1922 Willa Cather novel that won Pulitzer / TUE 11-19-13 / Maximum loads of hay vegetables / Bite from Pac-Man / Speed units for seafarers

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Constructor: David J. Kahn

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: 150th anniversary of the GETTYSBURG Address (31D: Where 3-Down's address was delivered) — "FOUR SCORE AND SEVEN YEARS AGO" are buried in circles inside theme answers; also, ABE LINCOLN (3D: Prez who delivered a famous address on Nov. 19, 1863)—informal "ABE" because he delivered the address in T-shirt and jeans (true story!)

Theme answers:
  • 17A: 1922 Willa Cather novel that won a Pulitzer ("ONE OF OURS")
  • 25A: Bridge or Scrabble need (SCORE PAD) 
  • 36A: Verdi's "Don Carlos," e.g. (GRAND OPERA)
  • 43A: Big attraction for bargain hunters (SALES EVENT)
  • 51A: Some school exams (MID-YEARS)
  • 66A: Maximum loads of hay or vegetables (WAGONFULS)
Word of the Day: HONUS Wagner (2D: Baseball Hall-of-Famer Wagner, one of the first five inductees) —
Johannes Peter "Honus" Wagner (/ˈhɒnəs ˈwæɡnər/; February 24, 1874 – December 6, 1955), nicknamed "The Flying Dutchman" due to his superb speed and German heritage ("Dutch" in this instance being analteration of "Deutsch"), was an American Major League Baseball shortstop. He played in the National Leaguefrom 1897 to 1917, almost entirely for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Wagner won eight batting titles, tied for the most in NL history with Tony Gwynn. He also led the league in slugging six times, and in stolen bases five times.
In 1936, the Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Wagner as one of the first five members. He received the second-highest vote total, behind Ty Cobb and tied with Babe Ruth.
Although Cobb is frequently cited as the greatest player of the dead-ball era, some contemporaries regarded Wagner as the better all-around player, and most baseball historians consider Wagner to be the greatestshortstop ever. Cobb himself called Wagner "maybe the greatest star ever to take the diamond." In addition, Wagner is the featured player of one of the rarest and most valuable baseball cards in the world. (wikipedia)
• • •

Four score and seven years and another three score and three years ago, this address was delivered. I had no idea this anniversary was coming. Too distracted by the JFK thing, I guess. Anyway, this seems fine. Adequate. A bit lackluster for someone as experienced as Mr. Kahn. I mean, hiding SCORE inside SCOREPAD? YEARS inside MID-YEARS? Not much hiding involved. Kind of hard to hide "YEARS," I'll grant you.* Still. AND isn't even broken across two words. There's just a low bar here, artistry-wise. But it's a solid grid. Easy. Nice Scrabbly corners. Note: it's only "Scrabble-F**king" if the Scrabbly letter is forced in there simply for its own sake, and to the detriment of surrounding fill. There's nothing subpar about the NE corner. Two Xs and a Z and not a clunky answer in sight.

I'm not sure how a SALES EVENT is different from a sale. Maybe there are more … Flags? Signs? Spongebob appearances? Anyway, it's a term I'm familiar with, unlike MID-YEARS or WAGONFULS (which are inferable, at any rate). I couldn't tell one opera from another, and I'm not sure I knew GRAND OPERA was its own category, but still—easy to pick up from crosses. The weirdest thing about this grid, to me, is how frequently Willa Cather's "ONE OF OURS" has been appearing lately. OK, just twice, but that's a lot for a 91-year-old novel.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

*a prominent constructor friend of mine wrote me with the suggestions EARTH'S CORE and FLOPPY EARS. Which is why s/he is the prominent constructor and I am not.


Sarah 12:05 AM  

My main problem with this puzzle is that the message in question wasn't delivered 87 years ago. I realize that crosswords were hardly around back in the year when that would be possible, but still...

Other than that, not too bad.

jae 12:11 AM  

This was easier than yesterday's for me, but I caught the theme early and immediately filled in all the circles.  That said, there was some stuff I only knew from crosswords...ERDE, ONE OF OURS, ESSE, ERATO, AFTA, PSI (as clued)...and a couple of WOEs...ALAN (as clued) and GRAND OPERA (me too for not knowing this was an opera category).

Not a bad Tues. No EYEPITs (or PEWITs) and a solid commemorative  theme.

August West 12:14 AM  


Budweiser Clysdale 12:16 AM  

I buy my hay in 40' trailer loads. Wagons are for chumps.

Steve J 12:17 AM  

TIN EAR is my favorite fill in this puzzle. I also feel it's a bit descriptive of the puzzle.

Not that it's bad. I think Rex's description of "fine" works. But the theme felt a bit off from what it perhaps could have been. Of the six theme answers with the quotation, the word from the quote stands alone in the answer in three of them (I'm not counting the plural on ONE O FOURS as separate; it's a plural to avoid a cheater square, as far as I can see). The others aren't split across words to bump up the challenge a wee bit.

Also a bit off: Is R.E. LEE a theme answer or no? If so, it doesn't have a symmetrical partner, which seems a little sloppy. If it isn't, it's really sloppy and shouldn't be in the puzzle to avoid this very confusion.

Agreed that the NE shows off how to do Scrabbly fill well. All are common words and don't feel at all forced. (Thing I learned today: I either missed or had forgotten that Plato had two moons, and that one was named STYX.)

ETNA's timely, as it just blew its top again Sunday.

Grammar observation: I feel like it should be WAGONsFUL, but I suppose it's a style question, since both bucketsful and bucketfuls seem to acceptable.

Evan 12:20 AM  

POINTY EARS, maybe? [Features of Mr. Spock]

Pretty easy once I had FOUR and SCO-- in the circles. The rest filled themselves in. My only mistakes were IPAD before IPOD (head-smack on that one), YEWS before YAWS (can never remember that word), and ATRA before AFTA. Oh, right, I also had SAW and ADZ before AXE -- a true sign of doing too many puzzles is when ADZ becomes your second choice in the game of "what three-letter object cuts a TREE?" And can you even use an ADZ to cut down a tree? My gut says no.

Anyway, it's a pretty clean grid considering just how much theme material is packed in. I also wish there'd been a better way to hide some of those circled letters across two words. I think SCORE might be the toughest to hide -- the only thing I can think of off the top of my head is EARTH'S CORE and DISCO RECORD, but I don't know if those would fly.

GILL I. 12:24 AM  

Well, I got that FOUR tout de suite and then SCORE was there for the asking. Then I filled in the rest of those pretty circles. After I did that all I wanted to do was light up a cigarette.
Dang, no revealer .

wreck 12:30 AM  

Tuesday is as Tuesday does. I really can't see any reason to bitch about this one.

Anonymous 12:40 AM  

Given the well deserved rants here over the past few days this puzzle was a welcome relief. Nothing too exciting here, but nothing terrible either. Relatively speaking, that's progress!

Recyclist 12:57 AM  

Hi, folks. Long time... First time...

I thought it was a decent Tuesday. Did anyone else get caught up putting. gHOst for 1D. Bite from Pan-Man? As in, something to eat from the game Pac-Man? I had MIDtErmS for 51A. Never heard of a MIDYEAR exam. Otherwise a pretty fun puzzle.

chefwen 1:12 AM  

Like @jae and @Gill I.P.- filled in those circles PDQ. I have nothing to bitch about either, except Monday and Tuesday were switched, yet again. One write over at 62A lAmbS before BABES.

Hoping for a little more crunch (not too much) tomorrow.

Homer 1:44 AM  

Sales event was perfectly natural. A staple of jeweler ads. Rex you don't give this puzzle the sober praise it deserves.

Erato seemed to me like classic Shortz editing, otherwise it was a day off for our Hoosier editor.

This puzzle's only critique is that it didn't kick off a great week, compared to two weeks (12 days) of poor fill and uncharitable crosses.

This is classic[al] NYT cluing giving pride of place to innovation over trivial pursuit. Khan killed it. Don't miss the U-turn!

Airy Chat Midyears 2:03 AM  

Maybe the parallel fill for RELEE is HONUS, as in HONUS ABE

And AXE being clued as a "Log cutter" seems to be an atmospheric fill too.

I would not have had the ALAN clue be "Country Singer Jackson"... Not only bec of the obscurity but it immediately followed the answer JACK.

@Evan, I thought about POINTY EARS too!

EARTHS CORE wouldn't be terrific with ERDE already in the grid. Isn't that the name of the perennial third runner-up gal at the ACPT or is it Anne ERDMAN? Must mean farmer. (Unless it's a martian speaking, then it could be any of us)

And something tells me we will get a little discussion on Mothers-in-law/Wagonsful type of pluralizations!

I see David J Kahn's name and think "uh oh, who died?"

Clyde Tombaugh 2:34 AM  

Steve J.,
FYI, Pluto has five moons. Charon, Nix, Hydra, Kerberos and Styx. The crowd favorite name Vulcan was not chosen by the naming powers that be.
The spacecraft New Horizons is due for its closest approach in 602 days.
Clyde Tombaugh

George Barany 2:52 AM  

This puzzle is just awesome, by the master of the tribute puzzle. Befitting the day of the week, it was very easy to fill in, just a few short hiccups along the way. Still took me three or four times as long as the actual speech. Some friends and I had discussed the 150th anniversary just a few days ago, so no surprise re ABE_LINCOLN or GETTYSBURG. I completely ignored the circles while solving, and noticed the six-word bonus punchline after being done.

As a big fan of GRAND_OPERA, I also smiled while remembering many evenings of solving David Kahn's Metropolitan Opera based theme puzzles in this book [note that Don Carlos was written by Giuseppe Verdi, whose 200th birthday was celebrated five weeks ago, and a baseball fan, I want to point out that HONUS Wagner did not write any of those operas!

retired_chemist 3:25 AM  

Nice puzzle. Well executed theme and few if any clunkers among the fill. EXtol instead of EXALT. Avoided the WAGONFULS "controversy" by using the singular at first, leading to the meaningless but slowly discovered ASlES @ 57D. Cost me probably 90 seconds.

Thanks, Mr.Kahn.

Carola 6:39 AM  

I liked this tribute puzzle - and even more after @acme's suggestion about HONUS' ABE with his AXE (for the TREE).

A bit heavy on the sub-themes, I thought, which perhaps pulled attention away from ABE and his quote - besides the clues relating to sailing (MAST, SAILORS, TAR, YAWS, KNOTS), there was also music (TIN EAR, GRAND OPERA, the MET), school (MIDYEARS, LEARN, EDU, PTAS, and astronomy (PLUTO with its moon STYX, and ERDE).

Loren Muse Smith 7:05 AM  
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jberg 7:25 AM  

I was born on the 80th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, so I got this one right away. It went down nice and smoothly -- so much that I didn't even notice IPOD or PSI until people commented on them.

@Loren, the FLUE is the passage from your fireplace (or furnace or stove) up the chimney, what the smoke travels up in. The damper is a flap you can use to wholly or partially close the flue.

MID-YEARS are mostly a thing of the past, from the days when courses were commonly year-long. Speaking of which, I have some mid-terms to grade right now, so tata!

MetaRex 7:31 AM  

Lotsa thematic density...like the agrarian man of the people vibe from ONE OF OURS, AXE, and the otherwise not good WAGONFULS. David K came up with something a lot fresher than his original idea of pairing FOURSCOREAND SEVENYEARSAGO with THATALLMENARE CREATEDEQUAL.

Yep, there's lots of ESE...I got 75, one higher than the number of theme squares...the ferrymen who take us from real world to crossworld all have to pay a price for their imagination, and in turn have to charge us a price. Such are the dread and sacred laws of our curious domain, laid down four score years ago and more...

Loren Muse Smith 7:40 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 8:08 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 8:10 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 8:12 AM  

Look. We all know ABE should have said FOUR SCORES AND SEVEN YEARS AGO. So I just never pay attention beyond that. Shee'sh.

Rex – I still can't really spot Scrabble @#$%ing, but when that northeast corner fell, I looked at it, and said, "Wow. Nice." So maybe I'm getting there.

""Schmooze" feels a bit smarmier and more obsequious than just CHAT. At least for me, if I'm schmoozing, I'm after something and being a bit sneaky.

@Budweiser Clysdale – And I know the difference between a WAGON and a trailer. Hah!

@Evan – my vowel trouble was that I had "champ" crossing "age" OF OURS and never questioned it. I speak John Grisham rather than Willa Cather. So heck. So another dnf.

@Recyclist – welcome! Yeah, I wanted MID "terms," 'cause I have never heard MID YEARS, either. Little known fact – Lincoln first considered "FOUR SCORE AND SEVEN terms AGO. Right.

Boy, didn't we have a FUROR over EYEPIT yesterday?! FUROR is a great, underused word, if you ask me. My first FUROR here was a couple of years ago when ET AL was clued something like "and other things." Boy, people were upset. I was thrilled to have found my new home.

I always say "damper" instead of FLUE. Is there a difference?

@Andrea – my heart rate shot up when I read @Steve J's comment! Boy, do you have my number! @Steve J - mothers-in-law is one thing, but do we ever insert a plural s directly into a word? I've been trying it out, out loud, walking around the house, and I'm certain I would ever say, "I just brought in three armsful of groceries." Or "They carted away four wagonsful of hay." I can't believe how long I've been considering suffixes and their behavior this morning! On a side note, I've been noticing that currently we have three suffixes that are slowly becoming full-blown words. The first two I've encountered only in crosswords, and I cannot imagine using them in a sentence.

ism – clued often as "doctrine."
ist - clued as "believer"

*Are you an ist in God?
*The ism of Martin Luther King changed the world.

The third I've heard many times in conversational speech:

A: "Was the pub busy yesterday?"
B: (doing his hand sideways up and down) "Ish."

Mr. Kahn – great puzzle! But for that Q. . . ;-)

Unknown 8:17 AM  

This is what I expect of a Tuesday. Easy enough, good theme. I only got HONUS because of Antiques Roadshow, I don't know anything about him except his baseball card is worth big bucks.

joho 8:25 AM  

Nice tribute puzzle!

I think dogYEARS is more fun than MIDYEARS. But I really would have preferred YEARS be hidden as in the suggested POINTYEARS of @Evan & @Acme. The same for SCORE.

A fine, theme rich Tuesday, thanks, David Kahn!

Alex Vratsanos 8:34 AM  

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that this nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

--Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863

And now, seven score and ten years later, we remember how it changed America.

AliasZ 8:46 AM  

BufFOURchin - Rascal singer of comic opera role
EneSCOREcital - Romanian violinist's Carnegie Hall appearance
AmericANDream - More-and-more unattainable lifelong goal
JesSEVENtura - Ex-governor of Minnesota
rYEARSenal - Bar fight inventory
bAGOftricks - David J. Kahn seems to have a bottomless one

Evan 8:50 AM  


Yes, but considering you'd have to move around some black squares to fit EARTH'S CORE in there, you might not even end up with ERDE in the re-fill.

In any event, I don't think it'd be a terrific answer just because it doesn't look like the right phrasing. The possessive form would probably make the cluing on EARTH'S CORE pretty awkward too -- [Central part of this planet]?

Still, if one did get a good 10-letter match for POINTY EARS, the trick would then be to shorten the middle two entries and still find space for ABE LINCOLN and GETTYSBURG. First part seems easy: SAN DIEGO and GETS EVEN. Second part, not so easy.

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

I got the theme immediately. The fill took longer and was almost as easy. -JN

quilter1 9:46 AM  

Fun and easy. I had MIDtErmS before MIDYEARS. Never heard that reference before. When I taught I gave MIDtErm exams. I'm enjoying all these smart people's alternative clues/answers. I can't do that myself.

I knew about the GETTYSBURG address anniversary because of Ken Burn's project. I only wish he had included average Americans and kids with the so-called celebrities and former presidents. But a neat project anyway.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:18 AM  

Fine tribute puzzle, but it struck me as odd that while the Gettysburg Address is celebrated in part for its brevity, several of the clues today are unnecessarily bloated, e.g. 17A, 47A, 2D, 6D, 11D, 12D, 56D. Was there just a lot of space to fill?

Steve J 10:28 AM  
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Steve J 10:30 AM  
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Steve J 10:32 AM  

@Evan: I like POINTY EARS as a suggestion to split YEARS up into two words. Nice clue, too.

@Acme: That took me a minute to get what you were doing with HONUS ABE. I kept pronouncing HONUS like the ballplayer's name is pronounced: hoe-nus. Of course, hoe-nus ABE makes no sense. Finally the lightbulb clicked. Nice pun.

Oh, by the way, Bauer is the typical word in German for farmer. I'm not sure what the etymology for Erdman would be. It's simply a name, not a word (at least in contemporary German), and it does literally just mean "earth man". Sometimes surnames don't match to occupations even when they seem to. My favorite example in German is a player for the German national soccer team whose surname is Schweinsteiger. Literal meaning: pig climber. Pretty sure that wasn't a job. At least I hope not.

@Loren: We do insert the plural S directly into a word in exactly this sort of instance (as I mentioned, bucketsful and bucketfuls are both accepted). To me, logic is on the side of putting the S in the middle, as English pluralizes nouns but not adjectives. Just like you do to tell whether "me" or "I" is correct in a sentence, reverse the order. You wouldn't say "we have several fulls wagon ready to haul"; you'd of course say "full wagons". Hence, wagonsful. WAGONFULS, to my ear, is the same as "fulls wagon".

Of course, the usage ship has clearly sailed on these sorts of words, since fistfuls, bucketfuls, and apparently WAGONFULS are all out there.

(Apologies for the multiple reposts: Even when I read through them, my eye has a bad habit of not noticing bad typos - as in, change the meaning of what I'm saying - until they're "printed". Same thing plagued me when I wrote for actual print. The second it hit paper, it would jump out at me.)

Two Ponies 10:39 AM  

Very nice tribute.
I can never remember if it's -berg or -burg.
I also noticed the nautical subtheme.
The only Grand Opera I know is the Grand Ol' Opry.

Master Melvin 10:48 AM  

Thanx @Alex V. Never ceases to give me goosebumps.

What composition. Every word seems perfect.

Sandy K 11:20 AM  

At long last, a puzzle that was not a stinker.

The theme was timely as a tribute puzzle.
Had RELEE good theme density and construction.
No real groaners in the fill.
No irritable vowel syndrome.
No old-timey feel eg I-POD, MACS, PLUTO correctly clued.
No EYEPITS crossing weird French Natick to STEW about.
Nothing to have a FURUR about- except maybe some writeovers for MIDYEARS after MIDterms...

A LOT to appreciate, Mr. Kahn.

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

Thought this was boring and predictable if well-constructed. I expected Rex's wrath and find he liked the puzzle. Yesterday I liked the puzzle and Rex didn't. I guess he and I do not have similar tastes, but I still enjoy Rex' commentary, even when we disagree.

Lewis 12:05 PM  

@rex -- enjoyable writeup, made me smile a couple of times

@acme -- honus abe -- good one!

@jberg -- happy birthday!

Semi bleedover from yesterday -- ORIGIN today, SPECIES yesterday.

By my count, nine examples of grid gruel. My question is -- what would be considered the maximum acceptable number in a puzzle this size?

Masked and Anonymo5Us 12:21 PM  

Attractive grid. Has a schlocky little spiral nebula at the center. Stellar.

Primo TuesPuz. Always a pleasure to see the circles again. Got SCOREPAD almost immediately, after Ms. Cather fought off my advances, back at 17-Across. Saw the circled SCORE, and right away knew the score.

@4-Oh: It Could Be Worse, If M&A Were Yer Constructor Dept.: Woulda changed 51-Across's's MIDYEARS to somethin with EARS. Fave alternatives that preserve the entry's current agreeable length...
* TINY EARS. Clue er up as: [Mouse feature].
* PLAY EARS. [Mr. Potato Head feature].
* OH MY EARS. [Reaction to bein seated next to the concert's amps].
* SEXY EARS. [One of M&A's many prominent features]. har
* MANY EARS. [Corn feast need].

fave weeject: Tough call. Gotta go with the cojoined SFO-SPF twins. Honrable mention and hi to JAI, tho, since he brought his bro alaing for the ride.

fave fillins: TINEAR. Which I just realized wipes out all that stuff I had earlier about usin an EARS answer in 51-Across. never mind.


Anoa Bob 12:30 PM  

This old TAR (46D) enjoyed seeing SAILOR (44D) & KNOT (71A), even if it took a two-for-one POC S to tie them together.

Acme, clueing 59D ALAN as "Country singer Jackson" does seem a tad awkward, given the adjacent JACK at 58D. But Mr. Jackson is in no way an obscurity. If you type "Alan" in the search bar at YouTube, his is the first name to pop up. He's been a top country performer for almost one-score and five years and is a future Country Hall of Fame shoo-in. Here's one of his earlier hits


Z 12:45 PM  

wagons full or wagonfuls?

Evan 12:53 PM  


It's always a difficult balancing act. In fact, just about every constructor will tell you that they've had experience justifying bad entries when they're finished filling the grid. "That one works, doesn't it? And lookit all these other good ones!"

It's hard to put an exact number on it, especially because a) what might be gruel to me or you may not be gruel to everyone else (and vice versa); b) the higher the word count in a 15x15, the less reason there should be for poor fill; and c) it depends on how many trade-offs one is willing to make in order to get a particular theme or a great themeless construction to fit. Having said that, while I always aim for "the fewer the better", I try to keep my not-so-great entry count to seven or less (or, no more than 10% of the answers).

Of course, it's not enough to limit crap -- the positions of those entries matter, and the theme entries (or the marquee answers in a themeless) have to shine too. Plus, if one of those seven entries is really wretched, that makes it way harder to ignore -- doubly so if it crosses something obscure.

Questinia 1:37 PM  

I'm on a new speed kick so I don't notice the fill. I just want to be fast. I seem to border on hysteria as I twirl through the grid more chaotically than a tornado, something which obeys, at least, the laws of physics. Interesting way to experience a puzzle. It's sort of poetic and painful.

Then I look at the time and think how slow! I figure if I decrease the pain and poetry it'll go faster. Or maybe if I increase the pain and decrease the poetry, or vice versa.

Otherwise, as @ August West said but in the tone of Elaine as she says it in the soup nazi's kitchen .


Anonymous 1:52 PM  

Alan Jackson isn't obscure LOL. He's won a couple Grammys, has hordes of platinum albums, and he even won CMA entertainer of the year once. Just because you don't know something doesn't make it obscure. Sheesh

Bird 2:00 PM  

Well, that was much nicer than yesterday’s. And easier, too. Once I got FOUR and 3D I immediately filled in the circles and 31D. Only slowdown was remembering if it was FERARRO or FERRARO, but 21A fixed that.

So we have J and X and Z and other rare letters, but no Q?

It must have been a little chilly for ABE to deliver the address in late November in T-shirt and jeans. Was he wearing Converse All-Stars, too?

@Steve J. – Good point re the nonsymmetrical general

Too many to mention – nice suggestions on alternative answers for SCORE and YEARS

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

This may seem like quibbling, but a friend of mine who spent a lot of time in Spain said that "ole" is reserved for the bullring and "ale" is what's shouted in the flamenco tablaos.

The Duke 2:03 PM  


Cliff Montgomery 2:11 PM  

@Duke - Did you forget Red River? With the WAGONHOs?

AliasZ 2:48 PM  

Was it not yesterday that I suggested ABRAHAM'S LINCOLN as a possible them answer? Now if I only knew the lotto numbers with such accuracy...

Besides the operatic and seafaring sub-themes, IRAN into a religious one as well: REVerend, NUN, ANGEL, EXALT, FISH, ORIGINal sin, AFTAlife.

And movies: TO SIR, with Love (1967), The Adventures of PLUTO Nash (2002), YAWS, One FLUE Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Salem's ALOT (1975), SAX and the Single Girl (1962), The Three FAZES of Eve (1957) and TOOTsie (1982). There maybe more.

For a musical interlude, here is the beginning of Das Lied von der ERDE by Gustav Mahler.

There IAGO. Enough for today.

Unknown 2:53 PM  

The JFK thing Rex? Is this supposed to be cool? The 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination is Nov. 22. Show some respect, if not for the slain president then at least for those of us who lived through it and were scarred by the horror of it.

LaneB 3:04 PM  

A nice tight theme and familiar event and phrase made this one easy and, for me, enjoyable. Put MIDterms in first rather than MIDYEARS but soon sorted it out. Relatively fast Tuesday to salve the [80 year old] ego.

Wiki 3:22 PM  

Lincoln-Kennedy Coincidences

Carola 3:24 PM  
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JustJoe 3:27 PM  

@unknown...relax and take a deep breath. I think Rex was referring to all the build up to the 50th anniversary of Mr. Kennedy's early demise. (good thing his name doesn't end in "S";) I've been distracted too. I'm a big C-W buff and an even bigger A.L. fan but didn't realize today was the day either. (and I'm not talking about Mr. Jackson's milieu) Fun puzzle, didn't see the theme until the end, had Meade before RELee but missed chat - also not my idea of schmoozing - and jai's cousin hai so a DNF fer me.

Carola 3:28 PM  

@Z - Your question, "wagons full or wagonfuls" reminded me of the Tennessee Williams title "Twenty Seven Wagons Full of Cotton," and led my musing on the difference. I think "wagons full" for number of separate wagons and "wagonfuls" for total measure of contents.

@loren and @Steve J - This link has some interesting lore on where to put the "s."

Unknown 3:35 PM  

Just joe , Rex 's"JFK thing" is flippant. If he meant what you think and I don't know how you know what he thinks, then he should have written anniversary, not thing! Don't tell me what to do!

Chip Hilton 4:08 PM  

@jberg - Happy Birthday! You've got exactly five years on me. I've always been delighted to share my special day with The Great American Speech.

As far as Rex's comment, I had exactly the same thought, which I shared with friends on Facebook. The 150th anniversary has hardly been covered by national news sources, but every day, there's something about the terrible event in Dallas. Understandable, I guess, but I'd like something today on Gettysburg.

gifcan 4:26 PM  

A few years ago there was a bit of a FUROR over the status of the planet PLUTO. Long live Pluto!

The NE corner is rockin' the x-factor.

I once heard an exorcist say (regarding the spiritual realm) all ANGELs are male. Can this be true? I'm guessing there are a few BABES in the bunch.

@acme - HONUS ABE, very funny!

Nice Tuesday, Kahn. A bit easy, but I'm ok with that.

ksquare 4:28 PM  

For anyone who cares, to me SCHMOOZE means to chat idly, as around the water cooler.
Also,besides GRAND opera there are also light opera, operetta, horse opera etc.gedtebsi

ksquare 4:31 PM  

Ignore gedtebsi above. It was proof that I am not a robot.2230 +

ksquare 4:34 PM  

So was 2230.

sanfranman59 4:45 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 7:52, 8:12, 0.96, 36%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:12, 5:09, 1.01, 53%, Medium

jae 4:49 PM  

@Chip Hilton-- If it's any consolation, Letterman worked the Gettysburg anniversary into his monologue last night.

retired_chemist 5:32 PM  

The only known photograph of Lincoln at Gettysburg.

Bird 5:53 PM  

@Wiki - Interesting stuff. I remember a shorter list though, which must have been from the 25th anniversary.

@retired_chemist - Before I clicked I was wondering if I was going to seee an image of him in t-shirt and jeans.

acme 6:47 PM  

@anoa bob
Fun video, thanks. Still a big ???! for me but apparently not for others. He would not be in the first 20 country singers I could name, if I could name 20! ;)
Nice to learn something new...my objection, was more of filling in JACK and then seeing the word Jackson in the very next clue. If you are doing it in reverse order, it's considered a semi-no-no bec you don't want to trigger the response which is why you try to avoid having something in the clues that is in the grid. This wasn't the same word, but pretty darn close and right next to each other.

Happy Bday, @j(gettys)berg!

Is that true that it should be four SCORES?

acme 6:50 PM  

Oh, and @lms
You are right about the double-edged sword of the meaning of SCHMOOZE.
It's both to idly chat happily or gossipy-ly
and depending on the intent of the schmoozer, it could have someone trying to curry favor of some sort.
It takes on the shade of those doing the schmoozing, but the word or activity by itself is not negative.
I think it's taken on the slightly darker meaning as time has gone on and people's intents are less selfless...esp in the age of never-ending networking instead of just having...friends!

acme 6:53 PM  

Might you write to me, I want to discuss an idea with you. My full name at gmail. Thanks!

Z 7:53 PM  

@LMS - regarding ISM as a word onto itself, a musical interlude from Eno's friend, Robert Fripp.

Good Tuesday puzzle and another (mostly) fine day of commenting.

Beer Rating - A Red Glare Amber Ale from LINCOLN Street Brewing.

Anonymous 8:56 PM  

As a history prof, enjoyed this one.

Anonymous 9:26 PM  


Good for you. Rex is always glib with things he doesn't know, or care about. He's a dick. The community of solvers makes the blog worth visiting. Old Rex himself, not so much.

Z 10:14 PM  

Hey - I'll get off of your lawn in a second, but before I do you might want to ponder this:

For this generation of entering college students, born in 1995, Dean Martin, Mickey Mantle, and Jerry Garcia have always been dead.

1. Eminem and LL Cool J could show up at parents’ weekend.
3. GM means food that is Genetically Modified.
4. As they started to crawl, so did the news across the bottom of the television screen.
5. “Dude” has never had a negative tone.
7. As kids they may well have seen Chicken Run but probably never got chicken pox.
8. Having a chat has seldom involved talking.
9. Gaga has never been baby talk.
10. They could always get rid of their outdated toys on eBay.
11. They have known only two presidents.
12. Their TV screens keep getting smaller as their parents’ screens grow ever larger.
13. PayPal has replaced a pen pal as a best friend on line.
14. Rites of passage have more to do with having their own cell phone and Skype accounts than with getting a driver’s license and car.
15. The U.S. has always been trying to figure out which side to back in Middle East conflicts.
16. A tablet is no longer something you take in the morning.
17. Threatening to shut down the government during Federal budget negotiations has always been an anticipated tactic.
19. Plasma has never been just a bodily fluid.
20. The Pentagon and Congress have always been shocked, absolutely shocked, by reports of sexual harassment and assault in the military.
21. Spray paint has never been legally sold in Chicago.
22. Captain Janeway has always taken the USS Voyager where no woman or man has ever gone before.
23. While they've grown up with a World Trade Organization, they have never known an Interstate Commerce Commission.
24. Courts have always been ordering computer network wiretaps.
25. Planes have never landed at Stapleton Airport in Denver.
26. Jurassic Park has always had rides and snack bars, not free-range triceratops and velociraptors.
27. Thanks to Megan's Law and Amber Alerts, parents have always had community support in keeping children safe.
28. With GPS, they have never needed directions to get someplace, just an address.
29. Java has never been just a cup of coffee.
31. Olympic fever has always erupted every two years.
32. Their parents have always bemoaned the passing of precocious little Calvin and sarcastic stuffy Hobbes.
33. In their first 18 years, they have watched the rise and fall of Tiger Woods and Alex Rodriguez.
35. Congress has always been burdened by the requirement that they comply with the anti-discrimination and safety laws they passed for everybody else to follow.
36. The U.S. has always imposed economic sanctions against Iran.
38. Smokers in California have always been searching for their special areas, which have been harder to find each year.
40. They have never attended a concert in a smoke-filled arena.
42. There has never been a national maximum speed on U.S. highways.
43. Don Shula has always been a fine steak house.
44. Their favorite feature films have always been largely, if not totally, computer generated.
45. They have never really needed to go to their friend’s house so they could study together.
46. They have never seen the Bruins at Boston Garden, the Trailblazers at Memorial Coliseum, the Supersonics in Key Arena, or the Canucks at the Pacific Coliseum.
47. Dayton, Ohio, has always been critical to international peace accords.
48. Kevin Bacon has always maintained six degrees of separation in the cinematic universe.
50. A Wiki has always been a cooperative web application rather than a shuttle bus in Hawaii.
52. They have always been able to plug into USB ports.
53. Olestra has always had consumers worried about side effects.
54. Washington, D.C., tour buses have never been able to drive in front of the White House.
57. Their parents’ car CD player is soooooo ancient and embarrassing.
58. New York’s Times Square has always had a splash of the Magic Kingdom in it.
59. Bill Maher has always been politically incorrect.

(from Beloit College - http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/2017/)

sanfranman59 11:00 PM  

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

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

Mon 6:36, 6:06, 1.08, 82%, Challenging
Tue 7:49, 8:12, 0.95, 34%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:59, 3:46, 1.06, 78%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:50, 5:01, 0.96, 36%, Easy-Medium

M and A Help Desk 11:33 PM  

@Z: har.
They misplaced the last bullet...

60. Major appliances have always lasted for a maximum of 5 years.


Zuleika D 7:22 AM  

@ Anonymous 9:26 PM
"...Rex is always glib with things he doesn't know, or care about. He's a dick..."

Really? A dick? Wow. How can you describe a person who puts this much into such an excellent site in this way? Rex may be a bit testy at times, but at least he always explains why, which is more than most people do when they're rude.

What's your excuse?

If you think you can have a daily blog -on any subject- and attract a community you deem interesting, why not try it? Would you last a week? Let's see what your personality would be like after several years.

Hope everyone is getting ready to write nice fat checks to Rex for Christmas, because he deserves recompense for the pleasure the Rex Parker site provides.
Would you pay one dollar a day for the fun of it? 200 visitors x 365 days ='s a nice Christmas bonus!

Anonymous 2:01 PM  

Zuleika D

Not testy. Not testes. A dick. Rex's write-ups can be pretty good. He's even right sometimes. But he's a dick. He's a dick because his tone is condescending, dismissive and yes, glib. Not always. But often. Often enough in fact that lots of people here comment on it.
I have no idea why i would have to being the author of a blog to recognize a dick when I see one. I have no idea, for that matter, why Rex's long-time effort gives him immunity from dickdom.
Am I being rude? Could be. But what do you care? I'm being rude to Rex, not you.

Freya 8:00 AM  

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spacecraft 10:32 AM  

Um, yeah, I'll get right on that, @Lord Krishna Alm. The, uh, check is in the mail. I just have WAGONFULS of money to give you.

Let's see...

How many pioneers you got there, Ward? --Oh, about SEVEN WAGONFULS.

Hey, Mikey, how many snowballs did you make for our fort? --I got FOUR WAGONFULS!

Better you should have circled the last three letters of IAGO, David.

Wait, RELEE signed at Appomattox, no? Was he even IN GETTYSBURG??

Uber-dense theme begets some wifty fill. At least, both halves of JAI ALAI are on hand. Old chestnuts like ESSE and ERATO, and PTAS ( How many PTAS are there in Harper Valley, Jeannie? --Just the one. Y'all can hear about it on the GRAND OLE OP[E]R[A]y.)

Many BABES have I seen in my day; I suspect few of them were "innocent."

I do agree that the NE corner is pretty studly. This effort isn't bad, exactly--it's just...WAGONFULS????

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

Did I miss something here? How did R.E. Lee's signature get on to the Gettysburg Address?

rain forest 2:01 PM  

Regardless of the merits of this puzzle, which are many, I am happy to see a tribute to Lincoln and the Gettysburg address, even though I'm a Canadian.

The premise that all men are created equal stands today; someone commented up there that it changed America, and yet...

Dirigonzo 2:54 PM  

A very nice tribute puzzle and not a lot of negativity to shred it to pieces - that's a good day for me.

@spacecraft, RELEE was indeed at Gettysburg; (from wiki) "In the summer of 1863, Lee invaded the North again, marching through western Maryland and into south central Pennsylvania. He encountered Union forces under George G. Meade at the three-day Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania in July; the battle would produce the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War." But as to what he might have signed there, I have no idea.

Solving in Seattle 5:32 PM  

Is it possible for us to do a spell caster on the snarky @Anonynous 2:01?

Pretty easy Tuesday, but a fitting tribute, DJK. Thanks.

I do agree with @Spacy... "WAGONFULS?"

Wouldn't "Take the bait" be "bIte?"

Capcha: arkpuba constantly. An instruction in the Kama Sutra?

Solving in Seattle 5:33 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dirigonzo 6:28 PM  

@SiS - Since you went to the trouble of coming back to check the follow-up box, I would like to wish you and all syndilanders and Rexvillians everywhere a very Merry Christmas/Happy Holiday Season.

Solving in Seattle 7:06 PM  

@Diri, nice to hear from you this Christmas Eve. All the best to you, WPP and the pups.

Unknown 3:29 AM  

wagons full

Unknown 7:11 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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