## Monday, March 15, 2010

Constructor: Fred Piscop

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: "Pair of" sure does sound like "PARA-" — words beginning "PARA-" get wacky "?" clues suggesting they actually begin "Pair of ..."

Word of the Day: JOTTO (29D: Word-guessing game) —

Jotto (sometimes Giotto{pol: DÅ¼iotto}) is a logic-oriented word game played with two players, a writing implement, and a piece of paper. Each player picks a secret word of five letters (that is in the dictionary, generally no proper nouns are allowed, and generally consisting of all different letters), and the object of the game is to correctly guess the other player's word first. Players take turns guessing and giving the number of Jots, or the number of letters that are in both the guessed word and the secret word. The positions of the letters don't matter: for example, if the secret word is OTHER and a player guesses PEACH, he gets a reply of 2 (for the E and the H, even though they're in the wrong positions). Using a written-out alphabet, players cross out letters that are eliminated with Jot counts of 0 and other logical deductions. (wikipedia)
• • •

OK, before you go all "How could you call this 'Medium-Challening!?' Why, I did it so fast that blahbitty blah blah blah blah..." on me, let me explain. I have recorded 10 Monday NYT scores this year (I think this is technically the 11th Monday puzzle of the year, but I spent one of those Mondays incapacitated by a stomach virus, clearly too sick to bother recording my time). Of those ten recorded times, today's time (3:24) was my 9th fastest. But it's only 34 seconds slower than my fastest time. And my very slowest Monday time, even as a freakish outlier at 3:45, is still not even a full minute slower than my fastest. So, what I'm saying is, Mondays are easy, and even the slightest hesitation can give me a "bad" time. I will say that JOTTO and LAUGHER (42D: Lopsided win, in slang) are unusual for a Monday. Wife hadn't heard of LAUGHER, and neither of us had heard of JOTTO (though it seems like something that's been in some puzzle in my past). Also, unusually, I floundered for a few seconds in the NW. Also, unfathomably, I blanked on OLAN *again* (2D: "The Good Earth" heroine)! Twice this month! What the hell. Her name will Not Stick. Stupid crosswordesey name from a book I've never read. Speaking of which ...

Today's theme was not very likable. The plurals (necessitated by the "Pair of" concept) were uwelcome, esp. PARAMOUNTS. Further, PARATROOPS, while a valid word, makes me wish I were seeing PARATROOPERS. And since PARATROOPS actually use PARACHUTES ... that was a bit too much PARA-overlap for me. In general, the governing pun is corny and the resulting fill boring. As a palate cleanser, I watched this:

• 17A: Two steeds? (PARAMOUNTS)
• 11D: Two scout groups? (PARATROOPS)
• 27D: Two charts? (PARAGRAPHS)
• 57A: Two water slides? (PARACHUTES)
Bullets:
• 24A: Industrialist J. Paul ___ (GETTY) — eponym of a great L.A.-area museum. You have to ride this tram thingie to get up there, and then you get this beautiful view of the ... whatever valley that is. The art isn't bad either.
• 41D: Mannerly guy (GENT) — I thought "isn't there someone named 'Guy Mannerly?'" But I was thinking of Walter Scott's novel 'Guy Mannering," which, you have to admit, is pretty close.
• 44D: Rocking toy, in tot-speak (HORSEY) — I strangely enjoyed this clue. And answer. I think "tot-speak" is about as fresh and imaginative as this puzzle got today. Well, no ... I have to admit to liking LAUGHER quite a bit, actually.
• 51D: Greek Cupid (EROS) — Oh, *Greek*. I really should read the clues more carefully. Had the "O" and wrote in AMOR.
• 56A: Cuts off, as branches (LOPS) — LOPS would like you to know that it is sad because the clue for LAUGHER ([LOPSided win, in slang]) stole its thunder.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS It's NCAA Basketball Tournament time. Join my ESPN Tournament Challenge Group, "All Hail OOXTEPLERNON" (pw: obolsmiff). Winner will get a copy of Bob Klahn's new crossword book, "The Wrath of Klahn" (unused!). Go here to sign up. [Crossword publishers should always feel free to send me swag that I can give away, hint hint]

Robin

Rex, honey, I don't know who those "Now and Again" people are, but don't let them get ya down.

I did Not like the "para" thingy either. I thought it was stupid. Figured it our fairly quickly, but I don't time myself.

Did Not know Jotto, but did know Jigger, so it all worked out.

JC66

@Rex

Perhaps the reason people expect you to "know everything" is because you are obviously very knowledgeable on a wide range of subjects and know many things most of us don't. Rather than "exposing your ignorance to the world 365 days a year" you continuously reveal your erudition. Therefore, when you don't know something that they do, they are surprised. You should take it as a complement when they express their disbelief.

lit.doc

@Rex, thanks ever so for the Meatloaf clip. Several of his power ballads inhabit my iPod, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show evocation was inspirational. Concept: “The Rocky Horror Crossword Puzzle”. Or maybe just forward the idea to Brendan.

In response to your hysterically funny and sympathy-inducing rant about the emails you receive from the clueless (they live among us, and they can legally vote), I cannot tell you how tempted I was to email you with a subject line along the lines of “I can’t believe…” Just to be perverse. Fact is, I can scarcely believe how much you do know about CW stuff. Ignore the “nattering nabobs of negativism” (definition of irony: me quoting Spiro The Agnew).

Meanwhile, back on Planet Crossword, I have the luxury of having enjoyed the puzzle more than did you, simply because I’m that easily amused. The only thing I would really fault the Fred Piscop for on this one is his abject failure to include PARAMECIUM.

And FWIW me too re JOTTO and LAUGHER. BLOTTO yes, JOTTO no. And OLAN was a triumph for me, after having tried to use ULAN so many times.

chefwen

Puzzle kinda cute, albeit a little corny. Got through it quickly but without a lot of joy. It was an O.K. start to the week. Hey it's Monday.

Rex, don't be hard on yourself, you are waaay smarter than most I know.

Only unknown to me was JOTTO, thanks for the explanation.

Steve J

If I've learned nothing else from my time reading this blog, it's that everyone has knowledge gaps that encompass things that are obvious to me - and that there are things that are obvious to a lot of people that I just don't know or cannot remember. So I try to avoid that sort of comment. Now. (I think my first comment may have been of that nature. I was young and naive. Six months ago.)

One such example: Like Rex, OLAN never, ever sticks for me. I've lost count of how many times that particular bit of bad crosswordese has come up, but it never lodges in my brain. (Apologies to any Pearl S. Buck fans out there who may be offended by my calling this bad crosswordese.)

Puzzle was just an average, indistinct Monday. Slower than normal for me, though. Mostly because I had a typo in Texas that for some reason took me forever to uncover.

By the way, when are EMAGS and EZINES going to die the death they so richly deserve (as crossword answers, not as publications)? I have worked in the internet industry (for lack of a better term) for 15 years, and I have never heard anyone use those terms since c. 1997. Except in crosswords, where they're insanely popular.

Captcha: "hypers" def. "People who write frothy emails saying, 'I can't believe you didn't know ...' "

Billybob

I was also surprised when I saw Medium-Challenging for a Monday puzzle. The funny thing is that I never even saw "JOTTO" until I read your review. Inane themes like this are pretty normal after solving a lot of the stuff I see on cruciverb.com. Most of the time I try to ignore a theme unless I get really stuck. This one was no different.

This is my first post to your site, but I'm sure it won't be the last.

andrea laugher michaels

Whenever I see Fred's name, my first thought is ALWAYS "where is the O on Piscopo???" Never fails. This has been going on for years!

I was surprised a bit bec generally you can't use repeated words, even if they are given a punny meaning...
and this one was THE SAME pun over and over!
(that said, I sort of liked it!)

