Old British coins worth 21 shillings / TUE 9-17-19 / 2012 film about so-called Canadian Caper / Convenience from auto garage / Virtuoso taking bow before performance / Color akin to eggplant / Maryland collegian informally

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Constructor: Paul Coulter

Relative difficulty: Medium (felt easier, but at 4 in the morning, my fingers don't obey brain commands so good) (3:41)

THEME: Like a happy ___ — idioms meaning "happy," clued as if they related to particular kinds of people:

Theme answers:
  • OVER THE MOON (17A: Like a happy astronaut?)
  • SITTING PRETTY (24A: Like a happy portrait model?)
  • ON TOP OF THE WORLD (38A: Like a happy mountaineer?)
  • IN GOOD SPIRITS (49A: Like a happy medium?) (this should've been *bartender*!)
  • ON CLOUD NINE (59A: Like a happy meteorologist?)
Word of the Day: WORD (CLUE) —
• • •

Wait a minute, does SITTING PRETTY mean "happy?" I thought it meant "in an advantageous spot," which is a way of saying "satisfied," I guess, but it doesn't seem like a good equivalent for "happy" to me, and definitely seems like a hard outlier compared to the rest of the set. Yup, here we go, SITTING PRETTY: "To be or remain in an ideal situation or advantageous position" (thefreedictionary). I feel like the puzzle is just done, right there. DOA. "Happy" is in all the theme clues, the other themers all mean "happy," to some degree, but SITTING PRETTY ... doesn't. SITTING PRETTY might make you "happy," but so might WINNING LOTTO or EATING A SANDWICH. It's a collateral effect. This is a fatal flaw. Which is too bad, because conceptually, even though this theme is corny and super old-fashioned, it works. Would've been nice if the grid had been filled even halfway decently. It's mostly just boring, because of the preponderance of short answers (grid design does not allow for much over 5 letters), but if you design a grid that's easy to fill, then it should at least be *passably* filled. ESIGN in a grid like this, not passable (22A: Complete, as a PDF contract). DEOXY, extremely not passable (53A: Prefix with ribonucleic). That was awful. This whole "my building superintendent lives in apt. ONE A" conceit that the puzzle has been perpetrating since time immemorial has got to go. What kind of fictional yesteryear sitcom world is this from? "Many a building superintendent?" "Many?" How many? Mainly I'm just mad at ONEA as fill (again). The whole random apt. number thing just caused added annoyance because I thought for sure they were gonna pull some ONEB crap on me.

MENA ... I mean, uh ... she seems kind of obscure now (30D: Actress Suvari). Has she been in stuff? Apologies if yes, but I feel like I haven't seen her name since the '90s, and even then, she wasn't even MIRA Sorvino famous (that's the name my brain wanted here even though my brain *knew* that wasn't right). Old-fashioned theme brought with it a very old-fashioned vibe. I have said this before, and I'm saying it again, no one calls it IDIOT BOX or has for years and years. Even in that expression's heyday ... whenever that was ... no one really said that. Maybe it was a phrase in the media? Anyway, BOOBTUBE, tons of currency (back in the day), IDIOT BOX, blargh. Some '60s dad said that, just as some '60s kid said NEATO. This whole puzzle is "Leave It To Beaver"-land, basically. Did I like MOUE? NAE, I did not. GUINEAS (47A: Old British coins worth 21 shillings), SET POINT (23D: Score of 5-4, 40-15, say), even PUCE (28D: Color akin to eggplant), yeah, I liked those, but there's not nearly enough in the "Liked" column today.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


amyyanni 6:20 AM  

Perhaps I am just an idiot or boob, but this puzzle left me smiling. And my crossword life will be much improved when I stop blanking on the 2012 Ben Affleck movie...you know, the starting with an A?

Lewis 6:45 AM  

Nothing but happiness here. Lovely connections: An upward floating TIDE abutting MOON, GUINEAS echoing yesterday's GUINESS OFFICIAL, the first W of WWII being the W of WORLD, and all the animals -- LAPCAT, DOG, LION, pigs (GUINEAS), and turtle (TERP).

Mostly it was the buoyant feeling that lifted me up, and thank you for that Paul. I solved and left the puzzle feeling [Like a happy broadcaster] -- like I was WALKING ON AIR.

SusanMontauk 7:14 AM  

My super lives in Apt. 1A

David in Brevard 7:14 AM  

Imagine my disappointment when I (of all people) finish a Tuesday puzzle, come here and find there is no blog yet! Oh bother.

Loved this puzzle even though a number of clues stumped me for a while.

It played just easier than average but double my best Tuesday time.

I’m a Brit so GUINEAS should have been a breeze, right? Wrong. I knew the answer, furniture still used to be priced in Guineas when I was a kid (not recently!) but no coins in circulation.. but how to spell it? After a few fails I got it.

DEOXY? That must be a first. YOYOMA? Why? Is that as basic as he picks up a bow to play the cello?

The theme hung together beautifully because lets face it, if I “get it” then it must be plain and simple.

GINO next to URSULA was a push,

That’s it from Brevard, NC.

Joaquin 7:22 AM  

Liked it. Felt like a Biblical Jonah after completing the puzzle. Had a whale of a good time.

kitshef 7:25 AM  

Lively and fun.

Spent a lot of time in England, pre-decimalisation. Twelve pennies to the shilling, 20 shillings a pound. A crown was five shillings; coins came in half-penny, one pence, two pence, three pence (thruppenny bit), six pence. Accounting must have been a blast, pre-decimalisation and pre-computers.

Debra 7:52 AM  

Very fine Tuesday. Felt original and fun.

Hungry Mother 8:01 AM  

Very fast, but seemed slower as I struggled in a few areas. I wanted DiOXY for a while before I saw that it couldn’t hold. I’m not used to PEC in the singular, since balance is a key principle in body building. I was ready to hit ESC on the mini this morning, but finished with a PW time.

mmorgan 8:14 AM  

I liked this fine but I had oW MAN for 7D and should have known better.

sidneyellenwade 8:15 AM  

I liked it too. And my dad never allowed us to have an "idiot box." Very normal expression, in my family. Then again, I'm old, so the puzzle skewed in my direction. I think it's unfair to criticize puzzles for skewing old, when probably half of the puzzling community is, in fact, old. Personally, I struggle mightily when most of the contents skew towards contemporary culture.

Sir Hillary 8:15 AM  

OK OK, so it's not the most scintillating theme, but it's happy! It's too much to say I was like a happy demolition specialist (having a blast) but I was there at the construction site like a happy excavator (digging it).

Al Capone 8:21 AM  

"Guineas"?!?! In 2019?!?! Consider this Italian-American triggered/outraged.

Where's our virtue-signaling, politically correct SJW blog author when I need him/her/them.


SouthsideJohnny 8:28 AM  

Rex is pretty much on point today. Passable effort that got boring due to the esoteric trivia - ARGO, GINO, URSULA, MENA and the general sloppiness (the clues for TAHITI and YOYOMA are abominable and the presence of DEOXY adds nothing). I think most of will accept SITTING PRETTY in the spirit of which it was intended. It would be nice if the NYT could consistently deliver clean, challenging crossword puzzles without resorting to obscure and arcane references. However, it appears as though that is too much to hope for.

Sleeveless in Seattle 8:31 AM  

Not nearly as euphoric as Lewis after doing the puzzle (sexy and kinda weird sleeveless shirt, Lewis...interesting choice for a profile pic), but the puzzle wasn't as bad as Rex let on. But then, I'm old and used to older stuff. Rex's assessment of SITTINGPRETTY as an outlier is probably overall true, but it didn't really figure into my solve. It also didn't figure into my caring any more or less for the theme. So, meh.

NEATO was indeed a thing I sad when I was a kid...I think even then I said it ironically. Maybe I was copying something that Beaver might have said (see also: GOSH). I side-eyed LAPCAT. I have a cat who sits in my lap. She's just a cat...don't most cats sit in your lap?

It was, for me, a typical Tuesday vibe and time.

Suzie Q 8:34 AM  

Lap cat?
Only one pec? That must look strange.
Oh joy, Disney and Star Wars.
The theme was fine while it was trying to be upbeat but it wasn't enough to make me look past the little irritations.
My only fun was laughing at myself when my first guess 66A was opener.

