Four-time Pro Bowler Ahmad / THU 2-14-13 / Compounds with nitrogen / Eight-time Oscar nominee who never won / Hunters of now-extinct moa / Onetime Ebert partner

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Constructor: Jules P. Markey

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: OPEN DOOR (61A: Welcoming symbol ... or what each part of the answers to the six starred clues can do?) — two-word phrases / compound words, where each word (or word part) can precede "DOOR" in a common phrase:

  • 16A: *Comfy place (FIRESIDE)
  • 20A: *Alternative to a Crock-Pot (DUTCH OVEN)
  • 27A: *Metaphor for a sharp mind (STEEL TRAP)
  • 36A: *Gathering spot for the upwardly mobile? (ELEVATOR CAR)
  • 45A: *Campaign from town to town (BARNSTORM)
  • 55A: *Where a cast may be found (BACKSTAGE) 

Word of the Day: LA PALMA (40D: One of the Canary Islands) —
La Palma [...] is the most north-westerly of the Canary Islands. La Palma has an area of 706 km2 making it the fifth largest of the seven main Canary Islands. The total population is about 86,000, of which 18,000 (2003 data) live in the capital, Santa Cruz de la Palma and about 20,000 (2004 data) in Los Llanos de Aridane. Santa Cruz de La Palma (the island's main port) retains many elegant 17th- and 18th-century houses, and produces high-quality handmade cigars made from locally grown tobacco. In 1815, the German geologist Leopold von Buch visited the Canary Islands. It was as a result of his visit to La Palma and Tenerife where he visited the Las Cañadas and Taburiente calderas, that the Spanish word for cauldron - "Caldera" - was introduced into the English language geological vocabulary. La Palma has "Sister City" status with El Dorado Hills, California, United States. (wikipedia)
• • •
Happy Valentine's Day!

Here's something to get for your sweetheart, or yourself, or anyone you know who likes puzzles—"American Red Crosswords." It's a collection of all original puzzles (24 of 'em) to benefit the American Red Cross's Disaster Relief Fund. After Hurricane / Superstorm Sandy hit the NE late last year, I noticed that a friend of mine had offered to donate an original / custom-made puzzle to an auction that was raising money to help support people in affected areas. Seemed like the kind of thing a lot of crossword constructors might be willing to do. So then the potential title "American Red Crosswords" popped into my head (Red Cross + Crosswords), and instead of just mulling it over for a bit and then forgetting about it, the way I do with most ideas that pop into my head, I uncharacteristically pitched the idea to other constructors, and then to the head of the Red Cross (who is a crossword solver herself). Enthusiasm all around. Virtually every constructor I invited to participate said 'yes.' Patrick Blindauer took over puzzle-editing. Will Shortz agreed to write the intro. And now it's done and available for download (as a .PDF) from Rather than selling it, we're giving it away and asking people to make a donation. There's a link to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund right there on the page. Please go get the puzzles, and give whatever you can. And if you could spread the word in whatever way you have available to you, that would be fantastic. Thanks! P.S. These are mostly easyish puzzles (think Mon-to-Wed. NYT), with a toughie or two thrown in for good measure, so don't be afraid ...

And now, today's puzzle.

This is a common theme type, but not one you commonly see on Thursdays. More Tues/Wed. Thursday usually throws us a curve, but today everything's very straightforward. It gets kind of Thursdayish in places, difficulty-wise, but mainly it's easy, and perhaps a little dull. One thing the puzzle does have going for it is theme density. Seven theme answers of 8+-letters in length is a hell of a lot. And thankfully, all the theme answers are real phrases (you can get some pretty forced stuff in a theme of this type, where both parts of the answer have to precede/follow a common word). Fantastic clue on ELEVATOR CAR, which I thought was going to be some kind of BAR. I was briefly excited about the idea of a building so fancy that it had ELEVATOR BARs, which is totally something I would require in all of my elevators if I ever had any. I did not care for a lot of the non-theme fill (most notably ECASH, EELED, and RELOAN), but all of that is likely an unfortunate byproduct of theme density. The denser the theme, the more restricted the non-theme fill. It's just how it works.

As I say, it played pretty easy for me, *except* in the SW, which was briefly nightmarish. I wrote in SABBATH instantly at 39D: Day of rest (SHABBAT). Deadly mistake. Eventually, HARD G (43A: What George lacks?) got me out of it, and it's a good thing, too, because I was *not* about to get most of the answers down there. LA PALMA? "C'mon Rex, how could you not know the fifth largest of the Canary Islands!?" Let me tell you how: thusly: [insert image of me sitting, with confused expression on face, at my computer]. EURO COIN is, I'm sure, a thing, but it hardly sprang to mind from the utterly non-regional clue 36D: New mintage of 2002. Had a hard time getting from the "plans" of 52D: Shippers' plans: Abbr. to RTES. Not really familiar with AMINES (63A: Compounds with nitrogen). So, yeah, rough stuff down there. But in the end, it was all very workoutable. Time was somewhere in the mid-5s.

  • 8D: Four-time Pro Bowler Ahmad (RASHAD) — my first reaction: "Aw, hell, I don't know any pro bowlers ... Earl Anthony, is he somebody?"
  • 38D: Oncology procedure (CT SCAN) — look, if you're going to go all *cancer* in a clue, there better be good reason. There was not good reason. This didn't offend me, but it annoyed me. You detect al *lot* of things with CT SCANs, not just tumors. Give me a cancer-specific clue, I expect a cancer-specific answer. Some people don't want *any* mention of serious diseases in their puzzles. I am not one of these people. But I do expect references to such diseases not to be gratuitous. (Full disclosure: my father was a radiologist)
  • 47D: Eight-time Oscar nominee who never won (O'TOOLE) — I learned this very recently, in some other puzzle I was solving. Yay, memory. 
  • 49D: Hunters of the now-extinct moa (MAORIS) — yuck to the "S". (Full disclosure: wife is from N.Z.)
That's all, folks. 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


wislon 12:08 AM  

I feel like a chance to Rick Roll us was missed by both the constructor and Rex.

jae 12:12 AM  

I guess this makes up for yesterday.  Like Rex said, an easy straight forward Wednesdayish puzzle.  Only area close to "you know where" MA is in the SW where AMINES crosses SHABBAT and PALMA and those are pretty gettable. 

No erasures. But I briefly tried to fit chemo in.

Reasonably smooth grid, familiar theme,  light on zip equals an OK Thurs.  Nothing memorable.  If you are looking for a more lively mid-week challenge try Ben Tausig's AV Club puzzle.

JFC 12:14 AM  

In the old days, Rex, like in the early fifties, post WWII, bowling lanes sprang up in the midwest almost as fast as outdoor theaters. And during the early days of TV pro bowling was actually a big deal. But bowling faded about the same time that tennis became popular. Now they are both the dregs and who knows anyone who bowls or plays tennis today....


Anonymous 12:28 AM  

Nice crossword. Thought the revealer clue to be poorly wrought. The theme deserved better. Heck of a puzzle with all that theme, though.

I suppose RELOAN is the only really bad entry. S... clue on PDAS.

JFC 12:33 AM  

PS. Of course Ahmad Rashad is not a bowler but a football player who was a 4 time NFL Pro Bowler and is married to Phylicia Rashad who played Bill Cosby's wife on his TV show. Rashad was not only a 4 time Pro Bowler, he has also been married and divorced four times, so as ED might say he is also a pro baller....


Evan 12:47 AM  

Pretty easy, though ARB was a little scary for me -- I had zero idea what that stood for. Only found out after finishing that it's short for "arbitrageur." Great: An abbreviation I've never seen for a word I've never seen. Wasn't that big of a deal in the end because the crosses were straightforward, but I might have gone with a HARD C/CUSSES/URB combo instead.

I also wasn't crazy about SOLVE FOR. Seems like a long partial. SOLVE FOR X, SOLVE FOR Y, both good. No algebra teacher would ever just say "Solve for!" and end the directive there.

Still, I'm always impressed by puzzles that pull off the "this word can precede both parts of each theme answer" trick; I've never attempted to build one of those but I imagine it's way tougher than it looks. I smiled at both RASHAD and SHABBAT -- the former because of all those years I spent during the 90s watching Ahmad RASHAD host "NBA Inside Stuff," and the latter because, well, this (yes, I know it's a different form of the same word, but still).

dmw 1:20 AM  

No one objects to "slue"? Worse than ARB (and I am an econ prof so I know what arbitrage is).

Andrea Cardoor Michaels 1:32 AM  

@wislon 12:08 am
THought the same thing!!!!

