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Sunday, July 31, 2011

National discount store chain / MON 8-1-11 / College near Phildelphia / British novelist who wrote London Fields / Pictures inked on body in slang

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative difficulty: Easy (for me ... I think times will be somewhat slower-than-avg. for most)

THEME: A WORK IN PROGRESS (36A: Unfinished project ... or, literally, what the answers to the eight starred clues contain?) — eight starred clues contain the word "ART," which "progresses" one letter to the right in each new theme answer (reading top to bottom), i.e. ART starts in the first letter position with ARTICULATE, second letter position with MARTIN AMIS, and eventually ends in the eighth letter position with MOVED APART


Word of the Day: DOLLAR TREE (45A: *National discount store chain) —
Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR) is an American chain of discount variety stores that sells every item for $1.00 or less. A Fortune 500 company, Dollar Tree is headquartered in Chesapeake, Virginia and operates 4,009 stores throughout the 48 contiguous U.S. states. Its stores are supported by a nationwide logistics network of nine Distribution Centers. The Company operates one dollar stores under the names of Dollar Tree and Dollar Bills. The Company also operates a multiprice-point variety chain under the name Deal$. (wikipedia)
• • •

Very impressive theme. Dense, multi-layered, and full of vibrant and original-seeming answers. You had me at MARTIN AMIS over SWARTHMORE. Getting ART to "progress" like that is one thing—getting it to "progress" through answers that are both beautiful and (in several places) stacked on top of one another is amazing. Not often you see a theme this complex on a Monday—and for me, it definitely came in at a Monday time. Sub-Monday, if there were such a category, which there isn't. I blew through this one in near-record time (2:32), then noticed I was nearly a full minute faster than the guys by whose times I usually gauge myself (at the NYT puzzle site). Hence "Easy" for me, probably more "ordinary Monday" for most. Sometimes I'm freakishly fast; sometimes I'm freakishly slow. These things happen.

Theme answers:
  • 13A: *Eloquent (ARTICULATE)
  • 17A: *British novelist who wrote "London Fields" (MARTIN AMIS)
  • 20A: *College near Philadelphia (SWARTHMORE)
  • 25A: *Having both Republican and Democratic support (BIPARTISAN) — ha ha ha ha ha ha. Timing! [Ugh.]
  • 45A: *National discount store chain (DOLLAR TREE)
  • 51A: *Container next to a bowl of cereal (MILK CARTON)
  • 60A: *Like some checks and vendors (THIRD PARTY)
  • 64A: *Gradually separated (MOVED APART)


More on thematic density: every Down answer crosses a theme answer, most cross two, and four Downs actually have to cross *four* theme answers. Density alone doesn't impress me much, but when it's coupled with relative grid smoothness, it's noteworthy. I got several answers today, including one theme answer and both long Downs, without ever looking at the clues. IONO- was a dead giveaway for IONOSPHERE (10D: Where the Northern Lights occur); likewise ICONO- for ICONOCLAST (26D: Antiestablishment figure). RARE EARTH also seemed to fill itself in without my thinking about it (40D: With 43-Across, yttrium or scandium). I screwed up but once during my entire solve—put in TAPE instead of TIVO (which has tripped me up now two days in a row). My favorite clue of the day is a very simple one that no one is likely to have noticed—61D: Congratulate nonverbally (PAT). Spot-on and yet creative. Also, APT. Also, an anagram of APT.

Bartok's Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra No. 2 really wants me to listen to it now, so goodbye.


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bride in Gondoliers / SUN 7-31-11 / Sally teacakes / Noted diamond family / Huntee in game / 2003 Affleck/Lopez flick / Switzerland/France separator

Constructor: Pamela Klawitter

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: "Separate Checks" — theme answers are common phrases that, when taken literally, describe words that are "separated" (i.e. in two parts, separated by a black square) in different parts of the grid. "Separated" words are in circled squares for easy identification.


