Fiancee of Napoleon / 2-6-13 / Napoleonic marshal Michel / Athlete Jim whose Native American name was Wa-Tho-Huk / Sportscaster Albert / Cartographer's blowup / 1954-77 defense grp

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: BROKEN PROMISE (57A: Result of not following through (of which there are four examples in this puzzle's grid)) — circled squares contain the word PROMISE. Circles zig and zag, which I guess signifies "broken"...

Word of the Day: DESIRÉE (40A: Fiancée of Napoleon) —
Bernardine Eugénie Désirée Clary (8 November 1777 – 17 December 1860), one-time fiancée of Napoleon Bonaparte, was a Frenchwoman who became Queen ofSweden and Norway as the consort of King Charles XIV John, a former French General and founder of the House of Bernadotte. She officially changed her name there toDesideria, a Latin name[1] which she did not use herself. (wikipedia)
• • •

This puzzle and I have very different definitions of "BROKEN." I guess if PROMISE were supposed to be a visual representation of an ULNA, then yeah, I'd say X-ray-wise, PROMISE is "BROKEN." But that's a stretch. Looks more like a "crooked PROMISE." Circles are contiguous, i.e. definitely *un*broken. So this theme doesn't work for me. Snaky PROMISEs probably made the grid pretty tough to fill, which may account for the less-than-scintillating fill and the glut of partials—GET NO next to A SHIP is particularly ugly. On the plus side, there's LARRY BIRD (one of my sports heroes growing up) (34D: Last Celtic to wear #33). And the puzzle was quite easy, so the puzzle didn't leave a bad taste in my mouth.  The only rough spot for me DESIRÉE (never heard of her) crossing WESER (no memory of this river at all) (27D: "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" river). So I just guessed the "E." No other letter was plausible there. Took me a while to get the PROJECT part of SENIOR PROJECT (wanted THESIS, didn't fit) (20A: Graduation requirement, perhaps). Proud of remembering ANOMIE (48D: Societal breakdown), which is a word I never see but clearly have stored away from whenever I learned it (some social studies or government class, somewhere).

Love the clue on NRA (15A: Pistol PAC-ers?), which also contains the constructor's initials). I had No Idea Sidney LUMET directed "The Wiz," so that was interesting to learn. Love the trivia in the THORPE clue (30A: Athlete Jim whose Native American name was Wa-Tho-Huk), but sadly never saw the trivia part while solving—[Athlete Jim...] was all the info I needed. It's a pretty Napoleonic day with both DESIRÉE and NEY in the grid—I never remember NEY, but today it didn't matter, since I never saw the clue (49A: Napoleonic marshal Michel). Speaking of cartography (which is what 2D is doing—[Cartographer's blowup]), I tried my hand at some impromptu freehand cartography today while teaching "The Tempest." It's possibly the worst drawing of the British Isles / Europe / North Africa that I — or any teacher —has ever done. I'm so proud.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:05 AM  

Very easy Wed. and not bad (cute theme) for a circle puzzle, however, pretty much zip free.   Seemed more like a medium ho-hum Tues. 

Word I'VE only seen once before:  ANOMIE.  Needed some crosses to remember it and change IONe to IONA.

Oh, and I'm with Rex, doesn't broken mean spaces?

Gerardus Mercator 12:11 AM  

Gee, I've never before noticed how much the Iberian Peninsula looks like a condor's head before.

JFC 12:12 AM  

Interesting blog. Deb Amlen was also down on this puzzle for different reasons.

I didn't think it was that bad, though it seems more like a Tuesday because of it's ease.

I guess I go with Rex's X-Ray approach for broken. I've also see race horses break their legs which are still attached but dangling so this works for me....


B. Donohue 12:12 AM  

It was a quicker solve, except that I missed 1 tile on COd/GAdJET. Double fail- misspell of gadget, failure to recognize secant/sec rather than second/sec.. Trig. concepts seem foreign to me despite having loved/excelled at math in high school and early college. Is that weird?

I got SEATO/GORME despite never having heard of ether of them. SEATO seems more important. I loved the clue "Espousing crime?"!!!

Joma 12:18 AM  

Yes easy day. Once PROMISE came out of the circles, the rest were easy to fill. Never heard of singer GORME or soap-on-a-ROPE, so just got lucky with these.
Probably too easy for a Wednesday, although not complaining :-)

retired_chemist 12:23 AM  

Easy to medium. Non-puzzle wife is from ALMA.

Agree that the promises aren't broken. Since I solved it as a themeless anyway, no big deal.

