#1 Alicia Keys hit of 2007 / TUE 12-18-12 / Wonderland cake instruction / Fifth-century invader / Diamond feat / 1950s runner's initials / California locale named for local flora / Bygone despot

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Constructor: Adam Perl

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: DOUBLE PLAY (68A: Diamond feat ... and a hint to 17-, 21-, 35-, 47- and 59-Across) — both parts of theme answers are words that follow "PLAY" in common phrases

  • FAIRGROUND (17A: Place to see a Ferris wheel) — I don't think I knew the "F" was capitalized.
  • DOWNTIME (21A: Period for R&R)
  • ROOMMATE (35A: Dorm assignment)
  • DOUGHBOY (47A: W.W. I soldier)
  • DATEBOOK (59A: You can plan on it)

Word of the Day: ILYA Kovalchuk (40D: The N.H.L.'s Kovalchuk) —
Ilya Valeryevich Kovalchuk (RussianИлья́ Вале́рьевич Ковальчу́к; born April 15, 1983) is a Russian professional ice hockey left winger who is an alternate captain of the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League (NHL). Drafted first overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers, he began his NHL career in 2001–02 with Atlanta and was nominated for the Calder Memorial Trophy as league rookie-of-the-year. He is a three-time NHL All-Star and won the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the league's leading goal-scorer in 2004 in a three-way tie with Jarome Iginla and Rick Nash. After eight seasons with the Thrashers, he was traded to the Devils in February 2010, and later signed a 15-year, $100 million contract during the off-season. (wikipedia)
• • •

This one was a blur. Except for a few notable sticking points, I didn't remember anything about this puzzle by the time I was done with it. I didn't even give a thought to the theme. But, this being a crossword blog and all, I decided to figure it out—not hard. This is a common crossword theme type (Both Words Can Precede/Follow ...), and one that, but for the revealer, may as well be themeless. There's no apparent connection among the theme answers, so it's unlikely you're going to notice anything about the theme until the end, which is fine. It's one way to do a theme. And this revealer works perfectly—much better than the simple one-word revealer you sometimes get with lesser versions of this theme type (i.e. better than simply having PLAY be the revealer). Coincidentally, I was mulling over a puzzle of this theme type just today. I might make it, I might not. Don't have a killer revealer yet, so ... until I get one, no dice. This type of puzzle isn't worth making unless your revealer is dead on.

Prince - Play In The Sunshine by abelflexes

Got slowed down at REDWOOD because, well, I just did (9D: ___ City, California locale named for local flora). That seems a toughish clue for a Tuesday. I'd say the same about the clue on ANGLE (5D: Matter of degree?)—a clue I rather like. Stumbled a bit at MIDRIB, which always happens with MIDRIB. MIDRIB and I are old nemeses. "MIDRIB!" [shakes fist at sky]. Fun fact: McDonald's introduced the McRib sandwich as a replacement for the MIDRIB, which sold poorly. For no good reason, I struggled with both NEEDY (32D: Clinging, say) and USUAL (48D: Norm). Brain just wouldn't kick out the right answer. And yet ILYA? No problem. I sometimes wonder about the ways that crossword-solving is rewiring my brain. Biggest, most epic fail of the day, though, came at the end. I finished and didn't get the "Happy Pencil" icon, so went looking for my error. Noticed that I had 52A: Distinctive parts of Boston accents as ABS. Thought this ... strange. Then noticed all the Acrosses in the SW were screwed up. Turns out that, with the "A"s in place, I read 53D: Israeli port and wrote in ... [drum roll] ... BASRA. [sad tromBONE] In my defense, I was only [...googling...] 775.2 miles off.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:15 AM  

Liked it overall, but don't see the revealer as "working perfectly" or as "dead on".

Sure, all ten words in the five entries can be preceded by PLAY, and that's cool and all - but five of those ten words can be preceded by DOUBLE and I kind of have a problem with that.

Adlib Crest Midribs 12:19 AM  

THought it fabulous that both parts worked with PLAY...

