Daddy Warbucks's henchman / THU 5-10-12 / City near Entebbe airport / 1942 Tommy Dorsey hit / Marine snail / Eastern dance-drama / Breakfast cereal propeller-headed alien / Galerie art museum on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Constructor: Jules P. Markey

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: JUMP (69A: Word that can precede each set of circled letters, forming a literal hint for entering certain answers in this puzzle) — circled letters spell out words that can follow JUMP, and the Down answers literally JUMP the letters, i.e. when entering Down answers with circles in them, treat circles as if they do not exist. Just JUMP them.

Word of the Day: ESTELLE Parsons (40A: Actress Parsons) —

Estelle Margaret Parsons (born November 20, 1927) is an American theatrefilm and televisionactress and occasional theatrical director.
After studying law, Parsons became a singer before deciding to pursue a career in acting. She worked for the television program Today and made her stage debut in 1961. During the 1960s, Parsons established her career on Broadway before progressing to film. She received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Blanche Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde (1967), and was also nominated for her work in Rachel, Rachel (1968). (wikipedia)
• • •

A great idea that seemed kind of unfair at the end. The whole point of *cross*words is that every letter is crossed, i.e. part of an Across and a Down answer. Providing JUMP just isn't sufficient to make up for the fact the circled letters aren't crossed. I could've run JUMP phrases all day and might not have hit "jumpsuit." I just lucked out that I lived in a suite my freshman year and had SUITEMATEs—but that took a lot of just staring thinking of words for "apartment." The BAIL in BAILEY'S also took some doing, and did the SHIP in COURTSHIP (though I was only stalled a few seconds with that one). So finishing the puzzle was a little annoying—it wasn't "hard" at all, actually. There was just a lot of dead air toward the end while I tried to come up with SUIT. Once I got the theme, and it didn't take that long, the non-circled part of the puzzle was certainly much easier than average. But throw in the rule-breaking circles, and you've got yourself a fairly time-consuming Thursday. Times at the NYT site are hilariously high (took me 10:21 on paper—at the time I finished, that would've put me in second place ... and online solving is generally at least a little faster than on-paper solving)

Circled JUMP answers:
  • SUIT inside SUITEMATE (17A: One sharing an apartment)
  • SEAT inside LET'S EAT (21A: "Chow down!")
  • ROPE inside EUROPEANS (33A: Poles, e.g.)
  • BALL inside "CAT BALLOU" (43A: Film for which Lee Marvin won Best Actor)
  • BAIL inside BAILEY'S (53A: Big Irish cream brand)
  • SHIP inside COURTSHIP (61A: Engagement precursor)
As I said, nothing particularly challenging, fill-wise, about this grid. Let's see ... somehow remembered QUISP (9A: Breakfast cereal with a propeller-headed alien on the front of the box)—or sort of remembered with a little help. Remembered the "Q" anyway, which helped change EMIT to QUIT (9D: Give out). KABUKI (23A: Eastern dance-drama) was actually one of the first answers I got after KAMPALA (5D: City near Entebbe airport), BLANC (24D: Mont ____), and WHELK (8D: Marine snail) gave me crosses—this was how I knew the circles were screwy: no headway around circles, easy headway everywhere else. THE ASP was actually my very first entry (20A: Daddy Warbucks's henchman), and I was lucky, because that gave me something very solid and secure in that rough NW corner. Somehow solidified my sense that the circles were screwing things up—if the crosses weren't working, it sure wasn't THE ASP's fault. Tommy Dorsey returns (?!) with an even earlier song than last week's "OPUS ONE." Today it's "TAKE ME" (51A: 1942 Tommy Dorsey hit with Frank Sinatra vocals). Nope, don't know that one either. guessed the BAR part of I-BAR (48A: Flanged structural element), which was good enough (confirmed by 'BAMA; 49D: Rival of Ole Miss). I think I had dessert once at a cafe near or adjoined to the NEUE Galerie (38D: ___ Galerie, art museum on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue). Got confused at 41D: Five-time U.S. Open winner (SAMPRAS) because I couldn't think of a tennis (or golf) player whose name was SAM besides Snead ...

And I'm done. Didn't exactly *enjoy* it, but it provided an interesting challenge.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


r.alphbunker 12:13 AM  

Wow! So many ahas during the solve. ESKIMOS is when I decided to ignore the circled letters going down without knowing why.

Finished with inCH instead of ARCH as {part of a foot}. KiMsALA sounded familiar but I guess I was thinking of KAMPALA.

Also had jump [shot] which gave [shot]eys as the Irish cream brand which did not sound very Irish. But I loved jump shot so much that I didn't want to get rid of it. Until, of course, I was told it was wrong. It was very satisfying to come up with BAIL to finish.

Tobias Duncan 12:13 AM  

If you have never heard of CATBALLOU there is no way in hell you can do anything but DNF this puzzle.

Tobias Duncan 12:31 AM  

When I noticed that the word SKIP sort of intersected the word ROPE I went on one hell of a wild goose chase.

jae 12:43 AM  

Yes! A tough (pre getting the theme) tricky Thurs.   Had to give up on the top to bottom solve and go right to the theme clue to get any traction on this one.  Major floundering until then.  Medium after I got it.  Excellent clever Thurs.!

retired_chemist 1:38 AM  

While doing it I felt sort of cheated because the theme wasn't making sense, with all these downs that were NOT working. But when I finally cottoned on to the theme, I found it very clever.

Hand up for EMIT @ 9D which stayed long enough to slow down the NE considerably. Never heard of QUISP.

Got the theme by being SURE of ESTELLE Parsons and CAT BALLOU. That made 41D SB(something) and SAMPRAS was the obvious one, particularly since it had several crosses in place, but ONLY IF I said the B didn't count.

That got me back to the NW downs, where I had ruled out ZIT, ISH, GEE, and SEA because I was counting (and being confused by) the circled letters. So, back in they went, circled letters be damned. And then - THE ASP appeared, virtually synchronously, in the puzzle and in my dim memory of 1940's comic books.

That was IT. I now believed this silly skip-a-circled-letter-in-the-down theme I had been toying wi was correct. And - mirabile dictu - it WAS!

Mostly cool fill. Not sure about SAWMILLS - do they PLANE lumber there?

Nice one, Mr. Markey. Thanks.

Anoa Bob 2:33 AM  

Got the theme entries, even knew CAT BALLOU (43A)---didn't we see this recently?---but was not able to make the JUMP to the second level of this puzzle and figure out why all those downs looked so insane.

