Yellow-eyed birds of prey / WED 2-27-13 / Cybermenaces / Sonata finale often / Late 19th-century anarchist's foe / Pre-election ad buyer / Online party reminder

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Constructor: Daniel Kantor

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: CHANGE OF HEART (37A: Decision reversal ... or, literally, what can be found inside 17-, 22-, 49- and 58-Across) — rearrangement of letter string "heart" can be found in each of four 15-letter answers.

GREAT HORNED OWL (17A: Yellow-eyed birds of prey)
SECRET HANDSHAKE (22A: Part of a fraternity ritual, perhaps)
COMPUTER HACKERS (49A: Cybermenaces)
SEEN BUT NOT HEARD (58A: How children should be, in a saying)

Word of the Day: COHOS (54D: Some Pacific salmon) —
The coho salmonOncorhynchus kisutch, (from the Russian кижуч kizhuch) is a species of anadromous fish in the salmon family. Coho salmon are also known as silver salmon or "silvers". It is the state animal of ChibaJapan. [...] The traditional range of the coho salmon runs along both sides of the North Pacific Ocean, from HokkaidōJapan and eastern Russian, around the Bering Sea to mainland Alaska, and south to Monterey Bay, California.[2] Coho salmon have also been introduced in all the Great Lakes, as well as many landlocked reservoirs throughout the United States. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was an extremely easy puzzle. My not-so-impressive time represents a. my dealing with rather upsetting pet issues *right* before sitting down to do the puzzle (I just wasn't in a mood to speed) and b. my spending 30 seconds or so looking for a stupid IPADS for IPODS error (66A: Apple products since 2001). One look at the year in the clue, or at the cross, would've told me PAD not POD, but I guess I was distracted. Anyway, there was not one point in the puzzle where I slowed down or struggled. In a very segmented grid like this, there are lots of short answers, and that tends to signal "easy." Here's the downside of not driving longer Downs through more than two theme answers: lots of short stuff and not a lot of sizzle. Since all the themes (except the reveal) are 15s, you can't sneak a long Down around any of them, so there's no non-theme answer longer than 6 in the whole puzzle. Hence easiness, and dullness. Now, the theme answers themselves are gold. Really great individual answers. The theme is not exciting—I immediately thought "I've seen this before ... this must have been done a bunch." Which is not true. Or, rather, it's true that the revealer has been a theme answer a bunch before, but the  concept has not been executed in quite this way. So basically this is a grid with four very good answers. Theme isn't that clever and fill is clean but unremarkable. I had to pause slightly at RAW BAR (11D: Where to order oysters), NAIFS (25D: Unworldly ones) and ABA (44A: Counselors' org.) (I had APA, thinking of a different kind of "counselor"). My favorite non-theme answer in the puzzle by far is "I'M LIKE..." (12D: "My answer was ...," in teen-speak). It's terribly, horribly accurate, and not just for teenagers. Plenty of grown-ups, most of my students, and occasionally I use this phrase. I have often found myself standing in line for coffee on campus, counting the "LIKE"s in the conversations around me. You get up into the double-digits very, very quickly. Sometimes within a few sentences. This is all to say that the phrase "I'M LIKE..." is ubiquitous. I also really like the clue on PAC (32D: Pre-election ad buyer, maybe). Still waiting to see SUPER-PAC in a puzzle (I think).

That's it.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jae 12:08 AM  

    Yes, way too easy for a Wed.  I mean, yesterday there were comments about Naticks, but nothing comes close in this one that I can spot. And also pretty meh compared to Mon. and Tues.  The closest thing to zip was SNAFU and the clue to 62d (the answer was a let down).   Quite a few organizations..EPA, NSA, ABA, AMA, EMS (sorta)...wonder if there is a record for number of these in a puzzle?

    Didn't like it didn't hate it.  Hope tomorrow's is more fun.

    Evan 12:24 AM  

    I had the same problem with APA/ABA. I also thought the segmented grid made it a little tougher than normal, though not unreasonably so. That's because I went top-to-bottom and couldn't get a toehold into the southern part of the grid until I got the theme entries. I probably would have made it easier on myself if I didn't have SLOBS before SHEEP at first, and if I had let myself skip down into the bottom of the grid and worked up instead.

