SUNDAY, October 28, 2007 - Ben Tausig

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Talking Heads" - theme answers are puns on the names of radio/tv talk show hosts (DONAHUE does radio now, right?)

[updated 1:00pm]

I can't write this up now - got a non-virtual life to lead this a.m. (friends, pancakes, children). So I'll get back to this around, oh, noon maybe.

I will say that I liked this puzzle. Mostly liked it. And I generally dislike puns, so that's saying something. Good to see a Tausig byline in the Times. It's been a while. Ben edits The Onion's puzzle, which you should definitely be doing if you're not already - you can get to it from "Puzzle Pointers" (see sidebar).

off to eat -- and now I'm back

Theme answers:

  • 25A: Al's impressions? (Franken sense)
  • 27A: "What did Bill do to earn this check, anyway?"? ("Why pay Maher?")
  • 48A: Bill's biography? ("Life of O'Reilly")
  • 64A: "And tonight's guest is ... Ann!"? ("You're getting Coulter!") - the best answer in the bunch. Glad it's sitting center stage. I imagine someone's saying this to an audience that has misbehaved in some way and is being punished.
  • 77A: Dance like Rush? (do the Limbaugh) - gross
  • 104A: Phoning Phil and hanging up immediately? (Donahue dare) - "Don't you dare!!"? This is bad, in that DONAHUE does not really sound like "Don't you," and in every other theme answer the pun is on the most interesting / colorful word in the original phrase, and here ... it's not.
  • 106A: Don's parting words (Imus be off now) - this phrase sounds off to me. I wanted "I MUST BE GOING" (perhaps because of the Phil Collins' album "Hello, I Must Be Going"), which, by the way, gets 18 times the hits, as a phrase, that [I must be off now] gets. I'm just sayin'. If you can handle the disturbing racial / imperial imagery of the opening part, this Groucho Marx clip is mildly entertaining]
  • 84D: What the puzzlemaker did to the name in each of this puzzle's theme answers (punned it) - this may be my favorite puzzle pun of all time. It must have been the inspiration for the entire puzzle. Brilliant.
Had two significant problems in the puzzle. The first occurred near the upper midwest, where several interlocking answers were unknown or hazy. 33D: Triple-header (razor) was mystifying me for a very long time (I love the answer, by the way), and that "Z" was the final letter in METZ (43A: Capital of Lorraine) - which I had to run through the entire alphabet to get (a long way from A . . .). Further, the last "R" in RAZOR was the first letter in RAGAS (55A: Carnatic pieces) - not knowing what "carnatic" meant, I wrote in SAGAS for a while. Yikes. I couldn't stop thinking of Carnac. And then, THEN, off that first "A" in RAGAS comes the very difficult FASCES (49D: Roman symbol of power). I've studied Rome a bit and if I've seen this word, it's been a while. Tough rough tough. Lastly, the second "S" in FASCES was an uncomfortable fit for me, as ITS seemed a supremely lame answer for 75A: "_____ time." But there it is. I liked the PETE Rose clue (32D: Red Rose) - please check out yesterday's blog, specifically, the link to the 1970s-era Aqua Velva commercial, for more entertaining PETE.

Took me an embarrassingly long time to piece together OBAMA (8A: Presidential candidate born in Hawaii), who is slowly challenging Eric BANA for the role of the 21st century's Crossword "It Boy." And I totally tanked the nearby crossing of FUJIS (21A: Japanese apples named for a mountain) and BURR (9D: Power-driven shop tool) by mysteriously writing in FIJIS / BIRR. Otherwise, mistakes and real challenges were few, which was a great relief after a couple of brutal puzzles on Friday / Saturday.

Question marks / mistakes:

  • 108D: PBS supporter (NEA) - had CPB at first (Corporation for Public Broadcasting)
  • 13D: High _____ (jinks) - why did I think this was one word?
  • 45D: Ex-Yankee Hideki (Irabu) - OK, I knew this, but omigosh this has gotta be rough for people who don't follow baseball closely. Check out his career MLB stats. Not exactly ... memorable. (I stole this from Wiki)

Hideki Irabu

Starting Pitcher

Born: May 15, 1969 (1969-05-15) (age 38)
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 10, 1997
for the New York Yankees
Final game
July 12, 2002
for the Texas Rangers
Career statistics
Win-Loss 34-35
Strikeouts 405
ERA 5.15
Career highlights and awards


That's right, NONE. I guess his Yankee-ness makes him fair game for a NY puzzle.

