Five Pillars adherent / WED 4-27-16 / Terrier of old whodunits / Cryophobe's fear / Hotfoots it, old-style

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Constructor: Jeff Stillman

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: THEME — male-sounding pen names for female authors

Theme answers:
  • ELLIS BELL (17A: Pen name of the female author of "Wuthering Heights") (Emily Brontë)
  • ISAK DINESEN ( 39A: Pen name of the female author of "Out of Africa") (Karen Blixen)
  • ROBERT GALBRAITH (39A: Pen name of the female author of "The Cuckoo's Calling") (J.K. Rowling) (Joanne Rowling)
  • GEORGE ELIOT (49A: Pen name of the female author of "Silas Marner") (Mary Ann Evans)
  • ANDY STACK (61A: Pen name of the female author of True Detective stories) (Ann Rule)
Word of the Day: ANDY STACK (61A: Pen name of the female author of True Detective stories) —
Andy Stack is one of the founding members of the band Wye Oak and a touring member of EL VY, as well as a remix artist and a composer and producer for film and television music. He is noted for his technique of performing drums, keyboard, and electronics simultaneously as part of Wye Oak. (seriously, this is the first thing that came up; I still have no idea who this "female author" is ... hang on ... oh, look, it's Ann Rule, whom I've vaguely heard of) Ann Rae Rule (née Stackhouse; October 22, 1931 – July 26, 2015) was an American true crime author of The Stranger Beside Me, about serial killer, and Rule's co-worker, Ted Bundy. Rule was also known for her book Small Sacrifices, about Oregon child murderer Diane Downs. Many of Rule's books center on murder cases that occurred in the Pacific Northwest and her adopted home state of Washington. (wikipedia)

• • •

Surprised this theme was deemed NYT-worthy. There's nothing here. A set of names that fit in a grid. It's like a theme from a very bygone era, or from a very sub-NYT puzzle. No wordplay, no kicker, no zing, nothing. Here Are Some Pen Names That Women Have Taken Over The Years (Only Two Of Which Are Truly Famous). Yes, women have taken male-sounding pen names. They sure have. This isn't a theme; it's a trivia game. With nothing interesting happening in the rest of the puzzle to offset the dull theme, this one just sinks like a stone. ASTA, AGAPE, SAS ... the fill also feels like it belongs to another era. VENETO MINIM ... we've slid back into arcana a little. Foreign words and foreign word parts and arcana. EENIE ECRU ANNUM.  Yesterday's puzzle was too easy, but it least it was entertaining. I guess people who like crosswords to be "tests of knowledge" might enjoy this. I am not one of them.

["ALIVE" (by SIA)]

I didn't know ELLIS BELL or ANDY STACK. I read one of Rowling's ROBERT GALBRAITH novels and thought it was pretty good, though I keep remembering that pen name as Kenneth Galbraith, who I think is an economist.... yes. That's who he is. Does anyone who's not a paleographer ever actually say MINIM? I learned MINIM in graduate school—it's an important word in MS studies. It's just a "short vertical stroke" in handwriting. The trouble for the modern (inept) scholar like me is that so many different letters are made with minims that reading can be exceeding difficult. You keep hitting blocks of MINIMs and trying to figure out where "m"s end and "n"s begin. Nightmare. I've never heard MINIM used in any other context ever. This puzzle seems obsessed with tiny thing (MINIM, WEE, EENIE ... oh, I guess EENIE is a counting word; I got it confused with EENSY). Also obsessed with Roman thing (Via VENETO, ANNUM, MLI). Neither obsession portends a snappily filled grid. Hoping for livelier things tomorrow...

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 7:14 AM  

Here in North Carolina, authors can only use the name that is found on their birth certificate.

Lewis 7:17 AM  

@georgeb -- SO close to a shoutout at BARONY.

This is a quirky and lovely theme, IMO. Women using male pen names raises so many interesting and telling questions.

A question on top of Rex's (he, of the traditional dog name): Has anyone here actually ever said ALLOK? The puzzle put up a decent fight, just the right Wednesday level, and features three palindromes (MINIM/ANNA/SAS) and some ese that caused my brain to awaken (MLI, BEDIMS, DWELT, and MINIM). It also features a genuine Natick (ELLISBELL/CHEN), and a clue (OBITS) and answer (DIBS) I especially like.

Such a varied mix made this puzzle mucho interesting, and that, combined with the loveliness of the theme, made it sparkle.

jberg 7:22 AM  

My problem is that ISAK DINESEN and GEORGE ELIOT are famous. As their pen names; Emily Bronte is famous as her real name; JK Rowling is famous but the book is obscure; and ANDY STACK? So we have 2 gimmes, 2 a bit obscure, and one almost completely unknown. As @Rex said, not much theme there.

Lobster11 7:28 AM  

Exactly what Rex said: too much trivia, no zip, dreadful fill.

