Object of early Christian condemnation / TUE 12-13-16 / Legal actions provoked by oversimple jigsaw puzzles / South American animal also known as hog-nosed coon / Conglomerate originally named Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo / Company that buried 700,000+ unsold video games in 1983

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Constructor: David Alfred Bywaters

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (3:50-something for me)

THEME: lawyer humor — familiar phrases clued (wackily / "?"-style) as if their final words had some relation to the legal field:

Theme answers:
  • THREE-PIECE SUITS (17A: Legal actions provoked by oversimple jigsaw puzzles?)
  • BOXER BRIEFS (35A: Law documents concerning pugilists?)
  • BASKET CASES (43A: Court precedents involving games of hoops?)
  • DENTAL RETAINERS (61A: Attorneys' fees paid with gold fillings?)
Word of the Day: WINEY (22A: Like some French sauces) —
adj, winier or winiest
(Cookery) having the taste or qualities of wine (thefreedictionary.com)
• • •
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Now on to the puzzle!

Yeah, this feels NYT-normal. Corny theme that could've come from decades ago, fill that could've come from decades ago. All of it straight over the plate—the plate is just an old, familiar plate. There's really no reason, in a high word-count / low theme-density puzzle we should be seeing stuff like SAUER and DRI and *especially* WINEY. I don't mean to be whiny, but oof. And double-oof, given the really ambiguous clue. If you're going to have an oofy answer, don't make it tough to suss out. Water on a grease fire. Only makes it ERSE, I mean worse (and there's not much worse than ERSE). Took me longer than normal to finish this largely because of the nature of the theme, which, until I had a couple answers from crosses, was not at all apparent to me. Clues looked like [Concatenation of random words question mark?], so whatever humor or cleverness was there was (at least initially) lost on me. Placeholder puzzle. Adequate. Inoffensive. DRI as a bone.

Many dumb mistakes today, including DROPS for ERROR (18D: What "oopsy" signals) and TERNS (?!) for SWANS (19D: Graceful birds). Are TERNS graceful? I don't know. I do know I was clearly still under the heavy influence of ERNS at that point (30D: Shore birds). Real trouble getting front end of DENTAL RETAINERS (I only ever called mine a "retainer"). And had BIOME for BIOTA (another ugh-word) (43D: Flora and fauna). WHEEDLED and VARMINTS are fine entries—easily my favorite. GO FETCH is ridiculous, esp. as clued (26D: Command to a dog after a ball is thrown). I mean, it's a phrase that I recognize, but, well ... do you have a dog? I do. A lab. She was basically bred to fetch. The idea that I would have to give her a "Command" after throwing a ball is hilarious. She would be like "yeah, I know, why are you talking?" Actually, she wouldn't even be there to listen. She'd be where the ball is already. It's the "after" part of the clue that really kills me. "After" I throw the ball, she's gone. She's chasing it before it has left my hand. Once the arm goes in motion, she anticipates direction and goodbye. Unless I taunt her with false throws, which I sometimes do. Anyway, telling my dog to GO FETCH "after" the ball is thrown would be like telling me to GO EAT "after" the pizza is put in front of me. "Way ahead of you," I would say, through my mouthful of pizza.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:05 AM  

...or telling Rex to carp when he comments on a NYT puzzle.

Anokha 12:06 AM  

I liked it!

Pete 12:18 AM  

My GO FETCH rant, while admitting Rex's point, is that the GO part is ridiculous. The command is fetch. The only modifier remotely pertinent to FETCH with my lab cross is "Please, for the love of god, can we stop throwing/fetching"? Whatever she's crossed with, mentally and psychologically she's 100% lab, physically she's a marathon runner. I can take her for an hour long run in the woods and she refuses to go into the house until we play fetch.

PS Stop with the ball, the go-to fetching toy is a 1000% improvement, and available in time for XMas.

Unknown 12:20 AM  

Hats off to @David Alfred Bywaters for his New York Times debut construction debut (with his name, he could have been a theme entry in @Patrick Jordan's Monday, December 12, 2016 USA Today puzzle).

@Rex, thanks for the evocative image of you playing with your lab. GO_FETCH, indeed!

Two of today's theme answers conflate into a running gag my wife used early in our marriage, where she would tease me about taking underwear to work in my BRIEFCASE.

Well, we all mellow eventually: I can finally tolerate SAUER_kraut with my braten. However, it's getting harder and harder to RETAINER recollections of where I put my car keys. wHEW! What an IDIOT! DoH, there they are ...

One more story from the archives. Years ago, I interviewed someone who had obviously never worn a THREE_PIECE_SUIT before. That is, it still had the original pricetag on it.

jae 12:50 AM  

Easy-medium for me. A couple of nice long downs, but I can never remember how to spell VARMINTS, the N doesn't seem right. I wonder if a COATI is considered a VARMINT?

Cute, liked it.

Duckling 1:24 AM  

Funny theme, was fun to fill!

Larry Gilstrap 1:41 AM  

It's a Tuesday for Pete's sake. Lawyer humor reminds me of all the TV shows that have implanted courtroom jargon into the language. I object! to OFL's line of questioning. Exibit A, four long themers. Sustained!

Since all birds are the result of millions of years of evolution, I'm assuming that terns, and erns, and swans are all more graceful than humans. I feel compelled to write a very short book: Bad French Food. Chapter III involves WINEY, and the chapters are in alphabetical order. I'm no dummy, but the distinction between axels and AXLES is always pause inducing.

Believe it or not, some people are not obsessed with dogs. Sorry! An iconic cartoon from back in the J. Crumb era showed a hound with an extended middle finger telling his master, "FETCH this!"

Finally, what happened to ABALONE? It was an abundant food and product resource for the indigenous folks in these parts. Damn otters!

chefwen 1:50 AM  

Other than reading 16A as preserve instead of persevere I found this to be another easy solve. Kept trying to figure out how to fit LET ROT into four spaces, then there was that funky Q to deal with. Let's go back and read that clue again. Ah so, that's why it won't work, IDIOT!

Wasn't too thrilled with the theme, kinda ho-hum.

Larry Gilstrap 1:58 AM  

Ooh! Just googled Fetch This! The defense rests! The master of course said, "GO FETCH!"

Ellen S 2:01 AM  

I liked it, too, but it made me wonder, is there really such a thing as an ERN? They are clued as "marine predators" or "shore birds", somehow doesn't seem like the same thing. Has anyone ever seen one?

Anyway, I want to move on to GO FETCH. I have a dog. Well, he's somewhere between 14 and 17, and not really much of a dog any more, moving slower and slower, confused about things, still enjoys eating and his pain meds and acupuncture and laser therapy and expensive Chinese herbs which you have to buy when you have acupuncture, which I don't believe in, but some or all of those are keeping his back problems under control. But he's not my first dog, and all my dogs were trained to wait for the command after I threw the ball (or in the Obedience ring, the dumbbell). It the dog has some self-control, it cuts down on the incidence of them nearly attacking you if you don't throw it again fast enough, and it means you are in control and you can say when the game ends.

@Pete -- how does that Flying Squirrel toy work? I mean, how is it thrown? I'm really intrigued by the other toy, the one that's like a soccer ball. At the dog park, people would occasionally bring in soccer balls and the dogs loved them, but they would soon be deflated, and then dismembered. Tennis balls were the favorite of the Labs, though. The balls would wind up in wading pool and the Labs would go in and try to carry away as many as they could. I've seen more than one with 5 tennis balls in its mouth.

Unknown 2:13 AM  

I'm with Rex: an average puzzle.

The theme lacked that extra bit of sizzle. Each theme answer has a surface meaning unrelated to the legal system (good) that gets re-parsed as something associated with the legal system (good). But the choice of answers seems pretty haphazard. Why these four? Why use 15 boxes on a meh answer like DENTAL RETAINERS? There just have to be some better possibilities out there.

Best ones that I came up with:
- AGINCOURT: Where you go to dispute your public intoxication charge?
- SLOW MOTION: Your ... Honor ... I ... re ... quest ... that ... this ... case .. be ... dis ... missed?

My favorite theme clue was the one for THREE-PIECE SUITS [Legal actions provoked by oversimple jigsaw puzzles?]. It's utterly ridiculous, and the idea of a three-piece jigsaw made me laugh. Contrast this to the snoozer of a clue for BOXER-BRIEFS [Law documents concerning pugilists?].

Fill-wise, I liked WHEEDLED and VARMINTS. The rest seemed bland. Disliked ONE UP and nearby ONE ACT.

Liked the trivia clue for ATARI [Company that buried 700,000+ unsold video games in 1983]. This was news to me, and it sent me straight to the Wikipedia article on this event. The other clue that stood out for me was RAID [Unwelcome cry at the front door].

Charles Flaster 2:30 AM  

Agree with most of Rex but I found it easier to complete. Theme was easy to decipher and wrote in DENTAL RETAINERS with just the first three letters filled in.
If you have an ETSY can an ESPY be far behind.
The puzzle needed Alou and Ott to go along with three major leaguers already mentioned;
SAUER( Hank), BOONE( Ray, Bob, Aaron, and Bret), and PAGAN( Jose and Angel).
Nice debut.
Thanks DAB

Dolgo 3:25 AM  

It wasn't the otters, it was the damned divers! Over fishing. You used to see huge piles of the shells near the California coast. Now you can only dive legally for a few a day. And every season, poachers drown off the N. California coast here. It's too bad. When you can get a fresh one (they don't keep), they're great eating. They should nix the hunt for a couple decades and let them recover! , w

Dolgo 3:27 AM  

Send are usually known as ospreys outside of crosswords and yes, I've seen lots.

Dolgo 3:27 AM  

Send are usually known as ospreys outside of crosswords and yes, I've seen lots.

Loren Muse Smith 3:55 AM  

Nifty theme. I especially liked THREE PIECE SUITS and BASKET CASES. Hey, @Anoa Bob – at least all the themers are plural…

I agree that the phrase DENTAL RETAINERS isn’t as in-the-language as the others. Wonder if David might have considered SIMPLE SENTENCES there?

@Martin A – liked your SLOW MOTION.

And I agree that it’s FETCH more often than GO FETCH. And, yeah, either one is unnecessary,(unless your dogs are like @Ellen S’s – all obedient and dignified and stuff). Rex - I enjoyed your FETCH depiction. Here’s my favorite FETCH clip.

A periphery themerette with SHRED.

Love the word VARMINTS. ‘Possums, coyotes, (KYE otes), coons… Or in the grid, DEER, APE, ABALONE, COATI, ERN, SWANS, and EQUINEs. And PETS. (Which for me was “wets” forever.)

Mr. Bywaters – congrats on your NYT debut. Looking forward to more from you!

I am not a robot 4:48 AM  

This puzzle had a goofy, good natured sensibility. What a relief! Numbskull, parrots and ferrets, pickled flower bud, oopsy, hog nosed coon, varmint. If it played in a theater it would be a 1930s cartoon short before the feature. I liked it dagnabbit.

Lewis 6:40 AM  

@rex -- Yes, I'm whiny about WINEY as well and I loved your GO_FETCH rant.
@lms -- I too noticed the menagerie, and you saved me the trouble to list it as I was prepared to.

This went faster for me than yesterday. The theme felt a little corny but certainly helped with the solve. Answers we don't see that often that I liked: WHEEDLED, INBOARD, GOFETCH, VARMINTS, COATI. Two clues that could have been shorter (and thus more elegant): For AROMA, we just need "Scent" rather than "Pleasant scent" (and an AROMA can also be unpleasant); and for ONE_ACT, we just need "Short play" rather than "Like a short play".

Maybe I'm oversensitive, but I still think, after The Holocaust, that anything referring to the selling of gold fillings for monetary gain, is in bad taste. It still feels too soon to me. I would rather have seen something referring to the Tooth Fairy in that clue. But again, I might be hanging on to this for way too long!

Overall, though, it is a competent debut. Enjoy this day, David Alfred Bywater, and let nothing smudge it for you. I look forward to more from you!

GO_FETCH? That's me. Place a crossword puzzle in front of me and the world shuts off and, without hesitation I blindly pursue its solve; I and the puzzle are one.

Unknown 6:48 AM  

I have two yellow labs, and "GO FETCH" didn't quite ring true. Then I read Rex's "yeah, I know, why are you talking?" and laughed aloud. Excellent!

Hungry Mother 7:06 AM  

Typical Tuesday for me. Nice theme. I often think of a Crossword beach where Asta chases Erns.

LaurieG in Connecticut 7:40 AM  

loved your comment!

Cassieopia 7:41 AM  

Blazed through this like a knife through butter, the BIOTA corner being the only slowdown. (I had BIOme which yielded IDIOm which looked fine to me until I saw it didn't match the clue.) Half of my average Tuesday time. I liked the puns a ton, but I'm a punny type of gal anyway.

Andrew Goodridge 7:46 AM  

I filled in GOgetit after GO fell into place. GOFETCH is better, but I don't think I've ever actually said it. Also I have three senior pugs who have no interest in fetching anything. If I were to try to start a game, they'd give me the "Stop trying to make fetch happen" look.

chefbea 7:49 AM  

Fun easy puzzle. Use capers all the time but never with my sauer braten or kraut...and especially not with my ham on rye!!

Dorothy Biggs 7:59 AM  

i know a lot of the posters here are...um...on the northern side of middle age, so what I'm about to say may not resonate or even be believable to you. But, and I really could be wrong on this, I think puns are going the way of limericks in the grab bag of everyday humor. I know of no one under 25 who likes puns...and if they do, it's because they like them ironically. Or they remember them fondly from their childhood the same way they remember their Nintendo DS.

The only people I know who speak in puns (and my god I know a few), are usually vaudeville types who give a kind of "ha-cha-cha!" after a groaner and everyone in the room sort of gives it a pity laugh. Modern humor has become much more sarcastic, sardonic, even ironic...but certainly more deadpan...and for those who enjoy the energy of puns, there is now the "that's what she said" jokes that keep going. Those are bad too.

This is in no way to disparage punsters, it's just to say that that kind of humor is on the way out. Like Abbot and Costello routines or 80s movies, the newer generations stare blankly into the mid-distance when they see it or hear it and just don't see the humor in it. Maybe it's oversaturation. Maybe it's that too many uncles unloosed too many puns at too many Thanksgiving dinner tables. But puns are quickly becoming a thing of the past, a relic, and to Rex's point, the NYT still deals in puns wholesale, bargain basement even, and is at risk of losing lots of younger fans who prefer the edgier kinds of puzzles (if they do puzzles at all).

This is also in no way meant as a sad eulogy to a bygone era of puns, limericks, and crossword puzzles...it is to say that times change, humor changes, and the NYT isn't doing much to adapt.

Today's pun fest was brutal. A pun here and there is one thing, but punny themes are a waste of a theme, IMO.

And just to do a little end run around the inevitable "Why are you so grumpy, NCA?"...I will admit, being critical does have it drawbacks to finding unbridled joy in life, but at the same time, refusing to accept mediocrity has its benefits too. It isn't for everyone and to some it sounds like you're grumpy (Hi Rex!), but it doesn't mean a critical thinking person is in fact grumpy or joyless. There is enough wine to help even the most ardent cynic.

NCA "My French sauce is WINEY today" President

kitshef 8:18 AM  

If @Rex's dog were a working dog, bounding off before waiting for the command would earn her a rear-end full of birdshot. Playing GO FETCH is a two-part exercise - sitting still so as not to spook the birds and remain out of the line of fire, then retrieving once the command is given.

@Dolgo - overfishing is a factor, but it's the rise in CO2 and resulting ocean acidification that will do the ABALONE in.

Some nice stuff in the puzzle: VARMINTS, EQUINE, ABALONE ... but offset by ONRYE, WINEY, SCORERS, NNE and ERSE and a tepid theme.

G.Harris 8:19 AM  

Not every dog is a ball crazy Lab. Some dogs have to be trained to go fetch, hence that expression came into being. Found puzzle easy and enjoyable. I note that Rex is back to blaming the puzzle when some clue or answer slows him down. Thought that was the purpose of the exercise.

Unknown 8:26 AM  

@NCA President - I agree that the puns in this puzzle are dull, but I disagree with your more general theory on the pun's decline. 1. Puns have never been popular. 2. Puns are not some fad joke like "that's what she said" You can find them in the Old Testament. I would reason that where there is language, there will be people playing with language, and so there will be puns. 3. Sarcastic, sardonic, and ironic humor does not exclude puns. Off the top of my head, consider "Arrested Development," "30 Rock," and "Bojack Horseman."

chefbea 8:51 AM  

@NCApres. I love puns!!! I subscribe to Pun-a-day...and I usually post them on Facebook. and all my punny friends send me others!!!

Hartley70 8:51 AM  

I found this to be a classic Tuesday puzzle. Well done, Mr. Bywaters. Your choice of VARMINT and VAPE hit both ends of generational spectrum.

I've never used the word FETCH in conversation with canines. We don't talk politics either.

@NCA President, I think you're correct when it comes to pun popularity. Since one's sense of humor seems to be genetically pre-determined, pun humor may be going the way of red hair. I, for one, am missing the slapstick gene, while my French husband got two of them.

Z 8:54 AM  

@Martin Abresch and @NCA President - Yeah. NEVER popular. That's why we never produce Shakespeare anymore, too many puns. C'mon Guys.

I saw the byline and assumed a pseudonym. I checked xwordinfo and, Oh Look, a very interesting photo. Sorry, Mr. Bywaters, but who are you really?

My true love drowned in a dirty old pan
Of oil that did run from the block
Of a Falcon sedan, 1969
The paper said '75
There were no survivors
None found alive

Pete 9:00 AM  

@Ellen - The Flying Squirrel is thrown like a Frisbee. It's much better than a Frisbee for dogs - It's soft, tough as hell, and has a different flying pattern. Once it looses its initial sizing, it flies level at first then rises at the end. It's as if it's waiting for the dog to catch up and snare it in flight.

A frisbee soft enough to use as a play toy for dogs last my dog a week or so. The flying squirrel last six months

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

@G. Harris, agree with the lab/fetch comment. I remember my dad training dogs, "Fido! (throw) Fetch!" It was all said and done quickly with the same commanding tone each time. It's not always a ball you want certain dogs to fetch and some people did use Go! instead.

Nancy 9:12 AM  

I've never thought of "most carousel animals" being EQUINE. I've always thought of them as just being, well, horses. And, if God forbid, there's an unwelcome cry at my front door, the last thing I/m expecting it to be is "RAID!" Does that make this puzzle a bit crunchy for a Tuesday? Despite the corniness of the puns, I sort of liked it. Not all the fill was obvious, like yesterday. And for what it's worth, I like my French sauces WINEY. Nothing beats that wonderful AROMA. Added to yesterday's AIOLI, this has been a sumptuous week for French food.

Tita 9:13 AM  

@Pete...the advantage of a ball or stick is that they are often just there... old tennis balls laying about? FETCH toy. Grab a stick on the ground? FETCH toy.

