Friday, 1/8/10

NYT 10:11 (joon–paper)
BEQ untimed (joon)
CHE 7:55 (Jeffrey – paper)
LAT 7:07 (Jeffrey-AcrossLite)
CS untimed (janie)
WSJ untimed (PuzzleGirl)

our beloved hostess is laid up with an extremely painful foot injury of some sort, so she’s begged off blogging today and the scoobies are in full force. you get me (joon) first, and then a cavalcade of others…

Patrick Berry’s New York Times Crossword

nyt100108last year i made a promise not to time myself on a patrick berry puzzle, because it diminishes the enjoyment of solving a puzzle by the constructor i consider the best in the business. well, i broke my promise because i thought you guys might want to have a solving time posted. happy?

this was a hard friday for me (although not as hard as last friday’s puzzle by my nemesis, brad wilber). in a related fact, the puzzle is structured around six mutually interlocking 15s. that’s pretty great, but even greater is the fact that in typical PB1 fashion, there is not a single bit of crappy fill that has to be suffered to make it all work. there are a few abbreviations, but they’re ultra-common (USA, IRS, IOU) with the exception of AMA, which is merely somewhat common. there are a couple of foreign entries (ANDALE, JUS). and … that’s it. pretty much everything is normal words, phrases, and proper names. NARKED is probably about the worst thing in the grid (i vastly prefer NARCED). ah, but then there are the 15s, two of which were unfamiliar to me:

  • {“That’s how it looks to me, anyway”} clues AS FAR AS I CAN TELL. not too many six-word answers in 15×15 crosswords, but this is a good one.
  • {Night light used by Sherlock Holmes} is a BULLS-EYE LANTERN. now, i’ve read the complete sherlock holmes (though i’m trying to avoid the movie, which looks for all the world like somebody took a jackie chan script, swapped in RDJ, and called it sherlock holmes just to give it some literary cachet), so i guess i must have seen this term before. but of course, those books are filled with a) britishisms, and b) terminology from 100 years ago that doesn’t get much play any more (outdated modes of transportation, dress, and what-have-you). so this one was not forthcoming for a long while.
  • {Crows and others} are AMERICAN INDIANS. i guess the crows were chosen because they look like they might be an improper noun, but as is so often the case on a friday, the initial capital hides the proper noun.
  • {Extreme exposure} is a pretty tough clue for DEFENSELESSNESS. that’s also a pretty ugly word, what with consisting more than 50% of suffixes and having only the most common vowel and mostly the most common consonants, too. but it’s obviously not a made-up word, either, because people actually use it fairly commonly, so i guess it’s a good crossword entry.
  • {Clive Cussler best seller made into a 1980 film} is RAISE THE TITANIC. didn’t know this one at all. i know i’ve read at least the back cover of one cussler book, and i have this vague notion that “fly” or “flight” is in the title, but i can’t put my finger on it.
  • {Charles IX’s court poet} is PIERRE DE RONSARD. i’m guessing this will be the 15 that will give people the most trouble, but i’m pretty familiar with him from ap french lit back in high school. admittedly that was a long time ago, but the name stuck, although i can no longer name anything specific that he wrote. a bunch of odes?

what was the toughest part of this puzzle for me? how about all of it? there were tough clues everywhere. the only place where i got really tripped up was sticking ARRIBA where ANDALE belonged. (i blame alex boisvert.) that made the whole center a big muck of wrongness, and even when i erased it to put in ETCHED for {Like some glasswork}, that only prompted me to put SCONCE in for SCYTHE, {Father Time’s prop}. i don’t know about you, but the only prop i associate with father time is an hourglass, and the SCYTHE is carried by father death (or perhaps ostracized uncle death). i guess SCONCE is obviously still wrong, though; i was probably mentally fixated on the holmes light source.

i had only one unfamilair answer (aside from the 15s i already mentioned): italian boxer NINO benvenuti. but there were so many tough clues for normal answers!

