MON 7-16-12

Monday, July 16, 2012

We're baaack! In case you're new here, we are Liz and Jenny, aka Rex's BFF's. And today, we are grinning from ear-to-ear-to-ear-to-ear because we both received postcards from our bestie Rex, all the way from New Zealand! Where he is still living in the future, keeping busy by drinking lattes at Starbucks (and having the world's greatest adventure ever). Hey Rex, take your BFF's with you next time! We'll buy your Frappuccinos!
Constructor: Randall J. Hartman

Relative difficulty: EASY. Which is the opposite of trying to figure out what the heck Rex meant when he described us as "Strangely Different." What does this mean? Should one of us be offended or flattered? And if so, which one? There's no EASY answer. If you correctly solve this puzzle, you'll win a trophy.

THEME:AWARDS. Since we grew up back in the day where to get one you had to actually earn one, we only have a few, and now feel gypped.

Word of the Day: sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia
An ice-cream headache, also known as brain freeze, cold-stimulus headache,[1] or its given scientific name sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia (meaning "nerve pain of the sphenopalatine ganglion"), is a form of brief cranial pain or headache commonly associated with consumption (particularly quick consumption) of cold beverages or foods such as ice cream and ice pops. It is caused by having something cold touch the roof of the mouth (palate), and is believed to result from a nerve response causing rapid constriction and swelling of blood vessels[2] or a "referring" of pain from the roof of the mouth to the head.[3][4] The rate of intake for cold foods has been studied as a contributing factor.[5][6]
• • •
You all know us well enough by now to know that this word did not appear anywhere in the puzzle. It is the scientific term for "Ice Cream Headache," which we are suffering from as we write this blog (on Sunday evening) because Sunday was "National Ice Cream Day"! Liz had coconut chip in a pointy cone (we can never remember if that's the sugar kind or the cake kind). Jenny had mint-chocolate chip (not chocolate chip mint or chocolate mint chip) in the flat-kind of yellowish cone, which when you think about it, isn't coned-shaped, and really shouldn't be called a cone at all. Liz's dog Rosie even had a small bowl of vanilla with a doggie treat on top.

This was an easy, and kind of boring puzzle. I mean, two Huck Finn clues? Really? And so weird, because we're both reading a fantastic thriller called "Gone Girl," written by Gillian Flynn, which takes place in the Missouri hometown of Mark Twain. The protagonist, Nick, used to work at a Tom Sawyer historical site, and there are many many references to Tom and Huck in the book. Perhaps, the constructor is reading it too, and quickly whipped out this easy puzzle so he could get back to the book, because it is so good!! In fact, we were glad it was easy, and are whipping through this blog post as well, so we can get back to the book too!

Theme answers:
  • 17A [Husband's status symbol, possibly] TROPHY WIFE
  • 26A [General Mills baking product] GOLD MEDAL FLOUR
  • 42A [Panel for a complex legal case] BLUE RIBBON JURY
  • 57A [Popular Canadian Whiskey] CROWN ROYAL
No one's getting any awards for figuring out these easy theme answers. Except for 42A-never heard of it. But the crosses were simple enough to work it out in no time. Our favorite was 31D "Hurts So Good" Singer, 1982 [JOHN COUGAR]-pre Mellencamp.

  • 10A Cracked open, as a door [AJAR] — hahahahahahahahah! We can't stop laughing at this one!!! (inside had to be there)
  • 40D Quartet minus one [TRIO] — Just like we're a trio of besties
We'll be back next week for our final installment. Now, back to our books.

Signed, Liz and Jenny, Rex's BFF's (and now, pen pals too!!)


John V 7:19 AM  

Well, yes, easy. Off to Charlotte.

Anonymous 7:33 AM  

I thought you can't get an ice cream headache if you're lactose intolerant. MBC

orangeblossomspecial 7:34 AM  

38D was a gimme for Bing Crosby / Grace Kelly fans: "TRUE LOVE", a great Cole Porter composition.

The big production number in 27D was "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue". Here is a more digestible song from ON YOUR TOES, "There's a small hotel".

Walter White 7:49 AM  

Easy. but never hear of Blue Ribbon Jury.

Anonymous 7:52 AM  

What a refreshing blog by BFF! My wife is also reading Gone Girl. The tie in to that novel by BFF is sheer genius. We'll leave it to the Queen of Mondays to provide a technical analysis for today's puzzle, although this seems like a straightforward Monday puzzle that speaks for itself.

Carola 8:12 AM  

A winner of a Monday for me - liked the theme, especially the GOLD MEDAL FLOUR.

Your clips are always a treat - thanks!

Jenny, around here the kind of cone you had is called a "wafer cone." Thank you, Besties, for another fun write-up.

Sue McC 8:28 AM  

Good to see Walter White chime in. "I AM the danger..."

Super easy. I love it when I show up as an answer (17A, obv).

I sure am gonna miss the Monday morning BFF write-ups.

Z 8:44 AM  

If I'm remembering correctly he was John Mellencamp before he was Johnny Cougar before he was John Cougar before he was John Cougar Mellencamp before he was John Mellencamp. As far as I know he never performed as Alma Ata.

I thought a BLUE RIBBON JURY would be found at a county fair, so that needed some crosses. Otherwise, straightforward and easy.

dk 9:04 AM  

Walter White? A great bar in Syracuse, NY back in the day. Cigarettes were 25 cents a pack. Moved to Dewitt and took over an old hotel with a great third floor ballroom. WWs had a wheel of Cheddar in the corner of the bar.

BLUE RIBBON panel is all I know but JURY is not that much of a stretch.

🏆🏆 (2 Trophies) Monday, Monday can't help that day.

Margaritaville 9:05 AM  

Great writeup! Thanks BFFs!

Lactose intolerant folks can experience ice cream headaches by drinking frozen margaritas - my favorite!

I think those flat bottomed (non)cones are called cake cones.

JenCT 9:14 AM  

Easy-peasy; only hesitation was CROWN ROYAL - just couldn't think of the name.

Never knew what BLUE RIBBON JURY meant. From Wikipedia:

Blue ribbon juries are juries selected from prominent, well-educated citizens, sometimes to investigate a particular problem such as civic corruption. Blue ribbon juries cannot be used in real trials, which require constitutional safeguards to produce a jury of one's peers. The blue-ribbon jury is intended to overcome the problems of ordinary juries in interpreting complex technical or commercial questions. In the United States blue-ribbon juries were provided for by statutes, the terms varying by jurisdiction.

Fun writeup, as usual!

jackj 9:17 AM  

When solving this puzzle, I filled in a run of downs, ONEWAY, NOON, PJS and TRUELOVE, without even noticing the across entries in that section until looking at the filled grid after completion and seeing, for the first time, NOSE and OREO as two of those skipped across answers.

Since each of them are seen in crosswords on what seems like a daily basis, I took a look at XWordInfo’s data base of info for Shortz edited puzzles and found that this was the 223rd appearance for OREO and 20 of those were clued as “Nabisco cookie”, same as in this current puzzle.

NOSE, on the other hand has been in Shortz edited Times puzzles 113 times but Randall, (and/or Will), didn’t rely on the usual “Beak”, “Sniffer”, “Snout”, “Schnozzola”, (and countless other clues), instead they conjured up one that is far and away the best of the 113 and at least deserves a GOLDMEDAL, if not a BLUERIBBON, a TROPHY or a CROWN for the clue, “Air port?”.

That’s truly an “above and beyond” effort for a little, common word, (usually taken for granted), in an early week puzzle that is too often a disappointing pro forma exercise by all too many constructors.

Thanks for another clever Monday puzzle, Randall!

And, thanks also to Liz and Jenny for another sparkling write-up!

Danno 9:17 AM  

I never heard of blue ribbon jury either, but apparently Encyclopedia Brittanica has.
In fact some are even required by law it turns out. Easy puzzle but enjoyable. Thanks Randall Hartman.

JC66 9:18 AM  

Per Google

BLUE RIBBON JURY - 727,000 Results

BLUE RIBBON panel - 2,410,000 Results

Pabst BLUE RIBBON beer - 1,120,000 Results

Carola 9:36 AM  

Just "met" your avatar - Russell Crowe! Wonderful! (I hope there aren't too many troublesome ego issues :) )

And on movies - our local cinema is showing a classic movie one night each week, and on Wednesday it'll be North by Northwest on the big screen. Can't wait!

chefbea 9:42 AM  

Great write up!!! very easy puzzle. Use goldmedal flour all the time.

@anon9:37 and 9:56 last night...I have already paid my $19.97 for my xword subscription.!!!!

joho 9:46 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
joho 9:50 AM  

The theme is confusing to me or I'm just overthinking it. Sure, it's about awards but what about the added colors? I was trying to make sense out of GOLD, BLUE and ROYAL maybe adding another level. But then there's TROPHYWIFE. Ah, a TROPHY is GOLD! So is a CROWN! ROYALBLUE is another color in itself.

I rate this very easy and confusing.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Fun write-up as usual, BFFs!!

Here in Brooklyn, NY the pointy cones are called sugar cones.

chefbea 10:09 AM  

Did you can make cup cakes using the flat bottom icecream holders??? Kids love them

jae 10:10 AM  

Nice smooth easy Mon.   Not much zip except maybe THOPHYWIFE (which I may have to explain to my granddaughter) but nothing awful either.  Nice one and another fine write-up from Liz and Jenny.

Two Ponies 10:24 AM  

Nice puzzle and write-up.
I liked the symmetry of the theme.
One word theme answer followed by two-word theme answers and then one word again. Easy but no crap so that = good on a Monday.

fruitypants 10:56 AM  

Easy, smooth, and a much appreciated palate cleanser after yesterday's ick-fest.

KRMunson 11:01 AM  

We call them "waffle cones" here in Wisconsin - I guess because of the waffle pattern.

JenCT 11:22 AM  

Looks like the spammers are getting through again...

syndy 11:32 AM  

Gracious goodness-a robot at 10:40!@Strangely different? surely he meant in the "from each other" sense.A light and frothy monday smooth as ice cream! brain freeze can be treated by sticking a finger (or thumb)to the roof of the mouth and holding it there.

Liz Glass 11:35 AM  

You're very observant Coop!

Lewis 11:47 AM  

Easy breezy. When the commenters here can't find anything controversial in the puzzle, we are quite succinct and polite! And Liz and Jenny set a happy tone...

John V 12:14 PM  

Made it to Charlotte, notwithstanding a nail in the front tire of the plane. Not making this up.

Re: yesterday, posted this morning, after trying afresh this morning. I think, "Too clever by half" is what I want to say. DNF. East killed me.

mac 1:26 PM  

Easy but solid Monday, and another fun write-up by Rex's besties.

Never heard of the blue ribbon jury, but I like the concept. I think in many cases members of the jury have a hard time really following the details.

@John V: your plane and the Tour de France. How disgusting, one cyclist broke his collar bone. The peleton held back, though, for a frontrunner who needed a new wheel, very sportsmanlike!

Bird 1:44 PM  

Nice easy puzzle today and a great write-up by the dynamic duo BFF.

Can't recall seeing OREO in the puzzle before. Refreshing. Now I need a glass of milk with a couple ice cubes.

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

Near record time for me. 8 1/2 minutes. Question - how do people do the puzzle in 2 or 3 minutes on an iPad? for this puzzle I typed as fast as I could as still came up at 8 1/2 minutes.....

John V 2:29 PM  

@Bird re OREO, finance folk know this as an acronym meaning, "Other Real Estate Owned", typically real estate acquired in a foreclosure. Not entirely sure this would work as a clue for general audiences.

GLR 2:53 PM  

@joho - arguably, RIBBON and MEDAL could stand on their own as awards, but GOLD MEDAL and BLUE RIBBON stand out as "top" awards.

Pretty straightforward puzzle, I thought. Another enjoyable writeup from the BFFs.

Bird 2:57 PM  

@John V - OREO clued as "Real estate aquired in foreclosure, abbr." would be a nice change of pace and might be good for later in the week. Rex would probably still rip it though.

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

I'm not that impressed by the "symmetry" of the theme, given that the pairs of one-word, two-words can only be AABB, ABAB, or ABBA, each of which would qualify as symmetric.

sanfranman59 4:17 PM  

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

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

Mon 6:09, 6:49, 0.90, 13%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:40, 3:41, 1.00, 52%, Medium

Tita 5:07 PM  

Since I'm distracted by the bay, the winds, tides, company, and food during this mini-vacation, was happy for a breezy puzzle.

Distractions caused dumb typos, which then caused odd guesses at the crosses...
Toward sunrise was aube for a while.Well, it means dawn in French, so...

Didn't get into PRATT, so that was a gimme (only one that refused moi...)
Present was rIFe before GIFT.

Thanks Mr. Hartman and twins.

Sparky 5:08 PM  

Easy. Sailed through. Have a houseguest. Ruins computer time. Have a good week.

Doc John 5:39 PM  

Very interesting that you mentioned "Gone Girl" because my favorite SirusXM DJ, Madison, also mentioned it today.
Very easy puzzle today- I think my fastest time ever at 3:48.

retired_chemist 7:35 PM  

Meh puzzle. OK Monday, not memorable. Liz and Jenny as expected provided a fresh writeup, for which I thank them.

Al Rodbell 7:42 PM  

"Blue Ribbon" reminds me of Carl telling Lennie (Homer Simpson's pals) about a committee that the Mayor was organizing to avoid a problem, and said it was "blue ribbon" And Lennie replied knowingly, "Wow, that's the best kind!"

A buddy and I always do that riff whenever a politician suggests this ploy.

ZenMonkey 8:24 PM  

What a nice "classic" Monday. A simple theme minus trickery and fun to breeze through.

Like others, I wanted PANEL in BLUERIBBONJURY, but JURY isn't totally obscure nor difficult to figure out.

I'd like to thank Mr. Hartman for including my stepmother at 17A.

ZenMonkey 8:25 PM  

(Um, "ZenMonkey" = Joey Haban. Forgot to sign my post.)

mac 9:58 PM  

Hey, nice to see you back, Joey!
Another catlover.

Clueless in Texas 10:23 PM  

Fastest time ever.
TROPHYWIFE made me think of that Dos Equis commercial with "the most interesting guy".... When asked about his thoughts on trophy wives, he responds that they are for men who never win trophies.

Fun write-up. We have flat cones called cake cones, pointy cones called sugar cones, big giant cones called waffle cones, and waffle bowls--just in case a simple paper cup won't suffice.

sanfranman59 12:08 AM  

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)

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

Mon 6:10, 6:49, 0.90, 13%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:37, 3:41, 0.98, 45%, Medium

ZenMonkey 1:06 AM  

@mac Thanks! Yes, this cat is the Zen in question. Her friend is Satori. Neither lives up to her name.

Dirigonzo 3:09 PM  

Apparently I'm the first syndi-solver on the scene. My first run through all of the clues produced a grid with just 3 blank squares, and the crosses took care of those quickly enough, without the need for any guessing. If the puzzle could be as cold as it is smooth, I would have brain-freeze.

Men with a TROPHYWIFE have also never known TRUELOVE, I'm guessing.

In re 22a, AANDE, the countdown to @Spacecraft's rant will begin in 3...2..1...

Waxy in Montreal 8:40 PM  

In @Spacecraft's absence, I'll rant about AANDE - but not about its spelling in the grid. Instead I'd like to assail A&E for the oneway trip to mediocrity it has been on for the past few years. Once almost the equal of PBS in the production of quality programming including some of the best British mysteries, it now serves up a steady raft of inferior dreg. Nary a program worthy of a trophy, gold medal, blue ribbon or crown. (Here endeth the rant.)

Dirigonzo 9:17 PM  

@Waxy - You've done a yeoman's job of filling in with a worthy rant. Maybe the decline in the quality of the programming on AANDE is an apt metaphor for "dumbing down" of American (note: NOT Canadian) pop culture? Surely their programming reflects what is popular with their viewers (and thus their advertisers).

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