I liked that they were real things spelled properly...for example, NOT something like Paradise that then was a pun for "Pair of dice") so I give Fred a paraprops for that.

Thought of @joho in that there seemed to be a mini-food theme,
MEATY, EGGY, SPAM, OLIVE, RYES, with a little JIGGER.

Sometimes I try and guess before I see the clue what will be there, so imagine my surprise that it wasn't ASwAN/wOPS! ;)

Also LAUGHER seems very un-Mondayish (ditto rest of the week and the language in general)
so I think I would have gone with LAUGHAT/ALIAS/TETRA/ESSA or something like that.

It's weird for me that HORSEY had an E whereas NOSY did not.
(And should LASSOS have one?)

I liked the generous sprinkling of Y's where dread S's could have been.

Plus CAPRIS is very Audrey Hepburn/Mary Tyler Moore-y, so I think all in all I liked the puzzle but it didn't feel like a NY Times one.
Read into that what you will.

At risk of provoking an "I can't believe she doesn't know that" but...is CANA related to CANAAN?

Still giggling about "LOPS would like you to know that..." Ha!

Elaine

JOTTO? I can't believe there is a children's game I haven't heard of (and played.) The J was the last thing into the grid, because I solved in sort of a spiral fashion and JIGGER did not immediately come to mind--I think of it as a measurer, not as a [glass.] But I found the puzzle less boring than others here.

For those who haven't read _The Good Earth_ (or other Pearl Buck novels plus her autobiography)--you are missing some worthwhile and very interesting books. Was OLAN a slave? I don't believe so, though her life as a farmer's wife might seem little more than that. It could help with the OLAN-recall problem!

@Andrea
I would have spelled the [tot-speak] HORSIE, but then, I was not trying to construct a crossword. HORSY doesn't look right, though, does it? And spell-check hates it, too.
LASSOS, of Spanish origin, can do without the E.

Anonymous

When I was a child, it was my *parents* who played Jotto. It was cleverly packaged as two snap-together plasticky clipboard-like pieces, each supplied with a printed pad of paper and with a loop to hold a pencil; so each player had one "board" to play with, but they could be stored together. Later, when my children were young, there was a board game called MasterMind which was basically the same thing, except you were trying to guess a string of colors rather than letters.

My personal favorite "para"pun is "paradox"--what my husband and I are, both having PhDs; particularly apt because his field is logic.

fikink

Rex, Re: those incredulous people who write you, "and the horse they road in on!"

Loved seeing JIGGER in a puzzle.

fikink

WHOA!
@anonymous 7:37 - we posted at the same moment.
No offense meant in calling your pun lame.
just music of the spheres.

Anonymous

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!

Parshutr

Paras have been on my so-called "Mind" forever...
Coupling physicians unable to decipher? PARADOX
And Rex, it's a sign of respect that people have the suspicion that, if you're not omniscient, you're a PARAGON of wisdom.

Parshutr

@andrea...the Miracle of Cana = Water into Wine for the wedding guests. New Testament.
Not a bible scholar, but I shot (photographed) hundreds of weddings in the last decade of film cameras.

Rex Parker

I had an email in my inbox this morning from yet another Jack Finney fan suggesting I should read "Time and Again." *This* message was delightful. It may even have convinced me to read the damned book. Some day ...

Parshutr

@Rex...making you laugh = making my day!

joho

This puzzle brought a smile to my face on a Monday morning which is no small feat. I loved CAPRIS, HORSEY, JIGGER with NORM and, new to me, JOTTO and LAUGHER.

Thanks, Fred Piscop, for a MEATY Monday!

Bob Kerfuffle

I had never heard of JOTTO.

Since it had the center down, I thought in retrospect that JOTTO might have some relevance to the wordplay in the theme -- but having read the description, I think not.

SethG

Yeah, doesn't PARAMOUNTS kinda need to work on its own as a plural for the theme to work? The Paramounts were apparently a band for three years in the 60s, some members of which went on to form Procol Harum. I can't believe you didn't know who Meatloaf is.

