Ruler after diet / MON 4-23-12 / Ruler in vegetable garden / Cone-shaped shelter / Folded Mexican dish / Ruler with custard desserts

Monday, April 23, 2012

Constructor: Michael David

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: Rulers — words ending in "KING" are reimagined (in the clues) as phrases related to KINGs

  • 4D: Ruler after a diet? (THIN KING)
  • 20A: Ruler on a golf course? (PAR KING)
  • 10D: Ruler on a beach? (TAN KING)
  • 20D: Ruler in a Utah city? (PROVO KING)
  • 40D: Ruler with custard desserts? (FLANKING)
  • 42D: Ruler in a W.C.? (LOO KING)
  • 53A: Ruler in a vegetable garden? (PEA KING)

Word of the Day: CLOY (57D: Fill to excess) —
v., cloyed, cloy·ing, cloys.
To cause distaste or disgust by supplying with too much of something originally pleasant, especially something rich or sweet; surfeit.

To be too filling, rich, or sweet.

[Short for obsolete accloy, to clog, from Middle English acloien, from Old French encloer, to drive a nail into, from Medieval Latin inclāvāre : Latin in-, in; see in-2 + Latin clāvāre, to nail (from clāvus, nail).]

Read more:
• • •


Despite the abundance of KINGs (i.e. tons of squares that are easily filled in once you catch on to the theme), this one played harder-than-normal for a Monday, for several reasons. First, there's 1A: Late, as a library book (PAST DUE). Tens of thousands of people will either think or (as I did) write in OVERDUE, as that is the more commonly used phrase. The phrase in the grid is totally valid, just not the one that is likely to leap to mind first (if, like my wife, you are smart and check the crosses before writing anything in, then this answer won't affect you much, if at all). Then there's the fact that it's not obvious where the theme answers are in this grid, so when you first encounter a "?" clue, it's not going to be clear that it's theme material. Could just be any old "?" clue. This was true for me at 4D: Ruler after a diet? (THIN KING). I was sure that the pun was on "diet" and that (because of "ruler") I was supposed to think of "diet" in the sense of "legislative assembly" (e.g. Diet of Worms) (wife, strangely, had same thought). Then there was the fact that the SUMMON (32D: Order to come) / FUME (40A: Be furious) nexus was just tough. Those clues were hard (I thought "to come" meant "in the future" and assumed [Be furious] was RAGE). Both wife and I got hung up there. Then there's the meaning of CLOY that I was not familiar with (57D: Fill to excess). I knew "be sickeningly sweet," but not "overfill." At four letters, of course I wanted SATE there (also wanted EEK at 56A: Comic strip cry, since I was going off the K—if clue had said ["Cathy" cry], I wouldn't have made that error). Then there's PULE (53D: Whine). It's a word. Just not that common a word. I've seen it only in crosswords. Wife claims never to have seen it.

So this played more Tuesday than Monday. Quality-wise, it has pluses and minuses. The theme is actually cute and kind of funny, and though having So Many (a cloying number of) KINGs in the grid feels excessive, the amusement offered by the clues as well as the relative difficulty of the rest of the grid mostly made up for what could have been an annoying repetitive feature. The fill undoubtedly could've been stronger in more expert hands. There's a Lot of crosswordese (and whatever TING is). But overall, I think this is a decent effort. Maybe I'm biased because my (real) first name is Michael and my middle name is David and so it looks like 2/3 of me constructed this puzzle. But I doubt it.

Thanks to (crossword constructor) Alex Boisvert for recently tweeting about the ROYGBIV mnemonic (66A: Rainbow mnemonic). I'm sure I would've gotten it easily anyway, but Alex's tweet ensured that the answer was right at the top of my brain.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Karl 6:59 AM  

Nice puzzle. Maybe this is a harbinger of a great week after what I deemed a less-than-stellar one...

Z 7:15 AM  

There are days where Rex's write-up is eerily similar to my own. From overDUE to thinking "to come" meant future to wanting rage instead of fume, today is one of those days. Except for PULE and a mnemonic I'm not familiar with, a fun crunchy Monday.

I do have to wonder why we get two "Bridge Ruler?" pictures in the blog, though.

Loren Muse Smith 7:15 AM  

Yep, @Rex, after I mindlessly filled in “over” for PAST and then looked at 1D, as I was erasing “over,” I thought that about 100,000 people would be starting the same way.

I was truly astonished to see this rated medium challenging. I usually feel a bit behind the pack and have more trouble than most, but last night in the margin, I wrote “so-easy-but-we-forgive-you-because-it’s-just-so-damn-good! This is vibrant, fun, elegant, and easy.”

Very scrabbly; as JERK fell, I started looking for the W and X.

The theme is so clever to force the unusual parsing. LOOKING was my favorite.

Michael David, I’m relatively new to this world, so I don’t know if you’ve been around a while or not, but I will certainly take note and settle in for a treat next time I see your name. Thanks!

Anonymous 7:31 AM  

I'm a librarian, and library books are OVERDUE, both in my academic library and in every public library I've used in the past.

Bills are what I would call PAST DUE.

Bad clue.

Anonymous 7:40 AM  

I do agree with Rex that this played more like a Tuesday--easy enough but not so easy that it filled itself in.

efrex 7:44 AM  

Resisted OVERDUE as, like Mrs. Rex, I checked the crosses first. Fun theme, but more writeovers/"huh?" moments than I've seen on a Monday in a long time. Had "_BOMB" before NTEST, never heard of PULE or PIMA, and, like Rex, didn't know from that definition of CLOY. My first thought from "ruler" was as in "measuring stick," which provided the clue for 42-D with a completely different mental image...

Otherwise, solid effort, Mr. David! Thanks!

Anonymous 7:47 AM  

Sorry for the multiple short comments, but after quibbling with the one clue, I think it's only fair to add that I did enjoy the puzzle and the theme.

Leslie 7:57 AM  

I love tops made from PIMA cotton, but yes, I was surprised to see the word in a puzzle. I, too, failed the "overdue"/PAST DUE test.

Cute puzzle.

AnnieD 7:58 AM  

I always thought the expression was mewling and it mewling and puling???

Right up there with Richard Stands.

I can see where the reverse can be fun too.

Clue: Barking
Answer: Moe

Clue: Sinking
Answer: Satan

Sue McC 8:02 AM  

Fun, quick solve until I got to PULE, which I had never heard of :

- verb (used without object), puled, pul·ing.
to cry in a thin voice; whine; whimper.

LOO KING forward to a good puzzle week!

Glimmerglass 8:03 AM  

Easy, even for a Monday. I start with the 3-letter clues in the NW. So PHD (not going to be MFA on a Monday), and then PAST DUE. My only glitch was wondering why HYPHENS is plural, but I didn't waste much time worrying about it.

Evan 8:12 AM  

I was LOOKING for SINKING once I caught onto the theme, which took me longer than usual as well. That might have been a fun answer at 10-Down since the last five letters fit there (and maybe the constructor tried it but it didn't work). I suppose that "Ruler in Las Vegas?" or "Bad ruler?" might have been decent clues for that, although the second one wouldn't have been consistent with the other clues as "ruler" comes second.

Also, while 66-Across is technically correct since it's referring to a mnemonic, I don't think indigo is considered one of the main rainbow spectrum colors anymore, or at least there's some dispute as to whether it should be included. That's what Wiki tells me, anyway. Apparently, Sir Isaac Newton originally used five principal colors on the spectrum but added both indigo and orange in order to match the number of musical notes in an octave scale.

Evan 8:16 AM  

Oh, and @AnnieD, I was typing my SINKING comment while yours showed up -- had the same thought as you did.

imsdave 8:37 AM  

Lovely Monday.

I would have replaced TING with PING giving a nice golf overlap with JESPER Parnevik crossing a golf equipment manufacturer, but that's probably just me.

@Sandy - I'm like you - I try not to put in a questionable answer without a few crosses. Didn't have to erase overDUE as I saw two possible solutions and waited for a few downs before writing it in. This is why I will never be a speed solver.

Loren Muse Smith 8:49 AM  

"Peeking" would work for 42D, too.

Loren Muse Smith 8:57 AM  

Oops Rex beat me to it!

orangeblossomspecial 8:59 AM  

Whenever I see 42A I think of Angel on my Shoulder: "I found a four leaf clover and I put it in a LOCKET". As pretty a song a you're likely to hear today. It also goes with the clue for 66A Rainbow.

Here is 35A IRVING Berlin's first major composition in about 1912, Alexander's Ragtime Band, played on a Wurlitzer theater organ.

Tita 9:02 AM  

@Anon @ 7:40 - agreed - bills are PASTDUE.

ROYGBIV went into the grid automatically for me - Thanks, 7th grade science, for searing that so permanently into my brain. How can something that I haven't used in 25 years DO that???? Why can't EVERYTHING I know do that?

@Evan - thx for the Newton musical scale factoid - cool!

Not your garden-variety Monday, as Rex has pointed out, but a fun solve.

Had to invert clay pots over my PEAs yesterday so the nor'easter wouldn't pummel them. Guess that makes me the PEAQUEEN in these parts...

(The forget-me-NOTs haven't germinated yet, so they're ok...)

Not enough sun to plant corn on the COB in my yard, but we're blessed with the best grower around. Only eat corn once it's local.

Thanks Mr. David - it has a few faults, but overall, it made me smile while solving. Nice one!

Airymom 9:03 AM  

This puzzle brightened a dreary day. Never heard of the word "pule". I will start using it as soon as my 13 year old daughter gets home from school. I'm so tired of saying, "stop whining" to her. I'm also so tired of her rolling her eyes every time I say or do something. (Actually dear, I'm not a moron"). Perhaps if I say, "stop puling", it will confuse her and she'll cut it out!
I enjoyed the puzzle and loved the "roygbiv" answer.

joho 9:04 AM  

@imsdave, love JESPER/PING! Although Jesper Parnevik is way too obscure for a Monday and probably even a Saturday for most!

My only writover was eeK before ACK so this played pretty easy for me especially because once I got KING I pretty much filled much of the puzzle. Even so, the theme was unexpected and fun.

Thanks, Michael David, good one!

mac 9:25 AM  

Very nice puzzle. Hand up for overdue and I also first wrote in "leeking" instead of pea. I know, wrong in several different ways.

I remembered pule, but cloy had a new meaning of the word to me.

foodie 9:27 AM  

Smile inducing Monday. Had exactly the same thoughts that Rex described, include the political Diet explanation after THIN KING!

I really like @Anonymous' distinction between library books and bills. A bill would have been a much better clue.

Rex, even if it doesn't work, I hope you will continue to tell us about potential airings of your TV piece. I'm traveling and made a point of finding the station in my hotel room and watching the broadcast, and wondered if I had gotten the wrong info. But it's worth it. It would really be fun to watch!

chefbea 9:30 AM  

I agree - tougher than a Monday puzzle.

Another test today after two tests yesterday.

We all know what the ruler in MY vegetable garden is!!!

jackj 9:32 AM  

There will certainly be some groans that this is too difficult to be presented as a Times Monday puzzle and, truth be told, there are a few questionable bits of cluing for an early week puzzle but there should be no denying the brilliance of the theme and the professional execution of the overall puzzle in this debut performance by Michael David!

Michael’s coronation of 7 unique KING(s) gives us a dessert chomping royal, FLAN KING and his counterpoint of a ruler, the diet maven, THIN KING; the tween boy’s favorite monarch, he of the W.C., tinkles his tune as the LOO KING and Utah’s clever crown is awarded to the PROVO KING. Witty and imaginative, all!

The complaints will question whether CLOY, PULE, NENE and ROYGBIV are appropriate for a Monday puzzle but, the most troubling entry may result from misdirection, not extreme cluing, as the library book of 1 across is deemed PASTDUE, not OVERDUE.

No complaints from this quarter, though, just unbound praise for a very special creation.

Hope you have another puzzle aborning, Michael!

thursdaysd 9:32 AM  

That was a fun Monday. I haven't seen PULE before, but I thought puling was fairly common. NENE, on the other hand, was totally unknown to me. Liked the shortage of proper names.

jackj 9:34 AM  

As regards ROYGBIV, this mnemonic first found its way into a Times crossword on November 21, 1993, a Sunday puzzle by Peter Gordon, which was the first Times crossword edited by Will Shortz and, it is a masterpiece, worth recalling with thanks to Michael David for the reminder.