Another Nike puzzle. Not much grabbed me, the NRA and BIGAMY clues excepted. Crosswords taught me ONESIE and I put that to use today.

Ho-hum, Mr. Collins. You have done much better.

PK 12:24 AM  

Cute and easy breezy. Tried "sauteed" and "roasted" before "braised" worked itself in there for the Swiss steak. I'm a vegan, so WTH, I tried.

Like B. Donohue, I knew SEATO, but will have to go now and google it to find out what it is.

Asthma Cos Mimosas 12:25 AM  

The promises did not seem broken to me, either...I, too, wish "snaky promises" was a phrase.
But cool construction, that must have been hard.

A little shaky on putting in the W of UA?/?ESER....but in the end, I decided that the United Arab Republic probably didn't negotiate with GM.
(Thought it might be an Oil thang)

Not one writeover tho, so I guess it must have been on the easy side, but didn't feel so during the solve.
Debated a while over GROOM vs bRide, as I don't really know what custard is or what goes in it.

SENIORPROJECT brings back sweet memories. Got to go back and teach 6th grade with my old 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Long, who had changed my life.

PK 12:27 AM  

South East Asia Treaty Organization

JFC 1:53 AM  

Acme, if you knew the seriousness of ASTHMA and how many people die from it each year, you would not adopt it as a name. It's not just insensitive or ignorant. It's dumb....


chefwen 2:39 AM  

@JFC - That was a pretty dismal picture of broken. Take a break from Arlington.
Husband just returned from visiting my Dad and his Mom, brought me back a Green Bay Packer cap, let me know if you want to borrow it.

Puzzle did not start out as easy, but once the theme was broken, it turned into easy/medium.

When I saw the circles print out I thought "Oh Goodie, circles". Then I heard the other half of our group thinking "Oh shit, I hate freaking circles" Ha Ha, I win!

acme 3:03 AM  



If you don't understand that I simply take a word from the puzzle each day that comes closest to sounding like my name for the fun of it, I don't know what to say to you.

I wish I could write this to you privately,
you often say weird and cruel things at others' expense to stir the pot and to get attention.

But, you seem like a bright guy,
might you please just focus on yourself, or better yet the puzzle, and leave me out of your not-adding-anything-constructive comments?

Thank you! :)

Jack Lee 4:52 AM  

Medium-Challenging for me. Couldn't complete SW due to a complete lack of knowledge about basketball and baseball - and who is Albert Marv/Marv Albert?! Why is "UN figure" "AMB"?

Jeremy Mercer 5:46 AM  

We have a metro station named after Désirée Clary here in Marseille. She kind of embodies the city : thrown over by Napoleon, but scratched her way to success anyway, becoming queen of Sweden and Norway. Joséphine has nothing on this lady.

Loren Muse Smith 5:55 AM  

No problem here. I agree – “broken” for me would mean gaps, but I guess I can envision a candy cane or something broken and still intact but all crooked. Like @chefwen, I always like a circle puzzle.

Loved, loved, loved the clue for BALL!

@PK – I lead off with “broiled” for BRAISED. I’m not much of a cook.


(Remember Bill Thompson’s puzzle on March 8, 2012 with the same reveal? Every now and then I still marvel at the fact that PERCY SLEDGE breaks up PLEDGE.)

I’ve been patiently waiting for Westport pictures.

And I have all my reservations for the ACPT!!! Do the Rexites have any plans yet?

Nice puz, Peter. I bet it was a tough PROJECT to pull off. I liked it just fine!

Elle54 6:21 AM  

I really liked the puzzle! Answers I wasn't sure of fell into place with crosses. Liked the promises in circles too.

MaryRoseG 6:36 AM  

@asthma cos momosas....i love the thing you do with your initials and words from the puzzles. Wish I had thought of it. I also enjoy your puzzles when they make the paper.

BTW. My 13 yr old daughter has been asthmatic the age of 2... Very serious there for awhile. Much better now but she still nebulizes every day. I was not offended by your comment....I saw it as a sout out to her!

If I didn't have to go to work, i'd have a mimosa.

See you at the tournament I hope. Can't wait. my first time.

Z 7:03 AM  

I'm with the compound fracture definition, so the theme works just fine. "Broken" is a big enough concept to be represented in a variety of ways.

Went with bRide before GROOM and put A-ROPE in the wrong squares and still finished faster than yesterday, which was also easy, so very easy here.

