MONDAY, Jun. 30, 2008 - Lynn Lempel (KURDISTAN CITY ON THE TIGRIS / REASONS FOR SPECIAL ED)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (RELATIVE difficulty)

THEME: "FOUND MONEY" (61A: Unexpected wallet fattener ... and what the circled words are)

First of all, if any of you work at Blogger, could you please tell someone to review my site and take me off the @#$#$@#ing "potential spam blog" list. I asked for a review days ago, and still nothing. I'm tired of doing Word Verification every time I want to post, change a post, add an image, etc.

I got in late last night - very late for me. I was with my writing group up in ... where the hell was it? Ah, here we go: The Stonecat Cafe in Hector, NY, right next to Seneca Lake. Had one of the best meals I've had (out) in many many months and, coincidentally, had a brief conversation about the meaning of the phrase "FOUND MONEY." Lizabeth called the money she was going to get for teaching in the fall "found money" because she was not planning on getting a job, her family didn't need the money, and yet the opportunity came along: bam, FOUND MONEY. I said, "but you do have to work for it..." To which she said "But it's work I love doing..." I wasn't convinced, but seeing that the stakes of the disagreement were so low, and my fried catfish so tasty, I decided not to push it. Anyway, I got little sleep and got up very late and now I have like ten minutes to write this baby.

OK - the puzzle: Very weird for a Monday. Much thornier than a typical Monday, with high highs and low lows, but no creamy center, despite the presence of an OREO in the NE corner (16A: Double Stuf cookie). While I enjoyed seeing the Q and the Z and the J, there were other parts that left me scratching my head. Why these units of currency? Surely there are billions of currencies out there. MOSUL, IRAQ bugged me the most, as it seemed quite forced - especially considering the payoff is a bygone currency. I don't know ... there was just no AHA (44A: "Now I get it!") moment to the theme. It was fine, but not sparkling. I think I'm annoyed at the fact that the currency itself was boring

Theme answers:

  • 17A: British pop group with a repetitive name (Duran Duran) - "Rio" was one of the three most important albums of my adolescence. I wore it out. That, and the Motels' "All Four One" and the Go-Go's "Beauty and the Beat."
  • 25A: Kurdistan city on the Tigris (Mosul, Iraq)
  • 35A: On-ramp (highway entrance)
  • 51A: Welch's soft drink (grape soda)

Biggest objections:

LOW IQS (13D: Reasons for special ed). I asked my wife if this was inaccurate and she said "yes." It's at least terribly misleading. There are bunch of reasons one could be in special ed, and "LOW IQ" alone seems really, really, really unlikely - the kid might have a LOW IQ, but it's more likely to be coincidental with special ed placement, not causal on its own.

TEA TASTER (48A: Lipton employee). I challenge. Is this an official job? I'm sure someone must, yes, taste the damned stuff, but ... :( [OK, OK, "TEA TASTER" is a "real thing." Fine. I'm sure Eggo employs WAFFLE TASTERS, too, and I look forward to seeing that answer in a puzzle]

OK, I'm out of time. So ...

Your List:

  • 1A: Like students in the Head Start program (pre-K) - needed every cross to get it
  • 23A: Geller who claims paranormal activity (Uri) - the puzzle's most popular fraud





  • 45A: Mark who was a swimming phenomenon at the 1972 Olympics (Spitz) - gets you a nice "Z" crossing the very un-SPITZ-like WIZEN (37D: Shrink from age).
  • 65A: Cavaradossi's love in a Puccini opera (Tosca) - blah blah blah opera five letters: TOSCA!
  • 36D: URL starter (HTTP) - if you don't know what this is, just look ... up. In your browser's address line ... yep, right there.
  • 41D: Audiologist's concern (ear) - I would have thought "otiologist" for EAR and "Audiologist" for HEARING.
  • 45D: High-ranking noncom (sgt. maj.) - ugly in its longness. Abbreviations are most tolerable when they are short. This is a rough way to score a "J."
  • 50D: Mexican state bordering Arizona (Sonora) - isn't there a resort-type place in Arizona with this name? No, that's SEDONA.
  • 63D: Big maker of checkout devices (NCR) - I remember very well when I didn't know "NCR" and it crossed with ACCRA and I cried "foul." I've since seen both NCR and ACCRA dozens of times.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

79 comments:

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

Isn't 50D "Sonora," not "Sedona"?

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

oops, my bad, you corrected it

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

@Rex

Yes Rex, there is a Tea Taster. He lives in the heart of Lipton and makes sure the blend of this years crop of tea leaves results in the same taste as last years product.