The puzzle is a complicated rebus that uses each of the colors of the rainbow in across and down clues like (yellow)SEA across, (yellow)PAGES down and AGENT(orange) across and ACLOCKWORK(orange) down with a rebus “Y” in the first example and an “O” in the second instance, with the other 5 colors similarly clued.

The reveal came in the puzzle’s center entry as a horizontal ROYGBIV summarized the theme entries and included new, separate down entries like (red)ALERT, SYDNEY(green)STREET and ULTRA(violet) for the 7 colors.

XwordInfo has a completed grid using the colors for the rebus entry to great effect and it can be seen at XwordInfo’s site by locating “About the Database” at the upper left and clicking on “Sunday, November 21, 1993”.

Kudos to Peter and Will for launching the “Shortz era” in such spectacular fashion!!

ArtO 9:48 AM  

A truly exceptional Monday for both it's cleverness and the, as duly noted, obscurity of several answers relative to the clung.

Not easy for Monday but a pleasure.

Rudy Shankar 9:52 AM  

@jackj at 9:34

Great recall on the Nov 1993 puzzle with ROYGBIV. It brought back memories. Glad you went through some details of that classic puzzle.

The mnemonic for colors of the rainbow we were taught in HS was the reverse:" Vibgyor" I suppose because it was somewhat pronounceable.

evil doug 9:53 AM  

I was thinking of getting my wife a vibgyor for her birthday.


Cheerio 9:56 AM  

I think PULING is more common. Waiting for the Bard. Nope, can't wait:

"And then to have a wretched PULING fool,
A whining mammet, in her fortune's tender,
To answer, 'I'll not wed; I cannot love,
I am too young; I pray you, pardon me,"..

Juliet's father, Capulet, annoyed at Juliet for refusing to marry Paris, in Romeo and Juliet.

Rudy Shankar 10:00 AM  

@evil at 9:53

If so be prepared to sleep on the couch.

John V 10:05 AM  

Well. Solved while sitting in LGA tarmac at 6:20, which presents its own set of challenging, middle seat, 4:45 pickup up, raining, etc. Okay, John, quit with the PULE already.

Liked this one a lot. Really fun Monday. Do I count the theme density at 57? Do I see the horizontal rule about themes shattered? Do I see the rule about first theme entry having to be in row three against the left side, totally trashed? And what's left? A great puzzle is what I'm sayin'. Rules, PULES.

The phrase in the language is OVERDUE, of course. I stopped before writing it thinking it odd that 1D should start with O; checked the crosses and PASTDUE happened. PULE, eh, CLOY, eh, ROYGBIV, right back to grammar school, an automatic. Fav answer PROVOKING. Trying to imagine how PEEKING? DUCK! might fit, but not getting anywhere. Anyhoo, later, from Charlotte.

archaeoprof 10:12 AM  

Another overDUE here.

Slightly harder than usual, but probably too easy for Tuesday.

@Rex: I agree with @Foodie. Keep us in the loop.

xyz 10:14 AM  

A perfectly good puzzle ruined by a third-rate shaded meaning at 56A & 57D

Started with OVER, crosses gave me PAST. Yep, 'nother hand up here

KRMunson 10:14 AM  

@Evil Doug - you rock my world! @Rudy - go ahead and sleep on the couch. Who cares? I've got my vibgyor !!

Am I the only person in the universe who had never seen or heard or ROYGBIV? It was a total swag for me.

GILL I. 10:19 AM  

This was a fun, refreshing, difficult puzzle for a Monday.
Newbie daughter couldn't finish; had never heard of PULE nor CLOY.
I enjoyed it and ROY G BIV got me started with the mnemonics my grandmother would toss at me at every opportunity. My English was not only awful (still is) but spelling was worse. My favorite for spelling slaughter is laughter with an S at the beginning.
@imsdave: Is that you with your newly married daughter? Wonderful picture and you both LOOK smashing.

Tita 10:26 AM  

@jackj - you need **SPOILER ALERT** in advance of your fond memories...

Sounds like a puzzle I would love to do again (if I ever did it to begin with). Better yet, how about 'spoiler alert' followed by a link to said .puz...

Matthew G. 10:29 AM  

Will's off to another great start this week. These last two Mondays have been two of my favorites that I can recall. And I agree with Rex's difficulty rating today -- this was on the very high end of Monday difficulty for me.

I never noticed PULE or its clue while solving, which is a good thing. It would have baffled me as much as it did Mrs. Rex.

The only thing I disliked about this puzzle is the clue on PAST DUE. I'll be less charitable than Rex and more inclined to agree with Anonymou@7:31 a.m.: library books get OVERDUE. Bills get PAST DUE. Like Anon, I've been around many a library and they have all used the term OVERDUE. I lost a good twenty seconds on this solve coming to terms with the fact that 1A was something other than OVERDUE.

But otherwise? A peach of a Monday.

jae 10:37 AM  

It seemed easy for a Mon. but like Rex and many of you, overDUE doomed a chance for a good solve time.

Clever theme + smooth grid =  fine Mon.  Could be the start of 2 weeks in a row???

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

Sweet puzzle for a Monday, but 1a clue is a usage mistake (another librarian). Never heard the mnemonic ROY G BIV, but am always happy to learn something new!

oren muse 10:53 AM  

Working today’s puzzle reminded me of my problem that can make the puzzle harder – sometimes I can’t even read my own damn printing. Example – for BAD, that “d” looked like an “o” and since I had filled that earlier, when I came back, the whole southwest was a mess, not knowing PULE. What kind of word is “O _ CAGON”?

Even though I thought today’s was easy, I had trouble with some words. PIMA, CLOY, and QUE (I will never know any foreign words). @KRMunson – you’re not alone. I have never heard of ROY B GIV.

Once I erased “sea king” and got TANKING, the northeast was a smooth sail. Another mistake was embarrassingly, “pass due” for PAST DUE, and I kept wondering what the heck a “shinking” was.

I’m surprised Rex called this medium challenging. I thought it was easy and interesting.

It’s always fun to come here, make my comment and join the crowd on Mondays. Looking forward to Tuesday.

wyonative 11:07 AM  

Loved PULE, and although I've never used it in any conversation or written note, it seemed very familiar to me. Thanks to @Cheerio for finding the Romeo and Juliet passage. I think R&J is one of the first audio books I listened to. It's Shakespeare's birthday today.

Mrs. Evil Doug 11:10 AM  

Thanks honey, but I've already got one. Several in fact. Had'm for years.

Tita 11:11 AM  

@Oren - it's always a kick for me to see Rex rate an easy-for-you puzzle as medium or challenging.
Of course, it's another kind of kick when the other way around...

Thanks to Rex and Rexites, I've actually been on the positive side of that equation on the very rare Friday or Saturday of late, so keep at it! I never thought I would see that day.
(And I wouldn't consider it cheating to get some foreign language help from your offpsring - after all...

Sparky 11:18 AM  

Hand up re overDUE; bills are PASTDUE. Thought ruler was about measurement at first. Solved last night on Across Lite. Took forever. Filled in the paper this a.m. A pleasant solve, though.

Don't like the spanking pictures. Tain't funny McGee.

Great picture @imbsdave. Big congratulations Doting Dad.

miriam b 11:20 AM  

Can't wait for the Bard either. The infant in The Seven Ages of Man is described as "mewling and puking in his nurse's arms". Puking wouldn't pass the breakfast test by a long shot.

miriam b 11:21 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
dk 11:30 AM  

ROYGBIV is also used to remember colors on a spectrum. It comes in handy in one's Astronomy class.

Would a Rex of parsing puzzles be: CHUNKING?

A fine little puzzle IMHO.

🌟🌟🌟 (3 Stars) Thanks Mr. David

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

No uproar on 33D's extra E? Tepees (at least in my NYT puzzle experience) always had only 3 Es.

imsdave 12:03 PM  

@Gill and @Sparky - easy to look good with a beautiful daughter standing next to you.

I should have posted the picture of me falling into the pews after tripping on my daughters train. In my theatre days, when we did the final rehearsal it was in full dress. Not the same with a wedding.

hazel 12:42 PM  

@imsdave - such a sweet and gracious comment. Nicely said.

Thought this puzzle was super fun and an excellent Monday and debut

For some reason i like the fact that so many people tripped on 1a (including myself). Nice little speedbump to slow the racers down.

Mark 12:51 PM  

FYI, in the U.K., ROYGBIV is remembered by the mnemonic, Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain.