Was a bit confused bec the first couple seem they work if the word comes before or after...
but later on they are all meant to clearly come first.

Only PLAYDATE for example. You can't have DATEPLAY.

But you could have GROUNDPLAY (I think...in baseball?) and PLAYGROUND. or FAIRPLAY. or "PLAY FAIR...please"
DOWNPLAY and PLAYDOWN are sort of the same.


ANyway, no matter how you PLAY it, it works.

Totally agree with the @Rex thing that if you have a killer reveal instead of just one word it elevates it to a much higher level.
(And hee hee MIDRIBS/MCRIBS rant!)

some crazy looking words, DMITRI to start with DM,
a town that starts with X (XENIA)

Didn't quite think the AHS clue work, bec it's really the ARS...that sound like AHS. RIght?

Anyway, I also had give a good whippin' be TAr.
Like Tar and feather. But NEEDY is better than rEEDY for "Clinging". And that's a wrap.

acme 12:22 AM  

@anon 12:15
let's see,
what's the fifth? DOUBLEROOM? Like at a hotel?
Actually I think that makes this DOUBLY cool!

Tobias Duncan 12:32 AM  

TAO of Steve is pretty dang obscure for a Tuesday. It is a very low budget film written by Duncan North, a very charming (and portly)Santa Fean who is a very fun person to go out drinking with (even if he hits on your date). It only showed in a handful of art-house theaters but may have been on TV late on night once or twice.

acme 12:39 AM  

I know, and to know that TAO means PATH...that's pretty far out there...but at least it wasn't "ALL ABOUT STEVE"!!!! WOrst film ever!
Are there other STEVE films out there?!!!
"Bob & Ted & Carol & Alice & Steve"?
"Bill and Ted and Steve;s Excellent Adventure"?

I think TAO of POOH might have been more known.

Darn, three and out already!

jae 12:58 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  Needed to stare at the theme answers briefly to catch what was going on.  

Does the fact that PLAY works on both sides of FAIR and DOWN make those triple plays?

Tough crosses for a Tues:  DMITRI/ILYA especially with ESTA and TITHE in the mix and AHS/HAIFA...ArS/rAIFA for those who are guessing?

I liked it.  Not bad grid (if you let AHS slide) with a well excuted theme.

Rube 2:21 AM  

Personally, I think XENIA is a little too obscure for Tuesday. However, RASTA for "Dreaded one" is priceless.


chefwen 2:27 AM  

Another easy early week puzzle that I enjoyed a lot. Had a little hiccup in the SW where I had STanD IN at 46D. Things got a little messy in that area before I caught the error of my ways. Also, my DMITRI ended with an e instead of a I, what do I know of ILYE vs. ELYE, nuttin honey.

Good puzzle, thanks Adam G. Perl.

jae 2:38 AM  

@andrea -- I think the fifth is DOUBLEDOWN as in Black Jack, but hotel room also works so maybe six?

Anonymous 4:12 AM  

Weirdly, I happened to recommend "The Tao of Steve" to a friend not ten hours ago, and here it is.

Isn't the kid's toy spelled Play-Doh? I have never heard of PLAY DOUGH and it took me a while to figure out what the constructor was even going for there.

Loren Muse Smith 5:50 AM  

Periodically I try to come up with compound nouns that can both pair up with another word and Invariably. Get. Nowhere. I like puzzles like these, so much so that I don’t mind a ho-hum revealer. (Today’s was a terrific revealer, though.)

Rex – do yours, please!

Unlike others, the highlight for me was AHS. This will be one of my favorite clues ever. And Mr. Perl slipped in two other gems to portray all those Bostonian men in BAHS who LEAH at the women!

Nice job, Adam. Was “outhouse” ever on the list?

Milford 7:04 AM  

Another medium kind of puzzle for me, needing to stop and take a couple moments with many of these clues. Ended with an error in the SW, with ArS/rAFIA as @jae mentioned above. The Boston accent clue was a bit vague, IMHO, so I really believed ArS to be correct.

