Dada pioneer, Biblical land whose name means "red" in Hebrew, Nanook's home, Nautical hazard, Juicy fruit, Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Constructor: DAVID J. KAHN

Relative difficulty: MEDIUM

I had my crayons handy from the envelope yesterday so I decided to
highlight the theme content. 35% of the grid (black squares included).

THEME: DICK CLARK — (63A Late beloved TV personality) and a long-running television show he produced and starred in, along with a 17A typical opinion about a record on [it].

Word of the Day: CHAVEZ (34A Labor leader Cesar) —(from wiki)
East First St. is Austin's Triboro Bridge.
 I think "Lady Bird Lake" will stick.
Cesar Estrada Chavez (locally: [ˈsesaɾ esˈtɾaða ˈtʃaβes]; March 31, 1927 – April 23, 1993) was an American farm worker, labor leader, and civil rights activist who, with Dolores Huerta, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers (UFW).[1]
• • •
Hello, all. Once again, this is treedweller giving Rex a bit of a break. I'll get right to it.

Last October, Kevin Der reportedly was moved by the death of Steve Jobs to rush out a tribute puzzle, and Will Shortz's crew made it happen. Commentary here ranged from "loved it" to "nice enough but misplaced on Friday" to "wonder how long it was in the can" to "does anybody else see the arrogance associated with thinking a crossword is an important eulogy?"

Well, Rexworld, The Puzzle listened. Steve Jobs died at 56, and we wondered if WS had his tribute in a drawer. Dick Clark died at the age of 117-1/2, yet this puzzle appears over a month after his death. We've all had time to absorb the blow under more solemn circumstances, so now a lighthearted reminder of an old friend is welcome.  Both the dense cross-referencing and the slightly vague cluing make this just enough of a challenge to be very well placed on a Wednesday.

I still haven't met the solver who says, "I love cross-referenced clues." Some of us enjoy the puzzle despite the annoyance; others get put off and quit. A few finish and complain.

But today I was seriously getting ticked off for a bit. Every clue I read was either daring me to guess with little confidence or referring me somewhere else.  I finally scanned the theme clues, zeroed in on the name, and attacked the surrounding areas. Unfortunately, I misread 65A Saloon choices (ALES) and entered "dyes" instead. Also, my go-to Spanish artist is Dalí.  

But I finally found the terminal K at 58D Nasdaq listings: Abbr. STKS. From there, the theme answers became very easy and I enjoyed figuring out all the stuff I couldn't guess on the first pass. Maybe I'm just giddy with power, but I've had a great time this week. Ask anyone who knows me, I am generally a complete ano. But if every week started the way this one has, I would be ecstatic.
from my copy of Bluebeard.
Yes, I did just figure out captions.

I mean, sure, there's AGASP (64A Audibly stunned). But if I have to have a borderline word nobody uses anymore, I appreciate that it was clued in a fairly undeniable way. Overall, there just wasn't much to complain about. Even the stale bits were rhapsodized with lyrical clues. OPIE is not just some Ron Howard role; he's a boy who liked to fish (1A). Our old buddy, Mel OTT, wasn't just a ball player; he was a Giant who swung for the fences (5D).

Theme answers:
  • 63A Late beloved TV personality DICK CLARK
  • 40A With 14-Across, long-running TV show popularized by 63A AMERICAN BANDSTAND
  •  16A 63-Across, for one EMCEE
  • 17A With 38- and 59-Across, typical opinion about a record on 40-/14-Across. IT'S GOT A GOOD BEAT AND YOU CAN DANCE TO IT
  • 27D With 51-Down, "14-Across Boogie," on 40-/14-Across THEME SONG
  • 36A World's Oldest ____ (nickname for 63-Across) TSARINA TEENAGER
I don't generally presume to comment on construction; I am merely an avid solver (notwithstanding a few pathetic and / or halfhearted attempts). But today the density of the theme was inescapable. We've got the guy's full name, the full name of his biggest show, his job on the show, the most awkward cluing possible for a generic term that describes a part of his show, a nickname for the guy, and a bonus quote theme thrown in for free. Forty percent of the letters in this puzzle were in at least one THEME answer. The quote is very appropriate and inferable. I am not birling when I say I like this puzzle. 


And now, a eulogy from Snoop "NSFW" Dogg (skip to :39 to avoid intro):


Bullets:
  •  45A "Buck Rogers" and others SERIALS— I first knew about him because of the TV series.
  • 48A "Is that ___?" AN O — I'll bet some of you were thinking, "Who says that?" In fact, it's a common phrase used when deciphering captchas. I'll take it over the standard Spanish clue and its associated diacritical awkwardness.
  • Buffalo's Mets-affiliated team BISONS— Even the sports haters should be able to work that out with a cross or two. Still, I am not sure I like the precedent of adding the names of minor-league teams to the crossword lexicon. How about cluing it "Adventurous progeny?" That works, right? Okay, maybe not.
  • 60A Dada pioneer ARP — Would have been a great Cain / Abel misdirect if it were four letters.
  • 44D Right away IN A SEC— this clue feels off. To me, IN A SEC is more, "yeah, after I finish this" than "right away".
  • 15D Comfort SOLACE— Perhaps a final THEME answer?    

Tomorrow we will have a surprise substitute and Our Leader should be back Friday. I hope you've all enjoyed my services as much as I have. I hope you will all reflect on how much work Rex does every day to keep this site going, as I certainly have over the past three days. I hope you will all remember there is a handy link near the top right of this page for you to offer Rex a tangible token of your gratitude. No, Rex did not ask me to say that.

Signed, treedweller, on behalf of
Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

92 comments:

jae 4:17 AM  

A very easy but a tad late tribute puzzle.   Zipped through it with no erasures.   A lotta theme stuff and a pretty smooth grid. I'm with treedweller again, what's not to like?  I never got to watch the early years of Bandstand.   We didn't own a TV in '52 and by the time we did homework came first.

I don't remember seeing TSARINA before.

chefwen 4:58 AM  

After getting the THEME it was pretty much on auto-fill. After OPIE/OBIE/OBIS/ I kept looking for Garfield's best buddy Odie.

Two write-overs were at 31D I had Nanook of the north and had to replace it with IGLOO and 42D Comic with CLOWN.

I'm giving it a big HO-HUM.

Better things will come tomorrow, I hope.

DrGaellon 6:04 AM  

I'm quite certain 48A is "Is that A NO?"

Z 6:49 AM  

@DrGaellon - I'm quite certain that treedweller knows that.

@chefwen- me too. Is this a first for OPIE/OBIE/OBIS in one puzzle? I saw ARE SO in two puzzles yesterday so was please to see Mr. Kahn gave it AREST today.

Hand up for Comic. My envelope - it's in (the) mail before SNAIL mail. Then that whole region west of those two answers took me some actual thought. Easy Medium for me.

Nice write-ups this week. Good use of captions, today.

Anonymous 7:33 AM  

Enjoyed very "punny" substitute! Good job, tree-ma(y)n!

Noticed you had a video from American Bandstand yesterday. A little foreshadowing?

-furtsk delight-

John V 7:51 AM  

Thought the NW/N foreshadowed a word ladder based on OPIE. But, with BAND in place, the thems became obvious. Only pauses were ACTAS, FARER, SHOAT. Mostly felt like an average Monday.

Listening to the Solace imbed as I type. Very nice touch, @treedweller. Great job standing in for @Rex and thanks for that.

evil doug 7:56 AM  

Way too much cross-pollination of clues. I don't mind occasionally having to refer to one over yonder; but today you'd go back to one, which led you to another two(!), which....Well, just a hot mess.

And with all due respect to Dick Clark, a nice guy---saw him on a Perry Mason episode recently, and he was actually a pretty good actor---but in the end he was a host. An emcee. A talking head. Not exactly John Glenn, or Bob Dylan, or Toni Morrison---among last night's celebrated Presidential Medal of Freedom winners who actually did something....

His most important role was staving off the omnipresent Ryan Seacrest, so now we'll have to endure that goof intruding into every aspect of head-shot known to man.

Basta.

Evil

Sue McC 8:19 AM  

Super easy and my fastest Wednesday ever. For me, the quick solving of this was due to the word "record" in the clue for 17 Across. That tipped everything off to Bandstand and allowed the immediate filling in of all of the theme answers.

dk 8:31 AM  

Bandstand, when it was in Philadelphia, had all these kids who dressed in odd clothes, had wierd hair and looked to be 30 not 17. I quess they were the Yang to Dick Clark's Yin. Anyway the show kinda creeped me out as watched in my Topsiders, Levi's and LaCoste (sp?).

Still a solid puzzle and another great guest write up by treedweller.

*** (3 stars) I never could dance much less hold a beat.

mitchs 8:34 AM  

From a different musical realm: RIP Doc Watson.

joho 8:38 AM  

@chefwen & @Z, you forgot OBESE which is obviously a plural variation of OBIS!

I had All, AgO, ANO.

I spell it OUTtA.

Amazingly dense theme, thank you, David Kahn.

And, thank you, @treedweller, you did a great job!

jackj 8:45 AM  

When we’re presented with a tribute puzzle we should expect that the theme answers were sacrosanct and the fill was secondary.

This often leads to either easy, “Crosswords for Dummies” type answers, (OPIE, OBIE, OTT, ERR, OBESE) or forced situations which can often generate obscurities or compromises, (TERA, TED[as clued], SHOAT, STKS, TNN, CKS, AGASP) and an unpleasant number of cross references.

So, as we plow our way through one of these puzzles, they usually prove to be respectful of the person being honored and dull as dishwater for the solver. Today’s puzzle fits that bill, with a few exceptions, namely:

One might rarely, if ever, expect to see a clue looking for a Zoning issue but today we have VARIANCES and, actually, it’s one of the spiffier entries, along with two other standouts, SOLACE and EMBARRASS, so the puzzle at least isn’t the crossword equivalent of the TSARINA’s frozen tundra.

So, “Thanks for the memories, Dick Clark”, and then it’s off to the Thursday puzzle but leaving us to ask, “Is a “by-the-numbers” tribute puzzle really a tribute?”


(Treedweller, this week’s puzzles haven’t given you much to work with but you’ve done a yeoman’s job! Thanks.)

Tobias Duncan 8:48 AM  

It took me almost every cross to accept BISONS. Do they play for Bovine University?

orangeblossomspecial 8:52 AM  

Here is the 27D 51D: "BANDSTAND BOOGIE". I think Barry Manilow later added lyrics.

These songs on Rate a Record aren't popular these days, but ITS GOT A GOOD BEAT AND YOU CAN DANCE TO IT.

DICK CLARK was honored on This is Your Life, which you can view on YouTube. Here is the segment about the genesis of AB.

chefbea 9:02 AM  

Loved the puzzle. Noticec all the things that have been mentioned. Miro and Arp are two of my favorite artists. Hanging without a trial goes along with them.

Of course loved..add a little sugar.

What is a tera flop???

@Treedweller - thanx for the great write ups the past few days

Oscar 9:06 AM  

Less theme and cleaner fill woulda been nice. Frankly, I'm still mad that we never got our Patrick Swayze tribute.

orangeblossomspecial 9:08 AM  

Thanks to @mitchs at 8:34, here is Doc Watson's family with the Earl Scruggs family. Remarkable fidelity for a recording outside in the hills of North Carolina.

Garrison Keillor sang a nice tribute to Doc in last week's show: Pass me not, o gentle Savior.

KRMunson 9:16 AM  

"tera flop" - really? "outa" - you're kidding, right? "stks" - that's outta bounds in my book.

Other than those three miscues, good puzzle. Love you still, David.

John V 9:20 AM  

Teraflop=one trillion floating point operations, a measure of computing capacity. Very much in the language, assuming your language includes geek speak. I wrote in MEGA initially. Go figure.

mac 9:22 AM  

Not knowing this bandstand program this was a bit of a slog for me, but that's my problem. I loved solace, variances, tsarina and embarrass, and I thought baabaa was very funny!

@treedweller: wonderful writing, and a great sense of humor!

joho 9:28 AM  

@orangeblossomspecial, thanks for the tribute to Doc Watson -- really lovely.

Howard B 9:30 AM  

Teraflop and terabyte are terms that are more commonly used nowadays, especially as computing power continues to ramp up exponentially.

An aside: treedweller, thañk you for using the tilde-less ano in a more proper coñtext iñ your post. I still criñge a little when that's used iñ the grid for a year.

Gill I. P. 9:33 AM  

I too don't like being led every which way. Thought what a strange puzzle but a nice tribute to Dick Clark. Then we get EMBARRASS, BOMB, OBESE, MOAN, BOO, AGASP and what the heck is TERA flop?
Well, VARIANCES was nice only because it was the only thing that really stuck out. The Joan Miro Foundation museum in Barcelona is an all time favorite. The architect is our crossword friend Josep Sert. So, two thumbs up and I can't find any others.
Thanks Treedweller for the fun write-ups. I Love the Juan in a Million!!

Tita 9:33 AM  

In total agreement with most of you - some great moments, but overall, meh.

@Treedweller - great job!
And thanks in particular for this morning's coffee-out-the-nose moment:
"AN O ... a common phrase used when deciphering captchas"

Horace S. Patoot 9:35 AM  

Teraflop is not a word. The acronym "FLOPS" refers to FLoating Operations Per Second, so the terminal "S" can't be removed. It refers to the number of calculations a computer can perform in a second.

chefbea 9:39 AM  

@John V I too had mega at first. How's the weather in Charlotte??? Torrential rain here..thanks Beryl.

Have a fotograph as one of my capcha!!
Weird!

quilter1 9:39 AM  

Easy and fun. No complaints here except all I ever knew about Dick Clark and AB was hearsay. My dad wouldn't have rock and roll in the house. So I'm a sucker for oldies stations.

I also chuckled at the OPIE/OBIS/OBIE/OBESE collection. Also liked SHOAL/SHOAT.

Good one, David. Thanks @treedweller.

jberg 10:04 AM  

Tribute puzzles, either you love 'em or you hate 'em, or else there are VARIANCES depending on who the tribute is for. I got the theme with 17A etc., IT'S GOT A GOOD BEAT AND YOU CAN DANCE TO IT (though I remembered it without the AND), which later became a cliche for a mindless opinion offered by a mindless teenager. Of course, the more tribute, the more of a strain on the fill, but this one wasn't bad, as the constructor milked it for laughs: the OPIE< OBIS, OBIE cluster that has been mentioned already, running from OTT on top to ARP on the bottom, and writing CKS to buy STKS.

Me too for mega before TERAflop, though I couldn't have defined it - and note the link to 20A. And me too for thinking OUTA needed another T - the only real flaw in this puzzle.

geezerette 10:09 AM  

This was very fun for someone who rushed home from Girl Scouts to catch Arlene and Kenny and Justine and Bob.

JenCT 10:11 AM  

I also suspected a word ladder.

Got the theme quickly; puzzles that have me cross-referencing clues all over the place annoy me, though.

Agree that IN A SEC wasn't clued correctly.

New word of the day for me was SHOAT; never heard that.

Thanks @treedweller.

DigitalDan 10:23 AM  

Evil:

Dick Clark, as with many of these show hosts (cf. Ed Sullivan) was perhaps more influential backstage, as a major producer, discoverer, and developer of talent. Many current stars (whatever you think of them) owe their start to him.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

I hate these "lead-in" clues...had to get to the bottom to get Dick Clark and work backwards...Are there really "sports haters"...kinda pathetic....to be that closed minded.

JaxInL.A. 10:30 AM  

@treedweller, I have particularly enjoyed your video selections and other visual commentary. Fun, irreverent and highly interesting. Thanks for taking on the task and keeping us all going while Rex gets some time with his daughter.

SHOAL and SHOAT in the same puzzle amuses me. I'm easily amused.

If I remember right, EDOM and Adam are linguistically related in Hebrew. It has to do with red earth and Adam being made from earth, and that interesting quality of Semitic languages to change vowel sounds in related words.

Thanks for the Doc Watson, @mitchs and @orangeblossomspecial. Maybe we could get a combined tribute puzzle for him and Patrick Swayze?

mitchs 10:57 AM  

@orangeblossomspecial - thanks a lot for the links. You may want to check out the NYT obit comments...amazing how many people were deeply touched by both the man and his music.

mac 11:11 AM  

Forgot: I had Dali for Miro as well, there is a Dali museum in Barcelona.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

I was never a big fan of American Bandstand or Dick Clark, but I think some here might be a little too dismissive of Dick Clark.

Motown founder Berry Gordy said: "Dick was always there for me and Motown, even before there was a Motown.

"He was an entrepreneur, a visionary and a major force in changing pop culture and ultimately influencing integration. It happened first emotionally. Music can do that. He didn't do it from a soap box, he just did it."

What I say: Dick Clark came along in a post-war society that was going to change dramatically. American Bandstand started in 1952 but Dick Clark started hosting it in 1956. Brown v. Board of Edcucation was decided in 1954. Dick Clark did not resist integration as some did in those days. He fostered it.

TD: Good job. Too bad Dick Clark didn't live another 35 years....

JFC

Sam Donaldson 11:22 AM  

Um, okay, this might be a big mistake, but, well, here goes:

I'm a solver and I like cross-referenced clues.

There, I said it.

Unknown 11:24 AM  

I agree.

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

@TreeDweller - Thanks a lot. Great. Now that you've introduced me to GNN I've sat here at work laughing my ass off. Am leaving for the bosses office now.

Howard B 11:35 AM  

I inadvertantly dropped the 's' from 'teraflops' in my post earlier, despite knowing its origin. mea culpa. (Although it should be noted that 'flop' is sometimes commonly used as a back-formation of the word, even if incorrectly).

So I am adding the S here, along with a few spares for anyone else today that makes the same mistake. Take one as needed.
SSSSSSSS

Enjoy.

Sparky 12:33 PM  

Like @chefwen comic before CLOWN. Thanks @JohnV and others for the definitions of TERAflop. I'm still in the dark, but that's okay. Somehow got the DICKCLARK first and then went back to figure out all the crissy crossies which I find annoying but inevitable.

Thank you @treedweller for well written cheerful write ups. Interesting imbeds. Laughed at AN O.

Martin 12:59 PM  

Re: teraflops. The back-formation singular is arguably more authoritative than the awkward singular-with-an-s. It also has a reasonable etymology that doesn't make it a back formation. I do think that usage morphed from the days that we talking about "how many megaflops?" to the "quest for a teraflop machine." In other words, the singular never came up in the seventies.

I would guess that solvers who care about their solve times pretty much all hate cross-ref clues. Those of us who don't mind (or maybe even love them?) are probably from the group that ignores the timer.

Steve J 1:20 PM  

I enjoyed Treedweller's writeup a lot more than the puzzle itself. I fall into the camp of tolerating cross-referential clues if the rest of the puzzle paid off. The sheer theme density of this didn't enable that, since it left a lot of junk, and Dick Clark, while definitely culturally noteworthy, isn't all that exciting.

Even if I liked cross-reference clues, these were some of the most painful, convoluted cross-reference clues ever. My head still hurts from parsing 27D.

Most people have covered the non-theme junk. But STKS and CKS deserve extra mention for being especially horrible. Yuk.

Did like VARIANCES and EMBARRASS. A couple really nice long downs.

Mike B 1:21 PM  

it is clearly "Is that a no?" not "Is that an o?"

JenCT 1:27 PM  

I don't care at all about my solving time, I just don't want a puzzle telling me what to do.

foodie 1:28 PM  

Tribute puzzles make me wonder-- if I were famous enough for one, what would it say? Would it even pick out the achievement that I am proudest of? Maybe Dick Clark knew that it would be the YOU CAN DANCE TO IT quote. But maybe he was prouder of the Pyramid game, or New Year's eve hosting in Time Square. Or something his kid did...

Or may be only people who'll never get one of these would wonder.

hazel 1:36 PM  

Well, i don't care a bit about my time, but i still don't like cross-referenced clues. I like footholds, not banana peels.

. And i had dali for miro too even though i knew for a fact that the dali museum was in a village a couple of hours away from barcelonoa - i remember clearly because we had to make a decision between seeing as much Gaudi as possible or spending a day going to/fro Dali (Gaudi won).

Great relief work, @treedweller!

chefbea 1:48 PM  

@Sparky Love the word crissy-crossies

evil doug 1:53 PM  

We've had plenty of pangrams. Recently we saw a reactionary puzzle that used every letter but 'e'. We've had cluing done in alphabetical order. We've endured crosswords shaped like ships and envelopes. What will be the new frontier in creative puzzling?

Here's what I propose: Invent a crossword where every clue is cross-referenced to other clues. After the initial shock wave of awe and admiration from solvers across the universe for the first to create this masterpiece, it will be exalted as a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, packaged in a crossword grid.

Once an intrepid puzzler finds the right thread to pull, it will become as a nuclear chain reaction---blurred eyes zigging and zagging across the reactor-esque cluing, looking for the next plutonium nucleus to unwind in sequence....

Hell, after today's monstrosity you're halfway home. Think of today's as the Apollo 8 that allows the victory of Apollo 11 to ultimately be achieved.

Okay. You constructors get right on that, and let me know when you're done. Me? I'm the idea guy. Man, I need a nap after all that brilliant headwork....

Evil

Bird 2:01 PM  

This was a tough start with all the disjointed clues, but once I got the honoree of this tribute the answers fell fairly quickly. Agree with most of the comments on cluing/fill, especially OPIE, OBIE, OBIS & OBESE. My first thought for saloon choices was RYES.

Question: If 27D/51D is considered a bonus theme answer, does the puzzle get a one-day pass from the symmetry requirement?

Happy Humpday!

PS. My captcha was disCera 8-inch. Fitting for today's puzzle as there used to be 8-inch records (you know . . . vinyl discs).

American Chavez Michaels 2:25 PM  

@foodie
The fact that ITSGOTAGOODBEAT and YOUCANDANCETOIT both being 15s and smoothly split is manna from heaven if you are going to construct a tribute...i mean completely fabulous (except that I initially left out the AND and put YOU there, till CANDANCETOIT left extra space...)
So regardless of his myriad other achievements, two 15s will trunp all!!!
DICKCLARK being the same amount of letters as BANDSTAND is icing on the cake, and I'd argue you almost don't even need the word AMERICAN...
Esp because tthe show was often just called "BANDSTAND"...
And it would have made for less cross-referencing, and avoid the parallel nontheme answer TSARINA.
(I'm with you @JENCT not a timed thing, i just hate being told what to do! So if that could be minimized...great!)

STKS and CKS was simply awful, but given the run of CKCL that needed to be crossed, it's totally forgiven in my book.
Tho it made me wonder/actually miss how scathing @Rex would have been, despite enjoying @treedweller's venomfree writeups.
(as well as the OBIS/OBIE/OPIE/OBESE pileup and the FLOPs/FLOP.
Handup for being a girl who did not know TERA.)

Also thanks @treedweller to make CHAVEZ word of the name, esp maybe for younger folks...now THERE's another man totally tribute worthy! LETTUCE ADORE?
Attn David Kahn/Will Shortz, April 23, 2013, 20th anniversay of Cesar C's death.

Plus super classy of treedweller to mention donation button. It is hard to fathom how much work is involved for a go-to daily writeup...until you've tried to do it yourself.
Same goes for construction of a puzzle, esp a timely tribute.


Having worked for DICKCLARK on a shortlived gameshow called The Challengers I can attest to his smiling emcee persona some times being at odds with his steely backstage business mogul guy reality...

The point being, @foodie, despite his huge accomplishments as an innovator and integral force in integration, etc. when it comes to tributes in crossword form, make sure you've accomplished something that can be summed up in a 15 letter catch phrase!

So, of course it must be said, kudos to David Kahn on this crazyrich theme-dense puzzle. It had a good beat and you could dance to it!

Lewis 2:43 PM  

A kind heart and genuine smile -- was my impression of Dick Clark when I met him in 1978 as a contestant on the $20,000 Pyramid.

loren muse smith 3:19 PM  

I don’t care at all about my solve time, but I don’t like cross-referencing clues. I’m just too impatient. No one really knows me, but if you did, you’d wonder why I’m always in such a hurry even though I’m actually not. I walk fast, talk fast. . . you should see me eat! Jeesh!

I was astonished at how much theme was in this puzzle. Quite the accomplishment. I DNF with a big fat Natick on SHOAT (huh?), BISONS, and IN A SEC. Thought maybe it could be “one SEC.”

Linguistics question – anyone out there with a dialect where you regularly “drop the g” in ing words (I always do) – do you do it on BEING? Can you say “human bein’? How ‘bout baseball “innin’? There’s no right or wrong – just curious.

Hand up for not knowing TERA. I love the word WHENCE but mercifully I never use it. Thanks, David. And thanks, treedweller. What kind of tree do you dwell in?

KRMunson 3:21 PM  

@Lewis - well, don't keep us guessing - how'd you do on Pyramid?!?!?!

sanfranman59 3:39 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Wed 10:08, 11:48, 0.86, 20%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:55, 5:53, 1.01, 55%, Medium

Z 3:47 PM  

@sanfranman59 and others - It seems like the difficulty ratings have been all over the place, lately. Yesterday's envelope finishing the day with the third highest median time for the top 100 really surprised me. I'm guessing the cross-referencing would slow down the speedy top 100 today, but any speculation on what caused the envelope to be so hard for people?

Tobias Duncan 3:54 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tobias Duncan 3:57 PM  

@Z I will give you my take until sanfranman59(Im a big fan of his by the way)gets here.
There was some tricky cluing for a Tuesday in that envelope puzzle and it was all broken up with cheater squares(pretty sure I am misusing that term).Just could not get an early week head of steam up.
My time today was 25%faster than yesterdays, and at that I felt like I was bumbling all over the place chasing down all the cross referenced clues.
Yesterdays puzzle was clearly a Wednesday as far as I am concerned.

Lewis 4:18 PM  

@KRMunson -- I got to the big pyramid first try, then won it, for $10,000. The only way to win more would be to miss the big pyramid, beat the next opponent, and get back to it. But then you risk losing to the next opponent and going home with nothing. So I was quite happy with how things turned out.

chefbea 4:24 PM  

@Loren Muse Smith Puzzle husband always drops the G. Once a month he has to call people to remind them of the mounthly meetin.

Bird 4:26 PM  

@Lewis - $10,000 in 1978 was not chump change (about $35K today). Congrats!

Now what am I supposed to do with a picture captcha?! Reload. Gibberish. Reload. Guessed wrong (was not AN O). Reload.

loren muse smith 4:31 PM  

@chefbea - I always do,too, except not with human being, inning, everything, or anything and for the life of me I can't figure out why. I bet your husband doesn't say everythin' or anythin'.

Mighty Nisden 4:40 PM  

@Martin - I couldn't agree more. I am not a slave to the timer.. Good thing because I am slow and on the mondays and tuesdays that I "solve against the clock" I am typically in the slowest group. I enjoy finding the curve balls in the grid.

After OPIE all I could think of was Andy Griffith, even though I knew that was wrong.

@treedweller, thanks for the Scott Joplin and the write up!!

jae 4:45 PM  

@loren -- Ditto your first paragraph including the self description. Tip -- reading the Newspaper or... while eating may slow the process down.

long suffering mets fan 5:09 PM  

All right, a quick show of hands --

Could Horace S. Patoot be an actual parent-given name?

Me thinks he's yanking our collective teraflops

Tita 5:10 PM  

#Loren...I think I drop g's in the normal places. Though now am incapable of speakin properly for thinkin about it!

Here in Connecticut, there is a dialect that drops middle t's...
If you live in Shelton, you call it Shell-In...with a hard stop between the 2 syllables. I suppose it's the opposite of the LonGisland dialect that pronounces that place as one 3-syllable word with a very strong "g".

(I walk really fast,. but eat and solve really slow...)

John V 5:18 PM  

@mets fan. I believe Horace played first base for the Red Sox some years ago. Good pair of wickets, as I recall.

loren muse smith 5:22 PM  

@Tita - yeah, you have to sneak up on words when you're figurin' out how you actually say'em. I bet you don't ever say everythin' or anythin'.

Want too much information? That "hard stop" (good instincts!) is a glottal stop, and lots of dialects do that - newton, button, sentence - no true t's in those for tons of people. Cockney uses them in stuff like li*le bo*le for little bottle.

Boy, I'm enjoying these italics. Now I just need to access the International Phonetic Alphabet!

long suffering mets fan 5:24 PM  

@John V -- in my eyes, the premier Red Sox first baseman, is of course: the immortal Billy Buckner

If you're a bb fan, I don't have to explain why

John V 5:31 PM  

@mets fan: I completely understand.

Mr. Benson 5:35 PM  

Funny seeing BISONS in today's puzzle, then going over to the op-eds and seeing this: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/30/opinion/our-national-mammal.html

Mel Ott 5:38 PM  

@Tita: I grew up on Long Island and lived the first 39 years of my life there. I never heard anyone frome LI pronounce it the way you describe, with the srong "g". People from elsewhere, yes - but not LIers.

ksquare 5:38 PM  

@loren muse smith If you drop the G from human being it often sounds like human BEAN. Just sayin'.

foodie 5:40 PM  

@andrea, thank for the advice! I'll work on my multiples of 15 letter achievement!

I do agree that the fit was remarkable for Dick Clark. Interesting to get a behind the scenes glimpse!

B 6:59 PM  

wasn't a fan of all the cross-referencing, but thought it was a pretty smooth solve overall.

@loren muse smith: I think there are dialects in which g-dropping main occurs in inflectional suffixes, so that could explain why you wouldn't drop it in words like "anything" or "human being". In my own case, I think I might say "bein'" (as in "he's bein' crazy!") but am fairly certain I wouldn't say "human bein'"...so that might help explain it?

loren muse smith 7:32 PM  

@B - you may be on to something. No one would "drop the g" in

earring
Peking Duck

and they're not inflectional endings.

BUT, BUT, BUT what about

somethin'
nothin'

They ARE inflectional endings.

Why don't you email me?

loren muse smith 7:57 PM  

@I meant are NOT inflectional endings

Martin 8:06 PM  

It's called an "n-g click," and if you accept that Brooklyn and Queens are on Lawn Guyland, you can indeed find it in situ. It's frowned upon in Nassau and will get you deported from Suffolk.

fergus 9:15 PM  

Odd that today, for the first time in a long while I decided to run against the clock. Then I encounter all those cross-references, which as Maritin noted, tend to bedevil speed-solvers. Yet I'm sure that there is more than the occsional person who will own up to liking cross-referenced Clues. And I would guess that this predilection is a more unusual way of keeping the plates spinning on the stakes than juggling mere criss-crossing stacks of synonyms?

Tita 9:17 PM  

@Mr. Ott - So sorry! I may have made too sweeping a statement...
@Martin - thanks for the clarification.

@loren & @B - what IS an inflectional ending???

@acme & @foodie - yes - those "behind the scenes" insights are a big reason why I come here. Thanks!

sanfranman59 10:05 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 6:25, 6:50, 0.96, 31%, Easy-Medium
Tue 10:27, 8:54, 1.17, 89%, Challenging
Wed 10:09, 11:48, 0.86, 20%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:50, 3:40, 1.02, 63%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:44, 4:36, 1.25, 99%, Challenging (3rd highest median solve time of 154 Tuesdays)
Wed 5:29, 5:53, 0.93, 34%, Easy-Medium

@Z & @Tobias ... your guess is as good as mine about the numbers for yesterday's puzzle. I was surprised that it rated as Challenging since my solve time was at the low end of my Medium Tuesday range. Maybe people were slowed down by trying to picture the drawing as they were solving.

Sfingi 11:14 PM  

I was really impressed by this puzzle. I wasn't able to work on it in one sitting because my house was being painted, but as it emerged from what I thought was, initially corny stuff - OBIE, OPIE, OTT - it was all so original, as Treedweller pointed out.

Speaking of the house painting - be prepared. Our neighborhood was chosen as the first place to start in the plot to get rid of lead paint. Any owner of a house not sided but built before 1978 (mine is 1852)will be forced at great expense to do this. There was as much scraping as painting - and all brush painting. It does look beautiful, though.

Dick Clark, started his career in Utica where he called himself Dick Clay because his father was Dick CLark and was president of the local radio station.
Anybody see the documentary about the autistic twin girls who were obsessed with Dick Clark and finally met him?

Anonymous 11:53 PM  

Loved this puzzle. Loved the cross references. Loved this man. Regardless of his backstage business acumen and steely focus, he put people dancing together on tv when most either never imagined it or did not want it.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

Zoned out that I was doing the syndicated puzzle from May 30th. Woke up today, July 4th, seeing that Andy Griffith has passed. Saw the first answer as Opie, and thought good lord, its a tribute-to-Andy puzzle. Will be interesting to see how long it takes before his tribute puzzle actually shows up.

Anonymous 12:16 PM  

@Anonymous: Yes, OPIE in the top corner startled me as well this morning.

Overall, not a bad Wednesday puzzle, though I'm ambivalent on the theme. Did not care for SHOAT or OUTA. STKS and CKS are just ugly.

Dirigonzo 12:30 PM  

Sub-theme must have been "The Big O" as there were 16 occurrences of the letter (plus the MOAN at the very end). Too bad DJK couldn't sneak OLDIES into the grid as a final tribute to the man who played the music we loved then and still listen to today.

And yes, Anony 10:58 AM, OPIE's appearance in our grid is another case of syndication synchronicity; RIP Andy Griffith.

Waxy in Montreal 2:10 PM  

Glad to see the Buffalo BISONS are still in existence. During the '50's, saw them play many times here against our then-International League team, the Royals. The Bison's star of the era had one of the best alliterative sports nicknames ever: "Luscious Luke" Easter.

Like @Diri and the @Anons, was startled to see OPIE the day after Andy Griffith left us. Spooky stuff indeed.

Recall TSARINA from a previous puzzle when it appeared with its anagrams ARTISAN and SINATRA.

Solving in Seattle 2:13 PM  

Hand up, Anonymice, on the first clue being "OPIE" and I'm going, whoa, how did they get a tribute to AG 5 weeks ago figured out. That's just eerie... then @Dirigonzo threw a bucket of cold water in my face - "syndication synchronicity." Of course.

Treedweller, good job coming in off the bench. I enjoy your sense of humor.

As for the puzzle, my writeovers were piggy for SHOAT and Comic for CLOWN. Liked the clues for 45A & 15D. Got the theme on BANDSTAND. My head was spinning with all the cross references.

@SiS lol award of the day goes to ED for his suggested leading EDge crossword theme, AND to @Martin 8:06.

Capcha: torsssw. Laid rubber in the direction of Arizona.

DMGrandma 2:58 PM  

I'm one who doesn't like all the cross reference stuff, so I just ignore it and fill in the straight forward clues. In this case, like so many others, the cited clues just filled themselves in, so that DICKCLARK was obvious when I got to that point. Probably lucky because I've never seen his show. However, ended with a Natick, never heard of teraflop, and wanted sea follower to be something like sealant. Another almost!

Anonymous 5:37 PM  

Anonymous 10:58 AM stole my speech. Long live the Matlock Freeway.

Spacecraft 7:30 PM  

I parsed 48a as A NO, as in a response to "When pigs fly."
"Um, is that A NO, then?"

Cross-referenced clues only bother me when they're completely circular; i.e., they refer solely to each other and to nothing else.

This puzzle pays a relatively small junk-fill price for extreme depth of theme--and even sneaks in the marvelous name CHAVEZ for a bonus! YEA, there are partials, but for offset I give you EMBARRASS and VARIANCES.

Ironic that, easy as it was, my very first entry--the "gimme" TONY for the theater award--had to be written over.

I'll give this puzzle an 89. ITSGOTAGOODBEAT, and YOUCAN solve TOIT. Thanks, David...and RIP, Dick. I miss ya!

Ginger 9:56 PM  

Really enjoyed this one. BANDSTAND jumped out at me with just a few of the downs filled in, so before actually entering it I copied the puzzle for my new-puzzler daughter.

I suspect that cross-referenced clues are more frustrating to computor solvers. For us dead-tree folks, you just look a little further down, and can in fact see both entries at once.

As has been mentioned here in syndiland,OPIE caused an AGASP. Syndi-synchronicity.

It's been a long day here, our breakfast served 98 people, making some pretty good money for charity. Menu Fresh Fruit Cup, juice, French Toast, and Sausage. Came home to relax with a really fun tribute puzzle, topped off with Treedweller and you all!

Happy Fourth!

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