Sunday, 3/27/11

[time_hdr postdate="2011/03/26" plug="sunday-32711" puzz="NYT" anchor="ny"]15:36[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/03/26" plug="sunday-32711" puzz="Reagle" anchor="mr"]11:13 (Jeffrey)[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/03/26" plug="sunday-32711" puzz="BG" anchor="bg"]19:11 (Sam)[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/03/26" plug="sunday-32711" puzz="LAT" anchor="la"]7:37[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/03/26" plug="sunday-32711" puzz="CS" anchor="cs"]8:03 (Evad)[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/03/26" plug="sunday-32711" puzz="WaPo" anchor="wp"]6:13[/time_hdr]
WaPo tba

You can download the Sunday CrosSynergy puzzle in Across Lite at the Island of Lost Puzzles.

Red alert! Red alert! The Sunday NYT is a crazy size (17×29) that won’t work with the applet. The applet works fine—but features a replacement “archival” puzzle by Matt Ginsberg (which I enjoyed and don’t recall seeing before, which may mean I am forgetful). The actual, in-the-paper and in-Across-Lite crossword is a rectangular thing. There will apparently be a PDF posted by the Times later tonight. I’m told the Across Lite version should work but may necessitate a bunch of scrolling.

Kevin Der’s New York Times crossword, “Get Ready to Roll”

David Blackwell's illustration of 3/27 NYT crossword solution

I don’t quite understand what this puzzle is doing. Maybe the process of writing about it will make the light dawn.

The theme has to do with bowling. The circled letters along the side walls represent the GUTTERs enclosing a bowling lane. There are four PIN rebus squares. Okay, I see it now. The five BALL rebus squares (squares numbered 127, 102, 76, 50, and 25) map out the path the bowling ball might take if the bowler’s aiming a curve ball to pick up the spare by knocking all four remaining PINs over—swooping in from the side to hit the two PINs on the right and hopefully send them flying into the PINs on the left.

Three theme answers (I think—are there more?) run vertically: SPARE MOMENT, SPLIT DECISION, and UP ONE’S ALLEY. UP your bowling ALLEY is where that bowling ball’s curving path must go.

It’s clever and it packs visual punch, but I can’t say it was fun to solve. The grid isn’t all that much bigger than usual (493 squares vs. 441) but it took me twice as long—partly from rebus-related difficulty and partly from tough clues amping up the challenge. There’s some juicy fill, but also a lot of ugliness. Names like EVIE and IRNA can really stick in the craw. Never heard of CREAMWARE or LIME CORDIAL or PRESALT or ALEMAN or a STARSPOT before. And OLAF II the FAT. And is a T-{BALL} GLOVE different from a small kid’s baseball glove? That’s an uncommonly high number of “Huh?” moments for me to hit in a single Sunday puzzle. The last square I filled in was where 50a and 39d meet, and I just started typing in random letters. A, no. B, bingo! That’s because Across Lite accepts B or BALL there. Wasn’t thinking rebus square at all, but studying the location of the other BALL squares might’ve helped me. But good lord, did you see those clues? {BALL}OT is clued as a political [Ticket presenter], and that is a long, long way to go for that answer. The crossing is CA{BALL}ED, clued as [Schemed together]. Raise your hand if you hadn’t known that cabal could serve as a verb. (My hand is definitely up.)

I’m a huge fan of Kevin’s two previous visual tours de force (the Chinese zodiac and lunar eclipse puzzles), but this one did not play out in a satisfying way for me.

Fill highlights include CRIED FOUL (not sure if this and the good S{PIN} DOCTORS are mildly thematic), the gross MEAT WAGON, SAT PREP, NOT A BAD IDEA, U.S. SENATE, S{PIN} DOCTORS, and THE TIMES.

Merl Reagle’s syndicated/Philadelphia Inquirer crossword, “Seeing the Country” - Jeffrey’s review

Theme: Country names hidden in the middle  of phrases.

Still recovering from the ACPT and all the travel, so today’s word is perfunctory.

Theme answers:

  • 23A. ["This Old Man" lyric] – GIVE A DOG A BONE
  • 28A. [Compliment to the pilot] – NICE LANDING
  • 36A. [Long, careful study] – THOROUGH ANALYSIS
  • 55A. [Arsonist's cousin] – PYROMANIAC
  • 59A. [Amorous greeting] – A HUG AND A KISS
  • 66A. [Wellness herb] – ECHINACEA
  • 74A. [Chameleon's comment?] – I CAN ADAPT
  • 86A. [Unseen indicator] – HIDDEN MARKER
  • 89A. [Brezhnev, e.g.] – SOVIET NAME
  • 101A. [A trifecta of severe winter weather] – SLEET HAIL AND RAIN. That would describe Wednesday in Toronto. It is not an ACPT trip without a weather day.
  • 111A. [Primary illustration] – MAIN DIAGRAM
  • 123A. [Mumps symptoms (and technically, this should be "Great Britain," but how often does one get a chance to put this answer in a puzzle?)] – SWOLLEN GLANDS
  • Other stuff:

    • 74D. ["When ___, you're a clown" (from "I Got You Babe")] – I’M SAD
    • 82D. [Country star Clark or Gibbs] – TERRI
    • 105D. [Daily Planet reporter] – LANE
    • 124D. [N.Y. airport, on tags] – LGA. My tags also read YYZ, YVR and YYJ. I can adapt, but not too quickly.

    Jeffrey out.

    Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon’s Boston Globe Crossword, “Celebrating Kiwis” – Sam Donaldson’s review

    Seven weeks ago, it was February 6.  I’m guessing this puzzle first appeared in print on that day (remember, we cover the “syndicated” version of the Boston Globe puzzle here at the Diary, and it runs several weeks behind).  That’s because the puzzle references WAITANGI DAY, clued here as [What Kiwis celebrate on February 6].  Kiwis, of course, are residents of New Zealand, and it turns out Waitangi Day commemorates “the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document, … in 1840.” (Thanks, Wikipedia.)

    In honor of the occasion, then, Cox and Rathvon found eight famous New Zealanders with names of symmetrical lengths and inserted them into this grid. Some members of the octet were very familar, others not at all:

    • The [High-climbing Kiwi], to no one’s surprise, is SIR EDMUND HILLARY.  In 1953, he and Tenzing Norgay were the first to summit Mount Everest.
    • The [Movie-making Kiwi] is PETER JACKSON, of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.  If you only know this story from crosswords, you might be surprised to know that there are characters other than Ents and Orcs.   Ewoks also play a role.
    • The [Warrior-playing Kiwi] is LUCY LAWLESS of “Xena: Warrior Princess” fame.   I know her best as Number Three on the reimagined “Battlestar Galactica” series, but I suppose she’s more famous for her turn as Xena.   Ms. Lawless and I are the same age (actually, I’m one month older), and yet she has succumbed neither to gravity nor to age. Kudos to her.
    • The [Mystery-writing Kiwi] is NGAIO MARSH.   I’m pretty sure I’ve seen her first name in a puzzle or two before, very likely in a Boston Globe puzzle.  If I am reading the pronounciation guide correctly, the “g” is silent, so her name sounds like “NIGH-o.”  The three consecutive vowels make for a pretty appealing name crossword-wise, even more so than her real-life first name (Edith).
    • The [Record-setting Kiwi miler] is JOHN WALKER.  This name was foreign to me.  Turns out a guy named Walker is a famous runner.  Anyway, he was the first to run a mile in under 3:50, and he won gold at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.
    • The [Kiwi director of "The Piano"] is JANE CAMPION. She may be an “h” shy of a “Champion,” but Campion was only the second woman ever nominated for a directing Oscar. Can you name the first? (I couldn’t.  I could name the third and the fourth, though.)  The answer’s at the end of this post.
    • The [Opera-sining Kiwi] is Dame KIRI TE KANAWA. Yeah, that was just a bunch of random letters to me, but after doing some digging, I have to confess that this lady’s a real star.  She sang at the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer.   She has honorary degrees from 13 universities around the world.   And, according to the IMG Artists website, she “carries the exotic blood of native Maori aristocracy.”  Quite a resume.
    • Finally, the [Nobel-winning Kiwi physicist]is ERNEST RUTHERFORD.  Well, gee, he’s only known as “the father of nuclear physics.”  Wikipedia says that “he discovered the concept of radioactive half life, proved that radioactivity involved the transmutation of one chemical element to another, and also differentiated and named alpha and beta radiation.”   All this netted him a Nobel Prize in Chemistry.  Yes, chemistry, not physics.

