Big maker of smoothies energy bars / SUN 5-13-12 / Forerunner of euchre / Where to conform per expression / Dead Sea Scrolls writer / Grammy-winning Radiohead album of 2000 / Dallas pro baller / World leader beginning December 2011

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Constructor: Ben Tausig

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Indies" — add "D" sound for wackiness!

Word of the Day: ODWALLA (90D: Big maker of smoothies and energy bars) —

Odwalla Inc. (play /ˈdwɔːlə/) is an American food product company that sells fruit juicesmoothiesand food bars. It was founded in Santa CruzCalifornia in 1980 and is headquartered in Half Moon Bay, California.
The company experienced strong growth after its incorporation in 1985, expanding its distribution network from California to most of North America, and went public in 1993. A period of decline occurred as a result of a fatal outbreak of H7 in 1996 that was caused by using bruised fruit that had been contaminated. Odwalla originally sold unpasteurized juices, claiming that the process of pasteurization altered the flavor of the juice. Following the E. coli outbreak, Odwalla adopted flash pasteurization and other sanitization procedures. Odwalla recalled its juices and experienced a ninety-percent reduction in sales following the event. The company gradually recovered, and, after a few years, was making a profit again. (wikipedia)
• • •

See, a little sound-change puzzle can be kind of fun. Always nice to lead with one of your stronger entries, and WEED SHALL OVERCOME certainly qualifies. Also always good to close with one of your stronger entries, and WHOLE NUDE BALLGAME definitely qualifies. Ben edits the Onion A/V crossword and has his own weekly syndicated crossword as well—I have the latest book collection of these puzzles, "Crosswords from the Underground," and the puzzles are uniformly entertaining, moderately challenging, and very, very current. Plus he has a great puzzle book for kids called "Mad Tausig vs. the Interplanetary Puzzling Peace Patrol." Which is all to say he's an old pro who knows his stuff. Younger than me, but still an old pro.

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Slogan for medical marijuana activists? (WEED SHALL OVERCOME)
  • 36A: Persians who protect their feet? (THE SHOD OF IRAN)
  • 50A: Entitlement to cross the stream first? (RIGHT OF WADE) — my least favorite
  • 69A: "If you can't behave on this tour, I swear you'll be sorry!"? ("NO MORE MISTER NICE GUIDE!")
  • 88A: Big part of the dairy business? (CHEESE TRADE)
  • 104A: Lost subject of a hit Beatles song? (WANDERING JUDE)
  • 115A: Clothing-free version of the national pastime? (WHOLE NUDE BALLGAME)
I had two significant hang-ups today. The first was that I couldn't remember KIM JONG-UN's name (31D: World leader beginning December 2011). I had KIM IL-SUNG and KIM JONG-IL in my head, and I knew the new guy ended with an "UN(G)" sound, but I forgot that the JONG remains the same (come on ... come on ... nothing? ... OK, moving on). This North Korean dictator spelling problem was compounded by my not having *any* idea what the clue 49A: Big twit? meant. I had -EER and still couldn't do anything with it. If you "twit" someone, do you JEER them? Maybe? That's how I'm explaining it to myself, anyway. Thank god I knew Bruce Springsteen's "NEBRaska" (78A: State for which a Springsteen album is named: Abbr.). That tiny abbrev. helped me settle both KIM JONG-UN and REDBUD, which had previously been RED OAK (which is the name of a local diner and, I assume, also the name of a tree) (61D: Oklahoma state tree). So, first hang-up, Korean dictator. Second hang-up, the DRAM IN ROME. Mixologists really measure things in DRAMs (63A: Mixologist's measure)? I've read a lot of drink recipes and have Not seen that measurement. Not saying it's not real, just saying DROP or DASH seemed more likely. And IN ROME, yikes (51D: Where to conform, per an expression). Very apt clue, very hard to get (for me). I'm just grateful I've heard of OMBRE (75A: Forerunner of euchre)—otherwise I'd've been like "EMBRE ... I guess so ... must be something I've never heard of." RADNOR (50D: Josh of "How I Met Your Mother") I got but misspelled. The way to remember how to spell him—just remember: he's funny, but he's no Gilda RADNER. (I kid: he's a handsome, talented guy, and Will was on his show once; show creator Carter Bays is a big crossword fan)

[I used to think Kurt was singing "Kim Il-Sung, Kim Il-SUNG ... Mary! ... Mary!"]