Full disclosure, I didn't notice that DOOR could fit both the first part of the word AND the second...
OK, it says so right in the clue, but I read it as the word would precede DOOR... FIREDOOR, BACKDOOR, etc.
Seemed odd when Will just said he didn't want more of these unless they were special.

But now that I realize they open BOTH parts, that IS special.

I discern a fun pattern, sorta!
APOLO is seriously misspelling his name tho...
I only know him from DWTS...APOLO Anton Ohyes!

Do you think LATOYA or anyone she knows will let her know she is in the NY times crossword???!!!

Agree with the serious @Evan. I wanted SOLVEFORX or SOLVEFORsomething...
That was the only math I ever liked...I loved Solving for X!!!!
After that, I never understood one more thing about Math and failed Trigonometry and pre-Calculus. I've never used any in life beyond splitting checks and figuring out tips.

Bravo to @Rex for pulling together the Red Crosswords, for having the idea, for making it happen, for giving it a good name, for making it voluntary contribution-wise, for getting Patrick Blindauer to edit...and Will to endorse, which is invaluable!
(and thank you for including me...)

Sometimes once it's out of the news it's out of folks minds, but obviously is very clearly still going on back there.
Love the idea of using crosswords to do good in the world!!!! Please donate everyone!

Evan 1:49 AM  


"The serious" Evan? Why so serious?

Also, speaking of math:

Marge: "When I was in school, I loved math. Until...."

[flashback to Marge studying with a calculus book on the beach]

Homer: "Hey, Professor Von Hubba Hubba - wanna hop in my dune bug and erode some beach?"

Marge: "I'd love to. But I've got my calculus final tomorrow."

Homer: "C'mon, baby, the only math you need is You + Me = Forever."

Marge: "Oh, Homie."

[Back to present day]

Marge: "Since then, I haven't been able to do any of the calculus I've encountered in my daily life."


Forgot to mention: Well done, Rex et al. Looking forward to solving those Red Crosswords!

Rube 2:25 AM  

Had to make a wag at the cross of AFTRA and EAR. Got it right, but only by luck. EAR as "Discernment"... well, I guess so.

Hands up all of you who had Siskel before ROEPER, like me.

This is like the third time in the last few weeks that I've heard of Peter O'TOOLE and his hard luck at the Oscars... he deserves better. Maybe they're softening us up for some honorary award.

Loved the REDDER clue/answer! It works in so many ways. Politics was my second thought.

chefwen 2:25 AM  

Other than changing CAR to ORB at 5A, it was pretty cut and dried.

Much prefer a DUTCH OVEN to a Crock Pot 20A, more control.

Actually, I preferred yesterdays offering to todays. Oh well, I always did march to a different drummer.

Acme 2:28 AM  

May I share some crazy synchronicity that no one else would appreciate?

Rewriting puzzle for NYT a couple of nights ago. Had INAS and had to decide, do i go with partial ( IN AS much... Sworn IN AS) or "old actresses Claire and Balin"?

Hadn't heard of either actress so went with partial knowing I'll be roundly criticized later...

Then today in another puzzle I'm making for charity, had to decide between PALIN and BALIN. So again, I went with PALIN (Monty Python ref not Sarah!)

Tonight I'm watching an old rerun of Dick Van Dyke and it's the episode where the art teacher tries to seduce Rob... No idea who she was...very beautiful.

Didn't even intend to read the credits at the end, but looked up on the screen in passing... INA BALIN!!!!

Acme 2:30 AM  

@chefwen, you malapopped!

Anonymous 4:56 AM  

I just donated to the red cross -- a wonderful idea!

Unfortunately, however, I am having trouble printing the puzzles.

If anyone else has had printing issues, but solved it, kindly pass the solution along.


Airymom 6:46 AM  

I just made my donation and then downloaded the American Red Crossword Book. Rex, thank you for organizing and promoting this endeavor. You are a mensch. Shabbat Shalom.

Loren Muse Smith 7:20 AM  

@Chefwen – I had CAR first, too. Thanks @Acme for noting it’s a malapop.

@Acme – too, too coincidental on the INA BALIN. Wow.

Hand up for fully committing to a cancer answer; BIOPSY fit perfectly for me.

We recently had BLue CHEESE. I had Limburger last night, much to my daughter’s dismay.

I seem to remember in the far corners of my STEEL TRAP of a mind that in Japanese an airhead has a mind like a STEEL colander.