Bird 1:44 PM  

Of course I started with OVERDUE, I mean who wouldn’t, as it didn’t even dawn on me to check the crosses. However, this was easily corrected. Only other problems were PULE (new word) and CLOY (new meaning) and needed to check the crosses before I was confident I completed the puzzle. The only answer I paused to check crosses for was NTEST (as opposed to _BOMB). Thanks Michael for the pleasure or doing this one.

ACK reminds me of the old Calvin and Hobbes cartoons.

@Rex – On PULE: You say, “Wife claims never to have seen it.” Does that mean you don’t believe her or you think she is misremembering?

Lewis 2:15 PM  

Michael got the best of the _____king genre, it looks like to me. There are others out there (yakking, biking, yoking, i.e.) that things could be done with, but not as good.

Thank you ED and followup commenters for a good laugh!

fergus 2:23 PM  

Ruler of the mound
Bridge ruler
Ruler of the meadows
Surface defilement ruler
... etc. It only gets worse.

africa cairo mentions 3:09 PM  

Altho clearly a Tuesday passed off as a we-need-Mondays, this was most fun bec not only seven KINGS, but it's the kind of puzzles that induces you to try and come up with your own...and, as I've always said, that's the best!
Who knows how many nascent constructors are out there, just waiting to be inspired!!!

The fact that Michael David is a Minnesotan AND a tournament Scrabble player just gives me more to love.

But really, ACK! on: CLOY, PIMA, PULE, RONDO, NSC and, dare I say, even PROVO!

minimalapop on considering RAGE for FUME.


I feel sorry that the first word was clued less than perfectly bec it really got the puzzle off on the wrong foot and it deserved better. (I'd say it may be an editing oversight, but then my puzzles might take another 6 months to be published!)
When something like that happens, it becomes the focus and then often the fun-ness is lost...
Glad to see folks saw thru that!

Miette 4:08 PM  

I must be the only one who wrote in pastdue right off the bat.

Found it very easy and fun, except for a couple spots. Never heard of the ROY G BIV mnemonic, so couldn't figure out the "Y" of CLOY. Wanted to put cloT or cloG. Also had trouble with PULE, and NENE...but finished in good time.

sanfranman59 4:16 PM  

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

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

Mon 8:10, 6:50, 1.20, 96%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:36, 3:40, 1.25, 99%, Challenging

As of now, the median solve time for the Top 100 group is tied for the highest of 148 Mondays in my spreadsheet. That will almost certainly not be the case come the end of the day, but this puzzle will surely end up at the high end of the Challenging range by the numbers. Frankly, I'm pleasantly surprised since my own solve time falls in my Monday Medium range.

Pen on Paper 4:41 PM  

I should start keeping track of my solve times. With the OVERDUE error and pauses at CLOY and PULE, this still felt liked an easy solve for me.

mac 4:49 PM  

@mark: thank you for the actual mnemonic, those letters didn't mean much, especially because indigo doesn't come naturally.

Pitapat makes me think of little feet more than a heartbeat.

Joe The Juggler 5:00 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe The Juggler 5:03 PM  

As for "pule", I once played Lord Capulet in a circus-version of Romeo & Juliet. There's a speech where he chews the scenery and refers to Juliet as "a wretched puling fool".

But I admit, I'd never run across that meaning of "cloy".

Michael David 5:55 PM  

Thank you for the comments! It's an honor to see my puzzle discussed here, and to find that many of you enjoyed it.

I must admit that I almost wrote in OVERDUE myself at 1A. When I submitted this puzzle, I had PAST DUE clued simply as "Late."

The only edit made to the fill was at the intersection of LOCKET/NET (I originally had LOCKED/NED and a Simpson's reference for the clue on NED).

I wish ACK/CLOY could have come off better (those were my clues). I might be able to improve that cross now that I've had more experience constructing, but that's all I could find at the time. Ditto for PULE and PIMA.

I thought Will might flip the grid pattern to have 5 theme answers going across and 2 going down. I'm glad he kept it as is though...somehow I like the look of the grid better this way.

PROVOKING was my inspiration for making this puzzle. It was a lot of fun listing out the other possibilities for theme answers and choosing from them.


JenCT 6:12 PM  

I plopped in AKIN TO for 63a before reading the clue, which made 53d PUKE. I have heard that word; didn't know PULE. Learn something new every day...

