Songwriter Jacques / TUE 7-9-13 / Jesse who pitched in record 1252 major-league games / Temporary insanity per Ambrose Bierce / 2006 Whirlpool acquisition / Blast maker of 2002 / O in phonetic alphabet

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Constructor: Kurt Krauss

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: MIDDLE INITIAL (38A: See 17-, 21-, 53- and 61-Across) — all theme clues are [Famous person with a [letter] as 38-Across]

Theme answers:

Word of the Day: MOREL (6D: Gourmet mushroom) —
Any of various edible mushrooms of the genus Morchella and related genera, characterized by a brownish spongelike cap.

[French morille, from Old French, perhaps from Vulgar Latin *maurīcula, feminine diminutive of Latin Maurus, Mauritanian, Moor. See Moor.]

Read more:
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Slow start, fast middle, slow finish. The slow parts were very small, though, so overall this played on the easy side. Problem up front was RUTH. I was looking for someone named RUTH. Didn't help that I had ACRID instead of ACERB (5D: Sharp-tasting), so had RUTHRR- as the opening of that answer. Ugh. Once I got MARY BLIGE, I knew what was going on and flew through everything until ROCKEFELLER. My brain wanted *only* NELSON. Couldn't even think of another ROCKEFELLER. Needed all crosses to see JOHN. Oh well. Still, as I say, easy otherwise.

Theme doesn't thrill me. Very arbitrary assortment of names. List of names of potential theme answers here is virtually endless. CRAIG NELSON?  JAMES POLK? MICHAEL FOX? ALFRED NEUMAN? Theme does provide an interesting manner of cluing, but otherwise, the concept leaves me pretty cold. Fill seems fine. Solid. Workmanlike. Inoffensive.Wish I had more to say about this one, but I don't. Guess I'll see you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Wife's puzzle was a total train wreck in the NW, as she did not know OROSCO (understandable) or ASHBY (somewhat understandable) or BREL (semi-understandableish) and also wrote in OSU for ORU (2D: Tulsa sch.). So she had Jesse OSOTCO and Jacques OREL and Hal ATHOY. So be glad you weren't her, I guess.


Sarah 12:02 AM  

I don't think there's a single good thing I could possibly say about this puzzle.

jae 12:03 AM  

Easy for me.  Only erasures were ACrid to ACERB and OsU to ORL when I remembered OROSCO.

WOE:  ASHBY. Seen the movie but...  The cross with OROSCO could be a problem?  

Crosswords only stuff: ARIL, ERNE, SLOE ( as cued) 

Interesting/clever theme for a Tues. with a relatively smooth grid.  Liked it.

Questinia 12:13 AM  

Ego OSU ergo OSOSCO.

Nada "huzzah!".

Anonymous 12:14 AM  

The ASHBY / OROSCO / BREL crosses will crush the average Tuesday solver. Some will clear the section through luck. The people that got screwed on Monday won't be happy to get screwed again today.

MARY BLIGE surely doesn't go with the others; three giants of the 19th century and . . . pffft.

Ondreo Corlo Moochaels 12:17 AM  

Altho the list seems endless, I thought it was original and made me want to think of others...

Like @Rex, I thought about Michael Fox... I have another friend named Michael Fox, so it's interesting to see what a difference it makes.

Maybe the list could have been tighter, say have ALL of them missing B (Like SUSAN ANTHONY, CECIL DEMILLE) and then instead of initial, you could have 46D BEGONE as a reveal.

I also noticed all the double OOs which gave the puzzle an upbeat fun feeling:
so those ten entries gave the puzzle an interesting visual lOOk.

Hal ASHBY besides "Being There" directed "Harold and Maude".

My almost 101 yr old grandma Maidie, loooooved Jacques BREL and used to always sing "Cute cute cute, in a stupid ass way".
The one album I took when she died.

Anonymous 12:18 AM  

The AHSBY / OROSCO / BREL crosses will likely crush a lot of Tuesday level solvers. The people that got screwed on Monday won't like getting screwed today as well.

MARY BLIGE? Three giants of the 19th century and . . . pffft.

Steve J 12:22 AM  

Similar experience for me: Blazed through most of this, but with a couple mildly slow parts (still finishing well below my average Tuesday time). Hangup for me was in the NW, where I could not remember Hal ASHBY for the longest time, and I couldn't thing of anything other than NOTHANKS for 1A (which obviously was way wrong).

The theme existed. I didn't hate it, NOR did I like it. It was just there. Kind of like the presidency of RUTHERFORDHAYES to most people.

While I was completely ambivalent about the theme, the fill felt so bogged down with abbreviations - I count at least six abbreviations/acronyms - and the same 3- and 4-letter fill we've all seen hundreds of times (there has to be some kind of term for working OLEO, EWER and ERNE into the same puzzle). Mr Krauss does deserve credit for giving us a 4-letter Genesis son who wasn't Esau, though.

John Child 1:13 AM  

Misdirected clues(Dog star = Benji), hard-to-parse patterns in answers (inana_____), and word play (express male) are all fun. Proper nouns are less so unless the clue is great. Geography (Direction from from Springfield to Natick) and roman numerals are rarely fun.

Not-so-fun answers that are crossed fairly are ok, but crossing two of them is like multiplying fractions - the result is less than either part. Name naticks seem more painful than any other kind, and today brought us another. Ick.

travis 1:20 AM  

I went with OSOCCO/ACHAY. Most of the time when I can't get something[usually not this early in the week], I look at the answer and say Duh. This time I was just glad I didn't waste more time trying to figure it out because it was never happenning.

chefwen 1:51 AM  

Had a good time with this (don't I always?) Hand up for ACrid before ACERB hi @jae and rent TO buy before own. Like Mrs. Rex, ASHBY, OSOSCO and BREL were unknowns to me, so I did end up with two empty spaces in the NW. Hate when that happens, especially on a Tuesday. Probably could have finished, but Mr. Sports Authority was unavailable to assist.

On to Wednesday!

retired_chemist 2:23 AM  

Had BREL in before ACERB so I knew it wasn't ACrid.

Easy as pie. Went for the reveal and got enough crosses to know what it was. That plus a few crosses made the theme answers easy. Not a purist here - these four are as good as any.

Also the mini-Texas theme (MAV, PECAN, AGGIES) went right in and probably gave this (transplanted) Texan a leg up.

I have been on the ORU campus. Weird place. Facial hair was forbidden until 2009, so I had the only beard on campus, which I was permitted as a guest. 17A, 53A, and 61A had facial hair, so they would have had the same problem. MARY J.BLIGE, not so much.

Nothing very interesting in my solving experience. Thought there must be other answers for 71A besides NESTEA, my first guess, but it stayed. OROSCO needed all six crosses.

On to Wednesday, as @Chefwen said.

Magenta Crayola 5:34 AM  

One big reason I love this blog is comments that make me think through something or remember something I had forgotten. Today, the woman who cutifies her three-piece name made me recall "Harold and Maude," a favorite from my past that had slipped away from memory. Thanks for bringing forward a visual image of the wonderful Ruth Gordon dancing around in her schoolbus. (Of course, now I can hear Cat singing "If You Want to Sing Out ...." Hope it won't become an ear worm for rest of day.)

Unknown 7:02 AM  

Wow....maybe took me less than a few minutes. It was almost an out-of-body experience. I've been doing crossword puzzles since the mid-'70's (can that really be almost 40 years (!)), and have never been able to solve one without hesitating somewhere in the grid -- but not today. Guess I'll just enjoy the rush and hope that it doesn't take another 40 years for it to happen again.

It seems that knowing Jesse Orosco's name may make all the difference in solving time.

Loren Muse Smith 7:05 AM  

Andrea alerted me to the flap my post caused last night, and I responded in yesterday’s stream.

@chefwen – I enjoyed this, too, as usual!

Rex – tell your wife that my northwest was a mess, too, for all of the same reasons.

How embarrassing – I live in West Virginia and *always* want it to be “Rockerfeller.”

@Andrea – I noticed all those O’s, toooooo.

I thought Robbie Benson in ONE ON ONE was SO HOt.

Ok. Here’s the thing – what is it about some people that you *have* to use an initial? These names just look plain funny without them, and it makes it all seem playful, and like Andrea said – makes me want to think of more. I kept going for INITIAL INITIALs, though – F. Lee Bailey, J. Edgar Hoover, F. Scott Fitzgerald. . .

And how about the people who have to go by their full name? Martin King, John Booth, Tommy Jones, Daniel Lewis, Lee Oswald, Mark Chapman, John Gacy, Billie King, Sarah Parker, Stevie Vaughan, Francis Key, Brendan Quigley. . .;-)

Thanks, Kurt. Nice job!

pannonica 7:08 AM  

Magenta Crayola:

Harold and Maude, directed of course by Hal ASHBY.

DBlock 7:13 AM  

For those of us who spend their days living in the 1870s and 1880s, Rockefeller and Hayes are front burner names--Mary J Blige lives in the recesses--

And I agree with previous comment, that some people seem naked without their initial, but the rock stars of history (good and bad) are known by a single name--Lincoln, Washington, Stalin, Churchill

Bob Kerfuffle 7:32 AM  

Was prepared to complain about ASHBY/OROSCO, but after I put in the S, it was obviously the only likely letter.

Sean Dobbin 7:49 AM  

Really liked this puzzle, found it exactly where I want a Tuesday to be.

OROSCO was my first write-in, cause I'm awesome. I can imagine that many people are going to hate that crossing ASHBY/ACERB/MOREL/ORU/MOT, and rightfully so.

Still, I thought most of the rest of the fill was great. Thanks!

jberg 7:50 AM  

Would have been easy, except that I finished with the OsU/OsOSCO error. I thought the latter looked odd, but not odd enough for me to spend the 10 seconds it would have taken to remember Oral Roberts. Sigh.

Aside from that, it was great to see our friend the ERNE return to his only legitimate clue, "sea eagle." Will had been trying variants lately (marine raptor, stuff like that), but they were lame. This way you know what you're getting.

As for RUTHERFORD HAYES, in one way maybe he was "just there" but in another he was responsible for ending Reconstruction and giving the South another 90 years of racial segregation -- part of a deal to let him claim he had won Florida, and thus the Presidency, even though Samuel Tilden had actually got more votes there.

As for ROBERT LEE, you notice what happens when you reverse his surname!

On to Wednesday.

evil doug 8:07 AM  


You and Andrea should wear signs around your neck to explain why you need three names....

Your apology was thoughtful, but the fact remains that so many bad actors take unfair advantage of 'necessary but evil' (hi, Z) programs that the truly afflicted/needy are caught up in the condemnation of the corrupt.

Hundreds of LIRR employees benefited from a corrupt doctor allowing their bogus disability claims, costing taxpayers $2-million bucks per month---until they were recently stripped of those benefits after a five year investigation. At Delta we called some of our trips 'Miracle Worker Flights'---lots of people who were boarded early via wheelchairs somehow were able to scramble off the airplane without assistance upon arrival.

So, anonymous grouse, your point is well-taken---presuming we believe your story, and if it's not true certainly it must be for others. I doubt an unrepentant ACME would aim her unfortunate comment at our friend JenCT, but she'll have to deal with that in her own way, in her own time.

Meanwhile, Muse, I, like you, will continue to watch society's takers with a skeptical eye---even as I bite my tongue due to the possibility of legitimacy.


Gary 8:17 AM  

Never posted before but I have to register my complaint about obscure names crossing other names in this week's early puzzles.

A sports figure crossed with a Belgian singer and a director who has been dead for a quarter century? And yesterday crossing an obscure religious figure with a silent film star and a British prime minister from 60 years ago?

Come on!

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

WILL SHORTZ: You cannot use "n" when "ñ" is required, you "ano".

Anonymous 8:19 AM  

Didn't know OROSCO so also had OSU. BREL and ASHBY were gimmes. ACME, your aunt sounds like my whole family!!

Matty 8:21 AM  

Same mistake as many others: OSA/OSOSCO.

This theme might have been better on a Sunday when you could cram the puzzle full of these types of names. But it's true there was little cohesion.

Zwhatever 8:22 AM  

My six pack ABS are more like a CASE these days.

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

What does "ORU" stand for and why would anyone think that a school has those initials? OSOSCO is as good an answer as OROSCO as the name of a pitcher I never heard of. Thus, ORU crossing OROSCO is a classic Natick.

joho 8:26 AM  

I thought the theme was interesting in that I haven't seen it before but it was also a cinch to solve once figured out. But, hey, it's just Tuesday, so just fine.

I loved that ADAM, EVE and ABEL are all together!

TOOWN looks weird in a wonderful way.

Thanks, Kurt Krauss!

mac 8:32 AM  

I too ended up with Ososco/OSU and noticing many, many Os.

Nice idea, all B. middle initials. Alice B. Toklas can join the group.

JenCT 8:35 AM  

Same solving experience as @Rex's wife; otherwise, easy.

Wow, I missed the whole flap yesterday! I'll have to go back & read the comments...

One week until I get my new dog!

joho 8:36 AM  

@acme & @mac ... yes, the BEGONE "B" is a lot of fun ... how about "Johnny B. Goode?"

Rookie 8:38 AM  

@Anonymous 8:24

ORU is Oral Roberts University. Due to crosses, I "got" it but didn't "get" it. Had to Google when I was done. I had a general sense that ORU was west of the Mississippi, but that was about it.

Zwhatever 8:44 AM  

@Evil - I'm so warped that I briefly considered that last night's anon was you. At any rate, we start life as "Takers" and, if we are lucky enough to live so long, we will end life as "Takers." Let's all do our best to enjoy the interim.

Unknown 8:45 AM  

Not much to add. Easy but for OROSCO/ASHBY, but worked out.

Saddened to read the hangover conversation from yesterday.

PanamaRed 9:08 AM  

49D (BOE) is wrong - international phonetic alphabet word for "O" is OSCAR. From my Radioman days in the USN, and it's the NATO standard today.

Googling showed that OBOE was used by the RAF until 1956.

Otherwise, thought the puzz was super easy.

chefbea 9:32 AM  

easy except for the north west corner. Same mistakes as Sandy and others.

Also noticed the biblical theme -Adam, Eve and Abel

jackj 9:34 AM  

“Big-mouthed pitcher” can only be asking for Curtis Montague Schilling and beyond that, there was nothing that excited this member of JOHN (Q) PUBLIC other than an inadvertent (?) joining of ISLAND and TOLLS in the lower right.

Those two answers signal “John Donne” and his awkwardly titled book of meditations and prayers, "Devotions upon Emergent Occasions”, that contains two phrases in “Meditation XVII" that have become embedded in the language and in the minds of millions, “No man is an island, entire of itself” followed in the same reflection by “never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee”.

Redemption in an unusual, unexpected manner for an otherwise uninspiring puzzle.

Milford 9:40 AM  

Not a train wreck, but did have the OsU/OsOSCO goof, took forever to find the error. Man, I hate to DNF on a Tuesday! :)

I liked the theme, and how odd the names look and sound without their MIDDLE INITIALs. I read once that sometimes actors need to have their middle names or initials included to get a SAG card with a unique name. I think this was the case with Michael J. Fox.

My kids each have 2 middle names, and it's funny how many forms and computer systems can't handle it.

Had to laugh at CASE being considered a "Big beer buy". But keg wouldn't fit.

evil doug 9:52 AM  

Z: You should know me by now---I hold myself accountable for my words, and have no need to hide behind 'anonymous'....

And I don't think we disagree as much as you might suspect. I get the impression that you believe I want to eliminate all benefits, all social programs, all welfare support, etc. Not so.

I happily pay taxes for legitimate need, I know there's a lot of that need out there, and I realize we'll never eliminate all the cheaters. But rather than simply tolerate all 'the evil' that accompanies the 'necessary', I think we should work to minimize the graft, corruption and misuse of as much of that money as we can whenever we see it---and try to ensure that all those in need get everything they deserve instead of crooks stealing it from them---and us.

So when I see the IRS, for example, spending millions on their conferences/conventions/parties, I get rankled. When I read about 600-odd railroad retirees essentially stealing disability benefits, I want heads to roll.

Graft and corruption serve to trivialize the legitimate needs of our friends, our families, even ourselves in those honest times of need. We saw the impact of a similar aggravation in the dust-up last night. Sadly it's become human nature to get caught up in watching healthy people selfishly abusing something as basic as wheelchair privileges, and it tends to make even good, caring people suspicious of anyone grabbing a powered cart or parking in a handicapped spot.


quilter1 10:10 AM  

So, when President HAYES was a little boy what was he called? Ruthie? FORD? What did his mom call out when dinner was ready? I know what she said when she was mad.

Nice puzzle, but I also finished with the OSU error, not having ever heard of the pitcher under either name.

When I'm being "professional" @Evil, I use three names, first, maiden and married. Otherwise I'm just two-named me.

Paul Keller 10:17 AM  

I joined the wreck in the NW. Went from 60 to 0 in less than 5 seconds. Few Saturday puzzles have had a corner that left me so much at a lost. OROSCO, BREL, ASHBY, and ORU were all unknown, and apparently unguessable. On a Tues? WTF?

Is Mary J. Blige seriously on a par fame and middle initial-wise with Robert E. Lee and John D. Rockefellar? Pop music fans must live in a different world.

In re NOMAAM, as long as I'm ranting, there really should be a rule against having a clue-answer pair that is identical to one used in a previous puzzle. I know this is done intentionally and that there is some dubious rational behind it, but I think puzzle quality would be better and solving would be more fun if there were such a rule. If you like filling in answers that you know off the top of your head, I think there are some fine word search puzzles you might enjoy.

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

Who knows what the "B" stands for in Rutherford "B" Hayes?

My friend is President Hayes' great grandson. He told me what the "B" stands for.

Answer will revealed tomorrow. LOL

GILL I. 10:29 AM  

Well, at least Sandy made an attempt. I just left that area blank.
I liked the theme ok but for some reason I was angry that I couldn't finish a Tuesday....
@quilter1 Maybe mom yelled "Birch get your arse in here - suppers getin cold."?
My grandmother was really into genealogy and had the whole side of her family mapped out. Evidently I'm related to Rutherford B Hayes on the female side. The only thing I truly remembered about him was his wife Lucy - she of the Woman's Christian Temperance. She banned all wine and liquor from the White House. Come to think of it, didn't Rosalynn do the same? When visiting dignitaries came to call I wonder if all they got was lemonade.
I never had a MIDDLE INITIAL but I hyphenate my maiden and married name just to cause trouble.

oldactor 10:46 AM  

@Milford...thanks. Somehow I read the clue Big Beer Buy as Big Beer Guy and wanted Coors but it didn't fit.

Had to read your post to understand CASE.

Two Ponies 10:46 AM  

Today's puzzle was a snooze but I just got back from reading yesterday's late comments. Wow. Lots of food for thought.

Dick S 11:21 AM  

Jesus H. Christ, who is Mary J. Blige?

TachyJacky 11:24 AM  

Okay, I am Anonymous from yesterday's thread. I assure you that I am not a fake. I wish I were. I have been Ill for a very long time and had to "retire" from a job I loved in March. I tried to work as long as I could. In the days that followed I was very bored and one of the ways to occupy my thoughts and distract me from my current situation was to try the NYT crossword and then read this blog. I so enjoyed the different personalities on here from Acme, to Evil Doug. I have admired your cleverness and learned to look at puzzles from a whole different perspective. Where I saw no theme, all of you taught me to look at things from a different angle, and....VOILA! There it appeared. I have never commented before, so if I had used a moniker, you would not have known me anyway. I was envious of your apparently close-knit group and the admiration you had for each other and I, too a mired each of you. I went from a Mon/Tues. Solver to occasionally getting a Thurs. I didn't comment because, frankly I didn't feel worthy. I am sorry that the first time I chose to comment was so controversial. I suppose I felt personally wounded because I have so struggled with this issue- to the point of feeling ashamed to leave the house. I have finally accepted my fate and started to go out, trying to ignore the judgement I so often see. I further felt wounded by the suggestion that I wear a sign....this glib comment by acme has me puzzled and hurt. I know she did not mean it literally, but even the suggestion that it is MY responsibility to inform people of my legitimate claims of disability.....there are no words. I went to sleep last night smarting from the admonishments of others in this group......and awoke this morning to a very gracious apology from Loren. Thank you Loren. I am heartened to read the comments here today from people who get it. I did not mean to attack anyone, but perhaps I should have toned down my outrage.

I only ask that those of you who cast judgement on those who need support for their disability look at the situation the same way you look at your crossword puzzles....consider every angle.

Ii am sorry for my harsh words.

Questinia 11:38 AM  

@ tachyjacky
At least something good came out of're here. Indignation, when justifiable as was yours, is a virtue (It keeps the other virtues protected).

chefbea 11:42 AM  

From wiki

Rutherford Birchard Hayes was the 19th President of the United States.

Sfingi 11:47 AM  

Jacques BREL is alive and well and living in...LISBON. I liked "Amsterdam" best, especially the sweating.

Rather liked it, since I haven't seen one like it. I decided to work on the reveal, and once I got it, saw Gen. LEE.

Had a Natick with ORU crosses OROSCO, and DNF because of that letter. Sports is one neuron in my brain, already devoted to Scrabble.

Took a while to get FLIP - considered leaP, jumP, even steP.

@Dick S - she's a young singer, very popular with the young. I have no idea what she sings.

Love the movie, Being There. A somewhat retarded fellow,played by Peter Sellers, raised in a very upper class environment, is treated as a genius because of his good manners.

When I was in college, nearby the fraternity ATO at RPI published a list of their members all with the middle initial F. What a coincidence.

@Gil - my maternal gramma did the same, and even did some professional work. We had the Roosevelts, on both sides (pedigree collapse, or inbreeding); but we also had the Cheneys, which meant that later I saw the connection to the VP (aargh) and, thus, Obama.

Unknown 11:47 AM  

Jacky, you have NOTHING to apologize for, and your statement about considering every angle is 100% spot on. It is a shame that your first comments had to be about this, but I am so glad you are here and I hope you will not be shy about sharing in the future.

JFe 11:50 AM  

Eloquent and gracious...

Carola 11:52 AM  

@evil doug - Anything to board early and claim that overhead bin! But seriously, as an outside observer, I might look at myself skeptically - using a wheelchair to the gate and down the jetway but then walking to my seat, or, in a non-airport setting, parking in a handicap spot and walking into a store. Impossible to judge my limited walking capacity from the outside as I look totally healthy. But those aids allow me to still live a not-totally-housebound life. I always carry my documentation - physician's letter re wheelchair and DMV paperwork for car tag - but outside observers can't see those either, of course.

@Tachy-Jacky - Thank you for introducing yourself, and please keep posting.

evil doug 11:55 AM  

Pretty auspicious start, Jacky: Not only the first anonymous poster simply acknowledged by Michael, but actually endorsed by him.

Maybe you'll find actively participating here will be a little therapeutic amidst the challenges you face.

God bless you, praying a miracle finds its way to you---they happen---and hope to see your earnest wisdom here again.


Milford 11:57 AM  

@ TachyJacky - thank you for your comments, and for sharing your story. I too am sorry your introduction was on less-than-friendly terms. But welcome, now! Good blog name ;)

So more importantly...did YOU get the ORU/OROSCO cross correct?

Two Ponies 12:09 PM  

@ TJ, Now that you are here and obviously among friends pull up a chair (motorized or otherwise) and give us some puzzle talk. You express yourself quite well so why not give it a go.

Rookie 12:24 PM  

So much grace shown here today from @TachyJacky to Loren, to Doug, and to all the others who have commented so graciously (including @Evil Doug's explanation of how his concern for others manifests itself).

Something much more important than a Xword puzzle took place here today.

And @TachyJacky, welcome aboard!

Z 12:29 PM  

@TachyJacky - My troll radar gave me a false positive. My apologies. I should know better.

@Evil - I know I agree with you on lots of stuff, but what fun comes from talking about what we agree on?

Evan 12:31 PM  

I feel like HARRY TRUMAN would have been the odd man out if he were a theme answer in this puzzle. That S. doesn't stand for anything!

This played like a Monday for me. While solving I didn't even notice the potential difficulties with OROSCO since I'm familiar with him. I didn't even look at the whole clue -- I just saw "Jesse who pitched" and then had my answer. But I agree with others that the northwest corner could have used some real tweaking. A hand up for the preliminary ACRID and OSU mistakes.

Welcome, @TachyJacky.

retired_chemist 12:37 PM  

Shouldn't there be a phonetic alphabet in which the O is OROSCO? :-)

Unknown 12:41 PM  

Ugh. All that ugliness in the NW, solely to connect RUTHERFORDHAYES to MARYBLIGE. And scanning all the downs across the center of the puzzle: nothing but crosswordy junk, from MAS to NEE. Ugly.

ReneePDX 12:44 PM  

As a Mon thru Thurs sometimes partial Sunday solver, I was feeling good about this puzzle until the NW corner. As many have already commented, I had OSU and I did not know OROSCO, BREL OR ASHBY.

michy 12:57 PM  

Ditto Renee. I also consider myself a pretty decent Monday-Thursday solver and the NW really messed me up. Had ACrid, did not know OROSCO, BREL or ASHBY, had OSU. Ugh.

Masked and Anonymo2Us 1:03 PM  

Different theme approach, which is always welcome. Figured out the theme first, without writin anything in. Woulda figured 21-A to be MICHAELFOX, but nice that at least one gal got in on the action. Especially since later noticed that Michael don't quite shoehorn in. Anyhoo, thUmbsUp, for the novel puz ride.

Hey out to @TJ from M&A. Stay a while; get comfy.

So, a close call -- just barely had two U's to rub together, here. Too bad there ain't more famous people with middle initial U. Top of the list-ers would hafta be:
* Morris U. Schappes
* Howdy U. Dooit
* Al U. Caneat
* Aikidh U. Knott
* Mohammud U. Spambot

Quick Tonto movie review: Nice "am I in the right theater?" beginnin. Apt endin quote from Tonto: "don't ever do that again". In between lies differentness.

I see they are makin the captchas extra hard, cuz M &A can still get in, sometimes.

Hi-yo, ORU-MOT, away...

Steve J 1:14 PM  

@jberg: What is it with Florida and presidential elections?

Btw, the "just there" president remark was about people's perceptions, not his actual impact. If you polled 100 random people, maybe you'd get maybe 25 who even knew he was a president. Of those 25, at best 1-2 could tell you anything about him. On a good day.

@TachyJacky: Welcome to the group. I missed yesterday's kerfuffle (sorry, Bob), but you expressed yourself well. And don't worry about your puzzle-solving capabilities. I've popped on and off the list of steady commentors over a few years, depending on how busy life gets, but I've always been a Sunday-Thursday solver. There's still good discussion to be had even when you, like me, stare at a lot of empty space on a Friday/Saturday puzzle (and a lot to be gained by making the stab; it's improved my capabilities earlier in the week).

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

--- WILL SHORTZ: You cannot use "n" when "ñ" is required, you "ano". ---

It's convenient to ignore this, so they do. I agree that they should not. That said, it's just a matter of time before the Spanish alphabet is revised one last time and fully standardized to English. The last compound letters were eliminated a couple of years ago. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

Lewis 1:22 PM  

@acme -- another way to tighten the theme is to have all the answers be presidents, or sports figures, or actors, etc.

@steveJ -- can't think of a term for throwing in three crosswordese terms like ERNE, EWER, and OLEO, but I like to think of such terms as Grid Gruel.

@tj -- welcome!

Me, I only have a middle initial. My parents say they did it so I could make it anything I want. But I've just kept it an initial.

The puzzle went fast, possibly my fastest Tuesday ever. I had OSOSCO, but then remembered the right answer. I thought the theme was just right for Tuesday. I like GETS INTO crossing MIDDLE INITIAL because that what a middle initial does in a name. I count 61 theme letters, which is huge, and what is probably resonsible for the generally dull fill.

So I took joy in a fast solve, like Rex did last weekend...

retired_chemist 1:30 PM  

The tilde in Spanish is not going anywhere soon. See examples like you mentioned: AÑO vs. ANO. To us anglophones the tilde means little: however, it means a LOT in Spanish.

JenCT 1:34 PM  

@TachyJacky: Ah, the trouble that can come from having an "invisible" illness! Mine is much more obvious, although when I was still walking, I often wore a shirt that read "I'm not drunk, I have MS!"

Welcome to the blog, your point of view is valuable.

As @Susan McConnell said, you have NOTHING to apologize for.

GILL I. 1:40 PM  

@TachyJacky....New faces, new opinions are what I love about this blog. I also think the graciousness that just about everybody displays is what makes me want to read it every day. After you post for a while, you'll feel like an extended cyber family.
Now, get yourself a little picture and tell us the books and music you like....Bienvenido amigo.

retired_chemist 1:40 PM  

@ JenCT - LOL re your T-shirt. Good one! In several ways.....

tgards79 1:42 PM  

Did anyone notice the use of the word "vessel" as both a clue (20 across, in plural) and an answer (13 down)? I thought this was a no-no....

Anonymous 1:46 PM  

nino is fine but 20A crossing vessel isn't.

dk 1:58 PM  

Hi Kids,

The Four Agreements (D.M. Ruiz)

1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Do not take anything personally. (some of us may have to say this slowly over and over and over again)
3. Do not make assumptions.
4. Always do your best.

Just compelled to share.

Sailed through tis puzzle like a J boat on a hard tack. WASP talk for this one was easy.

Found the theme sorta interesting and seemingly bright for a Tuesday (the sheep spoke slowly as it is common knowledge that…(watch Babe on a double bill with Harold and Maude for help with this lame reference).

🌟🌟 (2 Stars) Thanks Kurt.

@evil and others, currently working to identify providers who refer patients to clinics and testing centers with whom they have a "special" relationship. These referral result in medical costs that may be 20x over the norm. The excuse given is we "trust" center xyz and the fact that we are part owners or get a referral fee is a happy coincidence. Thus while individuals who file fraudulent claims are an easy target the big money is elsewhere. Less than 1% (estimate) of healthcare costs are a result of individual fraud. I have run out of fingers and toes as I try to estimate the institutional dare I say… fraud.

d(statistical avenger)k

Anonymous 2:00 PM  

It's more convenient for us to simply look at the tilde as an accent that changes not just sound, but meaning. The academy may not like it, but they don't have all that much control over worldwide usage. I agree that it will hang on as an official letter for a long time, but convenience for English speakers has won every fight that has been fought with regard to sprucing up the Spanish language.

chefbea 2:03 PM  

@TJ welcome!! a big bunch of red tubers for you!! Gosh...we haven't seen them in a puzzle for a long time

M and A also 2:27 PM  

@d.k. Cool list. Thanx.
I hear tell that Miguel's son later tacked on a #5... Be Skeptical But Learn to Listen. Put it in there for dealin with aluminum sidin salesmen, and such.

Sometimes that Be Impeccable with Yer Word one is darn hard to agree with all the time, when constructin the crossword puzs.

Acme 2:37 PM  

My comment was glib and I do apologize for that...

My intent was to defend @lms from anonymous posters who home in on one sentence and take it personally and attack....when clearly that was not her intent.

The fact that my defense of @lms whom I think brings such light and life into this blog was then hurtful to you is indeed horrible.

instead of taking the high road as @lms did, i should have minded my own business, bit my tongue... and of course my comment was used to deflect from what was happening and used by ED and Rex to attack me. No. Surprise. There.

What I had in mind was indeed what @jenct has suggested... to turn the anger and misunderstanding on its head by literally embracing it and wearing a sign, tshirt, whatever and announcing to the world, in a humorous way, instead of letting bullies (on the blog or in real life) keep you inside.
I wish you well .

LaneB 2:51 PM  

319Put in lots of fill at the outset and thought I'd race to the finish [insert John Belushi clue from the other day.]. Got thrown off by a few early wrong answers [pinion for PECAN, to buy for TO OWN, Nestle for NESTEA, down for MEIN] It doesn't take much to slow me down to a caracole's pace. But I finally finished, helped along by the plethora of much-used crosswordese answers. Fine by me. Perhaps one day there will be a submission that uses only words that have appeared more than a dozen in prior editions.

I've been paying close attention to the colloquy among several of the posters because [a] I've had contact with a couple of them and can't imagine either intentionally offending anyone and [b] in a previous life I worked hard on the Americans With Disabilities Act getting my large employer to go beyond the absolute minimum not only to comply with the Act but 'to do the right thing". In consequence, I have shared many stories with those who have either been born with disabilities or have become so by reason of illness, accident, etc. It is difficult, then, not to be sensitive regarding anyone so situated--even though it may appear on the surface that nothing is amiss.

Thanks to TachyJacky for her candor and to the others for their thoughtful responses.

@lmn Aha! I got the connection between your picture and D34. There's probably more.

Sandy K 3:04 PM  


I too was very moved by your story and the eloquence and bravery you've shown here.

I agree with you and @JenCT- regarding the trouble and frustrations of having an "invisible" illness.

I had to retire from my beloved teaching career due to illness. Altho it is quite visible to those who know me, I also cannot walk around without appearing disoriented or "drunk" due to my
neurological symptoms and it is very hurtful to feel judged, misunderstood, and disbelieved- because otherwise I don't 'look sick'...

I also took up crossword puzzles, and found this blog. Hope that you enjoy being here too!!

Unknown 3:18 PM  

Medium difficulty for me. Theme was more of a 'meh'. Looked for something more unifying about the theme as acme pointed out, but it wasn't to be. Fill was ok for the most part. Didn't even notice the naticks that some mentioned b/c they were known to me.

I have two brothers and a sister. None of us have middle names. Over the years when we questioned my mom, her response was "why do you need a middle name?" Can't say I bought it initially, but came to enjoy not having to write out a middle name or initial on countless forms, checks, etc... over the years. When my second daughter was born, my wife and I considered no middle name for her. When we ran this past my mother-in-law (using my mom's rationale), she was dismayed and insisted that we give her a middle name. I finally said we would if she can come up with a good reason. She called back the following day and said that our daughter would never become president b/c presidents are referred to by their middle names in history books. My response: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. We still tease her about this. PS- we ended up giving her a middle name but my wife and I still can't figure out why. My mother-in-law is a smooth operator that way.

@TJ - welcome. When smart, decent folks get together, differences and mistakes usually develop into understanding and appreciation. That's one of the many things I enjoy about this blog.

gifcan 3:31 PM  

interesting conversation today

Carola 3:56 PM  

@Sandy K - I also had to give up teaching because of my illness - never visible to my students or colleagues, I think, but the physical demands became too much.

@Rex and all - I'm grateful for this blog, look forward to coming every day.

mac 4:07 PM  

@TJ: welcome, you're part of the crowd here, we even renamed you!

Sandy K 4:40 PM  

@Carola- Same here. Kept pushing to go into my school til I caved, and had to go home. The illness won...Miss my job, and being an independent, active person.

I'm also grateful for this blog. I have inadvertly said things that I wish I hadn't, and there have been mistakes and misunderstandings. But hopefully, we try again because there are some truly wonderful people here who I admire, and I feel as if I have a new place to go...

Thoracic 4:44 PM  

@dk-- this is exactly my issue with privatized medical care. I work in the Canadian health care system. I must stress that I AM NOT opening the Canada vs US health system debate(I hope), but that any system where you can tell someone they need expensive test X and just so happen to own the clinic that does expensive test X and thereby profit from it is inherently askin' for trouble. I know the Canadian system sucks in many ways too, so don't beat me over the head with it. I'm just sayin

Sandy K 4:45 PM  

Mistakes eg. inadvertently

(I was a teacher. I have to correct it.)

gifcan 4:54 PM  

I want to officially join the conversation. The commentary is too amusing and interesting to remain forever on the outside looking in.

Being the sports fan that I am, I can't believe I got tripped up by OROSCO.

Inquiring Mind 4:58 PM  

@gifcan- is it pronounced like the peanut butter or like a a present?

M and A Welcome Wagon 5:20 PM  

Hey also to @gifcan -- jump on in; the more the m&airier.

And no problemo. I'm ok on sports, but can sure believe anyone bein tripped up by the likes of OROSCO. Is that dude's first name perchance WALGREENS? Middle initials C.V.S.?!

But I have once more chosen my words unimpeccably. (hi, @lms, acme) Digressed again, perchance to dream, M&A breath.

ArtO 5:24 PM  

What an incredibly enlightening dialog we have all been treated to regarding disabilities. I must confess to being one who looks daggers at an outwardly healthy looking person who seems to be abusing their handicap status.

I will think twice before rendering such judgement in the future.

BTW, OROSCO is a gimme to any NY baseball fan.

Larry 5:28 PM  

Where do you people live where you've lines of able bodied men and women lining up to use all the wheelchairs at the store? Everyone I know resists it until the last possible moment.

You do have me thinking though - The parking is truly horrible at the only good supermarket within 15 miles of my house. I just watched a woman who had parked in the reserved 'Mothers with infants' parking space loading up her car. I'm beginning to wonder if she had those three kids just to be able to snare that parking spot. Yup, she's probably just another taker

Loren Muse Smith 5:46 PM  

Well, I get the Schmuck of the Century Award. Welcome, @TJ! What an entrance you make! I do hope you’ll continue to post here; being active here makes you an even better solver. Like @two ponies said – get an avatar and pull up a chair. And I hope you know I was aiming that stupid statement at the ones who abuse the system; my sister in Salt Lake City has MS, and I’m sure she uses those carts from time to time.

There was no need to apologize; think how all of the thousands of other people I offended cheered when you posted that. Good for you. I deserved it!

Now I’m going to go home and crawl under the bed and wait for this day to come to a close. Sorry again!

chefbea 5:54 PM  

@everyone what a great blog!!!!

jae 6:09 PM  

Interesting day. @Carola -- We also use a chair at the airport even though my bride walks just fine with a cane. Unfortunately, she is so slow we would miss about half our connections with out some assistance.

Welcome TJ. Please keep posting.

@lms -- You might enjoy reading "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" if you haven't already.

sanfranman59 7:08 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 7:23, 8:16, 0.89, 18%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:28, 4:57, 0.90, 14%, Easy

TachyJacky 7:43 PM  

I learned so much today! Thank you for your warm welcome.
@Z-- you taught me a new incarnation of an old word: troll. I am relieved to find out that you were not thinking I was a toothless ogre who lives beneath a bridge, but a meddlesome troublemaker who causes arguments on blogs in order to hijack the discussion. I am embarrassed to acknowledge that I WAS unintentionally...... A troll. As a newbie to the world of Internet blogs, I had never heard of this concept and your comments and Acme's make more sense in this context...thank you for the education! (My children are laughing at me.)

@Milford-- I got OROSCO and ORU from my husband, who is severely dyslexic but knows everything about sports, sports teams, and universities (that have sports teams). I was tripped up on BREL and ASHBY. The rest was a piece of cake!

I wonder if Troll has ever been clued in a puzzle referring to the Internet menace?

Two Ponies 7:56 PM  

Well what a great end to a great day on the blog. Everyone came back for a follow-up comment and tied it all together. @ Rex, I feel you must be proud of your community. I know I am and I feel so lucky to be a part of it. I might be getting too gooey but geez what a day!
Tomorrow we can get back to normal.

Unknown 8:07 PM  

@TJ - Funny you should ask. Just this past Sunday 7/7/13, TROLLS was clued as 'blog nuisances'

Sfingi 8:36 PM  

When my mom was still home and in a wheelchair (and that against her will) I complained to the (only remaining) multi-movie theater that since the mezzanine was gigantic, that they should supply a wheelchair to zoom across it. Their either cold or stupid answer was, "You can bring a wheelchair."

I'd sure like to have been in court the day the defendant said, grammatically, "NOT I." (Claim of innocence.)

@LMS - still love ya.

Sandy K 8:36 PM  

@Loren- Come out, come out from under the bed. Just to be clear, I thought your comment was referring to those who abuse the system- which bothers me too.
This is almost over and remember- "Tomorrow is another day!"

@Acme- I wish I had a friend like you when I needed someone to stick up for me!

michael 8:47 PM  

Maybe my fastest Tuesday ever. But then I wrote in Orosco right away,

Victor 9:37 PM  

Middle initial story: My grandfather was one of five brothers, each had at least one son, each named one son Seymour with no middle name. There were five cousins with the same name, Seymour B... To avoid confusion, they each took as a middle initial the first letter of their father's name, but, of course, two of those were S. Ultimately they became known by the city in which they lived, so there was Seymour Perth Amboy, Seymour Bridgeport, etc. Amazing.

sanfranman59 2:15 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 5:34, 6:09, 0.90, 10%, Easy
Tue 7:21, 8:16, 0.89, 17%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:17, 3:46, 0.87, 2%, Easy (4th lowest ratio of 186 Mondays)
Tue 4:22, 4:57, 0.88, 12%, Easy

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spacecraft 12:05 PM  

Well, whaddya know. I out-rated OFL today; this was a straight-on easy sub-Monday. Although I don't work that way, I'm quite sure I could have solved it in one direction...u-pick-it. Slight hiccup in the NW with ACrid, but one look at the clue for 17a and I could immediately fill in MIDDLE (fittingly: smack IN the middle!) INITIAL. From there, with the start RUTH 17a had to be RUTHRFORDHAYES...oops, a letter short. Maybe I was supposed to include the initial. So I was just about to ink that in when I noticed...hey, there's no "E!" But when MARYBLIGE suggested herself (She IS very suggestive!) I could correct 5d to ACERB, and that was the last speed bump.

[Aside: Who was it who said that "speed bump" is a misnomer; it ought to be called a "slow-down" bump.]

Welcome @TachyJacky. I took you to task yesterday for jumping at the chance to take offense. I do realize that this fence faces two yards, and in my comments yesterday I didn't hit the other one. Though I stick by my advice to you: try not to take it so personally, I surely agree that people should pause before criticizing others until they "walk a mile in their moccasins." I criticize the hell out of some of these constructors, but keep in mind: I couldn't even make a BAD puzzle, so what do I know? I do it from the standpoint of a solver's experience. And I have lots of company--now including you. Welcome again!

DMGrandma 2:43 PM  

Got it all except Natick corner! This time I didn't know a director, a ball player, and someone with the middle initial J!
An unknown MARy or MARv somebody, with an improbable last name that seemed to work out to be to be BILGE, which sounds like something from Dickens, not the real word.!! Please, less trivia, more wordplay.

I see the salesmen are back! Now to see if I can do as well as they with the dreaded "save us from the robot" word.

Ginger 2:45 PM  

Welcome, @TJ. You have opened my eyes, and apparently the eyes of many others here too. Thank you and Welcome to this extraordinary community.

This puz was smack dab in my wheelhouse. Knew Orosco, (have watched him pitch), BREL was a bit slow to come, but that was my only hitch. Got the theme almost before my first entry, and except for wanting an R in ROCKErFELLER, I ripped through. Kept looking for Afred E Newman ;-) and wanted BLIGh, as in Captain.

rain forest 3:35 PM  

Sometimes I think @Spacecraft and I were separated at birth--I too, when I saw the 17A clue, filled in MIDDLEINITIAL instantly, which made the rest of the puzzle easy. A small pause at 2D, but I knew OROSCO, and then from somewhere came, oh yeah, Oral Roberts U. No pauses at all after that.

Come on Rex, of course the choices for the theme answers are somewhat arbitrary - you can't get ALL the people who include their middle initial in their names, but these are four of them, which is just fine.

Talking about those whose names start with an initial brings up a question: what do close friends of F. Lee Bailey call him - "F"? Guess I should ask Acme.

Very interesting discussion the last two days re those who are truly disabled, and those who take advantage. Heartening, as well.

Dirigonzo 5:06 PM  

With more than 100 comments when I started reading, I expected a slew of those objectionable dream-spammers - I was pleasantly surprised to find instead a ton of bona-fide comments in reply to @TJ's post. My faith in Rexville as a caring and sharing community is restored.

As to the puzzle,today like yesterday I was faced with the crossing of two proper names both of which were meaningless to me - ASHBY/BREL. Mary J. Blige could as easily have been Mark or Marv, but I guessed right. I don't mind having to guess on a late-week puzzle but it's frustrating on Monday or Tuesday.

Syndi-synchronicity: Last Sunday's Premier Crossword by Frank A. Longo was about three-named famous persons, clued by their middle names.

Waxy in Montreal 6:17 PM  

Pining for those simple days of yore when ADAM, EVE, Cain & ABEL only needed a short single name to uniquely identify themselves. Things are just so much more complex these days where for RUTHERFORD, MARY, ROBERT & JOHN even two names don't suffice.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

ADAM, EVE & ABEL: Three members of the initial family.

As someone who buys his favorite beer at Costco, I appreciated the crossing of CASE with (Fritz) MAYTAG

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