MONDAY, Jun. 23, 2008 - Andrea Carla Michaels and Patrick Blindauer (DEUCE TOPPER, IN CARDS)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: Words of consolation

As soon as I finished this puzzle (in remarkably good time), I wrote Andrea to tell her I did not understand the theme. Or, rather, I did not understand the cluing on the theme answers. I could see that all the theme answers were cliche expressions of consolation, but what the hell is the fourth, third, second, first runner-up stuff all about? Those numbers are meaningless and arbitrary. If you are somehow talking about four different, separate, discrete runners-up, then why does it start at fourth? It's all just mystifying to me. I suppose that when you finish a puzzle in only a hair's breadth over three minutes, you can't really complain with a straight face, but still ... I remain in the dark about what the cluing was all about. Cluing aside, it's a nice little puzzle. I think I freaked Andrea out - implying that I disliked the puzzle as a whole, which is not the case at all. She says it was inspired by hearing people say lots of consoling things to ACPT runner-up Trip Payne, who would have won the tournament had he not made an error. Interesting origin story. Andrea (or Patrick) can explain further, I'm sure.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Words to a fourth runner-up ("win some, lose some")
  • 26A: Words to a third runner-up ("you did your best")
  • 43A: Words to a second runner-up ("we still love you") - that's the most pathetic of the bunch
  • 58A: Words to a first runner-up ("close but no cigar")

I could have / should have had a sub-3 minute time today, but the theme answers flustered me enough to cause a minor slow-down, and there were several other places where I tripped needlessly. I had TESTUBES for god's sake; it's two words, dummy! And I wondered what element could start "UI-" (answer: TIN - 23A: Its symbol is Sn). While I did not write in EDDAS for SAGAS (48A: Norse myths, e.g.), I did write in PEAK for ACME (10A: Summit), and (less surprisingly) ROUSE for ROUST (35A: Push out of bed). Lastly, mistake-wise, I wrote in PAYSCALE for PAYSLIPS (39D: Salary indicators). Yes, I see that the clue wanted a plural - I just like PAYSCALE as an answer So much more than PAYSLIPS that I couldn't resist (actually, PAYSLIPS never occurred to me until much later).

List-o-rama:

  • 22A: "Casablanca" star, informally (Bogie) - I made myself watch this last year. I had been holding out, on some unknown principle, for decades. The movie was OK. I love Peter Lorre in anything. BOGIE was easy enough, but my initial reaction was to think of something one might have called Ingrid Bergman - since she's the one who's always in the puzzle (as ILSA).
  • 37A: Swiss artist Paul (Klee) - love him, love his name.
  • 39A: Jack who pioneered late-night talk (Paar) - I never can remember the PAAR / PARR distinction (the latter is the name of Henry VIII's sixth wife, Catherine)
  • 42A: Alice's cake instruction ("Eat me") - tee hee. This always reminds me of Judy Davis's drunken story-telling in "The Ref," a highly under-rated and largely forgotten early 90s comedy. The audio is out of sync on this clip, but ... it's still rich.



  • 64A: Borscht vegetable (beet) - I learned this past weekend, while out at the lake, that there is such a thing as a candy cane BEET. Red and white stripes, super-sweet. This is not likely to get me over the "Beets Taste Like Dirt" revulsion I have to eating the things, but it's ... interesting nonetheless.
  • 32D: Killer whale that does tricks (Shamu) - Haven't seen him in a while. See ORCA a lot. Is SHAMU still alive? Is there more than one? Free Willy!
  • 57D: Deuce topper, in cards (trey) - "Deuce topper" is one of those weird phrases that make sense only in crossworld, if at all.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

94 comments:

ArtLvr 9:00 AM  

I zipped right through this one, my best time ever! It was easy, yet enjoyable. My only hesitation was at 10A where Rex tried "peak", and I was for "apex" -- quickly cancelled for ACME by the cross with good old EPEE.

Yes, it seemed that "fourth runner-up" etc was extraneous to various phrases of consolation, but no problem, really. It all went so smoothly I didn't even notice little words like 59D BAA afterwards.

I like beets! and I liked the paper towel causing toilet to clog. And of course Yalies... with their favorite song's refrain being BAA, BAA, BAA!

∑;)

mac 9:30 AM  

I had this one done before eight this morning - this is the good side of jet lag.
I have to fess up I had eddas...; sagas are not specifically Norse, are they? Good memories of the Arno, our vacation house was in the Valdarno. Muddy water, though.
Did you want to fill in Bergie, Rex?
I like beets too, especially roasted, with some olive oil, salt and pepper and bits of goat cheese.

Ladel 9:42 AM  

@Rex

sometimes, depending on the type of contest, prizes are awarded to only a certain number of runners up, as a matter of convention prizes are rarely awarded beyond fourth runner up unless it's a feel good event and everyone who entered gets a little something. I believe here in New York State for example, horse racing pays off to the public for the first three spots, commonly called: win, place, and show, but the entrants get money up to the fourth spot.

