Columbus stopping point of 1493 / THU 2-27-14 / Some Coleridge colleagues / Epicurean explorer

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Constructor: Stanley Newman

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium


Word of the Day: DIURNAL (11D: Active when the sun shines) —
  1. Relating to or occurring in a 24-hour period; daily.
  2. Occurring or active during the daytime rather than at night: diurnal animals.
  3. Botany. Opening during daylight hours and closing at night.
  1. A book containing all the offices for the daily canonical hours of prayer except matins.
  2. Archaic.
    1. A diary or journal.
    2. A daily newspaper.
[Middle English, from Late Latin diurnālis, from Latin diurnus, from diēs, day.]

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• • •

I am on record as being, let's say, not the biggest quote-puzzle fan. This quote is both strange and vaguely menacing, which I infinitely prefer to cutesy or punning, so I was not as put off as I might have been. Also, the grid is whisper quiet. 72 words (that's low for a themed puzzle) and not a rattle anywhere. This is what Stan is perhaps best known for, as editor of the Newsday crossword—search-and-destroying the short dreck that can clog up puzzles. I don't normally care what a constructor has to say about his/her own puzzle—while such "notes" have the potential to be interesting, they're usually either boring or self-serving, and at any rate have no relevance to my feelings about the quality of the puzzle. But I'm gonna quote from Stan's notes on this puzzle—not on this specific puzzle, actually, but on puzzle-editing in general—because I think his "fussiness" (as he puts it) is admirable.
In the 1,000-plus crosswords I’ve constructed and the 5,000-plus I’ve edited (for the New York newspaper Newsday and since adopting Crossword Compiler in 2000, I’ve found that with careful grid patterning it’s never necessary to use obscurities, even for wide-open grids such as the 72-worder here. This sometimes requires that I check Google News and Google Books, to be sure that words I think are in common current use actually are. I look forward to the day where this fussiness will be standard procedure for constructors, so we can finally bid the OLEOs, OLIOs and ANILs of crosswordese an unfond farewell.
I told Stan last week that I was solving one of his Newsday puzzles, Downs-only, with my wife in the diner last week, and found myself adjusting my guesses based on my knowledge that he was editor of the puzzle. Wife: "4 letters: [Amazing thing]" Me: "Oh crap, it's probably stupid ONER … oh wait, no. This was edited by Stan. Try LULU." And LULU it was. A similar thing happened when we were trying to parse an Across (w/o looking at clue) and had the pattern EV_L. Wife: "It's EVIL." Me: "Could be EVEL … no, wait, it's Stan. You're right; it's probably EVIL." And yes, it was EVIL. It's nice being able (mostly) to rule out the dreck.

This grid isn't what I'd call sparkly, but for a 72-word themed puzzle, its smoothness is pretty damned impressive. Loved the clue on SODA POP (1D: Redundant-sounding refreshment), as well as the clue on AMA (8D: Org. offering group practice membership), which had me thinking NRA and imagining a bunch of people on the shooting range at once.  FOODIE is fresh and original and, again, I like the clue (61A: Epicurean explorer). Unexpected clue on RIP (59D: Cut in the direction of the grain). Modern clue on AMY (55A: Adams of "American Hustle"). Just a solid, professional effort overall.

Puzzle news now: Matt Gaffney is now doing a regular metapuzzle contest for New York Magazine. See the first contest hereAnd, again, I'll be at the Finger Lakes Crossword Competition this Saturday (3/1) in Ithaca, NY, judging and mingling and talking and god knows what. Should be fun. Info on the competition, which is open to all skill levels, here.

Now, for no reason, here is a picture of me and my dad from the early '80s. I have no idea where we are or why (in the world) I'm wearing shades.

    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jae 12:10 AM  

    Looking back over this I doesn't seem particularly tough, but it took a bit of work especially in the South.  So, medium for me.  @Rex I too am not that fond of "quote" puzzles and this one did not change my point of view.  It's just that for a while at the beginning you have nothing and then "boom" it completely fills in.  Kinda like triple 15 stacks.  Plus I knew the quote, so, while the grid is very nicely done and there was a fair amount of crunch, this was just not my cuppa (yes I'm watching/streaming a lot of old BBC shows these days).

    Erasures: hurt to live to AINT.  Also needed to change the s at the end of YELLOWs to a Y.

    retired_chemist 12:12 AM  

    Another truly fine puzzle. Rex has explained why. I score it easy.

    Lots of lively stuff here. NO crosswordese that I could see. Would have been fun to have clued 33A as the VW GOLF since OPEL is next door.

    Thanks, Mr. Newman.

    George Barany 12:13 AM  

    Thanks for the enlightening commentary, Rex. Of course, Stan Newman is one of the giants of the crossword biz, and it's hard to believe that this is "only" his 17th appearance in the NY Times (as per

    If your regulars -- particularly those who are less than fond of quips, and especially those who like sports -- will indulge me, allow me to mention What Do These Great Sluggers Have in Common?, constructed with my friend Brent Hartzell. It's not what you think, and we hope you like it.

    Moly Shu 12:20 AM  

    This one was fun ! Medium for me with a ton of smiles along the way. Got a toehold at DIURNAL, no idea where I pulled it from and was fairly certain it was wrong, but it stayed and I was on my way. I thought the weakest part of the puzzle was the quote, which is to say this is a fantastic puzzle. Really, really liked it. Wish they could all be this entertaining.

    Cool pic @Rex, you look like a bad-ass.

    wreck 12:21 AM  

    I actually agree with Rex just about across the board on this one. It was a solid review on the merits of THIS puzzle and I agree with his assessment.

    I have obviously hit the nerve of at least one anonymous poster here -- to him/her -- no apologies.

    Amazin Credo Mayas 12:32 AM  

    One thing that was interesting for me was how many Ys there were...
    Prob in line with what @Rex says about Stan... He'd go with a Y ending instead of an S.
    MR POC-counter will be thrilled!

    Plus all the Ys in midword and in the quote itself (which I've not heard but enjoYed)


    Curious if it's a record? i count 8... That's AMAZIN!
    @Stan is a Ys man.

    JTHurst 12:38 AM  

    Four good puzzles in a row. My usual Thursday puzzle with some googles. Maybe if I hadn't been so recalcitrant keeping stir fry instead of pea pod, previn instead of porter even after I knew the suede clue must be tannery, and sundial when I knew facade was correct, my solve might have been easier.

    @Molly Shu I agree the diurnal just appeared after staring at the space.

    I 'shrivel' to think what the morrow may bring whilst hope springs eternal my cynical side expects a hellacious puzzle.

    Steve J 1:01 AM  

    Wow, that was easy. Felt like a Wednesday, with little resistance. The last four rows too a little bit to come together, but otherwise everything fell into place quickly.

    I'm not a fan of quote puzzles, and, like was the case for @jae, this didn't do anything to change my impression. I didn't know the quote, but the words are all straightforward, so it was easy to pick up each piece with just a few letters in place.

    There's some nice fill - CREDO, FACADE, CABAL, AZORES, the excellently clued SODA POP - but this felt a little flat to me. Maybe it's the fact that nothing outside the theme is longer than 7 letters, maybe it's that the theme didn't provide any sparkle, maybe it's that I've grown so used to expecting tricks on Thursdays that I'm a little let down when the puzzle's straightforward. Whatever it was, it's another Honda Accord puzzle: solid, built well, rock solid, but no flash.

    chefwen 1:23 AM  

    My "easy week" is officially over. First run through left a whole bunch of white. Like others have stated, quote puzzles are not high on my list of favorites. When I read 15A all I could think was "free beer tomorrow" you see that in a lot of the bars in good old Wisconsin.

    DIURNAL was a new one for me, quite familiar with nocturnal and it never entered my mind what the opposite was. Guess it never came up.

    61A caused some sadness, I miss our old buddy @Foodie. I lost her email address when my computer crashed last year. She is one classy lady.

    Let us see what tomorrow brings.

    Garth 1:30 AM  

    I enjoyed the puzzle for its cleanliness and good hygiene. I sometimes find quote-puzzles challenging but the connectivity from one section to another helped bring it down.

    Just learned about a RIP cut from this puzzle. Carpentry is not my strong suit.

    Nicely educational and non-ranty blog entry by Rex.

    chefwen 1:30 AM  

    Cool picture Rex, looks like you were rockin' out!

    wreck 1:32 AM  

    Hadn't heard of "Free Beer Tomorrow"
    -- great line!!

    Anonymous 2:54 AM  

    Amused to see the Simpsons considered "newer": MOE's introduction is closer in time to The Sting than to today!

    Jisvan 3:11 AM  

    Liked the puzzle, but it took a bit of research to complete. (Actually, most of it was not Google-able, in any helpful way, so that made it even better!) Liked AMAZIN the best. Reminds me of my days down south. On the topic of Free Beer, there was a band back in Nashville in the 70s with that name. Looked good on the flyers: Free Beer at the Exit In on May 24th!

    Emspop1 5:41 AM  

    Nice puzzle. Informative review. Plus a picture of Corey Feldman?? at the end.

    Danp 5:57 AM  

    That photo is so Alex P. Keaton. Loved it.

    As for the puzzle, the clues were much more interesting than the answers. I'd rather have a little oleo with my chateaubriand than just mashed potatoes and green beans.

    Anonymous 6:03 AM  

    Hated this puzzle, starting with SODAPOP. How is that redundant sounding?

    The quote was ridiculous. What does it have to do with a bar?