Word of the Day: "IL RE Pastore" (42D: "___ Pastore" (Mozart opera)) —
Il re pastore (The Shepherd King) is an opera, K. 208, written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to an Italian libretto by Metastasio, edited by Gianbattista Varesco. It is an opera seria. The opera was first performed on April 23 1775 in Salzburg, at the Palace of the Archbishop Count Hieronymus von Colloredo. (wikipedia)
• • •

I found this more difficult than your average Sunday puzzle, due largely to the fact that you had to pick up some of those circles before you could begin to have any hope of filling in the theme answers. Also, perhaps because the theme was so ambitious, many of the answers were nuts, e.g. IL RE (it's the king, alright—King of the Uglies), PIS (which I still don't get) (oh, it's P.I.s, OK; 47D: Some tails, for short), ANA'S (!?) (18A: "___ Story: A Journey of Hope" (Jenna Bush best seller)), LUNNS (99D: Sally ___ (teacakes)), etc. That ENDE / LUNNS crossing was potentially *lethal*. Never heard of either ... except I had, in fact, seen ENDE in puzzles before (doesn't mean I remembered him) (113A: "The Neverending Story" writer), which allowed me to educatedly guess the "N"; otherwise, puzzle death. Multiple ALDAS, multiple RNAS (?), someplace called LEMAN (46D: Lake ___, Switzerland/France separator) (I want to go to there, just so I can point at it and shout, "You LEMAN!"). Lots and lots of slightly creaky stuff. I admire the theme's complexity, though I'm (once again) 90% certain I've seen this theme, or one like it, in the not-too-distant past. I've definitely seen words split by black squares before. Still, for apparent level-of-difficulty alone, this one gets a mild thumbs-up, though I do have to say that BEAR PIT pretty much ruins the whole happy vibe of the puzzle (59A: Place for some animal baiting). You can put all the sex and dirty words and body parts you want in my Sunday puzzle, but animal torture just does not pass my personal breakfast test.



Theme answers:
  • DIVIDED HIGHWAY
  • FALLEN APART
  • TORN ASUNDER (this one confused me at first—wondered how ASUNDER was going to fit in just those four squares ...)
  • BANANA SPLIT
  • FRACTURED SKULL
  • CRACKED WINDOW
  • BROKEN PROMISE
My last letter was the "V" in TIVO (102D: Program coordinator?) / AVES (114A: Upper class?), which required me to run the alphabet, and even then I still didn't get AVES. My only guess, now, is that AVES is a "class" of animal that is "high" because its members, generally, fly. To cross that "?" clue with the TIVO "?" clue seems over-the-top. I mean, I already had to suffer through the terrible ENDE / LUNNS crossing. Gimme a break with the AVES.

Bullets:
  • 24A: Bride in "The Gondoliers" (TESSA) — ??? Probably seen it before, but still, ??? Crossing NISI (7D: Not yet final, at law) was a bit scarifying. Seriously, that's three dicey crosses in this thing, at least.
  • 25A: "What the Butler Saw" playwright, 1969 (ORTON) — wanted ODETS. Saw this in Ashland, OR circa 1982. I remember it being some kind of sex farce where people were on stage in their underwear. But I was 12, so my memory could've been quite skewed by a single scene, for all I know.


  • 26A: Noted diamond family (ALOU) — they are mostly "noted," these days, in crosswords.
  • 32A: Title character in a 2009 Sandra Bullock crossword film (STEVE) — hey, it's terrible movie day in Puzzle World. "All About STEVE" in a twin bill with "GIGLI" — suddenly BEAR PIT doesn't seem quite so bad ...
  • 52A: Panamanians and Peruvians (LATINS) — took me forever. I would never refer to them as LATINS (I'd say "LATIN AMERICANS," if anything), but it's valid.
  • 76A: Huntee in a game (HIDER) — "Huntee" is a pretty dumb-looking word, but I got this instantly, so can't grouse too much.
  • 94A: French CD holder (ETUI) — wait, I have a picture here somewhere, hang on ... yeah, here we go:
  • 98A: Techie's hangout (PC LAB) — I have antipathy toward PCLAB as an answer. It's not entirely rational. No one calls the computer labs this, possibly because there are Macs there. A techie would, presumably, hang out anywhere there was a computer, or energy drinks and Cheetos.
  • 40D: Definitely not Felix Unger types (SLOVENS) — wow, you can be a sloven? I knew you could be slovenly, and I knew you could be a SLOVAK, or SLOVENE, but a SLOVEN—that, I did not know.
  • 57D: Pulitzer-winning Sheehan (SUSAN) — no idea. Wanted GAYLE, but that's "Sheehy," and her name's spelled "GAIL" anyway.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Paris s'éveille #2


Suite de cette séance photos réalisée aux aurores...


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Robe - H&M
Bracelets - H&M
Gilet Sweat - Chloé
Escarpins - Louboutin


Friday, July 29, 2011

Name means princess in Hebrew /SAT 7-30-11/ Site War of 1812 Museum / Part of legionnaire's costume / Italian seaport home to Saint Nicholas's relics

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none


Word of the Day: Stratigraphist (25D: What a stratigraphist might take=>CORE SAMPLE) —
Stratigraphy: n.
The study of rock strata, especially the distribution, deposition, and age of sedimentary rocks.
• • •

Wow. Looking over this grid now, it's hard to see why the solving experience should have been so tough. In typical Berry fashion, this grid has mostly common words / names / phrases—very little in the way of "WTF??"—but the cluing, OH MY. I floundered quite a bit before I got decent toehold, and even then I lost my grip and had to go find a new one at least twice. My greatest struggle came at the very end, as I tried to fill in a tiny 3x4 section of white squares in the far NW. Blank BISCUIT .. ? Blank ANTENNA ... ? Blank LMINDED ... ? Never heard of the first (really wanted SHIT BISCUIT to be right) (1A: Another name for hardtack => SHIP BISCUIT), and have to quibble with the clues on the other two. An often-retractable car part is an ANTENNA. Maybe a HOOD ANTENNA or ROOF ANTENNA. Not a damned AUTO ANTENNA. You already have "car" in the clue, so you're essentially saying a retractable car part is a car antenna. If the clue had simply been [Often-retractable part], I would've got AUTO much more easily. Instead, I thought ROOF, HOOD, AMFM ... even after I got AU- I was just frustrated that AUDIO wouldn't fit. Boo. As for SMALL-MINDED ... that doesn't shout [Selfish] to me. It's a much bigger, or at least vaguer, state, of which selfishness might be a part. I think of bigots as SMALL-MINDED. Anyway, that corner tore me up. I only got it after finally putting SASH (1D: part of a legionnaire's costume) and HUME (2D: Fox News political commentator) in there at the same time. HUME was one of several answers that I had right immediately, on first instinct, but didn't put in ... see also PANE (20A: Italian bread) and BARI (40A: Italian seaport that's home to Saint Nicholas's relics).

Got my first taste of success with BIG APPLE, which I was certain was going to be a Babe Ruth nickname (26A: Nickname popularized by a New York Morning Telegraph sportswriter in the 1920s, with "the"). Guesses of RAH (23D: Cry that's often tripled) and PEP helped me see that one. But I didn't get much leverage out of that answer at all and had to reboot in the far SE, where I made real headway for the first time. Had EGGO and BARN (instead of SOHO, 46D: Loft-y place?) down there in the corner and knew one was wrong. Left EGGO (45D: Brand with Toaster Swirlz) and then luckily just guessed REMINISCES (42A: Chats at a high-school reunion, maybe). It fit, and crosses started to fall from there. I know PLATTSBURGH for its SUNY campus, not (at all) for being the [Site of the War of 1812 Museum]. Also don't really know SALLIE MAE (28D: Lending "lady"). Had FANNIE MAE in there for a bit. Eventually, PASTILLE took care of that problem (36A: Medicate lozenge). Guessed the ON IT part of STEPS ON IT, which allowed me to work the SW from the ground up (27D: Picks up the pace). Then after working my way into the NE and finishing it off, I came at the NW from both sides until I got down to those damned 12 blanks. Then I sat. And eventually I won.



Bullets:
  • 19A: Something seen on a pad (HELICOPTER) — Weirdly, wanted HELICOPTER at 12D: Aircraft that doesn't need a runway (FLOAT PLANE).
  • 28A: Name that means "princess" in Hebrew (SARAH) — I did not know that. I was expecting a Much weirder name.
  • 29A: What "the lowing herd wind slowly o'er" in a Thomas Gray poem (LEA) — couldn't make sense of clue at first because I was saying 'wind' wrong in my head.
  • 39A: Source of most of the names in "The Lion King" (SWAHILI) — had the terminal "I," so no problem.
  • 4D: Something to clean one's teeth with, maybe (POLIDENT) — the "maybe" confused me. What else are you going to do with POLIDENT? Wax your car?
  • 14D: TV family that popularized the term "parental unit" (CONEHEADS) — great clue, but terribly hard. I was, of course, thinking of TV families that actually had their own shows (HUXTABLES, KEATONS, etc.), not families that periodically showed up on a sketch comedy show.
  • 40D: Towlines are tied around them (BITTS) — the one answer in the puzzle (besides SHIP BISCUIT) that I'd never heard of.
  • 26D: "Goin' to Chicago Blues" songwriter (BASIE) — as in Count. Had the "B" and it still took me a while. I couldn't get BESSY Smith out of my head (who spelled her name "BESSIE," it turns out).