Fun puzzle.

@imsdave: great picture!

chefbea 6:12 PM  

@Michael nice to hear from you!!!

aliento cloying michaels 6:50 PM  

great to get the insight and congrats on your first puzzle and having it come thru so unscathed!!!!!!!

My preference would have been to have the 5 going across and the two down, so that the theme is more evident...I doubt he'd go to the trouble of flipping the grid...
And if you are happier this way, then great to that too!

The thing is, CLOY is probably never used, people would probably only say CLOYING, so it's weirdish.

But I think you got lucky that he didn't make you redo PIMA, PULE, CLOY and NSC for a Monday.

I also loved JERK/JESTER, by the way!

Anonymous 7:03 PM  

Bless you, Mrs. Evil Doug. He needs a comeuppance. I loved this puzzle

Bill 7:21 PM  

He, like a puling cuckold, would drink up Toilus and Cressida: IV, i

And then to have a wretched puling fool, Romeo and Juliet: III, v

Speak puling, like a beggar at hallowmas. you were The Two Gentlemen of Verona: II, i

Leave this faint puling and lament as I do, Coriolanus: IV, ii

archaeoprof 7:33 PM  

@Michael: thanks for stopping by. As you can tell, we loved this puzzle. Looking forward to your next one!

Loren Muse Smith 8:03 PM  

Michael - I always like it when a constructor stops by. This morning I didn't know this was your first. Terrific debut.

Anonymous 8:05 PM  

Great debut puzzle David!

No need to apologize for CLOY and PULE. If some of the experienced solvers here don't know those words (or their meanings), they should!

Sfingi 8:51 PM  

Hand up for overdue before PASTDUE, until I decided sailors don't put up a VEE for Victory sign, rather than AYE AYE Sir.

Also started wrong on QUE - had the Italian spelling CHE -same meaning, same pronunciation.

Captch - gestske - is that, like, a laughable jetski?

Z 9:30 PM  

I'm a little surprised by @sanfranman59's statistics. Is this because the range for Monday times is small, causing that much of a slow down from the 1A confusion? The puzzle certainly didn't seem that much more challenging than other Mondays.

Sparky 9:58 PM  

Back in the late 1990s there was a restaurant called Nosmo King. It took me a year to realize it had the, at that time, novel policy of No Smoking.

JenCT 10:13 PM  

@Sparky 9:58: LOL

sanfranman59 10:31 PM  

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

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

Mon 8:17, 6:50, 1.21, 98%, Challenging (4th highest median solve time of 148 Mondays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:31, 3:40, 1.23, 99%, Challenging (2nd highest median solve time of 148 Mondays)

@Z ... I can't say for sure why the solve times on this puzzle are inflated relative to other Mondays, but it definitely is one of the toughest Monday puzzles in the nearly 3 years I've been tracking this metric. That said, Monday solve times are relatively low and the distribution is pretty truncated and peaked compared to other days of the week (it's highly negatively skewed and kurtotic, for you statisticians out there). This means that small variations can have a disproportionate affect on the percentiles I report, particularly for the Top 100 Solvers group. For example, today's 4:31 median time is only 38 seconds higher than the 3:53 value that's at the upper end of the Medium-Challenging range (i.e. the 80th percentile value). By comparison, the 2nd highest Wednesday median solve time in this group (8:21) is nearly 2 minutes higher than the 80th percentile value (6:29). As is often the case with relatively simple statistics, what I report here has more than its fair share of biases. But since I'm not planning to publish this stuff in the Journal of the American Statistical Association, I don't lose much sleep over it. (Trying to read these damned captchas, on the other hand ...)

retired_chemist 11:23 PM  

Late to the party.

Medium-challenging here. I enjoyed the theme, though it took me a few false starts to uncover. ROY G BIV (or VIBGYOR) has been with me since - I can't remember when. Maybe eighth grade.

Hand up for OVERDUE, quickly fixed with crosses.

Nice debut, Mr. David. Congratulations.

Cathelou 11:36 PM  

Michael, you may not read this but I may be the only person who wrote in PULE immediately--a favorite but rarely seen word. Thanks for including it!

evil doug 3:00 AM  

"Anonymous said...
Bless you, Mrs. Evil Doug. He needs a comeuppance."

I say! I wouldn't give a tuppence for your comeuppance, Mrs. Peel. Now fetch me my bowler that we might go out for tea and biscuits, m'dear. And when we return home, I shall employ one of your many vibgyors and allow you to envision every color of the rainbow, sweetums.


Anonymous 6:13 AM  

Interestingly enough after like six months of doing the crossword and doing a bunch of vintage ones on the iPhone app (and being able to check each word on past puzzles when stuck) this was my first ever solved crossword puzzle that I was able to do start to finish correctly without having to wait to be able to check the wrong ones or look stuff up! I found it easy actually since there were almost no names or specific things I don't know which always get me. Didn't know some things but got crosses.

Yay to my first successful crossword after so much trying! Funny that it came on one considered hard!

Z 6:29 AM  

Thanks @sanfranman59. I had to look up "kurtotic," but makes sense. I don't think 1A by itself is enough to explain the longer times.

jberg 8:26 AM  

I'm a day late, so no one may read this, but since The Bard seems to have been on the holiday, I've gotta point out that CLOY, in this sense, appears in Anthony & Cleopatra - as the former remarks:

"Other women cloy the appetites they feed,
But she makes hungry, where most she satisfies."

Spacecraft 11:54 AM  

Well: stacked sevens on a Monday--and with a theme. A good, clever one to boot. Mr. David, you are LOOKING (lmao!) good!

I am one of the ten thousand. I inked in OVERDUE without the foggiest notion that it might be wrong. After all, it's a MONDAY, right? Oops. Oh well, I thought--unlike several bloggers here--PASTDUE is perfectly legit. After all, the timely return of a library book is actually a "bill" of sorts. Didn't bother me that much, though I certainly agree that "over" is what flies into the brain first--and builds a nest there.

@anon. 11:44: actually the first time I learned the word TEEPEE, in grade school, that's how it was spelled. I've since seen it as TEPEE and TIPI, but for me, the long-E sound of the first syllable would indicate either the 4-E or 2-I spellings. I might pronounce TEPEE as "teppy."

I have a mild problem with TANKING. It's a real-enough word, I guess (cardplayers "tank" when faced with tough decisions), but not exactly mainstream.

This puzzle belongs in a midweek paper, not, IMO, Monday. I winced a bit at NTEST, but overall I give this a very high "MARKING" (what you'd call me after seeing my NW ink mess). More from this guy, please!

Solving in Seattle 12:33 PM  

Seriously good inaugural construction Michael. Congratulations, you should feel like a KING!

I thought this was a little difficult for a Monday. At least a Tuesday.

Thank you Bill for the PULE lesson.

I got PIMA from my wife.

After three days in a row of golf, good to relax with the NYTCW.

Happy Memorial Day to all you Syndies, and also to our friends to the North.

Capcha: esterod Jacobites. Iron-pumping Scots.

rain forest 12:59 PM  

Lovely puzzle, a little pearl amongst so much recent dross. Anything that is late is past due, so no problems there. Got the theme right away (pretty easy to find the theme clues: they all had "ruler" in them). Loved the comic spanking ("ruler of bridges") but disagree that the fill would have been stronger in more expert hands. Might've wrecked this little beauty. One of the best Mondays ever.

Dirigonzo 2:18 PM  

So there was this guy who had a stack of bills, a wife and a girlfriend - and they were all two months past due! (Rim shot) (And so was his library book, I bet.)

I was unfamiliar with CLOY so I refused to let go of CLOg which at least made some little bit of sense to me. After finishing Saturday and Sunday successfully, this one brought me down a notch on the humility scale.

DMGrandma 2:19 PM  

A fun Monday. Started on the right path once I decided to check 1D before filling the across. From there on it was mostly just filling the squares and enjoying all the KINGS. Am surprised many stumbled on words I have learned from doing crosswords. PULE, CLOY and PIMA, along with the name EASI, come to mind.
Remembering Dad and all the rest on Memorial Day, though I still think of it as May 30th.

Spacecraft 8:02 PM  

@DMGrandma: Wow, do you ever sound like my (dearly departed) mom-in-law! "The 30th of May is the 30th of May is the 30th of May, period." She never even said "May 30th;" it was always "the 30th of May." Thanks for that "memorial."

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