Start of thought by British journalist Miles Kington / WED 12-19-12 / Calculus familiarly / Conquistador's booty / Poet whose work inspired Cats / Onetime Dodge / JAG spinoff with Mark Harmon / Flower-shaped decoration / Falstaff's princely friend / Bamboo muncher

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Constructor: Mike Buckley

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: 17A: Start of a thought by British journalist Miles Kington — "KNOWLEDGE IS / KNOWING A TOMATO / IS A FRUIT / WISDOM IS / NOT PUTTING IT IN / A FRUIT SALAD"

Word of the Day: FELIPE Alou (31D: One of baseball's Alous) —

Felipe Rojas Alou (born May 12, 1935), is a former Major League Baseball outfielderfirst baseman, and manager. He managed theMontreal Expos (1992–2001) and the San Francisco Giants (2003–06). The first Dominican to play regularly in the major leagues, he is the most prominent member of one of the sport's most notable families of the late 20th century: he was the oldest of the trio of baseball-playing brothers that included Matty and Jesús, who were both primarily outfielders, and his son Moisés was also primarily an outfielder; all but Jesús have been named All-Stars at least twice. The family name in the Dominican is Rojas, but Felipe Alou and his brothers became known by the name Alou when the Giants' scout who signed Felipe mistakenly thought his matronymic was his father's name.
During his 17-year career spent with the Giants, Milwaukee & Atlanta BravesOakland AthleticsNew York YankeesMontreal Expos, andMilwaukee Brewers, Alou played all three outfield positions regularly (736 games in right field, 483 in center, 433 in left), and led the National League in hits twice and runs once. Batting regularly in the leadoff spot, he hit a home run to begin a game on 20 occasions. He later became the most successful manager in Expos history, leading the team from 1992 to 2001 before rejoining the Giants in 2003. (wikipedia)
• • •

Started *very* fast on this one and then slowed down a bit because, well, you know,it's a quote puzzle, so you really gotta work the crosses to figure out the theme material. At least you do at first—with this one, I figured out the punch line once I hit "WISDOM." My main problem is the highly inelegant phrasing on the quotation. I lost most of my time on this puzzle not with any one or two hard answers, but with my brain's absolute refusal to believe that any quotation worth commemorating would begin with the painfully redundant phrase "Knowledge is knowing..." I had -OWING and my brain just dug in its heels: "No Way that word is KNOWING, buddy, so we are not gonna let you write it in." Alas, eventually, my brain had to concede that the puzzle was what it was, ugly or not. Otherwise, not a lot to say. It's a very solid grid, overall, with only -KIST giving me any cause for wincing (23D: Commercial ending for Sun or Star).

As I said, very fast opening, with PANDA being a gimme at 1A: Bamboo muncher, and all the crosses falling in quick succession. AKELA is a word / concept I've only ever seen in crosswords—so much that it's become a gimme for me (15A: Scout pack leader). Just did a puzzle in the past couple of days with ROSETTE in it (21A: Flower-shaped decoration), which I think made this answer come to mind faster than it might have otherwise. Took one look at 56A: Conquistador's booty, wondered briefly what the Spanish word was for "ass," then wrote in the far more likely (and correct) Spanish word for "gold": ORO. I have never understood the connection between ELIOT and "Cats," and I have never tried, for trying would mean spending time thinking about "Cats," which I have no desire to do (9D: Poet whose work inspired "Cats"). Clue for AKA seemed slightly off (61D: Rap sheet entry). Turns AKA into a noun. An "alias" might be an "entry" on your rap sheet, but an "AKA?" Maybe "entry" is being stretched to mean something I don't quite get. I see today's anonymous JANE is a ROE (54A: Anonymous one, in court). I feel like she was DOE in a recent puzzle, so I left the letter in question blank on first pass. First thought on reading 37D: Spirit of Islamic myth was JINI ("what an odd spelling," I thought). Then I remembered JINN (which, it turns out, can be spelled a lot of different ways). I think of "calculus" as a small stone, but I guess TARTAR (11D: Calculus, familiarly) is also called "calculus" ... by dentists? Alrighty. Good to know.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:05 AM  

A very easy Wed.  Loved the quote which makes up for a lot of 3  letter crosswordese.  Only slow down was debating between cBS and TBS until I remembered where Conan went after the NBC fiasco and where Cougar Town ended up.

Cato Rosenbaum 12:10 AM  

The connection between T.S. Eliot and Cats (the musical) is that he wrote the book of poems on which the musical is based. See for more information.

retired_chemist 12:15 AM  

Not any serious problems - so, easy.

Sun/StarFEST needed repair, as did JOHN DOE and SENIORS. All easily fixed.

Enjoyed the quote.

Thanks, Mr.Buckley.

Anonymous 12:21 AM  

I actually read the definition cited for JINN because I didn't like the spelling, I'm a DJINN man myself. The definition is BS. Yes, the DJINN are mentioned in the Koran, but they precede the Koran by untold centuries. The Koran even cites that Solomon was guided by DJINN, and Solomon lived millenia before Mohammad.

Oh shit, I'm talking about the historical accuracy of invisible men, citing people who believed they talked to invisible men. Now, that's time well spent.


Anyone else out there have a tautology they'd wish to share?

syndy 12:35 AM  

Eats Shoots and Leaves. We haven't had a quote puzzle in a good long time so okay. which is what this was just okay. When do some people eat lunch? at noon! not exactly sparkling reparte.but IT"S OK

chefwen 2:01 AM  

Not a big fan of quote puzzles and thought I was going to have a hard time. Not so. This one went down like a chain of Dominoes. PIc before PIK and ROSETTa before ROSETTE. That was it for my write-overs.

Kind of a HO-HUM for me.

Ellen S 2:22 AM  

tried typing this in the mobile version of the blog. backspaced and it froze (again). (Friend of mine says "technology is Latin for 'Always broken.'")

That said, I found the puzzle fun enough, same reaction (almost) as Rex when I saw it starting out "KNOWLEDGE IS KNOWING ... " but I loved the idea. On second thought, though, the problem with knowing a tomato is a fruit is not that you would put it in a fruit salad, but that you would annoy everyone you see by loftily informing them how ignorant they are in referring to it as a vegetable. Then someone throws a tomato at you, or something heavier, and you wind up in the hospital. Not wise at all.

I think the earlier puzzle Rex refers to also had Jane Roe; I recall cries of outrage. However, in this case, the clue is "Anonymous one, in court." That could refer to a specific court case, the one we all know about, Roe v. Wade, and a specific anonymous person, Jane Roe. Other anonymous women may be in the Doe family. And anonymous men in court cases, according to Wikipedia (which wouldn't lie about an important thing like this) may be Richard Roe as well as John Doe. Other variations abound. So it's like those marine raptors that can be ERNs or ERNEs as needed; anonymous court characters can be whatever name is required.

The captcha is "earcooms". Ick.

Akela Cutla Michaels 3:02 AM  

Quote puzzles are one thing, non-scintillating ones, ok...
but as a PUZZLE I don't like that AFRUIT is repeated twice.

(KNOWLEDGE/KNOW, AFRUIT/AFRUIT) feels like a construction no-no.

About the only upbeat thing I have to say is I was happy I didn't put in koalA for PANDA.
Nevertheless, there was still 4Ks, 2Js.

oh, and BLOTTO is sort of fun. Reminds me of Popeye, not Pie-eyed.
(Yes, literal people, I know it's BLUTO)

Anoa Bob 3:02 AM  

Quote puzzles must be extra difficult to construct because the theme entries have to go in their exact order. There are no degrees of freedom for the constructor to swap different theme entries around to make fill better or easier. Kudos to Mr. Buckley for his successful efforts.

Raising hand for incorrectly putting in JANE dOE for the second time recently.

Along with a double dose of KNOW... early on, we get FRUIT twice later in the quote. This may give the quote a nice on-two punch in terms of journalism style, but the double doubling-up of letter strings in the theme, occupying a total 18 squares, is less elegant in terms of xword puzzle style, methinks.

Anoa Bob 3:59 AM  

Thanks to Andrea, the double doubling occupies not 18, but 20 squares. For koala, think "eucalyptus".

MetaRex 5:18 AM  

It's not wisdom not to put tomatoes in a fruit salad, or we're all wise. And that can't be true, can it? Is it wisdom to be able to explain why we don't put tomatoes in a fruit salad? Possibly...

Missed the "knowledge is knowing..." issue w/ the quote. I'm okay w/ that, a fan of the Michael Stipe "I think I thought..." line...

Elle 54 6:13 AM  

Haha, could not see why calculus was tartar til I came here! Was thinking math. And yes, Cats' characters and lyrics are from those TS Eliot poems.

OTD 6:56 AM  

Yes, easy for a Wednesday. Went down quickly once I saw TOMATO after getting KNOWLEDGE IS. Always liked that quote. But that leads to a construction problem already pointed out: AFRUIT twice and KNOW twice. Understand the difficulty of making this quote into a puzzle, but still . . .

Milford 6:59 AM  

Not a difficult puzzle, just slow because if the quote, which I've never heard or read. Are any if us supposed to know it, is it famous? Did the puzzle seem to have a British theme?

Lots of little things I was ignorant of, like calculus =TARTAR, a scout leader = AKELA (this is British and named after a wolf in the Jungle Book, for others who didn't have this as a gimme), and heater being a synonym for pistol (GAT).

Loved the STEREO clue, and DR. WHO was fun.

I admit, though, I DNFed because I had KEBoB/AKo.

Zygotic 7:33 AM  

Biggest slow down for me was wondering which sin ended in -IN. I read the clue as "one of the seven deadly sins." Wrote in STEREO, said "that can't be right," and finally read the actual clue. D'oh.

If I remember correctly from the last time JANE appeared in the puzzle, she is ROE when she is the plaintiff and DOE when she is the defendant.

I remember AKELA from that brief moment in time when my boys were doing the pinewood derby thing. Thankfully that didn't last long.

Jerry Shereshewsky 7:39 AM  

I am a slightly better than average puzzler but get frustrated and angry to see times posted on the iPad app that are rediculous. Today this puzzle was "done" in 46 seconds? Gimme a break!

Bob Kerfuffle 8:00 AM  

I had never seen this particular quote before, and it elicited a little smile at the end, so I would call it OK. But I was thinking, as had @Ellen S, that the WISDOM part would be more about keeping quiet about your knowledge.

Random musing: "Cats" and T.S. Eliot come up frequently in crosswords. (I liked the show and the music - I'm old and have no hipster cred; your sneers will bounce off me.) I had heard when the musical was first popular that all of the song lyrics were Eliot's poems from "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats", with the exception of "Memory", the most memorable piece, which got (most? all?) airplay. So I wrote off "Memory" as an add-on meant to give the masses something to hum on the way out of the theater.

But some reference in a (recent?) crossword sent me looking for the connection between Eliot's oeuvre and the lyrics of "Memory," and indeed the poet's work, somewhat re-worked, is the basis for this song. Says Wikipedia, "The lyric, written by Cats director Trevor Nunn, was based on T. S. Eliot's poems "Preludes" and "Rhapsody on a Windy Night"." I found the poems well worth reading.

Anonymous 8:12 AM  

Had a problem w JANEROE as I've never heard of her and couldn't connect w Roe v Wade. Had Gun for GAT for too long. Thanks Rex for the write up on Felipe Alou. Brought my teenage son to the dentist recently so I was well familiar w calculus/Tartar. I know ESAI Morales more from the crosswords than anything else. Thanks Mike Buckley for making my busride into NYC enjoyable.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

The low times on the NY Times app are for those people who are testing their typing skills. They have already completed the puzzle elsewhere, and they want to see how quickly they can type in the answers. It frustrates me also, but then again I'm only competing against myself. At least the app logs your individual best times for each day of the week. Rest assured that we know the people at the top of the leader board all cheat, but who cares.

Puzzle on!

Notsofast 8:26 AM  

Maybe a tad too easy for a Wednesday, but I liked the quote. ESAI ( Morales ) is overused now, and pretty ho-hum; as is the ever popular URALS. On to Thursday!

joho 8:29 AM  

The quote's kind of Kute but, like @acme, I found Kounting the K's the most fun. ITSOK apty describes this puzzle. (BTW I found 5 :))

jackj 8:35 AM  

Quotes very often provide less than meets the eye and today’s quote from British journalist Miles Kington might fit the bill as one of his trademark “Albanian proverbs” which he described by noting, “They sound impressive at first, but when you think about them, they fall flat and play possum.”

Other examples:

“Better the grass snake you know than the hedgehog you don't.”

“Do you want to be famous? Have a disease named after you.”

While the quote dominates the grid there were still some interesting non-theme entries from constructor Mike Buckley like the simple HAL, elegantly clued as “Falstaff’s princely friend” rather than “Evil computer in “2001”.

In another surprise, “Calculus, familiarly” is looking for TARTAR, that hardened filmy stuff on your teeth, not the math course you groaned about in high school.

And, just one more, “Scout pack leader” gave us AKELA and consequently, Mowgli’s buddy, the wolf in “The Jungle Book” lost his preferred highbrow clue status for today.

There were a few bits that will also likely be gently carped about such as JINN, FELIPE, SIMEON and maybe even BLOTTO.

And, then, there was one clue about a proverb telling us “not to be afraid when we LIEST down” that might have been better clued as a more Kingtonian maxim, say, “When thou LIEST down with a platypus, thou shalt be confused”.

But, all in all, an interesting Wednesday level puzzle that was more tasty “ugly” tomato than the supermarket’s cardboard version.

Thanks, Mike Buckley. I enjoyed it, even though it was a dreaded quote puzzle.

dk 8:37 AM  

Does this mean my gorgonzola with pears and walnuts salad lacks wisdom? Inquiring minds need to know!

TARTAR was a no no for this mathematician. And, a misspelling of KEBAB caused concern. Otherwise a reasonable Wednesday outing.

🎩🎩🎩 (3 Hats) Tho the IRON is my favorite

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

"Quote puzzles are one thing, non-scintillating ones, ok...
but as a PUZZLE I don't like that AFRUIT is repeated twice.

(KNOWLEDGE/KNOW, AFRUIT/AFRUIT) feels like a construction no-no."

I like the occasional quote theme but know that lots of people loathe them. This one is certain to be evidence on their side of the argument. The quote is okay enough, and easy to guess the whole thing with just a small piece of it - but the heavy repeats - why would a constructor go with this, and why would it be accepted at the NYT?

It may be fine for the Wednesday level solver (the average level here is probably near expert), but it such a horrid example of the theme type it certainly does not make a case for more quote themes.

We don't get many quote themes. The price of a good quote is often lousy fill. And no matter how good the quote is, half the solvers will hate it no matter what. For the people that would like to see a few more quote themes, this one doesn't help the cause.

Does anybody know how many quote themes have run in 2012? It would be interesting to know.

I knew that it could be EKG or ECG and knew that ACELA was a thing. Didn't know AKELA, so guessed wrong.

jberg 9:04 AM  

Thanks to @jackj for researching (or maybe just knowing) the context of the quotation. Of course I'm not Albanian, or I might be offended.

I was a Cub Scout once, so Akela was a gimme. I did tyry grOWING A TOMATO at first, as well as the dOE thing, but still easy.

Look for the new musical "Prufrock!" opening next September.

Unknown 9:13 AM  

Ellen S - I continue to have the same editing issues...hence I am typing very slowly.
ACM - ditto re the repeating words. I like a quote-type puzzle now and then, and I was familiar with the quote (I couldn't tell you why), but this one doesn't seem very crossword-friendly.

I am always the IRON when playing Monopoly. We have a game night coming up with our longstanding rivals this weekend. We have played dozens of games together, with the winner getting the rights to document his/her view of the game in a log that we keep. Last year to celebrate our hundredth game we spent the weekend in Atlantic City and played there. There is surprisingly little about Monopoly to be found in Atlantic City, other than the street signs, which we unabashedly took each others photos at whilst wearing bright green Go To Jail t-shirts.

C. Ross Word 9:18 AM  

@Anoa Bob Nice write-up on quote puzzles.

Knowledge is knowing an obscure quotation; wisdom is not putting it in a crossword.

chefbea 9:28 AM  

Lotta good food in this puzzle!!! Didn't understand tartar til I came here. Also thought of koala before panda. Fun puzzle

Glimmerglass 9:48 AM  

@A.C. Michaels: A FRUIT is repeated once. Twice would be three times.

John V 10:02 AM  

I typically get destroyed with quote themes and approached today's offering with some trepidation, but this one jsut worked for me. Having never heard of Miles Kington or the quote -- or JAG and spinoff, for that matter -- it just worked, as the the crosses were easily gotten. Just plain fun, is what I'm saying, quite on the easy side for a Wednesday.

Wanted ROSETTA at first; wanted FELIXE (huh?), even though I did know FELIPE.

Rating 7 miles, Stamford to Port Chester. Thanks, Mike Buckley. Liked it.

Cheerio 10:11 AM  

Agree with @dk. I see calculus and can't get beyond math. Must be that darn math phd getting in the way again. Also, I have got to learn how to spell Kebab. Kabob looks right to me.

Carola 10:58 AM  

I like doing acrostics, so quote puzzles are fine with me. Found it easy after sorting out bamboo from eucalyptus: I confidently wrote in koalA and couldn't belive none of the crosses would work.

In high-school, my theater-struck daughter was a huge "Cats" fan, so the LP of the show was playing constantly in our house. For those who might not know ELIOT's charming poems, here's a TEASEr from "Growltiger's Last Stand":

Growltiger was a Bravo Cat, who lived upon a barge;
In fact he was the roughest cat that ever roamed at large.
From Gravesend up to Oxford he pursued his evil aims,
Rejoicing in his title of "The Terror of the Thames."

His manners and appearance did not calculate to please;
His coat was torn and seedy, he was baggy at the knees;
One ear was somewhat missing, no need to tell you why,
And he scowled upon a hostile world from one forbidding eye.

How did he meet his end? Read about it here

@Ellen S - Your comments are always a treat - thanks for the laughs.

@Milford - Thanks for the AKELA explanation. That one I had no idea about.

Shkelzen Maliqi 11:13 AM  

@Glimmerglass, 9:48 AM:

Knowledge is noting another commenter's minor slip; wisdom is letting it slide.

Lewis 11:33 AM  

I'm trying to come up with an alternative to "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit" with a substitute for "knowledge" or "knowing" -- so as to avoid the repetition -- but I'm not getting anywhere. The quote is about the difference between knowledge and wisdom, so it seems "knowledge" is untouchable. The synonyms I've come up with for "knowing", such as "realizing" or "grasping", don't work as well.

Lewis 11:34 AM  

@glimmerglass -- perfect!

Unknown 11:46 AM  

Carola - Thanks for the pointer to the web version....I definitely need it for the editing advantage!

Sparky 11:52 AM  

Not a fan of quote puzzles. Too Daily Newsish. Never saw AKELA before. Will commit it to memory. Many beat me to Cats explanation. @BobK gets the blue ribbon for best essay. Two write overs: rOE/DOE, KEBoB/KEBAB.

I am surprised, @Rex, that after all that root canal work you did not also have to go though the Calculus removal torture with the dreaded pick that shoots water down your throat. O. M. G.

Happy hump day.

DB Geezer 12:05 PM  

AKELA is indeed the name of the wolf in Kipling's Kungle Books. But like many of his animal names they are Hindi words, AKELA means alone. Baloo is the name the bear, and baloo actually means bear.

DB Geezer 12:06 PM  

Sorry- Jungle not Kungle :-)

janet 12:19 PM  

Like others, calculus for me equates with math not tooth rot, and I wanted "not putting it in a fruit stand" which fits, and also would demonstrate wisdom i.t.o. tomatoes, just not i.t.o. being able to complete the downs in the SW.

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

A tomato, raspberry, spinach, pear and apple salad is delicious. That's kind of a fruit salad, I suppose.

John V 1:12 PM  

@Janet: The quality of my freshman calculus was close enough to tooth rot that you really could not tell the difference.

Ellen S 1:15 PM  

I met someone from Natick!!!! Well, by email. She's with Occupy Natick. I got all excited and told her about the blog, and the now-enduring fame of her town. She wrote:
"Natick is a great town of about 33,000 20 miles west of Boston. The marathon does run right through-and we are also known for having been one of the "Praying Indian Towns" established by John Eliot, along with the birthplace of Henry Wilson, 18th President!

Right now we are most famous for the local mall which has expanded in recent years to include a luxury condo building-and provides a nice tax base for the town allowing for a really good school system with several new buildings as well as a brand new senior/community center-nice to have fame in the NY Times Crossword puzzle too!"

fuzzyone 2:28 PM  

For anyone interested Roe is the sort of back anonymous name. Roe v. Wade had multiple parties (it is actually Roe et. al.) including a married couple who got the Doe designation. Don't ask me why its Roe.

Steve Marcotte 3:14 PM  

The proper method to address the title character of the long running BBC time travel television show is the formal Doctor Who not the informal Dr Who.

retired_chemist 3:25 PM  

@ Sparky, Milford - KEBOB/KEBAB/KABOB is kinda like GONIF/GANIF/GONEF/GANEF. The constructor gets his/her choice and YOU get to figure out the crosses, which hopefully have unique spellings. Lucky you!

I presume this issue arises because of variability in transliteration.

Masked and U-nonymous 3:57 PM  

Knowledge is knowing that frUit is spelled with a U. Wisdom is proceding to use frUit twice in the puz.


Funky munkies: RIEN. Term was first coined by a desperate French cruciverbalist, ca. 1956. Dude spent rest of life in Bastille. Source: WikiKiwi.

-- the artist formerly known as M&A.

Tita 4:09 PM  

Hand up for kaolA, and he sat there, wondering why I was offering him bamboo, and not eucalyptus, for a good long time!

@BobK - thanks for the info on TSEliot. I have his book of Practical Cats sitting on my nightstand.

Had Adult for AKELA - threw it in immediately, off the A, in fact...
I guess because puzzlespouse often says "The difference between the army and the Boy Scouts is that the Boy Scouts have ADULT supervision."
Never ever heard of AKELA.

@JohnV @1:12 - lol!
Also liked KIST. Alot.

Oh- hand up for not a fan of quote puzzles.

ANON B 4:12 PM  

@maskedandanonymous @ 3:25
What are you talking about. Rien is French for nothing and has been for centuries. I don't know anything about Wikikiwi nor should
I have to.

ZenMonkey 4:29 PM  

@Steve Marcotte, THANK YOU. I can't believe it took so many comments before someone mentioned the DRWHO debacle. The madness must stop. There is no nor has ever been a show called "Dr. Who." Yes, I'm one of those geek pedants; I'd apologize except I'm not sorry. :-)

Of course, there was an ESAI in the grid so that almost makes up for it.


Masked and A or U 4:30 PM  

Le Monde crossword editor: What have you got for onze down?
Desperate French constructor: I got RIEN.
Indignate French crossword editor: Then you got nothin'.

Source: WikiKwikki.

John V 4:41 PM  

What I learned here today: Do not use tartar sauce recipes given to you by your dentist. Ever.

Masked and Rienonymous 4:59 PM  

Wikikwikki dialogue, continued...
Indignate crossword editor: ... then you got nothin'.
PO-ed French constructor: Yep. I got RIEN.
Steamed Crossword editor: That's not anything!
Enraged French cnstructor: You dimwit! RIEN goes in onze down!
Screaming crossword editor: Something has to go there, you toot-tete! You call yerself a cruciverbalist?!!
Beet red constructor: You couldn't edit yer way outta a wet paper baggette! RIEN is exactly what onze down needs!
Bordeaux red editor: You're the nothin'! Besides, you use way too many abbreviations and partials! And wh-what's with this pangram merde?! sputter. And nothin' ain't what I need! Hit the bricks, you rien-head! snort.
Beserk constructor: I'll leave, you rien-weenie! Right after I collaborate my fist with yer nez.
Le Monde editor (aside, to staff): Call the gendarmeries, rien ... er ... Renee.

Bird 5:32 PM  

Nice enough puzzle. I’m not a big fan of quote themes, but this one is okay.

Today I learned the difference between KEBAB (the meat) and KABOB (the dish).

Timely with NEO in the puzzle and the announcement that The Matrix has been selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry.

SENIORS before JUNIORS (no pun intended). My anonymous person was J****OE until the crosses filled in the rest.

@M&U – Hi!

Happy Humpday!

chefbea 5:50 PM  

@John V But you can certainly use a tartar sauce recipe from Chefbea!!

Qvart 6:07 PM  

Not reading anything on this blog
Not reading anything on this blog
Not reading anything on this blog

Because I left the damn puzzle at work! Another ridiculously long day in a two-week stretch of hell at work. Not surprised I forgot it. Glad to be relaxing at home for a bit though.

Anyway, no snobby comments from me today. ;-)

Anonymous 6:38 PM  

One of Rex's best write-ups.


Ellen S 7:42 PM  

Hand up for KaBoB; @retired_chemist, good point about transliteration. I can accept all the spellings of Gonif/Ganif, etc.... but still, it was a real fight to get the "correct" spelling of KEBAB. @Bird, if wikipedia is to be believed, they are all one, regardless of spelling. One sentence says, "shish kebab (Persian: 'sheesh kabob', meaning six kebob in reference to the chunks of food on the skewer)..." I see KEBAB, KABOB and KEBOB all in the same sentence all referRing to the same dish.

@John V - your calculus/tooth rot comparison was funny enough that if the puzzle had been pure awful it would have been worth it. (But I enjoyed the puzzle as well.)

@Steve Marcotte and @ZenMonkey, the proper method to address the title character of the long running BBC time travel television show is the formal Doctor Who... I believe the proper way to address him is simply "Doctor"; and the proper way to refer to him is as "the Doctor", to which some people reply, "Doctor who?"

That's my 3.

Elle54 9:10 PM  

Do you think they do em on paper and then fill it in?

Anonymous 9:11 PM  

I agree with all those who object to Dr Who. I just wish they were as strict about The United States of America. What the hell all this USA crap you hear? At the Olympics, no less. USA! USA! my ass

Elle 54 9:21 PM  

I thought so! Thanks for verifying.

Bird 11:06 PM  

@Ellen S. - I started to put in KABOB because that's how I pronounce it, but checked the crosses because it's one of those words with variations. I didn't go to Wiki, but I did use Google and there were different results for each word. The top results: The Free Online Dictionary said KABOB is cubes of marinated meat and Wiki said KEBAB is a skewered meal. Understandable and reasonable difference that I did not doubt. But, if they are in fact the same thing then the variation thing is getting annoying - see OLAF/OLAV. I would be annoyed if they changed the spelling of my name to Byrd.

sanfranman59 12:36 AM  

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
Wed 10:27, 11:45, 0.89, 24%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:37, 3:39, 0.99, 39%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:54, 4:59, 0.98, 42%, Medium
Wed 5:39, 6:32, 0.86, 14%, Easy

ANON B 1:49 PM  

1) Can someone explain in simple
English why "tic" is "starting"O"?
2) If I stopped 100 people on the street how many would know that
SAW is a series of films?

ANON B 2:03 PM  

Mistake. Should have been in
12/20 puzzle.

Richard Nordquist, Guide 6:24 PM  

compound adjective

By Richard Nordquist, Guide

"Four-leaf clovers are not mutant freaks." (Bart Simpson, The Simpsons)


Two or more words (such as part-time or high-speed) that act as a single idea to modify a noun (a part-time employee, a high-speed chase).

As a general rule, the words in a compound adjective are hyphenated when they come before a noun (a well-known actor) but not when they come after (The actor is well known).

Also, compound adjectives formed with an adverb ending in -ly (such as rapidly changing) are usually not hyphenated.

Jerry Shereshewsky 8:04 AM  

I've thought that often. I can't even type gibberish that fast.
I also wish the Magmic folks would let me know how many other submissions have been made so I would have a better sense of where I stand relative to the rest of the puzzler world

Spacecraft 11:36 AM  

A quote puzzle: ITSOK, I guess, if it's really pithy, or perhaps a joke, with the last long across as the punch line, if it's exceptionally funny. Otherwise, meh. And today's saying is--well, let's just say deficient in the pith category. That's reason one for my displeasure.

Reason two is the overall unevenness of the fill. You have Monday-level gimmes next to Fridayish obscurities. Who the hell is RIEN? JINN? AKELA? (To be fair, AFTER that last one was in on crosses, I seem to recall--ever so dimly--some oath about "A Cub Scout follows AKELA." But who or what he (?) is remains a mystery.

Reason three is the substitutions of ROE for (the MUCH more common) dOE and KEBAB for (the MUCH more common) KaBoB. I mean, I corrected them, but the whole thing felt strained, and the payoff just wasn't worth it. Medium, and thumbs down.

What's this--a clean, legible captcha? Thank you, whoever you are! See, I don't only complain.

Dirigonzo 3:15 PM  

I entered EMILIO Estevez and ESAI Morales with no crosses which is surprising since I couldn't say who either of them is. On the other hand I confidently wrote in vAL for Falstaff's princely friend, which left me wondering who DRWVO might be. I did not understand the Calculus/TARTAR connection before arriving here - and I was married to a dental hygienist.

DMGRandma 4:22 PM  

Not a big fan of quote puzzles because they usually rely on some awful pun, but found this one ok. Got it except for, what else, the sports related clue. Not knowing the French for nothing, I assumed that, like most negatives I know, it would start with an "n". This left me with -UNIONS for the varsity thing. Must some team name I decided, and put in a G which worked phonetically for the down. Came here to be gob-smacked by JUNIORS. Stumbled briefly over ECG vs EKG, but I guess both are common usage.

Like @Spacecraft, I seem to have a fairly clear Captcha on the first try. Now to try it!

Ginger 5:04 PM  

So, it's a quote. Not my favorite, but a nice change nevertheless. And yes, the fill pays the price. But, when I see ESAI Morales in a puzzle, it brings up memories of a very fine looking man, so that's OK be me ;-)

Been battling the flu, hope the rest of you are staying well.

Waxy in Montreal 5:28 PM  

TIS indeed a shame but count me among the math majors who didn't manage to derive TARTAR from CALCULUS. And I'll take tomatoes in my fruit salad any day over "edible" flowers, even ROSETTE-shaped ones. Fun Wednesday puzzle.

Anonyrat 3:15 AM  

@ syndy 12:35 AM - "Eats, shoots, and leaves." Sounds like a bad (or perhaps good, depending on your perspective) date.

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