Small paving stones / TUE 8-13-13 / Roman god of horses / Kate's groom in Taming of the Shrew / John McCain Kurt Vonnegut once /

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: BATTLESHIP (56A: Four units, in 56-Across) — answers are all kinds of ships found in the game "BATTLESHIP," clued by how many "units" (i.e. how much board space) they take up:

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Two units, in 56-Across (PATROL BOAT)
  • 23A: Three units, in 56-Across (SUBMARINE)
  • 37A: Five units, in 56-Across (AIRCRAFT CARRIER)
  • 49A: Three units, in 56-Across (DESTROYER)

Word of the Day: ONE TEN (52A: Early afternoon time) —
The answer that opens the floodgates for SIXTWELVE, EIGHTTWENTYTHREE, etc.
• • •

Not enough thought was given to two questions here. First, why? Second, what will the solving experience be like? This looks like a puzzle that was made *solely* because of the discovery of the, let's say, for the sake of generosity, fortuitous fact that the theme answers could be arranged symmetrically. Because no one thinking straight is going to think, "You know what people will like? Entering names of various vessels. And let's clue them in an utterly bland and self-enclosed/self-referential way. That'll be good." There's maybe an "oh, OK" moment at the end when you hit "BATTLESHIP," but otherwise, it's just "units" this and vessel that and blah. Nothing pops. Nothing is clever or sparkly. At least not in the theme.

Finished in the same time as yesterday, which means this was still on the hard side for its day of the week. Tough clues everywhere. On OTTER (48D: "The Wind in the Willows" character), on SNIPE (50D: Bid at the last second, as on eBay), even on NEPTUNE (25D: Roman god of horses). Clue on OIL TYCOON (34D: One whose success is well-earned?) is fantastic but Totally out of place on a Tuesday. Fill overall is good. Probably above average for a Tuesday. But the theme was nod-off boring to me, and the pretty good fill just didn't make up for it. Yuck = RVERS, SETTS, ONE TEN, I TRY (I will never like this last answer, mostly because it reeks of false modesty, not because it's something no one would ever say).

  • 33A: John McCain and Kurt Vonnegut, once, for short (POWS) — Knew this about McCain, but forgot it about Vonnegut. Thus, I had to take a couple passes at this to get it.
  • 8D: Drop a fly ball, e.g. (A-ROD) — actually, technically, he muffed a grounder on Sunday, but ERR is ERR is ERR, and it was fun to watch (he also hit a homer—less fun).
  • 24D: It was originally first on the Roman calendar (MARCH) — I was looking for something more ... Roman. It's just a month. Sometimes I overthink. More often, I don't think enough, but sometimes. . . 

I would like to describe this past weekend's Lollpuzzoola 6 tournament in detail to you, but the at-home version of the game is still going on (through this weekend, details here). So I'll just give you some photo highlights. 

So first on Friday there was a party at Dan Feyer's place on the upper west side. That was cool, except for the woman who passed out in front of me and hit the kitchen floor Hard. That caused me several minutes of semi-panic. Is she responsive? (sorta) Can I get her into a chair? (omg dead weight is So Heavy) etc. Heat + alcohol = bad combo. She ended up being fine. Moving on. Up on tourney day for a very disappointing diner breakfast but some great coffee and then—All Soul's Church, chock full o' people I know. Milling, meeting, greeting (none of which, actually, comes naturally to me). Doug Peterson brought me the sleazy paperbacks he always brings me every time I see him at a tournament (these books provide fodder for That Other Blog I write). 

Other people were there too. Vega tried to read the sleaze that Doug brought me, even though it came with a clear warning label.

There were various constructors about (Patrick Blindauer, Mike Nothnagel):

And several judges judging (Howard, Janie, Dan, Joanna, Brad, Ben, Brian, Mike):

Later there was dinner and what not. The next day, my long-awaited pilgrimage to Dun-Well Doughnuts in Brooklyn with my friend Katie Hamill. Here she is, as happy as it is possible for a human to be:

Then after lunch, the Tigers/Yankees game, which was dramatic, as I mentioned yesterday. Here I am looking elated because I am watching the best hitter in baseball.

Later, I rode the subway with this guy (who happens to be the future of speed-solving; yes, this guy, Univ. of Maryland student Erik Agard; this guy; also, he constructs puzzles—get 'em here):

Finally, I rounded the night off with a nice Italian dinner, followed by some disturbingly small cupcakes:

And the end. Sorry I can't say more about the tournament puzzles (yet), but I can say they were entertaining, tough, creative, and of a very high quality. I will be back again next year and for as long as Brian (or someone) keeps putting it together.

Here's my wife's write-up of the weekend, in case you need more.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. the very cool Knuckle Ball t-shirt I'm wearing in two of these pics was designed by Amelie Mancini at Left Field Cards. Funny, quirky, thoughtful baseball art. Check it out. The "Bartleby" tshirt/baseball jersey I'm wearing in the first pic is from Novel-T—they have lots of author/book-related baseball Ts. Check them out too. (No one's paying me to say this—I just love these designers' work)


August West 12:05 AM  


Worst puzzle ever.

Elle54 12:06 AM  

I liked it . Nostalgic

Steve J 12:11 AM  

I actually kinda liked the theme. Maybe it's a wee bit of nostalgia (I loved Battleship when I was a kid), maybe it was the misdirection of units ending up being boats/game pieces (the first couple passes, I was figuring it was going to be metric or something like that), or maybe it was the fact that I've discovered the only type of cross-referential cluing I like is when the reference is to the same clue (as in 56A, and as in a recent BEQ puzzle I did). Certainly not the most sparkly theme, but it worked well enough for my lower early-week expectations.

I initially spelled PETRUCHIO in what would be the typical Italian spelling - Petruccio. That gave me a Facebook button labeled ScARE. I kinda wish that was a button now.

Didn't realize NEPTUNE was the Roman god of horses. How does the god of the sea also end up being the god of horses (who, obviously, are not remotely of the sea)?

Wasn't crazy about the fill (while I don't think it's the worst ever, August West iterates the bad bits well). Loathed ONETEN. Let's hope that never, ever, ever does anything like that show up again. Ever.

Evan 12:16 AM  

I sorta like this one better in retrospect because of some of the lively fill answers like OIL TYCOON, CARE BEARS, WILL DO, WET SEASON, and even PETRUCHIO has a fun flavor to it. But I was also rubbed the wrong way by answers like ESTOP, ONE TEN, SETTS (crossing both RVERS the long prefix PROTO), and RYANS (plural first name action!).

I can't believe it took me until cracking four theme answers that I understood what was going on. I did think it was kinda funny how 56-Across referred to itself in the clue. Some bizarre mistakes on my part: SWIPE before SNIPE (crossing WOE before NOS), I MAY before I TRY (just wasn't thinking on that one), and NY MET before NY JET (should have noticed that Met was in the clue).

For everyone who hasn't been to Lollapuzzoola -- go. Just go. Well,'ll have to wait till next year. But go then, because it's fun as hell. And in the meantime, solve the puzzles at home and enjoy them. 'Twas great to see everyone there.

jae 12:26 AM  

Medium-tough for me too probably because of the cross referencing and having Geez for GOSH.  Like Rex, about the same difficulty as yesterday's.  Unlike Rex I was fine with the theme.  Liked it.

Plus the stuff I only know from crosswords count was pretty low: OKAPI

A brief comment on @Steve J's comment from Sun.  It's a tad easier for those of us who are aging boomers or older to kept track of current pop culture than it is for a Gen Xer or millennial solver to  learn about trivia from the past.  And,  if you are serious about doing contemporary crosswords a cappella e. g. BEQ, Jonesin', AV's not a bad idea.

And, thanks for the pics, it's nice to put faces with names.

Aircraft Carrier Marches 2:02 AM  

The theme is PERFECT for Tuesday...

It's a fusion of BATTLESHIP and crosswords! You can view the crossword grid as the BATTLESHIP game board.

Draw circles around the theme answers (being perfectly symmetrical is again being pooh-poohed here, but it is so rare and magical, that's what finding a good theme is all about!)

and it's like playing the game...
Instead of 123456, imagine ABCDEF so
23E would be a hit on SUBMARINE.

Anyway, some icky fill, (that's already been ragged on), some fun uptotheminutefill (SNIPE), classy fill (PETRUCHIO!) and the kinds of definitions I LOVE
(See 26D for EXACT)

Joel, You sank my BATTLESHIP! But raised my heart!

chefwen 2:24 AM  

I got it but I didn't git it until Jon splained the board game BATTLESHIP, I vaguely remember hearing about it, but never played it, was more of a Scrabble girl.

Made the same mistake as @Steve J. with Petruccio, don't Facebook so SCaRE was fine with me.

I TRY reminds me of my Grandma Sophie, whenever we would thank her for something she would say "Don't mention it" when all along you knew if you didn't mention it, she would be totally pissed off.

ONE TEN SETTS my teeth on edge.

Davis 2:40 AM  

Felt hard for a Tuesday, but I can't say I enjoyed the difficulty as much as I did yesterday's—this one is a bit more "meh". With ONE TEN it seems we've moved beyond arbitrary hours, and now pretty much any conceivable time can become fill. I disapprove of this trend.

The thing I really didn't like about the theme was that once you recognized it, all the theme answers were freebies. That takes the fun out of the theme for me.

Jupiter 5:57 AM  

I always thought Neptune was the God of Sea-Horses.

Unknown 7:44 AM  

I got all of the answers. I am ecstatic because at first I thought I was going to fall overboard. It was hard for a Tues. but somehow I got through.

mac 8:15 AM  

Slowish but steady solve for me. I have heard of "battleship" but have never played it, so that was a handicap.

I could not get Pegasus out of my brain when I had to find the god of horses, needed to rely on a couple of crosses to get to Neptune.

Well-done Tuesday!

Unknown 8:15 AM  

I did it, but it didn't do much for me....felt kind of blah. Then ONETEN just made me mad.

chefbea 8:16 AM  

Never played Battleship so did not really understand the puzzle. 18across was 2 units=patrol boat==2 words. So I figured the rest of the theme words would have 3 words, 5 words etc. Very confusing.

What does PDA stand for??

Glimmerglass 8:16 AM  

@stevej: Poseidon, the Greek version of Neptune, is the god of earthquakes and horses as well as the sea. The Greeks would have observed that earthquakes often originated off-shore. Perhaps running horses sound like earthquakes?

Evan 8:18 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Evan 8:20 AM  

@August West:

While I don't disagree with several of your bad fill words, what's wrong with RBI, IPAD, G.I. JOE? I'd defend the first as a common baseball stat, the second as a modern and very popular machine, and the third as a classic line of toys -- as well as a cartoon which shamelessly hawked its toys mid-episode.


Public Display of Affection.

Loren Muse Smith 8:22 AM  

Thanks for the chance to enjoy that tournament vicariously, Rex! Great pictures and stories.

@Evan – just the opposite for me. Dad and I got PATROL BOAT, and after considering the strange clue, I got it instantly and triumphantly went down and filled In BATTLESHIP with no crosses. And I never played the game much. (@chefwen – I was a Candyland girl well into my twenties. ;-) ) Dad couldn’t remember the game, so I google- imaged (there’s a verb for you) a picture of a BATTLESHIP PATROL BOAT and pointed out the two thingies.
So from there, I got SUBMARINE, AIRCRAFT CARRIER, and DESTROYER off just one or two letters.


I liked I TRY over GRE. GOSH. I did TRY. But my score was roughly on a par with what a POLYP would score. I guess I was accepted more on my undergraduate grades. I was chatting with my thesis director right before I defended, and my GRE came up. He said, “There’s no way you got into UNC-CH with that GRE score.” I assured him I did, but he probably still doesn’t believe me. So. . . any readers out there on admissions committees who’re examining GRE scores – look at the whole picture! I did fine at Carolina.

We solved this one easily, though it does look like a lot of white space for a Tuesday. How do you get the word count? Just add up all the acrosses and downs? I’m too lazy to go back and do that on Across Lite, but it seems low.

Thanks, Joel. Good fun.

joho 8:24 AM  

VOLTS is the new EEL.

Gee, I hate to pile on, but ONETEN?
It's a whole lot better than THREEFORTYFIVE, though!

I liked the theme because I used to love beating my brother at BATTLESHIP. At least that's how I remember it.

Thanks for the pics, @Rex!

Thanks for the walk down memory land, Joel!

Tita 8:26 AM  

I don't think I have ever been more diametrically opposed to Rex's experience...

I LOVED this!!
Exactly as @ACME says - a fusion of Battleship and crosswords.

That, and the nostalgia rush when I got the theme.

We used to play all the time - a pad of graph paper and a coupla pencils, and we were off! It was part of the standard "keep the kids busy on long road trips" fare.
Only our "units" were in Portuguese, so the names were actually not total gimmes today.

We had fun drawing in our vessels - "Ha - she'll *never* think of looking *here*!!

Also liked SWIGS, clue for EXACT.

On the extremely rare times that I buy something on ebay, I use SNIPE software. Does that make me an evil person? If high-speed traders can use electronics to replace their human reflexes, why can't I, where the stakes are a lot lower...

