My Life autobiographer 1975 / THU 11-10-11 / Explosive roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure / Roman writer grain of salt / In bad company per Ambrose Bierce

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Constructor: Tim Croce

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: I to l — Clues on theme letters appear to begin with capital Is, but really begin with lowercase Ls. Revealer = 55A: Feature replaced in four clues in this puzzle (CAPITAL LETTER)


Word of the Day: PLINY (10D: Roman writer who originated the phrase "with a grain of salt") —
Gaius Plinius Secundus (23 AD – August 25, 79 AD), better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian. Spending most of his spare time studying, writing or investigating natural and geographic phenomena in the field, he wrote an encyclopedic work, Naturalis Historia, which became a model for all such works written subsequently. Pliny the Younger, his nephew, wrote of him in a letter to the historian Tacitus:

For my part I deem those blessed to whom, by favour of the gods, it has been granted either to do what is worth writing of, or to write what is worth reading; above measure blessed those on whom both gifts have been conferred. In the latter number will be my uncle, by virtue of his own and of your compositions.
Pliny is referring to the fact that Tacitus relied on his uncle's now missing work on the History of the German Wars. Pliny the Elder died on August 25, 79 AD, while attempting the rescue by ship of a friend and his family from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that had just destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The prevailing wind would not allow his ship to leave the shore. His companions attributed his collapse and death to toxic fumes; but they were unaffected by the fumes, suggesting natural causes. (wikipedia)




• • •

I am having a terrible solving week. Couldn't get a handle on this one for a long time. Huge chunks of the puzzle filled in and No idea what was going on. Eventually had enough sense to see the common trait shared by all the long Acrosses, and somehow my brain moved IAMB to LAMB in one of the theme clues, and ... I got it. Feeling of "I got it" was more "oh..." (or "AH, ME") than "aha." Never did like these clues-as-answers, answers-as-clues puzzles (e.g. LAKE IN SPANISH is a clue phrase, not a phrase you'd normally see in a grid on its own). For the second day in a row, there is almost no contemporary frame of reference, so it feels very musty. For the second day in a row, the fill is suspect (a ton of short junk). And yet this is a more clever and better executed puzzle than yesterday's. Seems like an original concept, and it definitely provided a challenge. The revealer is weak, though. Too vague—not letter specific enough. It's not just a CAPITAL LETTER that's replaced; it's a specific CAPITAL LETTER, and it's replaced with another specific lowercase letter. Great concepts need execution that is worthy of them. This one felt like it came out of the oven a bit early.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: lago (LAKE IN SPANISH)
  • 26A: lon (ACTOR CHANEY)
  • 35A: lams, say (FLEES FROM PRISON)
  • 47A: lamb's place (PASTURELAND)




It's late, and I want to go watch Penn State burn, so I'll make this quick.

Bullets:
  • 15A: "Absolut Nicht!" ("NEIN!") — Thought this was a vodka clue. Also thought "nicht" was "night."
  • 16A: River to the Arctic Ocean (LENA) — not how I think of the LENA ... insofar as I think of the LENA at all, which I don't. Much.
  • 22A: Half of a 1955 merger, for short (CIO) — AFL-CIO. CIO is ... sub-optimal. Not as sub-optimal as -ICAL, but close.
  • 64A: "My Life" autobiographer, 1975 (MEIR) — this kind of cluing is depressing. Generic. Colorless. Absurd. 



  • 1D: Dollar coin figure before Susan B. Anthony, familiarly (IKE) — I misread this and thought we were looking for the nickname of the coin. "They called those IKEs?" I mean, I knew Eisenhower was the reference.
  • 12D: Fills, as black squares (INKS IN) — how the hell do you fill black squares!?!? If they are black, they are full. End of story.
  • 19D: Compromise is the best and cheapest LAWYER" (saying attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson) — "attributed to?" Get a real quotation.
  • 52D: "Explosive" roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure (NITRO) — my one great guess of the day. I really, really needed it, because that whole SW section was empty for a while (had LETTER, but couldn't come up with CAPITAL because I figured the answer would have to be more specific).
  • 41D: "___ Declassified School Survival Guide" ("NED'S") — absolutely no idea what this means. What the hell? A defunct Nickelodeon sitcom?
  • 57D: Angle iron (L BAR) — Phrase "angle iron" means zero to me. Thought it might be a golf club. L BAR is junk fill.
  • 56D: Mythical ship with a speaking oak beam (ARGO) — clue could've stopped at "Mythical ship"; four letters—everyone knows the answer.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

107 comments:

CoffeeLvr 1:52 AM  

I enjoyed solving this puzzle, one of those where it seems like there is a lot I don't know but manage to tease it all out. PLINY, WYLIE, NEDS, LAKE/ lago, TACOMA. I don't mind the occasional "clue as entry" theme, especially on Thursday.

I do not like the entry SENILE, the whole idea sours up the grid for me, though I suppose the clue is an attempt to make it less offensive. 'Nuff said.

I knew Eisenhower had once been on the dollar coin, and somehow got ddE stuck in my mind for 1D, though I never wrote in the first two initials. That NW corner was the last to fall since I had to consider a lot of possibilities for the missing Spanish word L??E.

I saw the odd start to some of the clues while I was waiting for my print out from AcrossLite. It is a good thing I noted the lack of capitalization then, because my printed version shows a lower case l(ell)that appears identical to an upper case I (eye).

syndy 1:57 AM  

Write overs? pretty much everything at least once. some things many many times!It took forever to figureout what was going on even though my first thought at Iambs was IS it iambs or lambs? that is the question whether it is nobler ---never mind.very hard and then there was the northeast!

Clark 1:59 AM  

I am annoyed by fonts in which I and l look the same. See how stupid that is? Anyway, because of this I figured it out right away. Good on me.

Woah! When I preview the comment the I and the I don't look the same. OK. In Across-lite they look the same. I think the puzzle works better that way.

operapianist 2:09 AM  

This was a toughie for me, though mostly due to my own hubris in not giving up on seemingly solid "answers".

I actually got CAPITALLETTER very early on, which helped *a lot* with the theme answers (save for the lone 15-letter answer). I couldn't let go of ADMIT for "Take in" and ELK for "Order member" for waaay too long, which left me trying to think of a specific prison that started FLEESE... Just... ugly.

Also, had AREARUGS first: if you lived in my apartment where said area rug has no backer, the vacuum usually sucks up the edges of it, making it *incredibly* hard to clean in the end.

