Sporty 1990s Toyota / THU 11-29-12 / Brasserie list / Catchphrase of Jean-Luc Picard / Old-time bowling alley worker / Dragon in 2008 best seller / Buster Keaton missile / Suffix with bombard

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Constructor: Sharon Delorme

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: DON'T SWEAT IT (60A: Reassuring words .k.. or a hint to 17-, 25-, 35- and 48-Across) — theme answers start with words that are also names of anti-perspirants

Word of the Day: BEA Benaderet (30D: Actress Benaderet) —
Beatrice "Bea" Benaderet (April 4, 1906 – October 13, 1968)[1] was an American actress born in New York City and raised in San Francisco, California. She appeared in a wide variety of television work, which included a starring role in the 1960s television series Petticoat Junction and Green Acres as Shady Rest Hotel owner Kate Bradley, supporting roles as Blanche Morton in The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and as the voice of Betty Rubbleduring the first four seasons of The Flintstones, and in The Beverly Hillbillies as Pearl Bodine. She did a great deal of voice work in Warner Bros. animated cartoons of the 1940s/1950s. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was a nice little Wednesday puzzle. I know, it's not Wednesday; I'm just as confused as you are. Actually, I thought this was a Tuesday puzzle, theme-wise, but it was made Wednesdayish in difficulty through somewhat tougher cluing and big banks of long Downs in the NW and SE corners. Started with the incorrect BOLOS (those are ties, dummy), but easily got SHEL and EPOCH and quickly changed 1A: Whirled weapons to BOLAS, and all of a sudden the NW corner was done. LARIAT gave me a little trouble, as did the PANEL part of SECRET PANEL, but AGUES and AGAIN gave me traction. Some trouble in the middle, as neither BLOUSE (30A: Top of a wardrobe) nor TATTOO (41A: Dragon in a 2008 best seller) jumped out at me, but the Downs gave me enough info to get by, and after that—wow. I don't remember a thing about the bottom of this grid. It went down in about a minute or two. To give you an idea of the kind of roll I was on—I got every one of the long Downs in the SE corner, in quick succession, from just their first letters. D to DINETTES, O to OVERRIPE, M to MAKE IT SO (40D: Catchphrase of Jean-Luc Picard on "Star Trek: T.N.G."). That is a crazy rare hot streak right there. ASPIC got me into the SW corner; then I took SURE-HANDED across and finished things up in the far south. Easy as PIE (11A: Buster Keaton missile).

I didn't have the slightest idea about the theme until the revealer, which I thought was very clever. The middle theme answer, DEGREE OF FREEDOM, didn't feel very tight to me, as theme answers go, but it's a phrase that one might say, and it's not totally contrived, so it'll do. This puzzle has some clunky crosswordese here and there, but no more than its fair share. I think I liked the NW corner the best, with BE SEATED (1D: "Take your chairs") and especially LOCAL RAG (3D: Small-town paper, informally) standing out as favorites. Is AUD. short for "auditor?" Not an abbrev. I've seen, but intuitable, I suppose.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: The library in an old mansion may have one (SECRET PANEL)
  • 25A: '60s protest sign ("BAN THE BOMB!")
  • 35A: Extent to which you may do as you please (DEGREE OF FREEDOM)
  • 48A: Having firm control (SURE-HANDED)
  • 67A: Sporty 1990s Toyota (PASEO) — not hard for me, as I lived through the PASEO era, and it's a reasonably common answer, but I wonder what kind of shelf life this answer has. I suspect we'll be seeing ALERO for much longer, and even the ALERO is no EDSEL. 
  • 6D: "State of the Union" director, 1948 (CAPRA) — no idea, until I got the "P" in panel. Didn't get the "C" from CARTE (6A: Brasserie list) for a while 'cause I had written WINES in there.
  • 11D: Old-time bowling alley worker (PIN BOY) — I could see this person before I could come up with his job title. I didn't remember the infantilizing "BOY" part. Reminds me of the '80s movie "Racing With the Moon," starring Elizabeth McGovern and Crispin Glover and ... Nicolas Cage??? Oooh, I'm right. Yay, memory. Also, Sean Penn. Anyway, I think Sean Penn was a PIN BOY in this movie and Crispin Glover tries to hit him with bowling balls and, well, things don't end well for Glover. And looky here—god bless youtube!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:04 AM  

Little help on a clue/answer from another puzzle:

Clue: Spanish son?

Answer: are

jae 12:26 AM  

Easy again.   Lively theme answers plus LOCALRAG,  MAKEITSO, PINBOY... made this a fun solve.

No erasures if you don't count trying DEGREEsOF...from my stat background.  

Never heard of BEA Benaderet.

Fine puzzle but just to easy for a Thurs.  I think I may have spent more time on Monday's thinking about how to spell SCALAWAG.

D_Blackwell 12:27 AM  

son is a conjugation of ser > a verb for 'to be'

ellos/ellas/ustedes son > 'they/y'all are'

My first thought was "What a fantastic Wednesday crossword." It went down right fast. To fast for a Thursday.

Liked the theme; strong entries; no problem with DEGREE OF FREEDOM

Thought the long fill was pretty darn strong throughout, almost exceptionally so, excepting ENROBE.

The price was in the short fill: AGUES, ENA, ABOO, ALLA, ETAT, TRI, AUD, LES, ACR, ASTR, IER, SRO, EPEE, ABA, ARA, ENROPE. OMG!

jae 12:32 AM  

@anon -- Ser is Spanish for "to be," son Is the declension of ser that means "they are."

Anoa Bob 1:21 AM  

Aba enrobe, ara bea:

1. Acr
2. Ncr
3. Ier
4. Astr

Agues edom dem? Shel etat onek? Alla ena aud aboo!

chefwen 2:15 AM  

Super easy Thursday puzzle in a week of easy puzzles, albeit fun ones. One write-over was SECRET entry before PANEL. Had to ponder the theme before I came up with, O.K. were talking about B.O. here, I get it.

Our LOCAL RAG I have named the two minute read. A total waste of 50 cents.

Aerosol Capra Makeitso 2:31 AM  

How was this not a Tuesday? It's almost the definition of a Tuesday.
Oh well, as my therapist says, it is ultimately all about expectations.

The abbreviations were way less than ideal. NCR, DEM, AUD...As I also put in BOLoS, i looked at oCR trying to figure out what the heck that was, but quite honestly, ACR was not much better...and I thought maybe ASTR was supposed to be ENGR.

HOwever, I really liked the 9D TEETH misdirection and there was something retro about BANTHEBOMB that really appealed to me.

Was trying to make a puzzle with Star Trek catchphrases, so I will take this as a sign and MAKEITSO.

Acme 3:13 AM  

Oh and I tried EDen, because I couldn't believe there would be FREEDOM, EDOM crossing.
But that's growing on me in a way

Rube 4:20 AM  

ChefWen... you'r putting down The Garden Isle? How are you going to keep up with the local news??

This was one of those very rare Thursdays with no writeovers... certainly agree w/ Rex's Easy ranking. Nothing exciting to comment about, (except mispelling DINnette/DINETTES).

r.alphbunker 4:59 AM  

This puzzle left me thursday for more. It was like picking up a box of popcorn thinking it was full of books. Even the captcha is too easy!

GILL I. 6:09 AM  

What? No MUM?
My favorite ad: "If you long for romance, don't let your dress offend with armhole odor."
Like @Rex and others, this just felt too easy for a Thurs.
I like the word AGUES though. "Not tonight dear, I have the AGUES."

Anonymous 6:48 AM  

Just finished covering Degrees of Freedom in my statistics class.

Milford 7:13 AM  

Mostly easy, a few writeovers: maceS before BOLAS, total before PAYEE, cfo before AUD, ten K before ONE K. I laughed at the idea of people signing up for a race that short, basically once around my block. Ok, maybe for kids.

Kinda skimmed past the four themes at first, so I got DON'T SWEAT IT and thought, the theme is really SWEAT? Oh, deodorants!

Thought the theme answers were all pretty fun, especially SECRET PANEL, which made me think of Young Frankenstein, "Put...the candle...back!"

Our LOCAL RAG is a quick read, too, with a ridiculous section called Sound Off!, where the truly lazy and ill-informed citizens can call the paper and leave a cranky opinion or complaint, and they will print some of them, almost verbatim. They make me want to scream, but I can't not read them.

Z 7:30 AM  

DEGREE OF FREEDOM was my first complete theme answer, so I was thinking, "Oooh - another math puzzle." Nope. Hand up for wanting the S in there.

Left it BOLoS even though oCR made no sense. Neither did ACR until about the fourth comment where ACRoss finally occurred to me. Yuck. The Clue is not "down," the answer is, so the clue should read "unlike this answer: Abbr." Maybe I'd feel differently if I'd gotten it right.

TATTOO for the name of a 2008 dragon. How passé. Smaug - now there's a good name for a dragon.

dk 7:31 AM  

Anon at 6:48, as a sometimes Stat Instructor: you go! Working on linear models this week (b double o double r ing) so DEGREEOFFREEDOM was the gimme of the month.

Drool for AROMA was my Waterloo (pun intended) otherwise like my best girl I thought it was Tuesday.

While it may have been easy it was fun. I kinda like the deodorant theme. I use Tom's of Maine so Tomfoolery in the grid would have been fun and a little Thursdayish.

😓😓😓 (3 Sweaty faces) Easy is good.

Glad to see this robot protection device is working so well. Do you ever wonder if the appearance of protection draws in predators: Just askin?

Anonymous 7:36 AM  

Our local rag won a Pulitzer a decade ago and is still a wonderful source of news, opinion (sometimes a day-old Maureen Dowd or Paul Krugman), and, yes, local high school sports. What more could you ask for? Definitely worth the price, but has a really bad crossword along with far-better-than-average sudoku.

Rob C 7:47 AM  

Good puzzle. Some zippy fill-LOCAL RAG was my favorite. Like others have said, easy for a Thurs.

Fun theme and nice revealer too. However, I'm not buying DEGREE OF FREEDOM as an 'in the language' phrase. Sure, as Rex says it's something someone one might say, but that's not the litmus test. I once had a puzzle rejected for using SOUL MUSIC LEGEND as a theme answer b/c it wasn't in the language. (I'm sure there were other good reasons for the rejection, but that was the reason given).

Don't mean to drift too far off. It was a good puzzle that one so-so answer doesn't diminish.

Anthony 8:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
John V 8:46 AM  

Easy, as noted.

Three quibbles: It is DEGREES OF FREEDOM -- plural, not singular -- that is in the language, in my experience, which is why I had that first. ONEK? I had TENK. Never, ever heard of a ONEK race, which would be just a touch more than twice around a standard race track, sort of a long 880, in my day. AGUES (plural): really? Also feels made up.

Advise from my late father-in-law:
1) Don't sweat the small stuff
2) It's all small stuff.

evil doug 8:48 AM  

Started slowed down to a measured pace so as to not overlook a rebus or some other worthy Thursday trick. Like ripping through a Christmas present's tissue paper looking for the rest of it, when that's all there is....


John V 8:51 AM  

Forgot: Middle block, with four 3s in a bunch, was by far the hardest part of the puzzle, what with BEA/BLOUSE/EPEE crossings.

C. Ross Word 8:56 AM  

Is The New York Times being snobbish with 3D Q & A? Just asking!

joho 8:57 AM  

I agree with everybody who says this is not a Thursday puzzle as it's waaaaay too easy for that.

I love the line DONTSWEATIT so that really upped the appeal for me. Wish OVERRIPE could have been clued to fit the theme.

I liked it but, as I said, wish it would have been tougher.

chefbea 9:20 AM  

I agree - very easy puzzle and of course loved the shout-out.

And all the food aspic, Penne alla vodka, banana, all served at the dinette table.

@John V.. you also forgot to tell us how long it took you to solve the puzzle. I would guess Stamford or Greenwich.

Carola 9:26 AM  

Tuesday was my Friday, so I'll move this one into the Tuesday slot. Theme kept me guessing, as I filled in the reveal last - funny. Two do-overs: thought Keaton's missle might be a Pea, had "hors" du combat before EPEE.

Not sure if I like or don't like AROMA crossing DON'T SWEAT IT. @joho, I missed that OVERRIPE cross!

@Gill I.P. - LOL at that ad... and the AGUES excuse!

Notsofast 9:28 AM  

A little too easy, but fun. I liked the "EDOM" and "EDOM" corner on the east side.

John V 9:29 AM  

@chefbea: Started the puzzle pulling out of Stamford. (Had to first read Gail Collins with my coffee, to get brain more or less in gear.)

My train runs local from Rowayton to Stamford, then express to 125th and GCT. Finished the puzzle as we rolled through Woodlawn junction, where the New Haven joins the Harlem line.

