Sagan wrote about his brain / WED 1-6-16 / gibbon zoo primate / Sikorsky of aviation / Taiwanese PC maker / Automaker whose name means listen in Latin / Jazz saxophonist Coleman

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Constructor: Jules P. Markey

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: CROSS-REFEENCES (34A: "See also" notations ... or what can be found in the circled squares in this puzzle?) — OED (Oxford English Dictionary, a major "reference" work) crosses OED four times in this grid

Notable crosswordese:
  • OTOE
  • AMO
Word of the Day: LAR gibbon (29D: ___ gibbon (zoo primate)) —
The lar gibbon (Hylobates lar), also known as the white-handed gibbon, is a primate in the gibbon family, Hylobatidae. It is one of the better-known gibbons and is often seen in zoos. (wikipedia)
• • •
There are some things the English language just doesn't want to do, and one of those is have "OED" all lined up in a single word. So we get pelted with past tenses, and the "OED" strings so painfully restrict adjacent fill that it cries out in pain. That NE is an atrocity, from LAR (!?!) to CHRON to CHOU, but it would be very hard to fill any better, given the OED placements. In the SW, the ramifications are somewhat less dire: just crosswordese like TSKED and OTOE, and then whatever BROCA is (!?!?!). The OEDs are handled somewhat better in the two other instances, but still, the fill suffers tremendously, everywhere: AEIOU NNE TEAC ENERO IDES AMO LEROI ECTO TROU (in addition to the aforementioned stuff). The longer Downs are pretty shiny—even the "OED"-containing ones—and the revealer is decent, with a nice metacrossword, self-referential aspect to the cluing. But the basic concept was a. too easy (you can fill in all the circles once you pick up the gimmick) and b. too restrictive for the fill to come out nice and tasty. I mean, jeez ... LAR? Jeez...

This puzzle pretty much exhausts the _OED options: TOED, HOED, COED—just to give you an idea of how severely limiting the "OED" letter string is. There's an odd strain of stupidity running through the grid, with IDIOTs and DODOS and a DENSE guy (on a SEAT in the corner). The climate is DRY. ARID, even. Like my house in ENERO (i.e. right now). HIDE is also a Facebook action, and would've completed the FB trifecta (along with TAG and POST) nicely. The roe deer all want to know why they were left out of this puzzle, as do the all the robots in the ROBO-education classes. Robots and deer, amassing on my lawn as we speak, asking "Why!?" Gonna put on ORNETTE Coleman now, and sip some bourbon ON ICE. Happy January 6th.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:06 AM  

Medium for me with the SW being the toughest section. BROCA was vaguely familiar...a region in the brain I think.

TEAC brought back old stereo system memories. I haven't heard of them lately, but If you were building a component system back in the 70's a TEAC reel to reel tape deck was a nice compliment to your Dual 1219 turntable.

Clever theme and, given the constraints @Rex has discussed, a pretty good Wed., liked it.

Da Bears 12:14 AM  

Rex, I like, and I mean really like: "There are some things the English language just doesn't want to do..."

That is so pure, so poetic, so prose....

I have a feeling you were drinking Whistling Pig when you wrote that.

kozmikvoid 12:15 AM  

There's really not much to say about this one. I think Rex was generous in his only slightly negative review. And it's most likely due to his alias making an appearance in the OEDIPUS form. PIGEONTOED was OK, but everything else fell flat. Wednesday puzzles usually have some zing to them, but theming the oldest, dullest reference book in existence four times just didn't work. The CROSSREFERENCE idea probably could work, but blindly filling in 20 spaces with O-E-D wasn't the way to go. Even the wine clues were DRY in this one.

Carola 12:36 AM  

Super easy. The term RADIO EDITS was new to me, but the necessary OED made it easy to get. I'm old enough to remember when BROCA's Brain was published. Never saw LAR.

I liked the array of names: CHAD, PHOEBE, ORNETTE, TRITON, LEROI, CHOU, IGOR, JOE DON, OEDIPUS. I loved Nash's BRONX cheer for the BRONX, and SERAGLIO was a treat.

George Barany 1:08 AM  

Today's puzzle by @Jules Markey featured an original theme and brought considerable enjoyment with several ingenious theme entries and clever cluing that more than made up for some of the negatives identified in @Rex's review.

The OED "starred" in Simon Winchester's wonderful The Professor and the Madman. CHOU En-Lai was recently in the news [side note: the newspaper of record now spells his name starting with Z]. Throw in a couple of planetary moons (PHOEBE and TRITON), and what's not to like?

I'm going to predict that @AliasZ will give us this Mozart overture, so I'll counter with this ditty from Tom Lehrer.

chefwen 3:04 AM  

Thought I finished with some mistakes, but Google told me ORNETTE 45A and JOE DON 10D were correct. Lucked out again, yeah me!
I've heard of state LINEs and CITY limits, CITY LINE was a new one for me.

Good, easy Wednesday that lucky guesses helped with.

Loren Muse Smith 4:41 AM  

Rex – I agree about the meta-crossword aspect of CROSS REFERENCES. Cool.

Also nice catch on suggesting cluing HIDE for a FB trio.

I bet we all HIDE friends for different reasons. Eleven POSTs a day with cute animal posters and inspirational messages (cat dangling from a pullup bar, Hang in there, baby!) – I'm gonna HIDE you. I have other criteria for hiding people, but, well, I'd just be setting myself up to hear why so many people HIDE me, too. And unfriend me, even. Ouch.

Despite some woes (SERAGLIO, LAR, ORNETTE), the crosses came through, so this played pretty easy. That southeast with CITY LINE (city limits, anyone?) crossing RADIO EDITS was the toughest for me, but BROCA's area was a cinch. I didn't know Sagan wrote about him, but, hey, I studied linguistics, so, well, hmmm. How to say this...

AEIOU (and even EIEIO) are so firmly established in my language that I never mind them.

Liked Taoist CHI right next to HINDU. I don't know much about either religion, but they both sure seem to be more laid-back than others, huh? And don't we all sometimes wonder, if HINDUs are right, what we'll be reincarnated as? I'm hoping I'll be a cat hanging from a chin-up bar so I can be all famous and rooted for and stuff.

There is the other trifecta of RILE, BOIL, and IRK. And to the dummköpfe, you could squint and throw DIMS in there, too. "All you DIM, DENSE DODO IDIOTS go have a SEAT over there. All you smart, cool people who knew BROCA, own two OEDs, and have been known to throw around the word EMBUE, you go stand over there."

Agreed – having eight occurrences of OED – crossing each other – had to be really tough to pull off. I enjoyed the exercise.

smalltowndoc 6:10 AM  

As a neuroradiologist, I'm very familiar with Broca's area, a part of the brain involved with speech. But cluing his name with a work by Carl Sagan left me speechless. I also consider myself a world expert on zoo primates, but have to agree with @Rex on LAR. That's just bad, but easy to get from the crosses. Also, I'm pretty much an expert on prefixes meaning "time", and CHRON is really pushing it. The interweb is replete with this: "variant of chrono-".

So, I really like this one.

Hungry Mother 6:48 AM  

More like a Tuesday for me. Wednesday often makes me sweat.

Dorothy Biggs 7:45 AM  

Thank you, Rex for normalizing my ?? on BROCA. Once again the NYT comes up with a word/name that makes me ask, "Am I supposed to know this?" Usually that experience happens later in the week. Rarely do I have one of these words hit me mid-week. Broca. Ok then.

Anonymous 7:56 AM  

For once Rex is right. This puzzle sucks.

Unknown 8:11 AM  

One of Sagan's very popular works was called Broca's Brain. It began with him describing viewing Broca's actual brain (in a jar in an institution somewhere).

I find I must express my disapproval at the ignorance by TSKing. . . because now "TSK" is a verb.

After I got the first OED crossing, I thought--there's going to be three other reference books that commonly abbreviate to three letters? Nope--just OED over and over.

Z 8:13 AM  

@LMS and @smalltowndoc - I'd groan if I could.

I got fed up with Facebook. I only Tweet, now. Which makes me constantly bemused by the "Twitter is broke" cries from Wall Street because it has "only" 300 million users and ~$1B/year in ad revenue. Wall Street people are known IDIOTS.

I finished at -O-O with no idea about O-NETTE Coleman and worrying that rOIL might work instead of BOIL. hOBO was what I wanted even though it didn't fit the clue. Ran the alphabet first with -OrO before running it a second time to finally hit on ROBO, and the perfunctory dope slap.

I really liked the meta-ness of the theme, it tickled my punny bone at just the right angle, so the resulting strain on fill is okay with me. Besides, I thought the commentary on politics (DODOS, IDIOT, DENSE, all belonging in a GULAG not LE ROI in a SERAGLIO they all really aspire to be, DIMS, KNEED, and, of course, PIGEON TOED OEDIPUS REX) is perfectly summarized in the puzzle by one line: RILE. AMO. BOIL.

@LMS again - I will still "whom" but have not yet imbued or embued.

Aketi 8:17 AM  

Despite generally being one if those DIM DENSE DODO IDIOTS as described by LMS, I managed to finish this fairly quickly (for me) with only one Google.

Enjoyed yesterday's comments on JAMOKE and Vanilla ISIS and weird things pets eat. Not even the green playdoh, however, could top Lydyjinn's story. (@Nancy, it was a very close second.)

As for those who confused martial with marital yesterday, I am sure you can guess whether or not I did the same. There have been a few couples in my Martial Arts classes who only spar with each other. Perhaps that outlet might contribute to their marital BLISS.

mac 8:27 AM  

I have to agree with Rex's write-up. And with @Loren's mention of the nasty undertone of this puzzle with idiot, dodos, dense, tsked, rile and boil. A Bronx cheer for this one.

Ludyjynn 8:36 AM  

CITY LINE brings to mind some of my favorite roadside 'welcome to' sign variants. In Vermont, as you drive along the Interstate, you will be notified that you are "Entering Sharon" and a bit down the road, that you are "Leaving Sharon". Of course, everyone loves the sign for "Blue Ball", Pa. and "Intercourse", YONder, ironically, in staid Amish country.

I liked how TROU 'dropped' vertically in the grid. Near the 'hanging' CHAD. Teehee.

Now that the cold weather is finally here, I anticipate the imminent arrival of the PHOEBEs, cute little songbirds, at my backyard bird feeders. They show up like clockwork every year.

Is GULAG any relation to 'stalag'? I'm too lazy this morning to Google it.

New word for me: SERAGLIO. Now the question is will I be able to commit it to memory?!

Thanks, JPM and WS. Although Rex ZEROED IN ON the puzzle's deficiencies, I enjoyed this hump day outing.

Mohair Sam 8:38 AM  

Easiest Wednesday in a while. Had ZoomEDINON for a portion of a second until the sine clue, then everything filled quickly. Very much what @Rex said otherwise.

"BROCA's Brain" one hell of a read, especially when you're young - it was for me anyhow. Would have been nifty if Will had changed 60A to the Cornell COED date crossing the Sagan clue.

Wondering if anybody even hesitated at BRONX for Nash's "thonx". Just like @lms - SERAGLIO, LAR, and ORNETTE all new to us, but crosses so easy we never noticed. And agree with @smalltowndoc - it's CHRONo (also loved his/her "speechless" reaction to the BROCA clue).

Tita 8:45 AM  

I'm happy this puzzle learned me the Nash 2-line poem (and his apology). This is actually an interesting blog, btw... Puz spouse, while born in Manhattan, lived there, and I worked there for years to put myself through college. I knew the 4, 5, and 6 lines well, taking the train from Astor Place up to Westchester Square.

I too liked AEIOU, with its newtome clue.

Of all the odd gimmes, SERAGLIO was one. I saw Mozart's "L'Enlévement du SERAGLIO" (Hi, @GB) in a box at the original Paris Opera when I was at school there. I enjoyed imagining all the seraglio-esque activities that happened in those boxes...
Glad I got to see a performance there before the opera left.

The was ok...I resisted entering the other oeds once I realized...oh...they really are going to ALL be OED..."s write up was a helpful one in providing insight into construction.

Thanks Mr. Markey. (@lms...I have. Musty...very musty, 2-volume set of the OED FROM THE 50's that I bought from our library. But I didn't know BROCA...Which line do I stand in?)

kitshef 8:47 AM  

Played like a Thursday, both in difficulty and gimmick. Several WoEs: LAR, ORNETTE, TEAC, and had to pull JOEDON out of some unknown region of my brain, plus had to come here to understand CITYLINE (obvious now, but I was thinking it was a subway reference of some kind).

On the other hand, BROCA was a gimme, and I liked the duelling moons.

Only one overwrite: DOlts before DODOS. And one parallel universe: CHOU and zHOU (I think the latter is correct but the former more common?).

Enjoyed the DENsity density. Overall thought it was fine.


Brian's Thong 8:56 AM  

Maybe if I were a million years old, I would have been able to get some of those cultural references, but since I'm not it was a DNF.

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

Nice Carl Sagan theme... PHOEBE, TRITON, and ECLIPSE with BROCA, where I heard about Broca's brain. AMO these days also stands for the field that has one the most experimental physics Nobel prizes over the past 20 years, but can't think how to succinctly clue that.

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

I'm a big fan of my Oxford English Dictionary micrOEDition.

chefbea 9:28 AM  

Easy to put in all the OED's but still a lot of things I didn't know..Broca, ornette etc.
Brrr..cold down here. Had the fire place lit last night. Good soup weather...gotta make @Mac's onion soup!!!

quilter1 9:36 AM  

Very easy. I didn't know BROCA but had all but the A and guessed right. Agree with @Rex assessment.

Nancy 9:44 AM  

As I wrote in my final letter, the D in ARID, I'm wondering: WTF is a foreign DESE? So I had to quickly change IRE to IRK at 57D. Everything foreign, in fact, gave me fits, because they were all techie companies. And when you add to that the highly peculiar first name of the sax player -- well I didn't like this one at all.

Normally, I solve early week themed puzzles as themelesses. But 2/3 of the way down, when I saw all those crossing OEDs, I thought: Why the hell not, and I filled all the rest of them in. It made me finish faster, which was fine by me.

I did like the clue for AEIOU. But that was about all I liked.

From yesterday: I never bothered to comment about the fact that I had misread marital for martial, because I thought it was peculiar to me and I didn't think anyone else would care. I was GOBSMACKED by the fact that so many of you did the exact same thing and, like me, were consequently baffled by martial BLISS. By the time I saw everyone's comments yesterday, it was too late to post.

Nancy 9:49 AM  

I'm coming back to comment on @lms's 4:41 am comment. I've never been on Facebook. I've never, in fact, seen a Facebook page. So I didn't know you could HIDE friends. What's the point of having "friends" whom you want to HIDE? What's the point of having "friends" who want to HIDE you? Just asking.

cwf 9:50 AM  

Man, that was rough. Fortunately there's an @easporps ACVXword in my inbox.

GILL I. 10:01 AM  

This one tried awfully hard, so I'll give it a B. We sure have wads of "Foreigners" visiting. South American, Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Russian, a Polish name and what would a puzzle be without some Latin....
CITY LINE/RADIO EDITS looks all UFO to me but I did like PHOEBE and TRITON.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:08 AM  

All those gimmes from the little crosses made it easy, but I thought the range of knowledge required made it fun (and as one of those million-year-olds, I knew most of them.)

Sir Hillary 10:11 AM  

High marks for theme originality, which is damn near impossible these days. To paraphrase Keith Richards, there's basically no riff that hasn't been done by now, so everyone is just copying.

And yet...

I really really really wanted to love this puzzle. The NW OED crossing went in like buttah, and I immediately knew CROSSREFERENCE(S) would be in the grid. But I was disappointed in (a) the fact that OED was used for all crossings, as opposed to some other references, and (b) the amount of junky or been-there short fill (CHOU, CHRON, AMO, OTOE, IOS, CHI, LEROI, LAR, NNE).

To be fair, both of those criticisms are probably harsh. After all, I'm not sure I can think of another reference source with which to form a cross, and short junk exists in virtually every puzzle. It's just that my solve began with such exhilaration at an original idea that it was deflating to see how the whole thing played out. Perhaps my expectations are unreasonable.

Thanks to Jules Markey for the original idea, and special kudos to @LMS for showing us a fabulous alternate theme entry.

Unknown 10:19 AM  

@jae 12:06 AM Those were the days…
“A TEAC reel to reel tape deck was a nice compliment to your Dual 1219 turntable,” as was my Tandberg with a Thorens TD-160 (plus McIntosh electronics).

Now you can get as a complete “package” system (Blu-Ray, tuner, preamp, amplifier, surround sound [5 speakers plus subwoofer) and the wires all in a box for less than the price of one of those tape decks alone. I installed such a system (Sony) along with an HD video projector in a meeting room in our local library to play movies et al (seats about 30). The complete audio system was only $450 and sounds as good as anything you could buy back then for several times the price, and those would be only stereo systems. i.e. just L/R loudspeakers and no subwoofer. (Note: Having worked for years with the best professional audio equipment money can buy, I’m not all that easily impressed.)

I actually bested yesterday’s time by some 0.4 seconds per clue…with no cheats! I can’t compete with the times many of you post so I’m going with my average seconds per clue, mainly because a number like 12.3 seconds per clue sounds impressive (to me). Even though faulty math is involved (to my benefit), it makes me feel much better (less like an IDIOT) than my four or usually far more times slower total times than you speedy solvers. (Sigh)

Only one (but cool) juxtaposition today:

BRONX IDIOT (What you might think of Yogi Berra if all you ever heard were some of his famous aphorisms) Of course his baseball records [sic] alone bespeak quite the opposite and the fact that he has clearly asserted that, “I never said most of the things I said.”


AliasZ 10:20 AM  

Jules Markey is nothing of not a PEZ dispenser. He dispensed with PEZ very quickly, at the very top of the grid.

Loved the cross referencing OED theme. Thankfully, there were no "what do you get when you cross X with Y", "why did the chicken cross the road" jokes, or a list crossbreeds like labradoodles and chiweenies. Instead, we had to look for Charlie Brown's friend SchrOEDer, the three-tOED sloth, tattoOED cOEDs, a Sophocles drama, and this pretty moth called eucirrOEDia pampina. Where have you gone, JOEDi?

Yesterday we had a BIMBO, today we have DENSE, IDIOT DODOS plus IGOR. Favorite entry of the week: SERAGLIO. BROCA reminded me of French director Philippe de BROCA, director of 30 feature films, including LE ROI de cœur (King of Hearts) with Alan Bates and Geneviève Bujold, and six movies starring Jean-Paul Belmondo. We could say that M. de BROCA was well BelmondOED.

@GeorgeB, I do you one better: a concerto for obOEDamore by J.S. Bach. The stamp on the bottom of the video is purely coincidental, and has no relation to today's theme whatsoever.

Happy Woednesday!

Z 10:21 AM  

@Ludyjynn - Not technically a CITYLINE sign, but the all-time greatest road sign for adolescents of all ages is on I-75 north of Detroit. Some highway designer in the distant past made sure (and if you've ever driven the winding I-75 north out of Detroit you know this had to be intentional) that Exit 69 is at Big Beaver Road in Troy.

Leapfinger 10:25 AM  

Can't argue with @REX's take on the theme, that too many circles auto-filled and too much fill was constrained. But just think of the avoirdupois on offer: the 1989 edition (6 vols) comes in at 62.6 kilos (137.7 lbs). With 8 OEDs in the grid... Wait, wait, don't tell me!... that weighs in at 1102 pounds, or well over half a ton of op cit. Say what you will, I bid that's pretty flattering, you know? I enjoyed the compact little OED crosses, grinned at the things that bugged @Rex, and didn't even have to pull out my magnifying glass.

Made the 'max value of sine' l.OO before ONE. Probably because DIM Sum.
Keeping up with the Latinesque, I liked AUDIPUS REX as the "King of Swedish Cars.
Had some trouble getting down the trade names in the MidWest, and AMOnly saying I would have done better if ACER had been clued as "Maple's genus". Taxonomy ergo Latin.

Thought I knew the Great Apes, but the only LAR I know hangs with the LARes and Penates. D'you s'pose the zoo primate Gibbon got conflated with the EDw Gibbon who Declined and Fell with the Roman Empire? Now, That would be subtle! And Romanesque.

CHOU En-lai? I would have preferred Chou Croute. Also EDITS Piaf on the RADIO
Was caught up short at the CITY_LImit
Was distressed to think SERA GLIO, Ma
...(pfui, pfui, pfui)

With a bow to @Chuck MacG:
Can't DENY LA RROBO herr chance to dance
BRONX IDIOT YON, Queens savant here (Jackson Hgts incl)
POST-CHAD PJS (Political Japery, 2000 A.D. elections)

This was Wednesday Lite in difficulty, but Poppin' Fresh in Fun, so Thanks, Jules, for a Marquis effort.

@Brian's Thong, you crack me up!

Joseph Michael 10:45 AM  

Got the theme almost instantly. Good idea but the resulting repetition of OED took the charm out of the puzzle and the fun out of the solve.

Also disliked the fact that literally 25% of the answers are proper nouns, including some pretty obscure ones (ORNETTE who?) All were gettable from the crosses, but it added to my overall disappointment with the puzzle..

Give me a little more wordplay and I'll be happy.

I did like learning about "BROCA's Brain" and imagining a PIGEON-TOED OEDIPUS REX listening to RADIO EDITS in a SERAGLIO. So at leadt there's that.

Unknown 10:47 AM  

More correctly, due to Yogi's sad passing, I should have written: "He HAD asserted."

Masked and Anonymo5Us 10:51 AM  

fave weeject: LAR. One or two of these odd little tidbits help make this puppy an Oedipuz Rex, for m&e. Plus, rhymes with HAR.

Some odd OED themer repetition goin on, but seemed kinda cool, in an oedly different manner. Primo long-ass revealer, which weren't afraid to mix it up with the other themers. Quite a feat of constructioneerin. Gotta go thUmbsUp.

AEIOU has Michael Sharp Usage Immunity, btw.


Hartley70 10:57 AM  

@Aketi, thanks for confusing me with @Nancy. I'm feeling more literate already. Did I mention there were Gucci shoes involved? You'd better pull up a chair too.

BROCA's brain was an easy fill. It was a very popular book and Carl Sagan loomed large in the world of astronomy and popular science. Astronomy was my very favorite college course, although as an English major I only took it as a junior because I had a science requirement and I thought it would be less intimidating than Chemistry. Even today, if we're talking space, I'm there!

ORNETTE has got to be one unusual first name but okay, I got it along with LARS. I found this a very fast Wednesday. I liked the cross referencing theme, but I was disappointed that the OED repeated 4 times. It could have been a Tuesday.

BTW, why is Tom Brokaw pictured, Rex? Are you implying he's a gibbon, or is it simply because there's a similarity of pronounciation with Broca? I don't find it exactly a side-slapper. Sorry, but everyone's a critic here!

gifcan 11:32 AM  

What I love about this blog is the shared solving experiences/challenges I read about. Like marital and martial. There is always some mention of the same thoughts I was having as I worked through the puzzle.

Today is no different. What he said. What she said. What you said.

I better bone up on my moons. They're always new to me even if I've seen them in puzzles before.

And TROU. Is that a real word? How is it used? Just let me get my trous (trou?) on and we can go. I really don't know how you would use this word.

Lewis 11:44 AM  

Some good answers -- ORNETTE (whose name and music I love), PIGEONTOED, CITYLINE, IMBUE. I usually mark down answers and clues I like as I'm doing the puzzle, but there wasn't a clue that rang my chimes. There are usually at least a few on Wednesday. I did like the POST up, the TAG out, the SET out and the UFO heading down. Never heard of LAR (my brain just popped out with "lar, lar, pants on far"). The theme is cute and the solve went relatively quick -- a happy experience.

I use the micro-print OED as a test for my eyes. If I relax them enough, I can still read it without the magnifying glass -- and if feels good to my eyes, the opposite of strain. For whatever this tidbit of information is worth!

Andrew Heinegg 11:46 AM  

I think that Rex was spot on with the review today both in terms lack of difficulty and lack of solving pleasure. I had never heard of Broca or Ornette Coleman but, I did not need to have heard of either since they filled themselves in with the crosses. One nice bonus of this blog is that you get information on answers you never heard of like Broca. When it piques your curiosity, you can Google it, look it up on Wikipedia etc.

RooMonster 11:55 AM  

Hey All !
I think Jules pulled off a decent grid with all the restraints of the CROSSing OEDs. Hard puz to fill, especially going the long down route, with long crossers, and having a Z in the NE, an X in SE. Ended up with minimal dreck, IMO. So, bravo!

Agree on the easiness of puz for a Wednesday. Did like alot of the clues. Also filled in the rest of the shaded OEDs when I got the second pair. IMBUE was fun to see. Writeover for SUDSY. Originally wanted either SoapY or foamY. REX makes another appearance. Goon on ya, OFL! :-)

Overall, nice puz, personally think it a TuesPuz rather than today, but hey, I'm not Will, so who cares what I think!

Quick! Spell ROTOR backwards!
Spilled your coffee on yourself? JOED ON
6000 lbs? TRI TON
Fine vowel? O NICE
Many markers out? IOS(everal)(a stretch!)


xmatt 12:07 PM  

Didn't really love this one. I have to point out, also, that in 28D IOS is an operating system. Operating systems run on devices. Devices run operating systems (and other kinds of software). Ergo, Apple's mobile devices run iOS. They do not run on it.

Keen Ween 12:27 PM  

Agree with @ smalltowndoc about CHRON, but it just needs an up to date clue, as in: "The bomb ___". This is legit street lingo for top grade marijuana all over north america. With the taboo surrounding pot these days slowly disappearing this seems like a missed opportunity for the Times to get with the times. They could have even clued it: "Time: prefix...or something that can help you waste it". Turns cruddy fill into something a little more fun imo.

ScreamingEagle 12:32 PM  

Maybe it's just because I'm a medical student, but I didn't think BROCA was that obscure. Anyone who's taken an intro neuroscience or psychology course would know about Broca's area, which is the area of the brain that controls speech. It's really important because strokes that knock out that area can cause a speech deficit known as Broca's aphasia. I didn't know about the Carl Sagan book (before my time), but once I had a few letters and "brain" it clicked.

Pretty easy puzzle for me in general. I got stuck in the SE corner with ROBO and BOIL, though.

Tita 12:47 PM  

Have to report that this puzzle set the test pattern of my mind to this song from The Apple Tree:

The newspapers call you
the goddess of sex.
if you are a goddess
Neither goddess nor woman
you're something apart.
With a silicone body
and a digital heart.
Instead of a soul
you got a sign, sayin'
decor by Helena Rubinstein...

(My brain considers this catchier than the afore-posted overture...)

Teedmn 1:09 PM  

Even with the auto-fill OEDs, this was not easy for me. A triple error in the NE clinched my Wednesday DNF. Having successfully gotten EIGER yesterday, I went with eIdEr today instead of LINEN. I didn't know the LAR gibbon or JOEDON and CHROd didn't look much worse than CHRON missing its final "O" (I really wanted CHRON but could not think of LINEN so...) I was thinking there was an earless monkey somewhere, so maybe an eAR gibbon? Weak, lame, I know.

But I liked the revealer CROSS REFERENCES, the double dose of moons (I had PHObos before PHOEBE) and an ECLIPSE.

Thanks, Jules P. Markey.

archaeoprof 1:45 PM  

As a teacher of Latin, I enjoyed the clues for 19 and 52 across.
But with all those OED's, it seemed to me that the grid felt cramped.

Numinous 2:37 PM  

What? Wait! Is this Monday? I'm sure glad I have a calendar around here. If I were trying to judge the day of the week by the puzzle, I'd be in big trouble. Finished this in less than 1/3 my average time for a Wednesday. What fun? No, seriously; what fun? It was over far too soon. I saw the OED crossing in the NW and figured that that's what the rest would be so I ignored them an let them fill themsleves naturally. I agree there were some gluey bits but, unlike a lot of you, I don't think ENERO is one of them. Given the constraints of the them, it could have been a whole lot worse and THEHOEDOWN might have stayed in the SE.

In college, not so long ago, (yeah, I went back for a few years late in life) I took Neuro Psychology and Linguistics. I am also, for some reason, familiar with Carl Sagan's book titles so BROCA was a gimme. TEAC, too though they aren't seen around much any more, their tape decks were state of the art at one time.

I have to take exception to @kizmikvoid's assessment of the OED as being ". . . the oldest, dullest reference book in existence. . . " Perhaps the oldest known dictionary would be the cuniform Sumarian-Akkadian dictionary. But even as monolingual dictionaries go, the OED is young compared to, say, John Bullokar's English Expositor, 1618. There are earlier examples too. The OED was first published in 1884. And . . . dullest. . . ? The OED cites usages of words throughout literature with quotations that illustrate the meanings at that time and it cites and quotes all alterations of usages and meanings up to preparation for publication. Anyone interested in the English language, and I would think that would include Cruciverbalists, should find the OED endlessly fascinating and useful.

It occurrs to me that @Rex's ". . . and the BROCA, whatever that is (!??!)." is the very thing that makes his work possible. Without it, there would be no English or any other language. I suppose, to be fair, I should include Werniki's are too though I doubt we'll see that in a crossword puzzle soon.

Anonymous 4:06 PM  

@jae --

Compliment or Complement?

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 4:09 PM  

It was a little harder as a theme less, because the version I printed (Luddite that i am) didn't have the circles. But I finished it.. Fell asleep trying to figure out the cross ref thing... Woke up from my nap and came to visit you for my AHa Moment! So thanks. Now I have to go figure out why my printer won't make circles. Any more of this behavior and I'll be back to doing the month later version in the daily paper. Oh, except then I'd have to subscribe to the paper version, which I do not...ok, so not totally a Luddite, but I still like to do my puzzle in ink, dammit!

Joe Bleaux 4:53 PM  

Japanese audio? Taiwanese PC? Fuhgedabout it.

the redanman 5:26 PM  

Mehy meh except where it was extremely meh. Indeed, rather easily meh as well

Leapfinger 5:45 PM  

Yeesh. If it ain't Brocan, don't fix it!

L 6:57 PM  

I thought it was ZHOU Enlai. Am I the only one?

Z 7:28 PM  

@xmatt - "These so-called smartphones and tablets run on a variety of operating systems and have become the dominant computing device on the market,...." I'm sure you can find more examples. To get all pedantic on you, "My iPhone runs iOS 7" and "My iPhone runs on iOS" would best be used in two different contexts. Just "runs" is just an OS specific software statement. "Runs on" implies a more gestalt, whole device, apps included, meaning. Of course, as with all things linguistic, usage may vary.

@Wednesday's Child - "I better bone up on my moons." Not just good crossword advice.

Ludyjynn 7:30 PM  

@Z, very funny! I thought by now, others would have chimed in with some memorable CITY LINE signs. I forgot to mention Lititz, earlier, also in Pa. Dutch Country.

@Wed. Child, at the doctor's office or in a mens' locker room, guys may "drop TROU".

x 8:09 PM  

@Wednesday’s Child: I never bone up when I moon people. That would be hard on me.

Chris Mc 8:27 PM  

And from this puzzle I learned that if you google "rex" you get this blog BEFORE the wikipedia page on "rex" that includes a reference to Oedipus Rex and before any mention of "Rex Ryan". But not before "Rex architecture". Or maybe google's secret algorithms just know I really like crosswords.

Either way, pretty impressive...maybe king of more than crossworld now.

Middle Atlantean 10:27 PM  

@Chris Mc - Yes, Google takes into account your search history, blog preferences, net income, and voting history, and those other little things you never wanted to share, so those who frequent this blog will get Rex Parker hits before Rexall Drugs, etc.

Unknown 3:54 AM  

Alert! Obscenity follows, regarding "Welcome to" signs. There is a town in Austria called Fucking, pronounced Fooking. Americans
love to have their picture taken at the sign which disturbs the city management who discourage the practice. They prefer tourists
avoid their town. As implied by the sign, they like privacy.

Tita 8:50 AM  

Oh hell, I just can't resist...

Every single exit...Ausfahrt... off the Autobahn is cause for titters when you've got one or more kids in the back seat.
it got old for us in a hurry...never did for them...ahh youth...

Thx @everyone else for your stories.

paleolith 3:36 AM  

Fun. Liked the astronomy and dumbing down themes. This time, professional and cultural references were on my side: TEAC and BROCA and ORNETTE were gimmes. Recently went a concert that included Abduction at the Seraglio, so that was easy too.

Road signs: in 1992 I took a bicycle tour in the Teton-Yellowstone area. Watching the maps, planning ahead, we knew a couple days in advance that we would be crossing Bitch Creek. Of course all the women in the group wanted their picture taken next to the sign! But when we got there, no sign of a sign ... oh, naturally, put up a sign for Bitch Creek and you'll be lucky if it's still there half an hour later.


Diana,LIW 11:17 PM  

Posting on Tuesday, 2/9.

Sorry - sleepy. --Hope the party is going along.

Lady Di

spacecraft 11:45 AM  

Who would name their son ORNETTE? The suffix suggests another gender--although there's a solid precedent in Lafayette. In any case, he's without a doubt today's Mister Obscurity. I kept thinking there had to be a much more recognizable nickname; the name Coleman seemed so familiar. Alas, no, he's not Chick, or Fats, or Moonshine, or Pappy, or Slim, or Ziggy; he's just...ORNETTE. Or was. Died last year, now that I look it up. Free form jazz. And here I thought all along that jazz WAS free form. Go figure.

I mostly agree with OFL, with the additional point that the reveal line is plural, yet only one REFERENCE appears. This was a time-waster for me, because by the time I got there I already had two sets of OEDs in hand. Could the bottom two be different? N-no, there they sat, two more volumes of the same thing. Wait: could the OED be split up into four volumes? I guess technically, then, you could refer to it in the plural. Still was a headscratcher for this solver.

I did like some of this--even a themer or two--but most of it should have been put ONICE. The two moons were good, but only one line off from symmetry. Most unforgivable of all: the vowel string. Please, no more! D.

Burma Shave 12:40 PM  


“I’ve ZEROEDIN on what ‘DENSE’ is,
AND IDES say it’s IDIOTs like you!”
“You think you don’t KNEED CROSSREFERENCES?”


BS2 12:55 PM  

BTW - that was not a slam on any HINDU, living or dead. It just made a rhyme.

rain forest 1:11 PM  

Both yesterday's and today's puzzles were pretty perfunctory, with some amusement and some skill in construction shown. I'm off to siphon some wine with my wine-making group, and so I'll leave it at that.

I have to say that I didn't dislike either puzzle, and in today's I had no idea who ORNETTE or BROCA were, or what their brains were like.

@BURMA SHAVE - Starting your second year? Go for it!

eastsacgirl 1:57 PM  

Well, since my paper neglected to put in any shaded squares had no idea what the theme was but still finished. Was an OK puzzle.

rondo 2:51 PM  

If you don’t hit your tee shot past the forward tees you’re supposed to drop TROU.

Closest thing to a yeah baby is PHOEBE, if you go the Friends route.

TEAC used to be a big name in quality reel-to-reel tape decks, if you had one of those to show off you were doing pretty well. Parent company is Gibson Guitar, also top quality. I had an Akai r2r deck with auto reverse that was pretty cool and kept the party going for hours w/o flipping records. My guitar is not a Gibson.

If you’re gonna throw us a vowel string, at least continue on with the sometimes Y. That would be different.

This POBOY had too much Mardi Gras AND BS partying, so I’m abit grouchy today. This week’s puzzles seem more gimmicky than themey. Aloha OE(D).

rondo 2:53 PM  

There seems to be DENSE AND ticked off dummkopfs all over the bottom of this puz. Naturally, they wouldn’t be at the top. I guess only one REFERENCE, but four CROSSes make the gridspanner plural?

CHRON without a trailing O looks more like a biblical abbr. to me – 1 CHRON., 2 CHRON. . . .

If you don’t hit your tee shot past the forward tees you’re supposed to drop TROU.

Closest thing to a yeah baby is PHOEBE, if you go the Friends route.

TEAC used to be a big name in quality reel-to-reel tape decks, if you had one of those to show off you were doing pretty well. Parent company is Gibson Guitar, also top quality. I had an Akai r2r deck with auto reverse that was pretty cool and kept the party going for hours w/o flipping records. My guitar is not a Gibson.

If you’re gonna throw us a vowel string, at least continue on with the sometimes Y. That would be different.

This POBOY had too much Mardi Gras AND BS partying, so I’m abit grouchy today. This week’s puzzles seem more gimmicky than themey. Aloha OE(D).

Diana,LIW 3:00 PM  

I remember when ORNETTE Coleman died NPR replayed a Terry Gross interview with him. Remember thinking what t great name, but since I didn't see it in print, I didn't remember today - got it with the crosses and said, "Oh yeah - him!"

The OED has 2 volumes or 20, so I couldn't figure out why we got 8. Mr. Waiting's dad was an x-worder, and I now have his shorter OED.

Always wanted a PEZ dispenser when I was a kid, but my accountant-like mom did not think that little bit of candy was a good ROI.

Was runnin' along with this puz, ready to say yippee for Wed, when I hit a few potholes and got a flat tire. TEAC, ACER, IOS, BROCA, and, of all things, AEIOU all decided to HIDE from me. Why? Can't believe I haven't heard of Broca - musta, sometime... Perhaps his name is hiding in a part of my brain made especially for him. ;-)

I must have had too much of Teedmn's Almaden after Rainy's Zinfandel yesterday. Good thing Tita brought the madeleines to soak it all up.

So I learned about a couple of moons, Broca, remembered Ornette, and rediscovered seraglios. So good return on investment for me.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

BS2 3:05 PM  


She’s not ONICE for being PIGEONTOED,
she’s in the GULAG because she HOED.


leftcoastTAM 6:15 PM  

Tardy, so guess I deserve the ROD or at least should be TSKED, not only for chronic tardiness but also for misspelling SERAlLIO, which had a domino effect on TEAC (unknown) and TAG (should have known).

A bit DENSE today.

Diana,LIW 8:43 PM  

Rondo and Spacey

I think the plural in the revealer refers to the word notationS (plural) in the clue. I could be wrong...


rondo 8:54 PM  

When the late Leigh Kamman used to host a Saturday late-night show on MPR - "The Jazz IMAGE" - recordings by ORNETTE Coleman were a staple on his show. I think there might have been an interview with him at one time as Leigh knew many reknowned musicians personally. I really miss Leigh AND his show. I'll bet @TeedMN knows of it. I sat outside many warm summer nights listening until the wee hours, then beyond. I know what you're thinking, AND you're right

Cathy 10:20 PM  

AE I owe U to Burma Shave.

Late to the party, with a ode-

Welcome to day ones.
Your better than nones.
I love your po-ums.

That's why I'm late:)

You rock!

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