Aug 22, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014, Tom McCoy

Theme: Cross-referential Olympics; where is FORD LUXURY MODEL (15) when you need it?

I happened to solve Mr. McCoy's debut puzzle last November in the NYT and read his comments about referential clues, so I was somewhat prepared for this style of cluing where there is a hidden word which is the clue for all of the theme answers.  The theme fill are not clued at all until you get 23 down, MERCURY, which also has no independent clue. There are many puzzles being constructed where there is a "meta" solution, a style which is embraced by many especially MATT GAFFNEY. This is not a metapuzzle because the solution is part of the puzzle, but it is conceptually based on the same skills. So the strategy becomes, solve 23 down and then it is a simple definition puzzle. We had a run of Friday puzzles which were variations of the definition puzzle at this time last year (including one from marti, and one similar to today's from Mr. Wechsler) so you all should be ready. Once again we get a Friday with an intricate theme but high word count and many 3/4 letter fill to balance the inherent difficulty. In the longer fill, PEACOCK,  SKEWING,  WRESTLE, CORAL SEA,  LEBANESE, ANTEROOMS,  ESCAPE KEY stand out. This is Mr. McCoy's LAT debut (he has 5 solos at NYT since last November) and I hope he likes the environment and appreciates his audience. He was kind enough to provide some commentary on this puzzle and its genesis, which follows this writeup. Knowing this group and its opinion on cross referential puzzles, I expect many Thumper comments, and a few who will appreciate the simplicity of this grid, with all four theme answers being grid spanners which fill in nicely once you crack the code. It is Friday, so let us all put on our long pants and get to work.

17A. See 23-Down : NEIGHBOR OF VENUS (15). A planetary reference for Mercury.
Study: First rock from the Sun. It orbits the sun in 88 days.

27A. See 23-Down : BAROMETER FILLER (15). An elemental reference for Mercury.
Review: 80 on the periodic table. A neighbor from my childhood murdered his wife injecting mercury into her Nissen doughnuts. (Is the factory closed marti?) She was a big eater. He fed small amounts to himself and  his child and he was free until he got drunk and bragged.

45A. See 23-Down : ROCK STAR FREDDIE (15). A pop culture reference for Mercury.
Listen: (2:17) The voice of Queen, he died young, replaced by Adam Lambert who is a...fine singer.

58A. See 23-Down : DIVINE MESSENGER (15). A pagan mythological reference for Mercury.
Learn: Usually referenced as the 'winged messenger' because of the ankle wings.
and the 'reveal:

23D. Clue for 17-, 27-, 45- and 58-Across : MERCURY (7). They all work.


1. Draft order : PINT. Well Tin, we start right off with some Ale, and not an order to report for duty. Nice clue for 1A on a Friday.

5. "__-A-Lympics": '70s Hanna/Barbera spoof : LAFF. Really had to dig deep and use some perp help. I would imagine the cross with AKON might be a Natick for some. LINK.

9. "Wicked!" : SWEET. A really appealing clue/fill combo for our New England contingent. The " marks give it away.

14. It's pressed in a corner : ESCAPE KEY. I really liked the visual here. 54A. PC key : ALT. Once again we have our clue and a fill with the same word used in the same context (computer key).

16. Feature of some stickers : AROMA. Scratch and Sniff anyone?

19. "__ So Fine": Chiffons hit : HE'S.

20. Turkic flatbread : NAN. A variant spelling from what we are more accustomed to seeing. No Bobbsey twin on a Friday.

21. Conks out : DIES. Cars, engines etc., hopefully not people.

22. Disadvantage : CON. Pro vs. Con, are any of you list makers for decisions?

23. Cohort of Larry and Curly : MOE. Chairman, who did you pay for so much publicity this week?

24. Sound of disapproval : TSK. Back again so soon; I like to see the pair.

33. Hadn't settled yet : OWED. Being a NYT veteran, the cluing style is heavy with the less common definition of words, but we are all familiar with settling our debts.

34. Paul McCartney title : SIR.

35. Sierra __ : LEONE. An interesting country and history, now the center of the EBOLA outbreak with more than 250 deaths. LINK.

36. Watch readout abbr. : LCD. Liquid Crystal Display.

37. Showy flier : PEACOCK.I have never seen one fly in person though we have many here, and especially at Lion Country Safari. Really pretty sight.

40. Anguish : WOE. I am Friday's child.

41. Tickle : AMUSE. Now where do you keep your fancy?

43. ET carrier, supposedly : UFO. Unidentified Flying Object.

44. Graybacks : REBS. Not a term I know, but easy to guess since we all know the blue and the gray.

49. Elizabeth Darcy __ Bennet : NEE. Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen has her own WIKI.

50. Whatever : ANY. Three letters but I needed the perps.

51. Toy power sources : AAS. batteries.

52. Joint high-tech project : WIKI. A vague NYT type clue that is easy only if you have perped the W and the I, the K and the I. Is an online anything considered high-tech?

55. Altar line : I DO. It does alter your life.

63. Downed water, say : DRANK. Tin?

64. Some entryways : ANTEROOMS. I think all entryways are anterooms, not all anterooms are entryways.

65. Having bite : TANGY. I like horseradish.

66. Sister of Luke : LEIA. Star Wars' misguided twins. Mini-theme 26D. "Star Wars" surname : KENOBI. Obi Wan.

67. Tom, Dick and Harry, e.g. : TRIO. I liked these better. Before you go further, who are they?


1. See 15-Down : PENH. Wow more cross-references. At least there is a clue.15D. With 1-Down, Mekong River capital : PHNOM. Anyone been to Cambodia?

2. "That makes sense to me now" : I SEE said the blind the man.

3. Investigator in the USS Cole attack : NCIS. Not

4. Place for a price : TAG. My grandmother made tags in a factory in Southbridge after her husband died.

5. Some Tripoli natives : LEBANESE. Really interesting. The good news is LIBYANS is too short, but they both start with L.

6. One-named "Lonely" singer : AKON. His real name is Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Bongo Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam.  LISTEN.

7. Supportin' : FER. Not agin. More Lil Abner like speaking.

8. Author Dostoyevsky : FYODOR. Of all of his books , Notes from the Underground was my favorite even if Crime and Punishment is more well known.

9. Except : SAVE. Another NYT type clue, where it is quite correct, but not the usual definition of save. For all our resident poets, I would say it is artistic, "All was quiet, save the chirping of a single cricket."

10. Have difficulty dealing (with) : WRESTLE. I wrestled in grammar school, high school and college.

11. Length of a boring class, so it seems : EON. A new (vague) clue for a crossword staple.

12. Green-egg layer : EMU. I was unaware of this fact; now I know where Dr. Seuss got his inspiration. Kazie, did you have green eggs with your ham?

13. Ph.D. students, perhaps : TAS. Teaching Assistants.

18. Feudal land : FIEF. The word is the basis of the legal term Fee Simple, for real property ownership. If you want to read the HISTORY.

22. Whiting cousin : COD.  Another fishy clue. Cod being the base of most fast food fish dishes.

25. Impeded : SLOWED.

27. Claylike : BOLAR. My learning moment of the day, all perps. The word has not appeared in any puzzle since 1987!

28. "Pleeeeease?" : AW C'MON. Are their enough sports fans here to appreciate THIS. (2:49)

29. Turn down : REDUCE. It took a while, but it is like the volume on you car radio.

30. Don Quixote's aunt : TIA. Just Spanish for aunt.

31. Category : ILK.

32. Rizzuto's Brooklyn counterpart : REESE. Phil and PeeWee, Yankee and Dodger shortstops in the 50's and 60's. They were short but good. HOF material.

37. Foot, in anatomy : PES. Latin word, root word for pedicure, pedestrian etc. No sugar coated  knowledge dispensed here.

38. Not quite right : OFF. I am feeling a tad off today; maybe it was breathing in all the bug spray?

39. Great Barrier Reef setting : CORAL SEA. Off the NE corner of Australia, hopefully Kazie has some stories to tell.

42. Distorting : SKEWING.  I hope I don't skew this up; from the old French escuier: to shy away from.  "When ESPN does polls, the the results are always skewed."

44. Short streets? : RDS. Roads, 'short' meaning abbreviation.

46. Filming unit : TAKE. As in take a picture.

47. Sponge, e.g. : ANIMAL. Living creature.

48. Café customer : EATER. Man, I would rather see this clued Purple People ___.

53. Black : INKY. Another Pac-man shout out?

54. Italian wine region : ASTI. Spumante anyone?

55. Harpsichordist Kipnis : IGOR. Nope not on my radar.

56. Prefix meaning "half" : DEMI. So she is half dark-skinned.

57. Estimate words : OR SO.


59. Roth __ : IRA. Individual Retirement Account.

60. From, in Dutch names : VAN. When people started having surnames, they were often about what they did, who their father was or where they were from. De, Von and others.

61. Suffix with ethyl : ENE. She lived next door to Lucy.

62. "Kidding!" : NOT. I really loved when this fad was in. NOT!

I never know what Friday will bring, and once I got Mercury in the middle, I found this went quickly, overall a challenge and different cluing perspective. Welcome Mr. McCoy and be nice, I want to collaborate with him with a puzzle where Walter Brennan and Richard Crenna are theme answers. Lemonade out. Read his words....


Constructor notes:

I’m absolutely thrilled to make my LA Times debut!

In the original submission, the theme entries were NEIGHBOR OF VENUS, DIVINE MESSENGER, QUEEN LEAD SINGER, and METALLIC ELEMENT.  Rich Norris pointed out that METALLIC ELEMENT is not specific enough to make for a very good entry and that QUEEN LEAD SINGER doesn’t work because it really needs to include the name FREDDIE. The original grid also lacked MERCURY as an answer, which Rich realized could be placed in the center intersecting two themers. Therefore, I owe him a big thanks for improving the quality of the theme so much!


Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Truly enjoyed this workout of a puzzle! It's theme-rich, and elegantly constructed. There was a spot of trouble in the West, because Bolar was neither familiar nor guessable, but the perps seemed solid enough.

Morning, Lemon, thanks for enlightening about Fee Simple. I've seen it in real estate matters for years, but had no idea about the feudal origins.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

I'm FER rather than agin this puzzle. Learning moment: I don't know how to spell PHNOM PENH -- I put both H's at the end. Oops! For about the 18th time this week, I screwed up the first entry. PINT began life as PILS. Nicely done, Mr. McCoy.

Lemon, that photo is Bob, John and Nick. Dave Guard, not John, was on the original recording of Tom Dooley. He left the trio after 8 albums, or so.

My knowledge of SAVE comes from the Moby Dick that Melville never wrote: "A day will come at sea when you'll smell land and there'll be no land, and on that day, Ahab will go to his grave, but he'll rise again, and beckon, and all save one shall follow." That was spoken in the 1956 movie, but doesn't appear in the novel. Gives me goose bumps just to read it.

Budgie said...

Re:46 down: I believe take refers to shooting a particular scene...possibly more than once, e.g. scene 10, take 3

thehondohurricane said...

Morning all,

When I was a student at the U, the Kingston Trio was Dave Guard, Nick Reynolds. & Bob Shane. Did lose track of them and never realized Guard had left until recently. They were big favorites of mine "back in the day."

For those who may be interested, nothing new to report on Riley. Birthday # 4 will arrive on Labor Day weekend.

Big Easy said...

Well first off, let me admit that I drive a MERCURY which my daughter and grandkids call the AARP car. But when I quit working and my Mercedes 560SEL had 240,000 miles I decided that I would get a cheaper (by $44,000) car. Best car that I have ever had. It has over 120,000 miles and has only been in the shop twice for minor repairs. 25mpg on the road and V8 power. But on to the puzzle.

This sucker wracked my brain because of words that I knew but couldn't spell correctly such as PHNOM PENH, FYODOR, and KENOBI (Kanobe, kenoby, kenobe, get the picture. AKON LAFF and BOLAR made me stare at the paper because I didn't know if they were correct but they fit. I found the 44A clue interesting and knew it referred to the CSA. Does anybody out there remember the Blue-Gray and North-South football games that were once held before the proliferation of bowl games?

I had never heard the term ANTEROOMs but it made sense even though I had a hard time getting ANIMAL for sponge, as I was thinking along the lines of mooching.

DDT- killed billions of mosquitos and birds and let millions of people live. It's now the opposite.

Lime Rickey said...

Thought I'd jump in while this thread is, happily, limerick-free. And to extend kudos to Big Easy for his (?) pithy summary of DDT. Well said without (obviously) taking sides on a still-controversial subject (which, broadly speaking, is whether some species are more equal than others). Life on the (animal) farm.

Mari said...

Good morning everybody,

Good puzzle today. Definately a Friday level. I'm still scratching my head over FYODOR Dostoyevsky, PENH PHNOM, and IGOR Kipnis, but the rest was enjoyable.

Have a great day!

kazie said...

I'm afraid I really didn't enjoy any of this solve. I missed quite a bit. What do you do when even the clue means nothing? ...and I'm referring to several of the ones that actually were clues too! Names and vague references.

No, I've never eaten emu egg. If you broke one into a frypan, it would have to be an oversize pan to hold it, and then you'd need about 5-6 people to eat it all! They're about the size of a cantaloupe.

Lemonade714 said...

In 1958 I was in Florida for the first time, and the hotel we were staying at which had just opened, The Carillon, as the host to the South All-Star team getting ready for the December 27 contest in the Orange Bowl. Darrel Royal was their coach, and his son Mack was my age so we played together. It was after the Blue-Gray game in Mobile.

David R said...

I typically find these puzzles awkward both from the point of view of having to do a lot of solving of the downs to get the revealer of the answers and the phrases themselves. This puzzle was a bit easier since once you had the revealer, you had a good idea what the answers would be. The phrases were still very awkward with NEIGHBOR OF VENUS and ROCK STAR FREDDY making me wince. Minor postscript the word BOLAR had no place in this puzzle.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I'm not fan of referential puzzles but getting Mercury early on helped a little. And I do mean a little because I had a lot of trouble with some of the unusual cluing and some unknowns such as Bolar and Akon. Spelling was an issue, as well, with Penh Phnom, Kenobi, and Fyodor. I didn't care for Feature of some stickers=Aroma or Turn Down=Reduce. I know they are both legitimate but I, personally, had a problem with them.

That said, Congratulations to Tom Mc Coy, for a challenging Friday, which I did finish w/o help, but I won't say how long it took to do so! Thanks, Lemony, for the detailed and informative expo. CSO to our
resident Chairman!

Hondo, unless I missed a post, I'm in the dark about Riley's condition. The last comment I remember is that he was seeing the Vet this past Monday. Is he any better? I hope so.

Have a great day.

Big Easy said...

Lemonade- I forgot the East-West game in San Francisco.

Anonymous said...

My head is spinning from reading this wordy, exhausting NYT-type review of a LAT puzzle. Whew!

Grandma said...

Bummer! Exhausting and joyless. Hope tomorrow is more fun!

HeartRx said...

Good morning everyone!

Very informative write-up, Lemony. Thanks for the blast from the past with the Kingston Trio link. I looked up the background to "Tom Dooley" and found out that it refers to an actual murder / hanging that took place in South Carolina. His real name was "Dula." People in the south often pronounce the final "a" as "y" (like "Grand Ol' Opry.) Who knew?

I had a devil of a time getting started on this one, so I immediately focused on the central section. Once I had MERCURY, it still wasn't a great help, though.

In a definition theme type puzzle, the solving enjoyment really depends on "in the language" phrases. I have given up on constructing this type of puzzle, because almost invariably I am forced to use a less-than-ideal phrase, just to get the letter count right. I had the same feeling when solving this one.

Oh well, TGIF!!!

Lemonade714 said...

Big Easy,
My favorite all-star game was the college all-stars against the defensing league champions. You saw some really good college players showing they were ready to be pros.

CanadianEh! said...

Well, I had to WRESTLE with this puzzle even after I got MERCURY.

Went from SEMI to HEMI and finally DEMI. REJECT before REDUCE. Never heard of BOLAR.

Thanks Lemon for explaining things. I can't say that I enjoyed this one but it is Friday. I was not on Mr. McCoy's wavelength. I thought the clues for SPONGE=ANIMAL and CAFE CUSTOMER=EATER were somewhat "lame" as the answers could have been lots of other choices.

Maybe we'll get a Saturday Silkie for another challenge tomorrow!

Bill G. said...

Good morning. No Thumper reference from me. I found the puzzle really hard though less so once Mercury finally appeared. I would be grumpier if I didn't have red letters to fall back on before giving up. There were just too many tricky clues for me and too many words that I just didn't know (LAFF, AKON, BOLAR, IGOR Kipnis, etc.) Plus, EATER and a few others seemed unfair. But it's Friday...

Have a nice Friday and weekend.

Misty said...

Well, my heart sank when I saw all those number rather than word clues--my least favorite kind of puzzle. But I have to say that MERCURY came pretty quickly and that helped quite a bit and made it all enjoyable again. In the end I was defeated only in the middle west because I REFUSED to give up REFUSE instead of REDUCE,and of course didn't know FREDDIE the rock star, and never heard of BOLAR. But I should have guessed OWED--that would have helped.

Still, fun in the end, and any puzzle with FYODOR DOSTOYEVSKY in it gets extra points from me.

Helpful expo, Lemonade, thanks.

No, no, please, not a Silkie tomorrow. I need a break.

Have a great Friday, everybody!

Chairman Moe said...

cMy "puzzling thoughts" . . .

Lemon - you wrote, Cohort of Larry and Curly : MOE. Chairman, who did you pay for so much publicity this week? Well, I cc'd C.C. when I saw Sunday's "Moe", sent her a "C" Note; all's good!

Also, Lemon, you wrote, Have difficulty dealing (with) : WRESTLE. I wrestled in grammar school, high school and college. I just wrestled with grammar in school! Somehow, I don't think my 9th grade English teacher would be surprised to know that my favorite poems are limericks.

Lime Rickey @ 7:50 - sorry you don't enjoy limericks.

Today's puzzle was definitely not LAT-like. I did enjoy the clues/solves of 14A, 23A and 32D. WEES, the western middle of the crossword gave me fits as BOLAR just didn't look right. I was trying to squeeze THERMOMETER into 27A, and originally had REFUSE for 29D. I, too, was looking for a reference to the automobile - MERCURY - but none were found. 5A, 5D and 27D were my biggest perps. Finished with just one "look-up", and that was how to spell PHNOM PENH

Tinbeni said...

DNF ... over my "Mug-of-Java" time limit.

I got the MERCURY reveal and NEIGHBOR-OF-VENUS but had a problem with some of the vague clues.

After I got PINT & DRANK ... that gave me an idea for a "more enjoyable" start to my day.


Nice Cuppa said...

Morning All.

When I had NEIGHBOROF….S and BAROMETER….., the unifier, MERCURY, became obvious, so I went looking for the MAN. I was not disappointed. Any puzzle featuring the late, great, incomparable, irreplaceable, FREDDIE, is Ab Fab for me. Thanks for that link, LEMON. As fas as I known, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY was the first ROCK/POP VIDEO, made in 1975. It remains the favorite "group" Karaoke at our Graduate Student retreats.

RIP old boy (1991); FREDDIE was an early victim of HIV/AIDS before we understood or could treat the disease. In the 1980s, most people thought we had eliminated serious contagious diseases from the first world, with our arsenal of antibiotics and vaccines. How wrong we were: mostly our own ignorance and stupidity - overuse of antibiotics and chemical sterilizers, and our failure to deal with the global impact of third world diseases. HIV was the first, EBOLA virus is the latest reminder of our vulnerability.

On a lighter note, my 20-year dedicated graphics computer, which I named Freddie in the man's honor, is still going strong. I've bought ~20 computers since then, but the vector graphics with hardware anti-aliaising (and 3D glasses) still has not been eclipsed by LCD displays. The sound isn't bad either.


Jazzbumpa said...

Hi Gang -

Much frustration and less than a thimbleful of fun. Probably my biggest ever DNF.

Some of this is on me, some comes with V-8 cans because I wasn't on Tom's wavelength, but a big chunk because four grid-spanners and the unifier were essentially unclued.

I did eventually get MERCURY, with a perp assisted SWAG. Then sussed DIVINE MESSENGER and BAROMETER [THERMOMETER doesn't fit] FILLER.

Couldn't pull the others together, though. Never thought about poor conked-out FREDDY.

With FOR for FER, AW CAN I, mis-spelt FEODOR, missing NCIS, and having never heard of either AKON [a mis-spelt Targaryan?] nor BOLAR, it was hopeless.

I don't mind cross-referential clues, but when you end up unclued it's needessly gimmicky and something to be endured, not enjoyed.

There is no direct mention of Hg as the only metal that's liquid at room temp., nor as the essential element in the pigment cinnabar, so cluing opportunities were available.

Cheers anyway

Jazzbumpa said...

today's haiku ~

the planet is too damned hot
do not drink a PINT


JD said...

Good morning all,

Fridays are hard for me, and this was no exception. I did enjoy what I could fill, but had no clue where we were headed. I had 3 letters missing from barometer filler, and couldn't perp it. Loved aw c'mon, and your clip,Lemon. was thinking crime families for Rizzulo's Brooklyn far off!!
Just discovered that my mouse takes AA batteries a few minutes ago. I guess it's a toy.

Kazie, interesting about an emu egg... didn't realize how big they were.

Nice Cuppa said...


I wonder where OWEN is. Hope he's OK. He hasn't blogged on his cryptic sight either ( Maybe he is sweating over the clues I posed for him yesterday...


Husker Chuck (a.k.a. Ergo) said...

Good morning,

First time through and I was in agony. Eventually discovered MERCURY and the world began to blossom, but ever so slowly.

If not for BOLAR and its neighbors this would have ended up being a rare Friday completed in its entirety.

JJM said...

This was the most difficult FRI puzzle this year. I finished with 2 red letter helpers in SAT time.

Anonymous said...


Lime Rickey said...

Chairman Moe @11:19: It's not that I don't enjoy a (good) limerick, it's just that I don't understand why they're being posted (early and often) on a crossword puzzle site. Perhaps our inveterate limericists could at least wait until a dozen or so crossword-related posts are made?

Jazzbumpa said...

Lime -


What difference does it make?

And the limericks are always intimately related to the day's puzzle?

I don't get the objection at all.


Bill G. said...

I've asked this question before with no responses. What makes a NYT puzzle different from a LAT puzzle? I'm thinking about the cluing. If you're a constructor working on spec with a finished grid, how would you clue it differently for Rich vs. Will? Several folks mentioned that this puzzle seemed more like a NYT puzzle. I get that the NYT puzzles may be harder but my gut feeling is that there is something else different about the cluing.

I'm glad that Rich doesn't allow puzzles where one square can contain more than one letter. They are very unpleasant for me until I've tumbled to the gimmick.

Bluehen said...

If this puzzle is indicative of NYT puzzles, I'm glad that I never got hooked on them. Unclued theme and unifier fills, arcane cluing. Rough, rough slog, although I did get through it w/o cheating. Never heard of BOLAR or AKON and looked at them for the longest time but the perps were solid. Finally decided those were my answers no matter what, exited the puzzle and looked them up on the internet. Sonofagun! BOLAR is a real word! Thanks Mr. McCoy for a challenging puzzle and to Lemonade for an enlightening reveal. WDS @ 5:46 re: FEE SIMPLE. Also re: your reference to Asti Spumonte, every time I have tried it, it was much too sweet to be taken seriously. I think it should be called Nasti Spumonte. Really wanted 29d. to be "dogear" as a verb, but no. Got NEIGHBOROFVENUS early, but it was no help with the unifier. If a planet, neighbor in which direction? Or is it referring to a woman's name, possibly the goddess? Oh well. Very tough but doable if you have a lot of time to kill, which I do, PTL.

Anonymous said...

Grandma @ 10:22

Were you referring to the puzzle, or the write-up?

Ol' Man Keith said...

My first DNF in about a year! Thanks (but NO Thanks) to the middle west sector.
I just couldn't get a foothold, and not enough perps came through to find a weird word like BOLAR or to think of re-phrasing "Pleeeeease?" as AW C'MON.

Otherwise, I enjoyed this one-- properly tough for a Friday pzl. Clever in many places.

Bluehen said...

HG regarding your post yesterday about the "organization" you belong to. Not long after retiring I was invited to join a breakfast club that meets once a week at some local diner. We call ourselves ROMEOs. Retired Old Men Eating Out.

Tinbeni said...

OMK @2:19
I had the same reaction ... for 28-d, "Pleeeeease?" cluing AW C'MON.
And, 9-d, "Wicked!" cluing SWEET.
Also 62-d, "Kidding!" cluing NOT.

27-d, Claylike, cluing BOLAR was a learning moment ... that I'll probably forget by the time I "toast" the Sunset.


John Lampkin said...

Congratulations on your LAT debut, Tom McCoy and thank you for sharing your constructing experience. Rich is terrific editor and is known for going the extra yard for constructors. With a good editor, sometimes constructing feels like more of a collaboration than a solo effort.
Bill G @ 1:42 -- The standards at the LAT and NYT are essentially the same. Since both Will and Rich consistently change a large portion of the clues, it's hard for a solver to know if a particular clue is from the constructor or from the editor. It has often been noted that the NYT is roughly one day harder than the LAT. That is due to tricky clues and "difficult" words like BOLAR. BOLAR was no doubt a desperation choice making the lively AWCMOM possible.

Lemonade714 said...

Bluehen, Hmm with your chosen name including 'hen' I foolishly thought you were a female, why aren't you bluec...oh! Never mind.

TIN; BOLAR rhymes with MOLAR which rhymes with POLAR and reminds me of the old Charlie Chan actor, Sidney Toler. There is a limerick there somewhere.

Husker Gary said...

Just back upstairs from a lovely meeting with C.C. and Boomer here at the Hyatt in Minneapolis! She is even more charming and fun than I imagined! Boomer was fun too but C’MON MAN… Pictures later. The hour flew by and we are back up on the 20th floor getting ready for a wedding tonight.

-Tom’s puzzle was a fun Friday-level exercise with a great theme in the grid and four grid-spanning fills complemented by a nice comment in the blog. Thanks Tom!
-John, your comment also added to the “inside baseball” info today
-MERCURY is now verboten in school instruments
-TSK, TSK was a common sound I heard back home about the gay wedding we are attending tonight as they WRESTLE with love of Kathleen and their religious beliefs.
-Peacocks walk zoo grounds unafraid
-Movie images of an ALIEN (James Arness) from a UFO who scared the snot out of me in 1955.
-Water is our drink of choice at every meal dining in or out
-TANGY? My uncle made his own horseradish and it would bring tears to a stone!
-My colleague’s last name was Oberg and we called here Obi Wan Kenobi. Okay, I did.
-They are promoting being TAGless (look carefully)
-Funny Bluehen!

Anonymous said...

Bluehen, do you support the Fightin' Blue Hens football team at the University of Delaware?

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Nice to "meet" you, Tom, but I have reservations about the puzzle. WEES. So many back references were annoying. I couldn't get a foothold in the top two sections. The bottom third was a speed run doing downs, then I worked back up to fill it. MERCURY was a lucky WAG with a few perps.

PEACOCKS aren't known as "fliers". The tails are so heavy, they usually just fly to low tree branches or low roofs to roost at night where predators can't get them. Very annoying squawkers. Near neighbors on the farm had them.

Didn't know EMUS laid green eggs. I was trying to remember the name of a South American chicken or something from Seuss.

I was confused because PENH was where I tried to put PHNOM and couldn't spell either one correctly.

Knew FYODOR but not how to spell it: not Fe or Fi or FO, Y? No fum at all. AKON is no musical Icon.

I did WRESTLE in high school, but never accepted a second date from either one of those guys who didn't understand NO.

BillG: Don't know about puzzles, but NYC mindset is completely different from western mindset and doesn't translate well

Bluehen said...

Lemonade, Look up Youdee on the internet. Yes, I know the usually gender specific "hen" is misleading, but in this case it refers to "*ss-kickin' chicken".
Re the KENOBI fill: I'm trying to convince the brewmaster at our favorite brew pub to name his next Belgium abbeywine Abbey Wine Kenobi. No luck yet.
Whoops, 5:00 PM. I joining you, Tin man!

Bluehen said...

Anon @ 3:55 Guilty as charged. Long time season ticketholder and cook for our tailgating crew that involves several DE notables. Probably my only reason for joining such an illustrious group.
Like two thirds of us residents, I am not native. Small and interesting state, something like Alice at times.

Jayce said...

Wanted MANOMETER at first, and only REDUCE helped me change it to BAROMETER, since BOLAR meant exactly nothing to me. MOLAR seemed as good as anything, and is even a word used in chemistry. I haven't seen a mercury barometer for years, but yes there used to be such a thing. It is basically a, um, manometer.

At least I knew how to spell PHNOM PENH, and oddly enough IGOR Kipness was a gimme.

Anonymous said...

Today's Wall Street Journal Crossword had the clue "Can't I? Please?" for "Aw C'mon".

fermatprime said...


Thanks, Tom and Lemon!

Had trouble in middle west and resorted to red letters. Lousy 2 days for me. Don't expect much tomorrow.


Bill G. said...

Thanks John Lampkin.

I'm a recent fan of Doctor Who. It's taken some getting used to but I'm liking it more all the time. I get the feeling they are about to change actors. I've come to really like this Time Lord and I'm not looking forward to a change.

Bill G. said...

I have been working on the NYT Saturday puzzle. I know when I've bitten off more than I could chew but I couldn't even nibble on that one. No fun at all for me.

Anonymous T said...

Hi All:

So stubborn am I... I worked on / off on this since 2p. With only the north and smatterings about, I finally just TITT. Tom & Rich are too smart for me.

MERCURY I got early on w/ MOE UFO & SIR in place. NEIGHBOR OF VENUS fell and that opened that up. But the rest, not so much.

FYODOR - I knew that one because I met him. Not the writer, the hacker. IIRC, he took Dostoyevsky's name because of the book LEM mentioned. FYODOR wrote a tool 15 years ago that is still useful - I used it today to trace hops to a system I shouldn't have been able to touch. Network guys have work to do Monday.

Thanks LEM for the write-up and the answers (How many times can one say Doh!?) Tom, er, just thanks for the diversion. Like abstraction, I see the art, but only after it's explained :-)

In my little life - eldest and I built a delicious roast and then tuned in to FXX's The Simpson's 12-day marathon. If you get it, just set the TV on the channel and repeat.... "Mmmmm Beer..."

Cheers, -T

Anonymous T said...

Totally off topic (except it is always in the crossword) today is the the anniversary of the 1st sighting of Nessie of Loch - 565 AD. Well, that's what the Internet said... C, -T

Anonymous said...

Sympathize with Grandma at 10:22 AM. I can't remember the last time I felt so unsatisfied with a L.A. Times Puzzle.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for catching the mistake s, I was beginning to doubt myself . Mr. Macoy needs a spell checker and a geography book. Tripoli is in Libya, Lebonese come from Lebanon.

Argyle said...

Tripoli is the largest city in northern Lebanon and the second-largest city in the country. Population: 127,611 (1970)Lebanese

Tripoli is the capital city and the largest city of Libya. Population: 2,220,000 (2011)Libyans