I think I know C.W. POST as a cereal magnate, not as a school name (82A: Largest campus of Long Island Univ.). I had JARGON at first instead of PIDGIN (125A: Simplified language form). Not much else in the way of problems for me. Oh, except, -EUSE, which I am ready to declare the single worst piece of crossword fill I've ever seen anywhere ever (123A: Feminine suffix). Ever. Please recall my earlier declaration about [Feminine suffix] clues and how I hate them because a. they're suffixes, so already not great, and b. they can be ENNE *or* ETTE. Or, now, apparently, -EUSE. EUSE! It's as lovely as it sounds.

  • 1A: One waiting in France (GARÇON) — I've really got to get a better print-out system on Sundays. This clue *still* looks like [One wailing in France] to me.
  • 28A: More than a quarter of academic circles? (CEES) — not great fill, but fantastic cluing.
  • 90A: Like much of Pindar's work (ODIC) — I know I'm not supposed to like this word, but somehow I can't bring myself to hate it. It's like ODIN and ODIE had a baby and someone wrote  a poem about it.
  • 10D: Dallas pro baller (MAV) — wow, NYT is working "Baller" hard this week. Almost as hard as ELWES (105D: Cary of "Robin Hood: Men in Tights").

  • 41D: Obama's birthplace (HAWAII) — Me: "KENYA!" D'oh! That's his dad. Stupid brain.
  • 52D: Jason who's a five-time baseball All-Star (GIAMBI) — non-baseball-fans might have trouble here, esp. as this crosses OMBRE. I assume most people still remember Paul REISER (79A: Hunt's co-star on "Mad About You")
  • 100D: Grammy-winning Radiohead album of 2000 (KID A) — I think Ben's studying ethnomusicology at NYU. His puzzles tend to be music-heavy, which I enjoy. 
  • 103D: Dead Sea Scrolls writer (ESSENE) — One Of Those Words. All common letters. Useful to know. You'll see it again (and again).
Since I plugged Ben's books earlier in the write-up, I feel compelled to plug the newest Winston Breen novel from crossword constructor Eric Berlin, called "The Puzzler's Mansion" (just came out May 10). This is the third book in his puzzle-based novel series—it's "juvenile" fiction (I think that's what they call it)—for ages 8 and up. The books are big hits with kids (esp. kids of inveterate crossword solvers—I know my kid and fellow blogger Amy Reynaldo's kid are both fans).

I should probably also mention that I was on national television last night—CBS Evening News finally ran the segment on me that they interviewed me for back in February. All the wintery parts are edited out and there are blog visuals from just yesterday. Contains very rare footage of me in the wild (i.e. teaching). I don't know if I can embed the video, but I can certainly link to it. You can also watch it at my Facebook page.
[PuzzleGirl sent me this photo of her TV screen, somewhere in sunny Southern California (where she was participating in the Crossword LA tournament). Made me laugh.]


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:31 AM  

Nice CBS interview Rex!  Amazing what this has become.  Congrats.  Nice touch that they panned across yesterday's Natan Last puzzle.

Easy breezy Sun. except I missed it by one square.  Unlike Rex I didn't remember OMBRE and had RADNeR/EMBRE so, DNF.  Rats!  

Anyway Cute puns, a mostly smooth grid, and some zip...DIDIT, KIMJONGUN, FLAM, ROCKOPERA...Nice puzzle.

I've had a drink at O'DOUL's in SF.  It was kinda seedy 15 years ago.

Heli 12:39 AM  

Wonderful tribute to Rex. You have mad my life much more fun. You make us puzzlers a community

Heli 12:40 AM  


travis 12:52 AM  

So the only euse person word I get is masseuse which before looking it up I would have sworn was gender neutral.

travis 12:57 AM  

Sorry, scrabble gives us:
DISEUSE a female entertainer [n -S]
DANSEUSE a female ballet dancer [n -S]
MASSEUSE a woman who massages [n -S]
VENDEUSE a saleswoman [n -S]
COIFFEUSE a female hairdresser [n -S]

I challenge anyone to have ever used one of the others.

