Hit 1980s exercise video / MON 1-7-13 / Tech news site / Baldie's nickname / Vehicle of future since 1950s / Singsongy comment in a sticky situation

Monday, January 7, 2013

Constructor: Jim Peredo

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (for a Monday)



THEME: METAL MOUTH — actually, metal + body part (or body part + metal)

Word of the Day: ASWIRL (12D: Spinning dizzily) —
adj.
Moving with a swirling or whirling motion: couples aswirl on the dance floor. (freedictionary.com)
• • •

Lots of great answers in this one. Looking back on it, I think it's a really fine puzzle, but as I was solving, I didn't fully appreciate it. For one, that NE corner beat me up—so many of those answers had plausible alternatives. I tried AWHIRL and ATWIRL, never considering ASWIRL (they're all relatively equally absurd words). Tried BAWL (?) and then HOWL before ever getting to YOWL (19A: Wailing cry). Had TALK TO for LOOK TO (11D: Consult). Worst of all, I had no idea what kind of CAR I was dealing with at 10D: "Vehicle of the future" since the 1950s (FLYING CAR). That clue, more than any of them, irritated the hell out of me. Why are there quotation marks? Who is saying that? Is that the slogan of the (non-existent) FLYING CAR? Quotation marks usually imply a slogan or at least a thing that is actually known to be said, so I was looking for something very specifically associated with the quoted part. Ridiculous cluing. Anyway, that corner was a disaster, but the rest was pretty normal Monday (skewing toward Tuesday) stuff. Yet even when I was done, I didn't get the theme. I had to ask my Facebook group because I couldn't believe it was just ... metals. And at the time I asked, I only noticed four theme answers. Then I noticed that there were two more, but still all I saw were metals. Finally someone clued me in that the metals were all attached to body parts. I would never consider "DOME" a body part (though obviously in this context it is), which is probably why this connection Never occurred to me. SKIN, first thing I think of is body part. HEART, ditto. BUNS ... well,  yes, ditto, actually. DOME, no. FIST, yes. FOOT, yes. Also, BRONZE SKIN is kind of a GREEN PAINT answer. Arbitrary adj/noun pairing. Not very tight. Also, that phrase is the only non-figurative use of metal in the whole puzzle. The skin is literally bronze (in color), whereas in no other case is the "metal" used non-figuratively. I guess the idea is that the skin is not made of the metal bronze, but since bronze is a real color, there's nothing figurative here, which bugged me. So the theme wobbles slightly in places, but it's pretty tight overall, and it's very ambitious, and the phrases it yields are mostly great (hard to hate BUNS OF STEEL and CHROME DOME). It's a really wonderful grid. Probably more a Tuesday than a Monday puzzle, but still quite enjoyable.

[This. Is. Awesome]

I think I didn't notice the two Down theme answers because there are two *longer* Down answers that are non-theme. This almost never (ever) happens.

Another fellow crossworder from my FB group points out that this is at least the fourth time this theme has appeared in the NYT. There's also here (Gorski), here (Kavanaugh), and here (S. Kahn), though, to be fair, today's seems to be the first with six theme answers, so it's the most ambitious (and arguably the best) of them all.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Result of tanning (BRONZE SKIN)
  • 28A: Generous spirit, metaphorically (HEART OF GOLD)
  • 44A: Hit 1980s exercise video (BUNS OF STEEL)
  • 58A: Baldie's nickname (CHROME DOME)
  • 3D: What a tyrant rules with (IRON FIST)
  • 38D: Speed demon (LEAD FOOT)
Some great colloquial phrases in this one, and an especially inventive clue on "AWKWARD" (7D: Singsongy comment in a sticky situation).

Gotta get back to watching some Kurosawa now. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

69 comments:

Anonymous 12:20 AM  

I think that Gorski's is the best of the lot.
.............................................................

This one suffers from the refusal of Shortz to use titles. With no hint to the body part, most people will miss it completely. I did. Maybe that part is intended to be an Easter egg for The Smart People only.
.............................................................

I felt that that because WELDED sort of tied into the theme, but not really, that it should have been cut, especially being as that would have been so easy. MELDED with FLAM or GELDED with FLAG. The etymology of MELD possibly does cross wtih WELD, but is well removed from appearing to link to the theme.
.............................................................

One write-over: ATWIRL to a ASWIRL.
.............................................................

I would have liked a FITB for BAA BAA - "_____ Black Sheep"
.............................................................

Really liked seing CHROME DOME. Thought the clue a bit weak for such a nice entry.
.............................................................

It felt slow while I was working it, but wound up about average.
Finished Grid. (8:23)

Anoa Bob 12:22 AM  

The pedant in me had some nits with the theme. Yeah, BRONZE SKIN has a definite ad hoc feel to it. SKIN, FIST, FOOT, and HEART are literal, while BUNS and DOME are more colloquial. CHROME, BRONZE and STEEL are alloys, while GOLD, IRON and LEAD are elements.

But the solver in me didn't care. It was a fun solve with lots of sparkling fill, including all the non-BRONZE theme entries, and just-right cluing. AWKWARD was my favorite. That was really nice. Great job, Mr. Peredo.

jae 12:37 AM  

This felt more like a Tues. to me. So, tough for a Mon.  Lotsa zip...CHROMEDOME, I AM SO DEAD, FLYING CAR, AWKWARD as clued, LEAD FOOT... So, liked it, but had the same theme problems as Rex et. al....some are elements and some are alloys plus an odd assortment of sorta body parts.   Fun Monday!

Bobby Seale 1:05 AM  

Bronzed Skin is what you get when you spend a month or so in a cave. Getting a tan is completely different.

chefwen 1:37 AM  

Loved the SISI/SOSO crossing. Cute!

Zipped through this one like nobody's business. Had a little problem with 7D because apparently, I do not know how to spell. AWKWARD came out as aukward, like the bird. NEuLY sure didn't look right, after I repositioned my head it was easily fixed. Wanted ABS of steel until I discovered that I had an extra white square to fill, then I remembered the tape and pulled BUNS out of...
whatever.

Had a fun lunch with @Rube and Mrs. Rube at JJ's Broiler in Nawiliwili. Good food, great company. Gifts were received in exchange for two Wenderful muffins.

Ellen S 1:40 AM  

@Bobby I don't understand why you would get bronzed skin from spending a month in a cave. People who tan get pale when not exposed to the sun?

Anyway I liked this puzzle, especially after a week of woe. FLYING CAR was no problem -- the three things we were promised since the 50s were Flying Cars, personal jetpacks, and TVs you could hang on the wall. Well we finally sorta have the TVs; you have to attach them to the frame of the house, but they are at least only a few inches thick, as promised. And I'm too old now fora jetpack -- I need climate control, cupholders, 12-volt charging ports, USB ports, a voice-activated bluetooth link, GPS etc. But a flying car could have all that and where is it? A well, at least we got a good puzzle.

Atlarge Claps Monets 3:35 AM  

Fabulous Monday! Six entries points to Tuesday, but lots of fun...
all the things everyone has mentioned, but I loved how the puzzle SPOKE to the solver:
I'M SO DEAD! I KID! AWKWARD! NO IDEA (shrug)

Thought it was great.
Bleedover from yesterday TAGUP.

FLYINGCAR so unexpected and fun to have to dig out (made same hOWL, AtWIRL as @rex)

Also liked how SUNHAT "reflected" BRONZESKIN.
Yes, borderline GREENPAINT answer, but overall, worked worked worked!

I also liked the little singsong-y repeats of SOSO, SISI, BAABAA.
And I loved that it started on a WHIM!

Fun Puzzle, Jim Peredo!!! Even your name sounds like someone showing off their BUNSOFSTEEL at a gym.

Jim Peredo 4:42 AM  

Hi all. Your humble constructor here. I'm very glad to be making my NYT debut today! And a not-negative review from Rex is definitely a plus!

I wrote more extensive comments over at Crossword Fiend, so I won't repeat them all here. But I do want to share my original theme clues for this puzzle. I guess they were a bit too cutesy for a Monday, but I think they would have reduced some of the inconsistencies and made the puzzle more fun.

They were:
“Robot’s tanned exterior?” BRONZE SKIN
“Robot’s fluid pumper?” HEART OF GOLD
“Robot’s seating area?” BUNS OF STEEL
“Robot’s shiny noggin?” CHROME DOME
“Robot’s ruling hand?” IRON FIST
“Robot’s pedal pusher?” LEAD FOOT

Alas, the quotes around "Vehicle of the future" were mine. I guess I envisioned old-timey newsreels and cartoons that spouted how great the future would be. But there was no specific reference, so I agree the quotation marks should not be there.

Anyway, I'm happy to be here and glad that some of you enjoyed the puzzle! Hopefully I'll have more to offer in the future.

Rube 5:05 AM  

@JP, thanks for showing up. I, for one, would have definitely preferred your "Robot" clues.

I'm not sure what "Singsongy..." has to do with AWKWARD.

Also, hope everyone caught that they are "Wenderful" muffins from @Chefwen, aka Wendel. They are indeed excellent. Well worth the trip to Kaua`i... (also factoring in the sun, warm weather, camaraderie, etc.) Hope Jon enjoys the smoked salmon.

JackLee 5:09 AM  

Great puzzle, Mr Peredo!

JackLee 5:44 AM  

@Rube: one of my nephews has been going around saying "Awk-ward!" in a singsong voice, so I'm guessing it's a catchphrase from a children's cartoon or TV series. Not sure which one, though - anyone care to enlighten us?

Anonymous 6:02 AM  

Loved "I'm so dead" and awkward but who gets 'an e for effort"??? Don't you get an "a" for effort?? Got the theme with iron fist and bronze cross...fun but quick today

Z 6:16 AM  

@Rube and @JackLee - from the Urban Dictionary: A common word overused by kids in junior high, almost in the same group with "LOL" and "random!". Used to try and impress your preteen friends after or during a long pause between conversations. Also used by idiots whenever there is a pause in speech.

As someone working in K-12 AWKWARD was a gimme, but I've never heard my own kids (HS and college) ever use it.

Glad to see the medium-challenging - because I had more work than usual for a Monday. WHIM wanted to be urge, but the crosses didn't work. RID/PAIN tried to be enD/PAng, so that little area is messy, and I tried YaWL before YOWL.

Thanks for stopping by Mr. Peredo. If your robot clues had been used the metal body part would have been clear. I wonder if it would have made the theme to easy, though. A fine debut. And getting Gorski comparisons.

MetaRex 6:42 AM  

Liked the long and short fill, especially the gently clued SOFT C. Not sure I agree with "long distance letters" for ATT, but am ok w/ one of America's most famous companies getting squeezed into the puzzle rather than having it kept out except for gimmick puzzles with ampersands.

Nice puzzle. Nice job by Rex in criticizing the puzzle's limitations along w/ his own and combining the criticism w/ praise. Nice to see Jim's initial clues. They would have made the theme ultra-tight and made BRONZE SKIN less of a GREEN PAINT answer. But I prefer the looser version of the theme w/ Will's clues--AFAIC, there's enough show and tell on a Monday w/ the cluing.

Bronze Age Skin

Milford 6:56 AM  

Medium Monday, did not get that there was a body part involved with each theme answer until it was pointed out here. I definitely like the robot clues better for that reason.

I thought there would be more complaining about the mix of elements and alloys in the theme, but the body parts make that just fine with me. Thank you, Jim, for stopping by for your comments, I really enjoy when instructors do that!

Hand up for urge before WHIM. Also tried to write in Jane Fonda for the workout video.

I loved the I'M SO DEAD and singsongy AWKWARD! The latter is sort of "sung" like a doorbell ring.

Milford 7:10 AM  

@Rube & Jack Lee, I don't think the AWKWARD is from anything in particular, just in the language (as @Z said, mostly teenage), sort of like one might singsong "I'm wai-ting!".

Susan McConnell 8:15 AM  

Another hand up for the Robot clues. I enjoyed everything about this puzzle except for ASWIRL, which felt forced. What a great debut for Mr. Peredo!

John V 8:41 AM  

Good one, more Tuesday-ish here, too; 9 miles, Stamford to Rye, finished just before rolling under the Cross Westchester Expressway, about 3 miles over normal Monday.

Only writeover was PLIABL, or something like that, as I wanted PLIABLE, which unfortunately did not fit.

Good debut, Jim, and thanks!

joho 8:41 AM  

Congratulations, Dan, you got us off to a great start this week!

I was really impressed with the theme density and the freshness of your answers and clues, especially the original one for AWKWARD.

@Atlarge Claps Monets, I'd add WOOF! to the speaking to us list. Fun!

And while it's also fun, FLYINGCAR, like @Rex, just doesn't sound like a real thing to me. However I wish we had them! By now you'd think we would have progressed further than our traffic-jammed, multiple-laned highways crammed with gas-guzzling, non-flying cars!

Bob Kerfuffle 9:04 AM  

Liked it, definitely Medium or higher.

One write-over: 18 D, ZACK before ZACH.

dk 9:06 AM  

JP as we have to prove we are not robots everyday your clueing would "automatically" be preferred.

Rex, two words: High and Low.

I only wish there was a clue for dk's mind: Steel Trap. You know old, rusty and left out in the rain.

Rex's review to a tee.

������ (3 Stars)

chefbea 9:09 AM  

Tough for a monday. When I saw bronze, figured it was going to be a medal theme. Never saw the body parts til I came here. Had howl for 19 across so vehicle of the future made no sense.

jackj 9:14 AM  

The $6,000,000 Man has come to play, sporting six metallic body parts, mouthing Gen-X platitudes like AWKWARD (or rather like AWKKKKKK—WARD) and spouting a symphony of animal sounds that seem less “Carnival of the Animals” and more “Old McDonald’s Farm”.

With a MOO MOO here and A WOOF WOOF there, here a BAA, there a YOWL and a hiccupping OTTAWAN in the rear or as Saint-SaĆ«ns might note it’s all but A SAD play on an elegant musical suite.

CHROMEDOME is a fun theme entry, though not nearly as interesting as the imagery promised by BUNSOFSTEEL and, truth be told, it’s all a bit AWKKK-WARD, dude, messing around with disparate body parts. Body parts! Ah, there’s nothing like starting off your day poring over the toe tags in a M*A*S*H triage tent.

I’d call the fill Monday+, the totality of it being a bit aggressive for a Monday level puzzle with some entries, like RIDGE, being virtually impossible for anyone not a devoted Trekkie and getting IAMSODEAD (or even AWKWARD, as clued), seems to depend largely on one’s familiarity with the jargon of the young.

An interesting exercise, though how did the Venerable BEDE ever slip in here?

OldCarFudd 9:18 AM  

There have actually been some serious attempts at flying cars. Moulton Taylor had one in the '50s. The wings and tail cone (with pusher propeller) came off and formed a trailer, dragged by a flimsy little car. You'd drive to an airport, attach the wings and tail, switch the power from wheels to propeller, fly to an airport near your destination, derig the critter and drive to where you wanted to go. You could also leave the trailer parked at your home airport, so you didn't have to schlep it around all the time. The main trouble was, it was a crummy car and a crummy airplane. And that was before all the mandated crumple zones that would have made the beast too heavy to fly.

Within the last year or so there has been a somewhat more practical attempt with folding wings that are permanently attached. (They fold upward, the tips above the body/fuselage.) I've seen a video of it flying. I have NOT made a deposit to reserve one when they get into production!

Good puzzle. Congratulations and welcome to Jim Peredo.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

The only thing that annoyed me was E FOR Effort. No one gets an E for effort. They get an A for effort. I have no idea how this got past the edit.

C. Ross Word 9:43 AM  

@Anon 9:31
Back in the BRONZE Age ('50's) when I was in Elementary School, the best thing you could get on a test or paper was an "E" for excellent, and presumably for effort. Think I got one once, can't remember for sure!

Either / Both 9:51 AM  

E for Effort came from US Government public service advertisements during World War 2. Employees were encouraged to increase productivity to support the war. One way to award productivity was a pin with the letter E.

In an academic setting, one can get an 'A' for effort, as in "That's givin' it the old college try!"

webwinger 9:59 AM  

Before starting today’s puzzle I took a last look at yesterday’s, and slapped my head as I got for the first time the great play in the name on “pizzle envy” (oops, maybe I should have typed that as p*zzle). Made me upgrade it from very good to excellent. Belated kudos to constructors Dan and Acme. Today I think I also underrated at first, having not noticed the down theme words, and definitely like the robot clues better. I would keep the quotes around “vehicle of the future”, since the phrase (or at least the concept) remained the same, and similarly out of reach, as the future changed. Otherwise pretty much chime in with preceding comments. My 15-year-old daughter has made that use of AWKward; no idea where it came from or even that it was in wide distribution.

Bobby Seale 10:07 AM  

@Ellen S - My point was that not all people are white people. White people get bronzed by tanning. For me, exposure to the sun results in the beautiful brown of dark-roasted coffee.

Anonymous 10:18 AM  

"Vehicle of the future" called to mind the movie "Back to the Future" with the flying DeLorean, so the clue was not that off base for me.

treedweller 10:41 AM  

I, too, prefer the robot clues. I like them, and they also make this puzzle more appropriate for Monday. Nice job, Mr. Peredo.

DB Geezer 11:00 AM  

E for EFFORT can be interpreted as the initial lettr of the word Effort is E, as in A is for apple, B for bottle, E for effort.

DB Geezer 11:01 AM  

hipE for EFFORT can be interpreted as the initial lettr of the word Effort is E, as in A is for apple, B for bottle, E for effort.

DB Geezer 11:02 AM  

hipE for EFFORT can be interpreted as the initial lettr of the word Effort is E, as in A is for apple, B for bottle, E for effort.

DB Geezer 11:03 AM  

Sorry, I don't know how hip got to start my comment

DB Geezer 11:04 AM  

Sorry, I don't know how hip got to start my comment

quilter1 11:07 AM  

The robot clues would have been fine with me. Nice debut, crunchy for a Monday but a nice solve.

Lewis 11:14 AM  

@maskedandanonymous -- 5 U's!

This is a crossword puzzle, not a science test. The theme needs to make sense, but for it to be fun, I think it's okay for there to be some room for play. Those saying DOME is not in the same league as SKIN are being too picky here, I believe. It's clear that it fits in the theme. Let's give our constructors freedom, and not over-constrain them in the cause of consistency.

Delightful puzzle Jim! Keep 'em coming!

Jim Peredo 11:22 AM  

Can't resist appending this clip re: E for Effort

chefbea 11:39 AM  

@jim that was a good one!!! Good puzzle too

Tita 11:54 AM  

For sing-songy, don't forget to add "Nobody doesn't like SARALEE"!

Also loved YOWL, WOOF, and LEADFOOT, as I a often one.

Very fun, moreso with Robot cluing.

And I get to retell my sheep story:
On a roadtrip with my mom and her grandkids, she was grandaughter was calling out clues from the backseat.
"3 letter word for "Ship's call of distress."
My mom, in spite of being speaking English flawlessly, having lived here for 60 years, retains her accent.
Her answer: BAA.

(Hey - maybe I have to add that to my Hall of Fame...)

Thanks Mr. Peredo!

Two Ponies 12:08 PM  

Fabulous Monday and a debut!
Well done JP and thanks for stopping by. I love a Monday with some teeth to it and this certainly did. Pliant and aswirl aren't really Mon. words.
I also loved all of the "conversation" answers and the other sound effects. Bravo.

efrex 12:13 PM  

With all the fun fill and nice theme density, who can nitpick the partials and minor crud? Not I. IAMSODEAD by itself would redeem a lot worse.

Bravo, Mr. Peredo! Keep 'em coming!

DigitalDan 12:15 PM  

Popular Mechanics and the like used to feature flying cars (in the garage usually) on their covers, in articles about the future (usually 1990 or so.) It's a pretty familiar meme to us geeks, most definitely "a thing." In fact, if you have the coin, you can now buy one: http://www.terrafugia.com/

Bea 12:47 PM  

'Awkwaaard!' ha! I could hear that clue answer so clearly in my head.
I got a kick out of the woof/moo crossing, too.
This puzzle was, mostly, a hoot to complete.

syndy 12:52 PM  

I know I was promised a Jetpack,a flying car and Holovision!I recognize Mr Peredo's name so maybe he is prepublished elsewhere?Anyhoo I love this one and blew thru it-well up my alley.My one writeover was my finger typing in OTTomAN when my eyes prefectly well knew better.@webwinger Pizzle envy-hilarious!

Rob C 12:59 PM  

Great job Jim P.

Some slight inconsistencies with the theme answers doesn't diminish this puzzle. And with the constraint of 6 theme answers, there was some great fill.

It's funny because the other slight inconsistency (besides DOME and BUNS being used figuratively) that jumped out was that FIST is not a body part (isn't it just the shape of a hand?) but that didn't seem to bother anyone. Again, not a complaint-just an observation. Didn't bother me either.

I don't think BRONZE SKIN is arbitrary - I'm sure I've heard this used as a term.

chefbea 1:14 PM  

@Bea looks like we have a lot in common - including our name!! - E-mail me so we can chat

Bird 1:32 PM  

I liked this puzzle. Thank you Mr. Peredo and congrats on your debut.

My only flub was ZACK at 18D which then led me to put in the M and gave me KMART OF GOLD for a short while. Not sure what I was thinking there.

Sparky 1:36 PM  

Two write overs: SOFTe and hOWL. So, DNF. Thanks Jim Peredo for coming by with the nifty Robot clues.

Then there is the sad "A for effort, D in the course." Sigh.

Good start to the week.

retired_chemist 1:44 PM  

Good one. Fun theme. Medium-challenging here too.

Had KEEN for 19A - should have realized it was a bit esoteric for a Monday.

Note to self: learn to type. Typos and accidental overwrites cost me almost 2 minutes.

Thanks, Mr. Peredo. More please.

Evan 1:57 PM  

Like others above, I knew today was gonna be tough for a Monday when URGE was my immediate answer at 1-Across.

While I can't find a video at the moment, I'm pretty sure that Jon Stewart has sung the word AWKWARD in a falsetto voice on many a Daily Show segment.

@Jim Peredo:

Add me to the list of people who would have loved to have seen your robot clues while solving the puzzle. Good work and congrats on the debut.

Airymom 2:37 PM  

Thought it was a good puzzle and more challenging than the typical Monday. Terrific debut for Mr. Peredo.
Only issue (especially for a boomer)---"generous spirit"???---how about "Young classic"? or "I've been a miner for a____ ___ ____"?

Anonymous 2:41 PM  

A minor technicality, but blowtorches are not used for welding. Most commonly they're used to remove old paint, heat roofing shingles and sometimes, to preheat large pieces which are to be welded. Blowtorches do not produce enough heat to melt metal, which is part of the welding process.

M and A's First Silver Body Part 2:41 PM  

5-U debut. Rhymey. Nice job, Mr. Peredo. U've set the bar mighty high, dude. I mean, if the next "artificial body parts" puz ain't got Platinum Blonde hair, a Tin ear, a Wood leg, Brass balls, and don't poop Silver bullets, fergettaboutit. thUmbsUp.

@Lewis. Oh, man. U made my day. Another U counter. In fact, U have inspired the 2012 I Fink U Freaky awards (comin' real soon) to take a whole different tack. mUcho Thanx.

M&A

Carola 3:20 PM  

This was a lot of fun (*CLAPS*). The HEART OF GOLD paired with BUNS OF STEEL made it for me - what more does a body need? Enjoyed WELDED as a bonus theme answer. Loved AWK-WARD and I AM SO DEAD.

Liked SUN HAT crossing CHROME DOME. My bald husband, after multiple Mohs surgeries on his DOME (a word he actually has used for his shiny pate), has finally seen the wisdom of wearing a hat out in the sun. It just can't look like a SUN HAT.

@Jim Peredo - I can't wait for your next puzzle!

sanfranman59 4:53 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)

Mon 7:20, 6:12, 1.18, 98%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:15, 3:39, 1.16, 95%, Challenging

Ellen S 5:04 PM  

@OldCarFudd -- nah, none of those flying car designs are right. By now we should have anti-grav.

(Much) more seriously, @Bobby Seale, of course you're right. But after years of me and my white liberal friends earnestly wondering why white people spend so much time trying to look like people they don't want their kids going to school with -- I just recently read an opinion that a "tan" is a badge of white skin privilege; that it is not about the color but about demonstrating that one has the leisure time to lie on the beach and soak up rays. As opposed to being tied to a chair in a Chicago courthouse with your mouth taped shut.

The karmic reward, at least, is that the long-term result of tanning for white people is often skin cancer.

jae 5:41 PM  

Loved the Robot clues. Clever and much more fun than what we got! Thanks Jim for stopping by and sharing both the clues and the Larry David clip.

Davis 5:43 PM  

I am definitely a fan of this puzzle. It was challenging in a good way (for a Monday)--a few places where multiple words would work, along with some fill that was reasonable but not on the tip of my tongue. Put that together with a well-executed theme, and you get a fun, sparkly Monday.

sanfranman59 10:02 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
sanfranman59 10:06 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)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:09, 3:39, 1.14, 94%, Challenging

Wow! Talk about being over-matched. Has there ever been a more overrated #1 ranked team in college football than this season's Fighting Irish? I sure would have liked to see how Urban's Buckeyes would have stacked up to Bama. I'm guessing not too well, but they surely would have offered more resistance than Notre Dame is tonight.

Jabed Super 3:15 PM  

Lovely post. Wonder full blog on under water welding. I’d like some advice too. Thanks for sharing.....

Spacecraft 11:53 AM  

@jackj stole my opening salvo about Steve Austin visiting Old MacDonald. The only entry NOT "singsongy" in this grid was...AWKWARD. The clue made no sense to me, and very little more after reading bloggers' explanations. It's just an adjective I would NEVER think of applying to that word.

The whole box in the central west should have been redone. Come on, SOFTC (UGH!), SISI crossing SOSO and OBI crossing OBIT? Please.

I have to admit there are spots that I liked, especially the true-to-life IAMSODEAD. But mostly, today's puzzle hit me very differently than most on this site. Firstly, I got the theme right away; after BRONZESKIN and IRONFIST it was apparent to me that we were dealing with common expressions involving a metal plus a body part. No big mystery there. For me it was easy; well, maybe leaking a bit toward easy-medium in the NE. Nobody says "IKID" without two more words: "You not." Note the participle in the clue; that leads to "I'm [just] kidding," not IKID.

And the other way we differ is in the "like" factor. I thought the theme and entries were good to go, but that fill! Besides what I already cited, there's AVE crossing EAVE, and the AWKWARD partials ASAD, ERAOF and EFOR. Tell you what. The SW corner, including both long leadouts, is wonderful (save 65a). The rest? SOSO at best.

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

I hate it when puzzles oontain phrases like, "Heck if I know" and "I don't think so" and "Just messin' with you." How can you define such exclamations? It requires some mind-reading and a lot of them are not common in my locale. Also, I couldn't get all of the flying car and buns of steel.

Tita 12:44 PM  

@spacecraft...someone earlier here mentioned the Daily Show...
You will often hear jon Stewart sing-songing AWKWARD...

Ginger 1:29 PM  

Really enjoyed this one, a perfect way to start off a Monday. Like the theme entries, and the other long phrases. And...the clues 'Heck if I know' et al were irreverent and fun. Shout out to me at 38 D.

The sing-songy AWKWARD is much in the language, though I've heard it used by adults as well as kids.

Thanks for stopping by @JimPeredo, looking forward to more.

DMGrandma 1:46 PM  

Fun Monday, good start for the week. Funny part is I got the body parts idea and missed the metals. Thinkmmy brain lives I. So e other universe. Loved the SOFTC clue.

Syndy Solver in Texas 11:21 PM  

Maybe it's an age thing. Awkward IS said in a sing song manner by teenagers. IKID is used very often usually repeated IKID IKID. It's from a movie. Just because YOU don't say it doesn't make it NEVER used.

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