Basketball showman / TUE 4-29-14 / Hope in Hollywood / Sources of formic acid / Prado works / Mexican mama bear

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Constructor: Jules P. Markey

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: NEWSPAPER COLUMN (11D: Place to express an opinion … or a literal description of 3-, 7-, 9- and 21-Down) — theme clues run Down (in "columns") and each of them starts with a word that is also the name of a newspaper:

Theme answers:
  • TIMES TABLE CHART (3D: Multiplication aid)
  • GLOBETROTTER (21D: Basketball showman)
  • POST OFFICE BOXES (7D: Mail holders)
  • SUN WORSHIPER (9D: Ardent beachgoer)
Word of the Day: "Parade REST!" (18A: "Parade ___!") —
noun Military .
a position assumed by a soldier or sailor in which the feet are12 inches (30.48 cm) apart, the hands are clasped behind theback, and the head is held motionless and facing forward.
a command to assume this position. (
• • •
This theme might've worked if

  1. TIMES TABLE CHART had been a real thing (never ever in my life heard anything but "times table"; in fact, I'd always assumed "table" meant "chart")
  2. GLOBETROTTER clue had made reference to Harlem (on its own, the answer is nonsense)
  3. the SUN had been an easily identifiable U.S. paper (unlike all the others, the only SUN I can think of is either half a Chicago paper or a British tabloid or a defunct NY paper…). Oooh, wait, is it Baltimore? Wow, that is really an outlier, national prominence-wise, when compared with the NYT, Boston Globe, and Washington Post.

Add to these problems the fact that the fill is markedly below average (HIERO over IRREG is painful even to look at) and clued somewhere north of Wednesday (Hope LANGE???), and you have a pretty bad overall experience.  The solving times at the NYT applet are coming in hilariously high for a Tuesday. I've literally never heard "Parade REST!" so that was weird (un-Tuesday). Hope LANGE is very un-Tuesday (with Jessica sitting right there) (and totally losable—change "L" to "R", then the last letter in CLOY to "W" or "P" ). Both PENS and INKS are often quite delible now, so those answers (PENS in particular) were weird to me. Had BODE for [Auger], but I guess I was thinking [Augur] so that's on me. EMERGENTS … I don't even know what to say there. Has anyone ever used that word in a sentence? By "anyone," I mean you. That's a bad word on any day, but Tuesday, yipes. Bizarre. [Stay in the fight?] is, I'll admit, a great clue for TRUCE. More appropriate to Thursday or later, but since I should say something nice, I'll give that clue its due. ALL really shouldn't be in a puzzle with COVERALLS. OK, I'll stop.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


wreck 12:21 AM  

Kind of tough for a Tuesday - about 5 minutes longer for me than my average. I pretty much solved it as a themeless as I didn't get the theme until I finished.

JFC 12:23 AM  

Rex, I started my pulmonary therapy last week and one of the therapists remarked how she liked my sarcasm. I think she was being sarcastic. But I liked your critique nonetheless, especially "but since I should say something nice". Jack Germond was a columnist for the Baltimore Sun. I suspect you would have liked him.


Jisvan 12:33 AM  

I must be having my lucky week, because this one also went down without a peep. Didn't even see the theme until I checked with Rex. Had BOdE before BORE, like some kind of portent or SEER, and pAcE before RATE, but that was it for write-overs. I know it cannot last. I will be crawling to Google before Thursday dawns. But maybe, just maybe, I'm starting to get it! (I will regret saying that.)
@ Ellen S: You were right when you said it yesterday. They let an EEL in on Monday and he's still around on Tuesday!
Thanks to Will and Jules Markey for a SLEEK solve with UMAMI. It was pretty tasty on my end.

jae 12:39 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  Liked it more than Rex did.   Cute visual theme and no erasures.

Jamie is old TV?  Now William BOYD is old TV, but Jamie...?

Does TIMES TABLE CHART seem redundant?

mathguy 12:44 AM  

I'm a pretty good solver but not In the same league with those of you who knock some of them out in two or three minutes. Is the difference between us the number of gimmes we can immediately fill in? In this puzzle, I had 24 gimmes out of the 76 clues.

retired_chemist 12:56 AM  

Easy-medium. Typical Tuesday time here. but the NYT report of solve times support the challenging rating.

HI-Hat was a new one for me. Glad the crosses weren't tricky. Big dos (35A) were galaS or fêteS at first.

Nice Tuesday. Thanks, Mr. Markey.

Casco Kid 12:57 AM  

Ahh, the Baltimore Sun! Great paper. Great history! Let us not forget HL Mencken and these days there's @johnemcintyre whom @rexparker should follow if he isn't already. And so should you, gridderati-twitterati #ff!

