Knuckleballer Wilhelm / WED 7-29-15 / Russell of "Black Widow" / More than half of Israel / Breath mint in a tin / It lacks depth

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Constructor: David J. Lieb

Relative difficulty: Smooth sailing

THEME: "DOUBLE DOUBLE" — Each of the theme answers is a two-word phrase (or compound word) where both words (or parts of the word) can be preceded by the word "double" to make a new phrase

Word of the Day: SPOOKY (34D: Like a haunted house) —

Not to be confused with "spoopy" or "Shipoopi."
• • •
Andy Kravis here, filling in for Rex. Today, David J. Lieb messed* around and got a DOUBLE DOUBLE (65A: Statistical achievement in basketball ... or what the answer to each starred clue is). 

There are some naughty words in this video. You have been warned.

In basketball, a double-double is achieving a double-digit number in two positive statistical categories (two of, in order of frequency: points, rebounds, assists, steals, or blocked shots). You can't get a double-double in turnovers and number of terrible teammates, but if you could, James Harden would've been NBA MVP last year.

In this puzzle, though, a DOUBLE DOUBLE is a phrase where both words can be preceded by the word DOUBLE to make two entirely different phrases.

Theme answers:
  • STANDARD TIME (18A: *It's divided into four zones in the contiguous U.S. states). DOUBLE STANDARD and DOUBLE TIME. Is it just me, or is "U.S. states" a weird construction? Maybe this was just a typo in the online version, and the print edition says something different.
  • TAKEOVER (27A: *Coup d'état, e.g.). DOUBLE TAKE and DOUBLE OVER
  • CROSSTALK (33A: *Incidental chatter). DOUBLE CROSS and DOUBLE-TALK (which according to whatever dictionary Google uses, is "deliberately unintelligible speech combining nonsense syllables and actual words." You might know it better as doublespeak.) 
  • PLAYBILLS (47A: *Handouts to theatergoers). DOUBLE PLAY and DOUBLE BILLS (I had no idea what "double bills" were. It turns out to be a synonym for "double features." Maybe it's a regional/generational thing, but I've never heard the phrase "double bill" before.)
  • BACKDATE (53A: *Make retroactive). DOUBLE BACK and DOUBLE DATE.
Including the revealer at 65A, there's an impressive amount of theme (6 entries, 58 theme squares)! The base phrases are all very much in-the-language, even if a couple of the "double ___" phrases were beyond my ken. This kind of theme (i.e., this word can precede theme answers X, Y, and Z) has been played out quite a bit, but I really appreciate that (a) the revealer word can precede both parts of every theme entry, (b) that there were five two-part theme entries besides the revealer, and (c) that the revealer does double duty in not only telling you the preceding word but also telling you that both parts of every themer can take the preceding word. Really nice stuff IMHO.

Given how densely packed this grid was with theme content, the surrounding fill wasn't bad. As in most puzzles, there was some stuff I didn't love: 'UNS, AN OUT, ESTAB., ELLS crossing ESSES. But mostly the fill was reasonable for a Wednesday, and there were a few nice long answers (notably COATROOMS and GOLDEN BOY, but also NOOGIE, SPOOKY, CAJUN, STIGMA, CAR WASH, and "I'M SOLD"). Also, ALTOID singular!

  • 42A: HOYT (Knuckleballer Wilhelm) — Hoyt Wilhelm (not the order you thought those names were gonna go, huh?) was an MLB pitcher in the 1950s and 1960s, most notably with the World Series-winning 1954 New York Baseball Giants. In 1985, Wilhelm became the first relief pitcher to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • 57A: THERESA (Russell of "Black Widow") — "Black Widow" is one of these late '80s/early '90s films with a femme fatale (see also "Fatal Attraction," "Basic Instinct," "Damage," "The Last Seduction," etc.). In this one, Theresa Russell plays a woman who kills a bunch of wealthy middle-aged white dudes for who-knows-what-reason, and Debra Winger's character has to try to bring her to justice.
  • 12D: NEGEV (More than half of Israel) — The Negev is a desert that covers most of southern Israel. Now you know.
  • 56D: EUBIE (Ragtime pianist) — A true master.

In conclusion: nice puzzle, good job.

Now, I'd like to bring your attention to a couple of excellent crossword-related items:

1) If you're here, you love crosswords. And if you love crosswords, you will love Lollapuzzoola 8: Lollapuzzocho, an upcoming crossword tournament in NYC. It's on August 8th (that's a Saturday in August), and it is absolutely not too late to sign up! It is always the most fun, and the lineup of constructors is terrific (Do the names Anna Shechtman, Mike Nothnagel, Doug Peterson, joon pahk, Patrick Blindauer, and Kevin G. Der do anything for you? Of course they do). Feel free to bring a friend. If you can't make it to the live tournament, you can still sign up for the At-Home Division to get the puzzles by PDF shortly after the tournament ends. 

2) Friend and frequent collaborator Victor Barocas has just launched an awesome project on Kickstarter! 

Ada Cross, Crossword Detective will be a series of murder mysteries featuring a detective (Ada) and her colleagues. You'll solve a series of meta-crosswords along with Ada to solve murders. In addition to the text and the puzzles, the stories will have illustrations by Hayley Gold, who writes the Across and Down webcomic. 

You can read more about (and back) the project on this Kickstarter page. If you like crosswords (and especially if you like metas), you will like this. 