Meg RYAN - local (Brookfield) girl made good.

Thanks Mr. Fagliano - this was really fun.

Tita 8:30 AM  

Aargh...once again, my post was too short...
Meant to mention VOLTS - @joho - VOLT* is the new *electric* EEL.

Also meant to mention @Rex and the great stories/pics from Lolla. What a great time.

Milford 8:57 AM  

Thought the theme was kind of fun, liked the game as a kid, but I guess I never paid much attention to what kinds of boats they were. I think I thought the were all BATTLESHIPs?

The OIL TYCOON clue was awesome, and like @acme I liked the EXACT clue for showing it as a verb/adjective combo.

Playing catch-up on puzzles since Friday, long weekend of family events that included a local art festival with beer tents, Cedar Point, and a day on Lake St. Clair, and having to hurry back Sunday as not to miss "Breaking Bad"...a wee exhausting but fun.

Tournament sounds very fun - if I were anywhere near NY in August it would be worth going, I'm sure.

Horace S. Patoot 9:14 AM  

Seems sketchy to clue ESTOP (13D) and STOP IT (44D) in the same puzzle.

retired_chemist 9:18 AM  

Medium here. Actually enjoyed the theme because it took me back to sixth (or so) grade. Got it easily when I had enough crosses to know 23A was SUBMARINE. I had PAT______ at that point for 18A and then that went right in. Got the other theme answers almost without crosses - had AIR________ for 37A but nothing yet for 49A or 56A. Fillked al this in, looked for CRUISER for a moment (wasn't there - how do you play BATTLESHIP without the four unit CRUISER? Bah.)

The fill was pretty good. Some c**p (SETTS, ONE-TEN, to pick the worst of the ones mentioned by others), but some very nice, esp. the four 9 letter downs.


Anonymous 9:26 AM  

What a sour-faced group!

Joel and Will plant a big old Easter Egg with ONETEN and then sit back, chortling loudly, as they look on at the reaction of all those who can't cotton such an inside joke.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:29 AM  

Undoubtedly this puzzle was inspired by the smashing success of last year's "Battleship", the movie.

I was fortunate to catch on to the theme early, so the puzzle seemed super-easy. (Well, OK, I didn't put it in, but for a bit I thought 43 A, Potter's oven, was an OAST rather than a KILN, but that can happen when I am in my crossword-vocabulary mode.)

Ray J 9:29 AM  

Piling on-

Mom always said “if you can’t say something nice …” Sorry Mom, ONE-TEN sucks POLYPs. Ranks right up there with “mid sixth-century year.” Three-ten (to Yuma) would be fine and Four-Twenty is always a good time. Pleeeease never do that again.

Carola 9:36 AM  

Had fun with this one. Liked the theme a lot because of loving WWII movies like "Run Silent, Run Deep" (SUBMARINE, DESTROYER). Once I had PATROL BOAT, the other ships went in right away. Didn't get the BATTLESHIP game connection until the grid was filled in and I thought about it for a while.

Love how NEPTUNE, the sea god, is right down the center, connecting three of the ships.

Have the at-home Lolla puzzles - will get started today.

dk 9:53 AM  

Oddly comforting puzzle. My dad, to keep us amused during the summer sojourn to Maine, had us create the BATTLESHIP grid on paper, lay out our armadas and then - let the games begin. Some creative cheating as at times our ships got "underway" and then pater & mater declaring certain dots were in fact land mines… the horror.

Being bland and self-enclosed I give this one:

🌟🌟🌟 (3 Stars)

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

@Anon 9:26 - If the answer were ATEN rather than ONETEN, you would have a point. Unfortunately, it's ONETEN

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

Once I got one of the ships I got them all. Never knew or much cared what the theme was. The number of squares in some board game? Give me a break here.

August West 10:11 AM  

Hi Evan 8:20, Bear with me, here. Lawyers. Why use ten words when fifty will do?

I don't have a problem with your defenses of the three entries you care to debate. I would have no qualms with their singular inclusions in a grid of otherwise quality fill and, concededly, GIJOE might not have merited placement in my laundry list of puke in the first place. But, their presence in a grid already so disgustingly overburdened with abbreviations, partials and plurals of convenience just turned me off even more. Use words. Real words.

I suppose iPad has become a "word"; certainly it is a popular product name. I just hate to see it in puzzles, dredged from the bottom of the septic tank of crosswordese for its "I" and its "a", I suppose. Or did he really need that "d" because this grid just couldn't not have PDA in it? Even the "quality" fill, e.g., PETRUCHIO, CAREBEARS, OILTYCOON & WETSEASON, is fatally diminished in my eyes by the horrible routes taken to get 'em in there.

All this, mindful of the initial *idea* to celebrate in theme one of the most banal 'how-do-you-keep-a-moron-busy?' "games" of all time, force me to stand on my original concluding thought. I liked it better the first time, when it was called "Bingo."

And RBI? That's just baseball, dude. Not a sport.

Z 10:12 AM  

My reaction, once I finally got the theme, was EXACTly the same as the reaction I get to a bad pun. Of course, I love bad puns.

I took a work call mid solve, so no idea on relative difficulty. It seemed typical Tuesdayish. Two write overs, dIet before LIPO and ImOut before I FOLD. Both fixed nearly immediately.

@LMS - Now all the men are imagining you as a "Candyland Girl."

Anybody have any idea what Anon 9:28 is nattering about?

Z 10:18 AM  

@August West - What? You like football (committee meetings interrupted by bouts of violence) or basketball (we're losing so let's break the rules to try to win) better? Baseball, still America's pastime and the second best sport out there.

Pete 10:27 AM  

@Z - Anon 9:26 was, I assume, positing that ONETEN was a reference to a call in BATTLESHIP, specifying a mine hit. As was pointed out by another Anon, one of the rows or column is labeled A,B, C..., so Anon 9:26's comment was misguided.

August West 10:44 AM  

Z: Lacrosse: What men do during boys baseball season.

JFC 10:50 AM  

Enjoyed Acme's write-up more than Rex's and enjoyed the puzzle more than Rex. But I also enjoyed the game and will probably play it again with my grandson. I suspect one's familiarity with the game influences how one feels about the puzzle.

@Rex, in your write-up, you transposed the c and p and wound up with expect instead of except while staring at the unfortunate soul on the floor....


llcoolj 10:59 AM  

Been lurking for years, agreeing/disagreeing/enjoying you all for years. Here's my first post:

Could someone please explain the clue at 30D?

DBGeezer 11:08 AM  

@SteveJ, Sorry, but the typical Italian spelling is indeed chi. ci and ce are pronounced (English style) chi, and che. In order to make it a hard c (ke and ki) the h is interposed between the c and vowel. ca, co, and cu are all pronounced with a hard c.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:08 AM  

@llcoolj - As @Evan explained to @chefbea at 8:20 AM, PDA is a Public Display of Affection, like that couple I saw kissing passionately in the surf this past Sunday. Not to be mistaken for a Personal Digital Assistant. (If it gets that far, it had better not be public!)

Evan 11:09 AM  


Welcome. See my comment above, at 8:20 am.

@August West:

Should you make it to either the ACPT or Lollapuzzoola next year, we should share a beer. I think the conversations would be pretty entertaining ("Baseball's a sport!" "No it ain't!" "Battleship sucks!" "No it don't!").

Rob C 11:33 AM  

Challenging Tues for me. Theme was a meh. Clue for OIL TYCOON was the best clue of the year. ONE TEN was bad, as in shouldn't be allowed bad.

Just did a quick google search and it seems as if '110 in the Shade' is a musical by Harvey Schmidt/Tom Jones. Doesn't look like it had much popularity/success. Makes me wonder if 110 was originally clued differently (but too obscurely) by Joel F, so as not to be just a random time?

Tricky clue for NEPTUNE given that it's a Tues.

Mel Ott 11:47 AM  

Re 38D: I'm pretty sure Dizzy Dean said, "It ain't braggin' if ya kin do it" long before Ali.

Bob Kerfuffle 12:08 PM  

@Rob C - I am not particularly qualified, but I have heard of "110 in the Shade" and I'm fairly sure it was always spoken as "A Hundred and Ten in the Shade." "One Ten in the Shade" doesn't sound the same.

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

Hey, Rex -- do you wear your hat to bed? ;-)

Arby 12:20 PM  

I didn't know Seth Rogen was a puzzle constructor! (Why does his nametag say "Patrick"?)

I would use the "SCARE" button all the time on Facebook, since my character's name was also PETRUCCIO.

Steve J 12:25 PM  

@DBGeezer: Thanks. Realized later that I had misstated that, but didn't go back and correct it. What I meant to say was that I thought the character's name was pronounced pet-roo-chee-oh, not pet-roo-key-oh. So, I thought of the correct spelling for my incorrect name when I entered PETRUCcIO. (I still like the idea of Facebook having a ScARE button as a result.)

Masked and AnonymoUUs 12:29 PM  

Two-U's-day. Two U-units. Bad game. Kinda really sorta like how 56-Across refers to itself, tho.

4-Oh maybe don't like board games.
M&A once actually *made* a board game, when he was a kid. It was called "No Win Situation". Kids in the hood liked it at first, until they realized that no one ever won the game... it just kept goin on and on. Actually, there was one rather obscure way to taste victory... but I digress.

@lms: Ways to count words in a NYT grid:
1. Count the clues.
2. Go to xwordinfo home page. They say.
3. Count squares that start both an Across and Down clue. Add that to the highest grid number (it's usually near the bottom). Voila. (Candyland?!?! The horror. The horror.)
4. Call up Rex at home and ask him.

Risk. Now there's a board game. Also, Cabby -- the game where you get to break the rules...


Dick S 12:37 PM  

Great write-ups on the puzzling event! Mrs Rex captures the sense of HY summer with the exit from the Port Authority at rush hour, particularly if it was 110 in the shade.

The two T shirt references are well-worth a detour for the curious collector. No one expects to see William Carlos Williams on your chest.

MandA Product Recall Dept. 12:43 PM  

...squares that start both an Across and Down ANSWER.

Suzy 12:58 PM  

Fairly easy for me, although I'd never heard of a SETT. So I kearned something new.
One ten took a while to fall.

LaneB 1:20 PM  

Not all that challenging once I caught on to the theme early. Had some trouble with the cross at GRE and CAREBEARS being unaware of the toy and making no sense of the SRS-GRE abbreviations. Originally had LIfO [last in first out--sometimes a losing strategy] instead of LIPO and didn't think at first to add the 'suction' suffix to have the clue make sense. Even as an EBay user, I didn't know the term SNIPE. Otherwise a satisfying Tuesday.

Emergency U Alert 1:20 PM  

Thanx to 4-Oh, for all the primo pics from Lolla-land.

And y'all be sure and check out the LA-land Times puz, today. 5.25 stars.


NYer 1:21 PM  

Is the Doug who provided OFL with the sleazy paperbacks Evil Doug?

Bird 1:26 PM  

No idea on the theme and not much filled in until I got 56A, then everything fell into place quickly. In the end I liked the puzzle and the theme, with one exception: ONE TEN at 52A.

SLIM before PARE, OGRE before LOUT and CELLS before VOLTS.

Loved BATTLESHIP as a kid and now my sons play it. Great game.

Uncle John C 1:26 PM  

Thanks for the "Battleship" clip @Rex - a quick story:

I once had the pleasure of seeing Joel Hodgeson's standup act and he began by announcing that he remembers all toy/game commercial jingles from the '60s & '70s and welcomed anyone to yell out the name of any toy/game and he'll sing the song - throughout the performance someone would interrupt with a shout of "Slinky" or whatnot and he'd sing the jingle - he couldn't be stumped. While telling another joke someone shouted out "Battleship" and he just replied, "no song, just B4-hit, J1-miss" - and I swear I might've been the only one who knew that those coordinates (B4...)weren't just arbitrarily spoken - but were the actual ones from the commercial. Fun night - but I guess you had to be there.

Ulrich 1:27 PM  

I'm totally with my friends @acme and @Tita on this.

and @Steve J: It's actually pronounced "Pe-troo-choh". The only function of the "i" after the "c" is to make it soft because, as DBGeezer has said, a "c" before an "o" is normally hard.

ANON B 2:13 PM  

Finished it without too much trouble and didn't understand the theme. Not everyone has played Battleship.
Even with Rex's explanation
it took me awhile.

ANON B 2:28 PM  

Someone please explain how
"oneten" leads to "sixtwelve" etc.

Bob Kerfuffle 2:38 PM  

I was tempted, at LP 6, to approach Rex and ask him to tell the story behind his T-shirt, but I feared he would reply, “I would prefer not to.”

@ANON B - If ONETEN is as completely arbitrary as the common opinion has it, and is accepted, then any time of day becomes an acceptable crossword answer - Six Twelve, Eleven Forty-seven, Seven Thirty-six, etc.

Earl of Natick 2:39 PM  

1:10 = ONETEN
So ONETEN (clued as a time of day) opens the floodgates for all clock settings to be eligible as crossword answers.

But, hey -- it was just a matter of time...

Welcome, @llcoolj. My first post, also.

Bird 3:01 PM  

@Earl of Natick - Welcome to the blog. And groan.

Four-Twenty is the best time of day

ANON B 3:12 PM  

@Bob and Earl:
Thanks. I guess I should have figured it out.

P.S. I hope Battleship doesn't open
the floodgates for other games I
haven't played.

Z 3:16 PM  

@Emergency U Alert - M&A is an inspiration. Har. (only 5.25 stars?) How long until the "Is M&A really Greg Johnson" speculation starts? It is all about you, you, you.

@August West - any game with a slasher penalty can hardly be called a sport. Har Har. Seriously, who let's their kid play a game where slash guards are de riguer and the other team is armed with sticks? Well, besides Hockey Moms, that is.

The Who train? fivefifteen
Time to smoke? fourtwenty
Time for a junk food break? seveneleven
Chicago hit? threethirtyfive or threethirtyfour (Ooh - a Saturday two part cross referencer)

But really, does anyone really know what time it is?

sanfranman59 3:46 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 9:10, 8:16, 1.11, 76%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:54, 5:00, 1.18, 89%, Challenging

JenCT 3:56 PM  

@chefwen: LOL Grandma Sophie...

Liked this more than OFL - growing up, I played a LOT of BATTLESHIP with my brother.

Sorry to miss Lollapuzzoolah this year - maybe next year.


JenCT 420

Lewis 4:12 PM  

@horace -- I thought the same thing. When I came to STOPIT I thought it couldn't be right because I had ESTOP.

@unclejohn -- I enjoyed your story!

I'm now waiting for a crossword answer JUNEFIFTH. The clue could be: A Thursday in 1995.

I didn't mind the theme at all. I think it was meant for those who knew or know the game to smile with recognition. I played it some as a kid, but it didn't do much for me. But it was, in my neck of the woods, considered a cool game.

Not a single PAUL REAN comment today, even with WEAN as another answer?

I don't like ALI crossing LOUS, but I do like GOBAD crossing ONETEN. And yes too much grid gruel. And yet... I enjoyed the solve!

Lewis 4:13 PM  


chefwen 4:49 PM  

M & A - Was going to give U a heads-Up on the cUstom made puzzle for U, but I see yoU already snUrfed it oUt. FUn one!

acme 5:43 PM  

@NYer 1:21pm

Couldn't be farther from the case! The Doug pictured is Doug Peterson who is considered the nicest, most gentlemanly, thoughtful, modest constructor out there...He also goes by gentleman about town and Doug swedish sounding Peterson.

While I'm at it, @Arby 12:20
the "Seth Rogen" lookalike is none other than the brilliant Patrick Blindauer, of dollar bill, tightrope and double feature puzzle fame. He also cohosts the tourney now that Ryan is out here in California.

John V 5:51 PM  

Too late to read everyone's comments -- just got to the puzzle now.

No way in a million years I could have ever figured out this theme. I am aware that Battleship is a game, but that's it nothing. Unfair, IHMO.

Not a fan of PETRUCHIO or OILTYCOON; not Tuesday fare; crossing OILTYCOON with SETTS is right down Broadway, Natick, MA.

Joel has done better. Sorry, man.

sanfranman59 2:37 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 7:35, 6:09, 1.23, 98%, Challenging (5th highest ratio of 191 Mondays)
Tue 9:26, 8:16, 1.14, 82%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:52, 3:47, 1.29, 99%, Challenging (2nd highest ratio of 191 Mondays)
Tue 5:41, 5:00, 1.14, 82%, Challenging

the redanman 2:06 PM  

meh personified, I got the theme, highly meh, some pretty meh fill


Anonymous 9:19 AM  

I think this would have been that one puzzle that could get away with not being symmetric. Would have been more fun if theme answers were randomly placed as you typically find on the Battleship grid. I also think this would have allowed for better fill.

spacecraft 11:23 AM  

I was, if you'll pardon the expression, at sea about the theme for a while--right up till having SUB_ARI__ and PATRO_____ in place. Then I looked at the former and that earwiggy Beatles tune started playing in my head. "We all live in a..." well, you know.

The room now illuminated, I of course filled in all the theme answers. Is that what so many of you (OFL and others) mean by "boring" and "meh?" The fact that once you get it the whole thing's a gimme? Guys, that's why it's on a Tuesday. I don't think of it as boring. It was a thing I didn't know at first; had no idea what he was talking about, with his "units" and such; and thus required a genuine AHA! moment. IMHO, puzzles with such moments are not boring.

There is also some very nice extracurricular stuff, particularly the central down: NEPTUNE. I can understand why the cluer was reluctant to mention that he's the sea god, in keeping with the theme. But horses? Yeah, that clue sends us into at least Thursday or so.

Plus, SPCA heading PETruchio, next to many kids' favorite pet the CAREBEAR, plus HIT (also a Battleship term!) next to ERR. All that was missing was MISS. [He could've come close by bleeding over VOLTA to make SRA going down, a Spanish "miss"]

So yes, thumbs up, enjoyed it. But ONETEN? STOPIT!

spacecraft 11:28 AM  

Now that I reread my penultimate paragraph, I realize that SRA would be "Mrs.," and "Miss" would be SRTA. I know you sharp-eyed ones would be quick to correct me on that one. Ha! Beat ya to it!

Waxy in Montreal 1:01 PM  

@spacecraft, fully agree - excellent puzzle. Glad both Monday & Tuesday this week have been on the challenging side - hope that's the shape of things to come.

Never played BATTLESHIP but once SUBMARINE, ahem, surfaced, the theme became clear. Not familiar with SETTS but couldn't be anything else given its crosses. Loved the clue for OILTYCOON.

captcha = ALTSELLI, perhaps another eBay sales option.

Solving in Seattle 1:50 PM  

Syndie comments had me cracking up today. "Love, meh." Har.

Agree with @spacy & Waxy: Liked this puzzle, even though, in my very misspent youth, I never played Battleship. Nice nautical flavor with the boats, the Roman god of the sea, SWIRL, all ahead SLOW... ok, I'm stretching it.

@Z, wasn't it 'sixtofour?' Maybe Joel will clue that one up next puz.

Had SwIPE before SNIPE. irON before NEON (head slap). keY before CAY. SUmARIzE before my SUBMARINE surfaced (cite to Waxy), but Zeus didn't fit at 25D. Agree that this week's start was a bit more challenging and I also welcome the change.

capcha: atimpol. Place of worship?

Dirigonzo 3:09 PM  

I seem to recall that my sons had an electronic version of Battleship that flashed lights and made exploding sounds when a ship suffered a hit; it may have had special effects when a ship was sunk, too. Pretty tame by today's standards but a lot more entertaining then merely saying "hit" or "miss" after each salvo.

As anony 9:19 (real time or synditime, I can't tell) says, maybe the ships shouldn't be symmetrically arranged, but of course that would cause the purists to howl (which is sometimes fun in its own right).

@space craft - I think you give us (well me, anyway) too much credit. I bet your gaff would have gone unnoticed.

I'm out (which I tried first and still like better than IFOLD).

rain forest 4:41 PM  

Haven't been around much. Busy. Just to recap: did Saturday's--great; did Sundday's--OK, but silly; did yesterday's--liked it;
did today's--also liked it.

Comments: SETTS is a legitimate word - I've worked with setts on patios. I've played BATTLESHIP - fun until you are about 12.

I want to know why M&A's formula for finding the number of words in a puzzle by counting the squares which start both an across and down answer and adding the highest grid number, works. Anyone?

Dirigonzo 5:41 PM  

@rain forest - nice to see you back. I'll take a crack at explaining why that works: each numbered square marks the start of at least one word and some, the ones M&A asks us to count, start two which gives us an "extra" word to count. Add the "single" words (highest number) and the "extra" words and - voila! - you have the total word count (but there has to be an easier way).

Z 9:13 PM  

@Solving in Seattle - I remember reading that the song "Twenty Five or Six to Four" really meant "Twenty-five or twenty-six to four o'clock," so 3:35 or 3:34. Wikipedia agrees.

Ginger 11:14 PM  

This played tough for me. Had no idea what all the ships were doing floating around the grid. Thought, "Navy units"? Even after getting BATTLESHIP mostly from crosses, it took a while to 'get' it. Oh....I think there's a game by that name.....Oh.....AHA.

@Bob Kerfuffle 11:08, Snort, best line in a long time.

@SIS and @rain forest The Hawks looked pretty good Sunday night, especially after the lightning delay!

Solving in Seattle 1:20 AM  

@Z, I just played the song and I think it's "twentyfiveorsixtofour."
At least you have a baseball team.

@Ginger, so, are you a "couver?"

Go Hawks!

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