  • 47D: "The Galloping Gourmet" host Graham (Kerr) - no idea. Did he ever cook with ...
  • 59D: Mushroom with an umbrella cap (agaric) ? - this fungus is new to me.
  • 90D: With 89-Down, historic part of NW Europe (Norman / Empire) - this is not a phrase I've seen used. I teach about the Norman Invasion a lot (important moment in history of the English language), but not about the NORMAN EMPIRE. Was it really an EMPIRE?
  • 92D: Rabbi's instrument (shofar) - don't get rabbinical with me. You know how ignorant I am. Ugh.
  • 57D: Pedicab alternative (cyclo) - eeks! ygrek! zed! WTF!?

Good stuff:

  • 68A: Old English bard (scop) - grad school comes in handy, for once!
  • 93A: Hawaiian staple vegetables (taros) - This word looks weird pluralized. Why? I miss Hawaii.
  • 6D: Clooney or Rooney (film star) - I shouldn't like this. Why do I like this?
  • 60D: Wrestler Flair famous for the figure four leglock (Ric) - I love this clue so much for not stopping at "Flair."
  • 82D: Arizona state flowers (saguaros) - such a great coincidence - Sahra is learning about deserts in school and is way enthralled by the saguaro, which can "grow up to fifty feet high!" I think she's exaggerating a bit, but not by much:
  • 87D: Position in a rhythm band (maracas) - got this with remarkably little help. Seemed far-fetched when I wrote it in, but it was right. Always love taking a risk and having it pay off.
  • 91D: Some seal hunters (Aleuts) - as with MARACAS, I just wrote it in instinctively, and it ended up being right. Could have been INUITS, I suppose.
  • 107D: Black pride cut, informally ('fro) - love it.
  • 103D: Set before V (RSTU) - so bad it's good.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Orange 11:52 AM  

Ben Tausig also contructs a weekly puzzle for the Chicago Reader via his own Ink Well syndicate. It's one of those third-wave crosswords aimed at a younger audience, so there are music clues about current bands and artists, a touch of video games, and the occasional naughty clue or answer that would never appear in the Times crossword.

If that appeals to you, I encourage you to visit Ben's Google Groups page and sign up to receive the Onion and Ink Well puzzles via e-mail every week.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

I found this puzzle really easy and a lot of fun, I guess since I love good puns, i.e., puns that you really have to stretch for.

Howver, Never heard of SCOP as a syn for BARD.

Ulrich 12:37 PM  

Can someone explain the O'Reilly pun to me?

I was less enamored by the puzzle because I found several theme answers forced. The left middle section was almost unsolvable for me because I've never heard of a "cyclo" or "scop", and "boost" doesn't really mean "back" (or does it?). But once I found cyclo through googling--after much frustration, things resolved themselves.

David Byrne 12:49 PM  

Wow: O'Reilly, Limbaugh and Coulter...what about the Morning Breakfast Table test? Please.

I found this puzzle just right for Sunday: engrossing, fun and doable. I had two problems: where RAGAS (Carnatic pieces) crosses FASCES (Roman symbol of of power) -- I didn't know either, and at 68a SCOP. SAD had to be right but I still struggled committing to SCOP. A rapper's name? Sure. Most of a mouthwash? Why not? Just couldn't get my mind around the old English bard definition. Aaahh, something old every day.....

Toscanini's first name gets me out of a pickle every twenty-five puzzles or so. Good to know.

Years ago, I was told Oscar Wilde said "A pun is one word on top of another...being sexual", which I took as gospel. Now, unfortunately, Google search reveals no such quote. Heartbreaking.

anoa 1:03 PM  

I must disagree with the Rexman about the Imus answer. It's almost a twofer pun as Imus was banished off the air, back to the pre-radio days (though he's now apparently coming back on WABC).

Though it didn't quite leave me with howls and roars, I did enjoy the Indian / cinema cross.

I don't know scop nohow neither.

But my only real complaint with today's puzzle was there was trop francais for my grade ecole french. The en in enami nearly killed me in the sw. And while I could take the water with Proust, (mostly because I learned about the agua in the mar from Rex a couple weeks ago), I had no idee Metz was the capital of Lorraine.

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

punned it - pundit
ya gotta love that!

Ben Goetter 1:12 PM  

"Punned it" - so wrong, so very wrong. And as the last clue (filling in top to bottom, left to right), leaving a vile taste that will linger all morning. OH THE HUMANITY

Orange 1:19 PM  

Rex, the Mac widget's dictionary doesn't even know hijinks exists as a word. The American Heritage Dictionary lists it as a variant of high jinks. I suspect the existence of hijack makes hijinks seem more natural to me than "high jinks."

I'm gonna start calling a dull and non-boisterous time "low jinks."

Best line in today's post: "(do the Limbaugh) - gross." Midrise jinks!

Fabiola Thing 2:09 PM  

Ulrich said...

Can someone explain the O'Reilly pun to me?
"Life of Reilly"

sue 2:21 PM  

"Life of Riley" --

This radio show popularized the phrase.

wendy 2:49 PM  

Yeah, nice puzzle. I'll check other Tausig stuff out. Working the downs first, I got RED WINGS right away and was hoping for an easy time of it, but it was not to be.

Re: SAGUAROS. Visiting the Saguaro National Park outside of Tucson in the Sonoran Desert is one of the freakiest experiences I've ever had. I'm not exaggerating when I say that the forests of cacti in that place look like they are alive. Well, they *are* alive, but I mean they look like an army of bizarro beings that could decide to swarm you at any moment and you'd never be seen or heard from again. I was fascinated by them. Go if you have the opportunity.

I wish POLYESTER had been clued after the John Waters movie, who btw is coming to Akron to speak in a week or two. Woo hoo! How come Mink Stole never appears in the puzzle anyway? Seems like a great answer.

EASY A'S was a great answer too paired with its clue. I was pleased to get it.

Anonymous 3:01 PM  

As an ALS widow, I'm grateful to Will Shortz, who usually eschews (!) illnesses in his puzzles, for cluing 72A as "Lou Gehrig's disease: abbr." instead of "Pacino and Hirt" or the like.

Chris 3:13 PM  

Hideki Irabu was like Dice K before Dice K. The Yankees really hyped him up before he came over here, and he had one or two good games before he started stinking up the stadium. Then he started throwing temper tantrums on the mound, and Steinbrenner called him "a fat, pussy [like pus-filled, not the other pronunciation] toad" to the media. His name would be easily recognizable to anyone from New York who followed baseball in the late 90s.

Michael 3:27 PM  

This was a pleasant relief after the BEQ Saturday. I almost got stuck at the very end with capital of Lorraine. I have some ancestors from Alsace-Lorraine and thought that I knew that the capital was Nancy. As I was heading to google (I had "Me space space") the name "Metz" flashed into my mind and I saw that the crosses worked. (And I should have gotten them anyhow.)

Well, it turns out that Nancy and Metz are both capitals of Lorraine. Perhaps like Bolivia with La Paz and Sucre. There are surely other examples, but I don't know of them...

"punned it" is just great, even if I didn't understand "pundit" until I looked at this blog.

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

The FASCES became the symbol of the party of Mussolini, hence the FACSISTS (FASCISTI, in Italian).

Fergus 3:30 PM  

Seems like the trouble spots were generally the same for most today. I had Kentucky Missouri problems due to assuming that 44D had to be DONATE for Be a benefactor instead of the correct DO GOOD. Can't really argue with this, but want to anyway. 75A gave me "AT A time" so the Angels took a long time to find their place.

I liked all the Downs in the South East, especially the Tsk!/FOR SHAME pairing. Two ID answers (15D & 109A) was a minor but noticeable deviation from the repetition taboo. The Sequel sequel (III) was clever in my book, but the corresponding Downs, LIARS and YIPS were sorta lame.

One other big error sequence arose from DELICIOUS instead of DESIRABLE for 73D. Oh well, this puzzle was neither, yet it was perfectly palatable despite the undesirables and blow-hards populating the central ranks.