Rex Parker 9:48 AM  

@Ladel,

The existence of the terms isn't at issue. My point is that the use of those terms here is completely arbitrary, i.e. there's nothing in the answers distinguishing fourth from first runner-up in terms of degree of consolation or ... anything. You could switch first, second, etc. all around and keep the grid exactly the same. Why is one phrase for "first runner-up" and another for "third?" Who knows?

rp

jls 9:53 AM  

re: sagas (and this was news to me, too...) -- first definition in my american heritage dictionary: prose narrative usually written in iceland betw. 1120 and 1400, dealing w. families that first settled iceland and their descendants, with the histories of the kings of norway, and with the myths and lwgends of early germanic gods and heroes.

next def. is the more generic: a modern prose narrative that resembles a saga; then, a long detailed report.

seems too that the origin of the word "saga" is old norse.

who knew?! ;-)

*really* enjoyed this smooth solve from a fave pair o' pros. nice teamwork!

and congrats, doc john & *spouse*!!

;-)

janie (who also notes with sadness the death of george carlin...)

Bill D 10:04 AM  

Cute little puzzle as we've come to expect from Andrea and pals. Loved the various condolences. I tried doing this one "downs only" as some here have mentioned, but I'm not sure when it's "legal" to start reading the across clues - I guess never.

Speaking of condolences, I did a puzzle yesterday where a clue was "People expressing sympathy"; the answer could have been "conSolers", but it wound up being "conDolers". At the time I thought it was the worst clue/made up word I'd ever seen; now I'm not so sure.

Shamik 10:24 AM  

Am I alone in wondering what the heck "Ever and ANON" is?

Easy one, but agree with the first to fourth as arbitrary assignments that could be interchangeable.

doug 10:39 AM  

There is no pleasure to be derived in solving a puzzle in three minutes. It's simply an exercise in speed-typing (or for the posers among us, writing). Frequently on Monday or Tuesday I'll borrow a Times at my local Starbucks, work the puzzle in my head and then carefully return it to the rack. Not worth $1.50 on easy days....

I have a couple of NYT collections of Saturday-only puzzles, and on days like this I'll go tackle one of those. But there's a certain satisfaction to actually doing one in the paper---the folding, the feel of the ink on that particular newsprint as opposed to the paper used in the book, so forth. When I used to smoke, I remember the most enjoyment came in playing with the pack, pulling out the cigarette, lighting it, the first draw. After that, more trouble than it was worth. That helped me quit.

Speaking of folding: Both Friday and Saturday I appreciated that the NYT (my national edition anyhow, printed in Dayton for our neck of the woods) didn't require that annoying fold back against the spine. That that fact is more memorable that the puzzles themselves tells me the difficulty was not up to par.

Doug
Bored, OH

chefbea1 10:49 AM  

Now that I subscribe to the times digest I do the puzzle early (and save $1.25)
Rex - I too had pay scale then changed it and finnished in record time.
I love beets prepared any which way but agree with Mac they are the best when roasted and of course with goat cheese.

PhillySolver 11:03 AM  

I liked that all of the answers were four words and the symmetry of the two 15 and two 14 letter answers. The order of the answers is arbitrary in that the terms could apply to any of the four places short of winning, but I think the numbering was simply to give continuity as you went down the puzzle. I hope that makes sense. I mean it seems like it just kept you going like an awards ceremony, 5th place, 4th place, 3rd place, 2nd place, Tyler.

In continuing the constructors small vanities, Andrea's company appears in the grid and maybe Patrick has something personal there too.

archaeoprof 11:09 AM  

For 39D, I first tried "pay stubs."

Joaneee 11:11 AM  

I had paySTUBS originally. Love beets, must try Mac's recipe!

Ladel 11:20 AM  

@Rex

got it, and you are correct, had the constructor been able to do as you suggested this would have qualified as an extra credit puzzle, alas it's only just good.

@All

Beets, love them, goat cheese, bring it on. Remember, root vegetables are enhanced by roasting, especially with a little EVOO, salt and pepper. Do it with whole heads of garlic and the neighborhood will beat a path to your door.

des 11:43 AM  

I also had PEAK, PAYSCALE, and EDDAS.

As soon as I finished the puzzle last night I began thinking about how annoyed Rex would be with the theme's lack of coherence. And while I agree that they seem somewhat arbitrary, I would point out that they are not completely interchangeable; "close but no cigar" is much better as the first runner up than the fourth. (Well, that's my attempt to make some sense of them, anyway).

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

"Close, but no cigar" strikes me as more of a taunt than consolation. If I'd just lost some important competition and someone said that to me, I'd tell them to f off.

a guy

BT 12:24 PM  

I really wanted the last answer (bottom right) to be "winner" or "you win" or something like that. But since that didn't happen, my reactions was the same as Rex. Sort of "huh?"

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

Agree with your payslips/payscale comment. I had to fix paystubs when the close but no cigar answer became obvious.

Orange 12:56 PM  

Doug, you're full of it. Honestly. There is joy in solving a puzzle in three minutes:

1. The clever clues are no less clever if you are able to figure them out more quickly.

2. You have more time left over to appreciate the finer aspects of the construction, to study the way the theme hangs together, to see how successful the constructors were at eschewing crosswordese, and so on. (e.g.: In this puzzle, very successful—and it's damned hard to do it, which is why Will's backlog of Monday puzzles is small. It's too easy for a constructor to include crosswordese, which locks out the newbie solvers. This theme perplexed me the same way it did Rex—it didn't particularly grab me, and I don't know why the clue wasn't the same unspecified runner-up for all four phrases—but I am impressed with how perfectly Mondayish and smooth the fill is.)

3. Speed solvers tend to (a) do a lot of crosswords and (b) love 'em to pieces. Speed solving lets us enjoy many more puzzles than we'd have time for if we went more slowly.

4. Secretly, we relish being able to solve much faster than the people who inform us that speed solving is inferior to the solving that is done by people who simply cannot solve as fast as we do. There. I said it.

So Doug, please quit telling people they're doing their hobby wrong. You will find approximately zero speed solvers who will tell you that your way of solving is wrong for you, so can't you do the same for us?

Rex Parker 1:00 PM  

"approximately zero" just made me laff very hard.

rp

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

I normally do the crossword at night after the next day's puzzle posts at nine CDT.

This week I am in Singapore and the International Herald Tribune is delivered around 6:30am to my hotel! (which is 6:30 pm the previous day CDT)

Think how much further ahead that puts me from the syndicated solvers!

Larry

doug 1:48 PM  

Orange,

Are only opinions that agree with you permitted here? Seems to me you stated yours with a lot more venom than did I. "You're full of it"? (Rex, gimme a quick breakfast test here, will ya?)

I understand your preference; your explanation was clear, and I accept it. I simply don't agree with it.

I never attacked anyone. I guess the implied "for me" somehow led you to believe that I was condemning speed solvers. I never called nor even implied you and your ilk are "inferior", nor "wrong". If you wish to attack me, fine; just don't do it under the false guise of responding to something that I didn't write. Your words are offensive---not defensive.

Where you like to say, "Yay! Only three minutes!", I say, "Darn. Only three minutes...." To me, clever means I have to exercise my mind a little more. I get more pleasure from an all-day sucker than a piece of popcorn. JMHO. I say again: Only my opinion---as I presume everything everybody posts here is, no?

I encourage you to reread my post and see if I really said anything worthy of your tipping over like that; then read yours again, and see if you note the same hypocrisy that I see in your overreaction.

Perhaps some of my other, often satirical, posts have confused you and led to to be prejudiced whenever you see me here.

Doug
Ironic, OH

humorlesstwit 1:52 PM  

@Rex
Permission to feed the troll?

Steve 1:59 PM  

I like to time myself on Mondays only, jut for fun and personal satisfaction. Every week I try to beat my personal record of eight minutes.

I solve the rest of the weeks' puzzles in a more leisurly manner. There is something to be said for savoring them. I like it when I have to erase a lot. Keeps me on my toes and my old brain functioning.

Joon 2:13 PM  

4. Secretly, we relish being able to solve much faster than the people who inform us that speed solving is inferior to the solving that is done by people who simply cannot solve as fast as we do. There. I said it.

hee hee. secretly? i'm not very good at hiding it.

okay, even if there is no pleasure to be derived from solving in three minutes, what about two and a half? eh? :P

ronathan 2:29 PM  

Count me in with the PAYSTUBS instead of PAYSLIPS crowd.

According to the Wiki article, the original Shamu died in 1971. Since then, the name Shamu has been used (and actually trademarked) by SeaWorld as a stage name for orcas not only in the original San Diego site, but also in their other locations as well (e.g. Orlando). So, to make things extra confusing, there are multiple whales (who are referred to by their "real" names when not on stage) that use the nom de guerre of "Shamu" while performing. The same is true for the names "Namu" and "Ramu", also trademarked by SeaWorld.

cheers,
Ronathan :-p

Doc John 2:34 PM  

First, thanks to everyone for their kind comments. Howard and I have had nothing but positive reactions to our news. I'm verklempt!

Now, on to the puzzle: I thought it was fun. I agree that the theme clues were a bit arbitrary but having done most of the downs first, they weren't too hard to figure out. After all, it is a Monday!

Pay scale instead of PAY STUBS, sped instead of TORE but not peak instead of ACME!

EAT ME- a little risque for a Monday (of course, maybe it was because the first thing I thought of was the writing on the Delta House float in Animal House).

Picket and SCAB- from another old SNL skit ("old" being with Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd).

"Irked" and IRES!
ALIEN and ETS!
BLIP and BOGIE!

An alternate clue for 63A: "Star of 'ife Goes On'?" = UPONE

ronathan 2:37 PM  

@Doc john

I believe that was Patti LuPone, not UPONE. Still funny though.

-ronathan :-p

ps- congrats, BTW.

Rex Parker 2:40 PM  

Sorry, doug, I'm w/ Amy on this. You made a blanket statement that is simply wrong and at least implicitly derisive of how a lot of us solve: "There is no pleasure to be derived in solving a puzzle in three minutes." Those are your words. If you were to have said "I'm always disappointed when I can solve a puzzle in three minutes," and had gone on to describe why, w/o making a petty uninformed slap at others, I don't think anyone would have blinked.

rp

imsdave 2:59 PM  

Pleasant clean puzzle. Wrote in STUBS and ADAY (quick erasures though).

@Rex and Sandy - thank you for your kind comments about my family yesterday. We all had a thoroughly enjoying evening and hope to do it again sometime. I respect your courage in following directions that say 'drive 8 miles into the woods, turn left at the dirt road, last house on the left'.

I saw that movie.

Best to all.

Doc John 3:02 PM  

@Ronathan- reread the clue, particularly the spelling of the name of the series. ;)

ronathan 3:09 PM  

@doc john

(smacks forehead in light of my obvious stupidity)

I guess I assumed that was just a typo.

Regardless, thanks for the chuckle.

-ronathan :-)

Doc John 3:14 PM  

@Ronathan- glad you chuckled. I was (and still am, sort of) afraid that Rex will delete the whole post for having such a bad pun!

Three posts- I'm done. ;)

Jim in Chicago 3:34 PM  

A fine Monday effort. 99.99 percent easy, but I must confess that I didn't quite finish.

I didn't think to try to parse UPONE and didn't know NANA (not a clue, actually). Which left me with UPO_E and NA_A. I went through the entire alphabet and nothing could turn UPO_E into a word.

steve l 3:39 PM  

Re speed solving--I will weigh in by saying I much more enjoy a puzzle that slows me down, that makes me think, that allows me to spend a good half-hour in the pursuit. I can't make up for the lost time by doing other puzzles. I've tried them, and a half-hour with six different puzzles is not the same as a half-hour with the NYT puzzle. It's the cream of the crop. I also am amazed--positively amazed--that Amy can do a puzzle in under three minutes. I have been doing NYT crosswords daily for almost 30 years, and at one time, thought I would try to solve as fast as I could. I found that I couldn't think--or even write--faster than four or five minutes. I knew I could never improve upon that, no matter what I did. So I devised ways to make the easier puzzles more challenging to me: across clues only, in order; contiguous clues only, starting with 1A; no erasures; a combination of the above. I'd much rather sit down with a cup of coffee (if working in the morning) or dessert (if doing the 10 p.m. Across Lite) and alternately solve/sip or nibble, which of course, slows me down, than rush through the puzzle. I also appreciate the acrostics and cryptics on Sunday, since they are variations that keep things fresh for me (never did an acrostic until I realized how much easier it was mechanically to do online.) I especially like the Split Decisions puzzle they run once in a while. But I would never, ever tell someone else how to do their puzzles, or to derive pleasure in general.

Gnarbles 3:43 PM  

Was anyone else curious that Rex posted a photo of Pat Summit, head basketball coach for the U. of Tenn Lady Vols? I don't picture him as a women's basketball fan.

Anonymous 3:58 PM  

Since Rex is a gentleman, I have to assume the Pat Summit is a play on the term ACME.

If he were not a gentleman, I would assume that Pat Summit is someone he would push out of bed.

Sandy 4:09 PM  

I was wondering if anyone would even bother with Doug, since we've been over and over this. People solve however they want, and telling people who like to time themselves that there's no pleasure in that is silly. Yes, I said silly! If someone enjoys something, then just let them enjoy it. Doug, I don't think you have much right to get huffy at Amy, since you started it with your blanket statement that her way of solving is wrong. You also implied that people who like to solve in ink are posers. The differences in solving styles are interesting and personal, and not a reason for saying derogatory things about anyone's personality. Civilly stated differences of opinion are very welcome here, but your comment was not one of those.

I should just have a standard response prepared for this kind of statement, because it is the one thing I feel compelled to chime in on.

imsdave 4:18 PM  

@steve I - I'm kind of with you on this one. Something else to try on easy puzzles is to solve sections of the puzzle without looking at the clues, only the partial up/down crosses. Very entertaining.

Ladel 4:22 PM  

@Sandy et alii

thanks for that, would that Doug reads it and gets it. In the end, what matters in life is purely a personal perspective that can not be analyzed to be right or wrong, this part of human existence is so self evident that it borders on axiomatic. Those among us who can imagine what it is like to walk in an other's moccasins are fortunate, those who can't have a long row to hoe and even longer journey to maturation.