Don't mind the theme at all, good fun. Like @acme I thought for a bit that some entries were meant to go before the word PLAY. Liked the randiness of playBOY and playMATE near each other!

@Rex - good AD LIB on the MID(mc)RIB!

Good question Anon 4:12 - maybe Play Doh is the best known brand of PLAY DOUGH? My mom used to have a recipe for it.

OTD 7:07 AM  

Pretty easy for me. Since I'm originally from Ohio, XENIA was no problem. Loved RASTA, too. Good chuckle on that one.

Theme was ok. Nothing great, tho. Seemed like a lot of the fill was more or less crosswordese.

r.alphbunker 7:54 AM  

Finished with ArS for {Distinctive parts of a Boston accent} which put the port in Raifa which is a populated place in Tatarstan Russia.

I have a Providence variation of a Boston accent and have no problem saying ah. It's the ars I have trouble with.

One time I asked a student to read a paper by Ted Codd. He came back and said it wasn't in the library. It turns out he had "translated" my accent and was looking for Ted Card.

Anonymous 8:07 AM  

I don't get OPER.

Nancy in PA 8:22 AM  

@anonymous 8:07 old-timy telephone clue--0 for operator under the 8. Not on cellphone keypads.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

anon 8.07. look at your phone

Anonymous 8:29 AM  

Too many blah three-letter answers and ugly four-letter answers  (INTO, ONTO, IFSO, INRE) for me to develop any appreciation for this one. Very flat, no zing. Even after the reveal.

Unknown 8:34 AM  

Liked it, for the most part. The ability of DOUBLE as well as PLAY to work with some of the words kind of confusing. Like Loren, AHS was a highlight for me. My Boston accent remains dormant most of the time but gets a good workout when reunited with family, when AHS are dropped all over the place.

Is anyone else using an iPad having trouble submitting comments? When entering them, I can't edit at all. If I make a mistake and try to correct it, everything freezes. So I end up writing them in the notepad and copying them in here. Any suggestions?

Carola 8:39 AM  

The "reveal" light was slow to come for me, but that made it more fun when I saw what was going on. Clever! But it turned out I didn't actually see it all - I missed that PLAY worked before all of the theme parts. From FAIR PLAY - PLAY GROUND and DOWN PLAY - PLAY TIME, I thought PLAY was going to be a middle link (MIDRIB?), so that PLAY ROOM - PLAYMATE, etc., were inconsistent. Another example of things I'd miss without @Rex and all of you.

Liked the intersecting Russians DMITRI and ILYA along with their Russian pancakes, BLINI.

On the composer front, I liked that KURT Weill had his OPER (German for "opera").

@Milford - I hadn't noticed the playBOY and playMATE - neat!

@Susan McConnell - Exact same iPad problem here. I'm using the "old" site, accessible by scrolling to the bottom of the "new" page and clicking on "View Web Version."

@Rex - On MIDRIB - had a terrible struggle with it on its last puzzle appearance. Today got it off the M with a "Hah!" Small triumphs.

Z 8:41 AM  

Issues in the SW for me, since ares had wings. Hand up for ArS. rAIFA looked wrong but I blamed it on not knowing every port in the world. Otherwise a straightforward and not unpleasant Tuesday.

joho 8:44 AM  

At first I thought the reveal was pointing to a baseball theme which works with FAIR ball and GROUND ball ... talk about over complicating things! Then I couldn't decide whether I should be doubling DOUBLE or PLAY. Finally figured it out and really liked it!

To keep the baseball theme going I'd say this hit a home run for a Tuesday.

@Rex, MIDRIB/McRib = very funny!

Tita 8:51 AM  

Puzzle was ok...I enjoyed the comments here more, though. Was mildly irked by randomness of where PLAY went, and DOUBLE also working, well, sometimes...

Had inlaws in XENIA, so knew that from the X.

My sister was an OPER. They were so helpful. Now we have Siri.

Pete 8:53 AM  

Just last evening I was looking at a Xmas twig arrangement, holly and pine leaves. I attempted to determine whether the holly was real or fake by looking for the MIDRIBs.

I realized I wouldn't know a real MIDRIB vs a fake one, so gave up on that as my manner of assessment. I then tried to coerce the person sitting next to me to eat one of the holly berries, to see if he got ill from doing so. Unusually, I wasn't sitting next to a total idiot so I still don't know if the holly was real or fake.

I found the fact that double works as well as play before some of the pairs offputting.

JackLee 8:56 AM  

Thought this was pretty easy, except for XENIA/AES. Someone explain 26A to me (1950s runner's inits)?

jackj 8:59 AM  

“Beisbol been berry, berry good to me”, until being forced to hit into a DOUBLEPLAY by today’s puzzle, one in which the theme failed to excite and with fill that was so replete with standard crossword fare it seemed like the team nickname might be the “Tuesday Generics”.

AMANA, TSAR, AHS and BAHS; YOU and YES, ACNE, ORBS, oh baseball, mercy, mercy me, (do they have the mercy rule in thee?).

ULEE, EATME, EYES and TREES, ION, OTT and ESP; now I’ve said my A-B-C’s, next time won’t you sing with me?

INRE, IFSO, AES and BES; NOLO, NOEL and NETS are NEEDY, until along comes XENIA to save the game, running with those ravishing Russians, ILYA and DMITRI, making us think we’re golden because OMNIA vincit amor but, nope, just our luck, it’s EROS day off (and the Cossacks were only after the BLINI).

Cute RASTA clue, though.

Airymom 9:05 AM  

@Jack Lee--Adlai E. Stevenson ran for president twice in the 1950's, so his initials are AES. Can someone explain "solids" for pool choice? Thanks.

John V 9:06 AM  

Hand up for @Ralph's ARS for AHS mistake. BTW, @Ralph, I understand Ted Codd sometimes double Dated. (Sorry)

Screwed up ILYA/ESTA cross, having ESTO, or some such. Nice Spanish, JohnV.

Wanted ELSE for 70A.

What other said about DOUBLE -v- PLAY, which to me, too, felt a touch ambiguous; had to come here to parse it.

But, easy to medium Tuesday, done before chugging over the state line.

Unknown 9:11 AM  

@Airymom SOLIDS as opposed to stripes when playing pool (billiards).

Lewis 9:12 AM  

It felt easy to me; I didn't even look for the theme until the end. A couple of potential Naticks would be the A at xeniA/Aes and the N at ioN/Noone.

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

@airymom- SOLIDS are one set of billiard balls. The other are stripes. Hence the pool choice.

Milford 9:12 AM  

@Jack Lee - AES = Adlai Ewing (had to look up) Stevenson. I originally thought this clue was going to be Roger Bannister's initials!

@Susan - I've been having this exact same problem posting from my iPhone. Doesn't let me edit at all until I close the keyboard and re-open. PITA.

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

Editing easy on DROID. My main issue is deciphering the publishing entry to prove I'm not a robot. Might be easier if I were.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:01 AM  

One write-over: 4 D, NOT I before NOR I.

Two Ponies 10:18 AM  

@ Rex, That sandwich was the first thing that came to mind with that answer.
It seems that not a day goes by without complaints about someone's electronic device. Boy, I love my pen and paper.
Puzzle was OK. The verb tense on 46D seems wrong to me.

r.alphbunker 10:22 AM  



I bet it wasn't with Charlie Bachman

dk 10:33 AM  

Half of my family pahks cash in the yahd.

I still do not get the theme -- but it is Tuesday.

🌟🌟 (2 Stars) What Rex wrote but in a nicer way. Puzzle not worth doing, tsp tsk

dk 10:34 AM  

should be cahs

Milford 10:46 AM  

@Two Ponies - I agree, paper puzzle is great, but our issues are with adding comments to the blog, so no paper option. Well, I guess we could send Rex a letter...

Carola 10:48 AM  

Maybe both "ArS" and "AHS" are distinctive parts of a Boston accent? My Boston friend pronounces her granddaughter Sarah's name so that the "ah" sounds more like "er": "Sahrer." Not sure, Midwesterner here.

Cathyat40 11:20 AM  

Hand up for TAr and rEEDY

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

Liked the puzzle. Knew both Russians and the Israeli port. Really just testing the iPad app comment problem. Jlb

chefbea 12:15 PM  

tried to post twice this morning and couldn't.Let's see if it got fixed!!! easy puzzle.

Lojman 12:40 PM  




syndy 12:45 PM  

My great grand dad Chung Ah arrived in Boston to a new name-Joseph Archung!I had DATaBanK for 59 across some howand hadn't squared it with the downs.I wasw trying to PLAY with them but ???.

Masked and Anonymo6Us 12:47 PM  

Great theme idea, but mustve been a grind to come up with enough qualifying themers. Constructor dude probably carried a list around, noodling on the problem for weeks. Suddenly, on a crowded subway car, he jumps up and triumphantly blurts out "Date Book! Har!!"
Other riders scuffle off to the side slightly, adjusting comfort zones.

Biggest prob in puz for me was wanting STANDIN for that there "Pinch hit (for)" clue. Sounded present-tense-like all the way, to the M&A. But I reckon there ain't no hitted in baseball. Anyhoo, lost valuable nanoseconds.

"JACKSOFF!" Man -- now THAT woulda cleared the whole subway car...

jae 1:40 PM  

@Susan, Carola, et. al. -- The last two days I've posted from my iPad by pasting from the NotePad which is why I apparently haven't had any problems. Guess I will continue to do this and edit on the NotePad instead of blogger.

Pool Balls: There are 15. One through eight are solid colors with the eight ball being black. Nine through fifteen are white with colored stripes which correspond sequentially to the colors of the solid balls, e.g. the one ball is yellow and the nine ball has a yellow stripe.

Bird 2:01 PM  

Thought the puzzle was okay, but confused about theme until I got here. I was trying to figure out how the theme answers all related to baseball. Now I think, “Meh”. But it’s Tuesday.

I liked how INTO and ONTO are in the grid, but disappointed that UNTO was not. I also like the clue for 18A.

I disagree with answer for 67A – it should be PERJURER.

Are there any other presidents or presidential hopefuls besides AES and DDE in crosswords? I think we had RMN recently, but Adlai and Ike seem very popular with constructors.

A real feat would have been a theme around TRIPLE PLAY. Perhaps a Sunday puzzle.

@MandU – I too was trying get STAND IN to fit so that was the last section for fall. Love that last possibility.

Captcha Dude 2:04 PM  

I wonder if Google is developing software to read numbers, which is why they are asking us robots to tyoe in a number next to the the captcha jumble.

I type 1 every time. Boy, is Google in for a long ride with the beta version.

Masked and U-nonymous 2:14 PM  

@Bird: Hmmmmm... M&U. Has a reeeeal nice ring to it. Masked and U-nonymous. Like. Must try to work that into my schtick. Thanx.

Play jacks. Play off. Yep. Works. But how to use it in a TRIPLE PLAY? Ideas come to mind, ... but would probably clear out the whole darn blog.

The Blorg has took over iPads. Kiss your sweet tablets goodbye. Now can only blog-comment at the library.

Sparky 2:35 PM  

Popped the plural S in 41A so had write over later. STanDIN before STOODIN. Pretty easy but I also thought the PLAY moved in front and behind. That's why I come here. I receive the paper and use a desktop. Sometimes it's good to be the dinosaur.

Bird 2:56 PM  

@MandU - You're welcome. Seemed a natural tag.

@Captcha Dude - Not sure of big brother's plans, but any number works.

As a pen & paper solver, I do not fear the Borg or what happens in the new show Revolution.

Sfingi 3:06 PM  

More sports and geography than I know. Especially SOLIDS, XENIA.


Wanted Tito for TSAR.

sanfranman59 4:06 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

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

Tue 8:01, 8:44, 0.92, 20%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:56, 4:59, 0.99, 45%, Medium

Argyle 4:53 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
joho 5:40 PM  

@MandU ... suits you!

Good one, @Bird!

minnesota fats 7:02 PM  

Oooh! I never realized that the stripes and SOLIDS were also coordinated number-wise 1/9, 2/10, etc. Neat!

Qvart 7:29 PM  

Ok, I’m working the weekday puzzles everyday this week after Carola suggested I check in here more often than just on Saturday and Sunday (and occasionally Friday). Like I said before, I don’t always do the weekday puzzles – only if the paper doesn’t sell out at my store and I get to keep it (I don’t have a subscription anymore). But mainly I just don’t feel challenged by anything before Thursday, and really only Friday and beyond. However, I have sampled many different crosswords and I still like the NYT the best regardless of the day of the week, so even the easier ones are enjoyable.

Since I first posted here last Saturday I’ve been timing myself. This isn’t so much to prove how awesome I am at crosswords and I’m certainly not trying to complete them quickly. It’s just a measure of how much any particular puzzle makes me work at it to solve. Today’s time: 7 mins. That’s one minute faster than yesterday, and – sure enough – I thought this one was slightly easier.

As for the theme – I often ignore titles or clues that might give it away until I’m well into solving the puzzle and I kinda figure it out on my own. With this one I didn’t really pay attention to 68A’s “hint” regarding the five other answers. I scanned it, realized I needed more letters to fill it in, and when I was left with a few empty squares I was sure “diamond” meant baseball and I inked DOUBLEPLAY without rereading the clue. Didn’t really pay attention to the fact that PLAY went with both parts of the themed answers until I checked in here, but I was curious to see what everyone had to say. Rex and other posters here always provide a perspective that hasn’t occurred to me. Cool.

With easier puzzles like this I generally start off in the NW and zig zag down to the SE then branch off from there. No trouble with the standard easy-puzzle-fare answers AMANA and ALFA (Romeo) and I was off and running. It felt a little heavy on the gimme clues and answers – by which I mean you don’t have to actually KNOW the answers from your own life or experiences. Instead you know them because you’ve done a lot of crosswords and they’re no longer terra incognita (e.g., AMANA, ALFA, ALIT, ORBS, NOLO, ULEE, SCUD, ANNOY, RIOT, EROS). However, it was fairly balanced with some I found creative/entertaining:

I did know “The Tao of Steve” and liked how TAO pointed straight down to PATH underneath (and inline with) it.

“Dreaded one?” = RASTA. Nice pun for a fan of reggae or – like me - Bad Brains.

I couldn’t guess the five-letter “city near Dayton” when I only had the “I” filled in, but being from Ohio there was no question about XENIA once I had the “X.”

And now for a couple answers I thought fit nicely together – DIMITRI and ILYA. First off, they’re both Russian (or Slavic) names and it was aesthetically pleasing that they connected. Also, I had the “DM” after filling in crossing answers and thought that was a weird combination, but figured I’d get back to it and see where it lead. Once I saw what appeared to be a Russian name I figured it had to be Dimitr-, but how to end it? With an “I” or a “Y”? Having read my share of Russian writers and various translations of Russian works I figured either letter was a possibility (but two more squares would have been needed if spelled like my nephew’s name). I didn’t know the answer to 40D (“The N.H.L.’s Kovalchuk”) but had –LYA, so the leading letter had to be an “I.” That was pretty cool.

Okay, on to Wednesday…

Zygotic 8:48 PM  

M&U - It is to laugh.

sanfranman59 10:07 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. 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 6:06, 6:14, 0.98, 37%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:06, 8:44, 0.93, 25%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:37, 3:39, 0.99, 39%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:54, 4:59, 0.98, 42%, Medium

MetaRex 10:51 PM  

Good puzzle by Adam Perl, good commentary by Rex, good comments here. Didn't see the double double issue--did see that PLAY works after as well as before FAIR and DOWN, but not after ROOM, DATE, or DOUGH. At least I don't think DOUGH PLAY is a phrase...kind of wish it were...


Bad Noise 11:24 PM  

Bad Brains?! W.T.F.

And what a snob. Ooooh, weekday puzzles bore me.

Kyle 11:54 PM  

Regarding the style change... Prefer serif font for the blog vs. new san serif!

Qvart 4:59 AM  

@Bad Noise: "Bad Brains?! W.T.F. And what a snob. Ooooh, weekday puzzles bore me."

Bad Brains is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of "rasta." Threw in a link for the helluva it. You don't have to like them.

I didn't say the weekday puzzles bore me. I said I still enjoy them but prefer the ones later in the week that are more challenging. I've been doing the NYT puzzles fairly regularly for something like 13 or 14 years so yeah there are a lot of clues and answers I've seen over and over and over and over. There was a time when I could barely get a single letter right in a Saturday puzzle and now I complete them more often than not. Does that make me a snob? If so...okay, I'm a snob. Thanks for pointing that out.

Anonymous 12:27 PM  

You are all Gail Bedicker!

Spacecraft 11:03 AM  

Unlike OFL, I grokked the theme with the top two answers--though I did expect they would all be "[x]PLAY/PLAY[x]. That they weren't, and that "play dough" as spelled doesn't really exist (the brand name is "Pla-Doh"), were only minor letdowns. I kind of enjoyed it. Liked the TAO/PATH lineup.

A bit of a glitch in the area of OMNes, MIDRIB (love OFL's parody of Shatner's most hammed-up line ever!), and STanDIN, but only the first of these occasioned a writeover. Hand up for the Clue of the Week: "Dreaded one?"

Easy-medium. And now for another gauntlet of TOTALLY ILLEGIBLE captchas! Oh, please, have a heart!

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

69 Down. Wanna ...
BES? What is wanna bes? I was trying to fit "Wanna bet"

Wikipedia 11:34 AM  

@Anonymous/Martin -

A wannabe (slang for "want to be") is a person with an ambition to be someone or something that s/he is not. The term is generally pejorative.

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

Most puzzling for me was "1950s runner's initials". Kept thinking along the lines of Sebastian Coe. Then it dawned on me: Adlai E Stevenson, presidential candidate.


David M 12:36 PM  

Rex - don't know if anyone responded, but the reason Ferris wheel is capitalized is that the inventor was a steel magnate from Pennsylvania. He came up with the Ferris wheel for the Chicago Exposition of 1894 as the U.S. response to France's Eiffel tower at the previous expo in Paris. David M

DMGrandma 2:35 PM  

Another good day for me. No hang-ups. AHS and ILYA are the only two words that would have stumped me, and I never even saw them as they filled from the acrosses. On the other hand, I didn't "get" the reveal. Didn't see that it meant anything beyond saying that the referenced clues all contained two/double words.

Another search for a Captcha I think I can "solve". Do you ever wonder if the creators of these things are sitting somewhere laughing as they create these monstrosities?

Dirigonzo 3:03 PM  

I spent too much time wondering why "double" worked with some of theme answers but not all of them - it never occurred to me that "play" was the operative word. I really need as remedial course in theme comprehension.

The DMITRI/ILYA cross would have done me in if "I" hadn't been the only reasonable choice.

rain forest 3:40 PM  

Easy. Interesting, though, that the word PLAY can be used twice in the theme answers, hence, "double play", and that DOUBLE can be used with 5 of the words. Inconsistent, I suppose, but kind of neat. Of course, I didn't see any of that until I read Rex.

Spacecraft 9:03 PM  

@DMG: I don't know if the captcha people are sitting around chortling like fiends, but I do know one thing: the guy who's going around to houses snapping their address numbers must have FLUNKED photography school. I could send out a monkey with a drawing pad and get better results. I can only hope some neighborhood watch citizen calls the cops on him. Maybe they'll get him on a peeping tom charge.

P.S. I failed to identify this one correctly; had to do over. AAAUGH!!

Festeron 7:02 PM  

I had all kinds of errors in this one: I thought 45D Pool choice was SaLIne, that wxyz was under TUV, wing it was AD hoc, and the whippin' was TAn. Because I write in black pen, it got messy!

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