The EN AMI expression keeps showing up, but I've never heard this from a Francophone despite a fairly comprehensive exposure. Anyone have an authoritative opinion?

jilmac 3:37 PM  

After Saturday this was quite a relief! Pretty easy going most of the way altho' 'scop' and 'cyclo' got me too. For some reason I always thought the phrase was 'high jinx' so that got me at first until ' naked eye' was obvious. Even after I had all the theme clues and 84d, still didn't really appreciate the theme too much

jae 3:38 PM  

A fun and clever puzzle but a bit frustrating for me after an errorless Fri. & Sat. I got hung up where Rex did in the RAGAS/FASCES/IRABU area. I knew IRABU but not how to spell it, never heard of the others, and guessed the wrong vowels. It required a post-solve google check to correct it. That said, I did guess right on SCOP/CYCLO (one out of two isn't too bad). I was a history major for a while and also never heard of the NORMAN EMPIRE.

I liked the balance between right and left pundits with IMUS somewhere in the middle.

Anonymous 3:39 PM  

Hweat !
Scop: an Old English term for poet. In Anglo-Saxon culture, the scop had the important job of singing about the accomplishments of his patron and his people. The scop functioned as both an entertainer and as an historian.


murfens 3:50 PM  

Just finished the puzzle with the last 4 fill-ins being METZ, RAZOR, RAGAS and FASCES. Had to Google for METZ (which also listed NANCY as the capital of Lorraine - so which is it?) and for FASCES, which I had never heard of before but which is turns out is on the back of the Mercury head dime. Who'd a thought? Also never heard of a BURR and plan to google that once done here - only got it by getting the crosses. SCOP(?!) was also a new one for me.

While I'd hate to time myself on any puzzle and try to compare it to Mr. Rex, I sure like it when we get relatively stuck on the same answers - makes me feel like I really am making some progess on getting the hang of this challenging little diversion from the more important matters of life.

Also did my first ONION puzzle recently and will check them out more regularly based on the helpful info provided by Orange. Also becuz Orange is in Chicago, my former hometown, I feel impelled to read her insightful comments (it helps that she is also clearly very intelligent).

I also relate to the fact that tho I live in NY, I am a Red Sox fan (NOT something one talks about openly in these parts). Tho I would root for the dear old Cubs, should there ever be a contest between those 2 teams (BOS vs. CHI). So, congrats to the Red Sox on getting thru one more game on the way to yet another well-deserved championship.

OK, back to crosswords - I love this blog and have told any fellow NYT puzzle worker about it - and even those that don't do the Times puzzles to get an idea of just how fun and interesting filling little squares in with letters can be.

green mantis 4:27 PM  

I was bugged by the O'Reilly answer. I understood that we were heading toward "Life of Riley," but I felt with great conviction that the punned answer should be "Life O'Reilly." Because "o" means "of." "Life of O'Reilly" just feels...wrong, and not punny, and not in keeping with the other theme answers, which are things people might say. So I just stared in defiance at the two "extra" spaces in the answer and refused to put in the letters. Am I just strange-brained today? I think it's possible.

campesite 4:39 PM  

I really like Ben Tausig's constuctions, this one included.
Did anyone else notice that LIARS crosses both O'Reilly and Coulter?

johnheaton 4:40 PM  

If you've ever watched a State of the Union address, you've seen a pair of FASCES without knowing it. They're mounted on the rear wall of US House of Representatives chamber on either side of the Speaker's chair. I guess I can't do a hyperlink in one of these comments, so paste this into your browser if you care to see them:

Loved the theme, loved loved loved, PUNNED IT, even though I don't think Phil DONAHUE is one.

Fergus 4:49 PM  

Come to think of it, FRANKENSENSE was the only good pun in the bunch. The others elicited more of a grimace than a groan. As much of a political preference as a pronunciation congruence bias possibly. I concur with Green Mantis, and would add that there's not even a pun there.

Rex Parker 4:51 PM  

Irabu never won a postseason game, let alone a World Series game.

He never won 15 games in a season.

He never struck out 200 batters in a season.

Dice-K did these all in his first year in the league. So the comparison ... it's a little weak.


Fergus 5:03 PM  

... plus, Dice-K threw a flurry of deceptive pitches in Game 3 last night. It's a pleasure to watch such capable pitching -- I was disappointed he was taken out in the sixth, though maybe he had run out of gas.

Fergus 5:14 PM  

... that Hideki had one post-season appearance with the Yankees in 1999, giving up 7 earned runs to the Red Sox.

Anonymous 5:32 PM  

104A: I thought DONAHUEDARE was meant to be something along the lines of "Doing/done a who's there". "Don't you dare" doesn't make any sense.

Rikki 5:47 PM  

Thought this puzzle was great fun after two toughies, though I didn't care much for either 'why pay maher' (wantes Moyers) or 'donahuedare' as puns. I did like donahuedare sitting on top of caller id, a modern convenience that must curtail the kind of crank phonecalls my siblings and I thought were entertaining before the advent of technology.

Didn't know fasces or Irabu, Matzui and Tojo being the only Hidekis that came to mind, but got them by the crosses. I don't understand the 48D 54A lett/pen cross. Pen feels right as flair, but shouldn't the resident of Riga be a Latt, making pen pan? Help?

Liked seeing Uta because I learned about her last week, but why is she here again so soon? Loved seeing Aja which is on my top ten take-to-a-deserted island albums (oops that would be CDs now, I guess). Had marimba for maracas briefly and really wanted cycle where cyclo was even though 'do the limbaugh' was obviously correct.

Hello, I must be going
I came to say I cannot stay
I must be going
I'm glad I came, but just the same
I must be going!

Thanks for the clip, Rex. The Imus fill brought the song to my mind, too. Classic Groucho.

Would love to see the Sox do it in four, but also wouldn't mind seeing them come home for the final win. Either way ROCK THE ROX, SOX!!

Fergus 6:16 PM  

Rikki, Animal Crackers, right? Duck Soup is my favorite, because I can sing along

Fergus 7:18 PM  

Noted: symmetry of
Hot Made-up Stolen Kisses

Bob 7:52 PM  

(Donahue dare) - "Don't you dare!!"?
Terrible. What does this have to do with a hang up phone call?

Again pardon my ignorance, "If you can handle the disturbing racial / imperial imagery of the opening part, this Groucho Marx clip is mildly entertaining]" Why is this "Racial"?

rick 8:14 PM  

Did the exact same thing with Fijis/Fujis and didn't realize it until I went back and checked after reading the blog.

Also didn't know SCOP or CYCLO. For CYCLO I think a better clue would have been just "pedi alternative"

Also got stuck on the IRABU, RAGAS, FASCES. I did know fasces but spelled it faches at first.

If you are not familiar with fly agaric mushrooms then you will not be uncomfortable when your children get older and the discussion turns to recrational drug use.

Anonymous 8:59 PM  

Punned it . . . loved, loved LOVED IT. Best crossword answer of the year. The best clue of the year is still 2006 Olympics host (Costas).

Eileen, the Crossword Queen (sometimes)

MacMouse 9:40 PM  

Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet, was an Englishman who moved to New Zealand from where he began his cooking show career in the late 1960s to very early 1970s. He was famous for his liberal use of wine in cooking and usually had a glassful in his hand. He sipped from it throughout the show, and I thought he was frequently done before the food was.

Orange 10:00 PM  

Bob: Note the different roles played by white actors vs. black ones. See which ones are in "tribal" garb working as servants? And which ones are in more formal attire for a party?

Also, a kid might dare another one to make a prank phone call—a DONAHUE DARE could be a dare to call Phil Donahue and hang up once he answers.

Last March, Phil Donahue was the 642nd fastest crossword solver in all the land.

DS 10:39 PM  

Rex et al,
The comparison between Irabu and Dice-K in my book has to do with the hype before their arrival, not their performance. Irabu was one of the very first to come to the US - and, as usual, the Yankees set a new standard in hype (although spending a million just to be able to negotiate with someone the way the Sox did with Dice-K is not exactly peanuts).

Hank Heijink 10:41 PM  

Sorry if this is a dumb question - I'm not getting "Why pay Maher". Could someone please enlighten me?

Nice to see high jinks in the puzzle. My last name (Heijink) is always mispronounced "high-jink" instead of "hey-ink". :-) Can't blame anyone though; it's hard enough for the Dutch themselves...

Chris 10:57 PM  

Re: Dice K:

I meant that he was a heavily hyped pitcher from Japan and was supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread. If I remember correctly, many teams were interested in him, but he would only play for the Yankees.

Aaron 11:10 PM  

I thought this was ambitious, but ultimately there weren't enough parallels in the theme answers for me. The first two I got were "Frankensense" and "Imus be off now". The first is punning on something entirely different from the intended meaning, while the second just has two words replaced with a similar-sounding name. Anyone with me on this?

jae 2:14 AM  

Hank -- WHY PAY MAHER is a pun on the advertising phase "WHY PAY MORE?" The MAHER in the pun is the comic/pundit Bill Maher who has a show on HBO called "Real Time with Bill Maher." Hope this helps.

billnutt 2:52 AM  

Love seeing all the Groucho references in the blog today. My favorite Karx movie has to be HORSE FEATHERS, though, for the football game alone. (Whenever a student comes to my class late, I make him say the password "Swordfish.")

A real WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF fest this week, huh? Albee turns 80 in March, I think, and there are a slew of productions in the NY/NJ area between now and then.

I got a kick out of this puzzle. Interestingly, a number of the talk-show hosts in this puzzle were recently parodied in the SPIRIT comic book that Darwyn Cooke is doing for DC. Even more interestingly, in that story, they all get OFFED.

Hank Heijink 10:29 AM  

Thanks Jae! I didn't catch on because maher sounds so far from more to me (maybe I just pronounce his name wrong though). Kind of weak, that pun. Liked the others better.

Barbara 10:58 AM  

Hank, Bill Maher's name has one syllable, but sounds more like "mahr" than "more" to me. I don't get the Donahue thing either, but I do remember making those calls as a kid!

Rex, I loved your picture of Carnac... I had the same image that I couldn't shake.

One of the fascinating thing about pop culture (like Life of Reilly) is that for every person who thinks it's easy, there's another who's never heard it.

Anonymous 2:13 PM  

More on "scop": in Old English it would have been pronounced something like "shop," and it's related to the word for "shape." Poets, therefore, are "shapers."

elsie 8:13 PM  

The best pun--many of the puns weren't as in Life of O'Reilly and Punned it is too cloy--was "they come to une tete." Never got idees, which makes it for me the hardest as well.

dsl 9:52 AM  

It must just be me-how do you get "boost" from "back"? That was the one where I just refused to fill in the letters until I had no choice because the across clues all worked.

The rest of the puzzle was fine-some high points and low points that have already been mentioned.

I've just discovered this blog but love it! Thanks.

bruce 9:07 AM  

I absolutely hated this puzzle....they are becoming lately so is just me?
so of the answers are getting so ridiculous. "Scop"? "Cyclo"?
"Ragas"? "Fasces"?

And 30A (the clue "Sum" should have been "italicized" being Latin...I kept wondering what the Brit-speak for "sum" (as in total) was!!! ARRRGHHH

Can someone explain how 8D (Iced) was "Offed"????

109A Took me ages and ages and ages and ....ARGGH they tricked me becuase I had already used "ID" in 15D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why am I a glutton each work for this torture ;-)

Rex Parker 9:15 AM  

To ICE someone is slang - means to KILL someone.

SCOP and RAGAS seem fair enough, but the others are a bit brutal, you're right.


Anonymous 12:36 PM  

DONAHUE DARE - I took this to read: Don't know who there.

As for BACK and boost - to back can mean to support. Ever heard of a booster club?

Anonymous 11:13 PM  

Rex I love your blog and no matter how long it takes me to finish this puzzle, I always can't wait to read your comments and share in your frustrations and happy arrivals at answers. But how old are you? I used to watch Graham Kerr with my grandmother; he was also known for very rapid dicing of ingredients(effortlessly) with huge sharp knives, and good sense of humor (that could have been the wine)...

Anonymous 3:08 AM  

Frankinsense? That's incense right? So what does that have to do with impressions? It has to make sense both ways to be a pun I do believe.

And "Imus be off now" is pure genius. It's kind of so cute and hilarious!

theblankline 4:04 PM  

i figured out most of it - got stuck where most of you did. Still don't get how MEL is a neighbor of GER. help there would be appreciated as it's making me nuts.

Guy 10:37 AM  

It's not MEL it's BEL. The B comes from BINOCULAR for human vision

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

anonymous asked:
"Frankinsense? That's incense right? So what does that have to do with impressions? It has to make sense both ways to be a pun I do believe."

Don't think "impressions", think "impression". To get a sense of something is to get an impression of it, a feeling, if you will. "I get the impression you're not too fond of me." The "Franken" part refers to Al Franken, the political pundit of the clue.

Michael5000 3:44 PM  

Relevant to no one, but I feel the need to tell the world that this was my least favorite Sunday crossword ever, to date. Dumb theme with double-dumb theme answers. Boring fill. Took all week, just because it was so uninteresting to work on.

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