Nancy 8:38 AM  

Before I pull an 18D on this puzzle, let me say that I liked it and found it very enjoyable for an early week puzzle. And I found the clue at 18D -- "Change...one hopes for the better" -- to be quite perplexing as I stared at E--- and wondered what in heck it was. I simply didn't see EDIT right off the bat.

So I want to make an EDIT on one clue/answer here, with the hope that it's "for the better". See what you think, everyone.

Do "happy meteorologists" really like clouds? Does anyone really like clouds? Did you know that SUNNYSIDE UP has the same number of letters as ON CLOUD NINE? That would have been my theme answer at 59A. Other than that, all the theme clue/answers worked perfectly, with my favorite being SITTING PRETTY. Cute puzzle.

Gervais 8:41 AM  

So there’s this guy who reviews a crossword puzzle every day. This guy considers this puzzle to be a below average puzzle. He has many complaints about this puzzle. There aren’t enough women constructors. There are racist and whites supremacist clues and answers. Or, as in the case of today’s puzzle, it’s just a poor puzzle. Yet he continues to review it. It’s fascinating to watch. Why, you may ask, doesn’t he just stop reviewing this puzzle ? Is someone forcing him to review it or is it for community service of some sort ? I have no idea but I hope he keeps doing it.

puzzlehoarder 8:49 AM  

Monday and Tuesday got switched this week. Today's theme entries we're easily recognized and presented verbatim. The constructor didn't have to tweak any of them to accommodate the fill. This was so apparent that I never read the clues for the last two. With just a fraction of the letters in place there was no point. The same was true for YOYOMA. The puzzle finished up even faster than it started.

Is MENA Suvari the other Mira Sorvino? SETPOINT was another entry that gave me some hesitation. I'm assuming this concerns tennis scoring and I really can't work up any interest.

RooMonster 9:00 AM  

Hey All !
A very nice, NEATO TuesPuz. All the themers to me evoke the definition of 'Happy'. If I was SITTING PRETTY, I believe I'd be Happy.

Got a smile out of the words Rex panned. Haven't heard IDIOT BOX in forever, but instead of getting mad at it, it brought back that term in a nostalgic way. NEATO is fun. GOSH is fun. ATVS TVS, har.

Counted 14 answers longer than 5 letters, beside the themers. I'd count that as a good percentage of answers over 5 letters. Rex mustn't like Paul, because his nits are rather nitty.

Had a stupid one-letter DNF today. Thought I'd put in the last letter, but nothing happened. No Almost There! No Happy Music. (Har, Like a Happy crossword solver?) Looked and saw a blank square at _UINEAS/_INO, and in a panic, but in a C. Why did I panic? I don't go for time. Should've ran the alphabet, would've put in the G if I did. Should've, would've, could've. AW MAN.

Puz left me IN GOOD SPIRITS.


CDilly52 9:15 AM  

@Nancy-I love “sunny side up” as a very clever answer for 59A. Made me chuckle!

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

Many of Rex's comments today are a bit overly sour but his first point that SITTINGPRETTY is not at all like the others is spot on. A badly inconsistent theme is a bad theme -- period. I couldn't believe that another blogger considered this an outstanding puzzle.

Z 9:23 AM  

LAPCAT gets the major side-eye. Aren’t all feline house pets LAPCATs? Sure sure, personality may make some cats less lap friendly than others, but there is no need for the term, there aren’t cats who you couldn’t have on your lap if they deigned to be petted by you. LAP dogs are definitely a thing. My chihuahua is a LAP dog, my LAB/shepherd/chow mix is most definitely not. I know it. He knows it. Starting the puzzle with a non-term seemed like a major gaffe to me. I suspect someone thinks it is cute. Bah. Humbug.

OTOH, SITTING PRETTY is fine as a synonym for “happy.” The Twins are SITTING PRETTY 5 games ahead of the Indians. Yes, their fans are happy.

Hard to argue about the fill, though, unless one just did the new Vox.com puzzle. Boy howdy, makes this fill look outstanding.

@Sleeveless - He is just as sexy and kind of weird in person. Speaking of which, between @Lewis in Asheville, @David in Brevard, and me in Black Mountain we have WNC pretty well covered. Anyone from Weaverville or Canton out there?

@Gervais - Have you ever read a movie, play, album, dance, sport team, book, poem, or any other review of human activity that was critical and wonder why the reviewers kept reviewing what they reviewed? Being critical is what critics do.

GILL I. 9:24 AM  

Was I happy as a clam? Well, it is red headed Tuesday, after all. Happy is so subjective. The smallest things in my life tend to make me happy. Like a good olive bread (Hi @chefwen), a baby smiling, my pups playing with each other and a really good glass of Zin. IN GOOD SPIRITS...Hah.
I wish I knew how to spell WHEW without a P in it. Much prefer cool beans over NEATO. I like cool beans. Some should do a puzzle with beans and onions. Knows ones onions?
How about HOT? Hot potato, Hot tamale, Hot mama, Hot wheels...endless fodder for a constructor.
I'm getting off point here...so, this was old moldy per OFL? Yeah. A bit Leave It To Beaverish.
I see PILES and I think hemorrhoids. Maybe I learned that term from reading Gone With the Wind. Don't and never have understood the phrases "Knocks the socks off." Are you really in AWES?
Like the LAB CAT DOG...What else? GOSH AW MAN NEATO? NAE?

Lewis 9:32 AM  

@sir hillary -- Good ones!
@david in brevard -- Hi neighbor from Lewis in Asheville

Mary Louise Forsythe 9:46 AM  

@david in Brevard, and
@Lewis in Asheville
from Forsythia in Mills River!
I liked this puzzle, made for a nice start to the day.
Had trouble with deoxy...ugh
But I am definitely ON CLOUD NINE IN GOOD SPIRITS etc. with grandson almost 9 months old here today! Laughter galore!

jberg 9:59 AM  

I noticed that SITTING PRETTY wasn't quite right, but I figured if you were doing so you were bound to be happy. You might be eating a sandwich unhappily, because it had too much mustard, or because the rest of the family was feasting on prime rib while you were confined to your room -- but if you're sitting pretty, you're bound to be enjoying it. So I accepted that; but I was less happy with IN GOOD SPIRITS and ON CLOUD NINE because, unlike the first three themers, they could not be construed as literally true: an astronaut might really fly over the Moon (if you regard Earth as under it), a model really is sitting pretty, or trying to, and when you are on the summit of a high mountain it certainly seems to you that you are on top of the world. But a medium is not "in" good spirits, though he or she might communicate with same; and a meteorologist is certainly not "on" any cloud at all, let alone cloud nine. It was still a nice idea and a fun puzzle, but I'd have liked to see those two tightened up. @Nancy's suggestion for number 5 (and Rex's for number 4, which I just noticed) come a little closer.

DEOXY -- bug or feature? Me, I loved it because it's so over the top.

@Z, hey, lighten up! Of course LAP CAT is not a real thing -- it's a joke about how some cats are all cuddly, but others will stiffen up and try to bite and scratch you if you try to get them in your lap (like our last one). I laughed out loud at the concept.

Blue Stater 10:03 AM  

I found this murderously difficult for a Tuesday. The cross of DEOXY and YOYOMA, a vanishingly obscure compound and a vanishingly obscure clue, was just completely over the top. A dreadful puzzle.

Ethan Taliesin 10:04 AM  

Rex makes some good points about the fill, except I guess I have a more charitable opinion of the word MOUE.

Had MILI for the Vannelli clue for about one second, remembered it was the band's name, and winced at what became of that duo. I think I may have even made a moue.

Despite currently being a Marylander, I think TERP is getting a little overused lately.

I liked the optimistic theme.
Fun and easy puzzle.

xyz 10:14 AM  

We called it IDIOT LANTERN back in the 1960's

Rex protesteth too muchly

Mark 10:15 AM  

I’m confused by the word of the day: WORD is not in the puzzle. Other than that I enjoyed it. 10 seconds under my average.

StevieO 10:18 AM  

And, Gervais, you and I keep reading his commentary every day. I'm baffled as to why I'm drawn to it, and why so many of us come back for more outrage each day!

Pete 10:43 AM  

@Mark - The word of the day was FORGETFULLNESS, but @Rex forgot to put fill out that section of his template.

@Z - Hate to disagree with you buddy, but all dogs are LAPdogs. It's just that with some you have to get your butt off the couch and down on the floor to achieve that.

24A wins the Vizzini Award ( "You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means") of the day, at least in most of the US. It doesn't in the NYC broadcast region, as I get to hear 20+ times per night that the Broadway production of "To Kill A Mockingbird" is "almost elegiac". It makes me feel the way I felt at my father's, or anyone's funeral? That one always wins.

jae 11:01 AM  

Easy-medium. Amusing, liked it. Jeff gave it POW.

The clue for 25d made me think of a possible clue for TELLY - BEEB tube?

David 11:08 AM  

Even with a Disney character and an obscure Canadian "singer/songwriter" it was easy for this oldster, thanks.

Back in the day when houses were full of books and board games, and the TV was a fuzzy black and white eye over which came 3 channels, 4 if you were lucky, we called it an idiot box. Pretty much everyone I knew called it that. It was meant for watching the nightly news (which actually was real news gathered by real reporters) and then some light fare.

Saturday morning cartoons and the Little Rascals. We learned to be skeptical from Rocky and Bullwinkle and we learned the true cost of war every night. Ours broke when I was a kid and my dad didn't replace it until he brought home a 12" B&W Sony to watch the Watergate hearings on. By then the Pentagon had pretty much decided they couldn't keep drafting people if they were going to continue having useless and illegal wars, and they *certainly* couldn't let journalists tag along uncensored.

It was an idiot box then, and man it is 10 billion times worse now.

Pheasants and Guineas. Babbet's Feast.

Cats lap up milk or water, I guess that makes them lap cats.

I recall learning about deoxyribonucleic acid in 10th grade, when it was still awe inspiring. Neato. Guess there's an age gap at play here. There ya go.

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

I'm now confused about GUINEAS. Olde Tyme British money was based on the pound. A shilling was 1/20th of a pound. A GUINEA is worth one pound and one shilling. Why would anyone need a GUINEA? You need a separate coin or bill for that?

Masked and Anonymous 11:15 AM  

Like a happy frog prince = ? *
… Might be a viable SITTINGPRETTY replacement, altho the letters might be tougher to fit into this grid. But that could lead to more delightful desperation, such as DEOXY.

Cheery theme … always a crowd pleaser. Lotsa decent longballs, such as: PHEASANTS. ARRESTING. GUINEAS. IMADEIT. SETPOINT. ITHACA. AGEGAP. TAHITI. URSULA. AWMAN. Also thought IDIOTBOX was kinda neat, plus then U get DEOXY as an extra bonus.
Also liked the whole feline vibe of LION/LAPCAT, up top.

Had a few work-arounds, in the solvequest: VINGT. MENA. GINO. And good ol' DEOXY, of course. Nuthin that a few extra nanosecond expenditures couldn't handle, tho.

staff weeject pick: DOG. Cheeriest, by far, of the 3-letter litter. Primo weeject stacks in the NE & SW, btw.

Thanx for the deoxy-uplift, Mr. Coulter.

Masked & Anonymo4Us



Joseph M 11:28 AM  

What day is this? Starting with - - - CAT, I found this surprisingly difficult, though I later got a chuckle out of LAPCAT crossing LION.

Theme does feel old-fashioned, but that’s not necessarily a BAD thing. Not every puzzle has to be about computer jargon and rappers. Yet these thematic happy plays on words do seem awfully familiar. Maybe a little too familiar.

So I enjoyed the puzzle but it did not make me feel like a happy angel (in seventh heaven) or a happy caterer (pleased as punch).

jb129 11:40 AM  

This was a fun puzzle - much more than most Tuesdays.

Whatsername 11:44 AM  

@Nancy, good point on same number of letters. I wanted something on the SUNNY side too.

Ever try getting a cat who isn’t a LAPCAT to sit on your lap? Not gonna happen.

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

i feel like im the only person who like deoxy

now you know how most of the obscure literature clues feel like to people with science degrees instead of english

old timer 12:06 PM  

The theme is, "a phrase that might describe you if you are feeling happy" and the trick is, "what profession might make the solver smile if this phrase was used to describe a practitioner thereof?" The puzzle, in other words, had a perfect theme. If I wasn't entirely IN GOOD SPIRITS when I finished it, that's because I just could not get IN GOOD SPIRITS for the longest time, and so what I was sure would be a 10 minute solve took me 20 minutes. When that happens to OFL, he is pissed as hell, and goes out of his way -- far out of his way -- to trash the puzzle, because, you know, he is the 29th fastest solver in the Universe. The fault is in his stars, not in himself.

DEOXY is the D in DNA, or at least the first part of it. Somehow I forgot, and LAB and NEATO were way too slow to come to mind.

I remember GUINEAS from my days as a student in the Winter and Spring of 1966. If an establishment had some claim to poshitude, it priced its wares in GUINEAS. Marks and Sparks priced all their wares in LSD, but when I splurged on a custom-tailored suit, I was charged in GUINEAS. Oddly, that practice did not extend to food or lodging -- a posh hotel might charge 40 pounds a night, just as the ones we student could afford charged 2 or in some provincial places as little as a single pound for bed and breakfast. Few dishes at a restaurant were priced in pounds, nor (thank God) were pints of beer -- for these, we paid shillings and pence.

LSD? Short for L (pound), S (shilling) and D (pence). Based on the Latin Libra, Solidus, Denarius. I no longer remember if the Romans actually had 12 denarii to the solidus. Probably not.

Canis Nebula 12:14 PM  

ESIGN is 100% real. It's not garbage like ECASH.

Joe Dipinto 12:18 PM  

I had Rex's D.O.A. reaction to SITTING PRETTY. No way. It is not a metaphor for "happy". Interesting that it was the constructor's seed entry for the theme.

Elsewhere the degrees of "happiness" vary. IN GOOD SPIRITS doesn't necessarily mean "elated", like OVER THE MOON and ON TOP OF THE WORLD do. It's more like you're feeling better today than you have been recently. And "happy medium", an unrelated expression on its own, sticks out awkwardly in the clue.

I guess ON CLOUD NINE fits into the "elation" category now, but when I was a kid the phrase meant to be off in your own world, oblivious, not caring, as the Temptations attested to in 1968:

♪ I left home seeking a job that I never did find
Depressed and down-hearted I took to cloud nine
I'm doing fine on cloud nine...
Let me tell you 'bout cloud nine:
You can be what you want to be
You ain't got no responsibility
And every man, every man is free
And you're a million miles from reality ♪

The Catholic school nuns used it vis-à-vis the mien of spaced-out clueless students.

I guess the concept here was more about making (dubious) connections between common phrases and particular professions. Didn't work for me.

Z 12:29 PM  

@jberg - I knew somebody would think it is cute. just didn’t think it would be you. What’s the old line? Dogs have owners, cats have staff.

@Pete - The LAB intensely dislikes being held, so not all dogs. Besides, Great Danes and Mastiffs.

@Mark - What @Pete said, although I wasted precious nanoseconds wondering if it was a sly dis of the fill. But no, forgetfulness not cleverness. I’d have gone with GUINEAS or DEOXYribonucleic acid.

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

The puzzle had me smiling from beginning to end.

I love what's going on in space right now so OVERTHEMOON was the first thing I put in as soon as I saw that 2D was probably going to give me the V. LAPCATs always make me happy, so that was fun. The clue for TRAIT made me laugh because I have both examples in the clue. I worked my way down through SITTINGPRETTY and ONTOPOFTHEWORLD. And that's when I paused to just enjoy what was in there already. I decided to avoid looking at the clues for the last two and work to get them just from the crosses. Then I was going to try and guess the clue.

INGOODSPIRITS had me thinking that it would be alcohol related. So of course my first thought was "Like a happy drunk". And it made sense, in that a happy drunk is a thing, not just a random phrase. Opposite of a mean drunk. But it is a little harsh. I knew that if it was that, Rex would hate it. But "Like a happy bartender" didn't seem right. Obviously, happy medium was so much better.

I got ONCLOUDNINE off of the first two letters. I thought it would be something like a happy angel or a happy skydiver. Being meteorologist seems to me like a bit of an outlier because the other ones really can be literal. An astronaut CAN be over the moon. A model is literally sitting pretty. But a meteorologist isn't literally on a cloud like an angel or a skydiver might be.

Be that as it may, I'm still smiling, because I simply enjoyed the whole solving experience so much.

Teedmn 1:12 PM  

I thought the puzzle was fine. Yes, I get Rex's nit about SITTING PRETTY, no, I don't care.

I was having fun trying to fill in theme answers from crosses without reading the clues and I succeeded with IN GOOD SPIRITS and ON CLOUD NINE. I couldn't make a guess what the clue was for ON CLOUD NINE, had to read the clue afterwards, but I was pretty sure IN GOOD SPIRITS was going to be a happy liquor store owner. So the "happy medium" was kind of fun, especially since "happy medium" is a common phrase, which tickled me pink. (can't think of any profession for that phrase.)

My favorite clue/answer was the chocolate-coated LAB. Very nice job, Paul Coulter.

OffTheGrid 1:19 PM  

I thought the theme was great as is. "Sunny side up" doesn't seem to me to be either a weather term or a "happy" term. It's a way to cook early birds.

Anoa Bob 2:04 PM  

I thought the themers fell into two classes. OVER THE MOON, ON TOP OF THE WORLD and ON CLOUD NINE all strike me as being exceedingly happy, if not ecstatic. SITTING PRETTY and IN GOOD SPIRITS, on the other hand, seem much more sedate, especially the latter, which sounds like a euphemism for someone's reaction to a difficult situation. The operation, which cost him every penny he had worked for all his life, was a failure and left him in worse condition than before. In spite of that, he remained IN GOOD SPIRITS.

My neighbors had a cat, Emily Lou, who took a liking to me and, when I was visiting, would walk along the back of the couch or chair where I was sitting and drape herself around my neck. Ever get a purr neck massage? That NECK CAT would make me happy as a tick in a coon dog's ear.

@Z from yesterday, yup, the gerund (or is it a present participle?) is one way to boost a word's letter-count and fill power. Today we get ARRESTING, for instance. The plural of convenience is the most common form of upping the letter count/fill power of a word, but there are many other options. These are discussed in some excruciating detail here under the rubric Letter Count Inflation (LCI). This is some pretty nerdy stuff though and you need to get your dweeb on to plow through it all and still remain IN GOOD SPIRITS.

Anonymous 2:33 PM  

Lap Cat? That’s not a thing

Tim Aurthur 2:38 PM  

SITTING PRETTY can by called happy not in the sense of glad but in the older sense of lucky.

john towle 3:22 PM  

Reading today’s comments from the nattering nabobs of negativism reminded me of Thomas Carlyle’s quip: “Once I was hap-hap-happy but now I’m mees-erable!”

You’re welcome,


pabloinnh 3:40 PM  

If you are able to punch a smiling fortuneteller, you will strike a happy medium.

Also, DEOXY.

Fun puzzle full of smiles.

Anonymous 3:49 PM  

btw, 5-4 isn't a set point. a tie break is 7 points, not 6.
"The set is won by the player who has scored at least seven points in the tiebreak and at least two points more than their opponent."
the wiki, for those who object

Whatsername 4:12 PM  

I say LAPCAT is definitely a thing. I have three house cats, but only one of them sits on my lap. She is lurking nearby every time I sit down, just waiting to snuggle in her spot. The other two might occasionally think about it but they would never admit it or, God forbid, actually do it.

Anonymous 5:04 PM  

Enjoyed it a lot. Started slow, didn't have a clue until the northeast corner; continued all the way clockwise after that. Made it satisfying. Biggest snarl: lookINGPRETTY

JC66 5:32 PM  

@Anon 3:49

As @Nancy would tell you, to win a set in tennis, all one has to do is win 6 games before one's opponent wins 5.

i.e. 6-love, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 or 6-4.

So the clue for 23D is correct.

FYI, here's a recap /explanation of tennis scoring.

Monty Boy 5:37 PM  

I liked this one a lot.
Seems to me that Tuesdays should be considered easier (perhaps for the newbies), so having some gimmes and cross-word-ese seems reasonable. I guess OFL thinks otherwise. My only complaint is some (for me) obscure PPP and DEOXY, which is not in my wheelhouse. But as a consolation, IDIOTBOX is, but I'm an oldster.

I'm happy like a relaxed engineer.

Under no stress.

Anonymous 6:11 PM  

As @Nancy would tell you, to win a set in tennis, all one has to do is win 6 games before one's opponent wins 5.

this is the clue: "Score of 5-4, 40-15, say "

that first comma means that it is the first of a list, therefore equivalent to the other member of the list, i.e. set scores. ergo, it must be a tiebreak score, and not a SET POINT

xyz 6:14 PM  

@JCC66 - win by 2 games 6-4, not 6-5, that 6-5 goes another set to 6-6 and tie breaker or 7-5. (Check Wiki for far back Wimbledon results - you'll find a 26-24 or similar in there ...

No way all indoor cats are LAPCATS, not our 19 year old

Fussing about SITTINGPRETTY? Are we VIRTUESIGNALING again already?

(What a friggin' farce) I just learned that from Saturday's puzzle and am cracked up about how it is exclusively a RIGHT thing, like virtue signalling isn't seen in crossword discussions daily (Commenters seem deffo leaning LEFT) or in the da*n puzzles themselves.

What? 6:51 PM  

Deoxyribonucleic acid, more commonly known as DNA. Jeez Rex, this stuff is taught in elementary school.

JC66 7:01 PM  

@Anon 6:11

The comma after the 4 in the clue ("Score of 5-4, 40-15, say ") is there to separate the number of games each opponent has won in the set from the number of points each opponent has won in the 10th game.

@the redanman

Yes, one must win the set by 2 games. Based on the clue, the set would be won with 6 games if the server wins the next point (SET POINT).

Where does 6-5 come from?

Cassieopia 8:41 PM  

Really great Tuesday puzzle, slower for me than average as the excellent clueing did its misdirecting magic. “Chocolate coated?” will stay with me for a long time. One of the best Tuesdays I can remember - thank you Mr Coulter!

@Z - you have very obviously not met my daughter’s Great Dane.

Anonymous 10:53 PM  

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Unknown 4:48 PM  

Thanks so much for your excellent website. Usually, I wait until the bitter end to peek at crossword answers and feel sad that I couldn't do it on my own; I enjoy peeking at your answers -- and I do it quite a bit sooner.

spacecraft 11:01 AM  

AWMAN, Fearless One, it wasn't that bad. Or, as Mick might say, "Hey, you, get offa my CLOUD!" As opined already here, SITTINGPRETTY seems certainly a happy place to be. Passed my muster.

Okay, DEOXY didn't; that one wins the desperation prize, with ONEA taking the silver. But with such a choppy grid having so many long and short answers, I think Mr. Coulter did OK. A debut? If so, an upbeat one, to say the least.

MENA Suvari makes a strong bid for DOD--but as the name URSULA so rarely appears, I have to give the sash to Ms. Andress, the first Bond girl. Honey Rider, indeed! I'm sure @M&A agrees, for the double U's. Birdie.

Burma Shave 11:58 AM  


but NOW they'll be ARRESTING URSULA soon.
but those IDIOTs can't get OVERTHEMOON.


rondo 1:00 PM  

On a Tuesday I can forgive the SITTINGPRETTY nit. And ESIGN is soooo much a thing; what a time-saving convenience. Also no prob with award-winning American Beauty and yeah baby MENA Suvari. I might not be OVERTHEMOON after this puz, but at least INGOODSPIRITS.

leftcoast 2:45 PM  

Can't really agree with Rex's objections to SITTINGPRETTY. Who wouldn't feel happy at least to some extent if they were SITTINGPRETTY? All the "happy" themers are good ones.

Some pausers: VINGT/ESIGN, GINO/URSULA/GUINEAS cluster, DEOXY prefix. Also, NEATO clued by "Cool beans!". Wanted pHEW before WHEW crossed by AWMAN. These all helped tighten things up a bit.

Would call this more than pretty good, and medium-challenging (for Tuesday).

Diana, LIW 4:16 PM  

Well I was PRETTY happy to do this puzzle, and just don't get the nits our leader picks.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, Happily

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