on Monday.

Anonymous 1:53 PM  

I have to shake my head at the number of people who did not like this puzzle because they are unfamiliar with the musical references.
I have zero knowledge or interest in sports. If sport references are allowed to constructors, why not musical references?

Clark 1:56 PM  

@evil doug -- You said, "I don't like identical answers in more than one square." How often do you find a pangram puzzle in a 6x6 or 7x7 grid? Or do you just dislike 'em all?

Octavian Owl 2:08 PM  

Loooooooooooved this puzzle. What a blast to figure it out.

It's great when a crossword jumps out of the box, as this one did. Very unusual to have the rebus concentrated on just two lines. Really enjoyed having to uncover that.

Also impressed at all the cool words that were used to obtain the sounds, especially lemmings and mausoleum.

I can see that it is not perfect in terms of symmetry in the number of sounds in each theme answer, but I would rather work out an imperfectly brilliant puzzle like this than a perfectly ordinary one.

One of the best of the year.

Anonymous 2:13 PM  

@Rex: Ecko is a kitchenware company that has nothing to do with the fashion designer of the same name. I have an Ecko spatula. It's very utilitarian--not exactly something that would win any design awards!

archaeoprof 2:17 PM  

As usual, I'm with @Foodie and @Ulrich. All kinds of love for this rebus.

@JohnV: I call the QSI (Quick and Sleepy Index). QSI says this was challenging.

Anonymous 2:19 PM  

@oren muse: I've gotten to the point where I usually catch on that a rebus is afoot; however, this doesn't always help me figure it out--especially if it is complex like today's!

Bird 2:24 PM  

I think this is the first puzzle I actually quit because I thought it was loaded with such terrible fill and was terribly constructed and terribly clued. Then I came here and read about the theme. Agree it is clever and don’t hate it as much anymore, but the cluing could have been a little gentler and there is not enough good stuff for me. I like rebus puzzles, but not this one. Saw the rebus at 41D, but kept looking for the scale to continue across (RE-something for 42D, FA-something for 43D, etc.) I got MAUSOLEUM and ALAS, but still no help. I just could not “translate” the melody into words. Maybe, MAYBE, if I caught the theme I might have enjoyed it more, but I doubt I would have finished. Still beyond my scope.



NUDE? Nice!


@Rube & fellow bloggers - yes, the new and improved version sucks, but it does let you know your post was accepted. At the top of the window it says your entry was saved; or something like that.

Looking forward to tomorrow.

Jenny 2:25 PM  

With so many folks de-lurking to comment today, I'll chime in with the group that loved this.

@doug: The rebus entries have to repeat, because the notes repeat in the tune.

Bird 2:25 PM  

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GILL I. 2:31 PM  

AnnieD: I can hear the five yr old GD screech with glee as I sing her a new song. @Clark - loved the Mozart - now to try and translate. Was the last bit comparing chocolate with filet mignon?
@e doug - thanks for the Potter Stewart analogy. whether or not it's obscenity or porno, I agree on the defining of admiration for a puzzle.
@Milo I'd rate it a 5 star. Even though I couldn't finish it, it was clever and really quite brilliant in construction. More, please.

evil doug 2:43 PM  

Clark: No idea what you're asking, but I'll try to read your mind.

On pangrams: I couldn't care less. My main concern is that the effort to get all 26 letters in a puzzle might hamstring the possibility of superior clues and answers. If it's a great puzzle and happens to be a pangram, that's fine---but I don't go tooling through the grid counting letters and clapping if they're all there. And I don't see how your question pertains today anyhow...

What I was trying to say: I'd rather not see the same rebus answers repeated---three "do's", three "sol's", so forth---as occurred today. To me it's akin to having the same word, or forms of the same word, in more than one puzzle answer. I understand the need to do it today to meet the constructor's aims; I just didn't appreciate the goal nor the execution, as clever as it might have been to many here. Some days the constructor's personal pleasure at being clever adversely impacts a solver's opinion of the fill. That was the case for me today.

How'd I do?


Classical Music Lover 3:16 PM  

Way above, Clark mentioned one piece of classical music by Mozart that uses this tune. There are others. My favorite one is by Ernst (or Erno) von Dohnanyi, who composed the delightful Variations on a Nursery Rhyme for piano and orchestra based on the theme. My favorite recording is by Earl Wild and the Boston Pops conducted by Arthur Fiedler. There's an excerpt at if you are interested.

DigitalDan 3:19 PM  

Anoa Bob:

Actually the Song in the Sound of Music could be useful in solving this one -- Maria introduces all seven syllables representing the major scale, so it kind of gives you the necessary dictionary for sounding out this one. Except she apparently used "SO" (through the homonym "sew").

Jack Dorsey 3:24 PM  

A proposal: use twitter rules in this comment section, if you can't make your point in 140 characters, don't bother.

miriam b 3:27 PM  

@Tita: Finally, here's the promised recipe, which I got from the net. It's very close to the one in my cookbook, which I was afraid to scan because it might not be legible.

Féroce d'avocat et de morue (Antilles)

Préparation : 20 mn

Ingrédients (pour 4 personnes) :
- 3 avocats moyens bien murs
- 200 à 250 g de farine de manioc
- 1 tranche épaisse de morue salée et séchée
- 1 piment
- 1 à 2 cuillères à soupe d'huile végétale
- sel et poivre

Préparation :

Laver le morceau de morue puis le faire griller des deux côtés entre 5 à 10 mn. Le mettre dans un récipient d'eau froide quelques secondes et le faire égouter.

Pendant ce temps, dénoyauter les avocats et les écraser dans un saladier. Ajouter la farine de manioc tout en mélangant, jusqu'à obtention d'une pâte assez consistante.

Emietter la morue finement et la rajouter à la préparation.
Rectifier l'assaisonnement en sel et poivre et ajouter quelques morceaux de piment hâché(facultatif) ainsi que l'huile.

Si vous ne servez pas tout de suite, mettez au frais

My cookbook suggests also including "cives ou oignons pays ou ciboulette". Also, if you want to serve it in the form of "...petites boulettes, il faut alors ajouter plus de farine de manioc.

My cookbook says to soak the cod in cold water for 4 hours and then to dry and grill it. This sounds better than the procedure described in the first paragraph above. You're the expert: which would you do?

Be sure to use a neutral oil. Olive oil is just too overpowering.

I once made this for friends who asked for the recipe but didn't feel up to handling the French. I offered to translate but they declined with thanks, saying that they would use Babylon or something for an English version. Well, they came up with some howlers. The first ingredient was always along the lines of "Two ripe lawyers", or "Two large mature lawyers".

I found a recipe using crabmeat, which also sounds tempting.

And - @MatthewG, my sentiments exactly. I saw the rebus emerging at MAUSOLEUM and was all agog.

r,alphbunker 3:37 PM  

My appreciation of this puzzle has grown as the day progressed. I liked that the theme revealed what the supposedly completely different long entries had in common. Had to google to get NOW to finish the SW. Now I know NOW I KNOW MY ABCS!

jackj 3:49 PM  

Liz@12:14 PM-

Rex' opinion is only that, his opinion. Your opinion is just that, your opinion. You're each correct, of course.

Maybe the twain shall never meet but, who knows, stranger things have happened.

Welcome, hope you'll keep on posting.

geordiegirl 4:04 PM  

Will someone be kind enough to explain 60A to me - I still don't get it!

sanfranman59 4:14 PM  

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

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

Thu 26:20, 18:58, 1.39, 96%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Thu 15:00, 9:18, 1.61, 99%, Challenging

@geordiegirl ... the butcher, the baker, the candlestick-maker are the three men in a tub in the "Rub-a-dub-dub" nursery rhyme.

Wikipedia 4:15 PM  

Three men in a tub,

And who do you think they be?

The butcher, the baker,
The candlestick-maker,
All put out to sea.

Mediator 4:18 PM  

Isn't a blog a venue for expressing feelings & opinions, sharing facts and telling jokes. In other words communicating with each other?

Nobody should feel dejected because someone disagrees with him/her or dislikes something he/she posted. Have a dialogue and stand by your words if you believe them to be true and honest, but be ready to eat crow if proven wrong. On the otherhand if it gets personal that is an entirely different scenario and, as I understand it, is a no-no.

quilter1 4:34 PM  

Actually, Baa, Baa, Black Sheep has a different tune.

Sparky 4:40 PM  

Never caught on. Had TWINKLETWINKLE but sidetracked by confusing clue of 66a. Thought of SOLDER and ALAS but lacked the courage to enter them.

Upon looking it all over, the puzzle and the comments, pretty tricky.

Patience and Fortitude.

imsdave 4:47 PM  

Just finished a long day at work - wish I could have commented earlier. Put me firmly in the loved it camp. Medium-challenging here, and loved every minute of the solve. Wouldn't it have been fun to have the notes dance around the grid like they were on a staff?



That would have really rocked!

@Milo - I was in the 4-star camp over at Amy's joint.

@oren - first phrase of "Fly Me to the Moon" - 13 syllables - it could work!

imsdave 4:48 PM  

screwed up my spacing, but you get the point

xyz 4:55 PM  

Well, I'm proud of finishing without mistakes nor Googles. It's almost a milestone of "getting it" for me. Impressive theme, some odd fill to make it work but different fer sheure.

AFAR (hate A-word(s))
SOFA gave me the theme and the solve although Mid East took me a while as some fill was well, blech-ish to just plain blech.

Satisfying yet unsatisfying.

Beat working for two hours today.

xyz 4:59 PM  


The rest of teh puzzle was pretty danged easy because no one not into puzzling is ever going to get this sucker. Pretty good solvers will DNF.

Lewis 5:08 PM  

I LOVED it. The clue says "words sung to the beginning of 41-/39- across", and the answers do just that. Yes, it would have been more elegant if the answers were equal syllable-wise, but there is no requirement for that. The answers fit the clue.

@jberg -- yes, for me too, there was that big AHA and then the rest of the puzzle fell, and this is one of the great excitements of crossword. How often does that happen? So, naturally, I'm grateful to the constructor.

@milo -- I wish you'd answer acme's question as to why the second half of the 41/39 answer is higher than the first half, or better yet, if they were both on the same line. Either alternative would have made a brilliant puzzle more brilliant, to me. Still, it's not required, and didn't dull the enjoyment of this puzzle one whit.

Lewis 5:21 PM  

I must add that if you weren't very musical and just knew your do re mi's from The Sound Of Music, this might be a very difficult, if not impossible solve. Google wouldn't help!

geordiegirl 5:37 PM  

Thank you, @Sanfranman. I wouldn't have been able to sleep!

Tita 5:47 PM  

@Miriam B - merci!
I hate to hijack this blog to discuss your recipe, so if you don't mind, send me an email - if you click on my name, you'll see that my profile has my email.
(Everyone else - blur eyes and scroll down!)

My Antillean French is a bit weak, but it sounds like yes, I would soak for 4 hours, though that may well be what they mean by "laver".

I am intrigued by this because it is so vastly different from how I am used to preparing it.

Now I must go in search of manioc flour!
Oh - and you serve this on bread or crackers?
What type of pepper do you use?

Oh - and I am sure there are entire websites devoted to recipes for ripe lawyers!!!!!!!

@Jack Dorsey - a counter proposal...scroll past those of us (I'm an egregious & repeat offender) who exceed 140. Remember - you're dealing with a bunch of logophiles here!!

Anonymous 5:52 PM  

@Pete - Actually the good justice construed obscenity as limited to pornography in order to uphold the onstitutionality of statute therefore he used the two terms synonymously, bit the staute he was construing was a ban on obscenity....


Clark 6:28 PM  

@evil doug --

I was just joking that if you don't like "identical answers in more than one square" then you would never like a puzzle with more than 26 letter in it, and that would be a pretty small grid. Moreover, if you didn't have a pangram then you would have even fewer squares to work with. I guess most musicians would think of these syllables as the equivalent of letters, not words. But you are of course welcome to view the matter in whatever peculiar way you want to . . . :)

Anonymous 7:00 PM  

One child's ABC is another man's liquor store....


Tita 7:22 PM  

@Clark, @ED...
You DO know it's just the same 26 letters being rearranged...?

JenCT 7:40 PM  

@Mediator: good post!

@Tita: I love that link! LOL

evil doug 7:45 PM  

That cat DOES know there's more than one way to skin him and turn him into guitar strings....?



Teresa in Detroit 9:09 PM  

Loved the puzzle! Figured out that it was a rebus early on. Then with 2 sols, 1 la and 6 letters of twinkle twinkle, I got it. Except for triple L, it was an easy Thursday for me. Keep 'em comin', Milo!

zach 9:50 PM  

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

dd 10:08 PM  

A.A. Milne fan here, so "OWL" was no problem over the more usual "ROO" at 67D. I almost accidentally filled it in at 68D as "WOL" which W-t-P fans know is the spelling used on the sign outside his home in The Hundred Acre Wood.

As for the criticisms of Rex's opinions, it's his party and he can kvetch if he wants to!

Tita 11:01 PM  

@zach...I gave up on it...too slow, too clunky...and it doesn't ask me if I want the world to know that "Tereza is playing PuzzleSocial right now"...

pk 12:17 AM  

@anon 6:13

I am so flattered that

a) anyone paid any attention to anything I posted, and

b) went to Urban Dictionary to try to figure out what I was trying to say.

BBD, in my case, refers to the Big Black DOG, not the thing in the Urban Dix. Also means Baby Boy Dog. His real name is Ty, and he is the most perfect BBD on the planet.

sanfranman59 1:38 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)

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)

acme 2:10 AM  

You refer to my question, but i never asked anything of Milo today!
Never had a chance to do the puzzle till tonight.
Only ringing in to belatedly say "Loved it" for those tallying...
Got it finally at DONut, and HowDO, but thought it was just a DO rebus at first...D'OH!
Also kept trying to put in Beethoven or Brahm's Lullaby or something bec I thought that is what it was taken from.

Anonymous 5:47 PM  

Loren, If art had the same problem, he wouldn't eat corned beef and cabbage.

James Lovell 3:53 AM  

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Ann 11:08 AM  

For those who do the syndicated puzzle and had a problem with the Abc song clued as "Words sung to the beginning of",
the beginning is:
Now I know my ABCs,
Listen while I sing to thee.

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

This was lame! I will stick to Friday/Saturday puzzles and never waste time on a Thursday again

Lola505 1:16 PM  

Oops, I almost agree with Rex on this one. Thought it was clever and challenging, but that center-line-running-over-to-the-next was a bit wonky.

I did NOT know the capitol of Chile -- how can that be? And I DO know tennis, but ATP didn't ring any bells. Oh well, except for that one lil' square, I finished and liked it. Not a "gimmie" Thursday, and Thursday shouldn't be.

Syndicate Bob 1:54 PM  

@Ann says: "Now I know my ABCs, Listen while I sing to thee." appears at the start. Googling this, however, yields zero hits.

The obvious (to me) thing that happened is that whoever had the thankless job of re-typing this puzzle made a choice: rather than type the entire clue for 66 across which is nearly identical to 16 accross, he just copied the 16 across clue and pasted it. Then he changed the 16 to 66 and forgot to change the word "beginning" to "end of" or "near end of" or whatever. Mistakes happen.

When I solved the puzzle I first wrote "how I wonder what" in that long 15 letter answer. I even twisted Bryn Mawr into Byrn Mawr because I had "owl" and "Ike" and didn't want to let go.

Imagine my surprise when the very first comment called out that "now I know my abcs appears almost at the end of the song. Apparently it was not a typo just for the syndicaters. Shortz et. al. didn't fix an error in the original! And some have said it's not even an error. And I seem to actually care!

Here I am writing about a comment on a blog about a puzzle about nursery rhymes. I have way, way too much time on my hands.

Spacecraft 2:20 PM  

DNF. Missed everything after TWINKLE x2. A total whiff. Mark a K on the scorecard. Cy Young to Mr. Beckman.

Capcha: anadd aimith: anadd aimith very well today.

rain forest 2:56 PM  

Great great puzzle. I mean, it had me twisted all over the place. Got "Twinkle twinkle" pretty early, but no "little star" to be seen. In the middle I realized a rebus was afoot, but couldn't see any places above or below the middle where any rebus lurked. "donut", "solder", "alas", and "afar", clued me in, but in wasn't until I got "now I know my abcs" that the shoe dropped. And, you know, the clues to the theme clearly state "the beginning", and 41-/39-across, to let you know the order the notes are to be sung. One line uses 4 of those beginning notes, and the other uses 7. Is that a "train wreck"? No, it is a French TGV zipping by unscathed. So many other parts of the puzzle to love, too. Took awhile, but it was worth it.

Anonymous 2:57 PM  

Pooh's friend was not "OWL", that's what he was. His name was "WOL".

Waxy in Montreal 5:36 PM  

Liked this puzzle because of the reference to Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits (5D), one of the first albums I ever bought. In 1967! Still have it though not a working turntable to play it on.

I'm among the least musically-abled persons on the planet but once the rebus literally began to shine through - SOL in MAUSOLEUM - I found this a very enjoyable puz. Merci mille fois, Milo.

Dirigonzo 6:26 PM  

There's a word to describe my solving experience with this puzzle: multi-orgasmic. The tough non-theme cluing produced many little "aha moments" and the big one when I finally saw the musical note rebus left me spent. I almost wish I still smoked.

@Loren Muse Smith - Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee" is my favorite song ever

Solving in Seattle 7:02 PM  

I finished it, therefore I loved it.

HOWDO, Milo, you threw down the GAUNTLET and I accepted the challenge.