Paramount can be a noun meaning a supreme ruler, or overlord, though it, and especially its plural, are used...infrequently. Add in the troops with the chutes, ugh.

I actually had trouble solving this, epecially in the J/J and \$\$\$ area. Why the extra \$\$? \$ to me means money or inexpensive, for \$\$\$ I was just looking for a synonym for kinda pricy. Just kidding, Andrea, "pricey". Wait, they both work!

Hipidy hooblah!

JenCT

I actually had a faster-than-usual time today - go figure.

Rex, I'm always impressed by how much you DO know.

Those "I can't believe you didn't know..." emails are right up there with the "Congratulations, you've won the (fill in the blank) Lottery!" - just begging to be deleted.

SueRohr

As to the fact that one's person's knowledge base is often so different from another's: When I was 11 or 12 my best friend and I played Jotto constantly. You didn't even need the game - just paper and pencil. So I thought that was a gimme and was surprised how many people didn't know it. Rex - I can't believe - LOL.

Victor in Rochester

I'm also surprised that so many in this group didn't know Jotto; it's a step up from Hangman as language ability and puzzle ability develop and I also spent hours playing it with friends who, even at a young age, enjoyed words and puzzling things out.

Now we play "Dictionary" which, especially after a couple of jiggers of spirits, can be hysterical. Best played with a group of around six to eight people, one person has the dictionary, picks a word no one is likely to know, announces the word, and writes the definition on a 3 X 5 file card. The other players all write "definitions" for the word on file cards, and pass them to the one with the dictionary. That player rehearses reading all the definitions, orders them, and then numbers them and reads them aloud. The other players guess at the real definition, and points are scored by guessing correctly and by writing a definition that someone else guesses. The dictionary is then passed to the next player.

The only problem with this game is learning new words with made-up definitions.

Enjoyed this puzzle.

dk

Drat Andrea, I was gonna say gamblers tool: Para-dice. Or, what you need when you have two boats... ad nauseam.

Rex, you ignorant slut (see early SNL skits for the relevance of this point-counter point quote) I expect you will remember OLAN the day before I remember the Rubik Cube guy's first name.

In the words of Meatloaf - 2 outta 3 aint bad. I thought the para trick was cute and I am sure @twoponies will be happy with the BUTTE, LASSO and HOPI fill.

My secret word is naggar - WASP for Yenta.

** (2 Stars) Fine start to the week.

JayWalker

dk!! Shame. "Ignorant slut"???!!!
Rex is not ignorant.
Poor Rex. Don't feel put-upon. We wouldn't participate in such numbers and so gleefully if you weren't our Everyday Hero. p.s. Who in the world comes up with the Word Verification words??

tptsteve

It was an ok solve for a Monday; I liked the parallel with troops and chutes.

OldCarFudd

I, too, had never heard of Jotto or laugher. Never having read any Narnia, I didn't know Aslan, either. And I balked at paramount having a plural. But it was all gettable. I sort of enjoy "para-" puns, so I liked the puzzle.

I'm one of the fans of Time and Again who commented yesterday. My only purpose was to recommend something I really enjoyed. I thought that was what the other commenters were doing, too. I had no intention of implying that anyone who didn't know the book was some sort of ignorant clod; it was, after all, written about 40 years ago by a guy who didn't write a sequel until 1995. If my post came across as criticism, I apologize. I'll have to learn to think longer and type slower.

tptsteve

Two sharks- paraffins?

Lurene

More important that how much or little anyone knows is how it works. For example, I often, and I've seen many others admit too, don't recognize that there is a theme.

Rex Parker

@OldCarFudd, I was talking about private emails, not comments on the site. Simply recommending that someone read a particular book seems a fine, even generous thing to do.

Rex Parker

Has anyone suggested "PARAPETS?" I would have liked that.

DB Geezer

I was impressed that this was a "wise" puzzle with so many Ys in it. Perhaps NOSY GETTY, put some MONEY on a MEATY HORSEY, hoping IN A SENSE, it would be a HOLY choice.

Dare I jestingly say that I can't believe that people as smart and as educated as all you bloggers don't know and haven't played JOTTO?

grouchonyy

Thank you for playing Phil Rizzuto's only gold record. Scooter claimed he never knew what his words actually meant.

Two Ponies

Oh Rex, you beat me to it by a nanosecond. My cats are a fine set of Parapets!
This was a tad harder than a breezy usual Monday.
The puns were OK. My expectations on Mondays are set rather low so this one had some measure of entertainment (a jigger perhaps).
Jotto was new to me but sounds like a good game for travel, no special equipment required.
Yes dk, there was a bit of a SW theme going not to mention the horsey!
@ JayWalker, You DO know dk is kidding, right? He's quoting Dan Akroyd and I'm certain that Rex the Almighty Sage knows it too.
Olan and omah are always my toss-up answers.
The dead tree version seemed to have some trouble with the symbols for the 'area' clue. I needed my specs to be sure what I was seeing.

ArtLvr

@ lit.doc -- Love your Paramecium!
@parshuter -- Fun puns!

Mnemonic for OLAN -- Good EARTH? O LAND! but four letters, so drop the last one. For ULAN-Bator, U are going to that LAN(d) probably never, too far.

@ Andrea Laugher, I liked your note on the food items... My mnemonic, to remember soft cheese with reddish covering, not Edam, is: Muenster cheese, American and not aged, from monastery c.f. Ger. mÃ¼nster. I needed that because I confused it with my favorite white wine from Brittany, Muscadet.

∑;)

chefbea

Liked the puzzle. I remember Jotto but had forgotten how it was played. I too liked all the food - olive, spam, meaty. I eat them all with gusto and wash down with a jigger of scotch

Glitch

@acme

I couldn't agree more that LAUGHAT would have ben a much better answer, mosty because that's what I had.

Tooling along, I had LAUGHxx, with A making ALIAS and T making TETRO (a Francis Ford Coppola film) and moved on, never reading the cross clues.

.../Glitch

william e emba

There is one brand of "I don't believe you don't know" criticism that is valid, and not just twittery. When it's smack dab in your professional field, and not sitting in one of the forgettable corners either, some of us kind of expect you to get it. I still haven't gotten over that you somehow had never heard of Leigh Hunt "Abou ben Adhem".

Stan

Since none of the golfers complained about HOLES (as a transitive verb) I'll assume it's okay. In any case, the puzzle improved for me after that corner--the theme was helpful in solving and I liked JIGGER/JOTTO and LAPSE/LAUGHER quite a lot. Good job, Fred.

Interesting stuff about readers' expectations of Rexian omniscience. May have something to do with psychotherapy concepts like 'projection' -- but that's not my area.

Anonymous

Still Obnoxious, after all these years...

This puzzle elicited (at least) two smiles, so I'll give it a mating pair of falcons - PEREGRINES!

Rex, don't let the bastards get you down - you've forgotten more this week than I ever knew. Anyone who can consistently finish a Saturday puzzle in under a half hour has a brain that works in ways I'll never understand. Every time I see The Good Earth blah blah blah as a clue, I curse aloud!

Couple of 18-year-olds: paralegals.

Ulrich

@Elaine: Jotto is not really a children's game--unless you insist that I never grew up, which may well be the case. When I first came to the US, a new American friend and I were addicted to it and played it every day. There is some sophistication involved--both for the secret word you select and the test words you present to your opponent. For example, your secret word should have some common letters b/c otherwise, chances are that for the first test word you receive, your answer will be "no letters in common" which gives the opponent immediately five letters your word does not contain--the game progresses as each player eliminates letters the opponent's word canNOT contain until finally, anagrammatically, the secret word emerges. The trick is to select test words that eliminate one letter at a time, possibly over several rounds--it requires a grasp of aspects of formal logic--I guess this is enough...

...and I can't believe you didn't know any of this!

the redanman

I croed when I finished this puzzle "Even my wife didn't know JOTTO." I can live with medium.

Decent puzzle, PARA- theme Monday-ish cutsey, I suppose, no great shakes, not eww bad..

When my wife doesn't know a game, it's obscure. MILLES BOURNES is the only one I knew that she hasn't to date whenever a game comes up in a CW.

Noam D. Elkies

Fun paradigm for a Monday. This time I remembered 2D:OLAN vs. ORAN (different transliterations of the same name, I think) only by remembering it recently crossed PLICATE, not *PRICATE.

I've played 29D:JOTTO but didn't remember it until I saw some of the crosses. The strategy includes the fact that some letter combinations allow multiple anagrams, forcing repeated guesses even when all the letters are known. (Which is also why it's important tthat the word be written down in advance.) Of course the possibility of nontrivial strategy doesn't mean the game isn't appropriate for children. Would never have thought to spell it Giotto (to say nothing of DÅ¼iotto) — isn't that a Renaissance artist? Proto-Renaissance, it turns out.

@Fikink 7:37 — you meant "and the 44D:HORSEY" etc. Two of them would be a paraponies, um, Two Ponies.

NDE

Rube

Happy Ides of March.

the redanman

ohblesse

Thinking about it, JOTTO is a bit like LINGO on the Game Show Network. Sides and speed is involved in that, I'm sure someone on here watches the Telly ...

Parshutr

And lest we forget...
Diddle rudiments
In percussion, a diddle consists of two consecutive notes played by the same hand (either RR or LL). Compare to the drag, which also consists of two consecutive notes played by the same hand.
The PARADIDDLE is a rudiment consisting of a four-note pattern of the form RLRR or LRLL.[3] When multiple paradiddles are played in succession, the first note always alternates between right and left. There are also several official variations of paradiddle rudiments. Paradiddles are often used to switch hands while playing steady notes. For example, if steadily playing sixteenth notes, with right hand lead (RLRL, etc), then wanting to end on a drum to the left of the current drum, he may stick it as follows: RLRL RLRL RLRL RLRR L with the final left tap on the ending drum.
The paradiddle is useful on a drum kit at the end of a fill to allow the next beat, on the crash cymbal, to be played with an alternate hand.[4]
16. Single Paradiddle Two alternating notes followed by a diddle.
17. Double Paradiddle Four alternating notes followed by a diddle.
18. Triple Paradiddle Six alternating notes followed by a diddle.
19. Paradiddle-Diddle Two alternating taps followed by two alternating diddles.

JC66

Just for the fun of it:

two poets = parakeets

two Minellis = Paralyzers

Dolly Parton = Parasites

Parshutr

@Stan...golfers use hole as a verb both transitive and intransitive. One can hole a putt, or hole out from the fairway, etc.
The expression is mostly used by Brits, who also say "All square" when we Yanks would say "Tied" in match-play contests.
Thanks to the often glacial pace of play, we have too much time to think of 'clever' things to utter on the course.

mac

I love Meatloaf and Alanis Morissette when I'm driving my car.

Jotto and laugher were new, Olan always gives me trouble, too, as does Aslan.

I enjoyed this puzzle, though, probably because it was a little meatier than your average Monday.

I remember playing MasterMind as a kid! Probably also a form of Jotto, just not with that name.

Moonchild

This was fun enough for a Monday.
No demerits from my little corner of the universe.
If the lion's name isn't Elsa I don't know it.
Laugher was new to me.
Side note : Peter Graves (Mr. Phelps from MI) died over the weekend. From his obit I learned that James Arness (Marshall Dillon) was his brother. Didn't know that.
If I can find a willing partner I'd like to try Jotto.
@ Rex, I can't believe..... that people take the time to write you about what you don't/should know.

Elaine

I'm home for lunch, and I see I need to put on galoshes here--it's gittin' deep.

@Ulrich
Well, *I* can't believe I didn't know JOTTO, either. I used a lot of games with my students (Hangman was a favorite, for instance, and works well when teaching word-attack strategies)-- and then played endless rounds of dozens of games with my children.

The beauty of games like JOTTO is that they can be played on a simple level, but they also lend themselves to the increasing vocabulary and sophistication as children grow and develop--and they are also enjoyable for adults. (A lot of card games are like this, too.)

@dk
You'll remember OLAN if you read the book, really. One word of caution--DO NOT watch the dreadful movie based on the book. It's not the worst movie ever made, but it's in the running.

subphtwa-- a lower form of Fatwa?

Clark

[@edith b, @lit.doc -- Thanks for the response yesterday. ‘Paris article?’ would have been transparent. ‘Louvre article?’ seemed wrong. But now I see. I will recalibrate myself. Done.]

Jet City Gambler

This one reminded me of the Allan Sherman song "One Hippopotami" from My Son, The Nut.

One hippopotami cannot get on a bus,
Because one hippopotami is two hippopotamus.
And if you have two goose, that makes one geese.
A pair of mouse is mice. A pair of moose is meese.
A paranoia is a bunch of mental blocks.
And when Ben Casey meets Kildaire, that's called a paradox.
When two minks fall in love, with all their heart and soul,
You'll find the plural of two minks is one mink stole.
Singulars and plurals are so different, bless my soul.
Has it ever occurred to you that the plural of "half" is "whole"?
A bunch of tooth is teeth. A group of foot is feet.
And two canaries make a pair--they call it a parakeet.
A paramecium is not a pair.
A parallelogram is just a crazy square.
Nobody knows just what a paraphernalia is.
And what is half a pair of scissors, but a single sciz?
With someone you adore, if you should find romance,
You'll pant, and pant once more, and that's a pair of pants

Van55

Add me to the list of those who didn't know JOTTO. But since I knew JIGGER well, it wasn't a problem. Most of you can't believe that I also didn't know Narnia's ASLAN. Never got into C.S. Lewis and didn't watch the movie.

I thought the theme was just OK. But since the rest of the puzzle didn't kick my BUTTE, I rather enjoyed it.

Steve J
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve J

I also hadn't heard of Jotto. Like Van55, my knowledge of drinking/cocktail-making paraphernalia (I can't come up with a pun for that one) gave me the J.

As for LAUGHER, I've apparently read too much cliche-ridden sports writing over the years. A laugher is higher on the scale than a blowout (were this the xword-favorite Mohs scale, a simple win would be talc, a blowout quartz and a laugher approaching diamond). In a laugher, it was never a contest. Such as the 2000 season NFC Championship game, where my beloved Vikings played laughably awful in a 41-0 loss.

@Andrea: Cana and Canaan aren't related, other than phonetically (well, there's some geographical similarity as well, but there's a good 1,000 years separating the two).

hazel the friendly tutter

Well, I thought it was a bit of a ho hum, although JOTTO, which I'd never heard of, reminded me of JOT - anybody remember him? - he was a little amorphous Christian blob with feet - and he bounced around doing good deeds on Saturday mornings? At least that's what I remember - it was the 70s.

so for that memory, one tut

How about parafinns? - 10 bucks

joho

@JC66 ... I was thing 2 spaces for projected buildings = PARASITES.

JC66

@joho

Then Dolly Parton could = PARODIES

Van55

@Rex

If it makes you feel any better, there are NO Jack Finney works in the AmazonKindle library.

chefbea

Thought of 2 more....

paramedic = 2 docs
parasol = 2 suns

william e emba

The clue for AREA refers to Î r². This is incorrect. The mathematical constant is written with the minuscule: Ï€r².

Ed

You don't have to know everything, Rex. Who does? Your puzzle analysis is charming and witty. A great way to start the day.

sanfranman59

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Mon 6:49, 6:54, 0.99, 52%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:37, 3:40, 0.98, 50%, Medium

Tinbeni

Parapinch - My 2 bottles.
Jigger not needed.

archaeoprof

Sorry to have been away for a few days. The college where I teach (Wofford) is in the NCAA tournament for the first time ever. It's quite a distration. I haven't done a puzzle since last Monday night!

BTW, I have excavated at CANA.

Clark

@archaeoprof -- Then you should be able to clear up the question about just where Cana is. Is it Kafr Kanna, Israel; Kenet-el-Jalil, Israel; Ain Kana, Israel; or Qana, Lebanon?

archaeoprof

@Clark: good question! But virtually all dirt archaeologists agree it's Khirbet Qana in Israel, on a hilltop above the Beth Netofa valley. The site is confirmed by archaeological remains, ancient and medieval sources. But hardly anybody ever goes there because it's WAY off road.

chefwen

@Stan - Love your new kitty, veeery handsome!

This is the first time, ever, that I remembered OLAN, must have seen it recently.

Meg

Rex: Would there be any point to entering the ESPN challenge if I really didn't like basketball, but wanted a shot at the book? Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Stan

@Parshutr and @chefwen: Thanks!

Julie

FWIW, I appreciate the admission of ignorance since I'm compelled to admit it daily too! The puzzle added some para-enjoyable entertainment to my lunchtime today and since I cracked the code early on, it was a good ego boost for a Monday.

fikink

@NDE, yes proto-Renaissance and author of the masterful Arena Chapel frescoes in Padua. God bless those who still give Giotto a nod.
Also, you are right: "And the HORSEY you road in on!" Wonderful!

Tom

Rex,

I am amazed how much I learn from you

Sfingi

I also did not know JOTTO or LAUGHER. (Laffer curve?)

The LA was better than this one.

Anyway, I'll be entering as name/URL until I figure out how to get my blogster name back since I got hubster a new laptap (coffee meltdown on my part).

@Andrea- LASSOS should not have an "e" because it's from Spanish. Same for Italian.

@Stan - cute cat!

@JC66 - Sonster used to call them the Dolly Partners.

@JetCity - Thanx. Beautiful. Wish I
had that when I was teaching. Is it on a record?

@Elaine - which way would you spell the word used to describe a big-boned girl? horsy, horsier, horsiest?

GIOTTO's marriage at CANA

sanfranman59

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. 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 6:55, 6:55, 1.00, 56%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:30, 3:40, 0.95, 42%, Medium

andrea cana michaels

@sfingi
WOW!!!!!! Now that's synchronicity
(esp since when I played the game with childhood pal Donia Prince we called it Giotto!!!) Thanks for that link!

Jesse

I recommend Time and Again to anyone who has ever lived in Manhattan. It's a sci-fi book, not my genre, but the information about early NYC is priceless.

Also, I wouldn't buy it on my Kindle even if it were available. It's an illustrated book, and Kindles suck at illustrations.

Elaine

Well, it's a bit late for a Monday comment--it's Tuesday morning--but @Sfingi
I take 'horsey' to describe a somewhat long-faced person, usually used to described a female, not necessary "big-boned." Also used to describe folks very involved with horseback riding and horsemanship. I knew some horsey people in Ohio; riding, shows, horses--it was all they talked about. And one lady even told everyone to call her 'Dobbin.' Honest. (Yes, she was horsey in both sense of the word...)

fikink

So a horse walks into a bar and the bartender says, "Why the long face?"

bah-dum-pah!

Anonymous

ASCII - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The American Standard Code for Information Interchange (acronym: ASCII; pronounced /ËˆÃ¦ski/, ASS-kee) is a character-encoding scheme based on the ordering of ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASCII

Sheesh!

Nullifidian

In from syndication-land:

The thing that struck me about this puzzle, aside from PARAMOUNTS, was the amount of crosswordese in the puzzle. ESSO, AMOCO, OLAN, EVAS, AWOL, and partials like -AIRE and ATIT made this look like it was constructed almost completely out of autofill.

That said, it wasn't too hard on me and I got through it, but without much pleasure.

© Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008