Ditto for coffee taster, wine [master], beer [meister], and many other products that have variable sources of ingredients but want a uniform ouput taste.

.../Glitch

Orange 9:29 AM  

I Googled "tea taster." Turns out it's serious business! Tea tasters must slurp tea off a spoon to turn it into a 125 m.p.h. mist. Who knew?

Italy wasn't the only place with the LIRA. See Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.

humorlesstwit 9:30 AM  

@Rex - Lipton Tea Taster is an official position.

Lipton's Official Tea Taster, and yes, the caps do seem necessary, actually lived on the property my house is on.

A week after we moved in, the prior owner showed up to, in part, introduce us to the ghost that lived in the house. Which, she assumed, was the Lipton Tea Taster.

Fortunately, the prior owner and the tea taster never made another visit.

ArtLvr 9:38 AM  

What surprised me on opening this puzzle in AcrossLite was finding blank letters already circled! I don't remember seeing such a give-away of part of the solution before? Not nice...

Add to that, starting in the top center with BENCH and ECOLI, working the downs gave the second DURAN, and 17A the clue said to double that! Egads, more give-away, especially since I'd already spotted KEATON. PRE-K should have been a tiny bit of a poser, but it was ho-hum instead.

The rest was so simple to me, it was over before I felt I could REAP any savory morsels. Ah,well.

∑;)

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

Yeah, I’m with Rex. Why would a bazillion-dollar tea company employ something as ridiculous as a “tea taster”?!

“At Lipton, we have a team of fully trained Tea Tasters skilled in the art and science of tea.
. . . Only a few seconds may be spent on any individual tea, since the taster has to evaluate several hundred samples a day. Tea experts have such finely tuned palates, they can determine the manufacturing method, quality and value of the tea (sometimes even the estate where it was grown) with one taste.”

Jason 9:47 AM  

Thanks for the very entertaining video! Great stuff. I wasn't familiar with James Randi and only minimally familiar with Geller (mainly from xwords!). This was an enjoyable distraction from work this AM.

jls 9:57 AM  

have to confess, i found this one a bit thorny as well -- and i caught on to the currency thang early enuf. was it the cluing? the fill? dunno. just know that this one took me 2-3 minutes longer than monday typically takes me. ca va.

love the concept/reality of "found money" and keep a tin of it in the kitchen. when the tin fills up, it goes towards donations to organizations for the homeless.

fried catfish -- upstate? not local is it? or is it? i associate catfish with the gulf of mexico... of course, this is why god made refrigeration and speedy modes of transportation!

;-)

janie

mac 9:57 AM  

Pretty easy and very quick puzzle this morning. Misread 1D as gradeschool and couldn't fit it ABC's, and was a little concerned when a G showed up after the S in 45 down. Also have to admit that I didn't read the clue about the theme. It could have helped me with Mosul, Iraq.
I love the word wizen, actually used it yesterday.
Nice to see good old Arturo again.
It's funny how a really long answer doesn't mean much when it's so easy to get it through the crosses.
Yes, Tea Tasters are very important to Lipton and any other tea company. Once saw a program about them. Ever since I put the milk in my cup first, then the tea. Something to do with tiny fat globules......

Carisa 10:02 AM  

"Surely there are billions of currencies out there. MOSUL, IRAQ bugged me the most, as it seemed quite forced - especially considering the payoff is a bygone currency."

Rex, Turkey still has the lira as its currency, so surely not bygone!

Rex Parker 10:04 AM  

There are catfish in NY.

Here's everything you need to know about the "Inland Fishes of New York"

rp

Rex Parker 10:09 AM  

O, right. Turkey. OK.

The yawn factor on the currency is still very high.

Aren't there phrases out there that are hiding DINAR, RUBLE, EURO, LEK, RIEL, RUPEE, SHEKEL ... I don't know. YUAN? POUND? Admittedly, few of these break very easily over two words ...

rp

John 10:10 AM  

@ ArtLvr

Puzzles with circles are pretty common. This is the 12th one this year. The JimH Xword Info website has them all.

Good clip from James Randi.

John

ArtLvr 10:15 AM  

re LOW IQS -- my first job long ago involved the teaching of French in a combined jr-sr high, where all seventh graders were required to take a foreign language. In my seventh grade class was a girl who wandered around the room humming, but couldn't learn the French alphabet even in song...

It turned out that she didn't know the alphabet in English -- had always been passed along in grade school, because she tested at IQ 70. She would need to test below 70 to get special ed. I got a counselor to move her to remedial English, and it turned out to be the mother's first inking that her daughter wasn't on a par with her classmates!

∑;(

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

In some school systems low IQ actually PRECLUDES identification as "special ed" -- what they look for being "disparate performance," i.e., those who don't succeed in school as well as there is reason to believe they should : reading or text processing disabilities, innumeracy, autism, emotional disabilities, etc.

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

@rex

Maybe if the circles were left out and it were a bit more of a challenge to locate the *money* the currencies selected wouldn't appear so hum-drum.

I was filling in some of them before even getting to the full cross answer, made this a much too easy Monday for me (after a good night's sleep tho ;>)

.../Glitch

MargaretR 11:10 AM  

A better than average Monday puzzle. With YEN and RAND in place, I leaped to the wrong CURRENCIES conclusion, forgetting my wise grandma's puzzle advice - get a few little words in place before you dash to fill in the big ones, even if you are "sure" you know the answer. Good puzzles will fool you!

jls 11:17 AM  

love the pix on that great site, rex -- many thx! but it took a little bit o' fishin' to get to (url had an extra "http"...). so -- for anyone else who's interested:

one fish, two fish...

;-)

janie

Nick 11:19 AM  

Isn't it tosca and USO, instead of Tobca and UBO?

Nick 11:20 AM  

i guess its an S on the zoom

Bill D 11:27 AM  

Short Students / Garbled Madonna

Did this one Downs Only and it did take more time than the average Monday. I find this method more satisfying and less likely to invoke criticism - getting MOSUL IRAQ from an M and LIRA or TEA TASTER from an AT and a TE seems a real accomplishment rather than a lame answer. Only had to change one letter when I looked at the across clues - had Sonoma instead of SONORA. Was convinced something was wrong with 1a: PREK until I saw it as PRE-K after reading the clue.

The little circles around the theme letters are always on the print version of the puzzle. Maybe AcrossLite is just catching up.

heymister 11:33 AM  

My son is son is in special ed with an iq above 140 where he's getting great support for having Asperger's syndrome. So "one reason for Special Ed" might have been a better clue.

I'm just a middling puzzler at best and this was my fastest Monday ever. All the hard clues were resolved by just moving through the obvious clues.

Crosscan 11:37 AM  

Any puzzle with circles around the theme answers always seems to leave me dry.

My favorite letter is J, so I'll give points for placing that in a lower corner.

Passing grade to the puzzle.

I will now start a new commenting feature I call "I totally disagree with Rex on..."

Today's entry: Duran Duran. Hated them. "The Reflex" was a number one song????

Rex Parker 11:49 AM  

Ugh, you can't "disagree" with the fact that the band was important to me as a preteen. I didn't make any assertions of quality.

lakim sgk 11:55 AM  

hmm, i actually found this one to be easy... as mentioned by others, some clues were objectionable (like LOWIQS... wah~ wah~) but not undecipherable.

then again, i'm probably not as fast as any of you!

Crosscan 11:58 AM  

You said that "Rio was one of the three most important albums of my adolescence. I wore it out." I take that to mean you liked it. I hated it. Therefore, we disagree on its likeability(?), if not its quality. Or perhaps we disagreed in the 1980s. as you have not indicated your current opinion on the topic. My opinion is unchanged.

Bill D 11:59 AM  

I'm in between on Duran Duran - their stuff was pretty catchy and they all but invented music videos but if you've heard one Duran Duran song you've heard them all.

When Duran Duran split up I mentioned to my friend that they must be known as Duran now. He responded that they were just Du Du. Still cracks me up...

Orange 12:00 PM  

"The Reflex" was a lousy song. Everything on Duran Duran's Rio album, on the other hand, is a classic New Wave gem. Oh, how I loved that album!

jeff in chicago 12:02 PM  

Thanks for the use of "fraud" in the Geller comment. I'm glad the clue used "claimed" as well.

James Randi's website -- randi.org -- is one of my must-reads every Friday, when he posts a wrap-up of the "woo-woo" news of the week. I highly recommend it. (Rex: add it to your links, perhaps?)

As for the puzzle, I found it an amusing Monday. Has "Nipper" become the new standard RCA clue?

Re: the recent discussion of solving habits. I don't fill in a word until I think I know the whole word. So, for example, in this puzzle, though I saw that LIRA was in 25A, I didn't allow myself to put in the letters until I had the whole fill. I don't put in the RE that's so common in "does X again" clues. Anyone else do this?

And, finally, a question. I've only fairly recently got to the point where I do almost every puzzle on-line. Is it just me, or does the NYT puzzle sometimes tell me I have "successfully completed" a puzzle, and other times tells me the puzzle is merely "full"? Today, for example, no errors, but no "success." I so enjoy the "success" pop-up, but don't always get it. If it makes a difference, I always access the puzzle from cruciverb.com.

ronathan 12:06 PM  

Returned from a weekend trip to visit my girlfriend, who was doing a pediatrics rotation at a hospital in Danville PA (read: the middle of f#$%ing nowhere). The trip was worth it, however, because not only did I get to see my girlfriend, but I went to a drive-in for the first time in my life! It was a double feature, and an interesting experience, especially since a violent thunderstorm ripped through the area during the first movie. It was weird watching a film with lightning flashing all around us. I had a really good time, and I'm wondering why there aren't more of these places around the country. Seems like a really good way to spend time with the family, especially during the summer.

Back to the puzzle. I have another "foul" to report:

I'm with Rex about the silliness of the "TEA TASTER" position at Lipton Inc.

However, as others have pointed out, the position seems to actually exist. I don't think the same can be said about the answer to 51A "Welch's soft drink" (GRAPE SODA). Like TEA TASTER, this answer just seems lame and forced. I actually went to the Welch's website after reading the above dicussion about the Lipton TEA TASTER, and it turns out that Welch's doesn't even make any kind of grape soda (as far as I can tell). Lots of different kinds of juices and "juice cocktails" (whatever that means), but not soda. This, to me, makes the answer even more lame.

Combine this with the forced nature of the theme (I agree with Rex on that one too), and this wasn't really that great of a puzzle. When you have to work that hard to put any kind of sense into your puzzle, you just don't have a good construction on your hands.

Cheers,
Ronathan :-)

Doris 12:18 PM  

Puccini rocks today (and most days). We have Arturo (Toscanini), who conducted several of the Maestro's premieres, and, of course, good old Tosca—while Mimì was in today's Sun puzzle. They could have been a teensy bit more subtle by just clueing the diva as Cavaradossi's lover, instead of bringing the composer in, even if it is only a Monday. And, while I, the opera fanatic, am at it, I think that, athough it wasn't in today (for a change), there are a lot more challenging ways to clue Renato's "Eri tu?" from "Un ballo in maschera." Great aria, though. Runs the emotional gamut. But enough about me...

Crosscan 12:21 PM  

But Doris, how do you feel about Duran Duran? :)

dk 12:29 PM  

Ah, Seneca Lake. Rex, that reference has me daydreaming about all the great spots in Upstate NY to hang-out (black flies permitting of course). I was telling my lovely wife yesterday about meandering streams with large rocks and water falls in various sizes and shapes.

I worked with Chesebrough Ponds for a few years and they had TEATASTERS and Ragu sauce tasters. More fun was the Wiffle Ball Company across the street.

FOUNDMONEY was a common enough phrase from my youth and having lived in Europe during the Euro conversion makes all things money easy street for me. Interesting side note is a story in NYT today about a restaurant that is taking Francs.

Agree with all that technically the LOWIQ answer is wrong but it is just fine for a x-word puzzle.

Glad to see GOD made it to the puzzle, perhaps we are in line for salavation given the olio of naughty words that seem to litter these puzzle pages, conversly we may need to prepare for a sound smitting (sp?). All will be revealed in the fullness of time.

Warning food comment ahead: Grilled shrimp last night and coated the little blighters with coconut oil and seasoning made for sloppy joes, the side dish was a "relish" made with peppers and fresh pineapple. Washed it all down with homemade Sangria. If it were not for the customers I would love to open a restaurant.

Only two days of work this week: woo woo.

SethG 12:34 PM  

Ronathan,

Welch's absolutely makes GRAPE SODA.

Those who say this seems like a lot of work for basic currencies,

I agree.

SethG 12:35 PM  

(and apparently I can't link very well: http://www.welchsinternational.com/products/carbonated.shtml)

Karen 12:45 PM  

I liked that the currencies came from the different continents, only Australia got left out (I'm counting LIRA as European, cuz it's crosswords). The PESO is in both South and North America.

I thought this one was a bit harder than usual on a Monday too, I left a lot of blanks on my first pass through.

ArtLvr 12:46 PM  

Having done Nothnagel's diagramless puzzle from yesterday's NYT today, using the option of getting it in regular format beforehand on AcrossLite, I think they always ought to allow us a choice of theme answers pre-circled or not!

Do you all remember the ROSE answers we hunted for in one puzzle, which turned out to be on the diagonal? It surely wouldn't have been as much fun if those had been marked for us ahead of time!

Will Shortz, are you listening? Can we get such an option online more regularly??? Thanks!

∑;)

p.s. My raspberries and blackberries are now pickable, as well as the blueberries -- 7th Heaven!

BT 1:14 PM  

I can report that Philip Morris (Marlboro, etc.) has a set of cigarette tasters. It is a very important position. They do indeed "taste" the product. It's not a joke or ceremonial position.

Joon 1:16 PM  

lots of comments today, but relative few about the puzzle.

1. how can people complain that a monday puzzle is too easy? it's monday. it's supposed to be easy! you want a puzzle where figuring out the theme takes work? wait a few days. seriously, this puzzle (which i found delightful) would in no way be monday-level without those circles. the ROSE puzzle artlvr mentions was a thursday, which is usually the day with the toughest-to-figure-out theme.

2. [One reason for special ed] would be a fine clue for LOWIQ. unfortunately, that's not what's in the grid--it's LOWIQS, which is quite a lot harder to clue (and also quite a lot more awkward). [Reasons for special ed, perhaps] is the best i can think of off the top of my head. it's not great, but i sort of like having the unexpectedly-placed Q there.

3. did somebody really complain about GRAPESODA as an entry? really? it's so delicious. and not at all made up.

4. i can't get this week's sun puzzles yet, so i was bummed to see about MIMI before i had a chance to do the puzzle. (then again, i suspect i would have been all over MIMI anyway, if she was clued using either la bohème or rent.)

5. jeff in chicago, i used to do that, but now i always put in any part of a word that i think is right (RE at the beginning, ED or ING or even just S at the end, U after a Q, whatever). this is especially true if solving electronically, but even on paper it's worth the occasional erasure (by the way, erasure >>> DURANDURAN). seeing those letters in there really, really helps to get the crossing words. definitely a habit to pick up if you want to improve your solving skills.

as for your other question, the puzzle will tell you that your solution is correct if and only if the solution has been "unlocked." if you download the current day's puzzle before 10 pm EST, it's locked. if you download a puzzle after 10 pm (or a previous day's puzzle) it automatically comes unlocked. in that case, all it will do is tell you that the grid is totally filled.

Joon 1:23 PM  

and by "10 pm EST" i really just mean 10 pm eastern.

Katie 1:26 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ladel 1:43 PM  

@Jeff in Chicago

thanks for your comment about Geller, the Carson bit was soooo delicious, thanks Rex. My fantasy is to have the frauds in India who claim to be able to cure snake bites allow themselves to be bitten by a king cobra while I was a wave a clump of green leaves over there heads while chanting a doo wop song.

Now, as to your fill strategy about not filling in a word until you've got it all; I agree. In the past when I've tried partial fill for whatever reason, if I've made an error by guessing, I tend not to realize the error for a long time.

ronathan 1:52 PM  

@sethg

I apparently stand corrected regarding Welch's grape soda.

Nevertheless, I checked AGAIN, and the grape soda product is not mentioned even ONCE on Welch's own website. You have to admit that is rather odd if it is indeed the same company that makes the soda.

-ronathan :-)

puzzlemensch 2:11 PM  

Ah! Once again, Rex, you made my day. When I find a puzzle easier than you do, I'm ecstatic! I breezed through it without stopping. Ah the joy of mastery (even for a brief moment).

John in CT 2:23 PM  

How about:

Those rejected by MENSA? LOWIQS

fergus 2:39 PM  

Yeah, I too hesitated more than usual on filling in entries. Monday answers are usually without any clear alternatives, but the grid today had quite a few.

I was reading recently about Italian coffee tasters who were very grumpy since they were forbidden to smoke before their appointed duty. There are professional 'noses' too in the perfume industry. One of them was asked what scent most drives men wild, and the response was bacon.

Orange 2:42 PM  

Ronathan, perhaps Welch's licenses their name to the people who make the sodapop, or sold the brand to focus on juice-based drinks. I find it not at all surprising that the Welch's juice site doesn't list the soda. Analogy: Designer eyeglass frames often aren't mentioned on the designer's website, but you can indeed find the frames at Lenscrafters.

SethG 2:46 PM  

In which: SethG talks again about how big companies are weird (and quotes without attribution from annual reports and such).

