Anise-flavored liquid / MON 1-13-14 / Britain's last King Henry / Rio carnival dance / Wine-producing area of SE France

Monday, January 13, 2014

Constructor: Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: ONE AND ALL (58A: Everybody … or part of the contents of 18-, 25-, 36- and 50-Across) — letter strings "ONE" and "ALL" both appear in each theme answer

Theme answers:
  • PHONE CALL (18A: An operator may help place one)
  • RHONE VALLEY (25A: Wine-producing area of SE France)
  • GONE BALLISTIC (36A: Flown into a rage)
  • STONEWALLED (50A: Refused to cooperate)
Word of the Day: SAMBA (33D: Rio carnival dance) —
Samba is a lively, rhythmical dance of Brazilian origin in 2/4 time danced under the Samba music. However, there are three steps to every bar, making the Samba feel like a 3/4 timed dance. Its origins include the Maxixe. (wikipedia) 
• • •

Textbook Monday. I mean that in the best possible sense. This was easy and the theme was cute and tight. The only real wobble in this thing was the central theme answer—the tense of it, I mean. Bit forced to use the past participle (i.e. GONE). But the base phrase is colorful enough to redeem the awkwardness. I like that there are biggish, interesting corners in an easy Monday puzzle. Monday puzzles should have solid, playful themes and be easy, interesting, and fun—not just easy. I love that the NW Downs are all phrases (two of them three-worders). Then there's the sassiness of GOOSES (28A: Pokes in the rear). I just *liked* this one. I don't know if I'd call the fill sparkly, but it is smooth as all get out. This is a first-rate, professional Monday puzzle, by a constructor who knows what the hell she's doing when it comes to early-week puzzles.

The weirdest moment, for me, was having BLO- at 38D: Hard hit (BLOW) and having no idea what that last letter could be. Brain: "BLOP? BLOP? No, BLOP is not a thing. Does not compute. Abort, Abort." My brain is a 1950s robot sometimes. I thought my time would be a tad slower than usual, as the open NW was not as easy to get into as your typical Monday corner. This may seem an odd thing to say about that corner, which is, of course, pretty easy in the end, but 3s and 4s are far, far easier to take down quickly than 5s. So there's just a little bit of added resistance, even in an easy puzzle, every time a corner opens up even a little. Anyway, I still came in with a normal, fast Monday time. Surprised to see this is just 74 words. Not sure I've ever done a 74-worder this easy (most easy/Monday puzzles are 78, maybe 76—typically, in general, as a rule, but by no means always, the lower the word count, the tougher the grid is to fill, and difference between 78 ad 74 is actually considerable). I guess the cheaters in the far NE / SW corners helped mellow out the fill, allowing for actual, in-the-language, non-forced, non-crosswordese words. If that's what it takes, then (and pretty much only then) I'm all for cheater squares.

Did I ever teach you the trick for quickly establishing a crossword's word count? I learned this from my friend Amy, who, I think, learned from her friend Byron. Anyway, you take the number of the last Across clue (today, 68) and then add the total number of boxes that start both an Across and Down answer (today, the boxes containing the numbers 1, 6, 10, 33, 44 and 48—a total of 6 boxes). 68 + 6 = 74 words. Much easier than actually counting them all.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Unknown 12:10 AM  

My fastest time ever, things just gelled and as Rex says, "easy, cute and tight" (he refers to the puzzle one assumes)

Steve J 12:11 AM  

Agreed with Rex nearly across the board. Rock-solid Monday, with some very nice fill: FOR A SONG, FLEW SOLO, STONEWALLED, GONE BALLISTIC (agreed that the tense is off from what you'd normally hear - either go/goes or went BALLISTIC - and agreed that it doesn't matter much). I really like the nice blocks of long (for Mondays) downs in each corner.

Solved very smoothly, but there were spots I had to stop and think a bit, keeping this from being just another mechanical Monday.

Nice way to start off the week.

(Thanks for the tip on word count. I never knew that. Definitely loads easier than actually counting words.)

Carola 12:23 AM  

A TREAT (or TWEET, as my granddaughter would say) of a Monday. I liked the humor of ON THE GO over F STOP and FOR A SONG over ATONAL.

Anonymous 12:51 AM  

Um, it's not the pluperfect, it's just the past participle. You're lucky there's no blog where somebody reviews your review every day.

Evan 12:58 AM  

Agreed that this is a good Monday. I was expecting that every answer was going to start with -HONE when I got the first two theme answers, so it was a decent surprise to make sense of the revealer while solving. I wanted SLAM originally at 38-Down, so I also had trouble getting BLOW (the answer, not cocaine).

One thing I did not like, however, is the fact that the revealer at 58-Across has the word AND in both the clue and the answer. I know, I know, how many people will really notice or care about that? Still, I'm never a fan of any entry's word, even common ones like AND, repeating in that entry's clue -- one of those crossword rules that I think shouldn't be allowed in puzzles.* I might have starred the other four themers' clues and re-clued 58-Across as [Everybody ... or part of the answers to the four starred clues].

* My one exception to this, if you want to call it that, would be something that involves clever wordplay like [City in Czechoslovakia?] for OSLO or [First lady in Cleveland?] for EVE.

jae 1:01 AM  
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jae 1:03 AM  

What Rex said. Very easy very smooth.  Perfect for Mon. solvers.  Solid and workman like (i.e. low on zip) with a nice theme/reveal.  Liked it, but will have no memory of it by Wednesday.

Anonymous 1:06 AM  

Zippy fill, zippy theme, zippy puzzle. The best Monday I've seen from the NYT. Crosswordese should not exceed 15% of the answers, and this puzzle stays well within that limit, despite the fairly low word count. Truly, one of the best puzzles of recent, at least from the NYT.

Evan 1:16 AM  

Should clarify since I didn't say this very well:

" of those crossword rules that I think shouldn't be allowed in puzzles"

I meant that repeating a word in an entry's clue and answer shouldn't be allowed in puzzles, because it's a traditional rule. Y'all know what I meant, I think.

chefwen 1:28 AM  

A nice sparkly Monday Puzzle from one of our Monday puzzle queens (Hi Acme) been waitin' on you. Only one write-over with 19D EluDES before EVADES. I can accept that.

Garth 1:29 AM  

Very enjoyable write up by @Rex.

When I realized that GONE in GONE BALLISTIC didn't have the same vowel sound as PHONE and RHONE, I though @Rex and others were going to have a goat. As the theme revealed itself and I realized the vowel sound didn't really matter I was relieved.

I don't know if I can continue take this kind of stress.

Benko 2:05 AM  

Yeah, I don't think GONEBALLISTIC is actually in the pluperfect (usually called past perfect nowadays) tense either, but then again, I'm not a paid English professor at an accredited university.
Loved Brand Nubian, an old school fave, and the trick on word count was nice too.

Benko 2:21 AM  

After checking, there are like six different tenses which would use "gone" (and a past participle), including the pluperfect or past perfect tense. So it's not really cut and dried with just a fragment of a sentence as to which tense it would have been in context.
Man, I forgot how boring grammar was.

andrea carla michaels 2:44 AM  

Perfect puzzle, as smooth as smooth can be and FIVE theme entries plus a sophisticated theme...that's like two themes in one.
Finding so many phrases that have both the word ONE and the word ALL is no easy feat...
Lynn makes this look easy, it's deceptive, this is very sophisticated all around.

I also like the feminine vibe, like cluing YDS in terms of fabric instead of football... or ESS as in Shepherdess, instead of a snake shape!

I thought the theme was something about silent H of PH and RH.

The only thing I'd call out is normally Will doesn't like to include downer words like cancer or FAMINE, so I'd have made that GAMINE perhaps, tho too hard for a Monday. And I like the crunchy FEX/OUZO cross.

She is subtle, she is solid.
There are words like CANISTER that you know, but you don't ever think about till there are there in a puzzle.

I also like the LL staircase at VALLEY, VILLA, CALL.

Almost 20 Ls in one puzzle has to be a record... love LULUS echoing LOO.
The double LLs has to be an unconscious draw for Lynn Lempel.

There's also one in the CECIL B. DeMiLLe clue...
moment of synchronicity, got that answer while watching the Golden Globes give the Cecil B. DeMille award to Woody ALLen!!!!!

Anyway, llots to llove from LLynn LLempel.

Anonymous 3:09 AM  

It's pluperfect if you assume the addition of "had": he had gone ballistic, he had flown into a rage, which sounds natural. That phrase as a past participle (adjectival form) is far more awkward: the gone ballistic man.

Billy 4:30 AM  

"gone ballistic" ain't pluperfect. It could be anything, including "would've gone ballistic."

Loren Muse Smith 5:30 AM  

I glanced at the grid. Saw the "plus" sign. Saw those scary numbers at 33A. Rechecked the constructor. Mentally rechecked the day of the week. Took a deep breath to trust Lynn that that math sign and all those numbers, that the theme, would still be ok.

I usually force myself not to look at the reveal on Mon or Tues too early because I'm. Just. That. Good. Seriously – I like to try to figure it out on my own. So not looking at the reveal did little to quell my suspicion that this was a Tricky Mathy Thing. ALL those ONEs. I kept nervously looking back at that SERIES.

I finally had all the themers and still hadn't seen it, but one look at the reveal and *boom* - how terrific!

I stumbled but one nanosecond on GONE. It's happened too many times to me that it was the past participle rather than the simple past. What. Are we a bunch of Tense Snobs? Why is the simple past preferable in grids? That's not a "j'accuse" question – I hesitated there right with you. I just hate to think I'm a Tense Snob. "Listen. Think about it. Do we *really* want to invite the conditional perfect progressive into the sentence? Do I need to remind everyone what happened last time we included that tiresome ostentatious little upstart?"

(GONE, like shown, has begun to meet its *very* gradual demise. You mark my words – 75 years from now, online style manuals will accept Dakota hasn't went to his interpretive dance lesson yet. I hear it too many times from too many college-educated people. Just so you all have a heads-up. @Benko, I'm looking at you, too, kid.)

@jae – I still will remember this one after Wednesday (just like I'll remember her "Tight Ends" from last year's ACPT and the unforgettable STUD MUFFIN one).
Of course I scampered off to come up with other possible entries, and they really aren't any others that fit.

@Garth – I really liked that those RHONE VALLEY was different phONEticALLy.

@Acme – good call on all the L's and the female vibe! I hadn't noticed. I have a great public LOO LULU aunt story, but I'll spare you. Breakfast test and all that.

@Garth – I thought the Goat Issue today would be the presence of GO and GONE. (Or maybe ORALLY) This kind of thing doesn't bother me. And @Evan – I never notice those clue/answer repetitions, either. Hey, but I openly admit to liking Big Macs and The Real Housewives, so I guess my taste sensibilities are lower. I'm working on it. Gonna force myself to eat some organic mac and cheese that's just pale yellow.

Liked EASE INTO/CALMLY, IOTA over RHO, SOLO/ONLY, and GONE BALLISTIC right over CALMLY. Choose a reaction, any reaction.

PASTE – my first impression upon entering Mrs. Grammer's (stet) (she was in her 70's and wore in-your-face-fuschia lipstick) first grade classroom was seeing all the boys happily, openly, eating the PASTE and crayons. I thought, "Well, this can't be so bad, right?" I myself was a soap and dog biscuit eater, but I adjusted easily enough. (I once stood in Joanne H's driveway and chewed up and swallowed a small rock. I swear.)

Lynn – TWEET, TWEET puddle.

jberg 6:30 AM  

I saw all those numbers, thought "What? Fibonacci on a Monday?" and checked -- so I began this one, unusually, in the middle, with the SERIES/SAMBA cross. I agree with everybody, it was a NEATO puzzle -- especially because I didn't notice VIII until I saw it in @Rex's teaser line.

I did spend too much time wondering if C V B W AND meant anything.

@Acme, I think of CANISTERs all the time, as I have a moth problem if I don't keep all my flour, pasta, etc. tightly enclosed. Except that I had been thinking of CANnISTERs, so I learned something today.

@Loren--around here, I think 'goed' has a better chance than 'went' of taking over. Fowler said something about English's being a perpetual war between idiom and analogy.

Nice to be back here, after 11 great but puzzleless days in England!

GILL I. 7:05 AM  

Fun Monday

AliasZ 7:13 AM  

This reminds me of a sign hanging on the door of a closed store: "Gone Fishing." I can well imagine "GONE BALLISTIC" in its place.

The discussion of grammatical errors, real or perceived, increases expONEntiALLy with the number of participating experts, real or perceived. Good thing the CommisiONEr of BasebALL did not also weigh in. But he is probably busy visiting beautiful ShoshONE fALLs on the Snake River in Idaho, or the City Hall in DONEgALL Square, Belfast, Northern Ireland, right off the IRISH SEA. Or maybe he is in the kitchen trying out a new recipe for Italian hONEybALLs.

How do you spell Bordeaux phONEticALLy?

Mohair Sam 7:35 AM  

Wonderful Monday puzzle, everything a Monday should be for all of the obvious reasons.

Having studied English only a bit above what was required 50 years ago I am totally amazed at the long forgotten terms you guys are throwing at the "pluperfect" controversy. @Loren gets a special thanks for dragging in "conditional perfect progressive".

Unknown 8:06 AM  

Ditto @jberg re: Fibonacci. It stood out right away and I thought "What the...?"

But it turned out to be a fine, fun, smooth, easy Monday. Just right!

MetaRex 8:12 AM  

A rare sub-5 minute online solve...was thinking is that ALL there is while solving...the reveal was a nice surprise.

Thx much to ACM for her homage to another Monday the image of a RHONE VALLEY GAMINE...gotta be easy to change an F to a G...hmmm...unlike @Rex and @Evan w/ their nice quick fixes, MR's insta-reconstruction forays tend to end, I wind up w/ the icky ACTA and LOLAS, plus IOTA repeated :(

MetaRex 8:19 AM  

Will Lynn L's puzzle be the second one after PB's Friday themeless to get a positive number on the tough v. 3.1 of the sparkle-gruel metric? The word by word numbers for today are here.

joho 8:27 AM  

This is such a TREAT and a perfect Monday puzzle from the iLLustrious Lynn Lempel ... I give it an A PLUS!

@loren muse smith, I shared Milkbones with my dog and also remember eating dirt from our driveway thinking, "Mmmmm, this tastes good!"

We're off to a great start!

Norm C. 8:27 AM  

There will be a time (soon, perhaps) when solvers will have no idea what an "operator" is or why you might need one to make a PHONECALL. For that matter, they might not even know what a "phone call" is, either, what with texting, tweeting, and the like going on.

Sir Hillary 8:54 AM  

I rarely do Mondays -- boy, am I glad I did today.

I caught on to the ONE quickly, but completely overlooked the ALL until the revealer, when I muttered, "Sweet!" upon realizing the full extent of the theme. I can't remember that ever happening to me on a Monday.

So, this ONE was basicALLy a perfect Monday in my view. Thanks Lynn!

retired_chemist 8:55 AM  

Hand up for noting the Fibonacci SERIES with some surprise, given it's Monday. Also hand up for liking this puzzle as much as Rex and the rest of the posters.

Only writeover was VILLA for manor. Liked PEPTO next to LOHAN - my reaction to her calls for it.

Thanks, Ms. Lempel.

retired_chemist 8:56 AM  
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Z 9:08 AM  

Well, sleep in a little and miss all the pluperfect fun. GGGGs. But be careful, @lms, I hear the conditional perfect progressive has commie leanings. We'll have to ask that pinko, @MAS, to clear it up for us.

One writeover, LuLLS to LOLLS, which would have made that an M&A nominee for best section of a puzzle for January (conditional perfect, but not progressive, usage).

I solved counterclockwise, so saved the oldies section for last. Lily Tomlin taking a star turn in a CECIL B. DeMille production would have been selling tickets, but no, he went with Liz Taylor.

Last random thought, "OUZO and EROS, the LOHAN story," coming soon to a theater near you.

quilter1 9:17 AM  

So good. What a pleasure.

There is a bumper sticker "Gone quilting"

@lms When I was little we had a cinder driveway (cinders from the coal furnace) and I ate cinders as a toddler, according to Mom. Don't remember how they tasted, but remembered kids eating PASTE in kindergarten.

mac 9:37 AM  

Agree with all of you, it's a beautiful puzzle.

@Loren: I had that math fear going on at first as well!

Very ice longer words and expression, canister stood out. I think Andrea fought Lynn's signatures all over the grid.

John V 9:55 AM  

Lynn always does great work, today no exception. Brava!

GOOSES = echo of MIDASS? Just sayin'

The word counting trick is cool. Picked it up in PB's book.

mac 10:00 AM  

What's up with my spell check? I meant to say Andrea found Lynn's signatures. And "nice" and expressions.

chefbea 10:07 AM  

Easy fun puzzle. Thanks L.L.

There is an easier way to determine the number of words in a puzzle….Wait for Rex to tell you;

@Andrea…love your Warhol.!!!

efrex 10:19 AM  

Perfect. Just perfect. The Queen of Mondays has done it again, and her grateful subjects shout "huzzah!"

Really fantastically fun solve. Did anybody else notice that the ONE & ALL part of each answer was separated by just one letter? You couldn't make this thing any tighter if you put it in a straightjacket.

What a great start for the workweek!

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

What does word count refer to? Some answers are phrases with more than one word.

Questinia 10:24 AM  

I have to admit I become a teensy bit gloomy in anticipation of Monday puzzles because they are SO BOOOOOOOOOOORING, anti-climactic, and do not serve as adequate antidotes to the start of a work week. They're like eating liver at McDonalds.
But Lynn Lempel delivered a delightful amuse-bouche which made me want to rhumba.

@ Evan ~ I usually pick up on "rulesy" kinds of things but the AND in the clue and answer completely went unnoticed, I believe, because ONE AND ALL is more idiomatic, iconic even. So the AND of the answer, in my mind, takes on a higher meaning and intonation. There are words AND music. There is no music in the clue but there is melody in the answer.

@ lms, it would be lovely to go to a tourney. My tourney, at present however, is work, work, work, and ON THE GO. Difficult for a type B individual.

retired_chemist 10:27 AM  

Word count refers to the number of answers. For that purpose, ONE AND ALL is one word, not three.

Sandy K 10:28 AM  

NEAT to EASE INto the week with this ONE!

All was in SYNC- even BESS who was married to HST.

Steve J 10:40 AM  

@Evan: I agree in general that a clue answer/combo shouldn't share words, but I think in this case "and" was fine and didn't "spoil" the answer.

@Loren: I think you're overthinking the tense thing. It's not a question of preferring one tense over another in crosswords. It's simply that in this specific phrase, this particular construction is rarely heard compared to the much-more-common "go ballistic" and "went ballistic" (Google confirms: 821k results for "go ballistic", 542k for "went ballistic" and only 75k for "gone ballistic"). The phrase is fine as included - especially since crosswords typically use headline style (dropping functional words like prepositions and auxiliary verbs - which is why you'll see some grumbling when an article is included to lead off an answer) - but it's a little unusual. That's all.

Two Ponies 10:51 AM  

Great Monday. Thanks LL!

As for the grammar stuff, I had no problem with it.
Haven't you ever gone ballistic?

Bob Kerfuffle 10:54 AM  

Yup, fine Monday.

dick Swart 11:51 AM  

Hooray! A review from Rex that reflects my feelings as a 79-year-old NYT puzzle solver since days long-gone commuting on the LIRR.

The satisfaction of a rewarding Monday to start the week is an important part of my mental set for Tu - Sun. Even now, over tea and toast, looking out at the Columbia Gorge. rather than squirming on the green leatherette seats in a NO SMOKING car.

I was beginning to develop accute anaREXia and subscribed to xword info .
But not extreme enough that I haven't responded to the annual call for donors here as well!

A terrific Monday puzzle.

Lewis 12:08 PM  

There are times when Rex goes ballistic over things like GONE, when something like that ruins the whole puzzle for him. But not today. In fact, that is two raves in two weeks. Has Rex made a resolution? If so, I'm guessing it's not one he'll hold to.

I agree that it's a textbook Monday, and with an interesting theme. A fun solve.

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

Very playful -- Pokes in the rear, Enter gently, EROS, ORALLY, POLLED, BLOW and OHS. Even LOHAN would blush.

Robert Vanderbei 12:55 PM  

I've been doing the NY Times Crossword puzzle religiously virtually every day (except Saturday---too hard) for decades. This is the first error I remember seeing. The clue for 33 across is "1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 ..., e.g.". Obviously, this is the Fibonacci Sequence. The correct answer is "SEQUENCE". Amazingly Will Shortz and Lynn Lempel don't realize there is a fundamental difference between a "series" and a "sequence" in mathematics. They are not synonymous.

Jerry 12:58 PM  

Why isn't the total word count equal to the number of across questions plus the number of down questions?

wreck 1:19 PM  
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Evan 1:20 PM  

@Questinia and @Steve J.:

I just don't see any reason for the repeat other than the fact that the constructor and/or editors missed it, since editors usually consider repeating any word in an entry's clue a no-no. It's the same reason that a clue for IT'S ME like [Response to "Who's there?"] drives me crazy, since the contraction in both the clue and answer share the word IS. I think it's fine to repeat really common words in a grid like THE or AND in other clues -- the word AND appears in three other clues outside of 58-Across -- but not the same clue as that entry.

Again, the puzzle itself is quite good and the repeated AND doesn't change that. It's just one of those things I'd rather not see.

NoMathAnon 1:20 PM  

@Robert Vanderbei -

Hi! We knew someone would raise your objection eventually, as someone did the last time these numbers came up. (Actually, they are the stops on the Newark, New Jersey, subway system.) But note:

(A) The clue specifically does not say "Fibonacci." Just a bunch of numbers.

and (2) Even a website like "Math is Fun" can say "The Fibonacci Sequence is the series of numbers:

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, ..."

Pete 1:21 PM  

@ Jerry - It is. To do it your way you would have to count each individual clue, across and down. The way Rex described, get the maximum question number then add all instances where question numbers are duplicated (where there's an upper left in a box resulting in, e.g. 1D/1A) is much easier.

Ellen S 1:22 PM  

@Jberg, I didn't get enough sleep last night, so brain just limping along as I finished up the puzzle this morning (having fallen asleep over it last night). I actually almost put in "GOed BALLISTIC" before I realized there was a real word that would've went better.

And, yeah, I looked at that string of numbers and thought, "I'm going to have to spell Fibonacci? I can't even spell GONE!"

Benko 1:32 PM  

@LMS: I have to admit that I don't like the sound of "have went".
To the "pluperfect" doubters: In a sentence like "She had GONE BALLISTIC when she had found out her boyfriend was cheating with her best friend," this would be the pluperfect usage. So it's possible, if not implied.
Three and out!

Bird 1:40 PM  

Liked it. Good theme and no bad fill (well, perhaps the RRN is the only standout). After the first two themers, I was thinking some kind of “HONE” theme, but that idea was nixed at 36A.

Only nit is on 36A as I think I’ve only heard “WENT BALLISTIC”, but as @Steve J already mentioned Google says there are about 75K hits on “GONE BALLISTIC” so that’s fine.

We have EONS and ERAS, but no AGES.

@Evan – I paused for about 2 seconds at 58A wondering about AND (does it belong? is it in the themers?), but moved on. And it’s not as if the word is a critical part of the clue.

Happy Monday all.

Ellen S 1:42 PM  

@Two Ponies -- I'm with you.
"Haven't you ever gone ballistic?"
"Haven't you ever flown into a rage?"
So the structure of the clue matches the structure of the answer. Isn't that what matters?

But, I GOed to bed way too late and still not really awake. Strange. I have went to bed later and gotten up awaker.

Anyway -- still groggy, so I can't understand about the word count. @Retired Chemist , it sounds good when you say it fast, but aren't ALL the downs "answers" - why don't the downs that come off an intermediate across letter count. I can't even ask that coherently. Please someone help. 'Splain it to me or make me go back to bed or something...

Went and gone ballistic 1:43 PM  

Re: pluperfects, past participles, etc.

All you grammarians need to relax.

Ellen S 1:48 PM  

Oh, @Pete, now I understand. The number assigned to the last across clue is not the same as the number of clues. It also gives the number of downs, not counting the ones that come off the initial letter of the across answer.

Definitely goed to bed too late... three and outa here.

Robert Vanderbei 2:06 PM  

@NoMathAnon -- regarding the Math is Fun website that you mentioned, the Fibonacci numbers are called a sequence 14 times and a series just once. I'm sure if you asked the authors of that site they would concede that the term series was a mistake. Mathematics is a precise language. And, regarding "just a bunch of numbers", that is exactly what the term "sequence" means in mathematics: a bunch of numbers (listed in a prescribed order). The series is the sum of the numbers. So, the e.g. at the end of the clue asked what is the Fibonacci sequence and example of. It is an example of a sequence. PS. I don't rides trains much but I somehow doubt that the stops in Newark are numbered 0, 1, 1, 2, etc.

ANON B 2:08 PM  

1)Puzzle contained the easiest clue that is possible: +=plus.

2) I can't understand the fuss about the number of words in
a puzzle. An exercise in

3) And the argument about the
tense of "gone". Give me a break.

jburgs 2:29 PM  

Much talk of grammar and math today. Caused an epiphany for me. Math isn't the thing that hurts my head the most to hear about. It's grammar - definitely.

Brings to mind a tv ad for a bank from a few years ago. The bank is claiming that they can make discussing investment stategies much easier than their competitors. To illustrate what their competitors do, they cut to a scene where the investment counsellor at another bank welcomes a customer into their office. The customer timidly states "I'd like some investment advice." The counsellor points to their desk and says sweetly. That's wonderful. If you'll kindly insert your head into the vise, we'll begin."

Always saw this as a wonderful illustration of what it can be like.

Anonymous 2:47 PM  

Curios if anyone else has heard it used in this sense: when a missile runs out of fuel don't they say that it has "gone ballistic"?

Acme 3:12 PM  

Paste a copy of your paste paragraph for your novel!
Seriously, go back over this last year or two of blogs and cut and paste one of your stories into a separate file and I guarantee you willhave something publishable by the end of this year!

@efrex 10:19
One letter separation! Thanks forointing that out, makes me appreciate this even more!

Fwiw, LL says her original series clue was about sitcoms, for example.

Badir 3:31 PM  

As I mathematician, I really like the square-counting algorithm. Once you point it out, it's easy to see why it works, but I never thought about doing anything but counting half the words and doubling (using symmetry) before. Thanks!

Also, yay, Fibonaccis!

And this was very smooth and easy, the first time I've ever broken 4 minutes on paper!

Curious 3:33 PM  

@efrex - Great catch, do we know the significance of the letters (C, V, B, W) separating ONE and ALL?

sanfranman59 4:09 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 5:48, 6:22, 0.91, 12%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:41, 3:58, 0.93, 16%, Easy

John in Philly 5:09 PM  

I love Lynn Lempel puzzles - accessible, fresh, and interesting. thank you!!

Z 7:22 PM  

A whole page dedicated to the Fibonacci SERIES. Of course, it is a UK site and everyone knows they barely speak English over there. I bet they don't even know what the conditional perfect progressive tense is. Remember, crosswords often use misdirection in cluing. In this particular case the misdirection catches people who know more, whereas those of us who forgot or never learned the technical difference between SERIES and sequence barely hesitated.

sanfranman59 10:02 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 5:48, 6:22, 0.91, 12%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:35, 3:58, 0.90, 5%, Easy

Kathryn 10:43 PM  

Yes, sequence and SERIES are definitely two different things (a SERIES is the sum of a sequence). I'm not sure if they have the same meaning in the UK and other countries, but here, they are different. Despite that little nitpick with the puzzle, it was a lot of fun!

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Robert Vanderbei 4:07 PM  

PS to @NoMathAnon. There are only a finite number of subway stops in Newark NJ (or anywhere else for that matter). The three dots at the end of the sequence clearly indicates that this is an infinite sequence. Therefore, it could not be a reference to a finite series of subway stops.

spacecraft 11:56 AM  

Top line: OFFER PLUS COP = bribe? I knew I was in for a TREAT. Another "NEATO" (gad! did she really make me print that word?) pairing was the second down line: FORASONG/ATONAL.

All this fuss about tenses--they've GONEBALLISTIC! Not that hard to work into a conversation.

Very interesting, but astoundingly simple, way to count the words, O Fearless One. Each word, perforce, needs a numbered clue, but you need to count the NW-cornered ones twice. Easy as cake, as the cosmonaut in "2010" would say.

Yes, I saw the famous sequence, and with Fibonacci being a 9-letter name my only (momentary) question was, did he go in 18a or 58a? Hold on there, big fella, no such luck. But the actual theme and answers? "Piece of pie."

Ms. Lempel, if you must give an LL shoutout, does it have to be LOHAN? You couldn't fit, say, Lawrence Luckinbill or Lily Langtree in there somewhere? Nah, guess not. There's a challenge for your next OFFERing, which I eagerly await.

A dinghy, 44499.

Solving in Seattle 1:20 PM  

GOOSES AID YDS. A running back truism.

Sometimes one reads this blog and wonders how many pewits can dance on the head of a pin.

Have a great week Syndylanders, ONEANDALL.

Capcha: PrePete. The Seahawks before Coach Carroll?

DMG 2:21 PM  

Easy enough puzzle once "went" became GONE,and I accepted SERIES for what looked to me strangely like Fibonacci's Sequence. But it's been a long, long time since I studied either grammar or math, so who knows? I have a hard enough time trying to catch on to the present jargon to keep up with changes to what was "right" in the past! At any rate, I think this was fun for ONE and ALL.

@Diri: How are doing with the "endless winter"?

Three 9's and a pair of 4's. On to Tuesday.

Dirigonzo 3:14 PM  

Didn't we have that whole "word count" discussion here once before?

@SiS - Sometimes reading through all the comments makes my eyepits hurt. But I do enjoy M&A's remarks and your philosophical question seems like one he might ask.

@DMG - A large bounty has been placed on the head of a certain grounhog. But I'm doing just fine, thanks for asking.

9s over 3s, so another losing hand.

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