Grassy expanse in Southwest / MON 3-4-13 / Nevada city on Humboldt River / Little Dickens girl / M.I.T. business school name / Bovine mouthful / Four-time Daytona 500 winner / Legal thriller author who wrote Presumed Innocent / Cantina chip

Monday, March 4, 2013

Constructor: Ian Livengood

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium


THEME: RHO (35D: Greek letter that sounds like the ends of 16-, 22-, 36-, 47- or 58-Across) — just like it says:


Theme answers:
  • 16A: Legal thriller author who wrote "Presumed Innocent" (SCOTT TUROW)
  • 22A: Illustrious warrior returning from battle (CONQUERING HERO)
  • 36A: King Tut, e.g. (EGYPTIAN PHARAOH)
  • 47A: Four-time Daytona 500 winner (CALE YARBOROUGH)
  • 58A: Journalists' office (NEWS BUREAU)

Word of the Day: NELL Trent (43A: "Little" Dickens girl) —

The Old Curiosity Shop is a novel by Charles Dickens. The plot follows the life of Nell Trent and her grandfather, both residents of The Old Curiosity Shop in London.
The Old Curiosity Shop was one of two novels (the other being Barnaby Rudge) which Dickens published along with short stories in his weekly serialMaster Humphrey's Clock, which lasted from 1840 to 1841. The Old Curiosity Shop was printed as a separate book in 1841. (wikipedia)
• • •

Wow, looks like I'm in top form for this weekend's American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Sarcasm! Stumbled all over myself trying to get the correct words in the grid and then hit "Done" with one square still blank. *That*'ll cost you come tournament time. A lot. It's a really, really good thing that all solving is done on paper, because I spend much of my on-line solving time (on easy puzzles particularly) fixing typos and trying with only varying degrees of success to get the cursor where I want it to go. You'd think with so much typing and solving practice I'd have this all down by now, but no. Today, I was cruising along thinking this was the easiest puzzle I'd done in a while, but my stupid fat fingers kept betraying me, and so I ended up with a normal time. Still, I have to think the puzzle will play on the Easy side, so I'm splitting the difference with my difficulty rating. Anyway, none of this has much to do with the puzzle, which is quite nice. A very strong Monday. Very simple theme, very grabbily executed. All "RHO" sounds are spelled differently, which is a nice (necessary, but still nice) touch. I suppose it's possible that either or both of the names SCOTT TUROW and CALE YARBOROUGH might not be familiar to some solvers, but both of them are major contributors to Crosswordese: CALE for his first name, and TUROW for his memoir "ONE L."


The NW, with its OHI (?) / ASSOC crossing, is slightly ugly, but most everywhere else looks good. I got slightly slowed down in various places. With just "G" in place, I didn't know GROIN (3D: Body part often pulled in sports). I thought GLUTE, but wrote in nothing. Couldn't remember if SLOAN was right for 7D: M.I.T. business school name. It was my first instinct, but in my brain it had an "E" on the end. I also, very briefly, considered SLONE (?). Blanked at 9A: Daffodil-to-be (BULB) and 12D: Name said before and after James (BOND) when I first saw them. As I've said before, I hate *all* [Laugh syllable] clues, so screw you, HAR. Looked at 38D: Sit ___ by and could Not get my head around it. Figured it must be a partial. Racked my brain for two-word answers that worked. Eventually stopped racking and moved on. That's all my lowlights. As I said, it's a solid Monday puzzle overall. Thumbs up to puzzle, thumbs down to my abysmal speed-typing skills.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    68 comments:

    Evan 12:11 AM  

    What, no MIES VAN DER ROHE? Where's he at? At least, I think his last name rhymes with RHO, doesn't it? MEH, whatevs.

    I sorta object to CONQUERINGHERO, not because the entry itself is bad or arbitrary, but because I don't typically think of heroes as CONQUERORS -- just the anti-imperialist inside me, I guess. Whatevs, yet again. It's a good puzzle to start the week. It's pretty interesting to me how short answers like GOGH and BOILER have so rarely appeared in the NYT puzzle over the years (according to Xwordinfo, only four times for GOGH counting today, and only twice for BOILER).

    Also, I'm all in for the ACPT! I know a few others here who will be going, but I hope to meet as many CrossWorlders as possible -- you too, Rex. I also hope to get Will Shortz to pose for the same exact picture I have in my avatar, which I got last year by total accident.

    jae 12:37 AM  

    Medium-tough for me.  I know who CALE is but I needed a lot of crosses to remember.   So, while the top was easy the bottom took some extra effort.

    SLOAN with an E would be Ferris's girl friend.

    An odd theme (56a also works) and a very smooth  grid make for an interesting Mon.  Liked it.

    Ellen S 1:17 AM  

    Hail the Conquering Hero by George Frederick Handel. Plus apparently a pretty awful movie of that name.

    Otherwise, what @Jae said: I did the top just on the acrosses with brief glances at the associated downs to make sure I hadn't gone completely off the rails. Then needed downs in order to get the acrosses on the bottom. No googling, no looking up in the dictionary. 16 minutes fo me means easy. I liked it. Didn't know Cale Yarborough, well, okay, sort of once he was filled in. I don't really know any race drivers more recent than A.J. Foyt. And the Unsers.

    chefwen 1:53 AM  

    Is it rack ones brain or wrack ones brain, I'm confused, I always thought it was wrack, but then again, I'm no expert. I'm off to Google land.

    Puzzle was on the easy side for me. Only goof was with the YARBOROUGH fella, thought his name was dALE. I have never sung a dAROL at Yuletide so I kind of figured something was amiss there, easy fix.

    Good one Ian.

    J.T. Fales 2:13 AM  

    Wha? Not a peep about IMAN crossing LLANO? AOK crossing not just HAR, but ELKO (?!) too? And who in the universe has ever uttered the phrase "conquering hero"? Considering the incredibly simplistic theme, I'm not sure what's to love about this puzzle...

    WillGH 2:49 AM  

    I thought the phrase "return of the conquering hero" was rather common, although I suspect generally used sarcastically.

    Anglo Carol Mehs 3:03 AM  

    Ian!
    The Original Mr Five-is-the-new- Three!
    I plead Tuesday once again...
    Those names were hard. I always thought it was Scott L. Turow, but maybe I'm conflating it with being One-L.

    For me, painful to get the racecar (palindrome!) driver one letter at a time...
    Plus I was working back to front end so it was literally ?ROUGH and I thought, how is ROUGH going to be pronounced like "RHO"

    Anyway, it's Ian, he's a genius, nice guy and is livin' good, so what can I say?

    Weirdly, no words jump out at me...
    Maybe ROWDY :)
    and TMEN vs IMAN




    Milford 4:23 AM  

    @J. T. Fales - if you live in Michigan, you have heard the phrase CONQUERING HEROs sung in the UofM fight song approximately 1 million times.

    I really loved this simple theme, top very easy, bottom medium because of having to figure out CALE YARBOROUGH. Kind of amazing there are 5 different ways to make the same sound, six with the Greek letter included.

    Liked MAGI, CORGI, and GYMNASIUM.

    Fun Monday.

    Jack Lee 4:40 AM  

    Expected Rex to christen the theme "Rho, rho, rho your boat", especially with the occurrence of OARS. The unfamiliar names didn't bother me as it was quite easy to work them out from the crosses. Technically I DNF as I had put down GLUTE instead of GROIN, then mentally changed the cross to SARAN but actually left it as *SALAN, which left me with *GLOIN ("Lord of the Rings character who is also a body part"?). Grrr.

    Jack Lee 4:41 AM  

    Ha, ha -- the captcha was "BITEMRI".

    webwinger 6:18 AM  

    Very pleasing execution of a familiar theme type. Including the nicely situated RHO (balanced by MEH!), six different letter combinations yielding the same sound—do we have a great language or what?! Lots of good words. Knew SCOTTUROW well, never heard of CALEYARBOROUGH. Really liked GYMNASIUM crossing EGYPTIANPHARAOH crossing USMARSHAL ("one L" for the lawman, two for the media guru “and others”). ELKO about as recognizable as the actual Natick (which I do know of, having lived in the Boston area for 4 years), but no problem crosses. LLANO the most troubling entry: After-the-fact google of the singular form yields mainly references to towns in Texas and California that make Elko look like Gotham. Didn’t seem particularly easy for Monday, but one of my fastest times (just over RX2).

    dk 6:45 AM  

    Original post eaten by the trolls.

    Only issue is CUD as that is the mouth. Hay would be a mouthful.

    ������ (3 moo cows) Thank you Ian

    MetaRex 6:54 AM  

    Time: 5:09.

    CrossWorld buzz: Good. Nice thematic density and pretty sharp fill, all w/ a well-placed mini-reveal.

    CrossOver buzz: Pretty good. Rated lower than for CrossWorld because my intuition is that the old CWP schematic w/ three thematics clicks into the hindbrain magic of 3, and in doing so tends to reach real people a bit better than the new era's ratcheted-up thematic density does.

    MetaRex 6:59 AM  

    Got some responses yesterday on the poll on the ethics of Googling--thanks much to Ellen S. (who also deserves many thx for helping MR and no doubt others to master the tech of linking on blogger), Jeremy Mercer, Joan B, and Richard Bell! The poll is open for one last day...your thoughts are welcome...

    How Bad are MetaRex's Ethics?: Last Day of the Poll

    joho 7:30 AM  

    Really liked the clue for BOND. Also nice to see URSULA "Andress of "Dr. No" in the same puzzle.

    This type of theme has been done before but even so, this seemed fresh.

    Thanks, Ian, for a great start to the week!

    Gill I. P. 7:41 AM  

    For some reason, I can't imagine anyone eating NACHOs in a cantina.
    I knew CALE YARBOROUGH and now I want to see Danica Patrick.
    I thought only men could pull a GROIN in a GYMNASIUM but Wiki says the GROIN doesn't discriminate.
    Fun seeing James BOND looking at URSULA.
    OK puzzle.

    Z 7:41 AM  

    "Shouldn't CALEY have two Ls?" was the biggest slow down of the solve. On paper in 10 minutes, with 7 being about as fast as I can get it done, so easy. I also had a couple of spots where the acrosses had to wait, especially in the south. However, there were also several clues I never read or got completely from the crosses - CUD, SRO, TOW, and SLOAN. All in all a nice Monday.

    @JT Fales - I think @ Milford underestimated the number of times she's heard CONQUERING HEROs. It seems like every time somebody sneezes that song plays. It's not Roethke, but it's what we get. It's also not all that uncommon a phrase in everyday speech, especially as an ironic description for a defeated person.


    Now for a cheer they are here, triumphant!
    Here they come with banners flying,
    In stalwart step they're nighing,
    With shouts of vict'ry crying,
    We hurrah, hurrah, we greet you now, Hail!

    Far we their praises sing
    For the glory and fame they've brought us
    Loud let the bells them ring
    For here they come with banners flying
    Far we their praises tell
    For the glory and fame they've brought us
    Loud let the bells them ring
    For here they come with banners flying
    Here they come, Hurrah!

    Hail! to the victors valiant
    Hail! to the conquering heroes
    Hail! Hail! to Michigan
    The leaders and best!
    Hail! to the victors valiant
    Hail! to the conquering heroes
    Hail! Hail! to Michigan,
    The champions of the West!

    We cheer them again
    We cheer and cheer again
    For Michigan, we cheer for Michigan
    We cheer with might and main
    We cheer, cheer, cheer
    With might and main we cheer!

    Hail! to the victors valiant
    Hail! to the conquering heroes
    Hail! Hail! to Michigan,
    The champions of the West!

    Anonymous 7:45 AM  

    This definitely was one of the easiest puzzles for me. Was sailing along so well that I decided not to use clues for the theme answers, just to infer them from the downs (didn't yet know that SCOTT TUROW was a theme answer.) This worked really well, even before I had the reveal. Then I was able to get CALEYARBOROUGH from the first five letters. Frankly, the clue wouldn't have helped, as I know the name from somewhere but not the man's accomplishments.

    loren muse smith 7:49 AM  

    I always very quietly hum – to no real tune – “Hail the CONQUERING HERO” when my son or daughter comes off the lacrosse field. So that works for me fine.

    I got SCOTT TUROW right off the bat and was expecting a three-letters-in-a-row theme.

    Themes like this fascinate me, and I scurried off to think of other untapped combinations: H Ross Perot. . .John McEnroe. . . Hey – and we have another long o ending – OGH.

    Early on I had S_OA_ and my xworld-groomed mind went straight to some four-legged critter.

    When the tilde n crossing non tilde n argument flares up, I always wonder if I’ve ever seen any grumbling about the hard c in CORGI, becoming a soft c in CST at the cross, but I don’t think I have. I absolutely don’t object to such things, but I do appreciate the elegance of today’s silent g in GOGH crossing the silent g in FEIGN. That’s AOK, buddy! I’d get a kick out of LLANO crossing “colonel” at the silent l or “island” crossing “debris” at the silent s.

    Soooo, Me, too, for glute before GROIN, no problem with the IMAN/LLANO cross. Liked GROIN right next to LAT (glad mine aren’t), and some more double-U answers to keep up with “ululate” – URSULA, BUREAU, USE UP (M&A – yoU’re rUbbing off on me!)

    @Jack Lee – love RHO, RHO, RHO your boat!

    This is the second or third time I’ve seen SUER recently. Hmm. SEWER SUER, FLOWER FLOUR. . .Andrea? I think I’m GHANA give that a GOGH and see what happens.

    Great Monday, Ian.

    DBlock 8:08 AM  

    One more vote for only getting Cale guy from the crosses.
    As for Hail the Conquering Hero, my reference is from another generation, but a beloved one--my dad's favorite movie is Hail the Conquering Hero with Eddie Bracken who plays a returning soldier from WWII but definitely using the term tongue in cheek.

    Tita 8:16 AM  

    BULBs are just beginning to peek out here - a few Snowdrops already blooming, so that was a nice reminder of spring being imminent...

    I highlighted ROAMS as a theme outlier, but GOGH would be one only if mispronounced, as I think Rohe would, @Evan, since the final E is ever so slightly voiced...

    As so many of you have pointed out, there are many others that would fit - this could become a Sunday, with the title being that Bette Midler song.

    Notsofast 8:58 AM  

    A truly great Monday puzzle. Snappy, clean, fun. Props to Mr. Livengood! A

    Mulling it over 8:59 AM  


    @dk

    cud [kʌd]n
    1. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Zoology) partially digested food regurgitated from the first stomach of cattle and other ruminants to the mouth for a second chewing
    chew the cud to reflect or think over something

    mac 8:59 AM  

    Yes, @Tita, some of the daffodils are up!

    Very nice Monday. I also thought it was going to be a three-same-letters-in-a-row theme, but no.
    Not really up on race car drivers, but when I got Caley (oh, there's another girl besides Danica?) I did the rest downs only and didn't look until I got to the blog.

    @Loren: the name van Gogh has a short O-sound, and the second g is not silent. In fact it's pretty guttural.

    Anytime I hear, in the background, on tv that another baseball player is injured, I ask "Groin?" It seems to happen a lot to the poor guys.

    jackj 9:09 AM  

    Ian Livengood gives his J.A.S.A. tutees a night off while he treats us to a “Performance for one”, a SOLO if you will and a beauty it is.

    When titled in one of Will’s puzzle books it might be called “Row, Row, Row your RHO” as the end sounds of the five theme entries play off the sound of the Greek’s RHO, from TUROW to BUREAU, HERO to PHARAOH with YARBOROUGH singing the chorus.

    There was some exceptional fill, especially for a Monday puzzle, notably the two “Sporting venue” clues for GYMNASIUM and ARENA, the “Law officer wearing a star” that clued USMARSHAL (certain to flummox many who won’t want to abandon their Sheriffs) and URSULA, because who can forget Ms. Andress exiting the ocean like a white-bikini clad Lorelei and launching the BOND girl as a symbol for the ages.

    Less dramatic but still worthy of mention are words that are just fun to find, FEIGN for example, also IDLY and the cleverly clued DAY that skips artifice, clued as “When the sun is out”, (also deserving a nod for our Acme who used a similar clue for DAY some years back).

    “Artist Vincent Van_______” was as straightforward as a clue can get for GOGH but just to show what we might have had, in a Times puzzle in June of 2011, Frederick Healy clued GOGH as “Van____(oil producer)”, vive la différence.

    With a reveal of RHO and a teaser of SRO, (and a host of other “O” enders), good one, BRO!

    chefbea 9:11 AM  

    Easy monday. No complaints.

    Our daffodils are about finished. Hyacinths have started to bloom

    John V 9:20 AM  

    Medium here, per @Rex. Snow crocuses are up in Rowayton Good, solid Monday.

    MikeM 9:23 AM  

    Only write over was CALE for GALE. Never heard of a Christmas gAROL.

    lawprof 9:23 AM  

    As athletic injuries go, the groin pull presents the biggest challenge for sportscasters. I recall one who announced from the sideline that the Dallas Cowboys' Terrell Owens would be unavailable because he was "nursing a groin." Eeewww.

    Evan 9:26 AM  

    Or, if MIES VAN DER ROHE doesn't work, what about GUSTAVE TERO, a.k.a. the brother of Mr. T? We just saw TERO the other day. Surely the NYT knew that by leaving him out, they were omitting a giant among giants in the RHO universe!

    quilter1 9:38 AM  

    Easy and fun. My only write over was kALE before I got to the Christmas song and I wondered why anyone would name their kid after a leafy green vegetable. Thanks, Ian.

    Imfromjersey 9:44 AM  

    Nice puzzle, I liked 14a and 15A anagrams SOLO and OSLO

    jberg 9:55 AM  

    No one seems to have followed @Ellen S.'s link, to a school band playing Handel's "See, the Conquering Hero Comes" from Judas Maccabeus. Not the best example, since it should have words, but Handel is pretty definitely the origin of the phrase - could have avoided the imperialist association (see @Evan) by cluing the song, but that might be too hard for a Monday. Here it is with words: See, the Conquering Hero Comes

    Glad I came here, as up to then I thought the Daytona driver would be CALEY ARBOROUGH.

    Anonymous 9:56 AM  

    Nice concept today starting with GOFISH and finishing with hook, line and SINKER on the bottom where it should be; and all the fishing/on the-water things in-between. Thanks Andrea!

    Bob Kerfuffle 9:59 AM  

    I started looking for a mini-theme of Greek letters, with 20 A OMEGA, 35 D RHO, and 54 D BETA, but alas, no fourth example.

    And if anyone is familiar with spoken Greek, which I am not, is not the sound of OMEGA the final sound of all the theme answers? (Although that would be too commonplace to constitute a theme in itself.)

    Rob C 10:54 AM  

    Nice little Monday theme. Definitely better than 27D.

    @Bob K
    How about a theme where a phrase begins with the sound of alpha and ends with the sound of omega. Years ago, I recall a similar A to Z theme (letters not sounds though)

    Can I assume you're going to start work on it today?

    jackj 10:56 AM  

    Evan@12:11AM and 9:26AM suggested Mies Van Der Rohe or Mr. T's brother, Gustave Tero as theme answers but, two problems, Van Der Rohe is pronounced Van Duh Ro uh and the Te ro sound is already used in CONQUERINGHERO.

    No matter, Evan reminds us that the original family name of Mr. T was Tureaud and that is pronounced "Two row" and would seem to qualify as a sixth theme answer.

    Sparky 11:14 AM  

    Pretty easy today. Alto before BASS. That's all. Nice puzzle. Thanks Ian.

    Carola 11:32 AM  

    OH I was happy to see Ian Livengood's name at the top, as I always enjoy doing his puzzles. Found this one easy, and a pleasure all the way, from NACHO to GRAIL. Thought the theme was great, loved seeing how the "rho" sound was going to develop.

    AMPLE CUD to chew on from the comments...
    @loren -
    I'd never thought about how letters and their sounds cross - so interesting! On that GOGH/FEIGN cross - I think most Americans pronounce the name like "go," even though as @mac pointed out, it's [vɑŋ ˈɣɔχ] . If we pronounce "Monet" to rhyme with "oh say" and not "bonnet," why don't most of us give the Dutch pronunciation of "Gogh" a try? I mean, "Goethe" isn't easy either, but people give it a stab. Is it because that Dutch gutteral sound is so hard to reproduce? I remember being astonished in Art History 101 when the professor said "van gucchh" - but for me he has remained "van go."

    @Ellen S, @Milford, @Z -
    I knew the phrase "Hail the CONQUERING HERO but had no idea about the connection to Handel or the Michigan fight song. Wish the UM football team didn't live up to the words so often when they meet the Badgers. Love the tune, though.

    @chefwen -
    I was (w)racking my brain over that question yesterday :) I liked the explanation here.

    Masked and AnonymoTENUs 11:58 AM  

    Double-digit U-count. Aah. Must just be livin' good.

    @31: "Screw you, HAR"? har. Someone's gettin' antsy about the ACPT. Get all those stray blank squares out of yer system now, dude. And you'll do fine. We're rooting for U, bigtime. Wish I could be there to watch and cheer; but, too far to go and too little dinero.

    @loren: Sorry to hear that some of me rubbed off onto you. Lanacane works pretty good.

    Nice MonPuz theme. Has everything except the ROE. And the RUH ROH. Perhaps a sequel puz, with clue:
    "Sushi bar exclamation". Answer: RUH ROH, ROE. Etc.

    syndy 12:14 PM  

    I think maybe Ian (or W SHORTZ) was anticipating the 'Vikings' debut last night! ERIK and his ROWDY CONQUERING HEROES RHOing their OARS on their way west from OSLO to relieve the ANGLO's of their GRAILS! sheild maiden URSULA COMBinh her hair in the prow!Thanls Ian lots of sparkle!

    Ulrich 12:24 PM  

    Oh my--all these years, I have pronounced the second "a" in "Pharaoh"--FAH-RAH-OH--and no one ever bothered to correct me...

    and yes, @Tita is right, "Rohe" does not sound like "rho"--it's two syllables.

    Nigel 12:38 PM  

    CONQUERINGHERO seemed easy because I thought I knew the musical phrase - Hail the conquering hero comes. But it turns out the phrase is "See the conqu'ring hero comes" which is Handel - you mightrecognize the music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG5gRlcmkEk

    I've been to Elko, Nevada - it's a centre for Basque culture in the US because of the many immigrants who moved there - as sheepherders. AcrossLite said I had an error - I had the right answer, but managed to overwrite it with another clue by accident. I put in REDO and somehow it got changed - and not because of Mr Yarborough either. Probably slipped my finger on USEUP. A really easy puzzle for me - Just filled in the blanks one by one. Surprised that Rex didn't know pulled GROIN - maybe he doesn't exercise much, lol. Anybody notice the three T's in SCOTTTUROW. I didn't which is a good think because then I'd be trying to get three consonants together in the other long answers.

    Carola 12:52 PM  

    @Nigel - I did notice TTT and wondered if there was going to be some kind of "triple" theme. Interesting about Basque immigrants to Nevada.

    Nigel 1:01 PM  

    Elko Nevada - home of the Basque festival

    http://knowledgecenter.unr.edu/sheepherders/basques.html

    Lewis 1:21 PM  

    @m&A -- holey moley, bro, this puzzle's for you with 9 U's mixed in with a HAR.

    the redanman 1:23 PM  

    Lower than average rote fill for a Monday

    Lewis 1:29 PM  

    Counting acrosses and downs, twelve words that end in the letter o, only one of them a theme answer. How often does that happen?

    The cluing was perfect for a Monday, crystal clear.

    Is EGYPTIAN redundant?

    Also, where do you go to see if a theme has been done in the past?

    loren muse smith 1:43 PM  

    @Carola and Mac – Fair enough. I’ll try to start pronouncing GOGH the correct way. Kind of reminds me of when I worked in a gourmet food store in Chapel Hill. The manager of the cheese department insisted we pronounce Gouda thus: the first consonant is that glottal fricative, the middle part rhymes with “loud,” and the final vowel is a schwa. (Sorry I can’t access the IPA, but I’m in a hurry). I always felt a bit conspicuous talking that way.

    Seriously, though. When does a, um, C, say, lose its C-ness? Any French puzzle solvers out there? Can the Ç in GARÇON cross the C in CONNAITRE?

    Ulrich – can the Ü in MÜDE cross the U in GUTEN?

    Inquiring minds want to know. . .

    Bird 2:02 PM  

    Thumbs up Mr. Livengood. This was a good puzzle with good theme density and only a smidgeon of crud (random time zone CST, ugly partial OH I and random laugh syllable HAR). The two long downs are a big plus. Only write-overs were RAISE before ADD TO and CHAT before TOUT.

    As a guy, entering 3D made me cringe.

    I like how 35D and 53D make a RHO HOUSE.

    Woody Allen 3:06 PM  

    Van Gogh

    Milford 3:11 PM  

    @Nigel - cool info about the Basque in ELKO, Nevada. Thanks!

    @Lewis - I guess the EGYPTIAN could be argued as redundant, but it's still a valid phrase. Same might be said about Russian tsar?

    Now I've had the Michigan fight song as an ear worm all day, which is unfortunate when one is a Spartan like myself.

    Sfingi 3:15 PM  

    Agree with preivous 2 comments on Mies van der Rohe. Say Mees van dare Rowa. Last part is 2 syllables. They don't just throw out that last E. Remember the Canterbury Tales, when Middle English kept the E?

    Mini-theme: Sporting venue.

    When I saw CALEY - thought Livengood was going for Caley Cuoco. But, it was CALE, anyway. And she's Kaley, anyway.

    ALMS on both Crosswords.

    We use the expression, "All Hail the Conquering Hero somewhat sarcastically.

    Greek letters - Beta Rho Omega - BRO?

    M and A goes for the 3:32 PM  

    @Lewis--thanx for the U-noticed and HAR. Asheville, huh? Think I've been there. Do U live near the Biltmore Estates? Real pretty country. Congrats on livin' there, if U do.

    BEQ has an old 2009 ACPT puz of his, posted on his site today. Great opportunity to find out if you are tourney material. Turns out, I am tile grout material.

    @31: Great writeup. I don't say it often, even tho it often is. All it needed was a few bullets, and we'd be talkin' Pulitzer...

    Silver Bullets:
    * QUIP rolling straight into EGYPTIAN. Nice onetwo combo.
    * HAR crossing the puz revealer RHO. AOK by me.
    * GYMNASIUM x EGYPTIAN. Nice threefour combo.
    * URSULA Undress. Honey Ryder. Word has it that some other gals did voice and singing for Honey, in the film.
    * USEUP. Contains the slogan "Use U".
    * USMARSHAL. Clue did not imply abbr. Two penalty minutes.
    * TOW. Had TO?, and froze up like English was my ninth-best language. Yet got OHI from just the I. Must donate brain to Junior High science project.

    M&A

    M and A goes for the Pulitzer 3:44 PM  

    ...is what the last msg was supposed to be titled.

    Ulrich 3:45 PM  

    @Loren: Not in my book--Only the ü in Mötley Crüe. I've been preaching this in the desert for 40 years, but no one is listening.

    sanfranman59 3:46 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 6:12, 6:10, 1.01, 57%, Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:55, 3:41, 1.06, 82%, Medium-Challenging

    retired_chemist 5:32 PM  

    Meh.

    No enthusiasm for the theme, which I had to read about since it wasn't any part of my solve. No answers challenging enough to be interesting.

    retired_chemist 7:06 PM  

    Alternative clue to 18A - what Apple will be featuring in the year 2500.

    chefwen 7:56 PM  

    @Carola - Thanks for the wrack/rack article. Should have quite reading at the end of it, but I went ahead and read all the comments, now my brain just hurts.

    jpango 8:43 PM  

    I've got to push back against the description of "Hail the Conquering Hero" as being" pretty awful movie of that name." It's actually one of the best Preston Sturges comedies, a very sharp still-funny movie that rather viciously mocked the home front *during WWII.* It's really worth seeing.

    sanfranman59 10:10 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 6:15, 6:10, 1.01, 60%, Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:47, 3:41, 1.03, 67%, Medium-Challenging

    Laneb 10:18 PM  

    Love Mondays! Nonstop. Finish with one erasure and no googled answers . Balm for the ego.

    Joseph B 12:11 AM  

    Thank you, @Sanfranman59.

    I solved this, but it took me 12 minutes, which is pretty rare for a Monday (normally under 7, never below 4).

    I suspected Rex's rating would be off.


    Jon Stine 11:51 AM  

    @Loren

    I too thought it was a triple letter theme. Mildly disappointed that it wasn't.

    Spacecraft 12:15 PM  

    Whoa!

    Nice Monday, including the twin sporting venues GYMNASIUM and ARENA--and excluding the phrase EGYPTIANPHARAOH: dude, if he was a pharaoh, then de factoah he was Egyptian. Green paint.

    Now all we need is a glass of Bordeaux (don't stub your toe!)

    Ginger 1:40 PM  

    I wanted to comment on the Van Gogh pronunciation, but many posters said it first, and better than I could.

    On timing....I think of puzzling like drinking fine wine; it must be savored, swirled around on the tongue and appreciated. These are things that cannot be done in a hurry. I appreciate those that rush the clock, more power to 'em, but I choose to take my time, and prolong my enjoyment of the puzzle.

    Dirigonzo 4:22 PM  

    The puzzle was oh, so good - but enough has been said about that already.

    I think of a water heater and a BOILER as being two distinctly different things, but the clue still works well enough, I guess.

    @Ginger - I totally agree with you about savoring the puzzle (although I might have used a different analogy - cue the Barry White CD!)

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