1977 Boz Scaggs hit / TUE 1-8-13 / 1974 John Wayne crime drama / Volga River native / Coal-rich area in Europe / Bird with red-eyed yellow-throated varieties

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Constructor: Allan E. Parrish

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: DECK OF CARDS (54A: Something with which you might do the actions at the ends of 20-, 27- and 45-Across) — pretty self-explanatory


Theme answers:
  • 20A: 1977 Boz Scaggs hit ("LIDO SHUFFLE")
  • 27A: Source of ground chuck (SHOULDER CUT)
  • 45A: All-in-one offer (PACKAGE DEAL)

Word of the Day: SAAR (34A: Coal-rich area in Europe) —

The Saar Protectorate was a short-lived post-World War II protectorate (1947–56) partitioned from defeated Nazi Germany; it was administered by the French Fourth Republic. Since rejoining West Germany in 1957, it is the smallest Federal German Area State (Fl√§chenland), the Saarland, not counting the city-states BerlinHamburg and Bremen. It is named after the Saar River.
The region around the Saar River and its tributary valleys is a geographically folded, mineral rich, ethnically German, economically important, heavily industrialized area. It possesses well-developed transportation infrastructure that was one of the centres of the Industrial Revolution in Germany and formed, around 1900, from the Ruhr Area and the Upper Silesian Coal Basin, the third-largest area of coal, iron and steel industry in Germany. From 1920 to 1935, as a result of World War I, the region was under the League of Nations mandate of the Saar. Near the end of World War II it was heavily bombed by the Allies as part of their strategic bombing campaigns. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is a simple theme—one that surely must have been done before. But I wonder if I (always) care about such things. I mean, if the theme answers feel fresh and the grid is solidly filled and you throw some nice big corners into the bargain (see, for example, this puzzle), maybe that's perfectly adequate for a Tuesday. Or maybe we should expect more than merely "adequate" from the NYX. At any rate, I had no strong objections to this puzzle. The theme seemed almost incidental—didn't really notice it, and I don't think it helped me get any of the answers (I somehow managed to remember the SHUFFLE part of "LIDO SHUFFLE" with only a cross or two, which is good, because otherwise I would've been singing the song to myself, in my head, for the rest of the solve, and since the word "SHUFFLE" appears precisely nowhere in the actual lyrics, such singing would've yielded nada except terminal earworm). I know virtually nothing about cuts of meat, so SHOULDER CUT was by far the hardest of the theme answers to come up with. In fact, off the "C" in "MCQ" (which I also mysteriously managed to remember), I'm pretty sure I wrote in COW as the last part of the ground chuck answer. There's nothing scintillating in the fill, but nothing too dire, either. This is a puzzle that would've been right at home in the mid-'90s, but it's a decent effort nonetheless


Where were the snags? Well, there weren't many. I started off with PEST at 1A: Constant nuisance (BANE), but ditched that after 1D: Big New Year's Day events pretty much demanded the answer of BOWLS (apparently there's a verrrrrry lopsided bowl game going on right now, as I type). I half-wanted TIBER at 43A: Volga River native (TATAR), but only because I had the "T" and "R" and obviously wasn't reading the clue clearly. Had an oddly hard time making sense of 64A: At least once (EVER). I had the whole thing before I realized how it worked. I am growing proud at my bird-retention—never heard of a VIREO before I started solving crosswords, and now it's right there in my back pocket, ready to go whenever a 5-letter bird ending in "O" is called for (31A: Bird with red-eyed and yellow-throated varieties). I semi-enjoyed the paired music genre clues (5D: Dance music genre (TECHNO) + 10D: Nondance music genre (EMO)). I had completely forgotten that Nicole KIDMAN won an Oscar for "The Hours." She should've won for "To Die For," in which she was Fantastic.




I like how EDMOND Hoyle is tucked in there, quietly overseeing the whole card game (25A: Hoyle of "Hoyle's Rules of Games").

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorldt

73 comments:

Anonymous 12:07 AM  

F.... F.... F.... F.... Had INI for "Italalian diminutive suffix", which threw off my getting "E.R. doctors work them". Finished the puzzle and totally missed that I had an empty letter. -2. Nooooooooooo.

I surely would have sorted it out. I was solid with INI, so it might have taken a couple minutes. I didn't know VIREO, and @%$@%$@ -- like JEJUNE that did me in on Sunday after just seeing the word days before (for the first time since 1998), VIREO has a hand in taking me out today, despite it also appearing just days ago (for the first time since 1997). F.... F.... F.... F....

My time was on the low side of average, so a correct solve probably would have pushed me to the high side of average.

Finished grid. (10:43)
...................................................

45A "Gigolo's discount offer"

John James Audubon 12:40 AM  

I sure hope you let the VIREO out of your pocket before you sit down.

Carola 12:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carola 12:50 AM  

Following the suggestion of another commenter from a while back (I'm sorry I can't remember who!), I did yesterday's and today's puzzles as a diagramless, covering up the grid and just working from the clues, on a piece of graph paper. Why...well, I love diagramless crosswords and that sort of variety puzzle crops up on Sundays too infrequently for me. And sometimes the Monday and Tuesday fun is over too quickly (ah, retirement). Verdict: liked the challenge but not enough to do it again. I feel I'd have enjoyed both puzzles more doing them the usual way.

Got stuck at LIDO_HU_ _ _ _. LIDO something? Or LID On something? Had to go to the bottom of the grid and work around the edges to the center. Finally saw SHUFFLE and that was a huge help in getting SHOULDER CUT (kind of a weak SISTA after yesterday's awesome buns of steel), PACKAGE DEAL and DECK OF CARDS. Liked the progression from SHUFFLE to CUT to DEAL Funny almost-ECHO: TONGA - TONKA.

@Rex - Thanks for pointing out how Hoyle is slipped in there.

Joseph B 12:59 AM  

LIDOSHUFFLE was a gimme for me, but then I was addicted to AM radio in the mid '70s. Never noticed that "shuffle" wasn't in the lyrics. I never could make sense out of the lyrics regardless:

"At a Tombstone bar
In a juke-joint car he made a stop
Just long enough
To grab a handle off the top."

But then, this was the same era that brought us "Blinded by the Light."

syndy 1:43 AM  

Tuesday seems to be the hardest day-to create that is. It's often the worst of the week.This one glides easily atop the threshold.My ROTATION was temporarily obscured by the INI INo option now I'm going back to TO DIE FOR

jae 1:57 AM  

Two tough ones in a row for me, although this seemed more medium-tough. Lots to like here, solid theme, only six 3s ( four of which end in O, what ever that means) which results in a pretty smooth grid.

Me too for starting with pest for BANE plus INI briefly and AMour for AMARE.

Tough stuff for a Tues:  CLEO, AMARE, VIERO

A hint of zip...HANG OUT AT, TECHNO, LIDO SHUFFLE...makes for a fine Tues. as we sit down to play seven card stud high-low straights can go both ways (I really dislike Texas Hold-em).

chefwen 2:25 AM  

Husband to me - Is there a bird call a VIREO? That was after I gave him the I in INSPECTOR. Hell yes, we had a bunch of them in California, they're really cute.

Started out very slowly but picked up major steam when I got the revealing DECK OF CARDS. I'm all about cards and poker games. It became easy after that.

Thanks Allan E. Parrish - Loved it.




a

Argentina Cards McQ 2:56 AM  

Very musical...EMO, TECHNO, CLEO Laine, LIDOSHUFFLE, HANGOUTAT (a club), (Lady) GAGA

Nice, as @Rex said ECHO of EDMOND Hoyle and even I"LLBET
ties right in...
Another ECHO: USING/REHAB.
All these mirror entries is nice solid construction!

QTIP!!!!!!!!!!
Quit Taking It Personally...my therapy mantra, tho I'm still chanting it two days later!

And I'm going to count URGE as the bleedover for wanting that for WHIM yesterday.


Who the heck is OWEN Wister?

BRAVO! Allan E. Parrish.

Rube 4:37 AM  

Whoa, medium? This was one tough Tuesday for me. Between being positive about INi, not knowing what a VIREO was and not liking SETSIN for "Taking hold", the SW ws a real turkey.

Then, if not for realizing the theme, I never would have got the extrememly pop cultural LIDOSHUFFLE. In Minnesota, really wanted something plural instead of the singular HOOF, and CLEO Laine is out of my ballpark.

STYRON -- on a Tuesday, and who is Wister OWEN... or is it OWEN Wister?

Yet, despite all these hang-ups, my only writeovers were the aforementioned INO/INi, SAAR/ruhR, and AMARE/AMoRE. Ink doesn't lie.

Evan 5:28 AM  

Pretty much the same take as @Rube, with the same exact write-overs (as well as JUMBO instead of LARGE). Also, @Rube, I thought I'd try to get the phrase "Grid don't lie" to catch on, but owing to Joe Krozel's infamous LIES puzzle of June 2008, maybe "Ink don't lie" is better?

I found this pretty tough for a Tuesday, though maybe it's because it's really early morning and I'm still groggy. This was one of those puzzles where even the easy stuff felt harder than it really was -- for some reason, some answers that look pretty straightforward in retrospect like CHEF, HOOF, and STORM were just not coming to mind on the first and even second pass. Then again, I've never heard of STYRON, SAAR, the photographer DIANE Arbus, or a SHOULDER CUT, so maybe this was relatively challenging. Nothing wrong with that -- just a bit of a surprise given the simple theme concept.

I think it would have been fun if VIREO were instead VIMEO, a video-sharing site that came before YouTube. Hmmm, maybe MUTATIONS instead of ROTATIONS, UNU instead of INO, ESTA instead of ASTA, and the Saturn VUE instead of VIA? That part of the puzzle is fine as it is -- I just wanted an excuse to put in VIMEO.

Doris 6:46 AM  

Owen Wister: Late nineteenth-early 20th-century novelist of western Americana. Best known for "The Virginian," later a Gary Cooper movie.

At one time (before mine) a household name.

OTD 6:50 AM  

Easy Medium for me. Also started with Pest, but then BOWLS wouldn't fit. Didn't know LIDO SHUFFLE, but got it from the crosses and the theme. VIREO is rather common in puzzles, so no trouble there. Liked OWEN Wister, author of "The Virginian." Considered the "father" of the Western.

Milford 7:17 AM  

Nicole KIDMAN was in a Diane ARBUS bio movie "Fur", and ALL AGES (G-rated) and RATED R make two more pairs in the DECK OF CARDS.

Hand up for having pest, INi and AMoRE first, but also for remembering VIREO from the other day. BOWLS feels awkward, without games. It actually reminds me how last year New Years fell on Sunday and we had no BOWL games that day.

I honestly had small for the popcorn size at first. Have you seen these movie popcorns lately? Welcome to America.

Lots of names and titles I didn't really know, but my time was exactly average, so the crosses must have worked for me. Thank you, @Carola for pointing out the SHUFFLE, CUT, DEAL correct progression. Love it!

Anonymous 7:26 AM  

A very fun puzzle. The theme was just meh until EDMOND Hoyle and I'LL BET. A+ with those two!

Anonymous 7:30 AM  

Easy theme after shuffle and cut, but is it me or are we seeing the movie rating clue more and more (the other day the hangover) rated r and all ages here? I used to try to connect the movies with a common star but now I just go for the rating

Glimmerglass 7:32 AM  

I must be even older than I think I am. I also started with pest at 1A, then erased it when the downs didn't work. I needed every cross to get BANE, which to me means "poison," not "nuisance." I just looked up "bane," and found that "poison" is the archaic meaning.

Z 7:36 AM  

Relatively easy for me. My only write over was o to A in AMARE. Four Letter Dog, Three Letter Foreign Language Suffix, and Five Letter Bird ending in O crossing obscurish Sherlock Holmes character seems a little unfair to newer solvers, but no problem here.

@Joseph B - 70's lyrics oft only made sense if one was USING.

joho 8:24 AM  

It's all been said very well.

I would've gone with OWEN Wilson in "The Wedding Crashers."

Nice Tuesday, cash in your chips, Allan!

jackj 8:28 AM  

A serviceable theme that won’t set many hearts aflutter but the three theme entries giving us SHUFFLE, CUT, DEAL are fine, (though there must be a friendlier entry for SHUFFLE).

Kept looking for brighteners like ONEEYEDJACKS (Clued, say, as, “They’re sometimes wild”) or DEUCES (same clue) but we did get ILLBET that can be easily folded into the theme. (EDMOND Hoyle wasn’t a brightener).

The fill ranged from very good, HANGOUTAT, ROTATIONS, ALLAGES to “Hey, this isn’t Friday, is it?” entries like AMARE, SAAR and TATAR (side by side they look like first cousins) and one entry that should have been totally “included out”, SISTA.

It was a special pleasure to find DIANE Arbus in the puzzle. She was one of those very special talents who could immediately be pegged as a genius with her photographic depictions of life’s misfits. Always shown as they were and in such a poignant, affective manner as to shift one’s mind into high gear to appreciate the profound strengths and weaknesses of her subjects as society’s stepchildren.

From the little boy of 6 or 7 years old in a NYC park posing with a toy hand grenade, looking to be an odd, troubled loner and making one wonder what his future holds or the famous photo of the 8 foot tall giant visiting his parents in their humble Bronx apartment, they of normal height looking up at him, with their son hunched over in a normal sized room that seemed claustrophobic for him, as was his life, no doubt.

Sadly, Diane Arbus suffered from severe life-long depression and took her own life at a too young age (in her 40’s). What a legacy she left us with!

Thanks for stirring the juices, Allan.

Susan McConnell 8:37 AM  

Fun Tuesday. Easy enough. Nice theme answers and reveal. Loved seeing "The Hours" mentioned in the KIDMAN clue....the movie was good, but the book was one of the most beautiful ever written, in my opinion.

jberg 8:47 AM  

OK, I can see not knowing OWEN Wister, or VIREO, but William STYRON, author of "Sophie's Choice" and "The Confessions of Nat Turner," among other things? Come on, folks, expand your horizons!

OK, that's the rant - the theme really helped me, as I would have had a hard time with SHOULDER CUT and would never have got LIDO SHUFFLE without it.

Finished with an error - failed to notice the AMoRE/AMARE thing, so I was HoNGing OUT AT the pub.

Just back from a week in England, trying futilely to do the Guardian cryptics, so it's nice to be back!

chefbea 9:25 AM  

Tough for a Tuesday but got it all.

Hand up for pest!! then had brat - then it fell into place.

Loved the shout out at 7 down to both me and chef wen.

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

Woman with an Afro = Sista? Really? That's acceptable?

Bob Kerfuffle 9:36 AM  

Only had one point, and @Milford already made it, but, what the heck: 29 D, "Popcorn order for two, maybe", just gets by on the "maybe". Recently got a Small popcorn (as a result of a frequent movie-goer card; never buy the stuff), and it was too much for two adults. (Your results with children may vary.) A LARGE seems appropriate if you are hosting a football team.

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle - Maybe for two adults for whom moderation is second nature. Send your two teenage sons to the movies, and a large popcorn will probably be gone before the commercials are over.

John V 10:00 AM  

More challenging than not, esp. SW, ROTATIONS last to fall. MCQ? New to me.

A better than average Tuesday theme, seems to me. Allan Parrish seems to have a flair for Tuesdays. Just poking around xwordinfo and remember, for example, his STAKE anagram themed Tuesday of about a year ago. Thanks, Alan, for solving Tuesday's identity crisis.

Mr. Benson 10:08 AM  

VIREO sounds like it should be a brand of flat screen TVs. But we just saw it a couple of weeks ago, so not too much effort to recall.

Susan McConnell 10:10 AM  

I agree with Anonymous @9:29, the clue for SISTA did feel yucky as I was doing the puzzle...

PMDM 10:31 AM  

@Carla: I think it was my comment you refer to. You don't remember who made the comment because I usually don't bother to to enter my name (or rather, my initials). I am happy you tired it out (makes me feel that my comment wasn't for nothing), but sad that it decreased your enjoyment level. Sometimes a diagramless can feel more like work than fun. But congratulations for having an open mind and trying it out. I'm quite impressed.

DB Geezer 10:54 AM  

Could one of you experts pease tell me how to delete one's own comment? Thanks!

DB Geezer 10:57 AM  

Could one of you experts pease tell me how to delete one's own comment? Thanks! I had some of my comments repeated yesterday because the capcha said I was wrong. I didn't think I was, and it printed them anyway. That same thing seems to be happening today as well.

Gill I. P. 11:05 AM  

Lon McQ..."I'm up to my butt in gas." Anything with John Wayne in it is ok by me.
my mistake ARGENTIN(a) so that Volga River guy became a TATeR. Just noticed it when reading @Rex..
Wasn't crazy about INO DIRTY ANO in the middle and SISTA was a huh! for me but, it is just fine for a Tuesday puzzle.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:07 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Kerfuffle 11:10 AM  

@DB Geezer - To eliminate a post, click on the garbage pail icon to the right of the time at the bottom of the post.

Sparky 11:12 AM  

Did not get liDO, owEN and baNE so DNF. VIREO in just recently with a color clue. Nice puzzle. Thought of you, @Acme at QTIP. Don't all doctors do rotations when interning?

Milford 11:20 AM  

@DB Geezer - what @Bob said is correct, but just wanted to add that you might first have to get to the comments section via the web version of the website to see the little trash can. On the mobile version the trash can doesn't appear (at least for me). Hope that helps.

Carola 11:45 AM  

@PMDM -
Thanks for responding! And, as I meant to say above, thanks for the idea - I never would have come up with it myself. I can't put my finger on why the challenge/delight ratio was off for me, but I'm glad I tried it. I definitely noticed that the cluing for today was tougher than for yesterday's puzzle, and this one was quite a bit more difficult for me. I was saved by knowing there would be crossword symmetry (rather than a theme shape as in some diagramless), so after getting stuck three rows down from the top, I went down to the bottom and did those three rows. Having ARGENTINA gave me the number of letters for INSPECTOR, and that was enough for me to inch my way to finishing.

Mark Tucker 11:46 AM  

I had EXACTLY the same solving experience shared here - I could have written the same comments - which has never happened before (I wouldn't have said my brain works like Rex's, before today). And so I don't know whether to be proud or scared . . . :))

quilter1 12:05 PM  

Got fancy and put in HAbitUate until QTIP and ANO set me straight. I would classify INSPECTOR Lestrade as a main character, not in the least obscure.
Good puzzle.

Lewis 12:45 PM  

@anonymous12:07 -- liked the gigolo joke

Something in me felt squeamish with SISTA, as some others have mentioned. But I'm not sure why.

Solid Tuesday, as Rex said, felt a bit old -- and VIMEO might have helped indeed, Evan!

jae 1:34 PM  

@DB Geezer (Plus Bob and Milford)I believe you only get the trash can if you have a google account--i.e. your name appears in blue on the web version.

Bird 2:05 PM  

Decent enough puzzle, but I struggled in a few spots as I needed to correct some answers (i.e. PEST, BLOC, INI, RASTA). I wasn’t sure if 9D was R-RATED or RATED R. Lots of unknown proper nouns made this somewhat challenging, but the crosses were a big help. Too bad there were no suits in the grid. And HANGOVERS does not fit at 1D (nor does it fit the clue, but . . .)

@Carola – In total agreement about the diagramless puzzles. The cryptoquote is the only variety puzzle I do not like and it’s the most published one. Shame.

sanfranman59 3:31 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

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

Tue 10:00, 8:37, 1.16, 83%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 6:08, 4:57, 1.24, 95%, Challenging

Davis 3:52 PM  

Brutal puzzle. I'm too young to have experienced Boz Scaggs directly, and his music never did anything for me when I finally heard it. So that made the NW pretty rough for me--I needed all the crosses to get the LIDO in LIDO SHUFFLE (and also to get STYRON). And I just couldn't seem to get a flow going--I kept getting hung up on fill like VIREO and ASTA (couldn't remember the final vowel).

I don't have any complaints about this puzzle--it was just straight-up difficult for a Tuesday. But I think it had a little less sparkle than yesterday's difficult-for-its-day puzzle.

Qvart 4:09 PM  

@Rex:

Glad to see someone else remembers "To Die For." Seems to be nearly forgotten, but I thought it was very good.

Cheers.
-Q.

Tita 4:24 PM  

Lots of sparkle, so I liked this.
I wrestled with it, but not because it was particularly hard- back/forth btwn doRkY and NERDY, was thinking more of galaS than BOWLS, and had no clue about OWEN.
Liked to see the VIREO back in, was really happy to learn Skippy's real name, and TONKA was fun.

2 language stories - lots of languages have a diminutive, like INO, but how many have the opposite? Portuguese and Italian regularly "embiggen" things as often as they miniaturize them. (I miss our resident linguist LMS!)

And re: the clue for HALF - Fair share, maybe.
In Portuguese, when you are dividing something - anything, like the last piece of cake, your mother will chide you to divide it "irmamente" - in a sisterly fashion.
In puzzle spouse's 7-brother household, the "brotherly" way to share is to grab as much as you can as quickly as you can.

Thanks Mr. Parrish, and thanks @Rex and @Carola and @jackj for highlighting EDMOND, the progression, and ILLBET.

chefwen 4:34 PM  

Yeah, I miss Loren too. Where are you Loren Muse Smith, you got some 'splainin to do!

MetaRex 5:10 PM  

LIDO SHUFFLE was TUFFLE...I had no more sense on that as a reality than I would have had before today on BOSPORUS FERRY. But I got to my v. pleasant hotel in an Istanbul suburb tonight courtesy of a great big boat full of tired Turkish commuters...and the theme in Allan Parrish's puzzle emerged for me v. pleasantly from the bottom to the top, thx to that hard and highly appropriate Boz Scaggs song.

chefbea 5:28 PM  

@Tita - where is LMS I miss her too...and her parents

Notsofast 6:07 PM  

Wow! An outstanding TUES puzzle. Clever, fresh and not too easy.

Gill I. P. 6:38 PM  

@Tita: in Spanish to "embiggen" things you add an "isimo" i.e. buenisimo, enojadisimo, flaquisimo. yada yada yadisimo.
Add me to those that want LMS and her smileisimo face back here

Tita 6:50 PM  

@Gill...we do the issima/o thing too...though to me it means "the most" or the best, and it is applied to an adjective. Lindissima...

As opposed to garrafa, garrafinha, garraf√£o...bottle, little bottle, really big bottle... the noun kind of modifies itself...

@carola...You're a linguist too..help us out here!

(Love smileissimo...)

Gill I. P. 7:36 PM  

oooh, those dreadful modifying adjectives; they get me everytime. To you I say, "Hasta luegisimo." ;-)

mac 8:04 PM  

Very nice.

mac 8:05 PM  

Am I visible?

mac 8:11 PM  

YES!! Got here through Internet Explorer.

chefbea 8:20 PM  

@Mac yes u r here!!! Welcome back

Gill I. P. 8:33 PM  

@mac: Yay. You're here!

Carola 9:03 PM  

@Tita - Compared to LMS and Ulrich, I'm a linguist-ina :) In German there are noun suffixes for diminutives (-chen, -lein) but not for "embiggening" (as far as I know).

sanfranman59 11:48 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. 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 7:19, 6:12, 1.18, 98%, Challenging (5th highest ratio of 160 Mondays)
Tue 9:58, 8:37, 1.16, 83%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:09, 3:39, 1.14, 94%, Challenging
Tue 5:49, 4:57, 1.18, 86%, Challenging

Rube 12:30 AM  

@sanfranman59

Thx... some others and I feel vindicated.

Bird 1:56 PM  

This was an easy fun puzzle. I liked the theme and almost all of the fill (i.e. - 46A IMO is iffy). The only theme answer that looks awkward is 54A. “I SHOT SUBPAR” is not a phrase I hear a lot, even on a golf course when someone shoots below or under par. But hard to complain when there are 6 theme answers in the grid.

I started writing LABOR then stopped and checked a couple downs to make sure it wasn’t PARTS before proceeding.
Hand up for MOOLAH.
ALKIE? Nah.
Terrific clue for 37A.

@M&U – Thank you. I am deeply honoured (see what I did there to get the extra U?) to be even considered for inclusion in your I LIKE U A LOT post. I would like to thank the blogosphere, my wife (for putting up with me) and of course @Rex (for putting up with all of us).

Red Valerian 11:24 AM  

@Bird--huh?

I thought for sure that OFL was going to be annoyed at "pack" appearing in the theme answer above the reveal answer (PACKAGE DEAL; DECK OF CARDS) Don't folks say "pack of cards" down there?

Anyhow, twas fun, but I'm glad to see it rated challenging.

So, where is @LMS?

Spacecraft 12:07 PM  

This puppy was right in my wheelhouse; ILLBET Ive spent half my life with a DECKOFCARDS in my hand.

So when I saw the revealer clue--and don't try to tell me that when a clue takes up six lines of print and has numbers with dashes after them, your eyes didn't gravitate there immediately--I had that info in my head while filling in the NW box. First long across begins with LIDO: Bingo! SHUFFLE, CUT and DEAL were instantly placed, as well as __CKOFCARDS. Now, was it deck, or pack? Sorry to say, Arbus fans, but I wasn't sure whether her name was DIANE or DIANa. Ah, but the lovely and talented Ms. KIDMAN provided the clincher.

The fill is remarkable for the plethora of O-endings: ECHO CLEO TECHNO EMO SOHO VIREO INO ANO RKO--and my favorite, the syrup I grew up with, KARO.

Two pair (!) of down nines--all good, even the interesting partial HANGOUTAT--and pretty darn clean fill for the rest of it, cause me to give this one a resounding

BRAVO!

rain forest 1:54 PM  

Rex let the cat out of the baf wirh his comment, "I had no strong objections to this puzzle". Instead of approaching a puzzle with the intent of enjoying what is good, he is looking for something to which he objects, possibly even strongly objects. Come on!

I liked this puzzle quite a bit, and had a similar experience to that of @Spacecraft. Is it me or is VIREO the "bird du jour"? Regardless, excellent Tuesday.

DMGrandma 1:56 PM  

Smooth puzzle. Didn't make the "pest" error because I hesitate before writing in seemingly obvious answers, especially at 1A. This caution saved me a rewrite there, as the rest of the fill developed. Just as it helped me with other stuff I didn't know, e.g. LIDOSHUFFLE. Ended up with only one correction-the A in AMARE. Found getting a Captcha I could actually see more frustrating, and iPad translates it as "shaken"!

Ginger 3:03 PM  

In the dark ages, The Virginian was required Jr. Hi reading (tho I didn't particularly like it), so OWEN was my first entry, which opened up the NW. Then off the H in REHAB I confidently wrote in HAbituate, which made everything else hard to see. After cleaning up that mess, the rest of the puzzle was fun and easy. Had forgotten MCQ, but the reveal gave me CUT, so all was good.

I Also miss @LMS, hope she didn't run into trouble at the prison where she was teaching.

Dirigonzo 4:18 PM  

Apparently I'm the only one who tried graSps for "Takes hold" at 48A, and gulp at 55d "Down in a hurry"? Those miscues plus the pesky AMoRE complicated things a tad but did not diminish my enjoyment. I would have liked to see 61a clued as Lady___ but I suppose others prefer the non pop-culture cluing. Hmmm, I now see that the symmetrical clue at 17a could also have been clued that way (Sela___) - that would have been pretty cool.

Nice to see so many syndi folks here today. Has @Waxy checked in since Nemo (stupidest name ever for a storm - and when did we start naming storms other than hurricanes, anyway?) visited our part of syndiland?

Tita 4:34 PM  

Can't resist chiming in here...
@diri - The Weather Channel has taken it upon themselves to name winter storms. It's only a matter of time before they will all be named after Disney and such. Winter storm Velveeta, anyone?

There are a few articles in Slate about it.
[T]he National Weather Service ... has advised its forecasters not to follow the channel’s lead. ... It’s widely viewed as a marketing ploy..."

and as long as I'm here,
@red, @ginger... LMS is alive and well and back in realtime.

(But don't think we haven't all taken affront at being scolded a few days ago - or was it 6 weeks ago - syndtimewarps are so confusing...)

Ginger 4:59 PM  

@Tita - Thanks for chiming in with the up-dates. This little corner of the blog often feels like the twilight zone, and it's nice to hear from a 'real-timer'.

I do want to add that I intended no chastisement last week with my comments on the differences between the early and late bloggers; I was merely noticing that there is a difference. And that I like it.

Also find enlightening the conversation about the differences between Portuguese, Spanish, French and German. Language is fascinating, which I guess is why we do these puzzles:-)

Now, thanks to you, I'm going to tackle the captcha with a '42'

Real Time Z 7:15 PM  

To quote Bilbo Baggins, "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

Tita 9:18 PM  

Nice of you to put it that way, @ginger...
We like your banter too...




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