    There were seriously a lot of opportunities for the oft-mentioned malapop in the grid. BASTED could have easily been PASTED (both can mean hit hard), but I thought RIP wouldn't be as good a synonym for "Josh" as RIB. And then RIP showed up below at 63-Down. Then there were OOH and AAH, plus IMACS and IPODS, both pairs with either identical or near-identical clues. Even with ABA, I had to check that I didn't already enter it somewhere else, like with AMA at 16-Across.

    Didn't SUPERPAC show up at the ACPT in the final puzzle last year? I could have sworn that it did.

    TSAR was quite appropriate for me -- I gave a presentation on some readings about the Russian Revolution yesterday in my European history class. Also quite a great opportunity for me to revisit a classic scene from The Big Lebowski:

    The Dude: "It's like what Lenin said... you look for the person who will benefit, and, uh, uh..."

    Donny: "I am the walrus.... I am the walrus.... I am the walrus."

    Walter Sobchak: "Shut the f*ck up, Donny! V.I. Lenin. Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov!"

    Anonymous 12:24 AM  

    GREATBLUEHERONS slowed me down for a while. Long enough to realize it was HORNEDOWLS that was wanted, longer still wondering why we don't consider piscivores birds of prey. It's like people who eat fish but swear they don't eat meat. The furry/finny hypocrisy goes way further than I thought.

    Sorry about Wiley.

    PK 1:18 AM  

    I'm like - I don't know any teen-speak, cuz, like, my kids are grown, and I have a few teen nieces and nephews, but, like, I don't know how they speak. They should be seen and not heard.

    Loved this puzzle. Liked all the theme answers. And yes, it was pretty easy, but, like, it's Wednesday, so.

    And I don't eat stuff with fins or fur, and I don't understand the hypocrisy comment.

    Anonymous 1:19 AM  

    19 mins looking only at down clues. thank heavens for other crosswords or AIT would have killed me. I would have guessed OR(ell)ON before ORION, also because of past crosswords. had to make a couple guesses (notably ACTSON) but overall very straightforward. didn't get the theme until after solving.

    PK 1:26 AM  

    @Evan, your European history class sounds like fun!

    chefwen 1:35 AM  

    @PK - Your post was the biggest laugh of my day, and like I really, really mean it. Sometimes you just want to, like, slap them.

    6A EVITE caused me pause. The initial invitation would be an EVITE, not a reminder, that would probably be a RE-VITE or a REM-VITE.

    Three easy ones in a row, what's to follow? I'm nervous.

    Amoeba Capos iMlike 2:15 AM  

    @chefwen agree about EVITE def,
    but I really liked this...
    Agree with @Rex that the theme answers are SUPER olid...and...NO CIRCLES, you had to find the CHANGEOFHEART all by yourself!!!

    I think a grid with FOUR 15s and a nice 13 reveal across the HEART of it is quite fabulous!!!!!

    again to clarify for others about Malapops, the RIP one counts, but if it's just two exactly the same clue where either would be possible, that's just a crossword staple.
    True Malapops (for me) is when you put in a wrong answer and then it appears in a TOTALLY different context later.
    AAH/OOH and IMACS/IPODS don't qualify.
    But your RIP one does, like, know what I mean?

    anyway, I feel like I've never seen four such solid theme answers where the HEART is scrambled ever!
    And for once, AMOEBA is spelled as I feel it should be!
    UPA Creek sounds vaguely Scandanavian ;)

    Anoa Bob 3:45 AM  

    I think a POC* or two in the fill of a theme-heavy puzzle like this is to be expected. When this kind of expedient boost in letter count extends to the theme answers, however, as it does here with 17 & 49 Across, it crosses the line for me and negatively impacts the overall quality of the puzzle.

    *POC=Plural of Convenience

    BookDeb 4:40 AM  

    Didn't notice until Rex highlighted the HEART strings in red that they progress right to left across the grid. Nice touch.

    Elle54 5:12 AM  

    I finished the puzzle and I'm like, what's up with this theme?
    Just couldn't see it. Now I'm like, Whoa! Did you know Lake Michigan is stocked with Coho salmon?

    Gill I. P. 5:18 AM  

    An ok puzzle. Im with @jae - looked for a zippy word or two and didn't find any.
    BIC was a head scratcher because I thought they are pens. OLDIE wanted to be Ntest and I got my OOHs and AAHs in the wrong order. Easily fixed because the puzzle was pretty easy.
    My favorite word to dislike is "basically." You always know someone doesn't know an answer or doesn't want to tell you the truth when they start that way. I'm like shouting..."Just say what you mean!!!!"

    webwinger 6:06 AM  

    I’M LIKE wondering where did this bizarre, unnecessary, absolutely ubiquitous locution come from, anyhow? Its only purpose seems to be announcing, “I’m (like) a teenager…”

    loren muse smith 6:09 AM  

    I agree with Rex – the 15s are terrific. Yes, this was pretty easy, but I enjoyed it.

    I felt so pleased that I knew RONDO early on with almost no crosses. (I’m always impressed and grateful that Rex can retrace his steps. When I finish, I look at the grid and can’t really remember what fell first where. (Say what??)

    @Gill I. P.- right on with your “basically” comments! I always notice the people who say, “To be honest. . .” or “to tell the truth. . .” I know several people who preface everything with those. Makes you wonder what the alternative is.

    LIKE it or not (I don’t really, either) LIKE is our vehicle for reporting dialogue. When I was a kid, it was go.

    In the 70s:
    “So I go, ‘I’m not sending her an invite.'
    And Mary goes, ‘Just because she broke your eight track? Wow.'”

    “So I’M LIKE, ‘I’m not sending her an EVITE.'
    And Mary’s LIKE, ‘Just because she broke your IPOD? Wow.'”

    Thanks, Daniel. This one’s worthy of a big ole EXTOL.

    Z 6:27 AM  

    I'M LIKE, at the RAW BAR getting BASTED when H.ROSS walks in. He's like all LET ME with his CASH. I hate a man in a HAT but he's, like, all DASH and POISE so I had a CHANGE OF HEART and went with him. I'm not sure, but when he dropped TROU I thought he turned the CAM on the IMAC on. But he was RIPped so I was all OOH and AAH during the SECRET HANDSHAKE. He was kinda an OLDIE wanting to be on TOP, but I did the RONDO. I mean, if COMPUTER HACKERS get ahold of the video and we end up ON AIR I want people to see my END, not that GNAT. I mean, it seemed like an EON, but after all the ADO I can only give that AMOEBA a DEE.

    @Elle54 - The stocking of the Great Lakes with COHOS was, like, a big deal when I was teenager.

    Lewis 7:07 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    evil doug 7:46 AM  

    I always say 'seen AND not heard', but couldn't think of a three-letter razor other than Bic.

    I've enjoyed the vocab in every puzzle this week starting with Sunday. Today? Canons, wisps, extol, poise, trou, capos, epoch, naifs, snafu, borers (we're losing a lot of big trees in greater Cincinnati to these things), rondo, cohos, knell, and H. Ross (Bill Clinton's best friend in '92). And other than 'computer hackers', which doesn't really require the 'computer' modifier in this day and age, the theme answers are solid.

    Good week. Real test starts tomorrow....


    jberg 7:56 AM  

    Sure, it seems easy, but that's because we are all getting better! I liked this one a lot - not just for the fun theme, plurals or not, but because of all the paired answers: IMACS/IPODS, OOH/AAH, ABA/AMA both clued synecdochially (is that the correct adverbial form?). Only writeover was TAi BO before TAE; ell, no, also PEN up. Both quickly fixed.

    Susan McConnell 8:00 AM  

    I liked this very much. Definately an easier than usual Wednesday. I like that the reveal was included...this is the kind of theme I probably wouldn't have found on my own. I also like that the CHANGE OF HEART progresses nicely from left to right as the theme answers go from top to bottom...that's a nice detail.

    Detractors for me were OOH and AAH, AMA and ABA, IMACS and IPADS. And hand up for SEEN and NOT HEARD vs SEEN BUT NOT HEARD.

    MikeM 8:00 AM  

    didnt he go by ROSS Perot? Couldnt come up with the H until the cross. Had BAShED for BASTED, only write over. Took me awhile to remember the spelling of the good doctor's last name. I had three of the theme answers and thought the theme must have something to do with the letter H. Easy for a Wednesday, but that's fine by me. I'd rather too easy than too hard.

    Susan McConnell 8:00 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    MetaRex 8:13 AM  

    A pretty mellow but choppy solve...blanked on NE at first, and I hopped around because I wasn't getting the theme...wanted GREAT BLUE HERON...time was 8:12.

    Theme nice and tech fine, CrossWorld buzz fine, CrossOver buzz low.

    CrossWorld Buzz versus CrossOver Buzz

    Rob C 8:15 AM  

    I liked it. Nice revealer and as Rex said all of the theme answers were solid.

    @Acme beat me to the punch re: the spelling of AMOEBA

    Only gripe-PEN IN doesn't really seem in the language.

    Can't stop noticing plurals now. Thanks a lot Anoa Bob.

    joho 8:23 AM  

    Wow, this puzzle had a lot of HEART :)

    Seriously, well done, Daniel Kantor! Loved the 15's and @amoeba capos thought placing the reveal smack dab in the HEART of puzzle was a masterful touch.

    Heard but not seen 8:35 AM  

    As far as the difficulty level, perhaps the publication date of yesterday's and today's puzzles were accidentally reversed. Sure seems that way to me.

    But dull? Difficult obscure proper nouns are dull, but the fill in this puzzle was enjoyable. Perhaps the clues are the puzzles problems: many of them could have have changed to make the answers less obvious. So I'd say the grid was great but the clues were Monday or Tuesday clues.

    And like Evil Doug I too have always heard the phrase said "seen and not heard." The agrees with us.

    Z 8:38 AM  

    Hand up for "and" before BUT. A quick google search comparison shows BUT with 105m hits while AND gets only 65m. However, every single hit on page one of the results for "Children should be seen BUT not heard," has AND, not BUT. This suggests that the 105m hits for BUT include all 65m of the hits for AND, but not the reverse.

    Notsofast 9:01 AM  

    Just TORE through this one. Done before I really got warmed up. I'm like, WTF?

    Michael Collins 9:02 AM  

    HROSS was good.

    Carola 9:05 AM  

    Theme answers were a treat, also loved the reveal across the puzzle's HEART. Thanks, @evil doug, for pointing out all the nice vocab otherwise - I hadn't appreciated that.

    Liked KNELL crossing HEARD, as it's HEARD BUT NOT SEEN. Also the next-door neighbors, I'M, LIKE, BASTED. And CASH kinda flowing into PAC.

    @loren - I'd forgotten about "go"!

    John V 9:07 AM  

    What @Rex said; felt like a Monday. Theme was cool, but, I'm like, way too easy.

    chefbea 9:07 AM  

    First of all...thank you to all for the birthday wishes. Had a great day.

    The puzzle - Very easy!!! Of course like Groucho's pun.

    I must say..when I baste my turkey..I never "whack it good".

    Rocket J. 9:11 AM  


    UPA Creek is actually just out side of Frostbite Falls, MN.

    jackj 9:19 AM  

    When the theme is a “no, not another one of those” types, (though the entries containing the jumbled HEART are excellent), and the things that stick in one’s mind after completion are OOH and AAH, identically clued and another entry that is also of lesser, supermarket puzzle book quality, TIE, clued as a homophone of TAE, there is most definitely a disconnect at Crossword Central.

    There was not one word in the entire puzzle that was truly unique or challenging, the closest being the question of is it IPODS or IPADS and the crossing of TOP settles that pretty easily.

    I suppose if I were about to be subjected to a waterboarding session I might be forced to admit that I almost liked RAWBAR and, as one who fancies those wonderful creatures of the order Strigiformes , they with the wonderful countenance, the swivel neck, fascinating eyes (and serious farsightedness that would disqualify them at the DMV), I would have also owned up to liking GREATHORNEDOWLS. (But, even torture couldn’t have dredged out anything else).

    A look at the make-up of the puzzle shows a total of 76 words, being 31 three-letter entries and a mere 5 entries greater than 6 letters in length, (the five theme entries being those longer ones). This signals a composition so basic as to be a rapid and simple solve for anyone who chooses to give it a go.

    Not my cup of crossword.

    retired_chemist 9:25 AM  

    I can claim dog distraction myself since our pregnant golden is just about to whelp. Pregnant pug just resorbed her litter - we are heartbroken, but at least the golden looks to have a nice sized one and the pug remains healthy so we can do it again. Our estimated due date was Sunday - the vet thinks it will be sooner. Temp. 98.8 this AM - looks like the vet is going to be right.

