Dana of MacGyver / THU 5-3-12 / Extra life in video game / Article with ushiromigoro / Henry who founded Cadillac / Persistent Seuss character / Org associated with US Cyber Command / Single-mom sitcom of 2000s / Explorer born around AD 970

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Constructor: Neville Fogarty

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: MISPELLED (60A: Like the six longest answers in this puzzle) — commonly misspelled words are, in fact, misspelled in this grid.

Word of the Day: Dana ELCAR (19A: Dana of "MacGyver") —
Dana Elcar (October 10, 1927 – June 6, 2005) was an American television and movie character actor. Although he appeared in about 40 films, his most memorable role was on the 1980s and 1990s television series MacGyver as Peter Thornton, an administrator working for the Phoenix Foundation. Elcar had appeared in the pilot episode of MacGyver as Andy Colson (a completely different character), but was later cast as Peter Thornton, making his first regular appearance in the 11th episode of the first season. (wikipedia)
• • •

Why ERICSON is not part of the theme, I don't know (23D: Explorer born around A.D. 970)—it's the only word in this grid I routinely misspell (or misremember how to spell; I don't have occasion (one "s") to use it in my everyday writing very often). I want there to be two Ss, or maybe an E as the last vowel. ERICSEN ... no, I can't see myself making that error. ERICSSON? Is that something?

Neville tells me he wrote this puzzle three years ago. Such is the fate of many an NYT submission: an acceptance (ideally), followed by an indeterminate time in puzzle purgatory (I've got one at something like two years and counting). Neville is a much savvier constructor now. He seems a bit anxious about how the puzzle will be received. I think it's a cute idea. I don't misspell these words (except perhaps GENEOLOGY), but with the exception of OCCASSION (really?! rhymes with "passion"?), I can imagine that these words are, in fact, frequently misspelled. I remember forcing myself to remember how MILLENNIUM is spelled (sometime around Y2K). The spellings of the others either seem intuitive or have somehow just stuck. The grid seems reasonably well filled, though ELCAR (19A: Dana of "MacGyver") over LELAND (21A: Henry who founded Cadillac) (? and ?, respectively) was a bit harrowing, and I came to a complete halt at the very end, in the tiny western section. Two wrong answers (DDE and STE instead of IKE and MME) (25D: Five-star W.W. II hero, informally + 27D: Fr. title) really screwed me, as did absurd cluing on SIX and KIMONO. SIX is a [Big roll] only if you are a rolling a single, six-sided die, and why would you do that? SIX is just not "big." TWELVE, I'd buy as "big." Not SIX. And leaving off "of clothing" in 30A: Article with an ushiromigoro is just perverse. "Article takes me to a written work or to grammar. Or to the Articles of Confederation, I guess. Anyway, with IKE, SIX, and MME misbehaving, and the "Article" shenanigans, I lost a good 30 seconds. Puzzle still came in a solid Easy.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Study of trees? (GENEOLOGY)
  • 22A: Tenacity (PERSEVERENCE)
  • 50A: Survey staple (QUESTIONAIRE)
  • 10D: Long time (MILLENIUM)
  • 31D: Event (OCCASSION)
Got started quickly with 1A: 2007 Ellen Page film ("JUNO"). Somehow first-guessed UTEP (2D: Sch. with the mascot Paydirt Pete). Got a bit hung up in the PALERMO / PCBS region (5D: City gained by Rome during the First Punic War + 5A: Some coolant fluids, for short). Had SALERNO at one point. Nice modern clue on ONE UP (4D: Extra life, in a video game). I like the clue on SAM I AM (43A: Persistent Seuss character), though at fist I could think only of the book's title ("Green Eggs and Ham") and the damned fox ... you know, the one in a box. I have never seen a single episode of "REBA" (I don't think it's really for ... me), but I knew it instantly, thanks to much crossword training (57D: Single-mom sitcom of the 2000s).

Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:10 AM  

Thought this was going to be easy after finishing NW as it was coming out of the printer.  It ended up medium-tough for me mostly because it took me forever to change NRA to NBA.    Plus the LELAND ELCAR region was challenging.  I wanted UTTER for 9d but was very sure about HIREE so I stared for while.  

Not much zip!

Strange clue for Jessica.

Erasures:  djS for MCS and dvRS for VCRS which are now reside in attics, basements, or closets vs. near TVs.

Solid puzzle, but yesterday's was more fun.

Tobias Duncan 12:11 AM  

This is one of those days where I feel my horrible spelling helped quite a bit. I have so little confidence in my spelling prowess that I am always ready to accept an alternate spelling.

foodie 12:24 AM  

Haha... Got me... I stared at MILLENIUM for the longest time and wondered why it was not misspelled. I guess I always spell with one N. Maybe I'll remember now.

