Old Dodge compacts / TUE 12-3-13 / King killed in sack of Troy / Bobbysoxer's footwear / Sushi bar soup / Signs in movie Signs / NHL's James Memorial Trophy

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Constructor: Phil Ruzbarsky

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: horseback riding — first words of theme answers are all related to equestrianism or whatever it's called

Theme answers:
  • SADDLE SHOES (17A: Bobbysoxer's footwear)
  • HALTER TOP (24A: Sleeveless garment)
  • SPUR OF THE MOMENT (37A: Impromptu)
  • BIT O' HONEY (47A: Nestlé bar)
  • CROP CIRCLES (57A: The signs in the movie "Signs")

Word of the Day: SEPOY Rebellion (32D: India's ___ Rebellion, 1857-59) —
The Indian Rebellion of 1857 began as a mutiny of sepoys of the East India Company's army on 10 May 1857, in the town of Meerut, and soon escalated into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to present-day Uttar PradeshBihar, northern Madhya Pradesh, and the Delhi region. The rebellion posed a considerable threat to Company power in that region, and was contained only with the fall ofGwalior on 20 June 1858. The rebellion is also known as India's First War of Independence, the Great Rebellion, the Indian Mutiny, the Revolt of 1857, the Uprising of 1857, the Sepoy Rebellion and the Sepoy Mutiny. The Mutiny was a result of various grievances. However the flashpoint was reached when the soldiers were asked to bite off the paper cartridges for their rifles which they believed were greased with animal fat, namely beef and pork. This was, and is, against the religious beliefs of Hindus and Muslims, respectively. Other regions of Company-controlled India – such as Bengal, the Bombay Presidency, and the Madras Presidency – remained largely calm. In Punjab, the Sikh princes backed the Company by providing soldiers and support. The large princely states of HyderabadMysoreTravancore, and Kashmir, as well as the smaller ones of Rajputana, did not join the rebellion. In some regions, such as Oudh, the rebellion took on the attributes of a patriotic revolt against European presence. Maratha leaders, such as Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi, became folk heroes in the nationalist movement in India half a century later; however, they themselves "generated no coherent ideology" for a new order. The rebellion led to the dissolution of the East India Company in 1858. It also led the British to reorganize the army, the financial system and the administration in India. The country was thereafter directly governed by the crown as the new British Raj. (wikipedia)
• • •

I like the grid way more than I like the theme. First-words-have-something-in-common. Again. A bit tired. The only theme answer I really like here is SPUR OF THE MOMENT. Nice attempt to get all the horsey words into non-horsey contexts, but SADDLE SHOES do derive their name from their saddle-shaped pattern, so still some horsiness there. Anyway, as I say, you can have the theme. I do think the grid is more interesting than most Tuesday grids, though the short stuff in the SW is ugly, and there's probably more short ugliness than you'd like to see on any day. But DOBRO is a nice 5-letter answer (not many of those), and the long Downs give the grid some flair. Even LESSER GOD, which I only know from the movie title "Children of a LESSER GOD," is growing on me. LESSER is just a bunch of common letters, but the phrase as a whole seems original and interesting.

Puzzle felt like it was playing slightly harder than usual, and that turned out to be right: harder, but only slightly—not such that it runs toward the Challenging side. I had trouble in and around SEPOY (never can remember that term, which I've only ever seen in crosswords), but otherwise moved fairly steadily, if haphazardly, around the grid. I get CAY and "quay" confused. CAY always looks wrong to me. Like a typo. I balked at MIDMAY at first, but like LESSER GOD, it's growing on me. I don't think I knew there was such a day as "Armed Forces Day." Memorial Day, yes. Veterans Day, sure. How many days does the military get? I guess Armed Forces Day honors the not-killed and not-yet-vets, i.e. those currently in the military. That makes sense. Seems like we'd make a bigger deal out of it.

OK, see you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Steve J 12:07 AM  

Just like yesterday's puzzle, the theme didn't do a lot for me (indeed, with this one, I didn't even pick up in it till I looked through the puzzle after I was done), but I was pretty happy with the theme answers. And I really liked the long downs, especially ODD MAN OUT and WELL I'LL BE.

I was less pleased with both LEA and LEE showing up in the same puzzle, and MIDMAY will not be growing on me.

Had KEY briefly instead of CAY (until it was obvious the puzzle wasn't looking for CROP kIRCLES), got slowed down a bit by SEPOY and DOBRO, but otherwise I sailed through this, a bit faster than my average Tuesday.

Nice puzzle in the end.

Audi Cropcircles Midmay 12:12 AM  

Just when I think there is a nice female vibe (SADDLES SHOES, HALTER
TOPS) the puzzle takes a super sportsy turn:
Mud Hens (?) AAA (Battery anyone?)
Cliff LEE (Spike? Jason? Robt E.?)
James NORRIS (Chuck?)
Score tallies and strike zones, Bad serves, SWEEP
All of which had alternative non-sports related possibilities…

There was also a food vibe with HEATH bars, BITOHONEY, LUAU, MISO
soup, MUSHROOM….

Loved ODDMANOUT, TOOTHACHE, LESSERGOD and clues like the one for AGENT
(Special or Secret… I still long for a whole puzzle of those)

Didn’t know SEPOY nor DOBRO.

Feel like Steel-TOED Boot was sort of a bonus answer.

Moment of synchronicity…was watching Wheel of Fortune while solving
and the final puzzle was
H-TCH-NG - - ST and he didn’t get it!!!!!!!

JFC 12:16 AM  

I was following you, Rex, until you went off on your anti-military nonsense. How many days does the military get? The answer is: Not enough!


Billy 12:22 AM  

What UPS unit is CTN? Container? Carton?

jae 12:24 AM  

Medium for me too. Solid Tues. theme with some excellent long downs and a pretty smooth grid.  Just about right for a Tues.  Liked it.

No erasures and no WOEs.  But like Rex I've seen SEPOY before in crosswords.

DEF should be a gimme for anyone who has being doing crosswords for while. 

Like most rappers I have no idea what his music's like but I read/see enough about pop culture (e.g. the entertainment section of the newspaper) to know the names of the more prominent ones.

@Billy - Yes, Carton.

Anonymous 12:34 AM  

"U.P.S. unit: Abbr." = CTN? What am I missing?

Also, "Map of Hawaii" means something very different, and very dirty, to me.

wreck 12:55 AM  

I knew what they were going for in CTN -- but that abbreviation is never used by UPS. Now, CWT is a common freight abbreviation meaning "per hundred weight." Overall, a decent puzzle -- it took me slightly longer than usual for a Tuesday.

retired_chemist 1:25 AM  

OK Tuesday. Medium here as well.

Saw neither DOBRO nor SEPOY as they came wholly from crosses. But they are nice 5s. The 3s, well, that is another story.

Why is ÜBER only modern? Has it been used in German as a prefix as well as a preposition for, well, centuries? Or is the prefix strictly "ober-?" Linguists, help please?

Anyway, overall enjoyable with just the right bite for a Tuesday.

Thanks, Mr. Ruzbarsky.

chefwen 1:30 AM  

Anon @12:34 Map of Hawaii - Something very different and very dirty - HUH???

Hand up for medium. Got a little hung up in the SE where I spelled CLEM with a K. FAULTS and UBER were slow to come to mind. That was the last corner to fill. Oh yeah, CAUCUS - let's get that krazy K outa there.

Didn't catch the theme until all was said and done. Stared at it for a minute, O.K. horsey stuff, cute!

Sports trophies and awards were achieved with crosses. Who can memorize all of those? Not I.

George Barany 2:27 AM  

I solved this one with a friend, who fixed my foolish attempt at POODLE* for 17-Across, while I was off in other parts of the grid cleaning up on SWEEP, LEE, and NORRIS, among others (although according to constructor notes at xwordinfo.com, the sports-related gimme of BCS was not allowed).

Despite having grown up in the city, I was the one who finally sussed out the horse theme. So thanks, Phil Ruzbarsky, for something a BIT different, that challenged a range of knowledge bases.

Curiously, the most intriguing clue was almost lost in the bustle, because 65-Across SENS fills in so easily from the corresponding Downs. "Professional filibusterers: Abbr." may be just a bit dated ever since Sen. Reid invoked the so-called "nuclear option" the other day, but it did bring back the horrifying prospect that Time's 2013 Person of the Year just might be the junior Senator from Texas. Mind you, the criteria specifically call for the person who most influences the news each year, for better or worse (italics mine). So who could possibly be worse? Click here for the current front-runner.

Benko 3:27 AM  

@jae--as part of Black Star with Talib Kweli, Mos DEF was very good. But he has also done some major acting work, and I believe he recently changed his moniker.
@retired chemist--I know Nietzsche certainly used the "Übermensch" as his major concept. And that was 150 years ago. But I think it has only entered American slang recently, thereby meeting the clue.
@JFC-- I didn't interpret it as "anti-military nonsense". @Rex did say, after all, that he thought we should make a bigger deal out of Armed Forces Day.
Auggggh...military...my brain shorts out with ethical and emotional considerations...

jae 4:49 AM  

@Benko - Thanks for the Mos DEF perspective.  Like many "persons of a certain age" I imprinted (google Konrad Lorenz) on early rock 'n roll.  Which is to say, I stopped being an obsessive follower of contemporary music around 1980.   I have an oldies station on my car radio which works fine for me.  