This is not a sour grapes thing, well maybe a little, but I want to point out the appearance of an entry that, between the singular and its plural, is pushing 70 appearances in the NYT puzzle.

It's 48A IBAR, clued here as "Flanged structural element". As best as I can determine, an IBAR exists only as a "Flanged structural element in crossword puzzles". And nowhere else.

Maybe it's so handy, I should just look the other way and not bring it up again.

rh 2:45 AM  

@Tobias: you're wrong, actually, because I didn't and did, but it was a difficult and unsatisfying process fraught with guesswork, racking my brain for "jump" phrases and running the alphabet on Across Lite. Strongly disliked this puzzle.

@Anoa Bob: here's a reference for you.

alva carte mafias 3:08 AM  

Never got SUIT...
Thought if I stared at my roomEmate long enough, or made Jump HOUS a thing, I'd have finished!!!!!!!

Halfway thru I thought, "Oh! the theme is SKIP! SKIP BAIL! SKIP ROPE! SKIP BALL?! (My resolve got shaky...SKIP SHIP, it rhymed, but...)
then the light went on!

So, DNF...
Wanted ACNE for 1D and ACNE for APEX.
Never heard of THEASP, but saw CATBALLOU which is screaming to be a theme entry, but I've always thought it too obscure.
there's something there...

QUISP is a QUAZY fun answer!!!

But I'm on a high, bec Will just took a puzzle I made with
Loren Muse Smith!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So this blog has birthed another
puzzle collaboration.

And my feminist neckhairs have been tamed as ALL THREE CONTESTANTS on TEEN JEOPARDY! FINALE are girls!!!!

foodie 4:07 AM  

Yeah, like Miss Andrea, I couldn't think of SUIT. And I stupidly had SEpTE, a modification of the French seven, so had CAp which was not about to trigger BALLOU... I've been to the NEUE gallery (very cool) and still it was a long time coming.

In the NE, had emIT and revEALED side by side, which caused a mess. Never heard of QUISP... Sigh...

Yet, weirdly enough, I got the theme and even the idea of skipping very early on, and it did help a lot.

So, cool idea, but I agree with Rex that since it is intrinsically "unfair", the cluing and answers needed to be less obscure.

Congratulations Andrea and Loren Muse Smith. How cool is that!!

Rex, we the non-native speakers, salute you.

Now to prove I'm not a robot...

Octavian 4:07 AM  

After yesterday's horrible excuse for a puzzle, we are treated to a GEM! Loved this one ... fantastic ... clever ... hard as hell ... brain-bending ... crazy-fun.

My wife asked me why I was hunched over the kitchen island for so long, and then I realized it was taking me forever but it was a blast. Couldn't figure out the theme for the longest time, but finally got the JUMP after writing in letSEAT and euROPEans.

But even then it was hard because it took me a long time to realize you had to jump over every circle.

In the end, I did make a mistake but didn't really care. Didn't know THE ASP so when I had ZIP for a bad mark in school (i.e., a zero on a test, I guess), it didn't bother me that the henchman was PHEASP (sounds like a henchman, kind of?)

Anyway, high marks to Jules Markey!

foodie 4:17 AM  

Quick & Dirty Index is 7.7 which is Medium-Challenging FOR A SATURDAY!

MaryRoseG 5:49 AM  

Quisp and Quake were Saturday morning treats in the 70s. Sort of Capn' Crunch-ish.

MaryBR 7:40 AM  

CATBALLOU was utterly unfamiliar, so DNF, which was highly annoying, though did enjoy the aha of the rest of the puzzle when I finally realized why I wasn't getting anything! Still, if you're not going to have crosses, I feel like your answers have to be utterly familiar (any difficulty should come from the cluing)

dk 7:46 AM  

Hated it. 30 minutes spent trying to figure out crapolla.

* (one star) Only because I knew CATBALLOU

SethG 7:52 AM  

Kampala. Try coming up with words for apartment when you have xxxxEMOTE in place. Because NRO totally works for the NRA clue.

And for a while, I tried to find a way to JUMP EDOM. Because I was convinced COUPLEDOM worked.


jberg 7:53 AM  

DNF-- Same revEALED emIT error as others kept the NE from me, and I was really blocked on BAILEYS -- just didn't see "Irish cream" as meaning Irish Cream, rather than a cream from Ireland, so I was beating my head on the wall trying to think if there was an Irish dairy called BAckeys. Should have known, my ex-wife loved the stuff.

Also thought I was stumped at 17A, but took one last look while waiting for this page to load, and it came to me.

I had the SKIP/ROPE intersection misleading me at first, too. My errors weren't even original, alas.

I guess the circled answers were crossed in the sense that they had to meet two criteria: go with jump, and fit the clue. It was hard, though.

Anonymous 8:04 AM  

It must make it a lot easier to construct puzzles if whole sections don't have to cross each other. Hated it.

Glimmerglass 8:06 AM  

Tricky and clever. Looked at ExKI(P)xOS and M(O)OTOR(L)xxx for a long time before I figured out that the circles didn't count in the downs. Finished the puzzle that way without seeing the theme, but then hung up on (hous)EMATE, which, except for 69A, would be a correct solution. Finally, the JUMP SUIT emerged from the fog. I liked this Thursday.

John V 8:15 AM  

Never came close. Worst DNF in a very long time. Too clever by half, for my appetite.

Kathy 8:15 AM  

@alva carte mafia - I couldn't come up with suitemate either after trying roome and house.

As regards Jeopardy, last week on the Jeopardy Teen Tournament, an unfair rule eliminated another female contestant. She tied with a boy in Final Jeopardy and was subjected to a sudden death clue. IMHO, they BOTH won the game and she earned the right to move on to the next round. There would have been one less runner-up to be selected from the high scoring losers. That would have been a fairer way to handle the situation. What do you think?

00000MATE 8:27 AM  

DNF...i got all of it filled except *****mate and court***. as far as i was concerned, just looking at those circles, with no way of corroborating my attempts, it could have been anything. for the word associated with MATE all i could think of was HOUSE...which, of course, is not an apartment. SUITEMATE is just not in my experience anywhere.

which brings me to my only complaint about this puzzle: if you're going to go with this kind of internal puzzle, then those circles better be universally known. i accede to just not taking enough time to get COURT*SHIP*...but i propose the reason why is because of SUITE in the NW. with that being so arbitrary, SHIP could have been anything and i really don't have the time or energy to go through every JUMP phrase that i know.

so, i didn't really like this puzzle in the end. sure, the JUMP part was clever and it was challenging to have to look at those letters i was skipping and not include them in figuring out what the answers were. but once i got the entire puzzle filled out and those two lone blanks were staring me in the face, i felt completely helpless to figure it out. literally, no clue.

if it weren't for rex's blog, i'd still wonder what the hell those letters were.

Smitty 8:46 AM  

The awful realization that I was going to have to guess my way through the entire puzzle was followed by the happy realization that i didn't have to.


jackj 8:48 AM  

First entry was WHELK which got me KNOW and KABUKI, then ARCH, which triggered KAMPALA and ESKIMOS but, hold on there, I was missing a letter in each of the last two answers.

When I could see REPOMAN belonged at 39 across I simply left the circles blank and completed the two down answers, leaving the circled squares for later resolution.

The rest of the puzzle mostly filled in quickly, with a few notable exceptions like SUITEMATE which seems to be a college specific term and not known to this alum of old who only knew he had had roommates. Absent the ability to get it from crosses, the only way to complete it was by guessing or googling. Frustration city!!

The other kink came at 9 across/12 down which almost “Naticked” me as QUISP was unknown and SIRI seemed to fit the clue only as a comment a nervous nellie might make when they realized they had dialed a wrong number. “SIR I…., no, SIR, I,... I think I have the wrong number.” (The IPhone4S robotic friend? Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface? Good grief!!).

Nevertheless, a clever piece of work by Jules Markey (a debut at that) and thankfully it all worked out in the end when I realized I hadn’t JUMP(ed) the shark after all.

Sue McC 8:59 AM  

*Kind* of a fun challenge. I eventually got the theme and was able to finish, which I feel good about. BUT...I just don't like looking at a completed puzzle with all of those messed up down words, even though I get the jump concept. So, thumbs down, ultimately.

AnnieD 9:01 AM  

Wow, that didn't feel like a Thrs!

It took forever to get what the circles were and then burned fuel trying to think of jump phrases. Then it took another forever to figure out what was being jumped with the circles. Then I said, OK this will be easy to finish now....nuh uh.

I only finished by checking which cells were wrong....ONTO before KNOW, INCH before ARCH, and just too luddite to have heard of SIRI and no children so QUISP was a pure guess.

r.alphbunker 9:03 AM  

As I was admiring the puzzle this morning I noticed that the answer to 48D was IBMAC which formed a portmanteau of two iconic computer manufacturers.

I also noticed that in a way the revealer JUMP is also unchecked because it definitely helped to know the revealer in order to get JUMP from the crosses.

EIS was the first answer I entered and I somehow got that from {German treat}. I am familiar with EIS from crosswords but only in its meteorological sense. Somehow my brain pulled up an English meaning of the word "ice" and applied it here. This "jump" was really sweet!

evil doug 9:10 AM  

Andrea: Love that you help out novice puzzlers like Loren. It's what you do best---very unselfish to share the credit, too. Plus, the highest point was an "apex" today, so I can't even get pissed about 'acme'....

The Entebbe Raid---great story featuring Israeli commandos and my beloved C-130. Idi survives only in crosswords....

Double-rough that 69A 'jump' required solving four circles before realizing what the trick was. Who would guess that the last letter in a four-letter answer could be 'j'? And of course, it wasn't....

Had to be Quisp or Quake. Neither made sense until the light came on. Had "Eat it up!" on 21A for a while; thought "Jump It Up" was the Elvis Costello song, but that was "Pump It Up". Either way, kind of obscure, so I jumped ship and started over there. Been to Enid in aforementioned C-130, so eventually I squeezed in my third and fourth guesses on a lot of ink-blotted squares in Maine.

Lee Marvin: One of the few actors who has been brilliant in every movie of his I've seen. You know how I feel about his traitorous co-star, but Cat Ballou is still worth seeing just for Lee.

Loved the 'sawmills' clue twist.


John V 9:34 AM  

To continue -- minus the cranky pants. It occured to me while walking down Tryon Street, that the last time I got so clobbered on a puzzle was the Friday puzzle of Patrick Berry's full week special. That puzzle was a grid wrap around, e.g. special grid instruction in cluing and, in that way, similar to today's grid. I guess my brain does not see that sort of gimmick. I do just fine on rebuses -- the Canadian provinces may be one of my all time favorites. But but this sort of grid meta-cluing is apparently not part of my solving DNA.

Hands up to congratulate Loren and Andrea on their success and best wishes for many more! :)

Wood 9:43 AM  

LOVE this puzzle... even though it will be one of my worst Thursday times and I haven't completely solved it yet. Haven't read the blog or comments yet. But wanted to comment on an interesting feature of the puzzle that is holding me up right now. I'm completely done except for the four circled squares in the Lee Marvin movie.

When I first figured out the theme, I cried foul -- the "jump" trick prevents the circled squares from being "checked" (i.e. the letter is always part of two answers). But then I realized, they are checked -- first by the clued answer, and second by the fact that they spell a word that can be preceded by "jump." So the puzzle is totally legit, although unconventional. Love this extremely original concept!!

But -- now I find myself "naticked" because I don't think I have ever heard of this movie (CAT____OU?) and I Can Not Think of another word that can commonly be preceded by "jump." If I noodle on it a while longer I will probably come up with it... but in the end it doesn't matter because I think this puzzle is GREAT.

mac 9:49 AM  

Challenging, alright, and unfair in that it's very hard to get "jump" without already knowing the theme/trick.

Siri! We have it on our phones but never use it. Once my husband called her up by accident, and he said: I don't need anything, thank you. Her answer was something like: "don't thank me, I'm here to help you".

The biggest Irish dairy company I could think of was Kerry Gold, and never heard about Quisp.

joho 9:51 AM  

I finally got what was going on way down at BAIL. Then SHIP made sense and all but SUIT followed. I put in housEMATE as my last ditch, lame guess because obviously there is no such thing as house JUMP!!!

I did enjoy the challenge, though, and applaud Jules Markey for this clever puzzle!

I also applaud Andrea and Loren for their soon to be published puzzle .. can't wait to do it!

OldCarFudd 9:54 AM  

Frustrating as hell until I caught on, and lots of fun afterward. DNF - like many of you, I never cottoned on to SUITEMATE. I'd heard of it, but couldn't conjure it up. Which reinforces what some of you have said - If a word has no crosses, it had better be pretty well known.

Tita 9:55 AM  

Busy day - just wanted to check in to cry foul on 17A...had never ever ever heard SUITEMATE as a term! Gobsmacked to see Rex was one...

A tough puzzle - DNF with said SUITE - had to come here, then also learned that I too had inCH not ARCH.

I actually thought there were many obscurities or vague clueings, making it even more challenging.
Like tire>>emIT>>QUIT, dell, acer, IMAC, Acme>>APEX.

A tough Thursday for me! On to themeless weekend.

ACME & Loren - insanely awesome!

mikeametrics 9:59 AM  

CATBALLOU?? Couldnt do any better than that for BALL?
I didn't get SUIT either. DNF-- I was left staring at two sets of blank circles.

Lindsay 10:02 AM  

What @Tobias Duncan said at 12:13 am. Never heard of CAT BALLOU. To compound the problem, I had 34D as SeiTE (was thinking of siete, I guess) so the movie started out CAi, not CAT, which led me to suppose I was looking for something related to The Cain Mutiny, which I'm pretty sure is a movie???? CAin bayOU? Not good.

Also missed SUITEMATE. Mildly liked the juxtaposition of BAIL & SHIP, but too mildly to make up for the unchecked circles.

ArtO 10:03 AM  


Anonymous 10:09 AM  

I'm trying to remember how I felt when I first encountered a rebus puzzle, whether I was intrigued or annoyed. I'm leaning towards thinking I was intrigued by rebuses, so I can't understand why I was annoyed by this one-- how is skipping a square different from putting multiple letters in a square? It just was.

Even with (eventually) getting the gimmick, too many holes in my knowledge to complete.

Does everyone who uses SIRI, or Google's equivalent, know that Apple/Google is keeping track of everything you say? You ask, they convert it to text, keep it and use it.

FearlessK 10:09 AM  

Everything @retired chemist said! And sincere congratulations to ACME and Loren! And how is this not a Saturday? 45 minutes!! Good thing it's Saturday and I don't have to work! uh-oh...

Loren Muse Smith 10:19 AM  

I had a pathetic QUISP (figured 11D began with I for “interstate”) and BAILEYS and called Dad. He gave me CATBALLOU, and then we both stared at it for a while with Mom looking at the solution and poo-pooing our guesses. “Inch?” No. “Iamb?” No. It was obvious there was some funny business going on, but I didn’t see it until SAMPRAS and even then couldn’t quite figure it out. At one point, I had the BALL and BAIL in the circles and wondered if it was a word ladder progression thingy (what are they called?)

@Tita – I, too, was a SUITEMATE! Good times. Go Heels.

Evil -“Andrea: Love that you help out novice puzzlers like Loren. It's what you do best---very unselfish to share the credit, too. Plus, the highest point was an "apex" today, so I can't even get pissed about 'acme'....”( I had “acme” first!) Andrea is not only the Queen of Mondays, but the Queen Supreme of Puzzle Constructing Mentors. She’s diplomatic, kind, generous, helpful, and, jeez, VERY STRICT, but in a really nice way. I have to say her standards are high; I’ve seen puzzle entries since working with her, to which, had I suggested them, I can hear her saying, “No, no – it has to be fun.” Or. “No – LACROSSE PASS(mine) or VEAL RIB (huh????) isn’t a phrase.” What a learning curve. Thanks so much, Andrea!

Obviously I DNF today’s but got pretty far. I thought it was fun and clever. AND, it’s a pangram, Mom!

Pete M. 10:23 AM  

Seriously dislike this puzzle. CAT BALLOU crossing 4 circles along with SET_E (I had S instead of T, which didn't help) and NE_E? To put it in the words of James Coburn, who I always confuse with Lee Marvin, "That's just mean!"

Ended up looking up CAT BALLOU and giving up on SUITEMATE. It's a cute concept in retrospect, but unfair during the solve -- not enough info.

hazel 10:25 AM  

I don't like clutter. And those extra letters kept getting in my way, and it made for a supremely frustrating experience. So, I found the puzzle very clever, but moreso irritating.

@tobias - there is irony in your DNF in that it was a JUMPBALL that did you in. Sports!! :-/
@acme and loren - congratulations to you both!

Oscar 10:35 AM  

Thanks for spoiling the "Jeopardy!" tournament, jerks! Some of us use this thing called DVR.

Norm 10:38 AM  

I don't think I have ever disliked a puzzle as much as I disliked this one. (That sentence originally had "hated" in it, but that seemed a bit over the top.) Just plain annoying.

Two Ponies 10:52 AM  

I haven't had my ass handed to me on a plate this badly in ages. Not only did the trick seem cruel but there was loads of stuff I just plain did not know. No joy at all.
Can't wait to see Andrea and Loren's puzzle.

Kathy 10:53 AM  

@Oscar - The Jeopardy episode to which I referred was aired last Friday. Today is Thursday.

Time Skeptic 10:56 AM  

Ok, I have a question. Rex mentioned he did this puzzle in 10+ minutes, which I think is remarkable (it took me 30). He said that would put him in second place on the NYT site at that time. This morning I looked at the site, and there are multiple people who solved this puzzle in 1 to 2 minutes. How is that possible?

Even f I had the answers I coudn't type them in that fast.

I've been wondering about ths for a long time, but today's puzzle is the most extreme example yet. Can a human being actually have solved this puzzle in 1 minute?

Sir Hillary 10:56 AM  

Given the theme and Rex's less-than-positive reaction, I think it's apt that the constructor's name anagrams to LEAKY JUMPERS.

baja 11:03 AM  

epic fail! Was impressed when i saw the post. Liked it after the fact.

Norm 11:13 AM  

@Time Skeptic: I share your skepticism, but the absurdly low numbers you note for this morning appear to be gone. byron_walden is in the 4 spot at 5:02 and he's legit, so I'll accept the current #1 at 4:01 (and the others) as well. But, there are often times posted that are so low that I assume the person solved the puzzle off-line and then went back on-line and filled in the squares as fast as s/he could type. (I also don't understand the 6 to 10 hour times. Why bother? But, whatever floats your boat, I guess.)

Masked and Anonymous 11:14 AM  

To say this puz put up a fight would be like sayin' that Attila the Hun didn't play nice with others. Some of those clues just zinged right plum over old M&A's encephalon. And what's with this QUISP/SIRI quap? I'm a strictly cinnamon roll dude; and what the KABUKI is a SIRI??? And I'm supposed to get that stuff while I'm bypassing letters in my answers?!?! Whose dictionary is SUITEMATE in?!?!? Snort.

OK. Feel better now. Fun, challenging ThursPuz. One of the best executed themes (actually, kinda 2 themes, smushed together) I've ever seen. Pangram. 8 U's. Strong thUmbsUp.

SIRI!?!? Better clue for SIRI: "Spring flower poking out of ground, avoiding the A-hole." Now, that I'da gotten. Snort2.

Congrats, Loren and Andrea Darlin's.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:17 AM  

DNF, because of SUITEMATE. Finished with INCH instead of ARCH, which I will blame on inattention.

Nice, fresh idea, though.

DougEverett 11:32 AM  

I was lucky. I'm a mathematician. I was sure of EXP (1st entry - I generally start in the lower right and work backwards :-) ) and felt almost as sure of APEX. Then RAJ and APU. So JUMP was my 5th entry and made everything a lot easier. Except I have never heard of QUISP!! Only got it because of the cross entries. And SUITEMATE took a while!!

chrisb 11:34 AM  


Once you begin a puzzle online, your original start time cannot be altered. Thus, if I look at a puzzle in the first at 8am, and then, after going about my day, solve it at 8pm, my time will be 12hrs. I hope nobody is actually staring at the puzzle for 10hrs straight.

DougEverett 11:35 AM  

And to be entirely honest, my girlfriend got SUITEMATE. Not I!

Mel Ott 11:38 AM  

Am I the only one who has no idea what SIRI means? Guessing it's some kind of new electronic device (so maybe I do have an idea, after all). I think I use about 10% of the bells and whistles on my devices.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

For all the complaints about this puzzle, I offer one defense. This is a type of puzzle that (I think) humans would prevail in a contest with a computer. So keep these computer-befuddling puzzles coming.

Masked and Anonymous2 12:04 PM  

P.S. @Jules P. Markey: One Godzilla of a debut. Liked it. Fave fill: SBAMPRAS. Even after I figured out the gimmick, that @#*! "B" wouldn't quit playing head games with me, and let me solve it. Evidently (per Wordplay) you have more puzs in the pipeline. Will be on my guard. "Markey" is now a "red alert" flag, in my neck of the woods.

bona fide 12:17 PM  

google's equivalent (in beta) to SIRI is IRIS, for those of you keeping score at home.

yes, IRIS is the reverse of SIRI. clever, those people at google.

Anonymous 12:20 PM  

If you can afford to live in a suite do you really need a roommate?

GILL I. 12:28 PM  

This was very annoying and hard. Never heard of SUITEMATE, QUISP was NEUE to me and also wanted name a few.
My confusion was that some of the uncircled part of the answers were actual words - LET,CAT and COURT. EMATE,EUANS and EYS had me staring for far too long trying to figure this thing out. After the second glass of wine and grimacing through Idol, I finally figured it out at CATBALLOU which I spelled with two O's.
Best part of today is learning that Andrea and Loren are making sweet crosswords together. That is some terrific news....!

BigSteve46 1:03 PM  

Finished with only 1 error, the "QUISP/SIRI" cross. Had QUI_P with _IRI, but then WTF? I guess if you're old to remember Cat Ballou (it was an Oscar winning role, after all) you're too old to know new-age computer acronyms. Even after looking up SIRI on Google I'm still not sure what it is. E cosi la vita!

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

Agree with you about SUITEMATE- I had NO idea!
Also had same reaction to the Jeopardy sudden death- NOT FAIR!

I think Oscar was mad at the other person who revealed last night's results...

Anonymous 1:10 PM  

@Mel Ott -

iPhone has a feature called Siri, which is a voice that answers questions someone asks into the phone.

@Loren - Congratulations!
@Acme - You are too nice!


Anonymous 1:11 PM  

SIRI????????? Really????

chefbea 1:12 PM  

Too tough for me. Knew Catballou, Carte and Baileys right away but of course DNF.

Congrats to Acme and Loren. Look forward to solving the puzzle

PuzzleNut 1:16 PM  

Grrrrr!! I hate that I'm considered a robot and I keep losing my comments

Brian 1:42 PM  

I am with the annoyed crowd. By the time I figured out that I was jumping over things, I was disgruntled enough not to be impressed. Tried to make Kinshasa work, and thought I was going crazy by not knowing how to spell Sampras' name!

Quisp and Catballou are just painful. And don't know how long I stared at Suitemate, trying to convince myself that maybe there is an alternate spelling of roommate that would fit.

And since I didn't notice anybody mention it...iMac is not a brand! Mac is a brand. iMac is a model. That made me the angriest. Or maybe it was just the final straw...

acme 1:51 PM  

I think Oscar is rightfully referring to ME...I unintentionally spoiled Jeopardy! last night...

AND I'd like to apologize, even tho he called me a jerk.
(or should I say JUMPed down my throat?)
It's admittedly hypocritical (on my part) bec I often rail against discussion of PBS shows, politics, recipes, untimely deaths and non-puzzle related stuff. So for me to do it is totally Jungian. And I'm genuinely sorry.

I was on such a high from getting a late night acceptance of a couple of puzzles, esp after not having been published in almost 6 months...and bec the one with Loren is one of my fave puzzles AND I shouldn't have mentioned it as it might be months/years before it sees the light of day!

It's a bit like drunk driving...someone should take away my key(board)s.
Heck, I even typoed ACME/APEX last night (my own name!).
Plus, be nice to be as my plane is might crash
(ie @ED being sweet to me is surely a sign of the apocalypse, and I'm literally en route to the LA tourney where I look forward to meeting folks and doing the finals play-by-play with Tyler)

@Sir Hillary 10:56 LOL!
Love the anagram of the constructor's name...and his initials do appear to be JPM so perhaps that is where he got the idea for THIS clever puzzle!
Tho I shouldn't JUMP to conclusions!

Now suspect I may have gotten suitEMATE if the clue mentioned a opposed to an apartment.

And again @Oscar, sorry!
(At least I did it after it aired West Coast time! Plenty of shows have been spoiled for me due to East Coast pronouncements, and I hope you will get over it, but I still shouldn't have done it!)

Bird 2:09 PM  

Challenging? No. Impossible? Yes. DNF for three reasons 1) all the obscure fill, 2) terrible crossing that didn’t allow for reasonable guessing (NATICKs) and 2) not understanding how to apply the theme. I got JUMP from BAILEYS and EUROPEANS, but my brain did not let me ignore the “rule-breaking circles”. Many times I thought I had the right answer (what the hell is Ole Miss rival B-MA-?!) only to give up and move on when I didn’t think to JUMP. Disappointing until I came here, learned how to apply the theme and discover I was correct. Got a little further, but still DNF.

Obscure to me, at least from the cluing: QUISP, ISERE, THEASP, KAMPALA, KABUKI, NEUE, CARTE. I could go on, but what’s the point?

A SPA is a RETREAT? Not always.

Highlights: clue for REPOMAN. I kept trying to find a word for tall building. STARDATE and SAWMILLS.

I thought of 2 Lee Marvin films for which might have won an Oscar: BIG RED ONE (great movie) and the musical CATBALLOU. I inserted the war drama because I couldn’t think of the name of the other movie. Oh, well.

@ACM and @LMS - Congrats on the birth of your puzzle! You must be very proud. BTW – boy or girl?

I am BEEP not a BEEP robot! BEEP

Bird 2:09 PM  

Challenging? No. Impossible? Yes. DNF for three reasons 1) all the obscure fill, 2) terrible crossing that didn’t allow for reasonable guessing (NATICKs) and 2) not understanding how to apply the theme. I got JUMP from BAILEYS and EUROPEANS, but my brain did not let me ignore the “rule-breaking circles”. Many times I thought I had the right answer (what the hell is Ole Miss rival B-MA-?!) only to give up and move on when I didn’t think to JUMP. Disappointing until I came here, learned how to apply the theme and discover I was correct. Got a little further, but still DNF.

Obscure to me, at least from the cluing: QUISP, ISERE, THEASP, KAMPALA, KABUKI, NEUE, CARTE. I could go on, but what’s the point?

A SPA is a RETREAT? Not always.

Highlights: clue for REPOMAN. I kept trying to find a word for tall building. STARDATE and SAWMILLS.

I thought of 2 Lee Marvin films for which might have won an Oscar: BIG RED ONE (great movie) and the musical CATBALLOU. I inserted the war drama because I couldn’t think of the name of the other movie. Oh, well.

@ACM and @LMS - Congrats on the birth of your puzzle! You must be very proud. BTW – boy or girl?

I am BEEP not a BEEP robot! BEEP

Lindsay 2:17 PM  

Allow me to add to my previous comment (about missing SUITEMATE) that I actually spent my freshman year in a dorm arranged by suite. So I had suitemates. But I was NOT, emphatically NOT, living in an apartment. Rather in a tripled up double. Bleh. Transferred out.

quilter1 2:41 PM  

Worked on it all morning off and on and never got much traction. Not much fun for me. So DNF, but I finished BEQ over lunch so I'm feeling fine.

James Sie 4:03 PM  

I dunno. I was so exasperated by this puzzle that even when I semi-understood the nonsensical answers I was getting I refused to finish it. Fruistrating without any joy .

sanfranman59 4:33 PM  

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

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

Thu 29:02, 18:59, 1.53, 99%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Thu 17:49, 9:22, 1.90, 100%, Challenging

Today's solve times are in the Medium Saturday range and while the number of solvers isn't going to be a Thursday low, it's going to be pretty close to one. Count me in the "stymied by SUITEMATE" crowd. I tend to think of a suite in hotel terms, but recognize that it really just means a connected series of rooms and that an apartment qualifies as such. However, I don't think that word has ever crossed my lips and I don't recall hearing it cross anyone else's either.

Anonymous 5:00 PM  

This one was ridiculous. I especially hate "pled" as past tense of "plead." I know we're all supposed to be tolerant of the increasing stupid laziness of the language ("impact" as a verb, "connect" as a noun), but just because "bled" is the past tense of "bleed" doesn't mean we should go all round-heels and accept "pled" instead of "pleaded" as the past tense of "plead," any more than I accept two lazy NYT writers in the Arts section in the past week using "only" when they mean "few," as in "she is one of the only artists using dead fish heads in her sculpture..." when "only," like "unique," means "one and only," not one of a very few. We certainly should not tolerate that sloppiness in x-word construction. Just sayin'

chefwen 5:14 PM  

Too rich for my blood. Was so agitated about it last night that I said a bad word followed by IT and just let it go. Felt much better after my blood pressure returned to normal. ACK!

Congratulations Andrea and Loren, can't wait to do it.

Ulrich 5:22 PM  

The Neue Galerie was such a lovely place--a 'specialty shop' next to the comprehensive Metropolitan, with focus on one of my favorite periods in art and architecture--Vienna around the end of the 19th century.

And then R. Lauder, the owner, had to mess it up, by replacing jewels of the collection that I used to take visitors to with a hodgepodge of other stuff from his collection, like medieval armor and high modern stuff. There is no focus anymore (well, Lauder is, but he's not worth a trip to NYC) and the little gallery now competes with the big Met--no contest!

I wouldn't be surprised if tax evasion was behind it all (he's known to be a master of the art) or simply his super-ego. So sad...

foodie 5:23 PM  

Best thing about this puzzle is that it helps me validate my Quick & Dirty Index. I was a good test case, and I predicted that it would be similar to. medium- challenging Saturday. SanFran Man out it as as a Medium Saturday... I need these outliers to test the system.

Andrea, you really are a class act!

Ulrich 5:25 PM  

...and with this out of my system: Congratulations, Loren and Andrea!

archaeoprof 5:46 PM  

@Foodie: QSI (Quick & Sleepy Index) agrees. It was Saturday difficult.

DNF. Too busy with end-of-the-semester activities. Don't know whether I would have liked it or not.

Congrats, Loren and Andrea!

Wood 6:03 PM  

@anon 5pm: prescribe much?

Never did get jump Ball/ CATBALLOU. Never heard of the movie, or Lee Marvin for that matter, and I imagine a jump ball is something sports- related so... Naticked. But still thought this puzzle was BRILLIANT! Much tougher cluing than your normal Thursday, but it's fun to have a themed Saturday every so often. Keep throwing those curve balls Will!

Anonymous 7:27 PM  


13 abbreviations
16 names

this shows someone trying to jump through hoops to make the puzzle work. not impressed.

shortz should have sent it back for revisions.

Anonymous 7:51 PM  

A first time contributor...didnt do well today. Very few answers, but about Siri. She's amazing... sets my alarm, transcribes emails, text messages and shopping lists, Googles, locates restaurants. Even scolds if I swear! Most amazing feature I ever could have imagined. (probably because I'm old.)

JenCT 8:08 PM  

This puzzle kicked my a**.

I had 5 SUITEMATES in college.

I know SIRI from the Apple commercials.

Sorry, din't care for this one at all.

Norm 8:22 PM  

@chrisb: Thanks for the explanation about the long times. You're absolutely right. You can't even stop or reset the clock by clearing the cache. Frankly, I think that's kind of stupid on the NYT end: if you want to look "good" (i.e., a short time), all you have to do is solve off-line and then enter your solution for whatever time you want. Why not let a solver pause while they go to work (or the bathroom, for that matter)? It's not as though this is the prelims for the nationals. Whatever.

Anyway, I will now probably set the all time record with today's puzzle, since I've tried a variety of options and the clock is still running. Not going to bother filling in the grid.

But. what about the absurdly low entries that chrisb mentioned? Does no one have an opinion about those? Do you just ignore them? What's the point if we don't know who to measure ourselves against?

Pete 8:28 PM  

In a moment of serendipity, my local PBS station just re-ran an interview with Lauder set in the NEUE Gallery.

The puzzle kicked my ass, but what the hell, it was new and different, so that's good.

No Respect 8:33 PM  

@Norm: I measure myself against other solvers by height. (Old, appropriated "Caddyshack" line.)

jackj 9:40 PM  


I know nothing of the complaints about Lauder's stewardship but the saving grace for their reputation, of course, is that the Neue did extend themselves to purchase Gustav Klimt's wonderful "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I".

A true masterwork!

nebraska doug 9:47 PM  

I'm shocked how many people haven't heard of CAT BALLOU. In pre-cable days it was on TV all the time. Lee Marvin's Oscar is notable for being one of the few awarded for a comedic role.

michael 9:58 PM  

I didn't get suitemate and don't feel in the slightest bit abashed about it. An apartment is not a suite. And there weren't any crosses (despite this allegedly being a "crossword" puzzle)!

sanfranman59 10:12 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 6:41, 6:50, 0.98, 47%, Medium
Tue 8:15, 8:52, 0.93, 34%, Easy-Medium
Wed 11:30, 11:50, 0.97, 45%, Medium
Thu 29:15, 18:59, 1.54, 99%, Challenging (3rd highest median solve time of 150 Thursdays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:42, 3:40, 1.01, 58%, Medium
Tue 4:43, 4:35, 1.03, 64%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 6:05, 5:53, 1.03, 64%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 17:23, 9:22, 1.86, 100%, Challenging (Highest median solve time of 150 Thursdays)

Not only is this the highest Thursday median solve time for the Top 100, that 1.86 ratio is the highest for any of the 888 puzzles in my spreadsheet. So by this measure, this puzzle is "pound-for-pound", the toughest solve in the three years I've been tracking online solve times. (The 1.54 ratio in the All Solvers group is the 5th highest of 890 puzzles.) But I'm guessing this is almost completely explained by the odd SUITEMATE answer with no crosses to help.

Anonymous 10:32 PM  

It takes two of us to solve on Thursdays. Today was SO close to DNF due to "JUMP hous" being meaningless. Really enjoyed it til getting stalled there.

Oscar 10:33 PM  

@acme - thanks for understanding, and I apologize for name-calling. I think I was just mad for getting stuck on this nefarious puzzle!

foodie 10:48 PM  

@Ulrich and JackJ, speaking of the NEUE Gallery, Gustav Klimt and Vienna in early 19th Century, you might enjoy reading the recent book by Nobel Prize winning neuroscientist and psychiatrist, Eric Kandel-- The Age of Insight. He grew up in Vienna and discusses beautifully the origins of Freud's thinking, what Freud got and what he did not get (e.g. female sexuality) and how artists like Klimt were in the same atmosphere (L'air du temps) but went beyond him in their insight into human perception.

Ulrich 10:51 PM  

@jackj: And the wonderful early and contemporary Klimts that would put the portrait in context had to make place for those stupid armors--that's what I'm complaining about

naninmi 11:19 PM  

Guess you have to be over 40 and had watched a lot of tv as a kid to get QUISP which was the first answer I was positive about. Back in the 70's the cereal company had a contest to vote for your favorite, Quisp or Quake. Quisp won.

The puzzle came easier after I got JUMP, but still took way too long to finish. I've finished Friday's already in a quarter of the time it took for today's. Something about that feels wrong.

Zwhatever 11:22 PM  

I was feeling the love yesterday with all the Z adoration in the comments. Today - OUCH. Early morning meeting so I didn't open the puzzle until lunch Had QUISP/QUIT and BAILEYS and little else when I went back to work. Picked it back up after dinner, got EUROPEANS and the theme, changed Acme to APEX. And then slog slog stall

Getting the theme and knowing the trick of omission just didn't help me much. I, too, lived in a suite in college. Never associated SUITEMATEs with apartments. CATBALLOU - Lee Marvin movies in general? Nope. D'Oyly CARTE Opera Company? Nope. SETTE? Tried SEiTE. THE ASP? Maybe a Cleo Clue would have helped me. Even ZIGS did me in (my brothers and my sons are "Ziggy," but I've always been "Z").

There was some original cluing here, Tower, large planes, foot parts (had inCH for a long time), Captain's Log (Oh - those Captains) were all nice. Creative and new and made people stretch. Maybe one more revision so that more of us mere mortals had a shot at finishing.

Congrats LMS and ACME. Hopefully we won't have to wait three years to actually see it.

skua76 11:27 PM  

AARGH! Not a DNF, but I never have to Google on Thursday. But I couldn't remember CAT BALLOU. Didn't help that I didn't know NEUE Gallery.

No problem with SUITEMATE (I've been one) and I liked some of the clues, but I was disgusted with the theme, it seemed to be a poor excuse for allowing lots of unchecked squares.

Congrats to Andrea and Loren, looking forward to seeing your collaboration. Someday Andrea I hope to venture to one of the various contests and meet you.

skua76 11:29 PM  

Oh, no one mentioned that it was a pangram...

jackj 11:49 PM  

foodie- Thank you for the recommendation. Dr. Kandel's book sounds fascinating!

Ulrich- You're correct, between armor or Klimt's it's no contest!

OISK 12:05 AM  

Took me forever to get the trick, and thought that would get me through, but ran into Quisp and Siri, both completely unfamiliar, so I missed two squares. Did not like this puzzle at all. More like a Saturday than a Thursday, and not really much fun.

Jane 12:52 AM  

Late comment after working late on the left coast: Hands up for really annoyed by SUITEMATE. I did pretty well over all... knew stuff from CATBALLOU to SIRI; got the gimmick of jumping the circles. But totally agree with Rex, the whole point of crosswords is that every letter is crossed. Staring at ----EMATE, thinking of JUMP phrases is not so fun. And it just occurs to me that this answer was particularly hard to brainstorm because of the auditory difference between SUIT and SUITE: JUMP-SUIT and SUITE-MATE.

mac 4:09 AM  

What is this quisp, a play on crisp?

@Ulrich: I haven't been to the Neue for a whilke, it would be too bad if Lauder changed the focus.

More serendipity:
@Foodie: this morning we're on our way to the Portrait Gallery in London to see self-portraits by Lucien Freud!