Rex, is MISPELLED not misspelled? and therefore part of the theme answers list?

Very tricky!

FearlessK 12:32 AM  

Love that I DNF because I spelled PERSEVERENCE correctly ! Silly puzzle but amusing.

retired_chemist 1:01 AM  

First entry was 1D CAD(illac)S, which soon gave me CUN_ for 1A. Figured I was wrong since I could not think of a movie title that fit. 17A was then DEN_OLOGY and I was thinking of trees and that the theme had something to do with mispelling [sic] (60A) since the word would be DENDROLOGY. Hypothesis confirmed in several places, notably QUESTIONAIRE.

Figured out the clue for, and thus the answer, KIMONO, from my meager knowledge of Japanese. IKE and MME confirmed.

Tried HORTON @ 43A (hatches the egg). He is the personification of persistence. But no...... SAM-I-AM. Horton is better.

Nor sure why I knew ALBA for 64A but I did.

Put BUDGE down for37A and then axed it to put NRA for 34D (Shooter's gp.). It obviously came back.

Finished by going back to the NW and seeing that CADS could be JAGS, and - mirabile dictu - JUNO appeared @ 1A. A movie I missed. The womenfolk of the family went en masse one day to see it and my son-in-law and I went to look at electronic gizmos for a couple of hours.

Anyway, a nice puzzle. Thanks, Mr. Fogarty.

Andria Karla Micheals 1:41 AM  

Fun idea, but I couldn't fully cotton to it!
I mean, even as Queen of typos, I would never intentionally misspell anything, nor want to encourage that, bec seeing it visually further fixes the mistake in your mind. So as a teacher and Scrabble player, this puzzle makes me unhappy on a visceral level...plus I'm getting confused enough as it is as I age.
I sensed something was wrong with GENEOLOGY, but thought that it was intentional for a pun, which I couldn't find.

So either one would never misspell OCCASsION or QUESTIONnAIRE or they would misspell MILLENnIUM, so what's the point?
ANd no person on earth uses PERSEVEReNCE anyway, so who cares how you spell it, unless you are wearing an ascot, smoking a pipe?

But I suspect it's my problem bec I didn't notice that MISsPELLED was MISsPELLED till @foodie pointed it out.
It's the punchline that makes the whole puzzle worth it, but as I didn't even notice it, so a big "I didn't really get/appreciate it", from me. That and I had PCBm. :(

Something about 1A and 1D starting with Js pleases me...for some reason I try and do that too. Easy place for a J and looks fun.

Fell for NrA/NBA, as I didn't know gAY, but it all worked out.

I don't understand 9D Unqualified = SHEER. Oh! As in "SHEER/unqualified brilliance", eg?

Smiled and thought of Our Lady of Wordplay, Deb Amlen with 44A. ERMA and her hysterical story about her live mic on in the ladies room!

Actually, I do indeed have mixed feelings about this puzzle, but none about Nevile Foggarty...love him!

jae 1:47 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 2:16 AM  

Dang, that should have been just "now" not "are now.". Stupid preview thing does not work on my iPad.

Rookie 2:31 AM  

This may be the first Thursday that I've finished without any help. It is undoubtedly my fastest Thursday time. Breezed through it! Encouraging for this solver of less than a year ... even if Rex deemed it easy.

chefwen 3:01 AM  

So much for my Google free week. The ELCAR and LELAND Google got me to finally finish that NE corner.

I'm in agreement with everything ACME said. My spelling and punctuation leave something to be desired. I don't need encouragement to make a loosing battle worse. And, by the way where is my cute, little Thursday rebus?

chefwen 3:05 AM  

See what I mean, let's try LOSING not loosing, DOH!!!

mac 5:55 AM  

I thought this puzzle was very funny! I especially like the clues for say, sheer, herded.

I had the most trouble in the East, where I didn't want to let go of NRA. SamIAm helped a lot.

r.alphbunker 7:13 AM  

This brings to mind the Joe Krozel LIES puzzle of June 19, 2008. But I am sure there was another puzzle where the revealer was a form of the Liar's paradox. @Jackj can you help here?

BTW @Tita, you might be interested in reading Joe Krozel's comment on the blog for this puzzle:

For example, if there were seven wrong answers, a straightforward revealer would be SEVEN. But what if the revealer was EIGHT? If that was wrong it would be right and hence could not be wrong.

Added two more infernal twins to my list: IRANI/IRAQI and SDAK/NDAK

Zwhatever 7:22 AM  

Hand up for NrA and ddE. Struggled in both those regions, sending this from easy to medium for me.

