Tiny hollow cylinder / MON 4-2-12 / Virginia site of two Civil War battles / 2009 British singing sensation Susan / Big series name in auto racing

Monday, April 2, 2012

Constructor: Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: PLAY / BALL (25D: With 35-Down, much-anticipated cry every April) — last words of theme answers relate to baseball
  • PORCH SWING (16A: Relaxing spot on a veranda)
  • SMASH HIT (23A: Huge success at the box office)
  • BULL RUN (37A: Virginia site of two Civil War battles)
  • MUDSLIDE (46A: Hillside threat after a heavy rain)
  • PIANO SCORE (56A: Sheet music for Van Cliburn, say)

Word of the Day: TUBULE (31A: Tiny hollow cylinder) —
A very small tube or tubular structure.

[Latin tubulus, diminutive of tubus, tube.]
• • •
TUBULE or not TUBULE? If that is the question, I'm voting not.

The MLB season officially started in March. In Japan.

It is true that my daughter started middle school this year, and she is in SIXTH GRADE (10D: Traditional start of middle school), but I don't know about this "traditional" stuff. My middle school started in seventh.

This theme feels like something from a long time ago. Can't believe a ends-of-these-phrases-relate-to-baseball theme hasn't been done a billion times before. Felt harder than normal, but my time fell almost exactly between my times for the last two Mondays, so, though it's a very small sample size, we're going with an average difficulty rating. Feelings lie. Numbers don't. The middle of this puzzle was more T/W than M. Big white space with the super-odd TUBULE and the slightly toughish BULL RUN (37A: Virginia site of two Civil War battles) and the "could-be-lotsa-things" SUBLIME (23D: Glorious). I had trouble with ANY OLD TIME (though it's now my favorite answer in the grid) (27D: "Whenever you feel like it"), and even more trouble with INDYCAR (41D: Big series name in auto racing). My brain was like "NASCAR? .... try NASCAR? ... is it NASCAR yet? ... how about iNASCAR, like ... from Apple?" Stupid brain.

  • 6A: Girls with coming-out parties (DEBS) — because "confident and proud lesbians" was way, way too long.
  • 37D: 2009 British singing sensation Susan (BOYLE) — so not my thing. I'll take AMY Winehouse (36A: Late singer Winehouse) over Susan BOYLE any day. 

  • 58D: State north of La. (ARK.) — why in the world would you clue this as a state abbrev. (that nobody uses)???
  • 34D: Bassoon relative (OBOE) — I'm listening to an OBOE version of Bach's "Partita in A Minor, BWV 1013" right now. Seriously. It was originally composed for flute:

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:11 AM  

A reverse Tootsie Pop - Soft on the outside, crunchy on the inside.

Yes, the "traditional" start of Middle School is whatever grade is traditional in your school district.

I know art isn't a contest, but if it were, Lady Gaga wiped the floor with Amy Winehouse in the Best Duet with Tony Bennet category.

Hey - This friggin captcha is calling me a Nazi! Or a Nazi's jockstrap, I can't decipher it! youreari ansuppr

Acme 12:32 AM  

This is the first of four puzzlesin a row that have been written by women...a streak not since 2005 or something.
And it's about baseball! Can't win for losing!

Liked it, it's five + PLAYBALL!

First and only puzzle any of us got to do in the St Paul tourney which really wasn't a tourney...I'll try and dig up the article if Rex hasnt already posted ( I'm 3-4 daysbehind here as I'm loving Minneapolis home visit)
Saw Sethg, contructors Andrew Ries, Dave Hanson ( who did the fun border palindrome puzle) and Tom Pepper of GOCOMMANDO fame.

retired_chemist 12:40 AM  

Easy. Took a lot of time for me to find that EMT (44A) was really EMS, but I flew through most of the rest.

But not all. 2D, for example. GAFF (which is far from correct) seemed what a GAFFER's responsibility would be. Nope. The GAFFER is the chief electrician, for reasons I do not understand. That meant disassembling the NW. PIANO MUSIC @ 56A was a similar bottleneck, though more easily fixed.

Thanks, Ms. Lempel.

Tobias Duncan 12:45 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tobias Duncan 12:54 AM  

Is this someones idea of a #@$#%@$ joke?? Are you kidding me with all this effing sports?
This better be one of those guys named Lynn because female sports enthusiasts are the worst, they are like a cross between traitors and Stockholm syndrome suffers.
Ok that might be a bit harsh, but I have always escaped horrible sports conversations at cocktail parties by migrating to the female circles. I am always so disappointed if I find they are talking sports as well. women are usually fast allies in the war against the horrible tedium that is sports small talk.