I very nearly quit early on after this little mental monologue: "Please don't be BEDIMS... Please don't be BEDIMS... Aw crap, it really is BEDIMS" . In retrospect I really wish I'd had the good sense to bail right then and there, although I suppose I then would have missed out on my one moment of bemusement upon finding ASTA. Spent the rest of the time looking for OTT and ORR, but had to settle for ETNA, ESP, and SAS.

George Barany 7:41 AM  

@Rex, this review was worth waiting up for! I'm curious what the commentariat will have to say. In addition to all the male-sounding pseudonyms for women authors that @Jeff Stillman worked into his grid, he almost (one vowel off) got in my last name, so thank-you for that [see the title tenor in this Johann Strauss operetta, though].

Did anyone else find the clue for ROMEO, viz "womanizer," just a tad incongruous given the puzzle's theme? Since we just observed Shakespeare's birthday and the 400th anniversary of his death, perhaps this link will instruct and amuse.

So, this puzzle inspired me to do some further internet searching. Check out this article, which asks the sensational question: "Was William Shakespeare a Jewish Woman in Disguise?"

Finally, to all my friends here, Jewish or not, a hearty L'Chaim!

Mary Perry 7:42 AM  

Mimim!?!? C'mon!

Anonymous 7:49 AM  

As I was solving this puzzle I kept imagining Rex's write-up. On this one we are of the same mind. Just of a collection of 5 authors, 4 of which are obscure to me. Crosswordese galore, foreign names and trivia

Anonymous 7:58 AM  

@Rex spot on about the theme, but i kept going to see how many obscure, only-in-crossword-puzzles words could be fit into the grid; the same fascination as watching a disaster unfold.

"Oh the humanity!"

NCA President 8:06 AM  

In spite of the plethora of proper nouns, I still managed to finish under my average (which I've established here before that I'm almost always below my average so being below it today is relatively meaningless...but still). But seriously, so many proper nouns of people I've never heard of before.

So yeah, I get to have that smug "I did the NYT xword today and nailed it!" feeling all day.

That said, there were a lot of old timey gimmes that made it easy to get the names. And really, upon further review there probably weren't any more than usual, just a bunch of long ones I didn't know. Still, I'm going to wear that smug smirk for a while today.

7D "No problem here" (ALLOK) has a problem, IMO. Who says that? ALL's OK. Maybe a caveman? "Og say all okay. Sabertooth gone now." Yeah, no.

kitshef 8:25 AM  

Possibly my messiest grid ever, as I tore through it faster than legible writing permitted. Only slowdown was the SE, where I was reluctant to put in CIRRI initially, and dithered between YES/YEa/aye, and ANDYSTACK was the only author name I didn't know, and IT_SCA crossing ANN_ I went with with the A only after careful consideration of putting an E there.

An excellent theme, I thought as I was buzzing along. Shed a little light on the sexism that causes women to choose male (or neutral) pen names. Give some publicity to some of those authors. Now I know I was wrong, it is a "dull theme", or "isn't a theme". I do have to wonder which two are considered Truly Famous, considering I knew four of five and Literature is one of my weakest areas.

Nice to see a tip of the hat to our REX at 67A.

Anonymous 8:29 AM  

Quit halfway through and came here to see if I was missing something special about the names. Guess not.

tb 8:54 AM  

In music a minim is also what the Brits call a half-note.

(Thus spake the commentariat.)

Wm. C. 9:05 AM  


Do you do the NYTXWP daily? I think Lake Itasca was used very recently. I guesses it as a Northwoods lake because I've seen Itasca Travel Vans, a concentrated industry up there. I think.

marysue 9:06 AM  

Blah theme, blah fill. Quick & joyless. Didn't know minim without the crosses, but glad to see it only for the nice explanation here. Now I know why that form of script is impossible to decipher.

I've been getting record solve times lately, which is no brag. One super fast solve time let me think I was finally learning something. But this many record breakers in a row - obviously the puzzle difficulty is dropping like a rock. The pendulum will shift back, and I'll be once again left to feel the familiar idiocy.

In the meantime I will start working on my pen name.

chefbea 9:08 AM  

I thought Wednesday's were suppose to be fun!!! This was way too easy without an ah ha moment

@Lewis...very good about the birth certificate!!!!

Ludyjynn 9:30 AM  

Best part of this solve was @GeorgeB's Shakespeare link. Very ineresting.

I will never be able to commit to memory the correct spelling of ISAK DINESEN. Got it from crosses.

RYE GRASS; who knew? Does it hold up better than Bermuda grass? Prettier shade of green?

'Ivies' before VINES and 'trim' before SKIM.

I am distracted this morning by reading in the NYT that Prince died intestate (w/o a will). He was such a control freak that this oversight is mind-boggling. We are about to witness an ugly fight by GRASPers over his BARONY that could have been avoided. People, write a will!

Happy Hump Day, All.

Pete 9:41 AM  

I finished the third of the Cormoran Strike books around 9:30 last night, then waited for the puzzle to get published, yet 39A got filled in as "yeah, ROBERT GALBRAITH sounds like a name I might have run across before". I had the GEORGEE of 49A and was furious that someone saw fit to use George Sand's middle initial in the puzzle, it's just George Sand for f@#$'! sake.

I really wish my descent into total senility wasn't so slow.

Z 9:43 AM  

@Lewis7:14 - It's always good to start the morning with a laugh. Thanks.

After being called out by Syndyland for being cranky I'd decided today would be it for OWM counting. A good day to do so. A puzzle about women with not a single identifiable woman* in the grid (RENO could have been the city AND is clued by Will Ferrell). No minorities. The closest we get to acknowledging that the universe does not revolve around us is a MUSLIM reciting HAIKU while swimming in a LAGO. One week ago Rex noted that the NYTX has an issue. There were several cries of "No - you're just the PC police." After a week of daily toting up what actually appears in the puzzle it is pretty clear. I see no need to beat this dead horse further. Fully expect, though, that the next time someone calls Rex "too PC" I will refer them to the week of April 20-26 and tell them they are full of it up to their eyeballs with bull shit (unless, of course, Shortz proactively works to make the NYTX a little harder for me and more accessible to the under 30, non-white male crowd).

I'm in the Word Play > Trivia camp, but I did enjoy this one. I knew three of the pen names, but did not know one was a pen name, and didn't know the Rowling book cited. So it was a full out puzzle here. Nothing too hard in the crosses (settled on ELLIS using Evan's Heuristic) so the only issues were iviES before VINES and jIgSAW before RIP SAW. I would not want this sort of trivia fest all the time, but as a change of pace I liked it.

*I hear the rejoinder now - But NO, the very raison d'être of these pen names is to strip the authors of their gender. Here's an infamous example from Sci Fi.

Mohair Sam 9:54 AM  

Disliked this one less than most of you. This was an education and re-education for me. Knew old Emily first published under a male name, but surely forgot it. Always thought ISAK might be a female name in her tongue. Learned that Rowling had taken a guy's name as a nom de (every blasted letter had to fill), and discovered Andy Stack. Always good to learn.

Otherwise what @jberg said. Where's George Sand when you need her?

@Lewis - Clever.

Jennifer Freeman 9:55 AM  

For me Ellis crossing Chen was a Natick. I know Emily Bronte but could only remember Currer Bell. The rest of the puzzle was easy.

Louis, you made me LOL.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:56 AM  

Cirri? I suppose in Latin you inflect the adjectives. Not in English. It's a cirrus cloud, they are cirrus clouds.

Hartley70 10:05 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hartley70 10:07 AM  

I was unfamiliar with 3 of the pen names and the theme wasn't full of zip, but my ignorance increased the difficulty level and my enjoyment today. My time was average.

The DW start of DWELT gave me a pleasurable pause as I DWELT on the sound. It's the little things in life.

GILL I. 10:25 AM  

@Lewis...Good one!
J.K. Rowling has a nickname? Oh yeah, that book she wrote that was supposed to be vewy vewy secret that nobody I know read.
Well, this was easy but not all that fun. I tried everywhichway to try and fit Emily Bronte in her Wuthering Heights slot because I read the book a million times likes every young girl did and now after all these years I learn she was an ALLISBELL. (Why not Alice?)...
That ROMEO seems misplaced. Lecher is a bit more like it.
Are there any male authors that use female pen names? THAT would be fun.
Anyway, to the puzzles credit, this was something new for me. I wonder if I'll ever remember ANDY STACK?

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

The Latin word for year is "annus." That's the nominative form, for the subject of the sentence. ANNUM is the accusative form, for the object of the sentence. Just nitpicking a few miles from Natick.

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

He really is impossible to please. My god, could you imagine being friends with him? If a bra is even mentioned in a puzzle, it's sexist and objectifying. And when a puzzle is dedicated to referencing, if not exposing/analyzing (it is just a crossword puzzle after all) the historically, actually sexism-driven necessity for women to assume male pen names, he hates it. Geez Rex, lighten up. Enjoy yourself a little. Women do wear bras.

Mr. Benson 10:49 AM  

I think the theme could have been more fun if the names had been clued without saying they were pen names of women, and then "WOMEN" had been placed somewhere near the end as a revealer. (Say, "pen names of women" has 15 letters...)

ArtOj 10:49 AM  

Well, at least we all learned a few pen names, or at least learned to associate them with their true names, obscure as some certainly were.
Thought @Rex would at least acknowledge that the constructor put his pen name in (even if a dog's).-:)

kitshef 10:58 AM  

@Lewis - brilliant!
@Wm. C - yes, but sometimes it takes me four or five times for something to stick - or perhaps I got it from crosses without noticing the clue. That doesn't sound too likely though, as that normally happens only on Monday and that definitely does not seem like a Monday work.

Glimmerglass 11:06 AM  

I thought today's puzzle was NYTworthy, but I'm intrigued by the standard. What are the qualities that make a submission NYTworthy? I bet Will Shortz could tell us. Maybe he'll tell us here. Is it anything like Elaine Benes' standard for a sex partner, "spongeworthy"?

ykilew 11:13 AM  

Easy as I am a reader.

Roo Monster 11:19 AM  

Hey All !
Ugh, totally in my Outhouse here. Told youse guys before I'm not a big reader, so Women Authors with Mens Pen Names? Ick. Have heard of the Women, but couldn't tell you their novels with their actual names, never mind Male Pen Names. Always wonder why Authors do that. We all know it's you, what's the point?

Seemed to me there were alot of very familiar/recently used clues in this puz. Thought for a minute I was doing a pyz I already did a few days ago. ITASCA again, and of course, didn't remember it again! DWELT a cool word.

I had to make ample and unabashed use of Check and Reveal buttons tiday. Thankfully did online today, if not, there was a 100% chance of not finishing. If pen and paper, probably would've ripped it up!

"I am Woman, hear me roar like a man"? Wacky puz...


jae 11:31 AM  

Easy-medium for me but it should have been tougher. Like almost everyone else, I only knew two of the pen names for sure and kinda knew GALBRAITH. So, the crosses must have done the trick.

That said, Sale before SHOW, drab before BARE (only because my B looked like a D), and Eden before EASE.

Liked it more than @Rex did, but he makes some valid points.

Nancy 11:31 AM  

I didn't know ANDY STACK, but the other theme names were easy. This, to me, seemed like trivia Worth Knowing, as opposed to trivia Not Worth Knowing. But, as a former publishing person, I'm not entirely unbiased here. Like @Lewis, I liked the clue for OBITS -- especially since I was thinking OP EDS for a bit. Unlike @Hartley, I got no small frisson of pleasure from the DW sound of DWELT. But maybe I'm being unusually hard to please. For me, this was smooth and junk-free, but awfully easy -- the third such puzzle in a row. Not much else to say about it.

old timer 11:38 AM  

Superfast for me -- 12 minutes, and yesterday's was a normal Tuesday 14. I fully expected OFL to brag about his record Wednesday time. But no, a CARPer's gotta CARP.

I thought it was a fun puzzle. Wrote the BELL in right away. But couldn't remember what name Emily used. "Wuthering Heights was assigned reading in I think 9th grade, at my boys' school. The instructors had a very good idea of what classic novels would appeal to young teenage boys, and I loved reading it. (Oddly, I never read Charlotte's "Jane Eyre" until last year though it has been on my bookshelves forever).

If I had a criticism, it would be the clue for MINIM. I have no idea what sort of MINIM @Rex is talking about, and only knew it was a very tiny measure of a liquid. Pretty much a single drop? I think this clue would have been much better: "A half note". And in some future puzzle, we should see "crotchet" and "quaver" clued musically.

Joseph Michael 11:38 AM  

I beg to differ with REX. Thought this was an interesting and instructive theme which gave me something to think about. And. though I wasn't familar with all of the pen names, I was able to figure them out from the crosses.

Given the theme, it's ironic that the constructor's name is STILLMAN

AliasZ 11:48 AM  

I welcomed this unusual theme. I knew GEORGE ELIOT and ISAK DINESEN, and was happy to learn about the other three. I fully expected Amantine Lucile Dupin, who had a tumultuous affair with Chopin, to also make an appearance, but it was not to be.

I was sure cryophobe was someone with a fear of crying, but I couldn't fit the correct word that fit in the space allotted.

The BASSET horn is a woodwind instrument related to the clarinet. Listen to this Mozart divertimento for three of them. They sound lovely, don't they?

Happy Wednesday!

Martel Moopsbane 11:54 AM  

Will 67A ever be clued as "OFL"?

puzzle hoarder 12:32 PM  

I have to agree with @Rex's criticism of this puzzle. The theme is interesting but it needs a little more life beside that. The across fill is pretty flat. A couple of the downs are good but they just sit there by themselves. This puzzle really boils down to find symmetrical pen names place them accordingly and plug in the standard fill. If he could have pulled off matching the shortest themers with quality across entries or created vertical groups with words like RYEGRASS and BARONY the puzzle wouldn't feel so routine.
@WmC yes we just had ITASCA on the 10th of this month. It was clued the exact same way. Blame the editor.
The ANDYSTACK entry is the most intriguing. I never picked up on Ann Rule having Rae for a middle name. She isn't used as a RAE clue. Why I bring her up is what are the odds of a true crime writer volunteering at the same crisis clinic as Ted Bundy. That was her inspiration for "The Stranger Beside Me". Coincidences is puzzles are always so benign compared to the real world.

Masked and Anonymous 12:41 PM  

yo, @Lewis - har. How's that all work over there in NC, anyhow? Do y'all have restroom monitors that check yer birth certificates at the public potty door? Can U also get by with a hall pass from the gov? How about if U are in the middle of presenting one of them "over 4 hours" Viagra side effects? Or would the moderator dismiss U as bein "just glad to see the men's room"? They oughta sell tickets ...

Well, finally … a NYTPuz theme that up and honors all the ladies. ANNA Wintour. Julie CHEN. EVITE Peron.
Knew 3/5 themers. Got other 2 (ELLIS & ANDY) pretty much fine from the crosses, so … ok, except was a little tense guessin the CH?N/?LLIS as E. (Hell hath no indecision, like two ladies crossed.) (yo, Jennifer Freeman)

fave weeject: WEE.
ALLOK ups its run to 2 days straight. Can it now break its tie with TYRE tomorrow? They oughta sell tickets …

Thanx, Mr. aka Jeff Stillman. [Penname?]

Masked & Anonymo2Us


Charles Flaster 12:45 PM  

Agree with about 90% of Rex although I felt the construction was pretty unique.
Only knew three of the authors so the remaining answers naticks me into a DNF.
LAGO adjacent to VENETO was pretty neat.
Finished 4/10 teams at weekly trivia contest.
Downfall was only being able to identify 8/10 Prince hits.
Thanks JS.

Dick Swart 1:11 PM  

A trivia addition ... re: 'the short vertical stroke or minim' and the Rex example.

Fraktur is a font in the blackface style. It was the signature type face of the Nazi Party until 1941. Read why and just a load more here. NB this interest is what happens when you learn the California Job case and how to set type in a stick.

Fraktur (German: [fʀakˈtuːɐ] ( listen)) is a calligraphic hand of the Latin alphabet and any of several blackletter typefaces derived from this hand. The blackletter lines are broken up – that is, their forms contain many angles when compared to the smooth curves of the Antiqua (common) typefaces modeled after antique Roman square capitals and Carolingian minuscule. From this, Fraktur is sometimes contrasted with the "Latin alphabet" in northern European texts, being sometimes called the "German alphabet", despite simply being a typeface of the Latin alphabet. Similarly, the term "Fraktur" or "Gothic" is sometimes applied to all of the blackletter typefaces (known in German as Gebrochene Schrift, "Broken Script").

kitshef 1:31 PM  

@Gill I - ELLIS, not aLLIS.

@Nancy - odd that we agree on the difficulty with you having been publishing and me just learning from @old timer's post that "Jane Eyre" is a novel and not an author.

Teedmn 1:39 PM  

I liked seeing the female pen names in the grid, and I got a good laugh out of one of my missteps,. I misspelled DINESoN which messed my NE up a tad. 19A was MINuM before reading the clue for 12D, so I changed EVuTO to E-VETO as a party notice that lands in your inbox and briefly wondered under what circumstances the president emailed his VETO decisions but did not ponder it long enough!

Also, not aware that Emily Bronte wrote under a male pen name and not seeing the theme yet, I left 17A as aLLIS, thinking it a variation of Alice, and never looked at it again. And although I have heard good reviews of J.K. Rowling's foray into detective stories, I have not read them yet, so GiLBRAITH stayed in since I didn't bother to read the clue for 33D.

So a hat trick DNF on a Wednesday, thanks, Jeff Stillman. Too bad James Tiptree Jr. didn't get into the grid. Alice Bradley Sheldon wrote sci-fi under that pseudonym. There's now a literary award named for her, celebrating science fiction or fantasy works that expand or explore our understanding of gender.

mimo 2:18 PM  

is a ski an attachment to a boot or is a boot an attachment to a ski? Would have preferred spur and knew with that one clue that the rest was going to be off kilter.

Dr. M. 2:49 PM  

I also dread "bedims."

Blue Stater 3:03 PM  

As one who prefers (I guess I should now say "preferred") crossword puzzles to be "tests of knowledge," I liked this one. Maybe that preference is at the heart of my dislike of most of WS's puzzles: because of the power of WS's position, the form has become a test of something else, and I'm not sure what.

Anonymous 3:04 PM  

I'm on an old iPad - so it's hard for me to register. I'll do that from home later so future posts won't be anonymous. This is my first post, altho' I've been lurking for a while (and doing the NYT crossword for decades.)

I felt I just needed to comment on Lake Itasca, the headwaters of the Mississippi. The story in Minnesota, where it is, is the name comes from "verITAS CAput", the true head of the river (as it took quite a while to find it.)

Diane Murphy 3:07 PM  

Good one!

Diane Murphy 3:08 PM  

Good one!

Z 3:20 PM  

@M&A - Dang - I caught Reno but totally elided over Anna and Julie. Shoulda tripled checked before hitting publish.

@anon10:34 - Are you sure it isn't aññus?

mac 5:10 PM  

In my wheel house, I guess, I enjoyed this one. BUT I was, just like that Anonymouse, bothered by "annum" instead of "annus". Just spent two days in Oxford, where I read and heard a lot of Latin.

That J.K. Rawlings book has been sitting on my bedside table for a very long time, unread. It's not alone.

Chronic dnfer 6:40 PM  

Terrible puzzle. Had mullah for Muslim but would have dnf'd anyway with the obscure authors names.

Dr. Deb 9:21 PM  

Many terrible answers in the fill, as has been noted above. ALLOK is NOTOK, especially two days in a row.

chefwen 9:23 PM  

The most fun thing about doing this puzzle was seeing REX in it. We have a 12 week old Australian Shepard who we have named Max, the little guy is full od piss and vinegar and last week he took it a paw too far, I got a WEE bit frustrated and yelled "REX, knock it off, you're driving me nuts". His reaction was about the same as I imagine our REX'S would be, he just looked at me as if to say "good, mission accomplished".

Didn't know a few of the names, but still, pretty easy. My only two write overs were joined at the hip with rosES before VINES and my bed of roses was EASy before EASE.

Georges S. 10:19 PM  

@AliasZ, I didn't think I'd requested the Sole Amantine.

My best fishes to you!

Anonymous 10:40 PM  

minim = ugh! maximum ugh, in fact.

Leapfinger 11:11 PM  

@Teedmn, all three Bronte Sorors (that isn't original with me) first wrote under the surname Bell. They kept their true initials, so Anne was Acton, Charlotte was Currer, and Emily (as we now know) was Allis.

Per Charlotte:...we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice . . . [from a preface to Wuthering Heights]

rain forest 2:02 AM  

Hello real-timers. I've leapt up here out of my comfort zone of the Syndicated Denizenry to make a plea that we either bag or tweak this moderation (I have another word for it) system. First of all, I've noticed that in real time, there is a first cut-off following which there are several identical comments answering previously asked questions. The same happens following the second cut-off. Then we have we syndilanders (read: afterthoughts) who cannot talk to one another at all. Sometimes we don't get published until the next day.

I threatened to leave the blog a few weeks ago, but my fellow syndi-ites persuaded me to stay, and so I did. I now wonder what the point is. In the good old days when we had Evil Doug and the spellcasters and tons of anonymice (annoying, yes. Fatal, no.), at least I could make a comment and occasionally get a response from the syndi guys and occasionally a real-timer. My needs are simple - I don't need a lot of tire-pumping - but I'd like to think that at the very least my comments are read. That isn't the case right now. It's tough, kids.

I have made contributions to the blog in the past, but it wouldn't make sense now (for some other reasons) because I feel that I'm merely randomly typing in cyberspace. If a syndicated commenter keyboards in the forest, does he/she get carpal tunnel syndrome in vain?

kitshef 10:32 AM  

@rain forest - I can't speak for everyone, but I try to make it a point to come back a day later (sometimes longer) to pick up the late comments. I find they are often valuable, as the poster has had a chance to read all the previous posts and so will generally only comment if they have something new to contribute. So, post away, and be assured someone is reading it.

Hartley70 12:20 PM  

@rainforest, I'm perplexed. Are the syndicated puzzlers doing puzzles that are days later than original publication? If so, how could you possibly exchange comments in real time? You could still make a comment on the current day's blog if you reference the puzzle date you have completed. I believe @DianaLIW does this. I think many of us check the previous night's posts in the morning, but we're unlikely to go further back than that unless a post of the day directs us there.

Gregory Schmidt 1:07 PM  

ASTA crossing SAS. ugh.

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

Me too, @Rainy, I got your back. Agree that the long waits are frustrating - our great minds should be able to come up with a better solution.

Need a lift back to Syndiland in the deLorean?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

GILL I. 3:43 PM  

@rain forest.....I Really Hope You Get This Post. I'm late today so @Rex might not show my face until after dinner or maybe even 5 weeks from now (even though it's only afternoon here in California).
There should be lots of posters that agree with you - maybe they just won't see this. @Rex even commented once that his biggest readership (or maybe contributors) came from syndication.
I cut my teeth in syndiland. I miss @Diri, @Red Valerian and, well, everyone. I moved to real time because my husband gave me a Times subscription...but at least I could still hear from all of you and the 5 week time lapse didn't matter.
I sure miss the interaction now. If you don't get up at 3 in the AM and post right away...(at least here on the West Coast), you're a bit SOL. You can be sure though, that if you don't understand a clue and ask for help, you'll get a gazillion answers. @Rex doesn't seem to mind that.
I've made some really neat cyber friends on this blog and, frankly, that's probably the only reason I keep coming back. It's a shame that we've lost so many posters because of this horrible time-lapse and boring interactions.
I know lots of us have tried to get @Rex to try a different approach - at least not have this stupid time seems to fall on deaf ears......;-)

rain forest 4:47 PM  

@Hartley 70 Those of us who we call Syndilanders, or Syndi-ites, get the puzzle 5 weeks after initial publication. There used to be about a dozen of us, but now we have 6 or 7. The moderation system typically overlooks us until late in the day. We used to be able to comment on one another's posts, but that is almost impossible now. Also, a commenter from real team would occasionally drop in, slumming doncha know, and we could have a chat with him/her. No more, unless we address our comment via @Name. Even then, a rejoinder is a rarity.

Diana,LIW 9:39 PM  

Hi @Hartley

BTW, I love your posts!

You said, in Futureland time:

@rainforest, I'm perplexed. Are the syndicated puzzlers doing puzzles that are days later than original publication? If so, how could you possibly exchange comments in real time? You could still make a comment on the current day's blog if you reference the puzzle date you have completed. I believe @DianaLIW does this. I think many of us check the previous night's posts in the morning, but we're unlikely to go further back than that unless a post of the day directs us there.

Here's the basics of SyndieLand. We get the puzzle 5 weeks late in our respective papers. But then we all solve on the same day (5 weeks late) and wait to hear from each other. We not only check the previous night, but 2 or 3 days and also days into the future.

We flit about. Sometimes I come to the future to comment on the (5-week-old) past. I use my deLorean. Others, like Rainey, have superhero jumping powers. And sometimes we post those posts you mention to direct you and others to some time in the past. Where we live.

Not sure this is complete, but hope this begins to answer your questions about other life in the universe.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords (cause they're 5 $()&%#'s late!

Hartley70 8:53 AM  

Thanks Syndies! I think I get it now. So there's posting action on Rex's 5 week old blogs among the 6-7 of you. Rex is aware of you all but doesn't update each 5 week old blog until the end of the day, so it's hard for you to communicate with each other. Sometimes you pop into the current discussion (Hi DianaLIW and thanks!) but generally most bloggers probably are unaware of the two time lines.

You are time travelers from an alternate reality! My dream has come true.

AskGina 8:44 AM  

Thank you for typing the word spake. I don't know why it always causes me to chuckle.

AskGina 8:47 AM  

Like spake.

AskGina 8:55 AM  

There are other 5 Weekes out there! Voices in the wilderness.

Burma Shave 10:04 AM  




spacecraft 10:51 AM  

Welcome @Hartley70 to our motley crue! Wow, even a shout-out to OFL didn't EASE the torrent of vitriol on this one! So the theme is nothing but a list of names. Let's cut this guy a break. There are other gender-confused authors, but not a truckload. And to fit five of them into a 15x15 grid ought to count for something.

Sure, there is some fill I'm not in love with (EVITE, BEDIMS, EENIE and the ubiquitous RRN), but all in ALLOK. For the DOD I have to play off ANNA; I'll pick Ms. Kournikova, immortalized in the poker world as AK: looks good but never wins a match. Well, not when I'm holding it anyway. Wimbledon's RYEGRASS made me think of her.

I think ISAK DINESEN is a cool made-up name, something I'd never think of, so I'll say that's Mr. Stillman's par-saving long putt.

spacecraft 10:55 AM  

One small addendum: On Sundays, we syndilanders get to move up to only a week old! Why that is, don't ask me. Come Monday, it's back to five weeks.

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

I'm feeling out of sync both in time and perspective. I thought this was the most enjoyable puzzle we've seen in a while, and I enjoyed the mix of easy and obscure pen names.

I have to say I'm shocked at the number of complaints about this theme, especially from @Rex who is after all a professional literature guy. I am definitely NOT a trivia fan, but I don't consider Literature to be trivia. And, frankly, I expect the NYT puzzle to be aimed at a literate audience.

That said, I wish the puzzle had not included BEDIMS or ALINE. In general, however, I thought the fill was decent, the clues frequently entertaining, and @Rex's scorn unmerited.

BS2 12:51 PM  


ANNA and I put on ALIVE SHOW,
BARE in the RYEGRASS and heather,
with no IDEA ASTA how it would go,
GRASPing at VINES we CAMENEAR together.


rondo 1:18 PM  

Well then, let’s get all literary today. And so what if it’s just a list of names. Doesn’t always have to be snappy wordplay, see if folks actually know stuff. Mix it up, I say. Just leave out BEDIMS.

Any true Minnesotan (and many an out-of-state vacationer) has walked across the mighty Mississippi River as it trickles out of Lake ITASCA. Right now, today, there are likely hundreds, or at least dozens, who will do it. Just be careful, those rocks are slippery.

Julie CHEN at 1d gets a yeah baby today, as will ANNA Wintour. And for the first and last time ever a man’s name will get a yeah baby as well, J.K. as ROBERTGALBRAITH. They’re ALLOK.

Maybe there should be a MINIM magazine to complement Maxim. But then Playgirl didn’t work out.

Maybe not the snap, crackle and pop that REX would like, but that’s not something I DWELT on.

leftcoastTAM 1:47 PM  

Liked the "pen name" theme.

Needed crosses to deal with MINI(m) stacks in NW (CHASM, HAIKU, ELLIS) and SE (STACK, CIRRI, ANNUM). They also revealed the two pen names I didn't know. Most of the rest was on the easy side.

Would have rate this easy-medium and fun.

leftcoastTAM 2:23 PM  

Right on, @rainy.

If we keep the faith and hope for the best, maybe our monitor will bestow some charity.

Longbeachlee 3:05 PM  

Syndies rule

Wooody2004 3:22 PM  

@rainforest I enjoy reading your posts in Syndieland. I wake up late, and by the time I finish the puzzle and beam here, there are already a few syndicomments posted, usually by you, Burma shave, spacecraft, and Diana. I tried posting a few times but my comments seem to just vanish into the cosmic dust.

Maybe we can convince @rex to use Syndieland as a beta testing ground to experiment with other forms of moderation. How about having the first four hours be moderation free. Or maybe allowing regular commenters to post without moderation and only moderating anonymice. If one of these forms of limited moderation works in Syndieland, he can expand it to the rest of the univers. What do you think?

Diana,LIW 3:24 PM  

My, my, my. Oppositeville is alive and well. (Or is it Oppositegate?)

Five very, very, very (as some would say) famous WOMEN "authoresses," and we get a "vaguely heard of?" Was this tongue in cheek? Please? Go to any, I mean any, grocery store that has a bookshelf of page-turners and you'll still see Ann Rule. Just like Nova Lox.

We read about the BELL (Bronte) sisters IN HIGH SCHOOL. Sure, the pen names are probably not in everyone's wheelhouse (unlike soap opera stars, rap singers, Roman gods of nosefill, the Urdu word for skyey, et. al.) (Not to mention endless Harry Potter references.)

You probably heard me laughing all the way to Maine and Canada. I did think Mr. Stillman dumbed it down a bit by putting "female author" in all the clues. Liked the suggestion to have a revealer of "women authors" instead.

And then, after laughing till I cried at Rex's hilarious review, I read @Lewis's comments. More laughter and smiles from me.

Strangest thing about this puzzle was seeing ALLOK 2 days in a row. Has ANYONE heard this? Anywhere?

Diana, Waiting for more Laughs

Ugh - the robot verifier isn't working

kitshef 5:51 PM  

@spacecraft - yeah, that Sunday thing is really irritating as the ONLY way I know to get to the syndiland is through the link at the top of Rex's Blog. So on a Sunday if I want to see Saturday's Syndi posts, I have to click on the link, then page back a day at a time to get to there. O for Diana (LIW)'s DeLorean.

leftcoastTAM 8:31 PM  

@BS2, bravo!

Diana,LIW 9:32 PM  


look over at the right-hand side of the blog, near the top

do you see the "blog archive" section? no? keep scrolling down, slowly

click on the month

click on the day

voila - you're flying thru space and time to your desired location

@Woody - this has been suggested before. However, Syndie and Futureland posts are ok'd in "real time" on the same day. As I've mentioned before, Rex is just timeless. He gets all clues as they are posted, and okays them for "today's date" and Synders at the same time.

Took me a while to figure this out, but if (for some reason) I wanted to comment on a 6-month-old post, I could do so today, and it would appear (on that date) when timeless Rex approved (or deigned to disdain) the comment today. My only restriction is I can't post more than 5 weeks into the future. But I'm working on it. ;-) McFly? Brown? Buehler? Anyone?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for responses

leftcoastTAM 12:03 AM  

You know, before it all gets down to us syndilanders, I think it's all over anyway in whatever dimension of time you look at it.

rain forest 1:29 AM  

@Woody2004 - I wasn't going to comment today because I spent most of the day helping my daughter building a trellis. Fun. However, your comment seduced me, and so I will say something.
Though this puzzle was light on word play, which sometimes @Rex likes, and others, seems to ignore, I enjoyed learning about two of the nom de plumes of two of these authors. I'm not sure why a woman would use a man's pen name - I don't know of any men who use a female pen name....

Although, when I was at a certain school as a vice-principal, I would write a weekly humorous wrap-up of the week, and refer to myself as a female. I did this so that no one would suspect that it was the vice principal. It worked for about 7 months until the teacher-librarian blew my cover (she caught me peeking into a quotations book). So, there you go.

Hey, this puzzle was pretty clean, in my opinion, and I certainly have no qualms about the theme. Sometimes I really wonder what @Rex is on about.

kathy of the tower 2:29 AM  

I thought everyone knew Lake Itasca. I guess it is a Minnesota thing.
I was just there walking over the start of the Mississippi last summer.

A minum is also a unit of measure in the apothecary system. I learned it in one the of most challenging classes I ever took, "Math for Nurses". If I remember correctly 60 drops equals a minim, and 4 minims equal a dram. This is the same system that uses grains for weight measure, as in 1/4 grain of morphine or 5 grains of aspirin. You'll see it in old novels or historical novels.

Don't you Syndielanders quit on me. Reading the blog and your comments is one of the highpoints of my day.

Anonymous 9:11 PM  

you do know the technology exists to fabricate dreams and visions.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP