Walrus-skin boat / TUE 11-13-12 / NFL Hall-of-Famer Yale / Father Damien's island / Green critter in Sinclair gas logo

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Constructor: Don Gagliardo and Zhouqin Burnikel

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "SKYFALL" (26D: 2012 Bond film ... or a hint to six other Down answers in this puzzle) — letter string "SKY" appears in six other Down answers

Word of the Day: Darren ARONOFSKY (11D: "Black Swan" director Darren) —
Darren Aronofsky (born February 12, 1969) is an American film directorscreenwriter and film producer. He attended Harvard University to study film theory and the American Film Institute to study both live-action and animation filmmaking. He won several film awards after completing his senior thesis film, Supermarket Sweep, which went on to become a National Student Academy Award finalist. Aronofsky has received acclaim for his often surreal, disturbing films and has been noted for frequent collaborations with cinematographer Matthew Libatique andcomposer Clint Mansell. His films have generated controversy and are well known for their often violent, bleak subject matter. [...] His fourth film, The Wrestler, was released to critical acclaim and both of the film's stars, Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei, received Academy Award nominations. In 2010 Aronofsky was anexecutive producer on The Fighter and his fifth feature film, Black Swan, received further critical acclaim and many accolades, being nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Pictureand Best Director. Aronofsky received nominations for Best Director at the Golden Globes, and a DGA nomination. Filming on Aronofsky's sixth film, Noah, began in Iceland in July 2012. (wikipedia)
• • •

Very mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, there are some great entries here, like ARONOFSKY and BUTTINSKY; on the other hand, the theme is just "answers with SKY in them," which feels exceedingly weak for a theme. The fact that they "fall" is not interesting at all. In crosswords, we call those answers Downs; and, as always, they make up half the damn grid. Nothing exceptional about an answer's "falling" Down. Further, there's lots of ugly short stuff (LARY, ANAS, ECT, etc.). Further further, I'm distracted by the lone non-Bond "SKY" (the vodka). The others all sound like "SKI." And one last further: RISKY MOVE feels like cheating; it's just RISKY with another word added. If MUSKY and PESKY can stand alone, so can RISKY. MOVE is only there to make the symmetry work out.

Theme answers:
  • 1D: Like some perfume (MUSKY)
  • 5D: Spirit in a blue bottle (SKYY VODKA)
  • 11D: "Black Swan" director Darren (ARONOFSKY)
  • 34D: Busybody (BUTTINSKY)
  • 36D: Investing all one's money in a penny stock, say (RISKY MOVE)
  • 53D: Like a mosquito (PESKY)
  • 14A: Walrus-skin boat (UMIAK) — hardcore crosswordese. A good word to know. I think I remember a prior clue that suggested the word mean, literally, "women's boat."
  • 20A: Saxophonist with the 12x platinum album "Breathless" (KENNY G) — 12x!?!?! What is Wrong with people? 
  • 32A: Repeated Michael Jackson lyric in a 1987 hit ("I'M BAD") — so this is legal now? Random lyrics from hit songs?
  • 33D: Nickname for Reggie Jackson (MR. OCTOBER) — I had dinner two tables away from him last month in Monterey. Honestly, he looked like any other older guy in the Monterey area at first glance. Totally inconspicuous. But up close, unmistakable. 
  • 55D: Green critter in the Sinclair gas logo (DINO) — does anyone actually call "dinosaurs" DINOs? And "critter?" I still maintain that nothing bigger than a human being can be considered a "critter."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld



Disappointed Guy 12:22 AM  

Apparently there is a linear measurment system where a "platinum" does equal 4.83cm

chefwen 1:02 AM  

Sped through today's puzzle with lightening speed, came here to read all about it and found out that the puzzle I solved was a Paula Gamache puzzle from 8/3/2010. No wonder it was so easy. Still can't get the correct puzzle from the NYT site. Grrrr!!! I hope I'm not alone with this dilemma. If so, I have just entered the Twilight Zone.

Rube 3:02 AM  

Like ChefWen can only get the 8/3/2010 puzzle. Unlike her, I knew it was an old puzzle, but, like her, I went ahead and solved it too. No great whoop.

Arabia Cosign Marinates 3:23 AM  

This was a wonderful puzzle with a great theme!
The SKY is falling, the SKY is falling!

S-K-Y is indeed falling "down"... Very clever, nothing to do with how it's pronounced, nice fresh fresh entry for the reveal as the film opened this week.
What could be better?

End of words, beginning, middle of a phrase. SKY alla round.
Nice variety...and ARONOFSKY, SKYYVODKA, BUTTINSKY wonderful!

Plus bonus K in DRUNK crossing VODKA!!! Major Style points!!!

Loved MOLOKAI...memorable trip there as a chaperone with "The Dating Game"... Ain't nothing there but a mule ride down to the leper colony.

Shaky start with MixeS. (Actually stirred, not shaken.)
And were it not for the theme, I'd have left the answer RISKaMOVE/LARa.

Re: IMBAD...i thought that was catchy and fun, and probably the original title of that song, as it's repeated 70 times. MJ probaby took off the (I'm) so it would be listed higher (move up the charts?) alphabetically.

Anyway, fabulous puzzle... From MR OCTOBER to SCAMPI.

Loren Muse Smith 6:02 AM  

I appreciate puzzles with shorter themes way off in the corners. I agree with Andrea - elegant that the SKY is falling in the answers!

I wore Coty’s Wild MUSK in the 70s, which I know was PESKY to a lot of people.

Spent a bit of time wondering about OBSESSION and METAPHORS and how they fit with the theme until I bothered to read the reveal. Then I switched to trying to fit MR OCTOBER and MARINATES in with the theme. Clever me.

MARINATES, DRUNK, DRYS, SKYYVODKA, PEE, ALE. In this, um, spirit, I had “aqua velva” long before SKYYVODKA. Saw a guy on a corner sipping that from a bottle once.
I think the bottle was blue.

I’m always faced with a y/j and then t/d dilemma on YETI. SCARY.

I guess someone has to come up with a Chicken Little comment. I can’t think of one.

Fine Tuesday with some DADO, LOESS, and LEHAR crunch. I MEAN IT. Thanks, Don and Zhouquin!

Doris 6:53 AM  

Anyone not pleased with the new online format? I like to print it out and relax in an easy chair, doing the puz. in ink. The new printable version is hard to read, with tiny, faint numbers in the corners. The old printout form worked much better, and one could enlarge it, albeit only slightly. See no reason to have changed the format. Opinions, please?

Milford 7:04 AM  

I liked the SKYFALL theme, and that they all 007 were down answers, because didn't they have to be? Plus it felt a little like it paired nicely with the Bottoms Up puzzle from Sunday.

I will readily admit that I am somewhat swayed by the fact that I saw SKYFALL on Saturday and loved it. That, plus I always seem to love Ks in a puzzle.

The I'M BAD DRUNK crossing the SKYY VODKA was great.

Other fun words were BUTTINSKY, METAPHORS, SCAMPI and MARINATES. Didn't love UNLINKS.

KENNY G. Ick. I'm guessing this album is related to when he claimed his note-holding world record, which was the last I've personally heard of him.

Fun puzzle! I do recommend seeing SKYFALL (if you are inclined to be swayed by random blog opinions).

OTD 7:09 AM  

Easy puzzle, but an old one. Agree it doesn't belong today. Why the new format? Messed me all up. Not all change is for the better.

Did enjoy SKYY VODKA, ARONOFSKY, BUTTINSKY. Agree with Rex on RISKY MOVE, especially since it goes with MUSKY and PESKY.

Z 7:22 AM  

I like the down theme answers. I also like the little play on words with the SKY FALLing. Fun.

All I have to say to the DRUNK on SKYY VODKA people and the RASTA who MARINATES in the "now legal in parts of the US" marijuana, watch out for the DRYS in the corner, they can be a real buzzkill.

Noam D. Elkies 7:24 AM  

Re 32D:I'M_BAD: it took Rex how many years to notice random lyrics from *hit songs in the New Shortz Times puzzles?... (And while I'm at it, to notice that people are buying multiple-platinum quantities of random pop albums?)

Maybe James Bond includes 5D:SKYY_VODKA in his trademark martini. It does have the unlikely KYYV sequence, and in a Tuesday grid at that (and we've yet to see the Ukrainian spelling KYIV of the capital of Ukraine, while KIEV has appeared 28 times per xwordinfo; but I digress).

Nancy 7:30 AM  

Finished it!!!! Found two old friends-Alec Baldwin and Maureen Dowd. WIll non-readers of the NYT know Dowd??

My first comment-thanks

Nancy 7:32 AM  

Finished it!!!! Found two old friends-Alec Baldwin and Maureen Dowd. WIll non-readers of the NYT know Dowd??

My first comment-thanks

dk 7:45 AM  

Geezer rant: Annoyed with on line format, want unreliable delivery - get a paper!

I found today's offering to be cute and SKY in the downs is a nice touch.

***(3 Stars) is UMIAK (woman's boat) a metaphor for a certain Bond girl... last name Galore.

However the eternal question (Are the women in the title sequences of Bond films naked?) remains a mystery.

When I upgraded my iPad I lost all of my Angry Birds victories. When I used an iTunes tool to eliminate duplicate names on my play list about 1000 albums were deleted from my hard drive. Rex, I feel your upgrade pain.

Glimmerglass 7:49 AM  

Couldn't get the puzzle in the usual way. Found the 11/13/12 by clicking on the NYT logo and scrolling down to "crosswords." But as @Doris said, this one has tiny, hard-to-read numbers in the grid. I hope ths isn't a "new format." Okay puzzle, pretty easy even for a Tuesday.

Doris 8:01 AM  

P.S.: Addendum to complaint re new format--BUT I can now do it on my iPhone, which I couldn't do before without buying an additional app. So ya win some, etc....

Unknown 8:10 AM  

I get enough product placement without it worming its way into my crossword. Puzzle was just ok, considering it was a commercial.

John V 8:13 AM  

Liked the theme, particularly liked the non-Tuesday words, e.g. SKYYVODKA, BUTTINSKY. Fabulous to throw in ARONFSKY, which by itself I would have no idea whatsoever and make it so Tuesday gettable, esp. crossing with METAPHORS.

YANKS before JAYS.

So hard to make a Tuesday work and this one really succeeded.

Congratulations on a co-debut by Mr. Gagliardo and Ms Burnikel!

WA 8:35 AM  

I always thought of him as Kenny F, but then he some how he became even worse and become G.

Maybe I was groggy this morning but this one was annoying because of the blatant commercialism.

Let us hope that Will is not moved by feminine hygiene products.

jackj 8:37 AM  

A bit of cross-pollination taking place today as two LA Times constructors drop by to make their NY Times debut. (If Zhouqin Burnikel is also known as C.C. Burnikel, she also started the LA Times Crossword Corner blog and, since the name Burnikel isn’t exactly Smith or Jones, one might reasonably assume that she is she).

Nice plug for the new Bond movie SKYFALL though based on the record opening weekend grosses reported today, the film doesn’t need much help.

No matter, SKY inclusive words abound, with six of them in down mode, the most remote being SKYYVODKA and ARONOFSKY but the best are BUTTINSKY and the short but sweet MUSKY, which is a good clue even as a non-themer.

Fill-wise it is nice to see Reggie Jackson honored for his baseball exploits in post season games as MROCTOBER, while Michael Jackson, (no relation), gets no such treatment and is only remembered by IMBAD.

Two other notable entries include a nice clue, “They’re sometimes mixed”, for METAPHORS and a respectful nod to the Sainted Father Damien’s leper colony on the Hawaiian island of MOLOKAI.

(I was going to mention that seeing UMIAK brought a smile of reminiscence for Maleska-isms until a look-up tells us that Maleska only used it one time while Will has let it in 10 times. Oops.).

Not so much fun though is the badly overused trick of cluing PEE as “Start to peak?”, (enough already!), and there will be many unhappy gardeners when they find out that their “Good earth” is from windblown LOESS not LOAMS.

This excellent puzzle earns a hearty welcome for Mr. Gagliardo and Ms. Burnikel but prompts the question, where’s RIMSKY-KORSAKOV?!

Anonymous 8:38 AM  

I agree with Doris --- the new format is VERY difficult to read if you print off the puzzle.

Chris Ziemkiewciz 8:42 AM  

I HATE the new format, was unable to even access the Play Against the Clock version, which is my usual choice, until after I'd solved in the new format which is clearly meant to attract a younger audience who will post their results on Facebook, maybe tweens? God help me. When I was presented with the PAtC puzzle, it is now in that same juvenile design and it looks like I could have done the puzzle over and finally posted a fabulous time by cheating. Why is the Times doing this to us?

Unknown 8:58 AM  

People, you're missing the point. Today's theme is all about paranoia, or, put another way, "the sky is falling".

How else to explain "Many a Bob Marley fan" next to "Joint groove", closely followed by "Wasted"?

PanamaRed 9:02 AM  

Didn't like the new format either, but I went back to the site and found another option - "Download for play on across lite" and came up with the old, friendly across lite format.

Liked the puzzle.

JFC 9:12 AM  

As much as it pleases me and displeases me at the same time I must agree with Acme. In fact I have no clue what Rex is saying. This is a Tuesday and the theme seems perfectly acceptable for a Tuesday. I'm sure I've see the Down answers used in a falling sense previously. But I did think this puzzle was hard for a Tuesday.

The new format: Have no idea why @Chefwen et al could not access today's puzzle. It is there, though the page seems to take a little loinger than it should to appear completely. @Chefwen - I'm thinking the Vikings will win the Division. Who would have thunk it?

@Doris - Try downloading the Across Lite version and printing that. It's much better than selecting the first print opiton.

quilter1 9:27 AM  

@Doris, I agree the new format is difficult to see--pale gray on white and a little ad in the corner. Yes I want to see The Life of Pi but I don't want it on my puzzle using up my color cartridge.

The puzzle was just OK for me. My enjoyment was diminished by having to work harder to see where to put my answers. I kept having to recheck the number. And then there's the stupid captcha with the blurry numbers. Pah!

Carola 9:27 AM  

I'm in the "Liked it" column - creative theme, fun to do. And same here on the nice longer entries. Also like the lines SCARY METAPHORS (how I felt when assigned my first poem interpretation in college) and LOTSA GAB SAYSO.

John V 9:28 AM  

Oh, forgot to say thanks, @Rex for not embedding Kenny G. Thank you. Thank you. Seriously. Thank you.

Carola 9:29 AM  

@quilter1 - Can you set your printer's properties to "grayscale"? Then you won't use any color.

The Ugly Truth 9:37 AM  

Nothing prevents most printers from using the color cartridges even when printing out in black and white or grayscale. They use the color for the majority of the droplets, then overlay a small amount of black on top to achieve a true black.

The sell more cartridges that way.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:37 AM  

An excellent puzzle, IMHO, and, as @Carola says, fun to do.

Re: 18 A, who said, "a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a METAPHOR"?

mac 9:39 AM  

This is a great Tuesday puzzle, and so timely. Especiallly liked the kyyv series, had to move away from that to figure out the theme.

captcha is luditec.

chefbea 9:42 AM  

@Doris found it very hard to read those very faint numbers.

I marinate lots of foods. Yummm and love shrimp scampi.

Will now try to download the across lite version

Kevin 9:42 AM  

Agree with the comments re: the print version of the new format. One of my main concerns is the faintness of the lines surrounding most of the grid - they barely show up on my printer. There is a "feedback" button on the page toward on bottom of the right-hand side ("Let us know what you think") - perhaps if enough of us comment they will improve the format of the print versions going forward (or, even better, revert to the PDFs, which were mostly perfect).

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

@JFC - "It was there when I looked for it" <> "It was there when Chefwen looked for it". It was there when I looked for it the tenth time, it wasn't there when I looked for it the first 9 times.

jberg 9:51 AM  

My printer has an option to print using only black.

Oh yes, the puzzle - I'm with those who thought it was fun, and six theme answers isn't bad. My only problems were:

1. RISKing it before RISKY MOVE, which ruled out the otherwise-obvious AMPERE.

2. Misreading 62A Comics shrieks as "Comics' shrieks," which was a lot harder.

3. Writing the D in SKYY VODKA so sloppily that I was wondering what repeated Michael Jackson lyric could end with O.

I'd still call it easy-to-medium, though.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

I use the NYT puzzle app on an iPad 1. This is the second day in a row that "there are incorrect answers" message is returned. I have checked each puzzle four times and can find no errors. Are other iPad users having this same problem?

Sandy K 10:26 AM  

I don't think this was a commercial for the movie- It's #1 at the box office.

What I wonder is - how is it so current, when other puzzles seem to sit on WS' desk and collect dust?

Anyway, found it refreshing and fun. Once I got the SKYFALL theme, getting ARONOFSKY and SKYY VODKA was not a problem.


LOTSA stuff to like- YEP!

OISK 10:27 AM  

I actually get the newspaper, so no format problems. I found this to be an exceptionally difficult and annoying Tuesday puzzle. I actually missed a couple of squares, figuring it was Skye Vodka, (never heard of Skyy, ) and Kenneg the Sax player. Never heard of Father Damian, I'm Bad, nor the album "Breathless" , nor Aronofsky. (love Lehar though). So I am the lonely nay-sayer here. Finished it (incorrectly as it turns out) in about 4 times my normal Tuesday time, and did not enjoy it.

Merle 10:39 AM  

Commiserations to all you 21st century people. I read a paper NY Times, so I had the November 13, 2012 puzzle -- which was not medium by my reckoning, it was easy, until I hit the one space I could not fill, and didn't feel like Googling for the one space -- crossing 11 D "Black Swan" director Darren, answer Aronofsky, with 30 A, Angry Birds, e.g., in 2010, answer Fad, was a roadblock. Didn't know the director's name, don't have a clue what Angry Birds are, except now I know that they are a fad. For me, two totally obscure clues and answers crossing. Gimmes abounded, though -- umiak, Obsession (never paddled my own umiak, but did wear Obsession once upon a time), Molokai, v-neck (never sojourned on Molokai, do wear v-necks), ampere, oasis, drunk, ect, Alec, scampi, on and on and on, the answers just filled themselves in. I have no idea what Kenny G's music sounds like, but I sure do know his name, that fell into place also. Musky gave the first letter, K, gal gave the last letter, G, had to be Kenny G.

Sometimes they're mixed -- answer, metaphors, cute.

What's with the double y in Skyyvodka? I guess I have to Google that too to find out. Is Skyy the brand name?

So aside from "exercising the brain" -- hah! -- I guess the value of doing the NY Times crossword puzzle is finding out all sorts of trivial nonsense. Stuff that doesn't matter -- or -- it matters to people who already know it -- but not to people who don't because, well, who cares?

Oh, today's prove you're not a robot was a gimme -- this robot is confident she's going to beat the system and get over.... oops, I'm back. Trying again. I'll ace it this time, and then we robots will take over the world.... Third pass... maybe it'll be a Hail Mary....

chefbea 10:50 AM  

I just sent in the feedback form. Lets hope they go back to the way it was

Tobias Duncan 10:52 AM  

It looks like they removed the PDF format to make it tougher to share the puzzle. You can still share the puzzle by email with someone who has acrosslite, but no more sending a Monday puzzle to your aunt who is not that into crosswords but likes an easy one now and again.
Its fair I guess, just seems a little cheap.

DSSinDC 10:56 AM  

LOVED this puzzle. Officially the best Tuesday puzzle ever. Interesting, new, non-crosswordese-y clues that are easy enough to get for early in the week, and a very fun and timely theme. Lots of clever word play. What's not to like?!

Norm 10:57 AM  

Firefox gave me the old 2010 puzzle. Internet Explorer shows today's puzzle and the icky new format. Makes no sense to me.

Two Ponies 11:04 AM  

I'm happy to be a pen and paper solver esp. today.
Liked the puzzle but not sure I like the product placement.
I spent ten days on Molokai and loved it. Yes I did the mule ride (great time) and yes they roll up the sidewalks at six. It was one of my best and most refreshing trips.

Masked and Anonymo4Us 11:27 AM  

@31: To maybe answer yer question about Sinclair's critter:
1. Last time we filled up at that local Sinclair gas station, they had a green dinosaur statue in their front yard. They had painted white letters on it, that said "please don't climb on Dino". So maybe that is the mascot's name. Food for thought.
2. The whole critter vs. varmint vs. anamule controversy has raged long and hot in my neck of the hills. I reckon critter is probably derived from "creature". Now, yer Creature from the Black Lagoon was pretty much man-sized, so the way I see it, a four-foot high statue named Dino could probably go by "critter". Wouldn't side with those who'd argue that critter is a diminutive form of creature, tho my cousin Cletus does claim that. Figure theyda gone with somethin' like creaturette, or creaturetina, or minicreat in that case.

p.s. Like "Skyfall" and the puz both a lot.
UMIAK: Sounds akin to my particular affliction.

lawprof 11:29 AM  

I thought it was a fine, mediumish (for a Tuesday) puzzle with an appropriate early-week theme.

Two writeovers: 14A kayAK/UNIAK and 4D rAts/DARN, which held me up in NE, where I (like @ OISK 10:27 AM)ended up with a natick at the 5D/20A crossing: SKYeVODKA/KENNeG. Not familiar with either the quaff or the saxophonist--the "e" was a not-so-educated guess.

So...a DNF on a Tuesday; a good way to stay humble for the rest of the day.

Two Ponies 11:57 AM  

I think @ M&A is correct that Dino is the mascot's name.
I call any animal a critter no matter the size.

Stephen 12:03 PM  

Suffered through an amazing number of don't-knows: Molokai, Kenny G, I'm Bad, Ifa, Lary, liana, Lehar, Aronofsky, Skyfall, Mr. October, Erica. Of these, I was appreciative of learning LIANA.
Otherwise, what Merle said: "all sorts of trivial nonsense. Stuff that doesn't matter -- or -- it matters to people who already know it -- but not to people who don't because, well, who cares?"

Ended up with YuP/uRICA... Natick! Natick!

As for "big inits for hunters": Canada has lots of hunters and lots of gun control laws. I sense that American hunters are also quite agreeable to gun regulation; the NRA seems only to be for wackos and nut cases.

Totally missed the theme.
But will join the recurrent theme regarding irritating captchas: WHY??

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

Another hand up for Skye. Helping make it even less obvious, had MUSTY for 1D. Figured Tenneg must be a jazz artist I didn't know. I DO know who Kenny G is...just don't know WHAT or WHY he is....


Sparky 12:45 PM  

Led astray early expecting META puzzle. Good one @BobK. Revealer helpful. Timeliness remarkable. Went like a good Tuesday for me.

Welcome @EllenS and @Nancy. Nice debut Don and Zhouqin. Catching up--landline finally connected yesterday. So back to what passes for normal around here. Thanks to all who enquired. I am a tough old bird.

Anne 12:49 PM  

It took some time before I figured out how to print out the puzzle today but I'm used to this kind of thing so I just kept going until I finally got the puzzle. Saw Gamache and said great. Finished and came here. Immediately saw lamp and knew there was a problem. Quickly withdrew and went back to see what was wrong. This time I found the right puzzle and printed it out. The numbers were too light and there was a bright blue ad for John Hawkes on the top. Do they implement these changes without testing? And couldn't they give us a warning at the top that things are different? I suppose someone will say that it was obvious or whatever, but I do these things quickly and I'm not thinking about changes. Anyway, the puzzle seemed fine although the Gamache was better. So maybe it turned out fine in the end.

Anonymous 1:04 PM  

Fun and smooth. Yank then rays then jays and then a free fall to pesky.


I wouldn't know where to begin to construct a puzzle but it would've been cool to see SKYPE at 1D
Almost a mirrored pesky

syndy 1:27 PM  

I missed the option to down load across lite-and I looked hard for it!but at least it's back now-the puzzle was fine except how hard the "NEW" format sucked.I think I need a Vodka martini now!

Bird 1:55 PM  

Meh. The theme is OK, and I like that the SKY is falling but where is the little chicken? You have to have a little chicken in the grid somewhere. I avoided a Tuesday DNF by correctly guessing the I at 14A and 3D. UMIAK (which was originally KAYAK) is “hardcore crosswordese”? Maybe if you do 10 puzzles everyday.

I don’t like UNLINKS (which was originally LOGS OFF) or DRYS. They are ugly “words”. As @John V said, YANKS would have been a better answer for 6A. If your’re thinking about the Windy City, then CUBS fits. Started to write ETERNITY before realizing it didn’t fit. Damn. Oh, and stouts are dark, not ALES. I do like BUTTINSKY.

When will the NYT start offering two puzzles on Tuesdays, as in “2-for-Tuesday”?

If your joint has a groove, you should roll another one. Or let some else do it.

@acme – STIRRED would have been perfect, considering the reveal

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

Try "acrosslite". There is a fee for it but worth it. T

Bill 3:09 PM  

I was coming here to complain that the Sox and Jays are not rivals, since the Sox would likely list the Yanks, Rays, O's, and maybe even Braves and Mets as rivals before the Jays. But then I checked out the 2012 AL East standings, saw the Sox looking up at the Jays, and decided it was just fine.

Kevin 3:11 PM  

Would have been better with SKYPE for 1 Down.

jae 3:16 PM  

I'm fighting a virus so I'll just say "what Andrea said." And, medium for me.

@John V & Bird -- me too for YANK.

ANON B 3:55 PM  

In my first-ever comment I complained about all the nitpicking
and was told that it is nit picking(Two words). Well the nit pickers are still here, not the least Rex in today's blog.

Davis 4:09 PM  

"Meh" is my response to most of this puzzle. Except for the NW — UMIAK? On a Tuesday? Crossing LIANA? I'm not a Rex-level crossword solver, but I've been doing them a long time and that's not an entry I recall ever seeing in the first half of the week. Honestly, the NW ruined the puzzle for me; I had to Google UMIAK, which makes this the first time I've ever Googled a Tuesday entry. Blech.

DB Geezer 5:58 PM  

I kept getting the August 2010 puzzle through my old bookmark, until I started over with crosswords@nytimes.com
Chnaged the bookmark and now everything's ok.

acme 6:54 PM  

I'm with you!
I just got a HENNY PENNY puzzle rejected with THESKYISFALLING across the middle and all of his friends (DUCKYLUCKY, FOXYLOXY, GOOSYLOOSY)

I was so proud of it, it was a miracle that all the names were matching lengths!
(but it didn't tickle the powers that be! Ah me.)

This had SO many great words, so chockfull, I'm disappointed that people think learning trivia is just that and not a way to connect more thoroughly with people.
When someone says MROCTOBER (which you hear quite a bit in SF), I feel excited to actually know what the heck someone is talking about!

Speaking of trivia...puzzles and game fun night at Emeryville Barnes and Noble tonight with host Tyler Hinman! 7 pm if you are around
(And Thurs night in NY with Francis Heaney.)

Check Orange's Diary of a Crossword Fiend to get all the dates and places across the country!

Z 7:42 PM  

@ANON B - nit picking about "nitpicking!" How Meta.

sanfranman59 11:49 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 6:17, 6:46, 0.93, 23%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:44, 8:58, 0.97, 50%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:43, 3:41, 1.01, 62%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:06, 4:41, 1.09, 77%, Medium-Challenging

I'm not sure why, but this puzzle had the fewest online solvers of the 177 Tuesdays in my database and by a relatively wide margin (383 today vs. 746 on an average Tuesday). Perhaps it has something to do with what the early solvers described? Strange, because I solved it online last evening and didn't have the problem that @Chefwen & @Rube mention in their early blog comments.

JFC 12:05 AM  

@ANON B - nit picking about "nitpicking!" How Nate....


Joycila 8:10 AM  

As a life-long Chicagoan, I must cry "FOUL!" to 6-Across, JAYS. The true rival of the South-side SOX are the North-side CUBS.

Ellen S 10:50 AM  

@Merle - it isn't the puzzle that exercises your brain and expands your knowledge, it's the contributions to this blog! I've been doing the NYT puzzles since 1980 and until I ran into this blog a month or so ago, I had been getting answers on crosses or by xword dictionary or later Google, or not getting them and looking them up the next next day, and if they were weird tricks, never understanding why they were the correct answer or what the answer meant. Here, I not only get that info, but tons of surrounding facts, more than factoids. Maybe call it "contextualized trivia."

@sparky, I'm glad your landline is restored - how long were you without the other luxuries, like heat and electricity? "Conventional wisdom" used to be that in New Orleans post-Katrina all the places left ruined, not repaired, had been occupied by black folks. Now Hurricane Sandy hits NYC, but the abandoned boroughs and neighborhoods seem far more interracial. But I don't get it -- two weeks without power or heat in our nation's premier city. At least there seem to be shelters for those who evacuated. (extrapolating from a sample of one instance that I know about, another tough old bird who refused to evacuate her 20th floor Coney Island apt, age 93 and legally blind she made the trip downstairs and back twice before giving up on ever getting electricity back and fleeing to Manhattan).

@joycila, hand up here for Cubs.

ukraine-vacation-guide.com 4:42 AM  

Everyone who loves skiing should pay more attention to Ukrainian ski resorts. This region develops very fast. Carpathians become more and more popular among skiers of Ukraine and the world. Such resorts as Slavske or Dragobrat are symbols of perfect skiing and comfortable hotels. Just read about Ukrainian places for skiing http://ukraine-vacation-guide.com/publ/ukraine_ski/15 and remember that conditions become more and more comfortable every year!

Stephen 11:43 AM  

Well, there is some data about the captchas. Somebody posted goop about the skiing in somewhereland, and must have penetrated our irritating defenses to do so.
I myself asked in this day's comments the question "WHY?" and now we see evidence of the answer.

Rex: how often are these off-topic postings attempted?

Since Rex stalwartly refuses to respond to our pleas and questions, though, let me take a poll... how many of us are subscribed to these things? Post something if you are. If there are only 5 of us, then not much damage is done by this incursion. If there are 500 then yes a price has been paid and maybe it's worth keeping the defenses to stop such things.

Having said all that, let me also post something seemingly contradictory... the captchas won't stop such incursions, because for sure the note from ukraine-vacatino-guide was posted by a robot anyway. With a little sophistication, spammers take the captchas and get some other unsuspecting human to read them (in order to gain access to smut, say) and then return the answer automatically to the site where it was found.

Waxy in Montreal 11:34 AM  

Nice to see the JAYS getting some love here especially just as they sign last year's NL Cy Young trophy winner with the Mets, R. A. Dickey. Maybe not really of the major league variety - but syndisynchronicity nonetheless.

Wow, as others my downfall was that PESKY NW region with LIANA crossing UMIAK and KENNYG.

Will submit this quickly before the very heavy wet snow currently falling leads to an AMPERE reading of 0.

Spacecraft 11:57 AM  

A very chewy Tuesday. Pretty ambitious to launch a theme that requires so much "KY" jelly. Fill must suffer: we have half the alphabet here, letter by letter (KENNYG, PEE, VNECK--not to mention IFA, LOTSA and the acronym NRA). Also very uneven; crunch in some areas but LOTSA double-S's in others. I get the feeling that the constructors got to the SE last and just wanted to be done with it, hence YESES crossing YEP, OASIS, ESSAY.

Wow, when they dusted off Yale LARY they darkened the SKY for a week! That is OLD-old school! I agree with the fans who doubt the "rival" status of the BlueJAYS vis-a-vis the Sox. And...does anybody SAY "UNLINKS?"

Still, the fresh and chunky outdid the rest. This was more of a Thursdayish medium for me. Good stuff.

And finally: if the captchas can't stop off-subject posts, then I say DOWN WITH CAPTCHAS!!!

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

I'm with the Mehs on this one. Felt like paid placement, and there were some ugly moments in order to make the theme work.

rain forest 1:26 PM  

I guess I just don't understand how anyone can solve this puzzle, see all the SKYs falling, with the revealer smack in the middle, and not like it. Too often, people are more interested in pointing out the occasional iffy fill (and not always agreement on that), and not just enjoying the solving experience. When I realized that the blue-bottled spirit was not BOMBAY SAPPHIRE, but was indeed SKYYVODKA, I was immediately captivated. Some really good stuff in here (won't list it all-it's been done above), and the risky move of having RISKY MOVE as a theme entry was not a problem at all. Nice puzz.

Anonymous 2:32 PM  

Putting my two cents in: Great puzzle, good theme. I'm definitely with the pros and not with the cons. I rate is Easy.
Ron Diego, 12/18 from San Diego

Cliff Martin 4:03 PM  

You're a little hard on RISKY MOVE. Had the clue been, say, "driving 100 mph", then yes, the move is a superfluous add-on. But this was a stock market trade, something technically known as a "move".

Dirigonzo 6:59 PM  

@Rainforest's 1st sentence pretty much sums up my reaction to the puzzle.

Today we have EMCEE while a couple of days ago we had the abbreviated MC version in the grid - PP does not understand how this is acceptable and all I can offer by way of explanation is the lame, "Anything goes in crossword puzzles".

In re learning trivia from puzzles, I devoted an early post on my own blog to that very topic. And as someone said earlier, the comments on this blog are pretty educational, too.

From today's headlines: "The NRA [in the grid yet again] on Tuesday broke its silence on last Friday's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., denouncing the "horrific and senseless murders" and vowing to "help make sure this never happens again."" I pray that they are sincere - but I doubt it.

Dirigonzo 7:04 PM  

(Needed to check the email follow-up box - sorry)

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