Thor's archenemy in comics / TUE 3-26-13 / Title Seuss character who speaks for trees / Wow you're regular expert at turning left / Bears legend Walter / Classic video game consoles

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson and Doug Peterson

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: WOW! — Idiomatic expressions of surprise, clued literally (i.e. absurdly)

Word of the Day: GLENDA Jackson (62A: Jackson with two Best Actress Oscars) —

Glenda May JacksonCBE (born 9 May 1936) is a British Labour Party politician and former actress. She has been a Member of Parliament(MP) since 1992, and currently represents Hampstead and Kilburn. She previously served as MP for Hampstead and Highgate. After constituency changes for the 2010 general election, her majority of 42 votes was one of the closest results of the entire election.[1]
As an actress, she won two Academy Awards for Best Actress: for Women in Love (1970) and A Touch of Class (1973). (wikipedia)
• • •

Hey, I know these guys. Seriously, I know them. We had dinner a couple weeks ago in Brooklyn. So I would recuse myself, but this isn't the damned Supreme Court, so I'm going to say what's obvious, which is this puzzle is fantastic. Everything a Tuesday should be but somehow rarely is—bright, playful, entertaining, interesting, and easyish. And today, also a little bit ridiculous. I mean, some of these theme clues are hilariously absurd. I think my favorite is "Wow, you're a regular expert at turning left!" This fusty, archaic thing I know from crosswords (i.e. GEE = turn-left command to a horse) all of a sudden becomes charming in this ridiculous-clue context. The theme clues are my favorite part, but even if you leave them aside and consider only the grid, the puzzle still rules. All those exclamations look great, as do THE LORAX (14A: Title Seuss character who speaks for trees) and ROADKILL (67A: Animal that's been run over); the long Downs are more than solid; and there's hardly any junky fill anywhere. Plus you've got OMG as a nice little bonus theme answer (44A: Texter's expression of surprise). Great work.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: "Wow, he survived!" ("MAN ALIVE!")
  • 26A: "Wow, you're a regular expert at turning left!" ("GEE WHIZ!")
  • 38A: "Wow, those reptiles have mad hops!" ("LEAPIN' LIZARDS") — ICYDK: "mad hops" is basketball slang for "amazing jumping ability"
  • 52A: "Wow, look at that bovine idol!" ("HOLY COW!")
  • 64A: "Wow, I'm standing next to Mr. Clooney himself!" ("BY GEORGE!")

I had three detectable hold-ups during this solve—all Downs, all in the south. First one happened with the drain sound, GURGLE (50D: Sound of draining water). Had the -GLE, and wanted GURGLE, but then second-guessed myself, mainly because I feared I might be making that word up. "GURGLE ... is GURGLE a word?" Your (my) brain does this sometimes at relatively high speeds, and by "does this" I mean "jams." Next problem was with "I READ YOU" (40D: "Understood"), which (like GURGLE) is a great answer, but when you're coming at it from the top, looks like "I REALIZE" or "REASON" or something. I mean, those aren't good / don't fit, but the three-word phrase just wasn't visible to me til I got that terminal "U." Lastly, and worst of all, was NOT ANY (46D: Zero). Again, came at it from the top, and wanted ... NOTHING, but that' wouldn't fit ... then NOBODY (as in "he's a zero, he's a NOBODY), but that gave me nonsensical BEED at 58A. Ended up having to come at it from underneath via SWEATY GLENDA and PAYTON (sexy!).
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jae 12:14 AM  

    I'm with Rex on this one.  Easy for me with a zippy theme, zippy fill, and a low dreck count....Tuesday's don't get much better than this!  Thanks guys!

    B Donohue 12:30 AM  

    Seemed Monday level with Glenda Jackson the only tough clue. Very fun clues, answers, and solve.

    okanaganer 1:19 AM  

    64A: ~ Standing near Clooney = BY GEORGE... At the U of Washington in Seattle there is (or used to be) a restaurant thusly named, located next to a statue of good ol' George Washington. One of my favorite clever names!

    Davis 1:36 AM  

    Agreed, this puzzle was tons of fun. This was the best Tuesday in recent memory.

    As an added bonus for me, I jumped on this puzzle as soon as it was released and was the first-to-solve on the Magmic app. Even though I know that's meaningless, I'm pretty pleased about it.

    Carola 1:50 AM  

    I'm with Rex on this one, too. Delightful.. GEE WHiZ made me laugh, fun to see LEAPIN' LIZARDS across the middle.

    I liked IRON HAND balanced by EAGLE EYE across the grid. Also liked those two along with LEMON LAW - the images seemed to nicely complement the exclamations.

    @Rex - Thanks for explaining "mad hops."

    Thanks, Samuel Donaldson and Doug Peterson. URALright!

    Ataris Clam Manalive! 2:06 AM  

    HOLYCOW that was fun!
    And yes, bonus of OMG crossing D'OH! Nice reminder that exclamations used to be much more colorful and fun!

    (Compare and contrast LEAPIN' LIZARDS vs D'OH!)

    Also tickled about SWEATY palms on a first date... I mean do folks still have first dates or just go out in groups till two pair off, do shots and hookup?

    GLENDA Jackson is an MP?!?!

    chefwen 2:23 AM  

    How much fun was this kids? Had a stupid grin on my for the entire solve. A lot of silly little emotions throughout. TEED, IRKS, TUT, OMG, and AHA just to mention a few.

    @Clark - If you're still hanging around, give ROXIE a big hug from me. I see another shout out to you that I will leave unmentioned.

    Don't EVEN get me started on 48A, I could go on for hours.

    A super fun Tuesday puzzle. Thanks Gentlemen!

    Benko 2:24 AM  

    I like any puzzle which has acdc as its first across clue.
    Went to a bar before solving and still finished under 3 and a half minutes, so the fill was smooth.
    Also surprised to learn that Glenda Jackson of crossword fame is now a member of parliament.

    jae 3:55 AM  

    Forgot to mention the Spanish sub theme...OLES, DENADA, EBRO, and maybe DESI ( Cuban, si?)...

    Loren Muse Smith 5:00 AM  

    Yesterday’s SCREW IT leads us into today’s interjection-filled fun.

    Like @Acme pointed out – I saw the other smaller ones – DOH, OMG (and TUT, AHA) but also all the spoken: I READ YOU, I SEE, and IN A SEC.

    GEE WHIZ made me laugh, too. I haven’t ever dogsledded with a team of great mental giants, so on the rare occasion that the lead dog follows a GEE command, I think LEAPIN LIZARDS, that was cool!

    @chefwen – I’m with you on 48A. Yikes.

    Thanks Sam, and Doug. USE guys gave us a nice one. Good fun!

    Ellen S 5:13 AM  

    Well, my speedy finish is about 15 minutes , but I did move right sling. Enjoyed the silly theme answers (I think GEE WHIZ is a clear favorite) and lack of junk. Nothing made me cringe; obviously no eels, aloe, erns/ernes, ADITs, (the iPad keeps capitalizing these words, expecting them to be in every puzzle maybe?), Etta James, Eddie Arcaro (he used to be a regular, along with Willie Shoemaker) etc. finest Tuesday this side of the URALS. Thanks, gents.

    Evan 5:25 AM  

    MERLIN'S BEARD! ("Wow, that's one hairy wizard!")

    GREAT CAESAR'S GHOST! ("Wow, Julius has got some real spirit!")

    JUMPING JEHOSHAPHAT ("Wow, that Judean king's got mad hops, too!")

    My solving experience was somewhat less pleasant, but that has nothing to do with the puzzle. I was still groggy from waking up early, and then my screen decided to go completely black for about 10 seconds while I was solving -- it had to do with some automatic update. After it came back on, the puzzle in Across Lite shrank to a size too small to read the letters. Just irritating.

    The puzzle itself was fine, it had a clever theme, though I actually didn't notice it at all until I was about two-thirds done. I didn't see the clues for MAN ALIVE or GEE WHIZ or LEAPIN' LIZARDS -- I just had those filled in from crosses. HOLY COW gave me what felt like a very delayed a-ha moment (a side effect of being groggy, methinks).

    BY GEORGE seems like an odd man OUT, though -- I get that they're all supposed to be taken literally, but the clues for the others make it sound like a person would be pointing at and simply describing the figure before them ("That MAN is ALIVE," "that's a GEE WHIZ," "Those are LEAPIN' LIZARDS," That's a HOLY COW"). But "that's GEORGE Clooney and I'm standing right BY him" is a little more complicated. Oh well, it's a small nitpick.

    As an added bonus, I just discovered this page of Robin's "Holy..." exclamations from the 1960s Batman show. My favorite, by far, has to be "Holy holocaust!" but a close second is "Holy contributing to the delinquency of minors!" And here is two-and-a-half minutes of Robin's holy catchphrases -- enjoy!

    GILL I. 6:01 AM  

    Fun puzzle, right up my alley by cracky!

    Z 6:23 AM  


    The same time as yesterday (nine minutes for those who care) so definitely on the easy side.

    THE LORAX being reflected by ROADKILL seems a little ironic. Pearls Before Swine did several strips on ROADKILL last week.

    PS - speaking of SAGS, the "middle management answer is abs, not fat" guy had the LAT puzzle yesterday. A paltry eight theme answers. @Chefbea will like it for sure.

    dk 6:43 AM  

    Not as happy with this one as the rest of you. Feel a little better now I know GEE is left for a horse. Thanks Wilber.

    Speedy solve. With aka instead of NEE the only hiccup.

    Andrea my palms were SWEATY.

    *** (3 Stars) Fine Tuesday fare. Thanks Sam and Doug.

    MetaRex 6:54 AM  

    Agree on the niceness of this puzz. I don't rate it as highly for outsiders to CrossWorld as I do for insiders--reasoning on that is at

    Miss Molly

    OTD 6:59 AM  

    This is just what I needed this morning sitting in a motel in Sikeston, MO, getting ready for a trip up I-55 through St. Louis and Springfield--right through the big snow belt left behind by Virgil. Hope the interstate is cleared.

    Puzzle much fun. Agree with Rex all the way. Thanks to the constructing pair.

    webwinger 7:05 AM  

    Don’t get me wrong—I thought this was a really fine piece of work, and enjoyed solving it—but can’t quite muster the level of enthusiasm expressed by Rex and others. Guess wackiness is just not my cup o’ tea. March 5 (WHERE IT’S AT) was a superior Tuesday, IMO (and most of the commenters agreed it was outstanding). Maybe memory of that one was partially eclipsed by the soon to follow rush of ACPT. Re SAGS—am I right in thinking that this is a highly charged word for only one gender?

    John V 7:20 AM  

    A good one. Snag at 6D, as wanted GIVINGIN; 58A a bit gnarly, wanted IRED, but all these things fell into place.

    Yes, a good Tuesday.

    Mitzie 7:50 AM  

    For the second day in a row, I killed it. In record time. For real. This puzzle became my own personal ROADKILL.

    Totally agree with @Rex. After I read his glowing writeup, I did my usual thing where I try to find some reason to disagree with / hate him. Couldn't do it today, this is legitimately a great puzzle.

    Oh wait, there is one thing...

    Those Across 8-letter non-theme answers are kind of distracting.

    There. Suck it.

    Unknown 8:21 AM  

    Golly, everything about this was fun! The solve was so smooth-going that it had a "stars aligning" kind of snags, no ick, just lots of silly fun. Loved it!

    Tita 8:26 AM  

    Happy as a CLAM, since that is one of my favorite happiness simile...
    Echo everyone.
    @Rex - thanks for the "hops" clarification.

    @joho, @Gill, @lms, @acme et al. who make stories from the grid...
    My 89 yo Mom, who loves making up new ways to play Bananagrams, added the requirement that each player make up a story using their words at the end.

    I'm sure that at ACPT, the poor non-puzzling souls in the Marriott bar were wondering what on earth we nerds were doing there into the wee hours.

    Fun puzzle, Sam & Doug!

    Horace Fawley 8:36 AM  

    Does it bother anyone else that GEE is used to turn an animal to the RIGHT! HAW is used to turn left. Or are all my reference sources incorrect?

    joho 8:41 AM  

    Holy cruciverbalists! I think we've found our Dynamic Duo!

    This puzzle had me Happy as a CLAM from beginning to end.

    I also wondered, was everybody AGHAST when exclaiming the theme answers?

    Too much fun on this Tuesday!

    Thank you, Sam and Doug!

    jberg 8:44 AM  

    What everyone sais. I solved this with my head spinning from antibiotics, and the only trouble I had was wanting LEAPINg LIZARDS, but once I had to shorten it it was obvious. Also Tsk before TUT - nice to have some variety there!

    If memory serves, not only is Jackson an MP, but she was the Labour candidate for Mayor of London when they were on the outs with Ken Livingstone. He won anyway.

    Grannie Annie 8:51 AM  

    Checked to see if you liked this puzzle as much as I did. How great to have fun first thing in the morning. Wow!

    Paddy O'Malley 8:52 AM  

    @Horace - You're correct, GEE is right, haw is left. It applies to any draught animal, used when they're pulling a plow or something else.

    In my neck of the woods, here in County Cork, if one were to say GEE WIZ in the presence of a lady you'd get your face smacked.

    jackj 9:06 AM  

    The theme was clever, brilliantly executed in fact and the fill was first rate, nothing at all objectionable or even vaguely suspect in the 76 words that appeared as answers.

    GEEWHIZ was as good as it gets in NY Times crossword theme cluing and in the fill, the exquisite entries included GURGLE, EAGLEEYE, ROADKILL and IRONHAND, standouts all.

    But, all things considered, this was one of the easiest NY Times puzzle I have ever encountered in many years of wrestling with these fascinations we are treated to every day.

    Yet, it didn’t bother me for a second, the clues and answers were so enjoyable, my only regret was that it wasn’t a Sunday 23X23 that would have kept the pleasure going a bit longer.

    Thanks, Sam and Doug; there are too many highlights to try and list them all so let me simply say, “Thank you” for such a rare treat!

    Eric 9:18 AM  

    @Rex, thank you for explaining GEE...I knew it must have meant something, but had no idea until now. What's its "right" counterpart?

    And am I alone in thinking DESILU is a damned cute name? Would it be weird if I named my future daughter that?

    Yeah, probably a little weird.

    retired_chemist 9:29 AM  

    I found a dictionary which says GEE is a command telling the horse to go faster. I guess there are various dialects of horse-speak. Go right, however, is more common.

    Agree with all those who like this puzzle. Nothing very hard and everything interesting.

    Never know which 4 letter band I am dealing with so 1A was INXS until ATM FEE appeared. Then it was ABBA until DE NADA appeared. Then ACDC was finally obvious.

    Used URAL @ 30D to decide whether 34A was ROXIE or VELMA. Put the G in LEAPINg LIZARDS (WTF I'm over by a letter) then sorted it out.

    Time - medium.

    Thanks, Messrs. Donaldson and Peterson.

    Notsofast 9:30 AM  

    Sublimely goofy. The authors have no shame. Loved it.

    chefbea 9:32 AM  

    Fun easy Tuesday.

    @Chef wen and @Loren agree with you..48across

    Now to find yesterday's LAT puzzle

    cw stewart 9:33 AM  

    Hey, guys! This was a really good puzzle and it made me laugh outloud. The fill was also just ridiculously good. Thanks!

    Zeke 9:40 AM  

    As probably the only reader of this blog who's actually walked behind a team of oxen, I have to chime in and re-iterate those who've pointed out that GEE is turn right, haw is turn left, that the clue is flat-out wrong. Further, GEE is pronounced, in this case, with a hard G unlike the G in GEE WHIZ, a soft G.

    p.s. Google owns some of the best minds in the world, but WTF can't they figure out how to, if you put in an incorrect captcha, return you to the bottom of the comments section?

    @Rex - Supreme Court members rarely recuse themselves, even if they should. They've got no one to review their decisions, so they do as they damned well please, all sense be damned. Scalia is overt, highly vocal, and down-right bigoted re same sex marriage. In this one case he seems to think the job of government is to codify Deuteronomy. You'd think he'd recuse himself re FDOMA, but hell no, he's leading the charge.

    Anonymous 10:04 AM  

    FearlessKim here: fun, smooth solve, with loads of crunch, and so fast that I'm left wondering what I'll do with those extra minutes today... Loved the expressions and the bonuses: OLES! AHA! D'OH! OMG! GEE/Haw confusion unnoticed until pointed out here, and immediately forgiven. Gracias, Messrs. Donaldson & Peterson!

    chefbea 10:07 AM  

    @Z thanks for steering me to yesterday's LAT puzzle. Of course I loved it...I blushed only twice!!!

    Mitzie 10:09 AM  

    Check out these past NYT clues for GEE:

    11/3/05 -- "Dobbin's right"

    12/4/04 -- "Right call"

    2/2/03 -- "Go right"

    10/26/00 -- "Turn right"

    8/30/98 -- "Go right"

    I feel like mistakes are so few and far between, we have to be missing something, right? RIGHT?

    lawprof 10:21 AM  

    I was happy as a LARK as I STAREd down today's puzzle, dominating it with my IRONwill until I saw the error(s) of my ways and finished with a so-so time. But, GEE, it was fun!

    Eric 10:22 AM  

    @Mitzie, well sleuthed! A mistake! HAW WHIZ!

    Two Ponies 10:24 AM  

    Good fun for our Tuesday.
    Only write-over was iron fist (which seems more in the language to me) before iron hand.
    The gee/haw confusion is unfortunate and easily avoided.
    Oh well, the silliness made up for it.

    clem412 10:26 AM  

    You are absolutely correct on this puzzle - An absolute delight to solve after a busy, stressful day. Does just what a good Tuesday puzzle should do - entertain without being difficult.

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:30 AM  

    Quoting Wikipedia -

    Gee and haw
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Gee and haw are voice commands used to tell a draft horse to turn right or left when pulling a plow or other farm equipment, or to direct sled dogs pulling a sled or sleigh.

    For horses, in the U.S. "gee" (pronounced jee) generally means turn right, while "haw" means turn left. In England, the meanings are reversed, but as James Lloyd Clark points out, "Generally, work horses are not subject to a lot of international travel so the fear of great confusion on the farm is minimal."

    The English meanings are used for sledding in Alaska and Canada.

    jackj 10:32 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    quilter1 10:38 AM  

    The only thing that held me up was giggling between bites of cereal. What a great puzzle. I don't even care about the GEE error because the clue/answer was cute enough to excuse it. I'd like to hear from the constructors/Will about how that got by.
    The sun is shining, it didn't snow last night, I'm shopping for granddaughter's birthday and the puzzle was just fine. Life is good.

    jackj 10:41 AM  

    More from Wiki:

    GEE and HAW
    In popular culture:

    The song Pony Time, recorded in 1961 by Chubby Checker and a number one hit that year, includes the lyrics:

    Now you turn to the left when I say GEE,

    You turn to the right when I say HAW,
    Now GEE, ya ya little baby,

    Now HAW, ya oh baby, oh baby, pretty baby,

    Do it baby, oh baby, oh baby,
Boogety, boogety, boogety, boogety shoo.

    Who would challenge Chubby Checker?

    Unknown 10:44 AM  

    @jackj - I think the point of those lyrics was that the horse wasn't obeying

    Anonymous 10:49 AM  

    This quote from Wikipedia suggests that the "GEE error" is not that clearcut:

    Gee and haw are voice commands used to tell a draft horse to turn right or left when pulling a plow or other farm equipment, or to direct sled dogs pulling a sled or sleigh.[1][2]
    For horses, in the U.S. "gee" (pronounced jee) generally means turn right, while "haw" means turn left. In England, the meanings are reversed, but as James Lloyd Clark points out, "Generally, work horses are not subject to a lot of international travel so the fear of great confusion on the farm is minimal."[3]
    The English meanings are used for sledding in Alaska and Canada.

    jackj 10:51 AM  

    Rob C-

    I know, but I'm thinking Chubby's pony could be Sam and Doug's!

    (Three and out).

    Lewis 11:20 AM  

    Faster for me than yesterday, a big delight, minimal crosswordese. These are fun. But so are the ones that work our brains -- satisfying in a different way. Those make these types of puzzles better, and vice versa.

    A joy boys, keep it up!

    Milford 11:24 AM  

    I'll echo what @Benko said: any puzzle that starts with AC/DC is a good sign. THE LORAX just sealed the deal for me.

    Faster than yesterday's puzzle for me. Only real writeover was ZACk before ZACH.

    Loved GEE WHIZ, but it is a little weird that the directions are possibly wrong.

    Still not spring weather in Michigan, but the Oberon is here!

    mac 11:35 AM  

    Fantastic puzzle! I had iron fist at first, but that was the only write-over.

    It is very possible that the constructors got their hee information from Chubby;-).

    Masked and Anonymo4Us 12:06 PM  

    Mr. 40+ nailed it. Primo puz. Only minor complaint is that ULULATIN UBOLTS hasn't caught on yet as a hot phrase, outside a few specialty hardware stores. Also, the whos-yer-mama excellent writeup mysteriously pulls up short of offerin' the well-deserved...

    Silver Bullets:

    EAGLEEYE - If it can't have a U, at least make it vowel-rich. Build up that E-count.
    GURGLE - Poster child no-respect homage. Got yer U, plus the all-time-no-respect consonant G.
    CAVINGIN - Cavebatting disaster.
    AHA - Wanted AKA, which is no doubt a triumphant shout somewhere. The dude's name is evidently ZACh. Rhymes with ZAX?
    IRKS - Not desperate enough looking. Wanted IRES.
    LEMONLAW - 40+ would like this implemented in the crossword fill industry.
    LOKI - When doubled, it means "behold!", on Easter Island. Nice Easter homage, guys.

    p.s. Despite the historic significance of 44, 31, and either 40 or 41, do not put a lot of money on these numbers at the Caesars Palace Keno game.

    Am now safe and sound back in MaskedandAnonymousville. Fave trip spot: Tunnel View in Yosemite. Yosemite park ranger said they have a bear that only breaks into Mazdas. Evidently it hit it big on the first Mazda it tried. Was glad we had our Yugo.

    Nigel 12:56 PM  

    I only have a question today. How does someone do this puzzle in 1 minute and 49 seconds? It would take me more time to type in the letters with all the answers already worked out in advance. Ok, I accept that Rex can do it in 3:27 but really, less than two minutes. I need to know the secret - other than being excellent at crossword puzzles to begin with. I'm not bad, but I was certainly challenged by the puzzle today. That damn ZACH guy got me - shouldn't he have a K in his name. (And yes, I do know how to spell Zachary which is probably where the name comes from - just expressing my annoyance with myself since I would have finished faster if I hadn't mis-spelled that name.

    M and A also 1:10 PM  

    @Nigel. Brace yerself. Dan the champ Feyer did today's puz in 1:37. So did I, but the units of measure were different. Thanx for the help understanding zacH.

    p.s. I neglected to mention that that bear has broken into 27 Mazdas, so far. They have another Yosemite bear that checks all the door handles on cars, looking for an unlocked one, hoping for a big food payoff.

    LaneB 1:28 PM  

    Always nice to move fast and Google-free. An easy but fun Tuesday.

    Carola 1:41 PM  

    @chefwen, @loren, @chefbea - 48A: Same thought exactly! A friend's retirement-age mother and her friends who had a routine of going to the beach everyday called themselves the SAGS - for "Sun and Gossip Society." I liked that.

    Low hanging fruit 1:49 PM  

    SAGging isn't a problem for women only.

    Anoa Bob 2:05 PM  

    When I was a lad I learned to plow behind a mule. The most important thing to learn was not "GEE" or "Haw". The mule quickly learns which way to turn, and needs only an occasional light tug on the left or right rein.

    The most important thing to learn is to always walk on the upwind side of the plow track, so when ole Dobbin flatuates, and he will, it blows away from, not toward you.

    In grad school we did a study on CLAMs to see if they are indeed happy. Turns out they experience a wide range of feelings and emotions, and they are generally happy only at high tide!

    M and A's Last Silver Bullet 2:21 PM  

    @Anoa Bob: Was leary about doin' the mule train ride at the Grand Canyon area recently, for similar reasons. Be just our luck to bring up drag.

    Which reminds me when in Boron, Calif.: Take 20 Mule Team Road to the Borax plant. Scenic. The joshua trees are currently in bloom there, btw.

    Bob. Clam studies. "High" tide? har. Pull the other one.


    syndy 2:34 PM  

    Okay so you gets your team out and holler GEE and if the go Left-there you are! just hope they don't toe-in!I can't believe that ANOA BOB beat me to pointing out that clams are only Happy at High tide ;{ Holy cow but I loved this puzzle made me happy as a clam at high tide!

    DBlock 2:56 PM  

    Won't repeat others comments but did think it was nice to have a little Biblical reference on the first day of Passover

    sanfranman59 3:53 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 6:58, 8:20, 0.84, 6%, Easy

    Top 100 solvers

    Tue 4:21, 4:54, 0.89, 12%, Easy

    R. McGeddon 4:06 PM  


    gee, int.1

    Pronunciation: /dʒiː/

    A word of command to a horse, variously (in different localities) used to direct it to turn to the right, to go forward, or to move faster.

    OISK 5:10 PM  

    Back in black band-oh,no, another rock pop filled puzzle that is little fun for me...that is what I thought after just one clue. Wrong! Turned out to be a funny, clever, all-round pleasure. Thanks, guys!

    Sam Donaldson 5:52 PM  

    Here's why I'll never be an elite solver: Rex finished in 3:27. I finished in 3:28. And you might say I had an unfair advantage.

    Thanks for the nice comments, everyone. Collaborating with Doug is a terrific experience, and hopefully we'll be back with more puzzles soon.

    Sfingi 6:20 PM  

    Couldn't get past STN as being the abbrev. for station. Had STA, and still believe any old abbrev. can't just do.

    As LOKI would say, "Keep it low key," So, I liked the rest - all those expressions. And a mini-theme, "Understood."

    Didn't know DENADA, Mr. Galifianakis, or Miss Saldana, but, in a good puzzle they fall into place. (IMHO)

    @Benko - Does it take you more or less time to do it sober?

    Tie hay on the horse's left leg, and straw on the other (the right). When you want him to turn left, say, "straw foot." Right, say "hay foot." Worked for my parents.

    Michael Nute 7:38 PM  

    I'm not sure if this was intended by the author, but I interpreted the G in GEE whiz to have a double entendre as a circular arrow pointing leftwards. So you could theoretically read it as "LEFT-EEWHIZ", although that would probably depend on how you make your G's. I was using the Ipad app, so it looked obvious.

    Anonymous 12:01 AM  

    I'm with you, Horace.

    Karen Susan 10:08 AM  

    family first shows values that are the foundation of a nation. family first believes in the importance of values. Values like telling the truth, living within your means, hard work, respect, courtesy, compassion, courage, generosity. But when we see cronyism, wastefulness, backstabbing, price gouging by government agencies (water prices, power prices, land prices) and politicians spending millions of dollars on themselves while hospitals are being closed and pensioners can’t afford to heat or cool their homes, we know there is a lack of values and a failure of leadership.

    Ellen S 11:59 AM  

    What a shame that the last entry here is from a right-wing robot. "Living within your means" means you ca go to college if you're wealthy. Or, if you go tens of thousands of dollars in debt, don't complain about it. Time was Californians and New Yorkers could get a Bachelors degree nearly as cheaply as a high school diploma--tuition free. What a marvelous investment for a society to make in it's future. Remember the other day, the quote from JFK, "art" is "the great democrat"? Not if only those who can afford to practice it have the opportunity. (Artists didn't always starve in garrets.)

    MetaRex 4:09 PM  

    Agree w/ Ellen S. on the robot...right-wingers can be v. fine people indeed, while spambots of whatever persuasion are not fine at all.

    Should the now-acknowledged "gee" error affect our opinion of the puzz? A Meta-ruling at Gee, what do I think now?

    vacation in cork 7:19 AM  

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I've really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

    Anonymous 10:05 AM  

    In the syndicated version of the puzzle, 26 across reads "Wow, you're a regular expert at turning right!"

    Looks like someone may be acknowledging the error.

    - Just sayin'

    Best Tuesday ever from where I sit a month later.

    Mike from Ohio

    Spacecraft 11:26 AM  

    Looks like our boys ACEd this one! Little to add: fun theme, solid fill, what's not to like? NOT ANY thing...well, that was a bit wifty but "Wow! Somebody's been using that poster of Mr. Malone for dart practice!" (HOLYMOSES) Great Tues.

    Ginger 2:04 PM  

    I laughed out loud when I got 26-A, and the chuckles kept on coming. Sam and Doug have set the bar waaaaay up high.

    48-A feels personal, but I tell myself I've earned every one of those lumps, bumps and bags. Result of a lot of good living.

    Solving in Seattle 3:26 PM  

    Jumpin Jehoshaphat, what a fun few minutes! Do you think GLENDA is SWEATY because she's right BYGEORGE?

    @Z pointed out that Pearls Before Swine did a gig on armadillo road kill last month. Check it out if you haven't seen them.

    Go Sonics! Loathe Stern.

    Waxy in Montreal 3:47 PM  

    Kudos to Anon 10:05am (Mike from Ohio) for picking up the turnabout (so to speak) on the clue for 26A. Don't remember Will showing similar concern for syndcity in the past so hope it's the beginning of a new trend.

    Fresh, breezy Tuesday puzzle, very appropriate to the beautiful early spring day we're enjoying up here in the NE corner of the continent.

    Dirigonzo 4:22 PM  

    The weeks is certainly off to a fine start with two awesome early-week puzzles to get things going. I thought today's was a little easier than yesterdays and just as much fun. We've heard about the Pearls Before Swine strips about ROADKILL so here's a comic from another strip to show you why CLAM may not be the best answer for 4d: (courtesy of Chad Carpenter in Tundra Comics)

    strayling 7:27 PM  

    Nice bouncy, playful puzzle to take the edge off a long day at work. Just what I needed.

    For fun, I recorded my time. 8 minutes, in ink with no writeovers. I won't be entering contests anytime soon, but I'm learning to enjoy these strange US crosswords.

    Anonymous 9:46 PM  

    Hi guys. Don't know if anyone reads a post a month later, but out here in CA, that's when our paper publishes the NY Times puzzle. I like to do the paper edition and always enjoy reading Rex's posting and all of yours. I loved this puzzle. Easy for a Tues. and fun!

    Bob Kerfuffle 11:03 PM  

    @Anonymous 9:46 PM - Five week delay is standard for the syndicated puzzle, and the follow-up function on comments works a lot longer than that. Pose a question or make a challenging statement and you will most likely get a reply.

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