  • 35D: Guatemala's national instrument (MARIMBA) — wanted MARACAS. Shows what I know about Central American instruments.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hardy red hog / FRI 7-29-11 / Item in lick race / Bygone theaters / Old Civil War eagle mascot / Princess Disney duck / Lethally poisoned ruler

Constructor: Paula Gamache

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none


Word of the Day: DUROC (28D: Hardy red hog) —
Duroc pig is an older breed of American domestic pig that forms the basis for many mixed-breed commercial hogs. Duroc pigs are red, large-framed, medium length, and muscular, with partially drooping ears, and tend to be one of the most aggressive of all the swine breeds. (wikipedia)
• • •

This puzzle basically has one answer in it: EDIBLE UNDERWEAR (3D: Tasteful bedclothes?). Every other answer may as well call it a day and go home. Bonus points for driving that answer straight through both TAIL and CHERRY. Good thing STICK and MOUNTER (54A: Tire shop employee, at times) are way over on the other side of the grid, or my delicate sensibilities might have been offended. Small amount of difficulty with the OPEN TOE (43D: Showing some polish?) / MOUNTER section, and somewhat greater amount of difficulty with most everything in the vicinity of DUROC (which I've seen before, but not for years; I certainly didn't remember it at first). Some of the longer answers are nice. AUDITOR'S REPORTS (40A: Opinions about books) and INTEREST RATE CAP (6D: Borrower's protection) are zzzzzzzzzzz but CHERRY CHAPSTICK is pretty kicky (58A: It can make for fruity kisses) , and I do like TOULOUSE LAUTREC (as an artist and an answer) quite a bit (33A: Capturer of fin-de-siècle France). I had to hunt down a stupid error: had NTRB instead of NTSB (10A: Pipeline accident investigator: Abbr.). I think I had NLRB in my head. And possibly NRBQ.





Started very fast, with CLEO (1A: Lethally poisoned ruler, familiarly) and CATS coming instantly. Got EDIBLE UNDERWEAR off just the ED- and tore up the west coast from there. SW corner is a thicket of ugliness that took a little effort to sort out, but CHERRY CHAPSTICK came quickly thereafter, and then it was just a matter of running short stuff through the long stuff until the long stuff fell.

Bullets:
  • 16A: Item in a "lick race" (OREO) — "What is 'EDIBLE UNDERWEAR,' Alex?"
  • 30A: Princes ___ (Disney duck) (OONA) — there really is no good way to clue OONA, one of my least favorite xword answers.
  • 36A: Barker who pitched a perfect game in 1981 (LEN) — on my short list of "Guys I Know Of Named LEN"; see also LEN Deighton.
  • 39A: ___ poco (soon in Sorrento) (TRA)TRA, like OONA, never good. Sometimes necessary, but never good.
  • 44A: Singer with a wide range (WREN) — didn't know range was a WREN thing. Nice not-clearly-avian misdirect with "Singer."
  • 60A: Elaine ___, first female Asian-American cabinet member (CHAO) — astonishingly, the Best of the four four-letter answers down there.
  • 9D: Parker who was one of the original faces at Facebook (SEAN) — I really can't be bothered to care about or remember anyone except Mark Zuckerberg. Maybe the Winklevoss twins.


  • 24D: Old ___ (Civil War eagle mascot) (ABE) — news to me. Assume he was named after the Pres.
  • 57D: Bygone theaters (RKOS) — studio had its own chain of theaters.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Paris s'éveille #1


Un matin, à 8 heures, j'ai retrouvé Chloë et son argentique.

