In a mischievous manner / TUES 3-27-18 / Wine server / Ancient civilization around Susa / Hoarfrost

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Hi, everyone! I'm Clare, and I'm back since it is indeed the last Tuesday of March. I'm just getting back from spring break, where I spent time with my family and, umm, curating my Netflix account. My brain has definitely been on vacation, meaning this was the most thinking I've had to do in a couple of weeks.

Constructor: Peter Koetters

Relative difficulty: Medium-Difficult for a Tuesday

THEME: Puns involving U.S. state capitals

Theme answers:
  • MORETHANJUNEAU (20A: "Explore Alaska! It's ___!")
  • FREELANSING (33A: "Writers and photographers will find Michigan a great place for ___!")
  • AUGUSTAWIND (39A: "Blow into Maine on ___!")
  • CONCORDMYFEARS (50A: "I was afraid to ski, but in New Hampshire I ___!")
Word of the Day: NEGRI (60A: Pola ___ of the silents)

Pola Negri (born Barbara Apolonia Chałupec; 3 January 1897 – 1 August 1987) was a Polish stage and film actress who achieved worldwide fame during the silent and golden eras of Hollywood and European film for her tragedienne and femme fatale roles. Negri signed with Paramount in 1922, making her the first European actor in history to be contracted in Hollywood. (Wikipedia)
• • •

The theme was clever. It's a good thing I was paying attention in fifth grade when we learned all the state capitals. I might have only memorized them because I wanted to get a higher score than a fellow classmate (looking at you, Jeff Howard), but I haven't forgotten them to this day! I can't decide which answer I like more: FREELANSING or AUGUSTAWIND. Both are fun.

I found the rest of the puzzle pretty hard, though; a lot of the fill was a bit off my wavelength. LAV could have been "loo"; ENTO could easily have been "endo"; IRANIAN could have been a more generic term for an oppressed subject; and LOT should probably have been "lots." Has anyone ever drawn one lot? There were also some just ugly answers, like: HOERS (seriously ugly), ALTI, and EDAMS as a plural. And, (I promise I'm done harping on the puzzle soon) there were a lot of clues/answers that felt hard for a Tuesday. ELAM was a word I'd never seen before, and I had never heard of "hoarfrost" (54D) or the answer for that clue, RIME. ELAM crossing LOT crossing ALTI is an ugly middle. It actually took me a while to come up with CLEANS (47D: What a janitor does) because I convinced myself that would be way too obvious for this puzzle.

Moving on, I did actually like some of the fill:
  • There were a lot of clever puns outside the theme answers. 57A: Belted out of this world? as ORION and 11A: Fixer at a horse race as VET were particularly nice; I laughed when I figured out the answers.
  • It took me a long time to get SNOCONE because I was convinced that "treat" in the clue was being used as a verb instead of a noun. Then I wanted to hit myself on the head when I realized how obvious it was.
  • A crossword puzzle finally got common slang right with ACES (though that may be by accident; apparently the term is so old that it's current again)!
  • CRAM is something I'm definitely familiar with as a college student sitting in my DORM.
  • The ABC sitcom Black-ISH is a show that everyone should watch.
  • I got VIJAYSINGH really quickly and am mystified. I have this vivid recollection of when he was playing in a tournament that a female golfer, Annika Sörenstam, entered and said he'd withdraw rather than play with her. But that was in 2003, so I was six. He apparently really made an impression, and not a good one.
  • AGONY means that I'll have the song from "Into the Woods stuck in my head. Here it is so I'm not the only one (best part from 1:05-1:07. If you watch, you'll understand why):
Signed, Clare Carroll, an Eli with senioritis (Here's hoping my brain starts working before classes start for me mañana — cheers to having no classes on Mondays!)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Michael 12:57 AM  

Wow, I actually experienced the same thing as so many things you said! Loo for lav, endo for ento, iranian being too specific, cleans too obvious, never heard of hoarfrost, laughed at orion, read treat as a verb! It's nice when this blog is relatable. Maybe it's an age thing.

Signed, a college senior also with senioritis (at Columbia, so a lion? We don't really have school spirit here...)

a.corn 1:17 AM  

Fun Tuesday puzzle, even if it did take me almost 20 minutes- average is ~12. I agree with hoarfrost? RIME? W t f????? ELAM/LOT gave me a hard time too. Also wanted loo instead of LAV, the puzzle gave me UK vibes (CHAPS, ESSEX, ACES, RANGEROVER, STPAT...hated the cluing for that). But whatever, MORETHANJUNEAU I loved...reminds me of that old joke: ju ski? Jews don’t ski. Aaaand off to bed!

Brian B 1:18 AM  

... theocracy = oppression? One does often lead to the other, but equating the two seems a bit much. (Also, since the NYT puzzle leans to the right, I'd say that even if it were reasonable to draw that equivalence, this is an unlikely place to look for it.)

Harryp 1:28 AM  

This was an easy Tuesday, but I spent a little extra time on FREELANcING, Sitcom mom ELYcE was OK by me, but then I know of LANSING Michigan, so still 2 minutes below Tuesday average. Good wordplay.

Larry Gilstrap 1:33 AM  

That was a bright little Tuesday puzzle, complete with not so horrible puns and state capitals, none of which I have actually visited. I'm guessing often the capital city was chosen as sort of a compromise between the more populous places, Hi @Sacramento.

Nice review from Clare, which touched on all the puzzles's elements, expressed her personal take on the fill, and deftly left herself exempt from the negative comments of some of the old bastards who frequent this panel; Hi @Anonymous.

Tell me Hoot and RIOT are synonymous in a regional dialect from some place where I didn't grow up. I've heard it with sort of a Mid-west vowel thing going on: hoooot. I find it both annoying and endearing, depending on who delivers the term.

I realize that the car rental business is very competitive, but every time I have dealt with Enterprise, I drive away impressed. The staff has always been exceptional.

ORION is about at the end of its season of domination in the southern sky. The ORION nebula is featured in the sword of the hunter and is visible even to the naked eye in a dark, clear sky near you. Binoculars or a scope enhance the hazy smudge of cosmic gas.

TomAz 1:34 AM  

So I was hanging out with ST PAUL and the rest of the BOISE when I said, do you want to go down to the diner and get their fine HARRIS BURGer? PIERRE said sure, they have their COLUMBUS Day sale going on, but he had a LITTLE ROCK in his shoe. I thought he was BOSTON my balls but he took a SALEM vow. ALBANY monkey's uncle if he wasn't right. So then we got in my NASH Rambler and he followed us in his Coupe de VILLE while blasting some fine John DENVER toons from the 8-track. Man a fine meal like this would cost you a JEFFERSON in the CITY but I ordered a FRANKFORTer instead. The waitress was TOPEKA'n my interest -- she had BIS MARK on her shoulder that was sort of in the shape of COLUMBIA -- but then she chided us to take the holy SACARMENTO or else we'd be OLYMPIA'n out of there with a busted kneecap. An AUSTINtacious display if I'd ever seen one. I'm gonna haf TA leave that LLAHASEE alone. So I tried talking to CHEYANNE instead but she was too bashful to say much. HELENA was in a dancing mood though so we CHARLESTONed out of there and eventually got our JACKSON. A capital evening if I may say so!

chefwen 2:32 AM  

Fun and tough at the same time, really liked it.

Golfer guy had to assist me in finishing 11D. Spelled NEGRI with a final e, OMNI fixed that and I went with ENdO before ENTO, that’s always a toss up. Got the trick with MORE THAN JUNEAU which made me chuckle.

chefwen 2:41 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robin 2:58 AM  

Yes, VIJAYSINGH managed to play the "I am a sexist pig" card some years ago. The kind of thing where you might never remember whether he ever won a major (did he?) but if you pay the slightest attention to golf, you know his name in a bad way.

Anywho... a mix of impressions on this one. Some good stuff such as the clueing for ORION but some crud like HOERS and ALTI
Yo, and ELAM? Forget the biblical kingdom and go for the actor..

Mark 3:22 AM  

Perfectly valid to speak of drawing a single LOT. Of course more than one person must be drawing so in total they are drawing LOTS. But once the choices have been made each person has their LOT. It's similar in spirit to the idiom "one's lot in life".

Anonymous 3:58 AM  

And around hunting season, you can find the deer at SALT LAKE CITY

sanfranman59 4:05 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week. Your results may vary.

(Day, Solve time, 26-wk Median, Ratio, %, Rating)

Mon 4:41 4:15 1.10 77.2% Medium-Challenging
Tue 6:22 5:31 1.15 77.9% Medium-Challenging

Fun puzzle, but my solve time was close to my Wednesday median. I liked the word play of the themers and don't recall grimacing at anything. MEDULLA, ELAM and some of the cluing felt a little tougher than Tuesday.

jae 4:15 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 4:17 AM  

Medium- tough for me too. Capital puns, nicely done. Liked it.

JJ_Rural_MO 4:22 AM  

This one played more than Tuesday hard for me, especially the northern half. I'm pretty sure Rex would have taken off major points for the theme execution, since only the first theme answer is something that might actually be said. The other answers are just homophones. My suspicion is that the constructor came up with the "It's more than Juneau" phrase and then tried to stretch it into a full puzzle theme - ". . . I Concord my fears" ??? ". . . a great place for free Lansing" ???
The Juneau one works; the rest? meh

'merican in Paris 5:24 AM  

Liked it, but DNF. Had FREELANcING (as @Harryp wrote: sitcom mom ELYcE was OK by me) and bIJAYSINGH. That's because I didn't now the golfer, and when running through the alphabet for 11A I stopped at B, for bET.

Despite all that, I liked the theme, with its AGONizing capital puns. I lived in Maine until the AGE of eight, and AUGUSTA was where we would drive down to in order to have lunch with my grandparents, who in turn would drive up from Exeter, New Hampshire. Sometimes the trees along the way would be etched in RIME. I still have lots of cousins in CONCORD.

Clue to 6D (ST. PAT) was clever, and had me guessing. I new Black-ISH ony because it appeared recently in another puzzle.

Thanks Mr. Koetters for a fun puzzle, and Clare Carroll for a nice review.

P.S., TomAz, that was masterful! :-)

P.P.S., @Larry G.: I agree, the service at Enterprise is a cut above the rest!

Anonymous 5:29 AM  

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Jofried 5:43 AM  

I thought this was oddly difficult for a Tuesday—lots of proper nouns I didn’t know. I had SHOTout instead of SHOTOFF for a long time, making it hard to see CARAFE. And solving at 5 AM meant my sleepy brain had trouble remembering the capital of Maine!

Lewis 5:51 AM  

Wordplay well done and not overdone -- just right! I loved the clue for ORION ("Belted one out of this world?"), the JAY/JAY intersection and the backward EMIR to go with the RAJAH and SWAMI. And, by the way, even if Crosby, Stills, or Young won't, ...

'merican in Paris 6:15 AM  

"Knew", not "new", was of course what meant to right ... er, write.

Anonymous 6:18 AM  

I’ve never drawn any lots, so I wasn’t stuck with thinking it had to be plural. I had to guess that “L” square, though. Tough Tuesday for me.

Unknown 6:31 AM  

I’d have liked to,see this puzzle go to Helena hand basket.

Matthew G. 6:32 AM  

I loved this. Geography puzzles are a favorite of mine. My kind of trivia, much more so than {random celebrity name}. More places, less faces!

Loved all the puns. I think CONCORD MY FEARS is the best.

Aketi 6:33 AM  

Isn’t it STERNa, not STERNUMS? Or maybe STERNUpodes.
@Clare, I did catch a flash of theirs at 1:05-1:07.How did you get spring break so early? My son has another week to go.
@Larry G, In Ithaca, Enterprise won me over because they pick you up at the Cornell C2C bus stop, unlike Avis. So much cheaper to rent cars in Ithaca than in New York City.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge 6:39 AM  

1) buildup of ice (in the form of small white crystals) when small liquid droplets (fog) freeze upon contact with a cold surface.

2) Any crusty crystalline buildup, like the salt around a margarita glass.

Hoarfrost: buildup of ice (in the form of crystals, often delicate and feather-shaped) when water vapor in the air condenses as ice on a surface.

In short, the main difference between rime and hoarfrost is that rime is the result of freezing fog, Hoarfrost forms in the absence of fog. Hoar generally won't form on a windy day, but rime often grows toward a prevailing wind, forming spectacular horizontal shapes. Compared to rime, hoarfrost forms larger, more delicate crystals, but it is often difficult to tell the two apart; when in doubt "rime" is never entirely wrong.

Two Ponies 6:59 AM  

Nice theme answers but esp. the Alaska pun because I can definitely see that on a t-shirt.

Soprani then sternums. Make up your mind!

Vet as a fixer seems odd. Dogs get fixed as in neutered. If fixer here means healer, well, okay I guess.

@ Kris 6:31, Good Helena answer.

Very nice write up.
I had my own grade school rival. Wonder where Ester Moore is now.

puzzlehoarder 7:05 AM  

I had the ELYCE dnf. The rest of the puzzle was normal Tuesday. Susa was pulled out of the mothballs for the ELAM clue. There was a bit of that mix in a little late week difficulty going on today. I never watched the ELYSE TV show. I was convinced of LANCING. It's the POLA opposite of the rest of the themers but I just wasn't paying that much attention. I knew something was being flipped. I would never spell that city's name that way and I thought making it into the word LANCING fit with the theme. This was a very good example of how dyslexic my thinking can be and how little attention I pay to themes.

Late week puzzles have to go out of the way to avoid words like ALTI, HOER, ELAM and ELYSE. Early week puzzles wallow in it all to make punning themes I could care less about.

Another excuse I have for ELYCE was that I knew there was an alternate spelling. After checking rhe xwordinfo solution and seeing ELYSE I remembered it was the Beethoven ELISE.

I also had to do this puzzle by phone which added to the irritation of the dnf. It tells me something is wrong and I can scroll through it answer by answer and swear it must be the phones fault. It's like giving a monkey a phone.

Anonymous 7:11 AM  

C'mon kids: Rime has been in crosswords, like, forever.

Anonymous 7:27 AM  

RIME is in puzzles a lot, so now you know. In your defense, I'm 50ish and don't think I knew the word when I was in college. Granted, I attended a mere "Public Ivy" and not an actual Ivy. I agree that a few pieces of the fill were so-so, but overall I really liked the puzzle a lot. I was one of the nerds who enjoyed learning the state capitals. I didn't think kids still did that, but since you went to an Ivy, you probably also went to decent schools in ELHI. My time was sub 6-min, or 14 seconds faster than my Tues average.

The Albatross 7:31 AM  

Rime is an archaic (old, outdated) spelling of rhyme (“poem”). When first published in Lyrical Ballads in 1798, the poem’s original title was Rime of the Ancyent Marinere. Coleridge used many archaic words and spellings throughout the poem, including rime. In later versions of Lyrical Ballads, many of these archaic words in Rime of the Ancient Mariner were edited out, and the marginal glosses were added.

Some Coleridge scholars believe that rime is also a play on the word’s other meaning: “frost.” They believe that the poem is based, in part, on the second voyage of British explorer James Cook, who ventured into the Arctic Circle in the 1770s.


Her beams bemocked the sultry main,
Like April hoar-frost spread;
But where the ship's huge shadow lay,
The charmèd water burnt alway
A still and awful red.

Beyond the shadow of the ship,
I watched the water-snakes:
They moved in tracks of shining white,
And when they reared, the elfish light
Fell off in hoary flakes.


The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone: and now the Wedding-Guest
Turned from the bridegroom's door.

Anonymous 7:36 AM  

Spent 8 minutes trying to find an error.
Freelansing/elyse... never watched the show and Lancing looked okay to this lifetime west coaster.
Nice Tuesday puzzle, though

kitshef 7:38 AM  

Man, did I have a lot of wrong guesses today. A small sampling:
gentS before CHAPS
hertz before ALAMO
gucci before PRADA
dAw before JAY
ceres before ORION (I really liked that one)
inuiT before ALEUT
And yes, Loo before LAV and ENdO before ENTO

I have always enjoyed using the word ACES; nice to hear it is coming back in fashion.

YaleND Dave 7:57 AM  

You were "6 in 2003"? Way to make the rest of us feel old, Clare!

Seriously, good luck and have fun with your remaining days in New Haven, from a fellow Eli (SM '99) . . . you'll miss them for sure!

Suzie Q 8:03 AM  

Cool way to give us a geography lesson.

I found the crash-up of plurals distracting.
Edams, Omnis, alti, sternums and then the singular lot.
Sure, one's lot in life is a good example but really it's the only way I can think to use it. Why not go the Biblical route and avoid the awkwardness. I guess it gets a pass for being a Tuesday.

Seeing Pola Negri was funny since I was watching an old movie last night with our other crossworld actress with a funny name in the supporting cast - Zasu Pitts.

Michigan man 8:04 AM  

Fun puzzle with good wordplay. I knew something was going on with states/cities but it clicked in with Lansing. New word; ARCHLY. It's too bad some of you are so bent on finding fault it seems you have no fun.

Golf fan 8:08 AM  

Vijay Singh had an issue because the female golfer (I thought it was Michelle Wie but that’s irrelevant) was given a spot in the tournament even though she hadn’t qualified, thereby taking the spot of a golfer who had qualified. It was a stunt by the PGA and they have every right to do it. They did the same thing last weekend giving Tony Romo a spot in the field though he was unqualified. The stunts didn’t work. Neither Rom9 nor the female golfer made the cut.

Stanley Hudson 8:19 AM  

@TomAz, well done sir.

@Lewis, I see what you did there. :)

And speaking of Elyse/Elise

RAD2626 8:34 AM  

Vijay Singh in fact is a three time major winner (Masters and two PGA's) but has been dogged by controversy his entire career. In addition to the remark Clare referenced, he was suspended from the Asian Tour for two years when he was 22 for allegedly altering a scorecard. More recently, he admitted using deer antler spray, a banned PED. While not suspended, he ended up in litigation with the PGA over the handling of the matter.

Liked the puzzle. Puns were fun. MORE THAN JUNEAU my favorite.

QuasiMojo 8:35 AM  

Last night on Jeopardy they had a category "The Rhyme of Neville Mariner" which made me laugh.

I found this puzzle more difficult that I care to admit. I don't know why a VET would be "fixing" horses at a race. Wouldn't he have done that already, if at all? Fixing as in gelding? Or am I missing something? So I had BET there and thought BIJAY whoever was a nickname. Like B. J.

Is there more than one OMNI hotel chain? As clued, the plural makes no sense.

ELAM/EDAMS et cetera.

Lots of AGONY but zero Ecstasy.

GILL I. 9:05 AM  

Well, I'm nominating this the best Tuesday puzzle of the year.
Had a heck of a time just getting started. My only entry for a while was TURIN and that's like half way down the ladder. I doh't know why 1A was giving me AGONY on Tuesday. AJAR had to be right even though it's usually clued as slightly open. you've upped the ante and I will still play and there is no way I'm going to cheat today.
I actually laughed out loud when I finally got MORE THAN JUNEAU. Many Spaniards can't correctly pronounce the J. I have on several occasions been called JEW. Hey Jew...let's go get a drink. I find it quite endearing.
Knew VIJAY SINGH but had to wonder about how he spelled his name. There are two sports that I like to follow - one is soccer and the other Is golf. He used to be fun to watch - just like Tiger Woods. What is it with good male golfers having some issues with females? Arnie Palmer should be the role model.
Thank you Clare for your blog time. I wonder what @Rex would have said about the puzzle. He might have said something awful and would burst my rose bubble.

Z 9:13 AM  

Where’d my crappy Tuesday puzzle go? This puzzle is far too entertaining to appear on a Tuesday. Shortz blows it again.*

A professional athlete turns out to be a pig? Where have I heard that story before? Free life advice, don’t look to famous people as role models. You’ll spare yourself a lot of heartbreak when they are are later exposed when they wrap their vehicle around a tree or end up being serial rapists or hit all those home runs hopped up on an HGH/steroid highball.

@Brian - Did you get an F in your World History survey course or somehow miss the course entirely. There may be an exception or two (The Ottoman Empire for most of its existence comes to mind) but we put the establishment clause first in the Bill of Rights exactly because theocracy is essentially oppressive by nature, and that oppression has a long history of being violently enforced.

@QuasiMojo - Maybe its a personality flaw, but the failure to spell the answers when required is what made me laugh.

*Why do I feel the need to point out that the last sentence is a joke? Experience.

Nancy 9:15 AM  

Loved it. Much more challenging than your usual Tuesday -- with a playful, amusing theme and no PPP or crosswordese. That's two terrific early week puzzles back to back. I'm thinking Will took pity on us after last week's [mostly] snoozefest.

One nit, which doesn't bother me especially, but I'll mention anyway. (I imagine it's been mentioned already, but I haven't read the blog yet.) In order to get a J sound when you elide, there has to be a D at the end of the previous word. (I know this because I elide all the time). So you'd say: Wouldjoo or couldjoo, but you wouldn't say "More thanjoo know." Right?

I love the "AGE before beauty" clue. Someone (was it Dorothy Parker?) had a great rejoinder to a beauteous younger woman who opened a door for her, motioned for her to go ahead, and said as she went through: "AGE before beauty." And Dorothy (or someone) said as she swept by: "Pearls before swine."

Endless Senioritis Cause I'm 62 9:27 AM  

@The Albatross, @Samuel, @TomAZ, thanks to you all! Great stuff. Clare, spot on!

One name gave me no trouble at all, cause I would Augusta it would be Vijay Singh at the Masters.

Z 9:36 AM  

@Nancy - While I mostly agree, the PPP comes in at 22/72 (31%), so not over the line but still pretty high, if you ignore the themers. If you count the themers we are at 36/72 (36%), definitely in the “going to cause some subset of solvers problems” territory. I do think this puzzle will get into “challenging” territory for many solvers.

Gretchen 9:50 AM  

So easy it should have been a Monday. No, wait, too easy for a Monday also. Fun theme though.

Nancy 10:15 AM  

I wasn't counting the proper place names in the theme answers, @Z (9:36), because I didn't need to know anything about them at all, other than that they exist. If the clues had been: Place in NH where you find Lake xxxxx; or City in Alaska where the xxxxx was discovered in 1882, then I'd consider it a geographical PPP question. But I do realize now that I look that there was more PPP in the rest of the puzzle than I realized as I was doing it. Maybe because there weren't any rappers or rock bands or sitcom actors, it just didn't bother me enough to notice.

Agree with those of you who consider VIJAY SINGH a sexist pig. He's one of two golfers I root hard against, saying in my mind: "Miss it! Miss it!" whenever he faces an important putt. The other is Sergio Garcia, who, along with his then-girlfriend Martina Hingis, trashed one of the homes he was renting for the week during a tournament at the golf complex in CT where my brother lives. (My brother was luckier: they rented to Greg Norman and his entourage that same week, who, according to my sister-in-law, left their house even cleaner than when they arrived!) If you like, you're all welcome to root against Sergio too.

jberg 10:36 AM  

Fun puns, although I liked the ones with mangled pronunciation, JUNEAU & AUGUSTA, better—more in the spirit of things. And I was really happy to see RIGA again, now that I have learned— I guess it was just my LOT to confuse it with Oslo last time around.

And I’m just delighted to learn the difference between RIME and hoarfrost.

Anoa Bob 10:47 AM  

I think you can always come up with some justification for odd-looking plurals in the grid, however forced that might be. To wit: "The agent said there were several OMNIS in the area to choose from"; "STERNUMS are susceptible to steering column impact injuries in head-on collisions"; "The selection of EDAMS at Half Foods is fabulous".

The reason the plurals are there usually has nothing to do with semantics, though. They are there because that's an easy way to fill up additional grid space. You can take, say, a four-letter word and amp up its grid filling power by 25% by simply tacking on an S.

But they are non-nutritive filler, so to speak. They take up space without adding anything of interest or value to the puzzle. They are plurals of convenience (POC).
In some cases the final S can be a two-for-one POC, as happens here at the end of MEOW/STERNUM & OMNI/EDAM. Bonus!

Not singling out today's puzz. It's not out of the ordinary, POC-wise. They are so convenient that almost every grid has a sprinkling of them. Some a virtual downpour.

ArtO 10:50 AM  

A tough, clever puzzle for Tuesday and an absolutely spot on write up. Great job, Clare.

ArtO 10:53 AM  

P.S. Vijay has an awful reputation among the players and the fans. The only thing he gets credit for is a strong work ethic which has paid off with a lengthy, successful career.

jb129 11:11 AM  

I liked it a lot but didn't know Vijay Singh.

mathgent 11:16 AM  

@Nancy (9:15): Love the Dorothy Parker quote.

An unexpected Tuesday delight. Lots of sparkle, enough crunch, only nine Terrible Threes.

jb129 11:18 AM  

If this is a double post, I apologize...

I liked this puzzle - didn't know Vijay Singh tho - I know nothing about golf except for tee & par.

Z 11:25 AM  

@Nancy - I’ve mentioned this before, but there are new people about so I’ll repeat it. Some Saturday in the not too distant past I was waxing poetic on how trivia free the puzzle was. Later that day several regulars (@OISK for sure, but he wasn’t alone) were complaining about the overload of Pop Culture. Curious about such different perceptions I went back and counted. I was thinking there were maybe 7 Pop Culture references. Nope. The puzzle just happened to be in my wheelhouse. This instance of my perception being so wrong started me toting up the PPP every day for what seemed like a long time, but was really only a month or so. It was this sample that led to my still fair enough rule of thumb that 33% is the line where we will get complaints from some solvers, often when some other set of solvers found the puzzle markedly easier than usual.

I tend to agree with you on theme answers - the word play mitigates the PPPness of them - except I see the LANcING/ELYcE crossing seems to have nicked a few people. This fits in with my general theory of why 33% is too much. At that level it is almost impossible not to have a potential natick for some solvers. I spent so much of my later career driving to LANSING for meetings that people not knowing it is a little jarring, but that is the difference between wheelhouse and outhouse, n’est-ce pas?

Odd Sock 11:42 AM  

The clue for archly doesn't fit how I'm used to seeing it, as in arch enemy.
As clued it makes it sound almost cute.
As if Superman could say Oh, that Lex Luther. What a little imp.

Bob Mills 11:45 AM  

Good puzzle. I also know all the state capitals, so once I got "CONCORDFEARS" the others were easy. Vijay Singh has offended others beside Annika Sorenstam throughout his career; not the most tactful multi-millionaire on the golf tour.

QuasiMojo 11:47 AM  

My bad! @Anoa Bob — I misread the clue as “Some upscale hotel chains.” Not “chain hotels.” I guess it’s okay as worded. I like funny puns as much as the next guy but I was just not getting the theme today, hence my confusion. I thought these were actual phrases or quotes ( in fact I thought the Augusta one might be from a Frost poem.) I was in a befogged mood when I got up and just missed the ball. (Apparently this guy Vijay did too!) I wish I could do it over again. Apologies to the constructor.

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

Lot in life. Singular! Hoarfrost and Rime sound Shakespearean to me.
Loved the theme! Did not learn the state capitals in highschool as I am English.

Lewis 12:01 PM  

My five favorite clues from last week (a day late, with my apologies):

1. One with a lot of likes? (10)
2. Hard to hit pitches (6)
3. Ice cream holder (7)
4. Something a shepherd may have on (5)
5. No bull market? (9)


Joseph Michael 12:05 PM  

Excellent puzzle. Much harder than the usual Tuesday fare.

AUGUSTA WIND was the last themer to fall partly because I didn't remember the capital of Maine and partly because I've never heard of ELAM.

Read Rex's review and was amazed at what a good mood he seemed to be in. Even made a reference to having fun and laughing during the solve. Then I realized that I had missed the opening paragraph and that this wasn't actually Rex after all. Oh,well. Nice review anyway, Clare. Glad you enjoyed the puzzle as much as I did.

And thanks @TomAz for the capital punnery.

RooMonster 12:05 PM  

Hey All !
I didn't find this as easy as some. Seemed to have some teeth. Maybe the ole brain (MEDULLA) was just tired. Took a while to suss out the theme, got it finally with JUNEAU. Two writeovers, honEy-INTEL, TURaN-TURIN. One DNF, one letter, of course, nOT for LOT.

AJAR, AMAJ, JAY. Nice. OMNIS, plural, eh, it's a stretch. EDAMS, too. The long Downs were nice. So a RIOT-ISH puz overall.


Malsdemare 12:09 PM  

Oh pooh! Dropped in Pola NEGRa and never caught my error so the fancy-schmancy hotel chain is the well known OMNaS. MORETHANJUNEAU doesn't quite work for me - unless I'm missing something obvious — but I loved the other themers, AUGUSTAWIND would be welcome here in Illinois where we really do get MORETHANJUNEAU. I had Scapulas before STERNUMS (duh!) and Loo before LAV; otherwise a nice one-cup-of-coffee solve.

Long ago I dated a Martin Koetters; the name is unusual enough that I'm wondering if our constructor is related. Maybe he'll put in an appearance and lay that question to rest.

Masked and Anonymous 12:12 PM  

Aces TuesPuz. The counts:

* 4 themers. 20-A (JUNEAU) was primo. 39-A (AUGUSTA) was hard-ish, as I was tryin to cram BANGOR into that answer. Wrong again, M&A breath.
* Only 72 words. Wide-open grid, for a TuesPuz.
* 11 weejects. staff pick: ISH. Better clue: {Large fish tail??}. ISH has Patrick Berry Usage Immunity, btw.
* 5 U's. Lil darlins.
* 2 14-long themers. That'll cram up yer grid layout, a bit. That, plus average word length of 5.25, almost promises us a few despe-rations in the fill. faves: GEN. ENTO. EDAMS. AMAJ. Not too bad, actually. A good construction outcome, GEN-erally-ISH.

@sanfranman59: yep. Slightly tougher than snot, for a TuesPuz, here, too.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Koetters. Capital use of humor.
Thanx, Clare; may all yer senior classes lack AGONY.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

Bruce Haight & @muse did a cute LA Times Puz, today.


Anonymous 12:33 PM  

A bad Natick in this one. Had no idea what the ABC sitcom was, black blank. Could have been "ash" no way to guess. No idea that played golf in Fiji, so never heard of 11 down. so, proper noun crossing an obscure television show. Natick.

Mark N 1:11 PM  

Really enjoyed this one! CONCORDMYFEARS was especially nice as a New Hampshirite. Agree that the clue for ORION was very good.

Teedmn 1:21 PM  

This ran slow for me today - I'm not really sure why. A couple of write-overs: dAw to JAY, coAch to PRADA, Loo to LAV. It just didn't flow, but I thoroughly enjoyed the puns.

I was sure 6D's green party reference would involve pot; ST. PAT, good one. And I love that Clare thinks there should be a verb that means "Treat with one's choice of syrup". That just makes me giggle.

Nice sophomore effort, Peter Koetters.

And thanks @M&A for the heads-up on the Haight-Smith puzz. Loren didn't let a peep slip about it at the ACPT, modest as ever. (And I got to introduce myself to Bruce Haight there, which was cool.)

Irene 2:01 PM  

@Nancy. What's PPP.?

Z 2:13 PM  

@Irene - PPP is Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns.

‘merican in Paris 2:49 PM  

Just noticed: combine 56 & 59 across and you get LAVAGE, which is French for “washing”.

sanfranman59 2:51 PM  

@Anon @ 12:33 ... Not in your ken does not equal obscure. This idea gets kicked around out here quite a bit, but I think it bears repeating. I don't watch "blackish" either, but it's won numerous prestigious industry awards and been nominated for many others. It's definitely not obscure. This is not in any way intended as an indictment of your worldliness, intelligence or crossword-solving ability. We all have different spheres of knowledge. A constructor has no way of knowing what yours or mine is.

Z 4:13 PM  

@sanfranman59 - Where were you Sunday? Your well worded explanation could have saved me many wasted electrons in the Big 4 discussion.

Since no one looks at the FAQ page, here's the official Rex definition of "natick:"
NATICK PRINCIPLE — "If you include a proper noun in your grid that you cannot reasonably expect more than 1/4 of the solving public to have heard of, you must cross that noun with reasonably common words and phrases or very common names."

While I don't think either the FREE LANSING/ELYSE or Black-ISH/VIJAY SINGH crossings are true naticks by the official definition, I am definitely sympathetic and note that both are PPP crossing PPP. I also don't watch Black-ISH, but I have heard that both it and Atlanta are very good shows.

Bill Jackson 4:14 PM  

My favorite word today is CRAM. I truly enjoy this word, and I try to use it several times a day.

I notice a lot of people were fooled by LANSING and ELYSE. This is surprising, as LANSING is clearly the capital of Michigan (remember the theme folks) and of course there is no such name as ELYCE. You've never met nor heard of anyone named ELYCE because the name does not exist and never has, not even on other planets.

I did have a DNF though because I thought the hotel chain was OMNOS.

sanfranman59 4:44 PM  

@Z ... I was lurking on Sunday and sympathized with your position. I've seen a few episodes of "blackish" enjoyed it. I love Anthony Anderson's work. I differentiate general Naticks from personal Naticks. In this case, neither of those crosses can be a true Natick, but they're certainly ripe for personal Natick.

Somewhat ironically, since I lived in Connecticut and Massachusetts for 10 years, a Natick involving Natick will probably never be a personal Natick for me. But in Massachusetts, I worked for a contractor with the Department of Public Health and my job exposed me to lots of town names I might not otherwise know. I also have a love of geography and place names.

Johnboy 4:54 PM  

Johnboy said

Just read Brian B's comment at 1:41: "...the NY Times leans right..."?!
What world does he inhabit?

Anonymous 5:08 PM  

I would watch Tracy Ellis Ross read the phone book. That's why I watch Blackish.

Anonymous 5:57 PM  

@Z, et alii, I was leaving my doctor's appointment at the annex to the Greenwich Hospital and saw the vanity plate (they aren't terribly common in CT) - PPP
Thought of all y'all.

(Captcha test was photos of bridges over busy roads. Bad aftertaste.)

Pepe Le Pew 6:37 PM  

Just noticed 32 and 35 alasent, French for smells like.

Two Ponies 9:25 PM  

@ Bill Jackson,
You sly devil.
Pepe is archly clever as well.

Hungry Mother 10:00 PM  

Fun, but an all day sucker for me today. I’m in Vegas helping family with a tough health situation, mainly being a chauffer and gofer. I started this at about 5:45 am and was interrupted often and finished at 6:55 pm. Some really cute answers.

semioticus (shelbyl) 10:49 AM  

I've been grading puzzles for a few months now, and sometimes I fear that I'm too lenient with the grades I give out to fills. But then once in a while I fill that is horrendous shows up and relieves me of my concerns. Today's is one of the fills that I save my harshest grades for.

Look at this list: LAV ALTI AMAJ ELAM ENTO HOER CASAS EDAMS NEGRI OMNIS STPAT SWAMI ARCHLY. There are some cool bonus entries that saves some face, but not enough. And why do we have to go through this? Because of four lame-ish puns. Great, said no one. FREELANSING is OK, the rest either doesn't make sense or is not humorous. MORETHANJUNEAU? Why?

On to the next one.

GRADE: C-, 2.3 stars.

Burma Shave 9:28 AM  


from MALAYSIA to the ALAMO, and AUGUSTAWIND won’t make it RIME.


spacecraft 12:14 PM  

A fun Tuesday puzzle that seemed to have Thursday clues patched onto it. That just made it a little more fun. Even so, I didn't have much trouble, and would rate it easy-medium.

Must take points OFF for the RMK and the weird plurals; the grid is better served by cheater squares at 5 and that awkward-pluralizing S down there. HOTOFF could be clued "____the presses."

Harsh judgements abound here about Singh; he came from a different culture. I by no means condone his silly boycott (girlcott?), but to wish failure upon him forever is a bit much. Disapprove; don't hate.

DOD from a purely physical standpoint would be PAMELA, but I'd rather spend time with the delightful LILY Tomlin--and she has a lovely smile at that. One sashy-washy....


rondo 1:54 PM  

@Golf fan – so are you saying that when VIJAYSINGH SHOTOFF his mouth, in SWAMI-like fashion, he turned out to be correct? (In the sense of depriving someone else a chance to qualify). I’m confused.

*Pun*ishment galore. Near AGONY for non-pun peeps. But in GENeral a decent puz. @semioticus does make a point with a word list.

Did ARCHLY and Veronica ever?

“Actress” PAMELA Anderson may be a yeah baby, but always seemed too scary to me. @spacey is closer to the truth with LILY, no matter which team she bats for.

This puz passes on Tuesday. NARY a write-over.

Anonymous 3:10 PM  

After solving, I was expecting to see the theme named "Capital Pun-ishment" in a snarky Rex review, but was happily disappointed.

rainforest 3:13 PM  

A very entertaining Tuesday puzzle today. I found it 'medium' mainly because as a Canadian, only Juneau was known to me as a state capital. Fortunately I knew the names of the other cities, so I avoided the ELYSE/LANSING problem, mainly because I was once in love with Meredith Baxter (ELYSE's portrayer on Family Ties-very funny show back in the day).
I don't often get into the DOD/yeah baby thing, but today, Ms. Baxter is it.

@Spacey - A MAJ is hardly random. It's my favourite key on the guitar. Maybe a FMK.

Not a lot of love for VIJAY today, but man, he has played himself some golf.

Liked the puns and the several wordplayISH clues.

BS2 3:19 PM  


Most CHAPS want PAMELA more, the INTEL says WARN who’s next:
she MEOWS just like a HOER and uses a SNOCONE for ORAL ESSEX.


leftcoastTAM 3:36 PM  

Quite familiar with Alaska and have heard the MORETHANJUNEAU slogan. But it took this puzzle for me to realize that it's a pun! As of course are all the themers.

HALO, ELAM, and ELYSE were not familiar, and I failed to go back and check AGUSToWIND after the pun epiphany. And left ELAM sitting there as ELoM.

Not a big fan of puns, but this was clever and fun--and a bit of an embarrassment.

ACES, Peter Koetters.

Diana,LIW 4:57 PM  

Not Punishments for me - I got the puns right away. 'Cept for one. 'Cause my drones gathered honey. I thought I was so, so smart. Pats on my back and all.

Had to look up MALAYSIA - then all fell into place. So dnf, but extra points from the pun police.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for DELA to WARE PRADA

strayling 7:05 PM  

Saw JUNE and AUGUST, which had me looking for months in the other themers. That bit of (intentional?) misdirection didn't spoil a fun, clean puzzle. Made it better, if I'm honest.

Anonymous 8:03 PM  

I put in "dragoon" and was quite happy with myself until I checked the crosses and had to change it to "draftee" Oh well.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP