TUESDAY, Aug. 7, 2007 - Daniel Kantor

Monday, August 6, 2007

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: As Heard On "The Sopranos"...

Is FUHGEDABOUDIT (25A: "Not on your life!") standard, spelling-wise? Is that in the dictionary? I feel like half my time on this puzzle was spent amending the spelling for that entry alone. I'm exaggerating, but not a lot.

Other theme answers:

  • 20A: "Just like that!" ("Bada bing!")
  • 42A: "Yeah, wanna start somethin'?" ("You talkin' to me") - that's more "Taxi Driver" than "Sopranos," but whatever
  • 50A: "The Sopranos" clip? ... or where you might hear 20-, 25- and 42-Across (mob scene) - I don't quite get it. Or maybe I do. I mean ... this is a play on words, right? Because MOB SCENE in general usage just means a really crowded place, not a place where mobsters hang out.

I like that the symmetrically-placed EZ-PASS (22A: Electronic toll-collecting system in the Northeast) and BADDIE (47A: No-goodnik) have a certain thematic edge to them, the first relating to Jersey (they have EZ-PASS there, right?) and the second relating to criminality.

Stupid mistakes in this once include the rookie ELSA / ILSA (36A: Rick's "Casablanca" love) screw-up, which kept the cruel-sounding IRON CAGE (36D: Circus animal enclosure) hidden for Far too long. Also the CARATS / KARATS (40A: Gold standards) screw-up. Also had URGED for EGGED (59A: Goaded, with "on"). Also had CREW CUT for BUZZ CUT (9D: Army barber's specialty) - BUZZ CUT is much better, if only for the "Z"s. Had a lot of trouble remembering the correct fill for 30D: "Bali _____" ("Hai"). I had HOO, though I think I was thinking of "ballyhoo." In fact, I'm sure of it. "Bali HAI" is a song from "South Pacific."

Otherwise, no serious trouble. Got off to a bad start when I nailed 1A: Liquor holder in a coat pocket (flask) but proceeded to FLUB every Down off of it except FLAB (1D: "Spare tire"). LAVA was pretty well disguised in 2D: Content of some cones, and KIT BAGS (5D: Toiletries holders) is not a phrase I'm familiar with. To me, KIT implies the BAG. For some reason even 4D: Farmer's headwear (straw hat) gave me a little trouble. And yet I got 7D: Henry Clay, politically (Whig) instantly. Go figure.

URANO took some effort (26D: Heavens: Prefix), and was not terribly welcome after I'd already seen a similarly long prefix in the puzzle at 14A: Milk: Prefix (lacti-). Cleverest answer in the puzzle was definitely A TISKET (41D: Start of an Ella Fitzgerald standard) - and crossing Ella (beautiful name...) with KAREN (56A: One of the Carpenters) makes for a nice little musical moment down there in the SE. Sorry Billy OCEAN (54A: Continent separator) - you aren't allowed in music corner this evening. "Caribbean Queen" will have to wait for another night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS I've finally updated my other blog, where you can now see what I would look like if I were a character on "The Simpsons." Also, I've begun a new project of scanning in / commenting on the covers of the books in my massive vintage paperback collection.

See you tomorrow.


Anonymous 5:18 AM  

5D "Pack up your troubles in your old kitbag and smile, smile, smile." It's an old WWII song. You're too young to know it, Rex.


green mantis 6:18 AM  

Hi Fergus. It's just past three in the morning in San Francisco and I wanted to see how it feels to be an early chimer. I haven't done the crossword yet, so I scrolled to the comments with my eyes unfocused to preserve my innocence. Yawn. Mantis out.

luigi 7:59 AM  

Had the letters filled in but didn't get "A Tisket" at all until I read your blog and googled.
Also had WHIP instead of WHIG and figured SAG was probably the answer but didn't get GAS until just now. Think I need more coffee! I had trouble with the letters in FUHGEDABOUDIT too, imparticular the U in URANO.Glad your blog is here to consult Rex.

thehowie 8:00 AM  

You have a point about about the spelling. When one leaves Brooklyn, the sign says: Fuhgeddaboudit. http://gothamist.com/2003/07/22/leaving_brooklyn.php

But, in any event, that phrase written out always brings a smile to my face.

Pete M 9:16 AM  

KIT BAG slowed me down also, as I had LACTO- instead of LACTI- for the milk prefix. Couldn't figure out what a KOT BAG was...

Sarah 10:46 AM  

Am not a fan of the new size, but do think the the puzzle creator's name is now, rightfully, more noticable.
(Thanks for your message RP- made me feel somewhat better. . .)

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

actually "kit bag" is a WW I term ...that's when the song was really from. It's easy to judge how old someone is by the clues that they easily get or don't get.

