Dutch city near Arnhem / SUN 1-20-13 / Dead Sea Scrolls preservers / Bygone Saudi king / Lounging robes / President who was electrician by profession / Firearm company for nearly five centuries / Dennis Quaid remake of 1950 film noir

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Constructor: Yaakov Bendavid

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: "All-Inspiring" — "L" sound is added to the ends of words in familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: EDE (40A: Dutch city near Arnhem) —
Ede (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈeːdə]) is a municipality and a city in the center of the Netherlands, in the province of Gelderland. [...] Socially, Ede is a common city like any other in the Netherlands, with perhaps up to 40% Christian people in the city. Each year, there is a municipality-wide celebration called Heideweek (Week of the heather) which lasts a week largely involves traditional Dutch festivities, along with local customs. During the week, a Queen of the heather and a Princess of the heather are elected from several candidates and will be the representative for the municipality of Ede on various other festivities, until next year when another a new queen and princess are elected. (wikipedia)
• • •

I didn't enjoy this one much, for reasons which are oddly complicated. First of all, I'd just gotten up from a nap, which is never a good time to do anything. I usually require a good hour to get back to normal after a nap. I know they're supposed to be refreshing, and maybe they are, ultimately, but I am most likely to be in a foul mood and not thinking quite clearly directly after a nap. So there's that, as far as context goes. I found the puzzle weirdly hard, and in a way that I found off-putting. There are different kinds of difficulty, and some I like and some I don't. Today, there was this odd disconnect between the theme (simple—once you pick it up) and the fill (tough, and listing toward awkward and ugly in some places). I'm gonna go ahead and blame the remarkably open grid. There's a ton of white space here, and while that can lead to greatness in themeless puzzles or very well constructed dailies, here what results is a strained feeling—like those pen corners in particular are barely holding together. Plus the cluing is not clever but vague—give me tricky over "that could be Anything" any day of the week. The result was that the effort required did not feel commensurate with the quality of the results. My feelings about the puzzle were set early, when it took me an Eternity to get the NW corner. Both theme answers felt impossible to get from their back ends, i.e. I had WHEEL and TRAIL and even knowing the theme (which I got from GET OUT OF THE WHALE), I couldn't think of Any base phrases that could work. "...Something Whee? Wee?" Couldn't see a TRAIL as a "strategy" for some reason. And the fill in there was pretty dire. APORT (5D: Left on board) ... which differs from PORT ... somehow? ... Crosswordy LEY totally eluded me. LAICAL (1A: Like some church matters) elicited several UGHS from me (once I Finally got it). EDE = LEY, in that I've seen both before but ... nope, just not coming today. Crosswordese of a high order. RACER clue = :(  (26A: Indy entrant). Just a mess. Rest of the puzzle not nearly as tough, but rife with mediocre fill. I mean, look at the area under HEMATIC, for one arbitrary example. There's a domino effect here: partial Spanish ES SU, olde-timey BLEST, absurd and hateful E-LIST, ugsome OLEATES, and then the crutchiest of crutch answers: ESSENES (109A: Dead Sea Scrolls preservers).

Contrast that with some truly wonderful theme answers. "I TOLD YOU SOLE" is lol funny, and many of the others are very clever. One thing, though. I pronounce "W-" and "WH-" differently. This made THE ROYAL WHEEL especially rough, as WE and WHEE are simply different sounds. Also WHALE and WAIL. Different. If base phrase were "get out of the whey," then sure, GET OUT OF THE WHALE is perfect. But "get out of the whey" is not a thing (note to constructors—please do not build a wacky theme around "get out of the whey").

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Prince's pottery equipment? (THE ROYAL WHEEL) — additional difficulty: what kind of "prince." Like, prince the son of a king, or Prince the musician?
  • 104A: Stop proceeding in the maze when you reach the end? (DO NOT PASS GOAL) — by far the most ungainly and strange of the theme clues.
  • 3D: Strategy employed by a Siberian Hansel and Gretel? (ICE CUBE TRAIL) — very nice.
  • 11D: Fencing coach's pronouncement? (DUEL AS I SAY)
  • 14D: Haymakers? (GREEN BALE PACKERS)
  • 36D: Advice to Jonah? (GET OUT OF THE WHALE)
  • 58D: "Waiter, we ordered the fish!"? ("I TOLD YOU SOLE!")
  • 67D: Approach a thruway booth? (HEAD TO TOLL)
  • 25A: Firearm company for nearly five centuries (BERETTA) — always want BARETTA ... is that the TV detective? Or am I just being influenced by "barrette"? (both, probably)
  • 27A: Bygone Saudi king (FAISAL) — still can't manage to commit this guy to memory. Always want FAISAD. ASSAD must be jamming my signal. FAISAL sounds like the name of that mouse from "An American Tail."
  • 32A: Lounging robes (CAFTANS) — since FABER (33D: Name on pencils) was unknown to me and ILEAC (10D: Of the lower small intestine) was highly suspect and I've never used the word "caftan" in my life, this was slightly hard.
  • 106A: Det. Bonasera on "CSI: NY" (STELLA) — ... [tumbleweed goes by] ...
  • 18D: Biblical figure punished for hindsight? (LOT'S WIFE) — fantastic clue / answer.
  • 79D: President who was an electrician by profession (WALESA) — LECH! Former president of Poland. Founder of "Solidarity" (per wikipedia, "Soviet bloc's first independent trade union").
  • 104D: Dennis Quaid remake of a 1950 film noir ("D.O.A.") — There is something horrid about this clue. That something is: everything in the clue before "1950." I mean, can you really say the Quaid version is better known? Maybe the year it came out, but now? Whereas the original "D.O.A." is a noir classic. 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:17 AM  

All-Inspiring, or Ill-Advised.

You be the judge.

ps. I liked me my tumbleweeds rolling by.

Anonymous 12:22 AM  

This was a terrible puzzle. Awful.

jae 12:45 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 12:48 AM  

Unlike Rex easy-peasy for me.  No pauses, no WOEs, and no erasures except for some spelling corrections e.g. ala Rex,  BaRETTA to BERETTA.

Possible tough cross: FAISAL/ILEAC,  an " i" seems like it might work.

Random observations:

I know I've seen FABER recently clued as the college in Animal House.

Did not realize FEM was slang.

STELLA has not been on CSI for quite some time.

Not a bad Sun. but lacking in both zip and chuckles, i.e. a tad on the meh side.

Noam D. Elkies 12:49 AM  

The "get in the whey" joke has been done already

You're only absurd if you get in the curd,

but you're rude if you get in the whey!

I usually pronounce "whey" and "way" the same whey, but since when does "duel" rhyme with "school"?


Carola 12:57 AM  

Thought it was an interesting Sunday puzzle, enjoyed working it out. My self-imposed rule for Sundays is that I have to build from the first across/down cross I get - no skipping around the grid or looking ahead at clues. Today that meant starting from DRUIDS/ DR LAURA and heading toward the SW, where GET OUT OF THE WHALE clued me in to the theme. Worked up and down the diagonals, pausing to cheer at the GREEN BALE PACKERS - consolation prize for the Pack not being in the playoffs. The grid layout made the NW and SE corners more challenging, as the only way in is from theme answers. The SE was easier, as I was working from the beginning of the phrases, the NW harder as I had to work backwards from the WHEEL and the TRAIL. Took a while, but fun to puzzle out.

Favorite theme answer: DUEL AS I SAY. Also liked MOUSER, LITTORAL, CAFTANS, HOLED UP, LOTS of other ones, too.

Anonymous 1:23 AM  

Another inconsistency with the theme: an L sound that's not added in, in THEROYALWHEEL. Thought that was a basic no-no in these add/drop a letter/sound themes?

DrGaellon 1:25 AM  

The mouse was Feivel. And I had no idea Beretta had been around nearly 500 years...

chefwen 1:50 AM  

@Carola - Knew that you would love 14D, I did too.

After 3 in a row of DNF's I was ready to switch my hobby to solitaire or jigsaw puzzles. My faith has been restored. Thank you my crosswords gods. It's been a rough week.

Other that 14D my favorite was I TOLD YOU SOLE. Super cute.

Davis 2:35 AM  

I was already annoyed because of the ugliness here, but when I hit E-LIST I wanted to set this puzzle on fire. Have we gotten so desperate for fill that we'll accept anything with an "E" in front? While I don't question that some people actually use this term, there's simply no way it's common enough to make it into a grid.

Also irritating: sacrificing several minutes on my time to find and correct my error at the FAISAL/ILEAC crossing (I had FAISiL/ILEiC, as @jae suggested seemed possible). Two tough-to-recall (and spell correctly) crosswordese entries crossing? UGHS all around.

Anonymous 4:25 AM  

Not get out of the whey... get out of the way.

Anonymous 5:06 AM  

Rex, you really pronounce "wh" differently from "w"? In normal conversation? I don't really believe that.

C. Ross Word 6:00 AM  

Had a similar solving experience to Rex, particularly in the tough NW corner. I too had a tough time getting the front-end of the two theme answers in that corner. Complicating matters, I had totS for far too long before finally getting DEBS. Ultimately, it all worked out.

Sorry to hear of the passing of Stan "The Man" Musial. He was, by all accounts, a very fine man and a true hero of mine, going back to 1959 when I began following baseball daily. May he rest in peace.

Back now to the so-far surprising Djokovic - Wawrinka match live on ESPN2 from the Australian Open. Would love to see someone construct a puzzle with THAT cross!

Davis 6:18 AM  

@Anon at 5:06am — It's a regional thing.

So is our fair host from the southeast? If so, then I've learned something new today.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:23 AM  

I was fully awake when I did the puzzle, and I thought it was amusing.

Just two write-overs, BARETTA before BERETTA, and at 86 D, GROWL AT before SNARL AT.

Having been a kid who was interested in space travel, I found Willy LEY to be a gimme.

Loren Muse Smith 6:39 AM  

You know that feeling you get when you plop down OREM or ESAS, the only thought being, “Man, I need some more hobbies.?” It just got worse for me. I went back to double check on the bleed over OSE and remembered exactly where they were - today’s from last night, ok, but Saturday’s?? I remembered exactly that it was in the SE. I’m going to go buy a counted cross stitch kit.

I always enjoy onomatopoeic entries like OOFS. By the way, I got PFFT the other day (due west, right? Jeesh!) off the first F and never considered mFFT.

@Carola – I laughed at your TATTOOage joke yesterday. Did consider TEPIDage today? I considered TEPIDism but mercifully not TEPIDery. Ah the inanery.

Hey you cheeseheads – how ‘bout the soft BRIE, semi soft GOUDA and the hard EDAM! Nice.

Overall – five OLEs for this: OLE OLE, hOLEd up, OLEeates, and I told you sOLE!

Thanks, Yaakov.

Elle54 7:34 AM  

Me too! I couldn't finish those three, but found this one relatively easy! I liked it! Go figure!

GILL I. 7:43 AM  

Along with the cheesiness there is quite a bit of godliness in this here puzzle - what with LAICAL DRUIDS HEBRAIC LOTS WIFE ESSENES BLEST to name a few.
Do SAHIBS wear CAFTANS? My swollen glands were caused by pUMPS so I finished with a mistake.
I will say that my AHA[S] came at the GREEN BALE PACKERS
but my OLE OLE will be for the 49ers.

OTD 7:48 AM  

Started out good but then tailed off to dull drudgery by the end.

Loved I TOLD YOU SOLE, and since I'm from Wisconsin, GREEN BALE PACKERS was a real laugh.

Fitzy 9:09 AM  

A question for Spanish scholars: Would Juanita ever refer to "those girls" as ESAS (as opposed to ELLAS) unless she was being deliberately disrespectful???

MetaRex 9:25 AM  

Both the theme and the fill worked fine for me. As a semi-barbarian who doesn't honor the difference between "we" and "wheel" and "way" and "whale" as faithfully as Rex does, THE ROYAL WE and GET OUT OF THE WHALE (the first theme answer I got), were not problems. The middle fill, especially WEB MD and HEMATIC (got the incorrect signal and lost a minute or so cuz I had the dopy LUMPS instead of MUMPS for the M of HEMATIC) was my biggest trouble area. But the fill that hung me up was in fact good.

More at Out of the hway

Milford 9:41 AM  

@fitzy - good point. She would be referring to those feminine things, not people, I would think. But I'm no scholar.

Easy-cheesy Sunday for me, actually my fastest ever, even after having to hunt down the popular FAISiL/ILEiC error (good call @jae). Did this puzzle after a delicious meal, so maybe that helped (actually @Z, we went to La Shish in Dearborn).

Also had a mess to sort out in the SW with E-post (sounds just as good as E-LIST, really) causing me to have OpiATES and PLodS, which all sorta made sense except it made SWEET ON be SWidT ON, which I could not convince myself was a word.

Theme answers were cute and funny, liked the WHALE and GREEN BALE PACKERS best.

I'd rather FABER be clued as the college, personally. And I thought of @M&A when I first thought of muumuu before CAFTAN.

jackj 10:08 AM  

Yaakov Bendavid, (what a wonderful name!), has given us his 4th Times puzzle, all Sundays. This was a little bit of a loose construction but for me it was like a cold Pepsi, it “hit the spot”.

Punning with phrases via a rogue “L” may not be the most original theme play but it was enough after three head-bangers at the end of last week. Top of the line in the theme entries was ITOLDYOUSOLE for “Waiter, we ordered the fish!”?” and, if one wants to stay and play in the water, GETOUTOFTHEWHALE isn’t bad either.

With answers like DRUIDS, ESSENES, FAISAL, SAHIB, HEBRAIC, CAFTANS, et al, the fill seemed to have an interesting, worldly flavor to it, albeit a bit on the crunchy side for some, no doubt, but mostly edifying and entertaining all the same.

Less entertaining were the likes of REPOST, REGLUE, HEMATIC, OLEATES and TEPIDITY. TEPIDITY seems like a word devised when the typist sneezed while writing out TIMIDITY and forgot to correct it; not a word for the real world.

In my ongoing search for little clues that give big results, Yaakov didn’t disappoint as he nicely clued BODED as “Was an omen of”, “President who was an electrician by profession” for WALESA, (not Truman, who was a haberdasher), and my favorite of the day, “It can be shocking” which wasn’t an EEL but a very clever hot PINK.

In the category of “Oh my”, we get “Hooter” and “Boobs” as clues for OWL and OAFS and then send them into the fray for some canoodling with LOTSWIFE. Sounds like another Yaakov, he of a Smirnoff bent, got hold of this bit of the puzzle.

It was a lot of fun Mr. Bendavid; hopefully you’ll be back with your fifth Sunday, ere long.

Glimmerglass 10:08 AM  

Medium for me. I liked the theme, but some of the theme answers made me groan when I realized what the base (common) phrase was. Took me the longest time to see "Head to toe" after I knew TOLL must be right. I agree completely with Rex when he said, 'give me tricky over "that could be Anything" any day of the week.'

joho 10:53 AM  

ITOLDYOUSOLE was worth the price of admission!

I wanted Fox for FEM.

@loren muse smith, I love the word TATTOOery and I also considered TEPIDIsm today! How about TATTOOISMs being witty, inky sayings?

Horace S. Patoot 10:57 AM  

I see nobody noticed HOOTER, BOOBS, and SWOLLEN GLANDS. Uh... I didn't either. Loved the cheeses and the reference to the Packers, though. I had fun with it.

chefbea 10:58 AM  

Did not like this puzzle. I got the theme but still don't understand why it is called all-inspiring??? I get that you add an L....so what???

Chefs hate ughs!!!!

jberg 11:00 AM  

@jackj, I love your sneezing typist theory! But as for the alcohol, it was obviously STOLI, not Smirnoff.

As for the main issue -- Southeast? I grew up in GREEN BALE PACKERland, and we always pronounced the H in wheel and whale (but not the w in who), as well as the g in length and strength (I was really shocked the first time I heard a girl from Long Island say her hair was getting 'lenthy.') But unlike my wife, who's from Delaware, we never said the first r in February.

I'm with Rex on the vagueness - 8 letter word for some salts? Come on!

jberg 11:01 AM  

@chefbea - the title is an example, adding an l sound to 'awe-inspiring.'

WA 11:13 AM  

It is one of those puzzles where after I finished, I still had no idea what the theme was. Nonetheless, it was relatively easy.

I am the furthest thing from a Spanish scholar but I would never use esas to identify girls as it is impolite.

Growing up in Brooklyn, we use gerunds to begin sentences but we never did our lounging in caftans.

Carola 11:18 AM  

@jberg - Thanks for the explanation, and @chefbe - thanks for asking. I didn't get it either.

Z 11:24 AM  

Awl-inspiring in spots, I still enjoyed the solve for the most part.

A few of my niggles - "The year 151" might as well be "RRN 151."
Pencil maker? Really? And we all seemed to have got it, to? I'm not sure which is worse.
Does EDE mean East Down East?
A plateful of CrossCheeses today. Some good crackers and some fine Whine and we're all set for a lovely evening.
"Reno can't be right, must be Orem." What @LMS said about needing new hobbies.
Two RE--s. REPOST seems fair enough, REGLUE not so much.

@Milford - Good choice. La Pita, two miles west, is another good choice. Or El Ameer about a mile north if you want to try one of the first (and many will argue still the best).

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

Didn't like the theme. Found it annoying. Plus, I watched Djokovic win another epic 5-setter while I was doing it which further annoyed me

lawprof 11:26 AM  

This was an odd experience for me. I usually relish the Sunday puzzle, and this one started out fine.

I carried on steadily (see 78D), picked up the theme early, and seemed to be headed toward a typical finish. Then I balked at 57A, where I wanted TimIDITY, but which was clearly wrong when ...PACKERS appeared, so I made the correction, TEPIDITY. But that ugly word took the fun out of this puzzle. And when my final entry at 88A, EpoST, turned out to be another hideosity, ELIST, I just quit without checking the grid for other errors.

Turns out I actually left two squares blank. I didn't give up, exactly, but a DNF nevertheless.

chefbea 11:27 AM  

@jberg thanks for the explanation...ugh!!

Norm 11:31 AM  

jae said it: "Not a bad Sun. but lacking in both zip and chuckles, i.e. a tad on the meh side." Agreed.

Sandy K 11:37 AM  

I found this one easy-peasy for a change. Unlike @Rex, had no trouble filling in the grid. Just one write-over- C for CAFTANS, not K...

@chefbea- agree with you. I didn't get the "All-Inspiring" part of it- it just means add the L?? OK, I did it- the theme answers were cuter than the cluing.

I tried finding another cheese in the Northwest Territory- to make it symmetrical...maybe the MOUSE(R) ate it.

Not an ORDEAL like the previous 3 to solve. Not as many OOFS. Liked it more than Rex did. No naps, I guess.

quilter1 11:39 AM  

I finished and didn't think it was very hard, but it wasn't very fun either.

King Hiro 11:45 AM  

In agreement with Rex - the original "D.O.A." is so much better. About all I can recall of the remake is that it's set in Austin, and the "Freudian slip" joke.

As to the puzzle - The Royal Scam, even with Indy and Unser in there. A backmarker.

Carola 11:48 AM  

@loren - No TEPIDage today, but my first try was still wrong - vaPIDITY :)

@Gill I.P. - Yes, if it can't be the Pack, it's gotta be the 'Niners.

GILL I. 11:55 AM  

@Fitzy: You had me laughing thinking of the million ways I would use ESAS. Most can't be shared.....
It's the good ole demonstrative adjective (plural feminine of those) "No me vengas con esas pendejadas!"

YBD 11:58 AM  

This is Yaakov, the puzzle's author. Thanks for your kind words and encouragement. Thanks also to those who thought it could have been better; your constructive criticism has been noted.

Z 12:10 PM  

@YBD - Thanks for stopping by.

@Milford Saturday - Grew up by Hope but went to college at K'. Spent the 80's in the 'Zoo.

Anonymous 12:47 PM  

It's a play on "the royal we"

Elle54 12:59 PM  

Believe it or not, tepidity was the first word I thought of for that spot! I think it really fit the clue and was excited I got it right!

Milford 1:00 PM  

@Z - grew up in Kalamazoo, and went to K' 88-92. Probably just missed you! This explains your Ultimate comments, too.

And thanks for the good restaurant tips, more reason to eat fresh pita, fattoush, and shish kafta.

Anonymous 1:45 PM  

I am not a fan of the whacky-clue / whacky-entry theme, but those who are will like this. The 'L' thing is not even strong enough to be tenuous, but whacky crowd won't care too much.

The clue for TEPIDITY was spot on. When TEPIDNESS didn't fit, I immediately thought of the correct answer, though admit to not putting it in without more evidence.


Abbreviated form SOB from 1918. Mencken, complaining of the TEPIDITY of the American vocabulary of profanity, writes that the toned-down form son-of-a-gun "is so lacking in punch that the Italians among us have borrowed it as a satirical name for an American: la sanemagogna is what they call him, and by it they indicate their contempt for his backwardness in the art that is one of their great glories."

Unknown 1:55 PM  

I thought this was Sunday-worthy, ok, on the toughish side. NW corner gave me some trouble until THEROYALWHEEL popped into mind (took long enough, considering that I am a potter :-/). The theme answers were cute, some of the fill not-so-much.

Dean 2:05 PM  

Rex and I are out of our usual sync the past two days. His breezy "easy-medium" yeaterday nearly did me in, while I quite enjoyed today's. Granted, I wouldn't know an OLEATE from a JACAMARA, and APORT fell flat. But the theme answers I thought were rigt on. Like Rex, I pronounce W differently from WH, but most people on fhe eastern seaboard do not, and the was written for a New York paper, however much the rest of the nation claims it.

3on2out 2:12 PM  

I always remember FABER. Peter S. Faber was the institute of higher learning in "Animal House." A college named after a pencil....it always amused me.

Masked and Anonymo11Us 2:24 PM  

@Milford: Like the whale U'awl think. In this puz, they coulda at least gone for MULEMULE, no?

har. BALE is gradually becoming the official NYT puz mascot. Some extra scampy constructor like Acme needs to come up with a BALE-based theme in a puz, to cement the deal. Maybe have little 2x2 squares with the letters
in 'em. Have little harvesting gismos runnin' around in it.

Like today's puz fine. Would rate it around Medium+. When there's only 3 words by 3 words on the edges, you know you'll be playin' whee of fortune a lot, tho. Admire a dude who only constructs Sunday-sizers. Yaakov thinks big. Good man to have around. Hope he's here to stale.

Brookboy 2:30 PM  

A first for me: a puzzle that Rex rates Medium-Challenging was easy-peasy for me.

Very much enjoyed the puzzle and the theme. I had the same experience as Carola, started with DRUIDS (7A) and DRLAURA (7D). Got GETOUTOFTHEWHALE (36D) almost right away, and the puzzle flowed from there.

Oddly enough, I didn't sleep well the night before and was considering a nap, but I decided to try the puzzle first. Rex, are you listening?

Thank you, Mr. Bendavid, for an enjoyable puzzle.


Sandy K 2:45 PM  


Thanks for stopping by!

The more I look at your puzzle, the more I like it! In fact, I loved GET OUT OF THE WHALE, GREEN BALE PACKERS, and my fave- I TOLD YOU SOLE!

I was just wondering if the clue for DO NOT PASS GOAL could have survived without 'in the maze'?

Hope to see more! Awaiting #5.

Rube 2:50 PM  

Like most Sunday puzzles, I found this to be a bit of a slog... an enjoyable slog, but a slog nonetheless.

My only real hangup was in Tennessee where I had TimIDITY, Cameo, and rElATed. Finally sorted it all out then chuckled over the GREEN BALE PACKERS -- knowing full well that you don't bale green hay... it will rot. My wotd is TEPIDITY... never heard of it.

That rElATed -> HEMATIC gave me rEAD TOTO. I believe Dorothy's dog could speak in one of the later Baum books, but this sounded awfully suspicious.

Wanted Ticonderoga before Eberhard FABER. Think ESSENES is a great answer... not at all "crutchy". OSE, IMUST, AHAS, and ELIST are "crutchy". At first I didn't like OLEATES, but in retrospect that was only because it took me every cross to get it.

syndy 2:57 PM  

I liked the puzzle a lot.although I am familiar with waking from a nap feeling that everything is not right with the world I don't think taking it out like this is fair!Puns do have some vulnerability to regional accents so if you don't pronounce WAY_ALL or WE_ALL nor can be persuaded to give way a tad for do-all or bay-all I guess you-all just get to wear your cranky pants!While I agree with Rex about the relative merits of the two renditions of DOA many of his near contemporaries have expressed annoyance of any mention of the existance of events before 1980! Mr. Bendavid may have been intimidated (tepidly) by their wolverinelike vincible ignorance.

DigitalDan 3:16 PM  

From Guy Wetmore Carryl's expansion of the Little Miss Muffet rhyme:

You are only absurd when you get in the curd,
But you're rude when you get in the whey.

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

"Wanted Ticonderoga before Eberhard FABER"

Which became Faber-Castell. I am stunned that here, of all places, FABER isn't a gimme.

Doctor Colonel Mark 4:23 PM  

The essenes were burying the dead sea scrolls because they were probably defective. holy books have to be buried. thus, my co religionist goofed on calling the essenes preservers when they were, in fact, detroyers. I still miss the russian rivers...

Unknown 4:41 PM  

can someone tell me why (4D) ivory alternative is CARESS?

Anonymous 4:53 PM  

@Nina - Both are brands of soap.

Milford 4:55 PM  

@ Nina C. - they are both brands of soap.

Sarah 5:08 PM  

Just found this. Hope to join the conversation soon

John V 5:23 PM  

@Rex nailed it. Too much work, not enough joy. I've got better things to do, so just putting aside, not finishing.

Tonight, "Fifty Shades Of Earl Grey", on PBS near you. Just sayin'

Here's hoping for a nice tribute tomorrow.

pk 6:01 PM  

Excuse me while I borrow chef wen, what is wrong with C.C.'s crossword corner? Thanks

mac 6:06 PM  

Easy but worthy Sunday. All those cheeses! To me the Edam would be medium-soft, the Gouda hard. Or as Ulrich likes it, so hard it crumbles!

Nice to see hematic just above plasma, and very odd to see Oleole in the grid a couple of hours after I finished it.

mac 6:09 PM  

I went through boxes and boxes of Faber color pencils over the years!

chefbea 6:09 PM  

We need a tribute puzzle for Stan the Man

sanfranman59 6:18 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 5:58, 6:12, 0.96, 30%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:20, 8:37, 0.97, 39%, Easy-Medium
Wed 9:58, 11:52, 0.84, 13%, Easy
Thu 25:11, 17:05, 1.47, 95%, Challenging (9th highest ratio of 160 Thursdays)
Fri 31:24, 20:49, 1.51, 99%, Challenging (2nd highest ratio of 160 Fridays)
Sat 29:24, 24:18, 1.21, 90%, Challenging
Sun 28:59, 29:32, 0.98, 51%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:35, 3:39, 0.98, 34%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:54, 4:57, 0.99, 47%, Medium
Wed 5:39, 6:34, 0.86, 12%, Easy
Thu 15:52, 9:37, 1.65, 96%, Challenging (7th highest ratio of 160 Thursdays)
Fri 21:18, 11:47, 1.81, 100%, Challenging (highest ratio of 160 Fridays)
Sat 18:39, 14:21, 1.30, 92%, Challenging
Sun 18:05, 19:31, 0.93, 31%, Easy-Medium

sanfranman59 6:18 PM  

Oh ... I forgot ... GO NINERS!

chefwen 6:57 PM  

@PK - She has been having problems with spammers, so Blogger shut her down temporarily. You can find her at http://gingerroots.blogspot.com/

Last time, a couple of days ago, she was only down for a day and a half.

Anonymous 7:49 PM  

Ick. Too many "IC"s for my taste: HEBRAIC, LAIC(AL), ILEIC, HEMATIC.

Tita 8:32 PM  

My question is not "Does anyone pronounce 'whey' and 'way' the same?", but "Does anyone ever utter the word 'whey'?"

Though a mere tike, I was alive when CAFTANs were in fashion.

Most of the way through this theme was major "meh". It really picked up at ITOLDYOUSOLE. Fabulous.
THEROYALWHEEL is fun, as we use that term often round here. It was the last one I got, because I had ILiAC till the end.

Our MOUSERs have been pretty lax this winter.

Really like the clue for PINK (It can be shocking).

Janet 8:46 PM  

The NW, as usual, was my hang-up. I could not get any of the down clues.

Caftans is probably unknown to male solvers.

Lori 9:37 PM  

I really liked this puzzle! I thought some areas were hard to unlock (NW) but they fell eventually (without Googling) and the theme answers were funny and clever. Overall a fun and consistent puzzle. Thanks, Mr. Bendavid!

retired_chemist 11:15 PM  

@Janet - No. I knew CAFTANS. Got it without a cross.

Unthrilled by the theme. Enjoyed the fill. But ES SU? Come ON! E-LIST, LAICAL, and HEBRAIC almost worth a cavil.

GYMNAST @ 102A and AMPHORA @ 109A (My bad - plural should be AMPHORAE) slowed the SW down a bit.

Usually I am about midway between SanFranMan59's Top 100 and his All Solvers number. Today I was almost down to the Top 100 so I guess it was easy.

Thanks, Mr. Bendavid.

chefwen 11:26 PM  


Anonymous 12:08 AM  

Enjoyed this relatively easy puzzle, but would quibble with STOLI being called a Russian import rather than a Russian export (it's an American import from Russia), and would argue that the Talmud is more Aramaic than Hebraic

WA 12:17 AM  

For name on pencils-Mrs. Number 2 did not fit.

paulsfo 12:43 AM  

I liked it a lot, though I got stuck in several places with wrong initial guesses. But, to me, that's a *good* thing. I want it doable but not easy, else what's the point? For doable and easy I already have tictactoe. :)

Regarding "rules" for the theme, can people please just accept that English has all kinds of interesting variations and that total consistency in creating theme answers is not the goal. BTW, I got stuck for quite a while on 23A because I had the middle first and I was trying to think of phrases with ...ROY which could then be changed to ...ROYAL. However, that didn't make me dislike the puzzle.

nurturing 1:48 AM  

No one's mentioned "vapidity" which is what I had until the very end when "tepidity" finally hit me on the head and enabled me to finish the puzzle, having "tote" as the down (which I just couldn't come up with before, as toting doesn't seem like hauling at all - to me it's an easy thing to tote something around).

Thanks for a very enjoyable puzzle, YBD!

Bill 11:46 AM  

What am I missing with Green Bale Packers? I don't understand why green is there, other than for the theme.

I am so glad that the constructor used the W as opposed to the bizarre HW pronunciation of WHEEL. That'd be a horrible limitation to put on wordplay.

Spacecraft 11:42 AM  

@Rube: the "crutchy" part of ESSENES is not the people so described; it's the commonness of the letters therein. On the bottom or right edge of a grid, it's much easier to make crosses that end in S and E, hence the crutch aspect.

This one gave me some problems here and there. I had one writeover: I went even further back than FAISAL to FArouk! I still remember the American girl he married who became the beautiful, exotic Queen Noor. OK, so I'm old.

Headscratchers: OLEATES, TEPIDITY, LITTORAL. I mean, really: tepidity? Who says that?

NE was the hardest, till I at last remembered HGWELLS. What a mind! Glad I didn't approach the Olympic site at 50a from the east with __NO or I probably would've put in NAGANO. Did I mention how terrible I am at timelines?

I noted and enjoyed the mini-themes of the cheeses (perfect with 14d!) and the double-entendre clues for 34a and 44a.

There's some good stuff here: ACROBAT, LOTSWIFE et al. But aren't there more than six areas in Risk? NA, SA, AFRICA, W.Eur., E.Eur., Asia, Middle East and that little one with Indonesia and Australia that everybody tries to grab? That's eight.

Anonymous 4:30 PM  

I couldn't get into the NE other than LOTSWIFE and SNAPLESS, and was bound at the bottom by MOUSER (had no idea what an area of Manhatten was). I never got it because all I had was __CKERS. As some above noted, you don't bail green hay, so the clue made no sense.

Never got into the NW either; ICE CUBE and "bread crumb" don't seem connected. Knew Ivory meant soap but couldn't think of another soap. I have no idea what THE ROYAL WE is or means. New term to me.

Dirigonzo 5:43 PM  

PP and I worked through all of the clues with very little success until we got to the bottom of the grid, where we had enough crosses to see DONOTPASSGOAL and catch on to the theme. We crawled back up the puzzle slowly, learning along the way that Woodrow WiLson was not an electrician by profession, TEPIDITY is a word and HGWELLS created Dr. Moreau, all good things to know.

As has been pointed out, STOLI is exported by Russia and imported by the US - to call it a "Russian import" requires a very USA-centric world view. (Apparently Blogger agrees - captcha is "unrussi")

Eastsacgir. 7:40 PM  

Figured it out pretty quick but still didn't care for it much. Kept trying to spell "ALL" somewhere in the answers for awhile. Took me most of the morning but did eventually finish it all by my lonesome.

Anonymous 8:50 PM  

Just a thank you to Mr. Bendavid for an enjoyable puzzle. I haven't been doing the Sundays because of the time involved but I started today's offering and found it easy. I did have 2 mistakes but so what. It was fun and funny.
Ron Diego 1/27/13 Sunny Calif.

Sharon AK 9:32 PM  

I can't imagine pronouncing Whale, wheel and whey without the wh sound. I had never noticed it in others speech. I'm sure it mud tlead to unneccessary confusion for th listener at times.
So first several theme answers were less than satisfying (loved I told you sole) and the Its a regional thing link left me a bit depressed.

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

@ Bill,

Green as in John Deere Green.

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