Apr 16, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012 Jennifer Nutt

Theme: Black Clouds - The first word of the themed entries can follow, i.e. chase, the first word of the unifier.

17A. Dish that's thrown together? : TOSSED SALAD. "Like a STORM_TOSSED ship upon the sea."

30A. Where 6-Across often are when performing : CENTER STAGE. (6A is DIVA) STORM CENTER can mean the eye of the storm or this.

39A. Protective feature of most power strips : SURGE SUPPRESSOR. STORM SURGE definition from NOAA.

46A. Wall protector near a room entrance : DOOR STOPPER. This is the odd man out, STORM DOOR. The other three are meteorological phenomena.

62A. One who follows tornadoes ... or an apt description of the starts of 17-, 30-, 39- and 46-Across : STORM CHASER. "Even storm chasers have agents." (at the end of the clip)

Argyle here and if I may, I will quote myself from my write-up of Jennifer's last puzzle, "Jennifer is proficient in this format. Always a pleasure." I'm not sure I would have gotten the connection without the unifier.


1. Puts behind bars : JAILS

6. Opera headliners : DIVAs

11. Dairy creature : COW

14. Stan's sidekick, in old comedy : OLLIE. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy

15. Call forth : EVOKE

16. Hubbub : ADO

19. Fix a button, say : SEW

20. PDQ, in the ICU : STAT

21. "__ I a stinker?": Bugs Bunny : AIN'T. 8 second clip.

22. Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa : ALPS. Mel Blanc was the voice of Bugs Bunny.

24. Belted out : SANG

26. __ B'rith: Jewish org. : B'NAI

27. Phone bk. info : NO's. #

35. Most of 34-Down's surface : OCEAN. 34D. Fifth-largest planet : EARTH

37. Sugar suffix : OSE

38. Visiting Hollywood, say : IN L.A.

43. Ticklish Muppet : ELMO

44. Bearded grassland grazer : GNU

45. Rib cage locale : CHEST

50. Campfire residue : ASH

51. Catches some Z's : NAPS

52. Musical work : OPUS

54. Traveler's entry document : VISA

55. Woman's sleeveless undergarment, for short : CAMI. camisole

57. Watchman's order : HALT

61. Tasseled headgear : FEZ

65. Get along in years : AGE

66. "Casablanca," for one : MOVIE. 3D. "Casablanca" heroine : ILSA

67. Protein-building acid : AMINO

68. Low-quality : BAD

69. Make off with : STEAL

70. Liberal voter, slangily : LEFTY. And now a musical interlude. Saginaw, Michigan(3:38) - Lefty Frizzell (1963)


1. Scribbles (down) : JOTS

2. "That's __ of hooey!" : A LOT

4. Leans to port or to starboard : LISTS

5. "Get it?" : "SEE?". 13D. "Holy guacamole!" : "WOW!". 58D. "In your dreams!" : "AS IF!". 61D. "Marvy!" : "FAB!".( like, for sure.)

6. Draw up plans for : DESIGN

7. "Fathers and Sons" novelist Turgenev : IVAN. Fathers and Sons is an 1862 novel. A show of hands for those of you that have read it.

8. Chevy's plug-in hybrid : VOLT

9. Rap sheet abbr. : AKA

10. Some Avis rentals : SEDANS. Volt is available at participating locations in CA, TX, MI, NY, NJ, CT and DC.

11. The Volga River flows into it : CASPIAN SEA. Today's geography lesson. Map.

12. Dedicated poetry : ODES

18. Copenhagen native : DANE. Denmark

23. Not quite timely : LATISH

25. Skin breakout : ACNE

26. Uncle Remus title : BR'ER

27. Hard-__: very strict : NOSED

28. Eye-related prefix : OCULO

29. Spoke from the pulpit : SERMONIZED

31. Refresh, as a cup of coffee : TOP UP. Is this regional? We TOP OFF around here.

32. Psychic hotline "skill," briefly : ESP

33. Shine : GLOSS

36. Old Greek markets : AGORAs. (agorae)

40. Capt. saluters : SGT's

41. "__ momento!" : UNO. Italian; "un momento" - Spanish; "um momento" - Portuguese.

42. Neutral shade : ECRU

47. Cricks and tics : SPASMS. Cute clue.

48. Saddle knob : POMMEL

49. Sweeping in scope : EPIC

53. Disgrace : SHAME

54. Folk singer Suzanne : VEGA. Caution: earwig (3:39)

55. Sheltered inlet : COVE

56. "The Marriage of Figaro" highlight : ARIA

59. Pre-Easter time : LENT

60. City tricked by a wooden horse : TROY. Hello, Irish Miss.

63. Trike rider : TOT

64. Actor Holbrook : HAL. Clip from "Barney Miller" ending with a trumpet player using a mute.(6:30)


Note from C.C.:

Happy 84th Birthday to dear Dot! And a belated Happy 98th Birthday to her husband Irv, the oldest LAT solver that I know.


Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

A little crunchier than our average Monday fare, what with IVAN Turgenev, CASPIAN SEA, POMMEL, OCULO, CAMI and VEGA, but no major hangups and and still a relatively quick solve.

Happy Birthday, Dot & Irv!

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, Argyle and friends. This was a great puzzle to start off the week. I loved all the long answers such as CASPIAN SEA and SERMONIZE.

With all the storms that have been pummeling the country, this was an apt theme. I hope everyone survived the tornadoes that hit over the weekend.

B'nai Brith is Hebrew for Children of the Covenant. (sometimes translated as Sons of the Covenant.)

Hand up for using the expression Top Off to add a tad more coffee to my cup each morning.

Abejo: I thought of you when FEZ revealed itself.

Happy Birthday Dot and Irv. I wish you all the best and hope to "see" you here soon.

Middletown Bomber said...

What a breeze of a puzzle Very good for a Monday. This was a super speed run for me from top to bottom I really did not need to look at the down clues at all so I am re looking at the puzzle to see what I missed clue wise. I remember Bnai brith from my youth their youth organization was BBYO and BBG, and they also run the Hillels at the colleges. I have a cousin that is a stormchaser so I knew the term.

Thank you argyle for the write-up.

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Jennifer Nutt, for a great Monday puzzle. Thank you, as well, Argyle, for an equally great review. Enjoyed your links. Lefty Frizzell is one of my favorites from the past.

This was quite a quick puzzle for me. I got all the theme answers easily and never even tried to match them up. I should have.

FEZ was easy for 61A. Thank you Hahtoolah for thinking of me. I own fezzes for three organizations. A red fez for the Shriners, A.A.O.N.M.S; a black fez for the Grotto, M.O.V.P.E.R.; and a blue fez for the Sciots, A.E.O.S.

Hahtoolah, where's you Q.O.D.? I enjoy those.

CASPIAN SEA was easy for 11D. I have swam in the Caspian Sea.

OLLIE for 14A brings back old memories of their movies. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were great.

A few answers needed perps to help solve: VEGA, POMMEL, and CAMI.

Nice to see AGORAS again. That has been widely used in crosswords, in my experience. That is where I learned that word, and many more, doing crosswords.

Off to my personal physician this morning for a six month check-up. 8 months ago I did not have a personal doctor.

Happy Birthday Dot and Irv.

See you tomorrow.


Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Decided to fill all the across clues in order, something I don't usually do. Had to refer to down clues in the trickier areas - such as CAMI, a word I don't use every day.

Morning Argyle, around here it seems TOP UP and top off get equal treatment.

My sister was sometimes called Penneth as a nickname; my dad would occasionally write P'nai P'neth just for fun, on family messages. (another fun message was Catt Fedd. Guess you had to be there)

HBTY Dot and Irv!

Spitzboov said...

Good morning Argyle and all.

Happy Birthdays to Dot and Irv.

Easy monday, today. Did not know VEGA, but the perps came through. No other unknowns. Had my BRER Rabbit blackstrap molasses for breakfast. Had the same theme experience as Argyle.

86º forecast here today.

HeartRx said...

Good morning Argyle, C.C. et al.

I totally agree with you, Argyle. Jennifer is a maestro when it comes to Monday puzzles! Great write-up, and thanks for all the links. Do do do do do do do do ...(special thanks for that ear worm!!)

When I filled in TOSSED SALAD, I immediately looked for "scrambled eggs". But, it was not to be! This theme was quite timely, with all the tornados that swept across the heartland the weekend.

Happy b-day, Dot!

Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning Argyle and Monday solvers.

Put me in the boat with Middletown Bomber and Dudley. I just filled one across after another until I got to CENTER STAGE, left that one blank and kept going. I stumbled with SURGE protection, got DOOR, but left the remainder blank, and continued right on through to the bottom. I looked at just enough down clues to get CENTER STAGE and STOPPER and straighten out SURGE SUPPRESSOR.

One of these days I'll gget a puzzle that I can solve without looking at any down clues. This was about as close as I have come.

CrossEyedDave said...

Re: Sunday.

Finished the puzzle in bed around midnight, i only just finished reading the write up & Blog.

Thanks Don & CC, it kept me occupied for some time. I had to look up names and currencies (as usual), & had to write over deerhide.

Favorite clue was for DDS, least favorite answer was Schwa. I mean, what the heck is Schwa? No fair, i came here to learn something & you give me,, i mean,,, (Oh Well, ya gets what ya asks for...)

I have heard "Skeg" before, will i remember it next time? (i doubt it.) At least K-12=ELHI is now a gimme for me...

Sean, i was on V/K in Cape May NJ when a B17 flew over the beach on its way to a airshow. What struck me most was how "big" and "slow" it was, i thought it would just fall out of the sky. When we got to the show, they had Lasagna pans under all the engines to catch the leaking oil!

grams said...

Was I the only one to put arias for 6 across? Thot there was a chevy hybrid I hadnt heard of. Oh well all came out in the wash. Enjoyed puzzle. Grams

Lemonade714 said...

Fun Monday, thank you Jennifer and A. Nice Frazier reference hearti. HBDTY Dot and Irv and you know what they say, sometimes you feel like a Nutt

kazie said...

About normal Monday level, I thought. AINT I is something I could never say. As a result, I had ARNT and wondered about the missing E, and went on through the CW until at the end, I forgot to go back and check the perp to see what should have been there instead of DESRGN.

Thanks for the explanation of STORM SURGE, a term I'm not familiar with. I didn't quite make the connection for all the theme answers.

I certainly hope none of our corner friends got hit in the weekend storms.

HBTY both, Dot and Irv!

C.C. Burnikel said...

Finally completed the Chrome set!

Our notes will resume next time.

Mark B,
I just read your comments on Saturday. Thanks for jotting down your thoughts on themeless grids. Very instructive.

Mari said...

Hi all. WEES. I had a few write-overs, which is unusual for a Monday. I tried WATER for 35A (instead of OCEAN), and had AWAY for 38A (instead of IN LA). Never heard of OCULO, and am still scratching my head over LATISH.

Thank you for the translation of B'nai Brith. I've seen the term while doing historical research in Jewish cemeteries and often wondered what it meant.

Have a great week!

kazie said...

Latish--read it as late-ish, as in a bit late.

Yellowrocks said...

This was a real romp with no unknowns. I was a little vague about VEGA, but got it.

I have a lovely CAMI with lace across the top. I wear it under a suit jacket with deep décolletage.

I TOP OFF my coffee, but TOP UP my car fluids and gas. "Das macht nichts," as we used to say.

I am addicted to historical novels on early America, so I have seen pommel many times.

Husker Gary said...

-America’s most famous storm chaser, Jim Cantore, spent the weekend in Lincoln
-Some Midwest peeps complained on the news last night that the warnings were overblown this weekend. Joann said Wal Mart was packed Saturday morning had run out of flashlights and other supplies
-The Weather Channel loves homemade pix and videos to be sent in but constantly warns, “Take shelter first!”
-More benign Storm Chasers
-The fire marshall doesn’t want DOOR STOPPERS in school doorways but most teachers use them anyway
-I’m not wealthy enough for one of these Mount Blanc’s to JOT something down
-The fifth largest is the Third Rock From the Sun
-Mr. Holland’s Opus did a good job of showing a teacher trying to make it through life with personal issues and a burning passion for what he does
-My car dealer is afraid of how he will set a trade-in value in 5 years for electric cars that are in need of new $5,000 batteries
-We TOP OFF coffee cups and gas tanks around here too, Argyle
-Does anyone else remember the Ace Trucking Company and the skit they did that had the line, “It’s the Vega Bill!”

Irish Miss said...

Good morning all:

Thanks, Jennifer, for a nice, easy Monday offering. Didn't get the theme until the unifier but it is certainly timely, with the weekend weather in the Midwest.

Nice write- up, Argyle, and thanks for the shout out for Troy. We may reach 90 degrees today and then 68 tomorrow! Crazy, crazy weather.

Happy Monday everyone.

desper-otto said...

When I think of LEFTY, I think of this song 5:00. Does anybody else think they are one and the same person? (Not Merle and Willy, Pancho and Lefty.)

Many folks think this Lefty Song 3:05 is traditional, but it was actually written in '59, shortly before he recorded it. Kinda gives you goose bunps.

ARBAON said...

Am I the only one who held my breath after getting __sed on 27d? (they wouldn`t...would they??!!)
Kazie: To hammer home my point I told my classes, " You ain`t supposed to say `aint` because the teacher said you ain`t!"
"Top up" is one of those fills that creeps into a finished puzzle and would require a whole rework, and so you leave it, knowing solvers probably won`t like it. Ms. Nutt paid me to say that! :)

Anonymous said...

historic vs historical, in case you wondered

Anonymous said...

Good morning everyone.

Had fun today – I could do them!
I especially appreciated the opera clues.

Aren't we seeing many ODES lately? OK by me because that's a fill I can get.

Happy birthday Dot and Irv.


eddyB said...

I say "Top off" but, maybe a carry over from PA.

Ho hum another win for Penske, Power and Chevy. There are just too many road and street races this year.

UPS package out for delivery. I take it that the end of the business day for drivers doesn't mean 5PM.

To another Holbrook. Hi.

Jerome said...


Yellowrocks said...

TOPUP is not just crosswordese. It is a legitimate and common phrase in some areas. My Nissan dealer talks about topping up the fluids. So do these Nissan and Fiat sites.
Link Nissan TOPUP

Link Fiat TOPUP

LaLaLinda said...

Hi Everyone ~~

Really quick and fun today. Smooth sailing and enjoyable. Perps came into play in a couple of spots and my one write-over was 'Optic' before OCULO.

Thanks for a nice write-up, Argyle. I, too, didn't get the theme until the unifier. We 'top off' around here and I'm also more familiar with 'Door stop' rather than -STOPPER ... they are the same, though.

It's summertime here in CT today ... supposed to reach 90. There are concerns about the runners in the Boston Marathon.

Off to continue watching the Red Sox game which started at 11:00 AM today - Patriots Day.

Birthday greetings to Dot and Irv!

ARBAON said...

My bad...Yellowrocks. I gave Ms. Nutt her money back. That`s only one of the marvelous things about this blog...if some of us haven`t heard a word or phrase, others have! Party on! :)

Bill G. said...

Fun Monday puzzle. I didn't see the theme until I got to the unifier. To me, DOOR seemed a bit out of place as part of the theme.

Argyle, is there any chance you mixed up Hal Holbrook with Hal Linden?

Interesting. The woman who wrote the article about historic/historical is Bonnie Trenga. I have known her and her family for about 30 years. She was in my algebra class years ago.

Yellowrocks said...

Yesterday some said they had never heard of gnocchi. With all the "foodie" posters here, I am sure you would like to become better acquainted with them. They are served in all the Italian restaurants around here, even the smaller establishments. Be sure to scroll down to click on the images link. I like them with tomato sauce and cheese or with pesto sauce.
Link gnocchi

Lucina said...

Hello, all. Thank you, Argyle, for a lively blog.

Happy birthday Dot and Irv!

And thanks to Jennifer for an easy romp today. I wrote across as fast as possible and missed many downs so it was nice to read the blog and chuckle over fill like FAB, LATISH, WOW and I would not have known VEGA.

i love the references to my favorite MOVIE, Casablana. Hi, ILSA.

Great clue, PDQ in the ICU, STAT.

Have a memorable Monday, everyone! Every day we live is precious.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

HBD to Dot.

Enjoyable puzzle with a low pressure theme.

I wanted SURGE PROTECTOR, but that wasn't going to go.

Somehow entered ZEZ for FEZ, and was stumped by ZAB. Not too FAB!

A well polished homilist would be a Simonized Sermonizer.

For Veteran's Day:

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson, from "Concord Hymn"

I TOP OFF all fluid fills, including toasts a sunset.

JzB getting along in years

JD said...

Good morning Argyle, C.C. et al,

Anyone who uses the phrase holy guacamoleis all right in my book! Jennifer, I did not "get" the theme, but loved the puzzle. I had to hesitate and think about pommel, CAMisole, and sadly the ish on latish... a smooth one.

Thanks Argle for explaining, as you always do; enjoyed the storm chaser clip.

no little ones to yoga

Anonymous said...

This went relatively quickly (even for a Monday) for me. I was able to get more of the crosses without any downs than usual. I also didn't get the theme until after seeing the unifier.

RE 27D: I, like Arbaon, thought this centainly ain't the New York Times, and put in assed.

I had some trouble with cami for camisole; never seen it used in the abbreviated form before.

mtnest995 said...

Speed run for me today. Fav clue PDQ, in the ICU/stat. Thanks to Jennifer for a fun run and to Argyle for an inspired review.

Happy Birthday to Dot and Irv.

And congrats to my daughter for finishing the Boston Marathon in under 4 hours!

Seldom Seen said...

I liked Hal Holbrook in "Creepshow". Remember Adrienne Barbeau in the short "The Crate"? Nobody likes a nag.

CrossEyedDave said...

No problems today,

Re: 27D Arbaon, you are not alone!

Top up/off, i never complain about regional differences, because i never know where i will be tomorrow.

YR, interesting you mentioned Gnocchi. Several years ago i had never tasted it. I saw them make it on a cooking show, & thought i could make it also, using instant mashed potatoes... But then i thought because my kids liked rice, & peanut butter, that they would like it combined together.
(YUCK! Don't ever try it!)

So, no nits with the puzzle, except,,,i hear:

(Do do dood it, do do dood it, do do dood it, do do dood it...)

PK said...

Fun puzzle and commentary! A few unknown names.

Never read Turgenov. Probably won't. I read Russian novels as a teenager, but not since. Too depressing.

Happy birthday, Dot & Irv, and maaany mooore! (Jazzhands finish)

Lots of rain and thunder and restless wind, but no damage over the weekend. I had seen TV mention of a tornado and hail south of my farms, but they didn't hit us. My farmer couldn't work because of the rain so his family came to the city and visited relatives and me. Lovely surprise!

Argyle said...

Bill G. @ 11:14 AM

You most certainly correct, I should have had a Mark Twain clip(10:01) but I like the other clip, so I think I'll leave it. Good catch.

Top-up : yes, we top up fluids around here but I wouldn't ask a mechanic to refresh my oil. (31D. Refresh, as a cup of coffee)

Chickie said...

Hola Everyone, Fairly easy puzzle with no lookups today. But hands up for Aria before Divas and wanting top off for top up.

I thought all the Wow's, As if's, Fab's, and See's were fun today. We don't usually see so many slang expressions in one puzzle. Marvy was a favorite of my FIL.

I hope that all of the bloggers who were in the tornado areas were safe and sound. It was an amazing display of what mother nature can dish up.

HBD to Dot and Irv.
Have a great day everyone.

HeartRx said...

Husker G @ 7:25, I have a Mont Blanc meisterstuck pen sitting in my desk drawer...I can't afford the refills.

Marge said...

Hi all,
This was a fun puzzle and it went quite fast(for me).

We were lucky we only got wind and rain over the weekend. The rain was very welcome.

Happy birthday to Dot and Irv. I liked that picture of the Wisconsin people. I would like to meet all of you. I live in near Baraboo.

We say 'top off' here. Enjoyed the Saganaw Michigan song.

Sat. night I watched "Casablanca" on TCM. I have noticed that very often, when a movie or something is on there will be a clue and answer in the crossword,either the same day or a day or so later. For example, one time the clue was Sandra and answer was Dee, of course. The movie was on TV the same day. Is that just a coincident?

I just put a bread mix in my bread machine and it does't start. Nuts. My DH worked on it for awhile but it won't start and yes it is plugged in. I guess I will have to do it by hand.

Good afternoon all!

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. Fun puzzle today, made all the more so by FAB clues such as PDQ in the ICU. Peekaboo!

I love the word gnocchi. I use it as a password. Oops, now I'll have to change it. How about to vermicelli?

Like Hahtoolah, I like long fill. CASPIAN SEA and TOSSED SALAD are great.

Like HeartRx, I thought of the song Kelsey Grammer sings during the closing credits of Frasier.

Lemonade, you are right.

Husker Gary, you have the best musings.

Happy birthday to Dot and best wishes to you all.

Anonymous said...

Thought today was definitly a monday (for once). Was a tiny bit confused, I put oculi instead of oculo, sugerose did not make sense til I figured it would be sucrose. WTF is "Top up?" 68a was kinda weak. Loved 11d (studied battle of stalingrad on the volga). sometimes watch "Storm chasers" and its awesome! Tornados look horrorfying. Lucky there arent many here in N. California. We did have a beautiful electrical storm last week. we only have earthquakes once or twice a century(major ones). Its a marvy day gonna catch some z's at beach, then going to take tot to movie. cheers all!!

Anonymous said...

O.K. Please tell me why would a pen cost $300?

Husker Gary said...

Thanks for the kind words Jayce!

Marti, I was trying to think of the most expensive thing I own and don't really need. Hmmm.... I'll get back to you! Anyone else?

My favorite use of tossed (even before salads)?
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

placematfan said...

Thank you for the puzzle, Jennifer. Well-executed theme. TOPUP was unfamiliar to me, too, but with this much theme material it’s hard to avoid a situation like T?P?P. Also, I’m more familiar with a surge protector than a SURGESUPPRESSOR. Thought the cheater squares in corners already having high 3-letter word counts was a little much. Absolutely loved the SE corner.

Argyle, thank you for the fun write-up. I always enjoy a celestial picture of our planet and take the time to appreciate it; that need not get old. There’s a wonderful anecdote about Yuri Gagarin, the first human to experience that perspective, in the film “Another Earth”.

Arbaon, your “__sed” comment was great.

Grammar Girl is a linguistic godsend. She is the non-existent user-friendly index of the Chicago Manual of Style that I always wanted. Thank you, Bonnie Trenga, for doing what you do.

Avg Joe said...

Anon @5:12, the bigger question is: "Why would anyone pay that much?"

I hate throwaway pens and don't like any tool of any type that qualifies as junk, but I've never owned a pen that cost over $10, and prefer Zebras that cost ~$3. They are great. Good grief, my watch didn't cost $300. Again, I won't tolerate junk, but I have a 15 year old Seiko that ran less than $200 and I don't see the purpose of a Rolex or any other grossly inflated bauble that has the primary purpose of impressing rather than functioning. I guess that's why I'm an average Joe.

Yellowrocks said...

Tonight we had ice cold ultra thin soba noodles with a thin sesame sauce,thanks to my Japanese DIL for giving me the noodles and providing the recipe. It was very cooling on an 88 degree April evening. The sauce was made from soy sauce, Mirin, rice wine vinegar,sesame oil, and sesame seeds.

The Japanese also serve a thicker tahini type sesame sauce with these chilled noodles. It is somewhat like the Chinese cold sesame noodles which we also love.

placematfan said...

I’ve been pondering Will Shortz’s tweet the other day:
I think, in this matter, “esoteric” is more utilitarian than “obscure”; the former denotes/connotes “More people do not know this than do,” while the latter means that but, also, more. (Not to mention the perq that with the former one enjoys the glory of being able to conversationally employ one of those lovely Greek- or Latin-rooted mass nouns whose sexy plural esslessness and, in this case, soft trochaic pulsebeat mimic uttering some hitherto-unknown and innocently prurient Muse name, Esoterica [I need a cigarette].) It’s predictable that any debate on this topic would yield, foremost, the recognition of how subjective obscurity can be: a word unknown to one man is another’s mantra.

I find a mild hypocrisy in bemoaning solvers’ appellations of “obscure” when the selfsame word (or something similar--maybe “esoteric”) has been used to describe a common criterion for rejection of puzzle submissions in many an email to constructors who, as solvers, are then likely to only have more, not less,
solidified notions of obscurity, and the weight of it in puzzledom--and are then more likely to confidently,

placematfan said...

and even informedly, include the word “obscure” in their puzzle-solving-experience vocabulary. One product of Will’s (and others’) transcendental pioneering in cruciverbalism is the Crossword 101 “rule” that an obscure/esoteric entry should, ideally, be crossed by non-obscure/non-esoteric entries: I think today’s CAMI being crossed by COVE, ARIA, POMMEL, and EPIC is an adherence to this rule and thereby quality construction/editing; and I could understand a solver’s lament that OLLIE/ILSA or BNAI/BRER are too “obscure” to cross . . . which brings me to the point I’m taking far too long to make: an obscure word is one thing, an obscure crossing is quite another. But, again, the ever-present element of relativity comes in to play when other solvers, as said in today’s blog, state that, for instance, POMMEL is an unknown and CAMI is familiar.

That said, I interpreted the spirit of Will’s comment (I admit I didn’t take my hyperanalysis meds this morning) to be that, sometimes, when Joe Solver exclaims, “That word’s obscure! Why is it even in this

placematfan said...

crossword? I could do the whole puzzle except for this one word I didn’t know!”, Joe Solver might be in effect saying, “Rather than take responsibility for my own inability/ignorance/confusion and my own unwillingness to learn something new, I’m just going to sit back and fault the constructor and editor of this puzzle for their refusal to lower their production standards to the particular consumerist plane on which I choose to exist.” . . . I once read a listener describe Joni Mitchell’s “The Last Time I Saw Richard” as “having too many words to be able to ‘get into‘”; and my thought was a very Meredith Greyish, “Seriously?” And I would surely respond similarly to the aforementioned solvers’ attitude were I a giant in, and a forefather of, the modern puzzle business (and, yes, I’m, as it were, sucking up, unabashedly, as at any given time one or two of the submissions lying in Will’s mountainous inbox are my own--and I do harbor a hopefully irrational fear of being blacklisted, or something, from cruciverbalism’s most prestigious market) and therefore actively and readily susceptible to and often exposed to that attitude. I think it’s an interesting topic, though it can be obscure (meaning “murky”, not “esoteric”).

kazie said...

My DH got a Mont Blanc pen once from his firm as an unsolicited useless "gift". But it was treated as a taxable bonus, so he had to pay taxes on its value. Needless to say, he was not pleased. I don't think either of us has ever taken it out of the box.

You're probably not too far from Dot and Irv. I know they live outside of Madison somewhere. Andrea ran the bistro where we met on Monroe St.

Avg Joe said...

Placemat, after reading that 3 part philippic, all I can think of is this "stream of consciousness" tune from Mick and the boys.

That's not to say it wasn't fun to read or that it didn't make numerous excellent points. But it did take a detailed map to follow:-)

Bill G. said...

I like expensive things if the extra expense provides a significant extra pleasure. That being said, I have a wonderful watch I got for free from my son. It was a safe-driving award from Fed-Ex for whom my son was a part-time driver. It is an electronic watch made by Accutron. It gains or loses less than three seconds a month, better than any other watch I know except for the ones that set themselves once a day via a radio connection.

Grumpy 1 said...

And I'll lay odds that Will Shortz never tweeted the tweet that was attributed to him anyway.

Anonymous said...

Grumpy, I wouldn't bet a $300 pen fer sure!!

Jayce said...

I have to give a shout out and congratulations to all our Wisconsin friends, because having lived in Tomah, Wisconsin, for a time I can attest as to how cold and harsh the winters are there and how hot and muggy the summers can be. Be glad you were never a paperboy trying to carry the heavy and bulky Milwaukee Journal on your bicycle during the winter and delivering them to ungrateful customers who often did not pay for them. Wisconsin winters are very harsh, but summers at a cabin at a lake (Hazelhurst) can compensate for them.

Fortunately I had the good fortune of studying at the knee (or was it some other joint) of an electronics engineer in Sun Prairie, just outside Madison, from whom I learned a great deal, and for whom and his family I still have fond memories and feelings of gratitude. His son was a classmate of mine, and I had a crush on his daughter for about 2 years.

Seldom Seen said...

Another crossword coincidence on Final Jeopardy tonight. How about that Marge! :)

I know very little about Twitter but this seems legit.

Jayce said...

Then again, having lived in Sturgis, South Dakota, for 5 years in my youth I can attest to the harshness of winters there, too. I still remember some relatives of ours, returning from a vacation in Hawaii and desiring to stop off and visit us in late June, getting hit with a huge blizzard that dropped 4 feet of snow on us just when they arrived. What a welcome that was for them!

Regardless of the climate, you sure can't beat the Black Hills as a wonderful place for a kid to grow up.

Jayce said...

Yellowrocks, deep décolletage, eh?

HeartRx said...

Marge@2:17, I can assure you, it is pure coincidence when a film/show/Jeopardy program coincide with the next day's puzzle. The puzzles we submit take 4-8 weeks before we even hear back from the editor. Then, it might be another 1-2 months before it is actually published!

Avg. Joe @ 5:48, the $300 pen was a corporate gift ... that's why it is sitting in my drawer, unused!! (Anyone have some Mont Blanc refills???)

Misty said...

Hi everybody! We're back from our little vacation, and really missed our LA Times and especially our Rich Norris puzzles. I just finished the one from this morning--great fun, many thanks Jennifer. It's good to be back on the blog!

Anonymous said...

SEAN @7:05

We all know that tweet was meant for Rex

Blue Iris said...

Been gone awhile. Didn't feel well and several friend's husbands passed away. Just that time of life I guess. Still hoping my hubby retires by the end of this year. I don't drive much due to pain meds effect. Enjoyed puzzle. My learning moment was pommel for saddle knob. My first date (with husband of 36 years this month) was horseback riding. We were novices.

Blue Iris said...

We did have an interesting wkend with the weather. We had a neighbor loose 2 trees, but no other damage near us. My son in Salina had 3 different tornado sirens blast on Sat. ,but made it thru unscathed. He said he looked up and saw one above him and decided to go to the basement. I told him if he died in the front yard, while admiring a tornado, I'd be pretty mad at him. He just laughed.

Avg Joe said...


I understood the reason you have a Mont Blanc from your initial comment. That barb wasn't aimed at you in the least. It was aimed at anyone that would actually pay $300 for a pen. I'd guess that Kazie's comment about unwanted tax liability was probably closer to your sentiment.

Regarding Will Shortz's tweet, I'd guess that "the King" was the target as anon@7:43 noted. If you follow his blog at all, the lesson from a few months ago when he was called out by Will obviously didn't stick very well. Some people's kids!

Anonymous said...

LOL Joe, ya know I could really hang with you...

HeartRx said...

Avg Joe, thx for understanding! I am just happy to be doing my own thing these days, without any corporate "perks".

JD said...

Happy Birthday Dot and Irv!!

Husker G- What happened to all the flashlights that were bought last year??We have them all over the house, just in case of an earthquake
...and lots of peanutbutter :))

HeartRX, Didn't that pen come with ANY ink? You could use it til it runs out. Just sayin'

placematfan, does someone keep topping off your coffee?

Ave. Joe- I like your style

LaLaLinda said...

C.C. ~~ So good to see that both Morneau and Mauer did well in the win tonight!

Ye olde English teacher said...

Placematfan: you are obviously brilliant. Most of us here are old and have some short-term memory loss. We need more periods to show up in sentences. Please don't put paragraphs in your sentences. Compound/complex is to hard for us old folks to parse and understand. Thank you, sweetie!

Bill G. said...

C.C., did you (or anybody else) see Moneyball? I just finished it and enjoyed it. Very interesting and skillfully made too.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm somewhat 'latish' to the discussion. I haven't commented for quite awhile although we're still solving & I read the comments regularly. When the format changed, I had trouble posting and quit trying. I'll see if this will go through. I had to write to thank all the well-wishers for their birthday greetings. Marge and Kazie, we're in the suburbs of Cottage Grove! Only someone from this area will appreciate that comment!
gramm, I wanted aria but Irv put in the divas.
Also, we are from the 'top off' area, not 'top up's.
Kazie, I was going to write you after I saw your letter to the Editor a while back but I never got around to it. I said, "Oh, that's Kazie!"

Thanks again for the birthday greetings.


Lemonade714 said...

Anon 5;12; pens cost $300.00 for the same reason you can pay $1,000,000.00 for an automobile. In theory the craftmanship and unique elements of the product create a value which is only determined by what someone will pay. Should gold be $1600 per ounce? Should an Italian hand made suit cost $3,000.They are nice pens