Stamford is mile post 33, Mount Vernon East (closest mark) is mile post 14, so about 19 miles on the express track. That makes it easy/medium for a Thursday, for me.

jackj 9:38 AM  

Chock-a-block full of friendly phrases and common words, Sharon Delorme gives us what might be called a “blue-collar” puzzle as opposed to a highfalutin, more elitist version.

In this Everyman piece, people SWEAT, they have a distinct AROMA maybe and they stay presentable by using one of the four named brands of deodorant. (Highbrows, of course, don’t SWEAT, they “glow”, they likely would never discuss their odor preventatives and they would have found a place for AXILLA in their equivalent puzzle).

But, Sharon’s has a pleasant looseness to it with the likes of LOCALRAG, OPENLATE, OVERRIPE and DINETTES. She gives us Frank CAPRA, not Antonioni, SHEL Silverstein rather than Saint-Exupery and her grandest word seems to be SUTURE.

There is a real old-timey word at 11 down, PINBOY, something that, years ago, before automated pin setters, was one of the available ways that an 11 or 12 year-old could earn some cash, by setting up pins at local candlepin bowling alleys.

(Candlepins are common in New England and the pins stand straight, about 16” high, 2” or so in diameter and the ball used has no finger holes and weighs about 3 lbs.).

The PINBOY sat above the alley, behind the pins, on a sort of shelf and was constantly ducking and diving to avoid pins that were sprayed all over the alley by hard throwing bowlers, with contusions galore guaranteed after a night of this work.

After a frame the PINBOY would jump down from his shelf, gather all the pins and manually set them up on the alley for the next frame, hoping his speed and dexterity might earn a tip. (Nothing at all like the semi-automated ten pin resets in 31*’s Sean Penn YouTube).

More than you wanted to know but the memory wouldn’t be denied.

Thanks, Sharon for an interesting puzzle and in my case a free trip back in time.

chefbea 10:13 AM  

@Jackyj..thanks for the walk down bowling memory lane...pun intended

Two Ponies 10:29 AM  

I had to endure all of these crappy three letter answers just so I could think about ...
smelly armpits? Double yuck.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:32 AM  

In my area, the true "local rags" are referred to as "shoppers."

Sorry, decent puzzle but lacking in the Old Spice called for on a Thursday.

retired_chemist 10:51 AM  

What everybody said. Mostly good.

Do MASONS lay foundations? Thought they were brick and stone workers, not foundation pourers. But I am willing to learn.....

Had TEN K for 47A - amusing since even ONE K is a long way for me to run.

Thanks, Ms. Delorme.

Sandy K 10:53 AM  

I liked the theme and the revealer. However, I do a lot of puzzles and I believe that I've seen this theme before.

But still had fun with the solve. Am I the only one who's seen a puzzle with names of deodorants as the theme?

jberg 10:56 AM  

Finished with an error, because I had BOLoS for BOLAS, and I still don't understand 4D, so OCR seemed as good as ACR. What does it mean?

As for 35A, the problem isn't DEGREEs vs. DEGREE, it's the clue -- "as you please." Data have degrees of freedom, but they just are, they aren't pleased or displeased. But I guess you can have only one degree of freedom, so the singular seems OK to me.

I did miss the dragon, too, due to a typo - I wrote in OFf meaning to write OFT. OH, I get it - it's not the NAME of the dragon, it's that the dragon in question IS a tattoo. I'm much happier now.

I'm already late to work, but will check back later hoping someone has explained ACR!

p.s. I've been a pin boy too, but in Wisconsin, with tenpins, using the semi-automatic rack - so I just had to pick up any pins that went in the gutter outside of the reach of the sweep.

Stephen 10:56 AM  

Some fun stuff, but... what Anoa Bob said: there is a lot of odiferous stuff too. If google does not understand what "ACR" means (try it), that means it means nothing.

Stephen 11:00 AM  

@jberg: ACR is supposed to mean ACROSS.
bad joke. bad word. bad all 'round. Google will never connect it.

Stephen 11:07 AM  

Actually, I came here to discover the theme. Did. not. get. it. Maybe my dullness reveals something about my toiletries, but I think the theme was a real stinker. No solve power at all.

jberg 11:09 AM  


Ben D. 11:11 AM  

Question from a newbie: Shouldn't the clue for 4 Down read," Unlike this clue's answer: Abbr" and not "Unlike this clue: Abbr"?

I found this puzzle to be Thursday easy-medium because of all the very short crossword-ese answers.

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

10th appearance of ACR in Shortz era. I was shocked to see that OCR has never appeared in Shortz era. It was in a 1991 Maleska era puzzle. That the reference to 'Optical Character Recognition' has never been used in Shortz era seems almost impossible. It really should have been used today.

Glimmerglass 11:18 AM  

Too easy for a Thursday. But I liked it fine. Nice puzzle.

Chip Hilton 11:26 AM  

BOLo, which I carelessly left, even though oCR bothered me. Tsk tsk. A nice way to ruin a breeze of a Thursday that was finished in a Tuesday-like 8 minutes. Alas...

BEA Benaderet shows up regularly, doesn't she? I still love her silly trill of a laugh from 'Burns & Allen'.

Masked and Malodoro4Us 12:16 PM  

Liked OVERRIPE, vis-a-vis the theme. Miss BRUT and ARRID. Actually, liked almost all the long fill-ins. Which usually means I won't like all the shorties. Granted, a few shorties seemed downright AUD, but I'll give the puz an enthusiastic

@31: I notice you don't include DONTSWEATIT as a themer here. Give Sharon a break, dude. She put a lot of sweat into comin' up with that there (theme) entry.

Real Pleasing grid layout. Thought maybe the theme was going to be about croupiers, or the T-party, or somesuch. Fave clue: TATTOO one. Fave fill-ins: SUTURE, DITTO, BESEATED, OVERRIPE, and an honorable mention to IER. But, better IER clue = [Having more dotted vowels (than)].

Carola 12:42 PM  

@jberg -
Thank you for explaining the dragon TATTOO - I never made the connection with that book.

Tita 12:59 PM  

@JohnV - agree about that middle block - my last entries, and near naticks.
I still DNF, since I totally overlooked oCR, and having never heard of BOLAS.

Brand name puzzles are a tad BANal for me - maybe that's why I didn't get the revealer at all.

Middle block and OCR made this tough - not easy!!

Dick Swart 1:20 PM  

Disappointed! I look forward to Thursday for something that happens in the actual filling rather than reading the names of deodorants when finished. Tuesday.Wednesday since all it required was straight fill. I hope this was a one-off and maybe the actual puzzle was the McGuffin.

syndy 1:26 PM  

I finished Hors de combat due to the BOLo/oCR thingie. It is weird for a puzzle one failed to master to be regarded as TOO easy-but there it is!EPEE DE COMBAT does appear to be a real thing -so okay (at least I caught that).As a relic of the Maleska era I have fond memories of his work.sure some 'ese need to be retired;a new broom and all that but give the guy a break.

Acme 1:26 PM  

Good catch! OVERRIPE and AROMA raise this puzzle's smell test about one DEGREE more...
ACR still leaves an ACRid taste tho in my mouth on the whole.

Scrabble lesson : BOLA BOLE BOLO all good... Still made the mistake... Tho BOLA is a weapon if used right.

Not constructor's fault which day of week puzzle ran, so I'm trying to think if I would have liked it a lot more had it been early week... Prob yes.

Acme 1:28 PM  

Oops did it again, tho in reverse... BolOs can be weapons if you are garroting a cowboy.

Just because DEGREESOFFREEDOM is a stats term that doesn't mean that's whats indicated here, nor that it's the only interpretation 1:39 PM  

While I think I have a certain DEGREE OF FREEDOM at my job to do things in the manner I think is optimal, my boss is a jackass and thinks I should actually work 8 hours per day.

Bird 1:55 PM  

I was so looking forward to doing a Rebus or other gimmick puzzle, that this left me flat. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a good puzzle, but today is Thursday. I blame WS.

Three bullets as I solved: 1) I don’t think restaurants have drive-thru windows (I consider BK and KFC as fast-food-joints), 2) I don't think small-town papers would take kindly to being called a RAG and 3) I thought the expression at 35A was plural as in DEGREEs OF FREEDOM (this threw me for a while).

I did like the misdirection at 66A.

Write-overs at 30A (MIRROR), 47A (TEN-K) and 54A (EASY).

@joho – Good catch on OVERRIPE crossing AROMA

Puzzle now reminds me of Pepe Le Pew.

The Management 1:58 PM  

@Just because . . . -

To All Employees:

Due to increased competition and a keen desire to remain in business, we find it necessary to institute a new policy.

Effective immediately, we are asking that somewhere between starting and quitting time and without infringing too much on the time usually devoted to lunch, breaks, story telling, ticket selling, vacation planning, social networking and discussing yesterday’s sports that each employee strive to find some time that can be set aside and for a WORK BREAK.

To some, this may seem like a radical innovation, but we honestly believe the idea has great possibilities. It can conceivably be an aid to steady employment and it might also be a means of ensuring a steady paycheck.
While the adoption of the Work Break Plan is not compulsory, it is hoped that each employee will find enough time to give the plan a fair trial.

Doc John 2:06 PM  

ACR- talk about crosswordese! And then later, NCR!
Was I the only one who ran through all the dragon names from Eragon only to wonder what dragon was named TATTOO? Duh!

Just because DEGREESOFFREEDOM is a stats term that doesn't mean that's whats indicated here, nor that it's the only interpretation 2:16 PM  

@Management - If you're going to bust my ass, at least call me by my full name as would any gentleman.


Just because DEGREESOFFREEDOM is a stats term that doesn't mean that's whats indicated here, nor that it's the only interpretation.

The Management 2:21 PM  

@Just . . .

Who said I was a man?

Just because DEGREESOFFREEDOM is a stats term that doesn't mean that's whats indicated here, nor that it's the only interpretation 2:51 PM  

@The Management - Because a woman would have had the courtesy to make that statement face to face, not hiding behind a memo.

Lewis 2:55 PM  

Never heard of DEGREE deodorant. I'm not sure if I'm proud of this or not.

The Management 3:20 PM  

@Just - If you wish to meet face-to-face, I'll be a Ruth Chris in NYC tonight for dinner & drinks with the other members of The Management. I'll make sure there's an extra chair at the table.

In case you need the address:
148 West 51st Street
New York, NY 10019

Masked and Nonmanagementous 3:40 PM  

@Lewis... Criminy, there must be about a bazillion brands of deodorants out there. Don't beat yerself up over not knowin' just one of 'em. Some have real interestin' names, like REXONA. har. Now there's a brand name that rates discussion.

In fact, this coulda been a SunPuz, what with all the possibilities. Could sneak in more AROMA references. Use the black blocks to draw up a torso with its arms raised. Start the first Acr. word with BO-. End the last Acr. word with -EW. Come up with creative fill-ins that are synonyms for sweatrings. Ew. Beginnin' to talk self out of this. M&A

Bird 3:53 PM  

@The Management - Very funny. I have a similar version hanging outside my office.

Sparky 4:23 PM  

Missed on BOLoS. OCR seemed okay. Hors before EPEE, metoO before DITTO. All fixed except BOLOS. Had BLOUSE, then Blazer, then BLOUSE. Think the little box of threes kind of cute. Easy for a Thursday. Good one @BobK. Right @JohnV, they are all small ones. Tomorrow will probably flatten me.

chefwen 4:24 PM  

@Rube - All reliable news can be obtained at the local watering hole.

By the way, we tried the Feral Pig and immediately crossed it off the list.

sanfranman59 5:03 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 10:37, 18:44, 0.57, 1%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Thu 6:02, 9:22, 0.64, 2%, Easy

This will probably end the day with one of the 2 or 3 fastest median solve times in each group of the 177 Thursdays in my database.

Z 5:39 PM  

@jberg and @ Ben D - From @Z 7:30 - "Left it BOLoS even though oCR made no sense. Neither did ACR until about the fourth comment where ACRoss finally occurred to me. Yuck. The Clue is not "down," the answer is, so the clue should read "unlike this answer: Abbr." Maybe I'd feel differently if I'd gotten it right."

Anonymous 7:08 PM  

@Z - In the format I'm used to seeing, the clues are catetorized by across and down. They have column headings and everything.

Unknown 7:16 PM  

DITTO Dick Swart.

Anonymous 8:23 PM  

Thx for the help with son/are tho i doubt you'll see this.

Bird 11:11 PM  

I guess @Just was too scared for face-to-face talk?

sanfranman59 11:51 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 6:31, 6:46, 0.96, 37%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:20, 8:57, 0.93, 37%, Easy-Medium
Wed 10:16, 11:48, 0.87, 22%, Easy-Medium
Thu 10:36, 18:44, 0.57, 1%, Easy (2nd lowest median solve time of 177 Thursdays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:44, 3:41, 1.01, 63%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:46, 4:41, 1.02, 59%, Medium
Wed 5:51, 5:57, 0.98, 48%, Medium
Thu 5:39, 9:22, 0.60, 1%, Easy (2nd lowest median solve time of 177 Thursdays)

Ellen S 2:19 AM  

Started this this morning but got distracted and didn't pick it up again until time to download the Friday puz, which is even easier! Are they going to get difficult again, or is this part of Global Warming? Speaking of warming and the attendant perspiration, I thought the theme might be kind of unappetizing for breakfast, but @Masked and Nonmanagementous brought the ew factor to a whole new level. Now I can't get the idea of BLOUSEs with SWEAT rings out of my head. Well, if the puzzles aren't hard, they are at least gross, so not without virtue.

Spacecraft 10:45 AM  

@Stephen: thanks for the 'splainin.' Had no idea about the clue to 4d. But as @Ben D. said, the clue itself was printed--at least in my paper--in the usual l-->r format. It's the answer that goes ...dwn?

Unfortunate wording for the 1d clue; no one says "Take your chairs," but you can't use "seats" because--duh!--that word's in the answer. Much too gimmeeish--as was its symmetrical partner, to such a STTNG devotee as myself.

Hand up for hors before EPEE (very offbeat clue for an old Xword chestnut) and EDen before EDOM. Also had metoO before DITTO. Did not notice the EDOM double prior to coming here.

While this felt like about a Tuesday, I did like the theme, execution, and fairly well-pulled-off 8-blocks. I don't recognize the constructor name; if a debut I'd call it promising. One nit: how many AGUES can one suffer at one illness?

Dirigonzo 3:06 PM  

I'm one of the many "dummies" (Rex's word) to substitute the necktie for the weapon. I'm glad the puzzle was otherwise easy (although I kept looking for a gimmick around all the short down answers in the center of the grid) as my LOCALRAG printed the Thursday puzzle that was missing last week in today's edition - I'm off to do it now.

You mean we're not still trying to BANTHEBOMB?! I must have missed the memo.

Waxy in Montreal 3:22 PM  

Count me in the BOLOS/OCR camp until I arrived here (thought it was a very clever reference to an Optical Character Reader that I just didn't get). Also, though TATTOO was easily discerned from its crosses, didn't realize the clue's provenance until reading this extremely erudite blog. Grew up on Petticoat Junction so BEA was an early gimme as were PINBOY (used to be one) and BANTHEBOMB from the same EPOCH.

Even though this was a Tuesday-like puzzle, here in syndiland Jan 3 sorta feels like a Tues so I (W)ONTSWEATIT.

DMGranadma 4:06 PM  

Forgot it was "rebus day." and enjoyed the puzzle. Never heard the expression EPEE de combat, so had to replace "hors" when the crosses wouldn't work. Only other problem was 4D where, not knowing a necktie from a weapon, i joined the ranks of oCR solvers. Thanks to @Z and later commenters who set me straight.

Took about 15 reloads before I found a Captcha I think I can read, so fingers crossed, here goes!

Ginger 4:10 PM  

Knew BOLAS, but didn't parse the ACR, go figure? Wanted CARnE because my Brasserie serves meat. Remember watching the PIN BOYs bouncing around as I threw many balls into the gutter.

Clever theme, which I didn't 'get' until coming here. I, too, want to mention my appreciation of this blog, where I learn so much, about so many different things, and not just cross words! Thanks Guys and Gals! Also, particularly appreciate the 'Syndiland Community'.

Catte 8:50 PM  

The confusion about whether this was a Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday puzzle makes perfect sense out here in the syndicated boonies. We are just back from the New Year break and today at work felt very Tuesday-ish.

Dirigonzo 10:17 PM  

@Waxy nad @Catte - that's an excellent point, and by the time I figure out what day it is, I will have forgotten it's a new year and I'll start writing "2012" again. It's a very confusing time, for me at least. Happy new year anyway.

Anonymous 11:30 PM  

Son is the third person conjugation of the Spanish verb ser (to be), as in "they are"

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