Onetime Soyuz destination / SAT 12-24-11 / Annual Jalapeno Festival site / Destructive 2008 blaze in LA / Magnate who wrote How to Be Rich / Drainer of most of Switzerland

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Constructor: Ned White

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: none 

Word of the Day: SKIBOBS (37D: Winter sport vehicles) —
Skibobbing is a winter sport involving a bicycle-type frame attached to skis instead of wheels. Although the original idea for a bicycle with skis was patented as early as 1892, and skibobbing had been a form of transportation in the Alps, it wasn't until 1954 that the first international race was held. Seven years later, the FISB (Fédération Internationale de Skibob) was formed, which since 1967 has held an annual Skibobbing World Championship. Although skibobs are often called Ski Bikes and Snow Bikes, the sport should not be confused with snowbiking, which is the sport or recreation of cycling on snow. // Originally, skibobbing was one of the very few methods by which people without strength in their knees could alpine ski, but it soon became a popular sport amongst the physically able, too. The main attractions are said to be the speeds attained (in some skibob giant slalom races, speeds can be reached of up to 120 mph or more) and the feeling of jet skiing on snow. (wikipedia)
• • •
[FOR MY READERS IN SYNDICATION: It's pledge week here at the Rex Parker site (thru Sat.) —read my pitch for donations in the opening paragraphs of Sunday's write-up, here ... and thanks for your faithful readership (and the many kind messages I've received so far)]

• • •
A very uneven puzzle, difficulty-wise. As I was solving it, I was thinking "I know it's the season of giving, but this is ridiculous—feels like a Wednesday." [What hawks do]? Gimme. [Neurologist]? Come on. Over and over, the grid just filled itself in. Then, in two different spots, bad luck and bad cluing (respectively) stopped me cold. Did not know those names in the middle of the grid (VERAS, SOFIA) (31A: Tennis's Zvonareva and others + 37A: Mrs. Rajiv Gandhi), so when I got -E-UE for 31D: Where the show must go on? I wrote in REVUE and it felt Rock Solid. Only it gave me very weird names (RERA? SOVIA?); and yet my solution to that was not to question REVUE (again, felt Solid), but to question TORTA. I was not at all sure the cake was a TORTA (kept sticking it in, pulling it out ... ! ... etc.). Had it as a TONTA, because at least RENA is a name. Anyway, REVUE for VENUE was a stroke of magnificent bad luck. Lesson—take out the answer that feels Most wrong, even if that answer seems indisputable. Then there was the cluing on BAGS (35D: First, second, and third, but not fourth). There is no first bag, or second bag, or third bag. Those are bases. I wrote in BASE. Now I realize the clue has "and" and not "or" and so the answer "had to be" plural. But with that clue, "BAGS" was just not an option. I can see the seriously attenuated connection by which one gets from "first" to "BAG"—a "BAG" is certainly another word for a "base" in baseball. But yuck. Also yuck: LURED ON (38D: Tempted). That is not a thing. LURED is a thing. LURED = [Tempted]. LURED ON is something you say when you set out to say LURED and then change your mind to LED ON halfway through. Also, SAYRE???? WHAYRE???? (46D: ___ fire (destructive 2008 blaze in Los Angeles)).

Bullets:
  • 15A: What may be visualized via a bumper sticker (WHIRLED PEAS) — cute and Phenomenally easy.
  • 18A: "When 2 ___ Love" (1988 Prince song) ("R IN") — The "2" gave this away. Prince likes to do this letter / number / word swap thing.




  • 26A: 2006 Newbery winner Lynne ___ Perkins (RAE) — no idea, but guessed it off the "R" (was thinking MAE before that).
  • 34A: Magnate who wrote "How to Be Rich" (GETTY) — "Magnate" helped. Couple crosses made it obvious.
  • 27A: It replaced Apple's Quadra line (POWERMAC) — thank god the answer wasn't "Quadra"—never heard of it.  