"Welch Foods, Inc." (welchs.com) is the processing and marketing affiliate of the National Grape Cooperative Association, which is made up of "1,200-plus grower-owners". They make juices and jams. Welch Foods also licenses the Welch's brand name to other companies that make derivative products, including fruit snacks and carbonated soft drinks.

For sodas, that licensee is Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages, a division of Cadbury Schweppes. CSAB also licenses the Sunkist brand from the Sunkist Growers Association, makes several other recognizable carbonated beverages such as 7UP and Dr Pepper, and is the current owner of Snapple, the spokesperson for which was once Ivan Lendl.

There are plenty of other examples of where brands are not made by the companies whose names they bear. You won't find carpet cleaners mentioned on the Woolite website, bras on the Playtex Products site or Pillsbury baking mixes on the Pillsbury website.

Gosh, maybe I'm employable after all...off to resume my job search!
sg

archaeoprof 3:09 PM  

I tried speed-solving (or at least what I think speed-solving might be) for the first time ever today. Got started on the grid and then, just by looking at the answers in place, tried to fill in what seemed most likely, checking the clues less frequently than I normally do. It was fun, and very different from the way I usually solve. By the end there were maybe 15 clues I had never looked at. All you experienced speed-solvers, I'll welcome your comments!

miriam b 3:11 PM  

Did this puzzle w/time to spare while waiting for MD to show up in examining room. Really good doc, surly staff. Why is it ever thus? CTTOI, better that way than the reverse.

During my working days, a "nose" gave a presentation at a meeting of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. It was quite interesting. He asked us to identify various scents, which wasn't easy for everyone. I would think that olfactory fatigue might be an occupational hazard for "noses".

Rex Parker 3:47 PM  

@puzzlemensch,

Full disclosure: "Medium-Challenging" does not mean that it took me very long to do (today, maybe 4+ minutes, up from my avg Monday time of somewhere in the low to mid-3s). But I'm glad I was able to make you feel so successful today.

rp

Doc John 3:56 PM  

I, too, found this puzzle no harder than the average Monday, and didn't mind the theme. Hey, at least RAND was a more unusual coin!

Tried doing just the acrosses today and got about half on the first pass. Didn't even bother to try to fill in the long ones. Finished the puzzle on my pass through the downs and that was it.

I agree with the arguments against LOW IQ, too, but as an earlier poster mentioned, it's a crossword puzzle and we all figured it out.

For the record, HTTP stands for hyper-text transfer protocol. (As opposed to FTP: file transfer protocol.)

I liked how STAT was clued with plural words.

Least fave fill: ILLER. Yuck!

Anonymous 4:00 PM  

@Fergus

While bacon will drive most men wile, it is equally well know what is the most cologne will drive women wild, while worn by their man: Top Job

Ellen 4:02 PM  

There always are circles in the Across Lite version if they appear in the print version. There's no possible way systemwise to have circles be an option to turn on or off.

Re speed solving, I'm an experienced speed solver who always looks at EVERY clue. That's why sometimes my speed isn't so speedy (e.g., today 3:48 on paper).

Sundance 4:11 PM  

ILLER!!

ArtLvr 4:17 PM  

Thanks for the info, Ellen!

I was going to say something about the licensing of a brand name too -- but sethg did it To a Tee!

∑;)

ArtLvr 4:40 PM  

Back in the Blue/Orange!

marnie 4:42 PM  

The Uri Geller clip cracked me up -- especially the pastor. I had never seen Uri before..nothing like I imagined him.

Here's my question. How do you access the puzzle on line? How do you do it? Would that mean I wouldn't have to get the TIMES.. home delivery just went up in price. Thanks.

PhillySolver 5:01 PM  

@ marne
Use this link and you can get some basic info on the NYT online.
http://www.nytimes.com/pages/crosswords/index.html?8qa&scp=1-spot&sq=crossword&st=nyt

@ artlvr Well done.

Just back from Brooklyn here and can't add much to this discussion. I liked that it was an easy puzzle but a little different. I am hoping the string of interesting Tuesday puzzles continues. I recall writing some thing about wishing for a puzzle on Philadelphia and I got one (Thanks Will), so now I am wishing for one on The European Soccer Cup which was great fun. When is Ulrich back to explain the German game plan in the finals?

jubjub 5:32 PM  

On today's puzzle:
RCA="Nipper the dog's company" was pretty rough. I had no idea how to parse the clue. Thought at first the answer might be Rex, since Rex is a common dog name, and maybe this Nipper might hang out with him... Also struggled with WIZEN, as it was not in my lowly vocabulary. The whole southwest was kinda hard for me. I didn't know MIRO or SPITZ, and IAGREE and SGTMAJ took me forever.

