Pigskin stitching / WED 9-26-12 / Morgantown's locale / Curiosity's launcher / Country mentioned in Sinatra's Come Fly with Me / Scored in 80s / Online honcho

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: FIELD / GOALS (35A: With 37-Across, events described by 23-/44-Across)— featuring the phrase "THE KICK IS UP / AND IT IS GOOD!"—a reasonably common football ANNOUNCER phrase. FIELD GOALS are always taken from within the HASHMARKS on either side of the field, with the position depending on where the prior play ended.

Word of the Day: HASHMARKS (32D: They appear at one-yard intervals) —
hash mark
n.
1. A service stripe on the sleeve of an enlisted person's uniform.
2. Football A mark in either of two series placed on the field perpendicular to the yard lines and used for spotting the ball. (freedictionary.com)
• • •

Fell asleep *very* early last night, so didn't get to the puzzle til *very* early this morning (i.e. a few minutes ago, around 5:30am). I made the mistake of checking Facebook first, where my constructor friends were already ragging on this puzzle. So I did not have high hopes going in. Nor did I have a terribly high opinion of the puzzle going out, but I clearly didn't dislike it as much as my friends. Circles shmircles, I always say, but these work OK. An ANNOUNCER will indeed say the phrase "THE KICK IS UP / AND IT IS GOOD"; I think I've heard the contraction "IT'S" more often than "IT IS," but that's hardly a disqualification. Circled letters spell "football" and are form a reasonable visual approximation thereof. FIELD GOALS are taken within the HASHMARKS ... seems pretty tight, for what it is. I will never understand the clue on XXX, which isn't accurate in any way. That *must* have been changed. The original clue *must* have referenced PORNO (51A: Flick not shown on network TV), first because that's such a perfect opportunity for cross-referencing, and second because, well, the clue is literally nonsensical. As you can see from the picture, [Pigskin stitching] has zero in common with XXX. But if you just leave it alone, and don't call attention to it, no one's going to question what the Xs are. They're clearly meant to represent the stitches. Close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades, NOT close enough for a specific clue.


One last weird thing with the theme. GLADIATORS (9D: Lions' foes) looks like a theme answer—football players are certainly referred to using this kind of high-falutin' language all the time. But while football players may be called GLADIATORS in some contexts, rarely are they also called OIL PAINTERs (26D: Manet or Monet). So I'll just consider GLADIATORS an unintentional "bonus" theme answer and not worry too much about the symmetry issues there.

I have no idea how SOLIDS works for 43D: Pool side. None. But again, it's early, my brain may just not be completely warm yet. Oh ... stripes and SOLIDS. OK. Brain's back online now.

Love the clue on SLASH (43A: One of two on a short date?). Really had to focus on it because of my problem understanding SOLIDS (the first "S" cross on SLASH). I'll be grading my first sets of papers next week, so the Strunk & White dictum feels relevant (56A: Adhering to Strunk and White's advice "Omit needless words"). First papers tend to be loaded with air—like when you open a big potato chip bag and there's really only about two fistfuls of potato chips in here, and most of those are broken, and kind of greasy, and you know you really shouldn't be eating this *&$% 'cause it's not good but somehow you are compelled. Like that. I've never seen/heard of SYSOPs outside of crosswords, but I am confident that they exist (12D: Online honcho). I thought that an APE was [Probably not Mr. Right]. I stand by that thought, even though it was not helpful here. I recently watched a movie called "Making Mr. Right" with John Malkovich as both a scientist and an android. It wasn't that great, except for the parts with Laurie Metcalf and Glenne Headly, both of whom I adore. Hey, Headly was married to Malkovich during making of "Making Mr. Right." Trivia! Speaking of the '80s. I had no idea what to do with [Scored in the 80s] at first (GOT A B). I tried thinking of specifically '80s sex slang, but no dice.

Only part of "Come Fly With Me" I can remember is the title and the subsequent "let's fly away!" so I'll let Frank play us out. Good day.


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

67 comments:

mac 6:54 AM  

Agree with Rex on all points, but I still don't understand the slash/solids clues and answers. Had to guess the s.

I never saw the clue for 30D, just did the crosses.

Crunchy Wednesday for me, not a football fan. I took the gladiators to be oponents of the lions in a Roman arena....

jae 7:13 AM  

Some what annoying but over all mostly clever and fun.  I liked it.  It was medium tough for me probably because of all the back and forth.  No real WTFs or problem crosses.  Zippy...PORNO, SYSOP, EATSDIRT (I had CROW at first), URKEL..and timely given the mess that is the NFL.

Random sort of puzzle related comment:  Back in the days when I played a lot of bar pool the "cool" players called them "big ones and little ones".   Only tyros and (how can I put this politely) those of the female persuasion said stripes and solids. 

minnesota fats 7:13 AM  

Game of pool has solid and striped balls

Milford 7:17 AM  

I'm not a huge fan of overly cross-referenced clues, but this one was pretty fun. I like that the ball outline is in the correct upright kicking position, also! The XXX for the laces is a cute visual, and the cluing for it was what actually gave me the theme, so I don't really mind that laces aren't really Xs, but maybe +++. Ooh, a rebus? The stitching reminds me how the Michigan commentators used to mention every five minutes that Elvis Grbac's mom stitched footballs for a living.

Good to see some love given to football kickers! Jason Hanson of the Lions is my age and still awesome, and for awhile there he was the only dependable one on the team. I agree with Rex, that the phrase is usually "and IT'S good", but no biggie.

Lots of nice fill, some other football references and such. Thank you, Rex, for figuring out the pool clue for me, because I was stuck on swimming pools had no idea what SOLIDS had to do with them. @mac - the balls in a game of pool are either striped or solid.

Thank you, Peter!

Shafty 7:20 AM  

Mac, today's date, for short, is 9/26/12. 2 slashes.

Pool (billiards) has stripes and solids.

Z 7:24 AM  

@mac - 9/26/2012 - see, two SLASHes. And in 8-ball one can either try to sink the SOLIDS or the striped balls.

I really wanted the Vikings, Bear, or Packers to be the Lions' foes in this football themed puzzle. I think OIL PAINTERs is what Packer fans want those Monday Night officials to become. They are probably about as qualified for painting as calling a game.

I took awhile to get going, just not being on the right wave length. Several words took longer than usual to come to me, MEALS, SLIMY, APPLY, CLARINET, CLOT, PEELS. The brain was just stuck in second gear the whole time. So my time was more on the medium challenging side, but I don't think that will be the general consensus.

Request from the butcher's mom? Stand up Straight.

Z 7:26 AM  

I see others responded to @mac while I typed. Apologies for my repetitive redundancy.

mac 7:36 AM  

Thanks, everybody, for your explanations! Can't even claim it was too early, I'm 6 hours ahead....

Anonymous 7:56 AM  

The XXX answer didn't really pop until I drew the football by following the circled letters spelling FOOTBALL. Then it looked like a nice flourish.

Gerry W

Gill I. P. 7:57 AM  

I think cartoonists draw X's on footballs to mark the stitching...
Maybe OILPAINTER is referencing OILERS?
Hard Wed. puzzle but I liked the theme. I'm so into the 49ers and THE KICKer David Akers is my hero.
I had a ton of re-writes. My biggest problem was not removing Bilks for the correct SOAKS.Blimy is pretty vile and LDENO sounds glandular.
Plugged away at it little by little and finally finished.
31 asswas???

John V 8:15 AM  

Liked it! Thought the visual worked just fine, even the XXX.

Of all things, last to fall was 1A. Wanted ROOTS initially, had Lennon as an IDOL, request as VEAL, etc, etc, so lots of erasures in the NW.

I got SOLIDS but couldn't figure it out until I came here. That was a Saturday level clue, IMHO.

My WTF moment was at URKEL. FIVEK took a bit of time. Like @Rex, thought 43A was a great clue, but again pretty tough for a Wednesday.

It's a bit warmer in Charlotte today.

Sue McC 8:25 AM  

Oh the cry of joy that must have gone up in the Shortz household when the temp refs made the controversial field goal call against my beloved Patriots on Sunday night, knowing that this puzzle was on tap. I liked the puzzle a lot, and especially like the way that I (and apparently others) fumbled (see what I did there?) on the "pool" clue. Well done, Mr. Collins!

loren muse smith 8:36 AM  

Granted – the clues for SLASH and SOLIDS were tough (and really good), but this one definitely played like a Wednesday for me.

Gotta love a puzzle that has an XXX-rated PORNO SLASHer DRAMA with a SLIMY URKEL TUGging on NIA’s CORSET.

Circles two days in a row – RAD!

Cuthbert Calculus 8:40 AM  

Seemed like a thoroughly solid puzzle to me - a good number of (symmetrical) theme answers, a picture that actually looks like a football (unlike Nessie), and very little junk in the fill. Don't understand Rex's criticism of this one.

Thumbs up. I even like the XXX stitching.

Evan 8:49 AM  

Wow, I had a bunch of write-overs on this one:

* IdOl instead of ICON
* on sale instead of PAWNED
* ONEa instead of ONER (really don't like that word)
* on END instead of NO END (second time that the word "on" was a wrong guess)
* waX instead of XXX (okay, can't defend that at all...that makes even less sense than the real answer)
* acrE instead of PANE (it's early in the morning, what do you want from me?)
* ideA, then NoSe, before NASA (an idea can definitely be construed as something that inspires curiosity....not so much a nose, unless it smells an intoxicating aroma, but then the aroma would be the curiosity launcher, right?)

But in the end, the puzzle gave me a good a-ha moment, so I enjoyed it. I'll take the Bears' Robbie Gould kicking FIELD GOALS over everyone on the planet.

p.s. Thanks for all the birthday wishes yesterday, everyone! I had wanted to respond to them in yesterday's post, but I got swamped with a huge amount of classwork -- which, as usual, I expected would happen. PhD programs, man. They don't make 'em like they used to (at least, I assume they don't).

joho 8:58 AM  

Well, if Rosie Grier can needlepoint I don't why other players couldn't be OILPAINTERs.

I really liked that this puzzle ran now right after the refs' recent debacle. @SueMcC, made me wonder if this wasn't in the queue and Will ran it on purpose to make it more timely.

My favorite clue was, "Pool side" for SOLIDS. Very clever!

Thank you, Peter Collins, for this theme-packed, fun Wednesday puzzle complete with a picture of a football, stitching and all!

jackj 8:59 AM  

Ah, fantasy football comes to the crossword world and it’s not an easy meld, with an ersatz pigskin shape flowing out of circled letters spelling, wait for it……… FOOTBALL and based on the center X’s, a three-seamer to boot.

And when you boot that FOOTBALL why you get FIELD GOALS and if the ANNOUNCER says THEKICKISUP and ITISGOOD you get three points and, at this rate, the game will take forever to produce a score in double digits.

In addition to all those thematic entries described above, as is often Peter’s wont, we are treated to more football related tidbits like HASHMARKS, EATSDIRT and even a clue, “Lions’ foes”, which seems to be trying to draw an illegal formation penalty for soliciting an NFL team when the answer is only GLADIATORS, but this is also a team with NOEND so maybe the game is not NFL level after all but only a Pop Warner game.

It is unfortunate that two giants of the art world, Edouard Manet and Claude Monet are treated like paint-by-the-numbers daubers when they are identified as OILPAINTER(s); sort of like saying Mrs. Tom Brady (Gisele B√ľndchen) is a DRESSMODEL.

Nice try, Peter, but you needed some touchdowns.

thursdaysd 9:03 AM  

I did my usual cringe when I saw all those referential clues, but once I saw ANNOUNCER it got a lot easier.

I think there were SYSOPs back in the era of Bitnet and Usenet, but they were replaced by Webmasters a while ago. Dated. My problem was ONER, have no idea what that is.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

Absolutely hated it, and not just because I'm not a football fan. Please: urkel?

orangeblossomspecial 9:12 AM  


I didn't get the visual until @Gerry and others pointed it out.

If you've never heard the routine that made Andy Griffith famous, listen to 'What it was, was FOOTBALL'.

Here's a twofer: Pete Fountain playing 8D CLARINET on "While we danced at 9A Mardi GRAS'. On Youtube are other clips of Pete's Half-Fast Walking Club during parades at Mardi Gras.


chefbea 9:51 AM  

Too tough for me!!DNF. Don't follow football and never see it on TV.

Love Frank Sinatra and I remember the Andy Griffith routine. It's great

jberg 9:59 AM  

DNF - had to guess at 43, and I guessed C, thinking your date would be short if you had a cLASH - cOLIDS didn't make sense, but neither did SOLIDS until I came here and read about 15 comments. I used to play a lot of pool, too, but somehow my mind couldn't get beyond swimming and betting as the choices there.

I would have wanted the Miller product to be CHAIRS, thinking of Herman, but I already had the D, so my writeover was DRAFTS (once "brewed only in Milwaukee," and I'm a Wisconsin lad). Other writeovers at Rem before RAD, and pOke before GOAD.

I liked it a lot - even my bad guess was for some very clever clues, once I saw them. "Middle manager" for 40A was also a great clue. I didn't see the football shape until I came here - if you leave out the F and move the circles in the third line out one square, you've got some goalposts, which threw me off.

@Thursdaysd, SYSOPs still exist, they aren't the same as webmasters. They run the hardware, which is used for a lot more than webhosting.

Danp 10:07 AM  

Loved "Scored in the '80's" Were they talking about drugs, sex, or rock'n roll? Turned out to be a test of innocence.

quilter1 10:12 AM  

Nothing new to add to the comments except that as a non-football fan I was able to do it smoothly and felt chuffed.

Two Ponies 10:30 AM  

Timely puzzle what with all the refs in chaos.
I liked the visual.
The only clue I circled as note-worthy was 33D. Is that India Pale Ale? That's rather obscure.

chefbea 10:43 AM  

Just saw on face book that Andy Williams died. Didn't we have Moon River recently?

John V 10:50 AM  

@Two Ponies re: 33D That is indeed India Pale Ale. Very much in the language in my experience. Carolina Ale House on College Street serves many nice IPAs ... or so I've heard :)

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

Mostly wanted to see if I could get the captcha; this one looks like a challenge.

I picture an NFL scab ref pondering HASHMA_Ks and racking his brain how to complete it.

notsofast 11:07 AM  

This was a challenging Wed. for me. But I like that. Got my money's worth. One little problem: when I was in school ( a long time ago ) scores in the 80s were Cs. Messed me up then; messed me up today! HA! But still...KUDOS!

dk 11:14 AM  

Even I got the sports and, of course porn, references. My LOL was staring at AMENU and going WTF is that. It took 5 minutes for it to click.

A very good puzzle IMHO. Nice picture, lots of thematically relevant clues in short it tells a story.

Today is sports day for me. Off to see my home team whip the Twins. The matchup will be more similar to the Christians and the lions than GLADIATORS.

*** (3 Stars)

ps: When you upgrade your iPad make sure you back everything up as you will need to do a restore.

Lewis 11:41 AM  

Perfect level of difficulty for a Wednesday. Some fun clues (SLASH, SOLIDS, DRAMA), short on dreck. Great puzzle, Peter!

retired_chemist 11:49 AM  

Liked it. Surprised at how little evidence of misspent youths here - 8 ball is the game, not straight pool or billiards, and your objects is to sink all strikes or SOLIDS first and then the eight ball. Ya [don't] got trouble, right here in Rexville City. Also SLASH was a gimme here.

Was there ever a time when football lacings had the XXX pattern of (most people's) shoe laces? I kinda think so...

30D was CXX to start when 30A was CUT. Hmm... must look up the RRN clue to see what happened in 120 AD. Oh, snap, not that.

Had IT's, not IT IS in 44A, so I ruled it out and waited for crosses. D'oh.

51A PORNO went in easily (no snickers please) but I thought it probably wouldn't stay. Surprised it did.

Gotta get serious for a minute. Sleep APNEA (13A) most likely does NOT keep you up at night. From personal experience, it wakes you up partially until you are breathing again but you go right back to sleep and usually do not notice. That's why many people do not think they have it until their partner/spouse somehow gets them to believe it. Watch out- it is lethal, since over time it puts a strain on your heart that ends with a heart attack(s). That's how my father died. We lost him in 1976, before sleep apnea was commonly diagnosed, certainly before my family knew to tell a doctor about my father's odd sleep pattern. Me - I use a CPAP every night.

ENCINO is a district and not a suburb? I learned something....

Thanks, Mr. Collins.

retired_chemist 11:52 AM  

That would be stripes not strikes.... Will blogger ever get back to decent previewing?

Bob Kerfuffle 11:59 AM  

Average Wednesday for me.

To expand on my lack of enthusiasm:

We have all read or heard about the alarming incidence in brain damage done to football players by head-butting or whatever it is they do. But, and I swear this is a true story, the first time I saw a newspaper headline which said something like "Football found to cause brain damage," I actually thought it referred to football viewers!

Rob C 12:27 PM  

@chefbea - MOONRIVER appeared on 6/12/12 in.....a Peter Collins puzzle!

Carola 12:29 PM  

Very nice fall puzzle and fun to solve. On "It's" v. "It is" - I listen to games on the radio, and often hear the ANNOUNCER say, as the ball is in the air, "AND IT...IS...GOOD!" Thanks to those who pointed out the kick-ready football shape and explained the SOLIDS - the final "S" was the last letter I wrote in, after running the alphabet twice ("solida"? The side of a swimming pool, near the cabana?).

I'm taking PAX as a veiled reference to the Pack, who deserve a shout-out after Monday's ENDzone DRAMA and ridiculous FINAL score.

@Evan - Packers fan though I am, I have to agree with you about Robbie Gould. Really great.

Thanks, Peter Collins. I always enjoy your puzzles.

andy 12:44 PM  

OK, now I understand 43D - Pool sides, but what about 28D - Pond denizen? EFT - huh?

By the way, I think Al Michaels always says "it is good" rather than "it's good".

Mr. Benson 1:01 PM  

On the picture of the football I count 8 stitches as vertical lines (with the football on its side). So it might have been a neat idea to do the football oriented horizontally, with "IIIIIIII" in the center. Maybe easier said than done.

Wikipedia 1:11 PM  

@andy -

During the next few months the tadpoles undergo metamorphosis, during which they develop legs, and the gills are absorbed and replaced by air-breathing lungs.[7] Some species, such as the North American newts, also become more brightly coloured during this phase. Once fully metamorphosised they leave the water and live a terrestrial life, when they are known as "efts".[8] Only when the eft reaches adulthood will the North American species return to live in water, rarely venturing back onto the land. Conversely, most European species live their adult lives on land and only visit water to breed.[9]

Amelia 1:27 PM  

My first post here! Liked the puzzle for all of the reasons everyone has put forth. Annoyed by the (sorta) mistake on Pete Fountain. Why the past tense? He's alive and a quick google check confirms that he's still performing.

John V 2:01 PM  

Welcome @Amelia!

quilter1 2:02 PM  

Welcome, Amelia

chefbea 2:16 PM  

welcome Amelia. I know you will enjoy it here!!

Carola 3:38 PM  

@Amelia, I add my welcome!

sanfranman59 3:48 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 14:00, 11:50, 1.18, 89%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Wed 7:40, 5:57, 1.29, 96%, Challenging

retired_chemist 3:49 PM  

@ carola - was that a joke about PAX? It's the Latin word for peace, just in case it wasn't.

Welcome Amelia.

Sparky 4:11 PM  

DNF. Never heard it called PORNO, just PORN. Also stuttered over the ITIS IT's spot. Liked LIONS vs GLADIATORS misdirection. The latter could easily be a team name. Worth a chuckle.

Welcome Amelia.

Sfingi 5:39 PM  

Didn't get the theme even after I read Rex. I knew it was a FOOTBALL from the XXX, but that's it.
My eyes glaze over with FOOTBALL, like I've seen other people's with math.

@RetChem - APNEA keeps everyone else up.

Bob Snead 5:52 PM  

Anyone else have DAFIA just cause they're dumb, like me?

This was basically a good puzzle.

Stephen 6:06 PM  

I actually *liked* the XXX; it seemed cute to me. The football outline needed more density, though; that seemed kinda lame.

Thank you all for putting forth at least one theory on SOLIDS, but I can't say I buy it. Never in my life has anyone referred to the surface of a sphere as a "side".

And, like Rex, I am still stumped by GOTAB. Anyone?

Mr. Repetitive Redundancy 6:12 PM  

@ Stephan - Not GO TAB.

I think someone already posted the correct parsing: GOT A "B"

Echo of Repetitive Redundancy 6:16 PM  

@Stephen - The SOLIDS are not the surface of the spheres. They are one "side" in the game being played - "I'll be Solids; you be stripes."

retired_chemist 6:23 PM  

@ sfingi - good one. The topic hits an emotional key with me,

Stephen 8:00 PM  

Thanks, Mr. Repetitive Redundancy, but this must be my day for dunderheadedness. What is being scored here? drugs? essays? dates?
And why is a B associated with the 80's?

oh. oh. oh. I get it.
My kids were born in the 80's. My brain got stuck in the decade, rather than the decile.

Stephen 8:21 PM  

Thank you, MrRR, again. Solids vs stripes... we once had a pool table, but I never heard of this game. You learn things in the darnedest places.

Stephen 8:41 PM  

Rex! These captchas are difficult. Very often there is an element of guessing involved. And they return on EVERY posting, even though we have each proved our human creds already. Why do they need to be so hard just to protect a comments page?

Regardless... I hereby challenge you to make your own, based on crossword clues. Such things would be far more topical and also more fun. They could also distinguish Xworders from mere humanoids, which might be the more pertinent filter for these pages.

Carola 9:15 PM  

@retired_chemist - Yes, a very lame attempt. Disappointed that "Lions' opponents" that started with "G" turned out to be GLADIATORS instead of Green Bay, I went clutching at straws for a Pack reference. Now I just need to find some PAX of mind after that terrible call - rankles NO END!

sanfranman59 10:07 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 6:12, 6:48, 0.91, 15%, Easy
Tue 9:18, 8:56, 1.04, 66%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 13:59, 11:50, 1.18, 89%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:37, 3:41, 0.98, 44%, Medium
Tue 5:28, 4:39, 1.17, 91%, Challenging
Wed 7:12, 5:57, 1.21, 90%, Challenging

Z 10:34 PM  

I thought it was just me, but sanfranman59's numbers say otherwise. I now feel smarter.

ingulfed.com 5:41 PM  

As a bartender, I felt this one was rather serendipitous — nice gimmes with the IPA and mojitos. More drinks in the NYT office!

Spacecraft 9:58 AM  

Welcome @Amelia! Yesterday NARCO vs. NARC; today PORNO vs. PORN. Too many O's! Maybe that's why PC put a row of X's in the middle. It's a tic-tac-toe victory!

Poor @Tobias: this puzzle must have been enough to make him lose all his SOLIDS. Ah well, just MOP it up and reload. "Would you like to see AMENU?"

Nicely done theme; would have worked just as well without the circles and a rework of the center. (You know how I hate XED!)
With the A of OILPAINTER in place, I wanted *something* ARTIST in there, but it didn't take long to disabuse me of that. Pretty easy, yet fun. THEgridISUP--ANDITISGOOD!

DMGrandma 2:32 PM  

Wow, just cycled through about 15 Captchas before finding something I hope I can copy. Today's selections contained either hopelessly jammed together letters, or totally "unseeable" numbers. They're more of a challenge than the crosswords!

As for the puzzle, it went fairly smoothly. Agree with those who think Encino is a town, and didn't understand SOLIDS until I came here. Only hold-up was CLOg for CLOT, but that didn't last long.

Waiting for @Diri and other East Coasters to report in and let us know how they're doing, but I guess no power makes that impossible for now.

Now for that beastly Captcha!

Dirigonzo 4:56 PM  

I had to rest my brain after trying to crack the locked vault on Sunday, so weekend puzzle partner did the Mon-Tues puzzles for me.

Miller(Brewing Co) makes a lager and if I have too many it can sometimes lead to DRAMA, so that's how I got to the correct answer for 46d. I missed the football graphic produced by the circles but now that it has been pointed out, I agree that XXX marks the stitches very well - nice touch!

@DMGrandma - Maine was spared the wrath of Sandy, but my thoughts and prayers go out to those to the south of us who bore the brunt of the storm. My lights flickered briefly but never went out - and the one big limb that fell on my driveway narowly missed the car, so life is good here.

rain forest 6:44 PM  

First off--my self-esteem has plummeted. I have been commenting here for a fairly long time, and NO ONE ever said, "Welcome, rain forest", but Amelia shows up today and people are falling all over their keyboards to give her cybernetic hugs. Drat, but what the hey, welcome Amelia.
The puzzle was a beaut. So many artful clues, and a coherent theme to boot. My first football (granted, a CFL football) had x-shaped laces, so no prob with the visual here. Loved the puzzle.

Z 7:45 PM  

@rain forest - Let me be the first to say, "welcome and we all hope you keep coming back."

Ginger 10:19 PM  

Really liked this a lot. I watch a lot of football, and have been known to play a little Eight-Ball ('We'll take the little ones')so it was right in my wheelhouse.

Actually started a little slow, writing only those that I felt sure of, then went back and everything fell. Loved the middle manager clue, but damn I hate those things we used to wear!

@rain forest - I've enjoyed your comments, keep-em coming. Hope you actually see this as it's getting late.

We have so many posters from the middle Eastern Seaboard, Conn, NY, NJ, I just hope they're all okay. I checked out the 'real time' posts yesterday and today, and saw nothing alarming. @Diri, so glad the worst of it missed you. The forcasted path at one time seemed to angle back toward the east, and Maine.

Happy Halloween, Syndilanders

mnerva 1:41 AM  

Re: pool "sides" being stripes & solids... I always preferred the Brits' terminology of "spots" & "loops". :)

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