Composer Dominick whose name means silver in Italian / THU 11-1-12 / Princess known as Defender of Elijans / role that garnered 12 consecutive unsuccessful Emmy nominations 1985-96 / Fredric March's last film / Tributary of High Rhine

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Constructor: George Barany and Victor Barocas

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: BLIND [c]ARBON [c]OPY (73A: With 74- & 75-Across, "invisible" part of a distribution list ... or a hint to this puzzle's theme) — theme answers are 3-part grid-spanners where each of the two black squares represents the letter "C" (because the "C" and the "C" are "BLIND"...)

Word of the Day: LALLY column (2D: ___ column (construction piece)) —

lally column is round thin walled structural steel column oriented vertically to provide support to beams or timbers stretching over long spans. A lally column is filled with concrete to prevent buckling. The advantage of a lally column over conventional structural steel is the ability to cut it to length on a construction site with simple hand tools such as a plumber’s pipe cutter. Lally columns are generally not as strong or durable as conventional structural steel columns. The term “lally column” is sometimes incorrectly used in reference to other types of prefabricated steel columns.
The lally column is named after a U. S. inventor, John Lally, who owned a construction company that started production of these columns in the late 19th century. He resided in Waltham, Massachusetts and Boston during the period 1898 through 1907. He was issued four U. S. Patents on composite columns: #61472, #869869, #901453,and #905888. Pat. #869869 was assigned to the U. S. Column Company of Cambridge, MA. (wikipedia)
• • •

Mixed feelings. I am quite impressed by the sheer number of theme answers, considering how particular the placement of the "C"s within each answer has to be. I'm also impressed that (for consistency's sake) there are no "C"s at all in the grid. But conceptually I don't quite get it. I know what "bcc" is, and "blind carbon copy," but I've never heard of "blind cc," which is the phrase that would describe what's happening in this grid. I googled that phrase, and it's a thing, of sorts, but, I don't know. Maybe it's something to do with "C" being the symbol for Carbon? The concept feels slightly rickety. Still, I mostly liked the challenge—there's some truly terrible fill here and there (SOHIO, -EAL, ONER, LALLY, ASE, SAR, EFOR, AREAR, etc.), but at least it's all gettable. Maybe if this puzzle had been titled "The Black Sea" or something different, I would feel more warmly about it. Again, I do admire the number and symmetricality of the theme answers.

Theme answers:
  • 1A: sports news of 1919 (BLAcK SOX ScANDAL)
  • 17A: Toys "R" Us department (ELEcTRONIcGAMES)
  • 34A: Frederic March's last film ("THE IcEMAN cOMETH")
  • 45A: like some student activities (EXTRAcURRIcULAR)
  • 64A: role that garnered 12 consecutive unsuccessful Emmy nominations, 1985-96 (JESSIcA FLETcHER) — of "Murder, She Wrote," played by Angela Lansbury; I could think only of ERIcA KANE.
Not sure why "invisible" is in quotation marks. Clue works fine (i.e. is literally correct) without the quotation marks. Had real trouble with the little areas in NE and SW (where, in each case, two theme answers were in play). Also had trouble in the NW, as BEEPS (1D: Urban cacophony) are computer or timer sounds to me, LALLY meant nothing to me, and AREAR ... well, actually, I got that, but ugh. Also didn't know KETONE (4D: Organic compound with a double-bonded oxygen). Wrote in LEIA for XENA (7D: Princess known as the Defender of the Elijans) (not a trap I've fallen into before, to my recollection, which is shocking, given how many times both princesses appear in crosswords). No idea who this composer guy is, but "silver" in Italian was no problem (9D: Composer Dominick whose name means silver in Italian). I think Dario ARGENTO is more famous than this composer ARGENTO (Dario outgoogles Dominick by 30x when names are put inside quotation marks). I (and many of my friends) went through a ravenous "Tales of the City" phase in college. Those books are entertaining—smart, funny, and very, very readable. This is to say that MAUPIN was a gimme. Cluing in this puzzle wasn't terribly impressive, but 24A: Drawer in a doctor's office? (SYRINGE) was pretty damned good, I must say.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Andrea arla Mihaels 12:22 AM  

gotta go almost word for word with @rex
except BEEPS "resounded" with me...having suffered thru "urban cacophony" past few weeks with Giants' victories every other night and now Halloween outside my windows.
(I am typing this to the sound of BEEPS!)
Many cars, many backing up bus beeps and car alarm beeps.
I am goin' beepin' crazy from the noise!)

Super interesting -on-ept.
I was sorry I caught on at 1A, so it went too fast.

Anyway, I super liked that it was three clues across over and over again. I just like that whole idea, whether it was hidden letters or full phrases.

Also proud these are both Minnesotans. And the Chemistry Professor in George Barany definitely shows itself in KETONE, ASE, ARGENTO, CARBON, ANODE.

Didn't know AMERIND or understand the SLID clue...and I wanted the "third" of November to be VEM till I realized November only has 8 letters! But VEM would work as third of Noovember!

Anonymous 12:34 AM  

I thought that the revealer clue was pretty stupid, on top of there being absolutely no reason to have a revealer clue. (NYT relies heavily on revealer clues and they are often less than lackluster.) (Blind CC or BCC is definitely a thing, but not in this context, IMO. Maybe I'm missing why "distribution list" somehow justifies the clue.)

Nice Thursday theme though, especially with no other Cs in the grid, but went pretty easily for me. The six clue sets showed that something was up, and showed exactly where something was up at. I just ignored them and put in what fill I could and then looked at the clue sets. EXTRACURRICULAR went first and the rest followed right quick.

Clark 12:38 AM  

I liked this one. No problems anywhere in the grid. I didn't know a lot of stuff, but the crosses filled everything in. @acme — I am very impressed that you got 1A. No more complaints from you about sports trivia! I didn't get any of the theme answers until I got the reveal at 73A.

Bcc = blind cc. Made sense to me, though I get that it isn't quite a thing.

Evan 12:41 AM  

Medium for me, maybe easy-medium, since I caught the theme somewhat early and the rest kind of fell into place from there. I would have liked to have seen fill entries that were more lively than AMERIND and ARGENTO, but the theme is very clever.

My favorite clue was "Embarassing spelling mistake?" for ONE R. That's probably because a typo is the last thing I would expect to see in a NYT puzzle, so I didn't even notice it until I was almost finished. Honorable mention goes to "Get one's point across?" for JAB, and while I understand that one, I think of JAB much more commonly as a boxing attack rather than a poke. Unfortunately, "Get one's punch across" probably doesn't have the same ring to it.

Pop culture reminder of the day goes to POISE -- anyone else recall Kramer coaching Miss Rhode Island to remember what really counts during the competition?

Couple other observations: 1) This former chemistry major had no problem with KETONE -- nice to see an organic compound besides ENOL for a change. 2) I've done music for a long time, but I don't really get the DUM da DUM clue/answer. I've seen TRA LA, FA LA, OOM PAH, and the various DO RE MI syllables many times before, but DUM da DUM seems more obscure to me. Are there any popular songs that use that sequence? I could only come up with this one and this one, and I ain't never heard of either.

jae 12:44 AM  

Pretty easy for a Thurs.  Got the Cs with 1,4,9a but it took the reveal for the aha moment.

Erasure: MAim for MAUL


Cringe: EAL


Very clever, liked it!

JFC 1:01 AM  

Is there no such thing as artistic license when it comes to constructing XWPs? The translation of BCC to unseen Cs is not that difficult. This puzzle was clever and fun. And even a notch above the usual Thursday rebus....


acme 2:10 AM  

Oh! I just got the "embarass" clue!!! I parsed as ONER like a doozie. Totally didn't get it, till you explained, thanks!
Esp bec I learned the mnemonic for "embarrass" on this very blog, that it's just two of everything.

Greg Charles 2:16 AM  

I'd give this puzzle an A FOR effort, but it prefers to have an E instead.

Anoa Bob 2:21 AM  

This is like a jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces are cleverly, even artistically formed but when finally put together in the proper arrangement, don't quite gel. It leaves a nagging sense of incompleteness. No Gestalt for me on this one. I understand this could be more my problem than the puzzle's.

One thing for sure; if you look at the completed grid, IN SITU (26A), there's some bizarre looking "words" crossing one another. A bit jarring I say. Could be fodder for an alien language spoof, if one were inclined to such sophomoric antics.

If I were rating, it would "Get an E FOR effort" (62D).

chefwen 2:51 AM  

Loved it. Husband and I tackled it together. Sports guy that he is came up with the BLACK SOX SCANDAL and CARBON COPY, but it took me a long time to put two and two together to fit the missing C in the black spots. Sometimes I'm a little short on the uptake. DOH!

Really wanted the Susan Lucci role for 64A but having never watched a soap, couldn't remember who she played. JESSICA came after some thought.

Perfect Thursday puzzle, thanks George and Victor.

chefwen 2:56 AM  

Oops, forgot @JFC 31D was my first fill.

Getting hungry for that popcorn.

Z 7:01 AM  

I agree with @JFC, the revealer is fine. BLIND CARBON COPY is a thing. BLIND CC is a play on that thing.

I knew BLACK SOX SCANDAL immediately but it didn't fit. I thought maybe a color rebus but that didn't work. I just left it blank and worked down the puzzle. Got all the way to the bottom revealer before figuring out what was going on, then worked my way back up lickety split except for the NW. Had L-beam and Abaft, so I had to fix those errors. The oto part of otolaryngology saved the day. I had not really thought about what E.N.T. stood for the first time through. Because of my initial errors I was briefly wondering if Saffo was an alternate spelling. LALLY just looks wrong.

Once again lots of the fill is marginal at best, but is good enough and spread out enough that I don't think it overwhelms the theme. All in all a good, fresh Thursday puzzle.

Milford 7:19 AM  

Medium tough, and I liked it a lot. I thought the theme was pretty cool, and didn't notice until now that there are no Cs anywhere in the grid. The term Blind CC feels fine to me. I can imagine saying, "I should blind cc all the team members in my e-mail".

Knew 1,4,9A were Black Sox related but could figure out how to get it in, even though the recent puzzle contest and the eclipse puzzle both used this gimmick. Didn't help that I had Leia instead of XENA for awhile.

Also thought 64,67,69A had a Susan Lucci/Erika Kane type answer.

I love that a chemist was one of the constructors, that makes so much sense! I only got ARGENTO because I knew Ag.

@Evan - I took the music clue to just be what someone uses when they are singing a song with no words, like a classical piece, instead of humming.

Great, puzzly Thursday.

phbphd 7:27 AM  

So we're all agreed that you can't see 'C' in the dark square is the explanation for why the CC is 'blind'? Was Rex's point that blind didn't need to be in quotes or that he didn't get what was blind about it?

Glimmerglass 7:53 AM  

I taught high school English for 38 years, and my eye read right over "embarassing" (em-bare-ass-ing). I was trying to parse ONER as bONER missing the B (?). When I came here, I appreciated ONE R. Excellent Thursday puzzle. It took me to JESSIca FLETcHER to catch on to the theme.

Unknown 7:57 AM  

OH, COME ON, PEOPLE! This puzzle was great in so many ways. Where's the love?

This, to me, is exactly what a Thursday should be. Six solid theme answers, including a revealer that - sorry, Rex - makes perfect sense. C = carbon, there are two of them hidden in each answer, hence "blind CC". Brilliant!

It was a fresh idea, with good fill overall.

Agree with the post above. This deserved an A for effort, and execution.

Stevlb1 7:59 AM  

Everybody knows what a "Blind CC" is. Get a job, Rex!

dk 8:32 AM  

I'm not in love
So don't forget it
It's just a silly phase I'm going through
And just because
I call you up
Don't get me wrong, don't think you've got it made
I'm not in love, no no, it's because..

I like to see you
But then again
That doesn't mean you mean that much to me
So if I call you
Don't make a fuss
Don't tell your friends about the two of us
I'm not in love, no no, it's because..

I keep your picture
Upon the wall
It hides a nasty stain that's lying there
So don't you ask me
To give it back
I know you know it doesn't mean that much to me
I'm not in love, no no, it's because..

Ooh you'll wait a long time for me
Ooh you'll wait a long time
Ooh you'll wait a long time for me
Ooh you'll wait a long time

I'm not in love
So don't forget it
It's just a silly phase I'm going through
And just because I call you up
Don't get me wrong, don't think you've got it made
I'm not in love
I'm not in love

🌟(1 Star) DUM DUM

Bob Snead 8:39 AM  

I feel like the revealer is just *barely* off the mark, but not by much. It still makes good sense, and the concept is fun, and the theme answers are fun, so what's not to like?

Really disagree with @Anon 12:34. Revealer is absolutely necessary, this puzzle would be almost incomprehensible without it. I think the NYT's " heavy reliance" on revealers is a good thing, makes the puzzles more lively, imo.

Unknown 8:41 AM  

Agree with Cuthbert...loved everything about it, especially that no Cs were used elsewhere in the puzzle.

jackj 8:46 AM  

From the get go it was clear that the top across answer was the BLACKSOXSCANDAL but, when you’re missing two squares to complete the entry, what’s the gimmick? Soon enough, old friend Occam flashed his Razor and the gimmick was obvious, use the black squares to write in the complete answer and the parsimonious William of Occam came through again.

The other theme entries filled in easily, (with a brief flirtation to consider Susan Lucci’s hapless soap opera role, before quickly putting in JESSICAFLETCHER for the Emmy-less actress) and then, the reveal entry, BLINDCARBONCOPY prompted a look back that showed that all the theme entries were “hiding” CC’s and the co-author's brilliance was cemented.

The B-Boy’s also gave us some nice fill but there were a few, ARGENTO, AMERIND, MAUPIN and KETONE especially, that were troublesome as stand alone answers, but were easily filled in by their crosses.

Finally, there was some lovely cluing for LADDER and SYRINGE and DUM for the pre and post “da” word was clever, but all bow to the entry ONER that very slyly misspelled “embarrassing” in the clue as “embarassing”, hence the spelling mistake of using only ONE R.

A wonderful piece of work from George and Victor, whose puzzles to date have been few and far between, but hopefully they’ll get to work on closing that lapse!

Carola 9:02 AM  

Challenging for me - found it tough to get enough crosses to figure out the theme answers, even after catching on to the concept at the GAMES level. I appreciate the constructing feat and liked the reveal a lot, but for me the delight-while-solving factor was low.

Overlapping words this week: Mon-Tues - ODESSA, Tues-Weds - RAWLS, Weds-Thurs - BLIND

@Rex - Thanks for pointing out the "no C's."
@Evan - Thanks for explaining the "ONE R."

jberg 9:18 AM  

Like everybody, apparently, I read the first clue, muttered "Black Sox Scandal," and then saw that it wouldnt fit. Also thought 4D should be KETONE, but already had SAR and that seemed unlikely. Got AREAR, and thought for a moment that maybe this was the 93d anniversary of the NBA. But finally PLATO gave me BEEP and I saw how the whole things works.

For me, the revealer added to the you of the puzzle - until I got to it, I was thinking 'ok, missing Cs, but why? How does a vertical black bar = C?'

Rex's point is clear if you read him carefully. The revealer is accurate, but if we think of it as meaning 'blind cc', that's a phrase Rex never uses (I do, myself). But as someone pointed out - and I didn't realize until coming here - carbon copy can also refer to the symbol for carbon, C, and its copy - another C.

I didn't get ONE R until coming here, either. I love this blog!

And how about those other theme entries, DEMCFONTCDES & VEECMALECASP?

joho 9:52 AM  

At first all the cross referencing had me mumbling that "this is the most annoying puzzle ever!" But when the light went on that immediately changed to, "wow, what a clever concept!" Loved it!

The last line in for me was BLA KSOXS ANDAL and I was thrilled to figure it out.

@Andrea Arla Mihaels, when I lived in Manhattan I definitely heard the BEEPS!

Thank you George & Victor for an exceptional Thursday puzzle!

quilter1 9:54 AM  

Challenging for me--DNF. I don't know the Black Sox Scandal so although I got some of the other theme answers that was not one of them. A clever idea though.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

Wonderful puzzle, unlike yesterday's Shakespearean fiasco. Very enjoyable to solve. Came easy to me for some reason. Covered a broad range of topics and contained clever cluing. Loved the absence of a "c" and the "embarrass" clue especially.
Wonder if Shoeless Joe Jackson, Frederic March and Susan Lucci knew or know or cared or care about MacBeth.
By the way Michael, a blind cc is a everyday occurrence in the real, business world. Don't know about ivy towers however.

Tita 10:02 AM  

I am a sucker for gimmicks like this - thought this was wonderfully clever.

Always thought it was Lolly columnn - cause it looked like a Lollipop...
I do know what one is, though - we have built decks, and used them.

Cool that there are no Cs at all.

@acme- especially impressive re: 1A given your aversin to sports...
I knew about the 1919 Black Sox scandal, but just figured the question was looking for a player's name or something...

@Evan - I liked clue for ONER too - much better than the usual lame clues for that xowrdese.

Thanks Mssrs. Barany & Barocas!

ksquare 10:19 AM  

During WWII war plants that did a good job received E for for Effort awards.

ksquare 10:21 AM  

Excuse the second 'for'.

Two Ponies 10:42 AM  

Great puzzle. Given the large number of things I did not know I'm surprised I finished.
I really look forward to playful Thursdays to see what tricks are in store. This one really fit the bill. Thanks guys.

Michael P. Manning 10:50 AM  

I think "blind" carbon copy is referred to as such because when the email is sent, the addresses and cc recipients all see the to, from and cc addressee names on the email. They are however "blind" to the bcc names. Only the sender and the bcc recipient are aare that the communication has been shared beyond the visible distribution list.

I loved the "blind" C's and originally thought that this would reflect a "C" on their uniform for Chicago, much like the D for Detroit. However I checked and the uniforms of the day had "Sox" in black on the white uniforms.

Mike Manning

Jim 10:52 AM  

I am also in big agreement with Cuthbert -- this is the best puzzle I have had the pleasure of solving in a long time. The "blind CC" works on not just one but TWO levels-- I couldn't ask for anything more. Maybe it was more obvious to me because I am a chemist.

Rex must have been in a bad mood.

Ulrich 10:55 AM  

I, too, loved this puzzle, including the revealer, which posed no problem for me (I don't know how often I've seen "bcc"). And yes, the clue for ONER is wonderful.

Sun's shining, generator turned off, life back to normal!

Sandy K 10:59 AM  

Had a hard time getting started as this was definitely not easy- no CCs-y...

But figured it out at ELECTRONIC GAMES- and then THE ICEMAN and all the rest COMETH.

Thought it was _lever and _hallenging. Liked Armistad MAUPIN. Watched "Tales of the _ity". (His real name is an anagram.)

Had Leia before Xena also. Never heard of LALLY or SOHIO, but happily SLID in the right letters.

Sgt. Joe Friday 11:06 AM  

@Evan - My thought - 11D refers to the "Dragnet" opening theme, though of course there are other ways of rendering it.

JFC 11:42 AM  

@Mike Manning - Only the Cubs and Da Bears use a C for a logo. The other major Chicago teams (Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks) do not.

@Chefwen - I can see the Pack running the table, with @Detroit and @NY Giants being their only bumps in the road. That, of course, is all subject to the great Aaron Rodgers doublecheck remaining healthy. I do not see Da Bears winning as many going forward. It is possible that the Division title will be settled when they meet again at Soldier Field, but we both know that the Pack has Jay Cutler's number and the great dooublecheck Aaron toys with Da bears....


Bob Kerfuffle 11:47 AM  

Agree with Sgt. Joe Friday -Dum da dum dum, dum da dum dum, dummmm.

Decent Thursday puzzle, had me working to get the theme answers.

My greatest joy, however, that as I was half-way through doing the puzzle by flickering candlelight,(here in the Stone Age wilderness of suburban New Jersey) my power came back on after two and a half days. I know many others have been and currently are in the dark for much longer than that, and they all have my great sympathy.

Anonymous 12:06 PM  

Personally I found "E for Effort" very irritating. I have heard "A for Effort" a million times and never heard the other version. I just looked online and see that" e for effort exists" and that in fact there has been debate over which of the two is proper. Well I think that e for effort is baloney. Or bologna.

Milford 12:21 PM  

Hey, maybe those BLIND CCs are meant to go into the SYRINGE?

@jberg is correct, @Rex obviously understands what BLIND CC is, he just doesn't care for it as the phrase that people use.

The da DUM song that came to my mind was the Pink Panther theme. But Dragnet definitely works, too.

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

As someone who was secretary for a group with a listserv, "blind cc" is definitely a thing, and one which leads itself naturally to crossword wordplay. It's a fresh, modern concept done in an interesting way with solid theme answers. If this is "rickety," what isn't?

efrex 12:48 PM  

One of my fastest Thursdays in a long time; guess I was just on the constructors' wavelength on this one.

The theme jumped out very quickly for a Thursday puzzle, and I can forgive much worse than LALLY when you've got 6 symmetrical theme answers.

Nicely done, gentlemen!

Soon to be arrested for aggravated assault 12:56 PM  

Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail.

Someone outside my window at work is playing "Call me Maybe" on an endless loop. I have to stop this, by any means necessary. I hold the phrase "by any means necessary" as sacrosanct, not to be tossed around lightly. It is to me, and always will be, a profound statement of human dignity, forever associated with Civil Rights and the dignity of man.

Having to listen to "Call Me Maybe" rises to this level.

Oh, the puzzle was fine. It had lots of words and a couple of missing letters.

Joe The Juggler 1:02 PM  

I liked it. When I looked at all those theme clues, it seemed as if it'd be more difficult than it turned out to be.

D. Bruce Brown 1:02 PM  

Unclear how anyone communicating in 2012 can be unaware of what a blind cc is. You do it everyday in non-electronic communication. You tell someone something, then tell someone else but don't want the first person to know that you've told the second person. Not a new idea. In fact, I think it may be one of Hammurabi's laws.

Great puzzle today.

Merle 1:22 PM  

I found this puzzle to be fun, and easy. Nothing medium or challenging about it. Being as 20th century as I am, bcc, blind carbon copy, was pretty easy to spot. I made the transition from carbon copy to photocopying to email bcc during the last 50 years of that forgotten century. E for effort also was a 20th century report card grade, along with the A for effort. Oh, by the way, "Effort" begins with "E", duh. And yes, Sergeant Joe Friday, very 20th century, got the "Dragnet" four note theme. Sorry, "dk", you've got "Star(s)" in your eyes -- but it ain't stars, honey.... Another easy Thursday.

John V 1:23 PM  

Hello from still dark CT. Liked this one, thought the theme was really neat. Would have liked it more if the print edition had made it to my house this morning, but, no. Saw the theme at EXTRACURRICULAR, but struggled with all of them. This was challenging for me and I finished with a couple of mistakes.

I vote for blind c.c. as being a real thing.

Good one, George and Victor. Thanks!

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

I wonder if younger people know where the term 'carbon copy' came from. How long before that old technology gets lost in the mists of history?

Bird 1:48 PM  

OK, I liked this puzzle. Started with THE at 1A thinking a team won a championship and a rebus would be in play. Turns out I was wrong. Got the theme with 17A with confirmation at 34A, which was my favorite answer. I am totally impressed with the construction of the puzzle for the same reasons that @Rex pointed out.

I did not like the intersection of 44A and 40D. Needed to guess because I wasn’t completely sure about the river’s name and absolutely sure I never heard of that novelist. I also do not like the answer for 46D as it feels made up by the constructors.

Great clue for 32D.

Aside from my error at 1A, other corrections include COMEDY before R-RATED and LEIA before XENA.

Norm 1:48 PM  

If a LALLY column is unknown to you, you're seriously deficient in your "This Old House" lore. We seem to forever be installing LALLY columns. Of course, we all speak South Bostonian, so it takes ten or so instances or hearing it said to actually believe that it is, in fact, 'LALLY', but what the hell.

Gareth Bain 1:52 PM  

What JFC said...

Sandy K 1:54 PM  


Author Armistead MAUPIN is his real name, and since anagrams are key in his story, 'Is a Man I Dreamt UP' was created for him.

Notsofast 1:57 PM  

Never in 67 years, and hundreds of THIS OLD HOUSE, have I heard LALLY column. This puzzle was great fun, however, AND it had a terrific baseball answer!

syndy 2:16 PM  

I did not get it untill the revealer and since I am all but computer illiterate Blind cc meant little (allright reasonablly inferable)I had almost nothing until the bottom so I worked my way back from there-fun. I have worked 33 yrs in construction(heavy) and had never run into a LALLY column so I googled last night! made my hair stand straight up!M. I. C .K .E .Y ......

Rookie 2:17 PM  

Really loved it. Thanks to the constructors.

Appreciated those of you who explained ONER.

Glad that some of you have power back. Chuckled that amidst all the chaos the crossword puzzle still gets done. Prayers still coming for those whose lives have been turned upside down.

Anonymous 2:43 PM  

One must be old enough to remember real carbon copies as well as fluent in current email usage and etiquette. The BCC function in an email is really important when sending to a long list of folks, wanting each recipient to be "blind" to the addresses of the others. It makes everybody feel special, too.

Acme 3:03 PM  

I call those overlaps "bleed overs" and swear I thought they were intentional and that Will lined up the puzzles so there'd be one every day as sort of a "bonus"... But he insists it's coincidental...but I'm not talking oreo, enol words, but RAWLS, etc.
So now I think they are sort of magic and synchronicitous instead!

And to clear something up for most folks...
JESSIcAFLRTcHER refers to Angela Lansbury's character, the mystery writer on "Murder, She Wrote".
She too never won an emmy apparently.
Sudan Lucci played Erica Kane on a soap opera, and is the first answer you'd go to, as part of the Thurs misdirection...but some here seem to think that Susan Lucci played a character named JESSIcA FLETcHER. No.

And as long as I'm clearing up stuff, the co-constructor, Victor Boracas is a prof of Biomedical Engineering. Both he and George Barany are associated with the University of Minnesota.
Victor, as appropriate to his name, won the mini St Paul crossword fundraiser last year where a bunch of us all met...major bonding went is true with atoms, right?
(I know zero about Chemistry...sigh)

And finally, @Tita... I do NOT have an aversion to sports!!! I have an aversion to too many sports clues that would leave many solvers out in the cold, coupled with the presumption that "c'mon, everyone knows blahblahblah" in a sort of jock-exclusionary way.

A FAVRE here, a BLAcKSOXScANDAL there, i can handle ('sides, I know those things thru films... And penis texting. I saw Favre in "Something About Mary", I think...and I loved "Eight Men Out" and most of John Sayles films)
("Eight Men Pout" was even my entry in Patrick Blindauer's recent change-a-letter film title contest, and it was meant as a jokey nod to St. Louis losing to SF.)

Mostly my interest tho when I catch sports is the names.
I saw two innings of the World Series (it was on at a sushi bar I was eating at, pretty unavoidable here this past month, needless to say)
But my reaction was "Angel Pagan! That's an interesting contrast! Buster Posey, his drag name could be "Busty Poser"! Is it Panda because it rhymes with Sando-val? Pandoval?! Smyly? Was he teased as Smelly or Smiley at school? Cabrera?! Wasn't he thrown out for steroids, is he now on the Tigers? Why are the Tigers colors not black and orange? Wouldn't that make more sense than the Giants?" etc.
So not a total aversion, just a different focus...more on names, colors, scandals, not so much on the sport itself :)

Miguel Cabrerra 3:41 PM  

@acme - That Cabrerra fellow on the Giants? The guy who cheated? His name is Melky. And he is not related to me. Thank God.

Lewis 3:44 PM  

Great Thursday puzzle. Crunchy, but enough there to open it up. Clever theme -- has it ever been done before? A wonderful aomplishment!

sanfranman59 3:59 PM  

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

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

Thu 15:11, 18:47, 0.81, 18%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Thu 9:34, 9:22, 1.02, 61%, Medium-Challenging

Noam D. Elkies 4:20 PM  

Since it's not been mentioned yet: Pulitzer Prize-winning Dominick 9D:ARGENTO is professor emeritus at the Univerity of Minnesota, which is also home to the two constructors. He celebrated his 85th birthday not long ago. Silver-platter clue or not, I knew his name from his brilliant setting of texts from Revelation, in which I played the piano part in the chamber orchestra when the Harvard Glee Club performed it some 25 years ago. Granted Argento's still not as well known as Jean-Baptiste Lully, who could have replaced LALLY at 2D, and may have been the first musician to literally die from conducting and orchestra.

geordiegirl 4:55 PM  

I think there was a similar clue, maybe in the past six months, that included a spelling mistake. Does anyone else remember?

Chip Hilton 4:57 PM  

Fun diversion while the lights were out (back on now after 48 hours in the dark. A less than minor blip when you see what the folks in NJ and LI have gone through). I do wonder how long this would've taken me if I didn't stick with the Black Sox Scandal to decode the first set across. The other groupings were nowhere near as familiar to me.

Many clever clues which balanced out some of the weirder fill. So, include me in the group that enjoyed this one.

Teresa in Detroit 8:32 PM  

Loved it! I remember the first time I was Bcc'd at work (many years ago), and how thrilled I was to be in on a secret.

George Barany 9:56 PM  

Thanks for all the kind comments and astute analyses! I invite further comments via private email for anyone who is interested in more detailed discussion. Feel free to contact me at (bcc'ed if you like). GB

sanfranman59 10:04 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 6:25, 6:47, 0.95, 30%, Easy-Medium
Tue 10:10, 8:58, 1.13, 85%, Challenging
Wed 11:45, 11:50, 0.99, 52%, Medium
Thu 15:35, 18:47, 0.83, 21%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:41, 3:41, 1.00, 55%, Medium
Tue 5:45, 4:41, 1.23, 97%, Challenging (7th highest median solve time of 175 Tuesdays)
Wed 6:23, 5:57, 1.07, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 9:19, 9:22, 0.99, 57%, Medium

Evan 12:28 AM  


Yes, the July 13, 2012 puzzle by Jim Horne and Jeff Chen had a pair of consecutive across entries, ROEG and TYPO, where ROEG was clued as "'Don't Look Now' diretcor" and TYPO was clued as "Feature of the previous clue."

Construction Companies 4:39 AM  

Nice puzzle!

Construction Companies

xyz 11:27 AM  

One of the easiest Thursdays ever for me. Made perfect sense although LALLY &A MERIND stunk.

Spacecraft 10:48 AM  

@Cuthbert: If you think OSOLE, DUM, ASE, DES, ONER, EAL, SRI, EFOR and ADEEP is "good fill," I shudder to think what might be "bad fill" to you.

I got a little confused at first, because like many I thought of Shoeless Joe and the guys, but I was seeing THE [black] SOX SCANDAL, though it felt DUMb to write out the last word ignoring an intervening black square. Of course, then I realized that the X would be in the wrong place for XENA, so I left it and, like others, got my epiphany at EXTRAcURRIcULAR.

Never heard the expression "BLINDcARBONcOPY." But then, I never worked in a cubicle. Looking back over it, I have to give propers for cleverness and execution of theme...but G, MEN, it could've been a lot TIDIER.

LobgBeachLee 12:39 PM  

Does it count if I completed it but didn't get that the "c"s were in the black squares until I looked here?

connie in seattle 3:40 PM  

@Soon to be Arrested for Aggravated Assault:

An endless loop of "Call Me Maybe" sure sounds like the worst kind of URBAN CACAPHONY and certainly justifies assault.

Mary in Oregon 3:46 PM  

@Anonymous 1:41 PM
I wonder if younger people know where the term 'carbon copy' came from. How long before that old technology gets lost in the mists of history?

I was a legal secretary from 1958 until 2000 (yes, I'm old), so a BCC or blind carbon copy is a very real thing. Copies of letters were made by inserting sheets of carbon paper between sheets of bond into a typewriter. This was pre-Xerox, so all copies were typed at the same time. Sometimes the lawyer didn't want everyone to know who got copies, so he'd say "bcc to Mr. Jones." It's still used to this day.

Solving in Seattle 3:48 PM  

What a (c)lever puzzle! And, as Rex pointed out, not a "c" in the grid.

I started out with 34/37/39A, thinking we had a Thursday rebus and put "THE" in the 34A square and ICEMANCOMETH in the other squares. Well, it fits. I knew something was wrong when 25D became GMmN. So, the revealer was helpful to me and, DUM da Dum, I saw the light, or rather, the dark.

This was fun. Thanks, Geo & Vi.

Anonymous 4:04 PM  

Medium for me, though it took me a while to figure out the theme. I thought it was (c)lever and fun, especially after a series of relative duds.

DMGrandma 4:11 PM  

Got the theme, but still didn't finish everything. Didn't know FONT, so missed the two accompanying downs. And, strange as it seems to me, I didn't get JESSICAFLETCHER, although we were regular Murder She Wrote viewers. I was too caught up with remembering there was some soap actress who seemed to be forever an Emmy bridesmaid. It didn't help that my defunct gas brand wanted to be some form of Sunocco, but not one I could squeeze in. And so it goes!

Did learn something from all the viewers, the meaning of BCC! So not all was lost. Last year I typed up some notes during a meeting at my house, making a couple of carbon copies to pass down the table. People were at first surprised that I had a copy machine, but even more open- mouthed when I said I had only used carbon paper. Must get some out to amaze the grandson!

Ginger 5:16 PM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle, partly because for some reason it was right in my wheelhouse. Wanted Black Sox Scandal, but of course there was the 'wont fit' glitch, so worked on the downs. Held off a bit on Xena or Leia, then realized XENA fit with SOX, and i was off to the races.

George and Victor, you've come up with a TNT theme, that's over the top density wise. Only write-over was ARTISte.

I frequently need to e-mail long lists of people and I use the BCC feature to protect their privacy.

On a sad note, the world of Jazz lost an icon today with the passing of Dave Brubeck. 'Take Five'.

rain forest 5:47 PM  

Loved this one. Only SOHIO was elusive for me, but IED had to be correct, so in went the "I". The theme and the revealer were perfect. A chemistry teacher when I was hired, I had to teach typing(!) my first year, and it was then I learned about blind cc's. On a real typewriter, with carbon paper, it was tricky for the typist to extract one copy, and reinsert it alone in order to type bcc on it, so the others being cc'd wouldn't know. Clever, as was this puzzle. Best clue: 32D

Dirigonzo 6:25 PM  

I'm a little slow on the uptake so I thought it was a rebus that invloved writing the Cs in the box with the adjacent letter - it took a while to figure out that strategy made nonsensical words for the down crosses, then I noticed everything worked nicely with no Cs at all - epiphany!

I knew LALLY but as @Norm said we here in the northeast say "lolly" so that's how I spelled it at first.

Finished with OWS at MoUPIN/oARE - bad guess.

Kudos to the ( )onstru( )tors for a ( )lever theme well exe( )uted!

Waxy in Montreal 9:44 PM  

So when the obvious Black Sox Scandal didn't seem to fit at first, toyed with other major sports news of 1919: Sir Barton winning the first racing Triple Crown, the trade of the Bambino by the Red Sox to the Yankees and Jack Dempsey defeating Jess Willard to become heavyweight champ. Much like contemplating one's NAVEL...

When the penny fell at last for me at EXTRACURRICULAR suddenly the puzzle went from probable DNF (with maybe an E FOR effort) to eminently doable. IMHO, this was a perfect Thursday puzzle, challenging but fair.

Learnt LALLY and MAUPIN today but was surprised by the number of bloggers not familiar with BCC, especially given how it has survived the transition from typewriter to email so well.

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