Loved the cast clues/answers.

I doubt many people care, but I would like to express my deepest gratitude (seriously – I’m not being a smart alec here) to the NYT for *not* putting quotation marks around words in clues like

What “George” lacks?

Clues like that are among my absolute favorite, and to use (I guess correctly) quotes would be like adding training wheels or bumper guards. Pick your metaphor.

Really, really impressive number of compound nouns whose both parts work with DOOR. Very nice job, Jules.

Tyler Clark 7:21 AM  

I must defeat DEFAT.

Tita 7:44 AM  

Got walloped by this Thursday! plenty of pop names.

Liked the clue for SHELVE (I do this often).

I lived in Heidelberg during the EUROCOIN debut. Was pretty amazing to watch EUROflation happening before my eyes. Economics aside, I was so happy for the mere convenience of far fewer change purses.

Was also fun to look for EUROCOINs from the other countries creep in to your change. A missed opportunity when the US issued state quarters - should have been issued by state.

Sour grapes maybe on so many naticks, but this was only so-so for me.

Glimmerglass 7:59 AM  

I have a printing problem, which I assumed was with my own printer, but maybe not. The NYT puzzle prints fine, except that the numbers in the grid are so faint I sometimes have to count from one I can read. Anyone else have that trouble? ** There was a time when educated people objected to the use of "loan" as a verb (the verb is LEND!). I assume that RELOAN would be even worse.

Carola 8:20 AM  

Liked it - was impressed by all the good theme answers. Found it on the tough side, though - much poking around the grid looking for soft spots. Needed a tow in the NW where I had "flat" crossing "twos" instead of REPO/ ONES. Erased all, tried ONES, got FIRE and finished up. @Rex, thanks for explaining the "OPEN" part of the reveal - didn't get that. Monday's CAB theme trickles on with CAR DOOR. Same here, @acme and @Evan, at wanting an X or Y to solve for.

Nice complement to yesterday's NOT ALL THERE with STEEL TRAP - which I'd have clued a little differently, as describing a good memory. Which reminds me - my husband is notorious for getting common phrases wrong, e.g., "He makes money hand over foot," "Haven't seen head nor hair of her." Anyway, he once praised me to some people we'd just met by telling them, "Carola has a real clapTRAP memory."

Learning by doing - got what George lacks from the D. Agree with you, @loren, about the lack of quotation marks!

Unknown 8:21 AM  

This was one of those days when it seems like Rex is reading my mind. I agreed with every word. And as a former mathlete, I completely agree with acme and Evan re: SOLVE FOR and it's missing variable.

A Geezer 8:22 AM  

My mind is like a STEELTRAP. Close shut and rusted into uselessness.

joho 8:46 AM  

I was really impressed by the theme density especially because I was working on the a puzzle with the exact same theme, different revealer (THEDOORS)and with half the answers which just proves that I'm denser than Jules!

The only stinker in the grid for me was RELOAN.

Not tricky but a fine Thursday!

@Rex, kudos to you for your good work for the American Red Cross!

MetaRex 9:03 AM  

Wow! Beautiful thematic intensity/density...

V. pleasant feeling during the solve....a smooth slide from side to side mostly going down...kinda like an imaginary amusement park ride where you can go up as well as down. Happened to know Rick ASTLEY, putting in BIOPSY for CT SCAN didn't waste much time (like Rex I was thinking BAR), and the theme was both v. guessable and v. helpful in getting lots of squares filled in at a rapid for MetaRex rate.

Thematic Intensity

jackj 9:07 AM  

There is nothing that indicates “Thursday puzzle” for today’s offering and it plays as a poor man’s themeless, a Wednesday maybe.

But, looking at it through the constructor’s eyes we have a gimmick whereby all portions of the theme answers precede the word “DOOR” (as per the reveal of OPENDOOR) and as an example the answer DUTCHOVEN cooks up DUTCH (DOOR) and OVEN (DOOR) and it does this twelve times. Be still my heart!

The fill had some interesting bits, one of which was only implicit and perhaps too subtle, that being the clue and answer for the singer “Rick” ASTLEY, he being the Rick of "rickroll" fame which was a popular internet scam of sorts that gave you a link to something that whet your interest but then directed you to ASTLEY’s debut song, “Never Gonna Give You Up” and hilarity ensued. (I know, I know, please don’t shoot the messenger).

