Tuesday, 8/7/12

NYT 3:39 
LAT 3:36 (Neville) 
CS 4:31 (Sam) 
Jonesin' untimed 

Mike Buckley’s New York Times crossword

NYT crossword solution, 8 7 12 0807

This is a cute puzzle. It’s a quip theme, which is ordinarily the sort of theme I view with disdain. But it’s more entertaining than those “Social Download” segments Ryan Seacrest does on the Olympics (really? does anyone care how many “likes” various athletes have on their public Facebook pages?). Patient complains, “DOC, I’M ADDICTED TO TWITTER.” Doctor says, “I’M SORRY, I’M NOT FOLLOWING YOU.” (http://instantrimshot.com/) Get it? “I’m not following you” can mean “Huh?” and it can mean “I don’t subscribe to your Twitter updates.”

If you use a Mac and are addicted to Twitter, to Facebook, to obsessively checking your email, to Reddit or Tumblr, there is help. Friend of mine just posted a link to a SelfControl application you can download to lock yourself out of certain things when you’re supposed to be doing something more productive. But hey! I can stop any time I want.

The most awesome part of the fill is the combo of the COVER GIRL and the GQ MODEL. How perfect are they? As it turns out, they’re really not perfect at all. They’ve both been heavily Photoshopped.

I am angry at 48a: [Shoreline structure], QUAY because constructor Mike Nothnagel plunked that down on a triple word score square in Lexulous en route to destroying me in that game. (See also: 56d: SULKS, [Is a sore loser, say].)

I have no strong feelings for or against the rest of the fill. I do like that clue for 25a: NEHI, [Drink named for a certain small stature]. 3.5 stars.

C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Neville’s review

Los Angeles Times crossword solution, 8 7 12

Los Angeles Times crossword solution, 8 7 12

This puzzle comes in two-by-two. Each of the theme entries has a homophone for “two” as the second of three words:

  • 20a. [Powerful boxing combo] – ONE TWO PUNCH
  • 36a. [Caesar’s last question] – ET TU, BRUTE?
  • 43a. [“Could be worse”] – “NOT TOO BAD”
  • 56a. [Not pie-in-the-sky] – DOWN TO EARTH

Would you like to know which entry clue me an unpredictably hard time? 14a. [Woody’s boy], which clues ARLO Guthrie. I had Toy Story on the brain, so I was thinking of Woody the toy cowboy, and the boy in that movie is Andy (two letters in common!). Yeah, this probably didn’t screw anyone else up, but this one got me good.

There’s some nice short stuff in this grid: the BEEB, SOFT G, ZORRO abd SEGUE. That last one’s just fun to say. But there are some staples, too. ENID is the familiar [Oklahoma city] (I remember a recent tricky clue for this city, but now’s not the time to share it). SLOE is a [Wild plum] and an ENT is a [Sinus specialist: Abbr.]. EGAD! I could go on, but I won’t – nothing’s crazy ugly.

Instead, I want to applaud the two long down entries: SET THE TONE and SUGAR, SUGAR. I like both of these – we have a well-clued in the language phrase in one corner. I got it off of two letters – that says perfect Tuesday cluing to me! In the other corner it’s a classic but well-known song. That’s how you fill a grid – use all 78 words if you have to.

Updated Tuesday morning:

Donna S. Levin’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “This Puzzle is So Mickey Mouse!” – Sam Donaldson’s review

CS solution, August 7

According to 66-Across, LAND is the [Word that, when appended to the ends of 20-, 28-, 45-, and 53-Across, identifies four Magic Kingdom zones]:

  • 20-Across: DOUBLE FANTASY is the [Lennon/Ono album subtitled “A Heart Play”]. Fantasyland is the Disney zone featuring the “It’s a Small World” ride. Some fantasy that is.
  • 28-Across: THE LAST FRONTIER is [Alaska’s nickname], and Frontierland is where you’ll find two of the coolest rides in all the Magic Kingdom–the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain.
  • 45-Across: ACTION-ADVENTURE is the [“Raiders of the Lost Ark” movie genre], and Adventureland is home to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Too bad the clue didn’t use “Pirates of the Caribbean” instead of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” even though the latter is clearly the better movie.
  • 53-Across: UNTIL TOMORROW are the [Parting words on Tuesday to one you’ll see on Wednesday, maybe]. (Cute that this is the clue for a Tuesday puzzle.)  Disney’s Tomorrowland is my favorite for all kinds of fun rides, but the zone begins and ends with Space Mountain.

There’s some terrific fill in this grid, like YOU SWEAR?, TV TRAY, USE FORCE, SAM NUNN, and CALL IT. We have to accept entries like AROO, ICONO, ITE, and ENER to get that goodness, but personally I’m happy to pay that price. So kudos to the constructor on a great grid with some lively theme entries. I should also mention that the theme is very tight–there are no other “lands” in the Magic Kingdom (there are other zones, yes, but only these four end with “land”) and the theme entries all feel lively to me. So I think the execution of this theme was first-rate too.

So that raises the question of “Whose puzzle is it anyway?,” which in turn brings us to today’s guesses in Name Than Constructor Month. I’ve nailed the last two constructors (to be more precise, perverts, I guessed their identities correctly on the first try), and I’d like to keep the streak going if I can.

The whole time I solved this puzzle, I kept thinking that if Fiend correspondent Jeffrey ever published a puzzle, this would be the theme. He and his wife are big-time Disney fans, so I’m sure this was right up his alley (would that be Main Street?). But Jeffrey’s not a member of the CS syndicate, so he’s out. (By the way, if you want to see all 15 constructors in the CS syndicate, check out the bios here.)

For my guesses today, I first eliminated those whose byline has appeared recently. Of those left, I chose constructors who currently live close to one of the Magic Kingdom parks (hey, why not). So my guesses are:

1. Lynn Lempel.   2. Donna Levin.   3. Randy Hartman.

Yay! Two points for me! Name That Constructor Stats After 7 Puzzles: 2 correct first choices (3 points each), 2 correct second choices (2 points each), no correct third choices (1 point each); 10 points total so far; score to beat = 15.5 points.

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “What’s That Sound?”

Jonesin' crossword solution, 8 7 12 "What's That Sound?"

Cute theme: Four different things that sound like {P, long E, T, schwa} are suggested by the theme answers, which are clued nonspecifically. [HINT FOR SOUNDALIKE #1] is POCKET BREAD, or pita. [HINT FOR SOUNDALIKE #2] is ANIMAL RIGHTS, suggesting PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals But We’re Totally Cool With Exploiting Women. [HINT FOR SOUNDALIKE #3] is FAMILY GUY DAD and I think this means Peter pronounced with a Rhode Island accent. [HINT FOR SOUNDALIKE #4] is HUNGER GAMES, and that’s the young man named Peeta. Yes, I know they don’t sound exactly alike for many of us, but they’re close enough.

The first and last Across answers sound it out for us: [Princess’s problem] is a PEA between the mattresses and TUH is [With 1-across, phonetic representation of the four soundalikes]. This may well be the only time TUH has ever appeared in a crossword puzzle. (I bet it’s in plenty of word searches, though.)

Five faves:

  • 69a. [Sitcom that featured Andy Kaufman], TAXI. Are you too young for this reference? I loved that show.
  • 7d. [CNN host Fareed] ZAKARIA is famous enough for crosswords, right? I liked him a lot when he wrote for Newsweek but it’s been a while since I followed him.
  • 11d. [Many a Three Stooges melee], PIE FIGHT. Make mine Key lime, please.
  • 37d. [Tablets that don’t dissolve in water], IPADS. So don’t flush your iPad down the toilet. It won’t biodegrade.
  • 47d. [Outdated verb used with phones], DIAL. Does anyone not call it “dialing a number”?

Never heard of 13d: [2000s Bengals running back Dorsey], DEDE. If I were making this puzzle, I’d have made POPPER cross the archaic word REDE. Who’s with me? Some archaic words are awesome. It’s the ones I don’t know that make terrible fill, of course.

3.5 stars. I do like the fresh approach the theme takes.

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43 Responses to Tuesday, 8/7/12

  1. Huda says:

    I put, GOD instead of DOC, which really messed up the NW… I don’t love quote puzzles. Actually, when I see them my impulse is to run in the opposite direction. This is updated, so it helps, but still not my favorite format.

    Definitely agree that the COVER GIRL and GQ MODEL are the lovely decorative elements of this puzzle. They need the HOTTIE from yesterday and it’s a party of the beautiful people. And the NEHI cue is hilarious.

    It’s a Tuesday– the puz with the existential crisis. Doing ok today…

  2. The NYT felt more like a Wednesday than a Tuesday. I first tried MOM instead of DOC (not remembering GORDO(N) COOPER didn’t help), the top-left was the last piece of the puzzle to fall into place.

  3. pannonica says:

    Neville, in addition to having Toy Story on the brain, you understandably also had “two” on the brain; ANDY and ARLO have just one letter in common. I say this with a measure of empathy, since Noam D. Elkies just pointed out that I added an extra one to CALORIE in my write-up of the NYT yesterday.

    Today’s NYT felt more like a late-afternoon Tuesday than an early-morning one. But not like a 10pm Monday. I think.

  4. Dook says:

    Why Doc? There is nothing medical about the complaint? I had God, Now. I drew a blank on piece and Gordo, but then woke up and saw it. Doc was a stretch and just didn’t make much sense to me.

  5. Howard B says:

    Didn’t know GORDO or LYDIA, Couldn’t at all parse DOC, and I didn’t at all understand the NEHI clue until reading the clue and answer pair carefully after completion – I misread ‘stature’ as ‘statue’! Felt a bit jostled around by the two unknown to me answers, and some of the bizarro (but interesting!) early-week cluing, though.
    So the difficulty was slightly frustrating, but at the same time made it an interesting change of pace puzzle, challenging for its day. Some great fill in there as well, and a fresher quip than expected.

  6. pannonica says:

    Not seeing the problem with DOC. Addiction is a medical condition, whether physical or psychological, the “higher power” of Alcoholics Anonymous (the modern foundational addiction program) notwithstanding.

  7. Jeffrey says:

    @Sam – Give yourself bonus points. I was, in fact, working on this exact theme, but trying to include Main Street and Liberty Square as well somehow.

    Donna did a great job.

    Second time in the last 3 weeks that I’ve been scooped. Is someone spying on me?

  8. RK says:

    Count me in with those that felt the NYT puzzle was more difficult than an average Tuesday. I liked handmix, loved Nehi, the NW corner was last to finish. I enjoy some quotation puzzles and this one was a pretty good one. There should be more creativity in puzzle making, though I’m sure it’s not so easy to do. Remember that upside-down cake puzzle? That was exceptional.

  9. Daniel Myers says:

    pannonica and I are on the same page here. DOC seemed to me the most natural start to the complaint. In any event, I quite liked and enjoyed the puzzle; perhaps because I was in a relatively good mood already. Yesterday, the opposite was the case, and I couldn’t tell you whether the puzzle was good or bad, only that I finished it quickly. This is why I don’t give star ratings. My moods affect my judgement overmuch.

  10. Amy Reynaldo says:

    The constructor and Will tried their best to avoid any GORDO/DOC difficulties by putting the word “patient” into the clue. Why would a patient’s complaint be addressed to GOD or MOM?

  11. Gareth says:

    Second LAT times which cleverly has the theme in the middle; missed it completely until I read Neville’s blogpost…

  12. Matthew G. says:


    The word “patient” is _not_ in the clue. You put it in your synopsis, but the clue just reads {With 38-across, a complaint}.

    I had no trouble getting DOC since I already had PIECE at that point, but still. I can see someone trying GOD instead.

  13. Amy Reynaldo says:

    @Matthew: Hah! Well, clearly the word should have been in the clue, because it doesn’t make sense otherwise.

  14. pannonica says:

    “I can see someone trying GOD instead.” –Matthew G.

    Ha, as if GOD would reply. Although, it adds oomph to the bit about “not following.”

  15. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Wouldn’t an omniscient god follow everyone on Twitter?

  16. Huda says:

    I had GOD as in “Oh Darn!”. It’s how I’d think to myself. I get intermittently addicted to various on-line games. I start by thinking, hey this is cool, and one day I wake up and think: oh God, I’ve gotten addicted to this! Time to go cold turkey…

    Actually, I’m just now taking a break from writing a grant proposal about brain biology of temperament and the propensity to addiction. I will spare you. But, Pannonica, I’m totally with you about the illness framework.

  17. pannonica says:

    Yes, Amy. If…

  18. Daniel Myers says:


    How very interesting, the subject of your grant proposal, I mean. I agree with you and pannonica about the “illness framework”, if I understand what is meant by it aright. But, there’s a question I’ve been meaning to ask someone who is at all knowledgeable in this area for quite some time. I think we’ve all met persons who attend AA, or one of its many spin-off 12-step programs. There’s even a 12 step program for those addicted to going to 12 step programs, I kid you not! They all come across as group-think rubbish to me, and yet they seem ubiquitous and unavoidable if one is planning to get treatment for any sort of addiction. I wouldn’t at all be surprised to find one already set up for Tweeters.

    So, the question I’ve been meaning to ask: How does a professional or academic working on the “illness framework” or “disease model” or whatever one calls it incorporate into their research/work this ubiquitous, sometimes court-ordered, current treatment that does not seem to me like a medical treatment at all? Or. do they just ignore it?

    Any treatment program, however one tries to rationalise it, with “God as you understand him” inherent in it, implies an understanding of God, which many of us don’t have, save as a delusion, and hardly seems applicable to medical or academic rigour.

  19. Pete says:

    Pannonica – The “Higher Power” in AA is just a short-cut, albeit a necessary one for many, to stating that You’re Not God you $#@hole – you need help, i.e. humility. Most of AA’s literature was written by Bill W, a pathological narcissist, who could only concieve of humility in the framework of being lesser than God.

    AA works just fine for those who can find humility short of being lesser than the almighty.

  20. Pete says:

    Daniel – You’re incorrectly conflating illness with treatment. If a diabetic is able to manage their disease with diet and exercise, does that make diabetes not an illness? Addiction is the same, the cumulative effects of drug usage causes permanent changes in brain chemistry, there becomes a biological cause for continued abuse. The treatment is non-medical. The fact that the treatment is non-medical doesn’t obviate the biological nature of the disease.

    As I said before, the whole god/higher power thing is a residue of Bill W, how he understood his recovery. People in AA swear that god cured them in about the same portion of people who swear god cured them of cancer. Whatever strength their faith gave them to continue treatment probably helped – it helped them continue treatment, it didn’t cure the underlying malady.

  21. Daniel Myers says:

    Pete – It rather seems to me that you’re the one making a dog’s breakfast of things. No health professional would argue that a good diet and exercise are good for your physical health – Full stop, regardless of whether you have Type II diabetes or not. Type I diabetes, which I’ve had since an adolescent is rather more straightforward. You either take shots of insulin several times a day, or you die. I’ve known several former addicts, especially in England, who quit without becoming, as they call them, “black belts in the blue book” – members of the AA/NA God squad.

    More to the point, if a disease has a physical/neurochemical etiology, then, it seems to me, a physical/neurochemical treatment, which we don’t have in the realm of addiction at present, should be pursued. The only “treatment” currently available to many, is AA, NA which has never, to my knowledge, been shown to be statistically effective. So, your statement about “having faith to continue treatment”, amounts, in the case of addiction, to the tautological “having faith to continue having faith”.

    As I said, rubbish, tosh etc.

  22. Huda says:

    Huda Says:

    Sorry, submitted this by mistake on Monday’s discussion and can’t seem to remove it. And Amy, I know this is long, sorry…

    In a nutshell, one of the coolest things about the brain is that it’s in the business of constant remodeling, albeit within limits. Every time we learn something, we are doing a bit of remodeling. Which means that experience, events in our real life, thoughts and feelings (positive or negative) all have a biological impact on brain structure and function. Drugs of course, such as cocaine and alcohol, but also antidepressants, affect brain structure and function. So, in mild cases of psychiatric or addictive problems, e.g. minor depression, it’s possible to use behavioral strategies to reverse an incipient illness. There does come a point where the biological changes are so profound that they are hard to reverse behaviorally, and drug treatment, or a combination of drugs and altered behavior are required to contain the problem.

    I think an additional component in addiction is understanding the triggers of relapse. We have studied the biology of that particular issue, and it’s evident that for some people these triggers are incredibly powerful. It’s like you could not see a Starbucks sign without having an irresistible urge for a latte. So, people need to find tricks to fight the constant reminders. Addiction is a series of habits of mind, and these habits need to be reprogrammed, by whatever means. So, I have a very integrative view of behavioral and biological strategies, because I know that the brain will take both types of information and work with it. Of course people tend to polarize or project all kinds of philosophies onto all of that. It’s because a very biological take seems rather stark to them, although I personally believe it’s most humane, because it’s completely non-judgemental.

  23. Amy Reynaldo says:

    @Huda, I fixed your typos for you since the user edit function isn’t working at the moment.

    Bearing in mind that addiction science and treatment really are beyond the scope of a crossword blog, I will say that the limited availability of non-12 Steps addiction treatment programs was likely a factor in my atheist/agnostic dad’s continued alcoholism. Where can you turn if you recognize that you’re powerless over alcohol but the “higher power” thing is completely meaningless to you? (He did finally stop drinking, but died in the hospital where he was just beginning his sobriety. Had he lived, I have no idea how he would have managed to stay sober without the structure of AA, which was incompatible with his belief system.)

  24. Pete says:

    Daniel – Sorry to have wasted your time with my scientific background in addiction, as well as my personal experience in getting sober by understanding wisdom lying beneath the hyperbole in AA. You clearly weren’t interested.

  25. Daniel Myers says:

    Huda and Amy,

    Thank you both for your, by turns, both enlightening and harrowing accounts of your experiences with addiction. I think Huda’s last sentence should be memorised by those seeking to treat patients like Amy’s father:

    “It’s because a very biological take seems rather stark to them, although I personally believe it’s most humane, because it’s completely non-judgemental.”


    Apology accepted.

    Back to regularly scheduled what-nots.

  26. Pete says:

    Amy – My sympathies about your dad. What I despairingly call the “god shit” in AA has kept more alcoholics out of treatment than anything other than their underlying addiction. The sad point, one I was trying to make, is that it is irrelevant to the program of AA. It took this aethist a long time to work around the “god shit” in the program and understand that it was just a substitue for accepting support, having the humility to change my thinking and behavior, and recognizing that I didn’t have the answers to the universe I thought I had. It’s the one thing I keep bringing up in meetings, hoping the next aethist through the door doesn’t have to go through the same.

  27. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Thanks, Pete. There is a program called Rational Recovery, but I think it isn’t free (there are books and videos for sale) and it certainly isn’t widely known. I see from the website that there are now judges who will accept RR in lieu of requiring people to go to AA after getting a DUI.

  28. Papa John says:

    Pete wrote: “Whatever strength their faith gave them to continue treatment probably helped…”

    The operative word is “probably”. Who knows? AA refuses to release any stats, results or findings. Like Romney and his undeclared tax returns, ya gotta ask why.

    I’d like to follow up on Dan’s “delusion” of god, but I’m probably already in enough trouble for my political reference. I don’t fully understand why our culture is so adverse to public discussions of politics or religion or sex or any of a slew of other societal “breaches”.

    BTW: todays’ puzzle — nice, just right. I think Shortz is getting steamed because Amy is such a tough grader. It’s her blog and her opinion, which is her domain and her prerogative to voice. All hail the Internet!

  29. Papa John says:

    Oops! I should have refreshed the page before posting my last message. It seems, in some circles, not everything I listed is taboo for discussion. Terrific!

    I seem to be among kindred folks but I don’t call myself an atheist. Rather, I prefer the term “secular humanist”, because that doesn’t define me with a negative label; that is, by something I don’t hold evident.

  30. Daniel Myers says:

    Papa John,

    Just to clarify my position: Technically (i.e., sitting around a seminar table discussing abstruse metaphysics and philosophy), I’m an agnostic, as neither the existence or non-existence of a God or gods can be logically proven or disproven. But, as there is such an infinitesimal probability that there exists such an omniscient, omnipotent entity – which is, generally, what the layperson in America means by “God” – amongst my neighbours and friends, I simply call myself an atheist.

    I like the term George Eliot (writer Mary Ann Evans of Middlemarch fame) used to describe herself, “nullifidian” the best. But that word would wrinkle even more eyebrows!

  31. Huda says:

    Amy, Peter, this really strikes very close to home for many people– I had a sister in law who died of substance abuse and alcoholism. Peter, I appreciate your struggles and approach to meeting challenges with whatever means you have available.

    And I agree Amy, this is not the right place. But this discussion has strengthened my resolve for finding or creating a good venue to offer whatever help I can, based on what research has taught us. So, thank you for that.

    And for fixing my typos!

  32. Papa John says:

    As a secular humanist, I hold a world view without reference to religion or the existence of a supreme being. I can see how using the term agnostic in an academic/philosophoid setting would be entirely appropriate, howver. But, hey, if it’s unknowable, why bother?

    Amy, I don’t believe any subject is “beyond the scope of [this] blog”. However, it is your house and, as guests, we should be bound by your customs.

  33. Me, I’m a for “all intents and purposes” kind of guy. I mean, I know the Earth is round, but for all intents and purposes it’s flat. In my day to day living, the fact that the Earth is round means nothing to me, it’s flat where ever I go. So, for all intents and purposes, the Earth is flat.

    Just because we’re all randomly telling one another what we are.

  34. Daniel Myers says:

    This conversation and Haruki’s comment brought to mind one of Emily Dickinson’s enigmatic (to the point of opacity) poems, and it’s simply beyond my powers to resist sharing a spot of poetry:

    I reason, Earth is short –
    And Anguish – absolute –
    And many hurt,
    But, what of that?

    I reason, we could die –
    The best Vitality
    Cannot excel Decay,
    But, what of that?

    I reason, that in Heaven –
    Somehow, it will be even –
    Some new equation, given –
    But, what of that?

  35. James Schooler says:

    I liked the Jonesin’ today. I know, complete orthogonal.

  36. pannonica says:

    Perhaps contrary to the opinions of some, I don’t see anything wrong with having expansive, intelligent discussions here, so long as it doesn’t become too abstruse or polemical. Also, I’m the one who injected the AA stream today.

    As for “Haruki Murakami’s” comment, I hope it’s tongue-in-cheek. Such unvarnished and focussed solipsism is a dead-end, as is—at the other extreme—the argument for an omniscient being outside the realm of physics, the universe, et cetera.

  37. Jeffrey says:

    It’s a Flat World After All?

    I just wish we were having an expansive, intelligent discussion on the lands of the Magic Kingdom.

  38. ArtLvr says:

    My father, if anyone asked, was a Stoic — which was rather like the Hippocratic oath “First, do no harm.” The second part was “Do the greatest good you can.” The third part was “Teach by example, live up to your responsibilities, and encourage the best in others.” The fourth was “Accept what cannot be changed.” And the rest was “Never complain, never brag, and never disclose the confidences of others.” He was a highly respected lawyer, but also was a caring parent and had a gentle sense of humor… Too bad, in his view, that organized religions had contributed so much devastation throughout history!

  39. I’m most impressed with the trenchant comments shared by many today on some difficult subjects. Substantive discussions about theological matters and personal experiences of addiction require a lot of mutual trust and careful understanding, and such qualities are evident here. Thanks for sharing, everyone…this Christian appreciated the opportunity to read and reflect.

    I’m also up for some Disney discussion, Jeffrey, especially in regard to the unusual creation and governance of Florida’s Reedy Creek Improvement District…a fascinating political story.

  40. Jeffrey says:

    @Brent: Project Future by Chad Emerson is an excellent book on the creation of the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

  41. Jared says:

    But Haruki, how about for all intensive purposes?

  42. Amy Reynaldo says:

    @Jared, I saw a new version the other day: “for all intense and purposes.”

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