When I first visited the midsection of this puzzle all I saw was CHAOS. It was the last to fall for me. To catch on to the rebus I had my dictionary out and opened to words starting "MAU." Thought resting place was going to be MAUi something, but found MAUSOLEUM and AWOKE to the solution. The rest was pretty smooth since I have watched the Sound of Music 6000 times with my kids.

I think the clue to 3D was arcane. I got TRIPLEL on crosses, then stared at it. What the helll is Triple L? Got it from the blog.

Is a MIME a "handy sort?"

Anyway, Mr. Beckman, these are nits. You get as many stars as I can give you.

@Spacecraft, thanks for the laugh.

Never could stand Bob DYLAN's singing. To my ear, he sounds like an air-conditioner bearing that's going out.

Loved the comment that the capchas are a conspiracy by the Basques to teach us their language.

Capcha: ablicals mposave: Basque for impressive thursday puzzle.

Dirigonzo 7:36 PM  

@SiS - since MIMEs don't speak, they use their hands as part of the way they communicate, so they are indeed a "handy" (hence the ?) sort. And 3d was one of my "aha" moments. ablicals mposave for sure!

Solving in Seattle 7:48 PM  

@Diri, re MIME... yeah, I guess so. Good for you on 3D. My forehead got mighty wrinkled.

BTW, the Mariners and the Bosox are really tearing it up.

Capcha: astonfor hadzm. Basque for "make sure you see the Avengers."

Spacecraft 11:09 PM  

But oh, BTW, the lyric NOWIKNOWMYABCS is NOT, by ANY stretch of imagination "the beginning." It is in fact the penultimate line of the whole song. So, no wonder I couldn't figure THAT part out.

rain forest 2:23 PM  

Yes, that line is the penultimate line of the song, but it is sung to the beginning notes of 41-across, as clued.

east sac girl 4:47 PM  

Wow! What a kick butt puzzle. Did not get the rebus for over an hour even though I was SURE "lemmings" should be an answer. But I kept with it and TA DA, I actually finished. Still don't know what TripleL is supposed to mean. I think my brain is just fried from doing this puzzle :)

Waxy in Montreal 5:12 PM  

@east sac girl - 3 letter L's in a row in the clue. Tricky - just like RMN was!

Solving in Seattle 5:12 PM  

@east sac girl, the TRIPLE L is referring to the three "L"s in a row in "still life."

and, I agree it was a whale of a rebus. I've been ear worming the Sound of Music song for the past day.

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

It's been explained several times, but since nobody's likely to see this I'm going to go ahead and explain it my way. Theme answer is in two parts. The beginning is 41a, and the end is 39A. Both TWINKLE TEINKLE and NOW I KNOW MY ABC's are sung to part one.

I found this easy for a Thursday. Whipped through the top, whipped through the bottom, had virtually nothing in the middle. For a LONG time. That pretty much says "rebus in the middle" to me, so I revisited the 39d and 44d, squeezed in the obvious answers (ALAS and SOLAR)...and whipped through the rest.

Favorite clue was the butcher one. Because initially it made me think of a great Robyn Hitchcock song that makes excellent use (at 3:50) of the rhyming slang described by jberg above, but when the answer finally came it made me think of a different Robyn Hitchcock song.

tingod 1:50 AM  

Sorry, but I think this was a stupid crossword. Being both a Mensa member AND a country music fan, "Twinkle, twinkle" made me think of Merle Haggard's song "Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star". "Ike" was easy cuz DDE was used before. "Tends to" was weak. "retable" for "push back FURTHER"???? Wasn't even fun - got 3/4 thru and hit a wall.

tingod 1:51 AM  

This puzzle had a theme?

tingod 1:55 AM  

WAY too many plausible alternate answers to be a good puzzle. Especially in the three letter words. Once you have a couple of them wrong, the rest becomes nearly impossible.

Anonymous 9:01 PM  

@acme - I was trying something similar with classical music, but the words "surprise" and "symphony" in the nickname for Haydn's No. 94 kept stubbornly having 8 letters instead of 7.

Anonymous 9:09 PM  

Whoops! - just forgot to include the words to the musical mnemonic for Haydn's work: "Papa Haydn wrote this tune," sung to the same melody, of course.

Anonymous 8:49 PM  

Train wreck is right! A new low for Will Shortz. Hybrid crossword-anagram = waste of time.

David W 4:00 AM  

Wow, what a comment section.

This is definitely a puzzle I would have hated 10 years ago. But knowing just enough crosswordese now (especially SOL) made this one a lot of fun.

And yes, the clues are right "words sung to the beginning of [the notes in 41 across]", not words sung to the beginning of the whole song.


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