FRIDAY, Jun. 8, 2007 - Randolph Ross

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Somewhat challenging, but enjoyable. I love when 1A is a colorful gimme like this one: 1A: 1971 hit with the lyric "He danced for those at minstrel shows" ("Mr. Bojangles"). I think the line should have continued with "... and county fairs" if not all the way to "throughout the South." This puzzle also has great long pop culture fill in two of the other three quadrants, including 12D: Girl group with the 1986 #1 hit "Venus" (Bananarama) (You had me at "1986") and 56A: Oscar winner between Tom Hanks and Geoffrey Rush (Nicolas Cage) - that clue could have been Much better - ["Valley Girl" star], for instance.

Favorite Answers:

  • 32A: Grammy winner Blige (Mary J) - a gimme, and MARYJ just looks great in the grid
  • 25D: Author of "The Sot-Weed Factor" (Barth) - I first entered WAUGH, god knows why
  • 55A: A, in Aix (une) - tried for a while to think of what element "A" stood for in the periodic table...
  • 52D: Pan, for one (faun) - second FAUN in about a week. I prefer "Prelude to the Afternoon of a FAUN," but this one's OK too
  • 26A: Group on Miles Davis's "Birth of the Cool," e.g. (nonet) - I just like this word
  • 41D: Skater dude's exclamation ("Awesome!") - at this point, it's anybody's exclamation. It is frequently my exclamation, and I haven't set foot on a skateboard in 30 years.
  • 43A: Title boy in a 1964 Disney film (Emil) - reminds me of my wife, who loves the book the movie ("Emil and the Detectives") was based on.
  • 31A: Torah's beginning? (tav) - entered TEE, but no, of course not. That would have been too easy...
  • 58D: One of the Khans (Aly) - entered AGA, but no, of course not. That would have been too easy...

I had many, many small problems while solving this puzzle. And here they are:

  • 2D: Bring to a boil (rile) - I had ROIL, which I knew had to be wrong, but ... it's all I had at the time.
  • 15A: Film in which Ford was president ("Air Force One") - This is diabolical. I was all set to Hate this answer when it occurred to me (only just now) that the "Ford" in question is Harrison. My initial thought: "Come on, there must be dozens of movies that were set during the Ford Administration..."
  • 5D: ____ A. Bank, menswear retailer (Jos) - unknown to me
  • 6D: Constellation near Norma (Ara) - ditto
  • 44A: McIntosh cousins (winesaps) - don't understand this at all. Please explain.
  • 13D: "Buy now," e.g. (broker's tip) - I had most of this answer before I got it. In fact, I think I had OKERSTI and couldn't make anything out of it. I kept wanting the first two letters to be SP-, and the "Buy now" to be some kind of advertising come-on. "Buy now" is not a "tip." It's a command.
  • 30A: Playwright Connelly who won a Pulitzer for "The Green Pastures" (Marc) - another unknown
  • 28D: Supreme rulers (paramounts) - very weak. PARAMOUNT is an adjective. Or a movie studio.
  • 22A: Tough guys (Rambos) - weak again. I don't think I've heard the words used in this generic fashion. There's a new RAMBO movie coming out very soon - supposed to be violent as all hell.
  • 23D: Some pitchers (ad men) - ah yes, the old "pitchers"-equals-advertisers trick. Never gets old (read: it got old long ago). I had ARMED ... which I inferred as a possibility from the fact that I knew a pitcher could, in fact, be EARED.
  • 35A: Least interesting (aridest) - no one would ever use this word, but it does go nicely with DESERT (48A: Most of Mauritania)
  • 27D: Dome site (state house) - any state house? All state houses? Is it a rule that they all be domed? Even Nebraska's unicameral legislative body? Well, yes, it turns out.

I'm searching a lot of STATE HOUSEs and they do indeed all seem to have domes. Anyone know of an un-domed state house? Just curious.

Must read / sleep


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Linda G 12:07 AM  

McIntosh and winesap are types of apples.

I knew I wasn't alone with the Ford/president thing. I think we'll find that we were in good company.

Also had TEE for Torah's beginning. Hey, they've done that to us several times!

mellocat 12:49 AM  

Ha! I got AIRFORCEONE mostly from crossings and never realized the Ford in question was the actor's name, not the president's. Don't believe I've ever seen the movie so for all I knew it could have been set during the Ford administration. That's two days in a row a play like that on an actress/actor's name has flown far over my head.

Anonymous 12:51 AM  

I have a feeling that there are many undomed state capitols. The state capitol in Albany is a weird castle.

Steve M

profphil 1:37 AM  


I too fell for the Ford ruse but within a few minutes realized it was Harrison Ford and remembered the movie. It's actually very good for an adventure movie, a genre I usually don't care forlike. It is more recent than the Ford presidency.

As for Torah's beginning, I first tried "tuf" which is the Ashkenazic pronunciation of the Hebrew letter "tav." When "tuf" didn't work I thought they were really being diabolical by going for the first letter in the Torah: Bet, as in Beraishes (or "In the beginning Gcd created" in Genesis, the first book of the Torah ). Finally realized it is spelled as it is pronounced by Sephardim.

I almost never complete Friday's puzzle without help but did so tonight. I had fun with it.

campesite 2:56 AM  

Great twist with the Ford film clue. There was much to like in this puzzle: six eleven letter answers and six ten letter answers made for some wide open real estate. I also liked seeing DNA MOLECULE and JEDIS in the grid.

Kjbrott 7:03 AM  

Winesap is a type of apple.

Howard B 8:21 AM  

Totally missed the Ford movie reference, until long after I filled in the answer. D'oh! I've been caught twice this week by the actor trick, too. If they pull another one of those tomorrow, I'll still fall for it. I just can't help myself ;).

Anonymous 9:02 AM  

I hated " aridest" as it is not necessarily synonymous with boring, or uninteresting. A dry wit can be funny, not dull. A bad clue

triplerose 9:10 AM  

I think I remember learning on a 4th grade field trip to the Capitol building in Albany that there are only 2 state houses without domes - New York and New Mexico.

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

Must add that "Brown with a blue pencil" as in Tina is depicted on the VERY same page in a photo along with a review of her book re Princess Diana.

Pete M 9:20 AM  

AIRFORCEONE was the first answer into the grid; I guess I was just on the right wavelength.


mmpo 9:48 AM  

Carryover from yesterday...
To Profphil (and anyone else who wants to know): on a PC, hit the Insert Key to enter multiple letters in a single square. Today: that's got to be one of the eruditest (if we can say aridest, we can say eruditest, right?) missteps in the history of this blog. :)
To Wendy (still carryover from yesterday): are you a reader of The Funny Times? (There's a regular feature called "News of the Weird.")
Today, not a lot to say, except that I really enjoyed this puzzle.
I had ARMED down for a minute for 23D (Some pitchers) as well.
I also like NONET (the word and the format).
For 15A, I'd pieced together AIRPORTEONE. Couldn't figure out why there would be an E in airport, but left it alone until the end. I really had no idea what word meaning "In the distant past" (4D) might begin with OPY...and rightfully so! As soon as I switched to AIR FORCE ONE, OF YORE fell into place, completing RAMBOS and SPEED BAG--and by the way, is this something boxing aficionados have heard of? Is that what they call that bulbous punching ball that springs back in your face if you're not quick enough?
For 49A (Makes obsolete), I briefly tried REPLACES, but CINA (Brown with a blue pencil) didn't seem right.
McIntosh and Winesap: both apple varieties. Neither one is a favorite of mine, but I do dig the word WINESAP.
34D, Misanthrope: HATER. Lame. But it didn't prevent me from enjoying the puzzle on the whole.
It seems to me that this whole week has been characterized by out-of-the-ordinary puzzles. Hmm, I guess I had a little more than "not a lot" to say after all. Good day...

Michael 10:02 AM  

I was very proud of myself when I filled in BLACK SUNDAY for 15A almost immediately(Jerry Ford role at the end, before they drag the blimp out of the stadium). I kept arguing with the crosses--I really wanted it--until I had to give up. Then I figured--wrong Ford.

Barbara 10:27 AM  

must be a question of age? Mary Blige is a 'gimme' -not for me it wasn't! But who doesn't know that winesap is a kind of apple??? Come on Rex - is the only mac you know a computer?

Norrin2 10:41 AM  

I was into their trick with that President Ford thing but -- showing my age -- I flashed on Glenn Ford not Harrison and it still took me a while to get it.

Caren 11:10 AM  

I was soooo proud of myself for getting both Mr. Bojangles AND Harrison Ford immediately. :-) I wanted the Torah clue to be "And" as in "And in the beginning..."

Orange 11:16 AM  

I don't think they ever have Winesaps at my grocery stores. Granny Smith, Red and Golden Delicious, Gala, Braeburn, Fuji, Pink Lady, Jonathan, McIntosh, yes. Winesap, not so much.

Linda G 11:27 AM  

How about them apples?

For an Orange, you sure know a lot about apples ; )

profphil 11:45 AM  


The book of Genesis, the first book of the Torah begins with Bereshit (Hebrew for "In the beginning"). There is no "and" before "In."

I too do not know who Mary J Blige is. However, her name did ring a bell from the news or talkshows and I first put down Mary K before I remebered J. As to "Mr Bojangles" although I know the song, I did not get the answer until pretty much the very end. Same thing with Bananarama, I vaguely remember the name and not the song "Venus." Popular culture is not my strong suit. The worst is popular sports -- ugh!

McIntosh first threw me off because I thought the apple was spelled "MacIntosh" with an "A."

Andrew 12:00 PM  

"You had me at 1986" - true blue, baby, I love you.

Rex Parker 12:25 PM  

I want to thank the nearly dozen of you who wrote me (publicly and privately) explaining that a "winesap" is a kind of apple.

I feel like I have this immense collective body of knowledge out there (my readers) that I can tap at any second. Maybe I'll start asking random questions like "What's the best vegetarian cookbook?" or "How can I get Alison Bechdel to sign my copy of 'Fun Home?,'" etc.

They don't carry winesaps at my grocery store or Any other store I recall patronizing in my life.

Wendy 12:50 PM  

Loved seeing MR BOJANGLES at 1A. Great sad song written by Jerry Jeff Walker always brings a tear to my eye (see him singing it on youtube), and the late great Gregory Hines was AWESOME in the movie about Bill "Bojangles" Robinson's life. Also on youtube: Bojangles doing his famous stair dancing with Shirley Temple. Think I'd rather have had this clued to credit Jerry Jeff instead of referring to the 1971 cover (one of many) by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - although it was nicely done by them.

(You're right Rex AWESOME is part of the lexicon whomever you might be. Although I do feel Valley Girl-esque when I say it nonetheless.)

Liked LIE AWAKE and reference to ART (a wonderful play if you haven't seen it). Apparently a PARAMOUNT is an overlord sort of person; did not know that. LOT for ultimate outcome was different. I kept wanting CIGAR where DECAF went. And for some reason I thought Stern was an art school, so I had MFAS instead of MBAS which gave me a SPEED FAG vs. BAG. Wrongo!

PS, mmpo - I do know about News of the Weird feature though I don't see it regularly. Should make an effort to.

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

To Rex - Apples have different popularities at different times. I haven't seen a winesap in a store for 50 years, but when I was a kid they were widely used for cooking, as in sauce or pie.

Anonymous 3:13 PM  

And I've been humming "Mr Bojangles" all day.

My quest to confirm which state capitols don't have domes led me to this wonderful site that contains much information about all of them

Many of them have only very minimal domes, and I'm still confused by Hawaii which has none apparent. I also learned that many of the domes were added after the buildings were constructed.

mmpo 3:17 PM  

I used to see winesaps all the time in Washington state--well under 50 years ago! My dad, born in Berkely, CA. in 1930, liked 'em. Otherwise, I might not have noticed. As for vegetarian cookbooks...:)...I won't even say it.

mmpo 3:19 PM  

I can just see the salesan pitching the governor..."you know, most of your neighbors have domes on their capitol buildings. I'm not saying that if you don't have a dome, it looks shoddy, but..."

Anonymous 4:09 PM  

sadly, i actually thought of harrison ford right away -- figured it was a clever clue -- but i still wasn't able to figure out the movie. nunyo

Kitt 5:07 PM  

mmpo: salesman pitch = funny! Thanks for the laugh!

I had the whole right side of the puzzle filled in but it was looking bleak on the left side.....

I was onto the Ford thing right away -- like some others here...but damn if I could remember the movie (kept thinking of "Patriot Games" -- no, that's when he played Jack Ryan -- a clue earlier this week or last week). I cheated just a tiny bit and looked at my Google headings and saw "maps" AHA!

That resulted in "Mr. Bojangles" (which I didn't get as quickly as many seem to have)....after that "Air Force One" and etc became easy to see.


Orange 6:48 PM  

Rex, lemme know if you get the hook-up with Alison Bechdel. I'm reading Fun Home now—yes, I know it's komix and I should have finished it by now, but I spend more time reading the goldurned blogs than actual books, so it's taking me some time.

Wendy 6:59 PM  

Hey Rex: Best vegetarian cookbook - or one I like, anyway - Savoring the Day/Recipes and Remedies to Enhance Your Natural Rhythms. It's more than a cookbook actually but jam packed with nifty stuff all around. Cookbook++, if you will.

Ditto on Alison Bechdel. Her site tells you how to get your bookstore to reach out to her or get her for a speaking engagement, among other things, but you probably already knew that. I got Fun Home out of the library but would buy it to have her sign it; I can't get that book out of my head.

Kitt 7:11 PM  

Y'all have made me put "Fun Home" on hold from the library.

I'll let you know.

Fergus 7:52 PM  

I was thinking of Scotsmen or raincoats for the McIntosh cousins, even with the probabl WINE beginning. And perhaps betraying my age I've been stuck with (I'm your) Venus from 1969 ringing in my head all day long, and had to finally piece together BANANARAMA, along with MRBOJANGLES, which was 1971 cover of Dylan's much earlier original. Fair, but irksome.

Karen 8:08 PM  

Most famous vegetarian cookbook seems to be the Moosewood Cookbook.

Ultra Vi 10:00 PM  

Rex, I think that was a winesap you lifted at the ACPT. ;)

I am terrible at the pop clues, especially if they are from the 70's and 80's. Where was I? Anyway, after googling for Mr. Bo', the rest came pretty easily.

Some fun stuff, like PLAYS AROUND in SAFELY ZONES, LIE AWAKE even after DECAF, and WINESAPS for DES(s)ERT.

Anonymous 10:01 PM  

Lettuce not forget "Diet For A Small Planet."

Complement your proteins!

anne 7:03 AM  

beginning for Torah? "Haf" as in Haftorah which is read during the same service in which the Torah is read. Couldn't bear to see it go...thought I was being so clever!

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

expobill sez:
i stared at this and finished a 6 pack instead.

Kitty 1:42 PM  

Hawaii's state house doesn't have a dome. Hawaii tries to stay pretty much to Hawaiian tradition, and hala mats (woven from the leaves of the hala tree) were roof tops and probably the inspiration for the roof of Hawaii's state house. Domes wouldn't fly in Hawaii....

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

Sign me as thinking the movie clue dealt with The Gerld Ford Administration Not Harrison Ford. The clue should've read film with Harrison Ford as president.

McIntosh cousins (winesaps) is a style of apple, not the computer but the kind you eat. Apples come in varieties such as red delicious, golden delicious, granny smith just to name a few.

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

KY doesn't have a dome on the state house.

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

Montana State House is a 9 story dome

katya 11:55 AM  

Had to look up ID EST. So that's what i.e. stands for! I'm surprised Air Force One was so hard for some people. That movie plays almost nightly on our cable. I had OBVIATES which seemed a perfect Friday-type answer until I realized it was the more Obvious OUTDATES.

Was positively thrilled to see Agatha Christie in the puzzle altho "N or M" isn't one of her best. I don't know best vegt cookbook, but best Christie mystery is "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd." Don't peek at the ending. To my knowledge no human being has EVER guessed this one.

Anonymous 1:51 PM  

6WL :::::

Regarding Senor Bojangles... It was written by Jerry Jeff Walker. Popularized by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. There's a wonderful version by Nina Simone.

Fergus -- it was not a Dylan origninal. Could you be thinking of Senor Tambourine Man?

There's a geat veg restaurant in San Francisco named Greens. Here's a link to what I consider their best cookbook --

I really struggled with this puzzle. At 63a, I entered SAFEHARBORS where SAFETYZONES belonged, and it took me quite a while to see the error of my ways.

On to Saturday......

Waxy in Montreal 6:02 PM  

6 Weeks On:

Between work & the British Open (Golf), quite enjoyed this one. 1A (MRBOJANGLES) was an gimme which gave up the NW corner almost immediately. Also thought the 15A clue was very straight-forward - Harrison Ford came to mind right away.

Must confess I'd never heard of WINESAP apples; guess you can learn something new every day, even when you're over 60!

Also, would have preferred POTENTATES to PARAMOUNTS for 28D...

Anonymous 8:58 PM  

Another 6wl

It probably doesn't matter much 6 weeks later, but I doubt there can be an uglier state capital bldg. than Alaska's. No dome and it looks like a 1950's downtown office building with only the Greek columns at the entrance making it appear to be a gov't building.

After finding this blog mid-winter, I've been enjoying the challenge of Friday puzzles.

WWPierre 8:59 PM  

Growing up in Nova Scotia, there was a company called Sterlings that had roadside stands around the province selling produce, but mostly apples. You could get "McIntoshes", of course, but you could also buy at various times during the season, WINESAPS, wealthies, russets, cox orange, yellow transparents, red astrichans, gravensteins, northern spy, delicious, (red and golden), jonathans, newtons and spartans. Many of these varieties have a very short shelf life, (mere days, in the case of yellow transparents, or "august apples", and red astrichans)and so have not survived Globalization.

This knowledge did not help me with the answer to 44a, however, I thought OILSKINS was a gimme.

MR BOJANGLES really was, and I thought, "this puzzle is gonna be fun" and it was.

I was just into my third cup, and having trouble in New England, and I passed the puzzle to Hanne, my partner of 33 years, (and soon to be my wife on Aug 25, btw)
She got 12a, "Big shot? Hardly! = BBS in about three seconds. Best clue in the puzzle, IMHO. Finished that third cup writing this.

I admit consulting Google, but only to see if there was a dome on the White House.

After I finished, I visited a site called Judaism 101 to check TAV. Even with that and the discussion above, I still don't get it.

I agree that AWESOME has become part of the lexicon, and I use it occasionally even though I have NEVER been on a skateboard. (shiver!)

I wanted PLUTOCRATS for 28d, but, alas, this was not to be.

katya 11:29 AM  

Anon 6WL, I so agree with the Nina Simone version of Mr. Bojangles. Just throwing this in, in case someone wants to check out this spinetingling vocal rendition.

Anonymous 10:32 PM  

ah, I used white house and couldn't come up with the boxing equipment, put in waterbag??? and wondered how I was going to get evil in there.

I thought hebrew right away and wondered how they abreviated aleph first letter of alphabet and thought T was tau or taw in hebrew so was stumped.
I used armed as well in pitchers but didn't get it right so that whole quadrant was a stumper

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