MON 7-23-12

Monday, July 23, 2012

A bittersweet hello from Jenny and Liz, on this, our last blog post for our BFF Rex. Why bittersweet? Because while we are so sad to say goodbye, we are also so happy that Rex is on his way home from the future (aka New Zealand), and will be back to take over here.

Constructor: Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Easy-ish 

THEME: The Invisible Man — synonyms for "man" are found in the circled squares

Word of the Day: Anticipation
an·tic·i·pa·tion n.
1. The act of anticipating.
2. An expectation.
3. Foreknowledge, intuition, and presentiment.
• • •

Of course this word does not appear in today's puzzle, but as we said above, our BFF Rex is currently on his way home from New Zealand, and he promised to bring us presents!  And one thing we love almost as much as we love our bestie is getting presents, so the anticipation is at an all time high as we await his safe return.  (And speaking of presents, over the past four weeks we have learned that writing this blog is a whole lot more work than we had anticipated when we begged agreed to do it, and we've only written once a week.  We already knew that Rex was amazing but now that we know what it takes to keep this blog going day after day, we would like to take a moment to make a small pitch to all of you who enjoy  reading or ripping on this blog to please consider giving a gift to Rex by making a donation; see instructions on the right side of this page).

And of course, we can't see or hear the word anticipation without thinking of the this classic:

Theme answers:
  • 17A.  [Equipment to help a patient breathe]  OXYGEN TANK (gent)
  • 25A.  ["Sorry to hear that"]  SUCH A PITY (chap)
  • 49A.  [Went to pieces]  FELL APART (fella)
  • 61A.  [Vishnu or Shiva] HINDU DEITY (dude)
  • 21A.  ["___ I care"] AS IF — This makes us think of the movie Clueless, but sadly we couldn't find the clip where Cher is walking along outside of school and some guy comes up and puts his arm around her and she immediately shrugs him off and says "eww, AS IF!"  It's really funny.  Trust us.
  • 45A. [Trees that sway in a hurricane] PALMS  — Of course, trees also sway in a derecho...  (see our blog entry dated 7/2/12)
  • 5D. ["Cluck, cluck" makers] HENS  — This one was a gimmee for us because Liz is the proud owner of two hens, who live in her backyard.  Chickens are pretty low maintenance, except for when they get eaten (true story) or when one gets sick and has to be rushed to the chicken hospital in a cat carrier on a Saturday afternoon, and then needs to take chicken antibiotics twice a day for 10 days even though she was probably faking the whole thing.  Anyway, here's a picture of them (Little Jerry Seinfeld on the left, Chicken Little on the right) stopping by the back door to say good morning:
  • 39D.  [Rick's beloved in "Casablanca"] ILSA— For some reason, neither of us can ever remember if this common answer starts with an I or an E.  It gets us every time.  And, once again, we can't find the clip that we wanted to use for this clue, which is from one of our all time favorite movies, When Harry Met Sally, but for our Italian-speaking friends, we were able to find this:     

For those who don't speak Italian, Harry and Sally were discussing how Casablanca has the best ending ever.  And speaking of endings, this brings us to the end of today's blog.  We are really grateful for all of the support you have given us in your comments, and we're grateful to Doug and Puzzle-Girl for all their technical support.  We have had so much fun these past four weeks, because everything we do with our BFF Rex is always fun.  So, before we sign off for the last time, click on the video below to check us out, just hanging with our bestie, having fun as always.

Click here:  (the video might not be available on your iPad, so hopefully you can access it from your computer!) 

Signed, Jenny and Liz, Rex's BFFs


r.alphbunker 7:12 AM  

Great theme. The puzzle would have worked even without the circles. The women are really invisible (until you look at the byline).

"Dude" Lebowski 7:16 AM  

The Dude: Yeah, well. The Dude abides.

The Stranger: The Dude abides. I don't know about you but I take comfort in that. It's good knowin' he's out there. The Dude. Takin' 'er easy for all us sinners. Shoosh. I sure hope he makes the finals.

The Bard 7:22 AM  

FALSTAFF: O, thou hast damnable iteration and art indeed able to corrupt a saint. Thou hast done much harm upon me, Hal; God forgive thee for it! Before I knew thee, Hal, I knew nothing; and now am I, if a man
should speak truly, little better than one of the wicked. I must give over this life, and I will give it over: by the Lord, and I do not, I am a villain: I'll be damned for never a king's son in Christendom.

PRINCE HENRY: Where shall we take a purse tomorrow, Jack?

FALSTAFF: 'Zounds, where thou wilt, lad; I'll make one; an I do not, call me villain and baffle me.

PRINCE HENRY: I see a good amendment of life in thee; from praying to purse-taking.

FALSTAFF: Why, Hal,'tis my vocation, Hal; 'tis no sin for a man to labour in his vocation.

orangeblossomspecial 8:03 AM  

Thanks for your hard work Jenny & Liz. You're much more fun to look at than is old Rexie.

Back in the days of Vitalis and Dapper Dan, Brylcreem had a catchy jingle for 34A DAB. Hair styling products became less popular after "The wet head is dead" took over.

"Down among the sheltering PALMS" (45A) was a hit about a hundred years ago and several times since.

Petula Clark had a minor and repetitive hit in the 60s about 65A: "It's A SIGN of the times".

Loren Muse Smith 8:06 AM  

I agree with @r.alphbunker - great puzzle and would have worked without the circles I think.
Loved the KEATS/ODES pair and the NEMO/VERNES/PIXAR "trio."

NUNS crossing HINDU - OH NO! If you SAY SO.

Thanks, Lynn. Nothing WORRISOME today. I like your STYLE!

Tita 8:07 AM  

Fun theme...liked it lots. Thought of our own Jen at the cluck cluck clue...
Thanks, ladies...all three of you...

joho 8:08 AM  

Lynn Lempel does it yet again creating the perfect Monday level puzzle with a cute theme well executed as always.

I love THEINVISIBLEMAN so visible across the middle! My favorite theme answer is SUCHAPITY crossing SNAFU. I like HINDUDEITY a lot,too. Nice XYK in OXYGENTANK.

I would think this is one of the Monday puzzles that should be handed out to newbies.

Shout out to fellow constructors at PETE and TONY(S)!

Thank you, Lynn, for another lovely Monday.

Zwhatever 8:12 AM  

Two writeovers - OXYGEN mAsK before TANK and Entry before EVENT. Both barely slowed me down and by the bottom I was barely checking the crosses - the FSTOP, ECOLE, ALLEGE, ISO and EON clues were all verified after the puzzle was finished just to make sure. If the paper provided a Mr. Happy Pencil I may not have ever looked at the clues. So I put this in the extremely easy column, even for a Monday.

Zwhatever 8:18 AM  

@Joho - I agree. The only crosswordese is our friend OLEG. Limited trivia, lively fill, a little extra with the circles to show that a puzzle can be a little more. This puzzle would be a good way for newbies to EASE IN to crosswords.

Sue McC 8:18 AM  

Yup, it was a Monday, alright. Easy, and fun write-up by the BFFs. Looking over the completed puzzle, I have to chuckle at FELLA PART :-)

Milford 8:56 AM  

@Z - I have you beat with write-overs for 17A:

Otherwise, an easy, breezy Monday. Loved the HINDU/DUDE/DEITY interwoven. That's just awesome.

Thank you, Jenny and Liz for your write-ups. Love the chicken pics - they don't allow backyard chickens where I live (sniff!).

dk 9:07 AM  

Jenny and Liz I guess you are now the Gone Girls. (great book thank you)

Monday! Ms Lempel, nary a clunker in the lot.

🐔🐔🐔 (3 Chickens) In tribute to Jerry and Ms. Little.

Note: Keep them out of my yard as Mr. Fox is a frequent (everyday at 9AM) visitor.

John V 9:13 AM  

Ditto write-overs at OXYGENfoo. Fun puz. Agree that it maybe didn't neet the circles, but, without them, probably would have raised the bar to Tuesday.

Nice shout-out to the AARP crowd @ 48D. Hey! I resemble that remark!

S'bout all I got. Back in CT after having had a lovely weekend in Brooklyn babysitting our grand-daughter and hanging out on Smith Street in downtown Brooklyn. Great green market about 2 blocks from the ACPT.

Tita 9:15 AM  

I hope the weather here in ny holds out for our SORTIE to Ellis Island.
Liked VERNE and NEMO together.

jackj 9:25 AM  

Lynn Lempel is such a genius at turning out quality Monday puzzles that, when one of them doesn’t thrill me, I’m inclined to think it must be me, not Lynn.

Such is today’s puzzle; it has a perfectly good theme and fill that has a few bright spots, (despite a surfeit of familiar Monday-ish cluing), but it just feels like it was a throwaway, not one that was given Lynn’s usual care and thought.

When the reveal answer was exposed, it seemed like such an important entry, one could be seduced into imagining echoes of a sonorous announcer grandly proclaiming “Let’s welcome THEINVISIBLEMAN!”, but then realizing the theme entries just didn’t merit such attention.

For me, STODGY and WORRISOME were the best of the non-theme entries and seeing DEWEY clued as “______Defeats Truman” (famous 1948 headline)” forces a question since, in a September 2003, Monday Times puzzle, the clue was identical except the headline was noted as “(infamous 1948 headline)”.

What’ll it be, “Famous” or “Infamous”? (Maybe just a simple, “erroneous”?)

Jenny and Liz, you’ve been a joy; maybe Rex will have you blog a Monday every now and then to let you stay in touch!

chefbea 9:29 AM  

Fun easy Monday puzzle. Thanks Lynn. And a great write up. Thanks to the BFFs. Come back and say say hello once in a while. We will miss you.

evil doug 9:31 AM  

From Michael on Facebook:

"Re: the blog. If a commenter is "Anonymous," I don't read the comment. If a commenter *replies* to an "Anonymous," I *really* don't read it. Don't feed the cowards."

Couldn't agree more. Seems like there's been a recent proliferation of hidden beings here. While we're all somewhat anonymous, at least with our alter egos we can be identified against what we write. With so many (I presume; how can we know for sure?) anonymous posters, it's useless trying to figure out who's on first or to whom we're responding.

Not that hard to grab an avatar and pen-name here, so how 'bout it?


Dr. Griffin, Mad Scientist. Yes, Mad Scientists chortle 9:31 AM  

I was going to complain that the circles rendered the "invisible" blokes highly visible, but then I reflected that I always wore bandages covering my face whenever I went out (without the intention of killing anyone). Talk about calling attention to one's self.

KRMunson 9:42 AM  

A standing O for Liz and Jenny -So long, farewell, aufwiedersehn and adieu!

mac 9:44 AM  

Beautiful Monday! Especially like Hindu deity, what a find. Favorite word: worrisome.

@tita: I thought of our Jen, Sparky, Tita and Kip as well. Although two of them are not hens! Hope the weather holds in NY, it's pouring in CT.

mac 9:46 AM  

@Liz and Jenny: great job, again! Michael is going to like that little clip! Come back soon.

miriam b 10:03 AM  

DUDE near ABIDE. Just aother cute touch in a highly enjoyable puzzle.

Raining in CT? Here in Suffolk Cty, LI, I'm watching birds head for their nests. Just a matter of time.

Loren Muse Smith 10:07 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 10:09 AM  

Concerning Rex' FB comment about all the anonymous posters - it made me go back and see a couple of anonymous posts last night that really make me angry.

thursdaysd 10:11 AM  

Many thanks to the BFFs - maybe we'll see you in comment-land?

Easy Monday, although like Dr. Griffin I thought the circles made the supposedly INVISIBLE men highly visible. It was nice to have H. G. Wells and Jules Verne in the same puzzle.

Two Ponies 10:18 AM  

Very nice puzzle and write-up.
Thanks for helping hold the fort ladies.
I had the same mask/tank speed bump.
Only question was why is Cert informal? Formally would be
Mr. Cert?

Carola 10:41 AM  

Puzzle + write-up + comments + peaches on my muesli - a four-course breakfast treat.

This was a just-right Monday for me - just enough that I had to puzzle over. I went wrong on the OXYGENTent, too, as well as ACCEde, which gave me a 25A ending in -dITY, which seemed quite reasonable - until it couldn't be right.

Thanks to all of you above who pointed out the DUDE - ABIDE connection, the VERNE-NEMO-PIXAR continuum, the NUNS' involvement with a HINDU DEITY, and the FELLA PART. !

ALOHA, Jenny and Liz! I'll miss your cheery Mondays!

Rookie 10:59 AM  

Jenny and Liz, you've been a breath of fresh air! Thank you. Thank you, also, to Rex for having the smarts to ask you to cover Mondays.

Welcome home, Rex. Hope you had a really wonderful break!

John V 11:02 AM  

Re: the anonymous thread and in general: Best advice in my lifetime, from my grandfather: "Johnnie, never argue with an idiot. People might not be able to tell the difference."

ED is right that a signed, non-profile comment is, in effect, anonymous any way. I don't mind commenting on, say, deTECtive for the occasional anon. But you wanna take shots at a constructor? Fine and well; you want to be credible, sign it.

Just one man's view.

FWIW, it has occurred to me that some of these inflammatory anon comments may be the constructor playing with us. There is always one character who complains that Patrick Berry's clues are the worst. PB playing with us? Funny, if true.

Lewis 11:27 AM  

Three excellent puzzles in a row. Will, you're on a roll!

jae 11:30 AM  

I too will miss the BFFs. It's nice to start off the week with a major smile. (This is not to say that Rex dosen't occasionally engender a Mon. smile). And, yes, an excellent easy-medium for me Mon. from Ms. Lempel. Liked it a lot.

I had the same reaction to CERT as @Two Ponies. How is that informal?

And, much as I hate to say this, ED is right.

GILL I. 12:11 PM  

An anagram for Anonymous coward: AWAY CRUD MONSOON!
I asked newbie daughter what she thought of this puzzle. I knew she would like it. At first, it was just concentrating on getting the answers, now it's appreciation of the word play....
I remember seeing "The Invisible Man" I remember the British bar-keep and her shrieking. I also remember that I was sad at the end when he was burned out of the barn!
@john V I seriously doubt PB would stoop that low.
@paulsfo from yesterday - if you're reading - yeah, it does sound better - it must have been all that Kool Aid I drank. ;)

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

I, myself, prefer to read comments and judge independently of authorship whether they were mean-spirited or not, thoughtful or not, funny or not, insightful or not.

There were 12 Anonymous comments yesterday. 6 where highly complimentary of the puzzle and/or blogger, 5 were neutral questions or comments about clueing, one was rude.

Erge, all anonymousu posters are rude and cowardly.

ksquare 12:37 PM  

Re: Yesterday's GIRO vs. GYRO question. An early version of the helicopter was the AUTOGIRO which had large blades overhead to lift it and an airplane propeller in front to impel it forward. It was shaped like a plane without wings.

Anonymous 12:56 PM  

I liked today's puzzle and suppose those circles are like the tape around Claude Rains when he played the invisiblke man. I agree with Loren's assessment of LL posted yesterday but I'm still trying to figure out what's wrong with being a BEQ groupie....


Masked and So Not Exactly Anonymous? 2:02 PM  

Echoing @KRMunson, standing O -- hell, standing U, even -- for the BFF gals, whose Bullets section went out in a nice blaze of chickens. thUmbsUp, darlin's.

In a Tues/WedPuz, I'd wager that the Shortzmeister would hide the circles, too.

Fave least-Monday-ish answer: ECOLE. But, man, just about everything else here gets a smooth-plus. How'd she do that, with 5 theme answers packed in? Masterful stuff.

Fave least-Monday-ish clue: "Breath mint in a roll, informally". The gal with the many ponies has already brought this up. "Mr. Cert." Har. Wanted ALTS or TICS. Or TACS.

Fave Invisible Women: (EVE)NT, R(EVA)MP, R(ANI)N.

Deb 2:12 PM  

I rarely comment on Monday puzzles because it just seems likes there's not much to say, but I loved this one. I think Lynn Lempel is really the only constructor whose name stays on my radar, probably because of her brilliant MIDASS TOUCH puzzle.

@JFC - Disingenuous. Time after time after time.

Nice wrap-up, BFFs!

Anonymous 3:06 PM  

Altho Rex is not reading this because it's anonymous...

Why does anonymous equate to being cowardly?
There are many other reasons people post anonymously, eg. shyness, privacy, a drive-by, or just because they can.

As someone who used to post non-anonymously on this blog, I can say unequivocally that anonymous is better!

Why? Most people here are very welcoming and helpful, polite, etc. But some are NOT. You know who you are! So who wants to deal with them? Not everyone seeks to engage in a war of words here. Avoiding toxicity is not cowardly.

Anonymous 3:14 PM  

To: Masked and Anonymous
From: Legal Department, Sony Pictures Near-Classics

Based on what has now been called the ED/Rex precedent, you are hereby ordered to cease and desist from using the copyrighted film name "Masked and Anonymous" in all further correspondence. Failure to do so will result in immediate legal action stuff, with lots of harsh judicial language and unbelievably severe penalty threats.

Anonymous 3:17 PM  

@Deb - Nicest thng you've ever said about me...but I really do like today's puzzle....


retired_chemist 4:04 PM  

Good writeup, good puzzle.

Filled in HINDU DEITY, noted DUDE, smiled, guessed the essence of the theme, and plunked down FELL APART. Downhill sledding from there.

A just right Monday. Thanks, Ms.Lempel.

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 6:29, 6:49, 0.95, 29%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:44, 3:41, 1.01, 61%, Medium-Challenging

ZenMonkey 4:29 PM  

Echoing the sentiment that this was a little gem of a Monday -- cute and not over-complicated theme, a breezy but not boring solve. My minor quibbles aren't even worth going into.

I'm curious whether anyone here enjoys the iOS game W.E.L.D.E.R. (Possibly available on other platforms; I haven't checked.) A crossword fan hooked me on it and then I hooked my mother on it. One of the best and most addictive word games I've ever played -- and the best part is you finally have a place to play all that crosswordese you thought you'd never use!

Evan 4:34 PM  

@Anon 3:06:

I generally agree. As a former pseudonymous contributor to political blogs, I have no problem with people expressing their opinions of the puzzle anonymously. Their comments, like everyone else's, should be judged by the merits of their arguments, and not dismissed as cowardly because they didn't attach a real name or pseudonym to it. If someone says something particularly nasty -- and I really don't think it's worth getting into personal flame wars over a crossword puzzle -- it's no more or less nasty simply because the person who said it is "Anonymous."

Having said all of that, I guess that if an anonymous user were a regular, everyday commenter (and not just a one-time drive-by commenter), it'd probably be easier to start a running dialogue with that user if he or she at least picked a pseudonym. People here have been crediting me for a Natick Resolution Heuristic based on a comment I made recently, and whether or not they agree with it or use it for their own purposes, it might be easier to remember when one can attribute it to a unique name instead of simply Anonymous.

But as they say on the internet, your mileage may vary.

Doc John 4:48 PM  

Fun puzzle, nice write-up.
When I saw the video of the Anticipation commercial, I thought of the old SNL sendup of the polluted water. Alas, I can't seem to find the video anywhere.

Anonymous 4:52 PM  

Evil Doug is a bully and like most bullies, he wants to set up the rules to his advantage. Thus he is attempting to shame those who make it difficult for him to interact with them. Glad Rex isn't reading this.

Evan 4:54 PM  

The puzzle was solid. I cannot for the life of me think of any other entry that could work with this theme using the word DUDE.

Did no one else think of David Bowie's character in Labyrinth after getting 25-Across? I did. Here's what he said to Jennifer Connelly after he kidnaps her baby brother Toby:

"You have thirteen hours in which to solve the labyrinth, before your baby brother becomes one of us... forever. SUCH A PITY."

Finally, I'm reprising Rex's tongue-in-cheek call before he went on vacation when he said that he hoped the fill-ins would trash the place. There's one more chance to do it, and I happen to know who will be responsible. Any suggestions for how to best trash this place before Mom and Dad (really, just Rex) come back home to break up the party?

retired_chemist 5:08 PM  

I think @evan and others have a point about judging the comment regardless of source. However, I also think that, if one made a list of the 100 snarkiest comments on this blog this year, a substantial majority would have been written by anonymice. That has a cowardly feel to it.....

Loren Muse Smith 5:10 PM  

This is the first time I've ever been a part of a blog, so I don't have a lot of experience with the Anonymous Question. I will say that I dove in head first and published a very open profile (and for a while wondered what I had been thinking).

However, because I'm not anonymous and because my email is posted I have made over 10 new friends off blog that have truly enriched my life. Really.

So those of you who have always posted anonymously - I highly suggest considering having some kind of avatar and name and maybe make your email address available. You wouldn't be totally public, and I bet your experience here would be the richer for it.

@Anon 4:52 - it was Rex' Facebook post against anonymice that started this whole thing!

GILL I. 5:43 PM  

@Loren, I too just took this weird plunge into "okie dockie, so here I am: Blog, be careful; uh oh, crazies; screw it, this is fun; did I just put my foot in my mouth? wow, I just learned something new; wait, that's wrong; there are 6 STACKS!!!!; what's a DNF?; how can you ever not eat beets?"
Wouldn't change it for nada - especially all the cyber friends I've met...Thanks @Rex - you da bomb!

John V 5:46 PM  

Please consider that in this age of 'bots, there is a material possibility that an anonymous post may not have come from a human being.

I get the point about having the right to post in whatever way you may please, but an anonymous post, to me, has no credibility. Comments are not context free. The same post signed by, say, Will Shortz or the identical posting by anonymous would carry a level different credibility. In this example, it makes no sense to say that the words speak for themselves.

Folks can post as they like. I take @Rex' point that anons are not taken seriously and make that mine.

Two Ponies 5:48 PM  

Having an opinion and the cojones to voice it does not make one a bully.
I attribute some of the anon. comments to laziness.

Clueless in Texas 5:51 PM  

Funny that you mention "avatar" in a blog for a puzzle with HINDU (DUDE) DEITY.

Clueless in Texas 6:05 PM  

Loved the puzzle. What a great way to pass time on a deary Monday.

Thanks to the BFFs for another amusing write-up. My sister-in-law and her spouse are raising chickens, so we are learning about that. Not something I would ever venture to do.

Have referred to the "man upstairs in France" (last week's clever clue) as DUDE, so it was fun to see that in the middle of HINDUDEITY!

@loren muse smith
I think you suggested the book on test answers from college students--hilarious! Thanks! (sad how bad it can be, but funny nonetheless)

jberg 6:27 PM  

Verne and Wells, Dude deities - once again I didn't get to the puzzle until mid-afternoon and find that it's all been said already. I agree that the men would be more invisible without the circles.

As for the anonymity issue, it doesn't bother me - and doesn't bother me if Rex doesn't read them. I'm using my name and photo because it's easier, but I could be making it up, after all. I could even be a captcha-ennabled robot.

Carola 6:35 PM  

@loren muse smith and @Clueless in Texas -
My professor daughter recently encountered the phrase "a grain assault" in a student essay - as in, "This interpretation should be taken with a grain assault."

Clueless in Texas 6:43 PM  

Too funny!!! For all "intensive purposes", we really should teach our children how to write and "annunciate" better! ;-)

Anonymous 6:50 PM  

It's Monday and no Acme. Andrea did post a comment on Wordplay, however.

This blog has become more accepting of Anons than, say, a couple of years ago (IMO). Rex sometimes reads and even comments on Anon comments, while maintaining he does not. I think Anons and Pangrams fall into the same category with Rex....


Loren Muse Smith 6:56 PM  

@Carola and Clueless - "grain assault" and "all intensive purposes!" Good ones! I had forgotten how funny some of the quotes are:

Moses was told by Jesus Christ to lead the people out of Egypt into the Sahaira Desert. The Book of Exodus describes the events which occured on the trip; including the Ten Commandments, various special effects, and the building of the Suez Canal.

The Greeks won the Trojan war because they had wooden horses while the Tojans were only able to fight with their feet.

Alexander the Great conquered Egypt, Babylon and Japan. Sadly, he died with no hairs.

The Wholey Roman Empire amazed many when it was found in Germany.

Monks were assigned to monkeries where they were supposed to live as nuns. Many, however, simply preyed by day and played by night. Fryers had to take a vow of pottery.

Anonymous 8:01 PM  

..."if one made a list of the 100 snarkiest comments on this blog this year, a substantial majority would have been written by anonymice. That has a cowardly feel to it."

Unless you actually do the math, I would have to disagree with this random assessment. I recall many of the snarkiest comments and exactly who made them!

Tita 8:12 PM  

@loren, carola, texas...I am sitting on the reason back from the city, laughing out loud to my droid. People are staring.

retired_chemist 8:23 PM  

@ anon 8:01 -

I haven't done the math. If you have I would be interested.

Zwhatever 9:28 PM  

@Evan 4:54 - Ideas on trashing the place.

Post as the Dude - "This is a very complicated case, Maude. You know, a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-you's. And, uh, lotta strands to keep in my head, man. Lotta strands in old Duder's head. Luckily I'm adhering to a pretty strict, uh, drug regimen to keep my mind limber."

Post as the Bard.

Reprise all the snarky comments of the past four weeks.

Iambic Pentameter is always fun.

Have a WOTD from the puzzle but post a pre-shortzian grid.

Post a grid with nothing but "e" entered.

All ABBA videos.

All ENO videos.

All ELO videos.

Michael OLAF videos.

Add RRNs and RCD to every bullet point.

Use Google translator and post in Latin - except for the numbers.

Use captcha font.

Sfingi 9:29 PM  

Count Oleg Cassini was married to Gene Tierney and almost to Grace Kelly. He spoke 5 languages and designed truly the most beautiful gowns.

Martin 9:34 PM  

From yesterday's comments -- those annoyed at Will Shortz refusing to learn that saunas are purely dry heat might wish to read up on saunas. Lots of discussion of the whys and hows of tossing water on the heater. The trick is that the room is above the dew point so the steam is invisible (newly made water vapor is steam, even if you don't see it) but the people are below the dew point so they are points of condensation. Note the phrase despite the popular misconception that Finnish sauna is very dry. A sauna is humid and steamy. It's just clear steam.

Most recurring errors aren't.

mac 10:03 PM  

@Martin: I agree. Throwing water on hot rocks, the smell of eucalyptus. It's not dry.

Tita 10:22 PM  

Oh drat...autocorrect strikes again...
Sitting on the train, laughing at my android...(while reading your sad/funny student mistakes.)

And as long as I'm here, anyone else having trouble opening the Tuesday puz file?

Anonymous 10:26 PM  

@Tita - pdf downloaded fine but I'm getting a missing page message when I tried to download the .puz file.

santafefran 10:38 PM  

I think nyt may be stopping downloads unless we have paid the extra fee for crosswords. :-(

Anonymous 10:39 PM  

@Evan--Ideas for trashing the place. Tomorrow, everybody enter comments using the Anonymous option?

Anonymous 10:44 PM  

And we comment on posts without including the time.

r.alphbunker 10:53 PM  

Everybody comment as Rex Parker?

Tuesday puzzle is available now.

santafefran 11:22 PM  

Ok--puzzle downloaded fine now.

sanfranman59 11:22 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 6:30, 6:49, 0.95, 29%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

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

Deb 11:42 PM  

"The difference between a sauna and a steam room can be summed up in three words: dry vs. wet. Saunas provide dry heat, while steam rooms generate moist heat.

"The dry heat of a traditional sauna starts with a heater, which heats up a stack of rocks. Those rocks then radiate heat into the room. In most saunas, you CAN pour water over the heated rocks to generate some steam and boost the humidity a bit--although nowhere near the level of a steam room. SAUNAS HAVE A VENT--usually found near the floor by the heater--that continually brings in fresh air, LIMITING THE HUMIDITY BUILD-UP. Some saunas, however, use infrared light rather than radiant heat.
Inside a steam room, a device called a steam generator boils water into steam and releases it into the air. Unlike a sauna, a steam room is nearly airtight, so the humidity builds to 100 percent. The air is so damp that water condenses on the walls."

(all-caps emphasis mine)
Read more:

"Saunas provide dry heat in a wood-paneled room from a wood or electric stove. Generally the stove heats rocks, which radiate heat throughout the room. A sauna MAY have small amount of steam IF water is poured over the hot rocks, however a sauna overall provides DRY HEAT."

(all-caps emphasis mine)
Read more:

I've used both steam rooms and saunas and there is simply NO comparison between the humidity levels. Any "steam" generated in a sauna IF water is poured on the rocks dissipates in a nano-second.

(that was me, so the all-caps emphasis would be mine)

Martin 11:54 PM  


You and that description is confusing steam with fog. Really. If you carefully read the excellent wikipedia article it's clear.

Steam is water vapor and is invisible. It becomes "steamy" when the ambient temperature is below the dew point and it can condense in the air. That, not the actual relative humidity of the air, is what differentiates a steam room from a sauna.

But both are highly humid environments.

Deb 2:05 AM  

@Martin - The average humidity level in a sauna WHEN WATER IS POURED OVER THE ROCKS is a whopping 20%. That's hardly "highly humid."

My guess is that there is one reason and only one reason the NYT so often uses the word "steam" to clue "sauna:" Because they can't say STEAM room when they answer they're looking for is STEAM.

Martin 3:58 AM  


If you're still around, you might find this site interesting. It explains how 20% humidity at sauna temperatures represents more water in sauna air than 100% humidity at room temperature. This is the essence of the discussion. Yes, you could put 5 or 10 times the steam into the air at sauna temperature as would saturate the air at room temperature and, no, you would never do this, but there is still more water in the air than there is in a lower-temperature steam room. The hotter air "dissolves" the steam rather than letting it "precipitate out" as fog.

The physics is interesting and widely misunderstood. This is why the wikipedia article refers to the "misconception" that sauna air is dry.

Spacecraft 2:47 PM  

@Z: How's this for iambic pentameter to end a movie?

The girl (Eva Marie Saint): What happened to the first two Mrs. Thornhills?
Roger (Cary Grant): I think they said I led too dull a life.

For sure, ol' Alfred loved the Bard.

To today's: fun to do. As I was filling in 61a I couldn't help humming "Doowah, doowah, doo-DUDEITY, talkin' 'bout the boy from...etc." Thanks for the earworm, Lynn. Too bad we couldn't work in GUY, or M*****F*****.

One letter written over, my misspelling of WORRySOME. (Earwig #2: Blues in the Night). It's remarkable how different the clues are from Monday to Saturday. Monday is Cluing for Dummies; STODGY to say the least. Take 6d. How about "Prince, reinvented" or something like that? At least try to stir up a gray cell here and there.

No xwordese except for "old friend" OLEG? What about AONE, OVA, ETTE, EEK (at least it wasn't EKE)? Plus, SAYSO was just in. Despite these, a pretty nice grid.

DMGrandma 3:07 PM  

Only mild stumbles today. Like many others I started with OXYGENmask, with, at first, little help from the downs as I thought Mr Banks was Eubie. Isn't there a famous Eubie Banks? Only other pause was my (shared with the twins) seeming inability to remember if it is eLSA or ILSA. Maybe next time!
We've got another uncomfortably hot day while the U. S. Open is delayed by rain which we could sorely use! 'Mother Nature needs to get her priorities straight.

Dirigonzo 4:30 PM  

REvAmp for REMAKE and Averto for ALLEGE got me off to a bad start, but I recovered nicely and finished with no other writeovers. The puzzle was AONE in my book. @DMGrandma - From a review of the musical "Eubie": "The show is a revue of songs by Eubie Banks, the great composer who helped break down racial barriers in the landmark 1921 musical ‘Shuffle Along,’ the first Broadway musical written, directed by and starring African-Americans", so I'd have to say the answer to your question is yes.

@Spacecraft - thanks for reminding me yesterday about "Dooley". Funny that you ended the post with "Ah. The days." as I had just posted a piece at Dirigonzo's Place titled "Those were the days..." featuring the song by Mary Hopkin.

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