Puppeteer Bil / WED 11-4-15 / One of Seuss's Star-Bellies / Singing sister of Aretha Franklin / nut with cupule / Egypt Sudan border region

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Constructor: Ruth Bloomfield Margolin

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: GAME — note accompanying the puzzle: "The answers to this puzzle's four starred clues can each precede a hidden word in 16-, 27-, 43- and 59-Across"; the hidden word is GAME

Theme answers:
  • GILGAMESH (16A: Sumerian king in an ancient epic)
  • MAKING AMENDS (27A: Saying sorry, say)
  • TORN LIGAMENT (43A: Reason to get Tommy John surgery)
  • AGAMEMNON (59A: Trojan War hero of myth)

Word of the Day: Bil BAIRD (38D: Puppeteer Bil) —
William Britton Baird (August 15, 1904 – March 18, 1987), professional name Bil Baird, but often referred to as Bill Baird, was an American puppeteer of the mid- and late 20th century. // One of his better known creations was Charlemane the lion. He and his wife Cora Eisenberg Baird (1912–1967) produced and performed the famous puppetry sequence for "The Lonely Goatherd" in the film version of The Sound of Music. // He wrote The Art of the Puppet (1965) and also provided the puppets for Dark Shadows. Baird also created the expandable nose Peter Noone wore as Pinocchio in the 1968 musical adaptation of the Carlo Collodi story that aired on NBC as a Hallmark Hall of Fame special. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is one of those instance where a puzzle title would've made the whole experience a little nicer. The note is depressingly anti-climactic. Why GAME? Why these four  GAME phrases? There needs to be something, some phrase, some wordplay, *some*thing to make the whole thing come together. Otherwise, the whole concept is just an idle curiosity. So what? GAME here, GAME there, GAME follows this or that ... and? And nothing. Embedding of GAME is also a little wonky. It only traverses the two words in a two-word phrase once (MAKING AMENDS). Otherwise, it's just a letter string inside a word ... and the TORN part of TORN LIGAMENT is just superfluous, themewise. Not involved in the GAME at all. That's B-grade word hiding. The longer Downs give the puzzle some sparkle (I'm particularly fond of "THE SHINING" and DOWN UNDER), but the (abundant) shorter stuff is pretty GRAVE. Not jarringly bad—just creaky. ERMA/ONEL/ADUE-esque.  Also, Tommy John surgery involves a *specific* ligament, not just any old TORN LIGAMENT. Crossword folks will appreciate that it's the ULNAR collateral ligament that's repaired in said surgery. I hope I never see ULNAR in a puzzle again, but if I do ... now you know the clue I want.

I tore through this one, with only Aretha's sister (whose name I am doomed never to remember) and the puppeteer BAIRD giving me any trouble. I never read "The Sneetches" but enjoyed seeing SNEETCH in the grid. While most of the cluing was pretty staid, I laughed at the absurdity of 53A: Like a doornail, only more so (DEADER). Don't have much else to say about this one.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jp flanigan 12:16 AM  

I liked the puzzle, missed the note, so i didn't get the theme. DEADER is a bit ridiculous. Not really happy about seeing EURO-trash. I don't understand why slurs are finding their way into the puzzles. It's derogatory and unnecessary.

Whirred Whacks 12:18 AM  

Funny, breezy puzzle. I especially liked these ancient answers: AGAMEMNON, NESTOR, and GILGAMESH.

Off topic: For the past several days, many commentators have been asking Rex to remove this blog's moderation. I'll join them. The back-and-forth between different people in nearly real time made this blog interesting to me. The occasional off-color snark or profanity bothered me not at all.

Since comments have been moderated, I've found that I've contributed my opinion only about one-fourth of what I used to, and sometimes I'll go three or four days without even looking at this blog.

On the other hand, this is Rex's blog, and it's got his name (Michael Sharp) on it, and so he's got a right to run it whatever way he wishes. If he felt that unmoderated comments were BEFOULing his name and brand, then he's got to do what he needs to do to protect them. I just don't think the product is as interesting as it used to be.

BTW, I like @Lewis's suggestion from Tuesday as a possible solution.

Da Bears 12:21 AM  

I didn't even see the note to read and still got the theme. Not sure what that says other than this did nothing for my loins. Of course, nothing much does these days....

chefwen 12:43 AM  

Yeah, DEADER was pretty funny kinda like slightly pregnant.

When GILGAMESH and SNEETCH showed up I was pretty sure I had something seriously wrong up in the NW, but when all the downs worked out I had to check with Google to find out what I had been missing all these years.

A little disappointing, kept searching for a hidden word knowing it couldn't have been GAME as that was right up there, front and central. Oh well, I guess that's it. Ho Hum! Tying it Into the starred clues was also a little boring.