But, don't get me wrong, I don't "hate" rap (loved Hustle and Flow).   I'm just past being interested in investing the time it takes to develop an appreciation for new (to me) genres...punk, grunge, new wave, emo (now mumblecore is a different medium). That said, I think it's important to be aware of what's going on in pop culture.  If for no other reasons than (a) to be able to talk to your grandchildren and (b) to do crosswords (not necessarily in that order). 

Loren Muse Smith 5:34 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 5:37 AM  

I'm so glad no one is complaining that other, uh, tackalgia ( "bridle, "jodhpurs," "reins") were not included. I agree with everyone else that this is a fine puzzle.

@Rex, @Acme, @jae, and @retired_chemist – I'm sure I've seen DEF, DOBRO, and SEPOY before, but I get them with the crosses and them promptly forget them. My former Japanese teacher would call me zaru atama - colander head.

"Purred" before HUMMED. I bet I'm not alone.

Ok - if you fell on your fanny in some mud, would you prefer people to "gape" or GAWK at you? For me, "gape" feels more accidentally incredulous and GAWK feels more deliberately rude.

So are INSPIRation and "respiration" synonyms?

Lots of these Indian titles seem to begin with S – SRI, SAHIB, SWAMI. Ok, well three maybe. Hmm.

Whenever I'm sick, I crave white MISO soup and sticky rice with dried shiso. Usually doesn't happen.

I was never much of a runner – never experienced that "high" that everyone always gushes about. I also suffered greatly from TIBIALalgia. (I need to let that clue go. But I am currently suffering from a wicked TOOTHACHE and am so terrified of dentists that I'll probably wait another few weeks before I face it. Hey – ignore your teeth and they'll go away!)

LUAU, "Hawaii" - I always enjoy seeing three or more unexpected vowels in a row. Seriously. Liaison, Sequoia, gooiest, queue, aqueous. . .

Speaking of vowels, I just joined this gym, Planet Fitness. Its motto is "Judgment Free Zone" on half the signs, brochures. . . and "Judgement Free Zone" on the other half. I mean in the same room they have "judgment" and "judgement" on professionally-paid-for signs. I actually kind of like that. (In a weak moment last week, I told the person stocking the shelves at a local grocery store that the professionally-paid-for aisle sign should be "stationery" rather than "stationary." She didn't care and probably took me for what I truly was at that moment – a total %$#hole. Sheesh.)

Nice Tuesday workout, Phil!

i am not a robot 6:29 AM  

@loren muse smith

Congratulations on your Planet Fitness membership. But just be mindful of your grunting in your judg(e)ment-free zone.


dk 6:34 AM  

@loren, the Amalgamated Meatcutters and Butchers Union has asked that I have a word with you... Actually two: Stifle Yourself. :)

So wanted illin not UBER.

Solid Tuesday kinda like Mama Bear's bed.

*** (3 Stars) what Rex said

jberg 7:21 AM  

I liked the theme fine -- at least, after I looked it up and saw that it is, indeed, a piece of equipment. Earlier, confusing horses with chickens, I was thinking the CROP was a part of the animal. But it cries out for a clever revealer; then I would have loved it.

Slight quibble with 27D - APPS are for phones and tablets, and are actually called that, formally. On what most of us would call a computer, they are still applications.

@Rex, Armed Forces Day was introduced by Harry Truman in an attempt to reduce the number of days the military got; it was supposed to replace Army Day, Navy Day, Air Force Day, Marine Corps Day, and Coast Guard Day. According to Wikipedia, it didn't work.

More irreverent answer: they get as many days as they want, 'cuz they got the guns.

Anonymous 7:21 AM  

Sorry, this was just a little but harder than medium for a Tuesday, I'd say. Not exactly hard, though. Maybe medium-plus? A few too many obscure clues, crossing at least once. Some really fun and clever clues, too, though. I'm not complaining about the quality of the puzzle--just a minor disagreement on the difficulty for a Tues.

Mohair Sam 7:30 AM  

Very nice Tuesday. Fun clues and a little learning (Odontalgia, SEPOY). DOBRO was new, and I was fine with the theme.

btw - As a veteran with a son who is career military I declare @Rex off the hook (if he even belonged on it) for any perceived military slight. The comment looked like stream of conscience mumbling of a very tired man. No harm, no foul. btw2: Armed Forces Day tends to be a weekend day when G.I.'s are forced to stay on base to entertain locals who'd like to see the place.

baja 7:40 AM  

Non theme answers more interesting today than the theme. The odd man out, the lesser god with a toothache made me smile. Well I'll be!

r.alphbunker 7:58 AM  

@George Barany
RU suggesting that the 65A filly-buster (a female bronk-buster?) perp provides another part of a horse's anatomy and is in the running for the manure of the year award?

