10.30.2009

FRIDAY, Oct. 30, 2009 — Dan Naddor



THEME: West Love* — Qu- to W- sound changes at the beginnings of familiar phrases; wacky phrases + wacky "?" clues = everyone's a quinner!


*["West Love" because the puzzle shows love for the "W," which can stand for "West" ... and 'cause I love The Roots]



I believe my description of the Dan Naddor formula, expressed in my last write-up of a Dan Naddor puzzle, applies perfectly again today. Let's see if I can dig it up. Here we go. Allow me to quote myself (from two weeks ago):


Dan Naddor is prolific, and his stuff is pretty solid, but I feel like his grids are becoming very predictable. I knew who the constructor of this was without ever looking at the credit. Lots of theme answers united by letter/sound change. Wackiness abounds. True, lots of folks do that, but I have this feeling he has a master list of 100s of these types of gimmicks that he's just working his way through, cranking them out in high volume (no one appears in LAT more). There's nothing wrong with the grids, which are almost always well constructed. But ... seems like his work should be getting more imaginative and artful, instead of predictable and workmanlike.

Today, just take the hard "K" sound off the beginning of "Qu-" words. Now you've got "W-" words. Resulting phrases are clever enough, but not brilliant. Not astonishing. Not "wow." Would like some "wow." Sadly, today, the non-theme fill isn't as good as I'm used to with DN's puzzles. HELL WEEK is fabulous (
3D: College hazing period), and the NE and SW corners are pretty good too, but the rest is pretty blah. An IMAM in an IROC on the ITEN. Unfortunate plural abbrevs. like RNAS and IRAS, and then just the general yuck of CNS, AAAS, SSS, A JOB, CAN OF, etc. As partial phrases go, I kind of like I BEFORE E. But overall, pretty bland.


Crosswordese 101: TIARAS (15A: Headgear on some runways) — so common is TIARA that I can't believe we haven't covered it yet (assuming the CW101 database is up-to-date ... we make PG deal with that). Royalty and beauty weans tend to be the ones wearing TIARAS in puzzles, but don't forget the pope likes a good TIARA too. TIARA is what he calls that bejeweled crown-like thingie he wears from time to time on top of his head. The one with a cross at the tippy top.

What else? (the "T" edition)

  • 42A: As you like it (TO TASTE) — like the catchy clue. When too many answers start with prepositions, I start to notice, and not in a good way. TO TASTE is joined today by ON STRIKE and AT NINE. Why this piling up of prepositional phrases should bug me, I don't know. I'm not saying it's rational.
  • 42D: Aptly named mod model (TWIGGY) — because she looked like a twig. Literally. People would often pick her up and start to snap her in half, at which point she would cry out, "Hey, I'm a human being, not a twig," to which the would-be snapper would reply, "Well, you could have fooled me."
  • 49D: Golden Horde member (TATAR) — the "Golden Horde" sounds like a college team name, like 'Bama's CRIMSON TIDE.
  • 38D: 19th Greek letter (TAU) — this was in NYT today as [Cross figure].
  • 58D: Actress Carrere (TIA) — she starred in an '80s movie called "Zombie Nightmare" with Adam West, but if you know her at all, you probably know her from "Wayne's World"


  • 44D: Raptor's grabbers (TALONS) — The danger of winging your lectures on Sir Thomas Wyatt is that occasionally you can be heard to utter things like "pigeons don't have feet ... they have those grabby things ... TALONS." Don't ask. It was actually a pretty good class.
See you Monday,

RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

75 comments:

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Not one of Dan’s better puzzles.
You're absolutely right, Rex, he has become too predictable with his letter swap methodology.
For Friday, it was too easy for me and not particularly fun either.
Also it had a lot of cheap fill…eg. ARE, NAE, ESS (all in a row, no less).
I started to see the words rhyming with QU words, but failed to recognize what the name of this theme was. Once I got WILTINGBEES, the others fell in place.
I’ll bet everyone started out with ROLO for (1a).
Had NINEAM instead of ATNINE for (5d)
Had STRIKING for Picketing instead of ONSTRIKE (37d).
OMG!…OYSTER = Pearl harbored?
And who today uses PEACHY for “Great!” ?
Clever: YRS = Sentence units.
Unclever: MEATS = Tongue and liver.
Only learned one new word today: CROESUS (wealthy Lydian king).
I almost said “I’ve seen enough”, when there it appeared in (57d) “IVE seen enough”.
Blahhhh !

Dan Naddor said...

Rex, you and your sycophant have already chimed in with your opinions. Here's mine.

You don't like wordplay? Talk to the editor, but don't accuse me of assembly-lining these puzzles. I create many, many creative non-wordplay themes that don't get accepted. Over half of my submissions are rejected. Rich happens to like letter switching-adding-dropping schemes. And like I told you two weeks ago, if I may quote myself, "there is no list". I spend hours and hours to be a fine craftsman, not an assembly line manufacturer.

And speaking of craft. Fillwise today, you got HELLWEEK, ONSTRIKE, IBEFOREE, BLESSED, MAJESTY, TWIGGY, OYSTER, PEACHY, CROESUS, TOTASTE. 17 non-theme entries of 6letters or more. That's blah fill??? Are you kidding me?

I will happily take criticism if it's valid and supported. But potshots from a pompous blogger like you -- with no construction experience at all, from what I gather -- are just plain rude.

tinbeni said...

After the first four days this week, seeing an improvement to "day appropriate" puzzles (compared to a month ago) today's offering made me think it was Monday again.

Picked up on the theme almost immediately. They fell into place. Then the plurals of the common stuff, IRAs, AAAs, RNAs made me cringe ... or should I just say NAE !!!

Didn't know Lydian King Croesus (got it from the crosses) who as it turns out was the first to mint Gold & Silver coins so I learned one thing.

Hellweek & HoHo's was cute but All-in-All a very weak RN effort DBA a FRIDAY PUZZLE.

Great write-up ... loved the Mystery Theatre 3000 Zombie clip.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

I beg your pardon, Mister Naddor, I formulated my opinion of your puzzle formulations before I ever saw Rex Parker's comments. I am not a "sycophant"!!!!
Talk about someone being rude!
Also you need to learn to take constructive criticism without getting bitter.

Rex Parker said...

I did not read that comment past "sycophant."

Please post again when you've mastered the art of "disagreeing with people on an internet forum w/o calling them names."

rp

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Five vitriolic name-calling incidences this week...OUCH!!!
Must have something to do with Halloween Week. There's one more day of this wicked week...the great pumpkin is getting close to going poof!

Otis said...

Hahahaha Dan Naddor is a crybaby. Dude, WHO CARES if somebody has an opinion that disagrees with your puzzle? Your puzzles continuously get accepted, you continuously get paid, you continuously get to do what you enjoy doing. You're going to get thrown off the loop by one person who says words about you on the INTERNET, of all places? Get a life.

Anonymous said...

I will agree with Dan in the sense that RP often takes potshots at constructors that would be better directed at editors. As far as construction experience goes, perhaps Dan missed RPs efforts this past April Fools Day on BEQs blog.

*David* said...

To DN:

I typically disagree with Mr. Sharp but I rarely feel the need to deign with a reply. His style is not for everyone and is purposeful in trying to get a raise from people which leaves his sometimes constructive criticisms wanting. You are correct that there are many syncophants that mindlessly agree with the blogger. It is probably the introvert in them that doesn't allow for a fresh voice to speak.

The problem is breaking out a true criticism from this situation. I would not say your puzzles are predictable but I would say that the puzzles that are being picked by Mr. Norris are having a similar feel to them. This may be less the constructor's fault and more with the editor. The fact is the LAT is an easy puzzle overall and with that there are
limitations/challenges on the wordplay. I have yet to see a puzzle that has impressed me since the dumbing down of the LAT has occurred. This puzzle goes along with this general theme.

jazz said...

Note to Dan--

I think that @JNH and @RP (and the rest of us) just love our crosswords, love to get together and discuss, and share ideas.

IMHO, the only reason we're critical of a puzzle (or puzzle creator) is when it doesn't live up to our (admittedly preconceived and/or unreasonably high) hopes for the day.

You may publish more puzzles in the LAT than any other author, and I'm sure that we all appreciate you skill. I'm just putting it into writing.

OTOH, some days' puzzles seem inspired and some seem more, um, tired than other days. I think we're generous with praise when the day's work hits us just right, and maybe just as generous with criticism when for one reason or another the puzzle just doesn't seem as clever.

Maybe like, say, Bret Favre. The guy's a shoo-in Hall of Famer, but it doesn't keep fans from carping on his occasional screwups even though (1) they couldn't do nearly as well, and (2) the poor perfoamances are few and far between.

Keep up the good puzzle-crafting, Dan, and keep up the honest words, @RP and @JNH.

And @Otis, be nice.

Van55 said...

Wow! Who thought there would erupt a flame war on a crossword blog? I'm astonished.

I actually thought this puzzle was pretty good, overall.

But the constructor's reaction to Rex's comments is just over the top and reflects a kind of immature oversensitivity. I often disagree with RP's opinions, and even referred to him as "cranky" once before. Attacking him as a no-nothing blogger is beyond the pale, in my opinion.

shrub5 said...

If I may uncomfortably tiptoe in here in the midst of this altercation to talk about the puzzle...

I liked the puzzle quite a lot. Thought each of the theme answers was funny. The WITTSMOKING was especially clever -- in the clue "Skater Katarina enjoying a Camel," camel refers to a ice skating spin as well as a cigarette brand.

The puzzle was nicely challenging. I plunked down EAST for the 36d Santa Monica-to-Jacksonville rte. mistakenly thinking of direction and being glad it was not a compass point abbreviation like ENE or SSW which I don't much like. Eventually got onto the ITEN.

My favorite clue, maybe of all time, is Pearl harborer (OYSTER).

Anonymous said...

On a different tack has "Atenbeni" never heard the phrase "rich as Croesus?" I liked the puzzle

bunny said...

Too much testosterone goin' on here.

Carol said...

@shrub5 - I agree with you about quietly stepping in. I liked the puzzle and grinned at the answers -made the morning a smiley one until reading the blog.

It's a PUZZLE! I, like most people,do them for entertainment. This was more challenging than the last few Fridays and had some fun fill. Loved IBEFOREE, CROESUS and OYSTER.

Please quiet the storm on the blog. It's a little unsettling to those of us who are enjoying our puzzles and coffee in the morning and looking for some educational help on the clues we don't understand.

Thanks.

Crockett1947 said...

@jnh Nope, I got HOHO right out of the box. Bet lost.

Have a great Friday, everyone.

Charles Bogle said...

@jazz: very nicely said. You are someone I wish I knew

Like @shrub5 and @carol, I'm just reporting my efforts, high and low-lights. This was far and away the most difficult puzzle of the week for me. Personally, I did not get the theme until Rex explained it. So I have a looong way to go...

Learned a lot of new things today...KEL, TOTASTE in the clue context, TATAR/Golden Horde. My college didn't have a Greek system, so HELLWEEK was, well, Greek to me...ditto for TAU. Can't recall HOHOs..putting ROLO set me way back..Biggest dislike: ARE (Exist). Liked: ARCANE, MAJESTY, CABAL, CADRES and best of all YRS (Sentence units; kept thinking of "clauses" and the like)

RP thanks for the crosswordese on TIARAS..since I thought the "Drones" and Wright Bros. clues suggested an aeronautical theme, I could only think of helmets and the like for "runway" headgear! boy was I out in the desert

tinbeni said...

@Carol & @shrub5
I too liked the puzzle, the Wittsmoking and Wyattontheset etal theme practically jumped into my lap while I was solving.

I thought the constructor did a great job with these and other clues leading to such fill as 'I Before E', 'To Taste', 'Twiggy' and 'Hell Week'.

And though I had heard the term before "Rich as Croesus" I just did not immediately associate him with the Ancient Region of Turkey known as Lydia.

I do these puzzles in pen, watching the morning news having a cup of coffee.

Not timing myself as if I am in some competition.

Just trying to get the "old grey matter" in gear for the day.

Crossword Puzzles are just for FUN, enjoyment and maybe a little challenge to recall some of the arcane trivia encountered over a life.

For whatever reason, this puzzle (for me) was a breeze. Cute but easy.

But after reading the above comments I just want to say:

"Lighten-Up, its just a puzzle"

GLowe said...

As this board's official sychophant, I resent someone thrusting the tag on @JNH.

Now where we ? [scrolling up] oh yah... I agree with [wait- cant.agree.with.everyone. Overloadoveroadload.DangerWillRobinson. Compute exact value of 'pi'. Memory banks failing, must shower sparks from keyboard [poof].

GLowe said...

PS @Dan- *Half* your puzzles get accepted? Holy crap, I KNEW that Rich Norris guy was out to get me ...

Sfingi said...

@John - started with Rolo for HOHO, but it's a cylinder, not a tube, nicht wahr? As a SeƱora Citezeness, I'm heard to say "Peachy Keen," and would say "Rich as Croesus," if I were sure how to pronounce it. I don't use Midas, since he had that thing where people turned to gold.

I also started with Altan instead of TATAR, Oslo instead of RIGA. Did not know TIA, TAU (as #19), EGAN, or IROC until crosses. The only muscle car I know was by accident - my first car- '63 Dodge Polera 500 - red on white - 8 mph - which would go for 37K now. I'll wait.

I was proud and giggly when I figured the theme right off - until I read Rex on Nador. I would like to say "I like what Rick likes," or "I like what Rex likes," but the last time I heard that someone said, "I like what (Mike) likes," he got a vibrator up his a--. This may or may not have raised his testosterone, or made him a psychofant (psycho elephant?) but it made him sore in more than one way. No one has exactly the same taste. De Gustibus...

So Dan, what do you do with your rejected puzzles? Will they be in a book we'all can buy? Do they belong to you? Keep on Truckin.'

C said...

I like word-play x-word puzzles, heh, actually, I haven't met a x-word that I don't like, so I tend to enjoy Mr. Naddor's puzzles.

Fill doesn't bother me very often, only in extreme cases like in a puzzle I recently did that used the famous town of Truro as fill.

I believe @*david* has summarized quite well the lay of the land for LAT x-word puzzles.

Burber10 said...

Hardest puzzle of the week for me - but the blog thread a bit more enjoyable than the puzzle, I'd say.

Anonymous said...

Can we get back to a discussion of the Designated Hitter's in the American League ... leading to yesterdays wonderful and extended word play on DHS, what is a DH? etc. and that led to Otho-v-Otto etal nausea.

Really great Crossword Blog stuff.

FYI - The New York Yankee DH Matsui hit a Home Run in the sixth inning last night ... and of course HE did not play in the field.

GLowe said...

@SF - harhar- people are looking @ me funny, as I type with tears running down my face. Uhoh, GTG- there's 2 guys with a straight-jacket.

Anonymous said...

@jnh Add me to your IOU list for those who put HoHo in first.

Loved Naddor's use of the phrase "Quiet on the set" and the misdirection of DEAN as one with a list (had DOER).

The exchange between RP and DN spices up the column! You xy -types drive the x-word puzzle to new levels. Keep it in the act.

DataGeek said...

@RP - I would respect your comment about no name-calling more if only you didn't resort to calling a blogger a "douche-bag."

Liked the puzzle, enjoyed the theme, can't blame the difficulty level that LAT picks for Friday. Thanks Dan! I'll be your sycophant for today.

Rex Parker said...

Well, to be fair, Brendan is Totally a douchebag...

I may have called a *commenter* that once, but not a blogger, I don't think (commenters are not "bloggers"). And not w/o massive provocation. Please keep facts straight.

rp

Jerome said...

Why is it that a crossword blog host can give a pretty scathing review of a puzzle, and if the constructor responds in kind, they're vilified?

To me, as a constructor, being called "predictable and workmanlike" is the ultimate putdown. You may as well say I'm an unimaginative hack. I would respond exactly as Dan did.

DataGeek said...

I stand corrected. Just sayin' about the d-bag reference...

Thanks RP for your blog(s), I'm a daily reader and occasional COMMENTER.

Two and out.

Anonymous said...

Alpha males arguing over a crossword puzzle?? Really. Get a clue!...... :o)

chefbea said...

I liked the puzzle. Thought it was fun. Didn't know Iten but got it from the crosses.

Loved the clue for oyster.

Thanks Dan

Djinn said...

This is a test. My account has signed my comment with "Anonymous" again rather than using my name, so I'm testing the system by entering another time. Although I'm adept in the ways of the ancients, I sometimes falter when navigating cyberspace Please excuse the interruption. Back to you RP.

bluebell said...

Actually, I chuckled at the theme phrases in their "w" forms (wilting bees!) and chuckled again when I figured out the w to q change.

I didn't fill in hoho immediately, because I have finally learned to wait a bit when I'm unsure of a word; saves whiteout that way.

"Pearl harborer" is just excellent.

GoG8rs said...

Re--the above flame war: I'm with you, Carol
I thought we were just having fun solving a puzzle. Maybe we should save our vitriol for something a little more important. I liked the puzzle and thought it was fun. Thanks, Dan

JIMMIE said...

Lighten up, Rex and Dan, today's puzzle, as said Tinbini, was PEACHY keen and TO TASTE, if not SMOKING.

Orange said...

I'd rank this puzzle up in my top five L.A. Times puzzles for the month. Enjoyed the theme more than the standard sound-change theme, liked the drunken mayhem of WAKING IN MY BOOTS, liked the quiet-to-WYATT U-turn in spelling—and loved the fill.

@bunny made me laugh with the testosterone remark.

Now that editor Rich Norris has gotten the go-ahead to have somewhat more challenging puzzles for the end of the week, perhaps we'll be seeing more inventive themes from here on out. That will drive the "I only want easy puzzles" people nuts, of course, but the rest of us will have something to sink our teeth into.

mac said...

Wow, the filled-in grid is so nice and big today!

I had some trouble in the top half of the puzzle, so I can't call it easy. Some of it had to do with not getting the theme very quickly. When I did, I enjoyed jumping to the theme clues/answers. Nobody likes "Waking in my boots"?? Having the Camel sigaret and jump for Katarina is fantastic!

Cabal and its meaning often give me trouble, because the Dutch word "kabaal", pronounced identically, I think, just means noise.

Rex Parker said...

I'm as light as I ever was — again, I never read the "sycophant" message, and made only a very reasonable, short comment on the "sycophant" part. If you think there's a "flame war" on, you clearly have never seen one.

Orange said...

Oh, and by the way—I was away this morning for fourth-grade field trip. You know the rules? No shoving, no name-calling. The same is true here.

Especially no picking on commenters—if a commenter has gone over the line (like the potty-mouthed guy the other day), e-mail one of the bloggers to bring it to our attention. If you simply disagree with their opinion, no name-calling.

hazel said...

What's a flame war? This seems more like a brouhaha, and an ironic one at that - given that it revolves around the regurgitation of a previous write-up!

I thought the puzzle was cool.

Anonymous said...

No one minded that Katarina Witt's last name is pronounced with a V, not a W?

mac said...

@Anon: it's not really pronounced with a V, but with a German W which isn't quite as round as the English one.

Orange said...

Anonymous 1:20 (got a name?), good point. I overlooked that. Now I'm hearing "kvit your kvetching and kvit your smoking" in my head.

Anon 1:20 said...

@Orange - You don't like my name, and I haven't settled on another one. I tried BFKAHT, but just got corrected that I'm a commenter, not a blogger, so I'm lost. My comment didn't seem worth of making one up.

@Mac - I know you're European (Dutch?), and have heard German spoken about a billion times as much as I, but if you can differentiate the German W pronunciation from the English V your ears are better than mine.

chefwen said...

Hand up for really liking the puzzle. Only write-overs were AT NINE over nine am and KID over rib. Loved TO TASTE and that's what the puzzle was to me. Thanks Dan.

Van55 said...

Maybe not a flame war but an ADO or a DUSTUP or a TODO. Who can think of other crosswordese for it?

Anonymous said...

@Rex - Boy, it's a good thing I'm up to date on my avian anatomy, because I'd hate to get stuck in that situation next time I'm giving a lecture on the poetry, and influence on same, of Sir Thomas Wyatt!

I assume you meant Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder, no? Because the kid was a punk hack, not worthy of discussion.

ddbmc said...

Flaming is a hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users. Flaming usually occurs in the social context of a discussion board, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), by e-mail or on Video-sharing websites, according to Wiki.
Talking Heads Burning Down the House
@Sfingi, good word, "psychophant!"

Orange, I'm giving the boys 5 for fighting. Go to the penalty box!

I enjoyed today's puzzle with the "w" replacement for "qu." It weeminded me of Madeline Kahn's character, "Lili Von...." from "Blazing Saddles..
Lili's Song

Yep, put "rolo" first. Hoho is Hostess, Yodel is Drake's tubular chocolate snack. Tubular-very Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-esque.

Pearl harborer was a gem.
It's been a hell(of a)week on the blog! Happy Halloween, everyone!

mac said...

@BFKAHT: Too bad Ulrich doesn't visit this blog.

@Van55: stir, kerfuffle. Got to go, or I would get into this!

Pete P'tui said...

@Van 55, how 'bout "tintinnabulation?"

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@Van55
I like the word BROUHAHA.
It has a humorous ring to it and that can have a disarming effect.

tinbeni said...

@ Pete P'tui ~ Tintinnabulation is a wonderful 16 letter word but I don't hear the 'ringing if the bells' here today.

@ JohnNH ~ Brouhaha is quite good. I guess it can be said that today's comments have been on the 'hubbub, uproar, commotion' side. And it does have a humourous lilt.

Additionally I would like to tell you personally that your comments here are bright & witty and I look forward to your impression of a days puzzle. You were unjustly labled a sycophant by the constructor. I doubt in any endeavor in life you have ever been anyone's toady.

But I would rather say this little ADO today has been an exercise on the level of being Sophomoric ... self-assured & opinionated. Maybe just a bit Hoity-toity !!!

ORANGE ~ Thank you for reminding us this is suppose to be a civil discourse. I hope you had fun with the 4th grader's this morning but this space missed your calming influence initially.

Finally, if my memory hasn't failed me, this blog is about Crossword Puzzles. Period.

With you, Rex and PGirl giving a bit of insight and knowledge through your Crosswordese 101 lessons, commentary, clips, etc. so we of the hoi polloi can have more FUN doing a simple LAT puzzle each day.

Constructor's ... construct these things. And Critic's ... well they sometimes criticize. So toughen up your skin a bit ... AND get over it. This is no place for mudslinging.

I look forward to tomorrows LAT x-word test.

hazel said...

@JNH - glad to see you like BROUHAHA too.

Its definition: an episode involving excitement, confusion, turmoil, etc., esp. a broil over a minor or ridiculous cause.

Sounds good.

Bohica said...

Wow, glad I didn't get here until the dust had settled!

@Rex: Your accusations we're out of line. Especially since you had previously made them and Dan rebuffed them and gave his reasoning for the "word play" themes.

@Dan: Name calling has never resolved any conflicts. And is uncalled for and not tolerated in this forum.

@Rich: Perhaps a conference call is in order between yourself, Rex and Dan. Since the puzzle's theme trends and what is accepted/rejected is ultimately on your shoulders.

Personally, the only problem that I had with the puzzle was it's Tuesday NYT difficulty level.

I know it's too late in the day for anyone else to read this but I just had to chime in. Enough of the vitriol, we do crossword puzzles for FUN! Turn your anger into positive and proactive actions toward health care, joblessness or the overall poor economy. There are people using the newspaper for a blanket tonight, let's get over ourselves and work toward the greater good.

Whitney said...

Oh, LOL. Late to the party as always so this might as well be written for the blog crew themselves - if my humble opinion means anything to you :)

As an aspiring constructor who was originally inspired by Rex's NYT blog I am VERY VERY hesitant to submit any puzzle without thinking first "What would Rex say?" I hate to think that my first published puzzle would be vitrioled (right word?) by my crossword hero! I think the blog(s) serve to help constructors up their game. Though I can see Dan's side, too. Gettin' paid is never a bad thing...The blog, however, is Rex's creation and therefore he can say what he wants when he wants and we all love it regardless, for whatever reason, right?!? Okay, my two cents is in.

PuzzleGirl said...

Okay, I probably shouldn't do this, but I'm going to anyway. Unless you know someone really well and are talking directly to that person face-to-face, I honestly believe that "lighten up" is probably the most mean-spirited thing you can say to somebody. So can we all just decide we're not going to do that here? Puzzles are important to all of us in one way or another. For someone to participate in this blog and make judgment calls on other people's lives is disrespectful. I don't know what kind of jobs or families or other hobbies any of you have. And I don't know what you do with your time. So I would never presume to tell you you're taking something too seriously. How do I know that today isn't a day when the crossword puzzle is the exact right thing for you to be taking seriously? Why would I tell you to focus your energy on something else when I have no idea if you've already been out saving the world all day and now you just need a break?

Yes, it's just a puzzle. But it's the thing that brought us together in the first place. Yes, there are probably more important things we could be spending our energy on. But let's not pretend we know one another well enough to make assumptions about how we all prioritize our lives.

Rex Parker said...

Whitney,

I promise never to vitriol you (send me drafts of your puzzles so I can pre-vitriol them).

Your comment made a nice end to this very long day.

rp

Rex Parker said...

And, as usual, PG is my hero.

But not a psychophant! (we criticize each other all the time — just off-blog, and with love)

rp

GLowe said...

@PG:
No, the most mean-spirited thing you could say to someone is not "lighten up": that would be "M*A*S*H extra".
I dunno if Dan got vitrioled, but he did get criticized. If you put your work on display, people comment. Some comments are negative. If you want only positive comments, post your work on yo momma's fridge attached by a magnet.
Personally, I'd love for my work to make it past the editor to be vitrioled by the masses, but alas he/she calls my fill 'workmanlike', and my themes 'uninspiring' (that means 'shitty' and 'stupid', methinks).
So I try to do better.

Bohica said...

If we all priortize our lives around crossword puzzles God save us, we're a hopeless bunch.

Obviously it's a livlihood for some, and Dan Naddor is making at least some money off of them.

But what point does it serve to demean others efforts in a blog? At last check a blog with no advertising generates bupkis for revenue.

Oftentimes a good puzzle is just what I need to brighten my day. I am sometimes let down becuase they're too easy, and sometimes frustrated because they're too hard. But never do I question the constructor's methodology or effort.

Too call someone formulaic is to call them lazy, resting on their laurel's if you will.

If Rich wants word play that's what constructors will present to get published and paid.

I agree with Dan in this case, if you've got a problem with the theme; take it up with Rich.

And, by the way, I've been following this blog for the last 13
months on a daily basis, reading every comment as well as the blog. So I feel that I can "pretend" to know what others are thinking. Maybe I should change my name to Rainman.

Perhaps when I see the bylines of Michael Sharp, Amy Reynaldo or you in the NYT or LAT puzzle will I respect you more than Dan Naddor.

Number 146 in the universe? I'd be willing to bet there are some Venutians that would argue that.

In Rex's own words it's time to be done with this, and move on, hopefully in a more positive way.

To quote Rex from an interview:

As for what I’ve learned — patience. I have learned to have a D.N.R. (Do Not Respond) policy whenever anyone is insulting (which happens occasionally on the blog, occasionally in private e-mail). I have a combative, competitive instinct, but I have learned, the hard way, that indulging that instinct is rarely a good idea. Let it go — almost always the best policy, but also easier said than done.

Crockett1947 said...

@bohica The fragile voice of saneness crying out in the wilderness. Thank you.

Rex Parker said...

How have you been following this blog for 13 months when it has only been in existence for 7? Eerie.

The insult today was to a commenter. I still have no idea what DN said about me personally and don't care. I get angry comments directed at me every day of my life. {Yawn] Plenty of constructors (better than DN) respect my criticism. If he doesn't, pfft, big deal. But for a constructor to call a *commenter* a "sycophant" is unseemly at best. (and yes, GLowe, "unseemly" in this case does mean "shitty") :)

rp

Orange said...

@bohica: Technically, this blog only began seven months ago. It's possible you are more psychic than you know!

But your numbers have gone awry. Michael lays claim to being the 44th greatest solver, not 146th. (I am, of course, far too modest to mention that I have placed as high as 6th at the ACPT.) Everyone in this solar system's crossword community knows that Venusian crosswords stink. They're no better than the word-crosses a third-grader can make. It's like the World Series, only without the existence of Japan and Cuba.

Also, for the record, bohica, if you will check the byline of the Sunday, July 5, 2009 NYT crossword, you will find my name (together with Tony Orbach). For real!

Orange said...

(Cross-posted!)

jazz said...

Holey moley!

I had no idea our little blog (technically *your* little blog since I am, alas, just a commenter) was a collecting point for such a pantheon of crossword stars! (hmmm...idea for next reality show: "Pantheon of the Crossword Stars"? Naaah.

I just try to get the right letters in the right boxes...it's like going to a track to jog and seeing Olympic athletes warming up; you kinda stand back and try not to get run over.

Now I can grok the 4-minute and 5-minute solving times (for Fridays no less). RP, PG and Orange, my respect to you. Dan and other constructors, my respect to you too for trying to build an obstacle course that suits the pros and us b-teamers also. Editors, well, I guess we agree that the problem must lie with you! <---joke ;^)

Question: Does the sudoku crowd have these kind of discussions?

(and Mr. Bogle: Thanks, I like seeing your comments too...funny how you get to know people by reading little slices of their crossword thoughts)

Wayne said...

I enjoy this blog because it helps me improve my ability to do crosswords. I happen to enjoy Dan Naddor's work. Whenever I see his name at the top of a puzzle I know it's going to be fun. I'm glad he responded to the criticism thrown his way. There's been way too much bitching lately on this blog regarding the lack of difficulty in the LAT crosswords. I have gotten to where I rarely read the comments section for fear that I'll have to deal with more fussing about the constructors. They obviously have bosses & must adhere to certain standards. I just want to do a puzzle and it shouldn't be so sophisticated that it takes me all day to do it.

tinbeni said...

@ PG re: "Lighten Up"
Absolutely nothing "mean-spirited" nor judgements being made as to 'peoples lives' when I made that comment.

If you had read the discourse that preceded there was not an honest debate occurring but a vitroilic, ego driven, total lack of reasonable perspective.

Not a calm and civil interplay.

Anyone/Everyone who comes to this Blog or comments thereon takes their Crossword Puzzles seriously. But with all due respect let's not take ourselves into a gutter resorting to name-calling or making unjust value judgements.

Therefore in the future I will just "lighten-up" ... enjoy your, Rex's and Orange's Blog keeping my opinion on an even keel.

tinbeni said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Whitney said...

Wait, so vitrioled wasn't the right word? :)

Pete P'tui said...

@tinbeni, my tinnitus was acting up with the cacaphony of comments! For whom the bell tolls, it tolled for me! (in my head, anyway);0 @Mac's "kerfuffle" was definitely my fav. Wow, 70 comments! Is that a record?

tinbeni said...

@ Pete P'tui
You ARE so right ... I heard the clanging giving me a migraine headache. That was the PERFECT word.

Tried to divert the missive crap back 'on topic' and was clunk on the noggin (more ringing followed) for using a very common phrase, used almost everyday, hoping for a more erudite reparte' civility and calmness.

The ringing has not subsided.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@Pete P'tui & tinbeni
Isn't there an alternate word for tinnitus? --- tintinnitus
I have that disorder and I think I've been pronouncing it incorrectly.

Pete P'Tui said...

@JohnsNH, I'd always said tinnitus the second way for the longest time! My tinnitus/tintinnitus sounds more like water rushing. Maybe I should just give in and ride some class 5 rapids. I might not mind the sound so much! @Tinbeni, I think the tintinnabulation on the blog has quieted. Quasimodo sleeps at last! Time to turn the clocks back.

cheezguyty said...

What monsters have we become? Please, stop the senseless hatred. I've become nauseated by just reading some of the above comments. How long does this have to go on until someone realizes that nothing good can come out of it? Whether you write on this blog or comment on it, you should follow one simple rule: "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all". I learned that when I was a little kid, and implementing it has allowed me to lead a stress-free life and to never have anyone be mean to me. Imagine what a wondrous society we would live in if everyone followed this rule, along with others such as the Golden Rule.

You may think that what you say has no importance or no effect on others, but some of the above comments have definitely gotten me thinking. Why do people act this way? Is it in our nature? Any sense of rationality would condemn such condescending actions. But alas, some individuals haven't so much as an iota of morality in their souls. I'm hoping to change that. I plead to everyone that when you write, say, or even think something; that you do so only with love and respect. Even one negative thought can have a devastating affect on others.

To the lovely bloggers: if you put something negative in your post, I don't see how you can't expect similar responses. Evil only breeds more evil. I understand your longing for a change in your beloved puzzles, but criticism and barbs are not the way to go. Even one little compliment in a post can snowball into something much greater and bring about change in a positive manner.

And to everyone, please help make this world a better place. If just one person did something nice for someone else, and then those two both did something nice for someone else the next day, and so on, then the whole world would experience a good deed in just 33 days. If 50 people read this, then it would only take 27 days. Just think, world peace is less than a month away.

God bless! =)