Mar 12, 2015

Thursday, March 12, 2015 Alex Miller

Theme: "Mad As A March Hare"

Here we have a scrambled word at the beginning of each theme entry:

20-Across. Russian composer and piano virtuoso : RACHMANINOFF.  His "Piano Concerto No. 2" is one of my favorites. 31:16 - just listen to the first 40 seconds and you might recognize it.

29-Across. Café breakfast order : HAM CREPE. Never had one.  This is the one outlier, because it is the only entry with the hidden theme spread across two words.

37-Across. TV fantasy about three magical sisters : CHARMED. I think I watched it. Once.

45-Across. Den piece : ARMCHAIR.

54-Across. Annual sports event that begins with Selection Sunday on 3/15 ... or, cryptically, a hint to the scrambled word found at the starts of 20-, 29-, 37- and 45-Across : MARCH MADNESS.

This one seemed a bit tough for a Thursday - it took me close to my Saturday time to finish. Words like FANFIC and STRADE might have tripped up more than one unwary solver.  Throw in some myrmecological cluing, and I went down many a garden path before finding my way home!


1. Atkins no-no : CARB. I entered "fats"...

5. "__ bad idea" : NOT A. (Yes it was - I had "It's a" for a while.)

9. Brothers Grimm creature : FAIRY. Oh dear, why doesn't "ogre" fit???

14. Old apple spray : ALAR. Whew! Old crosswordese to the rescue.

15. Pinnacle : APEX.

16. Painful turning point? : ANKLE. Indeed, if you turn your ANKLE, it can be very painful!

17. Elizabeth of "Lone Star" : PENA. Oh, my, I am going to crash and burn for not knowing an actress from a nearly two-decades-old movie?

18. Nothing : ZERO. So far, it seems like that's what I have.

19. Experimental blast : N TEST. OK - I admit, I filled in *TEST and waited for perps to tell me whether it would be N- H- or A. But with the crossing of FAN FIC, I needed a total WAG at the N.

23. Related compounds : ISOMERS. Ah, now that's more in my comfort zone!

24. Gap : HIATUS. Take a deep breath before plowing on...

28. Italian roads : STRADE. Even though I lived in Italy for a while, I was thinking of ITERs, but still too short. I guess I needed to remember my many trips on the "A1 autoSTRADa" to finally get the correct answer.

By this time, I was really feeling like a
31. Birdbrain : NITWIT.

33. Arrived just in time for : MADE. "Phew! I made the bell!"

34. Reservoir creator : DAM.

40. Delivery person? : MOM. Well, yes.

41. Some Persians : RUGS. Hands up for "cats"?

43. Absolute ruler : DESPOT.

48. Arrival announcement : I'M HERE. Hands up for "I'M Home"?

52. Deduce : GATHER.

53. Manned the helm : STEERED.

57. Provide a spread for : CATER.

60. Script "Q" feature : LOOP. I hear they are doing away with teaching script in schools. Good idea? Bad idea?

61. In the past : ONCE.

62. Scenic route, perhaps : BYWAY.

63. Curvature : ARCH.

64. Stax Records genre : SOUL.

65. Sleep soundly? : SNORE. Ha-ha, I loved the double entendre of "sound-ly"!!

66. Milk sources for some Tibetan cheese : YAKS.
and a partial clecho:
67. Milk sources for some Greek cheese : EWES.


1. Crop pants : CAPRIS.

2. Orioles' div. : A. L. EAST. Oh good grief, I may as well just throw in the towel.

3. Venom : RANCOR.

4. Hindu priest : BRAHMAN.

5. Childhood home of Jesus : NAZARETH. Well, I'm starting to get some words filled by this time.

6. Makes the first move : OPENS.

7. Actress Hatcher : TERI. (Thank you "Desperate Housewives"!!)

8. Nerve cell transmitter : AXON.

9. Story you might find on, briefly : FAN FIC. is a web site dedicated to all things Harry Potter.  "Fan Fiction" is stories written by fans (not the original author) that expand on characters or events in the original book.

10. Myrmecologist's subject : ANT FARM. Definitely a Saturday clue! From the Greek word mýrmēx (ant).

11. '50s political nickname : IKE.

12. Jekyll creator's monogram : RLSRobert Louis Stevenson.

13. However : YET.

21. Doc : MEDIC.

22. Resistance unit : OHM.

25. Lions, Tigers or Bears : TEAM.

26. Fancy coif : UPDO.

27. Come off as : SEEM.

29. Personnel employee : HIRER. In my experience, the Personnel department simply screened the resumes, and I was the one who was the HIRER.

30. Dough dispensers, for short : ATMs.

32. Dry riverbed : WADI. I had to dig to come up with this one.
But somehow I was able to...
34. Pull with effort : DRAG. it out of the recesses.

35. Special something : AURA.

36. Co. runners : MGMT.anagement. The guys who hire.

38. Dorothy Parker's "Excuse my dust" and others : EPITAPHS. If that is really her epitaph, it's a great one!

39. Like the Taj Mahal : DOMED.

42. Bagel topping : SCHMEAR. Another one that stayed blank for a while.

44. Precisely, after "on" : THE NOSE.

46. Town crier's cry : HEAR YE.

47. JFK info : ARR.ivals

49. Prior to today, poetically : ERE NOW.

50. Save : RESCUE.

51. Fords that never got going : EDSELS.

53. Usually stained work garb : SMOCK.

55. French Open surface : CLAY.

56. Bat mitzvah dance : HORA.

57. "The Big Bang Theory" network : CBS. Gimme.

58. Author Rand : AYN.

59. Seesaw need : TWO. I seesawed back and forth between loving the devious cluing and tearing my hair out.  But by the time I got it all done, I really appreciated the challenge!


George Barany said...

This puzzle by Alex Miller had a delightful and timely theme, a real buzzerbeater, and Marti's humorous writeup was definitely a slam dunk.

My other reason for writing is to share the debut crossword of John Child, Go Look It Up (double-purpose, that's both the puzzle's title and instructions to you!) The puzzle has a fascinating theme, lively vocabulary, and an unusually low word count for a themed puzzle. At some point, either after completing your solve or if you are stymied, click here for John's "midrash" that explains the puzzle and its backstory. Enjoy!

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Fun, smooth puzzle today. SCHMEAR would have tripped me up in the past, but now, thanks to crossword puzzles, it is firmly in my brain.

Much like with HURLER from the other day, I wasn't overly fond of HIRER today. Yes, that may be what somebody actually does, but I can't see anybody actually being called a HIRER or referring to themselves as one. Except for Marti, apparently...

Lemonade714 said...

A challenging Thursday for me, saved by the down fill. I am impressed you found it smooth BG but I have been confused about the day f the week from a while.

My knowledge did not include Greeks studying ants but that filled easily it was the spelling of STRADE and the word CAN FIX were my slow points.

Thanks Alex and marti

Lemonade714 said...

Damn autocorrect


Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, Marti and friends. This was definitely a step up in the challenging department that earlier this week! I did like the way that the scrambled MARCH made up the first five letters of each theme answer.

Hand up for confidently writing in CATS instead of RUGS for Certain Persians.

Another Hand-up for trying both H-Test and A-Test before deciding on N-TEST.

Elizabeth Peña (1959 ~ 2014) died last Fall at age 55.

TERI Hatcher ~ real and spectacular.

QOD: Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion. ~ Jack Kerouac (Mar. 12, 1922 ~ Oct. 21, 1969)

HowardW said...

How can you not love a puzzle which starts off (almost) with Rachmaninoff? Challenging (didn't know STRADE and FANFIC, for example), but the only part which slowed me down was the west. It didn't help that I read one clue as "reservoir creature", and filled in an "S" at the end of 36D.

As for epitaphs, aside from Parker's, I like Mel Blanc's "That's all folks."

HowardW said...

P.S. George Barany, thanks for the bonus puzzle!

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Late to the party. I decided to update my fruit-based computer and it took l-o-t-s longer than expected.

I didn't have a lot of problems with this one, but I did expect it to turn into a DNF with the unknown FANFIC staring me in the face. I stumbled putting in MGRS rather than MGMT and wondered how "deduce" could be GASHER. V-8 can solved that problem. No, I didn't get the theme, because I failed to read the reveal clue. That happens a lot.

Time marches on....

Barry G. said...

I should have mentioned, btw, that FANFIC was near and dear to my heart since I have penned some myself (Godzilla-related, in my case). I'm not sure how I knew STRADE, but it was in there somewhere...

thehondohurricane said...

Good morning,

Got it filled in so i avoided a DNF, but STRADa got me a FIW. I was pretty sure NAZARETH was right, but I did not think any Italian word ended in an E.

I wasn't fond of this puzzle. Some of the cluing was pretty lame, IMO.

Back in the day, if I had walked into my HR dept and announced certain titles were being changed to HIRER, there would have been several women all over me and not in the pleasant way.

Did not care for the cluing for 16A & 33A either. Figured them out, just felt they were weak.

Like Marti, I let perps decide what kind of test was clued foe 19A I too started with Fats for 1A because I thought Atkins was advocating a diet full of carbs.

Oh well, I hope the rest of my day is a lot less confusing for me then this puzzle was.

kazie said...

I have a lot in common with others here already, except that I thought it was seemingly easy compared with recent Thursdays. Notwithstanding, I did slip up in the NW with ALIANT/PINA/INOMERS, having not a clue in the world about AL EAST.

It goes without saying that I relied a lot on guessing and perps as always. Perhaps that's why I found it easier than you who know more, and don't have to do that every day like I do! I've had more practice at it.

Anonymous said...

Since I'm sitting here with my ankle taped up I think the clue for 16 across is right on.


Yellowrocks said...

Pretty normal time for a Thursday until I got hung up on RUGS, MGMT, AURA. Just before I was ready to walk away I thought of Persian RUGS. MADE IT! but not in my usual time.
Many times when doing X-words I bless our multi-ethnic culture here. A SCHMEAR of cream cheese on a bagel is so common place to us.
I loved MYRMECOLOGIST and FANFIC, new to me, but perpable. I enjoy meeting new words and rarely consider them obscure or made up. I found many references to MULETEER yesterday, especially in regard to mining in the old west. Not obscure at all.
I am surprised at the objections to words ending in -er used as one who does. HURLER HIRER.
IMO the answer does not have to be the usual term. One who does fits the clue, too. "_er" is added to verbs all the time in Scrabble.

Ergo said...

Hello friends.

My apologies for the late reply. Thanks to all who piped in on my query about the pronunciation of "Mantra" on Tuesdays blog.

The reason I was asking was that I use the term 'man-tra' during job interviews. Then I saw a sultry TV ad (don't remember the product) where a beautiful woman pronounced it 'mohn-tra.' Hmmm, had all of those previous job interviewers been looking at me oddly?

Anyway, I didn't do a precise count, but it appeared to be an even split between 'man' and 'mohn'. I feel better now. Thanks for your validation. :-)

Tinbeni said...

Hand up for FATS before CARB and CATS before RUGS.

Filled in MARCH MADNESS and knew that "MARCH" was going to be mixed up.

Only needed ESP to get FANFIC.

Got a smile at the Dorothy Parker EPITAPHS.

All-in-All my solve was a slog with nothing to sip ...

Chairman Moe said...

"Puzzling thoughts"

I don't usually fill in the "theme" clue first, but as a sometimes rabid (according to my DW) fan of NCAA College BB, 54a was a lay up. Oddly, I didn't apply the theme to its clued starts; somehow I just got them without having to form anagrams of the word MARCH

Took about 15-16 minutes to solve with no cheats/googles; no ink blots either

Several guesses - ANT FARM (had the farm; figured it had to be ANT); dittos RANCOR/PENA as I did not recall the actress

I wandered all around the grid, plucking the LHF. Finished up in the NE corner with FANFIC/NTEST as last fills

Liked the puzzle; good brain tester for a THURS - thanks Alex and Marti

As for MARCH MADNESS, I will watch, but my alma mater will not be "dancing"; only the second time in the past 12 years they have missed the tournament [sigh]

oc4beach said...

A tough one today, but doable. As usual perps to the rescue along with a few wags.

I would have preferred a HAM OMELET, but that didn't fit along with CREAM CHEESE instead of a SCHMEAR. Also now know what a FANFIC is.

Marti: WRT Script or Cursive writing instruction in schools today, I think that dropping it is a really bad idea. How will the kids be able to read historical documents like the original Declaration of Independence or Constitution if they don't have cursive writing as a skill or even sign their name. Some states are going back to requiring cursive instruction like New Hampshire (See Article)

Have a great day everyone.

coneyro said...

Interesting puzzle with a few head scratchers.

Did not know what a MYRMECOLOGIST is. Not familiar with RACHMANINOFF. Never heard of MUGGLENET.COM. I first thought of HAMSTEAK before HAMCREPE. WEES to CATS before RUGS . STRADE and ISOMERS??

Even though sports is definitely NOT my thing, I am quite familiar with MARCH MADNESS, thanks to my husband. Got it right away.

ELIZABETH PEÑA also played the mother to Gloria on Modern Family.

Hurray for HORA and SCHMEAR. Now you're speaking my language.

Well today's offering made me feel like a little bit of a NITWIT. Some clues MADE ZERO sense. Did I give up? NOTA chance. I'll go on HIATUS from puzzlesolving for today ONCE I finish my cryptogram, while sitting in my ARMCHAIR. As long as IMHERE, let me DRAG myself to the kitchen and get a bagel with a SMEAR. No HAMCREPE for me. Not Kosher.

That was fun ONCE I got started.

Shalom to all.

Steve said...

Looking sideways at HAM CREPE - It's Food! Jim, but not as I know it :) Throw some cheese in there and you're getting closer.

I was taught cursive writing beginning around six years old. Fortunately, educational sanity prevailed by the time I was 9 or 10 and the exquisite torture ended. Just a wild guess, but I'm presuming that it had a purpose when using quill and ink to try to avoid copious blotting.

I'm not sure that I buy the argument that unless you learn it, you can't read the Constitution. Unless you learn Elizabethan English, you can't understand a lot of Shakespeare, and unless you study Medieval English, you can't understand pretty much all of Chaucer. We have scholars to translate that stuff for us!

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

Found the theme a bit bland, although very timely. Some of the cluing was odd, also.

In any case, good job, Mr. Miller, and great expo, Marti. That piano concerto is one of my favorites, also, as is his Symphony No. 2. IMO, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky both composed some of the most hauntingly beautiful music ever created. Listening to some pieces almost brings me to tears.

Have a great day.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Anagram themes are not my fav, but this is a nice, timely puzzle, and MARCH MADNESS is a natural invitation to an anagram.

Lots of hunting an pecking, but it eventually all came together. Maybe the slightest bit easier than the typical Thus.

coneyro - very clever.

RACHMANINOFF had such a gift for melody. If you have 15 minutes to sit back and close your eyes, this is break-your-heart beautiful.

Only 25 days until baseball season.

Cool regards!

Chairman Moe said...

In regard to cursive writing, another interesting aspect is how we ink our autograph/signature. Very few if any, anymore, make them either legible or practice correct penmanship. I recall as a kid, and being the sports nut (baseball, initially), it was always a treat to get a player's autograph on a card, baseball, etc, and see how unique it was. Of my sports "heroes", I also recall Arnold Palmer suggesting that ones autograph should be easily identified - no random scribble - as are evident in some of these

Misty said...

Whew! Glad to hear Marti thought this was a bit of a toughie too. I just couldn't get that northwest corner for the longest time. But when I finally figured out RACHMANINOFF the other words filled in, although I wasn't sure about ALAR until I came here. But I got it all--Yay! Many thanks, Alex, and you too, Marti.

Funny sign off, Coneyro--made me chuckle.

Off to teach Joyce's "Ulysses" at the Senior Center this afternoon.

Have a great day, everybody!

Bill G. said...

Hi everybody! I liked the puzzle. Tricky in places as I would expect on a Thursday. I had to guess at WADI, FAN FIC, ANTFARM and a couple of others. A good challenge. Thanks Alex and Marti.

BTW, George seems to find a way to use "midrash" in many of his posts. I could guess its meaning from context but I wasn't familiar with the word. I Googled it. Am I the only one? Are the rest of you familiar with that word? Just curious...

Lucina said...

Hello, puzzlers!

I'm surprised you found this difficult, Marti. Here I thought it was more on Monday-Tuesday level with some obscurity thrown into the mix.

CARB was immediate as earlier this week I saw it on another puzzle. And I knew Elizabeth from many shows of the past, most recently as coneyro mentioned, Modern Family.

For the Italian street, I recalled the Fellini film, La Strada and failed to changed the final a. FIW!

And as soon as I saw the R and the number of letters, knew it was RACHMANINOFF whose music cannot be praised enough as others have mentioned.

Learning moments for me, too, FANFIC and myrmecologist though instinct and perps told me it was ANTFARM.

Thank you, Alex Miller and Marti. Good fun, today.

Have to go. We're taking a friend to lunch for her birthday.

Have a delightful Thursday, everyone!

Husker Gary said...

MULETEER yesterday and FAN FIC today. How ‘bout dat? Some of the cluing was just a little off my wavelength but I am trainable and got ‘er done.

-NE corner was a white as Marti’s front yard for awhile but the theme got me to replace HAM STEAK with HAM CREPE and voila.
-Nobody watched CHARMED for great acting
-Eliminate DST? NOT A bad idea.
-Costs have been reduced to reach this treacherous APEX
-Writing in script seems to be becoming an anachronism
-Every good basketball coach teaches ARCH
-Judas lyric from J.C. Superstar to keep things less chaotic, “NAZARETH’s most famous son, should have stayed a great unkown, like his father carving wood, he’d have made good”
-Like many other egomaniacal DESPOTS, Shah Jahan’s lovely, extravagant memorial to his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal nearly bankrupted the country.
-Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s a little too ON THE NOSE” where a story element is too obvious

Lucina said...

Misty, how I wish I could attend one of your lessons!

Yellowrocks said...

Jazz, loved your Rachmaninoff playing in the background.
MIDRASH is used in Christian Bible study and in Jewish Bible interpretation.
I am of two minds about teaching cursive writing. In many ways I agree with Steve, especially about needing to read the Constitution in cursive. I also nod my head to some of the opposing points. I think cursive will die out. Until it does, the biggest disadvantage is that those who have not learned it will have some trouble reading what others write in cursive.
I dated a engineering student in college in the 1960's who wrote only in cursive, even love letters.
I frequently see the gray area between points of view, especially when others are adamant about the ONLY correct way. Like Fiddler on the Roof character, Tevye, I always say to myself, "On the other hand..."
I am in no gray area about DST. I am totally FOR it. I love those long light evenings.These March days my heart lifts as darkness descends later and later.

Yellowrocks said...

Correction, my engineering student boyfriend wrote only in print. He even printed his love letters.

Bluehen said...

I'm surprised so many good solvers had problems with the puzzle. I finished in two-thirds of my usual Thursday time, even without knowing FANFIC, Elizabeth PENA or what a myrmecologist is. Perps to the rescue.

Agree that some of the cluing was a little lame. Back in my youth on the farm CROP PANTS were overalls for my father and jeans for me. Wouldn't the clue be better as "Cropped pants"?

I told you Spring was coming. Neighbor's crocuses (croci?) are blooming.


C6D6 Peg said...

Nicely timed theme and puzzle today. Got through with some WAGS on FANFIC. Knew SCHMEAR, but thought SMEAR first.

Thanks Alex for a nice puzzle, and Marti, for a great write-up. Loved the link to Rachmaninoff.

Avg Joe said...

While more pleasant than yesterday's, I can't say this was a lot of fun. Didn't have major problems, but most came with a measure of difficulty. The final fill was that 2nd F in Fan Fic. I was already questioning Rachmaninoff, because I wanted an O instead of the first A. So I held off on the 1st F....(maybe an H....a P?) Put it in after a mental alphabet run, but had minimal confidence.

Breezy day here, but it's 73. No complaints about that. Hopefully the final 2 days of puzzles will be complaint free.

Ol' Man Keith said...

Yes, rather challenging for a Thursdy pzl. I finished with no cheats, but missed two (connected) answers: MGMT and GATHER. I was blind and couldn't see any sense to my responses (which were MGMS and GASHER), but left them because, well, you know, sometimes we must read the explanation to know how bright we really are. In this case, I proved to be nowhere near as bright as Marti!
Still, I took pride in knowing RACHMANINOFF, STRADE, SCHMEAR, and WADI right off the bat. And even MARCH MADNESS, 'though I'm not a big sports fan.

Jayce said...

I would not let go of Brahmin.

john28man said...

Irish Miss:

My retired Music Teacher son teaches a senior citizen's Music Appreciation Course and says the Russian Romanticists, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Borodin in particular best examples. I particularly like this orchestration of the Nocturne from Borodin's String Quarte No. 2 Nocturne

desper-otto said...

Bill G, I was able to infer the meaning. Sometimes I get it on the legs as well.

Jerome said...

What I would say to a HIRER. "I'M HERE, HIRE ME!"

Avg Joe said...

You just couldn't avoid it, could you D Otto.....

I'd recommend cortisone cream.

Diane said...

Interestingly, I could not get going until I put Rachmaninoff on the Bose. Then it fell together.

OwenKL said...

George: I enjoyed your olde puzzle today!

FANFIC: I'm afraid I've been guilty of a sort of fanfic, though fortunately pre-Internet. In my defense, I did mostly Feghoots, and not Mary Sues.

If you should write an EPITAPH
For my stone, when I have passed,
You might explain
In quaint refrain
How EPITAPH could rhyme with that!

Co. runners I puzzled over some synonym for errand boy. Is gofer an abbreviation?

I always tend to get MYRMECOLOGIST mixed up with mycologist, don't you? Myrmecologists study myriads of tiny myrmidons.

Theme today took me a while because I thought the anagram was for the first 6 letters instead of 5 (figured it was an error in my spelling that the 6 letter was either E or A). Basketball today, music yesterday, both outside my wheelhouse, so no inspiration for waxing limrical. Bah.

Side anecdote: When I found out one of my daughters (with my family curse of near-deafness) was taking keyboarding, I congratulated her on learning piano with her condition. I was corrected that "keyboarding" was what I'd known as "typing"!
Re cursive, I wish kids were taught Braille and ASL in elementary school. Not enough teachers, so it won't happen, but with people living longer and experiencing the effects of aging, those would be mighty useful skills! More so than cursive, which is less useful to the computer generation.

Big Easy said...

I had a little trouble since I knew BRAHMAN and RACHMANINOFF, just wasn't sure of the correct spelling. STRADE, CHARMED, SCHMEAR, PENA and EPITAPHS- all five were 100% perps. Didn't have a clue on any of them.

And then we come to FANFIC. ANT FARM was a WAG and A,H,or N TEST intermingling with HIATUS and HAM CREPE made that section challenging.

MARCH MADNESS was easy but being the NITWIT that I am, I never noticed the scrambled MARCH.

Even with the dorky FANFIC word, I liked this puzzle. And the write-up wasn't bad either Heart-RX, the prescription for a 'broken' heart?

CrossEyedDave said...

Did the puzzle early this A.M.

WEES & WMS (What Marti said, So much more eloquent than I...)

I fell into every trap & crevasse this puzzle had to offer, but being conservative did not ink them in. (which saved me from a huge inkblot...)

The most enjoyable thing about this puzzle was that even with all the mistakes, I was able to salvage it with perps (somehow, it wasn't easy.)

However, a personal Natick at 17A & 4D did me in. 5 freakin vowels & I went with my stomach & chose an E. (Thursday is pasta night) All I could think was Penne...

Anyway, I thought about it, & decided to post as the March Hare gave me an alternative to "Thumper."

To quote Alice...

Note: As far as posting late, I wouldn't worry about it...

Bonus link: I have no idea why I found this under "march Madness."

Argyle said...

gofer - alteration of 'go for'.

Spitzboov said...

Good afternoon everyone.

Did it this morning but am only posting now. Thought it was easy for a Thursday. One look up: HIATUS, but got ANT FARM and FAN FIC from the perps and a little WAGging. MARCH MADNESS helped me get the right anagram form for 45a, ARMCHAIR. BTW, loved all the MARCH anagrams.
Thanks Alex and Marti for a fun puzzle and blog intro.
EDSEL - A Mercury sucking a lemon.

Chickie said...

Hola Everyone, WEES. My mistakes or problems, if you will, were those made by others, also.

I don't think I've eaten cheese from a yak or an ewe. But goat cheese is yummy.

On a puzzle like today, there is always some good learning moments. However, I'm not sure I'll remember FanFic to use again--Myrmecologist probably not. My rememberer isn't what it used to be.

I finished only part of the puzzle this morning while waiting in the jury room to be called into court. I worked on the rest while I ate lunch. One other person on the jury also does the puzzle so we have been collaborating--on the puzzle, not the trial.

I'm glad to say, that we now have a ceiling in the spare bedroom. It is so nice to walk in there and not see the rafters and the underside of the roofing.

Have a great day, everyone.

Lucina said...

Re: cursive writing. I'm ambivalent about whether it should be taught and I may be wrong but I believe cursive writing is an American phenomenon. Having taught students from numerous countries, I find that they all print. Not one, in many years of teaching ESL did I encounter one that wrote in cursive unless he/she attended school in the U.S.

HeartRx said...

Lucina and Bluehen, I'm glad you found this Monday-Tuesday easy. I have no idea why it seemed so difficult to me! And I agree with you about wishing I could attend one of Misty's lessons!

Steve, I was about to say the same thing about needing cursive to read historical documents. By the same token, do we "need" to know Latin, in order to understand scientific terms? Not really, but it sure helps. I'm still on the fence about it - same as YR.

"On the other hand..." I am against DST. Why slam ourselves into the changing seasons with artificial shenanigans? I would rather adjust daily to the longer evenings and earlier mornings, a few minutes at a time. Lucina, I think you Arizonians (Arizonans?) made the right choice in avoiding it altogether.

Yellowrocks said...

As per Wiki:
"Sheep milk cheese is a cheese prepared from sheep milk. Well-known cheeses made from sheep milk include the Feta of Greece, Roquefort of France, Manchego from Spain, the Pecorino Romano and Ricotta of Italy."
-from a cheese aficonado. We say our family's middle name is cheese.

fermatprime said...


Swell puzzle, Alex! Great expo, as usual, Marti! Theme certainly easy to suss. Adore RACHMANINOFF!

No cheats, but scratched head at FANFIC and had BRAHMAN misspelled at first.

But, cursive is so much faster!

Love DST.


Avg Joe said...

On the DST topic, I think people are heavily influenced by where they are in the zone. Por ejemplo, I've got a friend in extreme W Kansas, and in the darkest days of daylight wasting time, the sun sets at 4:15~. That would be tough to take. But in our location, the earliest sunset is ~4:58 PM. And with the trade off being sunrise prior to 8:00 PM, I'll take it. I despise the business day beginning before the sun crests the horizon. It just ain't right.

In summer months, it's all good. But the worst part, for me, is the transition back to daylight wasting time. I can switch in the spring in a couple of days. The fall switch takes at least 2 or 3 weeks. So, it's not clear cut, but I can't think of a better alternative. YMMV.

CrossEyedDave said...





SwampCat said...

Wish I'd been here earlier! I love Rachmaninov but I have heard the "romantics" criticized as not serious enough...a la Bach. I listen to music for enjoyment not to prove anything!

And I HATE DST! I hate getting up in the dark, it just isn't right. And the "savings" at the end of the day mean nothing to me.

Several of us have asked why it starts earlier and earlier....but no one seems to have an answer. Anyone??

SwampCat said...

Lucina, I'm fascinated that cursive is a US school thing. Who knew? I guess we of a certain age assume that because we wrote that way, everyone did. How myoptic!

I think it should be taught just so kids can read old letters, etc. ,We study ancient civilizations, after all, though they are of no importance today.

But I can certainly understand the opposite point of view. Cursive will be less and less relevant as time goes on.

Argyle said...

This is a link Anon-t posted.

The Reasoning Behind Changing Daylight-Saving

Avg Joe said...

Thanks for that, Anon-T, and thanks for the repost, Argyle. I'm shocked....Shocked! That there are commercial interests attempting to form policy. Surely they are being altruistic. Right?

Let me introduce a different slant to this conversation that will likely be foreign to most (with the probable exception of Montana). Haying time. I spent my summers in high school working as a ranch hand in the Sandhills. Ranchers have this independent attitude that gives them license to set the clock however suits them best. When the rest of the world says "Let's switch to DST." Ranchers say "Let's get up when the dew is off the meadow and cut then stack hay when it's the right time of day. Time is nothing more than a concept." I've never encountered it anywhere else, but haying time is a practical slap in the face of arbiters of the clock. They get up when it makes sense, then work til dark. To hell with the rest of the world.

It does make thing a bit challenging when it come to commerce with the outside world, but the upside is worth it. In a sense, it's nothing different from marching to your own drum. And it works.

Anonymous said...

Regarding cursive - How about dropping the teaching of cursive to third graders. Many of them have enough problems with small motor skills, and it is very time consuming at that age. It could very easily be inserted for a week or so in English class at the high school level where the writing and reading of cursive could be quickly taught. It's not as if they are learning a foreign language.


Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

DAM!, I really wanted a HAM omelet! (yeah, I left out the 1st e, so it worked until it didn't). Well, CREPE.

Other w/os: 36d was CEOs until ARM rests were added by MGMT to my CHAIR. GYN? OBG? nope, MOM at 40a. Cute.

Thanks Alex for the puzzle and thank you Marti for the play-by-play. We didn't have any of the same solve issues, but I feel your pain. All-in-all, I feel CHARMED for getting a Thurs.

Fav: YAKS milk? EWE...

Re: 3d; As I understand it, BRAHMAN is a priest class/ caste, but not all BRAHMANs are priests. A buddy is BRAHMAN, but hardly priestly. Anyone know better?

Ergo - glad you feel better about your pronunciation. I've had many of those "I've only read this word" mispronunciations.

YR - Glad you clarified your Engineer BF printed - my mind couldn't comprehend an engineering major writing in cursive. I only print, but my writing is / was corrupted by Graffiti, Palm OS's scrib-dialect.

Has anyone else upgraded their iPad to the latest version? Mines a bit goofy since the update.

Cheers, -T

Anonymous T said...

C.C. You advised me on China Daily, but I can't wait to read the take on the Dalai Lama's decision not to reincarnate :-) Like MOM said, I'm a bit ornery. C, -T

Lucina said...

SwampCat et al:
I should have added that once I realized that my students all printed, I in turn printed everything I posted on the board as they could not read cursive.
Printing is definitely slower!

Because I taught cursive for so many years and practiced my own to perfection or as near to it as possible, I am naturally am partial to it but realize that future demands for it will only diminish.

Anonymous T said...

Lucina - I love reading my grandma's old letters; her handwriting was beautiful, I bet yours is too. DW's on the other hand is write-once-read-never. Cheers, -T

Martin said...

I came here after getting all the theme fill. I misspelled EPITAPHS and got LOOT instead of LOOP. I had LAC (French for lake) instead of DAM. (Reservoir is a French word and I figured this was a Thursday puzzle so they were being extra mean.) I also had CATS intsead of RUGS because I thought Persians were cats so I ended up with CTMS instead of MGMT and I was trying to figure out what it meant (Chief Trade ManagerS?). I did not expect a singular collective noun when given a plural clue! The middle left was a disaster!

Martin said...

I used to watch CHARMED all the time. Loved that show.