NABOB always brings to my mind Spiro's "nattering NABOBs of negativity." Indeed, it is the only phrase I can ever remember hearing the word used in. It is perhaps a sign of the ANOMIE in DC these days that both Mr. Agnew and Mr. Nixon would both be too liberal for today's Tea Party.

I had no idea about Napoleon's fiancée, and thought it was probably a Napoleon Dynamite misdirect. DESIRÉE seems much more 21st century than 18th century to me.

Z 7:05 AM  

And apparently I like repetitive redundancies. Sigh.

evil doug 7:11 AM  

...not to mention all the horrible hangovers that mimosas cause. Truly thoughtless, ACME....

Just kidding! I kind of like your naming thing, too---and I'm on the record as welcoming all words without worrying about offending anyone since some people will find fault in "lollipop" or "puppy"(highly recommend Greg Gutfeld's book, “The Joy of Hate: How to Triumph Over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage”). I, of course, pray for the day when the puzzle doesn't have an A, C or M in it. Good avatar, also. Only took you how many years to finally get one?

Mimosa story: Worked one college summer cleaning airplanes for United at O'Hare. Got a call on my radio to hustle up to a gate with a 727 about to depart. A cute little old couple on one of their first flights was connecting on their way to California, and the wife had had a few mimosas inbound to celebrate her big vacation. Unfortunately, just as the airplane was ready to push, she projectile-vomited all over herself, her hair, and the forward bulkhead. My job was to clean it up, with about 150 people leaning into the aisle to watch. Took every ounce of self-control I had to not add my own puke to the, literally, hot mess....

I think the theme is more "greenstick fracture promises".


GILL I. 7:19 AM  

I like circles too. I always highlight them waiting for my prize. The only time I don't like them is when people use them to dot their "I's."
Easy, fun puzzle. GISELE DESIREE - great names. LECTURERS/ALMA at the ECOL...
Wasn't MARV charged for a lack of ETHOS or something. Or was he just a bit RAKISH?

Glimmerglass 7:20 AM  

Nice Map, Rex. But why is Bermuda in the Mediterranean Sea?

Milford 7:37 AM  

Wow. I'm not sure what to write after the mimosa story, but great one,@ED!

Easy, faster-than-Tuesday puzzle for me. Had a momentary feeling of disappointment that the PROMISEs weren't broken, as in completely separated, but then I decided they were broken-up into different lines/clues and then it was fine. Plus on the reveal, we get two PROMISEs, which I thought was pretty cool and clever.

Never even saw the second Napolean clue for NEY, so I noticed more of a Michigan theme with ALMA and UAW. But I'm biased that way. :)

@Rex - that map of Europe is fantastic. Nice waves. Hope no one is offended you completely dissed Italy and everything east of it. And that paperback cover cracks me up - "Would love be enough?" (A: That ain't love in that alley.)

ArtO 8:04 AM  

@ jack lee
UN AMB. United Nations ambassador

Sparky 8:20 AM  

Pretty much went from top to bottom today so was like a themeless. Noticed repeat of PRO at 59D and got it. Not exactly an Ah Hah moment, more of an Oh, yeah.

Broiled before BRAISED. Have never cooked Swiss Steak. Had GAdJET and was going to complain that a pilot light is not a GAdJET. Never mind.

Finished at 6:10 AM. There is something to be said for insomnia. I have the whole day ahead of me.

Unknown 8:29 AM  

A yawner :-/

JohmV 8:38 AM  

Hello from Warren VT. Had trouble with ONESIE as wanted blast. I think that was my only tourney mistake

Going skiing.

jackj 8:46 AM  

“Snakes on a Plane” is a film released a few years back (that I haven’t seen, nor do I want to), though based on just the title it was apparent that it was but a one-trick pony of a film and today’s version, “Snakes in a Grid”, suffers the same problem.

Having four PROMISE(s) sinuously slithering around the grid, sneaking up to the reveal of BROKENPROMISE, becomes tiresome rather than clever, very quickly.

But, these are the types of puzzles that Peter excels at and we can expect more of them, since Will is clearly a fan of the genre.

But Peter often soothes those of us disappointed by his themes with interesting fill and, to some extent that is true with today’s puzzle. The clue “Espousing crime?” at one across, for BIGAMY, was out and out brilliant wordplay and set a hopeful tone for the rest of the construction.

RAKISH was indeed “jaunty”, ANOMIE was vaguely alienating, (as it should be), and SIGNETS made a nice first impression, but the disorders du jour, ASTHMA and APNEA proved somewhat disquieting.

SENIORPROJECT was an awkward use of 13 squares but something had to mirror BROKENPROMISE and it did provide an ORP for the first theme entry, but it still seems about as welcome as a zit on PROM (ISE?) night.

The Boston tinged entry for LARRYBIRD, continuing with Mrs. Brady, was fun, as was the reminder of the “Christmas Story” BBGUN and, lastly, Napoleon’s one-time main squeeze, DESIREE made the scene and helped liven things up, but not enough to elevate the crossword to the level hoped for at the outset with BIGAMY.

tptsteve 9:07 AM  

Not a bad Wednesday, even though I got a little hung up in the SE at the end.

@Joma, @B Donohue- Eydie Gorme and her husband Steve Lawrence were big in the 60s and 70s. My wife and I saw them perform about 20 years ago when we were in our early 30s, (since we share the Steve and Edie monikers), and we were the youngest people in the audience by at least 35 to 40 years.

Ruth 9:09 AM  

If that map were a Rorschach ink blot, I think most interpreters would come up with "two people having sex" and could be forgiven for doing so.

chefbea 9:19 AM  

Little bit tough for me. DNF Of course new braised; and even though I do not like custard and have never made it I knew egg.

Why is an all night bash a rave???? I thought a rave was a rating given to a great show.. Do people really say "i'm going to a rave tonight so dont expect me home til tomorrow"

Mohair Sam 9:20 AM  

Very easy Wednesday. I see young folks had a little trouble in the west section with GORME, AROPE, and SEATO. Eydie Gorme won the Grammy for Best Female Vocal Performance in 1967 while we were all regifting the ridiculous soap-on-A-Rope. At the same time our government was using SEATO to justify the Viet Nam nightmare.

btw Rex - Many (if not most) broken things are not completely split - think bones, i.e. The theme was totally valid.

Kate's niece 9:21 AM  

@andrea: i am the niece of Kate who just turned 100. How do i contact you off line as you suggested? Thanks.

webwinger 9:40 AM  

Not one for the puzzle pantheon, but I was impressed with the acrobatics demanded by the theme. Started with Skye for the Scottish island; when crosses revealed IONA, which I had never heard of, had a flashback to the movie “Say Anything” with John Cusack and then very promising teen actress Ione Skye, whose career sadly never amounted to much after that. Since answers describing underappreciated maladies seem to be a topic of discussion today, as an ophthalmologist I’ll contribute that a BBGUN (or maybe I should say a person wielding a BB-gun) can indeed “put an eye out”—just yesterday had to write a sad letter to another doctor recommending removal of a globe damaged beyond repair when one child shot another. Also personally suffer from sleep APNEA, diagnosis and treatment of which dramatically improved my life.

Carola 10:15 AM  

Would have liked the puzzle to put up a little more resistance, but I'm in the "Oh, boy - circles!" camp and liked how it all came together.

Anybody else swept away in high-school by Annemarie Selinko's Désirée?

@Z - Me, too, on NABOB. I remember watching that speech - I guess it was successful because it still sends me into a rage just thinking about it.

quilter1 10:17 AM  

I usually like Collins puzzles and liked parts of this one, but not much to add so I'll tell a BIGAMY story.
When I was a hospital chaplain a man died in the ER of car crash injuries when I was on-call. I went to the waiting room to bring the family in. I asked for "Mrs. Smith." and two women on the opposite sides of the room came toward me. Again I asked, "Mrs. John Smith?" They both nodded, looked at each other and the next thing I knew they were rolling around on the floor scratching eyes and pulling hair. Once security had separated them I had to figure out who the 1st Mrs. S was, to get paperwork signed, but by that time neither one wanted anything to do with him. They ended up leaving together, arm in arm.

The really funny part of this is that they looked so much alike--same build, same bee hive hairdo, they even dressed the same. I say, if you are going to be a bigamist, at least go for some variety.

chefbea 10:32 AM  

@Quilter1 great story

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

As a former pro base baller, I can report that STRIKE is called with a high pitched utterance, frequently as a two syllable word: STEE - RIKE. BALL, however, is called in a gruff, gutteral basso tone as BAW, often leaving off the final "LL's".

Masked and Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Visionary. Who cares if the theme makes perfect sense, when the puz is tryin' to be visionary? Step back. Loiter more than yer usual 4:07. Do some art appreciation time here. Stop and count yer fave letter. (3)

Take 31's chalk drawing, ferinstance. At first glance, you'd probably dismiss it as a trail of dog waste, with ARF misspelled. But no. You gotta take some time; let the artwork flow over you. Then maybe have a shower. Visionary.

