Sleep state for electronic device / TUE 6-24-14 / SXSW festival setting / Author of Gothic short stories, for short / Protected bird in Hawaii / Norwegian tourist attraction / Mopey donkey of children's literature / Potter's potions professor

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Constructor: Heather Valadez

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (*for a Tuesday*)

THEME: COVERT OPERATION (40A: Secret military mission … or a hint to the circled letters in this puzzle?) — circled letters in the theme answers spell ADD, SUBTRACT, MULTIPLY, and DIVIDE, respectively

Theme answers:
  • STAND-BY MODE (18A: Sleep state for an electronic device)
  • SUBCONTRACT (24A: Outsource, as part of a job)
  • MULTIPLAYER (50A: Like World of Warcraft and other fare for 66-Acrosses)
  • DRIVER'S SIDE (62A: It's on the left in the U.S. and the right in the U.K.)
Word of the Day: ICE MELT (21D: Magnesium chloride, e.g.) —
[I can't find a definition of this—is it just "something that melts ice"? If so … ??? Ah, it appears to be something they sell at Auto Zone—possibly something like rock salt, to de-ice your sidewalks and what not. I think of the term 'ICE MELT' as relating specifically to polar ice caps and what not—the phenomenon of melting ice, not the thing that does the melting]
• • •

Oh, non-consecutive circles spelling out "hidden" things … how are you?  I have not really missed you. This puzzle was definitely on the tough side, with the first and last themers being particularly hard to come up with, and with ICE MELT making no sense to me (even now). The charm of the puzzle seems to rest largely on the revealer, which is cute, but I'm having a hard time being impressed by the "hiding" of "subtract" in SUBCONTRACT or the hiding of "add" in anything. I actually like all the theme answers just fine, on their own. If I saw any of them in a themeless I'd say "pretty good." But the theme concept here is just OK. On the plus side, the fill is pretty nice for an early-week puzzle. Light on junk (except EAPOE, yipe), heavy on interesting shorter stuff like FJORD and BOOZE and REDUX.

Several clues seemed close to gibberish to me, at first (and sometimes second) pass. First, the ICE MELT (or is it ICEMELT?) clue. Then [Sleep state for an electronic device]. I see what is meant, in retrospect, but "Sleep state" was doing nothing for me. I was imagining … some kind of alarm function … I don't know. I needed every cross before I understood the clue on MORTAR (46A: What covers many blocks?). I completely forgot KENAI — just … blanked (38D: Alaskan peninsula). Front part of DRIVER'S SIDE was hard to get, and having a cross-referenced clue in one of the answers down in that corner (66A: See 50-Across) didn't help. Seemed closer to a Wednesday puzzle over all. And again, I liked the contents of the grid fine—the theme just didn't do much for me.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:06 AM  

Medium for me.  Did not have the problems Rex did although, ICE MELT seems strange to me also. 

Cute Tues. level theme with a very nice reveal, @Rex light on the dreck, and some fine long downs, liked it.   Nice debut Ms. Valadez!

Is it just me or is the NYT site very late tonight with the puzzle?

Moly Shu 12:13 AM  

Wow, surprised to see @Rex rated this as medium/challenging. It was a breeze for me, and a fun one at that.

Not sure what the circled answers have to do with COVERTOPERATION, other than that they are " hidden". I feel as if I'm missing something.

Always like TORUS and SEX. EAPOE not great and SOTOSAY seems a little off. Other than that, liked it very much

wreck 12:20 AM  

Medium for me as well. The hardest part for me was the very last letter the X in REDUX. Head slap when I finally got it. I hadn't seen NENE in a long time, it used to be in every other old puzzle along the same lines as ADIT. ICE MELT is what you pour on icy sidewalks and steps. I wasn't sure of the exact formulation being magnesium chloride, but one I had ICEM..., it went right in. --

AliasZ 12:21 AM  

Lovely first NYT puzzle by Ms. Valadez with a clever theme idea and excellent execution. Of the theme entries I especially liked SUBCONTRACT. The only one I would have changed was STANDBY MODE, which sounds like a somewhat arbitrary phrase to me. Something like ADULTERATED or LEADING EDGE (both 11 letters), in which two of ADD's letters are connected, would have provided a little more consistency.

A couple of fill words seemed half past Tuesday: KENAI, HEDDA Gabler, SANA and REDUX, but I enjoyed seeing RAT'S NEST, SO TO SAY and RAMPED UP. EAPOE, not so much. Welcome back, ENO and NENE. Loved the symmetrical SEX and AHA...

All YOLKS aside, this was a pleasant, easy solve with some bite to it. Brava, Heather.

A Concerto for Bass TUBA and Orchestra? In F minor no less? Whoever heard of such a thing? How about the same guy playing The Flight of the Bumblebee?

Good night owl.

Flibbertigibbet 12:25 AM  

I'm not often critical of puzzles, especially this early in the week, but, Man, Alive!, the clues were poor. Has anyone (normal)EVER referred to a doughnut as TORUS-shaped? Has anyone EVER found "grift" and SCAM to be synonymous? Has anyone EVER equated "EVER" and "of all time," without the word "best" preceding the clued phrase? I won't even comment on the clue for REDUX.