Isabella di Pesto 11:22 AM  

Doesn't "clip" also mean "scene?" As in "I saw a clip of the movie?"

FUHGEDABOUDIT is pretty standard for that phrase. I see a lot of it on t-shirts for sale here in the North End of Boston where there are a lot of Soprano fans.

I also had lacto for lacti at first until I remembered hearing about kitbags from someone somewhere at sometime.

Easy and fun.

W.S. Walcott 11:23 AM  

I had a lot of trouble with KIT BAGS. I guess that's a result of only being 23?

I also had CARATS instead of KARATS, which left me wondering what a C-NOB was. Something to adjust the contrast? Really blanked out on that one.

Also, it's worth noting that I've never seen Casablanca, and yet it comes up in crosswords so often that I got ILSA right off the bat.

karmasartre 11:36 AM  

Where did the "H" come from in FUHGEDABOUDIT? Who put it there and why? Got it from STRAWHAT but never would have otherwise. URANO had me wondering...too close to Drano. Saw EZPASS on another puzzle lately, so that was a gimme.

Went against the clock, should have gone with it instead. Still learning to navigate the applet. 295th fastest today! Aaargghhh.

isabella, were you the receptionist on "Moonlighting?"

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

I'm relatively new to crosswords, but I'm pretty annoyed by 50D- labyrinth. In fact a labyrinth and a maze are distinctly different. Is this a common clue in crosswords?

Squash's mom 12:08 PM  

I always feel so much better when I read your blog, Rex, and you struggled with the same things that I did. Thanks for sharing your stumbles!

Rex Parker 12:35 PM  

Found the following explanation of maze/labyrinth here.

Maze vs. Labyrinth
We interchange 'Maze' and 'Labyrinth' although purists will be quick to point out the difference. A Maze is multicursal, or a series of paths with dead ends and can be quite frustrating. A Labyrinth is unicursal, meaning it has only one path and no dead ends.

Fergus 12:44 PM  

So w.s. walcott has never seen "Casablanca?" Amazing. Not even any clips? Don't be surprised that when you finally get around to seeing it that there seem to be so many cliches.

And Mantis, more late chiming from a another Pacific coaster, who has a preference for newsprint.

I thought the "Sopranos" clip going to be a synonym for 'whack.'

There are EZPASSes for the Bay Bridge as well, and I'm assuming for the other local bridges as well, though those I haven't crossed of late.

Rex Parker 12:47 PM  

Rex Parker (37) hadn't seen "Casablanca" until last month. One of those things that's so popular that I decided I needed to know nothing about it (see also the Bible). Now I've seen "Casablanca." Working on Bible.


ayoung 1:09 PM  

Hey, Rex, so you've finally seen Casablanca. Good for you because I have never seen The Sopranos so I winced at the theme of today's puzzle but managed. Would someone please explain, however, what is badabing?

Jerome 1:27 PM  


Good to see you have your priorities straight (-:

sarah 1:39 PM  

Ayoung- The Badabing, sometimes called The Bing, in the Sopranos is the club/bar where Tony and Co. hangout, do business, etc. It is actually a real building (same business) called Satin Dolls in Paramus, NJ.

Fergus 1:48 PM  

The BADA BING is Silvio's strip club, and also serves as sort of an office for the gang.

The FUHGEDABOUDIT 'H' does seem vernacularly appropriate. Think about how Adriana would pronounce Christopher's name: definitely ending with an H.

And I just recently saw "Gone With the Wind" for the first time in its entirety. Much more interesting that way, instead of the highlights and references (including a Simpsons episode) one almost cannot avoid. This, however, hardly amounts to a hill o'beans.

campesite 1:57 PM  

I recently watched Casablanca for the first time in decades and was surprised at just how many famous lines are in the movie.

ayoung 1:58 PM  

Thanks, Sarah, but how does badabing answer the clue""Just like that"? Sorry, I don't get it.

Hobbyist 2:01 PM  

I tried to post on Sat. to say that I was utterly defeated by that puzzle in part that I was sure that "she' referred to the late Linda McCartney. Too bad re yesterday's squabble. I hate to see or read that. Rex is doing a big favor with his blog and so what if he is a speed freak!!

W.S. Walcott 2:33 PM  

fergus, I'll make sure to put Casablanca on my list of movies to watch. After I've seen it once I can "play it again."

ayoung, The badabing is the strip club from the sopranos, but I agree, that does not explain the clue "just like that." As far as I've always understood it, when you say "badabing" you mean something along the lines of "voila" as in "Voila, there it is, just like that." I don't know if this explanation works for anybody else.

hobbyist 2:38 PM  

A boatel is a boat on which one can rent a cabil a la Queen Mary in Long Beach or many similar boats in Europe.

Sarah 2:49 PM  

Ayoung- In the blink of an eye, or the snap of a finger.

Anonymous 2:55 PM  

I'm "shocked, shocked!" that there are persons who have never seen "Casablanca." Some of the comments remind me of the hoary old anecdote about the old lady seeing "Hamlet" for the first time and marveling how full it was of quotations. My usual spelling is "fuhgeddaboutit," or, alternatively, "fuhgeddaboudit." Different strokes, etc. There is a scene in the "fuhgeddable" film "Mickey Blue Eyes" in which a mob guy tries to teach Hugh Grant how to say The Word.

Anonymous 2:57 PM  

Addendum to the previous: Always thought that "bada bing" was onomatopoeia for the sound of a gunshot when someone was being whacked.

karmasartre 3:10 PM  

Pretty sure the gunshot sound is "Bada Bang".

Howard B 3:11 PM  

Not a Sopranos fan, but being from Northern New Jersey (aka Joisey), I can drive down the NJ Turnpike using my EZPass, get off at Route 17, and a few minutes later pass by the fine ...er ...establishment... that is otherwise known as "Bada Bing's" on the show. So this puzzle was right around my old neighborhood, so to speak.
That said, since I'm not a Sporanos fan, I'm ordered by NJ state law to appear in court once a year and recite Bruce Springsteen lyrics in order to keep my NJ residency*. Fail to do so, and you must leave the state within 24 hours.

* Just kidding - NJ would never require such a thing. You can also choose to sing Bon Jovi, if you prefer.

crossnerd 3:14 PM  

FUGHEDABOUDIT tripped me up for a long time as well. The ABOUD in particular really rankles.

Orange 3:29 PM  

Yes, the accepted misspelling is fuhgeddaboutit, clearly. And the H is needed so the reader doesn't mistake the initial batch of letters for the one that sounds like the end of "centrifuged."

kim 3:34 PM  

OT here but if I subscribe to the NYT puzzle $39.95 deal, will I be able to forward the day's puzzle to my husband (who has a printer at work)?

Thanks in advance!


liebestraum 3:51 PM  

Kim -

I think you should be able to - as long as he has the AcrossLite software to open the .puz file.


ayoung 3:59 PM  

Thanks for everyone's helpful comments on badabing. I'll add it to my long, long list of things I need to remember in order to do the puzzles.

Alex 4:00 PM  

There are EZPASSes for the Bay Bridge as well, and I'm assuming for the other local bridges as well, though those I haven't crossed of late.

There is the equivalent of EZ Pass on all the Bay Area bridges but out here it is called Fastrak.

justjordan 4:17 PM  

Isabella dipesto... Fellow solver here from the North End!

Anonymous 4:26 PM  


While I agree with the badabing as a gun shot, I think that the clue was referring more to "badabing badaboom" which is basically voila like w.s. was saying.

Orange 4:29 PM  

Kim, even if he doesn't have Across Lite at work, if you're using a Mac, it's easy to do command-P (not the "print" button above the puzzle) for print but choose "save as PDF" from the print dialog box, and e-mail him the PDF instead. (I have no idea if there's a Windows equivalent of this functionality.) I've sent puzzles to non-addicts this way.

Fergus 5:21 PM  

Alex, you're right about Fastrak --I just supplied more evidence for the suspicion that a move down to Santa Cruz has raised my mental lapse rate.

GK 5:26 PM  

I think badabing badaboom can also function as a rimshot or "touché": it suggests one wisecrack topped by another.

Didn't you find, however, the theme wasn't as sharpened as it could have been? With the exception of badabing, the theme entries were generically mobbish instead of specific to the Sopranos (or just generically NY wiseacreish). I would have loved, say, PAULIEWALNUTS.

Anonymous 6:00 PM  

the way mob scene (50A) was clued caused me to go with mob tease. and i think that's a better answer for soprano clip. but maybe i'm just irked that it was the only place i was stumped in the puzzle. cheers. -- nunyo.

green mantis 6:07 PM  

Ugh, this puzzle felt off. I didn't really like any of the clues for the theme answers. For instance, doesn't a Soprano or whoever say "forget about it" (refusing to use slangy spelling) when he means something like "no problem" or "of course"? It definitely feels more positive than negative as implied by the clue.

And then there's the Taxi Driver problem, and then mob scene, which I don't even have the mental energy to parse. All this just made the puzzle ring a weird off-key note.

Wendy 6:41 PM  

LOL re Casablanca. I haven't seen it either; I've never been a big Bogie fan for some odd reason. I once told a colleague that and he literally screamed in my door like I'd zapped him with an UZI. Apparently it's sacrilegious to have failed in that department. Of course I have my own list of flicks that I'd feel the same way about.

Anyhoo, I liked the Sopranos theme today but I can see that it would have been a bear if the show was unfamiliar. And I always like a puzzle where the WHIGs show up. But in general I liked a lot of the answers. I'm still reeling over yesterday's BOATEL, though. I spent all of my summers as a child on the shores of Massachusetts, Maryland and North Carolina and never once saw this word.

BT 6:48 PM  

I've always heard the phrase as "Badaboom Badabing" (reverse order).

An example of use would be, "I'm walking down the street and see Robert Deniro. He stops me to ask for directions to a restaurant, and next thing you know, badaboom badabing, I'm having lunch with Mr. Deniro himself!"

As for windows... and printing.. if you have installed some sort of "pdf convertor" as a printer, you can print the puzzle NOT to your printer, but to your pdf convertor. This allows you to save anything as a pdf file... which can be emailed and printed by anyone with acrobat reader.

Fergus 6:54 PM  

Most of the mobsters I know say, "Yes, please do kindly forget about this unsavory aspect of our family concern, thank you very much." It is more to the point, and plus, it sounds so much tougher, too.

SATRIALE'S, or even just the Pork Store, ROSALIE APRILE, BORDERLINE PERSONALITY? Oops, that's too many letters.

karmasartre 7:03 PM  

fergus / wonderful / thank you

C zar 7:17 PM  

Late putting in my two bits... my employer has installed a web blocker that prevents me from reading Rex! I think the fact that I was watching "Raging Bull" last night while doing the puzzle may have helped. "Forget about it" is in the script ate least four times (pronounced "fuhgedaboudit").

Fergus 7:35 PM  

With special resonance for Sopranos fans, one clue I would have loved to have seen today would have been: Retirement community. Anwser is NURSING HOME, or UGH THAT PLACE.

Loved the way Tody dropped the euphemism as the therapy progressed.

nitpicker 8:23 PM  

Pretty weak theme - can't believe it. NYSun seems to be rocking lately, as NYT's flailing.

Rex Parker 11:28 PM  

Someone named "sales" misplaced this comment on another day's entry. So I moved it here. Enjoy.


sales said...


Re: Tuesday’s “badabing”

The Sopranos club name “ Bada Bing” is an homage to a famous scene in “The Godfather”.

Here’s the dialogue:

James Caan as Sonny Corleone: "What are you gonna do? Nice college boy, hah? Didn't want to get mixed up in the family business. Now you wanna gun down a police captain? Why, because he slapped ya in the face a little bit? Hah? What do you think this is, the Army, where you shoot 'em a mile away? You gotta get up close like this and, bada-bing!, you blow their brains all over your nice Ivy League suit... C'mere."
Al Pacino as Michael Corleone: "Sonny ..."
Caan: "Mwwaaa! You're takin' this very personal."

In context, listen to the bada-bing wav file on this link


Thus, “badabing” means a combination of (i) shooting someone, (ii) very quickly, and (iii) it’s over. Since then, its meaning has been shortened, depending on the context, to any of the three.

For another view and the derivation:

In 2006, the Oxford English Dictionary decided that the phrase “bada-bing” was worthy of an entry in their esteemed publication. Of course, that is an abbreviated version of the phrase; the traditional use is “bada-boom, bada-bing,” or sometimes even “bada-bing, bada-boom.” In any case, the meaning is always the same: it indicates that something will happen effortlessly and predictably.
Thanks to HBO, many people believe that Tony Soprano invented the phrase. However, when the Planet Hollywood Miami restaurant opened in 1994, actor James Caan was on hand to take credit for the term, claiming he’d coined it when he ad-libbed it as Sonny Corleone in the film The Godfather: “You’ve gotta get up close like this and bada-bing, you blow their brains all over your nice Ivy League suit.” Caan may have embellished his script off the cuff, but he wasn’t the first to utter “bada-bing.”
Pat Cooper (born Pasquale Caputo) is a Brooklyn-born comedian who based many of his routines on his Italian-American upbringing. He was known for his rapid-fire, rat-a-tat delivery, along with his penchant for peppering his routine with many Italian-influenced Brooklynisms, such as “fuhgeddaboudit” (forget about it), “whattamigonnado” and “Bam, bam, bam,” all accompanied by eloquent gestures. In 1958, he premiered a routine entitled “The Italian Wedding” during which he used the phrase “bada-boom, bada-bing” in between descriptions of relatives who were scarfing down piles of capicolla sandwiches. An agent caught his act and booked him on The Jackie Gleason Show. In 1964, he recorded a comedy album based on “The Italian Wedding,” which was a huge seller and also featured the first known recorded uttering of “bada-boom, bada-bing.”

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