Took me a full 9 mins longer than my average Thurs time, though this came in only a hair slower than yesterday's slog.

actor chaney michaels 2:55 AM  

@operapianist
I'm with you, right down to the ELK, ADMIT. It was super-lucky that ADmiT and ADOPT share so many letters, so eventually we could stumble on to the right word.
(I'd add eAtAT for NAGAT to the list of hung-on-too-long)

I don't get RAS as doing write-ups. The only RAS I can think of are Resident Advisors, but that can't be right.

I did have an AHA, but it was dampened by the definition-as-answer thing.
PASTURELAND is yawn-inducing, but I do think the idea is clever clever...
but KINDA agree with @Rex, it came out of the oven a little too soon. Would be interesting to see what Patrick Blindauer or Peter Gordon would have done with the same idea.
Tho bottom line I really appreciated how original this felt.

I "felt" the theme when I "saw" -----CHANEY (even tho I misread the "Passeport..." clue and had in DOB for a long time)

Fraternity characters could have been PHIS, CHIS, PSIS, ETAS, TAUS, RHOS...I know, I practically tried them all...

No prob with INKSIN tho, that is a very crossword-y definition, like that INKER spoof that Jim Horne or someone posted years ago...does anyone know what I'm talking about, bec I no longer do! Some parody of a guy who inked in crosswords for a living?

jae 3:14 AM  

Medium for me. Figured out the theme fairly early and my only write over was ALAS for AHME. I did, however, spend some time working on where Charles Lamb might have a place, hence medium. Liked it. Nice novel misdirect.

@andrea -- could be Reaseach Assistant. I was one once, a long time ago, and I did do write-ups.

Joel 3:38 AM  

Andrea, you're referencing this, I think

http://www.xwordinfo.com/Hampfield

chefwen 3:49 AM  

Before I got the revealer I kept wondering how I was going to fit pet food manufacturer in 35A. Soon, thereafter, I got the CAPITAL LETTER clue and life got a whole lot easier.

Shout out to dear departed mom @2D. German speaking dad gave her the nickname of Nixie which he quickly shortened to Nix to save time. Efficiency experts are an odd bunch.

Tuning Spork 6:26 AM  

Garson Hampfield, Crossword Inker

Campesite 7:07 AM  

The NE needs an extreme crossword makeover: don't dig Pliny without the Elder crossing lesser Lena and a 1920's poet clued only by first name. The Psis clue/answer was a Weak Link and I agree with Rex about Inks in. 

Thanks Acme for remembering that cartoon, and to Tuning Spork for the link,  good stuff. 

dk 7:22 AM  

Rex you opened the Penn State door.

As a forensic psychologist who has spent more time than one ever should with serial criminals and their victims I am deeply sadden at some reactions to both the Penn State and Cain horror shows. The perpatrators have taken lives and destroyed them beyond repair...yes beyond repair. To take to the streets and chant one more game or to try to say that because a single mom was in financial trouble that some how equates to asking for it is deeply disturbing. The victims in both case will never recover. The days will never be quite as happy for those young boys and both sets of victems will always wonder what they did.... Meanwhile the perps will lie low waiting for the next opportunity to exert total control over another. Like the death eaters from the Harry Potter films they do not stop and they cannot be cured. So in your life if you sense any of what is being reported these days on is going on you must do all you can to stop it, if you do not you are part of the problem: forever.

Sorry not the best way to start the day.

Agree with Rex on this one. Although i did try to fit gender neutral into 1A.

** (2 Stars) UNCLOTHE. Huh?

dk 7:24 AM  

Sorry for the errors it is tough to seethe and spell.

foodie 7:25 AM  

Yes, cute concept, rough execution... Never needed the Acrosslight cheating functions more... I did it last night and was tired so that was my excuse.

I had vaguely tumbled to the trick and had intuited PRISON for lams but I had not idea that there's a verb, to lam! I'd heard on the lam, meaning on the run, so did not think lam would mean prison but somewhere away from it..

The rest also had some issues, which I'm sure will be discussed in true Rexvillian fashion...

GLR 7:42 AM  

I'd agree with the Med-Challenging rating on this. It took me a while to spot the theme - got it at lambs - and when I did, it was a pleasant "aha." In one sense, it's unfortunate that the theme has to rely on particular characteristics of the font used to print/display the puzzle, but overall, I thought it was clever and entertaining.

Was slow to complete the southwest after I had confidently put "coral reef" in at 60A very early on.

I didn't find the fill nearly as junky as @Rex.

David 7:55 AM  

Rex does seem a bit out of sorts this week.

Any time I get a Thursday, it's an enjoyable puzzle. I'm still kind of clueless about the theme, which seemed a sort of "so what." I'd have preferred using "Iambs", "Iago", "Ion" and "Iams" as clues instead!

skua76 8:06 AM  

Wow, 2 in a row that I found too difficult to finish before bedtime, needed a fresh start and coffee to remember/see things like PLINY and ESP. Had AHso for 43A which kept me from seeing OMNI. Obviously didn't know NEDS. So I agree with the Rex rating.

@CoffeeLvr, I too had trouble visualizing the capital letters. So after reading your post I went into AcrossLite and adjusted the font from the default to a nice serif one.

@Chefbea, if you have time to stop in today, note that SOME cruise ships subscribe to an obscure/ expensive NYT publication called Times Digest, an 8-10 page summary of the news, sports, and yes, the puzzle. The US Antarctic stations receive it.

SethG 8:08 AM  

Iago was a LAKE INSPECTOR before lago was LAKE IN SPANISH, because that's at least plausibly a thing. Got the theme at Lon Chaney, still was difficult to solve because the phrasing was so off.

The theme reveal was an aha, but the rest of the puzzle was kinda limp.

Glimmerglass 8:09 AM  

I had a hard time with this one. Not, I think, because of the gimmick substitution in the clues. My head just wasn't working this morning. I had INUIT and LAKE IN SPANISH, but didn't for a very long time think of T**K** = smooth TALKER. I had similar brain cramps in the center. I had FLEES and PRISON, but wrong and apparently right crosses kept me from seeing FROM for far, far too long. Challenging. (But I have no complaints about the constructor.)

joho 8:20 AM  

@Foodie, I, too, had a problem with FLEESFROMPRISON. When you're on the lam you're fleeing from the heat, right? So you won't go to prison.

WEAKspotS before WEAKLINKS bolluxed up the NE for too long.

I really liked the originality of the theme but, like others, found the answers flat and the reveal not totally clear.

Funny to see LENA and ARNO in opposite corners.

"Dome light?" was cute.

Ambrose Bierce 8:34 AM  

I wanted NFW for 2d.

evil doug 8:42 AM  

Little known fact about Susie B: She invented the pantsuit.

"The perpatrators [sic] have taken lives and destroyed them beyond repair...yes beyond repair." Even forensic psychologists should honor the 'innocent until proven guilty' premise of our legal system.

In the Penn State deal, we seem to have a witness and a pretty clear vision of the truth.

In the Cain case, I'm not sure who the "perpetrator" is yet; could be Cain, or could be an accuser looking for a book deal/fame/payoff/political benefit. If he's proven guilty, he should pay. If any of the she's is guilty, so should they for similar "beyond repair" damage to Cain's character and presidential aspirations. These years-old "he said, she said" cases rarely come out in a satisfactory way; dk thinks he knows the truth, but he doesn't---and it's unlikely any of us ever will for sure....

Like the "out of the oven early" metaphor better than the puzzle. I plan to appropriate that.

Evil

Tobias Duncan 8:55 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
David 9:01 AM  

Hoo-boy, 4 straight days of solving times way off my norms. Challenging. And like yesterday, I even had a pretty good idea of the theme early on, but it only helped a little, with ACTORCHANEY, and the FLEES part of FLEESFROMPRISON. Two writeovers, one a major one (WEAKLINKS for WEAKSPOTS).

Love OYSTERBED, very difficult but a terrific answer. I wanted CORALREEF. Also correctly guessed NITRO, which was huge - gave me confidence in POPSIN, which in turn led to TACOMA, and thus the revealer.

I live in PA, 2 hrs from Happy Valley and among tons of Penn State fans, it will be fascinating to talk to them this week and weekend. Some of the pro-Joe (and, unbelievably, anti-victim) posts I'm seeing on my son's Facebook are sickening. But not as sickening as the 23 page Grand Jury report, which I read this AM. Brought me near tears a number of times....

Been There 9:03 AM  

"Innocent until proven guilty" applies only to the process of a criminal trial, to whether or not the evidence legally obtained and presented to them is sufficient to prove guilt within the trial. It has nothing to do with actual innocence, or what a reasonable person would infer.

The victims are not beyond repair, there is getting better. The process of getting better will never be complete, never be easy, nor will it not leave significant scars, but there is getting better.

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

My favorite part of this puzzle was Deb Amlen's clueless discussion of it on the NYTimes wordplay blog, where she complains that on her computer capital I's look like lover case l's... Missing the entire point of the puzzle... Maybe I'm just spoiled by reading Rex, but her posts always seem so inane.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

Maybe RAs (which do Writeups) are Rating Agencies?

Very timely, too.

Best regards - Jonathan

Inuit Tyson 9:07 AM  

Somehow caught on to the theme immediately. The NE corner nearly gave me a DNF, and had to guess around the Pliny/Lena crossing. Was surprised to have Happy Pencil pop up as the grid was choppy and a bit slow for me.
Great point by Rex regarding the black squared. The could be 'inked in,' I suppose.

Tita 9:10 AM  

I lOVED this puzzle!
The whole point is that a lower case L looks just like a capital I.
Changing the font to highlight that? Shocking!

I did double takes on that while solving, and kept wanting them to be "L"s, but it took me a while to figure it out.

Thought it was very fun.

Also liked Dome light?.
Shout out to dear friend who shares a last name with the poet, and who also shares her GENERATOR when she has power and I don't!!

Jim 9:22 AM  

ARGO and ARNO...and ESC and ESP and EST. Yeah, I'd say the fill was not tip-top.

And the NE was tuff. Especially since I always think it's ONKt, which had me grasping for LAKEINSt-something-or-other. Not good times.

Joho:

I didn't take FLEESFROMPRISON literally to mean an escape. More to flee from imprisonment, or prison as a concept.

Having no interest in college football generally or PSU specifically, it's noteworthy how this parallels the Cain train going off the tracks. If elitism be defined by the willingness to subsume others' rights for the greater good, here are two clear examples--by the perpetrators and by their allies.

Mr. Magoo 9:32 AM  

You know, it's not polite to base an entire puzzle on difficutlties arising from one's poor eyesight.

TM 9:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
John V 9:46 AM  

Played medium-challenging here, too.

@Rex, I think that there may be a piece of the puzzle that is being missed. I wrote in IBAR for 57D. LBAR made no sense to me -- oh, wait: that cross actually is the I being replaced by the L. Sort of a one-off rebus! In the paper puzzle, 20A, 26A, 35A and 47A all begin with what look to me to be capital letter I. So, I read it that in theme clues, the capital I is replaced with capital L. BUT, int the revealer crossing square, it could be writen L/I! Does this make sense?

Otherwise, Natick alert for cross of roller coaster and Golda Meir, but got it from other crosses. 29A: shouldn't the clue have saidn (Fr) as nom is French? I had DOB initially.

NE was last to fall with SENILE -- which seems about right to this solver.

Joe 9:52 AM  

Same as Rex said yesterday: yuck.

chefbea 10:13 AM  

Found this much easier than yesterday.

I first thought ion was going to be the car that I drive and iams to be dog food, but it all fell into place.

@skua76 - thanks for the tip about times digest. I'll check it out. See you all in a couple of weeks.

Hope they have jeopardy on board!!!
Maybe someone can e-mail me How Joon does and the results

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

I think Cain will make a fine president. Despite his youthful (and forgivable) shennanigans, he is a man of great common sense (nein, nein, nein makes perfect sense to me).

As for the Paterno crowd, they apparently understand how important he is in the great scheme of things. Normal behavior just doesn't apply to people like that.

Oh, the puzzle was fine. Many hiccups but no bile.

Lindsay 10:20 AM  

Hate Hate Hate Hate this. Dreadful concept to hit the solver over the head with your own infelicitous choice of font. The NYT puzzle uses an ambiguous sans serif. But instead of switching to a legible typeface, Will accepts a theme that trades on confusion that it is within his power to correct.

Very schoolyard, not to mention inecusably inpolite, to transfer your own shortcomings onto someone else (us).

David 10:23 AM  

Re UNCLOTHED and Penn State:

Years ago a 6th grade classmate was sexually used by the Little League baseball coach. The wimpy kid was ostracized thereafter - and changed schools by the end of the year.

The effect on these victims, regardless of the marginality of the role of the leaders of the institution, justifies the summary result we're seeing, one the Catholic Church should have done as well. While we need to avoid the lynch mobs, the Salem witch trials, and the McCarthyistic tactics, the apparently deliberate three year investigation and the grand jury process and report demand immediate consequences for the inaction of this institution.

quilter1 10:26 AM  

I had elk first for order member, then nun, and dob having also misread the passeport clue. I wanted Elinor Glynn for some reason until WYLIE sprang into view. I remember reading one of her poems in high school English class. But overall I liked the concept and wished the execution had been less clunky.

@dk" as a hospital chaplain who worked in the mental unit and chemical dependency unit I agree with you wholeheartedly about beyond repair. I wish I could forget some of the things I heard and the consequences.

@Been there: I am glad you are healing and agree that it is a lifelong process.

@evil: to tell one's story and not be believed is almost as bad as what was done to you.

Gill I. P. 10:29 AM  

I'm ambivalent about this puzzle. Although I KINDA got the theme at LAKE IN SPANISH, I did wonder what the heck was a PASTURE LAND.
Felt stymied with some of the short fill. Spent way too long wondering what (44a) Med. Unit was. Mediterranean? medium? Is it medical? and if so, why is TSP the answer.
Had no problem with INKS IN since I read the clue as blank squares instead of black...
Not my favorite Tim Croce and like @Rex said, it did feel like it came out of the oven too soon.

treedweller 10:30 AM  

I was slow all the way through this, but, strangely, while everyone else had trouble with the NE, I tanked in the NW. Went to the next coin instead of the previous, cursing the abbrev. "sac" for Sacagawea. Wanted "Not!" for NIX and "halo" or "aura" for IDEA. Like @DK, UNCLOTHE looks off to me and I spent a lot of time wondering if it was deCLOTHE, and when I finally gave up Sac I was torn between IKE and DDE. That whole corner was just a disaster and finally I cheated for INUIT to get the last few squares.

@John V "Passeport" (not "Passport") clued the french.

hazel 10:31 AM  

I was minding my own busines, feeling awfully clever at immediately catching this gimmick and pretty much sailing through the puzzle, looking forward to a little post-puzzle boasting - and I read @dk's comment and it just left me sad, Weltschmerz sad. The Penn State part, not the Herman Cain part, which i don't know what to make of - which brings me back to crosswords and why i do them - they're ultimately solveable.

On a happier note, (1) when I see Iams, I think of my dogs, although they eat Beneful and (2) when I see Nitro, I think American Gladiators.

Two Ponies 10:43 AM  

I really enjoyed this and found the font trick playful.
Idea was my first entry making me consider yetis as the snow people.
Lion or Lahr, wait for a cross.
I'm listening to a course on the foundations of Western civilization so knew Pliny.
As for Penn State they seem to be casting a pretty wide net.
Herman Cain, another Republican who can't keep it in his pants.

Masked and Anonymous 10:47 AM  

ThUmbs Up for: Excellent, very different theme idea; puz that puts up a fight but eventually croaks; WEAKLINKS and OYSTERBEDS; Really enticing 1-Across clue. Also, points for giving @31 fits.

Thumbs down for: PLINi/Wilie crossin'. Dude! Cost me the gold. Have heard of the names, but don't correspond with either of these guys often enough, to have their spellings down pat. LAKEINSPANISH also KINDA(!) a downer. [Gettin' all cryptic in *foreign* languages rates a personal foul call, IM(No-habla)O.]

Thanx for -ICAL, NITRO and LBAR, tho. They were nice gimmes, here.

Better clue for RAS: Rodents with their tails removed.

OldCarFudd 10:51 AM  

I'm in the minority today. I liked it. But for about the first 20 minutes I didn't like it at all. I had a bunch of disconnected answers filled in with no clue as to whether I was right. Filled in CAPITALLETTER and still couldn't figure it out, so I quit and took a shower. When I went back to the puzzle, I had the requisite aha moment, and it was easy-breezy after that. I thought both the idea and the execution were clever. And yes, of course it depends on the font!

Matthew G. 11:09 AM  

I thought this puzzle was stellar! Surprised at the negative reviews. Simple but clever theme that was a joy to unravel. I actually am among those who hate fonts in which "I" looks like "i," and I took this puzzle as an amusing smack at those fonts.

As for the execution, who cares if the clues sound like answers and the answers sound like clues? That's bad ... why, exactly? I agree with Rex that LAKE IN SPANISH is "not a phrase you'd normally see in a grid on its own," but I don't understand why the occasional reversal of conventions is somehow a flaw, I really don't. It's fine.

Fill could be better. But it's okay enough that I wasn't scowling, and it propped up a sweet theme.

@Rex: One INKS IN the squares to render them black. Nothing wrong with that clue.

I agree with Rex about the clue for NED'S, though. Just curious -- is there anyone here who got that without crosses? Couldn't we get {Stark and Flanders}, maybe?

archaeoprof 11:13 AM  

Three comments I want to make:

1) What @Rex and @actor chaney michaels said.

2) Kept trying and finally got it.

3) Right now I can't remember the third comment I want to make.

Masked and Anonymous, Io 11:19 AM  

P.S. Related puz theme idea for ACME darlin' to use: in the NYT puz's font, the r-n combo in a word looks kinda like a "m". Especially after a couple cinammon rolls and vodka collinses.

Example: Recently worked a puz with clue "Darn near caught". Looked like "Dam near caught". Confusin', to the M&A. [Answer was 5 letters, and I had ??EE?]

Mark 11:19 AM  

I hope I never become so jaded by crossword solving that I end up complaining about my "hobby." Sorry you're not having much fun lately, Rex. :))

Rick Loser Perry 11:22 AM  

@ archaeoprof,
Very clever and funny.

John V 11:25 AM  

@Treedweller: Thanks for passeport. Missed that.

@Archaeprof: ROTFLMAO!

jesser 11:39 AM  

I stumbled around this one before it all fell together. I caught the theme early with LAKE IN SPANISH, but wasn't terribly pleased with my discovery.

Like others I had area RUGS first at 39D, and I like it better as an answer. A SHAG RUG is at least tacked to the floor so you can run the vacuum across it. My damned area rugs squirm and bunch and thrust their tassles into the works of my Dyson, making me say Very Bad Words.

Only other writeover was eAt AT before NAG AT 66A, but set itself right in nearly no time.

Tomorrow, rather than crosswording and posting in the a.m., I'll be breakfasting with veterans before the parade. Thank every one you see!

Happy weekend, amigos!

dk 11:48 AM  

@evil, good point I do not know if Cain is guilty or not. My issue is with what we do to the alleged victims. For example one is now being referred to as buy-a-lick and the front page of the NYT reports the Cain camp is telling the accusers to "be careful."

My experience suggests that individuals and their agents who use intimidation and denigration tend not to be the lambs we may see in PASTURELAND.

Over and out.

John V 11:57 AM  

Alternative answer for 47A:
GADDADAVIDA

Tita 12:33 PM  

@JohnV...brilliant!!!!!!
Re: iBAR/LBAR...
Though would it not have been perfect had the L/I swap happened on the first ietter of letter...

efrex 12:43 PM  

Was disappointed by the theme as a whole: that much work for that little payoff? PASTURELAND is not a great phrase, and the ESP clue was inaccurate (although I give credit for trying to spice up an old warhorse).

Just not my cuppa, esp. for a Thursday.

Sparky 12:44 PM  

Somehow the answers I thought of for capital I just didn't seem to work. Then got it with Lon CHANEY, though I was picturing The Wolfman not the father. Lion before LAHR, Italian before SPANISH, eatAT before NAGAT. Lots of erasing. I am often confused by that type face as mentioned; the rns merge, mns too. Just hard to read. Now that it has been used as a device maybe they could kiss it goodbye.

@TuningSpork-good animation. @GilIP-TSP for teaspoon. Bon Voyage @chefbea.

Tita 12:48 PM  

Oh... @Jim...
KP - Kitchen Patrol...

Noam D. Elkies 12:54 PM  

I like extras like the "speaking oak beam" in the clue for 56D:ARGO; that way I get some neat tidbit out of that part of the puzzle rather than just filling in ARGO for the umpteenth time. And I like it much better than the cornstarch brand that was used to clue ARGO in 7 of the 68 appearance of the word on xwordinfo.

—NDE

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

Somebody tell me why 53, "boxcar" answers "six". It was the last slot for me left incomplete--hilarious that I decided it must mean "sex", somehow. Everything else I managed without a single write over. Seems to be my pattern: always left with one blank space. That's the point I turn to Rex.

evil doug 12:59 PM  

"@evil: to tell one's story and not be believed is almost as bad as what was done to you."

My Drake buddy Quilter, you are quite right. But "to tell one's story" doesn't mean that it's necessarily the true one. The problem here is that we have diametrically opposed tales being told---which one do I not believe?---so I choose to wait and hope light is shed on the honest one rather than feeling obliged to come to premature judgment on either one. And---given the unending saga of Anita Hill v. Clarence Thomas---likely a futile hope....

dk: Yes, when we feel a righteous need to defend ourselves it often gets ugly. You can't prove a negative, so sometimes we start flailing for whatever handle we can grab, including an attempt to besmirch the accuser. If one's integrity---and in this case, opportunity to be a viable candidate for the most important job in the world---is at stake, then it's about the only choice. Do nothing? Sign of guilt. Get aggressive in defense? Sign of meanness. No win situation. And you're absolutely right about the victim's fate; I only wish it were easy to know who the victims are in these deals....

Evil

North Beach 1:54 PM  

@evil: Which is why I have never understood why people pay (or have paid on their behalf) hush money to avoid "nuisance suits". I would be more likely to wait for more facts on Mr Cain, but for the fact of money being paid by the restaurant association to make accusations go away. That changes it for me.

gownreb: me, flouncing off in my pantsuit and flats

600 1:55 PM  

My experience was a whole lot like Rex's--big areas filled in and still no idea what was going on. Suddenly WEAKLINKS made itself known, then a big aha when I saw Lon Chaney (I had been trying to think of an Ian) and I was off and running. I liked the puzzle. A lot. (But me too on coral reef. For way too long.)

@Clark--You're right. The puzzle works better that way. Those complaining that the font made the lower case i identical to the capital L kinda miss the point. At least IMHO.

@Campesite--As kind of a newbie in crossword world, I sometimes do a puzzle from the archives. Yesterday, after I did one from 2008, I went to the blog for that day to read Rex's write up. Whatever my question was wasn't answered, so I went on to the comments. I noticed right away that the names I've grown used to weren't there. But then--tada--you were! Maybe lots of people have been coming here for years, but that day just you. Made me feel more at home. Just thought I'd tell you . . .

@dk--Well said. I couldn't agree with you more. (and I got a nice smile from gender neutral, too.)

@Anonymous @10:15--shenanigans? Sexual assault is a shenanigan? Youthful transgression? Forgivable? True or false (and four accusers makes me lean toward true) those are not the words to use when describing these accusations.

@Anonymous, 12:58--I believe that "boxcars" is a term used for rolling double sixes on dice.

But the best part of the experience today, other than reading the blog comments--yes, even the ones that made my blood kind of boil--was the video by Manel. I never heard of them before, and of course I had no idea what they were saying, but everything about that video was charming. So thank you @Rex, for that.

captcha--dander! Obviously, what some of the comments got up on me.

Anonymous 2:19 PM  

Its 2pm and not one mention about the word IN appearing in FOUR different answers (pops IN, inks IN, IN with, ...IN Spanish)??? Rex usually wags the finger at 2x duplicity, how did 4 escape scrutiny?

Rube 2:23 PM  

Really enjoyed this one even though after the first pass I had great blank spaces. Thinking Ion was either a particle or a car, put in __CHArge. Similarly thinking of Shakespeare, had __EINSPeaker for Iago. Thinking this was going to be "one of those Thursdays", Googled for WYLIE. My real problem was having the absolutely-for-sure-positive Neva where LENA was supposed. Learned Neva a few days ago in a crossword and was flummoxed when PLINY said I was wrong. Anyway, got LENA from crosses, thinking along the way that someone's going to have fun with "inking in" black squares.

That one Google broke the back of this puzzle, particularly when James wouldn't fit for Iago, but LAKE would work for lago. Like most, this probably won't look right in a sans serif blog, but it worked for me.

Had ACTOfCHANce at one point, but thought Heisenberg Uncertainity and an Ion is way too obscure for a Thursday puzzle.

Re answers as clues, does anyone remember the week of puzzles from constructors with more than 50 years experience? One of those puzzles used this concept as a theme where the clues were one word and the answers were definitions. The tricky part was that the "clues" were obscure, 3 or 4 letter, old fashioned crosswordese. I vaguely remember AIS as the clue and THREE TOED SLOTHS as the answer! Let's see... aw, here's Rex's write-up. Rex's take on a puzzle with 6 answers-as-clues? "Finally, this week's theme pays off".

'Nuf said.

JenCT 2:25 PM  

@Tuning Spork: that video is hilarious!

@Ambrose Bierce: me too.

@archeoprof: I have CRS, so I understand... (Can't Remember S%^&T)

@600: Well said.

Oh, the puzzle: Struggled with this for too long; had INSTEP instead of INWITH for 6D, too many others to list. Finally gave up & came here. Oh well.

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

Hey, 600, GOTCHA! Go back and read it again. Maybe you'll get the joke this time.

Jason 2:52 PM  

"56D: Mythical ship with a speaking oak beam (ARGO) — clue could've stopped at "Mythical ship"; four letters—everyone knows the answer"

Alternately, you could have left out "Mythical", and let the "speaking oak beam" do the speaking towards mythical.

retired_chemist 3:04 PM  

@ anon 12:58 - in craps, boxcars are two sixes. Never heard boxcar meaning ONE six, but it is logical.

@Archaeoprof - ROFLMAO re the Perry joke.

Tough but fun. A think-outside-the-box(car) experience. Took me a long time (and 55A) to see the gimmick, but in the end it was worth it.

10A except for the final S provided a soup├žon of added toughness, because it could be any of a number of Greek letters.

My vote for RAS - Research Assistants. Didn't see it while solving.

My dashboard translator tells me "Iago" in Spanish is, well, "Iago." That obviously came from having the "IN SPANISH" part of 20A. The first part at the time was _O_E (the O from HALO). Oh well....


Thanks, Mr. Croce. It would have been fun if Jim Croce were your dad, but Wikipedia only lists A. J. as his son.

captcha miskin - relatives you shouldn't have.

sanfranman59 4:02 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Thu 21:49, 19:03, 1.15, 80%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Thu 11:48, 9:18, 1.27, 87%, Challenging

Lewis 4:14 PM  

Rex -- loved your comments on fill in the black squares, and Ned's. Agree completely, and your comments made me laugh.

Evil -- well said. Both times.

ArcheoProf -- very funny take on the debate.

Tim Croce -- why don't you weigh in on the RAS answer, as there seems to be genuine confusion. By the way, I'm one of those that enjoyed your puzzle, which just seemed on my wavelength today. I made a couple of good guesses, and the rest came out bit by bit with some smiles and aha's -- a very pleasurable solve. Never naticked because the crosses did the trick. Thank you, Tim!

acme 4:27 PM  

In fairness to Tim Croce, I still think it would be nice to steer the discussion back to the puzzle.

Speaking as a some-time constructor, this blog is the only place to get real feedback, constructive criticism and a sense of people's experience solving the puzzle, likes, dislikes, deeper information on the accuracy of the clues, or the stories behind them, what memories it triggered...etc.

To have a discussion about child molestation and Republican Cain who has NOTHING to do with this puzzle
(Yes, @Rex opened the door @dk, but you didn't have to open it wider and let the horses out!)
nor any entry (unless RA stands for Republican Athol) is not germane to this puzzle and not the best forum...
Obviously, I'm guilty of going off tangents, daily, but they are usually puzzle-related...and the whole Penn discussion is so depressing!

I'm not advocating head-in-the-sand, I'm just pleading for the puzzle not to get lost today.
It's the same reason I felt unable to chime in with the backstory a couple of Sundays ago. Once someone announces the heartwrenching news that their love has died the day before, it is impossible to have any sort of clear or light-hearted discussion of the puzzle, the creative process or anything else.

I know, I know, not my blog, maybe not my place to even express this, but I feel sorry for Tim Croce not to be able to get invaluable feedback (he may not even read @Rex or care) but I feel it should be said.

Kris 4:27 PM  

I'm pretty sure the black squares clue for "inks in" is a reference to diagramless crosswords. That was my first thought, although I initially wrote "SHADES" in that spot.

foodie 4:48 PM  

I was going to say something about the Unlit Dome (Perry), but Andrea is right. Sicking with the puzzle is the fair thing to do for the constructor.

My favorite clue was in fact Dome light. I had HALO before IDEA which I thought was brilliant (I posted that earlier and it disappeared, somehow...). @Retired Chemist, did you do the same?

I do agree with those who thought the concept of this puzzle was original and fun. I really like it when people take an every day occurrence that we want to dismiss (confusing l and I) and shines the light on it, making it a virtue. The more different types of themes there are, the better for all of us. So, I greatly appreciate the creativity.

Gill I. P. 4:54 PM  

@acme:
My thoughts exactly. Thank you.

Tim C. 4:59 PM  

@Everyone: This was a clue that Will did not change, so I can give you the skinny. RAs (resident assistants) refer to the folks that are in charge of each floor in a dorm at school. Hence, they do the write-ups on anyone who breaks the dorm rules (minors with alcohol, excessive loudness, etc.).

@acme: of course I care about the feedback! I'm here, at Wordplay, and at Amy R.'s blog every time. I welcome it.

jackj 5:17 PM  

A challenging, fun puzzle from late-week specialist Tim Croce, who brings his themeless cluing talents to perk up this clever Thursday offering for our daily fix.

Most everything which needs saying has already been commented on but one bit of inspiration is deserving of further note, the cluing for SENILE.

XWordInfo says the word has appeared 16 times and mostly in an insulting, humorless context like "Softheaded", "Dotty", "Failing", "Addled by age".

Tim treats the subject with good humor and respect as "Beyond reason?"; worth the price of admission.

Thanks, Tim, for a memorable solve!

Two Ponies 5:31 PM  

@ Tim C., Thanks for dropping by. It really completes my solving experience when constructors comment.
@ Acme, Perhaps it is the constructor in you that makes that opinion. I, however, enjoy the wit, humor, satire, and rants that are Rexville. Without all of that we would have a Joe Friday blog.
"Just the facts, ma'am"

jae 5:41 PM  

@Tim C. Thanks for the RAS explanation. While your version was my first thought, Research Assistants made sense also.

@600 -- In addition to not taking Evil's bait, one needs to crank ones sarcasm/irony/tongue in cheek detector up a notch when reading this blog.

Z 5:43 PM  

@Tim C - Thanks for stopping by.

@acme - while this isn't the best forum for some topics, sometimes life just overwhelms even our small pleasures. Even when off-topic, I find the discussions here enlightening and generally helpful to my own thinking.

@Archaeoprof - Too funny.

Was happy to see the medium-challenging rating because this took me three visits to finish. Finished the south over breakfast, the north at lunch, and the middle after work. Hand up for ADmit, dOb, AHso, elk, as well as aSin before ISTO. I also had several clues that slowed me down, INUIT, EXCEL, PSIS were slow to come in the north. In the middle it took me a long time to finish FLEE-----PRISON and ------ELA-- at 38A and 47A. Got it all in the end, and kept coming back, so I fall on the like the puzzle end of the scale.

evil doug 6:01 PM  

Acme,

We've enjoyed what I believe is a higher than normal number of posts the last couple days, and generally whenever we go off on these "tangents".

I'm here for the community more than the puzzle discussion. Yes, I enjoy some of the basic puzzle dissection. But between Michael's post and a goodly degree of participation from the peanut gallery, we do a pretty good job of investigating the puzzle and its creator.

But the additional posts, from a generally well-read, well-versed, compelling group provide interesting perspectives on a nice variety of topics usually with at least some tangential relationship to the grid and clues. So I don't think it dilutes the puzzle discussion; it enhances it, and makes this place special.

"Obviously, I'm guilty of going off tangents, daily..."

Well, you got that part right. But even your posts generate some useful heat and direction. The creative tension here is healthy and stimulating.

Evil

evil doug 6:20 PM  

Oh, one other tangential point. My favorite post today was jesser's. Have fun at the parade, and tell your vet buddies I, too, appreciate their (and yours, too, jesser) honorable and selfless service.

I won't be parading, but one of my favorite things to do is hit Appleby's for their free meal. My wife and I went last year and marveled that every table and barstool was filled with men and women in partial uniform or with a handful of photos from their tours, trading stories with their fellow service members, and drinking toasts to comrades who didn't make it home.

Doug

Stan 6:43 PM  

I want to back up Andrea's post about getting the discussion back to the puzzle. Personally, I don't care to discuss politics per se on this blog. Too many nice people whose views may differ from mine, or mirror them exactly, I don't care. In fact, I usually skip the posts that go off in this direction (blur eyes, scroll down).

The puzzle was indeed challenging. Much white space even after I had sussed out CAPITAL LETTER. But that's what I expect from a Tim Croce puzzle. No clue is going to be particularly easy. Today I had time to kill; car in the shop, we drove a loaner to L.L. Bean's, where I slumped into an oversize chair in the Home section. The theme answers came together bit by bit. I'm still not sure about the clue for INKS IN, but everything else was fun. Plus high points for originality. Good one, Tim.

evil doug 6:51 PM  

"In fact, I usually skip the posts that go off in this direction (blur eyes, scroll down)."

That's a great solution, Stan. We can all do that---puzzle-heads, tangentialists, everyone!

"Today I had time to kill; car in the shop, we drove a loaner to L.L. Bean's, where I slumped into an oversize chair in the Home section."

I blurred my eyes and scrolled down just then....

Evil

Arundel 6:57 PM  

It's late in the day (see Stan's explanation above!) but I wanted to chime in because I really did like this puzzle. Tim Croce's puzzles always provide a workout, and this was a good one, full of misdirection with slightly twisted phrasing. A good Thursday in my book.

I solve on a netbook with fairly tiny type, and I use Across Lite, which doesn't help a bit. The confusion between the uppercase I and the lowercase L is a daily occurrence, so this seemed really *normal*. Then there's the confluence of Rs and Ns that look like an M, cinnamon rolls or vodka not required.

chefbea 7:59 PM  

Jeopardy over... please keep me posted
Chefbea1@yahoo.com

fergus 8:07 PM  

So KINDA is one word? 'Spose.

The lams sorta irked me too, but I'll accept that to lam is a verb for a person eluding the law and possible consequent prison sentence.

Messiest Thursday grid in a long time, and that's usually a compliment to the constructor.

On the topic of extra-puzzle commentary, find that this blog manages to steer clear of overt politics, while touching convincingly on ethical issues. We're all trying to find what is right without perpetrating some wrong at the same time. Hence a generally measured and polite discussion of tangents and digressions.

cody.riggs 8:18 PM  

The "answer is a clue" has been done many times, and I have always enjoyed them. It's a totally cromulent theme. This was an enjoyable variation on it (except for that ESE section...AHME, OMNI, "PASTURELAND" etc.) I've said it before and I'll say it again: just because it slows down the 'speed solvers' doesn't mean it's a bad theme. Especially on a Thursday.

Just don't pretend that "the answers should have been clues" and vise-versa is a valid criticism.

cody.riggs 8:20 PM  

...and c'mon. Just because you don't use the word "L-Bar" doesn't mean it's "junk fill." I work in the manufacturing industry and we stock steel L-bars for use in many applications. Is OMNI "junk fill" because people who rent luxury hotel rooms are elitist pigs? Maybe, then.

mac 8:27 PM  

Clever puzzle, after figuring it out at Lon Chaney it turned into a Medium for me.

The weak links was the main write-over section for me, started with knees, necks, then spots. The Omni hotels are just a bit above a motel, in my experience. My favorite clues/answers: Lahr, lawyer, oysterbed, boxcar and 51A.

@chefbea: You can get online on a cruise ship, but it's sometimes expensive.

Love the tangents.

600 8:30 PM  

I've been away from my computer for quite a while; I see much has happened.

@acme--I think it's the constructor in you that feels that way. I almost never see posts that don't reference the puzzle in some way, and I don't think Mr. Croce was getting short shrift today. I agree with Two Ponies, Z, and (gasp) evil (but only the first three paragraphs at 6:01.)

@jae--You're right, of course. And the "nein, nein, nein" should have tripped my satire breaker. Still, I wasn't amused, even if the anonymous posting was meant to be amusing. I guess sexual assault is a thing I just don't joke about.

I remember a conversation between Tobias and hazel where some irony was missed. That one was way more amicably settled than with "GOTCHA" it seems to me. But no matter. It's 8:23, probably no one's still coming around to read tonight, and I've got Jeopardy on the DVR. Here I go to watch Joon win--I hope. Fingers crossed.

FedererFan 8:39 PM  

How can ESP be clued as "picking up things?"?

Mary has ESP. Mary has picking up things.

Doesn't make sense. And where's the indication that it's an abbreviation?

Jp 8:57 PM  

Needed google to get any traction. Even with google could not finish. Did not get the theme until I came here. Don't think it is too clever. A lot of horrible fill to boot. I would rate it as very difficult.

fergus 9:07 PM  

Came around to ESP late, too.

Seemingly wrong syntax.

? Picking up things gives license to play on words, like usually a pun, or quotation marks

sanfranman59 12:18 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:30, 6:50, 0.95, 30%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:12, 8:51, 0.93, 32%, Easy-Medium
Wed 15:12, 11:50, 1.28, 94%, Challenging (8th highest median solve time of 123 Wednesdays)
Thu 22:02, 19:03, 1.16, 81%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:28, 3:40, 0.95, 31%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:15, 4:34, 0.93, 31%, Easy-Medium
Wed 7:36, 5:51, 1.30, 96%, Challenging (6th highest median solve time of 123 Wednesdays)
Thu 11:38, 9:18, 1.25, 8%, Challenging

JaxInL.A. 1:51 AM  

Not a prayer with this puzzle, personally.

The population growth in Rex's little kingdom has been remarkable. In the year plus that I have been coming here, we have tripled the number of posts.

Now that the comments have approached or exceeded 100 for some days, I'm torn between warm feelings that more and more people have discovered the joys of Rexworld and the rewards offered herein (and have contributed to said rewards in many cases), and frustration that it takes so dang much time to read now.

This is not meant to discourage or even to influence what happens here, just to share the thought and wonder if anyone else has the feeling.

dk 7:13 AM  

@cody.riggs, err, well I stay at OMNIs, have cloven hooves,,, guess your right: onik

jberg 8:49 AM  

I had to leave the house early yesterday, with the puzzle unfinished - now it's Friday, which I've solved already, so I'll chalk this up as a major DNF - mainly because I had LON CHeNEY, which screwed everything up, and lead to FLEES IN AMERICAN, a nice parallel with LAKE IN SPANISH, but still very wrong!

Also, I was so annoyed at PASTURE LAND (as opposed to PASTURE SEA, I guess) that I couldn't think straight.

coral reef for oyster bed, and initial letter for capital letter, too, but I caught those.

AH ME, Friday was better.

JenCT 9:13 AM  

@JaxinLA: I feel the same way!

Tita 1:09 PM  

As one of those who has joined only this year, let me say @Jax & @Jen that I agree!

I want to, but can't always, read all comments, enjoy learning arcane and not-so-arcane info, as well as the occasional glimpses into lives behind the puzzles.

Maybe a different format would help, such as in-line responses, though I could see that encouraging even more comments.

SethC 11:49 PM  

A day late, enjoyed the puzzle despite taking way too long to get the theme.

However, how does the 56D clue "Mythical ship..." and 23D Myth ending/ICAL slip by?

Tita 12:28 PM  

@Seth...
I wondered the same thing...seems like a definite puzzle faux pas.

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

Revealer wasn't hard to figure out, though the exact phrase escaped me for some time, as I had confidently written CAPITAL LETER L. Could not for the life of me figure out how to get an E for E-BAY in there until I finally wrote out CAPITAL LE _ _ E _ across the top of my page and quickly realized my speling error. Duh.

DDE just about gave me a DNF, before I finally familiarized further to IKE.

Overall, this was ugly. But 10d is beautiful.

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

I feel elevated to Elysium when Mr. Parker and many commenters seem to have suffered as did I. Iams vs. lams....so bad for me.

And a dollar before Anthony was never an Ike, called or inferred. I was there.

justin

Dirigonzo 4:16 PM  

I, comfortably ensconced in Syndiland, Iiked this puzzle. I almost self-destructed at 1a where, with the "U" in place from UNCLOTHE I confidently entered noUns for Snowmen and snowwomen?, since clearly they both are. IKE finally showed up and set the record straight.

A few earlier posts made reference to prior Rex posts, so let's see what he was up to on 12/15/2006:
- "Solving time: not sure; too long"
- "Many colorful long answers make this an impressive puzzle in some ways, but the puzzle gets many points off for cluing an answer with reference to the horrid "Ally McBeal.""
- "Sahra goes to one of these alterna-hippy-no-rules schools that get an interesting mix of brilliant and, er, colorful kids. Sahra thrives there, and the student body is really diverse, especially for a private school in these parts, but you sometimes see behavior there that wouldn't be tolerated for one second in "normal" educational environments. Not often, but sometimes. And nothing dangerous. Just ... yeah, quirky."
- "It was a bad day for my French. SOLEIL is a basic, French I word meaning "sun," but for some reason, not only could I not see it, but for a time I actually wanted SOMEIL here - first of all, it's a misspelling of SOMMEIL, and second, SOMMEIL means "sleep," and what kind of paper would name itself "The Sleep?" Seriously, I tried to justify it by telling myself it must be an evening paper, like many cities used to have."
- "Oh, carrier to Papeete, you say. Thanks for the hint! Now if you could only tell me Where Papeete Is and How That Narrows Things Down For Me ... I would still be uncertain about the rightness of this answer if I hadn't seen it before, as a component of a sign-off in e-mails my wife used to send me when we were a-courtin'. AROHANUI is a Maori word meaning, literally, "big love," but used as the equivalent of "all my love" or "love you" ... that is what you were saying, right honey?"
- "Last question: are there really applications that have a line marked "SIGN HERE" (32D: Line on an application)? I've seen little SIGN HERE post-it notes that accountants and what not affix to contracts and other paperwork. But don't applications usually just say SIGNATURE?"
- "Gonitis target (knee) was new to me. The answer was totally inferrable, but Gonitis ... let's just say that I was happy the answer was KNEE, because it sounds like it afflicts a more sensitive region of the body. Insert AD after the N and you'll see what I mean."
- Rex added this tidbit in response to one of the 10 comments: "PINCHEM sounds like a sadistic party game, or like something some poorly-parented 12-year-old girl would have written across the ass of her sweatpants."

Longbeachlee 4:27 PM  

I really liked this puzzle, especially the lawyer quote. I'm sure that who likes which puzzles has some personality type implications. Coffee Lover and I must be similarly screwed up, and Rex and I probably wouldn't get along too well. Shunning modesty though, I'd say we're a pretty smart bunch.

Anonymous 8:45 PM  

Spacecraft here. Today was challenging for me, largely because of obfuscational clues and a couple of awkward theme phrases. PASTURELAND I guess is KINDA OK; it's a real phrase, and I suppose it's actually spoken, for example when the farm realtor is answering "Well, what about the back forty?" from a prospective buyer. But nobody FLEESFROMPRISON. They ESCAPE. Seems to me fleeing carries a connotation that someone's watching. I had FLEES and PRISON--but with (hand up!) ADMIT in place the center remained blank for a long time.
The NW was the last to fall; it took me forever to hit on the EXCEL/NIX cross. Lots of trash fill to pick at, as has been said; but I also don't like DOSED and SASHED. We're straining our mother tongue to the limit with this sort of thing. As Coach Ditka says: "Stop it!"
The lone writeover was at ADMIT/
ADOPT, and I did not Google. Took me about three hours, though, staring, thinking, putting it down and coming back later, etc. One memory jog: "You ARE the weakest link--goodbye!"

Anonymous 11:24 PM  

Lucked out today. Saw the trick (in print) right away and the guessed Lon ChEney. That bad e gave a little doubt, but certainly not after getting "Lake in..." (some Spanish-speaking country?...dof!). Still, bogged down in the center at the end by not seeing "adopt". Once 'pastoral' got corrected, it was all good, even with the strange fill. I thought Sir Rex might revolt at Ned, as happened with me (entirely by crosses, yet lodged in the recesses somehow, too).

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