Amateur detective in 1967's Clue in Crossword Cipher / TUE 5-14-13 / 1983 Duran Duran hit / Abnormal part of Voldemort's visage

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Constructor: John Lieb

Relative difficulty: Very Easy

THEME: NAME-DROPPER (12D: Status-seeking sort ... or a solver of this puzzle, initially?) — three theme answers are names ("dropping" Down) with the initials N.D.

Theme answers:
  • 5D: With 41-Down, title teen in a 2004 indie hit (NAPOLEON / DYNAMITE)
  • 24D: "Song Sung Blue" singer (NEIL DIAMOND)
  • 20D: Amateur detective in 1967's "The Clue in the Crossword Cipher" (NANCY DREW) 
Word of the Day: NICENE Creed (48D: Christianity's ___ Creed) —
The Nicene Creed (Latin: Symbolum Nicaenum) is the creed or profession of faith (Greek: Σύμβολον τῆς Πίστεως) that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene (pron.: /ˈnsn/) because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea (İznik in what is now Turkey) by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325. (wikipedia)
• • •
Despite the fact that this theme is borderline incoherent, I enjoyed this puzzle. It was weird; theme still doesn't make much sense to me, but the fill was clean and the answers were interesting. The phrasing on the revealer clue ... I just can't get it to make any grammatical sense. I see what it's going for—the names that are "dropping" around the grid all have the initials "N.D.," the same "initials" as NAME DROPPER—but the phrasing is convoluted. It's the "initially" that's off. "Solver of this puzzle" = NAME DROPPER. That I get. But from "initially" I am supposed to get a. that the theme answers all have the same initials and b. that those initials are the same initials as NAME DROPPER? That's something I could only figure out in retrospect. The phrasing in the clue is just broken. I guess that's why the "?" is there—to excuse the cluing infelicities. Still, I liked this. Very little of the junk you often see in Tuesday puzzles, and even if the puzzle was thin and weird, theme-wise, at least it was interesting. It's going for something wacky and different, and (importantly) not torturing fill in order to do it. So, thumbs up (esp. when judged on a Tuesday scale).

Started off fast with CASINOS being a gimme, and virtually all the Down crosses dropping easily and immediately from there (1A: Locales for "Ocean's Eleven" and several Bond films). And then I just Tore through the grid. Under 3 minutes, which is Very fast for me on a Tuesday. Faster than yesterday's puzzle, for sure. Only place I even hesitated was with the theme answer NAME DROPPER, and (less so) with BASEMEN (wasn't sure it was a word, since the term I'm more familiar with is BASERUNNER) (18A: Who, What and I Don't Know, in Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" routine). I had no idea that a whistle gave a lifeguard anything that would legitimately qualify as a TANLINE, so that took some crosses, but all the surrounding answers were so easy that I can hardly say the whistle clue slowed me down (66A: A lifeguard's whistle might create one). I enjoyed remembering "Song Sung Blue" and "Rio." Never been a "NAPOLEON DYNAMITE" fan, but I like it here, symmetrically, in the grid. Nice touch to give NANCY DREW a crossword-related clue.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:10 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  Had tear off before RIP OPEN as a result of doing the across answers first, but that was about it except for briefly fumbling where the double A goes in SANAA.

Pretty impressive grid for Tues.  Sorta tricky theme plus the3s aren't bad and the corner 7 stacks are a nice touch.  Liked it.

Speaking of NAME DROPPING, I count 9  answers that could have been clued using a movie:  ICE, RIO, OMEGA, SADDLES, NATURAL, BRAZIL, STAR, EVE, DAS....

Vote for Pedro 12:13 AM  

"what are you going to do today, Napoleon?" "Whatever I feel like doing, Gosh!"

Anonymous 12:14 AM  

Solid fill-wise, and a decent theme for a Tuesday. And apparently John Lieb's NYT debut crossword too. Well done!

dmw 12:17 AM  

Easiest puzzle (that's *puzzle*, not Tuesday) I have seen in a while. But fun, and 12 seven letter words.

retired_chemist 12:28 AM  

Fastest Tuesday ever. Very easy indeed. Other than not remembering NANCY DREW, the theme answers dropped right in. Briefly puzzled over 75A (hAM vs. YAM) but CYSTS @ 51 D was obvious and gave me YAM. Didn't know CASINOS (1A) either but a few crosses got it.

Even for a Tuesday, not enough challenge IMO. Better than meh, not memorable.

okanaganer 12:32 AM  

Yemen city: today's answer = SANAA, Sunday's = SANA. Is this coincidence? Damned var. spellings!

CYSTS sounds like it should be 3 syllables but is technically only one, and no vowels except Y...crazy, man. I wanted 57A to be HAM and 51D "thanksgiving staple" to be CHAOS!!

I liked the Roger Bannister clue for MILER. That's a golden dad's era.

PK 12:38 AM  

Name Dropper, initially. N.D. Get it? Initials N.D.

I loved it. Thought it was fun and zippy and if it was a debut, then congratulations, John Lieb.

sanfranman59 1:27 AM  

FWIW, the basemen (and all of the other players) in "Who's on First?" are fielders, not runners ... Who, What and I Don't Know play first, second and third base, respectively.

Kristin 1:32 AM  

Real easy for me. I must have read every single NANCY DREW book (as of the 70s) by the time I was 12...

chefwen 2:10 AM  

I guess they switched Monday and Tuesday again.

Like retired_chemist Nancy Drew was slow to come to mind, that was soooo long ago for me. I did read them all, way back when. Once I got 58A A COW, I said "oh yeah, I remember her now" off the W.

Jon filled in Timeout on his copy at 66A and was feeling pretty proud of himself until it didn't work out. I thought that was a better answer than TAN LINE. He did too.

Acela Casino Milers 3:54 AM  

Gosh, everything @Rex said, almost word for word!

Coupla bleedovers: ARIZONA and ISBN.

But super smooth.

For the semi-literate, culturally mixed up,
boNApart and DYNAMITE have the same amount of letters, esp if you forget the final E!

I got NEILDIAMOND and BASEMAN and saw MANTLE in the grid and heart sunk that it was to be yet another baseball theme, so glad it wasn't!

NAMEDROPPER was one of the original names for my ACME NAMING company, so glad I didn't go with that in the end, but still think it's fun.

ELLEN Degeneres remains my least favorite female standup I've ever worked with, but had the pleasure of the company of Vanda Mikolski, Bernadette Luckett and Maureen Langan tonight for our first book launch party for "No Kidding"!
Standing room only and lively discussion and fun to be with gals I did standup with in the 80s
(when we were 12)

NICENE is new to me, but maybe that's a Jewish thing. But that didn't stop Mr. LIEB!

If I were to change even one thing about this nice puzzle, it would be to do away with CYSTS and SANAA. But that SNOOZED/TANLINE combo reminded me of the beach, so one big pass!

fvigeland 5:47 AM  

Woo, acme, glad the book launch went well!

My two cents on how to parse the revealer: upon solving this puzzle, you are an N.D. name dropper = this answer + this answer initially? That is, you drop in names that begin with N.D. A little weak, but I like how Rex phrased that the ? makes up for the slight stretch in the cluing. Besides, this theme takes us slightly outside of the box, so I enjoyed.

3333/afa 5:52 AM  

I'm really curious to hear how okanaganer pronounced "cysts." It seems like it'd be an adventure.

Also, I had always assumed that "Who's On First?" referred to the runners, until sanfranman59 said otherwise and I double-checked on Wiki. That's bizarre. If someone were to ask me "Who's on first?" I'd assume he were asking me who the runner was -- but I may be prejudiced, since most of my baseball-watching life has consisted of having unique-looking, easily identifiable manning the first-base bag (John Kruk, Ryan Howard).

sarah from london 6:32 AM  

The theme is actually very clever. The names all drop down. They all have the same initials, ND. And the initial solver of the case was Nancy Drew -- who after all tackled the mystery in 20D, "The Clue in the Crossword Cipher." Given that she was the detective in dozens of mystery stories more famous than this one, it's no coincidence that John Lieb picked that very title for his puzzle.

Capt. Obvious 7:16 AM  

Ya think?

Z 7:25 AM  

I don't know about "very" easy, but at 8 minutes I was in my typical Monday zone.

I see LEO has lost his RRN? What's a pope to do?

So our lifeguard sits there all day with his shades on and his whistle around his neck. When he gets home tonight he has two white lines from his eyes to his ears and a white parabola on his chest. Of course, one rarely sees this sight anymore because so few public beaches actually still have lifeguards. Where is David Hasselhoff when you need him?

This puzzle is most definitely not trash. Mr. lieb can put it on his MANTLE.

John V 7:25 AM  

Nice one and good debut, John Lieb. Only pause here was OTIC/NANCYDREW cross.

Nice indirection with clue for TANLINE!

Mohair Sam 7:26 AM  

Very easy Tuesday, but fun.

A few years ago a friend and fellow baseball fanatic sent me an email with a picture of Dodgers reserve infielder Chin-Lung Hu leading off first base, the shot clearly showed the name on his back "Hu." My friends only comment - "Finally"

Anonymous 7:35 AM  

Very easy. I solved this in five minutes, too easy even for a Tuesday

Milford 7:43 AM  

Hand up for fastest Tuesdat ever, which for me is sub-9. Still can't solve a puzzle as fast as Bannister's MILER.

Theme I get, even if oddly worded, and is a fantastic mix of characters and people. I also love all the movie references, Ocean's Eleven, Animal House, The NATURAL, NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, Pulp Fiction, and even, as a stretch, RAZED ARIZONA! All movies I enjoyed.

RIO clued as a Duran Duran song is just the icing on top for me. Had a semi-fanatical love for them at age 12.

We call our Labrador the OMEGA dog - he will submit to a chipmunk, I swear.

Great puzzle, thank you John!

Sherlock 7:51 AM  

@3333 I deduced @okanager must be a stutterer

Carola 8:00 AM  

Thought it was RAD, agree with @sarah from london on its cleverness. I loved the ace puzzle solver Nancy Drew right in the CTR.

Loren Muse Smith 8:10 AM  

Hey, John - You beat me to the punch! I had a big list going – Notre Dame, New Dimension, Nerve Damage, Nth Degree, North Dakota, Narrow Down, National Debt - and all four of yours, and was kicking around an *indies* reveal/theme. I like your idea better – the names all dropping down.

I loved the east’s DEPTH, STAVE, SHRED group. And NO SE crosses LOBOS!

I got LATERAL off only the A. Where, oh where has @Tobias been?

If this is your debut, John, I’m really impressed. Four corners of triple seven stacks. Nice job!

dk 8:11 AM  

John, we come here to praise you not bury you.

Go to Potter Puppet Pals to learn the Voldemort song.

So in grad school the women from Scripps College (a smart lot) would come to our Halloween parties disguised in very esoteric ways. One year it was punctuation marks and the next various ecumenical or heretical texts including NICENE creed and Luther's tenets. Hi Addie.

🌟🌟🌟 (3 Stars) Wonderful Tuesday

Excuse me has a certain someone written a book?

joho 8:13 AM  

I was slow on the uptake and the downlow because while I got that the names dropped, I never got that the initals N.D. were in the reveal. In fact, I changed "initally" to "essentially" to make more sense of it while, of course, totally missing the point or better yet, points.

I decided there was a poker connection with NAPOLEON who DREW a DIAMOND and shouted, DYNAMITE!

Very nice puzzle, John Lieb, congratulations!

jberg 8:53 AM  

Oh, SANAA, how you've grown in just two days! Probably on Thursday we'll have a puzzle with punctuation, constructed by a Scripps alumna, and you'll be SANA'A, with almost as many syllables as CYSTS (hey, just try pronouncing it out loud - and don't skip any consonants!)

Anyway, I noticed the dropping names started with N, but somehow failed to notice the D. Doh!

Aside from OTIC (nearly the worst suffix clue ever) and the reappearance of UMA, it was indeed a very nice, fun puzzle. Not quite so easy for me as others, because I had --P-H at 41A, and couldn't stop thinking it was some special kind of ph measurement. STAVE finally warded off that problem, and I was home.

chefbea 9:14 AM  

Got the theme but didn't realize they all had the same initials. Who is Napoleon Dynamite.

Love Neal Diamond. Saw him in concert twice and have most of his CDs

jackj 9:21 AM  

This was a debut puzzle from John Lieb and somewhat of a disappointment in that each clue I faced was immediately filled in; not a one that required further thought or crossing entries.

Discovering the theme was not necessary to complete the puzzle and on finishing and looking back at the N D (for NAME DROPPER) entries there were no surprises, with double entry NAPOLEON DYNAMITE leading the bunch.

NEIL DIAMOND has a unique attachment to Boston; a local tradition calls for his song “Sweet Caroline” to be played in the middle of the eighth inning at every Red Sox home game.

He again cemented his reputation with Bostonians when he rearranged his schedule and traveled unannounced, (without a posse and at his own expense), from LA to Boston, five days after the Marathon bombing, to lead the fans at Fenway Park in a rousing edition of his “Sweet Caroline” during the eighth inning of a Red Sox game with the KC Royals. (The song was also belted out by fans at baseball parks around the country the first week after the terrorist event as a tribute to Boston Strong!)

Interesting items among the fill in today’s puzzle included THEWAVE, something still done at each game by fans at Fenway Park, but hasn’t THEWAVE been abandoned as passé most everywhere else?

Also TANLINE, (though its cluing could have used a little more thought), STAVE, NICENE, NATURAL for “Undyed” and ORIGAMI, were all modestly clever answers.

(Maybe there’s a sequel to this N D puzzle lurking that uses N.B. (NOTA BENE) with the likes of a two part NATIONAL BROADCASTING and creepy madman NORMAN BATES et al, to be some of the “noted well” theme entries).

A very workmanlike construction from Mr. Lieb; surely we’ll be enjoying more of his puzzles in the future.

Tita 9:26 AM  

Liked it better in retrospect. Absolutely loved NANCYDREW as a kid, though don't remember this title. Always wished I could find a hidden staircase in my house.

Wondered if I could have found a more distant from reality noun than shepherd on which to tack the ugly ESS.

Thanks Mr, Lieb, You EARN a STAR in my Crossword Cipher book.

lawprof 9:31 AM  

Funny how a super easy puzzle can be lots of fun.

My time would have been fast (at least by my standards) if I hadn't gotten hung up at 66A, where the lifeguard's whistle created a mANLINE - you know: where several people link hands to rescue someone who's floundering in the surf. That, coupled with hAM as my Thanksgiving staple, gave me ChSmS at 51D. All quickly fixable, but did slow me down.

mac 9:34 AM  

Very easy but fun to me, too. ISBN and Nicene's N was the only pause, I always have trouble with acronyms.

Congratulations on the successful book party, @Acme!

Little Bo Peep 9:38 AM  

@Tita - What are you talking about re ESS?

jerry k 9:41 AM  

Nicene is new to me also, but after Googling it is doesn't look like a 'Jewish thing', or any other klutzy pseudo intellectual phrase.

Eric 9:46 AM  

I think this was my fastest Tuesday ever. Sprinted through it with nary a hiccup.

- ISBN two days in a row?
- ARIZONA two days in a row?
- Shouldn't YAM be pluralized? I don't think I've ever encountered a YAM by its lonesome.
- ALS, ALE, AGE, and AHI in the same puzzle?

Good Crossing: BISECT / A SEC
Better Crossing: BRAZIL / TAN LINE
Best Crossing: THE WAVE / I WON'T!

OISK 9:47 AM  

A fast Tuesday for me as well; I preferred yesterday's slow Monday that most here disliked greatly. Still, a nice, smooth puzzle, even though I missed part of the theme. I saw that there were three names going down, but somehow missed the "N-D" connection! Pretty clever and original. My one little nit to pick - surely there are dozens of better ways to clue "Rio" than a reference to a Duran Duran song?? Who the heck is Duran Duran? I associate Duran with Sugar Ray Leonard... Fine puzzle though, thanks, John.

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

Anyone have INFIELD before BASEMEN? That was my first response, but fixed it quickly after looking at crosses.

Martin Luther 9:50 AM  

@Jerry K - ACME was saying that not knowing the NICENE Creed was a Jewish thing. Makes sense, as the NICENE Creed is the statement of faith for Christians, what with it's being essentially about the divinity of Jesus.

Google: For the love of anything referenced in the NICENE creed, could you please change blogger so that if your captcha entries are incorrect the page scrolls to the end? It's not hard.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:56 AM  

What Rex said.

Rob C 10:05 AM  

The NICENE Creed is very similar to the Apostle's Creed, which may be more familiar to some.

JC66 10:07 AM  

For those young enough to have never seen the original Abbott & Costello bit, here's why Who, What, etc are clearly position players.liroesc houses

jerry k 10:09 AM  

@Martin Luther -- thanks for the clarification.
@ACME - too early, apologies.

Sandy K 10:18 AM  

Thought the NAME DROPPER theme was easy, but clever and fun neverthe-less.

Hand up and a WAVE for liking NANCY DREW BISECTing the CTR of the puzzle.

Now I'll be wondering why ELLEN is @ACME's least favorite stand-up.

quilter1 10:25 AM  

Easy and fun for me. Happy Tuesday, folks.

Two Ponies 10:35 AM  

Well done Mr. Lieb.
Nice vocabulary in the fill.
No eels, just rice for our sushi.
@ Mohair Sam 7:26, Very funny. I had to read your comment twice to get the joke but then a big grin.
Happy for your book party @Andrea. Sounds like fun.


PLAYERS preceded BASEMEN for me, but otherwise I escaped unharmed.

Early on I was hoping for an Abbott & Costello theme.

Mr. Benson 10:50 AM  

I don't time myself but this might have been a record time for me. Never slowed down at any point. Even with the confusing "TANLINE" clue, at that point I had something like "TA_L_NE," glanced at the clue and saw "something something lifeguard," filled in the remainder and moved on. The actual clue never even registered in my head until I read this blog.

I also liked a lot of this grid but it could have used slightly more challenging clues, just to give a little resistance.

Matthew G. 11:12 AM  

Yeah, if you listen to the entire "Who's On First?" routine, it becomes clear that they're referring to fielding positions, not runners, notwithstanding that being "on first" ordinarily means being a runner. The routine ends with Costello exploding "I don't give a darn!" and Abbott saying, "Oh, that's our shortstop."

Masked and Anonymo1Us 11:20 AM  

ND. Nice Debut. Approve highly of such puz funkiness. Is the constructor a North Dakotan, perchance? We had pretty good pizza in Fargo, once.

@Constructor: Fear not the U, my son. Loved yer opening and closing 7-stacks, btw.

pmdm 11:25 AM  

ACME et alii et aliae: The first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church occurred in the city of Nicene in the 4th century. The Council drew up a text that includes what the Church hierarchy of the day considered basic beliefs of Christianity. There is a shorter text that predates the text drawn up during this Council, a text we now call the Apostle's Creed. To distinguish the new text from the Apostle's Creed, reasonably enough it named after the city wherein it was created.

The original Latin text of the Nicene Creed is considered one of the "Proper" parts of the Mass (that is, one of the parts that always stays the same. It is usually one of the five parts of the Mass (the others being the Kyrie Eleison, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei) that composers set to music when writing a Mass setting. [Except if the setting is a Requiem, since funeral Masses do not include the Gloria and Credo.] Examples include Bach's Mass in h moll, Beethovan's Missa Solemnis, Bernstein's Mass, and numerous settings by Mozart and Schubert. Schubert, not being a Catholic, deleted the word "catholic" when he set the Nicene Creed to music even though the word used in the creed is "catholic" with a small "c."

All you wanted to know about the Nicene Creed and more.

Interestingly enough, one the the captcha words that I need to enter to publish this comment is "ascensions."

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

I liked the TANLINE clue- I might have over thought it, but I thought it was a play on lifeguards getting kids back in line for the diving boards, etc... So it could be TANLINE or TAN LINE (of pool goers).

Jeffrey 11:44 AM  

@OISK: Who the heck is Duran Duran?

No, Who is on first.

@Bob Kerfuffle: What Rex said

No, What is on second.

Lewis 11:56 AM  

This was a good Monday level puzzle. The only reason I can think of for Will presenting it today is that the theme is so weirdly stated, i.e., confusing. I am thinking that this puzzle shouldn't have been accepted because the theme is too weak. If you can't make a cogent reveal, then the theme is too weak. There's just not enough there -- three names with the initials ND. If there was a clever reveal that could be made with ND, then it would have been fine, but I can't think of one, and neither did the constructor, and/or Will, IMO.

JenCT 12:12 PM  

NAPOLEON DYNAMITE is one of those movies that seemed so incredibly stupid to me when I first saw it, but I found myself repeating lines from it all the time:

"Vote for Pedro"
"I caught you a delicious bass."
"Vote for me and it'll be Summer all the time."

Fun puzzle.

Mohair Sam 12:30 PM  

@OISK - Duran Duran is the '80's group that is not Lisa Lisa nor Mr. Mister.

Joseph Heller's Major Major Major Major was a fan.

Milford 12:52 PM  

@JenCT - And don't forget:

"A liger. It's pretty much my favorite animal."

syndy 12:55 PM  

I might be willing to accept ARIZONA two days in a row as coincidence but ISBN? UHUH NO WAY! Pull the other one! I'm callind B* S* on Mr Shortz on this. Tuesdays are defined as easy puzzles with weak themes-there you go!

okanaganer 1:03 PM  

@sherlock and @3333: For me, CYSTS and WASPS are just horrible words to pronounce! Those trailing consonants seem to go on forever.

It must be those two darned S's, because STRENGTHS--which is only one syllable but ends with five (!!) consonants in a row--isn't so bad.

Napoleonic Crossword Code 1:04 PM  

@JenCT- See also...
"Vote for me and your wildest dreams will come true."
"I want it" ( said with a deadpan, country drawl)

Loved the mail-order time machine. And the QB steak pass. And a giant thUmbsUp for the ND dance routine. har

Somethin about the puz dept.:
OYL - [ ___ of Oylay]. Needs some more work...
ACOW - Waco after extensive fracking.
ALS - [ "___ Wel That Ends Wel" ].


Bird 1:43 PM  

A good puzzle that was fun to solve. One mistake slowed me down – I had PLAYERS instead of BASEMEN. My only other error was having a MAP instead of ICE next to the elevator.

LaneB 1:47 PM  

Any time I'm able to march steadily through a puzzle without erasures or Google help, it must be very easy. Small delay at cross of CSA and CYSTS , but otherwise no challenge whatsoever. A semi-refreshing change.

Tanning Mom 1:47 PM  

TAN LINE is the queue of folks waiting behind me for their turn in the tanning bed.

Don't forget to look for me in a soon to be released adult movie - I make a cameo.

Charley 2:07 PM  

Basemen are in the field ( defense). Base runners are on offense- the team at bat. Baseball 101.

David from CA 4:02 PM  

63D: Where's the dot!? Alternative to ".com" is ".org".
Great fun puzzle despite that.

(We take you now to the Oval Office, ca 2003.)
George: Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening?
Condi: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China.
George: Great. Lay it on me.
Condi: Hu is the new leader of China.
George: That's what I want to know.
Condi: That's what I'm telling you.
George: That's what I'm asking you. Who is the new leader of China?
Condi: Yes.
George: I mean the fellow's name.
Condi: Hu.
... full skit @

chefbea 4:05 PM  

@David that was great

John in Philly 4:16 PM  

Fastest Tuesday ever - so loved that - 7:37. Nice streak of clean puzzles lately without obscure stuff.

sanfranman59 4:22 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 6:11, 8:09, 0.76, 1%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Tue 3:53, 4:47, 0.81, 2%, Easy

At the moment, these ratios are the 2nd and 3rd lowest of the 180 Tuesdays in my spreadsheet for the two groups of solvers. These numbers would be right at home on Monday.

OISK 4:26 PM  

Thanks for the info, Mohair Sam. I had assumed that Duran Duran, like Santana, was a person, not a group. Wrong, wrong!

Tita 5:31 PM  

@David...Thanks...I remember that at the time, but had forgotten about it.
Funny on several levels.

acme 7:03 PM  

Rethink a bit. He made a puzzle where names drop down...but it could have been ANY names...
so he made one where the names shared the same initials with name dropper...I think that definitely elevates it to a nice theme...
And the Nancy Drew crossword tie in is an extra layer of sweetness.

@Martin Luther, @pmdm
Thank g-d for you! That was NICE(ne).

apology accepted, my posts can be a little tough to follow unless you are used to the way I speak/write.
I will add "klutzy pseudo intellectual" to my resume.

ill-will stemming from being the only two women out of 40 comics in the SF Comedy Competition (circa 1986?) She was phony and just this side of vicious :( But if she is willing to plug our book...
all is forgiven!

Z 7:31 PM  

@acme - 1986? I don't want to be held accountable for last month, let alone something from 25+ years ago.

Anonymous 7:34 PM  

There are two types of Easy puzzles: ones with lots of well-known crosswordese and those with just commonly known words.

Thank God it was the latter.

Unknown 11:02 PM  

Looking good!

sanfranman59 1:46 AM  

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 7:07, 6:14, 1.14, 94%, Challenging
Tue 6:14, 8:09, 0.76, 1%, Easy (2nd lowest ratio of 180 Tuesdays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:55, 3:46, 1.04, 71%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 3:48, 4:47, 0.79, 2%, Easy (3rd lowest ratio of 180 Tuesdays)

Jill S. 1:21 PM  

Can someone solve another kind of puzzle for me? I use the NYT crossword app for the iPad. The calendar shows which puzzles have been downloaded by shading the day in blue and then a circle appears indicating the degree of completion. I.e., a full dark blue circle means the puzzle is finished while a half dark blue circle indicates the puzzle is half done. Now here is the mystery: Every once in a while the dark blue circles will be linked with a dark blue bar spanning two or more days. What the heck is that about???

Jill s.

JenCT 5:38 PM  

@Milford and @Napoleonic: I forgot one of my favorites:

"Gimme your Tots, Napoleon!"

xyz 3:37 PM  

Haven't commented in a while - am way out sync on doing puzzle day by day. I had to check in and see as this was the easiest NYT puzzle that I've ever done. Seems I was right.

Theme was very straightforward, though, names going








spacecraft 10:33 AM  

@3333/afa: ^5 for a fellow Phillie fan! [I'll pass on THEWAVE]

In the Nobody Noticed Dep't.:
2) UMA gets the hat trick!!!

Nice and easy--isn't there a song like that?--in fact, easier than Monday by a lot. Liked the twin Z's in the south. Kept looking around for Notre Dame; how can you have a ND theme without the Fighting Irish? Only non-Tuesday fare=SANAA, but crosses settle the issue. It gets a bit wifty at those strings of 3-letter fillers in the NW and SE, but overall not bad, with some zippy sevens. Good job.

Ginger 12:44 PM  

Not much to say that hasn't been said. Quick, Fun, Puzzle. Only write over was a 1-A when I started to throw in lASvegas. Don't like the tan line clue, but that's me.

@David from CA - Hilarious! Now to look up the entire skit.

DMGrandma 2:16 PM  

A fun romp. Enjoyed the "dropped names"!

Syndi Solver 4:56 PM  

I enjoyed the puzzle. The 12 D clue was phrased a little strangely, true. But it was easy enough to figure out the idea - three N.D. names, all "dropping" down, and then NAME DROPPER to point out those two points.

Interesting theme entries, lots of good fill, fun to solve. Well, that makes it a good puzzle in my book. I think someone said it was a debut, too. Kudos to John Lieb!

@spacecraft, good eye! (noticing RIO/BRAZIL in the same puzzle)

rain forest 5:01 PM  

Pretty well what everybody said (easy, cute theme, no bad fill), except Acme's book pary, for which the instrument to measure my indifference has not yet been invented.

Solving in Seattle 5:45 PM  

I didn't know Roberto Duran fought in RIO. I guess when you were hit by him you saw double.

@Rain Forest, be nice. (But I did laugh.)

Maybe John Lieb is from New Dehli?? Nice Debut!

Capcha: Elec rybabind. I didn't even know she was running for office.

Waxy in Montreal 6:42 PM  

Alternative theme: BASEBALL including BASEMEN, Mickey MANTLE, the ARIZONA (NEIL)DIAMONDbacks, fans doing THEWAVE and The NATURAL.

Not familiar with ACELA but no problem from its crosses.

Memorized the Apostles' Creed in my misspent Anglican youth - still can spew it verbatim - but not so much the NICENE Creed which always seemed a not-so-nice version, much tougher to learn.

Ich liebe dieses Puzzle von John Lieb. Danke.

Unknown 1:47 AM  

Nice sharing, keep it up.
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