Thursday, October 11, 2007

Friday, October 12 - Mike Nothnagel

I hate to give short shrift to a Mike Nothnagel puzzle...he's probably my favorite constructor...but this Friday puzzle took me forever to do. Well, that's not totally accurate. The northwest corner took me forever. The rest of it...well, it was challenging, but it was an enjoyable challenge. The northwest corner...not enjoyable.

Anyway, I'm not starting this post until almost 10:00, and I'm not sure how much more I have in me.

After an initial run-through, I had about six answers filled in. 20A: Dutch export (Edam), 44A: Having good balance (sane), 45A: Target of milk of magnesia (acid), 28D: "A Prairie Home Companion" co-star, 2006 (Streep), and 38D: Big name in ergonomic utensils (Oxo). Nope (47A, clued as Informal demurral)...that's only five. The X gave way to 43A: Little tricksters (pixies), and one thing led to another.

I had two very good (very wrong) long answers. 28A: Swear words? I had So help me, God...isn't that what you say when you're sworn in? That should have been Scout's honor. I was a little closer with 37A: Scheduled (on the docket). I had on the roster...trying to make a sports clue out of it, I guess.

Some of the long answers were so good I'm still shaking my head. How does he do this?

8D: Where many prints may be found (crime scenes). While not a gimme, that one came together fairly easily. I headed right to forensics, rather than to the art museum.

24D: Abscissa (X coordinate). Okay, I'll admit I had to look up abscissa. I had no clue what it meant...I kept thinking about an abscessed tooth. Gross.

Liked the connection between 16A: "Great taste since 1905" sloganeer (RC Cola) and 35D: 16-Across, e.g. (soda pop). We've had the RC clue before, and I'm sorry to say it took too long for me to get it this time.

My absolute favorite answer in the puzzle...the one that drove me absolutely crazy until I had it...was 17A: Rule broken in leisure? (I before E). I knew I had everything right up there, but nothing was going to end in FOREE. Well, it would if you parsed it correctly. Once I got that, the rest of that corner fell into place. I would never have guessed 1D: Totally unemotional type (icicle)...I wanted something that began with UN or IN.

2D: Wheels (nabobs) was another area of confusion for me. I don't normally think of important people when I hear the word wheel. Maybe I least where puzzles are involved.

Have never heard of 44D: Flying predators of cold seas (skuas), but I was able to get it from the crosses.

I always like to learn new colors so was very happy to see 40D: Shade deeper than heliotrope (indigo) of the colors of the rainbow. Here's another Hawaii photo...Somewhere Over the Rainbow. If you haven't heard Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole perform the song, check it out. He's way popular in Hawaii. By the way, if you click to enlarge this photo, you'll actually see a double rainbow.

Other multiword answers (which I love) include 1A: Stuck (in a spot), 8A: "Not possible (can't be), 14A: It might go off during a 30-Across (car alarm), 51A: Tax burden? (IRS audit), 53A: It might go 7-5 (one set), 54A: Thing with a pressure point? (oil gauge), 7D: Kids' hideaway (tree fort), 32D: Fruit found among needles (pine cone), 34D: Battle of Put-in-Bay setting (Lake Erie)...the list just goes on. Any wonder why I love Mike's puzzles?

Repeated cluing (__ dog) appears at 19A (Coney) and 52D (sly). I got the second one right away, but I wanted salty for the first.

41D: Sonnet section (sestet) refers to the final six lines of a Petrarchan sonnet, which brings us to the WOTD, sextet...a group of six persons or things.

It's way past my bedtime, but I didn't give the puzzle short shrift after all. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


coachjdc said...

EGAD! You're not kidding about the NW quad!I started this last night & at first thought I was a goner, but worked out the bottom 2/3's before going to bed. After getting RCCOLA, I was able to fill in the NE quad. Finally, after much trial & error and mentally going through the alphabet....
I've heard of Coney Island dogs, but not just CONEY. And I agree, wheels = NABOBS? grrrr!

cornbread hell said...

1st run-through i had:

27A ess / 23A L bar / 2D nabobs
20A edam / 7D tree fort
31A sydney (wrong for costas!)

then i spent for-f'ing-ever staring at my near blank grid.
1 1/2 HOURS later...i finally got ossa/costas. if i ever do a difficult puzzle in a reasonable amount of time i'm throwin' a party and you're all invited.

AWESOME photo, linda.
(ok, i'm in for another month, i guess.)

Anonymous said...


Howard B said...

Answer that hurt me: CONEY. What's a Coney dog? I'm not far from NY, so if it's a Coney Island reference, I'm surprised I haven't heard this term at some point.
That letter was a typo in my puzzle that took me a long time to fix.

Linda G said...

Cornbread, I'm glad you'll be with us for another month. At some point, you'll just need to spring for the's far less in the long run.

Howard, I think a Coney dog is a hot dog covered with chili...but I grew up in south Florida, so I may be wrong.

I don't even want to mention that Orange did this one in something like six minutes.

cornbread hell said...

that's just disgusting. orange is a sick, sick, sick (hot) woman.

Howard B said...

Had an outside shot at the 6-minute mark today if I hadn't been blidsided by a mysterious Coney dog ;) - I'm lousy at finding typos. That's certainly not a complaint, or else there would be solvers throwing oreos and oleo at me.
Thanks for the info.

bougeotte said...

I am new at this, so my question is how are you getting the puzzle the night before I get my NYTimes paper?
I know I'm a luddite.

Linda G said...

Bougeotte, many of us subscribe to the NYT online, and the puzzle is available at 10:00 NY time (earlier on the weekend). You can subscribe at their website( costs much less than the printed paper.

Anonymous said...

Linda, My hat's off to you. I couldn't have solved this one without peeking at a few answers on your grid! Most notably 17 across. I wasn't even close!

Anonymous said...

Gave up on the puzzle and cheated for most of it. Loved your rainbow pic (reminded me of the double rainbow we saw at Vernal Falls in Yosemite this summer) and the youtube clip Linda. Aloha!

dann walsh said...

howard, linda and others,

a "coney" (NEVER "coney dog") is indeed a sausage concoction referencing its place of origin: coney island. it is not pink (think beef) as a regular dog, it is... well, think "cooked pork" color! they are a tad spicier as well. nathan's, hoffmann's, and heid's are the best. (and ever-so-rarely covered with anything but mustard by a true afficienado.)

cornbread, i, as well, am glad for your decision to hang out a bit longer, and i echo linda's sentiments about ponyin' up for the whole year - it wouldn't be the same 'round here without ya!


dann walsh said...


i forgot something previously: i loved the "izzy" link! thank you


Anonymous said...

Linda G work and not signed in to Blogger.

After I posted, I looked up Iz and found--to my dismay--that he died ten years ago at the age of 38. He is still much beloved in the state of Hawaii.

Dann, thanks for straightening out the mystery about Coneys. Don't know where I got the idea about chili...I guess that's a chili dog ; )

dann walsh said...


i had heard parts of that song before (in a tv commercial?) but the whole thing was/is beautiful!

didn't know of his untimely deoarture, but didn't he way near to 400 lbs?

and, yes, chili dog it is. i'll take 2, please!


dann walsh said...

de-WHAT-ture? departure

dann walsh said...


oh, boy, i just had to know more...

holy crap! mr. kamakawiwo'ole was at least 758 lbs! (source:'ole)

sad, very sad...


dann walsh said...


see the video:

midway down (the fifth one) on the right

sorry, i'm... verklempt...

at the end they are scattering his ahes into the pacific ocean...

sad, beautiful, but VERY sad!


Anonymous said...

Hello all.

I hate to give Linda's blog short shrift, but I've just come to the end of a long day teaching...I'm on my way home for a relaxing evening, hopefully.

Thanks to all of you for your thoughts on the puzzle. I'm sure that many people feel the same way about entries like X-COORDINATE as I do about those relating to opera and rivers: "I'll have to get it from the crossings."

As I mentioned on Amy's blog, all of your kudos about the clue for I BEFORE E belong to Will and his crackerjack team. I had nothing to do with that gem.

Until next time...

cornbread hell said...

linda you are a rock star. so Many comments. and even from constructors, not just us groupies!

as for coney dog, y'all may or may not know my opinionated opinion on a like matter , but i googled it *coney dogs* are indeed some version of a chili dog. from cincinnati or somewhere?

as for the annual rate...i have my reasons.

Anonymous said...

My, oh, my -- what a puzzle! The thing about MN puzzles is I find myself swearing at him and using foul language in frustration : ) and then when I figure something out think "Wow, how cool is that." Today was no exception in that regard.

My first go through only things I had for sure were "Edam" "Poirot" and was pretty confident on "nope." And nope that's not a good sign.

Next run through I suprisingly (not a sports person) figured out 9 and 10 down and then Icarus became obvious.

Had to google some to finish but enjoyed it all the way. Thanks MN.

GREAT rainbow pic Linda!!!

wendy said...

I hear ya Kitt. You know that line by Smokey Robinson in You Really Got a Hold on Me: "oh oh oh you treat me badly I love you madly" ... well, that's how I felt today about Mike Nothnagel, who I believe I'm on record as being inordinately fond of. Call the battered women's shelter!

I couldn't do this puzzle. I had nuthin'! I knew that the Prairie Home Companion actress was either STREEP or Tomlin but having no crosses whatsoever, I couldn't even fill that mofo in with any certainty. Until I googled something, anything, I was staring at a completely blank grid. That COSTAS madness did me in since I knew Sydney was right. AARGH!