  • {1950s–’60s actor known as the Switchblade Kid} is good old sal MINEO. the clue made me think i would have no idea who the answer was, but ’twasn’t so.
  • {Mason’s assistant} is STREET. pretty sure this is perry mason, and … della (?) street. i have seen DELLA clued this way a few times, but never STREET, as there are so many other avenues (pun not really intended, but i’m not apologizing for it) for cluing STREET.
  • {Thorn, once} is a LETTER. in old english, thorn (Þ) was one of the two (!) letters for the th sound. the other is ETH (Ð), which sometimes makes it into crosswords either as ETH or EDH. i think thorn was the unvoiced th, like in thin, and eth was the voiced th, like in the. but i’m no linguist, so don’t quote me on that one.

then there were a handful of tricky clues:

  • right at 1a, {Repeat offenders?} are CADS, as in people that might offend you repeatedly.
  • {Eye shadow?} is a SHINER. love the word, love the clue even more.
  • {Ask too much?} is PRY. nice clue, but it suffers a bit from overuse, i think. i’ve seen it at least twice and used it at least once. (i guess that makes me a bad person? or maybe just a bad constructor?)
  • {Org. that awaits your return} is the IRS. easy, but cute. ditto {Things used during crunch time?} for ABS.
  • {Weak heart, for example?} is the THREE of hearts in a deck of cards. i tried DEUCE first. but {Jack, for one} has nothing to do with cards; it’s an ASS.
  • {Prompter action} is a CUE, which is not more punctual, but rather might be given by a prompter to a forgetful thespian. relatedly, {It may be played for money} is not a game but an acting ROLE.
  • {Words that affect one’s standing?} are “AT EASE.” that’s a really good one, too; you’d still be standing, just less stiffly.

one really tough crossing for me, which took me about a minute to unravel despite being two totally common words: ELITE and TRAP meeting at the T. neither clue meant anything to me: {Carriage trade} is apparently a dictionary-worthy phrase meaning ELITE, but i didn’t know it; and {Deadfall, e.g.} is a trap consisting of a heavy weight designed to fall on an animal. luckily the T looked both plausible and unique.

i’ll be back in the morning with the BEQ.

Dan Naddor’s Los Angeles Times Crossword

LAT Jan 8 10

Jeffrey here. Another solid effort from the late Dan Naddor. The theme is Hanson becomes a Member of Parliament, or “MM” changed to “MP”.

18A. [Cool body shop specialist?] – BUMPER DUDE (bummer, dude!)
23A. [Apple shipping vehicles?] – COMPUTER TRAINS (commuter trains)
36A. [Like overcrowded medical clinics?] – CRAMPED FOR EXAMS (crammed for exams)
47A. [Short, fat pen filler?] – DUMPY CARTRIDGE (dummy cartridge)
54A. [Laundry security device?] – HAMPER LOCK (hammer lock)

Honourable mentions:
20A. [Destructive spree ] – RAMPAGE (rammage)
4D. [Curly’s predecessor and successor] – SHEMP (shemm)

Cool 9-letter fill:
2D. [Pop-jazz band named for an algae genus] – SPYRO GYRA. Learning trivia is always nice.
3D. [Twin-hulled boat] – CATAMARAN
33D. [Result of an ump’s decision, maybe] – RAIN DELAY. Mother Nature has a role too.
34D. [Come to a new land] – IMMIGRATE

Canadian music:
47D. [Grammy winner Krall] – DIANA. From Nanaimo, BC.


Updated Friday morning

Patrick Blindauer’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Take Ten”—Janie’s review

Patrick has given us yet another terrific “add-a-letter to the base-phrase” theme that yields some smile-making results. He’s not telling us to rest when he instructs us to “take ten.” Instead he’s saying to take the number ten and add it to the base-phrase for a new phrase. What he doesn’t tell us, though, is that the ten in question is the Roman numeral for ten–which is X. “OOH!” ["Wonderful!"]. Check out Patrick’s “new math”:

17A. Time line + X = TIMEX LINE ["It takes a licking and keeps on ticking," e.g.?] See the bow-and-arrow-propelled Timex watch land in water and survive! Hear John Cameron Swayze utter the immortal line! Thank you, YouTube for this “vintage commercial“! (This looks like the ’50s to me. Cost of watch? $9.95…)

29A. Late bloomers + X = LATEX BLOOMERS [Rubber trousers for women?]. Or maybe simply “ladies bike pants”? No matter–this one shines, even if it’s not exactly what Amelia Bloomer imagined women should be wearing. Strong base-phrase; strong, funny, completely different theme phrase.

46A. Role reversal + X = ROLEX REVERSAL [Hard times for a watch company]. Yet somehow, it too “keeps on ticking …”

62A. Anne Rice + X = ANNEX RICE [Add on a Houston University]. Or maybe “add on to…” but again, this one is so nice because the new phrase has its own discrete meaning.

If you enjoy your musical oldies from a variety of genres, today’s puzzle provides that variety. We’re treated to three songs of the plaintive sort–one Western, one rockabilly, one doo-wop: Hank Williams’s ["There's] A TEAR [in My Beer"], [#1 hit for Brenda Lee] “I’M SORRY” and the Skyliners ballad ["Since] I DON’T [Have You"].

There are two crossing literary references, united by their focus on matters dark and eerie, but representing very different periods and target audiences. There’s contemporary children’s ["Goosebumps" series author] R.L. STINE, and then the 19th century’s Nathaniel Hawthorne, who gets in there by way of SALEM, as in ["The House of the Seven Gables" locale]. (There’s also EDITH [Writer Wharton] of the early 20th century, but as always, she stands alone.)

I like the way [Theatre reservations] clues SEATS and that a [Ticket stub, sometimes] is a MEMENTO. Perhaps this is something retained by a FIANCÉE, clued here as a [Wedding planner].

I also like the assonant crossing of the three-syllabled VALHALLA [Heaven of Norse mythology] with VANILLA [Baking ingredient]–not at the “V” but at the final “A,” thank you very much. And for a word we see as often as ASP, how nice to see it clued with the bit of background information–that it’s the [Snake whose name is derived from "shield"]. The Greek word for “shield,” in fact. Nice, too, that since it’s a snake associated with Egypt, that it shares the final “A” of GIZA [Egyptian pyramids locale].

Finally, there’s some bonus Roman numeral action going on with MIV–or [1004 in old Rome].


Nina Rulon-Miller’s “Horseback Writing” Chronicle of Higher Education Crossword
CHE Horseback Jan 8

Jeffrey here again. The theme is “Horseback Writing” or 2 literary horses I’ve heard of and 3 that I haven’t.
17A. [Eponymous horse of an 1877 Anna Sewell novel] – BLACK BEAUTY. Heard of this.
21A. [Decrepit horse ridden by Don Quixote] – ROCINANATE . Nope.
35A. [Gandalf’s silver stallion in “The Lord of the Rings”] – SHADOWFAX. Gimme.
53A. [Ichabod Crane’s horse in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”] – GUNPOWDER. Nope.
58A. [Stolen racehorse in the Sherlock homes story featuring “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time” ] – SILVER BLAZE. No clue. Lots of silver today.

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

Another curious incident:
16A. [Otter pup] – PUP. Wow. Oops.

Other stuff:
14A. [Stradivari’s home] – CREMONA, Italy.
27A. [PEG o’ My Heart” (“Ziegfeld follies” song)]

Coming later today – The Daily Beast crossword with a contest!

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s themeless blog crossword

beq100108joon again. brendan’s now completed a full week of only themelesses. i think this one is probably my least favorite of the three, but it’s still pretty good. the highlight (for me) was french playwright JEAN GIRAUDOUX running across the middle of the grid. i don’t know how he compares to PIERRE DE RONSARD on the “famous french writers” index, but he’s got him beat handily in scrabble score. speaking of scrabbly letters, i really like the stack of WITCHHAZEL (TCHH in the middle!) sitting atop METAPUZZLE (new MGWCC later this afternoon!) in the lower left, both crossed by VEGETARIAN PIZZA, clued as {Healthy slice of pie?}. i suppose it is pretty healthy. or at least, it might be, depending on how greasy it is. me, i like a good greasy pie.

other clues i enjoyed:

  • {Guitar feature} isn’t a FRET or STRING or the NECK or TUNING PEG. it’s the SILENT U that turns the initial g into a hard consonant. i’m a sucker for these clue/answer pairs, but BEQ has upped the ante by not giving us the ? to tip us off.
  • {Rupert ___ (Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s mentor)} is GILES, of course. i used to love that show. and i can still pinpoint the exact moment when it became totally sucky: episode 8 of season 6. the next 1 and 2/3 seasons were almost unwatchable, and the ending was fairly merciful. but in the seasons 2-3-4-5 heyday, it was a great show. regularly hilarious, and with enough other stuff thrown in (action, drama, even romance if that’s your thing) to keep it interesting.
  • {It helps you keep a leg up} is a pretty great clue for BELT. really, it’s helping you keep two legs up, unless you are wearing these disturbing one-legged pants.
  • the {Team with its first ever winning season in 2009-10} is the houston TEXANS of the NFL. they just beat the patriots last week to finish at 9-7… but due to other outcomes, they missed the playoffs. congratulations, i guess. they’ll be really good if they can ever get some competent defensive backs (and stop fumbling so much).
  • LARGE OJ has a pretty unlikely sequence of letters (at least for english; there are various slavic tongues in which words end with J all the time). here it’s clued straightforwardly as {Breakfast drink order}.
  • just-barely-unfamiliar people from the world of music: christine MCVIE of fleetwood mac and dave GAHAN of depeche mode. GAHAN and {1947 musical that gave us Cab Calloway’s catchphrase} HIDEHO crossing {German poet Gustave and others} KAHNS was fairly nasty. elsewhere, LOVE GUN, apparently, is the {1977 triple platinum Kiss album}.
  • {“Just wait, it gets juicier”} is a good clue for READ ON, a great answer. i wanted it to be something like THERE’S MORE, because the clue tricked me into thinking it was spoken rather than written. still, i loved seeing it.
  • EDITORS got a tricky clue (actually a pair of them) earlier this week in a BEQ themeless, didn’t it? here it’s echoed with {Tense folks?}. what is it with EDITORS and grammar? i’m not an editor but i am a bit of a grammar nazi. just not, you know, punctuation.

some answers i did not like: the “this isn’t quite a phrase” IS APT TO; the letter run NOP; the never-used-in-the-singular ALGA; the random roman numeral CDIV; suffixes -EROO, -ISM, and -ENNE; unusual plural abbreviation AGS; and APOLLO I, over which i almost got into a fight with mild-mannered pat blindauer on this blog a few months ago.

Randolph Ross’s Wall Street Journal Crossword

Picture 24Hi, everyone. PuzzleGirl here with your WSJ. PuzzleKids’ school had a two-hour delay this morning, so I’m a little late getting to you. I guess there was fog, or snow flurries, or too much sun or something. (“Why, in my day … !”) Anyway. Today’s Randolph Ross puzzle, “Potluck Dinner,” is full of food puns. And who doesn’t love a good food pun? My favorite contributed dishes comes from the repo man [SEIZER SALAD], the mathematician [PI A LA MODE], and the satirist [WRY BREAD]. The podiatrist? Not so much. Here’s the thing. When I saw it was going to have something to do with a foot doctor I thought “Corn? They’re going to play on corn? Yuck!” Then I got the SOUP part filled in first and thought, “Thank God. That would be too gross if it was corn something,” and then … BUNION SOUP. I mean that’s just disgusting. Even worse than the FRENCH FLIES the stupid entomologist brought! But, ya know what? Puns are gonna make you groan one way or the other, so I think I’ll just do my best to pick up the pieces of my shattered life and move on.

Other dishes brought to the event include:

  • NAVAL ORANGES from the admiral
  • KARAT CAKE from the goldsmith
  • ENGLISH TEE from the British Open winner
  • RITZ QUACKERS from the duck hunter
  • TUNER CASSEROLE from the piano repairman
  • BAGELS AND LOCKS from the hair stylist
  • COAL SLAW from the miner

Sounds like quite a feast. I caused problems for myself right away because I assumed the answer to 1A would be some kind of sports equipment I’d never heard of because I know nothing about cricket. So, I moved on instead of just thinking for one second, or checking the crosses, to come up with the laughably gettable BATS. Speaking of the crosses, how cool does BIG IF look in the grid? I love it!

Just a few other things and you can get on with your day:

  • 16A: Enthusiasm (VIM). Wanted pep, but was having trouble making a connection between bacon and pagans.
  • 27A: Screwdriver part (ICE). Very tricky. I’m like, “Well there’s the handle, and then the long part ….”
  • 45A: Pelvis connectors (SACRA). Get your mind out of the gutter!
  • 87A: Catalan cellist (CASALS). Did anybody else notice that CASALS has exactly the same number of letters as Yo-Yo Ma?
  • 10D: Accelerate, briefly (REV). I know I’m going to feel stupid for asking this, but what is REV short for? I thought it was a word all by itself. So why the “briefly”?
  • 33D: Speed of sound (MACH ONE). This looks cool in the grid.
  • 43D: Its cap. is Abu Dhabi (UAE). Big doings in Abu Dhabi these days.
  • 86D: Handy communication skill, for short (ASL). Thought to myself “ESL? That doesn’t seem right somehow.”
  • 110D: McCartney album “___ Cor Meum” (ECCE). Latin for “behold my heart.”
  • 113D: One of the Jackson 5 (TITO). Not my favorite of the group, but definitely in the top five.
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23 Responses to Friday, 1/8/10

  1. Peter says:

    I thought this was a decent puzzle, but grading on the curve of Berry’s usual excellence, it didn’t quite have as much sizzle that I normally like to see in a weekend themeless. I’ll second the point that there really isn’t a bad entry in the grid. I can admire that feat, but it doesn’t make for a lot of water cooler material.

  2. Enjoyed it. I do not think CADS (1A) is clued well. Nothing about a cad is tied to repetition. Certainly no more so than a rat, a hog, etc. All can repetitively offend yet once is enough to earn the sobriquet. Other than that, a lot of fun. Agree that NARKED is odd. Ought to be NARCED in my book too. Started with TOLD ON @ 39D, which made me wonder if 48A, at that point D__N_, was DUANE or DONNY – I don’t know South Park more than cursorily. All was well in the end, however….

  3. Gareth says:

    Enjoyable puzzle, mostly pretty easy though except for the 6-letters at the top-left which prompted me to google 11D… Frustrating, because they weren’t impossible. That’s a lot of 15′s BTW, which is quite an achievement… Coupled with a crazily big middle section…

    Comment on 43A (a gimme naturally); we just ended up drawing the 3rd one of the series vs England needing just 1 wicket to win yesterday. This happened in the first 1 too. In between were royally thumped, so stand @ 1-0 after 3 out of 4 matches. Did not need reminding…

  4. david H says:

    Sometimes the fill looks like it’s going to make a word, which often sways my judgment. _ _ _ ense with the word “extreme” in the clue made me think of “Intense” – which caused me to doubt some of my NW answers. Same with BULLS_ _ _ Lantern, which might have been something Holmes used to see through false alibis in the dark, I guess. The C for K not only threw me in “Narked” (which I originally had as “talked” – could it be that simple?) but in the increasingly common “ORC” which I always want to spell “ORK”.

    My only complaint was the woven trivia that I didn’t know in the East – Adrian (never watch the show) EDDA (which I probably should know from previous puzzles) Pierre De Rensard (STILL have never heard of him) and KENNY. Tough to get them with fill if you just don’t know.

    I remember Amy saying the other day that she was sitting with her foot up – I wondered then if she were relaxing, tired or suffering from something else – I hope you feel better soon!

  5. ktd says:

    First I’ll add my own wishes that our fearless crossword blog leader has a quick recovery. I thought fortune was going to smile on me when I made RAISE THE TITANIC the first entry, w/o crosses–lucky day to be a Clive Cussler fan (to me he’s like the Michael Crichton of nautical adventures). Thought I would be on pace for a sub-10 minute time, but the whole right side turned into a slugfest getting PIERRE DE RONSARD, especially as I had BEG for PRY and EAR for OAR for a long time. Still had a lot of fun!

  6. Howard B says:

    Zipped through this one nicely, then received the dreaded ‘incorrect’ message.
    It took me about a minute and a half to root out my error, entering RENSARD for RONSARD, inventing a new phrase with EAR instead of OAR (both which sounded plausible, since I hadn’t heard of the correct phrase). Never encountered that French name, as I’m suppose I’m just not quite literary or worldly enough for that one. Ah well. Another reason I won’t make it onto Jeopardy! anytime soon ;). Learn something new every day.

  7. Spencer says:

    I recently found this mini-diatribe on the THORN, in the cast of characters section of the book A Mankind Witch by David Freer (escapist historical fantasy):

    þekkr:
    Spelled with its proper thorn, which isn’t “just an English th” and never should be substituted with such. Editors who want to change it shouldn’t blame the copy editor or typesetter—they know better and cringe when they see a thorn substituted with “th” by mistake or misunderstanding. Thorns are pronounced as a “hard” th, as in that.

    The careful reader will note that this says nothing about þekkr himself…

  8. ledfloyd says:

    patrick berry is amazing.

  9. Jon S. says:

    I can appreciate a week in which the Friday puzzle seems like a walk in the park, after being stymied by the rebus yesterday, helped by the fact that the Clive Cussler clue was a gimme for me.

    Somehow, I don’t think PIERRE DE RONSARD is ever going to stick in my brain.

  10. Amy Reynaldo says:

    I’m with Howard on EAR/ DE RENSARD. I plugged Pierre de Rensard into Google this morning and Google, it understands me and my needs, and it pointed me in the right direction. I call foul on clueing OAR in that way. Can I stick my oar in your ear? That sounds meddlesome. Though I guess the clue would’ve needed “(interfere with)” to reflect putting something in someone’s ear.

    Just because it’s challenging to make a grid with a lattice of intersecting 15s doesn’t mean it’s fun to solve a puzzle with that raison d’etre.

    I liked the LAT okay, but “dummy cartridge” isn’t a super-familiar phrase for me. Starting the puzzle off with DSCS atop OPAH was ugly, and the whole rest of the puzzle was fighting to win me over after the first corner turned me off. So much better to hide the worst fill anywhere but in/near 1-Across.

    Merci beaucoup to the fabulous Scooby Crew for covering for me on short notice! You might think gout sounds like a punchline, but if your doctor tells you not to take the most effective medicines for it, you can feel like Job. I never quite summoned up the wherewithal to blog the Ink Well puzzle yesterday…and I think I’m done with Friday puzzles now that I’ve done two. I am feeling much better today, though, and appreciated the 12 hours of sleep.

  11. joon says:

    glad to hear that our hostess with the mostest is feeling better. i think the raison d’être of any patrick berry puzzle isn’t the 15s or anything else; it’s the fact that you know the fill will be clean and the clues will be good.

    i’m getting the impression that this puzzle wasn’t very challenging for many, even those who didn’t know PIERRE DE RONSARD. was it really that easy? i thought the tiny little SE was really, really tough and the middle caused me serious problems too (even after fixing ARRIBA—and by the way, let me retroactively unblame alex and instead congratulate him on the birth of his second child!). maybe RAISE THE TITANIC, which everybody else seems to have known, would have helped. or maybe i just didn’t bring my A game.

  12. Howard B says:

    Wishing you a speedy recovery, Amy. Forgot to add that before.

  13. obert says:

    @joon– Are you channeling e.e. cummings?

  14. Matt M. says:

    Hardly sporting to differ with Joon since he introduced me to Buffy, but I like the rest of season 6 and even parts of 7 (or at least I like season 7 more than Joon does — which isn’t saying that much).
    Great to see GILES pop up, though, and it’s a treat to get a Berry the day after the amazing XV creation…

  15. joon says:

    i don’t eschew caps for any poetic or artistic reason. rather, it’s simply deliberate laziness coupled with an instinct for self-preservation. back when i used to use a qwerty keyboard (that word is surprisingly difficult to type on a non-qwerty keyboard), i noticed that typing capital letters made my hands hurt. part of this was because i used the same hand for shift and the letter, sometimes necessitating awkward contortions; now i’ve pretty much retrained myself to use the opposite hand for shifting (not that it matters much because i almost never do it any more!). also, switching to dvorak really seemed to help ease the cramping in my hands and wrists. i do, of course, use capital letters for most abbrevations (and crossword answers) as well as on formal documents. but for things like email and facebook and blogging, i just don’t bother. there’s usually no issue with readability. i’d estimate that because so many of the things i do bother to capitalize are entire crossword answers, well over 50% of my capital letters are typed using caps lock, and quite possibly over 50% of my shifting is for things like % and ! and ( ).

    PG, rev is short for revolution, like the R in RPM. i think rev was used as a noun before it became a verb meaning (roughly) “up the RPM.” but you’re right: it is very much a word, and as a verb (much more common than the noun usage, nowadays), it isn’t really short for anything any more. you’d be hard-pressed to argue that rev as a verb is short for revolve, and in any event, that’s definitely not what you’re doing to the engine. really, it can’t be, since revolve isn’t even a transitive verb.

  16. Martin says:

    This is my first encounter with putting in one’s oar, but I’m not that sympathetic with the EAR crowd. Putting something in one’s ear is a bit too close to putting a bug in one’s ear, which is an existing expression quite removed from interfering. The Slangy Exclusion Principle therefore dictates another word xAR, and RxNSARD dictates a vowel.

  17. *David* says:

    All right, time for some research. Where did we do a horse puzzle over the past six months that had ROCINANTE and SHADOWFAX? I think it was a BEQ with Alexander’s horse,, this one was easier even though I had two hangups at the end by GEE and HUD.

  18. Martin says:

    Joon,

    FWIW, I’d never skip one of your posts but the lack of caps does make it harder on the reader. I fear you’re trading pinky fatigue of one for optic fatigue of many. But it’s your right and clearly better than using caps lock.

  19. Jon S. says:

    @David: is the puzzle you’re looking for? http://crosswordfiend.blogspot.com/2009/11/monday-11209.html

  20. *David* says:

    Yes that’s the one, I remember it well since on much of the theme, even with a space or two left, I had no idea what the name of the horse was. For the Don Quioxte horse, these two puzzles, had two alternative spellings.

  21. Jeffrey says:

    I had a feeling there was a another horse puzzle recently but that didn’t help me at all.

  22. janie says:

    in the opening of act iii of mary chase’s harvey there’s a tremendous brouhaha as elwood p. dowd’s family, doctor and lawyer (judge gafney) are trying to decide the best possible treatment for our hero (which happens to be shock therapy…). when elwood’s sister (veta louise) expresses her exasperation with the situation in general, judge gafney responds to her by saying:

    stop putting your oar in. keep your oar out. if this shock formula brings people back to reality, give it to him….

    that’s always been my context for the phrase — and loving the play as i do, was happy to see it in the puzzle.

    ;-)

  23. Zulema says:

    Jeffrey,

    Re the CHE, the clue for 16A was corrected to “Young otter” but I do not know when the correction took place.

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