This was easy medium here. At 20 minutes, slightly faster than an ordinary Tuesday because it was rabbit-hole free. Parade HALT was my only write-over, and that was on me as the drill sergeants' expression is clearly and unambiguously Parade REST. Cluing was just as obscure as but fundamentally less ambiguous than yesterday.

I agree with Rex on the ugliness of IRREG, but HEIRO was a gimme. No, I don't ever say EMERGENTS, but it was perfectly gettable. Encouraging Tuesday esp. since I spend some time with a old MAS Satuday earlier today. Now that was ungettable!

John Child 1:18 AM  

I don't buy most of Rex's critique today. I didn't groan at any fill except HEIRO when I spelled it wrong. Sun is a perfectly good newspaper name. Slowed down a little when I read 37A as [Russian monkey] multiple times. I thought it was medium for a Tuesday.

Anoa Bob 1:53 AM  

I've been making a conscious effort lately not to notice POCs (where an "S" or "ES" is gratuitously added to a word to boost its letter count), but today there were just too many to ignore.

I couldn't help but notice two-for-one POCs, where a Down and an Across share a final S at 8D/28A ANTS/EMERGENTS(!) and 54D/67A ASSNS/INKS.

And then the single POCs at JUTS, AFROS, CUES, PENS, PUREES, and OVENS.

But the one that yanked my POC chain the most was the theme entry that got a two-letter-count boost by going plural, from a thirteen-letter base term to a grid-spanning fifteener, to wit, 7D POST OFFICE BOXES.

I now go back to trying not to notice POCs (Plural Of Convenience) so much, kinda like going from Atten Hut to Parade REST.

Colin 1:59 AM  

This one was a bit meh. I was surprised to see you marked it Challenging, but the times do seem to be on the high side -- I finished in about 5:00 and thought I'd been a bit slow, but I'm in the top 15 on Magmic. I really like the word CLOY, so I could deal with LANGE even though who is Hope Lange anyway? HIERO isn't a favorite, but the theme answers were solid enough for me, if perhaps not all that clever.

chefwen 2:19 AM  

@Ellen S. Where there is one, there are a hundred, same is true for mice and rats.

Did well on this one until I arrived in the Southwest. Hihat was new to me as it was to ret_chem. Jon saved me on that one. Never heard of the term before today. A learning moment.

Jack Lee 2:43 AM  

Challenging? Nooo... though technically I had to guess TAOS (26A).

Jack Lee 2:45 AM  

But I agree absolutely that TIMES TABLE CHART doesn't sound right.

Danp 5:44 AM  

It was appropriate to depict all the papers going downhill.

The revealer clue bothers me. The only one who gets to express an opinion in a newspaper column is the columnist. And I generally express my opinion of him at the fireplace.

Gill I. P. 6:00 AM  

Well, this was interesting...I guess.
Didn't understand EMERGENTS (as a noun?) and never heard of HIHAT. Knew @Anoa would be annoyed - I too started counting the POCS. Also don't quite understand why UMAMI is a basic taste...[sigh]
Love the clue for TRUCE and AMEN. When my brother would say grace at the table we would all bow are heads and close our eyes while he went on and on about how God was very good. All the while he was shoving his peas in his napkin.

schmuzz 6:59 AM  

i spent the longest time in the SW - i, too, never heard of HIHAT and didn't want to enter timestableCHART but i i ended up 'guessing' right and surprised myself with that happy pencil.

i remember my mom telling me that "the ghost and mrs muir" was a movie before a TV show and in today's terms i responded with "what the wha?"

Danp 7:05 AM  

@Gill I. P. - The five basic tastes are salt, sweet, bitter, sour and umami. I still can't quite understand umami, but if you can taste a similarity in cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, meats and grains, well then, there you have it.

jberg 7:22 AM  

I'm with @Rex on most of his comments, especially TIMES TABLE CHART, but not on his rating; it was pretty easy for me. I'm old enough that I had to take six weeks of ROTC in college, so I knew all about Parade REST, and I have a couple of drummers in the family, although I think I knew HI-HAT even before that. Here's a picture of some for anyone puzzled, showing how the complete setup.

In publishing, TIMES TABLE CHART is contradictory rather than redundant. Many books will have both a list of tables and a list of figures in their TOC, with any charts placed among the figures. I think the distinction is that you can type a table, but you can't type a chart.

Like so many, BOdE before BORE; also tRans before IRREG.

@Anoa Bob, to be fair, INKS is a Singular of Convenience. SOC?

Has @The Bard been scared away? If not, maybe he will give us the whole quotation about Cleopatra -- you know, "Other women CLOY the appetites they feed . . ."

Glimmerglass 7:22 AM  

@anoabob I understand your objection to POCs, but you might note that in the case of verbs, the form that ends in S is the singular. Maybe you think that SOCs. I thought this was pretty hard for a Tuesday. Most of,it was in my wheelhouse (except UMAMI), but I kept thinking, "that'll be hard for most people." I agree with Rex about the tautological CHART.

Anonymous 7:27 AM  

Gill I P. About 3-4 years ago science discovered that the tongue has the ability to detect the umami. This was a few weeks fter my son took a practice test for the standardized test in 4th grade. One of the answers they had intended as wrong for a question in the science section was that the most likely research paper to be published was a paper on ta fifth taste. We knew from the other choices that they intended that answer to be wrong, nevertheless, we thought wouldn't that be more interesting to read a really new finding like a fifth taste. Then a few weeks later the news media was reporting new findings that verified that the tongue can sense umami.

Anonymous 7:33 AM  

Finished fairly quickly, for me, but was annoyed throughout, especially at "sunworshipper" with a single P.


Anonymous 7:40 AM  

As slow neophyte to the NYTimes puzzles (graduating from the almost instant fills of the freebie am papers handed out S you enter the NYC subway). I'm a bit intimidated to ask this. Why did the clue for 14a say "Man's bRest friend"? Why the "r"? It totally confounded me because I am a lactation consultant and many moms buy pillows for Breastfeeding that are named My Best Freind. Brest is deliberately spelled without the a.

So I left that clue alone till the end as I asked myself whether "brest" was a typo or has some inner meaning that I didn't understand for that clue.

Suzysan 7:50 AM  

How can sun worshipper be spelled with one P????

Susan McConnell 7:56 AM  

Tougher than most Tuesdays, but I liked it a lot. The visual of the COLUMNS was fun, and come on, all of those NEWSPAPER names were well known. I did balk at TIMESTABLE CHART, and left CHART empty for a long time. Also wanted the second P in SUNWORSHIPPER.

Anyone who has ever been in a marching band or the military is familiar with the term "Parade REST".

Anonymous 7:57 AM  

East-medium here also. A few seconds faster than my Tues average, BUT, at least for me, more fun than the average Tues. I too thought that TIMES TABLE CHART was redundant, but it mostly filled itself in.

I still don't get what umami tastes like, either. Cheese and tomatoes and mushrooms? I thought it was supposed to be an aspect of savoriness that was distinct from saltiness.

Beaglelover 8:13 AM  

I was never in a band or the military but got parade rest.
Place to express an opinion must be column,not columnist. I learned that Palm fruit is called Acai and that people close their eyes when praying. I didn't know that!

Mohair Sam 8:14 AM  

Medium-challenging here (for a Tuesday).

How can Rex call Sun an "outlier"? Baltimore Sun, H.L. Mencken for Chrissake (as @casco kid reminded). And the British Tabloid the SUN has been constantly in the news for a couple of years with the endless phone-hacking trials of Murdoch's people, famously including Piers Morgan. Finally, the NY Sun is pulled from the grave every Christmas season with reprints of "Yes, Virginia." Sorry Rex, Sun is a prominent newspaper name.

Also disagree with Rex on GLOBETROTTER. The "Trotters" are frequently mentioned without Harlem, and they are showmen for sure. I was a fine clue.

EMERGENTS didn't bother me a bit, maybe I've a friend who uses it, seemed not that unusual. I have to agree with him, however, on the tagging of CHART to TIMESTABLE - never heard it spoken, nor seen it writ.

NCA President 8:15 AM  

@Suzysan: it can be spelled either way. I would have used two Ps as well, but you know, English.

I learned multiplication using a TIMES TABLE CHART grid...rather unwieldy, I know...but it was the 60s.

This was actually kinda easy for google, 11 minutes, no errors.

Andrew Morrison 8:20 AM  

Just quicker than average today. Not particularly challenging. I don't know who Hope Lange is but didn't have to thanks to crosses.

John V 8:22 AM  

SW very tough. I absolutely have heard PARADE REST. Pretty tough stuff for a Tuesday, but just fine here.

Questinia 8:27 AM  

I know EMERGENTS from pond flora. Their roots are under the water but their shoots are above. Sagittaria latifolia (Arrowhead or Wapato) is an example. The dreaded and invasive Phragmites and Purple Loosestrife are also considered emergents.

Some believe UMAMI was a made-up sense by the Japanese inventor of MSG.

Nice puzzle with just a enough askew chew and a soupçon of Wabi Sabi.

Bob Kerfuffle 8:35 AM  

Was expecting some really clever gimmick, as I looked at 3D and said to myself, "It's got to be TIMES TABLE . . ., but what could possibly come after that?"

Only after finishing the entire grid did I see the newspaper names.

Also bothered by the one P SUN WORSHIPER, but a look in dictionary shows both, with one P forms preferred to two P forms.

chefbea 8:43 AM  

Cant get the puzzle again today. Called the NYT and they are aware of the problem!!! Can anyone send me the pdf version of todays puzzle. I e-mailed @Z who sent me the puzzle yesterday but haven't heard from him yet..thanks

joho 8:46 AM  

I malapopped with INKS before PENS only to fill in PENS and INKS!