As they say there are more horse's asses in the world than there are horses.

AliasZ 8:07 AM  

I was shocked at how few answers I got at first read. This puzzle felt almost Thursday-ish to me. I was sure pUrrED was correct, which gave me GASp, ODDrANOUT and MIDrAY, but I could not make sense of how those crosses fit the clues. Than I had Santas for the "Some are secret, and some are special" clue. These two missteps made me like the puzzle even more.

DOBRO is a contraction of DOpyera BROthers (originally Dopjera), also meaning "good" in their native Slovak, as well as other Slavic languages: Доброе утро (dobroe utra) = Good morning in Russian. Here is what a DOBRO guitar sounds like.

I loved LESSER GODS, SEPOY, CAUCUS, PRIAM, AIRHOSE, besides the ones everyone else already mentioned, not words one often sees on Tuesdays. I did think however that the clue for MANY at 26A was over-the-top arbitrary.

Let me close with the fifth stanza of "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats (1795-1821):

"I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves."

K9doc 8:08 AM  

Sunday's puzzle had DENTAL CARIES, today's has
TOOTHACHE. Surely, root canal therapy or extraction to follow!

Unknown 8:24 AM  

Horsey stuff... I say neigh neigh.

My first reading of Rex's Armed Forces Day comment was upsetting, but some of the responses here have talked me down.

Biggest takeaway from this puzzle: the national color of the Netherlands.

chefbea 8:26 AM  

Printer not working so I had to do the puzzle in front of the computer :-( Will go to staples later.
Had purred at first and PKG instead of CTN
Yesterday I went to the dentist because of odontalgia…..tomorrow I'm getting a crown..cuz I'm the queen Bee.

joho 8:33 AM  

This one dances CROPCIRCLES around most Tuesdays with its wealth of interesting words and phrases: ODDMANOUT, LESSERGOD, DOBRO, TOOTHACHE, HINTAT,BEBOP, CAUCUS and WELLILLBE!

I liked the theme answers, too, especially SPUROFTHEMOMENT.

Two for two so far this week!

Unknown 8:39 AM  

I am still trying to figure out why 'map of hawaii' would have dirty connotations.

Dorothy Biggs 8:46 AM  

"I like the grid way more than I like the theme. First-words-have-something-in-common. Again. A bit tired."

Arnold Schönberg basically said the same thing about tonality in music which led him to develop an early 20th century compositional tool known as 12-tone music. He thought tonality was old and tired, that Wagner and Mahler and the post-romantics had pretty much gone as far as they could go with tonality. so music needed some kind of "other" language.

That said, it is alleged that he said, "There is still plenty of good music to be written in C Major."

In other words, there are some things (music and crossword puzzles) that can be tinkered with form-wise, but ultimately there is only so much tinkering that can be done. The convention of the medium dictates certain patterns that are simply too ingrained in the medium itself to toss out entirely.

So yes, there are themes in many of these crossword puzzles that we see over and over and over, but so long as the puzzle is a crossword puzzle of a given size, shape, having a limited number of words, and using English as the primary language, we're going to see those patterns often.

To paraphrase Arnie, "There are still plenty of 'first-words-have-something-in-common' puzzles to be written."

BTW, early 20th century composers adopted the 12-tone form nearly wholesale and it lasted about 30 years until audiences (and composers themselves) got tired of it. Turns out we humans like predictability and the delight is in finding the variety in conventional, predictable patterns.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:00 AM  

Fine puzzle, especially for a Tuesday. Lots of interesting and less common clues/answers, but I'm sure most solvers were able to tackle it. (Sorry, @lms.)

Maybe deduct half a point for the SE border of ESSAYS/SENS/SSRS.

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

The first words have something in common is hardly tired anymore. The NYT hardly publishes many of them anymore, despite it being one of my favorite theme types, far more than other theme types like a vowel progression.

Halter and crop being related to equestrianism is new to me. Since halter's counterpart is bit, this makes it a little bit hard to deduce exactly what is going on here.

Again, too much 'ese.

John V 9:33 AM  

DOBRO last to fall, wtf next to its clue. Otherwise, pretty easy Thursday here. Meh theme, for my appetite.

Z 9:38 AM  

pUrrED and kLEM and taking forever to come up with TOOTHACHE slowed me down. Liked the puzzle

Really wanted the 15A to be the more correct ORANjE.

Re: the military - I just saw an ad asking for donations to a charity that helps provide rehab and other services for wounded vets. On the one hand, no-brainer. But then I ask myself, "Why the #%$^ does this fall to charities?" This is an obligation of every citizen and is not charity. Rather than be upset about a crossword blog comment please expend your energy making sure your congressman does the right thing for military personnel and veterans.

On to a lighter subject - The JEOPARDY! Clue of the Day next to the puzzle is about the infamous pronunciation controversy of a certain bitmap image format. IMHO, Steve Wilhite is just as wrong as the sign maker who had everyone standing still instead of buying writing materials.

mac 9:54 AM  

Medium and very good Tuesday puzzle. Got into a little bit of trouble at the start when I put in GRAB at 1A. MidMay was a cute surprise, I like it.

Quite a few places where I needed crosses, such as Dobro,, Bit O' Honey, Heath and BSA (not a great corner with per and pts), but everything was gettable.

What will it be, an orange Audi or orange saddle shoes?

Lots of sports, but I'm always surprised how many of those names have worked themselves into my memory/brains.

OISK 10:02 AM  

Things I dislike in puzzles…1. hip-hop pop slop - DEF. got it from the crosses, means nothing to me. 2. product names - Heath bar, Dobro, heard of only the former. Don't know what Miso is, but have probably seen it before, have definitely seen Sepoy. This was difficult for me for a Tuesday. Still, just a few clues outside my pleasure zone don't ruin a puzzle. I enjoyed struggling with this one, even if I never got (nor even looked for) the theme.

John V 10:06 AM  

Um, that would be Tuesday, I suppose.

Steve J 10:19 AM  

@AliasZ: Thanks for the etymology of DOBRO. When I filled it in, it immediately reminded me of the Slavic dobry. It also reminded me of traveling through central/eastern Europe several years ago. TO this day, I can't remember which phrase for "hello/good day" is Polish and which is Czech and Slovak, but one is dobry den and one is dyen dobry. I couldn't remember it on the trip, either, so I took to just mumbling dobry whenever I said hello.

@NCA President: Good point regarding how the form inevitably limits the variation it can hold. AFter 100 years, the opportunity for truly new themes in crosswords is sharply limited. The charm comes in skill or cleverness of execution, and the ability to take elements of the previously-done and combine them in a new way. Same as with music, with literature, and with pretty much everything humans have been doing for a very long time.

@Z: Agreed with you re: Steve Wilhite. Just because he invented the .gif doesn't mean he got the phonetics correct. In fact, he didn't.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

Never even noticed the theme...

quilter1 10:32 AM  

This one played easy for me. I liked many of the same things as others.
@lms: Don't feel bad. I think not mentioning misspellings in public places is wrong and such signs promote illiteracy. With all the acronyms proliferating everywhere my grandkids may not bother with spelling at all. I objected when cursive writing was dropped from the curriculum, saying, they have to be able to sign their names. My son replied, not if they just scan in their personal bar code. Sheesh, I am a dinosaur.

Zeke 10:37 AM  

Sorry, just can't help it, what with the tie-in: For all your tack and leather cleaning needs go to TackTonic Store. My wife needs the business.

Two Ponies 10:37 AM  

Nice Tuesday. Liked the horse thing.
Learned something. Thanks Rex for the WOTD. And thanks @AliasZ for the dobro info. What else can we ask from a Tuesday?
Heath bar and bit o' honey made me hungry.
I hope we find out why a map of Hawaii is dirty.

Milford 10:44 AM  

Liked this Tuesday, starting with the GLOM, and the smattering of difficult words others have mentioned, all gettable by crosses. The AGENTS clue was very clever, too.

Agree with @Rex that I like it better when the theme answers play with a different definition of the key words, but I can't think of another common definition of SADDLE that doesn't refer back to the horse. SADDLE SHOES is about as good as you can do.

Yes, pUrrED before HUMMED, @lms. And I agree that gape is an involuntary response, while a GAWK is not.

If you've ever watched a soccer game with the Netherlands team, you are very much aware that the national color is ORANGE!

WELL I'LL BE reminds me of a linguistics joke where it is written "LIB".

Not sure why @Rex's comment was read as an insult, unless you are looking for it to be (...).

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

The appearance of Clem Kaddiddlehopper (sp?) made me smile.

I think the "judgement/judgment" juxtaposition is quite apt for a sign that asks for an open mind.

Please, please, someone explain why "map of Hawaii" dirty?

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

. . . Why "map of Hawaii" IS dirty. Yeesh!

August West 11:13 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
August West 11:25 AM  

WELLI'LLBE! My wife looked so hot INOIL and her HALTERTOP and SADDLESHOES as she HUMMED on my STEM and her CROPCIRCLES my LESSERGOD, I just had to paint an UBER Map of Hawaii all O'ER her pretty [s]GAS-[/s] BIT-O-HONEY. WOW! MISO hooorny!

Thank you, uh, thankyouverymuch! I'll be here all the week.

11:13 AM

Lewis 11:53 AM  

@steve -- in addition to LEA/LEE, we have PTA/PTS

@nca -- nice post

Lots of nice answers, more grid gruel than I'd like, started harder than usual, but soon became easier than usual.

While the theme was meh, I don't mind meh themes if the puzzle turns out to be fun to solve, and this one did.

Carola 12:07 PM  

Very nice Tuesday. Seeing the theme early - after SADDLE, HALTER TOP came right to mind - helped it go fast. Liked the long Downs a lot; also DOBRO, PRIAM, BEBOP, RECON...

CAUCUS crossing SENS is nice.

I'm afraid of horses, so have never been on horseback. I imagine that if one TEARS across the HEATH, one might fly head O'ER heels and end up with a GASH, OSTEO issues (possibly TIBIAL) or a bad KNEE.

Miss Priss 12:16 PM  

@All - If you want to know why/how something is dirty, go to urbandictionary.com. Then poke your eyes out, because you really didn't want to know.

AliasZ 12:25 PM  

@NCA President, excellent post. Thank you.

Arnie's error in his theorem lies in the fact that he used mathematics alone to determine that the 7 notes of the diatonic scale [white keys on the piano] can produce a lot fewer variants than 12 notes of the chromatic scale. Mathematically that is quite true. Mathematicians, go at it. However he did not take into account rhythm, color, INSPIRATION, emotion, spirituality, and MANY other components that go into the creation of music, in other words, the human creative element. In fact, much of serial music is static, bland and lacks heart (with few notable exceptions, Alban Berg's Violin Concerto comes to mind), which is why the Second Viennese School was a dead end from its very onset.

There are plenty of good crossword puzzle themes in C major out there if we mix in those extra components: a sparkling fill and a fresh, varied word list.

I started looking through the glossary of equestrian terms to find alternates to today's theme. Forget it. BIT probably came from bite, but what is a bosal-style hackamore or a latigo or a quirt anyway?

Anonymous 12:46 PM  

Tongue-in-cheek comment for POC- and nit-pickers: the answer of "ads" is contained in the clue of "Mad Men." Gosh, I hate it when that happens. :-)

GorillaMask 12:49 PM  

Map of Hawaii - think lower female anatomy

Benko 1:04 PM  

People have always said, "There's nothing new that can possibly be done with (art, literature, music, science, technology, etc.)."
Then someone with a new way of thinking comes along and proves them wrong.
Now people are saying it about crossword puzzles themes. I guarantee there are still new ways of looking at a crossword to be found. You see them fairly often, considering the seemingly inherent limitations of the format. Probably because so many bright people are interested in making them.

gifcan 1:17 PM  

Haven't heard of BITOHONEY in ages. I don't think I've seen them here in western Canada.

And then there was HACHE!?!? Sometimes partials can throw you for a loop. Finally, TOOTHACHE, sheesh!

Good Romp, today (not like @August West but still satisfying).

Acme 2:07 PM  

If you've ever been to a Japanese restaurant, you get MISO soup... I'm sure you've seen it... A little tofu floating around. If it makes you feel any better MISO means "I hate" in Greek... As in MISOgynist.

Perhaps this theme would have felt fresher with a reveal, like HORSIN'AROUND. That seems to be the way it's going with puzzles where the first words are related.

That's why, i think, it would be nice to have a daily puzzle title, like they do when they reprint them (unpaid) in books.

Yes, same derivation as SADDLE as in SSADDLESHOES. I suppose you could have had SADDLE WITH DEBT, or some such, but a) too long and b) still same metaphorically.

Most romantic gift I've ever received was a pair of Saddle shoes, original round toed kind after mine had been destroyed in a self defense class.
It used to be impossible to find nonpointy ones at a certain point.
Just saw a pair of men's, sans golfcleats, at a Good Will out in the Richmond, size 8 if anyone wants!

OxfordBleu 3:07 PM  

Now matter how hard I looked, I couldn't get away from CIRCUS (46D: political assembly). :)

Anonymous 3:29 PM  

Gorilla mask

I'd say more mid-woman, wouldn't you?
Anyway map of tasmania is by far the more common phrase. And rightly so. Google for yourself and you'll see it iimmediately.
Eiether way, it's not dirty. At least not necesaarily.

Anonymous 3:38 PM  

An app is more than a download. It's an application -- hence the name.

Anonymous 3:52 PM  

Achtung! Achtung! Lt William Calley is sadden that there was a hint of criticism of the US military. Please be more considerate in the future.

ahimsa 4:00 PM  

Puzzle was a bit slow for me for a Tuesday but very cute. Kudos to Phil Ruzbarsky!

I did not know DOBRO, CLEM or NORRIS and got them only from the crosses. But I knew all the rest of the words. [Short digression on SEPOY - there used to be a blog on Desi issues (Indian and Pakistani) that was named Sepia Mutiny - great pun!] I saw the horse related theme early at HALTER TOP, and I've actually used a riding CROP (many years ago). And yet it still took me longer than most Tuesdays.

@Benko and others, rapper MOS DEF has definitely changed his name and now goes by Yasiin Bey. It's been a while (at least a year?). He was in the news this summer protesting against the force feeding at Guantanamo Bay and using the name Yasiin Bey then. I think editors need to update that clue to indicate MOS DEF is a former name. Or clue it as one of Stephen Colbert's names (just kidding).

@lms, if that writing paper aisle was not moving around then it was stationary. That means technically the sign was correct. :-)

sanfranman59 4:24 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 8:16, 8:12, 1.01, 57%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:04, 5:04, 1.00, 50%, Medium

Questinia 4:26 PM  

@NCA President
Wondering just how limited crosswords are creatively. Can a xword be poetic?

Squeek the Anonymouse 5:22 PM  

Riding crop always makes me think of "9 1/2 Weeks".

LaneB 6:34 PM  

Had to Google. 44d to hurry things up but otherwise found the Tuesday edition to be relatively easy. Didn't like CTN, , SRI or IPOD much, but such is not a real complaint. Thanks Mr. Ruzbarsky.

Jisvan 6:55 PM  

Didn't get the Hawaii reference, even looking at the map. (You have got to be like, 10 years old, maybe. ) But "Map of Tazmania" is a punk video with very colorful and creative costuming. Do not feel the need to put out my eyes after watching it, but will not be wearing this lingerie, either! As always, an educational blog!

Anonymous 6:59 PM  

Where, and in what world, does inspire mean draw a breath?

OISK 7:29 PM  

@anonymous6:59 - "To inhale" is one of the definitions of inspire in my New College Dictionary. I think that usage is archaic, but it is listed there. @Acme - Thanks for the info about "Miso." I haven't been to a Japanese restaurant in at least 40 years, so if I ever saw miso soup on a menu, it is a very distant memory. ( I don't eat fish or tofu, so Japanese cuisine doesn't appeal to me).

sanfranman59 10:05 PM  

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

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

Mon 5:43, 6:07, 0.93, 19%, Easy
Tue 8:18, 8:12, 1.01, 57%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:40, 3:46, 0.97, 31%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:46, 5:01, 0.95, 31%, Easy-Medium

Z 10:39 PM  

INSPIRE, you will note if you read to the bottom of the linked page, originally referred to the divine presence. Somewhere deep in the recesses of my Dutch Reformed upbringing is the notion that to be INSPIREd is to be filled with the "breath of God." Not really my thing anymore, but the source of inspiration is mysterious enough for the notion to make some sense.

retired_chemist 1:12 AM  

Inspire is directly from the Latin inspirare, to breathe in. See "dum spiro, spero" (while I breathe, I hope) for a common quotation using the Latin word.

Anonymous 9:36 AM  


Halter Tops (think "reins") , like Saddle Shoes, also derives their names from a literal "horsey" item.


Unknown 4:04 PM  

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spacecraft 10:06 AM  

One crossing served to "stirrup" my imagination: HALTERTOP and LESSERGOD: the latter brings to mind the luscious Marlee Matlin, who'd look fetching in the former...no "lesser god" made THAT body.

That image (think I'd better take a cold shower--are you listening, @August West?) plus the brilliant coup of cluing LEE as Cliff, who indeed took the Cy in 2008, the year my beloved Phillies won it all (!!!!) is enough to earn forgiveness for some SHODdy fill; just glance at the bottom row and right column and count the S's.

DOBRO for me was forced in on crosses 100%. "Hand" up for pUrrED. I don't know the name; if a debut, this shows promise...just watch the fill. No need to force in a J if you have to do the old "___alai" bit. Both halves of that very forgettable sport have been severely overworked. But keep at it: don't be the ODDMANOUT.

Waxy in Montreal 10:33 AM  

Golfers still wear SADDLESHOES (at least I do).

Learnt today from this puzzle: DOBRO, TIBIAL, a new usage for DEI, BITOHONEY, HEATH (as a candy bar), and BSA. However, all were readily available from their crosses which IMHO makes this one a thoroughbred.

@space - my hand's up for PURRED as well.

Cary in Boulder 1:12 PM  

Still don't know what league or conference BSA refers to.

HUMMED right through this BITOHONEY and quite enjoyed it. Well familiar with Dutch ORANGE from a) the Dutch football fans we met in Reykjavik who were still friendly even after their team got bounced from the European Cup, and b) the ORANGE t-shirt my friend brought me back from Dampkring "coffee shop" in Amsterdam.

My major writeover was Calder before NORRIS. Enjoyed seeing DOBRO, a form of resonator guitar. The master of the instrument is Jerry Douglas.

@OISK: Man, you really need to get out more. At least you know what you don't like.

Have I only just now noticed or has @Rex's list of Independent Puzzles always been anything but stationary? Today I thought their jittering around was gonna give me a seizure.

Captcha: The guanon. Some kind of bat, no doubt.

nytcrossword.com 1:17 PM  

56. Cubs' and Eagles' org. : BSA
As every little boy (of my era) knows, the Scouting movement was founded by Lord Baden Powell, in 1907. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) soon followed, in 1910.

Ginger 2:10 PM  

As a (sometime) follower of Hockey, I knew of the NORRIS trophy, but since I did not know the 'James' part, took a BIT to get it.

@SIS there once was a Tom Hanks movie that featured the song 'Back in the SADDLE again' ;-)

Fun puzzle, thanks Mr. Ruzbarsky' liked it.

Captcha: the joke book is back. Much easier to decipher than soccer balls. Funnier too.

Solving in Seattle 2:50 PM  

@Ginger, all of Seattle is sleepless awaiting the Saints on Saturday. BTW, saw the movie again recently. Such a classic.

21A, clued as "Draw a breath" threw me. Had to get INSPIRE on crosses. Thanks for clearing it up for me, @Retired Chemist.

@Spacey, my, ahem, hand is UBER up for Marlee also. She was great in West Wing. Nice TIBIALs, too.

HALTERTOPS reminds me of the '70s. Such a nice decade... and the music.

Capcha: 22(.)95120(.)2 - As a lat/lon this puts me smack in the middle of Taipei.

rain forest 4:17 PM  

Liked this puzzle and didn't notice much in the way of crap. Got the theme at SPUR after SADDLE. Maybe it's "tired", but well done here. Just a good Tuesday.

I will now probably look at maps with a different perspective.

@SIS - music of the '70's. Disco. Hated it. Like/d halter tops.

As a Canadian, I refrain from any comments which have leapt to mind regarding the military and the way they are viewed/treated in the USA.

DMG 4:21 PM  

Hey, they liked this one!! I did, too, though, as usual, I didn't see t he theme. Glad that DOBRO fell from the crosses, and had to guess at the N in NORRIS, but otherwise a smooth finish.

Dirigonzo 4:44 PM  

I suppose someone with full dentures might fondly remember a time when they had a TOOTHACHE - would that be a case of Odontalgia Nostalgia?

Capcha poker, anyone? I have a pair of aces and 3 nines. Never mind, I just noticed that @SiS had four deuces, so I fold.

Solving in Seattle 5:51 PM  

@Waxy, are you surviving the arctic vortex?

@Diri, you're on for poker.

@Rainy, not disco, rather Pink Floyd, The Eagles, Chicago, et al.

Capcha: arshbro occupied. A sign in an English prison?

Waxy in Montreal 6:41 PM  

@SiS, heck, it's our tenderfoot cousins in Toronto who are having problems with the so-called arctic vortex. In Quebec, we simply refer to it as winter...

Dirigonzo 6:47 PM  

@Waxy - this blog REALLY needs a like button!

@SiS - Five 5s - top that!

Z 9:36 PM  

Hey @Waxy in Montreal - We just spent a few days skiing at Mont Tremblant. Great time (despite the cold on Thursday). Was very surprised by the Sunday Morning slowdown on the 417 in Ottawa and a little surprised by the Sunday afternoon slowdown in Toronto (although the 401 through Toronto has been busy every time I've driven it). Quebec was awesome and the drive from Mont Tremblant to Ottawa had incredible scenery. Quebec had none of the Snowmegeddon hyperbole we get here in metro Detroit.

Waxy in Montreal 11:02 PM  

Hey @Z - you are obviously a wise and cogent individual (as are most syndilanders) since I agree totally with your comments...

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