I'm enough of a child of the spell check generation (but not the auto-correct generation) that I barely even think anymore about the spelling of longer words. I am more careful to check short words because those are the words spell check is least likely to catch (i.e. wrong words spelled correctly).

Loren Muse Smith 7:31 AM  

@foodie - thanks for pointing out that MISPELLED is a theme answer. It was one of the first ones I got, and the best part of the theme.

@ACME - I, too, liked the J at 1A and 1D.

I agree with Rex - I never know how to spell ERICSON, mainly because I wonder if it's "c" or "k."

Is it ok to have UP twice? Also, for some reason the pairs MANO/NANO and NBA/NSA bugged me.

Aside from the ELCAR, LELAND,SHEER (I get it now), this was smooth sailing for me.

I liked seeing SAMIAM! Fortunately, "horton" never crossed my mind.

Thanks, Neville! Off to urn my sallary.

Doris 7:34 AM  

Part of an article from an old Wired magazine:

A Millen(n)ial Mix-up
Joanna Glasner 12.28.00
Talk to the folks at the Hilton Millenium -- a swanky 58-story structure in New York City's financial district -- and they're quick to admit that the unique spelling of the name has raised a few eyebrows.
"We get asked about it a lot," said Evelyn Hall, who handles public relations for the luxury hotel.
The building's current name dates back to the early 1990s, she said, when the its former owner deliberately chose to spell "Millenium" with a single "n."
At the time, he was well aware that the spelling was wrong, and that millennium should be written with two Ns, Hall said. However, he figured the small aberration in nomenclature would make the hotel stand out from the crowd.
Little did he know there was quite a crowd in the single "n" camp as well.
Just a few blocks away, on Eighth Street, stands Millenium Jewelry. On nearby 33rd Street, there's the Millenium Grocery. A short hop away in Brooklyn lies the Millenium 2000 Barber Shop, where the manager's sole explanation for the peculiar spelling of the business is that's the name the old manager gave it. (Note to manager: Have you realized that in a few days it'll be 2001?).
And don't forget the Mazda Millenia, released in the early 1990s, well before the Millennium craze hit.

OldCarFudd 7:57 AM  

I enjoyed this. Caught on to the theme early, after wondering whether there was a rebus.

I'm probably one of the few readers of his blog for whom Leland was a gimme. So I'll give you a couple of pieces of associated automotive trivia:

1. Cadillac was founded from the detritus of a failed company started by Henry Ford. When the directors fired Ford, they promised not to use his name on a future car.

2. The two main luxury makes in America today were founded by the same guy - Henry Leland. After GM bought the Cadillac company, Henry Leland left in a managerial dispute. He started a company to make Liberty aircraft engines in World War I, but the war ended before he could get up to speed. So he started a new car company, calling it Lincoln after the first person for whom he had ever voted for president. He sold that company to Henry Ford.

SethG 7:58 AM  

A few of these are among the ten most frequently misspelled English words, according to a 1999 study.

Upper right was tricky.

John V 8:04 AM  

Like @Rex, West was last to fall, the X in SIX/EXECS last letter in, and, yep, Big Roll for SIX is a stretch; should have been SEX, then the cross with KEMONO would have made one more misspelling. Just sayin' (Sorry E.D., it was just sitting there, you know?)

I thought it was more medium than not, esp with two misspelled theme answers crossing. Liked SEANCE, liked clue for 45 down re: Russia. A good fit for Thursday, certainly quirky enough. Rest easy, Neville, it was a good one. Three years? Wow!

evil doug 8:11 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
evil doug 8:14 AM  

There are lots of dice games---liar's dice, Yahtzee, so forth, using from one to five in my experience---so I buy 'six' for the base unit high roll.

Here's the beauty of this puzzle: There's only one right way to spell a word, but infinite ways to misspell it. So even after one gets the trick, there's still work to be done. Perservere, anyone?

And, ACME, I see some learning value here. I suspect a lot of folks may not have realized they goofed on these in the past, and having to parse misspelled words may be useful in helping them reconsider. I rue the advent of spell-checkers over our ability to do our own corrections. No wonder we've ceded control of spelling bees to kids from international backgrounds....


Horace S. Patoot 8:21 AM  

I don't misspell millenium since thinking through the latin roots. An annum is a year and an anus is a ring (we use it for one specific kind of ring). I would rather think of a thousand of annum than a thousand of the other.

Sue McC 8:28 AM  

Easyish for a Thursday. Clever theme. GENEOLOGY threw me off and had me looking for some other kind of gag.

Sir Hillary 8:35 AM  

Something slightly off-putting about entering deliberate non-words in a grid. But I think I'm just cranky this morning.

My personal bugaboos are accommodate and supersede.

jackj 8:36 AM  

When GENEALOGY and PERSEVERANCE were indicating EA switches of a sort, a complicated rebus seemed in the offing.

Then, when 60 across revealed that the trick was just that the six long words in the puzzle were MISPELLED(sic) there was a momentary feeling of anger at the deception and then with a giggle, things morphed into a “well done” for Neville Fogarty.

All who solved this puzzle can now boast of honorary membership in "Dyslexics”R”Us", perhaps with a bit more understanding for those who have to deal with it and thanks, too, that it isn’t a permanent affliction of the solver.

The non-theme entries were a particular pleasure, especially MERCI, LIMON, SPACERS and SÉANCE but the best of the misdirections was at little old three letter, 34 down, which clearly signaled NRA as “Shooter’s group” until necessity made it NBA, (to get BUDGE), and a hearty “AHA” moment was in order.

Some debut, Neville! We gennuflect to you in honor of your achevement.

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

I think I remember that this has been done before. Didn't like the theme. Randim misspellingsssss???

Who cares.

Anonymous 9:10 AM  

I too had NRA and a little trouble with the. NE corner. Then I remembered tha new NBC show with Debra Messing called Smash. I also thought this was easy, BUT I am one of those weird people who can spell. If a word seems unfamiliar, I will ask how it is spelled to figure out what the word is. Don't know what that reveals about my brain, but I definitely agree with the person who thought it was tricky to figure out the misspellings. Good fun. Tnanks N F and keep constructing. Enjoyed the offbeat clues.

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

I was right. Check out Sunday April 27, 2008

AnnieD 9:17 AM  

Big roll....like a hard roll? a bun? a biali? like a roll of quarters? like a big wad of cash?

Big roll...six. Six? OH...like they say on JAG, watch your six! That could be one big roll! or rather one big bun!

Not to be confused with six pack abs....

joho 9:20 AM  

While I was doing this I was wondering how many people thought the misspelled words looked right.

I think my favorite was the reveal with MISPELLED.

I, too, was stuck with NrA for too long but got it all in the end except for sCBS! There is a sALERnO, no?

Clever theme with clever cluing, thank you, Neville Fogarty!

Wood 9:39 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wood 9:41 AM  

Fun and tricky. Had the most trouble in the NE. Clues and answers in that region are more Friday or Saturday-ish. It helped when I realized I had spelled PERSEVERaNCE correctly. (I was thinking, "who would spell it MILLaNIUM?" Had Dana pLato in and out a few times (something of a malapop, with Charlotte RAE appearing elsewhere). Never heard of LELAND or ELCAR so that whole section was tough. But a fun and energizing Thursday solve!

quilter1 9:43 AM  

I kept trying to think of a French explorer for the founder of Cadillac. Liked the theme, although I am a stickler for correct spelling, this is a game after all. Good cluing, good answers, good puzzle, Neville.

dk 9:44 AM  

Mr. Spell here,

Found the puzzle to be clever, easy and cute… just the way I like em (insert pig squeals about here).

As Tobias posted I am also afflicted with correctspellophobia along with not knowing when or when not to use too. And, I share Evil's disdain for spell check as now I will never learn.

Only problem was with REBA and SPACERS. Never heard of either but they make sense.

🌟🌟 (2 Stars) Sadly, I also like em smart and sassy.

Geometricus 9:52 AM  

Did all of this weeks puzzles early, thanks to the Marbles Crossword tournament at the Mall of America on Saturday. Met constructors Andrew Ries (who came in first) and Tom Pepper who wrote that memorable GO COMMANDO puzzle published in NYT the Monday after the Super Bowl this year. Also met Amy who won $30,000(!) on Jeopardy. Not many other people were there, but the sparse attendance made it easy to meet impressive people like Victor Barocas from the U of MN. (Prof of Biomechanics), and those mentioned above.

Today's puzzle was the final round, so I did not solve it until after Andrew had won, but I really enjoyed the MISPELLED words, mostly because I didn't even notice until I was done. And I am usually a relly gud spellar.

I was hoping to meet some the other MN Reixtes like @dk and @SethG (who Tom and Amy told me was a HS Math Team coach like me!) And of course my fondest wish was to meet the Queen of Typos, but I figured that was a remote chance at best. Maybe we MN crossword geeks should get together and set up a big Tournament here that's not in a library or a mall.

JB 9:56 AM  

Not sure about having two of the misspellings (millennium and perseverance) cross... how can there be a right answer?