John Travolta 1:01 AM  

@travis - Yeah, I get all sorts of confused about the genders of masseuse/masseur myself.

jae 1:36 AM  


chefwen 3:11 AM  

This one took me a long time to finish and I enjoyed every minute of it. Cute start with WEED SHALL OVERCOME. Most of the PUNS brought a smile or a chortle, very important in a PUN.

Sure hope I wasn't the only one to put on air at 8D first. Another more major goof was at 35D with ENhancE before ENNOBLE, that was a little dicier to clean up. OD WALLA was a big ???, thanks for clearing that up Rex. The J in KIM JONG UN was my lat fill.

Spent a lot of time in ST. PETE 129A during spring breaks when I was in high school. Had to escape the harsh Wisconsin weather. Just getting off the plane and taking deep breaths of the warm, humid air would bring tears to my eyes. Returning home and having to pull my heavy overcoat, all wrinkly, out of the suitcase also brought tears to my eyes.

chefwen 3:14 AM  

Let's try my LAST fill.

Loved the interview Rex.

Rex Parker 6:19 AM  

"Chanteuse" was the only one I could think of. Kind of French, that.


diane 6:27 AM  

How is MES "Mayo, e.g."? Thanks. Liked the puzzle, and puns!

The Bard 6:53 AM  

Hamlet > Act I, scene II

HAMLET: I am very glad to see you. Good even, sir.
But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg?

HORATIO: A truant disposition, good my lord.

HAMLET: I would not hear your enemy say so,
Nor shall you do mine ear that violence,
To make it truster of your own report
Against yourself: I know you are no truant.
But what is your affair in Elsinore?
We'll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.

HORATIO: My lord, I came to see your father's funeral.

HAMLET: I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow-student;
I think it was to see my mother's wedding.

HORATIO: Indeed, my lord, it follow'd hard upon.

HAMLET: Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral baked meats
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven
Or ever I had seen that day, Horatio!
My father!--methinks I see my father.

Rex Parker 7:07 AM  

Mayo ("May") is a month ("mes") in Spanish.


Bob Kerfuffle 7:13 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle.

My only nit would be with the title, "Indies". It is, as 85 A assures us, a PUN, and, yes, I Get It. But I thought it was a little off, and would have preferred something along the lines of "Creating a din" or maybe working in our old crosswordese tennis term AD IN.

Glimmerglass 7:48 AM  

ODWALLA? Seriously? Needed every cross. A walla in India is a worker. The "tea walla" is the guy who brings your tea. What would an OD WALLA be? An EMT? A strange waiter? I don't think we have ODWALLAs in MA.

Glimmerglass 7:59 AM  

Just looked at the film clip. Nice tribute to "Rex." I very much agree with his comment, "It's a stupid way to feel smart." Also, a shout-out to Peter Gordon for the Fireball puzzles. They are always hard and almost always eventually solvable. (I'll say this before tonight, when I'll probably find out that I didn't win the contest this week.)

r.alphbunker 8:00 AM  

Pontiac --> PORSCHE
ibeam --> REBAR

were the only two wrongs answers that were hard to get rid of.

Puzzle contained the first known sighting of a infernal triplet in the wild: EUSE/ENNE/ETTE

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

You don't look anything like I thought you would. Nice plug for crossword puzzles. Can't believe you did that puzzle in 4 minutes. Yikes

Nick Cage 8:53 AM  

When it became obvious to me that 58D wasn't ELEANOR I quit this damned puzzle. It should have been ELEANOR!

jberg 8:58 AM  

DNF - Just couldn't see ROME; had IN A POD, then saw POD elsewhere, tried IN A ROW, then IN ROWS -- and since the first 4 letters worked, thought it must be right. Vagule heard of OMBRE, none of the names so I guessded RADNeR from the RAD. My new policy is not to bother with Google, just finish or not. This time, not.

@Glimmerglass, we do have ODWALLA in MA. Our Suffolk U. cafeteria has glass cases full of it.

Happy Mothers Day, everyone - I'm off to watch whales with my wife & her daughter's family.

joho 9:05 AM  

Loved the interview! Makes me want to thank you again for all you do for all of us!

I thought the puzzle was cute but like @jae ended up with RADNeR/eMBRE. :(


Thanks, again, @Rex, and thank you Ben Tausig, too!

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

Got the whole thing. Biggest get and biggest erasure "maple tree" for 64d, "something you might tap in". Call me geocentric - I'm a Vermonter. Actually that's something you might tap inTO. Fun puzzle.

jackj 9:41 AM  

This was one of those Sundays that remind me that if you don’t develop a rapport with these punny, 21x21 puzzles early on they can quickly turn into tedious, unpleasant exercises in drudgery.

And so it was.

The first completed theme answers were relatively easy to sort out, namely WEEDSHALLOVERCOME and THESHODOFIRAN, but they proved disappointing enough that they triggered the thought, “Is that all there is?”.

Along the way, there were some nice misdirects, REDBUD (not REDOAK), PALEALE wanted to first be PILSNER and, best of all, PORSCHE started its puzzle life as a PONTIAC. But then came entries that were downright blah, TREADED, HADLUNCH, INSALES, ATILT and the good was neutralized by the ugly.

I was tempted to chuck the rest of the puzzle until, about half way through, the theme entry NOMOREMISTERNICEGUIDE was revealed. That was so clever it caused a rethink sufficient to plow on and complete the crossword but I’m still waiting for the fun part of the solve to reveal itself.

And so it was.

Charley 9:45 AM  

Ben Tausig is my favorite constructor. Very hip.

imsdave 10:04 AM  

When the worst thing in a Sunday is EUSE (definitely horrible), and the puns are good, it gets two thumbs up here. I found it challenging and enjoyable. Now off to watch my version of SNL - The Chris Matthews show.

Happy Mother's Day all.

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

@jackj - Ditto.

Rex seems to focus on word content, regardless of the day of the week, but on Sundays I like to see something clever enough that grabs you by the throat and makes you want to go for it. We seem to be in a period of an endless succession of Sunday puns and while this one was markedly better than last Sunday it was still the same old story. Add a "D" and get something funny punny. It would have been nice to get a Gorski or a Berry with a Mother's Day theme but such is the world of Will Shortz. You play with the hand you're dealt.

Nice plug Rex....


chefbea 10:52 AM  

Found this really tough and DNF. Got the theme but still too many things I did not know.

JenCT 11:04 AM  

@chefwen: I also had ON AIR first.

Several writeovers: EPIC/ODIC, I KNOW/I KNEW, SENIOORS(spell much?)/SEMINOLES, ABLE/ABLY.


Liked Obama's birthplace - take that, all you doubters!

21a "....there ______ square" took an embarrassingly long time.

Never got EUSE.

I miss my Mom today...

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

Sorry, but I just don't get "academic circles" = CEES. Is this something about counting the letter C in "circles" ? Or, ??

Anonymous 11:34 AM  

@Anon the letter C comprises 4/15, i.e. more than one quarter, of the phrase 'Academic Circles'.

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

Garçon is rarely used anymore for a waiter in France. It's either serveur or serveuse (f). And there you have your féminin suffix!

Shafty 12:52 PM  

My father -- who skews a little to the right of me, politically -- insists on trying to crowbar "AFRICA" into 41-Down. Made me wonder, for a second, whether this puzzle was anything like the Election Day puzzle in 1996...

Gill I. P. 1:04 PM  

@Rex... Last night we were watching the 5:30 news on 13 which I NEVER WATCH but we were all in the kitchen chatting and one of our friends shouted out "Hey isn't that the guy you're always talking about on the blog you're glued to all the time?" I almost jumped out of my skin. "That's him, that's REX PARKER!!!!" What fun - plus it got us all started on today's puzzle.
We only got half way through since there was just too much wine in the bellies but everyone agreed that WEED SHALL OVERCOME is just one fine phrase.
Finished this a.m. and decided it was HARD....Didn't know my Josh from my Jason and the only Nicolas I know is either Cage of Tzar.
OBLADI took for ever and ROCKOPERA LIMPED in with a JEER.
Even though it was a struggle, I really enjoyed it. The puns (I'm not a huge fan) I thought were clever and smile inducing. Good workout.
@Jae: O'DOUL(s) is still seedy - that's it's charm.
Happy Mother's Day - including our pet owner mamacitas.
I smell breakfast...Have a great Sunday all.

jae 1:15 PM  

@Gill I.P. - Thanks, that explains it.

Maxwell 1:16 PM  

Thanks Diane for asking the question that was bugging me. 67-down: mayo = mes. And thanks Rex for helping us out.

archaeoprof 1:21 PM  

You da man, Rex!

RE: 95A. Non-puzzle bio-prof wife used to be an EMT. On the job they didn't use DOA. They said, "DRT", meaning "dead right thar."

Gallows humor.

Jet City Gambler 1:25 PM  

58-Down makes no sense. I haven't seen the remake, because Nic Cage films are crap, so maybe there's a Porsche in the 2000 version. But in the original "Gone in 60 Seconds" from '74 the only memorable car was "Eleanor," the '73 Mach I he had to steal twice. In fact, a Porsche is not one of the 48 different cars he steals.

There may have been a random Porsche somewhere in the film, but the clue might as well have been "Car." That's like cluing PENGUIN as "Animal on Noah's Ark." There are lots of ways to clue PORSCHE, but a Gone in 60 Seconds reference is not one of them.

WesIsland 1:36 PM  

Thanks Rex for all your hard work and commitment. And the bloggers are great too.

To put my mind at ease, can someone explain 5 down to me. How is "ors" = "choice words?" Doesn't the "s" in the clue call for a two word answer?

Masked and Anonymous 1:54 PM  

@31: Hey! Highly approve of not tucking in the ol' shirttails, for the CBS News gig. Was that classroom footage shot during the dreaded sunrise semester class? thUmbsUp!

Great SunPuz. Fave theme answers: WEED, GUIDE and NUDE. Gotta pay Mr. Tausig his dude: thUmbsUp2!

jae 2:09 PM  

@WesIsland - The ? in the clue negates the two word answer.

WesIsland 2:13 PM  

Thanks it.

JaxInL.A. 2:51 PM  
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JaxInL.A. 2:53 PM  

I had a wonderful time yesterday at the L.A. Crossword Tournament.   What a lovely bunch of people!  Intrepid and tenacious organizer Elissa Grossman pulled it off beautifully despite waking up three days ago with a fever of 103! A couple of good friends and her dad stepped in to keep things on track while she tried to get well, and clearly she did not spend the past three days in bed.  Yesterday she appeared charming if a bit hoarse, and she deserves major kudos for service above and beyond.

Something over 100 people registered for the event, including Mark Campe, who posts here as Campesite, and a whole bouquet of constructors.  I got to hug the warm and charming Andrea Carla Michaels (ACME), and to see Doug Peterson who I met there last year for the first time.  I got a pic for my daughter with Wordplay stars Trip Payne (who stayed behind the scenes for most of the tourney doing scoring and such) and Tyler Hinman (who I think was the puzzle wrangler and who provided half of the color commentary on the final puzzle). 

What a self-effacing bunch, these constructors.  I met Alex Boisvert, who appeared truly astonished that anyone (even at a puzzle gathering) would recognize his name and be pleased to meet him.  I had a charming conversation with constructors Todd Gross (remember that great Dangerous Curves puzzle from January? That was him and DougP.) and the amazing David Steinberg, finishing his freshman year IN HIGH SCHOOL and working with Jim Horne on the database.   I also got to meet and chat with the charming PuzzleGirl, Angela Olson Halstead, who seems happy to have her life back after retiring from her L.A. Crossword Confidential blog last year.    

JaxInL.A. 2:54 PM  

We started off the five-puzzle day with a breezy offering from  Donna Levin, (maybe a Tuesday puzzle in difficulty?). All the puzzles had themes somehow related to L.A. I finished number one in good time for me and well within the allotted 15 minutes. I can't remember for sure who did the second, 30 minute puzzle. Byron Walden? I finished with 8 minutes to spare and felt pretty good about it.  I felt maybe I had gotten the hang of how this timed puzzle thing works.  Then puzzle three did me in.  It was tougher and we only got 15 minutes.  I could have finished with a bit more time, but left way too many squares blank.  I licked my wounds over lunch and returned to puzzle four, by Brown women Aimee Lucido and Zoe Wheeler.   Again, epic fail, at least within the 20 minutes given.  Then the L.A. Trade Tech College Culinary Arts Department provided us with a crossword made of cupckakes for a quick break, and back for puzzle five.  I heard that it was a BEQ and, though we had 40 minutes, i resigned myself to doing poorly, as BEQ and I do not share many wavelengths.  Happily, I finished with several minutes to spare and so could feel I had not tanked completely.

The final turned into a real horse-race as all of the three competitors had problems with the same word.  DougP thought he finished first, but took his earphones off to hear us all shouting "no!" because he had a blank square.  Eric Levasseur had all but that same square done as Jordan Chodorow caught up to him.  Then they both filled in the final letter, and Eric a took a nanosecond longer to signal that he had finished.   Andrea and Tyler provided comic observations throughout and marveled that ESPN could pass up televising such thrilling, suspense-filled competitive moments.

So even though I had no real success as a competitor, I had a great deal of fun and recommend any gathering of cruciverbalists that you can find.  

edmcan 2:57 PM  

I did not like this puzzle. I didn't really understand the clue, although I did solve it. I hope it's my allergy meds. that are making me so slow...... ;-)

chefbea 3:16 PM  

@JaxinLa thanks for the play by play

mac 3:34 PM  

Smart puzzle, even though some of the theme answers didn't seem too funny to me.

I to had pilsner before paleale, shot before dram, and so wanted snow birds for Seminoles!

I for one was happy to see -euse after all those -ennes and -ettes. Clearly used much more in French (and Dutch for that matter).

wordie 3:56 PM  

I liked it generally, but two comments: too much sports esoterica; no one would ever say "ESO" beso I'm Sp. ever.

santafefran 4:04 PM  

I've been in lurker mode lately, but thought I had better check in to let you know that I am still alive. In a funk, but alive after having my front door pried open and a laundry bag full of jewelry ripped off week before last. Worst part was some of my mother's jewelry which was valuable only to me. A word to the wise--don't leave your sentimental items with other jewelry. Really missing my mother lately.

Loved seeing our own Rex on national TV! Will was a bit snarky.

A real struggle in the mid left quadrant not knowing RADNOR, GIAMBI, ANI, AND OMBRE. Like @Rex and others, I had a hard time getting to INROME--tried INLINE. SHOT before DRAM. Seems like I remember a Scottish phrase using wee DRAM--was that perhaps Scotty in Star Trek?

Still, a fun Sunday romp.

mac 4:46 PM  

So sorry, Santafefran, and good advise.

Anonymous 5:12 PM  

I may be the first person to ask this: What is the significance of the highlighted-in-gray answer in the puzzle, today it is the One Across answer "GARCON"? I'm guessing that this is the last word that Rex filled in in the puzzle, I just wonder about it each week, just never asked.

Sparky 5:40 PM  

Wee shot before DRAM Never saw a drink receipe in drams; shots or ounces. Wanted Pontiac and JumpROPE. First theme solve THE SHOD OF IRAN. Winkled away at it all day. DNF because of RADNeR and G-AM-I. Can never remember ANI DiFranco.

CBS News piece good to see @Rex. You done us proud.

I miss my sister, Kay, she protected me from the Outside Over There.

nuzzle put 5:42 PM  

CHEESE TRADE - anyone care to spell out the sound-change?

jae 5:51 PM  

@anon 5:12 - Click on FAQ at the top of Rex's blog to confirm your guess is correct.

@nuzzle - CHEESE TRAY

loren muse smith 5:56 PM  

@Rex - great TV spot! How cool that crosswords are getting such attention. I’m with @Heli – my life is more fun now, having discovered this site. Thank you, Rex.
@santafefran – sorry about your troubles. We had some silver stolen a few years ago – family silver – and it’s an awful feeling. As for today’s far, you ran into the same trouble I did (Rex predicted it) with that ANI, GIAMBI, RADNOR, REISER proper noun Natickfest. Because of that section, I DNF.

I thought I used to be a professeuse. Just sayin'. . .

But. . . Ben Tausig, you’re a rock star constructor. WEED SHALL OVERCOME, WHOLE NUDE BALLGAME. . . I’m grateful for your contributions. Keep on keeping on!!!!

loren muse smith 5:58 PM  

fare. I cannot delete comments anymore to correct typos.

chefbea 6:17 PM  

@santafefran so sorry. I will have to hide my Moms jewelry really well

diane 7:01 PM  

Thanks Rex for the Mayo explanation. We Canucks get exposed to French, but Spanish, not so much.

Anonymous 7:14 PM  

Stout is dark. Pale Ale is an alternative. So is milk.

Octavian 7:24 PM  

Pretty good puzzle, I guess.

I like these where the sound and not just the letter make the pun. Merl Reagle is the master of the genre.

Strange CBS interview. Terrible edit, as it jumped around a lot and the writing was cliche.

CBS has really gone downhill, as they seem to have forgotten how to do the 2-minute feature. They are truly in danger of losing their reason for being, as you can see lots of Youtube videos done by kids these days that are way more professionally edited and brightly written than this.

Still it's nice to see the blog and Sharp get some deserving attention. Have always been impressed with the civility of commenters, which is rare on the web.

Was looking at Michael's publishing record as I was curious about the PhD mentioned in the piece. Surprising to see how little is listed. I guess all his time goes into the blog instead of academic research and writing.

Probably time better spent in the long run. But how long can you get away with that as an academic? Presumably it keeps you off the tenure track. Maybe that is not a sought-after achievement nowadays.

Anonymous 8:40 PM  

If you complete the puzzle but there is an error or two, is that a DNF?

Airymom 9:00 PM  

It's Mother's Day. I have the two best kids on earth. It was 75 degrees and sunny. We went to neighbors for a lunchtime bbq and then took my 90 year old mother to the Baltimore Symphony. Fabulous concert. Then out for Mexican food. We got home and then I sat on my front porch and did the puzzle. First theme clue I got was "weedshallovercome". Thought fondly of the late 70's in school at Binghamton. Finished the puzzle. Perfect day.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:54 PM  

@Anonymous, 8:40 PM - Good question. In ACPT competition, you get scored for the time it takes to declare that you have completed the puzzle, but then you may lose points for errors. OTOH, people doing puzzles online who are waiting for Mr. Happy Pencil to appear, but cannot detect any error in their fill, may say they have not completed the puzzle.

In any case, we must keep in mind that we are doing this for fun! So I would say, do what you can, and if you have finished with an error, learn from it, as we all have, and leave the philosophy to professionals (unless you are one.)

ksquare 9:55 PM  

@Anonymous 8:40 If you finished the puzzle and enjoyed doing it, who cares if there is an error or two. Nobody (not even Rex) is perfect and you have this blog to get the right answers. When you do so, all mistakes are forgiven by God.

ksquare 10:04 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ksquare 10:07 PM  

Sorry for repeating the message. It didn't turn up the first time submitted.

Anonymous 10:17 PM  

From the above answers to my query regarding the significance of "DNF" it appears that without contextual clarification it has more than one meaning when used in this blog.

Personally, I solve as best I can with guesses when necessary. Presumably, we are all filling with occasional educated guesses. Accordingly, when the puzzle is filled in with my best and complete effort, it is finished. If there is an error, it is still finished. It is not a "DNF."

I understand that there is another way to characterize the above solving experience, but in a blog that is all about sharing solving experiences perhaps this is an imprecision that warrants some standardization.

pk 1:56 AM  

Great news feature, Rex/Michael! Loved seeing you "in the wild," and also loved seeing you in your office working on your laptop...oh god, I think I just crossed over some line between commenter and groupie.

Oh, the puzz. I really hate to side with JackJ and JFC with their curmudgeonly comments, but the puzzle didn't do that much for me. I liked No More Mister Nice Guide - that did bring a smile, but the rest of the puns were pretty so-so, for me.

Tita 11:48 AM  

DNF - natick at RADNOR/REISE, and a few others. Had to finally walk away from it. I really did like the puzzle...starting with clue for 1A GARCON, and near ditto on everything Rex said.
Off to watch the CBS segment now.

Sorry, SantaFe, for both your mom and the break-in.

Anonymous 4:19 PM  

Diane: merry month of May

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

local paper left off the last three clues, which made SE corner the only real challenging spot in the grid. I had _ _ _ GIN for 125a and ran the alphabet on G_P. Gap, GOP, GNP, gyp...never considereed GDP,don't know what that is, so I went with oriGIN.

Other than that, enough baseball and Beatles to make me happy. Pleased to see my other favorite 'B' represented at 17d/61d
, especially since I'm actually wearing a Redbud Brewing T-shirt today. Out of state brewery with no local distribution, got the shirt from a friend. What are the odds?

Dirigonzo 2:51 PM  

106d "Made whoopee" = DIDIT made everything else in the grid forgivable (not that there much that needed forgiving).

Baseball related fill at 12a, 39d, 52d, and 92d saeems a little much.

Hopefully the "birther" issue wil go away once and for all now that the matter has been definitively settled by 41d, as appearing in the NYTCP means it must be right - right? (Alas, probably not, at least not in Arizona.)

"I'll have what SHES having" at 127a reminded me of that great scene in "When Harry met Sally" - hilarious. It would have been great if Rex had included a video clip.

Back to the deck for more sunshine!

Solving in Seattle 3:52 PM  

@Rex, cool segment on CBS! Also, your time solving the CW - that showed um.

@SantaFeFran, sorry you lost your Mom's jewelery in such a terrible way.

@Diri, the Harry/Sally scene has to be one of the greatest in film history.

As a guy who worked his way through college as a bartender (with a fake ID) 63A is bogus. Shot, dash, yes - DRAM, no. Also, JEER??? Also had shAM, then scAM before FLAM (I guess as in flim FLAM man?)

Liked the puzzle and had fun with it. Embarrassed to say I solved and got the puns without catching on to the theme until reading Rex. Flunked that IQ test.

"The pun is the lowest form of wit" is attributed to the English dramatist John Dennis

Capcha: alldra uldlying. Old English for "don't believe a word they're saying.

Solving in Seattle 4:00 PM  


Spacecraft 4:19 PM  

Lotta trouble with this one. Stuff I NE! VA! HEARD of!! include:

ODWALLA (seriously? Yagottabekiddingme!)
FLAM (FLIMflam, maybe--but by itself? Sounds like a George Carlin schtick)
CHEU (the Wookiee Dynasty?)
REDBUD (offspring of Kane's sled?)

Plus: I stared at 60d for quite a while, trying to fit Oneida, or Elmira, or some other SIX-letter city in there. When I finally realized it was ERIE (,) PA (.) I groaned out loud. What a dirty, underhanded, cheap trick to pull! Ben, you oughta be ashamed of yourself for that one!

The cluing today was brutal; much more Saturdayish than Sunday. Ye gods! "Scrape" for SKIN? "Plant, of a sort" for MOLE? I mean, they're not WRONG, but jeez, you need a road map to get from the clue to the answer. Shortz is the Phantom--and I'm the roughneck.

["Phantom rough on roughnecks:" old jungle saying)

Despite many HUH?'s, I DIDIT--but afterward I felt like I could use a cigarette.

Dirigonzo 4:48 PM  

@Spacecraft - the clue for ERIEPA paired the city and state, so it makes sense that the answer would, too. Agree that some of the cluing was pretty sinister, but the solve left me feeling like I needed a drink, not a cigarette - it was too early for one then, but I am about to remedy the situation. Hey, it's five o'clock somewhere! Cheers!

Hey - one of my captchas is ednglish; there's another indie right in my native tongue. (Although some say what we speak in Maine is not really English.)

Spacecraft 7:33 PM  

@diri: well, now that I reread the clue I have to agree about city/state pairing; just never noticed it on the first run-thru. As I mentioned, my mind was stuck on a couple of good old six-letter names in the area, and I couldn't get it unstuck.

Not that I smoke (haven't for some 16 years now), but I meant that I felt S*C*R*E*W*E*D!

Dirigonzo 8:19 PM  

@Spacecraft - synchronicity: when your update came in I was creating a post to my blog about a time when I, too, was getting S*C*R*E*W*E*D - but it wasn't at all unpleasant.

Red Valerian 9:35 PM  

Hi All,

Have been wicked busy, so feeling very deprived not to have time to spend on this blog.

When I registered last year and got an avatar (thanks again for the encouragement, @Gill I.P.), I was given a blog. I guess I should try to use it.

Blogger ate some earlier posts here about osprey and the like, so, um, let me try this way of posting. I guess just click on my avatar to get to my blog. (Is it a bit obvious that I don't know what I'm doing?)

I miss everybody when I don't have time to read, but I especially miss the syndi-landers.

Aaaah, I'm gonna make myself cry ;-}

Dirigonzo 10:26 PM  

@ Red Valerian - Great photos on your blog! I hope @Solving in Seattle et al check them out. Nice to see you back!

Dr. Jeff 2:39 PM  

One thing not mentioned is that the clue to 98D contains "creep" which is a famous song by the band Radiohead clued in 100D (though it is not on the album KIDA).

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