Careful Reader 6:48 AM  

@skua76 - Yes, loren muse smith did mention it being a pangram at 10:19 AM.

JenCT 8:43 AM  

@mac: Quisp

Matthew G. 8:43 AM  

Count me as a DNF on account of CAT BALLOU. Rex's lede is exactly what I thought -- great idea, but unfair because of the non-crosses. CAT BALLOU is a non-Best Pitcure winner with a very odd title from almost 50 years ago and Lee Marvin was a minor star. With crosses, that would be a tough entry. Without them, it's preposterous.

Damnedcirclepuzzles 10:57 AM  

When I first downloaded and printed the puzzle, upon seeing the circles I said sh+t, I hate these circle puzzles.

No reason to love this one if a bit (too) clever.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Some constructors are all about showing how clever they are, while others are about the joy of the crossword. This was the former and really, it was a drag. No joy.

pdplot 11:49 AM  

Stupid typical Will Shortz puzzle. Annoying and frustrating. I got all the clues but still couldn't figure out the clues...PDPLOT

Simpy Ignoble Ron 12:32 PM  

As Reagan once said, Here we go again. All the complaining and dissatisfaction simply because one could not finish. It's a puzzle, folks, admitedly a difficult puzzle. You simply cannot win them all. So what? Personally, I believe it was clever, fantastic and original. My hat is off to Mr. Markey, even though I had housemate at the finish. All the talk about Cat Ballou is nonsense. That was a gimmee. So there. I've said it and I'm glad.

Solving in Seattle 2:17 PM  

I started badly by insisting that Daddy Warbuck's henchman was Punjab. Then a lot of staring ensued. I was so sure of my geography with KAMPAL(E)A that I fired up the google machine and THEASP was revealed and ESKI(P)MOS followed closely. Thus, I sussed the JUMP without knowing it.

BTW, the *SKIP*** in ESKI(P)MO threw me for awhile, also. JUMP was my last entry and then still couldn't figure out that damn SUITE.

CATBALLOU came easily cause Lee Marvin is a fav.

Also saw the portmanteau IBMAC. Didn't catch that clever Mr. Markey's initials are JMP.

Hand up for missing SUITE - had house and knew that was wrong, so... DNF.

Anonymous 2:21 PM  

From Syndication Land

I think 17 across would have been better if clued, "One sharing a penthouse." I lived in a suite in college and never once called my roommates, "suitemates." DNF for me. (My auto-correct is underlining suitemates as I type!)

Ginger 2:34 PM  

When Lee Marvin accepted his Oscar for Cat Ballou, he only thanked his horse! Actually, the movie seems rather dumb today, but at the time of it's release it was hilarious! It was also my first entry.

My granddaughter frequently talks about her 'suitemates', 3 other fresh(wo)men. Listening to conversations with SIRI is strange, but no weirder than a GPS voice saying 'recalculate'.

Even though I found these entries gimmes, this puzzle wiped up the floor with me. It took a looooong time to get the theme, yet even then Google and I were unable to finish. Time for a cup of coffee perked up with a splash of Baileys!

Congratulations to Acme and Loren from Syndiland! Looking forward to tackling your puzzle!

Anonymous 6:13 PM  

Instead of suitemate, I put in housemate, and I consider this correct also. Jumpsuite makes as much sense to me as Jumphouse. and since we skip those letters going down any four letters will do.

Dirigonzo 7:37 PM  

I thought this was clever and fun. By the time I got to the reveal at 69d, I had LETSEAT and BAILEYS in place so the theme just kind of "jumped" out at me. I went back throught the grid and filled in all those 3 letter answers I wanted at first but were too short, and that gave me enough get to within sight of the finish line. But my mind just QUIT when I was left stating at ____EMATE for "One sharing an apartment". Even 2 vodka and tonics didn't provide enough enlightmentment to see the SUIT, and I'm glad I quit when I did as I'm certain it never would have come to me.

Loved "Tower, of a sort (REPOMAN) and "Main" (SEA).

DNF but had great fun in the effort.

@Anony 6:13 PM - I think "jump suit" is a bridge term, but "jump hous" is just a nonsense term, hence it can't be right. But like I said, I failed there, too.

Spacecraft 9:22 PM  

The Marquis is at it again! Good grief: "Main" for SEA? Oh yeah, over the bounding. Right. We're supposed to GET that??? "The '2' in x2" is NOT an exponent--or whatever the hell EXP might be besides that. The 2's in the Pythagorean theorem are exponents.

Some fortunate souls happened to guess THEASP (first answer, really?) instead of the OTHER 6-letter sidekick, Punjab. Why, oh why do I pick the wrong one between two equally valid entries EVERY TIME??? Why, it's because Punjab is the one everybody remembers. OH, NO, that would be too easy.

Oh, and then there's SIRI. The phone voice. HUH? Somebody has to explain that one, and good luck because NO WAY can I see how that makes any sense at all.

I think I see what the problem is. This is all OF Mensa, BY Mensa, and FOR Mensa. I don't belong here.

Ginger 10:16 PM  

The Apple I-Phone with SIRI has been widely marketed in my area and is widely in use. Given the comments here, I wonder if this may not be the case in other areas. Any thoughts?

Dirigonzo 10:20 PM  

@Spacecraft - I always guess wrong when I have a 50-50 shot, too. That's why when I came to the cross of "City near Entebbe airport" and "Eastern dance drama", where any vowel seemed as likely as another, I just threw in the towel and left it blank. But the theme was still clever, no? By the way, Mensa has never invited me to join either.

Dirigonzo 10:33 PM  

@Ginger - the red squirrels chewed through my cable so I don't get any TV anymore (strangely, I don't even miss it) but those iPhone ads are somehow familiar to me. Maybe Apple has found a way to beam their ads directly into our consciousness! But yes, I can definitely see and hear people asking SIRI for information.

eastsacgirl 11:19 PM  

Got the theme immediately from BAILeys and letSEAT. But still was too obscure for me in too many other places. Hand up also for EMIT for a long time. Official DNF. And what the heck does REPOMAN have to do with a tower. Geesh.

Dirigonzo 11:55 PM  

@eastcagirl - A REPOMAN will "tow" your car away if he can,so he's a "tower". I love that clue - it gets me every time!

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

I am sure that I am older than you, but QUISP, really. Anybody remember who made it, i.e. Kellogg's, Post???

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

Didn't even come close to finishing. Should probably have left it for another day.

JenCT 3:52 PM  

@Anon. 11:49: the Quaker Oats company. It was my brother's favorite cereal!

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