SHABBAT is Hebrew for the Jewish day of rest and it seems that the puzzle would have been better served with some sort of ethnic direction like a tag of “Hebrew”, either before or after “Day of rest”.

But there are many more that will also be Natick potentials such as ROEPER, LATOYA, RASHAD, LAPALMA, AFTRA, maybe even BRENT and MAORIS but then there is Hideo NOMO, the first Japanese pitcher to throw two no-hitters in the Major Leagues, first for the LA Dodgers in 1996 and then in his debut performance for the Boston Red Sox in 2001, he did it again. Everyone should remember that!

There was much in the puzzle that was special like SOLVEFOR, SAYNOTO, SHELVE and EYEEXAM but with the rash of obscurities they seemed to get lost and the two most memorable things end up being the Chesterton quote regarding GOLF and the limerick rhyme scheme that many might sort out by thinking, “There once was a man from Nantucket” and quickly remembering the pattern as AABBA.

The puzzle shouldah been a contendah.

dk 9:15 AM  

First: Andrea will you be my Valentine?

Second: A Geezer, you go! Decision making is so much easier with a closed mind.

The Doors album Morrison Hotel is considered by many to be one of rocks (or is it ricks) greatest, but are The Doors in the grid -- nope.

No clue on the bowler. In Mass and ME we used to have Candlepin bowling on Sunday TV. When it was canceled there was near universal rioting.

🚪🚪(2 Doors) meh!

Elle54 9:22 AM  

@acme wonder if Roeper will hear about his name in the puz. I could text him during his WLS radio show this afternoon, but probably won't.
Pro bowler did me in. Didn't think of football, knew I don't know any bowlers, so tried to get it from crosses.
Would have gotten it if clued " Phylicia's ex"

B Donohue 9:24 AM  

REDDER was a phenomenal answer! I smiled as I typed it in thinking, "This couldn't possibly be right. It is too clever and funny an answer."

The puzzle started off like a Wednesday, but, like Rex, I got hung up in the SW. That is, until HARDG helped me get SHABBAT (was also looking for Sabbath), LAPALMA, and EUROCOIN.

I missed some tiles in the middle (late night). I didn't know about limericks and somehow missed the get-able EAR, RTE, and ARB (I have a limited background in finance). Arbitrageurs often benefit from interpreting legal inside information, such as news of a merger ("merger arbitrage"), by buying and selling stocks appropriately.

Thanks, Rex!

chefbea 9:38 AM  

I reeeeeealy wanted a Valentine's Day theme!!!

Love my Dutch Oven and just started using my Crock Pot AKA slow cooker

Gotta go pick up my Saturn which has been in the shop for three weeks!!!!!

Sir Hillary 9:39 AM  

Aah, good old of my favorite Swedish pop acts.

My AABBA plight:

As I fill out my grids with a marker,
And my mood turns increasingly darker,
I cross letters out
And lament with a shout
"Why the hell can't I be like Rex Parker?!?"

Sandy K 10:07 AM  

Like @chefbea, I really wanted a Valentine's puzzle.

FEB was the closest I got. Maybe some LACE and some REDDER ROSES, a new BLOUSE and E-CASH!

Nice going, Rex! You do have a heart!

alpernm 10:13 AM  

Unfortunately as a resident of Long Beach, LI, I had the opportunity to experience first-hand the relentless good work of the American Red Cross. And Rex, your decision to not shelve this one substaniates both the power of one person's voice AND the overwhelming generosity of the crossword community. Many thanks to you, to Patrick, and to the constructors whose efforts enhance our daily lives.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:37 AM  

Today's LAT is by Dave Eckert, known to Rexvillians as imsdave.

Rules prevent me from discussing content here.

evil doug 10:44 AM  

I prefer a good rebus....

This one kinda smacks of the creator trying to impress us---and himself---with what is admittedly a well-arranged bombardment, but of tedious compound words. Break up the compounds into their root pieces---fire, side, oven, steel, back, car, open, door---and other than maybe 'elevator' it's hard to identify a one of 'em that lights a spark (no pun intended to you, 'fire' and 'oven').

