Miami Vice informant / TUE 3-12-13 / Director of Bride of Monster / City with Aces ballpark / Little Miss Sunshine vehicle / Bone of lower chest / Home of lion that Hercules slew

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Constructor: Bruece Sutphin and Neville Fogarty

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: Wax and wane — pairs of opposites hidden inside longer answers

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Finishing up (WINDING TO A CLOSE)
  • 30A: Window-shopping locale (STOREFRONT)
  • 48A: Great source of humor (COMEDY GOLD)
  • 63A: Ponce de León's quest (FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH)

Word of the Day: FALSE RIB (10D: Bone of the lower chest) —
The false ribs are the five sets of ribs below the top seven true ribs. A rib is considered to be "false" if it has no direct attachment to thesternum, also known as the breast bone. Of these:
  • the first three (eighth, ninth, and tenth rib) have their cartilages attached to the cartilage of the rib above (vertebro-chondral):
  • the last two (eleventh rib and twelfth rib) are free at their anterior extremities and are termed floating ribs or vertebral ribs because they connect neither with the sternum nor with another rib.[1] These ribs are relatively small and delicate, and are capped by a cartilaginous tip. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hello. How are you? I am fine. Also, I have a trophy that says "1st Place" on it.

I'll tell you all about my weekend at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament tomorrow (when I have more time and am less tired). For now, I'll just say it was, by far, the best time I've ever had at the ACPT. I still am not convinced that I want to continue competing (a lot of pointless adrenaline), and it's awfully expensive (after registration fees, room, food, etc.), but I know that at a minimum I'll continue to go back for the wacky cast of characters. I saw old friends and made many new ones. More people just walked up and introduced themselves to me this year than ever before. And yes, OK, some of those people accosted me in elevators and demanded apologies for my wrong-headed comments on their puzzles (I'm looking at you, Stu), but most were really quite kind and appreciative. I can now reconfirm that anyone who has suspected for even a second that they might enjoy going to one of these things really, really should. Tons of brilliant, genuinely nice people, and next to no pretension. A painfully decent yet massively entertaining lot, crossword people.

But back to my workaday gig here at the blog: it's like the Puzzle Gods are trying to harsh my weekend tournament buzz with today's offering. It's a quintessential gawky Tuesday puzzle, about which I liked virtually nothing (except the second co-constructor, Neville, who is my friend and who normally does exceptional work—you should really check out his personal puzzle blog, where he offers up a new puzzle every week) (I don't know Neville's co-constructor, Bruce, personally; if I did, I'd say nice things about him here). I think some of the independent puzzlers are beginning to send Will their cast-offs and hoarding their good stuff for their own puzzle endeavors. At the current puzzle pay scale, I can't blame them. At any rate, this one has all the things that irk me about Tuesdays: non-consecutive and seemingly arbitrarily placed circles; a bunch of dreadful short fill; clues that seem off and/or answers that don't seem appropriate for the day of the week. And then an inconsistent theme to boot— In & Out, Come & Go, To & Fro (all yeses); Win & Lose (no). Basically, it was non-love at first sight.

Ugly stuff: ISE next to ASE near OKEMO below IZZY (21A: "Miami Vice" informant) ... IZZY??? With that clue? What year is it? I've never heard of this character (from a 25-year-old TV show that I'm guessing most crossword solvers didn't watch when it was on the air). That answer represents a very bad case of Scrabble-f*$%ing, I think. Pyrrhic Zs. Yipes. And crossing olde-timey AYRES? (19D: Actor Lew) Just ... rough. Mostly, clues were hard by virtue of vagueness. [Acts] = LAWS slowed me down. [Big failure] = FLOP slowed me down (any constant solver can instantly name at least three other 4-letter answers that'll work there). So while I don't like this puzzle, I'd have not liked it less on a Wednesday. Initial times posted at the NYX site show that I am not alone in my comically slow time. If you're gonna be tougher than usual, be gooder than usual! None (or very little) of this Tolkien meanie / Prince Valiant's son / Hawaiian bird / Oklahoma city / "Born Free" lioness / Nash's lama baloney.

I like I'M A PC, but not on Tuesday (27D: Apple ad line). Seems more Saturday to me. Love the SE corner, but I'm guessing not everyone knows and loves ED WOOD the way I do (50D: Director of "Bride of the Monster"). 15A: City with Aces Ballpark (RENO)? Only constant solvers and Nevadans know that. Between toughness and crosswordesiness, there was a general unpleasant feeling. Biggest issue I had was with cluing on COMEDY GOLD, which is an answer I didn't get forEver. I had COMEDY GALA (OKEMA seemed fine for the Vermont ski resort, and AAA seemed fine ... apparently I didn't look at the clue at first—[46D: Oklahoma city] = ADA). First, the phrase itself, COMEDY GOLD, is not the most familiar thing in the world. I'm sure I've heard it—maybe even used it—but it doesn't spring to mind easily. And then there's the "source" part of the clue. Would've thought the COMEDY GOLD was the humor itself, not the "source" of the humor. You go to a mine to get gold. The mine is the source. Anyhoo, I fumbled that answer badly.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Pete 12:15 AM  

    Maybe they were referring to the Canadian Cable TV network Comedy Gold. I hope not, but at least that would be defensible.

    Do they flog you at the ACPT if you don't wear the ID badge around your neck? I'm interested because I don't like wearing badges around my neck but do like being flogged. I mean literally flogged, not being subjected to circles in my puzzle.

    jae 12:20 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    jae 12:22 AM  

    Pretty darn tough for a Tues.  I'm with Rex on IZZY.  I watched that show for several seasons and have no memory of IZZY.  Crocket, Tubbs, Trudy, Switek...yes, IZZY no.  And then you cross him with AYERS and ANTZ which has got to be tough for early week only solvers.  Throw in MARIO Lopez, OSLO as clued, cult director ED WOOD, ADA, OKEMO, and NEMEA and you are just being cruel.

    Hand up for not fond of the circles/theme.  Seems weak, especially with no reveal.

    Trivia:  NYPD also works for 1a.  The series started in New York.

    Pete 12:26 AM  

    PS. I'm one of probably very few people who've seen both a LUNA moth and an UTNE reader in the wild. That is, if the wild includes the Labyrinth bookstore in Princeton. What the moth was doing in there I'll never know.


    Bruce S 12:45 AM  

    Thanks for the write-up Rex. I will have to introduce myself to you next year. I had the pleasure of meeting your wife last year when you were under the weather at the ACPT. I agree, I think of COMEDYGOLD as the humor and not the source and our submitted clue reflected that. Enjoying my debut NYT puzzle and enjoying what people have to say about our puzzle. Thanks again.

    Amy S Khoudari 12:57 AM  

    Challenging for sure

    VT-GR 1:07 AM  

    Hi all. The circles were... distracting? (groping for the right word) IMAPC didn't compute at all at first (thank you, I'm here all week).

    And this is a day late and a dollar short, but I needed every crossing for BAYRUM.

    retired_chemist 1:23 AM  

    Some stuff I had never heard of made this a slog. WTFs: IZZY, OKEMO, COMEDY GOLD, for three. Same problem as Rex with 11D - EPIC seemed to convey the tone.

    Misparsed 27D - I had the new Apple GPS app, iMAP C. Another WTF and then - D'oh!

    VW BUG for a while @ 59A.

    An OK Tuesday - not a rave.

    syndy 1:26 AM  

    I had to use the Evans algorithm to get the W in WINDING.Other than that I found the puzzle easy if uninteresting.Never been a fan of the circle this is why! Is rex contemplating a more management type role in future ACPT's?

    Brendan McNamara 2:01 AM  

    I thought this puzzle was straightforward, not even noticing the circles, but it did seem slow for a Tuesday. I thought I was just fatigued from a long day of work after the weekend of my rookie appearance in the ACPT (fun and exhausting times!). Luckily for me, it hit enough of my random trivia knowledge (NEMEAn Lion, ARTIE Shaw) and had pop culture references I actually knew (TYRA Banks, VWBUS) I've even been an occasional UTNE reader. So the grid filled smoothly if slowly.

    Ellen S 2:01 AM  

    It must have been easy because I finished it, correctly, without googling or other assists, and before it went into syndication. But it felt hard.

    @Bruce S, so what clue did you submit for "Great source of humor"?

    I don't get offended by asymmetrical circles. I get ecstatic when I do a puzzle with NO EELS. Thank you Bruce and Neville!

    Masked and Anonymo4Us 2:06 AM  

    @40: Mighty respectable finish, sir. Error-free in all 7 tournament puzs. Not to mention -- turn around; good to see yer back.

    Really approve of the theme idea, here. Fill was pretty good, but must admit, ISE and ASE is a pretty brutal one-two punch. How about ISO and USE instead? But ... would 40 then buy off on the resulting crosser of YOUS? Suggested YOUS clues, in its defense:
    1. Second person plural?
    2. "Lovin' ___ a Dirty Job" (Ratt hit)
    3. Some pronouns

    Enjoyin' all the acpt stories. Maybe the Shortzmeister would consider holdin' it in a different location each year? Kinda like the US Open golf dealy. M&A might be able to afford to get to some of the closer ones, then. har. Immediate popular reaction: "Now there's a powerful reason to keep it in Brooklyn!"

    Bruce S 2:19 AM  

    @Ellen S "What Seinfeld spins"

    chefwen 2:50 AM  

    Continuing our crunchy start to the week, this one was right in step. Had the most problem in a really stupid area, 18D, had ize, yse, before I settled on ISE, and I lived there for five years. DOH! Of course, I was a child, so I'm excusing myself.

    I liked this a lot more than Rex did, but, then again, I'm a sucker for circles.

    jae 3:20 AM  

    @Bruce S -- Much better clue!

    Jack Lee 5:25 AM  

    Oooh, tough. Got words like UTNE, HITEM, and OKEMO purely from the crosses and, like many of you, got completely stuck at ARAB/RENO/ARN/IZZY/AYRES. Quite liked the theme, though - it helped me to solve the puzzle once I figured it out.

    Milford 6:37 AM  

    I can see, now that it's pointed out by others, that there were some harder words for a Tuesday. I must have had the crosses help immensely, because my time was almost the same as my slow Monday.


    Did feel that WIN/LOSE was kind of an outlier, because a) it uses OR instead of AND like the other three phrases, and b) the other three are movement based, unlike WIN/LOSE. I see from @Rex's video that he agrees.

    I did like how, except for GO, all the circled words are pronounced differently than they are when placed within the theme answers.

    I see today our ICE TONGS are in a bucket, not an ICER from last week. Yay!

    Anonymous 6:40 AM  

    I loved the puzzle and had one of my best Tuesday times and I solved it last night during a bout of insomnia! Loved the clue for ISE and got the opposites theme right away. Crosses gave me the clues I didn't know! I admit I was surprised when the App started chiming!

    Kenny Bania 7:01 AM  

    "Why do they call it Ovaltine? The mug is round. The jar is round. They should call it Roundtine."

    "That's gold, Jerry! Gold!"

    OTD 7:18 AM  

    Well, I thought this was fairly easy for a Tuesday. Finished in nearly record time. Just watched a Lew AYERS film on TCM a short time ago. I don't pay attention to themes when doing puzzles except for Sundays, so the circles didn't bother me. Do agree that the small fill was rather blah.

    Glimmerglass 7:32 AM  

    Lots of old guy stuff today, which probably made it hard for the rest of you.

    Anonymous 7:35 AM  

    Deffo on the hard side for a Tuesday. Anyone who says otherwise is stretching the truth tobrag, or just happened to know a lot of these random clues. I didn't have to cheat till once at the very end, though. The whole Miami Vice crossing Lew thing? Ouch. I hated that show and never saw a whole episode when it was on. Tuesdays aren't supposed to be quite this random.

    Anonymous 7:53 AM  

    Odd that I would find this easy.. Alot of easy names, Tyra, ayres, ed wood, Obama...fountain of youth broke open the theme...actually only hang up was hit em...I enjoyed it though

    John V 7:59 AM  

    Didn't see the theme until done and then -- meh; felt spurious. Mostly easy, save for ANTZ/IZZY cross and indirection of 1d Acts. WINDINGTOACLOSE seemed like not-a-thing, as COMING to a close is what I think is in the language.

    Yo, @Rex: what is there to do in Albany?

    Loren Muse Smith 8:15 AM  

    Didn’t find this one so so hard, but I did run hot and cold. (Someone had to say it). I was able to BURY the entire west fairly handily, but the SE really took a while. Did not know ED WOOD, so VW bus was ridiculously invisible for too long. “Gaping” for GAZING messed me up, and that’s about the thirty sixth time I’ve done that. And now I see I had a dnf with AiRES/IZZi.

    A lover of circles, I’ve played around with this kind of thing before, and I found it really, really hard to get the needed combinations all in the right order. Hot/cold, black/white, plethora/dearth (!) . . .I think would be so hard to embed. One that jumped right out at me, though, was


    So kudos to Bruce and Neville for these four.

    Thanks @Milford (and Rex) for pointing out that three themes involve changing location.

    If REGISTER somehow could have instead been “fire iT up” to partner with ICE TONGS, I would have liked this more. But maybe that’s a no-no. I just always appreciate extra winks like that.

    LAPD/LAWS. Nice. MEAT/WELL DONE. Not me. I’M A rare steak eater.

    Neville, I think I passed you in the lobby on Saturday, but I didn’t pester you. You look like a FUNGI, though. (Ok maybe someone didn’t have to say it, but hey. . .)

    On a completely unrelated note, last night at the prison we were talking about animal youtube clips. They insisted I go home and watch these two. So sweet:

    Thanks, Mssrs. Sutphin and Fogarty. Hey there, DADDYO!

    Unknown 8:30 AM  

    Definitely felt harder than a typical Tuesday. I'm not crazy about circle puzzles, so my outlook was not great diving in to this one. Ended up being just ok for me.

    evil doug 8:33 AM  

    So there I was, standing like a lonesome puppy outside the ACPT in Brooklyn, waiting for the guy who said he'd pay my way "if you dare to show your face"---but he never showed up. So I flew home, terribly disappointed....

    The only Izzy I know sells corned beef and potato pancakes. And I've heard of Stowe, but never Okemo.

    If you've caught the fun BBC series, "The Hour", you know that crosswords can be used to pass coded messages. If I were the constructors, I'd expect a call from the Secret Service:

    Hit 'em
    Dyed (some icers can't spell)
    Well done

    Your freedom is *winding to a close*, Bruce and Neville. Don't count on your prisons being like *spas* full of *glee*. It'll be a *seedy* *area* full of *antz* *if not* *fungi*. While there you'll be *pieces* of *meat* to your fellow inmates, so expect to *spasm* in fear when they choose you to be their dates, *daddyo*....


    joho 8:46 AM  

    @Congratulations on your debut, @Bruce S. and for sharing your clue for COMEDYGOLD ... yes, it's better!

    Great writeup, @Rex, your negatives were honestly stated and lacked snark.

    For some reason I was tickled by ICETONGS.

    Z 8:49 AM  

    @BruceS - Your cue is better, IMHO.

    IZZY has exactly two things going for it, IMHO.

    I thought I stumbled into Friday at first, then Wednesday, then remembered it is Tuesday. Played challenging for me (for a Tuesday).

    TYRA Banks clued as a TV host. I prefer to remember her in her earlier career.

    Lurker Lou 8:49 AM  

    Oh, Rex. You're just jet-lagged (which is not easy, considering you did not even change time zones or get on a plane, I bet.) This puzzle was a breeze (I had one pause to change 'van' into 'bus') and I had to wait for LA instead of NY to come to me...Used to listen to 'Dragnet' on the radio...

    See? Your problem is you're just Too Young.

    Lurker Lou 8:54 AM  

    Oh, and come ON.
    COMEDY GOLD is someone or something that is endlessly productive of gags, skits, impressions, and one-liners.

    Dubya was comedy gold.
    Mitch McConnell is comedy gold.
    and so forth.
    Just ask Jay Leno.

    jackj 9:03 AM  

    Cheerful looking "good old boys" give us cheerful good old boy puzzles and Bruce and Neville, (tagged as g.o.b's, fairly or not, based on their photos in XWordInfo), fill the bill on both counts.

    Trouble is, the g.o.b.'s for whom the puzzle was directed seemed to be more the Dukes of Hazzard than a crossword maven g.o.b. like Bill Clinton.

    The puzzle looks like it must have been a bear to construct and it is a winner on that count but having four theme phrases of dubious heritage only because they contain yin and yang entries, WIN/LOSE, TO/FRO, COME/GO and IN/OUT isn't enough to elevate it to star status. (I did especially like FOUNTAINOFYOUTH, though).

    Complicating things, the demands of the theme caused some non-theme cluing that likely stretched beyond the patience of many early week solvers, entries such as AYRES, OKEMO, IMAPC, NEMEA, IZZY and OSLO, (but only because of its clue asking where the Norwegian Parliament, the Storting sits), to name the more obvious ones.

    But, there were also words to admire in this puzzle, FALSERIB (aka floating rib), ICETONGS, BOOZER, WELLDONE, IFNOT and the immortal words of turn of the 19th century baseball pro, Wee Willie Keeler who advised batters to "HITEM where they ain't", all these entries stand tall.

    A nice effort from Neville and Bruce though a fair rating seems:


    Implementation—needs work.

    WA 9:06 AM  

    I remember one joke about Miami Vice:This week's guest star-the color puce.

    Back then it was comedy gold, now it is more like pyrite. There is a pizza place near us called Izzy's, I am aure that would have been as instructive.

    dk 9:11 AM  

    What are the other Tongs besides Chinese gangs: Inquiring minds want to know? Corn tongs, lobster tongs.

    Liked BOOZED and EDWOOD.

    On the Mickey Mouse Club Tuesday was guest star day so in addition to the actual rating for this puzzle there will be a:

    🌟🔥(1 Star and a Ball of Fire) Actually that would be more of an exiting star than a guest star… no wait! It is a waxing and waning star whimpered Tom woefully.

    imsdave 9:13 AM  

    OKEMO was a drop kick here as it was the site of my first ever week long skiing vacation back in 1970. It was also my introduction to the male torture device known as the pomalift.

    The puzzle played on the tough side for me due to HITit and not having the faintest idea as to what IMAPC could have been obscuring COMEDYGOLD.

    EDWOOD is an outstanding film. Highly recommended if you have missed it.

    Five years ago, a very lovely woman talked me into driving down to the Westport CT library for a crossword puzzle tournament, to be followed by cocktails at her home and dinner at a restaurant. We had never met, but "knew" each other through this blog. The crosswording part was a disaster (I thought I was good - oops) - but the day! Meeting Ulrich, Chefbea, Karen from the Cape, and the organizer of this experience, Mac, was pure magic. We were joined by a couple of their spouses for drinks and dinner, and if I recall correctly, decided we'd all go to the ACPT that year.

    I cannot express to you strongly enough how unimportant the competition part of the ACPT is to the enjoyment of the event. I arrived there at 2:30 Friday afternoon this year and was immediately greeted by ACME, Nanpilla (and her charming sister), who were chatting with Loren. The party had begun and did not stop until I got into my car and drove home Sunday afternoon at 2:30.

    I'm not going to recap all of the people I met for the first time, or tell you all of the wonderful new memories that were created with my old friends. Loren and Tita and BobK and Sparky and Mac and all the others have already shared so much about all that.

    A special thank you to Loren for her kind words for me yesterday. If I may return in kind, she is the kind of person you go to the ACPT to meet.

    Please pull the trigger people and come next year - I promise you will not be disappointed!

    Attica PN 95-A-9876 9:16 AM  

    @Loren - Your prisoners seem too good to be true. In my experience, 34 years so far, when something seems too good to be true, it isn't true. We've got a lot of time, a lot of patience. What we've learned in this time, if we've learned anything, is to not act impusively, to take our time and plan things out to the finest detail. Our previous ignorance of that is what landed us here, so it's something we're acutely aware of.

    So, sure, start gaining trust, and take your time doing it. Show videos of kitties and puppies.

    Just beware of this, so that when we start talking about our favorite prison side-dishes and we start exchanging recipies for candied yams or roasted beets know that at some time you're going to be sent the video for tossed-salad.

    Anonymous 9:16 AM  

    I enjoyed the puzzle very much, Bruce...being a little more...chronologically fired, shall we say...I especially enjoyed BAYRUM and got it right away....reminded me of the old barber shop I used to frequent back when you could still get a shave, then the barber would splash you with the stuff...thanks for the memory!

    MetaRex 9:49 AM  

    Great to have our leader back!

    Second Rex and imsdave on the ACPT w/ a tiny one who couldn't compete b/c of a family commitment Saturday, I felt I missed a lot of the thrill, much as it was great to meet renowned Rexeans for dinner on Friday and to watch the supersolvers on Sunday...

    One last time on the ACPT final since I see Rex is saving up his impressions until tomorrow...
    Live at the finals

    MetaRex 10:05 AM  

    CrossWorld and CrossOver buzz ratings at I'm a PC

    Jim 10:36 AM  

    Good writeup. This puzzle deserved to be skewered. Great concept, poorly executed, with worse clues and substandard fill.

    RIP Aaliyah.

    Two Ponies 10:48 AM  

    Pretty tough for a Tuesday. Even a DNF because of the Hercules clue.
    Nemea or Nemed? How should I know.
    If you are drinking champagne you do not need ice tongs in your bucket.

    chefbea 10:50 AM  

    I agree - tough for a Tuesday. But finally finished. Now I must watch the ACPT finals

    quilter1 10:52 AM  

    I finished but didn't like it much. Ditto to all the similar comments. I knew almost everything until COMEDYGOLD. I had to write out the circles to get COME as I didn't know lots of the key downs. Meh. Better tomorrow I hope.

    Sfingi 10:52 AM  

    @KeneyBania - was originally Ovamaltine, the Ova being egg.

    Got one wrong. Had COMEDY GOLf. I guess I assumed it was sports, since I didn't know/get it.

    Thought theme was lame. Afterwards, saw many words I didn't know OKEMO, ED WOOD, FALSE RIB (always called it Floating), IZZY, Aces Ballpark, ADA, Storting.

    Thought I knew all about VT, but this was sports.

    It was interesting reading about Mr. WOOD. And that's his real name.

    Thoracic 12:12 PM  

    I agree. Oddly difficult puzzle. Glad I'm not the only one. I did like comedy gold though. Loved the movie Ed Wood. Welcome back Rex, though your stand-ins did a fine job holding the fort.

    Anonymous 12:16 PM  

    Since I do not text (it's still a noun--not a verb--to me), I don't get IMHO. (At least I suspect it's an abbreviation) I mean I got it in the puzzle but I can't translate it. Help!!
    Otherwise a realitvely easy puzzle as appropriate for a Tuesday.

    MikeM 12:26 PM  

    Finished 100% but did not know UTNE or NEMEA; got them from the crosses. I never saw Miami Vice but somehow I came up with IZZY. Did he wear a floppy hat? Or am I thinking of the guy from Baretta?

    Milford 12:26 PM  

    @anon- IMHO is In My Humble Opinion.

    Anonymous 12:51 PM  

    I'm pretty sure "I'm a PC" was a Microsoft ad campaign, not Apple.

    mac 12:54 PM  

    @Two ponies: so right about the champagne not needing ice cubes!

    Med-Challenging for me too, just took longer than most Tuesdays. Several things I never heard of: Hit 'em where they ain't, comedy gold, sands of time, but the crosses helped me out.

    Isn't Izzy the female working in the lab, tall with long dark hair?

    It's hard to get back to work and the daily routine after this wonderful weekend.....

    Anonymous 1:17 PM  

    Hey Rex, to quote you "Anyone who has...that they might enjoy..." I am no professor of English, but using "anyone" with "they" in the same sentence? Acceptable?

    Anonymous 1:21 PM  

    @Anon 12:51 Microsoft had an ad campaign using "I'm a PC". Apple also had an ad campaign, the one with John Hodgeman and some hipster dude, that used the line "I'm a PC", which is how it was clued.

    Why we don't correct someone else's grammar 1:24 PM  


    (used with an indefinite singular antecedent in place of the definite masculine he or the definite feminine she ): Whoever is of voting age, whether they are interested in politics or not, should vote.

    Unknown 1:47 PM  

    Like others, I did not know UTNE and got it on crosses. Can someone clue me in on what an UTNE reader is?

    Bird 1:47 PM  

    I liked this puzzle just fine, if only it was offered on a Wednesday. I struggled a little with some of the cluing (too many possible answers at first go around). And then there are the circles - I didn’t mind the so-called arbitrary placement of them as it’s nearly impossible with this theme. My only nit is with COMEDY GOLD – is that a thing, a phrase, do people speak it, it speaks more of the comedy itself and not the source? Only write-over was TAIL before SEEK. Is DADDYO also spelled DADDIO?

    Davis 1:54 PM  

    This puzzle beat the snot out of me—my completion time looked more like a Wednesday than a Tuesday.

    The north is what really killed me: ARN, RENO, AYRES, IZZY(?!) was a rat's nest of letters. And without those, I was having a heck of a time seeing ANTZ and BOOZER.

    I don't really have much to add to what Rex said—I found myself nodding in agreement all the way through this post, except that I thought COMEDY GOLD was completely gettable.

    Anonymous 1:54 PM  

    @Kris <a href='">UTNE Reader</a>

    Jjbpuz 2:00 PM  


    You made my day by setting Kenny Bania straight on Ovaltine.

    Unknown 2:01 PM  

    Thanks @Anon 1:54. Pretty cool site.

    Jjbpuz 2:03 PM  

    @Sfingi Sorry for the error in your name.

    LaneB 2:04 PM  

    Glad to see the Challenging designation, because it was a long solution for me. But I did finally finish after having google-help on Tolkien meanie, Vermont ski resort, home of lion. Is it me or are the puzzles getting a bit more difficult?

    Lewis 2:08 PM  

    Puzzle went smoothly for me except for the NE, which eventully fell. The circles helped, actually to fill in needed letters. I did feel like there was lots of crosswordese, and it sounded a bit old-timey, but still, it was fun to do for me. Got those brain cells active. Thank you guys, and congratulations on the debut, Bruce.

    OMG! My captcha is an actual word - ANYONE. Do I win something?

    Notsofast 2:15 PM  

    Medium for me. Not much snap. I didn't feel rewarded when I finished. Only...finished. Grade: C

    Elle54 2:17 PM  

    I liked it! Figured out the theme which helped. Had to guess on a few things, but got it right.

    Norm 2:24 PM  

    Hmmm, I liked this puzzle -- much more than I expected, since Neville often gives me fits at his own place. Don;t understand Rex's comments about "non-consecutive and seemingly arbitrarily placed circles" (forgive me if this has been mentioned above, since I don't have time to examine all however many comments there are) since the circles identifying each term ARE consecutive. Maybe they're arbitrary to the extent that they're not in same position in all the answers, but I give that nit-picking a big raspberry.

    Lorraine Dusky 2:32 PM  

    Champagne buckets (when used for champagne or wine) so not require the use of an implement called "ice tongs." They are used in ice buckets.
    I had the answer but resisted putting it in because it made no sense, unless Will Shortz somehow uses tongs when he takes the bottle of champagne out of the champagne bucket. Very irritating clue.

    Sandy K 2:41 PM  

    I was fine with this puzzle.
    No problem with COMEDY GOLD. David Letterman (guess it's obvious I'm a Dave fan) has often referred to George W and Bill Clinton as COMEDY GOLD.

    Didn't know IZZY, but it was gettable.

    My hubby, on the other hand, said "Tell Rex I agree with him 112%! The extra 12%is for IZZY. Hated it!!

    Miss Priss 2:52 PM  

    One properly fills a champaign bucket with ice using TONGS. What sort of heathens are you people, do you just dump it in willy-nilly? Do you use your feet to put it in? Do you re-use ice you've used to flash-freeze your fish?

    Next thing you're going to be complaining that MYLIPS doesn't fit for what you drink champaign with!

    jberg 2:53 PM  

    It's late in the day, everything has been said - except there was something about the grid-- if you work the way I do, getting an answer and then trying for the crosses, you were let all over the place. I very soon had a continuous chain going from top to bottom, with very little filled in to either side. Somehow that felt weird.

    I agree with whoever it was that said a clever revealer would have made the puzzle a lot better.

    Back to the vacation.

    GILL I. 3:01 PM  

    I enjoyed this puzzle. maybe needed tweeking on the clues but I liked a lot of the words.
    Zees are fun and we had lots today. ANTZ and BOOZER GAZING at IZZY IZOD.
    FALSE RIB was Adams but that corner cleared itself up and I breezed on thru.
    Am really enjoying all the ACPT comments.
    I once had a pen pal. I was living in Cuba and she lived in Canada. After 6 years of writing to each other, we finally met up. I did not have a good picture of her but I knew exactly who she was. Her smile was exactly as I expected - all from just the way she wrote. Imagine that!!! So, @Rex, just look what you've gone and done here...:-)

    sanfranman59 4:15 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)

    Tue 10:13, 8:23, 1.22, 88%, Challenging

    Top 100 solvers

    Tue 6:19, 4:54, 1.29, 98%, Challenging

    ben 4:22 PM  

    Somehow this fit within my realm of knowledge pretty well, so I was surprised to see the "challenging" label here. Managed to get everything by making educated guesses or crosses. As someone who doesn't always finish Tuesdays, that made this a fun one for me.

    Nameless 4:26 PM  

    Good Wednesday puzzzzzzle. IZZY not a problem as I spent too much time at college watching Miami Vice. It's a good thing NEMEA and UTNE have gettable crosses, which is how it should be.

    Love the ACPT comments; it really looked like fun.

    Christian 4:36 PM  

    Off topic here, but @Rex -- Your Herrick tweets remind me that I once made a vow never to have a girlfriend named other than Julia. Herrick gives a lifetime of come-ons, so I wouldn't have had to think at all.

    Z 5:27 PM  

    @LaneB - I think the number of puzzles that are easy for a few and challenging for everyone else is increasing. Today's seems to be an example of that. Even with ORC and UTNE being in my wheelhouse I found this challenging, but I read several comments from people who did found it easy. If it wasn't for my daily habit I'm sure I would have had to google to finish. Once or twice in the past few months I've been in the position of finding a puzzle easy and discovering most others found it challenging. I just remind myself to stay humble because tomorrows puzzle may tell a different story.

    ACPT is at an undoable time of year for me. I will have to contain my jealousy.

    mac 5:40 PM  

    I guess I got my Miami series confused. Just saw a picture of Izzy Moreno, never saw him before....

    Norm 5:43 PM  

    @Z (5:27 pm) Well said. Well said, indeed.

    retired_chemist 6:09 PM  

    @ LaneB, Z, Norm - IMO the more puzzles you do, the more stuff you have in your wheelhouse, the easier it all gets. Quite a few things today were either gimmes or were one of two or three options that would have been trouble for me a year or two ago.

    lawprof 7:25 PM  

    Surprised to see that Rex rated today's puzzle as challenging. I flew through it with only one writeover (40A REc/REV). Then, when Rex characterized his 5:25 time as "comically slow," I donned my dunce cap and sat in the corner. I'm still here.

    Norm 7:27 PM  

    ^^ Except Neville keeps putting rap "artists" and new movies and things like that into puzzles. Harrumph. I live my STOAs and ESNEs and a lot of the old stuff that Rex always puts down. #3 so I'm done for the day.

    OISK 8:10 PM  

    Very slow Tuesday for me, and not a lot of fun. Nwver heard of Comedygold, perhaps because I never watch Letterman. I don't call them ice-tongs, and have never heard the term. I like what Norm said...

    Sparky 8:39 PM  

    Found it quite doable. UTNE used to show up a lot in the 1980s. It's a magazine. @Z, good observation. Didn't even notice the lack of symmetry for the circles. At least they were on the same line. Once I had the top two it was easy to fill in the others.

    Not knowing IZZY din't bother me, got it on downs. You don't need to know every answer in a puzzle; just fill it in. AYRES and ARTIE skewed oldster.

    I had such a great time at ACPT. Never stopped moving. Have been sleeping a lot. I have to get out more.

    You are right, ACME. Thanks Will Shortz, and Helene Hovanec who keeps it all stitched together.

    michael 9:08 PM  

    nemed or nemea? I had no idea. I figured that eta showed up in puzzles more than etd. On the other hand I thought an announcement about etd was more likely than an announcemnt about eta. On the third hand, nemea sounded more biblical...

    I guessed right...

    michaell 9:31 PM  

    hmmm -- come to think of it -- Hercules isn't in the Bible. Bible clues are not my strong point as you might guess..

    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 6:44, 6:14, 1.08, 82%, Challenging
    Tue 10:18, 8:23, 1.23, 89%, Challenging

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 4:07, 3:42, 1.11, 88%, Challenging
    Tue 5:59, 4:54, 1.22, 94%, Challenging

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:14 PM  

    Finally got to do the puzzle after a long day. Happily for me, found it easy (in my usual untimed way.)

    I see no inconsistency in the theme answers, as long as you think of them as WIN/LOSE, TO/FRO, etc. Granted, it doesn't work as well if you think of WIN "and" LOSE, TO "and" FRO, etc. - so why do that?

    Now I am trying to think of the name of a radio program on which various animals are interviewed about their lifestyles. I hope to come up with it by tomorrow.

    Tita 11:38 PM  

    I am so overextended with post-ACPT fatigue, and balancing work with house guests.
    Puzzle was fun and easy.
    Made jewelry at Sugarbeads in Ridgefield with my para-nieces from France, baked cookies, helped them do online college applications...crazy-half in France, but at least an education is free...

    aria comedy marios 1:38 AM  

    agree with @bob Kerfuffle...
    no one said anything about "and"/
    Nothing inconsistent, wildly fresh and imaginative, super fun to solve...and not random circles at all, they were together...
    how neat to have Neville and Bruce discover nonconvoluted phrases that had opposites in them!
    I was wildly impressed!

    Saw Neville first night as I was leaving @ midnight and his delayed flight just getting in... and had had din with the modest Bruce who never mentioned he was about to have his debut!!! Congrats!!!

    Nothing to complain about this one, thought it was terrific! Was excited to show my friend whom I was waiting for before a play to show how nice and inventive it was. I really don't get how you couldn't appreciate this one!

    Plus I learned about FALSERIBs and DADDYO gives me a Dobie Gilles sort of smile!
    Bravo, youse guys!

    Anonymous 7:23 AM  

    OK, folks, you can quit arguing that this one wasn't difficult for a Tues. Sanfranman59's figures show that it was indeed challenging for a Tues based on average solve times. I just finished the next day's (Weds) at least a couple of minutes faster than the Tues. people, saying it was more difficult than average is not an insult, just an observation supported by the stats.

    xyz 9:32 AM  

    Why is it OK with all these silly words for a "proper crossword" for these
    1) Annoying circles
    2) rebus squares (such as H2O/OH on Sunday) to be asymmetrical?

    This theme was as lame as they come, i had to force myself to finish this smelly dog of a puzzle.

    I didn't think it was challenging by any means, but I guess the lamer it is and the better Rex feels, the less likely we are to hear criticism?

    Spacecraft 11:40 AM  

    Wait a minute. What day is this? Tuesday? Flippin' TUESDAY??? You have GOT to be kidding me. UTNE?? What in the world is that? OKEMO? Looks like Pokemon lost his head and tail, only way THOSE five letters make sense. COMEDYGOLD? Never heard of it. A polo competitor is an IZOD????? What is going on?

    I had started at the bottom after I couldn't glom LAWS right away (that one is at least fair...but mighty tricky for a Tues.) And when I got to 58d and stopped groaning, I just thought: you know what? this thing is not WORTH trying to make sense of. And I just quit.

    That's right: DNF. On a Tuesday. Just as well. IMAPC??????? You're joking! I never watch "Extra," I'm proud to announce, so wouldn't have known MARIO. Other things that I'm sure would have exacerbated my headache include DADDYO, FALSERIB and the NON-saying WINDINGTOACLOSE. No one says that. Wait, I'll say it. This blog is WINDINGTOACLOSE. I hope I never see a puzzle from either of these two again.

    P.S. Only SOME chessmen are "PIECES." Pawns are not.

    Solving in Seattle 2:34 PM  

    @Spacecraft, a mite testy (but funny) this morning, are we? If you haven't read @ED's comment, do so. He found the hidden meanings of this puzzle. You'll like the puzzle better.

    stowe before OKEMO, which came ENTIRELY on crosses. Never heard of it. Needed Rex to parse IMAPC for me. I MAP C... no. IMAP C... no. IM AP Oh, I'M A PC.

    Good work on this tough Tuesday Bruce and Neville.

    capcha: coulaa... yeah, DADDYO.

    Bruce S. 3:30 PM  

    Glad that you enjoyed the solve "Solving"

    Dirigonzo 4:33 PM  

    I seriously entertained the possibility that I might not finish but persistence and the crosses prevailed. NEMEA was in the (syndicated) Sunday puzzle two days ago, no? I totally did not understand COMEDYGOLD until it was explained in the comments, now I love it. I hope it won't offend anyone when I say, truthfully, the last thing I did was get LAID (I had to change ElWOOD to EDWOOD).

    To the constructors I say WELLDONE!
    And to Bruce S., thanks for visiting us way out here in SynCity - I can't recall any other constructors (except ACME) dropping by.

    DMGrandma 5:22 PM  

    Didn't find this one so hard once I traded my van in for a bus. However I did need the theme to fill the blanks in COMEDY--LD, an expression I don't know. Guess the crosses did a lot of the leg work for me, but I still find it amazing that I managed to finish a puzzle with "words" like OKEMO and UTNE. Still, I won't knock success. There's always Wednesday to face, and then.....

    Waxy in Montreal 7:15 PM  

    Exactly what @DMGrandma said about the theme and COMEDY--LD. And OKEM- for that matter! Certainly a challenging Tuesday but I for one welcome that earlier in the week - hope it's a trend.

    And let me echo @Diri in thanking our constructor(s) - great first effort, BTW - for dropping-in on us oft-forgotten plebes in SynCity.

    strayling 7:37 PM  

    You're a dismal bugger sometimes, Rex. This one was fun, with just the right amount of obscurity hiding answers which were revealed when this puzzler twigged to the theme.

    Bruce S. 9:01 PM  

    Glad that people seemed to enjoy it 6 weeks out. I always like when I get some knowledge from one puzzle and then can use it almost immediately in another. Thanks for the nice words.

    GILL I. 10:42 PM  

    Hey you plebes in SynCity.....There are lots of us who read you. I would think that half of us were wearing your shoes at one time. Just because we grew out of our size doesn't mean we send you to Goodwill.

    Ginger 12:12 AM  

    I swear I need to get my priorities in line. Had meetings today and here it is, almost 9:00 (on the west coast)and I'm just finishing the puzzle. one will see this, but I found this one to be fun, if quite challenging, especially for Tuesday.

    That I'm old helped, knew ARTIE (fine jazz clarinet)and remember watching Jack Webb in black and white. ANTZ was a lucky guess.

    @Bruce S. thanks for stopping by SynCity, and congrats on your puzzle. It's good to stretch the mental muscles, which I needed to do today.

    @Gill I. P. thank you, too, for your foray into the twilight zone. I always enjoy your posts in 'real time'.

    My heart goes out to the folks in Boston, and to the victims of this senseless mayhem.

    sdcheezhd 3:26 AM  

    Lurker Lou is right, COMEDY GOLD is the thing you make fun of so source is the right clue. Great answer I thought

    Anonymous 4:17 PM  

    @Bruce S --I agree,that threw me a bit.Yours made more sense.Why not use it?

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