Andrea 10:08 AM  

For the longest time I was doubting myself, because I couldn't believe someone would spell MILLANIUM, seeing that I was correct in spelling PERSEVERANCE. For all the other misspells, well, I thought it was an American spelling thing (you know, as in British colour vs color?), untill I bumped into 60 A, which, by the way, it's the only sixth longest answer in the puzzle. Voilá!

archaeoprof 10:09 AM  

Enjoyed it, perhaps because at this time of the semester I'm reading a lot of student papers. Even with spellcheckers, they still mispell words ;)

@Rex: at the end of every semester the puzzle and this blog become an island of sanity for me. Don't know how you find the time every day, but please know that I appreciate it.

ArtO 10:38 AM  

Still don't get SHEER for unqualified.

Rudy 10:43 AM  

I owned a Mazda MILLENIA for many years and was always troubled that the car's name was misspelled.

joho 10:43 AM  

@Art O ... "what he did was sheer genius!"

ArtO 10:47 AM  

@joho. Thank you.

Two Ponies 10:52 AM  

The ? in the shooters group clue was the hint that NRA was too literal of an answer.
Have no idea what an ushiromigoro is. Sounded like sushi. At that point in my solve I had lost interest so left it blank.
Way too many proper names were required to make this work so no fun for me.

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

I didn't like this puzzle. I didn't like theme of misspelled words. I'm such a stickler for having things spelled correctly this just irritated me haha

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

Me, I like my puzzles deterministic. How was I supposed to know that GENEOLOGY/OSE was any more or less correct that GENEALOGY/ASE?

Two Ponies 11:29 AM  

@ Anon 11:24,
Ose is the sugar suffix
Ase is the enzyme suffix
Both fairly common crosswordese.

jackj 11:33 AM  

" r.alphbunker said...

This brings to mind the Joe Krozel LIES puzzle of June 19, 2008. But I am sure there was another puzzle where the revealer was a form of the Liar's paradox. @Jackj can you help here?"

The only other puzzle that comes to mind is Oliver Hill's Sunday, 4/27/08 puzzle whose theme in the reveal is IMPROPERLYSPELLED, with 10 deliberate misspellings.

Joe Krozel's LIES puzzle was one of the all-time beauties and I can't imagine anyone wanting to play "can you top this?" with that puzzle.

retired_chemist 11:42 AM  

@ Two Ponies re OSE vs ASE. Right on. You beat me to it!

GILL I. 11:44 AM  


Ulrich 11:51 AM  

The light in my head went on when I finally arrived at the misspelled MISPELLED and went back and completed all the answers I hadn't done yet because the only way to do them was to misspell them...so, that was cool...

...except for the one nit that Rex already picked: Has anyone ever seen occasion spelled OCCASSION? I mean consciously, not because you left your finger on the "s" a tad too long?

GILL I. 12:00 PM  

Well, here's how it went for me. I had unSPELLED at 60A. So I happily went about my business filling in all those long answers and though I'm not too proud to say it, each one looked perfectly fine to me. I couldn't, for the life of me, get it. Further, most of my short answers were wrong - had roo for EMU, USC for MSU, PCpS at 5A since PIG sounds ok by me for the Highly successful clue (gad, another word I can hardly spell). So, Neville Fogarty got ONE UP on me. Add to that my lap top not liking being in a foreign place without WIFI and the stoopid robot asking me to spell duagnbefe..Off to try another margarita.......

Judah 12:02 PM  

"Ericson" is an Anglicization of a Nordic name, so arguably no reasonable version of it could be called "misspelled". Maybe that's why it wasn't used as part of the theme.

"Ericsen" seems a reasonable enough version to me: the Norwegian version of "-son" is "-sen".

hazel 12:14 PM  

I liked this puzzle. Kind of funny misspelling words, but I really liked its mini theme of going global. Definite NEED for a passport. Totally dug the French trio MERCI, ECLAT, and ELLE; the KIMONO with its bizarre clue; spending the DINARs (and then getting the hell out of there) - perhaps traveling to Mexico/Spain for a stay in a CASA on a hacienda, which could have been marred by a little MANO a MANO competition followed by a refreshing LIMONade; then jetting off to the the Gaelic ALBA with its lovely LASSES. Plus there's also an opp to time travel back to the USSR or goon a voyage with ERICSON. Good grief thats a lot of worldly fill. I liked it!

Go Braves!!! Freaking amazing game last night!!

Tita 12:17 PM  

@td - me too - when filling out puzzles, I often suspend belief, or, rush through not noticing that it's wrong...

Knew a Scot living in Prague with ALBA tattooed on his forearm.

@Acme - what is messing with me is seeing the misSpelled words over and over here in the comments - not the write kind of reinforcement!

(Whenever I see to many misstakes, I just fire my secratary! Oh - but I can't - I've told her to many secrets...)

@Horace - great mnemonic!