Rex Parker 4:39 PM  

But honey, people who solve in ink *are* posers ... or at least I think I said something along those lines at some point in my blogging life. I at least thought it. But I shouldn't talk - I solved in ink for something like a decade. Mea maxima culpa.


rp

doug 4:43 PM  

Sandy wrote: "You also implied that people who like to solve in ink are posers."

Rex,

Do you want to straighten Sandy out on who called pen-solvers "posers", or do you want me to?

I love this site! Too fun! Sandy, you've made my day.

Doug
ROTFLMAO, OH

Anonymous 4:43 PM  

Hey, I solve in ink. And when I can't guess what I wrote because I've changed it too often, I just realize that I got beaten by this puzzle.
And I can live with that.

chefbea1 4:45 PM  

enough about how long it takes to do puzzles!!
Just go eat some roasted beets with goat cheese!!!

Humorlesstwit 4:45 PM  

Seriously, Rex, Permission to feed the Troll?

marnie 4:55 PM  

Yikes -- or Jeeze -- but I don't like to say that word. I signed on to the comments just to say how great that Judy Davis clip was and how it made me want to see the movie.
It probably takes me 15 minutes, not 2, to do a puzzle and arguing over whether it is satisfying or not to do it fast just seems overly competitive to me -- and petty all around.

Then all of a sudden, there is a put down about doing a puzzle in ink (I do it with an erasable pen... great invention!). Do we really care? Isn't it about the love of THE PUZZLE?
Anyway, I wanted to share about the movie clip and instead walked into a silly controversy.
Where is the joy? The whole thing about Rex is how fun he makes it .. and personal .. in an interesting way.
I feel like I walked into some inside group and I don't like that feeling -- at all.
enough said .. now let's see if you tear ME apart...

Sandy 5:03 PM  

Ah, Rex dear, you pointed out my forgetfulness so nicely and humbly that I am smiling.

Rex Parker 5:11 PM  

@humorless, Permission temporarily, hesitantly granted.

And here's a suggestion to everyone for future blog interactions. If you want me to reply to you in a way that does not resemble a knee-capping, don't ever, ever ask me to "straighten out" my wife. Not in public, not in private, nowhere, not ever.

rp

Rex Parker 5:15 PM  

@marnie,

There really is no controversy. What you are seeing here is bored, largely rehashed Monday blather.

And you'll never get torn apart if you insist on being so decent all the time.

rp

dk 5:20 PM  

As a representative of the poser class and a lover of roasted (on the grill) beets with goat or blue cheese and some toasted pine nuts. I object to all the abuse posers get. You all should thank your lucky stars you have me to make you feel morally superior.

@doc john I ad my belated congratulations.

This puzzle was fun and fast. My PEN flew through this one, while sitting in the penthouse lounge of the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood FLA. Please note that it is DR. Poser and if it was not for the great sunrise I would have been well under 3.

@wade On a more trival note this hotel seems just the spot for an international arms deal.

Shall I do tomorrows puzzle (in ink) by the pool... ahh the mind doth wander.

@marnie, 10 hugs to you!

mac 5:46 PM  

Had to go to Wiki to find out what "feeding the troll" means. What an apt expression!

jae 5:47 PM  

@ronathan re SHAMU -- wouldn't that be nom de mer?

JC66 5:50 PM  

@doc john My congratulations to you and Howard.

@Doug I think you might have avoided this whole broohaha by beginning your rant with "IMOO." But, as Rex said, you've managed to add a little more life to a Monday (that was already blessed by a great effort from Andrea and Patrick).

steve l 5:54 PM  

When I do the puzzle in the paper, I use an erasable pen. I just found a pencil to be unmanageable, since a) it's hard to read, and b) the erasures destroy the newsprint. When I find myself with only a regular pen, I do the puzzle with it, and consider it another variation on how I increase the challenge of an easy puzzle. I don't see how using a pen makes someone a "poser." (Pretentious? Showing off?) It's just how I can do the puzzle most easily for me.

Wade 5:57 PM  

I'd appreciate it if you guys wouldn't talk about the puzzle until I'm finished with it. A little courtesy please.

Sometimes I go down to my local hipster coffee shop with the puzzle and get ticked off that nobody's impressed that I'm doing it in pen, and then I realize I'm not wearing pants.

Rex, glad to see you weren't bowled over by "Casablanca" either. It's one of those movies I keep watching because people keep telling me it's great, and I just don't see it. I agree it's okay. I don't agree that "The Searchers" is okay--I think it's idiotic and heavy-handed and that the "comic relief" parts are painful--but a whole lot of people whose opinion counts for a whole lot more than mine does keep telling me it's great, and I keep watching it, trying to see what I'm missing.

