Restaurant guide name since 1979 / MON 4-21-14 / TIe-dye alternative / Strike zone arbiter / Longtime sponsor of Metropolitan Opera / Decennial official / Second-oldest General Mills cereal /

Monday, April 21, 2014

Constructor: John Lieb

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: COUNTER EXAMPLES (58A: They disprove claims … or 17-, 23-, 38- and 47-) — theme answers are examples of people who count:

Theme answers:
  • HOME PLATE UMPIRE counts balls and strikes (17A: Strike zone arbiter)
  • BANK MANAGER counts money (23A: George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life")
  • BLACKJACK PLAYER counts cards, sometimes, perhaps (38A: One getting hit in Vegas)
  • CENSUS TAKER counts people (47A: Decennial official)
Word of the Day: BATIK (7D: Tie-dye alternative) —
Batik (Javanese pronunciation: [ˈbateʔ]Indonesian: [ˈbatɪk]) is a cloth that is traditionally made using a manual wax-resist dyeing technique.
Originating from Java, batik is made by drawing designs on fabric using dots and lines of hot wax, which resists dyes and therefore allows the artisan to color selectively by soaking the cloth in one color, removing the wax with boiling water and repeating if multiple colors are desired. Indigenous patterns often have symbolic meanings which are used in specific ceremonies, while coastal patterns draw inspiration from a variety of cultures; from Arabic calligraphy, European bouquets and Chinese phoenixes to Japanese cherry blossoms and Indian or Persian peacocks.
Batik has been used as everyday clothing since ancient times, and it is still used by many Indonesians today in occasions ranging from formal to casual. On October 2009, UNESCO designated Indonesian batik as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. As part of the acknowledgment, UNESCO insisted that Indonesia preserve their heritage. (wikipedia)
• • •

This seems like a very good Monday puzzle. Do I have the theme right? I think so, but sometimes when it's seemingly simple, I worry I've missed something. Do blackjack players *always* count cards? I don't play. I thought that was … not illegal, but monitored / barred by casinos … somehow? … not that you could stop people … anyway, that's the only answer that seems at all potentially wobbly. Well, I don't know that counting is the primary activity I'd associate with a BANK MANAGER, but then again, to be fair, I don't really think about BANK MANAGERs much. The revealer is a nice play on words. The puzzle is easy but also pizzazzy, which is a word I invented that you are free to use.

Here's where I faltered, however briefly (almost always very briefly). USMA … is not an abbr. that comes to mind easily (3D: West Point inits.). It's better than USM (see my tirade about this non-thing earlier this year). And it is a place. An academy, to be precise. But my fingers typed in USMC anyway, because that is the only USM- answer my brain will accept without manual override. BATIK seemed hard to me (7D: Tie-dye alternative). I think it's kind of bygone, like tie-dye. I would never wear either, so I'm kind of out of my depth here. I love Buster Keaton but do not think of him specializing in PRATFALL (19D: Buster Keaton specialty). That's when you fall on your ass? Or just fall? He did that, yes, but he's a physical comedian of the highest order. PRATFALL seems somehow diminishing. I wrote in ZABAR for ZAGAT (32D: Restaurant guide name since 1979). I couldn't get SULTAN off just the "S," boo hoo. Oh, and I never actually "got" MARKS (24D: A, B, C, D and F). In America, we call those "grades."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


ESP 12:15 AM  

I also thought of card counting--which a BLACKJACK PLAYER doesn't always do--but then I also thought that counting (i.e. up to 21) is sort of an inherent part of the game anyway.

Anonymous 12:15 AM  

As prat is brit-speak for ass, yes, a PRATFALL is specifically falling on you ass.

AfroCeltic 12:18 AM  

A nice easy one for me. Managed it in under nine minutes which is highly unusual in my experience!

jae 12:23 AM  

Lovely Mon.  Very easy for me.  I had to stop and think for a minute after the solve to get the theme.  So, clever subtle reveal, solid theme answers and not much dreck, liked it.

Steve J 12:39 AM  

Subtle theme for a Monday, but very nice phrases. (Most blackjack players don't count, by the way, and doing so is likely to result in your getting asked to leave the casino - and potentially barred from others.) I wouldn't associate counting as a primary - or even secondary - job of a couple of them (the up and the BANK MANAGER), but counting is involved in some fashion, so the internal logic holds up.

Pretty solid fill, although a healthy dose of crosswordese works its way in. Liked the two long downs, PRATFALL and MOCCASIN. TSOS and USMA next to each other are a tad unfortunate. But spending any time complaining about a few bits of worn or awkward fill in an otherwise fine puzzle would probably cause me to come across as A TIT.

Moly Shu 12:52 AM  

Yea, liked it a lot. I liked the theme answers better than the revealer. Not sure I've ever heard the term COUNTER EXAMPLES. I understand it's meaning, just doesn't ring any bells. I do love me some VEAL and OREOS, just not at the same time, unless there's some kind of veal breaded with Oreos dish I'm not aware of. @Chef-any ?????

Unknown 1:13 AM  

First time comments; finished in 6:21 and it felt really easy. Nice way to start the week

Anonymous 1:26 AM  

Would you ever wear a Hawaiian shirt? Many of the nicest Hawaiian shirts are batiks. Batik fabrics are also frequently used in quilts and bags, and aren't uncommon in women's clothing. They're generally much subtler than tie-dyes. But, yeah, back in the craft-happy 1970s, both batik and tie-dying we're popular craft activities, so while it was an easy clue for an oldster like me, I can see how it might be a bit tricky for a young'un like yourself. :-)

Jisvan 1:52 AM  

Ah, back in the batik era, we dribbled molten wax from a brass pipe on unbleached muslin, or maybe just on a white tee, then dipped it into vats of fabulous colored dyes. When the color was set, we had to boil the cloth in water to melt the wax. It was then very tempting to pour the water/wax combo down the drain, which was a no-no. (Looking back I am sorry for the landlords whose kitchens we painted purple and whose pipes we clogged with wax... )
Nice Monday, didn't understand the theme until it was done and I came here. I appreciate the puzzles so much more now, thanks to Rex and the commentariat!

chefwen 2:01 AM  

Like @jae - Took me a few minutes after I was done to figure out the theme. O.K. I get it, cute.

@Moly Shu - Best use for crushed Oreos is the base for my Mango Cheesecake. Oreo crusted veal curdles my brain. Yeech!

Cute puzzle, perfect for a Monday. Thank you, John Lieb

Glimmerglass 7:00 AM  

@chef. Well now, Oreo encrusted jalapeño veal might be a classy Mexican dish. Try it and let me know how it went down. Nice Monday puzzle. I remember Mort SAHL, but I bet most others don't.

Z 7:31 AM  

I took the BLACK JACK PLAYER as one who counts pips on the way to 21, no card counting involved. Casinos don't like anything that threatens their edge, after all, so go to great lengths to make card-counting challenging.

A nice Monday. Played medium challenging here because of two typos, something that wouldn't normally slow me down.

John Child 7:51 AM  

I definitely assumed that the blackjack counting was card counting, not just adding up the pips.

It's not the counting exactly that will get a casino in a pet. The point of counting is to know when the basic odds tilt slightly in your favor or the house's favor. Then you adjust your bets to match. Counting is invisible, but the pattern of low bets / high bets that a card counting player uses is obvious over time to a pit boss.

Unknown 7:55 AM  

Pretty uneventful Monday. MARKS took me a few seconds because, like Rex, I was thinking of GRADES. Other than that, no news.

AliasZ 7:59 AM  

Of course every BLACKJACK PLAYER counts. How else would he know when to stay or ask for a hit? One don't need to be a gambler to know that, do one?

I liked this counterculture theme, and KIX/DIX thrown in the mix. Now I'll fix six pix and buy some tix for the Bix Beiderbecke show. On second thought, nix that. See you at the ZAGAT-rated lunch counter.

Happy Monday.

Unknown 8:03 AM  

I've seen "It's a Wonderful Life" quite a few times, and I'm pretty sure George Bailey ran the Bailey Building and Loan and was not a bank manager.

jberg 8:10 AM  

Hey, Mort Sahl is still around -- you can follow him on Twitter, @mortsahlsays. Always good to see him in a puzzle (never seen him live).

The theme didn't thrill me, mainly because I don't think I'd say HOME PLATE UMPIRE. But I'm warming up to it after reading the comments here.

The ARAL Sea is drying up because Russia is diverting the water for irrigation. Somebody ought to fix that (and we ought to fix the Colorado and Mississippi). But enough of that!

Unknown 8:11 AM  

"Of course every BLACKJACK PLAYER counts. How else would he know when to stay or ask for a hit? "

Only if you take "adding" and "counting" to have the same meaning. A blackjack player does not normally hit or stay based on the number of cards in his hand.

I'm pretty sure the intended meaning was the more conventional use of "counting" in reference to blackjack which is "card counting".

Loren Muse Smith 8:18 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
joho 8:19 AM  

I dispatched the puzzle in no time but got completely messed up trying to figure out the theme. I was totally overthinking the reveal, COUNTEREXAMPLES. Are we looking for opposite meanings? Disproofs? (is that a word?) What does Counterintuitive have to do with it?

What? Things that are COUNTEd?

So, much simpler in the end that I thought. A very nice Monday surprise.

Thanks, John Lieb! I COUNT your puzzle as a success!

Loren Muse Smith 8:20 AM  

I actually sussed out the theme/reveal about halfway through and enjoyed it. Agreed – COUNTER EXAMPLES as played is a cool idea. Formica, Marble, Granite, and Corian. . .not so much.

@M&A – you got your General TSOS Chicken this morning. I used to sample it regularly, surreptitiously helping myself to a couple of bites of my kids' leftover Chinese take-out. Dee. Lish. Us.

Jessica ALBA is one of the prettiest women I have ever seen. Period.

"Alarm" before ALERT, and "Lee" before DIX.

My conversation with Dad this morning highlighted a problematic cross for solvers of his ilk (Over-Eighty- Non- Movie -Watching- Non-Fine -Dining Guys). The Z in the ZERO/ZAGAT cross – he just left it blank because H, N, well lots of letters could work there if you have no idea about that movie or that publication. ZERO as one of the many fill-in-the-blank clues would have been better for him.

He also complained about PRATFALL and its clue, claiming it was unfair. "But, Dad," I said. "You got the word with the crosses. Even with the L in TILDES. So it for you was a great clue/cross. You learned something. This isn't a vocabulary test; it's a puzzle. You're supposed to have to work for many, many answers." He said he understood, but nevertheless. . . sigh. We still have some work to do.

Because of yesterday's LOUSES, I keep seeing NOUSE. As in "I went to Macy's for their BATIK NOUSE SALE, and I like them so much, I ended up buying three pizzazzy nice."

@jae – from yesterday – I was listening to "Ask Me Another" a few months ago, and the guest, comedian and writer Julie Krausner, announced that the Real Housewives was a favorite TV show of hers. So I felt a bit vindicated that if a guest on an NPR show likes it, it must be at least a little ok? Argumentum ad verecundiam?

Real Housewives

Nice, solid puzzle, John. To quote a stalwart blogger, "Liked it."

Arlene 8:23 AM  

Nice Monday - no problems with batik, or Bailey bank managing, etc. As for USMA at West Point - definitely worth a visit - just north of the Bear Mountain Bridge on the Hudson.

Beaglelover 8:24 AM  

I've only been to a casino once. I played what I thought was 21. Is that another name for blackjack? I wrote 21 but had to erase when I saw Eco at 33D. I liked this puzzle, some oldies like Mort Sahl and modern stuff like e book.
Umpires are introduced at the beginning of every game and are identified according to the base they cover, so home plate umpire was a gimme for me.

Hartley70 8:59 AM  

Sweet little Monday puzzle, a promising start to the week. I only paused for a sec at census taker and I enjoyed the long fill. Haven't thought of Mort Sahl in decades. Did he play with Dorothy Kilgallen on What's my Line? That's a really fuzzy memory!

Sir Hillary 9:14 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sir Hillary 9:15 AM  

I like the symmetrical placement of a YEMENI SULTAN and a TEXACO OILPAN.

lawprof 9:21 AM  

Lovely, zippy Monday. Easy-medium seems about right.

For an intriguing (if sometimes apocryphal) story of card counting at blackjack, see "Bringing Down the House" (2003) by Ben Mezrich, about the MIT students who developed a scheme to break the Las Vegas casinos. Later made into a movie called "21."

Carola 9:32 AM  

Super clever theme, I thought, and very nicely carried out with the four different kinds of COUNTERS. I also needed a second to get the word play - fun. I liked SULTAN mirroring YEMENI and the (sorta) HOME PLATE UMPIRE - ERNIE - BANK(s) stack.

I'm in the BATIK-crafting generation, too, and hazarded one ill-fated project involving dripping candle wax onto fabric I planned to transform into a caftan. What a mess.

@loren - I joined you with alarm and lee ("Fort Lee again already?")

Mohair Sam 9:55 AM  

Very much enjoyed this one, played medium-challenging for a Monday here. Hit every stumbling block that Rex did except for USMA which was a gimme for us.

As far as our non-professional blackjack player being a counter or an adder? He's a counter, just like we all "count" our change, not add it. Of course the professional blackjack player is doing more counting yet, or he's not a pro for long.

Wish all Mondays were this much fun - thanks John Lieb.

John Lieb 10:00 AM  

Thanks for the comments and feedback -- always fun to hear what folks think!

Would have liked to use BANK TELLER instead of MANAGER, but needed something to line up with CENSUS TAKER.

Off to watch the marathon in Wellesley, next door to Natick :)

Steve J 10:03 AM  

@Beaglelover: Yep, blackjack and 21 are the same game.

@jberg: Broadcasters will periodically reference the HOME PLATE UMPIRE specifically when they need to distinguish him from the other umpires on the field. The most common case is when the HOME PLATE UMPIRE checks with the first- or third-base umpire to rule if a batter completed a swing and therefore should be given a strike.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:13 AM  

Pleasant Monday.

My school years in suburban New Jersey were always divided into "marking periods", and we referred to our "marks" more than our "grades."

mac 10:16 AM  

Excellent Monday puzzle, enjoyed the solve.

I thought John Lieb must be a Chicagoan and sports lover, but here he is in Wellesley!

I only know Batik because of the Indonesian connection with Holland. Last year a friend took me to a huge fabric store in the garment district where she bought yards and yards of beautiful, very sophisticated batik fabrics.

chefbea 10:18 AM  

Hand up for Fort Lee!! And I sure don't get the a counter example someone in the insurance profession who disproves claims???

@MolyShu I guess you could make breaded veal cutlets using finely ground oreos instead of bread crumbs. What a sweet idea

quilter1 10:37 AM  

@Rex, BATIK is in no way bygone. It is hot, especially among (ahem) quilters. My last quilt was entirely BATIKs. Forget tie dye and Indonesia. These are lovely subtle designs.
I found the puzzle very easy but with pretty fresh cluing/answers. Enjoyable

Dawn 10:42 AM  



Anonymous 10:57 AM  

Maybe it is a generational thing, but marks for grades was very common when I was young, but then I am in mt late 60’s.

Malsdemare 11:15 AM  

I have long wondered what sorts of comments get deleted by "the author." Porn? Racist, sexist, homophobic, ageist commentary? Directions for building a bomb? Given the wide range of comments here, my inquiring mind really wanted to know.

This morning, I had the privilege to see one (actually the same one submitted twice) before it was deleted. All I can say is thank heaven he's deleting them. Although of course, now I don't know who the hell to contact if my partner strays😉

I liked the puzzle and really like the crossword quilt that quilter1 uses as her whatever-that-thing-is-one-uses-as-an-identifier. You know, that-word-I'll-remember-as-soon-as-I-post-this-comment. Sheesh! The 68-year-old brain!

dk 11:19 AM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 Moons)

Well two dumb bunny moments:

1. Lee for DIX and cursing my mother for never letting us eat most packaged cereals (Grape Nuts & Shredded Wheat were ok)…. then realizing I was the dumb bunny (db).

2. Thing what does COUNTER (as in opposition) have to do with any of the alleged them fill)…. then realizing I was the db.

And did not George Bailey own the bank…. Anyway back to watching the Bad Seed: "Give me that medal!"

dk 11:21 AM  

Thinking not thing.

dk the db 🐰

jdv 11:27 AM  

med-challenging. I got tripped up at 6d OILcAN (briefly) and at 18d AOl. Couldn't see 7d BATIK for awhile which made 23a BANKMANAGER hard to get. Also, the clue on 47a Decennial?! Official threw me for a loop.

Carola 11:32 AM  

@chefbea -Say you have an opinion (are making a claim) about something that you're supporting with various examples. Someone wanting to argue against that opinion/claim could present counter examples.

GILL I. 11:39 AM  

@Malsdemare: AVATAR

Bob Kerfuffle 11:47 AM  

@Malsdemare - If it says, This comment has been removed by the author," it means that the person who posted the comment has found a grammatical, spelling, or logical error, has removed his original comment, and may have replaced it.

When an obnoxious comment simply disappears, it means the Blog Administrator, presumably Rex, has erased it.

Thank you, Rex!

chefbea 11:54 AM  

@malsdemare My avatar is the crossword kleenex box cover that I made.

GILL I. 11:55 AM  

Nice, comfortable Monday puzzle.
I love BLACK JACK. My dad and I used to play it for hours. It was a good way for me to earn extra cash without having to ask him for money.
I use to do a lot of BATIK in art school. We used the "canting" method which uses a medal pen-like instrument filled with wax. Silk screening my favorite.
So a puzzle that evokes a good memory or two is just fine by me.
Thanks Mr. Lieb

Masked and Anonymo4Us 12:05 PM  

Bank audit results:
* Henry F. Potter owned the Bedford Falls bank.
* George Bailey owned the Bedford Falls Building and Loan.
* Weirdly, the Building and Loan deposited their money at Potter's bank. Except when Uncle Billy would lose it, enroute.
* General Tso was too chicken to deposit money at either place. He did offer small counter examples of his namesake dish to his potential patrons at the Bedford Falls Chinese Restaurant, tho. But I digress.
* Whenever a bell rings, General Tso has an order of wings up.


Very well-done serving of MonPuz, btw.
@BobK. Didn't get yer time, on runtpuz #11 (yesterday)...

Lewis 12:41 PM  

Never heard of the AON building -- now do we need to memorize city skyscrapers?

Pleasant start to the week, cute theme, felt like an easy Monday to me, rather than easy-medium. This would be a good puzzle to introduce newbies to the art.

@Loren -- loved your counterexamples!

M and A Help Desk Alert 1:16 PM  

@BobK: Whoa, M&A breath. See that I got yer time, now. Thanx. See M and A Help Desk comment, posted yesterday today (or would it be today yesterday?) for requested hint.

While I'm here...
fave moo-cow Monday clue: Tough day for cowclues, and we have the rare split decision...
* For Regular Puz Solvers: "The Thin Man" terrier. Just clearly barks ASTA. Honrable mention to the "General ___ chicken" clue, of course.
* For New Puz Solvers: "Tues. preceder". Almost anyone not solvin the puz in random crayon marks will have their days of the week sequencin down pretty solid. QED.


Penna Resident 1:23 PM  

AON is a gimme to anyone in finance or insurance, but thats not the majority of people doing this puzzle. the bldg is likely more in the popular culture than referring directly to pat ryans company. "Marsh Alternative" might even be arcane for late week.

changing to ANN is difficult with the 4 theme letters. AHN is easy but might also be difficult to clue on monday, unless everyone knows who invented the captcha.

ahimsa 1:56 PM  

Nice puzzle! Easy but fun. I solved it so quickly that I didn't see the theme until the very end.

I enjoyed thinking about all the different meanings of COUNTER as I went to my kitchen COUNTER for another cup of coffee. :-)

And nice write-up, @Rex! But I have to put in a good word for tie-dyed items. People think of the 1960s, hippies, and wild colors. But tie-dye is much older than that.

I'm sure tie-dye has been used in many other countries, too, but I know that it has a long history in India. I was in a museum in Jaipur many years ago and there were some beautiful, intricate tie-dyed items alongside the more well known block-printed items.

Fred Romagnolo 2:37 PM  

@loren @carola: alarm and lee, same as thee. But crosses fixed it up. I use red ball point ink, and do corrections in blue or black, so ONE can see them. Agree that a bank is not a savings and loan, Capra would never make a banker a hero, not the King of Populism. Also "twenty one" instead of "black jack" When finished my paper puzzle looks very patriotic!

okanaganer 2:40 PM  

Sheesh...solving using only the across clues, I tried to get the theme to help. First 3 themers were ---UMPIRE, ---MANAGER, and ---PLAYER... so obviously it's a baseball theme! Which meant 47A just had to be ---SPECTATOR or ---FAN or ---ATTENDEE or something.

That could have been a neat theme if you could come up with a revealer that made sense.

Fred Romagnolo 2:46 PM  

@Penna resident: don't know about captcha, but Philip Ahn was a big-time feature player in films made during the war (the Big One) His Japanese-looking features made him a natural "villain." I think he was either Chinese or Korean. Don't know if his conscience bothered him on the way to the bank.

Fred Romagnolo 2:54 PM  

Pic from film shows, in addition to James Stewart and Donna Reed, H.B Warner, Beulah Bondi and Thomas Mitchell: Wikipedia them and you'll gat a healthy swath of history of Hollywood films in the 20th c.

Ludyjynn 3:45 PM  

Nice and easy Monday done in a flash waiting at the phlebotomy lab. Theme not needed to solve, but interesting in retrospect.

Yes, @BobKerfuffle, I too grew up in Jersey 'burbs having four 'marking periods' per school year and using the terms 'grades' or 'marks' interchangeably.

Interesting that we also called the metal rectangles affixed to our cars 'license plates', whereas in MD, where I now reside, the natives refer to them as 'tags'. I find it endlessly fascinating how local dialects diverge.

sanfranman59 3:50 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 6:04, 6:04, 1.00, 50%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:55, 3:58, 0.99, 38%, Easy-Medium

Dawn 4:20 PM  

We live/near and visit Chicago a lot and STILL didnt know about AON tower!

Im glad the marks vs grades encounter has been settled!

Changed avatar because other one was cover art and I might need permission to use. Thought about photographing my NYT crossword cookie jar.

And about cookies. Is a singular cookie spelled cookie or cooky??

Anxious for a harder puzzle tomorrow.

mathguy 5:14 PM  

Of course Joseph Welling, 8:11am, is correct. Blackjack players seldom "count" cards, they do "add" the values of the cards.

Do we all agree that when a comment is tagged "removed by the author" it means it's was removed by the person who wrote it?

It was fun to relive through the blog some of my blackjack adventures in the casinos. One time in Reno, they threw me out for winning $110 in five-dollar chips.

Leon 6:37 PM  

Good recipe: General Tso's Chicken.

John V 6:43 PM  

Late to the party but just wanted to say that this struck me as a perfect Monday puzzle, a great intro for a newcomer.

Didn't read all the comments, but I can't be the only one who wanted Fort LEE not DIX, even though I've been to/through both. The traffic is worse in Fort Lee, if you're wondering.

Miss Joyce 6:44 PM  

I want to thank Dr Ekpiku for helping me to get my love back.My boyfriend broke up with me 1 months ago and told me he is not interested in me anymore and i want him back so badly that i went to the net and in searching for help and i saw so many good talk about this spell caster and i contact him and explain my problems to him and he cast a spell for me which i use to get my boyfriend back.If you need his help

Questinia 7:34 PM  

AON lost 176 of its employees on 9/11 in the South Tower.

Unknown 7:46 PM  

I have to think the "George Bailey" part of the clue was just an error. In the big final scene, wasn't the bank manager the guy who was counting up the donations from all George's friends? You know, the guy who showed up carrying his own adding machine with him, but at the end, he tossed it aside and joined in singing, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"?

Unknown 7:49 PM  

Jack Fate (or someone like that) wrote:

"Weirdly, the Building and Loan deposited their money at Potter's bank. Except when Uncle Billy would lose it, enroute."

He lost it inside the bank. He'd folded it into a newspaper which he left on Potter's lap after a brief, but hostile, conversation with him.

Dawn 7:51 PM  

The man with the adding machine was a bank auditor.

M and A Help Desk 8:34 PM  

@Joseph Welling (or some spellcaster usin that name?):
Jack Fate?!! har! U saw my movie! thUmbsUp!

As I remember that critical sequence of events, Uncle Billy is readin the newspaper headline about George Bailey's war hero brother to Potter, just *outside* that there bank. Potter grumpily snatches away the paper, inadvertantly grabbin the envelope full of deposit-bound cash along with it. So, still kinda "enroute". QED.
Actually, if the money weren't deposited yet, it could still be considered "enroute" to bein deposited, in any case? Yes? har... QED2.

Disclaimer: M&A has not seen this flick in quite a spell. M&A has about a 39% record of bein absolutely right in blog comments, 12% record of bein technically close to correct, and 49% record of yer basic bad breath. So, no refunds.

Peace on Earth, good will toward Chicken Generals,

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 6:07, 6:04, 1.01, 59%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:45, 3:58, 0.95, 19%, Easy

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My name is Ruth Moore,Am from UK,i never believe there will ever be a solution to my relationship problem with my lover. my lover called smith Moore threw me out of his house and brought in another lady who he now feels the only best for him. until one day i receive a phone call from a friend in the city that my man is going out on a date with another woman in town, i told her i am also surprise too, because since smith Moore has left me he hardly think nor call me. so after some few days my friend called Martha called me and told me that she has found a man that is very powerful, and he is a great herbalist from Africa, truly we all knows that Africans are blessed with so much herbal voodoo powers which they use to help much people, so he told me that the man name is prophet lord , that she will forward his email address for me so that i can contact him for help, so truly she sent me prophet lord email address and i contacted him that faithful day. he mailed me after a great while that my man will be back to me if only i believe on his work,so after 25hrs i receive a phone call from smith Moore, and he started begging that i should please forgive him against all he had done to me.. he begged me of breaking my heart and letting the other lady a new heart. he promise me never to let go. now i and Smith Moore are now planning to get married as soon as possible. we are brought back with the great powerful love spell and blinded with prophet lords spell, we are happy and glad. so i thank you sir for the great help you offer to me, because i think today this might be the only ways and means i can ever thank you of your work.. i am glad. you can contact him for a love spell today at: thank you sir. Email him on:

Anonymous 6:36 PM  

'I was married for five years without any child,because of this my husband start acting very strange at home,coming home lately and not spending time with me any more. and because of this my husband divorce me. So i became very sad and lost in life because my doctor told me there is no way for me to get pregnant this really make life so hard for me and my friend told me about Dr Zuma zuk from the Internet,how he has helped people with this similar problem that i am going through so i contacted him and explain to him.he cast a reunite spell to bring back my husband and it was a miracle three days later my husband can back to apologize for all he has done and told me he is fully ready to support me in any thing i want,few month later i got pregnant and gave birth to twins (girls) we are happy with ourselves. Thanks to Dr Zuma zuk for saving my relationship and for also saving others too. continue your good work, If you are interested to contact him and testify this blessings like me, the great spell caster email address is:(

Anonymous 6:03 PM  

my name is Jessica My husband has told me that he is no longer in love with me and loves another much younger lady and wishes to make her his wife. Yet he lives with me and our kids and daily communicates with her while they wait for her to finish. We all see this relationship daily and it is taking its on everyone in the family. He is always happy when he is communicating with her. He has even purchased her promise/wedding bands and will give them to her in April when he is going to be with her for 3-4 days.but i do not know what to do, and how to save my marriage, so i make a search in the internet and i find how this same dr ajagbo help miss Sarah to get her ex husband back to her. how the husband abandon her with her 2 kids just after the dr has cast the spell after 2days her husband came back to her and was begging her to forgive him for his act ever since the income of the new younger lady.
i have no choice than to also contact this dr ajagbo with his email and indeed he help me get my ex back.
so i decided to share this testimony, dr ajagbo temple has been so great to me,am the happiest woman on earth now, all thanks to dr ajagbo for work well don in my life for saving my home.

Anonymous 6:04 PM  

My name is Rita and I base in Florida“My life is back!!! After 2 years of Broken marriage, my husband left me with two kids . I felt like my life was about to end i almost committed suicide, i was emotionally down for a very long time. Thanks to a spell caster called Dr Ogwua which i met online. On one faithful day, as I was browsing through the internet, I was searching for a good spell caster that can solve my problems. I came across allot of testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb,cure cancer,and other sickness, some testified that he can cast a spell to stop divorce and so on. i also come across one particular testimony,it was about a woman called Sonia,she testified about how he brought back her Ex lover in less than 7 days and reverse the effect of their little boys cancer, and at the end of her testimony she dropped Dr Ogwua e-mail address. After reading all these,I decided to give it a try. I contacted him via email and explained my problem to him. In just 3 days, my husband came back to me. We solved our issues, and we are even happier than before. Dr Ogwua is really a gifted man and i will not stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man... If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine spell caster to solve all your problems for you. Try Dr Ogwua anytime, he might be the answer to your problems. Here's his contact:

spacecraft 11:03 AM  

OK, that settles it. I am launching my new career as The Spacecraft Spellcaster. How can I not? I wanna get in on the ground floor of this. All of ya, send me yer problems, your soured rela...rel... um, do I HAVE to say the r-word out loud? Never mind. I will cast my spell, then, with the new-found confidence THAT YOU HAD IN YOU ALL ALONG, you will make your own life better. How much can I charge for this racket? I'm thinking, maybe I should undercut the market a tad. How does fifty bucks sound?

Well, it's a Monday. I have to write about something, and today's puzzle is slim pickin's for that. The revealer had me scratching my head: "They disprove claims?" So, like, if you say, "It never snows in LAS Vegas," I can look up a date when it did (it must have, some time or other) and use it as a COUNTEREXAMPLE. [Of course, that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of flakes in this town.] Anyway, thin at best.

If you apply the term "COUNTER" to a BLACKJACKPLAYER, you are talking about a card counter. That does not mean he's counting how many cards have been dealt. It means he's counting how many of those cards were tens (10, J, Q, K) and aces. The more of those left undealt, the "richer" the deck--and the greater the likelihood of a player win (specifically, the potential for a dealer bust, since dealer must hit all hands of 16 or less).

Thus endeth the lesson for today. Hey, can we give poor old ZAGAT a rest? He's been working a lot of late.

2 pair again. I'm moving over to the BJ tables.

Dirigonzo 1:57 PM  

I finished with no write-overs which is rare for me, even on a Monday,but as I looked at the finished grid I was certain AON, which had filled in on crosses would prove to be wrong until it didn't. I attended Basic Combat Infantry Training at Ft. DIX too many years ago to count, but I still waited to see if that other 3 letter N.J. Fort was the one he wanted. I'd call this a near-perfect MON puz.

@spacy - speaking of Basic Training and the Army, I seem to recall the BJ table as being something that's probably not what you are referring to in your comment. But there was poker involved, so maybe...?

Please don't forget to take a moment out of your activities today to remember and honor all the men and women in the armed forces who sacrificed their lives in service to our nation.

Sixes full of fives - a low boat, not a show boat.

DMG 2:21 PM  

A good start for the week, only the Lee/DIX write-over.
And it brought back happy memories. Remember seeing Mort Sahl with his newspaper in San Francisco, a long, long time ago. It was possibly at the Hungry I, but more likely at the Purple Onion where I also saw an emerging, Phylis Diller show us how funny a weirdly dressed "housewife" could be. Those were the days,

@spacecraft. I emerged from a LV casino once to find it snowing, tho not enough to stay on the ground. This would have been in the early 60's which I like to think of as not that long ago.

Captcha is determined to only give me three digit house numbers, so anything beats me.

rain forest 2:32 PM  

Excellent, easy, Monday. I thought the theme was airtight, whether the blackjack player IS a card counter, counts the cards he has, or counts the pips on his/her cards.

I solved almost exclusively with the acrosses until I got to the Southern section, where I had to use crosses for COUNTEREXAMPLES (excellent revealer) and SULTAN (d'oh!). Thanks to @Diri from months ago, FEMA went in as a gimme.

@Spacey - if I ever have a relationship problem, I'll go directly to you, probably for a flag!

Lower boat. 2's and 4's. Fold

Waxy in Montreal 9:00 PM  

EGO'S a ZERO having DNF'ed this Monday puz due to confusion at the AON, POI, BATIK intersection. Not VEALlly good!

Cousin's son did his medical training at West Point (USMA), all on Uncle Sam's dime. Had to serve his country in the army medical corps for several years thereafter but what an inexpensive way to earn your MD. Which reminds me to wish everyone south of the 49th parallel all the very best on this Memorial Day.

Edwin Frownfelter 2:59 PM  

I have an issue with 26D, in which "burgles" was used as a clue for "robs." Although both are crimes related to stealing, burglary and robbery are not synonymous or even closely related. The essence of burglary is breaking into a building with the intent to commit a crime. Robbery is theft by a threat of physical harm to a person. A burglary may involve robbery if a burglar breaks into an occupied building and threatens the occupants, but most burglaries do not involve robbery and vice versa. It just seems below the level of rigor one expects in a NYT puzzle.


I just wanted to express my gratitude and appreciation to prophet salifu for bringing my husband back to me,I was married to my husband for 4 years and all of a sudden he started seeing another lady (his mistress).he started hailing at me and he was abusive.. and he hated me , but I still loved him with all my heart . the situation made me unsettle and not to focus at work .so a friend told me about trying (prophet salifu )spiritual means to get my husband back and introduced me to him ? i did not listen to her and hoped that my husband will come back home . after 9 month of seperation and depression , it got out of hand and my husband came back home to break the news to me that he want a divorce that he is getting married to his mistress .Hmmm it was so shocking to me ,i felt sad and more depressed ,so i contacted my friend again and decieded to try to use spiritual means reluctantly..although I didn't believe in all those things? I never thought in a million years that i will get my husband back to me a again. but I was proved wrong.after 24 hours, my husband came back and was pleading..he had realized his mistakes..i just couldn't believe it that we are back together. I am deeply satisfied and thankful with prophet salifu work .if you also want to fix you marriage or relationship email him at or , his work is for a better life .

Unknown 10:38 PM  

I can’t believe this. A great testimony that i must share to all fibroid patient in the world. i never believed that their could be any complete cure for fibroid with out going for surgery ,i saw people’s testimony on internet on how Dr ODIA prepare herbal root and herbs that shrink there fibroid naturally. i had to try it too i contacted him on: and him told me how to get his herbal medicine, and you can,t believe that in just few weeks i started using it all my pains stop gradually . Right now i want to tell you all that i just give birth to a baby boy last month,and on till now' i have not had any pain, and i just went for text last week and the doctor confirmed that there is no trace of any fibroid in my system. after 8 year of suffering from fibroid am now free, Glory be to God for leading me to this great Dr ODIA I am so happy as i am sharing this testimony. My advice to you all who thinks that their is no herbal cure for fibroid that is Not true ,just contact him and get cure his email and you will be free and free forever, Try it and you will not regret it because it truly works. i hope to see your testimony soon.

Unknown 6:17 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Prune 1:30 PM  

Why has the blog manager approved the spam ads at the bottom of the blog? I've reported this twice before, but nobody has repaired the process.

Prune 1:39 PM  

The errors in this puzzle simply killed it for me. As usual, I worked on the reveal first. That gave me HOME PLATE UMPIRE and CENSUS TAKER in short order. However, the other two theme answers don't fit.

A blackjack player who counts cards doesn't get to play for long: the dealer, pit boss, and eye-in-the-sky weed out these people in relatively short order, after which no casino will seat them.

I had more trouble with the George Bailey clue, which is wrong in two respects: (1) George owned a building and loan, not a bank. Especially in those days, the two were significantly different institutions. (2) I'm still trying to figure out what a bank manager counts. It isn't the daily money totals: the tellers handle that, occasionally getting checked (process audited) by the assistant manager during training or difficult discrepancies.

Then there's the clue "Burgles" with the answer ROBS -- wrong. They aren't equivalent, nor even synonyms, any more than trespassing should clue "disorderly conduct".

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