2003 Celine Dion album / WED 11-21-12 / Candy Wonder Woman character / Former tennis star Michael / U.S. secretary of state tied for second-longest time in office / Hand-holding event / Jordan real name of Green Lantern

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Constructor: David J. Kahn

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: ACUTE accent, mark used symmetrically six times in this puzzle's solution — the letter "É" appears six times, twice in RÉSUMÉS, and then once near each of the puzzle's four corners.

Word of the Day: ETTA Candy (52A: ___ Candy, "Wonder Woman" character) —
Etta Candy is a fictional character from the DC Comics Wonder Woman series. // In her 1940s introduction, Etta Candy is a sickly malnourished woman Wonder Woman discovers at a local hospital. When next she is seen Etta is transformed into a spirited, rotund young woman who has a great love of candy. When Wonder Woman asks her what caused her sudden health and rather large size Etta tells her that she was rejuvenated by eating lots of sweets. With her newfound confidence Etta Candy soon after leads the fictional Beeta Lambda sorority at Holiday College and aids Wonder Woman in her adventures, first with a hundred other girls she helps Wonder Woman to take over the Nazi base of Doctor Poison without endangering Steve. Throughout her adventures with Wonder Woman she is known for her moxie, her love of candy, and for her trademark call "Woo! Woo!" (A catch-phrase derived, in part, from exclamations associated with comic actorHugh Herbert. Other versions of the character have been known to say "Woo! Woo!" and according to at least one version it is a sorority cry at Holiday College.) Other familiar characteristics included her junky car nicknamed Esmerelda, and a variety of sassy interjections, such as: "For the love of chocolate!" // Her father, "Hard Candy," and mother, Sugar Candy, lived on the Bar-L Ranch in Brazos County, Texas that provided the setting for cowboy-themed adventures. She was shown to have a brother named Mint Candy who served as a soldier in the US Army. Holiday College was the setting for science-driven stories and it was at nearby "Starvard," (portmanteau of Stanford and Harvard) that her boyfriend, the gangly but very loving "Oscar Sweetgulper," studied. She was shown to be brave and even stormed a Nazi concentration camp armed with nothing but a box of candy to rescue captured children. She was also welcomed by Wonder Woman's people, the Amazons of Themyscira and even invited to their festivals. She was aware of her weight but never let it bother her. She even joked about it when asked by the Amazons if she would like to join in one of their sporting events. (wikipedia)
• • •

This grid is interesting to look at once you're done, if you highlight the relevant squares, but solving it is a lot like solving a really dull themeless puzzle. It's cool that the "É" works in both directions in ever instance, but it's only cool in retrospect; it's not as if any of these words would turn heads, or really stand out for their accent-ness. If that ACUTE hadn't been there, no one (or nearly no one) would've known what the theme was. And as a themeless puzzle, this puzzle doesn't have much to offer. BEACH BUM (8D: Person likely to have a good tan). I like that. The rest—adequate, which is not good enough for a themeless. Also, style points off for "ONE HEART" (1D: 2003 Celine Dion album)— no worse way to waste a long answer than to give it to a Celine (CÉline?) Dion album title. SHEENY isn't winning this puzzle any friends either (13D: Lustrous). One last thing about the theme: ACUTE? Since all these words come from the French (except maybe TÉA ... I don't know) (69A: Leoni of "Tower Heist"), I would expect the actual correct name of that accent to be used: accent AIGU (the less seen —in English — downward sloping accent is an accent grave, fyi). ACUTE is not an accent type I'm familiar with, though that may be because I had eight years of French and just take it for granted that accent AIGU is the right term.

The puzzle at least tries to modernize some of the clues today, with "C.S.I." getting a clue that refers to its most recent (Danson-driven) incarnation (22A: TV drama featuring Ted Danson as D.B. Russell), and RORY getting a young champion golfer clue (32A: Golfer McIlroy who won the 2011 U.S. Open) rather than, say, an old actor clue (i.e. RORY Calhoun). The puzzle is also oddly comics-happy (which is all right by me)—HAL Jordan will be reasonably familiar to casual comics fans (41A: ___ Jordan, real name of the Green Lantern), but ETTA Candy, hoo boy. I've never heard of her. You really gotta be a "Wonder Woman" fan to know that, I'd gather. Far more people will know DEAN RUSK, of course, though many solvers were probably like me in that they went looking for a single last name at 3D: U.S. secretary of state tied for the second-longest time in office and thus found themselves floundering for guesses until the two-name actuality of the answer became evident. Other sticking points (for me) included 16A: Station wagon rear door feature (LATCH), which I confidently had as HATCH; 67A: "Hey Jude" vis-à-vis "Revolution," e.g. (A-SIDE), which I wanted to end in -ER at first; and 35D: Hand-holding event (SÉANCE), which I didn't know what to do with.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:30 AM  

Very easy Wed. for me with a theme I would never have figured out with out the reveal.   Only erasure was CUTie for CUTEY and that was because I didn't look at the downs before I put the ie in. 

Only names I didn't know were the comix characters HAL and ETTA.

Zippy stuff: BEACHBUM, HITLIST, EXOTICA, ASIDE (because of the Beatles clue)...

Could have been zippy:  Rae clued with a Carly reference.

Long way to go for a 3 letter answer:  22a.

OK Wed.  with an ODD theme.

Deb 12:30 AM  

TABU is a "populat " perfume? Maybe fifty years ago. The only woman I've ever known to wear it was my junior high school best friend's mother, who was then in her fifties. All I remember about her is that she always sat in the same chair, fanning herself to relieve her hot flashes and stinking of that heavy, cloying scent. When you google TABU, the perfume doesn't even come up on the first page of results.

SHEENY was even harder to swallow though. That Y was the last letter I reluctantly entered into the grid.

GILL I. 12:37 AM  

Well, I'm in the NO ONE who knew what the theme was group.
Boy, I was just breezing through this puppy, happy as some PEAS, finished and then went OK, what did I just do? I got it all, smiled, patted my back and then Kinda said where's the CRUMB?
No idea until I came here. Still no idea, although CELINE could definetely use that thingy on her E...
Strange puzzle.
We are off in the wee hours tomorrow and
With that, I want to wish all of the fine people on this @Rex blog a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
Other than my birthday, Mother's Day, the 4th of July, Veteran's Day and Christmas, it's my favorite holiday.
What a better way to celebrate than to see @JaxInL.A. appear and to remember her beautiful tribute to all of us last year and then seeing the elusive @Evil Duck piping in and giving us a mouth watering "Laura Petri was a dish."
I doff my hat to you @Rex and bid you good Karma, lots of good turkey and a ton of happiness to you and your family.

Evan 12:41 AM  

I didn't notice the theme at all until after finishing. ACUTE filled itself in after I got all of the crossing entries. I still don't like CUTEY over the more-commonly spelled CUTIE, and come to think of it, ACUTE crossing CUTEY? Feh! Though like @jae, I will give some props to lively answers like HIT LISTS, HANDS IN, BEACH BUM, and LEAP YEAR.

Yes, there's some modernization, but I'm disappointed that MII was clued as a random Roman numeral rather than the Nintendo Wii avatar. There are oh-so-many random Roman numerals that pop up in every other puzzle throughout the year. There's only one MII. Go with Nintendo, New York Times! And just to prove how much you should go with Nintendo, here are 100 NES games in 10 minutes. I'm too lazy to count how many I've played in my lifetime. Let's say between 20 and 75.

D_Blackwell 12:49 AM  

". . . the letter "É" appears six times, twice in RÉSUMÉS, and then once near each of the puzzle's four corners. . . ."

Plus the two crosses through RÉSUMÉS.

There's a reason that SHEENY hasn't been seen since 1996. But - my dictionaries show another reason (at least for NYT). Evidently, SHEENY (and a couple of variant spellings)is a slur against Jews. This I find much more interesting and redeems its inclusion because I've accidentally learned something extra. Never heard this usage before. (Heck, never heard this word before and was just looking for the etymology.)


Loved the theme, but placing the accents was a lot of trouble for me.

Rookie 12:50 AM  

Just read yesterday's blog. So glad to see Evil back! Looking forward to the smiles that his remarks always promote.

Safe travels, everyone. I am grateful for Rex, those who create these puzzles, and this community of solvers who make me laugh at times and who always teach me new and interesting things. Thank you!

Andre' Carla^ Michaels 4:40 AM  

Acute puzzle!

Glimmerglass 7:38 AM  

Like D. Blackwell, I remember SHEENY as an anti-semetic pejorative.

Airymom 7:41 AM  

I graduated with a French major from Binghamton (Rex's school) and I agree with him--I never heard the accent called acute. The first new thing I learned today.

The other new thing is painful to learn. I worked for 31 years as a social worker in child protective services (investigating reports of child abuse). My clients were often hostile and threatening. I am Jewish and have an obviously Jewish last name. I was called hateful things many times--about being female, about being Jewish and even accusations of what I did with my mother. But I have never heard of the term "sheeny". I'm sad to learn of its existence.

This brings up a problem. I have never heard the word "sheeny" used to mean "lustrous". Hair has "sheen", but it's not "sheeny."

So, the modern, everyday usage is an offensive, ethnic slur and should not be used in the NY Times puzzle.

Someone didn't have his thinking cap on.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and drive safely, especially on the NJ Turnpike.

Bookdeb 7:46 AM  

Looking for side-a rather than ASIDE messed up the sw for me. Also wanted aigu...thot, that's too many letters, is there a variant spelling? Oh, ACUTE is the English spelling for the same thing.
From Wikipedia:
accent marks (thus called because the acute, the grave and the circumflex accent were originally used to indicate different types of pitch accents, in the polytonic transcription of Greek)
◌́ – acute accent (Latin apex)
◌̀ – grave accent
◌̂ – circumflex accent
◌̌ – caron, inverted circumflex, (Czech háček)
◌̋ – double acute accent
◌̏ – double grave accent

jackj 8:07 AM  

The expected wrath of Kahn turned out to be a rather casual hissy fit as far as the difficulty of this puzzle but David Kahn, true to his reputation as a highly imaginative creator who has given us 151 puzzles of all stripes since 1994, gives us a theme to remember.

Symmetrically placing words having an acute accent and using their accent mark for the crossing word as well is a tour de force, clearly seen when we look back at Détente and find it is also attaching itself to the acute accent mark in the crossing entry, Née.

The pièce de résistance though belongs to Séance and Sautés that cross the double accented Résumés in the center spot.

I’m usually a “fill is everything” type but this theme is worth the effort to point out its superb cleverness.

Mentioning the fill though, the good stuff gives us BEACHBUM and DEANRUSK, (who I’ll stipulate is not a BEACHBUM), HITLISTS and a bridge fan’s possible opening gambit, ONEHEART.

But, I was shocked to see SHEENY in the puzzle. While clued properly as “Lustrous” it is impossible not to think of the word in its more common guise as a hateful ethnic slur. If David and Will had thought a bit longer on this one, they likely would have done a revamp, (especially since having SEMITE just beneath the offending word seems to accentuate the problem).

The result? A good puzzle spoiled.

joho 8:24 AM  

It would have been better to make it SHEEDY clued as actress Ally.

It was an odd theme, obtuse even, rather than acute. There aren't triangles involved are there?
But looking back it is interesting to see how it works both ways up and down where the "e" crosses.

I had BEACHBoy before BEACHBUM which is better.


Milford 8:27 AM  

This was a puzzle that on first pass seemed like it was going to be really tough, but in the end was very doable. Clues I thought I had not one bit of knowledge about (Secretaries of State, tennis and golf players, non-Marvel comic characters) were somehow completely ok after a couple crosses. That ETTA clue was pretty out there, and the character is a tad unsettling.

Saw the theme about halfway through, but it contributed nothing to the solve for me. It was an ODD group of words, because some I would feel compelled to still use the accent on in English (PLIÉS, ATTACHÉS, EXPOSÉ) and others I'd probably leave off (DECOR, SAUTES, ECLAIR).


SHEENY seemed to be a terrible word even before I learned here that it's a slur. But it reminds me of the successful coffee chain based in Michigan that started out as Beaners, obviously to refer to coffee beans, that changed it's name to Biggby a few years ago as they expanded.

BTW, if you've never watched "Spanglish", it's worth seeing for TÉA Leoni, who plays neurotic very well.

Unknown 8:32 AM  

This puzzle lost me at SHEENY. That notwithstanding, in seventh grade Monsieur Plourde never mentioned that accent aigu was ACUTE. C'est la vie.

Ben D. 8:33 AM  

I love the comments, but I don't see that anyone has mentioned that all 6 acute accents (not just the 2 in the middle) work in the horizontal and the vertical. I'm a beginner solver and the theme actually helped me solve the puzzle as it helped me think of the last 3-4 answers that included an accent aigu.

First time commenter. I love this website, Rex!!!

Unknown 8:35 AM  

Liked "Atub" next to "Tabu!"

Tita 8:46 AM  

Just when I was thinking that the French streak was fini, here comes this puzzle.
@Deb - maybe "Popular xword perfume" - the 'xword' is implied...
My father was commercial ATTACHÉ.
Quick Wednesday for me, though I didn't know the comics folks.
Had the unaccented malapop tEa party before HEN, which I liked, ever since @Jen started the tradition of a regular one with a few of us in the neighborhood, to come visit her chicks.

Nosegay 8:54 AM  

I give this a 'meh'.
What exactly is a hen party?

Loren Muse Smith 8:58 AM  

The utter symmetry of the accents aigus (amen, @Rex, Bookdeb, and Susan McConnell) is so elegant. So the é appears six times, but there are twelve words (welcome, @Ben D.!) – très bien!

Why do I always want a j or a y or some other weird spelling for HENIE?

BEACH BUM crossing CUTEY (Yep - @jae – “cutie” first), TABU (yep - @Deb – come again??), STEAMIER, and HAND SIN. . .

NÉE Loren Reneé Muse (yeah- wrong e on my birth certificate), I go out of my way to use diacritics.

Anyone wanna coöperate on a puzzle with symmetrical diareses?

Thanks, Mr. Kahn.

Carola 9:16 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carola 9:19 AM  

Creative idea for the theme and elegant execution, but for me the overall delight quotient was low. Looked around after finishing for more entertainment - found HENIE above HEN NIE, wondered if ETTA Candy is A TUB. @Wes Davidson - I also liked the ATUB -TABU anagram.

I worked from the top down, and after filling in ACUTE crossing RESUMES, I circled the squares for the bottom answers - helped that part go faster.

@Loren - I had a similar thought about a "missing umlaut" puzzle. I get cross when I see "uber" used without it's two dots.

9:16 AM

chefbea 9:26 AM  

Got the theme right a way but had trouble in some spots. Of course did not like sheeny.

@Nosegay A hen party is all girls...no men allowed.

@Ben D welcome

Now to get to the kitchen and make some sides to bring to dinner tomorrow

Onan 9:28 AM  

I engage in HAND SIN on occasion.

John V 9:51 AM  

My French is not good enough to be called poor, but I kept wanting ACUTE to be AGUTE, since that was sort of vaguely familiar.

Re SHEENY; I thought it a)made-up in context and b)derogatory, as noted. Also think HENPARTY to be a bit sexist.

Medium for a Wednesday (no mileage rating, as working from home today), but I have no idea what to make of this puzzle; don't recall anything like this one before, unless we call the E aigu combinaton a rebus, which is sort of what it is, I suppose. Yep, I'll vote Wednesday rebus.

jberg 9:52 AM  

On the one hand, once I got to ACUTE I could fill in all the accented Es, which did help - on the other hand, the whole thing was a little boring. The hardest part was figuring out which of those Beatles hits was the A SIDE and which the B. (ETTA was fairly deducible, given her surname).

Things that would have made me like it better:

1. Accents AIGUS instead of ACUTE as the revealer;

2. Accents grave as the left half of each symmetrical pair. Now that would have been a theme -- esp. if you could get a circonflex right in the center.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Z 10:00 AM  

@Onan - Thinking of Sonja HENIE or ETTA Candy?

I was pretty young then, so I had to wait for "B" or "A" SIDE. I also had SAUTÉe before SAUTÉS, which made SEMITE hard to see. Also couldn't decide between cAL or HAL Jordan, so the SE took a little unraveling. I was also a bit of a Dim wit before I remembered McIlroy's name.

Hand up for not liking SHEENY before learning it's history. I'm a little pleased that it's taken 52 years and that I learned it's origin from this blog rather than from experience.

@Milford - I remember the first time I saw a Beaners in Kalamazoo and wondering how long it would take for them to figure it out. It was over a decade.

lawprof 10:13 AM  

Rats! Got caught out with a quasi-natick at the the 36A (CUTsY) 37D (sSE) crossing. In my mind's eye I could picture Cincinnati somewhere south of Indianapolis, but couldn't tell if it was more to the south than to the east. Ultimately guessed, incorrectly, SSE because "cutey" seemed wrong (should be "cutie") and "cutsy" seemed at least plausible. I can't believe that either is a real word, but I'll be damned if I'm gonna take the time to look it up. Grrrr....

mac 10:20 AM  

Medium, competent and pleasant-to-fill-in Wednesday, but I'd rather meet David Kahn on a Friday or Saturday.

Sheeny was ugly, even without knowing the derogatory meaning.

@Gill: LOL! Great comments today. Now on my way to NY for the celebrations! Happy Thanksgiving Eve and save travels.

Sandy K 10:47 AM  

The reveal did not enhance the solving experience.

Either did SHEENY.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Tita 11:03 AM  

@John V - our HEN party has real hens...that's why we call it that...
Actually, we call it a chick party, because it began because of the hatching thereof.
Men (and roosters) ARE allowed!

Michael Hanko 11:09 AM  

I think 'hen party' is a relatively common expression in the U.K., used to describe females-only parties that we'd call showers or bachelorette parties. Now THAT's a sexist term!

The first time I heard the English term 'hen party' was in an otherwise all-Hindi Bollywood movie. Sent me right to Google.

Anyone else bothered by the clue for OVERLAP? Circles in Venn diagrams don't necessarily do this, after all.

Jim 11:10 AM  

I have a problem with "used symmetrically" here. The six É in the puzzle cannot be transformed into another with a single plane of symmetry, and there is nothing to indicate that we should be looking for pairs that are "used symmetrically", and there is nothing connecting the pairs once the puzzle has been solved. DÉCOR and PLIÉS? NÉE and TÉA? RÉSUMÉ and itself?

Four can be interchanged with a single symmetry operation, but not all six. A plane perpendicular to the plane of that intersects it to make a line running diagonally from the NW corner to the SE corner takes care of all but the two in RÉSUMÉ.

D_Blackwell 11:11 AM  

I think that revealer clues tend to be overused (often completely unneeded). However, today's revealer clue really should have given a bigger clue to the masterpiece this puzzle is.

I solved the crossword fine, and got the theme fine - I thought - though had a lot of trouble placing some accents. The clue should have been written to reflect that the accent was used 6 times for 11 entries.

Giving too much? Maybe, but only a Wednesday, and without the blogs I would not have seen how amazing this is, and I thought it was pretty cool when I literally knew only half of it was there.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:11 AM  

Saved all of my errors and write-overs for one poor entry, 36 A, sort of a compendium of everything everyone else got wrong there: Started with HOTTY (although I thought HOTTIE would have been better), changed to HOTSY (closer to a real word), then stopped at CUTSY, having given up before seeing that CUTEY was the desired answer (but still would have looked wrong to me!)

Two Ponies 11:31 AM  

Great theme but the rest was very vanilla for this daily solver.
I do not recall ever seeing a ewer in a restaurant.
Had no idea about the sheeny thing.

Ellen S 11:35 AM  

I'm with everyone on CUTie. But DRi wit wasn't going to work so I gave in. Happy to say I had completely forgotten SHEENY as an ethnic slur until reminded here; only thought it was a lame synonym for "lustrous,". Overall, I thought it was awfully easy for a Wednesday--maybe I'm learning from you all and need to get more enjoyment from analyzing the structure even if the clues aren't much challenge.

@Loren, I like HAND SIN as an answer better than HANDS IN. How would you clue it? Maybe what @z said: "what one might do while thinking of Sonja HENIE." (Gotta admit, she was a ... Cutie.)

The whole top half just filled itself in but I stalled out in the SW with the crossing of ASIDE and PENTAD. I knew, dimly, that records had an A side and a B Side, but I never bought nor listened to popular music so no idea what 67A was even talking about (me bragging about my ignorance again), and I don't know sports stuff, like how many people on a basketball team. Not helped by the fact that I originally read that clue as "baseball team".

In French class it was always "accent aigu," but I had heard it referred to in English as "acute."

Last thing before I start enrobing truffles, is there any way to get diacritical marks in answers in AcrossLite on the iPad? I have an external keyboard which I wish I was using now, but the iPad doesn't recognize numerical keypad/CTRL key etc. ASCII input. Can't copy and paste, either. What was it allowed Rebuses, Magmic? Only with the built in keyboard? I'm not too fond of pecking away at the screen; only doing this because I'm so fond of you all, and too lazy to dig out the keyboard.

Enjoy the holiday, eat in moderation, drive safe. I'm grateful I found this blog andd all of you.

syndy 11:39 AM  

I did not add any accents to my answers so the theme did nothing for me. I didn't like SHEENY as a made up word before I knew it for a slur. I didn't like HEN PARTY-never have.and Now I'm even worried about SHE GOAT! over all I found the puzzle too easy for wednesday-not Mr Kahn's best.ODD

Milford 12:09 PM  

@Ellen S - on a touch-screen, try holding down the letter on the keyboard for a couple seconds, and options for that letter should pop up, then drag your finger to the appropriate one. Copy/cut/paste should also work by touching the text on the screen for a couple seconds. At least that's how it works on my iPod. Hope that helps.

Al Rodbell 12:11 PM  

Wow, never thought my aortic valve leakage (minor) would come in handy, but it did in 49D

Hey gang, the new printout form is a disaster for those over a certain age. I wrote to the Times to fix the type, but Sunday is a mess.

We should let the Times know about this

Lewis 12:30 PM  

Never heard of the derogatory SHEENY, and never used it is lustrous.

I loved the theme, how the accents worked across
AND down. HEN party? I don't think I've heard that, though its meaning is clear.

I liked EXOTICA and haven't thought about Michael CHANG in a long time.

evil doug 12:33 PM  

Sheeny is a new one on me. Thought I knew most of the various slurs. Interesting that Semite is running nearby.

Where's that g-spot puzzle when you need it? He(i)nie, expose, tabu, dry, icy, need, lag, steamier, sautes, agile, resets cutey, total exotica, unrest, eater---Chang! And 'hand sin', Loren....

Happy Thanksgiving. Oh, and Happy Veteran's Day---seemed to kind of get overlooked here last week....


Notsofast 12:59 PM  

So much clever stuff happening in this puzzle! And "SHEENY" is brilliant!

Mz.D 1:35 PM  

Meh;Between spelling errors and being totally off sides to the clues I found it a real slog;Never heard of Etta and it was fun to learn about her.On the racial slurs front,I was so sure "sheeny" couldn't be correct that I opted for "sheens"even though it was obviously not quite right....

wordie 1:38 PM  

I did not know the word Pentad. Sheeny is horrible as clued and of course as a derogatory term. Love French but did not like this puzzle. I had a conversation with someone waiting for the train this morning. He said he does the NYT crossword puzzle but never in public (?). I told him about this blog, which I love. Happy Thanksgiving, all!

JHC 1:40 PM  

I guessed right on HENIE/CHANG, but it was a guess. Two crossing sports proper nouns, one 50 years old and the other relatively minor? Not cool.

Bird 1:55 PM  

ACUTE ACCENT? Really? OK. This one played medium-challenging for me as some spots were a complete blank for a while. Aside from the fact that CUTE is in the puzzle twice, I didn’t really like this one too much – I admire the construction, but did not enjoy the solve. Hand up for thinking this was a themeless Wednesday.

Never heard the ugly word SHEENY, whether used as a synonym to SHINY or as a slur. I agree that corner should have been rebuilt.

Not only do we get a RRN and a RCD, now we get (if I may) a Random Greek Letter. Ugh.

Write-overs include HINGE at 16A, EROTICA at 53A (hey, some of that stuff is strange), NBC at 58A, FAR at 71A, OF-WAR at 68A and COLOR at 70A.

Happy Humpday!

Real 'Merican 2:20 PM  

I sure hope that whiney foreigner from a few days ago is happy with this puzzle, because I sure ain't.

You know how I spell SAUTE? FRY.

You want me to go around putting fly-specks on top of my words to make them seem more Frenchy? No way. You want to do that, fine, move up to Canada or something, but leave me alone.

If it ain't on my keyboard as one key, it ain't American.

Lojman 2:22 PM  

Don't overlook the cardiology theme:



Anonymous 3:08 PM  

@Jim - The puzzle, and the accented Es have the standard rotationaly symmetry of US crossword puzzles. You almost had it correct in your last paragraph, except that you took the entry to be RESUME rather than RESUMES.

Anonymous 3:13 PM  

Maybe it's me but twenty-six crosses consisting of three letter fill detracted from an interestingly themed puzzle. I'm a first time contributor so I wonder if anyone else had a similar reaction. Maybe I'm too much of an aesthete?

Confused on Long Island 3:15 PM  

@Jim - There is horizontal and vertical symmetry in this puzzle. What grid are you looing at?

Confused on Long Island 3:17 PM  

@Jim - Nevermind. I took a third look. There is, however, regular crossword symmetry.

John V 3:28 PM  

@anomymous 3:13. The average word length, e.g. 3 letter words, and word count, 78, are atypical of a Wednesday puzzle for sure. My take on this is the tradeoff was that we got four pretty interesting corners with the longer downs that crossed many of the threes you mentioned. NW and SE corners were especially good, IMHO. I would guess that David Kahn made this explicit choice in constructing the grid. To me, it works.

Please post again, maybe with a handle next time!


Tony S. 4:03 PM  

@Bird - RRN, RCD, RGL. Good grief. When will the randomness end?!

sanfranman59 4:21 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)

Wed 11:11, 11:49, 0.95, 39%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Wed 7:00, 5:57, 1.18, 87%, Challenging

Sparky 4:49 PM  

I spelled it agule before I got it but questioned CUTE and CUTEY. Went back and put in the accent marks. You don't need to know the name of 52a to figure it might be a pun.

Surprised at SHEENY. How lucky you are who don't know
those words. I'm glad they are going out of common use. Been years since I've been called a Mick. Not to mention a Potato Eater.

Speaking of which: remember the commercial "Mashed or stuffing?" Both say I, and baked sweets too.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all of you, to all of us, to Rex and his family. I just love this blog.

Anonymous 6:51 PM  

CHANG/HENIE - definite Natick for me.

Anonymous 7:08 PM  

"Sheeny" isn't cute or clever; it's unacceptable. I hope the NYT isn't opening the whole back catalogue of vile ethnic terms to cruciverbalists on a regular basis.

stan wagon 7:40 PM  

I would call this an error: In French a flowing body of water that flows to the sea is called a "fleuve". A riviere flows into a fleuve or another riviere. The St. Lawrence River (I grew up in Montreal) is Fleuve St. Laurent.

Frank O'File 8:33 PM  

And not to quibble, but the acute accent is used twelve times, not six.

dsgoen 8:42 PM  

It says something about my sensibilities, but the first thing that came to mind when I saw the word "sheeny" was from Finnegans Wake:

"And one time you’d rush upon me, darkly roaring, like a great black | shadow with a sheeny stare to perce me rawly."

jackj 9:05 PM  


And before there was Finnegan's Wake, there was Ulysses:

"Shylock chimes with the jewbaiting that followed the hanging and quartering of the queen’s leech Lopez, his jew’s heart being plucked forth while the sheeny was yet alive"

Jim 9:39 PM  

Thanks, 3:08 Anon and Confused.

@3:08 Anon: I left off more than the S at the end of RÉSUMÉS -- I lost a few other words somehow.

@Confused: Yes, I have seen this usage before in crosswords, but the scientist in me still gets annoyed. I should let it go.

Anonymous 4:06 PM  

For 47 across, AcrossLite didn't put the _____ after the clue "Snow," which made it ungettable for me.

Unknown 12:39 AM  

It was great doing it.

Online Crossword Puzzles

Spacecraft 1:01 PM  

Did not know about the racial slur--there are already too many of those (1 or more)--but still thought SHEENY was terrible. Ask 10,000 people to give you a word that means "lustrous" and begins with SH and ends with NY, and 10,000 will say "shiny." For me it went in on crosses. Now, after reading the blogs, I wonder if Mr. Kahn was trying to tell us something, with SEMITE crossing HITLISTS?

Hand up for my party being tEa before HEN--though that would have created TEA for two in the completed grid!

I've heard of HYATT hotels, and Grand Hotel, but not Grand HYATT. Oh well, gettable easily enough. Also, my wit was wRY before it was DRY. I think of a fund-raiser "request" as a donation. DONATE (!) seems more like an order. "Give, or else! No soup for you!!"

My station wagon sported a hATCH(back) till I LATCHed onto the correct word there. Geez, they ALL have latches, don't they?

A good, clever puzzle, outside the now-obvious gaffe at 13d, medium for me. With so many threes, Mr. K. did as well as could be expected with the fill, SSR and MII aside.

DMGrandma 5:49 PM  

Did the entire puzzle with no idea what the revealer was talking about. Came here to discover my ignorance of proper spelling, but that's nothing new! Only slowdown was wanting SNOWskiS and hanging on to it much too long, but eventually I succumbed to the obvious.

Happy Boxing Day!

Ginger 7:14 PM  

I think the term HEN PARTY has fallen out of use in the past 40 or 50 years, and could have been clued as obsolete. Did not know the derogative meaning of 13-D, but even the usage as clued was weak IMO.

Writeovers were utter before TOTAL, seNDSIN, and far before ICY. With ONE HEART I thought it was going to be about bridge, but no, I was not so lucky. But even though I've never taken French, the theme words are in common usage, and very gettable.

Interesting puzzle, especially after reading the comments here. What a fascinating community this is. Thank you all.

Dirigonzo 10:55 PM  

I spent too long trying to order an onion bagel when all they had was PLAIN. I think it's tres (imaginine an accent over the e)cool that the accent marks work in both the across and down answers.

Anonyrat 7:28 AM  

Would some one (if anyone reads this) be kind enough to explain how SAE (I assume that's self addressed envelope) is a MS. enclosure?

Z 7:37 AM  

Self Addressed Envelope. SASE is also common - Self Addressed Stamped Envelope.

Z 7:38 AM  

Oops - When you send in your manuscript (MS.) and want it back, you include the envelope. I didn't read your whole question the first time through.

Anonyrat 6:39 AM  

Thanks, Z. I couldn't figure out what MS. stood for in this context. Some hours after posting my question, it occurred to me it might be an abbreviation for manuscript, but I still wasn't sure as I have not seen it before, and have never sent in a manuscript and did not know it was customary to include an SA(S)E with one.

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