I know I always get the shakes, when adrawin' in Pictionary. My team's guesses are always so far off, I start laughing too hard to go on competently. When they guess flying saucer and yer drawin' a hot dog, you know you've lost another round, anyhoo.

So, I know how that Collins dude might feel, today.


Pete 10:43 AM  

Can you imagine the hue and cry that would have arisen had the letters of PROMISE been broken appart as 7 disjointed circles located within a 15 letter answer? Or had they not been in order withing a connected string?

I would have led the charge.

BIGAMY has to be the stupidest crime ever. Maybe one step below self-immolation, but still way up there in the charts.

Two Ponies 10:45 AM  

I got the theme early and filled in all of the circles so this was rather easy. I did enjoy some of the clever clues. Also some nice words like signets and rakish.
Most of the joy, however, was erased by @ JFC's negative comments.

mac 10:54 AM  

Easy one, once I found the trick I filled in a lot of the promises. I loved the clue for bigamy!

Nice stories today. Never bought Swiss steak, it looks so strangely beat up.

Unknown 10:56 AM  

@chefbea, yes, you would say that about a RAVE. It is a sort of all night dance party.

chefbea 10:58 AM  

@Mac try it - you'll like it especially served with the recipe I just sent you. Hint to all - it's a red tuber recipe!!!!

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

@Kate's niece: Andrea's full name is Andrea Carla Michaels, and her email is her full name Suppose your full name was Kate Doe. Your corresponding email would be

Sandy K 11:06 AM  

Some of the comments today make the puzzle DROOP in comparison, eg ED's MIMOSA story, quilter1's BIGAMY story, the ASTHMA 'attack', and let's not forget Rex's map...

The puzzle was hardly as jaunty.
NEVER heard of ANOMIE, agree with Rex that they are not BROKEN PROMISES, but had a BALL anyway!

retired_chemist 11:23 AM  

@ anon 11:06 - not necessarily. User names are selected by the user. None of my or my wife's accounts use our names.

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

@KatesNiece - Sorry, that's AndreaCarla.Michaels [at]

Or go to here, click on the 'C' die for here contact info.

@retired_chemist - Yes, but she's said about a dozen times that that's what her email is.

Kate's Niece 11:34 AM  

thanks anon @11:06!

M and A and sometimes U 11:50 AM  

p.s. Sometimes one idea can sorta build on top of another.
Like the PBS show last night, where one dude thought up transitors, then someone built on that to get integrated circuits, then some real visionary came up with Intel computer chips. Before anyone knew it, the olestra potato chip was soon a reality.

So it goes with crosswords. Maybe that Collins dude will just keep right on building on his snaky word bits idea. Improve on it. Give it nuances. Let it breath a little. Before you know it, an all new sparklin' puz revealer: KINKYSEXTOYS. Heck, use an assumed constructing name, if you hafta. Get 'er done. You know we want that.


retired_chemist 12:06 PM  

@ anon 11:06 - reread your second and third sentences. An inexperienced user could interpret them as a generality, and would be incorrect in doing so. That's what the potential confusion I wanted to forestall.

I LOVE the use of 42 instead of all the illegible captcha numbers.

lawprof 12:09 PM  

It's just a fact of life: some folks, e.g., @JFC, are more easily offended than others.

I seem to recall that when the Quebec Nordiques hockey team moved to Denver in 1995 and were introduced as the Colorado Avalanche, some protested the nickname as as a display of insensitivity toward the families of those who had been killed in avalanches. (Perhaps the story is apocryphal, but it's certainly more than plausible given the current climate of political correctness).

Rob C 12:19 PM  

@ M&A - So is Peter Collins Shockey or Noyce?

@chefbea - from Wiki - Raves are parties that originated mostly because of acid house parties, which featured electronic music and light/laser shows... So, it's a good thing you've never heard of it.
@Susan McConnell - starting to wonder about you

Notsofast 12:24 PM  

GORME is the easy part. EYDIE is the toughy. A breezy and enjoyable puzzle. I also like that "broken" in this case means partially separated. Good job. B

JenCT 12:26 PM  

I thought RAVEs were associated with the drug Ecstasy...

Love the stories today! (And leave ACME alone!)

Trying to figure out how to post Westport pics on my profile... Or do I post a link? Help!

jberg 12:35 PM  

They may be snakes, but they're symmetrical, letter for letter - quite a constraint on the constructor, and with a lot of good fill despite that.

Isn't custard basically ice cream that has not been frozen? With something to thicken it.

I was in a hurry, and this one was real easy, so I liked it, but I think it would have anyway. The hardest part for me was realizing that 66A was a name, not some kind of kitchen equipment. I did have one writeover, ETHic before ETHOS.

Off to CA early in the morning, not sure if I'll see any puzzles between now and Monday.

Rob C 12:43 PM  

@JenCT - you're correct - more from wiki - Since the beginning of rave culture, MDMA (ecstasy) use has been linked to it and the culture was branded by the media as a drug-centric culture...

now wondering about you too

chefbea 12:52 PM  

@Rob C thanks. No wonder I did not know

Rube 1:01 PM  

I agree, there's not much to this puzzle. Certainly enjoyed the clue for BIGAMY and refreshed my memory on DESIREE.

SEATO is very crosswordesy, appearing reasonably frequently. It also helps if you're of an age where you would read about it in the papers. (In which case you'd easily know Eydie GORME and why two and TANGO are constantly connected.)

Personally, I connect NABOB and William Safire, who originally coined the term as speech writer for the Nixon White House. Man, could that guy write.

LaneB 1:16 PM  

Two days in a row in less than an hour and no googling. Must have been another easy one. A little trouble with the cross ses of ANOMIE, GISELE AND SESTET, but otherwise a pleasant time spent.

wiki 1:35 PM  

"Historically, a RAVE party was an illegal party which featured DJs playing techno or hardcore music.

Nowadays, many people call any dance music event, legal or illegal, a RAVE."

M and A's Last Siver BB 1:42 PM  

@Rob C: Wow, you saw that same PBS show. Small world. I remember those names, but not which one came up with the olestra chip. I'm a little slow, that way. Just now remembering how to spell "transistor". Since you are a constructor that really likes U's, maybe you should pick up the old baton on this KINKYwhateva project. I smell future Fink U Freeky award. Get a release from that Collins dude, first. This could be bigger than the peanut butter football.

Bird 2:00 PM  

Not quite thrilled with this puzzle, but it was still good. I’m still debating with myself about the “BROKEN” part of it. I had the same thoughts as @Rex – broken but connected. No write-overs today.

I liked the clues for 1A and 15A and LARRY BIRD.

The clue for 32A is incorrect. Umps don’t cry or scream or yell anything when the pitch is outside the strike zone. They might say it in a normal voice, but mostly they simply stand and wait for the next pitch. I also question 11D – I thought schools hired professors and teachers that lecture once in a while.

Happy Humpday!

@acme – I’m with you. Picking words from the grid seems like fun. We should just stick to critiquing the puzzle and not attack fellow bloggers.

syndy 2:02 PM  

A NABOB was a Provinval Governor in the Moghul Empire. Some of the returning Englishmen who had made their fortunes in India were then called NABOBS as It came to mean "Bigshot" I don't think Mr Safire coined the term. Circles why always circles?

Anoa Bob 2:05 PM  

I like this one more than most. My first thoughts were "Hey, PROMISE isn't BROKEN. If it were, it would be scattered within a longer theme entry. That's the usual M.O., right?"

Then I realized it was BROKEN, but in a subtler way. Yeah, the letters are all contiguous and sequential, even if the sequence is backward at times, so no break there. But PROMISE is BROKEN into three different lines, so it is both unBROKEN and BROKEN at the same time!

So I'm good with the theme and then there's the great fill. Any distaste for the partials GETNO and ASHIP coming out of the gate in the NW was quickly erased by BIGAMY. ASTHMA, and MIMOSA in that same corner.

Other fill that popped out for me included ENCRUST, SIGNETS, ETHOS, ANOMIE, and BINET.

The concept ANOMIE was popularized by Émile Durkheim, of Sociology fame. Both he and IQ pioneer Alfred BINET were French contemporaries around the turn of the 20th century.

Very RAKISH Mr. Collins.

Nameless 2:36 PM  

How come this puzzle was published with that huge flaw at 57A. PROMISE is BROKEN and not BROKEN at the same time?!

Dave 2:43 PM  

Still trying to figure 1/sec being cos in trig and it is not due to a poor background in math...

Trig 2:51 PM  

@Dave - the sec here is for secant. cosine = 1/secant.

Sgburns05 2:52 PM  

I like the map. You can tell what you mean. I made one of the US with an oversize representation of Texas for a group of mostly Euros just to emphasize thenTexan view of the universe.

chefwen 2:58 PM  

@Gil I.P. - Even worse, I have a friend who STILL dots her I's with little hearts. Aaaargh!

Two Ponies 3:10 PM  

There seems to be some confusion on the clue for 32A.
I took it as a clever clue where the "cry" was ball after a high pitch. Not that the ump screams in a high-pitched voice. Right?

Bird 3:30 PM  

@Two Ponies - When the ball passes through the strike zone, or the umpire’s interpretation of it, or the batter swings and misses the ump usually screams (in a loud tone of voice), “STRIKE”. (Leslie Nielsen does a terrific job of impersonating an umpire in Naked Gun) If the ball is out of the strike zone and the batter does not attempt to hit it, the umpire will simply say (in a normal tone of voice), “ball”. Besides, no matter how you look at it the clue is wrong because “there’s no crying in baseball”.

long suffering mets fan 3:34 PM  

2 great puzzles I've come across lately outside of the NYT --

Saturday's LA Times from Barry Silk with his usual fabulous cluing

Last week's WSJ (Thurs) -- College Tour by Randolph Ross -- challenging and fun

Peace and out

sanfranman59 3:40 PM  

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

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

Wed 8:35, 11:33, 0.74, 3%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:27, 6:29, 0.84, 10%, Easy

retired_chemist 3:50 PM  

@ Two Ponies - I like your interpretation of 32A.

Sfingi 4:34 PM  

Very easy for me, but I disagree on ASL being non-verbal; I would rather non-oral.

Eydie Gorme has several recordings in Spanish which I listened to with a Cuban friend. Apparently she is Sephardic and speaks Ladino.

People my age learned SEATO with NATO.

There was a B&W movie about Napoleon's Polish mistress Walewska. They had a son. I can't remember the name of the film.

jackj 5:08 PM  

@Sfingi said- "There was a B&W movie about Napoleon's Polish mistress Walewska."

You aroused my curiosity and Wikipedia gave me the following info:

Marie Walewska in popular culture

Her story is told in a 1937 film Conquest, also known as Marie Walewska. Greta Garbo plays Marie Walewska to Charles Boyer's Napoleon. Boyer and art director Cedric Gibbons were both nominated for Academy Awards for the film.


Trig again 5:16 PM  

Not sure what to make of someone with the handle "notsofast" calling GORME "easy."

reciprocal trig functions

dk 5:56 PM  

JohmV, Dine at American Pie.

Andrea, acknowledging aberrant behavior only increases the likelihood of that behavior reoccurring. I mean look what happened when you were nice to me: just sayin.

Nothing about this puzzle a Jiffy Splint would not fix.

Agree with all the Tuesday feel comments.

🌟🌟( 2 twinkly things)

Tita 7:13 PM  

Sigh, now feeling really dumb. Never heard of WESER. Never heard of lESER either, which is how I handed in this puzzle in Westport.

@JFC - really? What a gruesome 'can-you-top-this' you play.

Loved the clue for BALL - put it in without hesitation.

@ret_chem - you're welcome.

@Jen - create a Picasa album and share it - or send them to me and I'll do it when I post my own.

I like the new ED much better than the old one.

retired_chemist 7:35 PM  

@Tita - a belated thank you.

AIDS Cancer Madcowdisease 9:16 PM  

Great puzzle.

Sfingi 9:22 PM  

@JackJ - Thank YOU!

sanfranman59 10:06 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, 6:08, 0.97, 36%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:03, 8:30, 0.95, 31%, Easy-Medium
Wed 8:23, 11:33, 0.73, 2%, Easy (4th lowest ratio of 163 Wednesdays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:34, 3:39, 0.98, 32%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:48, 4:57, 0.97, 36%, Easy-Medium
Wed 5:11, 6:29, 0.80, 6%, Easy (9th lowest ratio of 163 Wednesdays)

chefwen 10:21 PM  

@Andrea - Now you need to come and help me get the Chardonnay off my screen!!!

fergus 10:22 PM  

Rex -- thanks for sharing your map. Even if one is a pretty hard-core Geographer, the expediencies of a quick sketch for other purposes can be appalling when you look at them after class. I've gasped at mine, too, when erasing the board.

Sparky 10:23 PM  

@M&A, you are in rare form today. I'm with @JenCT, let Andrea be. For crying out loud!

There was a movie with Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons, "Desire," i954.

@quilter1. Just watched Downton Abbey #5. Good episode. Zee plot sickens.

Anonymous 11:18 PM  

Now you just need to draw the coast of Bohemia when teaching Winters Tale.