Yowza. And Rex was so charmingly nice about these disappointing clues and answers... What gives?

Casco Kid 12:52 AM  

I got caught out thinking the Wildcats were a {vowel}SU. I went with aSU, yet I knew damned well that the aSU Sun Devils are rivals of the U of A Wildcats. It took the official DNF for me to run the alphabet to discover KSU. YOLKS never occurred, although YOLaS sounded like a fine Greek yogurt.

The theme COVERTOPERATIONS leading to A-D-D, etc. seems like a stretch of a bad pun. This puzzle was fun to solve (almost) in its own right and is weakened by the alleged theme.

Moly Shu 12:59 AM  

It just dawned on me. The hidden answers are all mathematical OPERATION's. Big head slap. Knew I was missing something.

@Flibbert, I think grift and scam are synonymous, and I also think that Michael Jordan was the greatest EVER and also the Greatest Of All Time. Or as we refer to him here, the GO AT.

Anonymous 12:59 AM  

Nice puzzle. Shameful Tuesday DNF for me, with AHH at 1-A and an H BOMB... Bet I'm not alone. Really enjoyed the solve, though, great job Heather

Steve J 1:00 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve J 1:01 AM  

Liked this a lot. Circles usually don't do much for me, but this works well enough. But what I really liked was the quality of the fill. Theme answers are solid, and there are lots of nice words like BRASH, FJORD, BESTOW, RATS NEST, BOOZE and REDUX. And I liked that this had a wee bit of crunch for a Tuesday.

Thing I learned today: Despite many, many trips and many uses of the currency, I always thought the denomination of the coins was the front and the country-specific art was the back. Turns out I had that exactly backwards.

Is it just me, or does it seem we're seeing more bylines from women the last few weeks? If so, that's definitely a good thing.

Yeah, we have 1:02 AM  


GRIFT: a group of methods for obtaining money falsely through the use of swindles, frauds, dishonest gambling, etc.

TORUS: a doughnut-shaped surface generated by the revolution of a conic, especially a circle, about an exterior line lying in its plane.

EVER: at all times; always:

Love, Dictionaries.

thursdaysd 1:02 AM  

I found it pretty straightforward, but the theme was incredibly boring. I thought for sure there was something I was missing, but no, just disconnected circles.

Yeah, we have 1:08 AM  

Sorry, I forgot your list

REDUX: brought back; resurgent.

Love, Dictionaries.

Anoa Bob 1:25 AM  

"Sleep state for an electronic device" (18A) made me think of RAPID EYE MOVEMENT. One of the correlates of REM sleep is narrative dreaming and being aware of when this is happening is the goal of Lucid Dreaming.

There's an "electronic device" that's designed to help in the quest for heightened REM awareness. It monitors eye muscle activity and then signals the sleeper when REM starts. There are a number of them on the market and are called "Lucid Dreaming Masks". Your results may vary.

Winegrower 1:34 AM  

Thought this was pretty straightforward, except for ICEMELT. I'm with @Rex on that usage, maybe because we have little use for such a product here in Northern California.

Hartley70 1:50 AM  

This played like an easy Tuesday, not medium challenging. It was gone too soon. I liked the Austin and Adele clues because knowing them made me feel hip. And being old made me use "hip". What's a newer equivalent? Not gnarly or rad or cool. You can tell my kids have left home because I'm out of the loop.

Anonymous 4:59 AM  

I also found the puzzle a bit difficult for a Tuesday. There were too many named answers crossing each other which I thought was a "no-no". For example and Alaskan peninsula crosses Yemen's capital. The theme was fine for me. Mathematical "operations" were "covertly" hidden in the puzzle. I struggle with Brash, believe it or not, first entering Cause.

TokyoRacer 5:34 AM  

Once again I agree with Anonymous (if it's the same person - since they're anonymous, you can't really tell, can you?) that crossing an obscure capital and an obscure peninsula is not good. Who the hell knows Alaskan peninsulas except Alaskans? As a result, the "n" could have been anything, resulting in a blank space.
Standby mode is is a common term...if you know audio equipment.

James Dean 6:53 AM  

Much tougher than a normal Tuesday - 15 minutes and I didn't have a hangover . Maybe that's the problem. Lots of obscure answers I simply did not know

Anonymous 6:57 AM  

I loved the TORUS -heaped donut. My son learned that shap in elementary school, a NYC public school. Found this one fun and easy.

Gill I. P. 7:16 AM  

Way to go Heather!!!! You start with AHA, end with SEX, threw in some BOOZE add John CLEESE to the equation, this was one SICK puzzle.
My only write-over was plunking down Yeast at 53D but that little ragamuffin EEYORE took care of things for me.
Congratulations to you and thanks for providing an enjoyable Tuesday.

RAD2626 7:19 AM  

@Hartley70. FLY works.

Comments have made me change my initial negativity about EWER, TORUS and crossing of obscure peninsula /obscure capital. And not liking SUBTRACT and MULTIPLY "hidden" in one word. But the fill was SICK for a Tuesday: BESTOW, BRASH, FJORD, SNAPE etc. And I learned something about the EURO I did not know. All good.

Susierah 7:23 AM  

22 minutes and a dnf on a Tuesday! I call that challenging ! Guessed wrong at the sana/ kenai crossing. Never heard the word torus. Much more like a Wednesday.

jberg 7:31 AM  

Few people call a donut a TORUS, but everybody defines a torus as a "doughnut shape."

ICE MELT is what it says on the package, since it's no longer rock salt must snow less than I thought in Binghamton.

Glimmerglass 7:32 AM  

Nice workout for a Tuesday.@flibbertigibbet: it's not smart to grumble about clues you don't understand. Every one of your complaints is unjustified, as others have already pointed out.

Susan McConnell 7:41 AM  

Seemed overly easy to me. Once you filled in STANDBY MODE and saw ADD in the circles, was there any doubt what would be in the rest of the circles? I almost wish the revealer was OVERT OPERATIONS. Or maybe if it was COVERT OPERATIONS without the circles...or something. This just seemed too obvious. But still, congratulations on your debut, Ms Valadez, and I hope we see more from you.

schmuzz 7:59 AM  

Sleep state for an electronic device: HIBERNATION

so i really liked figuring out the mathematical operations to Fix that!

liked the puzzle ...guessed right as well on the

Questinia 8:20 AM  

SANA and KENAI are haute-crosswordese. They are also the names of children belonging to a raw food-eating, Enneagram-studying, hot yoga-practicing celebrity.

Blue Stater 8:27 AM  

Quite good, save for a bad Natick at 25D/36A. I take it that "Nirvana" and "Destiny's Child" are pop singing groups of some kind, and I've never heard "sick" as a slang synonym for "cool," but it's the calendar talkin' to me.

John V 8:27 AM  

Pretty easy here, but did need to write out the circled letters to parse the theme. A find Tuesday and nice debut, Ms. Valadez.

AliasZ 8:30 AM  

KENAI bother everyone REDUX with some notes on the margin?

- I think Henry and Harrison FJORD are related.
- The plural of Claus is CLEESE.
- Didn't ELENA Kazan direct On the Waterfront? Sorry, long ELENA.
- When a movie première is A BOMB, it's not necessarily TODO finito. They can sell it to HBO.
- Watching ICE MELT is like watching paint dry. I also HEDDA vision of its opposite: water freeze.
- EAPOE is so bad, it's impossible to parse it into anything funny or clever. Maybe some chEAPO E-learning will give me an idea.
- Once I dropped an anvil on my foot. It was the BESTOW I EVER did RUHR.
- The Latin aphorism Mens SANA in corpore sano means Hannibal is at the gates.
- There AREAS many OBOE concertos as there are countries on the EURO. No, a lot more.

But let me go a different direction. Beethoven composed this lovely set of Variations on Là ci darem la mano (a duet from the opera Don Giovanni by Mozart), WoO 28, for OBOE TRIO. Actually, that's not entirely true. It's for a double-reed trio: two OBOEs and an English horn. By the way, WoO means "without opus". That's something, even his unnumbered works were numbered.

@Howie, Pastor Munster, so nice of you to stop by and say hello. Thank you for your nice thoughts. Give my best to Librarose and to the crew on the other side, and keep piling up those one-C recos. (Two-C reccos are for those who think "recommend" is spelled with two C's.)

chefbea 8:33 AM  

Tough for a Tuesday!!! But we had an easy one yesterday. Saw add and subtract and then filled in the other two which did help...but still DNF
Did not find it a really cool puzzle!!

CFG 8:33 AM  

DNF for me cuz of SANA/KENAI. Definitely hard for a Tuesday, IMO.

But, living in Minnesota, I am quite familiar with ICEMELT as a noun, as in "I need to sprinkle some ICEMELT on my front steps today."

Kris in ABCA 8:39 AM  

I filled in BATTERY SAVE for the electronic sleep state and felt pretty good about it. Took a little while to clean up my mess.

loren muse smith 8:50 AM  

So, Heather – this is your NYT debut?! Congrats on a fine puzzle! And enjoy your whole day of basking in the attention! I saw the theme early and was expecting different OPERATIONS, but I was even more pleased when I saw the tightness of the math idea.

@TokyoRacer –"Who the hell knows Alaskan peninsulas except Alaskans?" I knew it. Just like that city, uh, Valdez. Hi, again, Ms. Valadez! But you're right – that KENAI/SANA cross is problematic today.

@Cascokid – KSU went right in because I was mistakenly remembering that 'that Wildcat" Sandra Bullock had a Kansas jacket on in Speed (And Dennis Hopper's reference to it alerted the brilliant agent, Kneau Reeves, that they were being watched on video.) I love movies like that.

@ Flibbertigibbet – others have jumped to the defense of those entries, and I wholeheartedly agree with them. So I won't add anything except that TORUS (and its more common TORI) are two entries I have dutifully learned over the years. That and the fact I wear toric contact lenses.

"Sassy" before BRASH, "gmcs" before AMCS, "erne" before NENE (shame on me there).

YOLKS just provide richness period. I could never have an egg-white omelet for breakfast. I know, I know – joke's on me. Speaking of which, @Questinia – Hah! Good one!

The clue for today's maligned ICE MELT could have been "stuff that is supposed to stay on your sidewalk but ends up all over the floor in your house."

So, Heather – really impressive grid. (Just curious – did you flirt with going for that Q?) Again, congratulations!

jberg 8:52 AM  

Btw, another thing to memorize (besides world capitals and huge peninsulas in Alaska) is the dates of major changes in weaponry -- that's what saved me from the h BOMB/AHh error, which actually seemed better to me otherwise.

I posted my earlier comment from my iPhone using Chrome -- worked like a charm, which it never does if I use Safari. I mention that just in case anyone has the same problem.

retired_chemist 9:07 AM  

Hand up for thinking ICE MELT was strange. Never heard the term, though here in Texas we don't have much need. But also never in my years in the north (40+ years ago). Never heard of magnesium chloride in that context (sodium chloride, calcium chloride, urea, yes) but it surely would work.

It cost me a DNF. ICE MELTer would have made sense, so I thought there is something funny giving omitted letters at the end of some words. so AtOMB(omb) didn't faze me @ 3D. Bah.

Nice puzzle, which I found challenging and interesting. Thanks, Ms. Valadez.

Fred Smith 9:22 AM  


Re: "...snow less in Binghampton."

I've lived in Boston (like you), and I've lived in upstate NY, and I can assure you that there's no lack of snow in Biinghampton.

Can you spell L-A-K-E---E-F-F-E-CT?


-- Fred

Bob Kerfuffle 9:30 AM  

Good one.

Just one partial write-over, which I must blame on some inexplicable mind/eye/hand disconnect: At 40 A, started putting in SECRET. . . , even though Secret is the first word of the clue!

Ludyjynn 9:32 AM  

Congrats, Heather V, on your terrific debut. Some nice crunchy fill for a Tuesday, plus a well-executed theme = a big win for the second SEX. Looking forward to seeing more from you, Thanks!

johnny stocker 9:39 AM  

I'm thinking that the people who had trouble with 'Ice Melt' are probably from south of the Mason-Dixon line.

I finished everything but one square in about 5 minutes, and then stared at the last letter of REDUX for about 5 more...

Lewis 9:45 AM  

@Q -- sometimes you can be very very funny, like today

I guess ICEMELT is a real thing, after Googling it and seeing lots of bags of rock salt.

I liked this puzzle a lot, not for the theme, which was cute and certainly Monday/Tuesdayish, but for having answers like SICK, FLY, GAMER, SNAPE, RATSNEST, scattered among the OLDE standards. I think AHH/HBOMB should be considered correct along with AHA/ABOMB. Very nice debut here, and hoping for more, Ms. Valadez.

Post Puzzle Puzzle (PPP™): I'm starting a list of this puzzle's answers which all items follow the same rule. BRASH, BOOZE, SNAPE, RODE... can you add to this list, using answers from the puzzle? There are at least twelve more answers that follow the rule.

SenorLynn 9:50 AM  

Anybody else struggle with Harry Potter name crossed with public radio name? I guessed right, but . . .

Hartley70 9:51 AM  

Thanks @RAD, you're so fly!

joho 9:51 AM  

I would have enjoyed it more if I got the math connection to OPER
ATION in the very clever reveal, but that's on me, not Heather -- congratulations on your debut, Heather!

I kept parsing it SOT OSAY.

RATSNEST is great!

RnRGhost57 9:54 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
RnRGhost57 9:55 AM  

BOOZE, SEX, and JAMS in AUSTIN . . . What's not to like?

joho 9:58 AM  

@Questinia ... along with your hilarious comment, perhaps you can provide the missing "Q?"

AliasZ 9:58 AM  

@Lewis, I never tried any of your PPP™'s before, so here it goes:


There maybe one or two questionable ones.

Z 9:59 AM  

@Moly Shu- "always like TORUS and SEX." TMI

No issue with ICE MELT. We had a shortage here in mid February. I had to resort to non-clumping kitty litter at one point to make the sidewalk safe to walk on. No issue with KENAI, so I had to go find SANA when people started pointing it out as an issue. For future reference, it is sometimes spelled SANA'A, so it can be four letter or five letter fill.

SO TO Speak is the phrase that sounds right to me, so I hesitated writing in SAY. Otherwise a pretty straightforward solve here.

Interesting, my address bar is showing "" instead of the usual "" Maybe blogger is heading to Canada.

The Oxen of the Sun 10:04 AM  

DNF for me too because of KENAI and SANA. Terrible Natick, and I already forgot what they mean.

Malsdemare 10:31 AM  

It's funny how our own personal world can so heavily influence our take on a simple puzzle. Here in dog world, ICEMELT is common; doesn't hurt dogs' paws or make them sick when they lick it off. STANDBYMODE, KENAI, SUBCONTRACT, all fell without a wimper. But I wanted SOTOvoce, misspelled FJiOrd first time round, which slowed me down.

I still haven't upgraded to the new app. What's the consensus from those who have?

I was working the Sunday crossword while hanging out with my grandkids, and the six year old decided she had to help. So I found a kids puzzle app for my ipad and set her to it. Know what? If you can't spell, xword puzzles are REALLY hard. But she slogged through and the applause from the app when she finished a puzzle was pretty motivating.

Carola 10:45 AM  

Nice! Was well on my way to "easy" after getting ADD and SUBTRACT and then filling in MULTIPLY and DIVIDE. But then I got stymied at YOL?S, because, like @casco, I expected a vowel; had to run the alphabet for the K. One other brief snag: my magnesium chloride was originally an Isotope (which I imagine you chemists will get a snort out of), despite going through a ton of ICEMELT here every winter.

Some pairs: ADO and TO-DO, ICE and RIME, LABOR and TOIL, LASTS and EVER.

wreck 10:48 AM  


I am now happy with it on ipad (as long as you use "portrait" orientation. Really, the only thing missing is the "ranking" stats which were not important to me anyways. I would like them to add the "circle" option back though.

RooMonster 10:55 AM  

Hey all! Thought this puzzle was cool. If you go to, you'll see Heathers blurb on this debut puzzle of hers. Maybe one day I will get to write one...
Anyway, thanks everyone for the great comments to my 15x "It Stands Alone" puz (That was the title, knew I forgot something...) *Looking at the stars* One day, I will get a puz published in the NYT. One day...

Arlene 11:16 AM  

It's so reassuring to come here and discover that I'm absolutely normal having trouble with that SANA/KENAI cross.
I found ADD and SUBTRACT right away, so went directly to filling in MULTIPLY and DIVIDE. Nice variation on usual puzzle-solving strategies.
I had some pop culture guesses - getting better at that, too, I guess. :-)

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

STANDBYMODE only gets 5000000 google hits - same as FJORD. not that this metric means alot, but it clearly is as commonly used as i thought it was. unless you dont use electronics.

dont see how 62A could have been difficult since you are spotted the DIVIDE before reading the clue -- unless you arent paying attention to the theme because all you care about is the fill -- unless the fill is good and you dont like the theme, then focusing on the theme is perfectly consistent.

Lewis 11:53 AM  

@aliasz -- great list, and I'm not surprised you came up with some I didn't have. I didn't think CLEESE quaified, but after a touch of research, it fits as well. And with your love of classical, I'm guessing you noticed the opera embedded in the puzzle as well.

Andrew Heinegg 12:16 PM  

To me, this is a nearly perfect Tuesday NYT puzzle. It did not take a lot of time but, it was also not filled with crossword drivel. And, since I live in the area defensively referred to as South Alaska (Seattle area), I have heard of the Kenai Peninsula.

DigitalDan 12:49 PM  

ICE MELT is symptomatic of a current emerging trend to nounify verbs, often when a perfectly good noun form (that's what gerunds are for) already exists. Thus business types talk about "third quarter spend" and reporters cover raids of "marijuana grows." Language evolves, I guess, but does it have to do it while I'm watching?

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

All too familiar with ice melt after 37 winters in Chicago, 22 of them owning my own house, on a corner lot, SE corner (the sun melts ice and snow on northern sidewalks in winter in Chicago, being as it is in the southern hemisphere, but sidewalk on my side of the street is in the shadow of my house), so TWO long stretches of sidewalk to keep clear throughout winter. But "SO TO SAY"??? The expression is "so to speak," and I have never heard or read "so to say," meaning "in a manner of speaking."

ANON B 12:54 PM  

I had to keep looking at the
top of the page to make sure it was Tuesday.

Leapfinger 1:13 PM  

Yeast, @Gilly, Y-E-A-S-T??? You ain't makin' none o' my omelettes for me!
otoh, GMTAlike; I also zeroed in on the AHA-SEX-BOOZE triumvirate. But in the fourth corner I had EEYORE instead of CLEESE. Pleese help me sort out my priorities!

@Lewis, 'sometimes' @Q is very funny??

@Alias, you're in top forum today, and obviously in a better moo'ed than moi. Hoping that will prove infectious, can't B. cereus when B. subtilis is so much better. And all over a minor case of B. onth'Rex!
Not a surprise my mind also went Latin with SANA. Back in college, I calligraphied a birthday present for a young friend, mounted it in a lovely oval bronze frame: Womens SANA in corpore SANo. I was decades ahead of my time. Oddly, she suffered an accident similar to yours: a 6 oz. can of frozen OJ fell from the freezer, landed on her big toe. I don't know if she RUHRed, but the nail turned black,and the dressing was the size of a 150-watt lightbulb.

Anyway, you TORUS up, and we [ed.] don't feel TUBAed anymore. T'anks!

Anonymous 1:14 PM  

I had trouble with KENAI/SANA/AMCS. But the one that bothers me post-puzzle is BRASH. Why pick a word from the second def of the word instead of one from the first? To me when I think impetuous I am more likely to think RASH than BRASH.

impertinent; impudent; tactless: a brash young man.
hasty; rash; impetuous.

wreck 1:20 PM  

@anon 1:14

Actually, the whole point of crossword PUZZLES is to get you to think "outside the box."

Z 1:22 PM  

@DigitalDan - The phenomenon you describe may be happening, but ICE MELT and snow melt are not a part of it. Both are examples of long extant compound nouns. Just recently the "inevitability" of Antarctic ICE MELT was all over the news (except Fox, but, well, Fox).

@Lewis - Sometimes very, sometimes mildly, sometimes extremely, etc. etc. etc. Correct?

wreck 1:28 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
CaseAceFos 1:36 PM  

Good Day, AliasZ, Howie,here, alias PM,LOL! I can't seem to adequately find the words to say how wonderful it was for you to reply to my comment on yesterday's blog! Of course, I informed Librarose of your sincere felicitations and she was equally thrilled that you so decently decided to acknowledge my message.

Blue Owl 1:42 PM  

@jae: Yes, I waited for 18 minutes for the NYT to
download today's puzzle. Liked the puzzle, esp. when I found it easier than Rex ! Never heard of TORUS---something learned. Really surprised that Rex hadn't heard of ICEMELT, living in the snow belt of NYS as he does !

Kretch 2:02 PM  

Sassy; hibernation.. Nuff said - A very enjoyable Tuesday slog that felt like a Wednesday/Thursday for me :)

Leapfinger 2:25 PM  

@Pastor Munster, I want you to think long and hard as to whether it's safe for you to kick/jump the traces. Just remember, you're within firing distance of Chicago!

As to reco vs recco, it may be recondite, but I reckon 'recco' just stresses the HARD-Cedness of the word. Today being Math Day, I have the Riccati equation in my corner.

So don't open that door, Riccardo; abbrevs fall into the category of 'Perconal Preference'.

Gill I. P. 2:26 PM  

@Leapy...Whaaaaat? You never sprinkled a little Brewer's on yer Hijole Caramba???
Speaking of REAM...I think one of you clever constructors ought to add
SUAREZ to your repertoire of infamous puzzle names. You can always clue him as the well known soccer player who bites! I think there's a name for that.

Ray J 2:41 PM  

Interestingly, KENAI FJORDs has been a National Park since 1980. Looks like a SICK place to visit.

FWIW - when not melting ice in the winter, mag chloride is used as a dust suppressant on unpaved roads. I think calcium chloride is more common though.

Terrific debut, Ms. Valadez

Benko 3:06 PM  

@lewis: I also didn't think CLEESE qualified. if it was spelled clease...
My favorite is AMCS. As in "sucka".

Z 3:12 PM  

@Gill I.P. - Balotelli and Suarez both win a purple AMC Pacer for their performances today. How do you root against both teams in a match?

Anonymous 3:28 PM  

For me, the puzzle was strangely torus-shaped -- soft and easy on the outside, but crunchy and tough in the middle (where the hole would be in a true torus).

I got the circles long before I got the revealer. SUBTRACT just jumped off the page in 24-A and I already had AD- in 18-A, so I got a lot of freebie letters in 50-A and 62-A. I had to think a while to see how COVERTOPERATION hinted at the circled answers, but finally got it.

Like others, though, after breezing through the soft stuff, I panicked at a possible Natick in the middle area. I thought 36-A might be SICK (as it turned out to be), but I did not know either SANA or KENAI. I knew that 48-A involved cars and for some strange reason wrote in GMCS initially (I'm not very good at cars). What saved me was realizing that it could be AMCS (I once owned two AMC cars -- not at the same time). Since Alaskan names often have a K (or two) in them, I went with the feeling that 36-A was SICK. 38-D then was KE-AI, 44-A was SA-A, and all I had to do was find a crossing letter that looked good and sounded good for both geographical features. After running the alphabet, the safest guess seemed to be N, so I ended up with everything right.

But does that make it deserve the "challenging" label? Probably, high-easy to low-medium, I'd say.

Gill I. P. 3:29 PM  

@Z..True - but I don't think Balotelli's collision was intentional. Suarez - on the other hand....Yikes, I'd hate to be his girlfriend!

Lewis 3:30 PM  

@benko -- I looked up the appropriate word for CLEESE, and by golly, it's a real thing.

AliasZ 3:50 PM  

@Leapy, at the risk of exceeding my 3-post limit and thereby incurring the wrath of our co-commenters, let me conclude with this observation. I learned a long time ago that in many instances I should ignore a certain IL resident who takes great joy in pushing buttons. He means no harm. He, as all of us, is a mere MORTAR. Also, my recco comment was not directed at you, but rather at PM who had numerous run-ins with it. I hope your day is winding down to a more pleasant close than the way it started.

Do you remember this?

Cheers, and over and out (for today).

PS. Maybe I'll try some Armagnac tonight.

sanfranman59 4:11 PM  

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

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

Tue 8:25, 8:25, 1.00, 50%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:30, 5:21, 1.03, 58%, Medium

elibativa 4:11 PM  

Sana/Kenai crossing is ridiculous.

Plus, that's not even how Sana'a is spelled!

Leapfinger 4:35 PM  

@AliasZumed and more

Jaj Istenem! I've never forgotten it, nor that you already gave it back to me once. My litle Muti had a low alto voice, and sang it just as in the first part of the recording, before he went into the higher range. Oh my, you've just discovered another way to break a heart, and I mean that in the best possible way.

If anyone complains @you about an overrun, I'll take care of them. You deserve an Armandaleg-agnac tonight.

You, Szir, are a Pal ;)

CaseAceFos 4:41 PM  

Oh, Wow! I guess it is somewhat more combative here on Rexy's blog than over on WP, especially when I espy fellow Hungarian's,Leapy and AliasZ, engaging in a slight tussle over the employment of comment reco's and/or recco's across the river in Amlenville.
Leapy, You don't want a Recochet romance, I don't want a Reccochet love!" Hee Hee Hee

JFC 4:44 PM  

Reco v. Recco:

Reco is pronounced like RICO, the anti-mafia law.

Recco is pronounced like Necco, the wafer candy.

Now, @AliasZ, which would you prefer, jail or joy? And, since you've been outed, you might consider visiting now and then. You'll likely get lots of reccos....


Lewis 4:48 PM  

Post Puzzle Puzzle (PPP™) solution:

The property the words share is that if you remove the first letter, a bona fide word still remains, thus BOOZE yields ooze and RODE ode.

najma love 4:49 PM  

Join for Best Online Home based Jobs

CaseAceFos 4:51 PM  

elibativa, KENAI suggest you contact your lawyer and have him/or her,draw up a CONTRACT with a new Sanaa Clause? :-)

CaseAceFos 4:59 PM  

OMG, Leapy! Speak of the Legal Eagle out of the Windy City!
HiYa, JFC, How ya doon?

Glad you joined the fun, as Lurk would have it! LOL

Oh, how I wish I could sprinkle a couple of few reco's over here!

KFC 5:09 PM  

WTF are you people talking about and WTF does it have to do with today's puzzle?

I really miss the 3 post limit!

Eat more chicken, now boneless!

chefbea 6:08 PM  

@leapfinger...HUH...what is going on. I agree with @KFC what is everyone talking about?????

JFC 6:10 PM  

@Rex, I have bad news for you. Your Blog has been hijacked by a bunch of Wordplayers.

@MOL,apparently you find this format more user-friendly.

@AliasZ, I forgot to ask how those Rangers did.

The puzzle was great, especially for a debut anywhere.


Benko 7:25 PM  

@KFC: There never really was a three post limit. That is a self-imposed rule some people choose to follow.
I do believe, however, that there is an no-advertising-allowed rule in effect, unless it is specifically crossword-related.

Mohair Sam 7:39 PM  

Fun and tough Tuesday for us. No prob with ICEMELT. Otherwise agree with Rex - liked the solve as a themeless, however . . . . .

Martin 8:08 PM  

Tonight the special is barackpálinka.

KFC 8:19 PM  

@Benko - Yes there was. Before your time Rex requested that commenters limit their posts to 3. Check the archives. Reading this stuff is rapidly becoming a waste of time.

Eat more chicken, now boneless.

Anonymous 8:25 PM  

@KFC: Every time I see your post I'm reminded of rats in my special batter.

Benko 8:39 PM  

So don't read it. Just like I don't eat disgusting chicken.

Anonymous 8:40 PM  

Is everyone having Armagnac tonight? I might have to slum it with Rémy Martin...

btw, speaking of TYSON (Neal deGrasse, not the Chikin), do yourselves a favor and catch this interview, so nice with Seth Meyers.

Haut bois, even comic book lovers gotta love that man!

Orthodox Z 8:51 PM  

There is a three post limit imposed by OFL. One of the wiser rules he made. Violators with manners apologize when they break the rule. Violators with ingenuity will use an alternate nom de blog.

My mom used to speak Spanish to her siblings when she didn't want us kids to understand. Since she was my mom it wasn't rude. Of course, she didn't have email or facebook or twitter to have personal conversations, either.

chefbea 8:52 PM  

@anon 8:40..We do have Armagnac...but I think I will have my home made Lemoncello

Leapfinger 9:52 PM  

@chefbea, I'd be happy to fill you in (briefly) since you asked so nicely. But can I do that tomorrow, if you're still interested? Right now I'm prepping for the Wednesday puzzle.

Gill I. P. 10:08 PM  

@Leapfinger and @AliaZ....I have no idea what doo-doo-doo-doo,doo doo-doo-doo you come from nor do I care.
I'm glad you're here and add so many laughs as well as a much needed infusion of artsy fartsy music to this here blog.
Since your arrival, I've lost some thanks for the laughs!
I'd add @Questinia to the equation but she might hit me with a word I have to look up!

dk 10:18 PM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 Moons)

EAPOE was what they called Hippos in Zambia… or thereabouts. Interestingly they sweat their own sun screen.

The reveal did not do the build up justice. As I never like the reveals: meh.

Fine puzzle except I am singing the Potter Puppet Pals song: SNAPE SNAPE…..

Thanks Heather

Leapfinger 10:51 PM  

Barack Palinka? I'm sorry, I must be suffering from Herblock!
The body count sure is piling up...

@OrthoZ, thanks, you're very helpful!

@GillyLass, how much weight did-did, did-did you say you are trying to lose?

Orthodox Z 11:53 PM  

@Leapfinger - Anytime I can be of service. Now I have to go yell at some kids on my lawn.

sanfranman59 2:01 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 5:17, 6:04, 0.87, 4%, Easy (9th lowest ratio of 233 Mondays)
Tue 8:33, 8:33, 1.00, 50%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:33, 3:55, 0.91, 9%, Easy
Tue 5:30, 5:21, 1.01, 54%, Medium

spacecraft 11:18 AM  

I found this one to be rather easy. A couple of clues were cute, but not obfuscating. The circles feature left me less than impressed. As OFL said, just sticking "CON" in the middle of SUBTRACT, or filling out MULTIPLY with A_ER, is a long way from COVERT. The others? It's no trick to find an expression containing an A floolwed (somewhere) by two D's. DIVIDE is only a little harder to break up inside of a phrase. Ho hum.

I do kind of like a lot of the fill. I applaud the cluing on 52d; glad she didn't go with the chicken dude--or even worse, the fighter. One crossing could get naticky for some, at SANA/KENAI. The EAPOE entry bothered me, being a big fan, but at least there weren't any more Romanumerals.

Theme: C. Fill: A-. Overall: B-.

224; warming up.

spacecraft 11:21 AM  

Proofread, Spacy! That word was, of course, "followed." Ya folla?

Waxy in Montreal 1:15 PM  

Must agree with @Rex that this would probably have been better as a themeless puzzle. Everything other than the theme was FLY, if not SICK, with answers from all over the map, both literally (Norwegian FJORD, AUSTIN, SANA, KENAI, RUHR, the URALs, BOCA Raton) and figuratively. Loved it.

3194 (A BOMB)

DMG 4:05 PM  

I've taken to skipping a lot of the real-day posts because so many seem to be about something other than the puzzle at hand, so maybe I missed it, but I'm assuming the grammatically unpleasing ICEMELT must be a trade marked name. Other than that this went pretty smoothly except for the final square. It took me forever to see REDUX, but see it I did, once I decided the school,had to end with a U!

136 = 10 = 0? Or do you draw another card? Bring back the poker.

Dirigonzo 4:28 PM  

I had iLl for really cool, in slang - the middle letter worked just fine in LABOR but what the heck is a iJORD? STANDBYMODE saved the day.

@DMG - I skipped the real-time commentary, too, so I don't know if your question was addressed there, but ICE MELT is the generic term for products suck as rock salt and calcium chloride which are used to treat side walks, driveways and parking lots to melt the ice in the northern climes. Magnesium Chloride is sold commercially as "Safe-Step", a product advertised as safer for shrubs and pets.

3443 - I'm with DMG, bring back the poker.

rain forest 4:56 PM  

I'm pretty well in agreement with all syndies although ICEMELT is a product I'm familiar with. The TYSON/SNAPE cross was almost a natick, but the "n" seemed most appropriate. I thought the theme was OK, if a little transparent, and the revealer was great.

Fresh, fun, and entertaining fill. Nice Tuesday.

It's unanimous--bring back poker!

404 = 8 I wish I knew if this was in the running or not.

Z 5:15 PM  

@DMG - command-f (mac) or ctrl-f (pc) will open a little search box in most browsers. You can then look for a specific word like ICEMELT, rather than scanning through all 112 prior comments. I found 7 comments on ICEMELT and 10 on ICE MELT in the "real time" comments.

Solving in Seattle 5:39 PM  

The KENAI was a gift for me, evoking memories of salmon fishing on the Kenai River twice with a guide who told me I was the only client he's ever had who wiffed - no fish either day. You could have walked across the river on the backs of king salmon. There were five of us in the boat the second day and a woman who had caught two nice 25 pounders felt so sorry for me she offered me one of her fish. I took it.

EAPOE probably wouldn't have taken the fish.

Nice debut, Heather. REDUX please.

793. I think this is 9 and a winner. Prefer poker.

Anonymous 6:05 PM  

I liked this puzzle, was stumped for a bit on multiplayer, though. Not much of a gamer, except for crosswords.

DMG 8:07 PM  

@Diri: thanks for the education on ICEMELT, as a military brat I've lived a lot of places, but, amazingly, nowhere that has more than a dusting of snow. Now, surf wax.....

@Z:Thanks for the hint, but I have basically retired my somewhat ancient iBook in favor of the iPad. I tried using "copy/define" , but, not surprisingly, it didn't recognize the word. Possibly the newer iPad has something similar to what you describe, but this is the original model.

Back to Photo Sphere

Z 9:20 PM  

@DMG - it's a little trickier on an ipad. In the search box at the top of the page (on my iPad the url box and search box are the same, for some people the search box is the one on the right) type in the word you want. You will see options for the web start to appear. Scroll down and you will see "On This Page." Tap the search term and it will take you to the first example on the page and leave a little find box above your keyboard. This works for Safari. If you use a different browser on your iPad this may or may not work. It doesn't work in Izik or Opera, for example.

I don't know how useful this is for skipping through the various real-time comments, but you might find it of use on other web pages.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP