Jazz pianist McCoy / SUN 12-30-12 / Pope Agatho's successor / Hoppy pub quaff / Capone henchman / World capital that's home to Zog I Boulevard / Eponymous Italian city / Paperback publisher since 1941

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Constructor: Steve Savoy

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Plus Ten" — familiar phrases have "IO" added to them (because those letters look like the number "10"). Wacky phrases and cluing ensue.

Word of the Day: McCoy TYNER (17D: Jazz pianist McCoy ___)
McCoy Tyner (born December 11, 1938) is a jazz pianist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, known for his work with the John Coltrane Quartet and a long solo career. (wikipedia)
• • •

I struggled with this more than I do with most Sundays. I picked up the theme early (with COOLIO CUSTOMER), but somehow that didn't help much with taking down the theme answers. Actually, there were three that were really recalcitrant: STUMP ORATORIO (largely because the phrase "stump orator" isn't familiar to me, though "stump speech" is); CURIO RENT EVENTS (which is the clumsiest and most awkward of the theme answers, largely because the "10" breaks the base phrase into extra words); and OFF THE CHARIOTS (the first part of which is in an awfully brutal NE corner). The fill is pretty dire in places. I hit that IT TOO / OUT ON / A TO section and winced, then wondered if I'd ever seen a set of triple-intersecting partials like that. Singularly ugly. NOT SO HOT. Etc. In general the non-theme fill was forgettable-to-irksome. Not much else to say about this one. I quite liked a handful of theme answers (most notably STUDIO MUFFIN), but the rest left me a little cold

Theme answers:
  • 22A: Sign-off for Spanish spies? (CLASSIFIED ADIOS)
  • 34A: Two bottled liquids kept in a cabinet? (WINE AND IODINE)
  • 47A: Champion model maker at the county fair? (DIORAMA QUEEN)
  • 65A: Wacky exercise regimen? (WILD CARDIO)
  • 68A: 20 cigarettes per unit and 10 units per carton, e.g.? (PACK RATIOS)
  • 82A: Green room breakfast item? (STUDIO MUFFIN)
  • 93A: Musical composition about a lumberjack's seat? (STUMP ORATORIO)
  • 113A: Try-before-you-buy opportunities at knickknack stores? (CURIO RENT EVENTS)
  • 15D: Like Ben-Hur and company when not racing? (OFF THE CHARIOTS)
  • 46D: "Gangsta's Paradise" buyer? (COOLIO CUSTOMER)

I learned a few things today. I learned that the country is Rwanda but the (or a) language is RUANDA (100D: Bantu language). Actually, that's not true. RUANDA is just an alternate spelling. Another name for this language is "Kinyarwanda" (I just discovered). I knew AMOS was Famous, but I did not know he was Wally (109A: Wally of cookie fame). I learned that the capital of Albania (also with two spellings—today's = TIRANE) has a boulevard that sounds like it was named after a "Superman" villain (71A: World capital that's home to Zog I Boulevard). I also learned that the OKAPI is "elusive." I've seen them in captivity; they don't look like they'd particularly good at eluding anybody (63D: Elusive African animal). Maybe this just means they live in remote places that people seldom go.

  • 29A: Zero-calorie cooler (ICE WATER) — had the "T" and went with something-TEA at first. 
  • 37A: Language that is mostly monosyllabic (LAO) — I think I know only one three-letter language.
  • 54A: Drain cleaner, chemically (NAOH) — I am chemically impaired, but I took a successful flyer on the NA- part, and the rest took care of itself.
  • 63A: Movies often with shootouts (OATERS) — something about the syntax of this clue feels awfully unnatural.
  • 79A: Hoppy pub quaff (IPA) — India Pale Ale, a strongly up-and-coming bit of three-letter fill.
  • 105A: Paperback publisher since 1941 (AVON) — I own many old AVONs. Scores. Close to 100, probably. Besides getting my Ph.D. and honing my crossword skills, the other endeavor to which I dedicated a lot of time in the '90s was collecting vintage paperbacks
  • 118A: Part of an applause-o-meter (NEEDLE) — surely one of the greatest NEEDLE clues ever. 
  • 14D: Eponymous Italian city (BOLOGNA) — Seemed like it could've been anything. As I said earlier, that corner was rough. LEO II??? ROOTLE??? TYNER??? WEIGHER!?!?!?! There was a long moment when I thought I might be unable to finish. I started that corner with PIUS I and RUSTLE (at 21D: Pope Agatho's successor + 28A: Grub around). Ugh. 
  • 30D: Cymric (WELSH) — Ouch. Did not know. 
  • 50D: Skewed to one side (ALOP) — astonishing how easily this "word" comes to me now. An important bit of minor crosswordese.
  • 63D: Capone henchman (NITTI) — an even more important bit of minor crosswordese.
If you have yet to discover Andrew Ries's "Aries Puzzles" site, where he publishes a free Rows Garden puzzle every week, do yourself a favor and check it out. Andrew is also offering a 12-puzzle meta-crossword contest in January called "PRINT MEDIA IS NOT DEAD." There are prizes and what not. Definitely worth the (small) investment (10% off thru the end of the day today).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


retired_chemist 12:59 AM  

Slow,slow tonight- probably related to a big dinner with wine. Daughters and their husbands are here for a late Christmas.

Agree the NE corner was a bear. The rest, easier but still more challenging than average. Not knowing where the -IO- would come made the theme answers interesting, but more difficult, to suss out.

Several writeovers: 44D DONE (ANEW); 21D PIUS I (LEO II); 103D TINEA (MANGE); 97D LOOK MA (I CAN SO); and a few more. Wanted TREBUCHET for 106A just because it's a neat word and fits the clue. Unfortunately it doesn't fit the space.

Thanks, Mr. Savoy.

WA 1:01 AM  

This is a puzzle for puzzle's sake.

Studio Muffin?

That is one flavor I gladly pass on.

Diorama Queen is a bit frightening that any adult thinks in terms of diorama who is not helping his kid with a homework assignment.

I too did not know that Tirane was acceptable spelling. So is Tirane the capital of Albanie?

jae 2:04 AM  
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jae 2:06 AM  

Easy-medium fun on Sunday with some silly/amusing puns. Plus not only do we get a RRN we get a random Pope LEO.  My biggest problem, other than misreading clue numbers, was trying to fit dits or dahs into 110d.  A lot of erasing in that area.   I obviously liked this more than Rex mostly because the the answers had some zip.

weekend worker 2:23 AM  

Seemed more difficult than usual for a Sunday - though perhaps because worked on in on the subway to and from work. Picked up speed once I got home an hour ago.

Agree that NE was toughest. Oops, just noticed I finished (on paper) with an error. Had TIMED/MITOSES. Knew there was a problem in that area, but forgot once the NE was done.

Lots of people on street around midnight, especially near Penn Station/MSG, but subways not that crowded. Odd.


weekend worker 2:32 AM  

Oh, Phish concert. That explains all the oblivious people on the streets and sidewalks.

Unknown 4:55 AM  

Tirane? Oaters? Ipa?

OTD 7:30 AM  

Tough one for a Sunday. Didn't catch on to the theme until almost done. I never really look for the theme anyway, so . . .

Zog was the King of Albania in the 1920s-30s. Remember him from my old European history prof.

Yes, the NE was the toughest.

Good way to get the little grey cells working.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:43 AM  

Stylist's demands? DIOr's orders?

(Would work in Xwd grid, where the period after Dr is not required.)

Aleman 8:08 AM  

IPA, India Pale Ale, is well known to Craft beer consumers.

Back in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, England held a large colonial presence in India. The soldiers, sailors and civilians had a huge appetite for beer. Trouble was, the voyage to India was long, and by the time the ship made it there the traditional beers had spoiled. Even when they didn't, the dark porters that were popular at the time weren't quite the ticket in the hot climate of India.

Before the advent of refrigeration and pasteurization, the brewer's only weapons against spoilage were alcohol and hops. Alcohol provided an unfriendly environment for microbial action, and the isohumulone content of the hops inhibited the growth of Lactobacillus. Thus, high alcohol content and high hopping rates could protect beer from the souring associated with long storage times. The pale ale recipe, increased the hop content considerably, and raised the starting gravity by the addition of extra grain and sugar. Extremely high attenuation resulted in strong ales with high alcohol content.

joho 8:13 AM  

And I always thought it was the eland that was elusive.

I got the theme at OFFTHECHARIOTS and then went back to get CLASSIFIEDADIOS and thought kinda COOLIO. What would be really COOL and surely impossible is a theme using IQ. Anyway, the theme is dense and amusing, too.

I laughed at my RAmmer before RAMROD. Whatever works!

cOOEd before WOOED.

I wear MASCARA but never carry it with me in my purse.

I really liked WILDCARDIO and STUDIOMUFFIN. Thanks, Steve Savoy!

Now off to ROOTLE through my closet.

joho 8:16 AM  

And thanks to both @Rex and @Aleman. Until coming here I had no idea why ale was spelled IPA!

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

Easy for a Sunday.Loved Packratios!

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

so did rex have an error at cpl/lad vs cpt/tad (113 down/120 across)?

lots of crap in this one: oid, ory, ise, ero, ...

Joe 9:01 AM  

An IM is "modern"? If you say so. I remember the 90s, but I don't live in them anymore.

Also, the crossing of of 113D and 120A. I had T and I'm still not sure why it's wrong. I mean, I understand why L works, but doesn't T work just as well?

What's the point 9:44 AM  

Oh, the problems with living in Appalachia - You're a hot & horney young woman, you pull off your teddy & throw it at a likely partner, and all he wants to know is if it comes in a men's 42.

Unknown 9:50 AM  

Rootle?? That top right was tough, with rootle and weigher. Glad others found it hard too. Otherwise a fun puzzle today!

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

How is Bologna an eponymous Italian city? Was it named after some famous cold cut magnate?

Danp 10:13 AM  

I wish LAO were the only three letter language I knew. But EBO seems like the crossword language of choice to me.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

@Anon 10:02 - Eponymous works both ways, whether it supplies the name or receives the name. The city is eponymous because the deli meat is named after it.

jackj 10:27 AM  

When you run up against a new constructor for a Sunday (or later week) puzzle, there is often a learning period necessary to capture the rhythms of this newfound wordsmith.

Today it was no different as Steve Savoy’s early cluings were just a wee bit off from what was to have been expected in the regular order of things but after coping with OID, NORMAL, ROOTLE and WEIGHER, there was a better sense of his mindset and a welcome symbiosis took hold and made the puzzle a pleasure rather than a slog.

The theme was revealed at the first opportunity through CLASSIFIEDADIOS, a clever bit of punning that generally continued through the puzzle with some exceptions like the awkward miscue of CURIORENTEVENTS and STUMPORATORIO’s reference to a “lumberjack” that was a reach too far in the search for cutesiness, (better to cue a soapbox and Hyde Park) .

We were also treated to two clever his and hers theme answers and the X chromosome set will likely favor DIORAMAQUEEN while those of us of a Y chromosome bent will be able to rave about STUDIOMUFFIN (though admittedly it was more flattering when first clued straight up as STUDMUFFIN by a woman, the peerless Liz Gorski, 13 years ago).

In addition to the earlier mentioned ROOTLE, much of the fill was interesting, as in the remembrance of Shakespeare carrying on in Hamlet about an “ARRANT knave”, the hairless mutt with the unsightly MANGE, the childhood partner of the grilled cheese-sandwich, TOMATOSOUP, and then there is STASES which, while appearing in the NY Times puzzle on a Monday, Sunday and Saturday, it usually hasn’t mattered, as the preferred clue has been EQUILIBRIA on each of those days, as today.

A very nice debut puzzle from Steve Savoy; hopefully there will be more!

Tita 10:30 AM  

ROOTLE is my personal Word of the Day. Being a PACKRAT, I have ample opportunity to use it.

Took me for ever to get the theme, even long after getting CURIORENTEVENTS filled in. Starting at it finally turned on the bulb.

Also loved clue for LEDER!

Good fun for a Sunday.

jberg 10:31 AM  

Isn't this the third OAST in a week? Does Will Shortz pick out a word and look for puzzles that use it, or change puzzles around to get it in? Hard to believe it's pure coincidence.

Aside from that, I did like a lot of the theme answers. However, I don't think anyone would say they speak "RUANDA" - either Ruandan/Rwandan, or kinyarwanda (as Rex noted). But it needs something to make it adjectival or language-specific.

On the other hand, while I knew Albania had a King Zog, I neglected to check the crosses and finished with TIRANa/ICARa - the latter being the daughters of that guy whose wings melted, I guess.

Zygotic 10:40 AM  

IPAs are my ale of choice, so that was easy. ROOTLE, not so much. Hand up for problems with the Nor'Easter.

I got the theme at the title, and thought to myself that "Input/Output" or "On/Off" would have been a little more fun for titles.

Personally, I don't think of my WILD CARDIO as an "exercise regime," although it is fun when it gets a little wacky.

Carola 10:57 AM  

The NEEDLE on my personal applause-o-meter didn't move much for this one. I did like OFF THE CHARIOTS. Also liked LOFTY hovering over ELFIN and learning that ROOTLE is a word.

@Aleman - Thank you for the IPA lore

ArtO 11:01 AM  

Anyone else not familiar with UPTIME? Downtime, yes but not its opposite.

John V 11:11 AM  

Top too hard, dnf. Lottsa work. Kinda like shoveling snow to which I now go.

Milford 11:13 AM  

Pretty good Sunday puzzle, a little sluggish for me, but imay have just been tired. I fell asleep after finishing and completely missed the MSU victory!

Got the theme with STUDIO MUFFIN, and it definitely helped fill in the other entries. Favorite was WINE and IODINE, great mental picture, sounds like a wild night. We have WILD CARDIO around here, it's called Zumba.

Didn't know ROOTLE, OATERS, TIRANE, or RUANDA, and those all slowed me up.

I am perplexed by the steamy AVON cover of Rex's. Did he find them in the field and wonder if they are hers? Or is offering them back to her "after"?

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

i enjoyed this.it went smoothly down. only word i questioned was stowage which i thought should be storage. fun puzzle.

GILL I. 11:34 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzles. Even though (as noted above) the cluing may have been off, the typical Sunday puns were fun to say.
@Aleman: You might add: "We owe women for creating beer." Only those of the "X" persuasion were allowed to brew the stuff since it was considered food. A gift from a goddess.....
@Milford - like minds! He looks like he's saying "Are these yours?"
CLASSIFIED ADIOS gave me my entrance and I am an X and STUDIO MUFFIN was my favorite.
ROOTLE is just great to say. I think it's British in origin?
Enjoy your Sunday all. The sun is finally shining!
My captcha is autoDNA....

chefbea 11:35 AM  

Pretty easy today. Didn't get the theme til I was almost finished cux I write my i's like like a capital. If I just do a straight line I would have gotten right off the bat.

Have to go make our New years eve cake...and eat it to.
Also our annual Duck dinner. Down south everyone makes black eyed peas and collard greens.

JC66 12:01 PM  
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JC66 12:04 PM  

@What's the point

In the Army chain of command a team (led by a Corporal) is part of a squad (led by a Sergeant), which is part of a platoon (led by a Lieutenant), which is part of a company (led by a Captain).

Squad - 9 to 10 soldiers. Typically commanded by a sergeant or staff sergeant.

Platoon - 16 to 44 soldiers. A platoon is led by a lieutenant with an NCO as second in command, and consists of two to four squads or sections.

Company - 62 to 190 soldiers. Three to five platoons form a company, which is commanded by a captain with a first sergeant as the commander's principle NCO assistant. An artillery unit of equivalent size is called a battery, and a comparable armored or air cavalry unit is called a troop.

Sandy K 12:27 PM  

Got the theme at CLASSIFIED ADIOS and thought "OHO, this should be fun!" Well, NOT SO much...

Tho I enjoyed most of the theme answers and tried to appreciate the constuctors WILD CARDIO, PACK RATIOS, and other LOFTY puns, I had to PLOD thru ROOTLE, WEIGHER, IPA? not dits or dahs, but TEES? Also RAMmer before RAMROD, and MITOS-io stayed too long, til I tweaked USPo to USPS.


Anonymous 12:47 PM  

@ Anonymous: Bologna is considered the food capital of Italy.

thought it was a cute puzzle
but had to work to get packratios as I had never heard of IPA.

quilter1 12:47 PM  

Filled in OFF THE CHARIOTS and the rest of the NE remained empty till the end. I got the theme at STUDIO MUFFIN and thought that was cute. Nice leisurely Sunday solve. The back is better, but I'm betting impatient with the reclining position.

Aleman 12:55 PM  

@Gill I. P.:
The Ale Street News has a fine collection of
Beer Goddess

Masked and Anonyiomous 1:22 PM  

Man. Lots of commentors here rootlin' around in the same wheelhouse with me, today. @Carola is most spot on, liking ROOTLE and OFFTHECHARIOTS. A lot. Need to use ROOTLE mucho often in this writeup, if I can find enough stuff to rootle around in (har!). Maybe I'll get the surprise used paperback prize, for servin' up the 100th mention of ROOTLE (har!)

Speaking of paperbacks, thUmbswayUp for 31's paperback cover insert pic. Looks like the dumb dude is stoppin' in mid rootle, to suggest alternative detergents and washing techniques to a smokin' babe. Maybe also best undie folding options. What an inbred idiot redneck alien abduction candidate.

thUmbsUp to constructor dude Savoy on a heck of a debut. Started with the seed entries of ROOTLE and OFFTHECHARIOTS (obviously), and drove 'em hard all the way to Sunday. Standin' O. Decent U count, btw. Come on back, any old time. Set the bar awful high with rootle, tho.

rootle. (Just to be on the safe side.)

Anonymous 2:21 PM  

Finished on the iPad app, compared answers word for word with yours and it still says incorrect. I then tried using actual 1s and 0s but that didn't work either.

Masked and Anonymo12Us 2:38 PM  

p.s. About that book cover pic: not that I qualify as an art critic, but it appears like if that dude ever unfolded those pink unmentionables, they'd be darn near hippo-sized. Maybe he bought 'em, with no unearthly idea about volume estimation, online at V. Secret, and is presenting 'em to his sweetie. She then keeled over backwards, into the home-gro poppy/maryjane patch, in disbelief, whining, "What do I look like? -- a size XXXL pachyderm?!?"



syndy 3:02 PM  

Although I was familiar with ROOTLE I was not so amused as some with this over strained attemot.The theme answers were trying too hard and the non theme not hard enough.NOTAS NOTSOHOT but CURIORENTEVENTS ??really??

Lewis 3:26 PM  

Some of it was a slog, where I felt like I had a PATIOONTHEBACK, but I did like the theme and appreciated Steve's coming up with so many answers, my favorite being OFF THE CHARIOTS. I found much of the cluing difficult, off my wavelength, maybe as JackJ suggests, getting used to a new constructor.

Qvart 3:37 PM  

Late to the game again today. My two cents:

This one was a mixed bag for me. Definitely put me through my paces, but not too keen on the theme and some of the answers. First off, "IO" may resemble "10" when written, but it's not really "plus ten." Oh well, it's creative nonetheless and worked well for most of the themed answers - turning one word into another word by adding "IO." However, CURIORENTEVENT doesn't fit with the other answers as "CURIO" is not another word (CUR) before being changed by adding -IO (or it is, but doesn't fit in this context).

Anyway, a rare DNF for me. I had to look up the singer (Falana and others) and how is TIMID "retiring"?

Gave up at 41:30.

Are any of you doing the Acrostic puzzles? They're quite challenging and the newest one took me a couple hours. If you haven't done it, don't click HERE.

Anonymous 4:10 PM  


Shy and retiring = TIMID

Carola 4:16 PM  

@Qvart - Yes, me, too, on acrostics. Saving this one to do on the plane tomorrow.

Rube 4:44 PM  

Saw that ITTOO/ONTO/OUTON/ATO section and thought, Rex will wail on this one... sho 'nuff.

Got the theme, like others, at STUDIOMUFFIN... great answer.

Also had trouble with the NE starting with disbelief in WEIGHER and going downhill from there. Finally ended up with ROOTLE and had to check AcrossLite to verify.

Unfortunately, came here and found out MITOSeo was a double loser for a DNF.

In addition to ROOTLE, have added ARRANT and RUANDA(sp#2) to my crosswordese list. IS IPA a west coast thing? There are all sorts of IPAs available out here... even in Hawaii there's a Longboard IPA.


Jean 5:02 PM  

New to this site... New to the iPad version. Loved the puzzle; have a question -- do people really solve in less than 5 minutes as shown on the iPad?.. my goodness!!!

Zygotic 5:37 PM  

@Rube - I have at least 29 Michigan brewed IPAs available at the local Fine Wine and Beer Merchant (this doesn't include the ones that do not include "IPA" in their name). These range from Mad Hatter brewed in Holland to Vicious Wheat (a "Wheat IPA") brewed in Traverse City to Crown Jewels brewed in the Metro Detroit area. IPAs are not just for sailing to India anymore.

Qvart 5:44 PM  

The market here is (in "Beer City, USA") is saturated with IPA's. I don't get what people see in them. Super-hoppy-ness isn't my thing and I can't seem to get too many customers interested in other beers that I think are superior. Whatever. As long as they buy something I guess.

Lewis 5:57 PM  

@qvart -- where is "Beer City"?

Qvart 6:09 PM  

" Lewis said...

@qvart -- where is "Beer City"?"

Ah.....trying to get me to reveal my secret identity, eh?

Actually, it's not so secret.

Qvart 6:12 PM  

Although I am tempted to try this IPA to see if it's black and bitter (like my soul). :nooch:

Ellen S 6:15 PM  

@Anonymous 10:24 -- Wikipedia says an eponym is a "name-giver", not to be confused with "namesake" (which is the thing named after something else). And "eponymous" is the characteristic of being an eponym. M-W says likewise that an eponym is that thing or person which gives its name, and eponymous, same thing but adjective form. Flows one way and I can never remember which. But in the case of Bologna, it would be fine, the city is the original, which the deli meat is at least allegedly named after.

@M&A -- loved your interpretation of the paperback cover! I hated ROOTLE, but just changed my mind! I liked CYMRIC (obviously Welsh, anyone can see that) but it's harder to riff on. (off of?)

Wanted "tap waTer" for 29A --zero calorie cooler. I'm probably the only person in the USofA who drinks the stuff, me and my dogs. ICEWATER is a better answer, I must admit. (It should have been a gimme: the water pipes in my house don't run under the floor--a concrete slab--but through the attic. I'm not making this up. It's easier to get to for repairs, but in the summer the cold water comes out of the tap scalding hot. So I keep a pitcher of -- tap water -- in the fridge so I don't have to run the water at the sink for five minutes before it cools to tepid.)

I got the theme at CLASSIFIEDADIOS, and really enjoyed all the theme answers. Too bad about the dopey fill: OATERS (@Milford, you don't know from oaters? They are western movies that only appear in crossword puzzles; in the wild they are as elusive as ELANDs, I mean OKAPIs), NOTSOHOT (again, so soon?), ACADS, ANEW -- ABCS and from ATO z in the same puzzle? REDYE, OAST, all the suffixes. It's like the graveyard (I wish) of crossword cliches. At least 121A wasn't el toro or el niño, but el PASO -- I mean, there's no way it can be anything new.

Who knew Famous AMOS had a first name, or that it wasn't Amos? Learn things every day (and in the blog -- thanks for the writeup on IPA, @Aleman and @Gil).

I liked having a new Pope for a clue, but alas the answer was just another LEO with one of the two RRNs in this puzzle. Couple of sports people I never heard of, the golfer and the shortstop, but given my lack of sports knowledge, that's not much of an accomplishment and I got them eventually. (Even I got the Peyton Manning clue. )

But I see from @JackJ that this is Steve Savoy's maiden voyage (as I am supposin' it is not for the smokin' hot TASER on the book cover), so ... where was I? How I do go on... oh, yeah -- given that I really loved the themes, I'll look forward to more submissions by Mr. S.

p.s. @Jean, a popular theory is, people solve on paper and then type their already filled-in answers on the iPad. It took me longer than 5 minutes just to get MITOSIS. And that's leaving on the thing that shoots 20,000 volts through the keyboard if I type in a wrong answer!

Rootle on, folks.

Zygotic 7:58 PM  

@Qvart - For a brief moment I thought you might be another Michigander. Of interest, though, is that my second kid is a WWC student.

MetaRex 8:27 PM  

Props to Steve Savoy for good execution on the IO theme--eight long acrosses and two long interlocking downs ain't easy to do. And there aren't a ton of long thematic answers that work--I agree w/ Rex that CURIO RENT EVENTS ain't great, but hey, it's a whole better than PIOUS OOZING.

Oozing Pious

Milford 8:59 PM  

@Z - Grand Rapids? Who knew!

Qvart 10:02 PM  

"Z said...

@Qvart - For a brief moment I thought you might be another Michigander. Of interest, though, is that my second kid is a WWC student."

Ah...Grand Rapids - I didn't pay any attention to it this year and had no idea.

As for being a Michigander - I'm about as far from that as you can get. ;-)

michael 10:37 PM  

I had to do all sorts of googling in the northeast -- and I hardly ever have to do this on a Sunday. rootle, tyner, Leoii, weigher (which I got, but ugh...) Utile is another ugly word. Didn't help that I tried eenie, eensy, and teeny or that I thought there might be an Italian city named "Lasagna."

Anonymous 8:08 AM  

Can someone please explain 110D. I learned dits and dahs!

Bob Kerfuffle 9:35 AM  

@Anonymous, 8:08 AM - In Morse Code, a single dash represents the letter "T", so dashes are "TEES".

(Yeah, took me a long time to get that, too, especially since I had been taught "dih" and "dah" as equivalents of "dot" and "dash.")

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

For Anonymous 11:25, STOWAGE works for 88-D because the clue refers to the "hold" of a ship.

David Hallstrom 11:54 AM  

Completing this puzzle seemed like pure drudgery, as if I would never reach the end. And yet, I managed to finish in very good time.

Here I am more than 24 hours later struggling with IPA - as IPA is an abbreviation for India Pale Ale, the clue should have been structured as such.

I am be the only one to whom this is a big deal, but it bothered me then and bothers me still.

YontifSadie 5:21 PM  

What does DIORAMAQUEEN have to do with the county fair? Isn't "champion model maker" sufficient?

Lori S 8:42 PM  

Sorry about the late post. Saving the Sunday for some holiday down time and just finished it today, but I hope to congratulate Mr. Savoy via this forum on what I thought was a meaty, fun puzzle! Yes, I agree with Rex and many of the other posters on some of the cluing specifics, but the dense, clever, surprising theme was spot on for me. Looking forward to seeing Mr. Savoy's name again. Happy New Year!

Spacecraft 2:30 PM  

I agree with OFL about the fill: NOTSOHOT. Theme was clever and as well executed as could be, though "Plus Ten" wasn't much of a misdirect. Knowing it couldn't be as straightforward as adding "TEN" to phrases, I just started looking for IOs. That made theme sussing much easier.

Lots of comments about ROOTLE. My source does not even list it as a word, nor, IMO, should it. That was the worst of a pile of bad fill. So, one thumb UPTIME and one down, I guess.

Since this post is shorter than my usual, I'll take this opportunity to convey a scene that comes to mind when copying captchas: Here's this dude with a cheap camera, going door to door snapping address numbers--sometimes in the very bad light of pre-dawn or post-dusk. Concerned citizens are calling the local constabulary about a neighborhood stalker. I wish they'd arrest his sorry ass already!

Dirigonzo 9:19 PM  

Puzzle partner is in Florida and I am not (somebody has to feed the animals, and that would be me) so we did the puzzle together over the phone. She, being fluent in Spanish, spotted the ADIOS portion of the first theme answer early on, I added the CLASSIFIED part and the theme was not hard to discern.

I initially wanted "I'm ___ you!" to be Over, since I've been told that a few times in my lifetime; but then, I've heard "I'm ONTO you" more than once, too. All for reasons that I FLATLY deny.

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

My wife and I got this puzzle a week late in our Pensacola paper. Did not know it was Steve Savoy's first puzzle. Had to look up McCoy's last name. Found this blog and have thoroughly enjoyed the commentary. We too, thought the NE corner was a bear. I got the theme on COOLIOCUSTOMER early on and my wife got WINEANDIODINE. From there we worked our way to the NE. The pope and wee and scale threw us for quite a while. My wife knew OKAPI right away which made my ALE incorrect. IPA got filled in by default. Still did not know what it was. Thanks for the background info on IPA.

Anonymous 2:06 PM  

I work in a technology group and uptime is a pretty standard term for how long our servers have been up and running.

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