Anoa Bob 12:28 AM  

I liked JFC's comment. Look what it kicked up. Several gallantly jumped to Andrea's defense, Andrea herself came back and showed she can mix it up a little, with style, and then we got the jewel AIDS Cancer Madcowdisease @9:16. Total guffaw on that one! Beautiful.

Keep 'em coming JFC.

evil doug 3:49 AM  

On your cartography work, Michael: It's a sad commentary that our kids' geography knowledge has become so weak that your map might actually have enlightened them....


ANON B 1:35 PM  

@Rex Parker

Re:One man's trivia.....

When you saw "Judd Apatow",
Seth Rogen immediately jumped
into your head. Well, it
didn't jump into mine. I never
heard of them.
A lot of the things in late-week
puzzles are gimmees to some
solvers and "?????" to others.
I get the feeling that many of
those who do the Times puzzle
are not Times readers.

ANON B 1:57 PM  

One man's trivia is not another's. Seth Rogen jumped out at you when you saw Judd Apatow.
Well it didn't jump out at me.
Many of the snobs on this blog
refer to things as gimmees which
I wonder are even familiar to readers of the Times.

LaneB 6:36 PM  

I called this one the silent"h" puzzle. Didn't know EVA and didn't know enough to put the ampersand in making the channel A&E. So I put an E in its place making 67a HERBLOCK. Made sense to think that the trivial pursuit genius might not be familiar with the works of the famous cartoonist. Gave myself a B+

Waxy in Montreal 11:36 AM  

The previous two comments refer to tomorrow's puzzle (had a peek ahead).

Thought this was very easy for a Wednesday. As a onetime baseball umpire, really like the clue for 32A, especially after I originally thought it was erroneous rather than extremely clever.

And despite having 7 grandkiddies, stumbled once again over ONESIE, a term that's just not in my ballpark.

Spacecraft 11:56 AM  

If it's a ball, the ump usually doesn't say anything; if he does, it's a muttered syllable. The "high-pitched" in the clue, I'm sure, is a play on words, however inaccurately it describes the official's voice.

I did have some trouble with a definition or two. I know of no institution where a SENIORPROJECT is a "graduation requirement." And while I suppose "not following through" might well result in a BROKENPROMISE, it might have any of several other results too, like, say, a sliced tee shot. Not exactly your spot-on definition.

Other than that, we have a pretty simple offering. Seems like this week is kinda stuck on Monday, difficulty-wise. I await tomorrow, and the prospect of affording my brain cells some overdue exercise.

DMGrandma 3:11 PM  

I enjoyed this one. Figured that GORME might be a little obscure for the younger folk, but she was really great, and everywhere in her prime. My shame was wondering what on earth 1/sec(ond) measured. Know angles are done in degrees and seconds, but nothing came. Got the answer from crosses, and DUH. My degree is in math!

I didn't try to figure out the circle thing until I was done, and then I was pretty impressed. How do you possibly find words that will mesh in two directions, and also contain a hidden extra in four different directions. Kudos to the creator.

Dirigonzo 4:33 PM  

The NRA may classify a BBGUN as a toy but I would respectfully disagree - the fact that the projectile is propelled by air pressure rather than gun powder does not render it harmless, as "toy" would imply. See @webwinger's comment above.

I did not know ANOMIE but the crosses produced it anyway.

Syndi Solver 7:18 PM  

I really liked the puzzle, and very impressed by the symmetry, but I came here to echo the very minor complaint that the promises were more "bent" than "broken."

But then I read all the suggestions offered here for different examples of how the promises really are broken, from x-rays of bones to candy canes. I love the candy cane idea! When they are still in their plastic wrapper they can break and yet stay together. So, I'm sold.

Still, with that shape I would have enjoyed a reveal that was a BENT or TWISTED something. But I could not think of anything other than Twisted Sister--which shows my age, not my music taste!

Ginger 7:27 PM  

Finished with one wrong letter, IONe/eNOMIE. grrr DNF, and on a Wed. Agree with OFL about 'broken' promises. These were only bent.

Eydie GORME and Steve Lawrence were regulars on the old Tonight Show with Steve Allen.

Swiss Steak is an old fam fave, BRAISED, then simmered. Tender and yummy. Washington State now requires HS Seniors to complete a 'SENIOR PROJECT' in order to graduate.

@Diri and @webwinger, there is nothing 'playful' about a BB Gun.

S. Freud 10:36 PM  

The Anomie of My Anomie is My Friend.

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