    Anonymous 6:06 AM  

    I'm assuming the praise here for the puzzle is mostly out of respect to Mr. Newman.

    schmuzz 6:35 AM  

    as i was toughing it out in the SE i decided to look over the rest of my answers and stopped at the ABA/ABAZIN crossing...then it hit me :
    the amazin' world champ mets ..HAHA

    makes me laugh that i "figured sure - abazin could be right on a thursday"

    The Bard 6:46 AM  

    Antony and Cleopatra , Act I, scene III

    CHARMIAN: Madam, methinks, if you did love him dearly,
    You do not hold the method to enforce
    The like from him.

    CLEOPATRA: What should I do, I do not?

    CHARMIAN: In each thing give him way, cross him nothing.

    CLEOPATRA: Thou teachest like a fool; the way to lose him.

    CHARMIAN: Tempt him not so too far; I wish, forbear:
    In time we hate that which we often fear.
    But here comes Antony.

    Oscar 7:06 AM  

    Don't like how YOURSELFWE runs the sentences together. If it doesn't break up cleanly into readable, logical chunks: pick a new quote.

    Better yet, don't use a quote at all and find a real theme.

    jberg 7:22 AM  

    For some reason, I really liked PLENTY -- I just don't recall seeing it in a puzzle before.

    I liked the quotation, and found this one harder than most -- though maybe not for a Thursday. I had the opposite experience from @chefwen, got the whole right side but had a hard time migrating to the W -- partly because of the cul de sacs in the grid, but also because I had oaf before APE (knew that couldn't be right because it looked like it had to cross Inca!), and lIve before aIN't. Figuring out the quotation was finally did it for me.

    @Rex, nice explanation about Stanley Newman, whose work I was not familiar with before. Evidently NOT a constructor for whom Anything Goes.

    Glimmerglass 7:33 AM  

    @ananymous 6:03. If you can ask these question, I probably can't explain it to you.

    Loren Muse Smith 7:57 AM  

    I guess maybe there are fourteen people on the planet who like quip puzzles, and they're probably the same ones who rub their hands in anticipation when Aunt Charlotte's fruit cake arrives in December. I took one look at the grid and thought, "Quip puzzle." Then I looked at the constructor and rubbed my hands in anticipation. I always think I don't like them, but I always end up liking them. Liked it.

    "Bounty" before PLENTY

    "Talbot's" before TANNERY. Just kidding. But still. I could go for a nice shearling coat. Okay – FAKE shearling. I'm getting all wanky and sentimental in my old age about animals. My son, uh, "got" a squirrel over the holidays (He. Cooks. Them. And . He. Eats. Them.) and I actually cried – not all stupid and histrionickish or anything –I really cried. Sniffed that he had probably just killed a mom squirrel who was headed back to her little squirrellet (probably called a squoat) with acorns for dinner.

    But I still eat beef. RAW. Go figure.

    FWIW – speaking of those S _ OAT animals, I asked Tractor Tower Gail if he ever used the word shoat . He reported that he does YEA use the word and explained the difference between a shoat and a piglet, a difference that I promptly forgot.

    DIURNAL is a funny word. I'm seeing stuff there that's just not there. Whatever. My nights are, invariably, DIURNAL. My dad's, though, are I think tri or tetra-URNAL.

    YELLOWY. Hmm. I'm was a brunette my whole life until the Powers That Be gradually went lighter to hide all the grey. So I'm still kind of startled to be called "blond." But YELLOWY?
    "Who are you talking about?"
    "Loren – you know – that WHINY FAÇADE of a nice person– Does a mean SLO MO LAY-UP? Pretends to be a FOODIE but doesn't know &%$#? YELLOWY hair? SHRIVELing-" Ok. Enough.

    Here's why I related to the quote: (I'll pause so you can grab a pen and paper 'cause this is good stuff, y'all…) Show me *any* group of people - cheer-leading squad, volunteer fire department, barbershop quartet, inmates in a maximum security prison, middle school trio supposed to sing Silent Night at the candlelight service – doesn't matter - they will talk about you when you leave the room, and a lot of the time it will be snarky. I've never told anyone this, so now is as good a time as any. My secret New Year's Resolution every year is to be exactly like Melanie Hamilton in Gone with the Wind. So if I talk about someone who's not present, I'm not saying anything bad. I'm human, though. I fail.
    Real life people like that, who are never, ever, secretly snarky about others, are SCARCE, but I'm pretty sure I've stumbled upon two here in Crossworld. I won't name names, but one lives in South Africa and is as patient a constructor mentor as the other one, who lives in Seattle and climbs scary-looking walls. Both are genuinely, incredibly swell people. Maybe I'll switch from limerickist to ODIST. . .

    really bad PAID FOR pictures

    From yesterday -
    @DanP – Your Madrid beef story – TOO TOO funny!

    @Z – your sillyiloquy REDO – amusing!

    @Nancy in PA – that clip was a stitch. Hugh Grant is one of my favorites (though it appears he's been pretty, uh, busy lately.)

    @M&A and @Bob – I had to use a reveal letter, too, and had @Bob's trouble with 5D. Absolutely no trouble with 15A; I have my appointment tomorrow! Agree with @Bob – when in doubt, throw a U against the side and see if it sticks.

    Stan – I enjoyed this and dispatched it with just the right amount of resistance. Your Stumpers, though, are still beating me up.

    John V 8:02 AM  

    A beauty. Really did feel different. Pretty easy, save for NE. Liked the quote and I am usually ambivalent about them. Or do I mean diurnal. Whatever.

    John V 8:10 AM  

    Stan's notes at Xwordinfo are worth the price of admission. They are a must read for this constructor poseur.

    MetaRex 8:18 AM  

    Second @John V. on Stan's great Xwordinfo notes...

    Am in a lazy phase crucimetrically w/ a paper due betting this puzz would do v. well on the r.alph/MetaRex Piedmonteseometer...

    Liked this one a lot...felt a warm glow at finishing seven seconds ahead of my better tushnet and in a considerably higher position than usual in the online solver rankings...not that speed matters or anything, but ya know, it does...

    AliasZ 8:25 AM  

    YELLOWY? It maybe Google-y but not in my vocabulary. Would you say reddy, STEELY bluey or violety? Maybe pinky, browny, whitey? But I don't want to sound WHINY.

    In my mind this puzzle did not need a theme, because it added nothing extry to the snazzy, super-cleany fill and the sparkly cluing. It stands quite well without the quotey theme, thank you very much.

    I am an Saturday Stumper addict. I wish we could see more of Stanley's puzzles. How about Newman's Own tribute to his namesake Paul?

    I provided CREDO musical references before, but today it is RAG that brings me to a work by Igor Stravinsky, the full title of which is Ragtime for 11 Instruments - a rather clunky title, but the piece itself is brief, full of RAGgy rhythm, and a quirky sense of humor. It always brings a smile to my face. In this performance the cimbalom (a type of hammered dulcimer, a staple of Hungarian folk music and Gypsy music from Hungary) takes center stage, played here by one Toni Köves-Steiner (1918-2007), the famed exponent of much cimbalom music in works like The Háry János Suite by Zoltán Kodaly.

    Looking forward to Friday.

    Z 8:25 AM  

    Quote puzzles - The Fruit Cakes of puzzledom. Nicely put @lms.

    My big problem with the puzzle (i.e. - it caused me a problem) was not going anywhere near a vegetable for a "staple." I had noodleS and took a long time to give it up. Self-inflicted IDIOCY made this more of a medium-challenging here (well, that and not liking quote puzzles).

    @wreck and @Garth - One must learn to ignore the anonymice. If they cannot even be bothered to put a fake name with their thoughts then it is best to assume they are just trolls. I will say, though, that you are probably wasting your time trying to psychoanalyze OFL. Accept him for who he is and move on.

    Regarding my little "soliloquy" yesterday, Good Poets borrow, Great Poets steal, Commentarians post trifles. At least it made a couple people smile.

    Mohair Sam 8:31 AM  

    Enjoyed this puzz (played medium here) in spite of the fact that we normally don't care for quote puzzles and this quote was clumsy at best. Rex's point is therefore well-taken, clean fill is very important. And this was about as clean as it gets.

    Loved the SODAPOP clue, maybe because it was almost a gimme here. Learned something - DIURNAL (insert Sochi joke). Disagreed with Rex on one point only - if there was any junk fill it might have been AMA, and the clue made it a semi-gimme (AMA or AdA).

    But yes, learned something about constructing a quality puzzle from Rex and Stanley Newman today. Thanks.

    Unknown 8:38 AM  

    Funny. Rex is gone, so we can start talking about him, right? and now we are consciously? subconsciously? saying nice things? People are funny. As my even-more-arrogant crossword buddy might say, arms waving, (as he did for a living for 35 years) TE ABSOLVO.

    A Googleless, error-free Thursday, the rabbit holes were everywhere, but all were shallow

    ---POrk for PEAPODS for 20 minutes
    crAnia for ENAMEL. Great factoid, BTW
    Mel, the MaE for MOE
    oaf for APE

    Favorite clue [Seek to espouse] WOO

    My anchor was LAYUPS/PORTER, recalling Kevin PORTER of the ELVIN Hayes era of the Washington Bullets,

    It says something that ODISTS went in off the leading O and trailing S. I guess I'm getting it. :)

    @danp I also saw the Alex Keaton in that photo, underscored by the similarity of Rex's dad to Mr. Keaton. Technically, that means that Rex had been talking about himself. You got that, right? Just say n'.

    Very good puzzle. Even better day of meta-meta commentary here. *big smile*

    Unknown 8:41 AM  

    LOL @lms Talbots before TANNERY.

    Thought quote was cute, other than that, puzzle was just ok. Stared at SHRIVEL trying to get it to make sense, since I was reading the clue as CONtract, not conTRACT. So.

    Joe Strummer 8:42 AM  

    London calling, see we ain't got no highs
    Except for that one with the YELLOWY eyes

    Loren Muse Smith 8:50 AM  

    I kept looking at LOAFS. Why is it

    The killer whale calves twice a year.
    The new vacuum cleaner halves my cleaning time.

    But not

    *Loren always loaves during Masters Swimming.
    *The mom always pooves her daughter's hair on picture day.
    *He surves the internet way too much during work.
    *Maya always barves when she eats creamed corn.

    So we're thinking, "Ah – it's the L there" – calf, half. .

    But nope –

    *Moe golves twice a week.

    AMAZIN' English.

    joho 9:08 AM  

    @Andrea, I, too, was fascinated by all the Y's ... also wrote down AMY.

    @LMS, your DIURNAL comment is a riot!

    I wanted "Hit 'em where they live."

    I did not know this quote but enjoyed discovering it.

    @Rex, thank you for printing Stan's thoughts on editing. And for posting that cute pic of you and your dad ... you look a lot like him.

    And thank you, Stanley Newman, you really know how to fill a grid!

    Unknown 9:12 AM  

    @AliasZ Stravinsky's Ragtime smacks of Sid Caesar' German General. Pastiche? Parody? Fine line. But thanks very much for that glimpse into that Tupperware of musicological goulash, paprika and all.

    Questinia 9:12 AM  

    I'm changing my name to Yellowy Plenty. It's so mellifluous and looks sort of Welsh. Damn the connotations!

    I thought the puzzle's quote was going to be the one about not letting the doorknob hit you on the ass after you leave.

    Just between you and I ever since the Berry-Birnholz one-two last weekend I've been, idk, sorta yearning.

    @ Lören, just wanted to write @ Lören.

    Notsofast 9:14 AM  

    GOLF is not a verb. Please.

    Unknown 9:24 AM  

    Not for no reason-- it's Throwback Thursday...

    Garth 9:32 AM  

    @Z: Thanks.

    I can't say I'm too bothered by the criticism from my fellow-bloggers. They have as much of a right to be bothered by me being bothered by Rex being bothered by whatever it is that bothers him.

    Also, as a rule, there seems to be more dialectic going on than unproductive nastiness. If it was the other way around, I probably wouldn't hang.

    As to the psychoanalyzing of OFL, it's just kind of fun. I'm not a licensed therapist, but I do play one on this blog.

    lawprof 9:47 AM  

    As a high school baseball player who was definitely not a power hitter, I modeled myself after Wee Willie Keeler who hit 'em where they AINT, so that was a gimmie that got the ball rolling.

    DIURNAL -- great word, but I can't help but think of a bathroom fixture when I see or hear it.

    I think I don't like quote puzzles - until I complete one. Then they're wonderful. Wasn't familiar with this particular quote, but it made sense after the fact (although I don't understand how it relates particularly to a neighborhood bar: could apply to virtually any venue or gathering).

    Hand up for oaf before APE. Otherwise clean.

    RnRGhost57 10:05 AM  

    There was a great neighborhood bar in Toledo, Ohio back in the 1980s that had that exact sign. Thanks for the memories Mr. Newman.
    (Cue "Those Were the Days My Friend")

    chefbea 10:05 AM  

    Fun puzzle but had to google a bit. Loved the theme!!

    Guess you could call me an epicurean explorer...My girls and I are all foodies. One daughter has a blog!!

    wordie 10:30 AM  

    Thanks @Nancy in PA for the YouTube suggestion of yesterday, I literally laughed till my tummy hurt!

    jburgs 10:30 AM  

    I liked the puzzle. The SE was the toughest for me since I didn't know who Coleridge was, was stuck on interpreting Contract clue in the legal sense and not knowing the writer of "Anything Goes." Was able to finally get enough crosses to suss out those words and finish without cheats.

    @wreck 12:21 AM I thought your comment yesterday about existential crisis was cute and in no way Rexist. When Rex mentioned the puzzle lacked a sense of purpose I groaned a bit too and enjoyed your gentle poke.

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:37 AM  

    My actual thoughts:

    Going in - "Wow! Stan Newman, and those cheaters in all four corners! This should be tough, and a super puzzle!"

    Upon completion - "Huh? Maybe the Times was short of material and Stan sent over something from his Not Quite There pile."

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:38 AM  

    P.S. - Why is a taxicab like sodapop?

    quilter1 10:46 AM  

    Stirfry before PEAPODS, oaf before APE, but otherwise easy and yet challenging enough with bright cluing and answers to be very satisfying. Thanks, Stan.

    Carola 10:50 AM  

    Medium for me. I like quote puzzles for the challenge of seeing the words snap into view from the crosses, but my brain was in SLO-MO mode as far as parsing this one went (YOURS EL_W_??)'

    Also had to REDO a few things (oaf, CAdre, YEs,); wanted the epicurean explorer to be a FOrager; after writing in IDIOCY at 50A, all I could see in my partial answer for Coleridge colleages, _DI_ TS, was iDIoTS (too much opium?); couldn't get Columbus out of the Caribbean until the last square.

    Liked FOODIE next to PORTER (the beer). Next time I feel WHINY, I'll try to remember to tell myself to be STEELY.

    dk 11:19 AM  

    🌕🌕🌕 (3 Moons) I love the Ys……

    Young man, there's no need to feel down.
    I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground.
    I said, young man, 'cause you're in a new town
    There's no need to be unhappy.

    Young man, there's a place you can go.
    I said, young man, when you're short on your dough.
    You can stay there, and I'm sure you will find
    Many ways to have a good time.

    It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.
    It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.

    Smooth as silk puzzle. Charles Portis would be pleased: No contractions.

    Another sign I like (from a small bar in Syracuse) is: When called, are you here? Think old black wall phone with long cord mounted behind the bar.

    GILL I. 11:24 AM  

    Well those were fun and all the "y" letters too.
    Didn't know the quote. The only bar one I know is: Everyone who enters this place makes us happy. Some when the arrive. Some when they leave.
    My biggest complaint is that it was over pretty quickly. I did like the cluing though.

    commentary at 11:25 AM  

    Allan Gober says “You play golf, not go golfing. just as you don't go tennising.”

    Bob Bertram replies “I fish, I go fishing... I hunt, I go hunting... I golf, I go hunting and fishing for those dang balls...”

    GILL I. 11:28 AM  

    @Bob K....OK - I'll ask the question...

    joho 11:37 AM  

    @Quilter 1, you just reminded me, I had PEAnuts before PEAPODS.

    Harrison 11:49 AM  

    @wreck…perhaps there is more than one person here to whom you will not,
    definitely not, be apologizing. Let’s see: I commented last week about, why visit if you can’t stand Rex? And how about you start a blog?
    Yesterday, @ anonymous echoed my sentiments, and no, it was not I. I was traveling and following on my phone. @Evan jumped in to defend vis-à-vis speed, and @NCA President asked for everyone to please get along. Four and counting..

    It continues to amuse that you and Garth come to Rex Parker first thing in the morning…
    @ Garth: your beneficence is more charming, stay with that.

    I enjoy Rex’s critique and description of his solving experience – doesn’t leave a whole lot of room to be ‘bothered.’ He produces such an excellent, consistent and reliable body of work. For the new solver, the site’s amazing.
    And no one can complain about the occasional hyperbole, (last week’s “astronomical”) after someone posted comparing Will Shortz to the Khmer Rouge. Genocide, no less. (..As long as we’re analyzing: for what reason would anyone but Will have to say such an outlandish thing?)

    John V 11:52 AM  

    I had PEENUTS at the DIURNAL. Go figure.

    Bob Kerfuffle 12:07 PM  

    @Gill I. P. -

    Not a joke, just a common observation: In different regions of the US, or for different people, some will take a TAXI, some will take a CAB, and some will take a TAXICAB. Similarly, I was amused to note that Amy Reynaldo, in Chicago, says something like "POP is enough," while I in New Jersey would say, "It's just SODA," and yet I believe in the South there are those who would ask for SODAPOP.

    Cheerio 12:26 PM  

    I LOVE this puzzle! As I was reading many of the clues, I was thinking: I don't know what the answer is, but it is going to be fun to figure it out! That has to be the best sort of clueing. This is the first puzzle by Stanley Newman that I have noticed since I started paying attention to the authors, so I added him to my favorite constructor list - the first addition in many months.

    GILL I. 12:38 PM  

    @Bob K...well, the regionality of words always are amusing to me especially if they happen to be redundant.
    I had never heard the word SODA POP until I was about 13. Where I lived it was always Coke or Nehi...COKEPOP NEHIPOP PEAPODS PIEPODS....;-)

    Masked and Anonymo3Us 12:39 PM  

    @Bob K... re: "Why is a SODAPOP like a TAXICAB?"
    Both are metal on the outside and sticky on the inside?
    Probably wrong again, M&A breath.

    fave colorful fill:
    * YELLOW Y
    * RED RAFT
    * TAN NERY
    * AZO RES
    * DYE D
    Tho, really, Stan, NERY and RES are kinda desperate.

    Quote puz on a ThursPuz. I will talk more about that choice, after y'all leave.

    fave near miss: D'URINAL. I notice that happens a lot, at the movie theatres. Dudes are in a hurry to get back to the show, I reckon.

    har. CHOSEUP + LAYUPS + SHRIVEL no-up. AMA + AMA ZIN. YEA + AYES. TOO + TOO. Primo stuff. Forces my hand... thUmbsUp.


    John V 1:22 PM  

    In Buffalo, my home town, it is POP. Ask for a soda, you will get that ice cream concoction. Ask for SODAPOP, you will get a blank stare. Ask for beef on weck and you will be happy. You could look it up.

    Three and out.

    M and Also 1:23 PM  

    Day-um. Almost forgot 4-Oh's Picture of Mystery.
    Top most likely explanations/locations for the P.O.M.:

    * Juvie Hall hearin.
    * PTL revival meetin.
    * Second-worst choir performance of all time.
    * Bananarama concert. Lil 4-Oh is clearly groovin to the beat.
    * Auditions for "The Miracle Worker". Prelim round.
    * Dan Quayle for President fundraiser.
    * Special showing of "Gigi". 3-D version.
    * Town hall meetin. Topic: city ordinance outlawin quip puzs.
    * Annual pewit-watchers get-together. 4-Oh mainly came for the refreshments.
    * Eye exam. Free to public clinic deal. Needed to dilate the lil dude.
    * Father and son picnic. 4-Oh's loud shirt caused violent thunderstorm, so was moved indoors.

    Real cute pic, actually. Thanx for sharin.

    Anonymous 2:12 PM  


    I still don't know what I've said that you think is so egregious. Because Evan disagreed with my opinion, he wants me to stop coming here as well?? I think your the one who seems to be overly obsessed. I've made no bones about my respect for Rex and his blog -- I just don't agree with his opinions sometimes - usually when his opinions are personal in nature. If I hated Rex so much as you seem to think -- why would I have contributed to his site. Maybe NSA President was referring to YOU as well.

    Numinous 2:21 PM  

    My wife, who is a Southern Belle from middle Georgia assures me that throughout the south the generic term for SODA POP is "coke". She says that in many houses Coke would be all there was but if there's a choice you might hear an exchange like:
    "You want a coke?"
    "What kind?"
    "Oh, 7Up, I guess."
    I suppose this comes from the fact that Coke was invented in Atlanta and blossomed outward from there.

    For a brief while in Sydney, I drove a TAXI and I had a TAXI driver's license but on the side of my TAXI it said "YELLOW CAB."

    Seeing but not entering FAKE but entering DIURNAL gave me FACADE and I was off and running. I was a little slow in the south because things like ARDOR, WHINY, HATE and FOODIE required a little reflection. I kind of liked the staggered pairs of Os down there. I caught on to the gist of the quotation fairly early but needed crosses to fill it in correctly.

    All in all, I found this to be easy with no temptation to google at all. Zero write-overs. A lot of the solutions, like DIURNAL, I just knew.

    Stanley Newman is New to me but I'll look out for more of his puzzles in the future.

    Numinous 2:22 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    chefbea 2:36 PM  

    @JohnV - here in Wilmington we have a sandwich shop call Beef on Weck. every thing there is solo good including that sandwich

    jburgs 2:47 PM  

    At 10:30 I posted

    "@wreck 12:21 AM I thought your comment yesterday about existential crisis was cute and in no way Rexist. When Rex mentioned the puzzle lacked a sense of purpose I groaned a bit too and enjoyed your gentle poke. "

    Sorry, I misattributed the comment to @wreck. It was actually @Garth who made the comment. Not sure what people are complaining to @wreck about. I'll have to review yesterday's comments again.

    Lewis 3:50 PM  

    Yes, the cluing was excellent, not so much clever, but I found for many of them, the answer wasn't immediately apparent, but when one or two letters showed up, it became more so. There is a talent to cluing like that.

    Anonymous 4:41 PM  

    All four blogs l read included the same long constructor quote. Just a suggestion that maybe the four of you could coordinate more.

    Btw, Will Shorts has an interesting response on Jeff's blog.

    Kretch 4:51 PM  

    @George.. Enjoyed your sluggers.. TYVM

    sanfranman59 5:13 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)

    Thu 14:41, 18:09, 0.81, 18%, Easy

    Top 100 solvers

    Thu 9:10, 10:24, 0.88, 25%, Easy-Medium

    mac 5:33 PM  

    Good puzzle with many beautiful words, yellowy not one of them. It was a medium for me, the grid looked weird after the first few minutes, almost like a trail going from the NW to the SE.

    Wow, I'm bad, I wanted "hurt", then "live" at 3D.

    I especially like "foodie", for obvious reasons, and cabal is pretty, too. Chose up is new to me. I don't mind puns, especially when they help me out here and there.

    Are you and your dad in an airport waiting area, going on a trip, @Rex?

    Z 7:28 PM  

    @anonymous 4:41 - Thanks. I read Will's comments. I agree with, "I don't think crosswords have to avoid all difficult words," and the basic premise of, "I don't judge a puzzle by its worst entries. I judge it by its overall effect." "Overall effect" can be broken down into constituent parts (we are the philosophical children of Aristotle, after all) but as a general premise/approach I find much more to like than to dislike in making publishing decisions this way.

    Unknown 7:54 PM  

    Put me down fully in the I love quips camp. i just think they're fun, and i haven't run across many lately. I Almost had a DNF at the AMAZIN/AZORES cross. I had no idea about the Met's website, and for some was thinking a Spanish name when I had A_ORES. AJORES? AJORES? I did finally manage to pull AZORES out of my brain. I still had no idea what amazin (ama zin?) had to do with the Mets until I came to the blog. Yeesh.

    DIURNAL came quickly for me, as I work for a sewage treatment agency and the flows we treat are all diurnal. Normal everyday vocabulary for me, so it was strange to see it as Rex's word of the day. I grew up in Michigan, where I drank POP, but now in California I drink SODA. There's a quiz floating around the Internet thanks asks you about the words you use and pronunciation, then indicates where you live. It's reasonably accurate. Soda/pop is one of the questions.

    sanfranman59 10:03 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 6:19, 6:18, 1.00, 52%, Medium
    Tue 6:27, 8:16, 0.78, 1%, Easy (3rd lowest ratio of 220 Tuesdays)
    Wed 8:10, 10:14, 0.80, 7%, Easy
    Thu 15:06, 18:09, 0.83, 20%, Easy-Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 4:19, 4:00, 1.08, 82%, Challenging
    Tue 4:06, 5:13, 0.79, 0%, Easy (Lowest ratio of 220 Tuesdays)
    Wed 5:07, 6:17, 0.81, 6%, Easy (13th lowest ratio of 217 Wednesdays)
    Thu 8:56, 10:24, 0.86, 22%, Easy-Medium

    Colby 6:00 PM  

    Did not like the double "re"s---REDO and REDRAFT. Should be limit of one "re" prefix per crossword

    spacecraft 11:56 AM  

    I had no idea there was such an overwhelming majority (sorry, @Ann Heil) of solvers who dislike whole sentences running through their grids. Quotes, riddles, jokes--and yes, even signs, as today. Not my big thrill, either.

    But...if there's such a thing as a well-done one--and one of the very few I've seen in a 15X15 grid--this is it. Aside from YELLOWY, which though a real word sounds to me like an adjective modifying an adjective, all this fill is solid. [STEELY is fine because steel is a noun--and because of Dan!]

    Great twin 6-letter crossing with Z. (Hit 'em where they) AINT always reminds me of good ol' Richie Ashburn, who I saw in person did just that after fouling off twenty pitches: a bloop double to left center at the Polo Grounds, circa 1955. That iconic moment cemented this impressionable youth's love of sports in general, and the Phillies in particular--still strong today despite Papelbon's blown save of last night.

    Unlike many insiders who grace this page, I didn't recognize the constructor's name, but thanks, Mr. Newman, for that memory jog. TOOTOO AMAZIN.

    Sometimes I record a poker hand; when I don't bother, like today, it's because it's crappy and I've folded. Perish forbid I should actually be able to READ the captcha word! Horrors!

    Solving in Seattle 2:31 PM  

    During my youth I was part of a "choose up" team countless times. I have never heard of one referred to in the past tense. Ever.

    Really don't like quote crossword puzzles. Especially on a Thursday in the New York Times. Did Will take the day off, or was it too difficult to turn down his bud, Stanley.

    37D: "Locale of three Summer Olympics"= ASIA Really?
    How about "Locale of 31 Summer Olympics" That would be earth.

    Other than these three bitches, not a bad "fruitcake." (Credit to LMS)

    Full boat - sixes over eights.

    Dirigonzo 3:02 PM  

    I don't mind quote, riddle or sign puzzles but I was really hoping for a rebus or some other Thursday-worthy gimmick to liven things up. Still, I enjoyed it and my only major discombobulation was spending too long deciding if Suede came from cow hide or pig skin; the dilemma was resolved when TANNERY appeared.

    @SiS - I had the same reaction to ASIA; OTH it seems your recollections of your youth include examples of the times you CHOSE UP teams to play, no?

    I'll join @spacy outside while the rest of you see who wins the pot, cause it AIN'T gonna be me.

    Solving in Seattle 3:32 PM  

    @Diri, I spose you're right and I'm wrong about CHOSEUP.

    Re: "Locale of three Summer Olympics," that's where I started the puzzle and I thought the answer was Athens and that we had a rebus. Maybe A THE N S. I was disappointed it was just ASIA.

    DMG 4:10 PM  

    Agree about ASIA, and originally wanted my epicurean to be a "gour.....something". Gourmand, gourmet...? At any rate it all worked out. Not always the case for me on Thursday, so I'm smiling, and wondering if I'm being set up for a Friday stumper?

    Captcha looks oddly do-able today.

    Anonymous 8:21 PM  

    Wunnerful, wunnerful, puzzle. Took me all day because of interruptions but enjoyed it anyway. Hey, quotes are OK by me. I always feel the quote is a bonus when all is solved, and this one was new to me.

    Ron Diego 5:20 PM PST

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