Oh and @JaxInL.A. , thank you the kind words and sweet compliment you left on my blog. I was going to email but could not find an address for you.

Anonymous 12:56 AM  

I did like that the terms had a logical order.

You SWING the bat and HIT the ball. Then, you start to RUN around the bases until you SLIDE into homeplate, scoring a RUN.

Anonymous 12:57 AM  

Fantastic puzzle! Really, really great! I enjoyed every second of it. The sequence of the theme, with EASYWIN right over SCORE was brilliant.

Thank you Lynn for showing these amateurs how to make a Monday puzzle that's not too hard with interesting answers and a solid, fun theme.

This weeks off to a MUCH better start than last week.

foodie 1:07 AM  

@Tobias Duncan... As I was solving I thought: I know someone who's going to be even more teed off than me! And bless you, you did not disappoint!

And it's a woman constructor for chrissakes! Why couldn't this be about clothes, shoes, make up, hairstyling, or even dieting? Something to counteract all the testosterone?

But you made me laugh out loud, and I am trying to forgive and forget.

I hope the rest of the ladies don't disappoint! Andrea, are you one of them? And have you taken up rugby by any chance?

foodie 1:09 AM  

And don't shoot me about stereotyping! If men want to make puzzles about the above topics, I'm still delighted!

pk 1:11 AM  

Just want to give a big "thx" to Rex for doing the full-blown, seriously considered, music video containing write-up to a Monday puzz that took him 3 minutes to solve and 10 times (at least)longer than that to write up (I am guessing.)

I guess that is enough sucking up. On to the puzz its ownself. I thought this was easy, but I don't time myself. Feelings don't always lie, but numbers sometimes do.

I put little hearts in the margin next to Porch Swing and Spy Ring and Kiss Me. I've never done that before. Not on Monday, anyway. Not ever, really.

Like Rex's answer for 6A much better! Maybe you could construct a puzz around that, no?

jae 1:24 AM  

Is it sports week? Smooth medium fun Mon. for me. The only thing that slowed me down was discovering SEVENTH wouldn't fit. My granddaughter (see picture) started middle school here in San Diego in the SIXTH grade. Maybe SIXTH is the new seventh?

Anonymous 1:55 AM  

I think that some schools are now divided this way - Kindergarten by itself. Lower School 1 thru 4. Middle School 5 thru 8. High School 9 thru 12. And the middle school is kind of divided into two halves, fifth and sixth in one half and seventh and eighth in the other half. Makes sense to me.

Acme 2:24 AM  

No, I'm not one of the gals this week :(
AND, full disclosure, I recently submitted a sports theme puzzle but it was about team names again...
I actually don't object to SWING HIT RUN SLIDE SCORE which is clever and like a short story,
i object when the clue is something like "Phillies centerfielder hall of famer 1953" and it's considered a gimme...so not sports per se, but player trivia that is only known to a handful of men....
This puzzle is in a whole 'nother category and a homerun in terms of construction!

Acme 2:33 AM  

Here is the article from the front page of Sat March 31, 2011 St Paul Pioneer Press. Sorry i STILL don't remember how to embed

Gareth Bain 3:29 AM  

No love for those humble toilers the kidney's Malpighian tubules then? After all they've done for you!?

chefwen 3:55 AM  

@Tobias - Honey, it's better to accept than to hate. Sports are here and here to stay. It is what it is, why get so worked up over it? Not healthy. I actually liked the puzzle as I do most Lynn Lempel's puzzles. Co-owner of our Monday's favorite constructors.

Loren Muse Smith 6:18 AM  

As I was solving this last night, I was thinking, “Poor Tobias!” Yesterday golf and today baseball! I’ve said before – I come from a big baseball family; dad pitched at Wake Forest, mom’s dad played against Babe Ruth, and my first cousin was ACC player of the year at Wake and played briefly for the Mariners. But I’m no baseball fan. I appreciate that it’s the start of baseball season, but as a lacrosse mom, I don’t pay a lot of attention. However, very elegantly told story as Andrea pointed out: SWING, HIT, RUN, SLIDE, SCORE. Great puzzle.

@Gareth - I have a terrific recipe for braised Malpighian tubules if you're interested. They're an Easter dinner staple in our house. (And I haven't given up on that ^%$# Facebook scrabble game; I just fell so flat on my face so instantly that I'm regrouping. . .)

On DAWG. My sister graduated from the University of Georgia. They’re the DAWGs. A while back there was a famous exchange between the two radio commentators before a football game. “Uga”, a bulldog, is the mascot, and is always escorted to the fifty yard line at home games for everyone to cheer for before the start of the game. One year, he sat down on the fifty yard line, and began some personal hygiene processes, that, well, you know what dogs do.

Commentator A: “Man, I wish I could do that.”

Commentator B: “ John, that DAWG would bite you. . .”

Deb 6:33 AM  

I quit reading your write-up when you mentioned that SUBLIME was in tha puzzle. SUBLIME has long been my most favorite word in the English languagee, and I missed it?!?

Z 7:33 AM  

I started at confident and proud lesbians, completed the long NE to SW axis, took my son to school, then finished the SE and NW, having to work the crosses a little bit in those two corners. Easy-medium for a Monday.

K-6, 7-9, 10-12 was the pre-middle school configuration. K-5, 6-8, 9-12 was the common middle school era configuration. However, districts do all kinds of funky things for all kinds of reasons. K-8 buildings pop up every now and then as well as the opposite slice and dice two to three grade levels to a building model. Tradition has very little to do with it.

Looking forward to opening day, with my Tigers the consensus pick to win their division by 15 games. The last time they were the consensus pick to walk away with their division they finished last.

jberg 7:39 AM  

Here in Massachusetts, a school is a middle school if it starts in SIXTH grade, and a junior high if it starts in 7th. I guess that usage is not as universal as I thought, but it helped me with this puzzle.

I had iN gOoD TIME before AMY Winehouse made me change, but otherwise it was a snap. I guess you either are familiar with TUBULE or you're not, and it turned out I was. Same with BULL RUN. I hear some Southerners prefer to call it Manassas, but they lost the war so they don't get to choose.

SethG 7:55 AM  

In case copying-and-pasting is too much, the story Andrea is trying to link to is here.

Wouldn't a typical baseball score involve some jogging, lots of waiting around, perhaps a new pitcher warming up, some lazy throws to hold the runner, and some personal adjustments?

joho 8:08 AM  

SWING, HIT, RUN, SLIDE, SCORE! How much fun is that?! With the bonus command, "PLAY BALL!." I loved that the clues had nothing to do baseball and I had to find the theme myself. This is so timely, too, with Opening Day for the Reds this Thursday.

Thank you, Lynn, I'll take of one your puzzles ANYOLDTIME!

Sue McC 8:16 AM  

The combo of Tobias' "female sports enthusiasts are the worst, they are like a cross between traitors and Stockholm syndrome suffers." and foodies follow up ("dieting"!!!) has me giggling still.

This felt harder than a normal Monday, but not difficult at all, and ended up being my first no-corrections puzzle done in Across Lite, which I always seem to manage to fat-finger somehow.

jesser 8:18 AM  

Tobias has a blog? This is news to me and I want a link to it!

If he'll give it to me after I say this: I loved both yesterday's and today's puzzles. I'm a golf nut, and while I don't care for baseball the elegance of this construction is, well, right over the plate.

The only hiccup for me was local knowledge. With PORCH SWING and SPY RING in place, I saw that 6D was going to end in WG, and I though "How the hell are they going to clue NMSU's PBS station in a Monday fashion?" But alas, the answer was not krWG.

Rex, you make me proud with your interpretation of 6A!

Back to the grind. Happy Monday, everyone!

orangeblossomspecial 8:28 AM  

I can't believe Rexie found the old Jimmie Rodgers song. Thanks!

John Anderson had a popular song a few years ago utilizing 16A: SWINGIN.

29A "PEG o' my heart" has been popularized multiple times since the 20s.

Ray Bolger popularized "Once in love with AMY" (36A).

Take your pick of great songs from 45D "KISS ME Kate". Cole Porter was special.

imsdave 8:40 AM  

Smooth and medium here. Middle school was not a term I grew up with, though my kids did. Back in the day, we had elementary K-6, Jr. high 7-8, and high school 9-12.

Got back late from Ithaca NY yesterday, so couldn't comment. With the golf theme and CAYUGA it was so approptiate for me. Beautiful views of Cayuga Lake from Ithaca college and our host took us on a tour of some spectacular waterfalls in the region. Our host used to teach at SUNY Binghamton (now Binghamton College) back in the 80's when I was doing theatre). Saw a nice version of "Working", Stephen Schartz's musical adaptation of Studs Turkel's book.

Sorry for rambling.

Martin M. Solomon 8:41 AM  

Other baseball-related fill.

PEG 29A is a baseball term for a hard low throw.

ANTHEM 50A and EASY WIN 51A apply to baseball and other sports.

ROB 33A applies to baseball in 2 ways. A good fielding play robs the batter of a hit. And after a missed call by the umpire, the fans say "We was robbed."

Tim Tebow 8:44 AM  

Middle School? What's that?

For me, K-12: Mama & Jesus, then Florida.

quilter1 8:53 AM  

Dead easy! I flew through and never even saw the theme until I came here. Lots of clues I didn't read as they were filled in already from my first pass. So on to my second cuppa and BEQ.

evil doug 8:56 AM  

Tobias: I'm with you---I'd much rather hang with women at parties than men. I like sports, but I'd much prefer to listen to the babes go into hyper-personal detail about their "50 Shades of Grey" experiences...

Michael: "Feelings lie. Numbers don't." Such a sweet kid you are! I subscribe to the "Figures lie, and liars figure" theory. I'd pose this to my students: "You've given five speeches. You got a 0 (shouldn't skip!), a 25, a 75, a 100 and another 100 (great teacher!). Your momma asks you how speech class is going. Will you answer with the mean, the median, or the mode---legitimate statistics all---or, heaven forbid, will you tell her the truth?"

The St. Paul article begins thusly: "It was a word-nerd smackdown." Really glad not to be associated with that vivid image....

But they got this much right: "In the pencil-versus-ink question on how to fill out a crossword puzzle, the experienced, confident solvers were mostly pen men and women." So I got that goin' for me....


Anonymous 9:11 AM  

FYI, ARK is used a lot in the south as the abbreviation, just like TEX. in fact, there is an area around Shreveport, Texarkana that is commonly known as the ARKLATEX.

chefbea 9:15 AM  

Fun, easy Monday puzzle. Thanks Lynn
Liked that tug and lug were sorta opposite each other.

AnnieD 9:18 AM  

I still don't get how you speed solvers solve so quickly. I normally don't time myself, but for the last few Mondays, I've decided to give it a try. Not only do I slip and slide because acrosslite skips letters already filled in when my fingers don't always, but then I lose time trying to correct those mistakes. As i'm hurrying through to try to get my speed up, I remember the answer to the prior clue as I'm working on the next one and lose time trying to find my way back...else trying to remember that I did know that across answer as I'm filling in the downs.

If i try to solve by blocks, then I lose massive amounts of time trying to get the cursor where I need it or in the direction I need it to go in including mistakes where I think I'm typing down and the letters start going across, screwing up parts that have already been solved.

So I finally finish the puzz and get Mr Happy Pencil, and check the time only to find it's more than twice that of the fast guys. Rats!

Then I find I have no clue as to what the theme is...who has time to think theme when one is rushing to fill in the entire puzz.

I guess some are ferraris and lamborghinis designed for speed and some are lincoln continental convertibles designed for pleasure cruising. And sometimes I think I'm the old Le Car trying to accelerate up a hill, but losing power all the way.

jackj 9:20 AM  

Jim Horne, who created and maintains XWordInfo is offering the theory that Lynn Lempel’s puzzle today is describing what is arguably the most exciting play in baseball, the inside-the-park home run.

SWING, HIT, RUN, SLIDE, SCORE; certainly describe the steps along the way to that glorious feat and the baseball romantic would likely agree with Jim’s proposition and then even want to spice it up by noting that our hero was the lead-off hitter, after the Prez threw out the first pitch and after the ump hollered “PLAY BALL”, in the first game of the big league’s season. The stuff baseball legends are made of.

As usual, Lynn dazzles us with non-theme winners the likes of ANYOLDTIME, SUBLIME and MOURNS and while there is no crying in baseball, she keeps emotions flowing with an invite to KISSME.

Whatever the theme sequence implies, apparently the game was ultimately an EASYWIN and for Lynn Lempel the puzzle was another Monday triumph, a certain four-bagger.

Rex Parker 9:21 AM  

Oh dear lord people—I guess I should've put in neon "When Evaluating Puzzle Difficulty" after the "Feelings lie..." statement. Mea.