On puzzles in general:
Maybe this has already been discussed on this blog, so feel free to ignore this comment if it is old hat.

Of any medium I can think of, it seems to me that crossword puzzles have the strictest decency expectations. I'm not saying it's unreasonable. I felt a little bit weird when entering LOWIQS today, but not at all weird the last time I watched Family Guy.

Why is that? Is it because the crossword has always been so clean? Because every clue+answer pair is represented as absolute truth? Because I am actively writing in LOWIQS, as if I agree with it? I prefer the slightly naughty, "Breakfast Test"-failing clues one finds in e.g. the AV club xword to the less than PC clues that one finds on rare occasions in the NYT xword.

My 2cents: I would like to see more "Breakfast Test"-iffy clues, cuz they make me giggle, while at the same time a more conservative sensitivity in the puzzle.

Kim 5:48 PM  

I belive the NYT crossword has a responsibility to be accurate in its cluing. For many of us the crossword is educational. It has added to my knowledge of politics, culture, literature, etc.

Therefore as an educator I strongly objects to LOW IQS as the answer to "reasons for special ed." This is misleading and simply not true and encourages stereotypes that many of my special ed students deal with on a daily basis.

Students with very low IQs are usually not mainstreamed into regular ed classes. Many students in special ed.(who are mainstreamed) have average to above average IQs but have LEARNING DISABILITIES (this would have been the more correct answer). Unfortunately their peers tend to tease them about being in special ed because they believe it means LOW IQ. I say shame on the NYT for perpetuating this fallacy.

Bill from NJ 6:03 PM  

Enjoyed today's puzzle. The theme didn't show itself for a while because I got DURANDURAN right away and the word RAND didn't show itself to be a unit of currency and I stumbled over 25A - it sure seemed clumsy to me - and it wasn't until GRAPESODA that I got the theme. I got HIGHWAYENTRANCE last and , of course, that cemented the theme.

dk 6:23 PM  

@jubjub, let us just pray for your eternal soul, naughty bits for breakfast... my word.

@marnie, you sound so cute, Can I buy you the NYT? As owner you may get a free paper.

@kim, as someone who often has much to say about nothing. Your point of view is valid and true, but this is the puzzle part of the paper. I mean ECOLI is not limited to meat. Heck you could get it from an OREO.

dk 6:26 PM  

The smaller dog you sometimes see with Nipper is named... drum roll... Little Nipper.

And they say there is no creativity in...

Now, back to work.

green mantis 6:30 PM  

Ugh, it's awful seeing those old ladies get taken advantage of by the preacher man. Using people's need to believe in something meaningful and desire not to be in pain for his own profit...I took the liberty of calling ahead for a reservation in hell for that guy.

Peter Sattler 6:37 PM  

Why you people hating on ILLER?

"No one, no one's iller than me
It's Bizarre Kid straight from the 313"

Leon 7:25 PM  

Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
Polonius Act I Scene iii

Sam Waterston played Polonius in this summer's production of Hamlet in Central Park. He was wonderful and played him as an overworked, distracted bureaucrat. In Act II he milks the scene :
"what was I about to say? By the mass, I was about to say
something: where did I leave?"
Some people thought Waterston forgot his lines.

You expected to hear "doink doink" since just about everyone in the cast had appeared in Law and Order at some point.

mac 8:18 PM  

@kim: after reading your comment and some other ones before, I have to agree, this was a bad clue, and it should have been caught.

@leon: So glad someone finally spells Sam's last name right! His daughter was in school with our son, himself lives in our building in NY and we saw his older son in a play at the Westport Playhouse about 6 weeks ago. How many degrees of separation?

I hate "iller", it's ugly.

foodie 9:06 PM  

Doing this from our car, as we're starting our trek across country from California to Michigan. Driving through beautiful Tahoe, you can smell the acrid smoke from the fires and see signs of devastation... so sad.

As soon as I saw tea taster, I remembered my experience giving a scientific talk at Philip Morris many years ago. They told me they were interested in educating their research staff about the biology of drug abuse... I should have known better. To make a long story short, they not only had official smokers, they had roomfulls of people who slashed the competition's cigarettes so they could analyze everything about them, to determine why some were successful. Also, they were conducting systematic studies on why, when you cut the nicotine in half, people don't double the number of cigarettes they smoke! Science at work! I was never so disturbed by anything work related! Oh, and to cap it off, during dinner the big guy asked me if I ever smoked and I told him I had briefly, but I had quit a while back, now I had kids and would never consider it. He inquired what I used to smoke, and by the end of dinner presented me with a "Freshly Rolled" carton of one of their brands that resembles what I used to smoke "but tastes much better" (they should know!). And "freshly rolled is a unique experience". I needed to understand. Needless to say, I dumped it in the nearest trashcan and never communicated with them again.

Sorry, about the rant, but give me a tea taster any time!

@ Miriam B, many thanks for your kind words last night.I really appreciated them.

Bill D 10:12 PM  

@Philly - Poor Ulrich may be in mourning. Whatever game plan the German squad had it was broken up by the Spanish midfield and Marco Senna, who was the player of the match for me. He was everywhere whenever the German attack tried to move through the middle, and his late near goal (on a play which he initiated) would have only been the icing on his cake. As a goaltender myself, I think Jens Lehmann creates some problems for himself. Iker Casillas, on the other hand, is as good as they come. He saved two of four penalty kicks in the shoot-out victory over Italy, and went the right way on the other two, nearly saving them. Outstanding showing!

mac 10:19 PM  

@bill d: you are so right: Senna was great throughout the tournament. Lehmann was ok, but even the Germans feel he should be replaced.

andrea carla michaels 11:36 PM  

before this totally devolves into a soccer discussion, i'd like to say that it's my guess that the whole special ed clue was used to trigger that IQs was an abbrev, like special ED...
i totally would prefer the suggestion of 'those not in MENSA" clue someone suggested earlier...
it DID make me feel un-PC to write it in, bec i did not agree with the clue, etc. and i think that's a really interesting point about how you FEEL when you are solving and relating/not relating to the clues.
(I would have bummed out if that were in one of my puzzles...like i still am recovering from having had the word "Toilet" put into the one patrick and I did last monday...)
but Will insists that there IS no such thing as a breakfast test and that isn't one of his even unspoken rules...

and what about that patrick b? FIVE puzzles in 8 days? (Mon and sun in the nyt, thurs and mon in the sun plus thurs cross synergy!!!!!)

Anyway, that idea about being slightly queasy about putting in an answer you disagree with is
yet another level to think about the puzzle on...
so to me that's neat!
and another reason why it's so great there is this blog...
ok...back to your soccer chat

Catherine K 12:25 AM  

@Jeff in Chicago: I have discovered that when I complete a puzzle in Across Lite, it tells me the puzzle is complete, but in order to see if all the letters are correct, I click on Check, Entire Puzzle. If it is correct, you get the cool little Success Pop-up. If not, the incorrect letters have Xes through them.

This of course does not apply to the current day's puzzle, which is still locked.

foodie 12:51 AM  

@andrea carla michaels

you guys are in a tough business because everyone, including our group is in the habit of critiquing you. Sometimes I feel bad about saying I did not enjoy a puzzle, because it's important to remember that there is a real person behind it. While the comments in this forum can be pointed, the blog also reminds us of the constructors. Having your comments is especially helpful... for example what likely went into the thinking behind the IQ clue. We do also need to remember that half the clues come from Will...

We need to thank all of your more for providing such pleasure and wonderful brain exercise, and taking your lumps along the way. So thank you!

Rex Parker 6:51 AM  

When I see RECTUM or ENEMA in an NYT puzzle, I will believe there is "no breakfast test."

Anonymous 7:21 AM  

Ronathan,

In Poughkeepsie there are 2 drive ins (one is actually in Hyde Park but close enough). We usually go a few times a summer. Saw a double feature of Indiana Jones and Iron Man. I was in my glory!

Rex,

NCR used to have a big plant near you in Cortland. It closed down in the 90's.

I still have problems with foreign words and places. Usually I can work them from the crosses but french, german, and places in the middle east are not my forte.

Jet City Gambler 2:30 PM  

6 weeks later...
Link works fine in syndicationland.

Duran Duran was actually named after the villain in "Barbarella," Dr. Durand Durand, who was played by crossword favorite Milo O'Shea...

Waxy in Montreal 11:23 AM  

Hi PuzzleGirl:

well, call me PuzzledGuy today in syndicateland. I'm still being linked here from the July archives -
http://rexwordpuzzle.blogspot.com/2008_07_01_archive.html

Can't seem to access the Tuesday blog at all...

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