Thursday, to this layman, would seem the hardest day of the week for which to construct. Monday through Wednesday have to serve the more novice players, so tricky cluing isn't required. Friday and Saturday ignore the early-week limitations, eschewing tired themes and lame fill for challenging clues and more rugged answers. Only Thursday has so many masters---some sort of twist (with luck a mind-bending rebus); a reasonable if difficult stretching exercise that even novice solvers might tackle; and a worthy test to warm up the masters for Friday and Saturday.

By those terms, this puzzle would seem a better Wednesday or even Tuesday endeavor. When the quality of the fill---and theme answers---is overrun by the puzzle's (and creator's?) apparent ego, then it shouldn't merit a Thursday booking.

Interesting how 'Sabbath' and 'Shabbat' utilize the same letters---as though a simple translational error occurred as the Word was getting passed around. Like 'Starbucks' and 'brats suck' ('no kids allowed' would be a nice policy, SBux). Or 'evil' and 'vile'....


Anonymous 10:47 AM  

anyone else stumble into OPENARMS?

- deion

quilter1 11:03 AM  

Swift solve until I got to the SW, then the same stumbles as others. So, a little joke: why is @quilter1 like a crock pot? Because she is a slow cooker. Filet of sole tonight. Hope you all have lots of love in your lives today and everyday.

efrex 11:49 AM  

Hands up for SISKEL before ROEPER, although I wrote it in lightly, so the finished grid still looks pretty clean.

@Deion: I considered OPENARMS, especially since it would fit the FIRESIDE answer, but fortunately avoided that trap.

High theme density = substandard fill, but there was certainly enough interesting stuff around the short crud to make it worthwhile. Much obliged, Mr. Markey.

jberg 11:53 AM  

Still enjoying the ROSES, so I can't say much. Unlike Rex, I put in ELEVATOR bARS without batting an eye, and was sorry to have to change it. I was also so sure of SabBath that I crossed out the obvious APO. My favorite was REPO, though - even though it wasn't such a nice thought for Valentine's Day.

Anyone else try BIOPSY before CT SCAN?

Tita 12:08 PM  

@Rex - I am headed over to donate and grab those puzzles. Wonderful of you to spearhead this, and kudos to all teh constructors/editors.

@bob K - thx for the heads up on Dave.

@jberg- me and @lms for biopsy, at least.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Rob C 12:24 PM  

I had exactly the same thoughts and experience as Rex in the SW corner. Except I didn't recover from the SABBATH mistake, so DNF

About the theme, I get that each part of the compound words is a type of door and that each door can be opened. But I must be missing something on the revealer, the way it's written doen't make sense to me - "what each part of the answers can do". So how can a SIDE or a BACK or STEEL (for example) open a door? Like I said, I'm sure I'm missing something, but if anyone can explain, I'd appreciate it.

Evan 12:39 PM  

@Rob C:

Each word in the theme entries can precede (hence OPEN with) the word DOOR. SIDE DOOR, BACK DOOR, STORM DOOR, TRAP DOOR, etc.

Some that didn't make it into this puzzle include FRONT, SCREEN, NEXT, FOUR or TWO. (The only answer I can think that would work for one of those would be STORM FRONT.)

GILL I. 12:41 PM  

Wed. puzzles used to be my favorite but as I got better, my go to day became Thur. I *always* cross my fingers and hope for a real tricky puzzle. Glass of wine in hand, favorite chair, my zebra 0.7 pen in hand and I'm off to the races...
I'm in complete agreement with @ED. Further, I agree that Thurs. *are* probably the most difficult to construct because most of us want to be entertained. This was a cool Wed. but no wowie zowie for me last night.
@Rex I've been to LA PALMA but it still took me some work to figure it out.
Too many proper names I didn't know that made me work a lot harder than I wanted to.
ROSES - the only reference to Valentines Day????
@Carola - HA... Your husband and I would have a rip tootin time together. I bet I could out-metaphor him. ;-)

Rob C 12:42 PM  

It always seems so obvious after someone explains it. Thanks.

Masked and Anonymo2Us 12:45 PM  

Tomorrow's puz should be the same kind of stuff, where DOOR is the startin' word. Could have:
I would already have it in the mail to NYC, if only the construction software was even near up to the reasonable standards that it should be.

Fun solve today. The clues were doorlicious.

Bungerting Baloner 12:50 PM  

I thought the crossing of RASHAD and ASTLEY violated some sort of fairness rule. (Well, my own idea of a fairness rule.)

M and A also 12:51 PM  

p.s. Like CASECLOSED better than CASEOPENER, btw.

HAPPY VALENTINES, all U sweet people. U2, Evil Doug.

syndy 12:58 PM  

@Rob C my thought exactly!Would have been MUCH more interesting! Hands up for Siskal and SABBATH!SHABBAT in MHO was in this instance not kosher.I also wanted Biopsy-in fact this puzzle was mostly about things I didn't get.Like the RASHAD thing.

truenorthbrit 1:14 PM  

What's the verdict on GASSES? Is the double s acceptable in the plural noun form? Maybe the Brit part of truenorthbrit is tripping me up.

And finally M and A 1:18 PM  

p.p.s.s. All U people in need of stuff you mentioned you really wanted today but didn't happen to get in this here ThursPuz [day-um, not bein' a spoiler is Hard] ...
Check out the BEQ puz right now.

@31: U are a classy dude, for your Red Cross book idea. Will "check" it out. Thanx.

Bird 1:41 PM  

Meh. I’m still undecided about this one. I liked some of the cluing and the difficulty made for a pleasant solve, but I don’t like the cluing for 61A because (silly me) I was trying to figure out how a FIRE OPENs a DOOR. Duh.

Guessed incorrectly at the intersection of 63A and 39D, so DNF. I wasn’t sure if it was an ‘A’ or an ‘O’ as either is plausible.

DEFAT is ugly. Is that a word anybody uses? I know butchers trim the fat, but do any DEFAT the beef? Same deal with RELOAN. E-CASH?!


Can’t wait to do some Red Crosswords. Bravo!

@Evan – Same thoughts on SOLVE FOR. What am I solving for?

Julia Childs 1:51 PM  

@Bird - People do, in fact, DEFAT the soup, or broth.

OHT 1:54 PM  

Donated to ARC & downloaded American Red Crosswords. A great concept, I'm glad to help a little.

mac 1:55 PM  

Easy but clever theme and a couple of Thursday-worth crosses for me!

Hand up for Siskel and the car malapop.

I was served some passion fruit this morning. Haven't seen any red roses yet!

I love my slow cooker: it has a metal insert that you can use to brown food on the stove. Williams-Sonoma. No extra pots to clean.

Now for Dave's puzzle and the Red Crosswords! Brilliant name and idea, @Rex.

Charley 2:19 PM  

CT Scan is a radiological, not an oncological procedure.

Nameless 2:37 PM  

So where is @Rex's time today? Did he even finish? Did he take a reeaaallly long time and is too embarrassed to post it?

What I was going to say about the puzzle has already been said.

@Bird - I'm not a chef, but I think DEFAT is a BS word

Lewis 3:44 PM  

The cluing was tricky for me. I like that if there are nice aha's that come from the answers, but these didn't feel like fun. I'm surprised Rex didn't complain about ELEVATOR CAR. I don't think anyone says that. People just say ELEVATOR.

I liked REDDER and the look of the grid, with its variety and balance of word lengths.

Rex, wonderful work on the Red Crosswords. Bravo!

Happy V-Day all!

sanfranman59 3:48 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)

Thu 15:19, 17:02, 0.90, 28%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Thu 8:59, 9:43, 0.92, 31%, Easy-Medium

Loren Muse Smith 4:24 PM  

Just donated to the Red Cross and copied my puzzles. Love the puzzle on the cover with the Red Cross in the middle. What a great idea. Thanks, Rex, for spearheading that!

@Evil – on the no children policy. I once saw a sign that said “Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy.”

@Sir Hillary – AABBA nice! But. . .

On your plight I will try to be gentle
In suggesting that change is essential.
Get RID of that marker
(Don’t fret about Parker)
Be like me and just solve with a pencil.

Anonymous 6:13 PM  

@loren smith: got a good laugh on that no children policy sign!

LaneB 7:29 PM  

When you use TIMEOFF for SHABBAT and SISKEL for ROEPER [each of which fits and seems correct], you are going to DNF. Which I did. Or did not. Made much of the lower half one big impossible mess.

Z 7:44 PM  

Embarrassed that I needed the crosses for DUTCH OVEN.

Having pOLo before GOLF made seeing BACKSTAGE and the rest of the SW harder.

Love the limericks.

REPO always reminds me of Emilio Estevez's 1984 cult classic.

@Sir Hillary - A little Mamma Mia for you.

For everyone else, don't get Rick Rolled.

Now I'll go make my Red Cross Donation.

Notsofast 8:26 PM  

Nice, tough cluing. But I really hate "HARDG" whenever it rears its ugly head in a puzzle. That's just being a smart-ass. One more in a recent string of non-Thursday Thursdays. Bring back the Thursday tricks! I give it a "C".

chefwen 9:44 PM  

@Julia - That's degrease not defat.

@M & A - You really crack me up. At which local do you do stand up?

mac 9:54 PM  

I have to agree, it's degrease, usually by putting the stock pot in the garage overnight. I may defat chicken thighs before I cook them, though.

sanfranman59 10:02 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

Mon 6:43, 6:08, 1.10, 86%, Challenging
Tue 7:07, 8:28, 0.84, 8%, Easy
Wed 13:03, 11:52, 1.10, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 15:15, 17:02, 0.90, 27%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:59, 3:40, 1.09, 84%, Challenging
Tue 4:25, 4:54, 0.90, 13%, Easy
Wed 7:27, 6:34, 1.13, 83%, Challenging
Thu 8:05, 9:43, 0.83, 17%, Easy

OISK 10:03 PM  

For once I agree with Rex. I enjoyed this puzzle. No problems at all - the last thing I filled in was Apolo with reloan. Rashad was a gimmee for this football fan, and although I have no idea who Latoya Jackson is, I have at least heard the name.. Never heard of Astley, but I am pretty much resigned to the daily appearance of unknown (to me) pop stars. Easier than average for a Thursday, for me, but very pleasant.

John V 10:39 PM  

Hello from Mexico. Good one on the plane. Too tired to say more.

Yo, Dave, great job on LAT. You be one stout dude.

Julia 10:58 PM  

DEFAT soup out-googles DEGREASE soup by over 4:1.

Never, ever, mess with the goddess of cooking.

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Spacecraft 11:42 AM  

This was two puzzles: (1) How to Execute a Theme, and (2) How NOT to fill! I join others in praising the density of the theme, the fact that both halves of each compound word fit, while at the same time standing strong on their own (well, maybe ELEVATORCAR is a bit wobbly; who of us steps into one of those? We just "get on the elevator.")

Oh, but the fill! I can't imagine anybody looking at this completed grid, getting ready to submit it for publication, and NOT wincing and groaning several times--to the point that they say "Yecch. Back to the drawing [ELICITing?] board."

-->AABBA?? My God!
-->HARDG: well, that's me. I HATE that!

Not to mention GASSES, a fine word but incorrectly clued. A M*A*S*H-era anaesthetist GASSES his patients. But "Dangerous buildup in a mine?" That's GAS, or if somehow there are different ones in the same mine (?), GASES.

Then, to make up for forced gimmes like Jai- and -Fu, they try to Saturday-obfuscate with stuff like "Big do" for (')FRO (another UGH!) and "clear" for RID.

All in all, very uneven. A shame the fill had to ruin a good idea.

Dirigonzo 3:36 PM  

Mostly smooth sailing for me except for the choppy seas encountered in the NE - I'm still trying to understand how Truly = YEA (I'll google it later) - and in the SW where the spelling of SHABBAT was in serious doubt. Having BroKen(arm/leg) for Where a cast may be found didn't help my cause either, but I finally figured out the correct answer and all was well, except for SHABBoT.

Now I'm off to get a massage and my EGO will not be the target!

DMGrandma 3:59 PM  

Talk about an obscure cross, a bowler and a singer. Way out of my league, even when I'm told the former was really a football player! Anyway, one blank square for me, again. Sigh. Took the revealer for me to learn that the cast in 55A is not found around a BroKenArm! But fixing that helped with the rest of that corner, and I was as finished as I could be.

I offer my Captcha without comment: tartsupk

Anonymous 5:35 PM  

Surprised you didn't mention the excessive use of names esp. the Natick of Rashad and Astley.

Waxy in Montreal 7:44 PM  

Had LIFT crossing TWOS to start in the NW which complicated things no end. Also ended with an OTHO/ASHLEY nattick in the NE.

Totally agree with @Spacecraft's two-puzzle analysis.

Liked the ROSES and AMERICAN HEART MO. shoutouts to Valentine's Day; however, would have loved them had I been solving in realtime on Feb. 14th.

strayling 8:11 PM  

My brain let me down, so I gave up.

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