Signed, Andy Kravis, (H/T)ipster of CrossWorld

*If you're reading this, Ice Cube, I'm sorry I messed around with your artistic integrity. In spite of the fact that it's a modern classic, "Today Was A Good Day" falls a little below the breakfast Mendoza line.


Whirred Whacks 12:37 AM  

Enjoyable puzzle, fun solve. With a DOUBLE DOUBLE theme, I expected MacBeth witches scene clue, or perhaps a Wrigley's one.

The following is pretty much what I've suspected for a long time. It's a tweet on Tuesday from Rex to Adrianne (Tuesday's substitute blogger -- who did a nice job BTW):

.@adrjeffries oh the comments mean nothing. Or, rather, if the commenters aren't somehow mad at you, you're doing it wrong. :)
Here's the link and its context.

Enjoy your day.

Steve J 12:46 AM  
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Steve J 12:46 AM  

I normally don't like high theme density like this, because it too often leads to a lot of junk outside the theme. But this was nicely filled. The bottom row is really rough, but outside that there wasn't any fill that felt like GRUEL.

Clues were a little off in spots, though. Unless we've suspended the laws of gravity, line drives do indeed have ARC (it's just very shallow). I don't recall ever being able to make my own SALAD at a restaurant, unless the clue is getting at the salad bars it makes no allusion to. And, if multiple people I've known from Louisiana have it right, CAJUN is the cuisine of the bayou, while Creole is the cuisine of New Orleans (although you can find plenty of both in the city, which I suppose makes the clue technically correct but still off).

Those pedantic nits aside, this was a pretty solid Wednesday.

Rocky Mountain Gigh 12:48 AM  

Good puzzle. Good write up.

My only objection is the claim that a line drive lacks an ARC. I get that a liner has a flatter trajectory, but every projectile travels in an arc.

Hays 1:00 AM  

@Whirred Whacks, I kind of agree with Rex. Comments are for us, mostly. Can't blog thinking of what the comments are going to be like and there will almost always be someone that hates what you write no matter what (Internet!). Also, it seems obvious to me that he knows exactly what he's doing when he riles us up.

I totally get the complaints when he mails it in sometimes, though, but then I've never blogged (almost) every day.

(Sorry for all the "speaking for other people" up there, just made it easier to type. I, of course, speak only for myself and my thoughts.)

Aketi 1:11 AM  
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jae 1:24 AM  

Easy-medium for me.   Got hung up a bit in SE where I briefly put in triPLE and struggled with spelling THERESA.  

This one didn't grab me one way or the other.  There's a fair amount of dreck and the theme has been done a bunch.  Xwordinfo pretty much says this.  Meh for a Wed.  Like yesterday's better.

chefwen 1:44 AM  

Loved the DOUBLE DOUBLE over YES YES. Another easy puzzle that I didn't really get to savor as I was in a rush to finish before dinner guests arrived and I had to start seriously slinging some hash.

Older brother used to give me NOOGIEs, which I hated, the BIG CREEP.

I would love to see a zorse and a zonkey.

Music man 2:36 AM  

Yeah sometimes it takes a good write up for me to like a puzzle. I really didn't get it until now, but I did just start looking at it after a good night at quizzo trivia, sooo...

Idk for some reason tues and wed stump me but thurs-sat don't as much. I would have liked ORWELLIAN to cross DOUBLE speaK

Anonymous 2:52 AM  


Moly Shu 4:14 AM  

"Drunk as hell but no throwin' up, halfway home and my pager's still blowin' up".
I skipped down to the revealer and put in tripLEDOUBLE cuz, well, that really is a basketball feat. Much more so than a DOUBLEDOUBLE. Couldn't make the initial downs work so had to change it. Hand up for never hearing of DOUBLE BiLL. Fairly easy, no other hang ups. Enjoyed GOLDENBOY and NOOGIE. Thx @AKravis for the write up and the Ice Cube video. I must agree, it was a good day.

Conrad 4:56 AM  

I interpreted DOUBLE_BILL as something a lawyer does.

Aketi 7:11 AM  
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evil doug 7:14 AM  

Only double-double that matters: In 'N' Out.

Aketi 7:18 AM  

@chefwen, I found a video clip that includes the piebald zorse and the baby zonkey that were my favorites as well as many other photos. So I'm subbing that in.

Like MULEs zebroids are mostly sterile, Who knew that stripes were dominant? At least when the pairing is a male zebra with a female horse, apparently the other combo is seldinm successful

I always thought that the OKAPIs frequently used in crossword puzzles look like a cross between a giraffe and a zebra.

AliasZ 7:30 AM  

I am seeing double and I'm not even drunk yet. A double dose of DOUBLE, and a double whammy of DOUBLE- phrases for no less than five double-word phrases, plus RAH RAH and YES YES. I'm also looking at you, ABBAS, ELLS, SSN and ESSES. Honestly, I think with today's puzzle, the "words that can be followed/preceded by X" theme can be surely retired. Actually, it should have been retired yesterday. It has been worn paper thin.

I so wanted DOUBLE CAR and DOUBLE WASH to be part of the theme, but DOUBLE THE and DOUBLE RESA didn't work too well. How about DOUBLE COAT and DOUBLE ROOMS? Or DOUBLE GOLDEN and DOUBLE BOY? Nah... Others: DOUBLE PLANE (biplane), DOUBLE EARED, DOUBLE NOOGIE, DOUBLE GAG, DOUBLE STRUTS, then DOUBLE-DEE-DOUBLE-TEE as in Alun HoDDinoTT (1929-2008), the Welsh composer.

I can understand ZEBRA + horse (both equine) but ZEBRA + monkey? No, no, no, no, no! MULES to the rescue: they are "honkeys" (horse/donkey) aren't they? Oh, a zonkey is ZEBRA + donkey, not monkey. Now I get it. Hunky-dory.

CROSS TALK (not "cranky speech") in my world is a technical term for a type of audio distortion caused by unwanted bleed-through between the left and right channels of a stereo signal, or interference between two adjacent, improperly shielded, cables or other electronic components carrying audio or video signals. It is a STANDARD term in electronic product specifications.

As themes go, this was not awful, in fact it had some pizzazz (two DOUBLE-ZEDS). But seriously, even Wednesdays deserve a cleverer theme than this. The fill was just a little TEE-DEE-ous. YAH, it was.

Billy C 7:36 AM  

As if @Barany weren't bad enough, now we have a guest poster plugging multiple crossword sites.

Mike D 7:42 AM  

@Steve J, you are now officially out of control.
1) Of course a line drive can be arc-less: often, they are often caught (or leave the park) while still on the way up.
2) Yes, the clue is referring to a SALAD bar, and of course the clue "makes no allusion" to that fact. Would you rather have "Restaurant dish that patrons may make themselves at a salad bar" as the clue for SALAD?
3) Your parsing of CAJUN is simply ridiculous.

Haiku Nerd 7:47 AM  


Zeke 7:49 AM  

Agree with Mike D. (@Rocky Mountain Gigh): A line drive is often caught before it starts to descend. Hence, no ARC.

Z 7:57 AM  

I did not know that 7 was half of 13. I do know that calling attention to the weaknesses of one's creations is rarely a good idea.

@Mike D - Even a caught line drive has some sort of arc. You know, physics.

@WW - Rex used to engage the commentariat much more, but I assume he has a life and having a couple hundred people to tend to would be too much. It's pretty amazing that this blog is in year 9 and he hasn't missed a puzzle.

@Billy C. - So predictable.

Felt Tuesdayish to me. I understand that newer solvers will still like this sort of theme, but no real "aha" moment for me with this theme type.

Billy C 8:06 AM  

@FauxBillyC7:36 --

Offa my turf, dammit! And leave my pal The Good Professor alone!

The real Billy

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

Please show me the arc made by this line drive (about 20 seconds in):

pitcher hit with a line drive

This line drive made nor arc, because, you know, physics.

Billy C 8:15 AM  

Cute--now the fake Billy C is posting as the real Billy C.
I stand by my earlier comments. This blog shouldn't be used to plug ones own personal favorite sites.

The real real Billy

r.alphbunker 8:16 AM  
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Billy C 8:16 AM  

@Z -- That wasn't me at 7:36.

And you beat me to the comment that even an ascending liner has a downward arc to it. (Gravity, y'know.).

Mostly, not always, though. If the ball were hit with enough backspin, it could be still ascending when caught. (Bernoulli Principle, y'know.). My pal The Good Professor can back me up on this. ;-)

Name that tune 8:18 AM  

Maybe @Z (or @AliasZ) should mate with @Aketi and make a Zaketi?!


Billy C 8:19 AM  

OOps, meant "arcing upward' not "ascending, of course. [Blush!]

r.alphbunker 8:20 AM  

The revealer refers to itself because each of the DOUBLEs can be preceded by DOUBLE.

Puzzle report

Unknown 8:33 AM  

Upon moving to Canada I learned that "double double" has a distinct definition here: a coffee with two creams and two sugars. As in : "I'm going to grab a double double at Tim's (Tim Horton's) on the way".

JFC 8:33 AM  

This was a good effort, if a little easy for a Wednesday. The doubles all work, and for the density of the theme there is very little dreck. The guest-bloggers have been much appreciated. Rex should welcome them at least weekly, forever.

Billy C 8:39 AM  

Oops, oops! Meant "not arcing." If the upward force generated by the Bernoulli Effect were equal to the weight of the baseball, there would be no discernible arc when caught in the infield. Yes, I admit the "discernible" qualifier.

Now don't you all feel enlightened? Especially my buddy Mr. FauxBilly.

Billy C 8:44 AM  

So, in summary, a batted ball can arc upward, arc downward, or go straight.

Billy C 8:55 AM  

Yep, you got it, Mr. Faux8:44.

John V 8:58 AM  

Knowing absolutely nothing about basketball, I wrote in DOUBLEDRIBBLE as I knew that term from high school. Finally sussed the correct revealer with a reaction of HUH? HUH?

Not fond of the NE and SW corners, residuals of using a 16X grid to accommodate the two 12s: no love for NPR ELI GAG, LBJ TAU SSN stacks.


Billy C 8:58 AM  

That wasn't me at 8:16. FauxBilly is all over the place today.

evil doug 9:00 AM  

Billy C:
Don't worry about it. Nobody pays attention to any of you.

Leapfinger 9:02 AM  

Not at all a bad Tuesday, wazzit?

UPCAST made me rather downcast, but I'll cast up no ward-unto doubts as to its existence independent. Followed immediately by a nuggie-to-noogie stand-off, well... I just got a little "lop-sided".

Thought the theme was nicely worked -- for that type, you know, which I still am simple enough to enjoy. CROSSTALK as clued was new2me, though I remember "South Pacific" had "Happy Talk", a little number guaranteed to elicit an insulin spike. Had a better time remembering Rose Royce's CARWASH, music and movie that also goes way back. Agree with @SteveJ that row 15 hit bottom; I think the clue went for self-deprecating humour; works for me.

@Rocky Mountain Gigh, keep on commenting, will you? Don't care what you say, I just like seeing your nom de blog.

@Andy K, interesting reading about the [Minnie] Mendoza line. However, granted it ain't the Sahara, but 'NEGEV...Now you know"???!!
That's my one down-vote, otherwise you gave us a good Rex-DOUBLE read.

Thanks, DavidL, for DOUBLE the pleasure. Thought maybe you'd DOUBLE down.

Time now to head out the Dutch Doors. Double up on the Happy Talk, Rexworld.

Unknown 9:03 AM  

Scrolled quickly though the comments so if someone already mentioned this my apologies. DOUBLE BILL is an old-time term for a baseball double header. Ya know, back when they used to schedule them.

Billy C 9:04 AM  

Oops, oops, oops

It can arc downward until caught or impacting something. It can arc upward while the Bernoulli force is greater than gravity, then it will begin its downward arc.

It can go straight only instantaneously, at that precise point where the Bernoulli force equals gravity; but since the Bernouli Force is steadily decreasing as the reverse spin steadily subsides (due to the drag of the air on the ball's surface), it goes straight only instantaneously.

Apologies for my prior mis-statement. (Stay away, Mr. Nazi.)

Leapfinger 9:06 AM  

@evil d (8:18)

That thought might give some men a pause.

RAD2626 9:22 AM  

Nostalgia doubles:

1. Movie double bills and baseball double bills are things of the past. Games too long and rainouts generally scheduled as day-night doubleheaders to get two gates.

2. Friendly's used to have an ice cream drink called a Double Double, which they later renamed a Fribble. Fribble would be a hard theme.

I thought clues were opaque. Had some issues so slow going. Got the desert with crosses only.

Indypuzzler 9:25 AM  

Easy puzzle even for a Wednesday but it was fine. I don't know much about baseball but was pleased to see I could use my narrow knowledge base to fill in HOYT. My uncle took me to a White Sox game when I was 8 or 9 and my only memory is him telling me all about Hoyt Wilhelm! Amazing that he started his career so late and continued to play well past the age that most do. Guess a knuckleball doesn't FUBAR your arm/shoulder as much as others?

RooMonster 9:28 AM  

Hey All !
Seems to be quite a few 16x15 grids lately, no? The NE corner was a bear. The three downs in that small space were hard to suss. Had to Reveal NEGEV, a desert I somehow didn't remember, although I believe I've heard of it before. So a DNF. Ugh.

Thought David was going for the pangram after getting the Z and J. But no F, Q, or X.

Still only 36 blocks, nice for an extra column puz. Not too much GRUEL to EAT AT me.


Anonymous 9:29 AM  

@RAD: What means you by this "got the desert..."?

I'm Soar 9:30 AM  

Coises, furled again.

No, I can't, you're all so clever. I could pretend I did, and just forgot to put "evil" in quotes.

Let's face it, I was just in a hurry to rip off that riposte.

Loren Muse Smith 9:37 AM  

Funny how I was talking about the Y as a vowel for the past couple of days, but it took me a bit to consider the Y cross in HOYT/KYLE. Sheesh. I kept thinking I or A.

For me, "have AN OUT" doesn't mean a way to avoid blame so much as a way to get out of doing something unpleasant. Aw, man. Uncle M has invited me over to see slides from a vacation he took to China in 1976, and I don't have an out! (This really happened.)

One of the reasons I enjoy Rexworld is the CROSS TALK generated by entries...

1. Ladies – I have 17 pairs of black shoes (nary a MULE among them). For the longest time, I wore Rockport pumps – very unRockport-looking – but I would definitely CLOP if I walked too fast. Then I discovered Naot Valencia sandals. They are, quite simply, a walking miracle.

2. BRIDAL shower. Mom has always said that it's in poor taste for a family member to throw a shower, but that rule seems to have disappeared. The times, they are a –changing. I was once invited to a baby shower (self-hosted by the mother-to-be) who was a free-spirited non-conformist, my soul mate opposite. We had to sit in a circle and introduce ourselves by saying our name while performing some gesture that we had to come up with on the spot. Given a heads-up, I would have fretted for days about what gesture I would use, would've tried out several in the mirror, practiced, tweaked. (I don't generally say my name with a made-up gesture; I'm a Capricorn.) After the gesture introductions, still in the circle, we all had to approach the mother-to-be, one by one, and say something to the fetus. At this point, I would have happily voted to go back and do a second name gesture thing instead, but I didn't have an out. I've since blocked it out and for the life of me cannot remember what I said to this woman's stomach.

3. DEE - ladies just go today to Victoria's Secret and get measured by a professional bra-measurer. You may be in the wrong cup size. All your tops will look a lot better.

I imagined the clue for LIE would generate additional CROSS TALK. Seems, though, that it's being magnificently upstaged by the clue for ARC. But since neither is about shoes, bras, showers, etc., I'll decline from weighing in. Too much sciency talk.

I go to extremes to avoid it, but if forced, I would say "cactuses." I would just feel conspicuous saying CACTI. (same with "tortoise," "toad," and using a plural verb with "data." Oh yeah, again, it's just one "dice" that I roll.)

Loved the clue for DEE. (Lots of letters today -TEE, ESSES, ZEDS, DEE, TAU, and, if you squint, ELLS.) @Z - I disagree about the clue for ESSES; I really got a kick out of its mea culpasomeness. That's right, David. Go ahead. Own it.

I agree with Andy and @Steve J. Solid puzzle – the impressive number of themers are firmly in the language, and the reveal is spot-on, but too bad quintuple double isn't a thing, huh?

chefbea 9:43 AM  

Fairly easy puzzle except I had to come here to find out what a double double was. Also didn't know that all the theme words could have double in front.

Guess it's time to make some carne asada along with a salad - some gater ade to wash it all down and of course alto ids after dinner.

pmdm 9:45 AM  

Interesting comments by Whirred Whacks and Hays. For some time I've wondered if the write-ups weren't intentionally written in a way that will rile people up. I can imagine him smiling while reading Mike D's response to Steve J's comment today, or (especially) when reading The Porker's over-the-top satiric comments. Unfortunately, it's all too easy to go from being provocative to something more negative.

I include the preparation of salad ingredients as part of the chore of "making" a salad. When eating at a restaurant that has a salad bar, I consider that I am "mixing" my own salad. So as with many Supreme Court decisions, I concur with Steve J the the 35D clue could be better, but for different reasons than his.

The SE corner was the last part I finished, so I filled in all the theme answers before knowing the answer to the revealer. It's pretty impossible to figure out the theme by just looking at the theme answers without knowing the revealer, I would guess. And I have to admit, even after reading the revealer I had no idea what was really going on. Didn't get it until reading the blog. I still don't quite get how the theme answers are double doubles. I get the wordplay and think its nice, but I dislike the revealer clue (without being able to come up with a different clue).

Irrespective of clue wording, I thought it was a lovely puzzle.

Nancy 9:48 AM  

I was wracking my brain wondering what a DOUBLE DOUBLE in baseball is. I mean I think I know the game pretty well... Then I came here and saw, oh, right, basketball. And I do sort of know what a DOUBLE DOUBLE in baskeball is.

Another puzzle in which the theme is entirely irrelevant to the solving experience. I solved easily, without thinking about DOUBLEs at all. Perfectly pleasant, with no junk and with many fewer mindless gimmes in the cluing than yesterday. Now HOYT wasn't a gimme for everyone I bet (Hi, @Hartley) but he was for me and I'm sure he was for OISK, too. A great knuckleball pitcher is SO much fun to watch, even in an era when the camerawork wasn't nearly as good. Back then, the view of the pitch was from behind the batter. Today's view of the pitch traveling towards the catcher's glove is so much more revealing and you see the spins and dips so much better. HOYT would have been a modern day must-see on television.

Unknown 9:58 AM  

There's a typo in the blog theme write up. For the STANDARD TIME theme explanation, it says DOUBLE OVER where it should say DOUBLE TIME.

Tita 10:01 AM  

As long as we're discussing physics of the ARC, how about PLANE and corkSCREW-shaped pasta?
Clue for 23D shoulda been "Auger-shaped pasta", because ROTINI is actually a narrow inclined PLANE wrapped around a central shaft, whereas a corkscrew is helix-shaped.
The pasta that looks like a corkscrew is my favorite - fusilli lunghi, sometimes known as telephone cord pasta.
Ha ha...would a puzzle based on the six simple machines be nyt-worthy????? Maybe not as much as one based on the 600 types of pasta...

My lack of interest in basketball cast an undeserved pall on this puzzle. Thought briefly about DOUBLEDribbLE, like @JV, but was pretty sure that was a bad thing, not an achievement.
Thanks Mr. Lieb, for the goodness others have pointed out. (And for not cluing 54D as Belonging to a 70's Swedish pop group.)

Unknown 10:07 AM  
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Tita 10:08 AM  

OH - and Factoid:
CROSSTALK is what they play into the headphones that the final solvers wear at ACPT. Actually, they are hearing recordings of simultaneous translators all talking at the same time in myriad languages!

Unknown 10:09 AM  

Aren't there still four time zones in the contiguous 48 of the U.S. even when we're not on STANDARD TIME?

We're now on DST for 2/3 of the year, so maybe it's TIME to think about changing the names around: what we now call Daylight Saving Time should be "STANDARD TIME," and the rest of the year should be DST--Daylight Squandering Time.

Unknown 10:10 AM  

CROSS TALK: "Always look on the bright side of life."

Leapfinger 10:19 AM  

@lms, re that "talk to the tummy" episode... Are you telling us that you felt you didn't have AN OUTie? Or that the tummy (once an innie) was now AN OUTie. Gesture enough, that.

With you on Naot, must be experienced to be believed. btw, 'naot' in Hebrew is plural feminine for 'pleasant'; the shoes are an Israeli brand, probably not made in the NEGEV.

jberg 10:26 AM  

Me too for not knowing what a DOUBLE DOUBLE was until I came here. Actually, I could have figured it out, but for some reason I was thinking three digits instead of two, and doubling that would be pretty much impossible.

I had the same reaction as Steve J. for CAJUN -- sure, you can get it in NOLA, but Creole is what you think of for that city. So cuisine of Lafayette would have been a better clue.

As for the SALAD -- if you have to prepare the ingredients to "make" it, then much of the time you don't -- you buy a bag of pre-washed, pre-mixed greens, take them home, dump them in your salad bowl, and add some dressing. Very convenient, but I've found myself wanting to go back to using whole heads of lettuce and running them through my salad spinner.

"U.S. states" is no weirder than "baseball Giants," especially when the latter refers to a World Series winner. That's a small point, though, I enjoyed the write-up.

Charles Flaster 10:34 AM  

Excellent puzzle and quite eclectic.
Played b-ball so long ago there was no stat called a DOUBLE DOUBLE.
First heard it in 1985.
Trivia night last night and finished third out of seven teams.
Hoyt Wilhelm threw a no hitter after becoming a starter and no longer relieved. He was the original John Smoltz. Loved both of them.
Thanks DJL.

Ludyjynn 10:36 AM  

Writeover city: COATracks before ROOMS, rATout before TATTLE, gulps before BELTS.

TEE-hee; I snorted aloud after finding the incongruous pair of Baltimore born and bred boys, EUBIE Blake and Spiro AGNEW, in the same grid. LEST you forget, Agnew ignominiously resigned while VPOTUS and later suffered the STIGMA of disbarment as a MD attorney, as well as having to make $200+thousand in restitution to the State for taking bribes while serving as MD governor. Blake, who lived into his mid nineties, OTOH was regaled w/ honors over the course of his illustrious musical career.

@LMS, CACTI is easier to say. Don't have to repeat all those ESSES.

I generally do not enjoy film REMAKES or sequels, either. What, there aren't enough ideas in your brain for a new storyline? Really? You have to go back to the well over and over?

Thanks to our guest blogger and to DJL and WS for an okay Wednesday solve.

mathgent 10:54 AM  

Some nice entries (NOOGIE, STIGMA, DRAGONS, RAHRAH, GOLDENBOY) but just as many clinkers. And twenty three-letter entries.

Average Wednesday difficulty but I hit a snag because I had HUBIE instead of EUBIE.

Joseph Michael 11:09 AM  

Theme type is old and overused, but this is a good execution of it. Lots of themers and mostly solid fill.

Still trying to get the image of a ZONKEY out of my head after thinking at first that it was the love child of a zebra and a monkey.

ANOUT keeps catching my eye as a DOOK. Looks like a French word or perhaps a medical term. And CROSS TALK seems more like something you say when you're angry.

Favorite answer: NOOGIE

RooMonster 11:54 AM  

@Joseph Welling, ha! Awesome, another MPFC fan! But wouldn't that technically CrossSinging?

And another awesome and popular DOUBLE DOUBLE, In-N-Out Burger! (At least here in the Left Side of the U.S. STATES!


Steve J 12:07 PM  

@Mike D: As others have pointed out, things arc up and down, and the laws of physics are such that anything in flight has an arc. It may not be perceptible to the naked eye, but it's there.

As far as Cajun/Creole parsing: "A vastly simplified way to describe the two cuisines is to deem Creole cuisine as “city food” while Cajun cuisine is often referred to as “country food.” " This from the state of Louisiana's travel site.

Certainly, both clues (and the SALAD clue as well) did their job by pointing to their ultimate destination. I learned long ago not to expect precision from crosswords. Nevertheless, I prefer clues that obscure without being inaccurate, even if only in a very technical or literal sense.

OISK 12:14 PM  

Wham - right in my wheelhouse - no knucklers in this puzzle! Glad most folks seemed to have liked it as much as I did, despite the near total lack of pop and hip hop. On the other controversy, though I would do some "Dancing in the arc..." To say "lacks" does not always imply none. A bald man lacks hair - doesn't mean he has no hair. I have been accused of lacking tact. Doesn't mean I have none. (I hope). To say that a line drive lacks arc can mean that it has less arc than a fly ball. In short, despite the discussion of physics, I think the clue is fine. ( Rather an arc-ane discussion, though...)

Sir Hillary 12:20 PM  

Good puzzle, very good as these word-pairing ones go.

Only skimmed the comments so may have missed it, but did anyone besides me initially enter TAKEdown for Coup d'état, e.g.? I thought the clue was weird for that answer, but it worked with the theme. Error was quickly fixed, but it made me chuckle.

Arlene 12:30 PM  

Never heard of DOUBLEDOUBLE - but that didn't stop me from filling everything in and appreciating the theme. Another tidbit that I'm sure I'll find useful in some future scintillating conversation.

Martel Moopsbane 12:37 PM  

@joseph welling, Arizona is always on STANDARDTIME. They'd get hopelessly confused if they had to switch to Daylight Saving Time just to get standardized.

Anonymous 1:03 PM  

@SteveJ -- Anything in free flight has an arc.

nick 1:36 PM  

Seeing the word "noogie" made me irrationally happy. Fun puzzle.

Anonymous 2:23 PM  

I'm an opera singer, and I use "double bill" all the time. I feel like it refers more to live performance than to movies--for two back-to-back films I would say "double feature," but two one-act plays or operas in the same evening would be a "double-bill."

I'm pretty out of practice with the puzzle--took a loooong hiatus until starting a new part-time receptionist job about a month ago. This took me a lot longer than it should have. ;)

Benko 2:40 PM  

@z: No, 7 is half of 14. Count again. The puzzle grid is 16 spaces wide, not 15.

JTHurst 2:47 PM  

I was wondering, are our beloved commentators off of their meds. It is like being in a room full of anarchists trying to set up bylaws. Doesn't Billy C scream 'bipolar'.

I did not understand why. Were we all manifesting the embodiment of 'cross talk'. The definition seems very apropos. 1. : unwanted signals in a communication channel (as in a telephone, radio, or computer) caused by transference of energy from another circuit (as by leakage or coupling) 2. a : conversation that does not relate to the main topic being discussed.

Then I realized Friday is a Blue Moon. That has to be the answer. Sometimes noogies to the head make you a little disoriented.

Arcs for goodness sake. In perception an arc starts at point A goes to a height of point B and drops to point C. Both point A and C are lower in perception than point B. Everything else, like a bullet fired from a rifle has a 'drop' factor, which can be approximated by the central limit theorem to look like an arc but isn't.

Nancy 2:52 PM  

@Tita (10:08) Good grief!!! Are they TORTURING the solvers at crossword puzzle tournaments now? You're supposed to SUFFER for your pastime? I read your CROSS TALK factoid in absolute horror, with every intention of asking for my entrance fee back for the Lollapuzzoola tournament. I am not exaggerating in the least, Tita, truly I'm not. As one of the most noise-sensitive people on the planet, the idea of trying to solve a puzzle with the cacophony of 17 different languages being blared simultaneously into the headphones you're being forced to wear -- well they can close Guantanamo and just send all the prisoners to various puzzle tournaments across the country. It will serve exactly the same purpose. Only when I read that this cruel and unusual punishment is reserved for tournament finalists did I say: Oh, OK, I can still enter this tournament, since I haven't a prayer of being a finalist or anything close to it. But let me say that, even though it will never affect me, I find this punishing practice absolutely BARBARIC and if I were a competitive solver, I would go to the wall to abolish it. Nothing I have ever read on this blog -- not even the nastiest of the Anonymice -- has ever made me this angry. WHO CAME UP WITH SUCH A GROTESQUE IDEA IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Tita 3:54 PM  

Ha ha, @Nancy...are you one of those hyper-noise-sensitive people that the nyt wrote about a while back, who have to run screaming out of the room if someone is slurping their soup?? (My sister is, and she was delighted that it is now a recognized "syndrome".)

It's only at ACPT. They certainly don't do it at Lolla. Maybe you can suggest to Will that he build sound-proof booths - the goal is, of course, to keep the finalists from hearing all of us mere mortals while we discuss their play-by-play or the clues. I think the idea is that there are so many words being said, you can't make out any of them.

Your fear reminds me of a week I spent in Mexico City on business. I was holding a seminar to a small start-up company. My Spanish being merely passable, they had a simultaneous translator in the room with me.
I found it nearly paralyzing, as I was much more fascinated in hearing how my discussion sounded in Spanish then I was in what I was saying... I introduced my own lag, since I had to wait to hear the translator finish before I could start another thought...

At ACPT, there is even an announcer, kinda like at a horse race, on a mic, announcing each contestant's journey as she solves - right down to every mistake or empty box. So it's real important to not let them hear anything.
There - does that make you feel better?????

Hmmm...makes me wonder if @Loren's list of phobias the other day included yours... ;)

Nancy 4:53 PM  

Hi, Tita -- good news that it's not at Lolla. And I'm sure I could give your sister a real run for the money. Making dinner now for company -- or what passes for "making dinner" in the @Nancy household. So can't talk, but talk to you soon.

Anonymous 4:56 PM  

@JTHurst - Central Limit Theorem? Why drag statistics into this, especially as it has absolutely no place here. Further, you're describing an arch, not an arc. The path of a bullet is an arc, as is the path of a baseball, no matter how hard hit.

sanfranman59 5:21 PM  

@Charles Flaster ... FWIW, Wilhelm was a relief pitcher for the vast majority of his long 21-year career. 1959 was the only season in which he was primarily a starter. He tossed his no-hitter in 1958 when he only started 10 games and relieved in 29. He never started a game before 1958 and made his last start in 1963. His 1,070 game appearances is 6th all-time.

Rex Parker 5:50 PM  

I'll be switching to a different comments system in the near future. Probably something that involves registering. I don't care if you turn this place into cesspool, but it turns out lots of readers do, and I'm tired of getting hate mail that's actually intended for you guys.


evil doug 6:05 PM  

About time.
The Real Evil

Name that tune 6:09 PM  

About time.
The Real Evil

evil doug 6:17 PM  

Buddy, I can't wait until assholes like you can no longer hide behind our stolen identities. Once you have to stand on your own (lack of) credibility, honesty and creativity, you pretenders should disappear pretty quickly--or, better yet, face the humiliation your lameness deserves.
Evil Doug

Martin 6:19 PM  

"U.S. states" is no weirder than "baseball Giants.."

The point was that "United States states" is a "Rio Grande river" or a "The La Brea Tar Pits." Not weird, just redundant. I don't see how "baseball Giants" is similar.

Rex Parker 6:30 PM  

Sample from my lit-up Inbox:

"I'm so glad you will be doing something about what was once my joyous morning fix but is now a foul mouth mean spirited free for all.
I haven't commented for some time because of health problems... When I felt ready to once again become a part of your blog, I was so sad to read how your once incredible, fun, intelligent forum had turned into a cheap free for all by a bunch of stooges...
I really do hope something can be done; you've put so much time into this... I hope the dignity returns"


evil doug 7:25 PM  

Screw 'em! Aww, just kidding.

But the serial theft of intellectual (using the term loosely now) property that's been running rampant here for months should be as disturbing to you as it is to us.

You *know* I'll revert to my normal genteel ways once you eradicate the scum-sucking rat turds who've taken over the blog.


Aketi 7:35 PM  

@lms, fortunately, I thankfully have never been asked to talk to a belly at a shower. Coincidentally, yesterday one of my colleagues who also works as a childbirth instructor was told by her boss that she had to make all the Dad's write a birth blessing and recite it to the belly. While I am sure there are some Dads who might enjoy that sort of thing, we all agreed that forcing all the Dads to do that in a class would not go over too well, especially with the type of Dads who attend her classes. She plans on politely quitting that job.

@Nancy, I empathize with you and Tita's sister. I have managed to desensitize mysekf to certain noises like babies crying and traffic on the streets of NYC, but every now and again certain noises get to me. I once had a client who was an opera singer who noticed that my baby weighing scale emitted a whine that she said was high A. Ever since she pointed it out to me I find it torture to turn on the scale and hear the whine that I had previously blocked out.

Teedmn 7:37 PM  

Nice puzzle, very Wednesdayish, and I'm okay with an older concept theme if the clues/answers/reveal are all fresh.

The NE was the source of my biggest holdup, with a slight confusion of Israeli deserts with oft clued stars (dEnEB or NEGEV?). I had GOLDEN one before BOY. And like @Leapfinger, I wanted my Chai TEA served in a PuT.

Thanks, David Lieb.

grammar nazi 10:00 PM  

@aketi: Dads. No apostrophe.

Z 11:32 PM  

@Benko - you're right.

@Rex Parker -.Thank you.

Charles Flaster 11:44 PM  

Can you imagine a starter and reliever in today's game?
Relieve-start- No Hitter. Phenomenal or not?
Loved the Knuckler.

weingolb 7:32 AM  

@grammar nazi errs! Makes apostrophe correction but gives capital-D plural a pass. News at 11.

kitshef 8:56 AM  

@lms. I don't consider myself a lady but I still read about your shoes. Thought I should confess to that. I'm with @leapfinger on upcast feeling odd. Would have preferred 'sound of a metal shoe' for CLOP, which would point towards horses.

I too was baffled by DOUBLEBILLS until the baseball connection was pointed out. One of those terms that used to be common that has mostly disappeared.

REbootS before REMAKES, Tellon before TATTLE.

A few years ago everybody was adding carne ASADA to their menus. Then is was asiago cheese. Nowadays it's sriracha. I don't know why ingredients become popular in waves like this.

Burma Shave 11:45 AM  


THERE’SA GOLDENBOY around who STRUTS like an idol,
He’ll DATE the COATROOMS attendants UNTIL they feel BRIDAL.
He’ll CON them with CROSSTALK and LIE DAY after DAY,
And there’s no STANDARDTIME UNTIL he’ll UPCAST them away.


Anonymous 12:09 PM  

Just a nice clear clever puzzle, and thank you DJL. I did have to look up Hoyt but I have forgiven myself.

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA
(Where no one invents anything in their garage).

rondo 12:17 PM  

YESYES! A really decent Wed-puz.The NE and SW corners a bit shaky, and maybe the ESSES and ELLS cross, but the rest is pretty good.

EUBIE was a GOLDENBOY on the ivories, no doubt there.

THERESA Russell, IMSOLD on that yeah baby.

I used to be a ZEBRA, of sorts. Ran chain gangs for D3 football games for +/- 10 years.

Pretty sure I finished this puz in my STANDARDTIME. No CROSS TALK from me.

Don 12:25 PM  

To all of you who objected to the objection that even line drives have an arc based on the logic that some line drives have not begun to descend, you are mistaken. A trajectory does not have to descend for it be an arc. A line drive has a very shallow arc but its trajectory is still curved, however slightly. You can read all about trajectories of projectiles here. Like the man said, "because physics".

rondo 1:49 PM  

Theoretically, if a baseball was struck with just the exact amount of backspin (thanks to the seams) to make it rise at precisely 9.8m/sec/sec, there would be no vertical arc on the ball. If it was also struck with just enough sidespin to compensate for the Coreolis effect, there would also be no horizontal arc on the ball. In the fraction of a second it would take the ball to get to an infielder, this is indeed theoretically possible (and it seems like I've caught some). Like this man said, because aerodynamics, plus physics. So there.

spacecraft 2:24 PM  

Short one today. Liked the theme, though a triple-DOUBLE would be considered more of an "achievement" than a mere double. The fill, as has been said, is not bad given theme density--but still, ESTAB is nothing short of ridiculous. It's an "abbrev." Not a true abbr.; not an abbreviation. Just an "abbrev." Ugh. And UPCAST? Would that include Ed Asner? Aaugh! Some points off, but not too many. B-.

rondo 2:30 PM  

Or said line drive could be a “knuckler”, like old HOYT used to throw. In that case the trajectory is neither an arc nor a vector, as it might move up and down and side to side along its path. They can be hard to catch for ANOUT.

Three and out for me.

leftcoastTAM 8:16 PM  

I appreciate @rondo's apparent baseball expertise about vectors, backspins, sidespins, and Coriolis effects.

Also, among the realtimers, I like @Steve J's and @Mike D's exchanges about baseball arcs. I thought Steve J gave a perfectly pedantic rejoinder to Mike D's expert critique of Steve's pedantry.

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