  • 36A: Shouts in the 'hood (YOS) — these are shouts in lots of places.
  • 48A: Drainer of most of Switzerland (AARE) — sounds exotic. But Swiss river is AARE. It just is.
  • 3D: "My Philosofy" poet (RILEY) — my brain just refuses to remember who this person (James Whitcomb RILEY) is.
  • 24D: Foes of Frodo (ORCS) — as I said, gimme after gimme after gimme. I mean, 22D: Onetime Soyuz destination?? Three letters?? Hmmm....
  • 12D: He "spoke" with horns and whistles (HARPO MARX) — had -POM- right away and thought "... POM POM GUY?"
  • 44D: Modern-day locale of the place where the Santa Maria ran aground in 1492 (HAITI) — long, long way to go for HAITI.
  • 13D: The Seneca Chief was the first to travel its full length (ERIE CANAL) — until just a few seconds ago, I thought the Seneca Chief was a person.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

83 comments:

loren muse smith 8:07 AM  

Rex - I had EXACTLY the same experience and reactions as you! Kept thinking it was a Wednesday level of difficulty. Whereas I complain about the ease of Mondays and Tuesdays, I love it when I can solve a Saturday in under 30 minutes! Today's Saturday Stumper, on the other hand. . . Yeesh.

Anonymous 8:16 AM  

MARSHES prevented me from completing.
Where rails come together?
Even after looking up rails for alternate meanings, I still don't get it.
Anyone? (I know the answer will make me feel like a blockhead, but that's always the way...)

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

Rails = wading birds

Bill from FL 8:21 AM  

Rails are wading birds--e.g., clapper rails.

r.alphbunker 8:28 AM  

Speaking of rails, I thought the Seneca Chief was a train. Both the clue and the answer (SPREADEAGLE) for 1A were great. And when an eagle swoops its wings are spread.

I was very happy with this puzzle.

jberg 8:28 AM  

HARPO MARX and ERIE CANAL went right in -- never heard of the Seneca Chief, but it had to be either a train or a boat, and New York-related, and only one possibility fit. Those two next to each other seemed to promise a pretty neat puzzle, but I'm with Rex on the unevenness. Cal-Nev- ??
Worst.Clue.Ever.

An Ox is a bos if you are speaking Latin, wo that held me up in the SE - that and a dislike for LAXLY, since a better opposite for 'circumpect' would be 'brazen.' But I finally saw OOPSIE DAISY, and that fixed everything.

SONIA Gandhi, a native Italian, became an important Indian political figure after her husband was assassinated, so my only problem was whether she might be Sonya.

My favorite clue was 35A.

Gareth Bain 8:51 AM  

Both your stumbling blocks were mine today; except I had VogUE not rEvUE and was wondering who the heck GoTTY and SOgIA were for the longest time!

MaryBR 8:54 AM  

Agree with the easy then difficult assessment. Dropped WHIRLED PEAS in with no crosses, which is a huge foothold for a Saturday. Tore through most of the Far south and the entire West side but got held up in the east. With SONIA in place, VENUE became obvious which made VERA easy as well despite never having hard of her. But I had DiMmED for DAMPED for quite a while, which kept me from seeing HARPO MARX. Had LURED ON and BAGS both in the grid but couldn't shake the feeling that they felt wrong. As a result, the S in MARSHES/SAYRE was my last square in the grid and I felt some trepidation hitting submit (wasn't sure about rails as birds but felt it must be something like that). Pleasantly surprised with my well done at the end,

Glimmerglass 8:56 AM  

WHIRLED PEAS = easy??? I never saw the bumper sticker(s). Filled in the answer from crosses and stared at it. Rechecked all the crosses. Finally thought, "There must have once been a sticker that said 'Visualize World Peace' (maybe in the 70s? -- it sounds kind of John Lennon-ish), and this must be a joke based on that. Get it? A joke. Oh. OK." To make matters worse, I first had sTOOP for what hawks do. That's a more Saturday answer than SWOOP, which many birds do.

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

@ glimmerglass, I, too, am still puzzling over whirled peas.

joho 9:21 AM  

I agree with @Rex, LUREDON isn't a common phrase nor is STOPSONTIME. STOPSONadIME is. And a mensch is definitely a GOODSORT but GOODguy is more in the language, isn't it? I don't know, some answers seemed a bit of stretch in that area.

I DNF with two wrong squares as I left in ReVue. Rats! SOvIA sounded as plausible as rERAS to me!

I got WHIRLEDPEAS but didn't get it until coming here. Very clever.

Loved the shout out to my avatar at 3D.

I wish all who celebrate Christmas a joyous Eve!

eric in NC 9:27 AM  

Still can't get "whirled peas"?

jackj 9:43 AM  

Definitely found it of Saturday strength and a successful follow-on puzzle from Ned White, holding his own against PB’s Friday beauty.

There are highlights all through this grid; MENDACITY, HARPOMARX, SPREADEAGLE, IMONADIET, but want some perfect Saturday cluing? Check out two of what are normally throw away, three letter answers.

Go first to 18 Across to see that devilish cleverness is possible when using RIN as an answer, (without relying on a tired double “Tin”), just by employing the annoying cryptic Prince song title “When 2 (R IN) Love”.

Or, then, looking at another sneaky three letter entry, check out 32 Across where Mr. White foregoes Maleska’s “cuckoo” and Sajak’s vowel request to bring us today’s answer to “Spaghetti end?” and it’s not even the expected SpaghettINI, it’s the simplest of all, AN I.

Those two little bits speak volumes as to the quality of this puzzle.

Three cheers for Ned White and WHIRLEDPEAS!

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

I saw a billboard with a green goop that said "Visualize Whirled Peas" a few years back, but never a bumper sticker. The bad cluing for BASE/BAGS and LURED ON stopped me in the SE too. Otherwise this was a breeze. Surprise me to read that so many had trouble with VENUE. I thought that one was a snap. Although I got peyote from the crosses, I always thought it was a mushroom.

evil doug 9:46 AM  

As you know, my credo is "All the Words That Fit" (to stretch the Gray Lady's philosophy a tad)---no breakfast tests, no problem with Hitler or Osama or other awful subjects. Still, an interesting day to see Al Fatah....

You can keep Vera, as nice as she may look; as noted yesterday, I'm ever for Evert.

Yeah, I stuck with 'revue' too. Damn.

A continuing Happy Hanukkah, and a blessed Christmas to you all.

Evil

Dunks 9:47 AM  

There's a punny bumper sticker that says "visualize whirled peas" -the kind of thing you would see on the back of a Subaru :)

Rex - looks like you were butt led at 31 down.

JenCT 9:48 AM  

@jackj: thanks, I didn't get ANI for spaghetti end until I read your post!

Didn't know MENDACITY; NOSEBLEEDS threw me off, OOPSIEDAISY took a while, and tried TRUMP before GETTY.

Rex's phenomenally easy is my pretty tough.

archaeoprof 9:58 AM  

The word MENDACITY always makes me think of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."

Tried STOPSiNTIME first.

Now for some very last minute shopping...

Golfballman 10:06 AM  

@ Mary BR how in the world did you JUST drop in world peas with no crosses? I mean its the only pun in the puzzle and Sats. don't have themes so it wasn't a pun theme. I finally got it but it didn't make sense since there was no clue it was a pun.

JaxInL.A. 10:10 AM  

My Philosofy poet was Rilke for too long, my winter sport started with Snow___ and even when I fixed those I still never copped to rails as birds. DNF, but had a good time anyway. Long answers easier than short in many spots, as @jackj noted.

That SAYRE fire was quite apocalyptic here in L.A. Nothing slowed it down. It jumped freeways and hopped fire breaks like a dancing demon. I remember the experience of it very well but the name, not so much. KPCC made an award-winning radio documentary about one affected community.

Two Ponies 10:40 AM  

I had a love/hate relationship with my grid. In the end I had enough fun that I wanted to be spread eagle in a pile of whirled peas so I could make green snow angels.
I thought the Chief was a train and the sock trouble was something about it's heel. It all(mostly) got fixed but I left in Reras and Sovias. People can have unusual names as we discussed yesterday.
Hope everyone has lots to eat, drink, and laugh about.

OldCarFudd 10:44 AM  

I looked at the grid, looked at 15A, asked myself: "Could that possibly be whirled peas?', mentally tried a few crosses, and was off and running. Lots of good stuff today. Pay scales is topical. Enjoyed the puz.

Nakitab 10:56 AM  

Never ever heard of whirled peas. Filled it in and then just sat and stared at it for a very long time.

Lindsay 11:00 AM  

No real problems, though my magnate was GaTes for a while. Also had a typo (using the word loosely, as I solve by hand) at 41D LeREDO which made MARSHES very hard to see, even though I was looking for a sea-shorey answer.

SONIA Gandhi is is major political figure in a country of a billion+ people.

Glimmerglass 11:08 AM  

I've been enjoying the LA Times puzzles at http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/games/, but although it offers two skill levels, the clues are exactly the same. Am I doing something wrong?

cruxlogger 11:09 AM  

If home plate is not a bag -- then how come a home run is a "four bagger"? Go figure [ative].

Jim Finder 11:11 AM  

Anybody, why is "X-ed out" SPREADEAGLE?

Cursory research reveals that Cal-Nev-Ari is a town of a few hundred people in Nevada. How is it famous enough for a national puzzle?

dk 11:13 AM  

Saved by my sixth grade report on the Erie Canel. Also known as Clinton's ditch. As a lad the Canel was thought of as a sewer MAIN but it has been gussied up in some places.

Knew 1A as it was a common Vermont bumper sticker seen on all manner of Subarus.

Recovering from party one. Tonight is party 2 and there is a 3rd and 4th opportunity to be in the BAG......S.

** (2 Stars) As has been noted a very uneven puzzle. The joys of 12, 13 & 14 down could not save the day.

Happy holidays. Tomorrow there will be wassailing at La Fonda on the plaza Sante Fe at 3pm. Be there or be square.

mac 11:24 AM  

Nice Saturday! Some very easy areas, some tough little words and plenty of great words. My favorite is spreadeagle. I had to rely on the crosses with whirled peas, never saw that one. The bumperstickers in this area tend to be about people's kids' academic prowess;-).

One nit: Edam cheeses are not wheels, they're balls, sometimes naturally yellow, sometimes waxed red. Most other Dutch cheeses are in a wheelform, just not this one.

JenCT 11:26 AM  

@Glimmerglass: I believe the difference is that "Regular players may click a solve button if they get stuck and incorrect letters are a different color."

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

Like @archaeoprof, remembered MENDACITY from "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof". Felt so proud of myself til WHIRLED PEAS done me in--on X-mas eve!!
Happy Holidays to all!

syndy 11:40 AM  

Very audacious puzzle.Visualize WHIRLED PEAS indeed! I did NOT drop that right in-nor OOPSIE DAISY which is NOT crying over spilt anything. but having -OPS_EDAI_ first letter had to be a vowel alex=many writeovers mostly mentioned.and YES peyote is a cacti and it tastes terrible

jae 11:41 AM  

Medium-tough for me. I too have never seen the bumper sticker so I needed to convince myself that the pun was OK. OOPSIEDAISY also seemed a tad odd unless DAISY is the name of your cow (OOPSIEDAIRY??). That said, I didn't have any problems with the VENUE area. I liked it overall, quite a bit of very good stuff (e.g. HARPO..., SPREAD..., MENDACITY ...).

ArtO 11:50 AM  

I don't see anyone noting that the blurred WORLD PEACE sticker would look like WHIRLEDPEAS if you were speeding by. At least that's my take on it.

Mel Ott 11:53 AM  

WHIRLED PEAS: Easy for you; difficult for me.

@cruxlogger: Good question.

Kiwi 12:00 PM  

Rex, you should definitely plan a NZ trip and take one of the LOTR tours. Super nerdy, yet super-fun! The place is amazing, great people, food & wine, and amazing scenery. Not sure about their crossword status, however...

retired_chemist 12:06 PM  

Add me to the Cat on a Hot Tin Roof fans. MENDACITY was a highlight, as were several others already noted. Also add me to the list of those who never saw the WHIRLED PEAS bumper sticker. But a few crosses (OK, a LOT of crosses) made it clear.

I had a CRAMP from my tight shoes. My only writeover as I remember.

Seems like rails ought to come together in A MARSH, not MARSHES.

Never heard of SAYRE. UNFAYRE? Got it via crosses, and I don't CAYRE. So THAYRE.

Thanks, Mr. White.

Lewis 12:09 PM  

No, Visualize Whirled Peas was a hot bumper sticker with its 15 minutes of fame. It was just a joke, a pun, no hidden meaning, at least I don't think.

LAXLY? Really? Has anyone ever used this word? Well, maybe. I've never heard anyone say it though. Like LURED ON, I can imagine it being used, but I don't think it ever is. I liked Rex's take on this.

Loved the clue for NOSEBLEED.

Merry merry, all!

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

For all who love Patrick Berry puzzles, there's one in today's Wall St. Journal. Just sayin'...

the redanman 12:10 PM  

I know it's sacrelidge and totally inappropriate, but can anyone point me to a WSJ Friday Puzzle Blog of quality?

Thanks, still can't do much but slog through a Saturday.

castsor - something I saw a lot of as an Orthopaedist! Do not itch with a hangar, people!

Thanks again if anyone has one.

johnranta 12:14 PM  

Don't like the clue for "bags". I got the baseball reference first, had "base" for a long time. Then switched to "bass", thinking this clue was about the symphony. Never did get "bags" until I came here. Ditto to all the others who don't like "stopsontime" because that phrase has never been used by anyone who speaks proper English. "stopsintime", of course. i did like the reference to the "Visualize whirled peas" bumper sticker. Other than "bags" this was a fast Saturday...jr

michael 12:16 PM  

Solved the puzzled without understanding whirled peas and spreadeagle. Now understand whirled peas but await the explanation of spreadeagle.

Don't like bags; stuck with base for too long and even when I got bags I disapproved.

Lured in seems more idiomatic than lured on.

Tobias Duncan 12:20 PM  

In New Mexico in the late 90s, all Subarus came standard with one of three bumper stickers "Visualize World Piece" " Visualize Whirled Peas" or "Free Tibet".Any deviation was strictly forbidden.
Tore through 90% of this one in record time then DNFed.
The BAGS area was just too much for me.
Cant wait to meet at the LaFawnduh(Napoleon Dynamite reference) in SF.

Tobias Duncan 12:23 PM  

Uggh I meant Peace."Piece" is part of a bumper sticker New Mexicans put on El Caminos.

Lindsay 12:40 PM  

@Tobias Duncan "Think Globally Act Locally" didn't make it down to NM?

If you type "visualize" into Google, WHIRLED PEAS comes up as an auto-complete option. I'm stunned at the number of people who've never heard of the gag.

Tobias Duncan 12:52 PM  

@ Lindsay, we did not get those till about the turn of the century and they were never mandatory.

the redanman 12:56 PM  

WHIRLEDPEAS makes (god forbid) fun of the unattainable WORLD PEACE - a X-Mas theme if there ever was one.

BAGS was indeed awful, especially given the number of gimmes for a Saturday.

stopsOntime is just wrong, it's stopondime maybe, just maybe

easier for a Sat indeed still looking ....

Rex Parker 1:09 PM  

Home plate is a "bag." It's just not "fourth."

rp

Rex Parker 1:11 PM  

@Kiwi, My wife is from NZ. I've been twice and am going again this summer. Her brother lives in Hobbit country.

No interest in a touristy tour.

rp

r.alphbunker 1:14 PM  

If it was the zeroth bag then everything would make sense.

mac 1:57 PM  

Amazing coincidence in the LAT.

What am I doing! 17 guests in 3 hours!

Adlibs Carride Mendacity 2:01 PM  

Shocked that PEYOTE is a cactus AND that you can pluralize it to begin with...seems like something @dk would be all over...