I liked that all theme answers are columns.

We should call a TRUCE on OREO/EEL.

I also wanted the second "P" in SUNWORSHIPER.

Doesn't it seem odd that you'd yell "Parade REST!"

Evan 8:48 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Evan 8:51 AM  

The user tom over at Amy's site notes that the newspapers in each theme entry are either current or former New York publications. Don't know which angle they were going for -- TIMES, GLOBE, POST, and SUN have each been fairly common newspaper names in several major markets -- but the New York-laden theme is an interesting possibility. Either works, I suppose.

I somehow found this to be easy or perhaps easy-medium, despite being unfamiliar with Hope LANGE and "Parade REST!" Both TRUCK and OVENS have good clues. Still, I also raised my eyebrow a bit at TIMES TABLE CHART and EMERGENTS (which isn't the first time they've used that word, surprisingly), as well as the HIERO/IRREG stack and the duplication of ALL.

Bookdeb 8:54 AM  

Umami may have been invented to go with msg but it is here to stay. It is the quality of meatiness, savory, fill-the-mouth flavor.

@jae if something occurred before many adults were born, doesn't that count as old? I'd say more than 30 years counts.

This puzzle felt on the old side. Could have appeared decades ago with little change.

ArtO 8:55 AM  

Tough for Tuesday due primarily to late week style cluing.

Anyone who's been in the army would be familiar with PARADE REST.

UMAMI as basic taste sense is hardly Tuesday-ish.

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

Thought this was easy. Never worried about the theme. Hey Rex, would you like some cheese with that whine?

Sir Hillary 8:58 AM  

No problem with the SUN as a well-known paper. The fill isn't egregiously bad either -- @Rex overreacts on this point, in my opinion.

My issue is with the revealer. How is NEWSPAPERCOLUMN "a literal description of" the full down entries? It's a literal description of the start of each down entry, but not the whole thing. TABLECHART, OFFICEBOXES, WORSHIPER and TROTTER are just random add-ons. I don't know, it just doesn't hang together as a theme for me.

And, yes, TIMESTABLECHART is somewhat akin to "PIN number".

This one didn't leave me AGOG. Perhaps I am too JADED.

PIX 9:00 AM  

Hey "Retired Chemist": Is nitroglycerin really an ester? (65A) . Doesn't seem correct.

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

I'd like to see vertically placed themers more often for no reason at all. Then, we actually have to figure out if it's a theme that relies on verticality or not.

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

Glad I didn't bother solving this one. Lots of horrible fill everywhere.

Easily the worst puzzle this month, methinks. Outside of David Kwong's hellfest, probably the worst fill of the year so far.

RnRGhost57 9:24 AM  

Once a week or so, Rex embarrasses himself. Today was an example.

Ludyjynn 9:29 AM  

Math was never my strong suit, so my Mom helped me master multiplication by the use of TIMESTABLE flash cards, not CHARTS. ROTE learning works every time. Thanks, Mom!

I moved to MD in 1976. The Baltimore SUN sucked then and is virtually unreadable today. Caused me to subscribe to the NYT as soon as it became available here.

Hope LANGE was a beautiful and talented actress, particularly memorable in 1957's "Peyton Place" film, for which she received an Oscar nomination and in 1959's "The Best of Everything", a 'chick flick' for its day about career women in NYC. She won an Emmy on tv for "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir".

I generally liked this easy-medium Tuesday, which I solved as a themeless. Thanks, JPM and WS.

Arlene 9:34 AM  

I've been around a while - never heard of UMAMI.
Live and learn, I guess. A teachable moment.

lawprof 9:35 AM  

Totally baffled by Rex's "challenging" rating. Although I'm certain his time was a fraction of mine, I filled the grid with no errors and no writeovers. Only the SW gave me pause. I hesitated at ...CHART (for all the reasons previously mentioned) and HAVE for "Eat" seemed vague and generic. But HIHAT, after thinking "snare" for a while, cleared the way.

Why, just yesterday I was telling my wife that the EMERGENTS in our rose garden were getting hammered by the wind.

It's just a wheelhouse thing.

pmdm 9:40 AM  

I guess no one hear shops in supermarkets. When stuck in in an unmoving checkout line, I get laughs out of reading the absurd headlines of the tabloids usually displayed close to the checkout stations. Tabloids they might be, but they are still newspapers. Until recently, the Sun and the National Enquirer. I thought you had to be a space alien to have never heard of the Sun. No wait - space aliens would know of the Sun since it had so many stories about them in it.

Complaining about the 21D clue seems misguided. When talking sports, people often talk about teams using nicknames only. Perhaps even usually. When talking hockey, everyone knows who you're talking about if you say The Rangers. When talking baseball, everyone knows who you're talking about if you say The Rangers. (OK. Maybe not quite everyone, but I hope you get my point.) "Harlem basketball player" is a fine enough clue but much too easy, so the actual clue is fine and is better in my opinion. On the other hand, I wonder how many younger people have ever seen or heard of the Globetrotters. They are not quite as ubiquitous as they once were.

Lewis 9:41 AM  

I'm guessing M&A will have noticed the whiff of desperation in TIMESTABLECHART. I too was puzzled that there weren't enough spaces for SUNWORSHIPpER.

It felt like a different set of words that we don't often see in crosswords.

I find the theme to be inadequate. If the columns were fully names of newspapers, NEWYORKTIMES, for instance, yes, these would be "newspaper columns". But just because the first word of a phrase is a common newpaper title word doesn't make the whole answer a "newpaper column". I'm usually not so picky about these things, but this one stood out for me.

retired_chemist 9:41 AM  

@ PIX - Yes, nitroglycerine is an ester. Kinda different since the usual ester involves a carboxylic acid and an alcohol. But you knew that, or else you wouldn't have asked the question. Anyway nitroglycerin is an ester of glycerin and nitric acid. A nitrate ester that you may be more familiar with as an ester, since it is named as one, is amyl nitrate.

Ellen S 9:49 AM  

What everybody else said, plus I think UMAMI is an augur (yup, BOdE before BORE) for UNAGI. When I saw 2D, I said, "Uh-oh, here come the EELs."

I didn't notice the single P in SUNWORSHIPER until coming here, but it fits the rule my mother taught me. She said when you add a syllable to a two syllable word, for example making a noun into a verb, or a verb into a gerund, if the stress is on the first syllable of the original word then you do not duplicate the final consonant. So Robert E Lee's horse was named Traveller because you can spell names anyhow you want, but a person who travels is a traveler.

Oh, Tom Mix's horse was named Tony. That's another thing my mother taught me.

Carola 9:56 AM  

I found it on the challenging side for a Tuesday, so that was a plus. Had the same reaction as @Sir Hillary to the theme.

Re: UMAMI - I read a few food blogs, where it crops up all the time. I learned what it is by its absence when I became allergic to tomatoes. It's a real challenge to find an UMAMI sub for all the dishes that call for a can of tomatoes or tablespoon of tomato paste. Basically, you have dishwater without it.

I liked the GLOBETROTTER-SUNWORSHIPER pair as well as the image of the SUNWORSHIPER "dropping" his/her COVERALLS down to his/her feet. Laughed at yesterday's EEL sneaking in on the California coast.

Capt O 10:03 AM  

Every old school black and white notebook had a times table chart on the back cover. Don't be such a cry baby.

Elle54 10:04 AM  

I really liked this! Much more interesting than some! Cool that they are all New York papers. No wonder there was no Tribune. ( I'm a Chicagoan) . Too bad they are all declining... But we stopped all our papers a couple of years ago too...

Hartley70 10:15 AM  

Not a typical Tuesday for sure and that was a pleasant surprise for me. The cluing was a bit obscure but Mon-Tues is usually gone too soon to be fun, and this gave me umami, Hope Lange who was a favorite of mine (Hope you're still with us so you can enjoy your new found fame honey), Jamie Farr, and I was pleased with verge. I wish some purple loosestrife would emerge here cause I love the stuff.
Gill I P you gave me my morning laugh today! I wish I'd thought of that pea trick when I was a kid. Has your brother stayed out of jail? LOL!

Two Ponies 10:36 AM  

Medium for this solver. My biggest snag was reading "five basic tastes" as "five basic senses" which is ridiculous but that's how my brain (mal)functions at times. The M of amie gave me smell for 2D so that messed me up.
I was happy for some increased difficulty on a Tuesday even if it was self-imposed.

We Regret to Inform . . . 10:37 AM  

Hope Lange died on December 19, 2003, at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California.

Z 10:48 AM  

I finally got @chefbea a puzzle - just a little late to the party today.

Hand up for wondering what would come after TIMES TABLE. Only writeover was wanting pAlo Verde Islands, but was not too surprised by the challenging rating. I did a lot more pondering than usual for a Tuesday.

I do want to respond to a late comment from yesterday, "Gelato is to ice cream what a Mercedes is to a Ford." Overpriced but otherwise unremarkable? I have not had a gelato that is even close to Hudsonville's (a Michigan brand). I have to believe that the need for quality ice cream is deep enough that there is a quality brand near you.
-Z the gelato heretic

AliasZ 11:05 AM  

I never used the word EMERGENTS in a sentence. Nor UMAMI for that matter, so it should not be allowed either. AMEN to that. NEWAT I could do without, but I liked AGOG, ABUT, AÇAÍ, AVANT and ATEAM, and the fact that ARTE wasn't Johnson.

Given the serious restrictions that 3 x 15's plus 2 x 12's place on a grid design, some of the iffier entries can be forgiven. However, I am not so sure it was all worth it. For me it would have worked better if the theme entries contained nothing but newspaper names, such as: SUN SENTINEL (A lifeguard's secondary job), POST DISPATCH (Mail delivery), CHRONICLE TIMES (Occasions for a historic narrative), or some such. That way they would have been truly NEWSPAPER COLUMNS. This way only the crowns (capitals, in architecturese) of the columns are newspapers. Oh, well...

@JFC, we all love your sarcasm (say I sarcastically). I hope your pulmonary therapy goes well, and you will continue giving us this day our daily avatars at Wordplay. Your old friend, Laszlo.

Here are the beautiful final 15 minutes of Symphony No. 2 by Charles IVES (1874-1954).

chefbea 11:09 AM  

@Z thanks and also thanks to Rick for sending me this tough for a Tuesday puzzle.

Had a few errors but liked the theme. Just hope The Times gets their act together so I can download the puzzle.

Of course loved 5 and 51 DOWN

jdv 11:16 AM  

Medium. Southwest was the toughest corner. Never heard of Charles IVES or Hope LANGE. Had TIMESTABLE, but didn't know the remaining 5 letters. Remembered HIHAT from previous puzzles, which helped me through that corner. Tough clue for ANTS at 8d (formic acid). Wanted CREST for ORALB. I think it is now officially CABO Verde.

Honeysmom 11:32 AM  

Appreciate your blog, Rex, but you are definitely JADED. Try to lighten up a bit!

PIX 12:15 PM  

@Retired Chemist: Thanks for the post. In my (very limited) experience with the subject "ester" by itself always means the carbon based type, whereas "nitrate ester"(much rarer term) would be used for the type found in NTG. In any case this seems a little esoteric for a Tuesday crossword puzzle. I'll bet a lot of money the constructor had no clue about any of this and it's an example of a common problem, namely when many constructors use science clues they get a bit lost. Again, thanks for your response.

Hartley70 12:38 PM  

R.I.P. Hope, Thanks.

Hartley70 12:40 PM  

R.I.P. Hope, thanks.

Z 12:46 PM  

Hey word mavens, here's a fun little quiz

I'm a little embarrassed by only getting 11 right. Changed my mind on two that would have been right if I'd gone with my first instinct.

Masked and Anonymo8Us 12:54 PM  

@63: har. Good mornin, sunshine. I never had any trouble rememberin my multiplication tables up to yer 12's... except for one pesky mental block at 6x9, 7x8, and 7x9. Got me every times. Tried to reason with the teacher that those values had to be wrong. I would just always have a TIMESTABLEFART, on those. Pitiful.

C'mon, y'all! Shape up or shipe out! How'bout the Chicago Sun-Times? Nails two columns with one stone. Throw in our local Goatit City Globe-Post, and thar's yer rodeo, dude.

A snow-man's wortha U's and a glorious sprinklin of desperation here and there. thUmbsUp.


Hey! Dibs on. "Random Roman Columns" puz theme! har. I can see the themers, now...
... wow, dude... !!

LaneB 1:11 PM  

No Googles. No mistakes and pleased to see the "challenging" designation since it was gnarlier than the average Tuesday. A little birthday present to my 81-year old self.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:16 PM  

@Z - 14 out of 18. Not so good I would have to apologize - is multiple choice, after all.

@LaneB - So Happy Birthday greetings are in order? If so, Happy Birthday!

Blue Stater 1:26 PM  

Right on, Rex. This one was even worse than usual. EDITORIALCOLUMN, which also fit, is the place to express an opinion. UMAMI was jarringly difficult -- OK for a rare Saturday, maybe, but way out of line for a Tuesday. I've never heard that word before.

ANON B 1:28 PM  

You have "literally" never
heard of Parade Rest. And you
are an English teacher.

Hartley70 1:44 PM  

Z, it was revealing! I only got 11 too :-(

Anonymous 1:46 PM  

Challenging? Hardly. Was never even tempted to Google. Had only one writeover -- had BADAT instead of NEWAT and was going to argue that BADAT didn't fit the clue well, but it was easy to correct it.

I'm astonished at how many persons thought "worshiper" needed an extra "p" to fill it out. The rules that @Bob Kerfluffle and @Ellen S pointed out were drilled into me at an early age.

And @Casco Kid and @John Child, if you really put HEIRO into 39-A, you didn't get it right. Typos in your posts?

Anonymous 1:49 PM  

@ANON B, @Rex probably knew what he was doing when he said he "literally" had never heard of Parade Rest. If you've never been in an armed service or a band, it is entirely possible -- even likely -- that you've never heard the command.

Doc John 2:23 PM  

A bit of a slog for me but I was surprised to find that you had rated it Challenging. I guess I was lucky to know who Hope LANGE was. She was Mrs. Muir in "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" as well as Dick Van Dyke's wife (Mrs. Preston) on The New Dick Van Dyke Show.

M and A World-Herald 2:39 PM  

@Z: Shoot, I got U all beat: 8 out of 18. Was startin to get the uncomfortable feelin toward the end of the quiz that they weren't gonna throw me a bone, by askin about PEWIT. Or KOAN. I prep and prep... and where does it all get m&e? . . .

Happy LaneB-Day! To what do U accredit yer longevity? And don't give me any of that "clean livin" baloney; we know better than that.


* MIMI CD...
... day-um! . . .

mathguy 2:55 PM  

Z, thanks for the Slate test. Most of the words are on the border of my vocabulary.

Casco Kid 3:48 PM  

Anonymous 1:46. ack!! Typo!! . . .. AAACCCKKKK! That is all. (Thanks)

Anonymous 3:51 PM  

shame that ROTE wasn't clued as crosswordese

Benko 3:53 PM  

15/18 on @Z quiz, but I felt like I should have known all of them. Always more gaps to fill...

Benko 3:57 PM  

Oh yeah, biggest surprise for me on that quiz, and something I should have known: the derivation of "avuncular"...I won't spoil it for people who want to take the quiz, but it seemed absurd to me at first.

Casco Kid 4:12 PM  

13/18. Most of my wrongness was in failing to choose the poly-options. Very fun test. Only a few words were outright HUH?s. Thanks for passing it along.

Fred Romagnolo 4:13 PM  

QZ: Apologies about gelato; I should have appended "in Italy," or "genuine Italian." I got 14 on your quiz, 2 misses on the multiple answers. @LaneB, many happy returns. I loved Jack Germond, witty and knowledgeable in a different league from H. L. Mencken, but both outstanding.

Fred Romagnolo 4:15 PM  

@Casco Kid: ditto on the poly-options.

Karen Munson 4:19 PM  

@Ellen S - Thanks for the English lesson on when to use the double letter (as in traveler). If I ever knew that rule it is no longer part of my conscious mind. I will remember it from now on!!

sanfranman59 4:28 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

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

Tue 9:19, 8:32, 1.09, 71%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:57, 5:11, 1.15, 86%, Challenging

M and A Examiner-Underthings 4:34 PM  

M&A Z-Quiz Revenge:

New constructioneers: note the quiet, yet poignant, desperation of 5-Across, in the above runtpuz.


M and A Edittting Desk 4:35 PM  

Make that 5-Down. M&A

Bob Kerfuffle 5:18 PM  

@M&A - The funnest 4 min 55 sec I've had this hour!

Benko 5:48 PM  

@M&A: 1:25. Liked the U-shaped grid and the in-reference to today's "WORSHIPER" discussion. 12 down was classic M&A weejecting, even if it was four letters.

Moly Shu 6:03 PM  

Late to the party, so I'll be short. Umami on a Tuesday = beyond challenging for me

Z 7:44 PM  

@Fred Romagnolo - I always worry when I see an apology that I wasn't obvious enough about my tongue being firmly in cheek. I do prefer the local stuff, but certainly didn't think anything meriting an apology had been said.

I'm glad so many enjoyed the little quiz. I must demur, though; I just posted the link, it is not "Z's quiz." Retook it - still got 3 wrong. Aaargh. Pretty sure some of those words are now appearing in my captcha.

gdadtraveling 8:02 PM  

I'm no crossword pro by any stretch of the imagination. However, I get a laugh out of Rex's pontification on virtually every puzzle. I also like it when Rex, and others, say they've never heard of something like "Parade Rest". If this country hadn't discarded the draft, a whole lot more of you would know. Hihat was another that made me think, "you've gotta be kidding". I simply enjoy the puzzles and the challenge. I'm not trying to impress the crossword world!

Jisvan 8:08 PM  

I took the Slate test... So happy to get 13 right and to be having this conversation with you all, or y'all as we said in Nashville. I have taken a couple of state board exams and have kind of figured out multiple choice questions. There are always two that are clearly wrong. Sometimes they are even humorous, an inside joke, as it were. The other two are tough, because it just might be either one. So your odds are 50-50 from there. After that, consider that "all the above" or "B and D" (or whatever) answers are usually right, and you've got your passing grade, hopefully, depending on the curve...
Thanks for the link. I forgot about Slate, it's a fun site.

Gill I. P. 8:09 PM  

Well thanks a lot @Z. I am now officially a cretin. I only got 8 and most of those were guesses.
@Danp...Thanks for the UMAMI. I finally looked it up and was directed to an interesting site that showed me how to blow a hard boiled egg out of its shell without having to peel it....

Sisterhood of the Lucky Monkeys 8:24 PM  

@Gill I.P. -- Nope. Nope. U are just in good company with M&A, with 8/18. A lucky monkey would only get 5/18.

Jisvan 9:04 PM  

If you can blow a hard boiled egg out of its shell, that would be some great pulmonary therapy... Not suggesting you try to do that, @JFC!
Speaking of UMAMI, I think it is that thing in say, White Cheddar Cheezits, that makes me keep eating them way past what is good for me. After a bike ride, pair that with a glass of chocolate milk, and I'm in recovery mode heaven!

Dawn 10:11 PM  

Am watching Hope LANGEs 1948 film "The Young Lions" while filling in this puzzle this Tuesday evening. On TMC right now, with Marlon Brando.

retired_chemist 10:38 PM  

I'm guessing the WORSHIPER confusion arises from the putatively similar shipper. The latter does indeed follow the rule, however.

retired_chemist 10:48 PM  

16 of 18 on the quiz Z referred to. The ones I missed were the early "all of the above" answers when I went for the first correct answer and never saw "all of the above."

sanfranman59 1:27 AM  

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

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

Mon 5:47, 6:04, 0.95, 29%, Easy-Medium
Tue 9:20, 8:32, 1.09, 72%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:41, 3:55, 0.94, 18%, Easy
Tue 5:52, 5:11, 1.13, 82%, Challenging

the redanman 6:00 PM  

12/18 with an "All of the above" mistake

Oh yeah, the puzzle .... joyless tedium but done without errors aka mixed bag

spacecraft 10:40 AM  

'Scuse me, what day is this? UMAMI? Me daddy?? "Stay in the fight?" I get it, "stay" as in stay of execution. TRUCE. OK...but on a TUESDAY, fercryinoutloud? That is not a Tuesday clue. And UMAMI is not a Tuesday word. I got them, though not easily, so I'll spare them a penalty flag for premature EMERGENTS.

The whole thing just did not come readily. For one thing, the use of the word "literal" in the revealer clue threw me. These are entries headed by paper titles, and I guess the fact that they're all downs makes them "literal" COLUMNS, so again no flag, but it did serve to muddy the waters.

There were other signs of Fridayishness. Did YOU know that Indonesia was ever part of OPEC? Or that they left?? I sure didn't. I tell ya, I started doing this puzzle and thought I'd slept for three days!

OTOH, "parade REST!" is all too familiar to this (non-combat) vet, being surely the only case in which the word REST is followed by an exclamation point!

Then again, I agree with OFL that other LANGEs were less obfuscatory: not only Jessica but Ted of The Love Boat.

I do think Mr. Markey did as well as he could with the fill, given the length and proximity of the theme entries. Pretty good job; just should have been saved for at least a Thursday. This one's on the Shortzmeister.

A three-digit address is all I had to work with; I did great to catch a pair of 5's.

DMG 1:37 PM  

Enjoyed this one, with only one correction, NEWto to NEWAT. Both expressions I think I've only seen in puzzles. Really fought the single "p" sun lover, and was surprised to learn, here, that is is the more correct usage. Only other problem was being slow in dragging up Miss LANG's name. For some unknown reason wanted LAura.

My Captcha starts with three m's in a row. How does that compare with @spacecrafts purloined address pair?

Dirigonzo 3:16 PM  

Learning that ANTS are sources of formic acid made it all worthwhile for me.

Since we seem to be playing "handicap poker" (can I say that?) today, my 3 digit address yields only a pair of threes.

rain forest 4:12 PM  

It was only a few years ago when I was NEWAT commenting, and though I'll never get to the level of M&A or @Spacey, I've improved (I think). I think that the TIMESTABLE is a concept, and when it is displayed on paper, it is a TIMESTABLECHART, so there.

One of the local dailies here is The Vancouver Sun, maybe not as prestigious as the NYT, and maybe a little too right-wing for my tastes, but a pretty decent newspaper.

I believe we ran into UMAMI in a puzzle a few years ago, although I couldn't dredge it up immediately. Overall, I liked this puzzle, and really couldn't find much to criticize, except, I guess for EMERGENTS as a plural.

Don't want to brag, but I did get 17/18 on that quiz of Z's, but if I had to come up with the definitions on my own, I think I might have got around 8.

I've got numbers here: two pair-9's and 2's. AMEN

Waxy in Montreal 4:36 PM  

Don't want to sound like a HI(gh) HAT but didn't find this puzzle nearly as hard as it was rated. Only problem was everyone's Tuesday fav - UMAMI - but even it quickly became EMERGENT from its crosses. Also, had NFL PRO before ALL PRO which blocked TAOS for a BIT.

Think that COVERsitALL for today other than to put down three 9's with a pair of 8's.

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