Horse-drawn vehicle / THU 6-6-13 / Conquistador's quest / World capital that's setting for three Bond films / Doc Brown in Back to Future films / Kit Carson professionally / Food named six times in children's rhyme / Word before happiness majesty fame Shelley poem / Hoopster Ming

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Constructor: James Tuttle

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: FALLING O(ut) (66A: Quarrel ... or a feature of five answers in this puzzle) — theme answers are two-word phrases where the second word is OUT. In the grid, the answer takes a 90-degree turn to the south at the "O"; thus the OUT appears to be FALLING.

Theme answers:
  • 19A: Begin a journey (STRIKE Out)
  • 16A: Explain in detail (SPELL Out)
  • 25A: Discovers (FERRETS Out)
  • 65A: Relax (CHILL Out)

Word of the Day: LANDAU (18A: Horse-drawn vehicle) —
  1. A four-wheeled carriage with front and back passenger seats that face each other and a roof in two sections that can be lowered or detached.
  2. A style of automobile with a similar roof.
[After Landau, a city of southwest Germany.]

Read more:
• • •

Like the other puzzles this week, this one was super-easy. Unlike the others, this one entertained me a bit. Again, the fill isn't terribly interesting, but then rarely is actively offensive, either (though starting off with -ESE / E-CASH did not bode well). And though the theme was not hard to ferret out, it's pretty clever. Nice use of the revealer, literalizing a common expression. You can tell by the grid shape that something tricky is going on—none of the typical long theme answers one usually sees in a themed puzzle. This often suggests a rebus or some other gimmick that requires you to think outside conventional puzzle parameters. I picked up the theme very early, after I put in START at 19A and then immediately erased it based on the "K" from 4D: Modest kiss (PECK). Got SEE OUT easily, and thus STRIKE OUT was fully revealed to me without my having to try very hard (this was one minor inconsistency—free-standing OUTs in SEE OUT and I'M OUT, instead of the (preferable, I think) buried OUTs in ROUT, TOUT, and SCOUT). After discovering the theme, my only real hang-up was in and around LANDAU, a word I know but forgot. Most of the rest of the puzzle played like a Wednesday, and the bottom part closer to Tuesday.

There was definitely a bunch of stuff I didn't know today, but for whatever reason, it didn't prove a hindrance. I had trouble making sense of the Shelley clue (24A: Word before "happiness," "majesty" and "fame" at the start of a Shelley poem) (NOR), likely because I don't know this Shelley poem (the poem is "Political Greatness" ... ???). I thought the clue was saying the word came before those words in *titles*. I tried HER at first. Not up on my "Mikado" songs, so "TIT-Willow" came just from crosses (37A: "___-Willow" (song from "The Mikado")). I recognize the counting rhyme now, but during the solve, couldn't call it up (50D: Food named six times in a children's number rhyme (POTATO)). SE was so easy that I never even saw the clues on NASSAU (67A: World capital that's a setting for three Bond films) or EMMETT (69A: Doc Brown in the "Back to the Future" movies). Both of them might have given me trouble in other contexts. But not today.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jackj 12:09 AM  

    From pigs, to snakes, to pap, it’s been a week that owed us a pick-me-up and thanks to James Tuttle we cashed in our IOU and in return were directed to a clever way OUT of our blue funk.

    The theme entries were all well chosen, especially FERRETSOUT and the reveal answer of FALLINGOUT, while attention was also properly paid to the fill, which made for a tasty smorgasbord of cleverness.

    The best answer arose with “A and others” for ARTICLES, followed closely by one that seemed unfairly clued at first blush, but was perfect in the final analysis, the movie-goer’s clue that was looking for ESCAPISM.

    Taking another scan of the completed grid, it was clearly a sophisticated bit of construction as evidenced by CONCEDED and LANDAU, ANONYM, Dante’s “Divine Comedy” TRILOGY and, of course, Shelley’s NOR.

    But, not to be totally upstaged by such cultured ASPECTS, GOOGOO eyes fluttered with a fun reminder of James Bond’s three romps in NASSAU while full-throated guffaws were SPAWNed by fond memories of the wacky, eccentric inventor, EMMETT “Doc” Brown endlessly wailing “Great Scott” in his zany trip “Back to the Future”.

    Thanks for a nice Thursday diversion, James Tuttle!

    Pete 12:20 AM  

    So, an ANONYM is an alias? Well, my mellontonym ANONYM will be Jonathan.