The only way I ever had beets growing up was pickled. My grandmother canned them. She kept making them for me long after I stopped liking them, right up to her death when I was 23, and I kept eating them, along with the mincemeat pies I liked when I was six years old and stopped liking not long after that. When she died and I came down from St. Louis for the funeral, we cleaned out the house and hauled years' worth of canned pickled beets to the dump.

chefbea1 6:14 PM  

@wade you are from st. louis?? Me too. My mother always made pickled beets and still eats them at age 94.

tony orbach 6:24 PM  

To comment on the Orange/Doug flap: Orange is right that there is something to be appreciated about the early week puzzles that's different from the super-tough ones. Doug, it's obviously up to you which type of puzzle you prefer to solve. As Nancy Salomon once said, "speed-solving a crossword is like speed-eating a gourmet meal" - she prefers to savor the clues and answers vs. burning through them. It's a wonderful thing that crossword enthusiasts have the option to do whatever they like, on paper or online, for speed or not, etc. I think to make it all about degree of difficulty is misleading too because the Oranges of the world will solve the hardest Saturday in the time some of us "speed" through a Monday.

Happy puzzling to all!

Crosscan 6:30 PM  

If I am solving on paper it is usually in bed so I use a pen; otherwise I'd get pencil erasures all over the pillow.

The only ones I could impress are my wife and my fish. My wife will see my scribbles and say "you made a mistake!" The fish have withheld all comment to this point.

I shift to mechanical pencil (on a desk) in January for ACPT training.

Jane Doh 6:34 PM  

It's only Monday. A group hug is in order and playing nicely together for the rest of the week is the intended outcome. Prozac is optional.

Feed the troll beets. Yummmy!

Belated congrats to Doc John. Do it for him.

alanrichard 6:45 PM  

I've been doing these since I was in my mid teens and I always did the puzzles in pen. I never even thought of doing them in pencil. Whats funny is that for many years I never realized that they got progressively harder throughout the week. Monday through Thursday felt pretty much the same and Friday & Saturday were always hard. I just figured that the clues on Friday & Saturday were more ambiguous. I also learned, over the years, that all the useless information you aquire throughout getting a BA and MA etc are invaluable in, ha ha - if nothing else, solving crossword puzzles!!! Sometimes I just smile when I know some rediculous obscure answer on a Friday or Saturday puzzle that all those years of education had some benefit!!! Meanwhile its still fun, brief as it may be, to do the early week puzzles. And there are many other challenging venues available for anyone who wants to search for them. When I was a kid I used to go to Webster's to get the answers when I didn't know them but now I never google - I just stare at it and think about it and eventually figure it out.

green mantis 6:47 PM  

Yay Monday! No other day affords us the leisure time to bicker this way about non-issues, and to reflect with transcendent appreciation on what the bickering is really about: a deep-seated need to connect, engage, be seen and acknowledged in our capacities as widdle puzzle pieces in this grand production of life on earth. This fundamental urge shines through even the most transparent-seeming attempts to agitate and diminish others, and for that reason I celebrate even the most blowhard-y of our community.

My hugging booth will be open in about fifteen minutes. Please remain orderly as you wait your turn.

treedweller 6:52 PM  

I tried both payscale and paystubs before finally getting to PAYSLIPS.

I don't like beets, but I do like goat cheese.

And I will state unequivocally that people who do the puzzle in pencil are fools! As Steve I said, you can hardly read your writing and erasures tear the paper. I don't really see how erasable pen would be much better because of the eraser-on-newsprint thing. If you are using a pen and you are not able to confirm a letter or word through crosses, it's easy to lighten the stroke and squeeze the letters into the corners of the squares so corrections are not a problem. Pen solvers rule! CASECLOSED.

And I hope I don't have to say it, but that last bit was not intended to be serious. I still refuse to use emoticons. Not because those who do are wrong, just because I am such a poser.

Oh, and @wade:
I still have to choke down some divinity every time I see my grandmother at Christmastime, because once when I was 10 I had my first taste on vacation and came back raving about it.

scriberpat 6:55 PM  

Good puzzle, thanks for the write-up once again Professor Rex. Also have to say thanks to Artlvr and Mac for starting off the Comments with the beet tips:
I have redbeets in my fridge. It never occurred to me to wrap them in foil and bake. I would have gone ahead and boiled them to death again and then doused them with vinegar. I'll take the leaves and stems off first, and steam them separately. So thanks for the idea, which I ought to have been able to come up with myself as I love baked carrots. I think Doug likes to see if he can get a rise out of Rex. I find it interesting that people take the time to explain what they mean because so many people don't and also so many don't think it's necessary. i understood Doug's first sentence to mean in his "IMOO" -- who else's opinion would it be after all he is writing it.

Bill from NJ 6:59 PM  

I come down four-square with Rex on this discussion about the theme. No way these responses can be ordered: they are generic.

I've seen clues repeated in the past. How about Comment made to an also-ran clued four times? Would that work?.