This theme left me cold. A puzzle only a lawyer could love.

Mother of pearl (aka puzzle-friend nacre) comes from any mollusk. Beautiful stuff.

At Holy Famoly School, we would buy PAGAN babies. We got to name them. Some of the mean kids would come up with really awful names, but the nuns would never allow it.
Of course, this is my childhood memory of the transactions...the nuns didn't call it that. I do hope that the pennies we collected did make their to some worthy cause that helped poor kids, but even at the time, I wondered about slapping that label on them.

While I love CAPERs, and have seen them in the wild, I wonder what they taste like before being preserved. Could it be virtually anything that gets soaked in vinegar?

Tita 9:17 AM  

Meant to say...I'm loving all the dog-related stories this puzzle is eliciting...

And the RAID clue has me seeing a family of cartoon roaches at the front door...

Nancy 9:24 AM  

@Ellen S. (2:01 a.m.) -- I just love your portrayal of your aging, New Agey dog. And I also love your look at the dog park GO FETCH scene -- especially the labs. It reminds me of someone I know who has a labradoodle. She was trying to play GO FETCH with it, but the dog kept looking in the other direction whenever she threw the ball. At one point, the dog stared at her and actually yawned. I turned to her and said: "That dog is all poodle."

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

I also wondered about RAID, does immigration cry RAID at the door ?? ,those in the house would say it in spanish

Mohair Sam 9:39 AM  

Wow. Two days in a row @Rex found puzzles tough for the day that we found easy - a record.

Wanted to take Rex to task for his enjoyable rant about FETCHing, but @Kitshef beat me to it with the unhappy mental picture of an impatient lab with an ass full of birdshot.

Also had planned to disagree with @NCA President about puns, but @Martin Abresch beat me to the thought with "Arrested Development" and "30 Rock" - both shows pun fests successfully skewed toward younger audiences. As a matter of fact, I had a hard time finding anyone over 30 who enjoyed "Development" beside myself. Puns ain't dead, but bad puns have always been the worst of bad jokes.

And yeah, I'm not wild about punny puzzles either - they tend to be strained puns - THREE PIECE SUITS anyone?

Passing Shot 9:51 AM  

Enjoyed this. Hand up for VARMINTS as my favorite answer and WINEY as my least. @NCA President -- very nice explanation on the decline of puns; today's humor seems to be of a more surreal nature (i.e., not funny to me) ala "Tim and Eric" or "Comedy Bang Bang." Of course, there will always be comedy that aspires to much more, say Louis CK.

That said, puns suck.

GILL I. 9:55 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle. Starting with PHEW and ending with SONY.
poor ABALONE. I had one once in San Francisco and it was delicious. Evidently it's very difficult to prepare but when done properly the cost is worth it. Lots of poachers here in California and many of them die when diving for them. Hey, don't blame the otters.
Sheesh @NCA...just to make you mad, here's one for the THREE PIECE SUITS: Q: How do you get a group of lawyers to smile?
A: Just say, "Fees."
Feel free to get up and groan.
I'm more of a GO GET IT gal but I hear GO FETCH at our dog park - usually when a stick is thrown. When its a ball, its the get it command.
Noticed the @Loren PETS and some good food and I love CAPERs.
SAUER kraut with new potatoes and thin pork chops baked in casserole...
Hey @jae....We are having the same difficulties. VARMINTS looks wrong with the N.
Gotta go stuff eggs for the downtrodden.

QuasiMojo 10:16 AM  

Some of the clueing today was quite awkward and stilted. Especially the one for "error." And "pagan." Why so clunky? Erns (ernes) are sea raptors, aren't they? I liked seeing Varmints (sounds like a breath freshener.) Whoever thinks puns are on the way out doesn't get out much I would imagine. And 80s movies unpopular? Most of them have become cult classics with enormous followings. If anything they are more popular now than when they first appeared. I hate words like "winey" in any puzzle. Who ever says "Oh that sauce is winey."? But I have heard "go fetch" a gazillion times so I don't get Rex's rant on that one. I've even used it although I don't own a pet. (Works great with the Mrs.)

RooMonster 10:30 AM  

Hey All!
Nice TuesPuz. Cpngrats on debut DAB.

Composed (like I'm fancy, or something) a post that got lost in the Cyberspace spaces, so just gonna say I liked it.


r.alphbunker 10:35 AM  

This is a puzzle that M&A could have written! It has 8 U's in it. You really should read the constructor comments over at xwordinfo.com

I remember once I was wandering the stacks of a library trying to avoid what I was supposed to be doing (it is easier now with the Internet) and I came across an ancient book titled "A Diatribe Against Puns" that had been misfiled in the math section. The author was an English professor who went on and on about how bad puns were but the book was really just an excuse to make some great puns.

[21A {"Well, obviously!"} DUH] wasn't to me. I finished with DOH which made [7D {Best} ONEUP] ONEOP

Details arehere

Pete's LabX 10:40 AM  

@Tita - If your pet's, or your, aspirations are limited to the ability to pick up something up off the ground, then yes, balls and sticks are fine and convenient. So are rocks, or leaves. My idiot younger sibling seems to be satisfied with that, god bless the little soul. If, however, snatching something out of mid-air at an all out run is perceived to be better, so too is a flying squirrel.

I am not a robot 10:52 AM  

@NCA, if your generation can't see the poetic beauty framed in the first line of the classic, "There once was a girl from Nantucket," then I mourn. As was quoted yesterday, "'Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.' With a little more talent Keats could've turned that into a limerick...there once was a bride of quietness, who...

MJB 11:15 AM  

Current abalone die-off in Northern California is due to decimation of kelp forests.


Loren Muse Smith 11:19 AM  

Hey, @NCA Pres – I was tooling along, reading your take on puns (your pun is my Three Stooges), when a phrase drailed my brain:

...uncles unloosed too many puns...

Oh, wow. Both loose and unloose are verbs that mean the same thing. Cool.

I would’ve emailed you since this has nothing to do with the puzzle, but… oh well.

While I’m nothing- to- do- with- the- puzzling, a student turned in an essay yesterday with the following, mystifying sentences:

Our mom got a 30 pound turkey for seven people. It cooked four hours on Wednesday, three on Thursday, and five on Sunday. It still wasn’t done so finily (sic) we came to the decision that it was spoiled.

I kept going back and rereading the passage. It’s pretty startling if you think about it. Where did they put the turkey in between bakings? Why did this mean it was spoiled? Could it have spoiled between baking number one and number two? Why 30 pounds for only seven people?

Anyhoo…. As you were.

Malsdemare 11:29 AM  

If I were to be so foolish as to throw any object and suggest/command/beg one of my dogs to GO FETCH, he or she, after casually flipping me the dewclaw, would have said, "You threw it, you FETCH it," and shown me a very fluffy butt. A squirrel, on the other hand -- a real one -- would be caught and returned in a highly unsatisfactory condition.

I rather enjoy puns -- good ones -- in a puzzle or a book, which allows me to smile briefly and move on. Audible ones produced by my otherwise deeply loved brother-in-law, however, require a laugh or some other formal acknowledgement that a. I got the pun and b. he is oh-so-clever, a social task I don't really enjoy but engage in 'cause he's really a sweetie. These puns were okay but I have a small nit; aren't BOXERS and BRIEFS two different styles? What in the world are BOXERBRIEFS?

I get WINEY about five pm, all curled up by the fire with a good book. MrMal, on the other hand, loads up his vodka with CAPER berries, which apparently are the bud that turns into the spermy-looking thing that gets pickled. Rock n Rose hang out hoping for VARMINTS.

A Grimwade 11:30 AM  

Bird-related comment...Erns are not shore birds. They are large sea-eagles that soar majestically over the ocean. Shore birds are mostly small brown guys like sanderlings and plovers that run around on the beach.

astroman 11:35 AM  

Taunting your dog = wrong clue in xword. Don't do it, she is your partner.

Numinous 12:01 PM  

Well, hell, I liked this fine. I like good puns which are usually bad. Though they are rare, I like paraprosdokians which I think are puns of a sort too. "Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

GO FETCH is something I've heard a lot. Imp, the aptly named chiweenie, likes those pieces of rope with a knot on either end for chewing. Not long ago, we learned if we grab one away from her and throw it, she'll chase it and bring it back to where she was chewing on it. Usually this happens mornings or evenings when we are in bed. Now, if I take the rope and hold it by the ends, she'll stare at it but if I raise my arm getting ready to throw it, she'll leap off the bed and be off in the direction she expects the throw to be. She'll return full tilt to lie on the bed and chew until she nudges it toward whichever of us she wants to throw it. We, like @Rex, have been thoroughly trained by our dog.

I somehow doubt ATF, FBI, or INS is going to stop at the door and yell RAiD, open up. I think someone peeking out the spy hole in the door is more likely to yell RAID to trigger a frenzy of activity, flushing and attempting to escape. Even so, that's one that got a little smile from me.

Nice to meet you, @ David Alfred Bywaters. Congratulations on your debut and I hope to see more of you.

dick swart 12:04 PM  

at G. Harris (way above)

." I note that Rex is back to blaming the puzzle when some clue or answer slows him down. Thought that was the purpose of the exercise".

Hear, Hear!

Mohair Sam 12:08 PM  

For God's sake @Lauren, you can't leave us hanging like that. Do some detective work on the turkey situation and get back to us.

Numinous 12:08 PM  

@Malsdemare, BOXER BRIEFS are mens knickers which are usually made from cotton interlock that have longish legs. Shaped like a BOXER, made like BRIEFS. There are even BOXER BRIEFS made for women. You could google, there are plenty of pictures.

Malsdemare 12:21 PM  

@Numinous Thank you for the information. I will pass on googling; there are some things I really don't need to see to understand.

And, yes, Loren, we need to know more about that turkey. Though I am reminded of the Christmas when we unwrapped our bird and stunk up the whole house. We ended up going out to eat, leaving behind a sick little dachshund. We got home after the kind of Christmas dinner one would expect when people who want to be at home with their families are preparing and serving customers instead to discover one happily recovered dog and a well-chewed, quite disgusting pair of women's panties on the floor. Good times!

Carola 12:22 PM  

My thought was, " A witty Tuesday! Nice!". I guess I'll stop short of "Inspired," to avoid grade inflation, but I thought the idea was creative and the answers fun. Plus we got VARMINT and WHEEDLED, which for me so nicely sounds like the tone of voice used by the wheedler.

Crossword auto-pilot: ERNS, COATI (too short for AGOUTI), ATARI.

@Malsdemare, picture jersey BOXERs sort of shrink-wrapped onto the body.

Anonymous 12:23 PM  

Although I did not recognize the constructor's name, I was surprised at the quality of the puzzle for a first effort. Of course, you can't or shouldn't make a judgment based on the name at the top of the puzzle but, it is hard for me to believe that seeing the name of a constructor that you know and either like or dislike doesn't influence the opinion of the solver. It is a parallel to why some universities require each student to be assigned a number when taking tests so that the knowledge of whom the test taker is does not influence the grader of the papers.

Rex undoubtedly does not care but, his example of how his dog needs no instruction to go get what is thrown was just silly as a number of bloggers like Malsdemare have pointed out. I thought the clue was perfectly fine especially in light of the fact that getting the dog to wait before fetching is an integral part of dog training and even competitions for dog obedience.

Vaping will hopefully be subject to some significant regulation in the future. It's amazing how we posit the idea that if something does not have a warning given to it by the government, it will be fine.

In today's NYT, there is a report of a study that found that one cigarette a day makes you nine times more likely to die from lung cancer than a nonsmoker and, even if you quit at age 50, you still have a 44% increased risk of premature death. Now you know why life insurance policy applications want to know if you have ever smoked.

Numinous 12:35 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Numinous 12:41 PM  

Blogger Numinous said...
A 30 pound turkey would solve the problem of lunches for at least week for seven people, for sure. But 12 hours of cooking and still not done? Even tainted meat will "cook" if heat is applied to it. Reminds me of tech support questions, where the person is asked, "Is your computer plugged in, is it turned on?" Are we sure the oven was turned on? Was she trying to cook it at 175*?

Consulted with Mrs. Numi and this is what we came up with.
It probably would have taken about 8 to 10 hours straight if the turkey was frozen when starting it. Storing in the fridge between baking sessions would increase the time by several hours because the turkey needs to reheat each time before it begins to actually cook. If the turkey was stuffed it would take quite a bit longer. 15 minutes a pound after thawing and coming to room temperature, at least 30 minutes per pound if the turkey is stuffed. That turkey could have taken 15 hours or more to cook fully. They probably didn't miss much since a 30 pound bird will be much older and the meat will be tougher than if they'd cooked two 15 pound turkeys.

Teedmn 1:21 PM  

Pretty easy here today except for my HAHA moment at 44D. Mixing up my VARMINTS with various other BIOTA, I put in ocATI in there which then led me to put in BASKE ToAStS. No, I have no idea either. But SCORERS made me rethink ocATI for COATI and so I didn't have to turn a TINGE red commenting here.

I thought this was a very fun puzzle, mighty clean for a debut - obviously DAB is no IDIOT.

I think if someone has WHEEDLED without getting WINEY, they might get their MOCHA HAM ON RYE just as they like it.

And the clue for 6D brought back memories of the insects (roaches?) scrambling and yelling RAID when said product was brought to bear.

Great debut, David Alfred Bywaters, congratulations.

cwf 1:32 PM  

I had promised myself recently that I would swear off Sunday through Wednesday NYT puzzles because they are so often just exercises in typing. But I was between tasks to tossed this one off and enjoyed it. Nice debut Mr Bywaters.

@Rex's fetch rant actually made me laugh out loud (having spent countless hours throwing tennis balls for a certain labradoodle).

Sir Alastair Adrian Aldrich 1:36 PM  

Good heavens, it's just a few puns and rather clever ones at that. Let the poor things have their day in the sun. They'll be dead and gone tomorrow and then you can go about your business and complain about something else.

Carry on, David Alfred, and fie to your critics. It's a splendid debut! There ought to be a law that requires all crossword puzzles to be this delightful.

Tom 1:42 PM  

@Larry Gilstrap, don't blame the otters. The most dangerous animal on the planet depleted the ABALONE beds through over-harvesting to supply restaurants. The otters just ate their fair share.

Besides, all the ABALONE I ever ate tasted like nothing until you flavored it with something. Kind of like tofu...

Easy Tuesday, solved it on the computer, which I usually don't do. I'm a hunt-and-peck typist, so it took me 10 minutes just because my keyboard skill suck.

As for GO FETCH, my Giant Alaskan Malamute, who went to the Doghouse in the Sky last November, just watched the tennis ball roll down the driveway. I think I might have said GO! FETCH! She just looked at me as if I were nuts. No GO, no FETCH. She did like to run around like a crazy dog for a minute or two every once in a while, though for no apparent reason.

Tita 2:42 PM  

@Pete's Lab...welcome to rexville. We rarely get visitors from the animal world.
The labs that are my KITH are content with quite literally anything, thrown or static, caught in midair or on the ground. They are not in the least discerning. And they can catch a ball in midair, thank you very much.

A Sheltie I know loves her frisbee-like cloth disc with padded ring.

I guess I was just being Grinchy in pointing out that you don't need to buy a purpose-built toy. Every good dog deserves our attention, and yes, sometimes a rubbery flying squirrel is just the right thing to provide endless fun and exercise.

In the same vein...a mug from the AKC site says...
"If you're dog is too fat, you're not getting enough exercise."

Aroma Codes Mochas 2:58 PM  

Really liked the puzzle...Thought the theme was really tight and I liked the simple reimagining of all the words in a different context.
That's what it's all about!

Even tho I paused slightly at the mild redundancy of DENTAL I realized you did need that to make it clear. I got lucky with just three months of an oft-lost retainer, my sisters had three years of braces.

Rex's lab story actually made me laugh out loud and reminded me why I used to come here! Still smiling. Grew up with Black lab so...

@Tom 1:42
Sorry about your Malamute. That also made me laugh, tho. Having a dog that doesn't fetch, is like having a...cat!

(My cat and I play go kvetch)
ALso had GOgeTit

I guess i have to share my latest humiliation: In park with my visiting nephew, age 24. I'm 57 and childfree so barely used to even being mistaken for his mom...
But we were in park and this dog would not retrieve his/her ball. Owner kept saying, "Go get your ball! Go get the ball!" And the dog was ignoring her.
So I volunteered and said (to the dog), "Ill get your ball!"
at which point the 20something gal says (to the dog),
"Are you going to make grandma get your ball???!!!"

Grandma! Grandma!!! :(

(I almost told her to get her own f-ing ball and limped off)

Happy Pencil 3:06 PM  

My new favourite pastime, in addition to the puzzle itself, is to guess which word will most stoke Rex's ire. Today was an easy one with WINEY. I must confess that I did not predict the rant about GO FETCH, however.

@Larry Gilstrap, and anyone else who's interested, there is a wonderful short story partly about illegal abalone fishing in Mendocino Fire, a superb collection by the amazingly skilled Elizabeth Tallent. If you short stories and/or are looking for something wonderful to dip into over the holidays, I highly recommend it.

jedlevine 3:13 PM  

I've been trying to come up with an adjective to describe how I perceive Rex to be, and you may have hit the nail on the head with "grumpy". Perhaps I am wrong; just basing this opinion on the consistently high snark level of the comments. There is something to be said for setting the bar high in life's endeavors; yet at the same time, puzzles are for enjoyment, yes? I can much more easily picture Rex and some of the other nearly impossible-to-pleasers with a scowl on their faces rather than a grin.

Anonymous 3:22 PM  

Oh Rex! A well trained retriever would sit at your side until sent to retrieve the ball. The "fetch" command either releases the dog (although most are released on their name), or tells him/her to pick something up/take it from your hand. "go fetch" is an usual command, however. Mostly it's just "fetch" or "fetch it up." On the other hand, when just playing around, the dog can just run after the thrown ball or training bumper.

GILL I. 3:30 PM  

Geez louise @Andrea...57 already? I met you when you were 50 and I bet nothings changed since then. Grandma!!!!!!! just borrowing a few of you exclamations - you're still young chiquita.
@Malsdemere...Dachshund's are super dogs. We have two doxiepoos that will fetch anything - especially dirty underwear.
@Loren...a 30 lb turkey? Yikes. What do you feed those peckers in W. Virginia? Please don't say OKRA.

chefbea 4:07 PM  

@ACME...funny story!!!

RooMonster 5:35 PM  

Hey All!
Nice TuesPuz. Cpngrats on debut DAB.

Composed (like I'm fancy, or something) a post that got lost in the Cyberspace spaces, so just gonna say I liked it.


thfenn 5:38 PM  

I'm with Alexander on the ERNS clue - they're not shore birds, they're sea eagles (bald eagle, fish eagle etc). And while I didn't have to write over TERNS, they are indeed graceful, so much so that I almost wish I'd had to write over TERNS. Mixed up my OCAPI and COATI, but sorted that out eventually. Also mixed up MAN vs APE. Had WHEW before PHEW and spent some time wondering how parrots and ferrets were WETS. Didn't fix that until the online version kept telling me I was 'almost there' at which point I zip around looking for words that I've spelled wrong or something - discovering it should be PETS instead of WETS took forever...

The BAR for tavern answer reminded me of a joke a professor of mine used to tell: So, you ask what's the difference between a place where you get a drink and an elephant's fart. The answer, of course, is that one's a bar room, and the other is a BAROOM!. What he thought was so funny was that he heard it in italy, and the answer was that one's a taverna and the other is a taVERna! And everyone laughed...

Anyway, liked this one, as I do all puzzles that I can complete without cheating in less than my average time and find some answers that are fun, interesting, or spark a memory...so this was a good one.

thfenn 5:42 PM  

oh, and yeah, had GOGETIT until boxer BRIEFS became obvious, since, yes, I'd say Fetch! before GO FETCH...even after my dogs had already taken off...

Cassieopia 5:44 PM  

@NCA : you're correct, you really are "...wrong on this...", with this=Death Of Puns. Evidence: memes, especially fan memes. There are great punny fan memes for The Legend of Korra, an animated Nickelodeon series with an average demographic well south of 30. But don't trust my word for it. Check out any fandom and alongside the requisite inside jokes and fan art are creative and innovative meme puns. Tumblr and Reddit communities are also very fond of puns. Puns are not dying, they are merely morphing from print to digital.

Cassieopia 5:49 PM  


GILL I. 6:45 PM  

@Cassieopia....I'm still laughing. I guess the only one I can print
is the "wow, look at that van gogh."

Dorothy Biggs 9:13 PM  

Yeah, I've seen those sites. And occasionally a Reddit thread will break off into an extravapunza...or a lalapunlooza...or whatever. But it's almost always ironic. Even that Tumblr site is for the ironic enjoyment of puns. Phil, the punny dad on Modern Family, is an example of what I'm talking about. The family responds to him the "new" way...which is deadpan, it's not funny to them. And THAT is what's funny because that's the way real people see puns these days. So Phil is funny, not because of his puns, but the reaction everyone gives his puns. That was also true of Arrested Development.

For a contrast, go back to the 50s or earlier and see what audiences reacted to: the puns or the reaction to the puns. When you think the pun is funny, that's old skool...that's the part that's dying. But when you laugh at the reaction to the puns or when you write puns so that you sound kitschy like your Uncle Sal on Thanksgiving after a few glasses of bourbon on the rocks, you're hip.

Puns are also a little like PBR. Hipsters like PBR well enough, and hey, it's cheap! But they drink it ironically...it's gritty and it goes with their $70 UO flannel shirts. As opposed to the redneck farmer in Altoona, IA who buys his $10 flannel at the local Farm Supply store and drinks his PBR tall boys in a smoky bar with sticky gingham table cloths on the tables, while Merle Haggard croons in the background.

PBR, like a typical pun, doesn't pretend to be anything more than it is. But there is a very different POV about the general appreciation of a cold PBR in Altoona, IA from that of the PBR in East Nashville's Red Door Saloon. Irony is the new kitsch.

Anonymous 9:16 PM  

What a fun set of comments today! I laughed out loud several times (earning an eye roll from my homework-doing teenager sitting at the table). These days I SO need something to laugh at.
Puzzle was super easy, and pretty fun. Just wanted to give a shout out to two commenters:

Mohair Sam said...
Wow. Two days in a row @Rex found puzzles tough for the day that we found easy - a record.

Wanted to take Rex to task for his enjoyable rant about FETCHing, but @Kitshef beat me to it with the unhappy mental picture of an impatient lab with an ass full of birdshot.

[ha ha]

Happy Pencil said...
My new favourite pastime, in addition to the puzzle itself, is to guess which word will most stoke Rex's ire. Today was an easy one with WINEY. I must confess that I did not predict the rant about GO FETCH, however.

THANKS to this community !


Rita 9:35 PM  

@Loren thank you for both the Fetch link and the mysterious case of the 30 pound turkey! Rex is a grump, but this is the best comments section On the web.

Malsdemare 10:35 PM  

@NCA Pres. Your take on puns is excellent. I've got to echo @Rita: this comments' section is just terrific.

Cassieopia 11:25 PM  

@NCA - ah, so the pun lives on but our jaded ancient eyes see only ironic enjoyment from the younger generation? My perspective is that *everything* has changed during my lifetime, and fairly dramatically. Why should humor be an exception? But the pun is not dead and neither is the fact that they still make people laugh - it's merely different now, and that I do grant you. This would be a truly great conversation/argument to have over a few PBRs, assuming of course that our enjoyment thereof was entirely unironic! :-D

Cassieopia 11:28 PM  

Salvador Dolly was the one that really got me.

Shawn P. 11:58 PM  

Go get it

Anonymous 12:32 AM  

God I usually think Rex's WINEY comments are too harsh, but totally justified here.

- Billy

Leapfinger 12:55 AM  

@Larry Gilstrap, what are you, some kind of misotterthrope? You have something against terminal cuteness?

SAUER took me straight to Sig SAUER, some female-type detective sported one. Pistol-packin' Momma.

Then that APE and COATI gave us Two, Two VARMINTS in one, that's for CERTs. Hafta add one to that VARMINTS list with @iana robot's dagrabbit.

re what #NCA Prez said about puns, I think Suetonius (he of the EQUINE order) said much the same. Fashions cycle.

Liked the paralegal punnery, but that 'paid with gold fillings' image was too holocaustic for total comfort. Still, this seemed like the right theme for DA Bywaters. Nice debut, Mr. Longfellow By-the-shining-deep-sea-Waters!

Am hearing reports of great commenting; will have to check that out. My hopes are high.

Daniel Litoff 7:13 AM  

Another bit of lawyer humor was the deli sandwich clue. The old joke is when someone yells " order in the court" and the response is " I'll have a HAM ON RYE"

My dog Rocky a stubborn Airedale would run after a thrown ball like Rex's but once he would have the ball he was reluctant to bring the ball back. So most dogs will chase a thrown ball but not FETCH.

Diana,LIW 8:04 PM  

Reposting from yesterday:

Any Synderlanders going to ACPT?

I plan to!

Diana, the Lady in Waiting for your thoughts

faktchekker 9:09 AM  

To @Larry Gilstrap (who will never see this) – It’s R. Crumb, and that is NOT the kind of work that he did.

Burma Shave 9:29 AM  


I WHEEDLED those VARMINTS out of their THREEPIECESUITS after apertifs,
but what on EARTH? EACH of those IDIOTS LEFT on their BOXERBRIEFS!


(@spacecraft, no SECTS today, HAHA)

BS2 9:40 AM  

self-correct on grammar -

"EACH of" was a late entry, so, ". . . his BOXERBRIEFS!"

the record has been corrected

spacecraft 11:16 AM  

HAHA, @BS--and no DOD either. Well, Debbie BOONE, maybe: not too exciting, but easy enough to look at. In the day.

And speaking of easy, this may just be the easiest puzzle I've ever done. Clearly it should appear on a Monday. I knew OFL wouldn't like it, but was really surprised at the rating. Never mind: those days when we differ as widely as possible, those ARE days of reaffirmation for me. :)

Cute theme, well-executed but for the last. I agree with OFL (uh-oh!) that one never hears "DENTAL" in front of RETAINER. The man just needed six more letters. I also am forced to agree that no dog worth his salt would be waiting around for that "command." He is off and running (or "often running!") with the arm cock. And Fearless One, tell me you don't really tease your pooch with fakes. Nasty!

Near the bottom, when--finally--it was beginning to look like an entire grid of gimmes, the constructor (debut? Never saw this name before) sought to cloud things up with a couple of obscure clues, the one for SONY's Japanese name and the factoid about ATARI's game burial--where, BTW? Could that turn into a Love Field? But it didn't work; they were gimmes anyway.

This puzzle has no teeth and so no need for a 61-across. Still there is some promise here: how can you not love WHEEDLED and VARMINTS? As a debut, if it is one, I'd have to rate it birdie. There was nothing in the fill to IRK but another RCD, which happens almost daily any more. A more experienced constructor would get a par.

rondo 11:39 AM  

Thought for sure OFL would get WINEY about the wackiness being contained in the clues and not in the answers. ETSY could not have come from decades ago. And we get a random direction to IRK us. About regular for Tuesday as OFL said.

Yet another missed opportunity for HAHA to be clued “Packer Clinton-Dix”. Maybe if HAHA does something outstanding in the Super Bowl?

I remember the DENTALRETAINERS for my daughter’s orthodontic work. Both the braces and the fees.

Toured BOONE Town just outside St. Louis in September 2002, just me and 80 third-graders (with their teachers and a few bedraggled parents). It’s an interesting SITE if you have the chance. @spacey already beat me to Debbie BOONE.

Have never looked up the difference between ERN, TERN, and ERNE. Those VARMINTS are all gull-ible to me.

Fair Tues-puz. All of today’s answers can belly up to (or pass) the BAR.

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

Right over the plate...old fashioned : all good. Fun, fair and enjoyable puzzle that seems to have caused quite a few comments... Maybe this could have been substituted for Monday's, which I found trickier. All good, though.

leftcoastTAM 1:22 PM  

Liked this one more than Rex did, which isn't unusual for a simple solver like me.

First thought that MANOR referred to the whole estate, which it does as a secondary definition, then saw that it's also a synonym of my first-choice, manse,the elaborate house itself.

The long theme clues and answers struck me as clever and fun, especially on a Tuesday, but, again, I'm just a simple solver.

Diana,LIW 2:37 PM  

"My use of words is just some antics" is my favorite liner note quote from an album ever. (Randy Newman, if you want to know)

I live for puns. If pressed, I can go for the ironical too. (Get it? heh, heh. Oh yeah, you're laughing.) (Take that, NCA)

So I had a blast figuring out the punny answers with the least amount of crosses. (Well, obviously!)

And then there's those wacky answers like VARMINTS.

I have a cat who loves to FETCH. He plays with ponytail hairbands. Goes and finds one, places it on my foot, and if I don't pick it right up, he pats my leg. No response from me? He jumps up and pats my shoulder. "Hey lady! Go throw!!!" He will FETCH until my arm falls off. If he can't find a "thingy" on the floor, he goes into the pocket of a pair of jeans, knowing they often reside there. Or he opens the medicine cabinet - another reliable source. He particularly likes playing on the kitchen floor, where he can slide after the rolling thingy. Life is good.

Day four of demo/reno. Dead in the water. Waiting for call about the electrical/plumbing subcontractors. They don't show this on HGTV - just sitting around waiting. Yesterday was lovely - the crew was using electrical screwdrivers (there must be a name for them) to install the new subfloor. Neeeoooowww, neow, neow, neow. Over and over. Like a symphony.

Well, here's to a full-court press on a grid iron.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Godot

rain forest 4:47 PM  

Insanely late today. Did the puzzle this morning, then went out for my regular Tuesday breakfast with the other Old Farts, and then realized I hadn't read the blog. Actually read @Rex (no change in the old grump, yet like the fetching dogs, I will send off a donation to the site, feeling masochistic). The comments today were outstanding. As someone said, this is probably the best blog for intelligent, funny, incisive comments, to which I think I contribute very little.

@Rondo - Ha Ha Clinton-Dix won't star in the Super Bowl because he won't get to be there (care to wager?).

@Lady Di - I won't be at the ACPT. The idea of competing in a crossword tournament appalls me, and watching a bunch of solvers solve (like animals with paper and pen) would be like watching paint dry. It would be nice to meet a few of the commentariat and maybe have a glass of wine discussing kitchen renos, but with airfare, hotel and other expenses, it's kind of out of my league. Besides, I'd be closer to Washington.

I liked the puzzle, especially since it is a debut effort. Easy, but fun.

Diana,LIW 5:38 PM  

@Rainy - I look forward to your comments, along with all the Syndies. When I first heard Will S talk about a tourney during the Sunday NPR puzzle, I knew I would have to go to one. Went this spring to the Minnesota tourney, and met @Rondo and @Teedmn. @Tee competed, @R and I watched. But when you watch, they give you a copy of the puzzles the solvers are doing. I actually finished one in the allotted (15 min) time. Wow! And meeting the commentariat and the constructors is a blast. They have other games and "talent shows." And I got a t-shirt that says something like "a word-nerd smackdown, making crosswords a spectator sport." On the front it says "do it in ink," which I don't. I'm right there with the other animals, with my trusty eraser at hand. 'Tis a spendy weekend, but 'twill be a fun one. And it gives you something to say when the grocery clerk asks if you have any plans for the weekend. Boy are they ever surprised. And envious, no doubt.


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