    Highlights in the fill included LOW-CARB, the [Okay for Atkins dieters], NO GOOD, clued as [Worthless], LL COOL J, the [Rapper always hatted], S-SHAPES, clued as [Ogees and such], and WEBCAM.  My favorite clues included [Nick active at night] for SANTA, and [Club for a diamond] for BAT.

    But there were some lowlights too, namely SACKER, clued as a [Hatchet man, maybe], SCUMMED, clued as [Covered with algae] (wouldn’t most say a pond was “scummy” instead of “scummed?”), and the plural AMMOS.

    Let’s finish with some random thoughts: (1) A RAGBAG is a [Hodgepodge]? Do we really need two words with rhyming syllables for the same thing? (2) It’s pretty rare to see both AKIRA Kurosawa and the Japanese dog breed, AKITA, in the same grid. I wonder if Akira and his wife, Anita, owned an Akita.   It’s also rare to see two “A-”partials symmetrically opposite each other, but we have that with A ROCK and A LASS.  What comes between a rock and a lass?  Well, in this puzzle, it’s Waitangi Day.  (3) SHANDY, the [Beer and lemonade mix] is new to me.  I’m not a beer drinker, so maybe I’m missing something.  But that sounds awful.  (4) To [Be a fussbudget] is to NIGGLE, apparently.  “Niggle” looks a little offensive. “Fussbudget,” on the other hand, is pure money.

    Okay, that’s it for me. I’ve had fun writing about the Boston Globe puzzles, but I’m taking on a new gig here at the Diary starting next Sunday, so this is my last Boston Globe post, save for the occasional Sunday when I cover for Amy on all of the puzzles. See you then!

    Oh, one last thing: the first woman to be nominated for Best Director was Lina Wertmüller, for the 1976 movie, Seven Beauties.

    Updated Sunday morning:

    Patrick Jordan’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Sunday Challenge”—Evad’s review

    3/27/11 CrosSynergy crossword solution

    This week marks the final week of Janie’s and my commentary on the CrosSynergy puzzles, as we hand the reins off to the ever-gracious and always amusing Sam Donaldson. For my final “Sunday Challenge,” we have constructor Patrick Jordan on tap. It’s pretty easy to see what the seed entries were, two fifteen-letter related entries that cross in the middle: JOHN QUINCY ADAMS and AMERICAN HISTORY. We watched the excellent John Adams series on HBO starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney. Like father, like son.

    But then again, the seed entry may have been some product placement for Sears at 1-Across: CRAFTSMAN. Sears is getting around as we just saw a similar shout out to their tool line in one of the immunity challenges on Survivor: Redemption Island. That entry sits over HERE I COME ([Hide-and-seek warning]) and a strange (to me) usage of the word “overture” as a past-tense verb, OVERTURED ([Made a proposal to]). If you’re at a Broadway musical, can you say you’ve been OVERTURED to once the first act begins?

    The other triple stacks of nine- and ten-letter entries are pretty standard stuff, JOKESTER aside OPEN WIDE was nice, but they led to a few unfortunate entries in the middle—the partial A LAD, ISM and a word that seems more suited to Shakespearean times than now, BEDAUB ([Smear completely]). It helped to be in my adolescence in the 70′s: posters of Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Cheryl TIEGS were a very common sight in my friends’ bedrooms. (I was more interested in the $6M Man, Lee Majors, myself.) Speaking of actors named Lee, I was born a little too late to be familiar with the series, M SQUAD, starring actor Lee Marvin, which ran from 1957-1960. I do recall the series Police Squad!, a satire based on the Marvin series, starring the recently departed Leslie Nielsen.

    Matt Skoczen and Vic Fleming’s syndicated Los Angeles Times crossword, “Rowdy Bunch”

    Sunday LA Times crossword answers 3/27 "Rowdy Bunch"

    Hey, these guys make a good team. I like how the theme played out (though not a fan of how slow I was to understand it!) and I enjoyed the overall cluing vibe. The theme is WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, and each of the other theme entries begins with a thing that can follow the word wild:

     

    • 22a. The CARD CATALOG was an [*Old library aid]. What is wilder than a wild card catalog, I ask you?
    • 32a. [*Soda fountain choice] is CHERRY COKE. Wild Cherry! Not only one of the best Lifesavers flavors ever, but also the name of a ’70s white funk band. Here, go watch “Play That Funky Music,” live concert version. I’m listening to it right now. Update! Song over, moved on to “September.”
    • 97a. TURKEY TROT is a [*Ragtime dance]. Wild turkey is a bird, Wild Turkey is a whiskey of some sort.
    • 110a. [*'60s Haight-Ashbury type] is a FLOWER CHILD. ‘Tis the season for wildflowers to start sprouting in the regions breaking free of winter’s hold.
    • 3d. [*Political mantra] is the PARTY LINE. I don’t know what a wild party is. I go to crossword tournaments.
    • 20d. A SIDE EFFECT can be a [*Drug problem]. “Walk on the Wild Side” will be our next musical selection.
    • 67d. [*One side of a defunct wall] was WEST BERLIN. The Wild West is where the Crosswords LA tournament will take place on May 1. I won’t be there, but I’ll be test-solving the puzzles.
    • 76d. [*A cappella leader's gadget] is a PITCH PIPE. Wild pitch is a baseball thing.

    Favorite clues and answers:

    • 41a. To NOD OFF is to [React to boredom, perhaps].
    • 50a. [Souvenirs at the park, usually] are FOULS, as in foul balls hit into the stands. I’m pretty sure more people leave the ballpark with t-shirts and giant foam fingers than with foul balls, though there are more foul balls than home runs hit into the bleachers.
    • 54a. [Not __ Town: anti-hate-crime movement] clues the partial IN OUR. Nice to give attention to Not In Our Town, though.
    • 100a. MUD BATH is a [Spa service]. I don’t know. I just don’t want mud in my nooks and crannies.
    • 103a. [First toothbrush to go to the moon] is better than the usual ORAL-B clue. Who knew how the astronauts handled their oral hygiene?
    • 8d. [Alice's restaurant?] in the ’70s sitcom was MEL’S DINER.
    • 12d. [Inane relative?], hmm. That must be my Aunt ——. No, wait, it’s just the synonym ABSURD.
    • 13d. REPLY ALL is an [E-mail option]. Great, fresh fill.
    • 40d. I had no idea [Abecedarian] could mean NEOPHYTE.
    • 42d. [One of them?] is the FOE of “us.”
    • 46d. [One in a black suit] is either a SPADE or a club.
    • 63d. EGOMANIA is a [Typical Bond villain's malady]. Does it really qualify as a “malady”? I say no.
    • 75d. DEMI MOORE, full name, good entry.

    Frank Longo’s Washington Post crossword, “Post Puzzler No. 51″

    Washington Post Puzzler 51 crossword solution

    When Frank makes a 70-worder (like this one) or a 72-worder, you know he’s going to pack the grid with interesting long answers. He’s got a triple-stack of 10-letter answers in each quadrant, and there are 9-letter answers connecting each quadrant in the middle. Good stuff. And with so many tough clues! Luckily, I had enough good guesses at short crossings that I was able to piece together the long answers despite having no idea what many of the clues were about.

    Highlights:

    • 1a. [Bond girl Miranda Frost, e.g.] = DOUBLE AGENT. No idea who Frost is, but it’s a great answer.
    • 15a. [Track after "Automatic" on the album "Break Out"] = the Pointer Sisters’ “I’M SO EXCITED.” “Automatic” sent my head in the useless direction of REM’s Automatic for the People.
    • 17a. [2004 and 2005 hoops champs of the Sun Belt tournament] meant nothing to me, but with R*G**C*J***, I guessed RAGIN’ CAJUNS. Cool answer.
    • 30a. [Tortoises have long ones] isn’t about body parts. It’s their long LIFESPANS.
    • 37a. [Bridge at the start of the New York City Marathon] is the VERRAZANO Narrows Bridge. I hear it costs $13 or $14 to drive across it.
    • 53a. [Guarantee same-day delivery?] = INDUCE LABOR. Cute clue.
    • 57a. Famous sung Doris [Day line] = QUE SERA SERA.
    • 59a. [Some heteronym differentiators] = STRESS MARKS. As in the stress marks that tell you which syllable to stress when you talk about the Department of DeFENSE or football DEfense. Heteronyms are spelled the same but have different sounds and meanings. Lead the metal and lead the verb aren’t differentiated by stress marks, though. (Hence the “some” in the clue.)
    • 8d. G.I. JOE = a [Grunt from a toy store].
    • 13d. [Winner of the 2003 Golden Arm Award] is ELI MANNING. I was thinking ELIJAH WOOD or a mystery ELIZA until more crossings filled in. Eli M. is a quarterback who throws the ball with his Golden Arm.
    • 14d. [Mexican revolutionaries] = ZAPATISTAS. Fun to say, no?
    • 22d. YAO Ming = Houston [Rocket of great height].
    • 25d. [Seeker of a sacred bat named Shikaka] = ACE VENTURA, the Jim Carrey character. Needed a zillion crossings.
    • 26d. [Saltimbocca toppers] = SAGE LEAVES. There’s a place in my neighborhood that makes an insanely tasty pumpkin/butternut squash ravioli-ish dish swimming in melted butter with pine nuts, crispy sage leaves, and diced squash. And they deliver!
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    30 Responses to Sunday, 3/27/11

    1. Karen says:

      I got the general idea of the long-form puzzle from the parallel gutters, but still had a hard time with the clues. In addition to the TBALL GLOVE above, my other error was due to the the face I’ve never heard of the NEOGENE period before. (Per wikipedia, It contains the Pliocene Epoch (familiar to fans of Julian May) and was when the Americas joined together.) It’s also the first puzzle I used AL’s zoom feature on; but I wish I’d zoomed in before finishing the puzzle.

    2. arthur118 says:

      While this effort doesn’t reach the masterpiece level of Kevin and Jessica’s Chinese Zodiac puzzle it certainly was a unique undertaking. He sure does like to bend the rules and we are the beneficiaries.

      To appreciate the construction, Jim Horne has animated the solution at XWordInfo (see the link) and as 24 across indicates you can see how the PINBALLERS play in Kevin’s Arcade.

      http://www.xwordinfo.com/Crossword?date=3/27/2011

    3. Amy Reynaldo says:

      Wait, is the theme supposed to be bowling or a bowling-themed pinball machine? I see zero rationale for viewing the grid as a pinball machine other than the general shape.

    4. arthur118 says:

      Amy- When I started the puzzle it seemed to be a bowling theme but, by the time I finished, based on the placement of the balls (and the give-away answer at 24 across), I became convinced Kevin had given us a pinball game and Jim Horne’s clever animation ties it all together.

      You probably aren’t the only solver who will be declaring TILT for this one.

    5. AV says:

      Totally a bowling theme for me – the ball curves in, gets a few pins, leaves a split, a spare, and avoids the gutter at the alley! Happy camper here.

    6. Jeff L says:

      Loved it loved it loved it. Can’t understand how one interprets it as a pinball machine – pinball machines don’t have gutters on the sides. It’s clearly the ball’s path to execute a spare on that split.

      If he had managed to pack ten PIN rebus squares in their proper formation at the top, as I was half expecting, I would’ve smashed my laptop on the ground.

    7. joon says:

      count me in the “loved it” camp and also the “definitely bowling” camp. when i realized that he had actually drawn in the ball’s trajectory to pick up a 4-7/6-10 split, my mind boggled. and jeff, smashing one’s laptop at the end of a puzzle is precisely the sort of thing a rock star constructor like kevin der should do at the culmination of a tour de force like this one. (and yes, i do think that SPIN DOCTORS and CRIES FOUL are theme answers. not sure about the other long downs—MEAT WAGON and BASEBALL TEAM don’t seem to have anything to do with bowling.)

    8. Plot says:

      It seems like the pinball vs. bowling debate is already nipped in the bud, but just in case, I need to throw my vote towards bowling. Kevin is nothing if not thorough with his crazy sunday themes; if it were actually a pinball theme, then he would have included entries relating to flippers, bumpers, tilting, etc. The questionable fill didn’t bother me too much because I was able to get it all from crossings with relative ease, but I can understand why others would be frustrated.

      Hey, entomology-related clue in the Post Puzzler! You know, I try to be a good person, but I can’t help but get a little Schadenfreude when a particular clue is a gimme for me, but a struggle for most others. Clearly, I need to go through a couple more larval instars before I can get rid of this immature attitude.

    9. D_Blackwell says:

      I loved this crossword, and it deserves a lot better preparation, treatment, and presenetation than it got. The NYT continues to refuse to lead the way to the new and inevitable wave of technology that can be designed today – much less what will become possible. Why wait for some quick-buck hackjob to ‘improve’ things.

      They never even make minimal efforts to present cool solution grids to the cool crosswords. PDFs ain’t exactly high-tech anymore.

      I hacked this grid image up in a VERY short time – and I (obviously) am not a graphics person.
      Solution grid with a few ‘explanatory extras’.

      I made some comments here, and have done pretty well reigning in my disgust, if not irritation:
      Comments – Sunday crossword

      This is far from the first great constructor that built a great crossword and got shafted right down the line. Ben Pall’s ‘die’ crossword was another that just got f…ed – IMHO:))

      Love this crossword. Hate what Shortz did to it. If he can’t handle these crosswords, then let the up-and-comers do their thing. It is inevitable. Sooner would be better.

    10. D_Blackwell says:

      joon – Because I had a bowling pin in S(PIN) DOCTORS I totally missed that one. I expect that you are right. SPIN is terrifically important in bowling.

    11. Rex says:

      How is CRIES FOUL part of the bowling scenario here? Did the bowler step over the line? Throw his beer? How do I know?

    12. joel says:

      Where is the CrossSynergy puzzle? I can only seem to get it through last Fri.

    13. Amy Reynaldo says:

      Plot, I LOVE your solution grid! May I have your permission to post it here (with credit to you) in lieu of my Across Lite image?

      Joel, the Houston Chronicle (which is what this site and Puzzle Pointers link to for CrosSynergy) is no longer carrying the puzzle online (or offline, I think). The Washington Post site should have 6 days a week of CS, but I think they don’t run the Sunday Challenge. Not sure if there is a new location for the Sunday puzzle yet. For the WaPo link, change the yymmdd to the date (eg, 110326 for yesterday) in this: http://crosswords.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/crosswords/daily/csyymmdd.puz

    14. Howard B says:

      CrosSynergy puzzle is down from all sources I can find. If you have a live link, please post – thanks :).

    15. SethG says:

      Okay, what the hell was that all about?

      I think I’m gonna write a mid-game billiards themed puzzle with a cue ball and four or five random others scattered about, where if you connect the circled letters you get a series of shots to set up a victory. Oh, and pocket rebuses. Or maybe it should be bumper pool. And when you solve it, some people will think it might be from Space Invaders.

    16. Howard B says:

      I gave this a bonus star rating, as I’m a sucker for the bowling theme. I’ve also never successfully made this split (although I once made its cousin, missing the 7 pin on the left side). Need a lot of luck to make that shot (and possibly some luck to solve the puzzle as well). Despite the PIN and BALL rebuses, this is not a pinball theme. It added to the trickiness. The theme represents the path of the BALL moving towards the PINS.
      Wasn’t thrilled with some of the nasty fill, and this theme was a bit confusing to suss out, but I did enjoy the payoff.

      By the way, the pocket/billiard theme has been done in ’06, and done well by M.Shteyman. Except no shot is set up. (Solution link, so don’t click if you ever intend to solve).

    17. janie says:

      bowling, like basketball (and baseball, no?) has a FOUL line, too. (gonna guess that pinball doesn’t…)

      ;-)

    18. Plot says:

      Amy, you’ve got the wrong David; D_Blackwell is responsible for the solution grid, not me. But if it were up to me, I would definitely want more people to see it. It exceeds the standard solution grid in both form and function.

    19. D_Blackwell says:

      Amy,

      If the grid works for you, you’re free to use it. If I were a graphics person I would have really fancied it up. My point was mostly to create an example of what the NYT should be doing to show off crosswords, constructors – and, hey, maybe win more converts.

      I know the life cycles are short – but make every day count.

      D_Blackwell

    20. Papa John says:

      I had to laugh at D_Blackwell’s post. Obviously, he wasn’t around at the inception of NYT’s online presence. Some us remember that it was one foul-up after another. From what I’ve read about how easy it is to get around the $50 million dollar paywall NYT paid for — to protect their new subscription system — it seems they’re still using the same IT bozos from ‘way back when. Now, where did I learn of this? From an online newssource, AletNet.com, of course.

      Today’s puzzle? Ptui!

    21. Amy Reynaldo says:

      Thanks, D_Blackwell! And sorry I attributed the illustration to D_Plotkin first.

    22. D_Blackwell says:

      I come and go from crosswords – depending on where life is taking me. I remember when there was no Wordplay blog, but a forum (which was pretty cool as I recall).

      No problem with attribution.

      BTW – After I read that it was being well received and that you had an interest in it, I took your and joon’s notes of S(PIN) Doctors and changed the graphic around that bit. Had I ‘read’ SPIN, I would have caught it easily. Because I was intent on putting a ‘pin’ in there, I never noticed it at all. (It only took me a minute. Wow, you were fast!)

    23. Mitchs says:

      @HH: from yesterday (sorry) Compliment. Best teacher I ever had, by far. “You should know that by now” was, unfortunately, somewhat of a refrain.

    24. joon says:

      sam, great job as always on the BG writeup. looking forward to enjoying your wit 7 days a week… assuming, of course, that the CS folks work out whatever the technical issues are regarding their .puz files! my favorite ERNEST RUTHERFORD tidbit: he famously said, “physics is the queen of sciences. all the rest is stamp-collecting.” so it was deliciously ironic when the nobel committee honored him with the chemistry award. :) still, he is definitely among the all-time great physicists. he’s commonly regarded as the “discoverer” of the nucleus, as his gold-foil experiment first proved that most of an atom’s volume is more or less empty space, with 99.95% of the mass concentrated in a tiny speck in the middle.

    25. Vic says:

      Thanks for the nice words about Matt’s and my puzzle.

    26. Bonekrusher says:

      freakin’ freakin’ brilliant NYT puzzle by Kevin Der. Don’t know why it only had a 3-star rating when I came here. And maybe I should feel bad that I “stuffed” the BALLot box by rating it 5-stars like 10 times in a row. But this was freakin’ brilliant. Gorski-esque.

    27. Amy Reynaldo says:

      Please, no ballot box stuffing! That’ll getcha banned from voting.

    28. arthur118 says:

      Clarification from Jim Horne on XWordInfo:

      “JimH notes: Yes, this is a bowling theme. Yes, my animation makes it look like a pinball game.”

    29. AV says:

      @SethG: You say

      “I think I’m gonna write a mid-game billiards themed puzzle with a cue ball and four or five random others scattered about, where if you connect the circled letters you get a series of shots to set up a victory. Oh, and pocket rebuses. Or maybe it should be bumper pool. And when you solve it, some people will think it might be from Space Invaders.”

      I say go for it! Actually, let’s make it simple, just get a rebus-themed puzzle into NYT and then we will accept your mockery of today’s gem of a puzzle!

    30. Bonekrusher says:

      Sorry about the ballot-stuffing, Amy. Just an impulsive thing that won’t happen again! I did appreciate a previous admonishment that you wrote along the lines of, “please don’t give a rebus puzzle a 1, just because you don’t like rebus puzzles.”

      I love rebus puzzles, and I overreacted by giving it uhh, 10 5′s.

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