Astronomer who coined word nova / TUE 5-7-13 / BBC sci-fi show / Crossroads 1996 Grammy-winning rap song / Fortune 500 company founded in 1995 / West Coast engineering institution / Note accompanying F maybe

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Constructor: Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: "The Rime of the ANCIENT MARINER" (40A: With 42-Across, subject of the poem that contains the line 17-/65-Across) — the line is "WATER WATER / EVERYWHERE...," an idea visually represented throughout the grid by seven approximations of a water molecule, i.e. groupings of one O and two Hs.

Word of the Day: HARPY (1A: Scolding, nagging sort) —
n., pl., -pies.
  1. Greek Mythology. One of several loathsome, voracious monsters with the head and trunk of a woman and the tail, wings, and talons of a bird.
  2. harpy A predatory person.
  3. harpy A shrewish woman.
• • •

Very clever. Serendipitous symmetry coupled with a pervasive visual element, all accomplished with a remarkably clean grid. Well done. It wasn't terribly thrilling to solve—the theme answers went in rather easily, and the rest of the puzzle was easy enough that I never even noticed what was happening in the circled squares. Fill is rock solid, but not scintillating. So this is one that was moderately enjoyable—unremarkable during the solve, but impressive in retrospective.

!!! - Even When The Water's Cold from Pop Muzik ® on Vimeo.

Only had two real sticking points. First was in a stupid little partial, where I didn't read the clue well enough. Wrote in AT A for 6D: "___ Crossroads"  (1996 Grammy-winning rap song) ("THA"). (Sidenote: man, that song is old.) This slowed me down by, I dunno, however long it takes me to try and fail to get some crosses and then pull the original answer. Maybe 10-15 seconds. And then I fumbled a bit in the SE, where I think I wrote in OH NO! at 61D: "Ain't gonna happen!" (UH UH). And -EROO for -AROO, but that always happens, which is one of the reasons those suffixes are seriously the worst thing since unsliced bread. But, again, maybe 20 seconds of struggling there. Doesn't sound like a lot, but on a Tuesday, it adds up fast. I was roughly 4:20 on this one. A bit high for a Tuesday, for me. Not sure where the difficulty lay (beyond the small dumb stuff I just detailed). But lay it did.

There's not much of interest to point to in the fill beyond the full-named TYCHO BRAHE (29D: Astronomer who coined the word "nova") (uh ... it's a Latin word that predates him by forever, but I'm guessing we're talking about the specific star-related meaning of the word here, so fine). Everything else is right over the plate, just doing its job—holding things together so that the theme can shine.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jackj 12:05 AM  

No one does “clever” any better than Jeff Chen (and if you do his LA Times puzzle of yesterday, 5/6/13, you’ll have it reaffirmed in spades).

Here we have a paean to Lake poet Samuel Coleridge’s epic poem “The Rime of the ANCIENT MARINER” with its well known line of WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE emblazoned in his grid through nine circled H2O’s (HOH).

Coleridge gave us many memorable quotes from this poem in addition to the one in the puzzle but, also, “Albatross around his neck”, “As idle as a ship, upon a painted ocean”, “a sadder but wiser man”, even “all creatures great and small”, these lines despite the poem being the product of bipolar-disorder-sufferer Coleridge infusing his work with an overwhelming reflection of his depression. Not a lilting, happy treat is this one.

But, moving on to the fill, leave it to Jeff to force-feed TYCHO BRAHE into the same puzzle, as if this ancient Dane is on the tip of everyone’s tongue (though if the solver can deduce MAYO, ARTS and IMHO et al as crosses, there’s no complication for the solver.

There’s a lot of other fill to like, HARPY, HOMOPHONES and HOMAGE; CALTECH, NEHRU and RANAWAY, for example and my favorite, “Note accompanying an F, maybe” cluing SEEME.

Sheer delight from Jeff, who now can move his Sammy C. act to a puzzle sharing the exaltation of Xanadu, as in “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan, a stately pleasure dome decree” or not.

Z 12:15 AM  

And not a drop to drink.

Did I mention that I hate solving on a iPad?

I like unsliced bread.

jae 12:27 AM  
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jae 12:30 AM  

Like yesterday's this was on the tough side for me.  I think all the cross referencing makes for slower going, plus there was some tough stuff for a Tues...TYCHO BRAHE, THA, ASHCAN...  Liked this one although the circles seemed a bit much, now maybe if they'd spelled out COLERIDGE...

jackj is right about Chen's LAT Mon.  Very funny and clever.

Z is right about solving on a iPad.

ZenMonkey 12:35 AM  

Completely agree with Rex's take. Had more than one "oh, that's cute" moment and the fill didn't suffer for it. (Hello, AMAH, my old nemesis!) Really enjoyed TYCHO BRAHE's appearance, and can't help loving MOJO crossing YOYO.

ZenMonkey 12:43 AM  

P.S. My favorite rendition of the Rime is by A3 or Alabama 3, the band that did "Woke Up This Morning" of Sopranos fame.

Anonymous 12:52 AM  

Structurally accurate pictures of a water molecule at that.

Lojman 1:11 AM  

Hear, hear, Anonymous @ 12:52 (since it'd be hard to get the 104-degree angle between hydrogen atoms exactly in a crossword grid, 90-degrees will have to suffice). Enjoyable top to bottom, ran pretty fast for me (I only doubled Rex's time, instead of my usual 3:1 ratio).


Anonymous 1:11 AM  

Rex missed the real theme again.

Unknown to all but the most incisive, the Ancient Mariner is actually about a lady of the night.

I finished in 1:57 and while I was showering!

Beat that Rexy!!


chefwen 3:05 AM  

Got through this without even considering the circles. Got the OHO thing and went around the puzzle to fill them in, but never connected them with H20. Silly me! Anyhoo, got it done toot sweet.

No write-overs again, let's see how long that lasts.

Ellen S 3:15 AM  

I've been away for a few days-- went to San Fran for the weekend and was afraid to take my iPad after reading just before leaving, an article about the epidemic of cell phone thefts nationwide. Scarily, it noted that 41% of thefts in SF include cell phones. I mangled that stat into "I have a 41% chance of having my phone stolen." With those phone-y odds, I didn't want to have to worry about the tablet as well. On my return I tried doing the puzzles I had missed, but "I've fallen behind and I can't catch up." So settled for zipping thru Monday and now this.

(Thank you, @LMS for,pointing out the backwards EEL yesterday. They are much more attractive from that direction.)

Today, I would like to brag that TYCHO BRAHE sprang immediately from my fingertips, because I just finished reading Galileo's Daughter and it early on describes Tycho being burned at the stake for his heretical astronomical studies. The Inquisitor what done the deed was one Roberto Bellarmino, or Robert Bellarmine, who now has all these Catholic high schools named after him. Do they teach that the Earth is the stationary center of the universe, I wonder?

Oh, well, anyway I liked the puzzle even though I noted the HOHs and didn't recognize them as water molecules.

ancient caltech mojos 3:18 AM  

This reminded me of the Sunday puzzle March 10, 2013, only two months ago by Finn Vigeland where the words were HHO one way and WATER when you read them across...
witHHold, moutHHOle, eleventHHOur, batHHOuse, higHHopes
crossing Ethel WATERs, on the WATERfront WATERgate
it made me want to faint it was so clever.

So this one wowed me, but it would have been better spread out, given time to forget the brilliance of Finn's puzzle which appeared the Sunday of the ACPT, so even more memorable.

That said, this was clean and lovely with perfect balance... and fabulous to split up a 14 -letter phrase into two seven letter words.
There is a beauty and cleverness in Jeff Chen's work that really makes him an artist.

This is a perfect example. It really rises to a different level than just a crossword.

Stand back and really absorb everything he managed to accomplish in this grid and it will leave you breathless.
Very inspiring.

r.alphbunker 4:48 AM  

And then there is Don Ho's Tiny Bubbles to cheer things up a bit.

MetaRex 6:59 AM  

What acm said...this is really really fine. More praise along with linx on the fates of Tycho Brahe and Giordano Bruno here

Milford 7:12 AM  

Medium Tuesday, for me, with a bit of a snarl in the SW because I had oMAH first for the nurse, which led to voID stamped on my invoice. But easily corrected. Thank goodness for the many crosses on TYCHO BRAHE - I should probably learn to spell that.

As @Acme pointed out, this puzzle reminded me of the HHO/WATER puzzle of Finn's a couple months ago. I remember one of our thoughts was that water is more accurate as H-O-H, and I immediately had the same reaction as @lojman, that the angle of the water molecule is very close to being correct! Thanks, Jeff, for giving us science folks an extra bit to love about this puzzle!

Also loved that all the Hs gave us HARPY, HOMAGE, HOMOPHONE, PATHOS, HURON, and especially OH GOD.

OTD 7:14 AM  

Now this is more like it. Superb puzzle making with fine fill from TYCHO BRAHE to ASH CAN to Coleridge's poem quotes and the HHO's scattered around the grid. Too many other good ones to mention.

Now I'm thirsty.

John V 7:31 AM  

And to put the fine point on it, the dead tree version had dashes joining the hydrogen and oxygen atoms to display the water molecule, much more visually striking than the pdf version:


One runs out of superlatives to describe a Jeff Chen puzzle. This one really raised the bar for an early week.


John V 7:32 AM  

Alas. Blogger stripped out the leading blanks in front of the top Hydrogen atom above, but you get the idea.

baja 7:37 AM  


elitza 7:46 AM  

Loved it. DRWHO!!

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

Great puzzle!!!!!

Bookdeb 8:06 AM  

@jackj noted “The Rime of the ANCIENT MARINER” with its well known line of WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE emblazoned in his grid through nine circled H2O’s (HOH)."
But the title and the line from the poem don't run through any of the H-O-H in the grid.
So, the second part of the line, "nor any drop to drink" is implied in that no water molecules in the grid are crossing the theme answers.
Blows me away, Jeff. That had to be intentional.

Bookdeb 8:10 AM  

Never mind that EVERYWHERE provides the only opportunity for an H2O cross. It's still cool that he didn't use it.

Unknown 8:27 AM  

Ditto Rex. And agree, this feels like it's coming too soon after the recent Sunday water themed puzzle (and the American Red Crosswords water themed puzzle). The timing does a disservice to both puzzles.

John V 8:36 AM  


AliasZ 8:42 AM  

This puzzle was a pleasure to solve, almost as much as it must have been for Jeff Chen to construct. By the way, I also enjoyed Jeff's LAT Monday puzzle, in which SIXTHS also appears with exactly the same clue.

@Bookdeb - great observation: all the WATER molecules are just out of reach of the ANCIENT MARINER and all WATER.

TYCHO BRAHE (1546-1601) lost his nose in a duel in 1566 and wore a prosthetic one made of brass for the rest of his life. I wonder what sound it made when he had to blow it, bugle or flugelhorn? He must have been warned not to blow his horn in a hospital zone a few times...

50A reminds me of En SAGA by Jean Sibelius:

I urge you to listen to the entire work.

Great fun, Jeff. Thank you.

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

@Ellen S - Tycho Brahe's end was far more epic than being burned at the stake. In his culture, it was considered the height of rudeness to leave a feast while it was underway. Brahe onsumed so much fluid (probably wine) without getting up to relieve himself that his bladder burst. This episode was one of the stranger stories of how people died in Malcolm Forbes's book They Went That A-Way. Yes, that Malcolm Forbes.

oldbizmark 8:49 AM  

no circles in the print edition, not that it would have helped anyway. but why is there no consistency between the print and electronic versions? that is quite annoying.

pretty tough solve for me with the "R" in "PERT" (54A Indecent)coming last (on a guess). Never thought of "pert" as meaning "indecent."

dk 9:15 AM  

@JohnV. Went through the whole solve within the paper wondering what the poop is up with these little marks all over the grid.

Yes, I am not the brightest solver on the grid.

But I do weld the stars and this one gets

🌟🌟🌟 (3 Stars) Well done Jeff. I would don my life guard shirt and Speedos but the police took away the Speedos on some trumped up charge of violating cosmic decency.

Lindsay 9:28 AM  

Darn cute, IMHO.

Carola 9:28 AM  

Beautirful puzzle, agree with all praise above. When I finished, I circled all the molecules and enjoyed looking at the water droplets spangling the grid.

I took YARNS and SAGA an an HOMAGE to the Mariner's long tale.

And, for BERG:
"And now there came both mist and snow,
And it grew wondrous cold:
And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
As green as emerald."

joho 9:42 AM  

This puzzle is brilliantly waterlogged!

Seriously, Jeff has created a masterpiece ... so elegantly executed ... it positively bubbles with finesse.


Eric 10:00 AM  

I liked this! Nice H2O visual to go with the WATER WATER theme. Cute and clever.

Well-clued for a tired answer: 39A - OHS

Word I won't be able to get out of my all day: ASH CAN...Hadn't heard of it before. Reminds me of Abscam. Or Ass Can.

Quick! Name the B & C of the ABC islands......

I can't. Bermuda? C.....uracao?

The less I'm reminded of Sammy SOSA, the better. It saddens me that I spent a good part of freshman year entranced by the seemingly fraudulent home run chase between McGwire and Sosa. It was exciting at the time, but looking back, it was akin to watching the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills; in that it was real but wholly manufactured.

OISK 10:01 AM  

LOVED this one! And although I am a chemist, I didn't notice the HOH corners until I was completely finished. (A downside to timing oneself). The puzzle was so wonderful, so clever, that I can even forgive the one "rap" clue. I can't think of any better way to clue "THA".

Carola 10:05 AM  
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Carola 10:07 AM  

@Eric - B for Bonaire, and yes on Curacao.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:23 AM  

As @John V and @dk note, the grid in the paper had the molecular bonds show as little lines between the relevant spaces in a form I don't remember ever seeing before.

So I'll admit that I took a very cautious approach (which I wouldn't have if there had simply been circles), starting in the block anchored by 27 A/D, so that I could establish a base of straightforward answers. That approach gave me the ANCI of ANCIENT MARINER, and everything went quickly from there.

Sandy K 10:30 AM  

Loved the puzzle and all the content. THERE's no junky fill, UH-UH. Just lovely H2O molecules EVERYWHERE.


Two Ponies 10:36 AM  

Clever and fun. Bravo Jeff.
As @ John V pointed out, the dead tree version was a better visual.
They're off! Kentucky Derby!
This reminded me of a political bumper sticker I saw as a child. AuH2O. Dad had to explain it and then I thought it was cool. Also recently saw one that made me feel smug to figure out IX Fe.

lawprof 10:41 AM  

Didn't notice the little bar connectors when I first looked at the grid, but the NE corner fell quickly and the H-O-H theme was readily apparent, so I immediately filled in the rest of the H's & O's before proceeding. Once those were in place, the rest of the puzzle went pretty quickly (not Rex-quickly, but quickly for me).

This is a good example of the theme assisting the solve. Elegant work by a most inventive constructor. Thank you, Jeff.

jerry k 10:41 AM  

Clever and easy. In the paper version, there were dashes between the lines (not circles), which made me think (after the first H), that all squares with dashes should have an H (along the lines of a dash being in the letter). Anyway, clever, easy and enjoyable.

retired_chemist 10:54 AM  

@ Two Ponies - the one I saw was:

BA Au H2O (barium gold water)

Impressed that the HOH arrangements are bent - to reflect the bond angle of some 97 degrees (as I recall).

Before I got the theme I took WATER _ETER (THA not having come readily to mind) and wondered what poem was about a WATER METER.

SHREW for HARPY, TIN CAN for ASHCAN, ESTO(nia) for LITH(uania), and other errors slowed me down, but in the end I was impressed with the quality of the puzzle.

Thanks, Mr. Chen.

quilter1 10:56 AM  

Puzzles like this are why I do puzzles. Thanks, Jeff.

Jeff Chen 11:11 AM  

Thanks for the nice comments, all! I was slightly nervous someone would point out the bonding angle is actually 104.5 deg, not 90. Thankfully I seem to be the only chemistry dorkus malorkus lurking today.

Warning, shameless shill alert: In case anyone out there plays bridge, search for "Bridge Crosswords" on 52 bridge-themed crosswords!


jae 11:21 AM  

@Ellen S -- BRAHE's Tychonic system was actually an attempt to defend the geocentric view of the solar system.

And, thanks to all who explained the cleverness of dead tree version. I retract my circles comment.

Loren Muse Smith 11:42 AM  

OH GOD, Jeff Chen – you dorkus malorkus shameless shill, you.

HURON the very tip top of my favorite constructors, and this one today is one fine puzzle. So deft.

Love THEM THEY’RE O-Os in the northeast – MOJO, YOYO, HOBO, really cool IMHO.

MAYO crossing RANCH. Excellent. YARNS next to WOOLENS – ditto.

And it all winds up with END.

As everyone here is painfully aware, I could go on and on about all the stuff here today that I liked, but I’m swamped.

Jeff – you da man.

mac 11:46 AM  

Excellent puzzle! All the good stuff has been mentioned already.

In the last couple of speeches by a Dutch queen or king Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten, and not Bonaire. Maybe Bonaire segregated.

Nancy 12:09 PM  

I liked this puzzle, but have one nit to pick...

It's Doctor Who, not Dr Who. However I will allow it since Sci-fi could be considered an abbreviation in the clue.....

Really, I should just be happy whenever there is a Doctor Who ANYTHING in the puzzle though, right? And stop being so nitpick?

syndy 12:51 PM  

Most people in Columbus' day knew the earth was round.Most educated aqt least people in Galileo's day knew that the earth went around the sunbut- Galileo stated that he had mathematically Proven it! absent a theory of Gravity even einstein could not!the vatican refused to grant him a fancy stamp of approval-no prison no torture no loss of teaching gigs boo hoo ! Fabulous puzzle Jeff

jberg 12:51 PM  

I'm late here -- had to hand in grades at 5 PM yesterday, which meant that I got them in at 11:30 AM today, and didn't solve the puzzle until after that.

But despite being late, a couple things to add. First, there seem to be some numerical disputes on the blog! Are there seven water molecules (@Rex) or nine (@jackj, then others)? I count 9, so maybe there are really 11.

Second, there are some bonuses: you can take all that water for a HOT BATH, and then dump what's leftover into LAKE HURON. It's also nice that there are no free hydroxyl radicals (O-H) floating around in the puzzle, unless I'm missing some.

And, since Jeff was kind enough to put me in the puzzle at 62D (with a clever water-related clue), I'll offer him a modest suggestion in return. You could clue 51A as "Coleman TX radio station" and use the more accurate IRK for 43D, "Tick off." A little obscure, maybe, but inferable from the crosses.

That was the only flaw, though! Great puzzle.

LaneB 1:10 PM  

2 small goofs at a51 ESTE not A and a64 oMAH not AMAH. Should have been less careless and unobservant. Pretty tough for a Tuesday. Had to Google The BRAHE part of d29.

Colby 1:14 PM  

Nice BRA-STRAP cross as well. Really an excellent puzzle.

Notsofast 1:38 PM  

An entertaining Tuesday; skillfully executed! Ed: "Pert means smart-mouthed." Johnny: "I did not know that!"

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

HARPY?! Total BS word.

Mohair Sam 1:41 PM  

Thank you Jeff Chen. Never enjoyed a Tuesday so much. Could not believe I was struggling with a Tuesday and then suddenly: Oh that's ANCIENT and so that has to be WATERWATER EVERYWHERE, and they're all water molecules. So clever, what fun.

retired_chemist 1:47 PM  

Jeff, only I commented on the bond angle and I remembered it wrong!

Nice one. Thanks for stopping by!

Lewis 1:48 PM  

@dk -- can we have a visual of you welding the stars?
@jberg -- I like Jeff's better... I hate radio station from anytown USA clues, myself, though I commend you on working to find a better way (I'm not so high on foreign language clues either!)

Jeff is one of the skilled constructors, making terrific choices in general from beginning to end. My grid was fairly white after the acrosses, but the downs filled in fast and the puzzle fell. Even so, there was enough there for some ahas, which makes the whole puzzle worth it.

I love it when a constructor gets a practically unanimous thumbs up, like today!

Bird 1:52 PM  

Whoa! What's with all the connecting lines on a Tuesday?! Is this some kind of maze? What the hell is going on? Well, let's see.

What a great puzzle. Too bad that the theme revealed the purpose of the connecting lines and making it that much easier, but still fun to solve.

Didn't know that IRE is a verb.
Dummy = YOYO?

Anonymous 2:14 PM  

Retired Chemest: "Jeff, only I commented on the bond angle and I remembered it wrong!"

Except for Anon 12:52AM and Lojman.

Paul Keller 2:28 PM  

I saw the theme as soon as the first HHO materialized. WATERWATER EVERYONE followed almost immediately, so it seemed to me that the theme gave away too much too easily for a really enjoyable solving experience. Admittedly, I shouldn't expect much from a Tuesday puzzle.

One of my pet peeves is easy day puzzles having one or two disproportionately hard crossings. Here, I'm calling out TYCHOBRAHE crossing with AMAH and ENTR crossing with NEHRU. I got both this time, but it seems to me that crosswordese or honed guessing skills should not be required if the object is to make an easy puzzle.

retired_chemist 2:33 PM  

My apologies to anon 12:52 amd lojman for missing the two aforementioned comments.

Tita 3:02 PM  

@AliasZ- lol re: the brass schnozola... And thanks for teaching me something I didn't know about him.

@Ellen - what struck me about that book were the sad similarities to how we broker politics, religion, and commerce - hasn't changed.

@jeff - enjoyed it lots - even more all the other subtleties sprinkled about.

@lms - 3rd day running with "Place the H". Though being an old astronomy buff, this one was easy.

@dirigonzo in syn city - I missed the meteor shower - how was it?

GILL I. 3:03 PM  

I'm late but want to add my Kudos to Jeff Chen as well. I think Tuesday puzzles have been getting much better and this certainly proves it.
Oh, I remember reading about TYCHO BRAHE's body being exhumed from his grave in Prague. I believe it was at the behest of a Danish Professor of chemistry. Anyway, there were many theories regarding the cause of death and the main two that persisted were mercury poisoning or the infamous bladder problem. It seems he did in fact die of a burst bladder. Yikes, the vision I have is not pretty. Also, his nose was made of brass not gold or silver as some had claimed...Amazing how some of these gems stick...
I also liked that this puzzle started with HARPY and ended with OH GOD....!

jodi 3:10 PM  

It's me Chef bea.

Great puzzle!! Thanks Jeff.Busy doing stuff here in Ct.

Anonymous 3:35 PM  

What jackj and Bookdeb said precisely.

sanfranman59 4:09 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 9:05, 8:14, 1.10, 74%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:38, 4:49, 1.17, 86%, Challenging

Unknown 5:32 PM  

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jdipinto 5:46 PM  

A very satisfying Tuesday puzzle, IMO. Theme is cleverly set up and the fill is imaginative. My hat's off to Jeff.

Sfingi 6:53 PM  

Never heard of THA or ASHCAN, but good puzzle. Challenging, but doable.

There's an Italian Folktale called the Man with the Silver Nose, a sort of Blackbeard type.

Poor Coleridge. I guess he tried to self medicate, too, with that old literary stand-by, opium. The Rhyme is a great example of the story within a story. More of a yarn than a SAGA.

Anonymous 10:07 PM  

Lay is the past form of lie. Yes, you don't know where the difficulty lay, but LIE it did. (It didn't lay.)

sanfranman59 10:51 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 6:13, 6:14, 1.00, 47%, Medium
Tue 9:05, 8:14, 1.10, 74%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:53, 3:44, 1.04, 71%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:38, 4:49, 1.17, 86%, Challenging

Ellen S 1:04 AM  

Thank you all for straightening me out on Tycho Brahe vs Giordano Bruno. Amazing that I finished the puzzle! And sadly, I only just finished the book within the last week. And I was sober. Maybe that was my error.

I'm going to have a glass of wine and tackle the Wednesday.

Anonymous 3:37 AM  

A LIFEBOUY is a lifesaving device at sea. It fits the theme well.

Anonymous 3:46 AM  

Belay that last comment! OK I got confused putting Lifebouy in the wrong puzzle!

Marc 8:12 AM  

My proudest moment was getting TYCHO BRAHE with only TY_HO filled in. Not sure where I pulled it out of but I got it!

oldbizmark 8:35 AM  

there were no dashes in the print edition i received (via home delivery). perhaps that was added in the later edition? again, it didn't stop me from finishing but if i had seen that hint i probably would have been able to have completed it faster and it would have went from medium-challenging to medium.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:13 AM  

@oldbizmark - Have you looked at the grid with a magnifying glass? The "dashes" are sort of subliminal - when I first saw them, they looked like there might simply have been a minor problem in the printing.

oldbizmark 4:38 PM  

@bob i will need to check it again tonight but i don't recall seeing anything at all.

oldbizmark 2:16 PM  

@bob you were correct.

Led display board manufacturers in India 1:49 AM  

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spacecraft 11:29 AM  

Marvelously clever! I was very surprised to see OFL's rating of m-c--I found it straight-up easy--until I saw that his ratings are strictly tied to his solving time. @Rex, I've said this before, but if you'd just lose the stopwatch you'd be a happier (or at least MUCH less stressed-out) guy.

I thought those faint scratchings on the grid was some kind of an ink leak or something as I started filling the NW. Looking at WATER_____, the 17a clue referred me to 40/42a--and the whole jig was up, and I saw what the dashes were about. And that's why a Jeff Chen appears on a Tuesday. Once you get it, you get the whole thing. Still doesn't take away from his brilliance, though.

Great visual: Think of 73a as the Titanic, then as the BERG hits them amidships, they all cry "OHGOD!" But Jeff: no love for the Burns/Denver flick?

DMGrandma 2:41 PM  

When I first saw the little connectors I thought UHUH, but the puzzle turned out to be a smooth solve. Only momentary problem was thinking the astronomer's name was Braco. However, HOH washed that error away. So a fun solve with a visit to my 8th grade poetry lessons! And maybe I'll remember BRAHE if it comes up again.

Dirigonzo 2:52 PM  

Well, I knew those boxes with dashes sprinkled around the grid had to mean something, and it wasn't long before I saw that they were all populated with Os. But there were also a lot of Os with no dashes (which I thought might invite a complaint from Rex) when I noticed the Hs on the other end of the dashes, so there you go - H2O, in a puzzle with a water theme.

My "Relaxing conclusion to a long, hard day" is bOurbon but I knew better than to write it in.

Waxy in Montreal 3:12 PM  

@Diri, "nap" and "hot cup of Earl Grey Tea" didn't quite fit in either!

JC's theme couldn't have been more appropriate as it's been raining so hard here since yesterday we're about ready to start construction of an ark. Great Tuesday puzzle.

Waxy in Montreal 3:14 PM  
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