Je voulais absolument mettre ma nouvelle robe en scène, une petite perle dégotée chez H&M en période de soldes, 10 euros... C'est beau, non ?

Je ne sais pas si j'aurais l'occasion de la porter à nouveau, j'ai du mal à me sentir à l'aise dans les robes trop élégantes, mais je suis satisfaite d'avoir pu l'immortaliser.

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Robe - H&M
Bracelets - H&M
Escarpins - Louboutin



La suite de cette séance, après-demain !

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Prince's partner / THU 7-28-11 / Greek island where Zeus said to be raised / Baltic Sea feeder / Anatomical dividers / Villainous monk Da Vinci Code

Constructor: Alan Arbesfeld

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: UP — an "UP" rebus wherein all the Down answers that contain an "UP" square must be read from the bottom UP to be understood


Word of the Day: Wade BOGGS (1D: Five-time A.L. batting champ) —
Wade Anthony Boggs (born June 15, 1958) is a former Major League Baseball third baseman. He spent his 18-year baseball career primarily with the Boston Red Sox, but also played for the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Devil Rays. His hitting in the 1980s and 1990s made him a perennial contender for American League batting titles, in much the same way as his National League contemporary Tony Gwynn. Boggs was elected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005. With 12 straight All-Star appearances, Boggs is third only to Brooks Robinson and George Brett in number of consecutive appearances as a third baseman. His finest season was 1987, when he set career highs in home runs (24), RBI (89), and slugging percentage (.588). He also batted .363 and had a .461 on-base percentage that year, leading the league in both statistics. In 1999, he ranked number 95 on the Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. (wikipedia)
• • •

I grew up idolizing Wade BOGGS, so this puzzle got off on the right foot with me. Actually, that's not true. It took me a little while to get BOGGS, as BRETT and CAREW were my first guesses (both former A.L. batting champs—Carew 7 times, Brett 3). At first I floated through the grid, in and around what would turn out to be the rebus squares. SEPTA to NEAT to LTR to RA I to AS TO ... SHALT to TSE TSE to TOIL to OUTER to ECOLE to SATIRIC and DOLOR. Finally saw MEASURED [one square] and new "UP" was the key. Took me at least another minute before I figured out why 27D: Union requirement, maybe? and, a little later, 3D: Prince's partner weren't working. --UP-- = PAUPER ... but then SEPTA becomes SERTA, which made me wonder if there was some bygone mattress commercial with a prince that I was forgetting. Once I realized PAUPER just wasn't going to work, I put "P" back in SEPTA and the upside-downness of the answer became clear. Needless to say, after that bottom half of the grid was somewhat easier than the top half (but still tough). I enjoyed this ambitious and legitimately tricky puzzle, even though I finished with an error. At 19A: Refill when you don't really need to (TOP UP), I wrote in TOPE. Seemed very, very right. Sadly, NOE (the resulting cross) makes no sense at all for 13D: Over (NOPU, i.e. UPON). Crosschecking your answers = always a good idea, esp. in a minefield of a puzzle like this one.

Three tenacious wrong answers: IN AWE for [Taken] (IN USE), WINDOWS for [They may be cleared with a spray] (SINUSES), and (funniest of all) WEES for [Pygymy couple?] (WYES)



Theme answers:
  • GO UP IN SMOKE / REPUAP
  • TOP UP / NOPU
  • MEASURED UP / PUNERP
  • SIT UP FOR / TPUS
  • STANDS UP TO / STESPU
  • UP-DOS / PUHW
  • COME UP SHORT / SPOUS
Note that the word "UP" appears in all Acrosses and no Downs (well, it's a word part in UP-DOS, but I'm gonna count it), creating a nice, consistent signal for you to read UP.

Bullets:
  • 15A: Villainous monk in "The Da Vinci Code" (SILAS) — once again, forgot his name. I think I just really resent this clue, which expects me to read Dan Brown or see some horrible-looking movie. Would be nice to see some love for Paul SILAS now and again, if you really don't want to use a George Eliot clue.
  • 41A: Actor Johnson of "Plan 9 From Outer Space"(TOR) — ugh, as if this puzzle weren't hard enough. Also, OUTER is in the grid. Whoops.
  • 48A: "Curb Your Enthusiasm" shower (HBO) — I think I prefer "airer" to "shower."
  • 68A: Greek island where Zeus was said to be raised (NAXOS) — also, a fine discount Classical CD label. I have a lot of NAXOS music.


  • 5D: Indication of deflation (SSSS) — easily the worst answer in the grid. A puzzle this ambitious and interesting can get away with an answer or two like this (and assorted detritus like ODER (14A: Baltic sea feeder), AHSO, RAREE, LAK, OLA, etc.)
  • 11D: It may be the only thing in a bar (WHOLE NOTE) — probably my favorite clue/answer pair in the whole puzzle.
See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. If you cannot attend the Lollapuzzoola 4 crossword tournament (coming up next Saturday, Aug. 6—details here), the tournament creators are giving you an opportunity to Solve At Home! From the tournament website:

"NEW -- Solve at home! Can't attend the tournament, but still want to play? No problem! For the low low price of $10, the complete set of puzzles from this year's tournament will be hand-delivered to an email address of your choosing. We'll ship the puzzles (in PDF format) on August 7, the day after the tournament in New York. This offer is only available through Sunday, August 14, so if you want to participate in the fun and games from afar, act quickly!"

J'ai testé le Toga Iyengar


Dimanche, fin de journée.
Je suis pleine d'énergie et me motive pour aller à l'Usine, ma salle de sport.

Le hasard fait parfois bien les choses, il se trouve que ce jour-là j'étais habillée en tenue de sport.

Il est 18h et le cours qui est proposé est un cours de Yoga Iyengar.


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"Le Iyengar Yoga est une forme de yoga synthétique crée par le maître B.K.S. Iyengar.

L’enseignement du yoga Iyengar se caractérise par l’attention portée à l’alignement des différentes parties du corps dans l’espace, l’organisation des postures en séquences, et l’emploi de supports (sangles, briques, couvertures, chaises, cordes…) pour aider le corps à se maintenir dans les bonnes postures.
Comme d'autres types de yoga, il met l'accent sur le renforcement et l'équilibre du corps, ainsi que sur la concentration (dharana) et la méditation (dhyana), pour parvenir à une meilleure intégration du corps et de l'esprit et à un approfondissement spirituel."

Merci Wikipédia.

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Je vais tester, ça me changera du tapis de course.

Pour être honnête avec vous, toutes ces activités comme le Yoga ou le Pilate ne sont pas vraiment ce que je préfère.

Pour moi le sport est synonyme de transpiration, dépense, musique à fond.

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J'arrive donc avec mon jogging beaucoup trop large, ma paire de Blazer Nike et me rends compte que les gens sont pieds nus.

"Super, je sens que ça va être la grosse déconnade."

Je chope un tapis, pose mon postérieur dessus et attends.

La prof arrive, une jolie nana, très bien foutue, évidemment.

Je regarde autour de moi, tout le monde est déjà en position du lotus. Parfait, je suis dans un cours d'habitués ! Et moi, ben, je n'y connais rien !

Mais je suis quand même un peu contente, parce-qu'avec mes années de danse, j'ai la chance d'être souple et la position du lotus, trop facile (crâneuse ouais).

"Houuuuuuuuuuuuuum", voilà comment débute le cours.

Tout le monde a les yeux fermés et émet un son très étrange.

Je fais de même, essaye de me concentrer mais impossible, je pars dans un fou rire, grand moment de solitude.

C'est parti pour une heure de cours !

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Me voilà assise, debout, sur la tête... Toutes les postures y passent et je souffre.

Je sens mon dos se déployer, mes cuisses brûlaient, je fais du sport, du vrai.
Tout ce que je pensais du yoga ("c'est pour les paresseux") s'écroule.
Ça a beau être très spirituel, c'est aussi très physique, finalement.


La fin du cours s'approche, nous sommes étendus sur nos tapis et nous devons nous concentrer sur notre respiration.

J'ai beaucoup de mal à déconnecter, je suis très agitée et c'était l'une des rares fois où j'ai réussi à ne penser à rien.
Peut-être aussi parce-que mon corps tout rouillé a entraîné mon cerveau, j'étais à plat, comme une batterie à jeter.

Pour finir, Mademoiselle la Prof s'est approchée de chacun de nous et nous a déposé une goutte d'huile essentielle sur le visage et les épaules... Une jolie note pour la fin !

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Pantalon - Maje
Débardeur - Le Petit Petit
Le blog Le Petit Petit (mine d'or pour s'inspirer) : ici
.
Bandana - Vintage
Sac - Asos


Verdict : je reviendrai !
Et si ça vous dit, accompagnez-moi... A 18 heures tous les dimanches à L'usine Beaubourg.

En attendant, je pars en vacances demain, je reprendrai à la rentrée !

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Boon's Animal House buddy / WED 7-27-11 / Indiana Jones accouterment / Visigoth king who sacked Rome / Eerie 1976 movie / City at confluence Ouse Foss

Constructor: Bill Thompson

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: NOELS (37A: Seasonal songs ... or a hint to 17-, 25-, 46- and 59-Across) — theme answers are familiar phrases where -EL has been removed from end of word in the phrase, creating wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style


Word of the Day: ALARIC (62A: Visigoth king who sacked Rome) —
Alaric I (Alareiks in the original Gothic) was likely born about 370 on an island named Peuce (the Fir) at the mouth of the Danube in present day Romania. King of the Visigoths from 395–410, Alaric was the first Germanic leader to take the city of Rome. Having originally desired to settle his people in the Roman Empire, he finally sacked the city, marking the decline of imperial power in the west. (wikipedia)
• • •

After I got the first theme answer, my thought was "Ugh, NOEL, not this theme again." But when I was done, I looked NOEL up on cruciverb.com, and couldn't find a single puzzle that had used NOEL as a theme answer. This seems impossible. Why do I feel like I've done some version of this puzzle not just once, but many times? Weird. Anyway, not much to say about this except the theme feels pretty tired. Half the theme answers are cute (bottom half), the others, not. With so many -EL words out there that are also words (or names) without the -EL (e.g. BARREL, LAPEL, LABEL, CAMEL, etc.), not sure why those first two theme answers aren't better—or why this wasn't a Sunday-sized theme. Fill on this one is interesting in parts—NEAR THE TOP (27D: In second place, say) and RATIONS OUT (11D: Distributes stingily) are interesting phrases—but there really is far too much dreck. ALARIC over RESEEK (!!?) crossing OLE OLE and multiple WANDAS (48D: Stand-up comic Sykes and others) is super-ugly, as is the multiple OCHERS and REALES (9D: Old Spanish silver coins) crossing the never-lovely EDUCES. But, on the plus side, it's a great puzzle if you're a fan of the word "THE" — three appearances!



Theme answers:
  • 17A: Groom? (WEDDING CHAP)
  • 25A: Verbal exchange about a harsh review? (PAN DISCUSSION)
  • 46A: Demand during a roadside negotiation? (THROW IN THE TOW)
  • 59A: Stylish Lionel? (MOD TRAIN SET) — "LIONEL" = yet another word that could've been de-EL'd
Strangely, the toughest clue for me was 1D: Things to draw (BOWS). Got it all from crosses and still had no idea how the clue fit the answer. It was only as I was about to google [bow draw] that I realized, "Ohhhhh. *That* kind of bow" (i.e. the kind that shoots arrows). Also had a lot of trouble with BOWS's symmetrical counterpart, MTNS (57D: The Dolomites, e.g.). I know Dolomite as a blaxploitation hero. I couldn't tell you what continent they're on, let alone what country they're in. I'm gonna say eastern Europe / western Asia. . . aha, northeastern Italy. Well, that's eastern Europe-adjacent, at any rate. KAHLO is a kool name for krosswords (36D: Mexican artist Frida). SCRAG looks cool, but it's a word I've never seen anywhere *but* crosswords (41A: Skinny sort). Cheri UTERI would be a great theme answer, though I'm not sure for what theme (29D: Gestation locations). I think of moonshine or hooch when I think of the bottle marked "XXX"; I do not think of ALE (30A: Bottle marked "XXX" in the comics). Everyone knows SOOEY is used for calling piggies; less well known is the fact that UIE is used for calling ELANDS (49D: Safari antelopes).

Bullets:
  • 1A: Univ. with the cheer "Roll Tide!" ('BAMA) — obvious even without the long-running ESPN College Gameday ad built around this "cheer."
  • 40A: City at the confluence of the Ouse and Foss (YORK) — "Ouse" looks distinctly French, and Foss I've never heard of, so this took some work.
  • 50D: Boon's "Animal House" buddy (OTTER) — completely forgot this. Luckily, I got it all from crosses and never even saw the clue.
  • 10D: Trademark forfeited by Bayer under the Treaty of Versailles (ASPIRIN) — Bayer = German company.
  • 61A: Leandro's love, in a Handel cantata (ERO) — Like HERO but with an ELISION (21A: Will-o'-the-wisp feature)
  • CLUEANSWER — COMMENT
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Monday, July 25, 2011

German port on Weser / TUE 7-26-11 / Kid-lit elephant / Jan Brady player on Brady Bunch / Early Ron Howard role / Bridge maven Sharif

Constructor: Michael Black

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (*for a Tuesday*)

THEME: Road Sign Colors — answers are road signs, clued solely via their colors


Word of the Day: Catherine PARR (43D: Henry VIII's sixth, Catherine ___) —
Catherine Parr (Katherine, Kateryn, Katheryne or Kathrine); 1512 – 5 September 1548) was Queen consort of England and Ireland and the last of the six wives of King Henry VIII of England. She married Henry VIII on 12 July 1543. She was the fourth commoner Henry had taken as his consort, and outlived him. She was also the most-married English queen, as she had a total of four husbands. (wikipedia)
• • •

So it's just road signs, with the added little bonus that they are all different colors (hence the unusual and slightly tougher-than-usual theme answer cluing). Pretty good idea for an early-week puzzle, with interesting longish fill throughout. A bit unusual to have so many Across answers be as long as or longer than so many Across theme answers—MAKE A BET, DIET SODA, EVE PLUMB (my favorite answer; 44A: Jan Brady player on "The Brady Bunch"), and LONE STAR are all the same letter count as DEER XING and HOSPITAL, and much longer, of course, than EXIT and STOP. Usually, theme answers are the longest answers in the puzzle. Occasionally a Down answer (assuming the theme answers run Across) is as long as or longer than the shortest theme answer. This is just convention, but it's one that I like. Keeps the theme answers distinct; separates them from the rest of the herd; gives them pride of place. But no big deal.


Bigger concern is the pangram (use of every letter of the alphabet). All I can think of when I see a pangram is "I wonder how much better this grid *could've* been if the constructor hadn't tried to pull off such a bush-league stunt." Thankfully, today, the grid is at worst average, so there's no obvious casualty of the pangram—made me suffer through JOS and IZE, but I guess I can handle that. WHOA, I take that back. That damned "C"—I was wondering why there's that terrible REC / DECI- cross, and at first I thought it was the nearby "X"'s fault, but there's already an "X" in the theme answer DEER XING, so that "X" wasn't necessary for the pangram. But, it turns out, the "C" was. If you have to go REC / DECI- to pull off your little pangram, It Is Not Worth It. Just Say No.

Here's Liz Gorski on crossword pangrams — all you need to know.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: [White] (SPEED LIMIT)
  • 26A: [Yellow] (DEER XING)
  • 37A: [Green] (EXIT)
  • 40A: [Red] (STOP)
  • 53A: [Blue] (HOSPITAL)
  • 64A: [Orange] (MEN WORKING)
Got slowed down, fittingly, by DEERXING, esp. as it was crossed with the mystifying (at first) TRAD. (21D: Like much folk music: Abbr.). Also went with SOUP for STEW (16A: Bouillabaisse, e.g.) and SHORES for SHOALS (48D: Lighthouse locales). I don't think Better Than EZRA has had a hit this century, and they had only a handful in the last, so they hardly seem like a Tuesday-level clue (70A: Rock's Better Than ___). That said, I got that answer instantly.

Bullets:
  • 28A: Without a time limit, as a contract (OPEN END) — no "-ED" on the end?
  • 57A: Professional with an apron (BAKER) — Had "B-KER" and reluctantly wrote in "BIKER"...


  • 4D: German port on the Weser (BREMEN) — also feels Harder Than Tuesday (that's the name of my Better Than Ezra cover band)
  • 14A: Bridge maven Sharif (OMAR) — too bad you can't really hide "Sharif" behind a misdirection. I mean, if your clue were [Cheese lover Sharif] or [Philatelist Sharif], I would still plunk OMAR in the grid, instantly.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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