Clue for BUDGE is great!
And how about some love for clueing of tired EMU?

Saint-SAENS is another tough name to spell right.

Fun fun fun.

Loren Muse Smith 12:36 PM  

@Tita - Ewer sew marry! A reel rye OTT!

Sparky 12:42 PM  

Stumped by NW. Couldn't let go of arborOLOGY, never heard of JUNO movie. Worked this from SW upwards. I am a fair speller so when I got 60A it helped me go back and respell things. Secret before ARCANE, Horton before SAMIAM. Confused it with I Am Sam. Thanks @ArtO. First entry NYU, then GAY, then Charlotte RAE.

I do like to cosy up with a nice rebus yet this was a pleasant way to start the day. Thanks Neville.

Anon 11:24 12:42 PM  

@Two Ponies - Yes, I know the OSE/ASE difference. My point was that ASE may be a misspelling of OSE, so I had the choice of which one to misspell, unless I wanted to read the damned instructions to differentiate which words were intended to be misspelled.

Sparky 12:49 PM  

Thanks @Tita. You pointed out the funny stuff. Secreteries do no secrets to.

Rex Parker 12:59 PM  

Yes, we should all praise *Will* for the LIES puzzle. That I agree on.

That said, I don't think this puzzle has anything to do with that puzzle, and I'm *quite* sure Neville didn't have it mind when constructing.

Rube 1:04 PM  

I hate it when a puzzle starts with a pop culture clue at 1A. Had to use every cross to get JUNO.

My first theme answer was MISPELLED, and knowing it was misspelled helped immensely with the solve. Unfortunately, several of the theme answers looked just fine to me.

Like many here, ELCAR and LELAND were total unknowns to me, and that section was the last to fall. Does anyone know if there is any connection between Leland Stanford, the California tycoon who founded Stanford University, and Henry Leland?

Pete 1:13 PM  

I can finally put my finger on why I disliked solving this puzzle, along with Sunday's and probably yesterdays.

I read a while ago that the one identifiable group of people most likely to have psychotic breakdowns in NYC is Japanese tourists. It seems that there are so many things that are just a little bit wrong to them so that the cummulative experience is psychologically dangerous.

Solving this puzzle was an experience where everything is just a little wrong. I got GENEALOGY off the clue, but was contradicted in that by OSE. MILLENNIUM had to be correct, but couldn't be. Yes, it all got explained in the end, but the solve was painful. Kind of like spending years thinking you're paranoid because you constantly see people following you, only to find out that people are actually following you. It's no relief.

Lawprof 1:16 PM  

For some reason the theme came pretty quickly and I finished quicker than a typical Thursday (for me). But in the back of my mind I wondered whether Mr. Fogarty was simply having trouble fitting certain words into his puzzle and finally said, "The hell with it; I'll just turn these misspelled words into my theme." But when the misspelled theme words followed the puzzle's symmetry, my original cynisism evaporated. Clever puzzle and lots of fun.

OISK 1:26 PM  

I loved the puzzle, but I am another one who had unspelled instead of mispelled, but only because I confused the Spartans with the Trojans! Unforgivable for a college football fan like me!! CSSR made sense (instead of USSR) so I did not catch the error.

Chip Hilton 1:36 PM  

Flue threw everything accept the NE coroner. That kilt me.

Overall reaction? Meh.

Lawprof 1:42 PM  

On further reflection, it occurs to me that this theme (misspelled words), if carried much further, ultimately carries the seeds of its own illegitemacy. For example, the constructor might fill the grid with random letters, the post hoc rationale being: all of the answers are mispelled (sic) words. Even I might be able to construct such a puzzle and submit it to the NYT. Who knows, maybe WS would pronounce it "brilliant!" Or not.

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

Well put, Lawprof, and nice touch of "illegetemacy".

aria casas mispells 1:58 PM  

@Pete 1:13pm
That's interesting what you said about Japanese tourists going insane bec everything's a little bit off!

I had the exact opposite feeling when I was there...See that newspaper box over there? Hmmm, it is actually selling milk and condoms!

Instead of going crazy, I never felt more alive and alert...it was definitely like being in bizarro world.

On second thought, maybe I did go insane and am only now realizing it...tho if I realize it, perhaps I'm not insane...such a Catch-22!

On that note, in Japanese (perhaps Loren Muse Smith can back me up on this, "ushiromigoro" means either "Magilla Gorilla" or how someone from County Cavan says "you sure are my girl".

chefbea 2:01 PM  

Good Thursday puzzle but DNF. Had to go to our monthly NARFE meeting so didn't have time. And no time to read all the posts.

The captcha words are all mispelt.

Tita 2:05 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tita 2:06 PM  

@r.alph - thanks for the Krozel puzzle - it was great fun!

I see the connection with today's, and did not think anyone was implying oneupmanship.

BTW - were Rex's and Joe's comments back then "in the spirit of the puzzle", or were they genuine?

manitou 2:33 PM  

Seems like "first" is among Rex's personal list of misspelled words-- "though at fist I could think only of the book's title." Nice one. :)

Lawprof 2:37 PM  

Thanks anonymous @ 1:52. I'd like to be able to say that my reference to "illegitemacy" was an intentional play on today's theme. Unfortunately, I must confess that it's just a misspelling. Frankly, I'm a little embarrassed (or is that embarassed? embarrased?).

Unknown 2:40 PM  

Today's puzzle was abnormally easy for me, except for the ELCAR/LELAND, of course.

Not quite certain that misspelled answer is quite ethical in a crossword puzzle (if we can't trust correct spelling, what can we?). But I love that MISPELLED was...ah..spelled that way. So, all right then.

@Rex: lots of saveur de France today non? MME MERCI ELLE and Saint-SAENS...

Au revoir,


r.alphbunker 2:45 PM  


Today's puzzle is a nice variation on the theme of wrongness.

The connection to me is that both puzzles contain clue/answer pairs that if given, out of context, to an editor would be judged to be wrong.

The difference between the puzzles is that in the Krozel puzzle the clues could be changed to remove the error, e.g., {France} changed to {Germany}. In today's puzzle the answers were simply wrong, changing the clue would not fix the problem.

That was an interesting observation about the genuineness of the comments given what Krozel posted on the Tyler Hinman blog.

Loren Muse Smith 2:58 PM  

@Andrea - too funny! I had actually never seen that word before. I just recognized that it was Japanese and knew it would be KIMONO or "yukata." I'll bet Martin knew it.

For the Greek etymology of KIMONO (from My Big Fat Greek Wedding):


Rube 3:07 PM  

In case someone has not posted this yet, an "ushiromigoro" is the back part of a KIMONO, according to Google. You couldn't prove it by me.

Anonymous 3:38 PM  

On this auspitious OCCASSION
I finished this CROSSE word, MERCY!
With a little PERSEVERENCE
No MISPELLED words did I see...??

Lewis 3:47 PM  

Loved the clue for 37A -- it stumped me for a long time. I like the spirit of the puzzle, but I didn't like knowing the long words were misspelled because it seemed like they could be misspelled anywhere, so I felt I really needed my crosses before placing down the long answers.

I learned ALBA. Had never heard of that!

sanfranman59 4:36 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 14:59, 18:55, 0.79, 17%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Thu 8:39, 9:19, 0.93, 41%, Medium

Neville 6:16 PM  

Thanks for the write-up, Rex. Great MacGyver clip! Maybe I'm just a big fan, but I knew Dana ELCAR before putting him in the grid.

I hope you'll indulge my debut puzzle adding a little unorthodox zaniness to the puzzle. Congrats to those who spotted the theme right away!

I know some of you weren't too amused. I hadn't seen the first misspelled words puzzle a few years back - I thought it was original! I hope that the MISPELLED twist made it a little fresh for those of you who were disappointed. Otherwise, I thought it was a fun little twist on the usual format. Don't worry, your regularly scheduled puzzle will be back tomorrow! :)

JenCT 6:16 PM  

Wow, this puzzle messed with my head!

As a former Spelling Bee champ (many, many moons ago) I just couldn't understand the theme answers at first.

Then reading the comments - I can't take any more misspelled words!!!

I have to go take something for my headache....

Anonymous 6:37 PM  

Hi Neville!
Thank you for coming on the blog- I thought your puzzle, tho counter-intuitive, was clever and indeed a challenging one for me.
Hope to see many more from you!


Tita 8:16 PM  

@Neville... I always appreciate when the constructor stops by. Love unorthodox, love zany...
Hope your visit hear convinces you to keep creating more puzzles!

Anonymous 9:06 PM  

@Pete: This puzzle gave me similar feelings of disquiet --- Add the painful memory of SPACERS going in before braces, and it adds up to a kind of pleasure like biting on a jalapeno.

MERCY, M. Fogarty!

sanfranman59 10:13 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 6:33, 6:50, 0.96, 33%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:09, 8:53, 0.92, 29%, Easy-Medium
Wed 13:16, 11:50, 1.12, 80%, Challenging
Thu 14:44, 18:55, 0.78, 16%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:38, 3:40, 0.99, 48%, Medium
Tue 4:22, 4:35, 0.95, 41%, Medium
Wed 6:54, 5:53, 1.17, 88%, Challenging
Thu 8:23, 9:18, 0.90, 34%, Easy-Medium

Anonymous 1:17 AM  

when you have misspelled words cross each other, there is no right answer for you are at liberty to use any letter in the cross squares

Anonymous 6:08 AM  

Seems 33A is in error. They use Rials in Iran, but Dinars in UAE.

Anonymous 2:29 AM  

Since none seem to have mentioned this, and in case anyone is still reading, SIX is a perfectly acceptable answer to "Large roll." In fact, I'm disappointed in myself for taking so long to see it. Consider the dice game craps. Right there in the corner are the "Big Six" and "Big Eight" bets. Hence "large roll."


NM Robin 10:21 AM  

In the dead tree world, so no one will probably see this comment.

I am terrible at spelling. I have always had a problem. I cheated and looked up how to spell the words and got very confused. Finally figured it out 60D. Then I went back and entered the misspellings.

Good puzzle.

Anonymous 12:10 PM  

Great puzzle. Quite easy for a Thursday. More importantly, there seems to be less kvetching today which, I believe, is a good sign. Nitpickers Beware: I'm watching you closely.


Lola505 1:20 PM  

Well, here I come to complain:
What is the point of filling in misspelled words?? One of the redeeming qualities of being a CWP addict is knowing the correct spelling. Believe me, as the years go by, this doesn't become any easier, so don't let's practice doing it wrong -- that only confuses the issue!

Having finished my mini-rant, I will say I finished with no errors, and only a few mis-starts, e.g., NrA for NBA, and uttER for SHEER.

Solving in Seattle 3:09 PM  

Thank you, thank you, comment posters, you brighten my day with humor. And thank you, Nevile, for having the huevos to stop by the blog. I enjoyed the discussion you promulgated with your controversial theme.

And, thank you Will for the Thursday non-rebus head fake. I kept looking for one.

Finally, I'd like to thank my mother for... well, being my mother.

@Hazel 12:14, good round-the-world observation.

@Rube 1:04, you wondered if there were a connection between Leland Stanford and Henry Leland. The answer is yes. Leland Stanford's first name was Amasa. Henry Leland's middle name was Martyn. They both were mispelled.

To the puzzle. Although I don't do CWs for speed, this Thursday went really fast, and I didn't catch the theme until I got to 60A. Finished with NrA/rUDGE(?), otherwise nailed it.

Capcha: Tension. Which I believe is spelled correctly.

rain forest 3:12 PM  

Didn't like it. Also didn't hate it. It just rubs the wrong way to deliberately misspell a word, especially when only one way of misspelling is required for an answer. Also, if one slams down a word, correctly spelled, it is very hard to change it when you absolutely know it is corect. What's the point? More philosophically, I guess, does a puzzle need a point?

Spacecraft 4:41 PM  

All right, I'm now sure I know who writes these clues: the same guy who cuts the pins for the Masters on Sunday. He was also pres(id)ent at the Marat murder, if I'm not mistaken.

BIG= "highly successful." Sure.
SAY= "perhaps." What a stretch!
GAY= "John who wrote 'The Beggar's Opera.'" Real household name there.
SIX= "large roll." THAT hole is almost off the green!

And the best for last: "more than 1/9 of the earth's land." Not the OTHER landmass that qualifies--AND is also six letters long--the actual continent (AFRICA). Oh, no. That little blip cost me nearly an hour.

Oh--and I didn't even count RISE= "knoll," only because it was copied off yesterday's paper. You sadists could at least be original.

Did I finish? Yeah, and with no errors and just the RUSSIA writeover, but I felt as though the presenters were rooting against it all the way.

BTW: I would not use the word "fanfare" to define ECLAT. While not actually wrong, it's at least misleading. Not exactly a bullseye definition. Those, I guess, are only for Mondays and Tuesdays.

DMGrandma 5:32 PM  

Not as bothered as others by the deviant spellings. Spelling has never been my strong suit, so when I see something a bit "off" i tend to think I must not know how to spell that word. However, when MISPELLED appeared, I realized the other words must be wrong, tho not quite sure why!
My hang- ups today were OCCURANCE for OCCASSION, corrected by the crosses, and PCF (poly vinyl fluoride?) at 9A, leaving me wondering if FIG was some new slang word?

Dirigonzo 5:55 PM  

inEpt instead of sheer and rousE (off the "r" in NrA)held those sections up for a very long time, but I finally got all of the correct MI(s)SPELLings in place.

Still no "preview" so please just consider and incorrectly spelled words as a play on the theme - thank you.

Anonymous 8:40 PM  

This theme has definitely been done before. I didn't even notice the extra S in OCCASSION. (is this really a common misspelling?)

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP