1936 opponent of Franklin D. / WED 7-16-14 / The symbol for the Roman god Mars represents it / Bootleggers' foes / N.Y.C.'s Third and Ninth Avenue lines, e.g. / Refrain syllables / Comic with a "domestic goddess" persona / Nesting area for wading birds

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Constructor: Daniel Raymon

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Triangles — Geometry throwback! Three sets of circles, each set forming a different kind of triangle, the circled letters spell TRI ANG LES

Theme answers:
  • SCALENE (21A: Like the figure formed by the three circled letters in the upper left)
  • ISOSCELES (36A: Like the figure formed by the three circled letters in the upper right)
  • EQUILATERAL (55A: Like the figure formed by the three circled letters at the bottom)
via The Wildlife Trusts
Word of the Day: HERONRY (11D: Nesting area for wading birds) —
Sometimes on the train north to the country, I catch a glimpse of a heron rookery in a swamp by the tracks. To call it a rookery, now a general term for a breeding colony, is to catch a linguistic glimpse of the great colonies of rooks’ nests — raucous, brawling places — that dot the English countryside. What I see from the train should really be called a heronry, a village of well-built heron nests high in the trees. In winter, they stand out against the sky like dense clouds or puffs of dark smoke caught in the uppermost branches. 
[more beauty from Verlyn Klinkenborg via The New York Times]
• • •
I like different. This puzzle is certainly not run-of-the-mill, and I admire that, in spite of a fair amount of unsavory fill the construction forced. Dani's given us logophiles a math-y puzzle, one that employs the physicality of the grid in a way that most puzzles don't. If you're wondering why the grid looks a little funky, it's because that's left-right mirror symmetry.

I gotta say, before I'd finished the puzzle, I was nervous that the circles were just scattered any which way, so long as they formed the appropriate triangle. Really glad to see them spell out TRIANGLES. Looking back, that explains some huge constraints on the fill, among them the plural name ARIS, the letter string RST, and two partials in the first three acrosses: ATAB and OHTO—that last one having no other clue but ["___ be in England"]. (Really. Guess we gotta popularize this Philip K. Dick short story.) I wouldn't quite say the better fill — AMERICA (especially as clued as the Colbert book), GAME LAW, MALE SEX, TEXTERS, CERAMICS — totally evens it out, but it at least partially drowned out OF A ETE TYNE.

[Not Imagine Dragons' best, but "not Imagine Dragons' best" is still pretty good]

As Dani notes at Wordplay, there's a slight hitch in the actual geometry, because depending on what medium you solve the puzzle in, the scalene triangle may not appear scalene—alas, the print version's squares are not perfectly square. (Ugh, squares ruining circular triangles, every geometrician's nightmare!) As such, in his original grid, the base of the scalene triangle ran parallel to the other triangles' bases, from the R of RECAP to the I of IAN, rather than the first I of ELITISM, which would have been a tad more elegant. Lucky how that switch worked out, but I wonder how Dani might have changed the North section of the grid if he hadn't been bound by the I in IAN.

Anyway, as I said, I'm not too bothered by all this. We've all seen better fill, but it's nice to get something different out of a theme—it's Wednesday. Plus, this puzzle brought back good memories of Mr. Winokur and Mr. Worrall, who taught me geometry way back when. Hey guys!

  • OF A (10D: All ___ sudden) — Quick poll: What would people think about cluing OFA as Organizing for America, the community organizing foundation now which grew out of Obama for America? asking for a friend
  • TMEN (17A: Bootleggers' foes) — Too often on TMEN and GMEN clues I write in that terminal S, only to reluctantly take it out later. Curses!
  • ALF (54A: 1936 opponent of Franklin D.) — OK, but said opponent was actually known as Alf. Did anyone go around calling Roosevelt "Franklin D."? (Eleanor: "Franklin D., time for dinner!") Why didn't this just say Franklin?
  • TRALALA (43D: Refrain syllables) — It was nice to see TRA-LA-LA in full! Too often poor TRA flies solo with the sad clue [Refrain syllable]. (Or, as it was clued by Francis Heaney in the American Values Club Crossword, [You know, we try to come up with original clues, but sometimes you have a word like this, and then what are you gonna do? You’re gonna use “Refrain syllable”]. If you're not solving the AVCX yet, get on that.)
  • ELS (22A: N.Y.C.'s Third and Ninth Avenue lines, e.g.) — Right in my wheelhouse. I just graduated with an urban studies major with a focus in public transportation. There's a TON of great old documentaries on YouTube on the sad destruction of the old New York els. (Like, well over 20. Here's an hourlong one if that just brought out the inner foamer in you.) (I just learned that word, "foamer," meaning train enthusiast, today. Useful!) If you only have three minutes, here's a quick newsreel:

And some great footage set to some classic 1950s music:

It's been a pleasure. You're in different hands tomorrow. Winter is coming.

Signed, Finn Vigeland, Foamer of CrossWorld


wreck 12:12 AM  

Another nice write up from Finn. He hit most of my same observations.
The NYT ipad app is SO much better now! If they would give us the ability to "circle" squares again, I would probably give it 4 1/2 stars.

SenorLynn 12:23 AM  

Thanks, Finn. Some of the explanation is over my head, but I'm glad you caught it.
We had SCALENE just a few days ago, & I only know 2 other names for triangles, so the themes went right in.
Heavy on political losers: ALF, PEROT, ROMNEY, Colbert(?) . RESURGE & HERONRY seem forced.
22 1/2 min, while watching the weather--the summer polar vortex.

jae 12:32 AM  

Delightful write up Finn.  Easy for me.  Spelled SCRAG with a K the first time through but that was it for erasures. 

I learned I had no idea how to spell ISOSCELES.  Apparently, I never had to spell  it in high school.

Liked the theme and the clever use of circles, but Wed. needs to be more of a challenge plus the fill....

Steve J 12:40 AM  

Finn, great writeup. Enjoyed it a lot more than the puzzle.

For me, the theme wasn't enough of a payoff to make up for the compromises in fill. Some bad forced plurals (REMS is one of the worst ever, so I guess points there for achievement), some very awkward partials, and a lack of zippy fill left this falling a bit flat for me.

That said, all of the triangle terms make for nice fill.

Questinia 1:57 AM  

Wow. What a great write up and wonderful set of allusions you make, Finn.
I know Verlyn Klinkenborg's HERONRY quite well. I take the same train. It's near Harlem Valley on the Metro-North line. I saw a golden eagle there once.
As an urban studies major, what is it with fro-yo? I think it's money laundering.
Yes, nice logophilic puzzle.

Moly Shu 2:56 AM  

Liked the triangles and overall theme. Didn't like the already mentioned partials and ARIS, REMS, and PSAS were dreadful. Toss in RST also. HERONRY and SCRAG? Not in my vocabulary. But on the plus side, we got to see FLO tell MEL to "eat my grits"

Thanks again @FInn. A Lannister always pays his debts.

John Child 3:24 AM  

Seconding @jae on "too easy" and @Steve J on "falling flat" due to poor fill.

chefwen 3:40 AM  

Despite the fact that Dad tried to beat math esp. geometry into me (it had the opposite effect) I did amazing well on this puzzle. Like @jae learned that I had no idea how to spell ISOSCELES, think I had an extra O somewhere in there and had to rely on crosses.

Probably one of my fastest Wednesdays in a long time, too fast, but given the theme it was quite satisfying. Too bad Dear Old Dad is stone deaf, I would like to tell him about it. Maybe
an E-NOTE will suffice.

Anonymous 5:02 AM  

A nitpick: the equilateral triangle is not realy equilateral. All sides need to be the same length and the base here is shorter than the two dies.

Lewis 6:13 AM  

Finn, your writeup was again astute and interesting. I will perk up when I see you again as a sub. I agree with the D. on Franklin. I am not familiar with Organizing for America.

Like Finn, I liked the differentness of the puzzle, and for me it did outweigh what ugly fill there was, and it didn't seem like an overabundance of ugly fill. The puzzle felt easy, and maybe Will felt the cluing should be easy given that the grid makes this essentially three puzzles, up, down, and middle.

POST PUZZLE PUZZLE (PPP): There are three theme answers missing -- OBTUSE, ACUTE, and a third. Join that third word with another word (not triangle related) to make a common sports term, and find in the grid a synonym for that other word. How many letters does the word in the grid have?

If you wish to post an answer, which is a number, feel free, as it doesn't give too much away. There may be more than one answer, and any justifiable answer is, of course, correct. I'll give my answer later this afternoon, and often Ralph has it up on runtpuz.org .

Anon-sq 6:26 AM  

@Anonymous 5:02

You do realize that nit is not with the triangle, but with the squares.

Leapfinger 6:35 AM  


3 is one that works. Good PPP yesterday, enjoyed it.

Hungry Mother 6:38 AM  


GILL I. 6:50 AM  

Well, this was interesting. I sort of sailed through this and when I finished UP UP, I couldn't figure out why.
SEE, SOY, SIP by the SCALENE....
To RECAP my RESURGE, I loved seeing HERONRY. HEF is a bit of a EWE but I do like STEIGER.
@Finn: I too am a bit of a foamer! If you ever get to Sacramento, come see the State Railroad Museum. It's considered one of the finest in the world. I'll show you around and then we can go eat some of our locally grown salmon.

Moly Shu 6:53 AM  

@Lewis, my first attempt at a PPP. I'll go with 3.

mathguy 7:02 AM  

Finn is saying that the squares in the print version aren't true squares. I solve on the print version and they look square. Assuming that they are actual squares, it would be impossible to position three circles on the grid so that an equilateral triangle is formed having a base parallel to the bottom of the grid. I mean a triangle in which the three vertices are the centers of the circles. The constructor came pretty close with a triangle having a base of 6 and a height of 5. The sides are both about 5.83, a little shorter than the base. He could have come closer with a triangle having a base of 8 and a height of 7. The sides of that one would be about 8.06, a little longer than the base.

The reason that it's impossible to make an exact equilateral triangle whose base is parallel to the bottom of the puzzle is that the base angles of an equilateral triangle are 60 degrees and that the tangent of 60 degrees is an irrational number.

Unknown 7:23 AM  

Moly: Flo says, "Kiss my grits!" I agree having two characters from that old show was great!

r.alphbunker 7:35 AM  

This was a Euclidean petting zoo! Squares containing circles marking the vertices of triangles.

Euclid was quite a guy. He is also known for a couple of algorithms although most credit the Babylonians for the first ones. The idea for an algorithm probably came from descriptions of recipes, rituals and agricultural practices, e.g. bury the seed about a 1/2 inch deep and sprinkle with water to taste.

Algorithms are always compared to recipes in beginning programming classes but the analogy breaks down when a recipe fails to produce the intended result.

For example, if a recipe for muffins says to fill the muffin tin half full with the batter and you fill half the holes of the tin completely and leave the other half empty I would argue that the muffin tin is indeed half full but this arrangement does not produce the intended result.

r.alphbunker 7:46 AM  


You are awesome! Your PPPs are like a cup of fine coffee after a delicious meal. If you email me when you have posted a PPP I will immediately put it on runtpuz.org.

BTW, the synonym you are looking for is not the only one that works for this puzzle. There is a synonym that is a geometrical object that Euclid studied. A manifestation of this geometrical object is used in most team sports including the one that you are thinking of.

Moly Shu 7:59 AM  

@JosephWelling, you're correct. I blew it. Bad proof reading. Now I'm done.

RAD2626 8:02 AM  

Terrific write up. Thanks.

Enjoyed the theme. Would be neat to see a theme like that where black squares formed the shapes. Maybe not doable. Having the circles spell "triangles" is pretty amazing.

Not too many tricky or clever clues. Liked two characters from Diner and ram/ewe pairing.

Do not know Org for America. Problem is the all____sudden, birds___feather, two____kind are too easy.

cfxk 8:03 AM  

Actually....Roosevelt was referred to familiarly as "Franklin D." As evidence, see Ira Gershwin's hugely popular, much recorded, and still widely performed "I Can't Get Started:"

"I've been consulted by Franklin D.
Even Gable had me to tea
But now I'm broken hearted
Can't get started with you"

Check out Billie Holiday's classic recording: http://youtu.be/hvKfPWUPR9g

AliasZ 8:22 AM  

Excellent puzzle, Daniel. It was pictorial, and it had a nice FLO to it. After I was finished, I stepped back, looked at the filled grid and realized the triangles spelled out TRI-ANG-LES. How neat is that?

Yes, I would have loved to see a few things changed for a better fill, because ATAB, ATEN, ARIS, REMS, PSAS, RST, OHTO and especially TIEUP and ACTSUP are far from ideal, but the great theme answers, and ANTWERP, HERONRY, CERAMICS, hot TAMALES, TRISTAN, ROSEANNE, Rod STEIGER, MALE SEX symbol, PECAN tart, Ted Turner and his ATLANTA ELITISM etc. more than made up for it.

What do you call the years of the 80-90's in the life of humans? OUT-AGE.

Nothing could be more perfect than to end with El sombrero de tres picos or The Three-Cornered Hat by Manuel de Falla. I wonder if that hat was one of the obtuse, acute, ISOSCELES, SCALENE, EQUILATERAL or right TRI-ANG-LES. From a distance it looks like an obtuse isosceles.

But it's TYNE, I HEF to go. ALF see EWE lay TAR.

joho 8:25 AM  

First off, thank you, Finn, for your wonderful write up. The quote on HERONRY is beautiful. You also mentioned all the negatives while still accentuating the positives of this puzzle: well done!

It's funny because you used ATAD in your piece which is what I changed ATAB to in my head to get rid of that unfortunate opening partial.

@Steve J, I'm with you on REMS.

To me any inelegance in the grid was outweighed by the really original theme, the interesting theme answers and the icing on the cake: TRI ANG LES! Beautifully done, Daniel!

Ludyjynn 8:27 AM  

"OHTO BE IN ENGLAND now that April's here" by Robert Browning went in first, @Finn, being a gimme as clued. BTW, Springtime in GB is the loveliest time of year.

SCRAG, really?! What an ugly word Nice to see ALF not clued as a t.v. ET, for a change. Other fill did not bother me as much as it did some of you. It is only Wednesday, after all!

Thanks, DR and WS for a fine geometry-themed puzz. First time since Mr. Lipman's dreaded h.s. class that I actually applied any of the terms. Go "figure" (sorry).

Fred Smith 8:42 AM  


One of the old NYC Els that has been repurposed (not destroyed) is the High Line in lower Manhattan. Beautiful seasonal plantings along the one-mile walk, rest areas, food vendors. It has actually rejuvenated many of the neighborhoods along the way. Looking into adjacent apartments can be off-putting at times, though.

-- Fred

Beaglelover 8:44 AM  

I thought this puzzle was easy.
Thank you Finn for the clips of the 3rd Avenue el. It was a great treat for me to ride that train out of the Bronx occasionally and go to Manhattan with my mother.

Nancy 9:00 AM  

Quelle bore! I was expecting a Thursday rebus-type puzzle and was miffed that this was so simple, straightforward and dull. Then I came here and found out today is WEDNESDAY! My bad. So there's nothing wrong with this puzzle, except if I'd known it was Wednesday, I wouldn't have bothered with it. I seldom bother with Mon, Tues and Wed, as I'm just writing in letters while my brain is elsewhere.

dk 9:09 AM  

πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ• (3 Moons)

Girlfriend to dk: What an interesting weekend I do not think I ever spent an evening where the major topics of conversation included calculus and wave theory.

dk to GF: Yup

GF to dk: You guys are so mean. You called your sister on Saturday and wove critical fill for the NYT x-word in your conversation. Does that not ruin the puzzle for her?

dk to GF: Yup

GF to dk: I bet you long for a puzzle that has a theme of algebra or geometry.

dk to GF: Yup

GF to dk: Do you think you spend to much time living in your head?

dk to GF: Please pass the molasses.

jberg 9:16 AM  

Nostalgia day! If you liked the 3d Ave El clips, here's an excerpt from Tim Wright's documentary "The Conservation of Matter." Tim started out filming the demolition, then got interested in what happened to the steel afterward and followed it to its final destination.

I didn't like this one until I noticed -- just before coming here when I took a last glance to see if I'd missed anything -- that the circles spelled TRIANGLES. Until then I thought they were the Celtic gods TIR, ANG, and LES, and that didn't make sense. So I won't ACT UP, or TIE UP you folks with a lot of griping.

Finn, that beautiful WOD passage catches the problem with HERONRY -- i.e., that it's not called that! I've been in plenty of them, and never heard them called anything but a rookery. But then, I've never heard bootleggers' foes called anything but 'revenooers,' either!

Z 9:22 AM  

@Nancy - I always hate it when my brain is elsewhere. The SCARS take forever to heal.

Was wondering about the the seeming randomness of the circles as I started, thought to myself "hmm, could be triangles." Yep. So no moment of discovery during the solve. Do like the south. MALE SEX crossing RESURGE is a little viagra moment for when one has an OUTAGE. The long fill is good, the short fill is made worse by the quantity of it. In the NW and NE we get 8 short answers, 6 of them are cringeworthy. Yikes.

I am familiar with Organizing for America, so a fine clue for OFA, although I am sure many of the "corporations are people too" crowd would be offended. On a somewhat related note, I am wondering who will use OXT in a puzzle first.

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

Nice write up.

Enjoyed the puzzle but didn't realize the circled letters spelled TRI ANG LES. (Was thinking, what are RIT, NAG, and LES supposed to mean?). Duh!

Evan 9:27 AM  

The theme is fine, but as Finn pointed out, the fill really suffers because of the puzzle's constraints. But I don't think it has to. I'm with Trip Payne when he recently said that "With enough work, and perhaps a willingness to pull back a little from the original concept, you can pretty much always avoid poor fill."

So I decided to do some major surgery on the puzzle to see if I could improve things. I made two structural changes to the grid: first, I changed the positions of the T, R, and I in the SCALENE triangle; and second, I added a pair of cheater squares at the bottom.

This grid is what came out after a couple of hours in the oven. I think the fill is better in this version, though unfortunately, it just barely prevents @Lewis from doing his post-puzzle puzzle (the answer to which, I believe, is 3).

Steve J 9:34 AM  

@Lewis: I'm stumped. The term I'm coming up with doesn't have a synonym in the puzzle. So clearly there's another term you're thinking of that just isn't coming to me.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:41 AM  

Nice one.

Surprised no one seems to have commented on the crossing of RESURGE and URGE!

Pete Seeger 9:44 AM  

Franklin D.

Franklin D., listen to me
You ain’t gonna send me ‘cross the sea.
‘Cross the sea, ‘cross the sea
You ain’t gonna send me ‘cross the sea.

You may say it’s for defense
But that kinda talk that I’m against.
I’m against, I’m against,
That kinda talk ain’t got no sense.

Lafayette, we are here,
We’re gonna stay right over here
Over here, over here,
We’re gonna stay right over here.

Marcantonio is the best,
But I wouldn’t give a nickel for all the rest.
All the rest, all the rest,
I wouldn’t give a nickel for all the rest.

J. P. Morgan’s big and plump,
Eighty-four inches around the rump.
Around the rump, around the rump,
Eighty-four inches around the rump.

Wendell Wilkie and Franklin D.,
Seems to me they both agree,
Both agree, both agree,
Both agree on killin’ me.

Words by Millard Lampell, Lee Hays, and Pete Seeger
Music: traditional banjo tune (“Ida Red”) (1941)
(c) 1993 by Stormking Music Inc.

Zeke 9:51 AM  

@Evan - The positions of the TRI/ANG/LES are critical, as they read top to bottom. left to right. Your suggestion improves fill but ruins the elegance of the theme.

Zeke 9:56 AM  

@DK - I believe your story is a complete fabrication, as no one in the history of the universe has asked for molasses in such a polite manner using proper American English.

Honeysmom 10:07 AM  

Easier Wednesday than usual. Just a little trouble in southwest corner for a while. Poor Nancy -- too smart and bored to even do Mon, Tues, Wed. Those are my favorite days, except for Sundays. And it's such a pleasure to have stand-ins for cranky Rex!

Evan 10:12 AM  


I don't understand your point. The grid in the Times doesn't show the triangles' vertices reading "top to bottom," as the R in the scalene triangle is below the I. The one way that the triangles are consistent is that you read them by starting from the northernmost vertex and travel in a counterclockwise direction. My changes to the positions of the T, R, and I don't change that theme pattern at all.

Leapfinger 10:20 AM  

@ Questina, you flummoxed me today.
@dk, just a charming fellow!
@Z, that was going to be my OXT thought.

Zipped through the NWCorner, had SC @21A. Looked back at NW circles. IRT??? No, TRI. Saw the SCALENE TRIangle, checked the other sets of circles, and literally groaned in admiration. Flew through the rest on a high that forgave even OFA.

Liked the assortment of pairs and axes provided: RAM-EWE, FLO-MEL, ROMNEY-PEROT, ANTWERP-ATLANTA, as well as the ADAGE OUTAGE parallel, which led to an imAGE of cabbAGE and homAGE to triAGE in oldAGE that includes STENT, CRUTCH and SCARS, as well as serial PSAS for the MALE SEX. The latter doesn;t 'ALF bother the feMALE SEX.

Was most error-prone in first completing ---NEY as cheNEY. Yeah, that's a ticket!

My continuing thanks to C.P. Batt, who fascinated us miscreants into staying after school for Math Club for no extra credit, to learn about matrices, Boolean algebra and cuneiform numbering systems. You were a dead-eye shot with a piece of chalk if ever attention wandered, and you allowed me to work out my issues with proof 'by inspection' in early days. We suspected, but didn't fully realize what a treasure we had. R.I.P, CP, your good work lives on.

mac 10:24 AM  

Good Wednesday, with the last letter to fall the C in isosceles. And what a weird coincidence to have scalene again so soon!

@Bob K: I noticed the crossing urges as well.

@Finn: I would have needed crosses for the Org. for America. Probably fine later in the week.

Franklin D. seems legitimate.

Arlene 10:45 AM  

Something a bit different - this theme had a clever creativity about it. Yes, there's some poetic (and mathematical) license needed in the exact length of the legs of the triangles - but hey, lighten up, folks.
Close is only good in horseshoes, hand grenades, and now, triangle-themed crossword puzzles!

r.alphbunker 10:54 AM  



If you connect the centers of the three triangles you get an ACUTE triangle.

Questinia 10:55 AM  

@ Leapfinger. Which of the the three possible flummices? 1) fro-yo. 2) golden eagle 3) money-laundering.
I can't wait to watch all the videos posted. No more els here in Manhattan, only tour buses ferrying Brobdignans around the fro-yo laced Disney of New York City.
@ dk please pass the molasses.

Won't someone construct a puzzle-fractal?
Perhaps @ Lewis?

jdv 11:06 AM  

Easy. Really good write up, but I didn't like the puzzle. Fill was below average and the theme didn't quite work. There is one scalene triangle and two isosceles triangles. @Mathguy good explanation on equilateral triangle. Felt a little better, post-solve, to discover the vertices spelled 'triangles', but not enough to like it. I've heard Scraggly but not SCRAG. Never heard of an HERONRY. Is there an Ibisry or a Flamingory?

Leapfinger 11:08 AM  

@Q-tina, fittingly, it was a tri-partite gefractteneh flummoxen. ie tout les trois ensemble.

I read about your firefly episode. a) I've met those Little Foxes; b) Driving the San Rafael desert at night yields a similar result.

Evan 11:16 AM  


* TAKE ON ME = [1985 hit for A-ha]
* SCOOB = [Shaggy's buddy, informally]
* SHAKA = [___ Zulu (19th-century African chief)]
* GEDDES = A few possibilities here. [Notable baby photographer Anne] or ["Run Joey Run" singer David]. If this is too tough for a Wednesday, it can easily be changed to TASTES, though I prefer MSG to MST.
* MAZURKA = [Chopin specialty]

Noam D. Elkies 11:18 AM  

I wonder if 66A:GAME_LAW was originally GAMELAN! That's what I thought it was building up to.

It would be really neat in a very nerdy sort of way if today's printed grid was indeed off from square by the necessary ~3% to make the bottom triangle truly EQUILATERAL. But there's no problem with SCALENE: that just means no two of the sides are exactly equal, so you could put the three corners almost anywhere.

Horace S. Patoot 11:24 AM  

I must be foggy today. A scalene triangle simply has no equal sides and no equal angles. I think the upper left triangle would be scalene regardless of the format, although it might not be a scalene RIGHT triangle.

Jisvan 11:37 AM  

Love the write-up and the comments today, seems a shame to go to work. Easy Wednesday, though I did google for spelling of isosceles. My dear departed mother would sometimes roll her eyes skyward and intone "Oh to be in England" at moments when things were not going well. (Her grandfather was born in England, so perhaps it came from him, after Browning, of course.) This made me take a moment to remember her, which shows one person's bad fill is another's golden nugget. Happy Wednesday all.

Masked and Anonymo4Us 11:43 AM  

@Q: Best I could do, on short notice...

[see my latest runtpuz.blogspot.com entry]


Benko 11:49 AM  

@questinia: I had the idea for a fractal themed puzzle a while ago, but couldn't figure out how to make it work.
@pete Seeger: I'm sure you're aware of how much trouble that song caused you, and how much of an embarrassment it was when you changed your mind completely about the war. Interestingly, Chuck Berry's version of "Ida Red" is what got him signed to Chess Records, where the title was change to Maybelline and it became one of the greatest rock and roll hits.

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

Thought the SE was ugly with so many Rs, Gs, Es, and Ss. Other than that, kind of fun.

ArtO 12:04 PM  

In the original, Bunny Berigan, version of "I can't get started with you" the lyrics following Franklin D say "Greta Garbo" is the one with whom he was invited to tea. It's the female singer's version that uses Gable. Both, of course, are of interest only to those of us of a certain age.

In any event, Berigan's version is a classic his trumpet solo is magnificent as he hits a high note the likes of which is rarely matched.

Worth a watch on You Tube. Sorry, I don't know how to link or imbed!

Dick Swart 2:09 PM  


Avery nice write-up! Interesting allusions, cogent comments, and up-beat!

The puzzle was fun, too!

I think the decline in good spirits for Rex began about the time he began to be a constructor himself.

Thus begins an increasingly meta=set point of view with carping on the constructors choices. Lost was the broader sense of enjoyment that many of us like in a cross=word: the spen of sometimes arcane knowledge required, the resonance of the words themselves, and the satisfaction of starting your day with a completed project dome over tea and toast.

Thank you, Finn!

AliasZ 2:25 PM  


It is my pleasure to post the link to I can't get started with you by Bunny Berigan for our enjoyment.

Thank you.

LaneB 3:00 PM  

Had a relatively easy time today despite not seeing the meaning of CEL as a Disney Collectible . Thanhs Mr. Raymon.

ArtO 3:09 PM  

@AliasZ. Thanks for the link.

Lewis 4:05 PM  


The missing triangle type is RIGHT, the sports term is RIGHT FIELD, and the synonym for field (that is in the puzzle) is LEA.

This is one solution -- if you found a different one, please post it for all to share!

sanfranman59 4:09 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)

Wed 8:20, 9:40, 0.86, 19%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:36, 6:08, 0.91, 27%, Easy-Medium

Steve J 4:18 PM  

@Lewis: Ah, I misread the puzzle. I thought you were looking for a synonym for right field, the phrase - not just the added word.

George NYC 4:20 PM  

Thanks for the old el videos, Finn!

@Fred Smith: The High Line was actually a freight line, used mostly for bringing beef into the meatpacking district. Trains had earlier run down 10th Ave., but so many pedestrian deaths occurred that they elevated the line; the High Line actually went through some buildings, allowing sides of beef to be off-loaded directly.

Charles Flaster 4:20 PM  

Loved it although very easy. Being a former geometry teacher my students had extreme difficulty with ISOSCELES among many other words.
Love math words in puzzles!!!
Thanks D R

retired_chemist 4:37 PM  

The equilateral triangle is not equilateral if you assume that the vertices are the centers of the squares or otherwise identically placed in the three squares. On that basis the base is 6 squares long and the sides are sqr(5^2 + 3^2) - sqr (34) = 5.831, i.e. about 3% too short. Clearly since each square height/width is >16% of the difference, it is possible to pick points for vertices within the indicated squares which fit for an equilateral triangle. They can't be symmetrically placed within each square, but so what.

Oh, the puzzle - easy IMO. Typical Tuesday time, probably facilitated by remembering my geometry and grokking the theme almost instantly. Fill adequate but not hugely exciting.

feds before TMEN, no other writeovers I can remember. ATLANTA took four, maybe five, crosses before I went D'oh! HERONRY is cool, RESURGE is ugly.

Thanks,Mr. Raymon.

M and Also 5:07 PM  

I had RIGHT END ---> QUIT.
Lot more good song title starters, today, also...
But I digress.


Anonymous 5:20 PM  

Sorry, meh, too much grubby stuff

Lewis 5:28 PM  

@M&A -- Great answer! And I've been loving your song titles...

Carola 6:24 PM  

As stuffing functions as a vehicle for gravy, I found today's puzzle a vehicle for write-up and comments. Thanks to all for the treats.

Mohair Sam 6:44 PM  

@George NYC - Good call on the "High Line" in New York. Anyone who has visited New York a lot and thinks they've seen it all - take a walk on the High Line.

Google it before you go, the history is fascinating. We've taken several friends to visit it - our favorite spot is the mini-amphitheater where you can watch 10th Ave traffic head Uptown as if you were watching a flick. Totally different. And yes, it has revived a pretty tough part of Manhattan.

Sfingi 6:57 PM  

No Googles, but didn't know HERONRY, didn't get NAME and had "ues" before RST.

I like new words like HERONRY.

Theme was meh, though good memories for teaching GED in NYS prison.

Another memory: When I worked in the Bronx and took the subway (Jerome Ave), the seats were straw and there was no graffiti. Saw such a car at the NYS museum in Albany.

@Arto and Raymon - Thanx for the memories.

sanfranman59 10:02 PM  

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

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

Mon 5:37, 6:02, 0.93, 18%, Easy
Tue 7:46, 8:14, 0.94, 32%, Easy-Medium
Wed 8:13, 9:40, 0.85, 16%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:47, 3:55, 0.97, 28%, Easy-Medium
Tue 5:04, 5:21, 0.95, 28%, Easy-Medium
Wed 5:19, 6:08, 0.87, 15%, Easy

Unknown 10:50 PM  

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Anonymous 5:26 AM  

Point of interest: Seeger changed his mind because Hitler invaded Russia; as did all American Communists.

Unknown 7:07 AM  

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Unknown 7:14 AM  

Online Business with hourly profit, Just Invest and Rest

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

Again - positive crit, no rex

spacecraft 11:15 AM  

Monday called; he wants his puzzle back.

Where's the "medium?" I burned through this like Sherman through Atlanta. Okay, maybe if you've never heard of "Newcastle-upon-TYNE" you might get glitched by that SCRAG/HERONRY area, but it's all easily inferred.

I must confess I never spelled out the circled letters, so the TRIANGLES bit does add needed depth to the theme.

The fill? When your top two corners are ATAB and OHTO, you might have a problem, but the rest isn't too bad--and includes a couple of nice subthemes: RAM/EWE and especially MEL/FLO.

I'd give this a B, but come Wedensday I expect a tad more resistance. Not sure recluing would help much. C.

These captchas just get weirder and weirder. This one is a silly close-up in which only the central digit is legible. God, this has got to be the world's absolute WORST photographer! On to...my old Elks Lodge number. 436. Hey, guys, hoist one for me!

Dirigonzo 2:59 PM  

Apparently I remember more from my geometry classes than I realized - I'd thank my teacher if I could remember his name. It took several crosswords before I remembered who tapped Ryan in 2012 - I take that to be a good thing. Driving TEXTERS are a particular pet peeve of mine.

capcha is some combination of 5s and 3s, not quite which so I'll try 533.

Dirigonzo 3:01 PM  

My guess was right but I forgot to check the box for follow-up messages.

Waxy in Montreal 3:03 PM  

Gladly, @spacey, but on warm day like this it'll be pretty easy to run up a ATAB, especially if one SIP after another results in a SPREE. Even though I'm not one of those TEXTERS who drive, don't wish the local constabulary to ENSNARE me especially by TASING.

ODE: OHTO be in Newcastle whilst the SCENT of the TYNE is RESURGEnt...

1534: I QUIT

Anonymous 5:06 PM  

This is why math is sooooo boring! Now off to Nordie's to run up a tab!= fun math!

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