Better luck tomorrow, hands up for a Rebus.

jae 12:45 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  Nice twist on the "word that can follow" theme, plus the theme answers had some zip.  Liked it.  Xwordinfo explains what the constructor was trying to do with the theme and it's actually pretty interesting.  Gaffneyesque if you will. 

Tyler James Young 1:42 AM  

I think this puzzle is great. The sticky stuff had smooth crosses, there was lots of theme stuff going on, good mix of classics and modern times. Well situated at Wednesday, a fun and breezy solve.

I'd much rather have theme answers that are normal, common things than all the super-clever nonsense that relies on words and phrases on the fringes of parlance.

John Child 3:37 AM  

Easiest puzzle of the week so far for me. Really too easy for Wednesday, but no discredit to Ms Margolin for that. NESTOR and AGAMEMNON tickled my fancy, and GILGAMESH was fun too. I would have liked to see all the GAMEs spilt across two-word phrases, but I'm hard pressed to come up with strong examples of 9-12 letters. Mega merger maybe, but that's not wonderful.

DOWNUNDER was Australia, of course - a good trick from the constructor. I really like DEAR SANTA, but it put up no resistance at all. SNEETCH must have been after my Seuss years... Nope. 1961. I just never read that one.

If you want one more go at a puzzle about the old BALL GAME before we (thankfully, IMO) head into winter sports' season, try http://tinyurl.com/mightypuz.

Charles Flaster 5:22 AM  

Medium and never saw the note.
Eases and elks did me in. Changed lEAS to SEAS but never changed LIsLE to LILLE.
Originally had Lyons for 3Down.
Liked cluing for DEADER and DEAR SANTA.
Thanks RBM.

Wooody2004 5:56 AM  

I'm NUOVA to the Rexword blog, having only recently purchased an iPad. I used to ENDUPAT this site while cheating with Uncle Google at work as I attempted to solve the NYTXWord in the Seattle Times. Since I retired I'm having a BALL reading your advice, watching the VIDEOs, and laughing at all the comments on this BOARD. Thanks for the good times. It's almost like I'm a NEWME.

I also enjoy writing silly songs, so I'm MAKINGAMENDS in advance for the following:

Don't know much about history (Old Russian autocrat?)
Don't know much biology (Young salamanders?)
Don't know much about a science book (Sci-Fi play of 1921?)
Don't know much about the French I took (When the French toast??)
But I do know that I love (The "V" in R.S.V.P.)
And I know that if you love "Don't cry for me" clues too
What a wonderful blog this could be.

Lewis 6:35 AM  

Can you call ANAL a Lana Turner?

The theme didn't help my solve, but my solve happened quite fine on its own. Answers I found fun or interesting included GILGAMESH, AGAMEMNON, THESHINING, NUBA, and SNEETCH. The puzzle has a double-L mini (4), a low BOARD, highBALL, and I must report that in this grid the BIBLE is off the RADAR. I learned ERMA and SNEETCH, and I'm quite likely not to know them next time as well, but we'll see. I would have liked some more clever clues, as Wednesdays often bring.

Even though my solve went smoothly and quickly, it wasn't boring. It was coffee to my brain. Thank you for that, Ruth!

Lewis 6:46 AM  

I appreciate how moderation has made the comment section more civil, but yesterday illustrates a frustration. There were 20 comments or so after 1:30 p.m. that didn't get published until sometime after 10 p.m. That's just one day of course, but there is often a big lag between posting and the post being published, and that takes the motivation out of posting.

Norm 6:46 AM  

Is this an unannounced "haw boring can we make the theme" week?

Philip Roth 6:51 AM  

Gil Gamesh, the only Babylonian-American ever to make the big leagues, who was banned for life in 1933 for deliberately beaning an umpire.

The Great American Novel

Lobster11 7:06 AM  

Two days in a row that I agree with OFL in every detail. I'm not sure how I feel about this....

TonySaratoga 7:56 AM  

Clued like a Tuesday (or Monday).

Anonymous 7:57 AM  

On the other hand, GAME only doesn't traverse a two-word phrase in a theme answer the once. Title would've been nice. Puzzle itself quite lively.

AliasZ 7:57 AM  

I solved this one without noticing the note attached. I noticed the asterisks on front of the four clues of course, but had no idea why they were there. After completing the grid, I looked at the long answers and saw the G's in all of them, followed by AME. Aha!! BALLGAME, VIDEO GAME, etc. What an entirely different experience! Great fun. We don't need no stinking notes.

I often feel a too-obvious reavealer or note is a wet blanket. Today it was.

A few words and phrases hiding GAME also occurred to me: lodginG AMEnity, bodeGA MEal, TaGAMEt, meGAMEter, KinG AMEnhotep, perGAMEnt, conGA MElody, hard workinG AMEricans, a Javanese GAMElan ensemble, etc. Also, meGA MElons -- oh, that was Monday's theme. Never mind.

What better way to finish than "Poème de l'AMOUR et DELA mer" by Ernest Chausson (1855-1899).

Happy ENDUPAT y'all!

crabsofsteel 8:12 AM  

Can someone explain 12 Down "ONEL"?

jberg 8:17 AM  

AGAMEMNON was a king, but not much of a hero, as I recall. Other than that, the hardest part was finding those little tiny stars --even when I had three of them, I didn't notice that they were symmetrical in the grid.

That's all I've got to say.

suzysan 8:32 AM  

One-L is first year law student.

RooMonster 8:37 AM  

Hey All !
I think Will messed up on his Tuesday/Wednesday puzzles! Yesterday's should've been today's, today's should've been yesterday's. This puz was quite easy, (well, except for the middle, with having CANus instead of CANID, which screwed up 35A, 21,28,29D.)

Couldn't see GOLD MEDAL as clued, knew Nueva for Spanish "new", but not the Italian equivalent. Also, GRAVE was a WOE as clued, had GRAzE. So a mess in the center.

Did like it more than Rex, he seemed to TSK it. I would've liked to see the center answer, 38A, as part of the theme. But that's just me. Nice longer Downs. Overall, a good (Tuesday) puzzle, wrong day.


Austin 8:41 AM  

a "ONE L" is a first year law student

definitely easy for me, this was my fastest Wednesday time

GILL I. 8:50 AM  

OOOOOh, I enjoyed this puzzle. So many great names. Just two mistakes: My control freak was A NAG ( I don't know what ONEG or ONEL is) but come to think of it, ANAL makes perfect sense - especially since it crosses DOWN UNDER.
SNEETCHes !!! and the evil Mr. McBean. Our son loved that book and of course loved saying SNEETCH...:
"...until neither the Plain nor the Star-Bellies knew
whether this one was that one...or that one was this one
or which one was what one...or what one was who"
10 Stars for me.
Oh, the other mistake was making Jackie O's designer as DIOR. (I know, nobody cares)..
I had little asterisks for the corner answers so seeing GAME in each of the theme answers was a treat. I had a puppy I named AGAMEMNON..We found them abandoned but Aga and the rest were placed in super good homes.
@jp Flanigan. I don't even know what EURO trash is...?
Good job Ruth Bloomfield Margolin (love that name) Would not mind at all to see more of your puzzles.

Unknown 8:54 AM  


Pronounce ONEL as "1-L" meaning 1st year law school.

7 U's for M&A so what's not to like?

16a GILGAMESH - Strange the words buried in one's memory. It was there, but no context for it and no idea why it was there nor when it "arrived."


Unknown 9:00 AM  

Correction: Meant to say ONE-L is a ist year law student, not school.

Da Bears 9:00 AM  


As Ogden Nash would say:

The one l lama, he is a priest
The two l llama, he is a beast
But I will bet a silk pajama
That there isn't any three l llama

However, in this case the ONE L means the first year law student. The first year in law school is when Torts and Contracts are usually taught. I think the expression finds its roots in The Paper Chase, a story about a first year law student at Harvard. This former law student never heard the expression when attending and totally rejects it as fill, a proper designation of a law student and everything else except what Ogden Nash said.

@Chefwen, I made a similar observation on WP, except I asked if DEADER was like being more pregnant.

@AliasZ, I was wondering how you liked the new moderation since the only reason you are here is because of moderation that took less time?

It is now 8 a.m. Chicago time.

chefbea 9:08 AM  

Hands up for easiest puzzle of the week. Although I didn't know a lot of the names..got them from the crosses

@Woody 2004 Welcome. Love your song!!

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

ONEL means a first year law student or someone in year one of law school

Nancy 9:11 AM  

Based on the performances of the various NY teams of late, I'd add 20A to today's theme answers.

Very easy. I did like the clues for DEADER and DEAR SANTA.

Nancy 9:19 AM  

I'm with @Whirred and @Lewis. Both the motivation to post and the motivation to revisit this site to read new posts have been gravely, perhaps fatally, weakened. I suspect that that urge is on life support for many of us. Already, some of my favorite commenters are MIA. I continue to soldier on in order to keep myself in the BALL GAME, as it were, hoping that when the blog reverts to its former spontaneity and solver interaction, it will prove to have been worth it. We'll see.

Z 9:21 AM  

The constructor at xwordinfo.com said, In my original puzzle, I had tried to use the clues to link each of the long theme answers to one of the corner words. So, for example, the clue for GILGAMESH was "Ancient epic of Mortal Kombat?" referencing the VIDEO game of the same name. (And the clue for VIDEO was "How the hidden feature of 16-Across might begin.") Similarly, the clue for MAKINGAMENDS was "Saying ‘Sorry!'?" referencing the BOARD game. The clue for TORNLIGAMENT was "It might hobble a Horse?" referencing the BALL game. And the clue for AGAMEMNON was "Greek king who returned from War?" referencing the CARD game. I was pleased with how my clues had a one-to-one correlation with the corner words. But I also knew that the connections were pretty subtle, so it didn't quite work. I suspected that many solvers might finish the puzzle without even noticing my carefully chosen details! Would you have noticed?

Too subtle? Maybe. So why do I feel the puzzle as published insults my intelligence now?

Three puzzles, four women constructors, two relatively new at constructing. Nice to see and I hope Shortz keeps recruiting more like this.

@Lewis - Great ANAL clue. I can imagine it being used by Buzzfeed or an indie or the fearless gruntzer. Maybe a little too 50 Shades for the Grey Lady.

@crabsofsteel - Law school first years are ONE L for some reason known only to crossword constructors.

"DEADER than a door nail" makes no sense, yet is a phrase I've heard and understood all my life.

Anonymous 9:22 AM  


One-L is a term for a first year Law student.

Tita 9:23 AM  

Figured the theme out sans note...thought it was just fine, though the original idea does seem to have been a better idea, as per xwordinfo.

Loved ACORN, as we are nuts over them - we collect the millions that rain down in our yard, and paint them as befits the occasion. My mom has a production line going.
Here's some of them ACORNs

(Fair warning - my mother will paint anything that stands still for long enough...)

The best dog ever, a mutt that looked like a cross btwn a Sheltie and a Cocker Spaniel, was named Aga - I was never sure if that was short for AGAMEMNON or AGApito.
Whenever the whole family left the house, Aga would run to one of our rooms, take a piece of clothing (that of course we kids would have left on the floor or chair), and curl up on the couch with it for company. My mom hated that - she would close each of our bedroom doors before leaving. It was up to one of us to sneak behind her and open each door...

There was fun fill in this puzzle, as others have noted.
Thanks Ms. M>

Gracie H 9:23 AM  

ONEL = first year law student

Tita 9:29 AM  

Previous link probably didn't work... and y'all know how I hate to disappoint...


Also, knew the name Bill BAIRD because my orthodontist had a poster of him in his treatment room. I stared at that thing through several years of getting braces tightened - not the happiest associations...
Thanks @Rex for some javascript:void(0)pretty interesting factoids about him - who knew?

Bronxdoc 9:38 AM  

Have to love a puzzle that includes Bill Baird - creative, whimsical, imaginative puppeteer who would also delight children on the beach in summer by drawing cartoons their arms and legs.

Norm 9:41 AM  

ONE L = first year law student; also title of Scott Turow's first book.

Ludyjynn 9:46 AM  

@crabsofsteel, ONEL refers to first year law students, who are required to pass course work in tort law and contract law, among other subjects, before advancing to second year. Statistically, I have read that one out of three students either drops out or flunks out during first year. (I had a classmate who went to the bathroom in the middle of a civil procedure final exam and never came back!)

Interesting article in yesterday's NYT about unqualified students being admitted to law schools with the liklihood they will either not graduate, not pass a bar exam to practice, not find a suitable legal position in the public or private sector and/or ENDUPAT indebtedness with student loans up to their eyeballs. Not a pretty picture.

I found this puzzle to be an OLIO. Maybe because I detested "THE SHINING" and am befuddled by the perennial fascination with "Star Wars" characters like ARTOO, I did not have a BALL.

Thanks anyway, RBM and WS.

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

@carbsofsteel: "one L" is a term for a first-year law student.

jrstocker 9:51 AM  

The proper video to post today would've been Patrick Stewart as Picard recounting the epic of GILGAMESH.

I say boo on you, sir.

thfenn 9:53 AM  

A little embarrassed at how long having AUSTRALIA in for DOWNUNDER threw me. Didn't see the note and, for me, seeing the note would undoubtedly have helped, at least with the feeling that there was no theme at all. Can't help on ONEL, no idea. Also never understood why it isnt ARTWO. Dont remember SNEETCH. Thought EUROtrash was pretty unnecessary. the Trojan related clues were interesting, but completely unrelated to the theme and could've gone into far more territory (USC, condoms etc) Also thought the TJS clueing for TORNLIGAMENT was kind of weak - TJS has a pretty specific focus - none of the NFL players tearing their MCL or ACL are getting TJS.


Lobster11 9:54 AM  

I agree with those who are complaining that moderation has severely hampered our ability to have any kind of back-and-forth among replies, and that this takes a lot of the fun out of replying at all. Is it worth this cost to keep certain undesirable posts from being published (until OFL has the opportunity to delete them)? If those undesirable posts are merely mean-spirited or snarky I would say no, but it seems to me that he is clearly letting plenty of that stuff come in -- which makes me suspect that the stuff he's screening out is way worse (for one reason or another). Rex, maybe you could chime in on this?

mac 9:54 AM  

Nice dense theme, easy-medium for me.

Gold Medals gave me some trouble: I put in nueva, canis and deaFer. It took a while to translate

At 54D, isn't an earl a rank below a marquess, and marquis is the French spelling?

quilter1 10:08 AM  

Easy for me. I liked the old names, too. For some reason PANDA would not come to mind after thinking zebra but it worked out.

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

Okay, am I the only one who is scratching his head about ONEL? Huh!

Joseph Michael 10:23 AM  

I have to agree with Rex on this one. The theme left me with a "So what?" feeling and there were way too many names. I count 20 in all, i.e., more than a quarter of the puzzle. Meh.

My only moment of enjoyment was the clue for DEADER.

Charles Flaster 10:25 AM  


Charles Flaster 10:27 AM  

Second sentence is supposed to read ESSES and ELLS...

Tita 10:37 AM  

Uh oh...I inadvertently unsubscribed...so here I am thinking of something else clever to say so I can resubscribe.

Oh well...all out of clever.

bctbct 10:37 AM  

Euro-trash doen't refer to people, but usually to artistic productions, like a Mozart opera set in a whorehouse or somesuch. It's gotten to be a style category, for good or ill.

chefbea 10:47 AM  

So I guess we all know now what onel is..Lets go back to the old way of posting!!!

Da Bears 10:52 AM  

Go here to see Rex's moderators:


Mohair Sam 10:59 AM  

Easiest Wednesday in a while right after the toughest Tuesday I can remember, maybe Will Shortz flip-flopped his calendar.

ON EL is how students at the University of Chicago Law School get to class.

Can't believe @Rex didn't have some fun complaining about how dated this puzzled was with GILGAMESH, NESTOR, AGAMEMNON, and BIBLE. Heck, even the sauce was Old World Style.

See some complaints about DEADER. I'm old enough to have gotten my first Facebook "suggested post" from Pennsylvania Cremation Services just the other day. They recommended I call to discuss my options, maybe DEADER is one of them.

AZPETE 11:08 AM  

U can opt in to receive all posts via ur email.

AZPETE 11:11 AM  

Hey fellow posters. I think I got it now. OneL = first year law student!

Andrew Heinegg 11:30 AM  

It is amusing to moi that so many of the contributors to the blog 'act' surprised that they agree with Messr. Sharp's evaluation of a puzzle. I am in complete agreement with him again today. There are some solid answers here and I particularly enjoyed making a visit to ancient Greek literature although I found it a bit curious that the professor of literature did not comment on that. But, the theme was just too thin and the puzzle lacked any snap.

Carola 11:42 AM  

Liked it. I thought it was a very nice combination of the hidden word + word-that-can-go-with themes. Getting BALL GAME (from GILGAMESH) early helped with the other theme answers, especially the TORN LIGAMENT, as I don't know who Tommy John is.

I liked seeing the early mythical NESTOR, AGAMEMNON, and GILGAMESH (and BIBLE?) keeping company with ARTOO and the nice cross of AMI and AMOUR (perhaps trysting in LILLE). Oh, and TUTU + SISI. And DEADER made me laugh. Overall, a lively puzzle with lots to like.

Chaos344 11:54 AM  

Pretty good puzzle, but nothing special. Saw the note pad, read it, and decided not to pay any attention to it. Having remained childless by choice, I let SNEETCH fill itself in from the downs. With the exception of Green Eggs And Ham, everything I know about Dr, Seuss has come via crosswords. There were one or two other slight snags, but my time was about average for a Wednesday.

@Da Bears: I knew the screen name had to be you. In regard to your post at 1:46 PM on yesterday's blog, I think its time to clear the air. I didn't come back to this blog to engage in a daily pissing contest with you. I suspect that type of behavior is exactly why Rex went to a moderated format, so lets nip this in the bud.

I don't know what your problem is JFC? You were my first crossword blog amigo. We both went to Wordplay at the same time, and had a great rapport on that blog. Somewhere along the line something changed? You fired the first shot at me on Wordplay, when you brought up the Jukebox brouhaha. You insinuated that I was afraid to criticize Rex and that you had to tell me to "Man Up." That may be partially true. I was new to this blog and blogging in general, so I hadn't any baseline for how critical I could be toward Rex without getting banned. Having said that, I think you might be suffering from selective memory or Old Timer's disease? Since we're both around the same age, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. As I recall it, you were the one who had ticked off Rex and were using "anonymous" to post. I was trying to avoid the same fate, but I didn't post anonymously. After you took that cheap shot at me, I retaliated by calling you out for going ballistic over the use of the term "hillbilly" when it was used as a puzzle entry. One of the things that I always admired about you was my belief that you would not bow to the PC crowd. Perhaps I was wrong?

One final thought. I will match my spine, testosterone level, and physical ability against yours any day of the week. Let's bury the hatchet, quit with any derogatory insinuations and just enjoy and Emuless blog. What say you?

ghkozen 12:00 PM  

Interesting to me you never heard the expression while attending. This former law student used 1L, 2L, and 3L all the way through, as did everyone else I knew. Never heard it any other way, actually. Must be a cultural difference between different law schools.

old timer 12:05 PM  

The repeated explanations about ONEL are a perfect example of why the blog should be de-moderated. No, I never heard of it until Turow wrote his book with that title, and I believe the term was unique to Harvard Law School -- when I was a student at a different law school, the collective term was "first years". But I knew I was in my element when our Torts teacher perched his butt on the blackboard chalk tray and started asking questions about the case of the day, and no matter what the response, our prof had a rejoinder.

I enjoyed the puzzle very much. Especially the Greekiness of it, with NESTOR and dear old AGAMEMNON. If you visit Mycenae, where his palace was, your mind is transported back 3000 years.

ghkozen 12:06 PM  

Maybe it is only me, but I find the cimmand cluing style used for VIDEO to be highly objectionable. "Watch it!" does not mean VIDEO, even if a video is something that one watches.

Warren Howie Hughes 12:13 PM  

ANAL Exit...Stage Fright!!!

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Didn't see the puzzle note until I was finished, so the puzzle played rather boring and easy. Definitely agree that this should have been switched with yesterday's puzzle based on difficulty (mostly because yesterday's had more obscure [and somewhat dreckier] fill)

Numinous 12:39 PM  

Scott Turrow's first book is titled One L and is about his first year in law school. It was published in 1977. I don't want to sound like a blatherskite (a word used DOWN UNDER for a braggart) but I've known the term since then.

SNEETCH reminded me of a short, um, poem written by Shel Silverstein published in Playboy in the early sixties:

We've just been eaten by a quick-digesting Sneet,
And now we are dodging his molars.
Now we are roamin' his lower abdomen,
And now we're back out on the street.

I enjoyed the cupuled ACORN. In college I wrote a paper that discussed why the indigenous Californians would never have developed agriculture beyond growing their own tobacco. The acorn was their staple crop. As part of that project, I harvested, hulled, ground, leached, and made and ate ACORN porridge and bread. All in all, a fascinating experience.

I didn't read the note flashing i told me about until I got to GILGAMESH. Even then I didn't pay it much mind until I hit the last across. "Okay," I thought to myself, I thought. "So what?" I have to agree that today's effort was more Tuesday than Wednesday and yesterday's was more Wednesday than Tuesday. I agree with @Rex, it was easy.

I miss the community we had going on here. I miss the discussion and the banter. Other blogs never did live up to the Rex Parker Experience. I also hope Annabelle feels better soon too.

gifcan 1:02 PM  

Yes, me too

gifcan 1:18 PM  

I kept waiting for a gimmick but it played straight. Then I remembered it was Wednesday and not Thursday.

Got stuck at Le_LE and GI_GAMESH because I had OLeO spelled incorrectly (and I wasn't familiar with any Sumerian kings). Corrected the spelling, got LILLE.


Teedmn 1:26 PM  

This was fun and even a glut of writeovers didn't slow me down too much. Do they make LIsLE in LILLE? I was ANAL about being oN it at 22A. My Italian wanted a NUEVA way to spell NUOVA. NESTOR, hEcTOR, who can keep these Trojans straight? I was in AMore with my AMOUR. And the black ops sector, ink-wise, was the far SW. The A of ARTOO gave me opAL at 51D. Then 51A became lEAS (hey, there are some pretty expansive meadows here I the Midwest). Okay, okay I SAABed, I'll change it.

But otherwise I was pretty much in the GAME throughout the whole puzzle.

Thanks, Ms. Margolin, nice Wed. puzzle.

Chaos344 2:25 PM  

Warren Howie Hughes said... ANAL Exit...Stage Fright!!!
How I've missed that rapier wit! The elites at Wordplay would call your analogy puerile!

@ old timer: Excellent observation about the perils of asking for an explanation in this format. I knew crabsofsteel was going to be inundated with replies regarding his query, but there was no way I could expeditiously warn him. Unless the format changes here, I'd advise him to simply Google any future questions about clues or answers.

@Da Bears: Re: your link to Rex's moderators, Stormy Weather indeed. Lets do our part to insure that moderation never reaches hurricane force. Kudos for posting Nash's poem regarding ONEL's. I had forgotten it, but your comment stirred my hippocampus in regard to genus ungulata. Here's a poem I memorized in my misbegotten youth:

Well, the sexual desires of the camel,
Are stronger than anyone thinks.
One night, in a seizure of passion,
He tried to make love to the Sphinx.

But the Sphinx is made out of sandstone,
and rocks which outcrop near the Nile,
which accounts for the hump on the camel,
and the Sphinx's "inscrutable" smile!

Susanna 3:13 PM  

I also do not understand how "Watch it!" has a thing to do with video. I would appreciate it if someone could enlighten me.

Jamie C 3:29 PM  

MORE sex today with all of the GAyMEn in today's puzzle. Let the wild rumpus continue!

Ludyjynn 4:14 PM  

My NY Magazine (Nov.2-8, 2015) came in today's mail. I just finished the Cathy Allis crossword, 'He has a Record', and recommend it highly if you can get your hands on it. Fun and well done.

Z 4:27 PM  

A couple of observations about moderation:

1. In the days of immoderation a question like the ONEL question would often have multiple answers (go back two years, it won't take more than a week to find examples). The only difference is that we couldn't blame the moderator then.
2. The commentariat sometimes sounds like the blog is our exclusive playground. According to URLMetrics Rex gets ~190,000 readers a month. So, no.
3. Lots of commenters have left since I started reading this. Some I miss (even some who didn't like each other), but somehow there are still 60-160 comments everyday. The only irreplaceable person here is Rex.
4. I like @Lewis' suggestion, but I have no idea how practical that is for OFL. He does this for donations, so it has to work for Rex, not the commentariat.

On a more interesting note, The Franklin clue reminded me of this book. A good read, and history that resonates today. Music. Cars. Politics. Mobs. Sports. It has something for everyone.

Wm. C. 4:36 PM  

I agree with everyone above on the moderation being more of a negative than what it corrects.

Rex can always stop by a few times a day to expunge objectionable material, meaning that the rare objectionable piece won't even be seen by a majority of readers. Likewise, he could "deputize" a few of the well-known posters here to show up daily at an agreed time to do it for him.

C'mon, Rex, the sentiment on this point so far -- agreed, just a handful, but unanimous so far -- is clear on this point. True, it's your blog, but I'm sure you're open-minded enough to be willing to rethink the issue. Or, if not, I'd be interested in hearing your reasoning. Thanks!

Unknown 4:53 PM  

since last Saturdays puzzle included "THUGS" with the resulting rant... "In the context of a white-produced puzzle for mostly white people, please, dear god, clue THUGS in some way where Race Is Not A Factor. It is, sincerely, the very least you could do."

Why is there no outrage with "Euro Trash" today?

beatrice 5:07 PM  

@Tita - Your mom's ACORNS -Wow! Also, wonderful memory of a dear CANID soul.

@jberg - re: AGAMEMNON - I'm not sure whether he is rightly considered a 'hero' of the war, but not only was he a king, he was the brother of the cuckolded Menelaus, and 'the most powerful ruler in Hellas'; he marshaled the forces of the other Greek states and was commander-in-chief through the entire war. Apparently he had called upon the 'Oath of Tyndareus' (though I was taught it was due to Paris' transgression of the 'law' of hospitality) - in any case, there is an interesting article here -- http://www.maicar.com/GML/Agamemnon.html

On a sweeter note - last night I came across a review of a concert led by the inimitable Paul VAN Nevel, featuring the music of one Firminus Caron (fl.1460-1475) - of whom I'd never heard, but who apparently wrote one of the great hits of the 15th century - 'Helas que pourra devenir' - and was considered a great innovator. Firminus seems to be in the process of being rediscovered, with a 3-disc set recently released. Here (I hope) is the same 'Helas' - it comes from the aforementioned CD set, and is quite something. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp96fG33M_o

YouTube has another concert led by Mr. Van Nevel, which includes a few pieces by Firminus (program provided under video).

Mac -if you read this - there is a brief intro in, I presume, Dutch. (I think you might like the music, too!)

Teedmn 6:44 PM  

@Tita, awesome acorns (and nice avatar for today.) Your oaks must be a different varietal than the ones in my yard - I don't think one could paint on the rather small ones we have - or your mom has amazingly steady hands and eyesight. The Xmas ornaments are so cute.

Anonymous 6:54 PM  

What am I missing? ONEL = student in torts or contracts? No short forms in the clue if it refers to a first year student in law!

Anonymous 8:15 PM  

First year law students = one L

Leapfinger 11:53 PM  

A nice puzzle for a playful Wednesday solve; it's quite a winning GAMEplan to run the gamut from GILGAMESH and AGAMEMNON to the SILLy star-bellied SNEETCHES and Sabrina, the Teen-aged Witch. As usual, I missed the Notepad, and am glad of it. It's much more satisfying to discover something yourself than to be led to it. Where's the fun in that?

Considering the fill, the clues might have been ramped up a little: my only writeover was from NUeVA to NUOVA, on account of the GeLD MEDALS double-take. GELD MEDALS? That would be the making of a whole NEW ME. Think I'd rather go with the TORN LIGAMENT.

So Sorry to say, but I think the puzzle misleads in a very GRAVE way. Life is not a GAME. The Big Boss has a Monopoly on your time, and co-workers who have nary a Clue and not much in the way of Scruples play Whack-a-Mole with your tender aspirations. Something always happens that Chutes you down off the Ladder to the top. This Trivial Pursuit of Success nets you only a Checkered career, and maybe a Checker cab. It Chess isn't worth it, you know? Your girlfriend's built like a Battleship and you've nowhere to Hang, Man. Plus you run the outside Risk that someday a Hungry, Hungry Hippo will Scatter Gory bits of you around the landscape when all you hoped for was a stroll in the zoo.

I may have Mad-Libbed too long, but want to add I hope we won't stay Ruth-less for long, and that the Belle of Wellesley stay well again.

ps: A thoughtful touch to include "Here's Johnny!' for those who found Paar cheesy.

Teedmn 12:25 AM  

@Leapfinger, I fear you are chasing a 'Trivial Pursuit'. It's all 'Balderdash', in my opinion!

Hays 1:11 AM  

@Paul Courtney

Because the NYTimes doesn't have a history of being tone-deaf with the European community, would be my reasoning. Also, it isn't, like, the third time in a month we've had an iffy European-culture based clue.

Honestly curious, though, do you think "thugs" and "Eurotrash" are equivalent? Eurotrash always seemed to be more of a fashion thing, to me, like the same level of insult as "bridge-and-tunneler", as opposed to implying criminality and violence. Just my opinion.

Unknown 6:48 AM  

I don't understand the cluing for the answer VIDEO. Watch it! ??

Tyler James Young 2:27 AM  

@Paul Courtney It has to do with that context thing that was in your quotation.

@others The key to understanding the VIDEO clue is the lack of quotation marks that would indicate the need to seek out a parallel phrase. It's misleading on purpose, like jokes are, and relies on the fact that the most common way of ingesting a video is to watch it.

Burma Shave 8:39 AM  


they RELY on AGED SEER NESTOR (so wise),
who will TELL what he SEAS without LOSING fiends.


BS2 11:25 AM  

That's supposed to be "friends", not fiends. Doh! TSK on me.

rondo 1:25 PM  

As a former ONEL, I can verify that it is a thing. Law school students are reduced to being called a number with a letter. Probably the only time in their lives they will take being so humbled.

Two slips at CANIS and NUeVo, so a bit splotchy there in the middle.

Today’s yeah baby nominee is the lesser known Franklin, ERMA . Honorable mention to all NUBIAn queens.

EUROtrash Girl by Cracker is such a classic song. Reminiscent of Far Away Eyes by the Stones.

Due to a softball injury I had a surgery similar to the Tommy John type, to repair a TORNLIGAMENT attaching the biceps to the elbow. Not recommended.

DEARSANTA: please bring us nothing but good puzzles so OFL can start MAKINGAMENDS.

rain forest 2:22 PM  

The spoutings of Donald Trump over the last couple of days, and the positive response he is getting from (I've heard) 30% of Americans has me in a funk. Apparently today he was on two morning shows where even more people get to abe subjected to his racist crap. What is going on there, folks?

So, the puzzle was a nice break from all that and I was GAME to finish, which I did. I agree the puzzle would have been more of a puzzle without the note, but I liked it nonetheless. My kids loved all things Seuss, especially SNEETCHes, and the lesson in that story has been lost on too many people.

Maybe I'm just Canuck-trash

Z 8:45 PM  

@rain forest - It's bad but not as bad as you stated. It's actually closer to 6-8% of Americans, roughly equal to the number who believe the moon landing was faked.

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