    Hand up for SEEN and NOT HEARD. Threw me for a while since it looked so right I didn't even look at the gibberish it made out of 59-61 D. Also hand up for KID @ 11A, then fixing dASTED to pASTED and not noticing that anything was wrong with RIp. So, I'm like, time could have been better.

    We have a GREAT blue heron who lives by our ponds, but I had enough crosses not to use that. The theme answers are impressive, and I am not usually a fan of such themes.

    30A was ROY (as in the mnemonic ROY G. BIV) to start. RED seemed too eeasy, even for a Wednesday. Readily fixed.

    Wasn't sure of the spelling of 14A KEANE (vs. KEeNE). TeE Bo sounds like a certain famous if ineffective quarterback, who may himself be an exercise system someday, once football gives up on him.

    Thanks, Mr. Kantor. A good Wednesday.

    mac 9:25 AM  

    Nice, solid Wednesday, with only a hesitation at 9D tie. Is that really a homophone of Tae? I know I talk funny, but this doesn't seem right.

    I wanted computer viruses but not problem because of the crosses. Is that right about the cohos, can you put salt water fish into sweet water and they live and thrive?

    I noticed a very smart young woman speaking beautiful English until a couple of contemporaries joined the conversation; she put a like in almost every sentence from then on.

    "Actually" gets overused a bit by a lot of people. Terms like "don't get me wrong" and especially "I hate to say this" are the ones I don't like.

    A scary gale blowing in Connecticut!

    mac 9:29 AM  

    The pug resorbed her litter? I did not know that was possible. So sorry, @retired_chemist.

    Sorry about your cat, Rex.

    Milford 9:36 AM  

    Nice puzzle, but agree that it could have been swapped with yesterday's. Smooth fill mostly, loved SNAFU, RAW BAR, AMOEBA, and of course I'M LIKE is priceless. Love all the comments using it, they are spot on. And I'll be the first to admit I'm guilty of using it in conversation.

    @lms - you are correct about us using "goes" the same way as kids! I'd say you also hear "S/he was all..." in a similar way.

    @chef bea - I'm with you on the BASTED. Didn't know it had a meaning other than the cooking term!

    dk 9:41 AM  

    New Leica arrives today just in time for my silo and metal building series. Planning a trip Austin to augment the local outbuilding offerings. This will be my first all digital experience as IMLIKE propelling myself into the current EPOCH.

    Owls were the subject of yesterdays NYT Science Page and today in Dining we have how to make fizzy drinks. The dk easy way is just make the flavor-syrup and then add seltzer water…. just like they have done for years in any deli. You can still buy the bottles and CO2 cartridges… Also great fun spraying children when they are seen and heard.

    Way to easy for a Wednesday. Yes it is an enjoyable puzzle but today is the beginning of fun with puzzle time not the start of a walk in the park: just whinin!

    ⧰⧰ (2 error bars with diamonds suggesting an improper outcome or an easy peasy Wednesday)

    quilter1 9:46 AM  

    Easy, good words, everything everyone has said. But the comments on like are hilarious. I wish I was that clever. Thanks, guys and gals.

    Anonymous 10:09 AM  

    I loved this puzzle, and don't understand the consensus of a lack of "zip." All the theme answers sizzle, plus things like RAW BAR / I'M LIKE / EXTOL / SNAFU. Add to that remarkable smoothness (although the south is noticeably less clean than the north) and I would say this is a well above-average early-week puzzle.

    Maybe a bit too easy, but that's a testament to well-constructed early-week puzzles in my mind (lack of obscurity generally means easier). I'd much rather have a too-easy Wed than a too-obscure one (or a too-easy Saturday!).

    the redanman 10:23 AM  

    Square 36 had to be a guess. Wrong, too. Still blah, at least the HEART chances could actually be "words"

    C. Ross Word 10:31 AM  

    Is it just me or does the name H. Ross Perot sound pretentious?

    Two Ponies 10:46 AM  

    Snafu has become a common word but I wonder how many people who use it know what the F stands for or even know it's an acronym.
    Nice puzzle.

    Z 10:53 AM  

    "Needless to say" is needless to say. The fact that the colleague who uses it all the time isn't my favorite doesn't help.

    @Two Ponies - I still remember my 7th grade science teacher offering extra credit for the actual meaning of SNAFU and getting the daughter of a Korean War vet's answer the next day. Mr. Stack was not a happy science teacher.

    Matthew G. 11:01 AM  

    @Evan: I was about to say the same about SUPER PAC. Pretty sure it was in the ACPT final-round puzzle in 2012, maybe at 1A. But as I recall, Rex was indisposed that weekend.

    Anyway, I agree with Rex about the supreme easiness of this puzzle--especially the top half, which was Monday-like--but that didn't stop me from slowing down stupidly around SNAFU/GNAT/GEODE. Those words didn't just leap onto the page like the rest of the grid did. I also slowed myself down with AND instead of BUT in SEEN BUT NOT HEARD.

    I am dubious about COMPUTER HACKERS. Pretty sure they're just called "hackers." COMPUTER HACKERS sounds like a phrase a really old person would use to clarify his meaning to another really old person.

    retired_chemist 11:15 AM  

    Isn't BASTED an illegitimate Bostonian?

    David 11:22 AM  

    @Matthew G, you are correct - SUPERPAC was 1A in the Finals puzzle at the ACPT.

    Easy Wednesday puzzle indeed, tho my time was slowed b/c of a harmful habit of making my Es look like Cs when I solve fast. The E in HEART was a C for who knows how long, not a positive thing at all when it is the revealer answer.

    LaneB 12:26 PM  

    Found this "easy" one more difficult than most mid-week puzzles. Never did spot the theme and spent a lot more time than otherwise. Had to google KEANE [Family Circus] and GEISEL [Seuss surname]. Old brain not working all that well this morning.

    chefbea 12:30 PM  

    so is anyone going to tell us what snafu stands for???
    or should I google it?

    efrex 12:34 PM  

    I might not OOH and AAH over this one, but enjoyed it nonetheless. Like Two Ponies, I get a quick "Hmm" reaction whenever I encounter SNAFU in the grid. Very solid theme answers, and while the fill suffers a bit, IMLIKE got enough of a rueful chuckle out of this old fogey to push this one solidly into the "fun" column.

    Rob C 12:38 PM  

    Doesn't the F in SNAFU have the same meaning as the ef- in your name? I see why you have a "Hmm" reaction.;)

    Lewis 12:42 PM  

    @heard but not seen -- my sentiments exactly. I felt like the cluing was too obvious in general for a Wednesday. I liked the theme answers, and I see one answer at least had some pop, gauging from the comments -- 12D.

    @Chefbea -- baste comment made me laugh

    @matthewg -- agree about hackers

    quilter1 1:09 PM  

    @MatthewG: I agree COMPUTER HACKERS sounds old. My daughter (age 44) mocked me when I said telephone.

    Two Ponies 1:30 PM  

    @ chefbea, I believe snafu came from the military and means
    Situation normal, all f&cked up.

    Bird 2:04 PM  

    Not bad. Struggled a bit with too many wrong, but correct, answers. Still easy for a Wednesday though.

    11A was KID then RIB before I settled on RIP, which I think is more severe then josh. I was staring at 13D wondering if BASTED was a possible answer for whacked (I don’t think chefs whack turkeys). Oops – never noticed the RIP in the SE. Damn.
    42A was LOOKS before POISE.
    58A was SEEN AND NOT HEARD and 69A was PICKS (didn’t know what a CAPO was called until today) so I was wondering why I couldn’t get 59D, 60D and 61D right away.
    67A was ?TEST figuring I would wait until I did the downs to fill in A, H or N.

    Love oysters and clams at the RAW BAR with a nice cold draft.
    I catch myself saying “LIKE” all the time. I think it’s like a Long Island thing.
    Hand up for the AMOEBA spelling.
    Of the plurals – 70A should be plural. Nobody says, “I’m hitting the SLOPE for a couple of runs.” Nobody.
    @Z – great story!
    Originally, SNAFU was Situation Normal All Fouled Up

    evil doug 2:10 PM  

    Two Ponies is correct on snafu.

    Other useful military acronyms include:

    Bohica (bo-HEEK-uh)--'bend over, here it comes again';

    Mfwic (MIFF-wick)--'mother effer what's in charge';

    and Fubar (FOO-bar)--'effed up beyond all recognition'.


    Sparky 2:20 PM  

    I guess it was easy since I did it in real ink pen and not my Frixion.
    There is a word lambasted which I remembered. Everybody already said anything I thought. WWII not Korea in my book.

    Sorry about the cat, @Rex. They do steal you heart.

    Nameless 3:10 PM  

    Oh Sparky. There you go again. Why did you like, bring up the whole ink & paper subject again? I mean like, we had this debate EONs ago.

    @Z - best story from the grid in like, forever

    More military acronyms . . .
    SUSFU (situation unchanged: still f*cked up)
    TARFU (totally and royally f*cked up or things are really f*cked up)
    BOHICA (bend over, here it comes again)

    chefwen 3:46 PM  

    @retired_chemist - So sorry about your Pug's litter, glad that she is O.K. Keep us updated on the Golden.

    Illegitimate Bostonian - now that was funny!

    sanfranman59 3:46 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 8:18, 11:28, 0.72, 2%, Easy

    Top 100 solvers

    Wed 5:13, 6:28, 0.81, 6%, Easy

    Marylouise 4:17 PM  

    Anybody else think of something different for 62D? Hoo ha? I'm like, wha?!?!

    secret admirer 5:24 PM  

    @Z - That story was EPIC!

    acme 5:41 PM  

    I kept thinking Seuss's last name was LESIEG which he may also have written under...
    and then I thought maybe THAT was an anagram of Siegel and maybe he was hiding being Jewish or something...

    Tita 6:37 PM  

    @Gill - my first windsurfer was a BIC.
    My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Spellman - would berate us if we answered a queston wth "It's like...". "Don't tell me what it's *like* - tell me what it is!".

    @lms - add "Franky" to that list.
    Love your "then and now"...

    Sorry about your cat, @Rex, and your pug's litter, @ret_chem - did not know that could happen.
    This has been a sad couple of weeks around here for our beloved pets - in syndiland too, and my brother's 18 year old cat, who we think was on his 12th life, finally gave out.

    Nigel 7:03 PM  

    Simple statement - way too easy. I got the main theme answer before I got all the other long clues. I had enough downs to see it - although probably not more than four or five. That's how easy it was. Not that I'm fast - i still don't know how it's done. I use Across Lite on my Macbook and there's no way I can get the answers filled in that quickly. Is there a better puzzle download app that others use? (But no point in telling me about ipad or iphone apps. I don't have either.)

    Gill I. P. 8:50 PM  

    Late getting back to reading all of the fups.
    @Z. HAH..That was pretty darn good. I love a good puzz story.
    @Loren...I'll add up-talk to the list. I guess if you end your sentence with a question type word,
    we're all suppose to nod...
    @ret-chem. Our boxer "bebo" used to resorb (didn't know the word!) as well. To make matter worse, she was an RH negative. Is that typical of pug type nosed dogs?
    The pain we go through with our loved 4 legged creatures. My new avatar shows our doxie poos Curly and Moe. The handsome man in front it Larry and I'm the Shemp holding up the rear.
    @Rex. All animals go to heaven. The rest of us just cross our fingers.

    Sfingi 9:27 PM  

    Wish I hadn't noticed the theme. Lame. For me, anagrams should be real words.

    Too many 3-letter abbrevs.

    To me, COHO is also the plural, as for other fish and school/herd animals.

    Never heard of BASTED use outside of a housewifish context. Either dripping juices over meat, or quick long-shit sewing meant to be redone.

    So, I guess I didn't like it.

    @Marylouise - thought of something different for sh&t creek, but it was one letter too long.

    @EvilDoug - Me also "and" not BUT.

    KEANE is also the name of another sickening "artist," the one with the big eyes.

    @Tita - like, I like Mrs. Spellman!

    @Rex - so much love between people and their pets. My friend wants it in her obit that if she sees all her dead pets, she'll know she's in heaven; if she sees her ex, she'll know otherwise.

    sanfranman59 10:03 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 6:16, 6:10, 1.02, 60%, Medium
    Tue 7:55, 8:23, 0.94, 32%, Easy-Medium
    Wed 8:21, 11:28, 0.72, 2%, Easy (5th lowest ratio of 166 Wednesdays)

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:44, 3:41, 1.02, 55%, Medium
    Tue 4:28, 4:52, 0.92, 15%, Easy
    Wed 5:03, 6:28, 0.78, 5%, Easy (8th lowest ratio of 166 Wednesdays)

    Tyler Hinman 10:44 PM  

    There's also this one:

    Jack Lee 7:59 AM  

    Tripped up by S, as I had SEENANDNOTHEARD, and have never heard of a CAPO. :(

    Anonymous 3:51 PM  

    Sour grapes from Rex who lacks the ability to be so clever in design. I can see people having a problem here or two but this puzzle is not only clever, it's fun and adds an element to solving.

    Anonymous 3:54 PM  

    oops wrong puzzle comment up above

    Spacecraft 10:10 AM  

    Okay, why not RIp/pASTED?? Both fit, so I submit it as an alternate correct solution. I'm counting this one done, I don't care what you say. To me, basting is something done to a turkey or an article of clothing. I've never heard of anybody getting "BASTED." I have heard of getting pasted, though.

    Hand up for AND instead of BUT in the children's saying. Didn't see the theme till about halfway through. Nice OLDIE bleedover.

    Here we go again with these AWFUL captchas. HELP!!!

    J.aussiegirl 10:20 AM  

    syndiland, syncity - this is where we live, learn and love. Seeing snafu in a puzzle brings to mind the old communication chestnut....

    "Send reinforcements, we're going to advance", is passed along the line via various radio operators. Finally arrives at HQ, where the request has become "Send three and fourpence, we're going to a dance".

    Liked the Change of Heart revealer and long answers, easy Wednesday, but some of the remainder so-so. Do iPads, iMacs, iPods seem to be showing up often as answers?

    DMGrandma 2:09 PM  

    Sped through this one. Had to change the children's saying from and to BUT and then learned that BIC makes things other than pens. I join @Spacecraft with pASTED. Maybe I would have tried for something else if I had seen the other RIP (63D), but I didn't. I should listen to @Diri's advice to recheck, particularly when on-line solvers are always talking about looking for the reason they don't get a gold star or whatever.

    Just thumbed through about 8 Capcha on steers looking for one I think I can replicate. Here goes.....

    Ginger 2:29 PM  

    @Lewis ~ Finally found your avatar!

    @Z 6:27 You had me choking my coffee!

    Had viruses before HACKERS, GEISEr, but all proved out from the crosses.

    Interesting discussion about SNAFU. I think that using 'fouled' was someone's attempt to clean it up. I've heard people use it who obviously have no idea of the derivation.

    Dirigonzo 4:31 PM  

    My first shot at the Gen ___ was the Chinese menu standby tso. I had a couple of other write-overs but that was my only original one. NAIFS took a while as I was thinking of unworldly in terms of "alien". Finally thought of "naive" and backtracked to the correct but unfamiliar (to me) answer.

    @Matthew G wrote, "COMPUTER HACKERS sounds like a phrase a really old person would use to clarify his meaning to another really old person." Gee, I really liked it - oh right, that's because I'm really old!

    Syndi Solver 6:07 PM  

    Re: SNAFU acronym and others

    One can usually substitute a PG rated adjective for the F-word. So SNAFU could also stand for "Situation Normal, All Fouled Up." Perhaps that's why such acronyms are considered okay in puzzles?

    Easy Wednesday but lots of fun for me.

    FYI, the word hacker used to mean someone who wrote quick and dirty code (that's how it was used among my peers, other SW engineers, back in the early 1980s). Cracker was the word for someone who tried to breach security and so on. But the press decided to use the word hacker and that meaning stuck.

    Syndi Solver 6:18 PM  

    Regarding using "nicer" words to spell out well known acronyms, I forgot to mention one of my favorites:

    RTFM = Read The "Fine" Manual :-)

    strayling 7:43 PM  

    Nice hidden anagrams; nasty "GeiseL/Lao" cross. I'm still in the cryptic mindset, which says that everything you need to derive the answer should be in the clue, even if it's a word you don't know.

    strayling 7:54 PM  

    I still use "hacker" in the original sense, and at least 2600 people agree!

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