    Now can we stop making up NYMS?

    Articles Conceded Mesas 12:31 AM  

    I tried to fit the whole OUT into one square and got confused when it was OUT going down, but sorted it OUT pretty quickly.

    With @Rex, tried heR/NOR.
    And corOnADO had to be FERRETedOUT as ELDORADO.

    Other than that, what to say?

    Nice trivia both common and erudite, ie UPC code was first used for gum to the reminder that "The DIvine Comedy" is a TRILOGY.

    CHILLOUT feels fresh.

    I wanted PAPERBAG to be part of the theme but GOOGOO going down made up for that.

    Never noticed that CONCEDED and CONCEITED are homophones.

    ESCAPISM seemed really to editorialize how either the editor or the constructor feels about films...
    for me it's the exact opposite. Films allow me to fully engage and enter a world I might not get to see first hand.

    Very chatty: I SWEAR, I TOLD YOU, I'M OUT
    ay ay ay...but I liked!

    syndy 12:34 AM  

    @Pete; NO. I will love any puzzle that references the Mikado but especially "TIT WILLOW". FERRETOUT crossig REAM is a hoot andI hesitated-frankly refused to believe-over SORTOF clued as KINDA.I giggled as I tucked it in finally.I am going to chalk up ECASH as a diliberate flaw to placate the gods. Awesome puzzle Mr Tuttle keep 'em comin'

    r.alphbunker 12:35 AM  

    The revealer is self-referral. Nice touch.

    Evan 12:40 AM  

    Cool idea -- I'm reminded a bit of David Steinberg's and David Phillips's LAT puzzle from March 8 of this year. Like @acme I had CORONADO before ELDORADO but fixed that soon enough.

    When I got NASSAU, I first thought, "Since when is New Hampshire the site of a famous world capital? And why on earth would 007 go there?" Then I realized I was thinking of NASHUA. They'll probably never film a Bond movie in the rolling hills of New Hampshire, but hey, never say never again, right? Among other 6-letter words ending in U, I was not aware that LANDAU had a horse-carriage-related meaning. Figured that would be clued with the actor Martin all the way.

    jae 12:45 AM  

    Easy for me too.  But it had me fooled TILL I hit the reveal. Like Andrea I thought at first it was a rebus and was wondering what to do with the extra UTs.  Only erasures were GOOGly for GOO GOO and POrage for POTATO.

    Zippy points for the cute/clever theme and stuff like EMMETT (knew LLoyd played him but had forgotten his first name), TIT, FERRETS, GOO GOO, I SWEAR...  Liked it but, a bit too easy for a Thurs.

    Ellen S 12:47 AM  

    @JackJ--did we do the same puzzle? Attention paid to the fill? ESE, a RRN, and ECASH all in the same little 4x5 NW corner. It got better after that, I will CONCEDE, but only because it couldn't hardly have gotten worse. I did think the theme was fun, but next constructor who uses "E-anything" I'm going to hunt 'im down and smeck 'im with an EEL.

    @Pete, ANONYM didn't set my teeth on edge like it did for you. It SORT OF makes sense, in that if you take an assumed name it obscures your real one. Besides, I like those usages. Around 40 years ago I was told to read a certain IBM Technical Bulletin. Imagine the most dusty, boring thing you've ever read, multiply its boringness by 10, and you're close. But almost the first thing the author said was, "This ....blah blah .. approach is a pessimal solution to the problem of .....blah blah." PESSIMAL? OMG I fell in love with the author (fickle me, I have no idea today what his name was). Google turns up uses of PESSIMAL, but the New Oxford American Dictionary doesn't list it. Usually these engineer types show all the linguistic imagination of a ... technical writer. NYMS kind of do the same thing for me. I like them.

    Ellen S 1:01 AM  

    p.s. @Chefwen, when do we get pictures of your world-exploring dogies? How old are they? My favorite trip to the zoo (Lincoln Park in Chicago) was at the Farm in the Zoo where they had a 500-pound bull calf. Just an infant, really, lonely for his mother, he spent a lot of time leaning against people. Seeing how he craved body contact, I couldn't help think that veal calves must suffer terribly during their short lives.

    well on that happy note, I'll go find some ESCAPISM on the telly.

    retired_chemist 1:14 AM  

    Easy. There were lots of clues I never saw or needed.

    Didn't even grok the theme until late. Noticed something funny was going on with some of the across words - ending in O when it should be OUT, and OUT as a rebus failed, and then there was the OUT headed down. The pieces were there - the mind wasn't.

    ANONYM is a perfectly good word. No objection here.

    Had HANSOM instead of LANDAU - a cross or two fixed that. LONDON (guess) instead of NASSAU - got the right answer strictly from the downs, so when I looked it all over later NASSAU was a pleasant surprise.

    Thanks,. Mr. Tuttle.

    chefwen 2:29 AM  

    @Ellen S. - Have I told you today how much I love your posts. You always bring a chuckle and a smile. I will never see the word eel again without thinking of you.

    The boys/girls??? It's too early to tell look to be about 4-6 months old. Tried to take a picture today but the sun kept smacking me in the eyes, maybe tomorrow.

    Swept through this one until I arrived at the NW corner. Looking back at it now, I have no idea why I had to slam on the brakes. STRIKE OUT was just not coming to me. STarts out to begin with, but that wasn't going to fly with a RRN. Ebb before DIP at 36A, tragedy before TRILOGY also slowed me down. All in all a good Thursday puzzle/ Thank you James Tuttle.

    r.alphbunker 3:07 AM  

    @Ellen S
    I enjoy your posts also.

    Here is a clue for you to think about: {Command issued to Cockney dogs}. Answer is three letters.

    Another clue for the same answer: {Internet model of a Chicago train}

    Loren Muse Smith 5:57 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Loren Muse Smith 6:01 AM  

    Nifty, nifty, nifty! Exactly like r.alphbunker said – the reveal is utterly literal.

    Wrote in “seed” thinking it’s probably SUET. I still don’t quite understand what that stuff is. Is it something people eat, too? “RON, TONY, YAO, EMMETT, I’m feeling SORT OF PECKish. Anyone care to share a SUET TACO?”

    ASPECT over CHILL. I love a good Tomato ASPECT. ;-) I guess people were making that back when they brought home the UPC-free gelatin box in a PAPER BAG.

    Ok. Is it PSS or pps?

    FERRETS seem mean. And SPAWN is a word that feels scary. I would hate to meet the SPAWN of a FERRET in a dark ALLeY.

    I SWEAR I admire the non-native English speakers who do these. STRIKE OUT has two such different meanings. One feels hopeful and one feels hopeless.

    In Chattanooga, we were in too much of a hurry to say the full word POTATO. It was “One tay, two tay, three tay, four.. . .”

    Really cool, James. And it ends with I’M OUT. Nice!

    Bob Kerfuffle 6:13 AM  

    @Masked & Anonymous (Hope you are reading this today -- I haven't done the puzzle or read any comments yet.)

    Absolutely nothing to do with today's puzzle, but in yesterday's NY Times there was a book review that made me think of you. It was of a book by a young American author, Tao Lin. Not for anything you are doing now, but you might want to set aside for a possible future project the title of his 2007 novel, "Eeeee Eee Eeee." And to put sprinkles on the cone, this same author founded Muumuu House, an independent publishing house!

    MetaRex 7:01 AM  

    I like! Dead-on reveal, nice verbal/spatial combo, decent tech. Highlight of the day...having exactly the same time to the second as sanfranman59. Favorite wrong answer...RIO DE ORO for EL DORADO. Have perverse affection for the in- your-face -ESE at 1A...reminds me of BAHS the other day.

    Milford 7:09 AM  

    This probably was an easy puzzle, but my time is more medium due to wrong guesses (monaco before NASSAU, surrey before LANDAU) and more often not reading the clue carefully (EmmYS before ESPYS, barROOM before TEA ROOM, See TO IT before SAW... you get the idea). Too tired I guess.

    But the theme came quite early - loved the literal FALLING OUTs.

    @loren - SUET is beef fat, and I'm sure someone eats it. Maybe you could use it to make gelatin for your delicious ASPECT.

    ANONYM is the base for our favorite poster, ANONYMous, isn't it?

    Last day of school for two of my kids, so tomorrow they can CHILL OUT.

    John V 7:36 AM  

    Fun, cool theme, easily gotten. And, yes, this has been an easy week.

    Z 7:51 AM  

    @EllenS - I've changed my flying toasters to flying sea snakes. E-eels.

    @LMS - post=after. So it is PPS when I add a post script after my post script. Today's PSS can only be justified as the redoubtable POC.

    I feel better now since GOOGly eyes beats out GOOGOO eyes by an 8 to 5 margin at GOOGle Fight.

    I got the theme at STRIKE OUT but struggled with the reveal because I wrote EtON before fixing it finally. FAtLING OUT is a phrase looking for a definition.

    And I struggled in the SW. ASPECTS and OR ELSE just weren't coming, and I was blind to -ISM and EMMETT. TOUT had to be part of the theme which gave me CHILL OUT and then I finally Sussex out the corner. It was just me, but I probably spent 40% of my solve time in that corner.

    GD Auto-Correct 7:55 AM  

    Sussex? That was supposed to be "sussed."

    Unknown 8:19 AM  

    ESE/ECASH did not bode well, but it ended up ok, if not a bit on the easy side for a Thursday. Same as acme wrt trying to cram OUT into one square. Easy enough to see that that wasn't happening. Liked I SWEAR, SAW TO IT, I TOLD YOU.

    Tita 8:25 AM  

    Loved it! Easy, yes, though I agree SW was a bit crunchy, I had AccEpTS b4 ASPECTS, but I did for once know a movie name - EMMETT.

    I haven't hung out the Hammock yet, but the sweet clue at 29A reminds me that I should.

    And what irony, that the POTATO rhyme counts up to 7, but mentions the tuber only 6...that is my mind-blowing revalation o' the day!

    Thanks, Mr. Tuttle.

    Rob C 8:37 AM  

    Easiest Thursday I can remember. Fun theme good fill despite the dubious start of ESE and ECASH. Which reminds me:

    @Ellen S - given your opinion of eels in puzzles, would this be an acceptable alternative: Pro golfer Ernie when he's on line: E ELS ;)

    GILL I. 8:37 AM  

    I had TWO instead of UPC for the Wrigley gum thing. Thinking along the lines of "two mints in one????"
    Wrong. That really screwed me up in the middle. Finally went downstairs and the FALLINGO made me go AHA...
    I really enjoyed it once I saw the OUT. I had to STRIKEO several times because my modest kiss was a BUSS.
    REAM for enlarge a hole took for ever. I only think of a REAM of paper.
    Anyway, I managed to finish without any help so I'm happy as a PIG in CHILLO.

    dk 8:42 AM  

    Yesterday spent seeking a Whole Earth Catalog and today I read about Flying Toasters: Back to the future.

    Siding with our fearless leader this one is a brighter star amongst black holes. Had fightitOUT for the reveal until POTATO sprouted. Otherwise a rapid fill for this lad.

    (note: Found some sprout tatter in my pantry and planted same. Result: Vines.)

    🌟🌟 (2 Stars) Put a PAPERBAG over this one and you have a Wednesday: Just Sayin!

    dk 8:43 AM  


    John V 8:56 AM  

    EELS: Cockney shoe parts?

    Bob Kerfuffle 8:58 AM  

    I have done the puzzle, and it was OK.

    But to do my duty and contribute to the never-ending search for nits, I would say that 27 D, REAM, Enlarge a hole in, could just as easily have been a (non-metaphorical) REAM OUT, and, as Gill I.P. suggests, a better clue would have been along the lines of "Sheet count?", thereby avoiding any infringement of the theme. :>)

    Unknown 9:23 AM  

    What is Lol...? Every thing you want in Lol and Troll, Now you Get all in one Network, ThatIsLol.. Lol Pictures, Lol Videos, Lol Peoples, Funny Peoples, Troll Images, troll pictures, funny pictures, Facebook pictures, facebook funny pictures, facebook lol pictures, Funny videos and Much More only Laughing out of Laughing

    Loren Muse Smith 9:33 AM  

    "Go EELS!" Cockney Carolina fan!

    Rob C 9:40 AM  

    TWO EELS!! - shout repeated at a Cockney Carolina basketball game?

    chefbea 9:54 AM  

    No time to read all the comments. Have to go to our NARFE meeting. Puzzle was ok but the revealer says feature of five answers.... where is the 5th?

    John V 10:04 AM  

    @chefbea. The revealer is the fifth.

    Eric 10:06 AM  

    Having "ike" in 26D slowed me down quite a bit. Was racking my brain trying to think to think of a reference that began with a K. And what in the world begins with FEK__? Ugh, RON.

    Otherwise, I really enjoyed the theme and that the revealer was, as referenced above, self-referential. Very meta.

    Doc EMMETT Brown. In my TEENAGE years, I must have watched that movie 100 times. Incredible bit of ESCAPISM. Love the whole TRILOGY.

    Sandy K 10:09 AM  

    I agree that starting OUT with ESE and E-CASH had me wanting to sit this one OUT...but after FERRETing OUT the theme, had to CHILL OUT and enjoy it!

    Small nitpick- If clue is 'Kinda', I wanted the answer to SPELL OUT 'SORTA'- and leave OUT the OF.

    An OUT and OUT fun, very ESE-y Thursday.

    MaharajaMack 10:19 AM  

    NASSAU a *World* capital? I don't think so. London, Paris, Moscow - *World* capitals. Nassau is just a capital.

    Anonymous 11:04 AM  

    Potato is mentioned 7 times, not 6, in the rhyme. One potato two potato three potato four ... five potato six potato seven potato more.

    Gareth Bain 11:23 AM  

    @Anon 11:04: Count those potatoes again...

    Georg Cantor 11:24 AM  

    @Anonymous, 11:04 AM - You have hit on a technique we have often used in developing theories of infinity. We must match each member of one set with members of another set. To take your example, One potato(1) two potato(2) three potato(3) four ... five potato(4) six potato(5) seven potato(6) more. It would seem that "potato" is mentioned six times!

    Eric 12:34 PM  

    @MaharajaMack....I don't get your point. NASSAU is the capital of the Bahamas in the same way Paris is the capital of France. They're both countries in the world, and each have respective capitals. We're not comparing GDP sizes here.

    jberg 12:35 PM  

    I thought it was easy, but finished with an error: ESCAPISt -- so I guess not.

    If two lletters each have a second ps, they have PPSS.

    I think LANDAU is a place that gave its name to botch the local carriage style and various families that came from there.

    2 ERNEs in a row!

    mac 12:41 PM  

    I too tried to make this puzzle into a rebus, but "see out" put me on the right track quickly.

    A couple of crunchy areas: seed instead of suet slowed me down, and at 24A I started with "ode", then "to a".

    Not very good at children's rhymes, I thought of porridge and pot pie before potato.

    Slicimus 12:45 PM  

    Easy for a Tuesday, pretty cool theme.

    EdFromHackensack 12:50 PM  

    Naticked at TIT/TACO. And I am not one to miss a tit.

    Tita 12:54 PM  

    @Anon 11:04: didn't you see my post?
    The Invisible Lady

    Masked and Anonymo5Us 12:57 PM  

    @Bob Kurfuffle: har. A book like that deserves a good review, I hope. Many thanx, for passin that along. M&A's current 15x15-er, now titled "Two Bits", with zero distracting black squares, is making progress, btw. I'll send U the Across clues, momentarily.

    Kinda sharp, that all the U's get to participate in the NYT-time theme, today. A pleasing show of respect. purrrr.

    I had made a fearless forecast, sealed in a special unscented envelope, of what today's puz theme would be. Thought for sure it'd be the segments TRI, NITRO, and TOLUENE, repeatedly snakin thru different sections of the grid. Wrong again, M&A breath.

    Come to think on it, they do have a few TRI's, at least... Maybe it's one of those multiple-puz meta deals...

    evil doug 1:12 PM  

    The great potato-counting debate--and my wife wonders why I bother to read these stimulating posts....

    Bored Oboe

    M and A the mighty constructor 1:13 PM  

    1. 768 bucks worth of nickels
    16. 200 checkerboards, in a square sense
    17. Nice alternating pattern, for a border design
    18. A +
    19. Baker's dozen
    20. Just enough to rate a crowd
    21. Nadia got the first one
    22. Mets line-up
    23. Pack count
    24. Figure skater's figure
    25. Pitt's flick
    26. Doubles tennis amount
    27. aka blackjack
    28. "There are ___ kinds of people: those who understand binary, and those who don't"
    29. Two to the fifteenth power, minus one

    Bob Kerfuffle 1:22 PM  

    @M&A - Here's a review of "Eeeee Eee Eeee". I hadn't read this review before I posted.

    Bird 1:34 PM  

    I had a hard time remember Doc Brown’s first name and that made the SW corner difficult. Otherwise, this would have been easy. Still, it was unexciting. Theme is OK, fill is so-so. Liked EL DORADO and ESCAPISM.

    EBB before DIP
    HAS before ARE
    SHEEN before ECLAT

    Where is DEL TACO a fast food chain? Not in the vicinity of NYC. Closest one is in South Carolina.
    Clue for 68A needs a question mark (“See?!”).
    2D should be SORTA ‘cause it’s clued that way
    I thought the options were PAPER or PLASTIC. Who says BAG?

    Nameless 1:36 PM  

    Okay, show of hands . . .

    Who paused and did a double-take at 37D?

    Notsofast 2:08 PM  

    Who knew that many first-time voters were TEENAGE SPYS? Chilling.

    Doc John 3:10 PM  

    Nobody else had a problem with ENTREE being clued the way it was?

    sanfranman59 3:27 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)

    Thu 12:27, 17:11, 0.72, 7%, Easy

    Top 100 solvers

    Thu 7:31, 9:49, 0.77, 9%, Easy

    Rob C 3:30 PM  

    @Doc John - from M-W dictionary:

    en·trée noun \ˈän-ˌtrā also än-ˈ\
    1a : the act or manner of entering : entrance b : freedom of entry or access

    taken in this context, access card seems ok, as it is a manner of entrance

    chefbea 4:05 PM  

    @Doc John I would have clued it as "main course of a meal"

    Sfingi 5:18 PM  

    This was a case where getting the theme helped me. Half the time, I don't notice.

    Got NOR, TIT and LANDAU right away, but eventually Googled for YAO, EMMETT, SCOUT, all pretty much guy things.

    Had tickEt before ENTREE, but cleared that up.

    Not bad for me on a Thurs.

    My laptop crashed last night and am using Hubsters. Hope Carbonite comes thru on new one.

    ANON B 6:01 PM  

    One thing I enjoy about crosswords
    is to marvel at the constructors'
    I am amazed that, after having
    the fill "nor",anyone could come
    up with "word before ..........
    at the start of a Shelley poem".
    It's one thing to know the poem but
    quite another to have the word
    "nor" conjure it up.

    LaneB 7:27 PM  

    Late start and got all the OUTS reasonably fast for me.) not knowing ELON and TONY made that SE corner harder than it should have been. And I did't think One POTATO was a nursery rhyme but rather a method of making a choice. However, a clever puzzle and one I didn't find all that easy. Hats off to the many who did, proving that I'm truly a novice among the pros.

    Always enjoy Loren Muse Smith' s comments. If she's ever in the Bay Area, I'd like to meet her..

    joho 7:54 PM  

    Loooonnng day. I enjoyed the puzzle. Loved that OUT fell down.

    I think we need an EEL Award.

    Loren Muse Smith 8:14 PM  

    @LaneB –Thanks! I was going to contact you off blog, but you’re unemailable. I’ll let you know if I ever have plans to be in the Bay area. We can do coffee. And PIG OUT on some SUET.

    Carola 8:18 PM  

    Got up at 3 am to go to the airport, did the puzzle at the gate, now seems like a couple of days ago. I do remember liking it a lot.

    @joho - I wonder who'll ERNE the first one :)

    Tita 8:53 PM  

    @chefbea - the French word, ENTREE, ironically - er - that is, correctly, on a French menu, ENTREE means the appetizer - the "entry" to the meal!
    Makes more sense, no?

    chefbea 9:04 PM  

    @Tita did not know that...and I took french for how many years???

    sanfranman59 10:59 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 5:58, 6:09, 0.97, 35%, Easy-Medium
    Tue 8:25, 8:14, 1.02, 59%, Medium
    Wed 9:44, 9:54, 0.98, 46%, Medium
    Thu 12:31, 17:11, 0.73, 7%, Easy

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:37, 3:46, 0.96, 23%, Easy-Medium
    Tue 4:52, 4:53, 1.00, 49%, Medium
    Wed 5:34, 5:40, 0.98, 46%, Medium
    Thu 7:21, 9:49, 0.75, 8%, Easy

    Waxy in Montreal 11:35 AM  

    From syndicity: don't remember an easier Thursday puzzle. Once the theme was FERRETedOUT, it was fun but not much of a challenge. Natticked at the TIT-TACO (say no more!) juncture but guessed correctly.

    Over and

    spacecraft 11:44 AM  

    On the mediumish side of easy for me. Was having trouble with "Begin a journey;" if 6d was really SEEOUT we'd have an "O" ending. I even considered incorporating the downward OUT as part of it, unknowingly nailing the theme, but couldn't incorporate the K of PECK. Only later, when I went back to pick up the NW, did I come up with STRIKEOUT. Now, I have seen this phrase used in this context, though not written in this or the last century. "Strike out" on a journey: man that's OOOOLD school. A much better clue would be: Not get to first base?

    My only other hangup was ISLe, forgetting to Hispanicize the spelling. But SeW TO IT? Well, when Betsy Ross was commissioned to make the flag, she...oh well. I changed to ISLA, and was reminded of that great song "La ISLA Bonita" by the woman who in a parallel universe I want to have my babies, Gloria Estefan.

    Cool theme; super-cool revealer--a theme entry itself. Amusing that Acme denies, then perfectly describes, ESCAPISM. It's OK, sweetie, we all do it. ISWEAR. These days, there's a LOT to escape FROM.

    rain forest 1:34 PM  

    At first I was not fond of the theme since I was thinking that it would be cooler to have second cross ending in "ut", but that would have been possibly impossible. Halfway through this admittedly easy puzzle, I liked it much more, especially the revealer which is a theme entry itself and also uber-descriptive.

    Right on about ACME's comment, @Spacecraft. As M&A would say, har. Perhaps she was being ironic.

    Solving in Seattle 2:24 PM  

    OUT of sight puzzle! OUT of this world puzzle! Far OUT puzzle!

    IRS crossing with TIT, as in "on the public." Appropriate.

    Especially liked the new cool words Mr. Tuttle created: STRIKEO; SPELLO; FERRETSO; CHILLO; and, FAL LINGO.

    capcha: abutruid. Flatulence?

    Dirigonzo 3:06 PM  

    The puzzle was easy but who knew the Conquistadors were looking for a Cadillac?

    Just saw a local news item about 3 osprey chicks that were blown out of the nest by a storm on July 5 - park rangers found them, built a platform in a nearby tree and placed the chicks on it. At last report, the parent ospreys were seen rebuilding their nest on the platform and feeding the chicks. I love a happy ending.

    Solving in Seattle 3:18 PM  

    @Diri, it's amazing what good parents most birds are. A few years ago a pair of seagulls nested on the roof of a garage next to my downtown office. We could see the pair nest, lay eggs, hatch chicks, feed them in shifts and share alternating guard duty from the crows until the chicks were big enough to fly. It was like seagull cam without the cam.

    DMGrandma 3:45 PM  

    Did this whole puzzle thinking the gimmick was dividing squares so that they had OUT in the Across direction, and O in the DOWN. And, since the revealer fit that theory, I'm sticking with it! Did have to replace SEed with SUET. I well remember being sent to the butcher shop for some when I was about 5 years old with strict directions to specify kidney suet. It was used to make mincemeat which cured in a big stone crock for weeks. Now, while I nod to my English ancestors by making mince pies, my mincemeat comes in a jar!

    Syndi Solver 6:52 PM  

    Someone called "The Bard" (I think that's the name) used to post Shakespeare quotes with words from the puzzle. Maybe today we need Poe with an extract from ELDORADO?

    Gaily bedight,
    A gallant knight,
    In sunshine and in shadow,
    Had journeyed long,
    Singing a song,
    In search of Eldorado.

    I enjoyed this puzzle but the longer I do these things the more I get confused about when repetitions are okay and when they are not.

    For example, sometimes folks complain about verbs that are re-used, even in different tenses. But today no one said anything about SEE OUT and SAW TO IT.

    Rex did mention the repetition of OUT as a stand alone word in both SEE OUT and I'M OUT. Seems like that could be have been avoided by replacing SEE OUT with something like sprout, devout, or mahout (just off the to of my head). It might mean changing STRIKE OUT to something else but there are a lot of other phrases ending with OUT.

    Not trying to nitpick, I'm just trying to understand why certain choices were made, what's preferred, and so on.

    Anyway, this puzzle was on the easy side for Thursday but it was a cute gimmick and fun to do. I really liked the revealer being part of the theme with an additional FALLING OUT.

    Dirigonzo 7:39 PM  

    @Syndi Solver - @the bard has been absent from the blog of late but you offer a worthy substitution. But what, exactly, does "Gaily bedight" mean?

    Syndi Solver 10:09 PM  

    @Dirigonzo (if you're still reading!) I think bedight is another form of bedecked (e.g., decked out, arrayed, dressed).

    So, I think gaily bedight means the knight was decked out in fine clothing. Or maybe fine armor?

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