I've visited Andrea's website and she refers to her business as ACME Naming so a nice shout-out to herself.

@Orange-

I go to your site at least once a day and always check your time. I see you as a benchmark not as a superior person - a benchmark

Fergus 6:59 PM  

... and I was just reading the current Newsweek, where on page 13, in a brief article on blogging and psychology, an excerpt says, "Blogging gets you closer to that sympathetic audience, and that's what makes it therapeutic."

Leon 7:26 PM  

Nice job Andrea and Patrick.

@anonymous (a guy) 12:13:

Responses in the puzzle from sore losers for each of the phrases:

17 across reply - Go BLIP yourself or “YEAH RIGHT.”

26 across reply - HUSH

43 across reply- EAT ME

58 across reply - HURL

Doug 7:45 PM  

Damn, Blogger just crashed on me!

Allow me to offer up some alternative theme clues:

"Said to Tom Brady on Feb 4"

"Said to George Clooney on Feb 24"

"Said to Hillary Clinton on June 7"

"Said to Kobe Bryant on June 16"

Beets began to be justifiably panned when grandmothers began forcing gransons to eat tinned beets, I believe around 1969....

To quote Jamie Oliver: "Beets are red meat are best mates." His recipe for beef salad is awesome:

Slice fresh, RAW beets using a mandoline (or a very good knife.) Marinate in oil, balsamic, lemon, S&P, then mix into a green salad with a horseradish dressing. Grill the beef, slice and mix in. AWESOME.

Howard B 7:47 PM  

I'd solve in pen, but I almost never go through a puzzle without at least a couple mistakes, silly or otherwise ('Its end is often observed' = 'BRAS' instead of 'ERAS', for example - don't ask). There's some bizarre joy in discovering that crazy mistake you left somewhere in the puzzle, and actually fixing it. Since I like to play fast and free with my answers, there's a lot of erasing to be done; so I've stuck with pencil.

When I don't feel like speed-solving, I turn to the Newsday Saturday Stumper. That thing kicks my posterior just about every single week, and I don't worry about the timer while it's doing so.

Rex, Orange, and most of the blog readership - I'm with ya. Solve these things any way you like ;).

marnie 7:56 PM  

Crashed on me twice! D.K. -- thanks for the hugs and right back at you!
What are we congratulating dr. john for?

Chefbea1 -- that is the most adorable baby! Or is it a doll?!

Rex -- total disclosure .. Marnie is
Ginger from Boulder. Just thought you might like to know.
Looking forward to tomorrow -- the puzzle AND the comments!

Jim in Chicago 7:58 PM  

Forgot earlier.

I object to the answer ELS. In Chicago it is "the EL" (or L) SINGULAR. There aren't multiple ELS, it is all one system, as in "I'm taking the EL to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs" whether that trip involves one train or several. Always singular.

chefbea1 8:00 PM  

@doug - sounds like a good beet recipe also. Dont have a mandolin - I use a food processor

chefbea1 8:09 PM  

@marnie - that is a photo of my newest granddaughter Paulina - she realy is a doll and almost 6 months now

green mantis 8:09 PM  

Crap Fergus, I just finished a nice follow-up to your comment, and got a blogger error. The gist, I guess, is that this community means a lot to me, and that despite reservations in terms of its nature not being of the flesh, it has legitimacy and value, and I'm not a total loser nerd for caring. A loser nerd for many other very alarming reasons, but not this one. Bah, I'm mad my comment got lost.

mac 8:20 PM  

@green mantis: you are so right. I want to meet all these nice people in the flesh, as you call it. Let's go across the bridge next February!

Anonymous 8:22 PM  

PS to Rex:
I keep watching for those links to best comments in the wake of your ending the weekly roundup. Am I missing them, or have you decided to skip that, as well?

Anonymous 8:39 PM  

Yeah, but where is Addie Loggins?

Fanshaw

green mantis 9:01 PM  

I wish I could, Mac. I'm sooo trapped in San Francisco. I'll send a cardboard insect cut-out.

jeff in chicago 10:02 PM  

I, too, had PAYSTUBS for a moment. Liked the DRILL/RINSE and ABSORB/CLOG combos. And two "martian" clues.

As a fellow Chicagoan, ELS didn't quite work for me either.

When not solving on-line, I'm a pen guy. I'm not sure I could find a pencil in my house.

Green Mantis: Your first post made me laugh out loud. Funny stuff.

Lastly...pickled beets and onions. YUMMY! Mom's were good, but a friend of hers did something that made hers even better. Mom still (jokingly, I hope) gives me grief for liking Madeline's better. But Mom still makes them every time I visit. Thanks Mom!

Fergus 10:24 PM  

The blogger troll has eaten up my last two attempts at grateful recognition of fellow crossword enthusiasts. Perhaps there's a strange new internet bot that's aspiring to enforce my cynicism?

Wade 10:27 PM  
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jannieb 10:33 PM  

My goodness we're a fractious bunch today! Guess that's testament to what a nice puzzle it was, Andrea and Patrick. Very few nits to pick so we turned on each other -- beets, trolls, pens, posers, and more sage stuffing. What a Monday! Let's hope Tuesday's puzzle is really bad so we can get back to talking about the stuff for which RP so graciously provides us a forum.

Fergus 11:42 PM  

Green Mantis,

When we first had any exchange, about a year ago, I thought you were a gay man about 60. Subsequent posts have left me with a much better idea, but still we could be strangers. I do not like this type of intimation, yet it couldn't have happened otherwise.

Rather than crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, maybe we ought to found a crossword tournament adjunct, Bay Area style?

green mantis 12:35 AM  

Oh my god Fergus you crack me up. My official alter ego is now a 60-year-old gay man named Clancy. In truth, I am merely a 33-year-old perpetual student who cashes in the clever for a chance to meet people like you.

Let's do it!

I mean, why not? It may take some doing, but I happen to be a pretty mean organizer. And by pretty mean organizer I mean, of course, God help me but I'll do my best.

Joon 1:00 AM  

there already is a crossword tournament, bay-area style. september 13. you should check it out.

Doc John 1:13 AM  

Wow, cool!

andrea carla michaels 1:27 AM  

wow.
don't that beet all.
too tired to properly respond except to say thanks!

i'm coincidentally in ny and was so excited to see a gal on the subway doing Patrick's and my puzzle (and she was thrilled when i forced myself on her) that it took some of the sting out of not realizing i was on the wrong train and ended up in Queens!

when brainstorming with Patrick, the clues originally had some sort of order, "close but no cigar" intended for the first runner up, and the (yes, patronizing) "We still love you" meant for the fourth...
it was meant as a companion piece ot my ACPT congratulations/mazel tov/don't that beat all/ here's to you puzzle, where originally all four were clued as "Cheers!"

due to construction considerations these four themes became rather arbitrary and interchangeable to an extent...it's true!
sorry for the bumming, rex!
it may indeed have worked better to just have "better luck next time!" for each clue, but we imagined it would be more fun to be Miss America-esque with fourth runner up, third runner up, etc.


re: posted comments:

busted.
ACME was my secret shout out, it was my Adam Perl moment, my TLH...it is indeed the name of my company bec the joke within the joke is those are my initials (Andrea Carla Michaels, nee Eisenberg.)

Aghast that "toilet" appeared in one of the clues, but mollified that some seem to actually like the teaming up of absorb/clog, not something p nor i can take credit for...

learned something new about ELS, thank you Chicagoans, it must have been changed from Ernie as too hard for monday...i will keep that in mind

(and, i would have clued ANO differently as well, as i am on that tilde side of the argument...but one does relinquish to the editor and Will improves things 99% of the time, rather than the other way around...
Will has known me forever and is used to my whining when something/anything is changed...tho i'm trying to learn not to.

loved Leon's comments (7:26pm) wish we had thought of that!

as for pen/pencil, on line/off, fast/slow, telling rex what to do with his wife, etc...all i can say is, i hate beets.

and i LOVED teaming up with Patrick... whose coattails i hope to ride to a Tuesday one day!
:)

Fergus 1:38 AM  

And why not?

There are a number of people who are susceptible. That's the crowd we need to work on; all those Berkeley and Stanford idealists too busy about their supposed work.

karmasartre 1:57 AM  

@andrea -- so you were previously ACE?

Larry 2:43 AM  

Interesting thread of comments capped off by the constructors reply.

Not to beat a dead horse but I am an intermediate solver and I make my efforts in pen. Is the argument for a pencil that I would be less hesitant to guess if I were putting graphite to paper?

Larry

foodie 4:37 AM  

I signed in late and felt like I had missed a wild and crazy party... Not all the guests got along, but it was animated, and they served many different kinds of beets, along with some divinity... (glad to have missed that part!)

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

Doing crosswords in pen? Get yourself a Bic Wite-Out cartridge spool. They are the absolute best. Golfballman

Anonymous 1:53 PM  

Insight from ACME about Will Shortz deciding an Ernie ELS clue is too difficult for a Monday is a further indicator the time for Will to move on has come.

CAlady 7/28 2:32 PM  

Seems late to join the foray, but why not? I like to solve in ink for the simple reason I find it hard (impossible) to see pencil on newsprint. As for speed, I'm impressed with those who are fast, but know its not for me. Blessed with an extra copy of a puzzle, I once just "raced" through, skipped the clues and simply filled the squares in order with the alphabet-took me about 5 minutes! Maybe its faster on line-but I enjoy the puzzle my way with my morning coffee. As for beets, I only like them pickled!

Anonymous 12:27 PM  
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TimeTraveller 12:36 PM  
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