Kardashian matriarch / TUE 5-1-12 / Child prodigy of Heroes / It's stolen in Austin Powers movie / Pompom on skullcap

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Constructor: Zoe Wheeler and Aimee Lucido

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: ADDIE — familiar two-word phrases have -IE added to the end of the first word, creating wacky answers, clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: KRIS Jenner (21A: Kardashian matriarch) —
Kristen Mary "KrisJenner (née Houghton; formerly Kardashian; born November 5, 1955) is an American television personality, socialite and businesswoman. She also is the manager for all of her family members, including Kourtney KardashianKim Kardashian and Khloé Kardashian. She is the current wife of 1976 Summer Olympic Games Decathlon gold medalist Bruce Jenner and was married previously to lawyer Robert Kardashian; they divorced in 1990. (wikipedia)
• • •

KRIS Jenner used to be married to Robert Kardashian. Robert Kardashian was a friend of O.J. SIMPSON. Just a few minutes before I did this Aimee Lucido puzzle, I did a different Aimee Lucido puzzle that had O.J. SIMPSON as an answer. So she's clearly celebrity-obsessed and needs help. Help her. Please. Somebody.

Kidding. I liked this puzzle. The only thing I didn't like was that it felt like it was trying maybe a little Too hard (TTH!) to be current by being hyper-pop-cultural. MICAH (1A: Child prodigy of "Heroes") and KRIS probably shouldn't be in the same puzzle, let alone that close to each other, because the former is already showing its non-staying power (I watched two seasons of "Heroes" and *I* couldn't remember his name), and the latter ... is famous for nothing. For being famous, I guess. Anyway, the point is, these two answers aren't just pop culture (which I love); they're the slightest, thinnest, weakest stuff that pop culture has to offer. At least the PARIS clue went in a non-Hilton direction (37D: "Midnight in ___" (2011 Woody Allen film). TREY Parker's also pop-culturey, but at least he has (co-)created something iconic, something of lasting cultural importance (64A: "South Park" writer Parker). Two things, if you count "The Book of Mormon." Three things, if you count "BASEketball."

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Package full of syringes? (JUNKIE MAIL) 
  • 23A: Thesis topic for sex ed? (QUICKIE STUDY) — Love this one. Actually, both these first two theme answers are pleasingly edgy.
  • 36A: Cameras taking pictures of permanent markers? (SHARPIE SHOOTERS) — I like the word SHARPIE when used to describe a "shrewd, cunning person, esp. a cheat"

  • 46A: Pompom on a skullcap? (BEANIE SPROUT) — I don't really get the "sprout" part here. Because the pompom ... sprouts? ... from the top of the beanie?
  • 57A: Police investigation of a betting house? (BOOKIE CASE)
Puzzle really does have a nice, contemporary feel, even if it is a bit celeb-obsessed (celebsessed). I know there hasn't been a new Austin Powers movie in a while, but MOJO still feels reasonably current (1D: It's stolen in an Austin Powers movie), as does the ubiquitous AÇAI berry (30A: Berry for the health-conscious). PARIS gets the recent Woody Allen movie treatment. Even OREO gets an ultra-current clue (56A: Cookie celebrating its centennial in 2012). Plus, my daughter's name is in the puzzle, so it's a good day all around (yes, we named our daughter TSAR—don't judge). I'll leave you to contemplate the RING-wearing PROBE that's covered with LUBE. Good day.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Z 7:24 AM  

    Apparently the left coasters who post in the wee hours EDT have all been assimilated.

    This was more a medium Tuesday for me. It took me forever to get the theme, and knowing the theme didn't help with BEANIE SPROUT. This continues a run of atypical, i.e. good, Tuesdays. W.S. has found his Tuesday MOJO it seems.

    A very strong criminal/vice element today. JUNKIEs, SHOOTERs, and BOOKIEs, having a QUICKIE. The potty mouths also get fair representation with South Park and the Kardashians both making an appearance. Is this what we should expect from constructors of the fairer sex? One can only hope.

    jae 7:25 AM  

    CRIKEY what a zippy puzzle!!  Seemed on the tough side for a Tues. As Rex noted there was quite a bit of pop culture stuff ... PARIS (which is pretty well known if you follow film), KRIS Jenner (which should be mildly embarrassing to have as a gimme), Courtney COX (well known), TREY Parker (a tad more well known now with a hit on Broadway), MICAH (which I needed most of the crosses for as I've never seen the series),  MOJO (which you would only know if you saw the movie), ELLA (see PARIS), ACAI (pop culture food) and crossword gimmes REN and ARLO.   I suspect Oren will have some problems with this one.

    So, medium-tough for me and I really liked it. Smooth fill and a "can they really get away with this" theme!

    Loren Muse Smith 7:28 AM  

    This was fun. SHARPIE SHOOTER, QUICKIE STUDY, and SHARPIE SHOOTER are especially fun. Like @Rex – I don’t get BEANIE SPROUT.

    I’m proud to say I caught myself before the “f” and wrote in MELT instead.


    Loved SCREAM AT and CRIKEY!

    Loren Muse Smith 7:31 AM  

    I meant JUNKIE MAIL, too. The Blog wouldn't let me delete my comment and fix it. What am I doing wrong?

    orangeblossomspecial 7:43 AM  

    Took a few clues to figure the emphasis wasn't on technology (e-mail, e-study), but after that things went well.

    Screamin' Jay Hawkins' 2D "IPUT a spell on you" is 56 years old. Who would guess?

    Dooley Wilson recorded and performed "As time goes by", the song 15A ILSA wanted to hear in Casablanca.

    37D "Midnight in PARIS" reminds me of an ultrapopular song from 50 years ago, "Midnight in Moscow".

    John V 7:52 AM  

    Medium/Challenging for this pop-culture nitwit. "Heroes"/MICAH: neither mean anything to me; crossing with MOJO from Austin Powers is a bit dicey, IMHO. Same reaction to TREY Parker, as I've never seen South Park. Crossing CRIKEY with TREY also a bit wobbley to get that Y. But these are minor items.

    This was fun, good theme. Loved HAIKU, INCH for Go slowly (along) and -- yes! -- REBUSES!!! Had IDOL form BAAL for a while, BAAL a welcome Tuesday word.

    A good Tuesday, so thanks, Zoe and Amimee.

    Tsar Parker. I mean, that just trips off the tongue.

    BTW, has anyone else noticed that blogger preview on Internet Explorer is totally broken? Such crap-ware.

    ERS 8:11 AM  

    Enjoyed this puzzle. Easy run through for me, but liked the contemporary feel. Little bit of a stretch on beanie sprouts, but overall a very nice Tuesday.

    dk 8:11 AM  

    Fun from Z to A.

    Us robots love any reference to BAAL.

    Z and A, Next time clue MICAH as: Sixth of the twelve minor prophets. And you will find Mikey hates everything.

    Far and away one of the best Tuesday puzzles in my highly inflated, ego centric, self indulgent (did I mention redundant) opinion.

    🌟🌟🌟🌟 (4 Stars) CRIKEY

    jberg 8:12 AM  

    BAAL a false god? Who are we to say? But POLKA DOT really makes the puzzle - I have little fashion sense, so I didn't know they were seasonal. Maybe that's the feminine-constructor influence, even with 3 baseball clues.

    Yup, nice puzzle.

    foodie 8:14 AM  

    Very fun! And young! And fresh! And easy ! The pop culture is even of a brand that I know (sayin no more about that to avoid getting myself in trouble)... Terrific offering!

    And Andrea, I wanted to say last night how thrilled I am for you that you found some treasures from your childhood, especially that you thought they had disappeared. My parents kept all my class reports... And nothing else. I've compensated by keeping so much for my kids that they look at that storage area wiith dread. Anyhow, enjoy your treasures!,

    Anonymous 8:16 AM  

    Stop using the word "iconic" until you learn what it means.

    evil doug 8:19 AM  

    Hate 'crikey'. Sick to death of all the British/Australian voices on TV ads, etc---apparently to add some sort of anglophilic legitimacy or something. Steve Irwin got what he deserved. Put that on your frickin' barbie, and suck on this bloomin' onion....
    Jerry: So, how's the fornicating gourmet?

    George: Doing quite well, thank you. Yesterday I had a soft boiled egg and a quickie. You know what? If I could add TV to the equation, that would really be the ultimate.

    Jerry: George, we're trying to have a civilization here.

    r.alphbunker 8:21 AM  

    Rebuses in a Tuesday puzzle. This must be a first. The QUICKIE STUDY took me no time at all to get. The other theme answers did not live up to its promise but were definitely acceptable.

    Sue McC 8:29 AM  

    Didn't care for this one much at all. Theme felt silly, backed up by fluffy fill. And a Kardashian appearance didn't improve things. Glad it's over.

    jackj 8:51 AM  

    They’re baaaaack!

    The Brown U. Crossword Clubbers that is and Zoe and Aimee’s Excellent Adventure takes us on a wild ride that bends the meaning of familiar things such as “junk mail”, “book case” and “quick study” by adding that gentlest of suffixes, “ie”, and turning the theme answers into exemplars of drugs, gambling and sex with hazing (beanie) and graffiti (sharpie) tagging along for good measure.

    Clever, these Brownies!

    Obviously the theme was great fun but how did they do with the fill? Do POLKADOT or REBUSES float your boat?

    Does CRIKEY, flowing from the CREATOR(s) “C” get your attention? Or are you a fan of MOJO or their substitute answer for a “Texas Leaguer”, ARCED BLOOP?

    That sort of imagination will get them on the Shortz Dean’s List, for sure.

    The only off-key entries for this solver seem to come from the inclusion of vagarious bits of pop culture like MICAH, KRIS and TREY which the constructors thoughtfully counter by giving us some familiar golden oldies like SHAW (G.B. of course), OTT, ILSA and ELLA.

    The week of puzzles from the Brown Crossword Club in September of 2010 was a special treat and here, Aimee and Zoe remind us why.

    quilter1 8:56 AM  

    I liked it. I guess I don't think of POLKA DOTS as especially summery, as I have a dotted skirt that's more fall and winter, but I'll buy it. I never thought Heroes did enough with MICAH. Don't know anything about the Kardashians or South Park but those were gettable. And done before I have to leave for the morning so no complaints. Good puzzle.

    Miette 9:00 AM  

    CRIKEY hung me up a bit. Not a word I use. I had CRIPES, which caused problems with TREY and BOOKie.

    @LOREN, I initially wrote FISH until it became apparent that wasn't correct.

    Nice, easy puzzle.

    Lawprof 9:05 AM  

    A "short hit" is not a BLOOP, but a "blooper" as in, "a blooper to right." Bloop is an adjective, as in "a bloop single to right."

    KRMunson 9:13 AM  

    Hands up for "CRIPES" instead of "CRIKEY". Somehow I just knew that "BOOPIE CASE" just couldn't be right for a "police investigation...."

    I fell for "ATE AT" again. Took me forever to figure out that "A TEAT" wasn't right, although it did trouble me terribly...

    Tita 9:27 AM  

    From Z[oe] to A[imee] - was this a pangram?

    Lots of words that are fun to say, like BLOOP, SHARPIESHOOTER, Erie LACKAWANNA, POLKADOT, CRIKEY...

    @LMS - let's add WEARY xing TIRE to your list! I missed all those others - thx.

    The smiles those brought were offset a little by the grimaces having to write in some of those godawful pop names.

    Fav theme was SHARPIESHOOTER.

    Seeing ATEAT in the grid made me fear for @Oren today... ;)

    @acme - that IS great finding your old games et al. Hope you've been playing them!

    joho 9:30 AM  

    Loved the QUIRKiness of this one! So very fresh and fun.

    Congratulations, Zoe and Aimee, on creating a Tuesday to be proud of!

    More please!

    Miette 9:31 AM  

    @LOREN MUSE SMITH ~ Here is the rest of your cute poem from yesterday:


    I take it you already know
    Of tough and bough and cough and dough
    Others may stumble, but not you
    On hiccough, thorough, laugh, and through.
    And cork and work and card and ward
    And font and front and word and sword
    Well done! And now if you wish, perhaps
    To learn of less familiar traps.
    Beware of heard, a dreadful word
    That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
    And dead: it's said like bed and not like bead--
    For goodness sakes don't call it deed.
    Watch out for meat and great and threat,
    They rhyme with suite and straight and debt.
    A moth is not a moth in mothers,
    Nor both in bother, broth in brother.
    And here is not a match for there,
    And dear and fear for bear and pear.
    And then there's dose and rose and lose--
    Just look them up--and goose and choose,
    And do and go, then thwart and cart.
    Come, come, I've hardly made a start!
    A dreadful language? Man alive!
    I'd mastered it when I was five.

    (Gerard Nolst Trenité, published by SSS in J17)

    chefbea 9:31 AM  

    Hands up for cripes..which fouled up that section. Thought the puzzle was more Wednesdayish.

    Love beansprouts..good in salads

    John V 9:43 AM  

    @KRMunson. Happy to report here that I've yet to find A TEAT that is troubling. Just sayin'

    r.alphbunker 9:44 AM  

    @Tita suggested yesterday that archaeology should have a sub field for crosswords. In an amazing coincidence a perfectly preserved puzzle from the Maleska era was discovered yesterday and is available here


    How ironic that this discovery should be made on a day when the NYT puzzle features so many pop culture references.

    I know that @archaeoprof is going to claim that this is bogus because the .puz puzzle format was not invented until much later but I think it is a mistake to underestimate the technological achievements of the ancients.

    With extensive googling I have verified all answers except 127D {Hdqtrs} and 124D {Order or arrangement: Suffix}. But the answer they cross 135A {In a vile manner} seems solid.

    I would also like to propose that the CAPTCHA words we are asked to type were once answers to Maleska era puzzles.

    Miette 9:45 AM  

    @TITA ~

    Not a Pangram. No "V" or "Z".

    Brian Joseph Bushaw 9:45 AM  

    I had some trouble with the fill in the NE corner--"arced" just was not coming up on my radar largely because I was certain that 22A was "of age" and not "older." Fun fill otherwise, but the overall theme took me a bit as I thought "junkie mail" was a play on "junk e-mail" rather than dropping the "ie."

    archaeoprof 9:54 AM  

    Saw MOJO crossing OPERA and OTT in the northwest and thought, "This is going to be good."

    Lots of pop culture, but not too much.

    BAAL was not a "false deity" to the Canaanites.

    PS: many thanks for the kind words yesterday about my daughter's wedding.

    cheeseguy 10:01 AM  

    Very good puzzle, nothing to complain about here. Interesting to see everyone here rate it more as medium while I thought it was more like an easy Monday.
    Don't consider myself young anymore (43), but the puzzle does have a much younger feel than most NYT puzzles of late.
    Always fun to read on this blog how one person perceives a puzzle to be easy while others struggle to finish.

    Cheerio 10:13 AM  

    Loved it!

    Andrie Carlie MIkey! 10:22 AM  


    CRIKEY, I had CRIpEs, too...

    If i had more tome, would wax poetic how proud I am of these two and this PUZZIE!

    miriam b 10:29 AM  

    @orangeblossomspecial; Midnight in Moscow is apparently known in Russia as Moscow Nights. Enjoy this rendition by the peerless Dmitri Hvorostovsky.


    Two Ponies 10:40 AM  

    Too much pop crap but gettable.
    The theme answers were fun with the exception of sprout.
    More good than not so thumbs up ladies.

    Inquiring minds 10:40 AM  

    So, was there a surge in J.D. Salinger's popularity 20 years ago where everyone gave their daughter a bastardization of a title character from his work? Does Brown have a secret admission policy to solicit such people?

    Anonymous 10:43 AM  

    "I'll leave you to contemplate the RING-wearing PROBE that's covered with LUBE."

    As if I do anything else with my time!

    Wood 11:01 AM  

    Pretty easy but got megastuck in the far SE. Could Not See BOOKIE CASE or EXERT. And I had BOOKIEC___ and EX___! And the crossing downs wouldn't come either, in spite of the fact that I had NOTES. Brain insisted on BOOKIEClub even though that made no sense with the clue. And does anyone else dislike the clue on EXERT? When I exert energy, I put it into something -- I don't put it out. Brain wanted EXude OR EXpel. When I finally figured out EXERT everything fell. Wasted 2 or 3 minutes down there though. Sheesh.

    Wood 11:04 AM  

    Oh, and on BAAL (for which I first had IDOL)... no more true or false than any other god. As the saying goes, "everyone's an atheist... some just go one god further."

    Masked and Anonymo8Us 11:32 AM  

    No BROWNIESTUDENTS? No COOKIECOUNTY? No ERNIEBANKS (thUmbsUp, just for not using that last one, not to mention puz was a fun trip).

    mac 11:42 AM  

    What a fun puzzle! Have to admit that the Micah/Mojo area and Mother Kardashian scared me off at first, but I got there without much trouble in a roundabout way.

    I've seen more different tulips today then I knew existed. Will never look at them the same way again. What a history, especially the Tulipmania in the 17th century. Enjoying some "late doubles" right now, in tones of pink and orange.

    oren muse 11:52 AM  

    @Tita – I must be making some progress. ATE AT jumped right out at me. I parsed it correctly. (“Parse” If I learn a new word at my age, you better be damn sure I’m going to throw it around as much as possible. I’m finding it hard to work it into conversations at the bridge table, though.)

    I liked the puzzle and thought it was pretty easy. I got just about all of it, and now it’s time for me to go work in the garden. I continue to look forward to Monday and Tuesday.

    Oh – and one last thing – I was honored that Zoe and Aimee used my middle name, EUGENE, in today’s puzzle. My wife, who doesn’t work the puzzle, but helps me post and enjoys reading all the comments, said “What’s the big deal?” I replied, “My name alone isn’t remarkable, but to have your nickname OINK in the same puzzle is amazing.”

    Sparky 12:17 PM  

    Fairly easy. Didnt know "Heroes" or Kardashian but HAIKU saved the day. Good observation @jackj. From sweet to saucy with a wee IE. Goodness @Rex, I'm blushing.

    I, like @JohnV, had trouble with comment section. It wouldn't scroll down to let me finish. I hit the red button and started over. Now I'm just going to hit publish, forget edit. Big sigh.

    hazel 12:37 PM  

    RIP Vic Chesnutt - what a tortured gentle soul.

    This one didn't feel farm fresh to me like yesterday's. Much to like though nothing really resonated. Bit too much fill in the blank. did like BLOOP hit. Cool word.

    Anonymous 12:40 PM  

    A bit WEARY of OREO, OINK and OTT.
    SHARPIESHOOTERS and REBUSES went right in
    But, CRIKEY! Please no Kardashian!!

    Mighty Nisden 1:25 PM  

    @Miette Thanks for printing out the entire poem. I didn't have time to google it yesterday and now I don't have to.

    Finished this on but took a long time. The only time I use the 'play against the clock' is Mondays and Tuesdays. Near the bottom of the standings. Good news was that I finished.

    I always get caught with the Giant clue, even though I am a Baseball fan and that's my favorite team! Still think of a fantasy reference or Andre the Giant.

    Hand up for not getting the BEANIESPROUT, but the rest was excellent fare.

    Reality TV 1:32 PM  

    Dear BAAL I hate the Kardashians! When will they go away?! And is that really Bruce Jenner or a robot with poor facial construction?

    Bird 1:41 PM  

    Agreed with most of what Dr. Rex said about too much pop culture and how MICAH and KRIS are trying to join the crowd. However, the puzzle did have a nice flow to it. I only had two hiccups as I started to write ALMIGHTY for 43A before I realized it wouldn’t fit and TESTS for 62A (my sons just finished 2 weeks of state ELA and math tests). Oops, I also had TAG for 53A. All was corrected in reasonable time and little energy EXERTED.

    @Reality TV - I don't recognize Bruce either. Or Phyllis Diller.

    Lewis 2:05 PM  

    Agree with lawprof that bloop was clued wrong. Also agree with others who have posted that the clue for BAAL should be different; BAAL was not a false deity to those who worshipped him/her.

    r.alph -- I like your suggestion that the Captchas are actually Maleska era answers.

    I was debating between CRIKES/TRES, and CRIKEY/TREY and guessed wrong.

    The puzzle had a young/fresh feel, that is, it in no way felt old timey. Bravo!

    Unknown 2:16 PM  

    Nice and cute theme.

    BAAL is a very relative answer unless you're a Christian (had IDOL first).
    Polka Dots are not necessarily on summer dresses (a bikini, perhaps).

    Pretty nice week so far.


    Anonymous 2:33 PM  

    Hahahaa I love how a puzzle can be really easy for me and hard for all the regulars.

    One of my fastest Tuesday times ever, it played more like a Monday. Great theme too, better than average fill.

    Very nice!

    Anonymous 2:34 PM  

    @Unknown - Jews think BAAL is a false god, as do Muslims, Hindus, aethists and just about everyone else. How did Christians get exclusivity on denying BAAL?

    quilter1 2:43 PM  

    I suppose Salinger can take the blame for the popularity of Zoe, however, my grandmother, born 1898, was named Zola after Emile Zola, whom my great-grandma had been reading while pregnant. She went by Zoe.

    Loren Muse Smith 2:44 PM  

    @Tita - good call on TIRE/Weary.

    @Miette - thanks for printing the poem!

    Bird 2:54 PM  

    @Unknown 2:15 - I now have this image of Rex in a polka-dot bikini. Thank. You. Very. Much.

    Is it Friday yet?

    SF-Steve 3:33 PM  

    I was house-mates with Kris Jenner for two exciting years in college.
    No really.
    A different Kris Jenner. From a small town in downstate Illinois. Great guy, lots of fun, and smart.

    Then maybe 15 yrs. ago, I was watching Wall Street Week with Louis Reykeyser (remember the elves), and their special guest was ... Kris Jenner. I perked up, what?
    He went to med school, then ran a huge health care mutual fund for T. Rowe Price. Or did.

    Later, I looked him up in the early days of Google (before it became a verb). Now he's almost impossible to find, because of the other Kris Jenner.

    Yesterday BRAKE JOB, today LUBE job, what kinda "job" is next ... (tee-hee).
    Give them some BROWN(ie) points.

    Ugh, for a little while I had
    DFA for MFAS
    ELSA (instead of ILSA),
    and DEPICS (instead of MIMICS)
    which gave me (wait for it ... ) JUNKIE PAIL.

    sanfranman59 3:52 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)

    Tue 8:04, 8:53, 0.91, 26%, Easy-Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Tue 4:23, 4:35, 0.96, 42%, Medium

    JenCT 4:03 PM  

    @evil: re: Steve Irwin - ouch!

    DUB & EXERT took a while to see.

    @John V: try watching the South Park episode where they poke fun at World of Warcraft - you can find lots of clips online.

    Thought this was fun.

    evil doug 4:21 PM  

    Jen: You don't go pokin' crocks and sting rays without repercussions...Crikey! That smarts!

    Got stung by a scorpion and lived to tell about it

    mac 4:32 PM  

    I do think polkadots, and navy blue shoes, can only be found in the stores in the spring and summer.

    Talking about dub: when in Hamburg two weeks ago, we caught a little bit of "Big Bang Theory", dubbed. Horrible!!!

    chefwen 4:36 PM  

    @bird - How about Joan Rivers?

    Nice little shout out to our resident DUBber ACME!!!

    Super easy and lively puzzle. Thank you Zoe and Aimee.

    JenCT 4:59 PM  

    @evil: Do tell! Were you pokin' at it?....

    Anonymous 5:01 PM  

    Loved it! Breezy and fun. Best Tuesday time in months. Everything clicked.

    ANON B 5:28 PM  

    You could have named her "Czar"
    which is an incorrect transliteration from the Russian
    alphabet and then people wouldn't
    be spitting in her face when they addressed her by name face to face.

    treedweller 5:51 PM  

    I think the "false god" thing was exacerbated by the fact that the CREATOR clue swallowed the god story whole. They all look equally false to me.

    And, though it was a relief the first time I saw a new OREO clue, the anniversary thing is played out already. Let's just go back to "sweet sandwich" or one of the other chestnuts.

    Otherwise, liked this fine. Got JUNKIEMAIL at first and was expecting them all to include e-xxxx phrases from the Internet age.

    michael 6:36 PM  

    Medium-hard for a Tuesday for me. Thought this was one of the best Tuesdays I've ever seen -- nice theme + polkadot and rebuses. Glad to see that Rex liked it too,

    orangeblossomspecial 8:02 PM  

    @miriam B at 10:29 Thanks! The same song for sure. I'm not up on Russian music, so I appreciate the lead.

    Tita 9:11 PM  

    @miette - thanks for that poem...

    sanfranman59 10:19 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

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:38, 3:40, 0.99, 48%, Medium
    Tue 4:22, 4:35, 0.95, 41%, Medium

    Acmie 2:55 AM  

    BROWNIE POINTS!!! Love it.

    Cameron 12:12 PM  

    Arguing whether Baal IS a false god is beside the point. The WORD "baal" MEANS "false god". That is simply a fact about the English language, not a matter of religious belief.

    mozart 11:23 PM  

    Exert not so screamat, thou religious sharpieshooters. Your somewhat polkadot memory of the older testament could use a quickiestudy, taking notes that the dub of the dirty diety was indeed Baal.
    The Golden Calf was the idol representing it.
    Crikey, you arced a bloop there. Get in your bookiecase, and look it up... Let me see, what book-was it Micah?
    Ooh, maybe you Ott to be using more of that acai...

    mozart 11:51 PM  

    Hey, I feel ya. Go see BabyNaymes thru damnyankee.com for some fresh takes on the subject.

    mozart 11:55 PM  

    Brilliant, fun, delicious poem!
    Thank you

    bob m 9:01 AM  

    No problem except for Crikey-
    Holly S--- Who says "OH Crikey"?

    Raunchy Ron 12:09 PM  

    I must agree with Evil D. about all the English, Australian, South African accents on TV advertising. Could be the English are attempting to reclaim the Country. But I must admit the education system in Great Britain is superior to ours. Just listen to any of their politicians, leaders, business execs, etc. and compare them to ours. Steve Irwin didn't deserve what he got but then anyone who dances with death should know the risk. I have little sympathy for mountain climbers who fall off the edge.

    rain forest 1:32 PM  

    Lots of topics generated by this delightful puzzle today. There seems to be a high percentage of atheists in the crowd, and several harsh condemners of those who take risks. Of those, the ones I do not have a lot of sympathy for are the skiers, boarders and snowmobilers who wnader off safe areas, get lost, and subsequently endanger the lives of those who go to rescue them. It's all part of the developing culture of which the Kardashians are the poster children. It's all about me! I thought 43D was going to be "cripes", a word my Dad used, as well as Joosus Peruses, and goldarn, at least when I was around. I'll miss the Venus transit tonight because of thick cloud cover.

    Solving in Seattle 1:53 PM  

    Had no clue about MICAH or MOJO, KRIS or TREY, and was very hung up on ATEAT (over COX) until I parsed it correctly. Otherwise, didn't have to EXERT much to finish quickly.


    Thank you @Miette for the complete poem - very delightful. Thank you @Anon 12:40 for your LOL poem. Thank you @Mozart for your brief essay.

    Now to Evil Doug and the British Commonwealth accents on American TV. The gecko is kinda cute. I understand that is a NE England twang. My rant is about the Melbourne Australian pronunciation of the English language. Two announcers in particular that are forced upon me: CNBC's Mandy Drury, who is ok to look at, and whose content is ok, but who sounds like an air conditioner bearing on its last legs. And, as a golfer and golf watcher on TV, the absolute worst person to listen to is Ian Baker-Finch, whose one claim to fame is winning the Open. Otherwise, this is a guy who has lived in the US for about 500 years and whose Melbourne accent is getting thicker and more obnoxious every year. Whew! There, by CRIKEY, I got it off my chest.

    Capcha: thrasma. Greek sophist Thrasymachus’ mother, to his posse.

    Dirigonzo 4:02 PM  

    So a day or two ago we had "Do dos" and today we have "Do___do" - I think they are setting us up for "Extinct flightless bird"; or maybe it's just a coincidence.

    There's a Brit who owns a cooking supply store in my area - he appears in his own TV spots and says CRIKEY a lot. It's mildly annoying.

    EXude before EXERT, BEaT before BEST, but a lively and fun puzzle. And a REBUS on Tuesday - that's breaking all the rules!

    @Rain Forest - re irresponsible risk-takers, we had record rainfall this weekend and the rivers were all at flood stage when 10 canoists decided it would be fun to take a ride down the Saco, which is known for its white water rapids at normal flow. Emergency personnel from several towns managed to rescue all of the morons but really, people like that just should not be in the gene pool.

    Solving in Seattle 4:40 PM  

    Don't forget the Darwin Awards that annually commemorate those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it.

    Dirigonzo 6:31 PM  

    OK, I googled it - that is some funny stuff! Sometimes you gotta wonder, "What the hell were they thinking?", and then you remember these are examples of specimens who can best contribute to the quality of the gene pool by eliminating themselves from it. I think Darwin got it right.

    DMGrandma 7:20 PM  

    Not much to say about this puzzle. It seemed Tuesday easy, and my only error was OFAGE which was quickly set right.
    Late posting because I have playing games with my computer looking for the Venus transit recommended by @Diri. Took me too long to (1) realize it didn't start until 3pm West Coast time, and (2) then figure out I can't find it on my IPAD. Suspect that may have something to do with lack of Flash, my only complaint about this gadget. However, I now have NASA or somebody giving a play by play on my laptop, and peek periodically to see how things are progressing, which to quote RLS is "really rather slow." I feel for the people who have to sit there and comment for the seven or so hours this will take.
    My capcha is a Japanese war cry: Isubasi

    Spacecraft 7:45 PM  

    I agree with @anon 8:16: please don't "iconify" Trey Parker for South Park. If we attach "cultural importance" to an animated series that features an actual turd as one of the characters, we're ALL in trouble. I'd be happy in a world in which neither he nor Eminem had been born.

    As to the puzzle, I don't get BEANIESPROUT either. The rest is fine, but for the dreaded ATEAT, a partial I'd like to ban forever.

    TSAR, really? Hope the name's not descriptive. Does he SCREAMAT you if he doesn't get his way?

    Captcha word is cessesPl: where that aforementioned South Park character belongs.

    Dirigonzo 8:13 PM  

    @DMGrandma - Glad you found a way to view the transit, but to give credit where credit is due it was @Tita that suggested the website - I just passed the info along. And yes, the "play by play" is a little tedious but still, it's a once in a lifetime event!

    @Spacecraft, speaking strictly for myself, I never met ATEAT I didn't like!

    And that surely will be my last word on this puzzle - but I'll be back tomorrow.

    (And yes, you can ignore the picture captchas if you can't read them.)

    Tita 11:33 PM  

    @Dirigonzo - thanks for the credit on that... ;)

    I found the commentary strangely annoying...I really wanted a viewing that would simply susbtitute for my inability to see this directly.

    On the other hand, it is remarkable that the option presents itself at all.

    Happy Transit o' Venus, all!

    (My cats are Venus and Marzipan - Venus would sometimes prefer it if Marz transited out of her vicinity at dinnertime...)

    And yes - you can choose to not do unpaid work for google by totally ignoring the street numbers...!

    Tita 11:35 PM  

    @Spacecraft - I agree!

    Anonymous 9:40 AM  

    my eyesight is not good enough to spot a tiny spot through eclipse glasses without glasses. But venus did pop into view a couple of times before my eyes went into auto-unfocus. I did enjoy the comentary on the web feed, but I would have prefered to see the camera pan back a little bit to show the horizon. Maybe it did towards the end, but I was busy falling asleep during a super easy post-martini crossword puzzle by then. Got 2117 penciled in on my calendar though.

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