@Lindsay
Warren Hellman just died. He was a huge philanthropist who started the Hardly Strictly BlueGrass festival here in SF, and funded a new newspaper "The Bay Citizen" to make up for all the newspaper layoffs of top notch journalists who do investigative reporting, etc. plus myriad other good works. His slogan was "Think Locally. Act Locally"...
maybe that was his bumpersticker!

Same stumbling blocks as others, tho knowing SONIA my bigger question was is she spelled it some funky way (like I'm always trying to remember where exactly the H goes in Gandhi...and always see folks misspell him as Ghandi).

Moment of synchronicity...at a party before doing the puzzle, was talking to a guy about how he looked like HARPOMARX!

I still read 1A as Exed out, as in crossed out, so I don't quite get the SPREADEAGLE clue either...

Totally like @Rex take on LURED, I mean Led...ON.

Plopped in World Peace and didn't understand why it didn't fit.
As it begin to materialize, I thought it might be something about WHales... I think I once saw a "Save Tibetan Whales" bumpersticker but I may be making that up!

MENdacity also seems like some sexist joke waiting for a non-pc punchline. @evil?

Anonymous 2:04 PM  

Whirled peas stopped me altogether. Could it be this bumper sticker was more popular in some areas than others?

Rex Parker 2:21 PM  

University towns probably have the advantage on the Whirled Peas thing. I filled that answer in with no crosses, but I've lived in Claremont, Ann Arbor, and Binghamton for the past 25 years (w/ occasional forays to Ithaca). Anywhere liberals tend to express themselves w/ bumper stickers, you'll see the Whirled Peas one.

rp

retired_chemist 2:25 PM  

@ Adlibs C. Mendacity - your X-ed out reading would be OK without the question mark, but we shouldn't be looking for a literal answer if there is one. A question mark, that is.

Holiday greetings to all.

retired_chemist 2:31 PM  

"Anywhere liberals tend to express themselves w/ bumper stickers, you'll see the Whirled Peas one."

That would explain why I never saw one in Dallas.

Story: When Patti (now wife) visited from MI the first time, before we knew each other really well, she asked (humorously), "You're not an axe murderer, are you?"

My response: "No, I'm a Democrat. In Texas that's worse."

treedweller 2:45 PM  

"'Anywhere liberals tend to express themselves w/ bumper stickers, you'll see the Whirled Peas one.'

That would explain why I never saw one in Dallas."

it's a gimme in austin.

DESievers 2:47 PM  

Felt 100% sure about everything except the Vera/venue circle of hell. Had revue and was stuck for the longest time until I replaced revue with segue and felt so proud of myself -- it HAD to be segue! Sadly, not. Having no idea abot the tennis player or Gandhi person, I had to content myself with that. Seeing the correct veras/venue was a duh moment that filled me with ignominious regret for having given in too soon. Oh well, you win some ... Merry Xmas to all!

retired_chemist 2:51 PM  

@ treedweller - I know. UT Dallas is not quite the liberal bastion UT (Austin) is.

Deb 3:37 PM  

I think some folks just must not be bumper sticker readers. The "visualize whirled peas" sticker was ubiquitous in my college town of Fort Collins, but while my 27-year-old son (who would have been driving by the time it was popular) doesn't recall it, my 21-year-old daughter does. Or perhaps it's just that she always liked to read and he never has; hard to believe that would extend to bumper stickers, but maybe so. Not terribly apropos perhaps, but I always like to share my favorite-ever bumper sticker when the topic comes up: You're ugly and your mother dresses you funny.

Now, will someone please explain how a sock can have a nosebleed?!

retired_chemist 3:44 PM  

@ Deb - girls are just more observant of periphera and guys not so much. Ask my wife. Hunter vs gatherer thing IMO.

Um - think sock <=> punch. The nosebleed is the result of the sock (in the nose).

Lurker0 4:11 PM  

I've been lurking in wait for an answer to the repeated 1A (X-ed out?) SPREADEAGLE queries, and here it is 4:10 PM Rex-time already! Don't be shy (or prudish?), folks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spreadeagle_(position)

Blush...

Lurkin' Larry

JenCT 4:13 PM  

My favorite bumper sticker is "How can I be overdrawn? I still have checks left..."

Anonymous 4:34 PM  

I think the clue for "BAGS" was good. First, second and third are marked with actual bags while home is marked with a plate.

syndy 4:46 PM  

when you are SREAD EAGLE your body forms an "X" it's a little kinder than the BLOOD EAGLE.WHEN MISS AMERICA was crowned and asked what she was going to use her new power for she would standardly say WORK FOR WORLD PEACE- so standardly that it was not always enunciated fully

David 5:26 PM  

Never heard of WHIRLED PEAS or OIL OF GARLIC, and only got SPREADEAGLE because it looked like it fit when I had 5 or 6 crosses, so the NW was nasty for me. As opposed to the whole South, which did indeed play like a Wednesday.

Middle also gave resistance due to the aforementioned REVUE/VENUE, which had me stumped for a while too.

Fun puzzle overall, though. Nice end to the week from Thursday-Saturday.

Kiwi 5:34 PM  

@Rex - Sorry, I &%&*ing hate it when people start off with "Oh, you should..." plus an assumption I've never been someplace they have and here I went and did it myself. Argh! Was thinking: Tolkien? NZ? Rex will LOVE this! Then of course, thought: wait a sec, something touristy that LOTS of people like? That's SO not Rex...

Z 5:39 PM  

Get caught up on your punny bumper stickers and t-shirts

Anonymous 5:59 PM  

Spending most of my time in Brooklyn, I never came across the WHIRLED PEAS bumper sticker. I was hoping to squeeze in "BABY ON BOARD".
Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to everyone in RexWorld!

evil doug 7:08 PM  

As of two weeks ago we were blessed with our first grandson, so I need a hybrid bumper sticker: "Baby on Board, so Visualize Whirled Piss".

Celebrating one babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, another in Pampers,

Evil

santafefran 8:11 PM  

Thanks @ Z for the bumper stickers--some really great ones there.

Here in Santa Fe I have seen: DOG is my Co-pilot and Practice Random Acts of Kindness.

In response to xwords the past few days:
What would Gandalf do?
Forget World Peace; Visualize Using Your Turn Signal

Visualize dk, Tobias and santafefran making merry at La Fonda tomorrow.

Cheers to all in Rexville and may your days be merry and bright. We are enjoying sun here now.

captcha- effing--no kidding!

Rube 8:37 PM  

Had a good, if entirely too long, time with this puzzle. WHIRLEDPEAS was easy for a Californian, once I got rid of Domain for DEGREE -- (too much math background).

Also had trouble in the SW with IMdriving before IMONADIET. Hand up for BAGS/BAse. Also, first had station for "Where rails meet", although I thought the bird was a possibility as well as "old railroad men", who are also called "rails".

Had TORTe crossing SONIe, resulting in a DNF although I must confess to one Google -- for the RILEY guy who I never heard of. Also never heard of VERA(S), SAYRE, Apple's Quadra or SKIBOBS, (wanted SKIBOtS -- sounded reasonable).

High point: MENDACIOOUS -- Low point: LAXLY -- IMO.

Merry Christmas, or whatever, to all.

Rudy 9:51 PM  

Always late to the finished-crossword-party but WHIRLEDPEAS went well with the clue .. visualize... And how about the powerful NE corner with MENDACITY and ERIECANAL. Drop further down and easily solved SONIA for Mrs Rajiv Gandhi-- she of Italian Catholic origin holding power in a democratic nation of 1 billion plus who witnessed her m-in-law assassinated in 1984 and 7 years later lost her husband to the-then unheard of suicide bombing by the Tamil Tigers. The Swiss river AARE almost begged to be pronounced "arrey" (a very very mild WTF) to round out the minor Indian theme. But I was searching for Berry's Friday mashups in this puzzle but concluded that it was a wee bit short..

mac 10:05 PM  

Looking back it was a huge help that I knew Sonia. Not personally.

We had a lovely Christmas Eve with a lot of friends, and hope you did too. Enjoy the end of this year!

sanfranman59 10:15 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:35, 6:50, 0.96, 34%, Easy-Medium
Tue 9:39, 8:53, 1.09, 76%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 12:19, 11:48, 1.04, 65%, Medium-Challenging
Thu no data (travel day)
Fri 21:10, 25:25, 0.83, 21%, Easy-Medium
Sat 25:21, 29:58, 0.85, 16%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:41, 3:40, 1.01, 55%, Medium
Tue 4:58, 4:35, 1.09, 76%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 6:08, 5:51, 1.05, 69%, Medium-Challenging
Thu no data (travel day)
Fri 11:00, 12:35, 0.87, 28%, Easy-Medium
Sat 15:10, 17:05, 0.89, 29%, Easy-Medium

Tita 11:59 PM  

Major DNF - blaming it on too much merry-making.

Only one glimmer of insight to add here:

STOPONTIME is indeed correct:

If a speaker is given 30 minutes to speak, but he talks for 35, he RUNS OVER.
Otherwise, he STOPSONTIME.

(I got STOPiNTIME too).

Anonymous 4:41 AM  

@retired_chemist: I guess that the bumper stickers in Dallas would read "Nuke the gay whales for Jesus" :-)

MENDACITY is what immediately comes to mind when one sees the lips of the Republican nominee field move, as well as Fox Agitprop and the WSJ.

To me, the puzzle felt fresh and fun, through unfamiliarity with RAILS meant that I ended with a DNF. Had no problems with the points that seem to have HUNG UP others. I guess we all have different knowledge bases.

Happy Winter Solstice to all (a few days post festum)

--P--

f nietzsche 11:21 AM  

Let's be honest. This puzzle was horrible. More stretching than a taffy factory. Spaghettiini? angel's antithesis is brat? really? Those are stretches. Yos? really. Shouts in the Hood are 'shout outs.' A venue can be about anything. Oopsey daisy is really not even coherent. I can't go on. But really my problem was with the long answers. Can't make them mean anything or relate? really. Did the guy even do this himself or let the computer create it?

Red Valerian 1:21 PM  

DNF because of one error. Had BAtS for BAGS (there was some reasoning about baseball, but obviously fallacious) , which gave me LUt instead of LUG. Oh, well.

Also had tAMPED for 21A "suppressed," but sorted that out fine.

Also had siT for be part of the picture (ACT) for a while.

@f nietzsche--you've misread the answer to 32A (it's ANI not iNI, and see above if you don't understand); 'angel' and 'brat' seem like good contrasts to me when speaking of small children; liked the long answers, though I admit that OOPSIEDAISY probably has alternative spellings. But who cares?

I had fun. Happy Data Privacy Day!

Meiclz 7:41 PM  

I thou ugh X-Ed out clue for spread eagle was brilliant one I could picture someone pread output in an X formation. Have ever ever heard of Whired peas!,

Anonymous 8:35 PM  

Spacecraft here. Alas, two in a row DNF. This one I can blame on brutal cluing. Xed out? for SPREAD-EAGLE is just somethingnot posible to get. And that next one. WHIRLED PEAS? You have to be kidding. It's not even a true homophone for the final sound in PEAS/ce, and it makes no sense whatever.
And did we really have to unearth OOPSIEDAISY? You have to even alt.sp. it for starters, the more common form (?) being "oopsy." All that, plus a hand up for BASE, which threw a monkey wrench into a part of the puzzle that I thought I'd gotten right--the SE--beat me into submission.
I agree, this puzzle was uneven to the extreme. Some great fill, but the bad stuff was just too bad.

abrot: the disease you get when you stop going to the gym.

LongBeachLee 12:33 PM  

Rex et al, quitcherbellyachin. I'm with anonymous and Ned on the bags issue. Not loose cluing at all. First is synonymous with first base, etc. So first, second, and third are bags. Well maybe loose on fourth, but if first is first base, etc. then fourth base clearly implies home PLATE.

Anonymous 12:23 AM  

your O.P still says"sofia" not "sonia"

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