A Person 9:37 AM  

@Rex - Don't lump me in with ED!

oren muse 9:41 AM  

I almost hit a home run this morning. The cross of TUBULE and LUG got me.
I breezed through in 30 minutes. Having played baseball from age 9 through college helped.
In retrospect, I think if I’d been more patient, I could have gotten LUG. Yiddish is completely out of my league. A better clue for me would have been “kind of nut.”
Looking forward to Tuesday’s. Thanks, Lynn.

JenCT 9:48 AM  

@AnnieD: you can change whether AcrossLite skips squares by going into Options-Solving.

JenCT 9:55 AM  

@Rex: LOL because "confident and proud lesbians" was way, way too long.

Got hung up on TUBULE and SUBLIME.

@imsdave: Upstate NY has such pretty areas...

JenCT 9:57 AM  

I forgot @SethG: LOL

evil doug 10:06 AM  

Hey! Look who dropped in!

I'd argue that--dear lord, people!---numbers can lie when evaluating puzzles, too.

I think your time could be skewed by any number of factors---Are you feeling well on a given day, or are you thinking of hugging the toilet? Are street noises particularly loud? Does something in the garbage stink? Did you accidentally hit the wrong key while solving on line, or throw some letters in the wrong boxes in the grid and have to erase?

Timing is one good parameter as a simple snapshot---one person, one day, one set of circumstances. But I find much more value in your write-up where you go into detail on the less empirical factors that illuminate a puzzle's difficulty.

I'd argue that---but I don't want to piss you off on one of your rare forays over here, so I'll just let it go....

Always happy to 'nourish your soul', as you allow on Facebook.


Anonymous 10:25 AM  


archaeoprof 10:29 AM  

Love baseball. It's a lot like solving. You have to be able to see patterns and themes.

This was a home run, Lynn!

Two Ponies 10:49 AM  

I was having so much fun with the wonderful vocabulary that I didn't look for a theme.
Any old time was great fun for me.
Thanks LL.
@ loren, Very funny.
At parties I hang out with the guys. I don't have children, hate to shop, the list goes on.

xyz 10:51 AM  

Baseball puzzle on par with golf puzzle. lean I think all the 3-letter (and 4) words make this one "easy" even for a Monday.


Anonymous 10:53 AM  

@Tobias: "If the Bible has taught us nothing else, and it hasn’t, it’s that girls should stick to girls’ sports, such as hot oil wrestling, foxy boxing, and such and such."
-Homer Simpson

John V 10:54 AM  

Another Monday, another flight to Charlotte.

This Yankee fan really enjoyed this one. As commented, middle was more crunchy than the outside.

Glad to see Lynn has retained her Midas Touch, as it were.

Running late. See you all tomorrow.

Z 11:00 AM  

@Evil Doug - I always heard the phrase as "figures never lie but liars sure can figure."

The interesting thing is that Rex's rating from a single sample, usually posted long before most people attempt the puzzle, so closely reflects SanFranMan's results from his larger data set. Obviously Rex has a pretty good sense from whatever data set he uses.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:10 AM  

Nice puzzle, even tho I have no interest in sports in general.

However, unlike Anonymous at 12:57, I had an unbidden but genuine feeling, undoubtedly arising from reading this blog, that EASYWIN was out of place, coming above rather than below . . . SCORE in the grid, and even tho it was not strictly a theme answer, it should have either been appropriately placed or changed. (And I never thought of myself as a nitpicker!)

(Confidential to Anonymous at 10:25 - Your "caps lock" key seems to be stuck. Maybe a little WD-40 would help.)

GILL I. 11:14 AM  

What a nice, fun puzzle for a Monday.
I was going to go on about all the nice words and the easy theme but really, the comments are more fun.
I can imagine a cocktail party with @Tobias looking for @foodie to discuss shoes, @evil d casing the joint looking for gray haired lady's and @two ponies avoiding women like the plague. @Rex is the bartender.
I always love seeing OBOE in a puzzle. I love the sound it makes; so peaceful. Thanks @Rex for Bach's Partita. Is that Celine Moinet on the cover?

af 11:17 AM  

Nice puzzle, but i got stuck bad on the bottom after I got 46a "Hillside threat after a heavy rain" wrong. I had landclam.

Sparky 11:23 AM  

We didn't have middle school when I was a kid. Have no fear, though, we did wear shoes.

Shout out to @Deb.

@AnnieD. You describe my few attempts at AcrossLite solving completely. I just print out at night sometimes and go to bed.

Thought the theme would be things ending with ING. Found the real theme amusing. ANY time now before ANYOLDTME.

@Tobias. Listen to @chefwen, Acme: QTIP, and Auntie Sparky. Just shrug it off.

On to an exciting week, I am sure.

archaeoprof 11:35 AM  

@Gil.I.P: I'd go to that party, as long as the food was catered by @ChefBea.

Sfingi 11:44 AM  

Didn't have Middle School. Had Junior High.

I don't believe too many birds build their nests out on a limb. Too unprotected from predators and wind. The Oropendola, a sort of blackbird does, though, in an umusual sling thing.

Didn't notice theme until done, when I asked myself, "Is this a themeless Monday?" So glad.

@Tobias - I wouldn't have married Hubster if he were a sportsnut. His brother has 2 sports stations on at once. Yeesh.
@Archeoprof - but then, you'd have to watch it! Yuk.

Liked UNLIT crosses DIMS.

chefbea 11:45 AM  

@archaeoprof and @GilP Of course I will provide the food...just hope everyone likes beets!!!

Anonymous 11:46 AM  

So @Tobias, you come here to escape small talk. And @ED comes here to escape men. I merely come here to escape.

This puzzle is chock full of fun and a lot of non-theme entries that are theme-related.

@Jackj - I think Jim Horne's argument is stronger if you allow SMASH HIT and MUD SLIDE as expanded theme answers. But if there is an inside the park home run, it's the puzzle (as Acme says).

Acme, you are in serious danger of being replaced as the Queen of Monday. Sorry....


Mel Ott 12:21 PM  

I thought today's offering was similar to yesterday's golf puzzle, in that neither one required any specialized knowledge of the sport in question to complete it. I was just about finished today befor I realized it was about baseball.

As @Acme et al. pointed out, an elegant progression from SWING to SCORE.

Oh! And @Acme - the answer to your hypothetical clue is Richie Ashburn. :-)

dk 12:31 PM  

When I taught Stat we had a section on lying with numbers. Truncated range was my favorite part followed by amplified scale. Oddly it was the part of the course that had the highest quiz MARKs

Friend of mine and I were putting together a mix (aka playlist) of old songs and Jimmie Rodgers made the cut with... drum roll ANYOLDTIME.

I liked this one just fine. A sports theme with fill that is anything but sporty.

Andrea will always be the queen.. maybe Lynn can be a 46D in waiting she would still have to KNEEL but she would get to go to the BALL.

🌟🌟🌟(3 Stars) SPYRING saved the day

Masked and Anonymous 12:43 PM  

8 U's. tUbUlar!

PLAYBALL...SWING...HIT...RUN...SLIDE...SCORE...WIN...Championship RING. Pretty much covers the whole dern season, right there.

Go Twins.

efrex 12:59 PM  

Classic piece of Monday work by Ms. Lempel. Five theme answers plus PLAY/BALL plus some sprightly fill made for a SUBLIME puzzle. Perhaps a bit crunchy in terms of crosswordese (STE, ILIE, ALAI, IMPEI), but nothing deserving censure. Puzzles like this are welcome ANYOLDTIME.

KarenSampsonHudson 1:09 PM  

I zipped through, firing on all burners, with every clue clicking for me. I don't usually disagree with Rex, but I do on this one. Medium? Naw. Easy,fun, excellent puzzle for Monday!

Matthew G. 1:23 PM  

I agree with archaeoprof. Baseball appeals to the same part of my brain that crosswords do--and it is one of the very few things I care about more than crosswords!

Even a completely sports-laden puzzle doesn't give us as many sports entries in a month as the obscure actors and singers and other performers I'm expected to know every single day, so you'll find no sympathy here--none!

Solver 1:59 PM  

SUBLIME puzzle.

When I was a lad there was no Middle School. There was Elementary (K-5), 6th (OK, maybe Middle School), Junior High (7-8), High (9-12). And we walked barefoot, in the snow, uphill, both ways carrying 50 lbs of books.

John V 2:33 PM  

When/if I was/were a lad, parochial grammar school, 1-8, high school 9-12. Didn't need no stinkin' middle school in the 50s is what I'm sayin/

John V 2:38 PM  

Sorry, meant to say 1850s, obviously.

Anonymous 2:43 PM  

@JFC - I think ED's tongue was planted firmly-in-cheek when stating his preference for listening to women talk about their "50 Shades of Gray" experiences.

Mighty Nisden 3:02 PM  

After a week off of work for a needed vacation, found this to be a fairly normal Monday.

Hand up for iNgOodTIME. Two 'I's don't usually go together very well. Even though I'm a huge sports fan, I didn't even pick up on the theme, but with the words being fairly innocuous didn't think there would be such a dislike from a few.

Looks like I need to go back and solve yesterday's puzzle since it is about golf. The MOST frustrating game in the world that keeps me coming back every week.

Anonymous 3:50 PM  

@Mighty Nisden - Fore!

sanfranman59 3:58 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 6:47, 6:50, 0.99, 52%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:50, 3:40, 1.05, 74%, Medium-Challenging

My two cents re middle school vs. junior high ... when I was about that age, our school system switched from K-6 elementary, 7-8 junior high, 9-12 high school to K-5 elementary, 6-8 middle school, 9-12 high school. So I've always thought of the difference between junior high and middle school in that way. I think my class got lucky and went from the oldest in my elementary school in 6th grade to the middle grade in middle school in 7th grade. So we weren't lowest on the totem pole again until 9th grade.

Lewis 4:41 PM  

@chefbea -- beets are one of my favorite foods, as long as they're not canned. Have to be fresh...

Anonymous 4:43 PM  

@Anon at 2:43 - Thx. I was wondering what ED meant by "50 Shades of Grey." I thought he was talking about tea.


jae 5:59 PM  

@solver -- apparently we grew up in the same town.

@AnnieD -- Here is a tip I got from Amy a while back for solving in AcrossLite. Do all the acrosses first using only the "Return/ Enter" key to move the cursor. Just skip the ones you don't know. When you hit the last across it automatically shifts to the first down clue. At that point survey what remains unfilled. I've gotten under 5 min. doing this which isn't bad for an aging dyslexic. Unfortunately, these days I'm solving Mon.& Tues. on an IPad (Wed.-Sun require paper and a Bic #2 .07) and hunt and peck on the Crossword App does not make for a speedy solve.

clark 7:34 PM  

Only one song video should go in a puzzle that introduces the word "tubule." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeujZtBvMFY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

chefwen 7:48 PM  

@loren muse smith - Heard the dog joke as Commenter A - Gee, I wish I could do that.

Commenter B - You can, but you have to pet him first.

AnnieD 8:52 PM  

Thanks @Jane. Unfortunately that is what I was doing but i guess speed just ain't my thang. Maybe I'll try timing myself next time on paper and see if that helps.

@Jen -CT, thanks for the suggestion. I have tried switching to no skip in the past and then I still get screwed up forgetting that I set it and expecting it to skip. Sigh. I really get messed up as the delete behaves nothing like I expect.

I have tried filling in the puzz after I've already solved it and even that isn't as fast as the speedy Gonzales' in these parts.

Yep, definitely a Le Car!

Tita 9:37 PM  

@AnnieD - i agree! It was at the Westport tournament that I tasted first hand how little appreciation for the 'art of the puzzle' I could have by zipping through it.
And I like your analogy - though for me, it's the 2CV - my favorite example of French automotive engineering!

Only thing I can add at this late stage is that yesterday, while solving, I thought - what a downer...very somber puzzle:
less sharp, less bright, dulled, mourns, limp, Lethe, ban, ashes, unlit, dead singer, rob...

But happily, came here, and learned how much fun it was too...

ED - from one non-speed solver to another, there are many more ways than mere time to gauge skill/difficulty. Visit my blog, and please contribute other factors that have meaning to you...

sanfranman59 10:03 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 6:56, 6:50, 1.03, 61%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:39, 3:40, 1.00, 50%, Medium

Sneza 12:10 AM  

Also, April 2 was surrealist artist Max Ernst's birthday (64 Across).

JenCT 7:55 AM  


Anonymous 10:07 AM  

@JenCT: okay...

BUNT (theme)

Ginger 12:55 PM  

@AnnieD - You described my fumbling with acrossnotsolite exactly. BTW your sunset(rise) avatar is exquisitly sublime.

@RV, @Diri mentioned osprey pics, which I'd love to see, but which I've been unable to locate. One of the Portland TV stations has a 'raptor cam' set up on an osprey nest. They also have one on a red tail hawk nest. KGW.com just type in 'raptorcam'

Baseball season is only a few weeks old, and this BB nut is already in a state of MOURNing for the Mariners. It's too early to shout 'wait til next year', but it's getting close.

I breezed through this puz, and didn't see the theme until I came here. Fun, quick solve, but reading @rex and comments made me appreciate it even more.

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

I just love this blog. It's like sitting down on a parkbench and surreptisiously listening to a group of senior citizens talk about this and that and this and that, Evil Doug included. Love ya, Doug, when you challenge the big dog.

Spacecraft 1:53 PM  

Hmm. Can't figure whether OFL likes this one or not. I did. Lots of fresh fill--and the theme answers were so natural that I completely missed it till he pointed them out. Tougher cluing would have made this a really great solve; thanks, Lynn!

Ginger 2:17 PM  

@chefbea hope some of those beets are pickled!

Dirigonzo 2:53 PM  

"...because "confident and proud lesbians" was way, way too long." But the acronym, CAPL would ALMOST work, if only there were a lIGMA in the Greek alphabet.

I needed only a few crosses to finish this little delight, including all of them to produce LETHE, which I know from nothin' (but maybe I should become familiar with it in case I wind up there someday).

@Waxy - Sault STE Marie! Your PR rep is working overtime.

@Ginger - @RV posted a link to the photos on yesterday's blog (I think, or maby Saturday's)

captcha is workSM - I'm going to Hades for sure.

Dirigonzo 2:58 PM  

@Ginger - I meant to add, how do you think I feel as a member of Red Sox Nation?

Solving in Seattle 3:38 PM  

Lynn Lempel, you hit this one out of the ballpark!

So many graceful references to the SPORT. Nobody mentioned TUG, as in McGraw; LAY down a bunt; KNEEL in the on deck circle (OK, a stretch); ASHes is the wood used for bats; Pete Rose BANned from BB while all Reds fans MOURNS for him - OK, enough already!

Liked MAO and YAO in same puz, especially since YAO was the sole sports question in this baseball-themed CW, and he's a basketball player.

IMPEI's addition to the Louvre is such a marvelous architectural juxtaposition.

@Loren, the DAWGs are the Huskies of the UDub... and, you had me cracking up with your post.

@Ginger, remember Ichiro's inside the park home run in the SF Allstar Game? Classic.

Capcha: mloonate bernall. What the citizens of the Swiss capitol do at night.

Solving in Seattle 3:49 PM  

@Red, your fabulous photos kinda look like Horseshoe Bay??

@Diri, my only writeover was Styx for "River through Hades," briefly asking myself if it had an "e" on the end. I, too, got LETHE from crosses. Had not known that one. Will probably see you there.

Capcha: thorwal whistral. One of the singers in the group ABBA.

Anonymous 8:03 PM  

Yeah! I thought for sure @Rex would say this was EASY peasy but no! ! It was for me! I'm shocked he said it was medium. However, I didn't see the theme at all.
Loved it!

Spacecraft 8:08 PM  

@all you LETHE stumpees: where d'you think we get the word LETHAL from?

And @all you sport haters: I don't think you hate sport, per se, but rather the ridiculous lengths to which it has been taken by modern avarice. It pays too few players WAY the hell too much money to overextend, grossly, their natural talents. But when it is enjoyed as good physical exercise in friendly (are you listening, Saints?) competition, there is much good in it. IMO, the IOC made a grievous--perhaps fatal--error when they relaxed the time-honored ban of professional participation. The Cold War was a terrible excuse. The committee quaked in their boots when faced with the notion of cracking down on Soviet Bloc nations who blatantly subsidized their athletes. Shame on them.

There. Rant is over. I feel better. Please don't hate sport itself; hate what the Jerry McGuires of the world have made it.

Lola505 8:15 PM  

Mondays are, by definition, a piece of cake, right? Yet Rex describes it as medium / normal / average?
I agree with @Tobias, a sports theme, and from a woman, no less, seems like a double whammy.

Like @retired chemist, my only correction was emT for EMS, but no other hang-ups for me. Easy-breezy Monday.

Speaking of breezy, we're having sustained winds of 50+ mph today! Better put rocks in my pockets.

Ginger 8:25 PM  

@SIS Oh YES, Thanks for reminding me of that electric moment. Ichiro is a real class act. Remember in the beginning how base runners would test his arm? It's a real PEG from RF to third base, but he caught more than a few unsuspecting runners. They rarely try anymore.

@Loren....still laughing, 5 weeks later.

@Red....the blogger must have swallowed your pix post.

Good week everyone!

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