SUNDAY, Nov. 4, 2007 - Bob Klahn

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: "Common Ends" - theme answers begin and end with same three-letter combination

[updated 10:05 a.m.]

I saw Bob Klahn's name and knew I was in for trouble. This puzzle was So Hard for a Sunday. There were precisely NO parts of it where I felt like I sailed through. Every new clue felt like a slog. On the whole I enjoyed the experience, but I tend to resent the puzzles that seem like they are trying deliberately to be super-difficult. Clever and fun beat difficult. I love a challenge, but challenge without joy ... just sucks. This puzzle did not suck, though parts of it were borderline. I had an error in what I consider a deeply unfair crossing up near the top. But for every moment of teeth-gnashing, I had some fun or otherwise revelatory experience. So ... all in all, a bracing challenge. The theme itself is nothing to write home about, but some of the answers are.

Theme answers:

  • 23A: Best Picture of 1954 ("ON The WaterfrONT")
  • 33A: In addition to (OVEr and abOVE)
  • 59A: High-end version of a product (DELuxe moDEL)
  • 80A: Singer with the 1996 #1 hit "You're Makin' Me High" (TONi BraxTON) - now here's where (I'm guessing) your typical puzzler and I part ways. I'm going to guess that this clue gave a number of people fits, or otherwise made them think "???" Whereas this was the Very First Answer I put in the grid. Despite singing some crap R&B pop now and again, this woman can sing. Love her.
  • 106A: Role for Alec Guiness and Ewan McGregor (OBI-Wan KenOBI) - genius answer; best of the lot by far. I'm still surprised that I spelled it correctly the first time out.
  • 116A: Broadcast with Baba Booey, with "The" ("HOWard Stern SHOW") - Perhaps you are thinking "This is a bit of pop culture that Rex will surely enjoy." If so, you are incorrect. I did, however, see that movie based on Howard Stern's life ("Private Parts?") and strangely liked it.
  • 16D: Where to find the Windward and Leeward Islands (LESser AntilLES)
  • 50D: Fancy salad ingredient (ARTichoke heART) - you'd normally pluralize this when talking about what you want on your salad, but still, a nice, yummy answer.
Off to drink coffee and eat sourdough french toast, which my wife is graciously preparing in the kitchen right now. More in an hour or so.

RP

And I'm back.

I was done in by the following crossing:

  • 12D: With Altair and Vega, it forms the Summer Triangle (Deneb)
  • 29A: Olympic troublemaker (Eris)

Though I know ERIS as a sower of discord, it was Never a name I considered there. I thought ARES, then I thought IRIS (messenger and goddess of the rainbow). Threw out ARES because I thought IVAN was a much better answer than EVAN for 30D: One of the Brothers Karamazov - and I was right. So I went with IRIS / DENIB. DENEB is the strangest looking word I've ever seen and I've never ever heard of it ever in my life (unlike Altair and Vega). I should have known IRIS was wrong, as it appears in another (deadly) answer in today's puzzle (see below).

There was one other area where I nearly became completely derailed. It extends from TOULA (44D: Bride in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding") in the "Wyoming" section of the puzzle to GEL (87A: Lose liquidity) in the "Missori" section. Problem started when I wrote in NAG AT where ANGST was supposed to go (70A: Worry). Thus I had 71D: Boodle (swag) beginning with "A," which caused me to forget completely what the hell "boodle" meant. Further, I had SET for GEL for a while. So even though I had a very solid EDGAR (61D: Annual literary prize since 1946) going straight through the heart of this section, it didn't much matter.

Smiley faces:

  • 4A: State secrets (blab) - "state" as a verb; nice
  • 28A: Half-Betazoid on "Star Trek: T.N.G." (Troi) - this woman is quickly becoming crosswordese, but this clue is loopy enough to make me not care
  • 66A: Ring Lardner title character (Alibi Ike) - Love this name - took a while to come to me, but since I've seen him once before in the puzzle, he didn't scare me too much
  • 84A: Lovers' plight (troth) - as with [State secrets], above, a nice play on words
  • 99A: Master of the double take? (Noah) - Whoever wrote this is surely proud of himself, and he has a right to be
  • 111A: Transcontinental bridge, e.g. (isth.) - 7th grade geography words RULE (86A: Reign)!

Frowny faces:

  • 45D: Nursery nappy (didy) - on SO many levels, this answer gets a frowny face. Double frowny face. Ugh.
  • 91D: Snap (foto) - what? Apparently "snap" became a noun when I wasn't looking, and then people started actually writing FOTO (perhaps because of the time it saves them to write one less letter...?)
  • 97D: Block buster? (ice man) - like ... the guy who delivers ice ... in 1910? I have an image of a caveman bursting free of the ice in which he's been encased for thousands of years. ICEMAN also means "a hired killer." Why not go that route?
  • 57D: Common baseball count (one and O) - why don't I like this!? I think it's the combining of number and letter in the same answer; something's rubbing me the wrong way

Mystery clues (look how many!):

  • 14A: "The Perfect Fool" composer (Holst) - as far as HOLST goes, I know "The Planets" ... that is all.
  • 20A: Anise-flavored aperitif popular in Turkey and the Balkans (raki) - My favorite in the series: "RAKI III"
  • 47A: Doll in "A Doll's House" (Nora) - more literary blind spots
  • 48A: Biblical name meaning "laughter" (Isaac)
  • 63A: Berenstain of kid lit's Berenstain Bears (Stan) - long way to go for STAN. I just had to type "Berenstain" twice. It's a Horrible name. Why oh why couldn't it just be "Berenstein?"
  • 68A: "Sweet _____" (1937 Oscar song) ("Leilani") - I got nothing here
  • 73A: "Anne of Green Gables" setting (Avon Lea) - looks soooo wrong
  • 96A: French mime (Pierrot) - again, got nothing
  • 101A: Showy climber (clematis) - I've baaaarely heard of this. Botany!
  • 112A: City near Carson National Forest (Taos) - "Carson" sounds like it's in Nevada. Guess not.
  • 121A: Champagne department (Marne)
  • 122A: French "White House" (Elysée) - so wanted MAISON BLANCHE
  • 128A: Key of cartooning (Ted) - I SAID I GOT NOTHING. "UNCLE," already, sheesh.
  • 13D: Colt .45s, today (Astros) - so embarrassed not to have known this
  • 59D: Oscar winner as Mr. Chips (Donat) - insert generic actor man's face here
  • 81D: Moviedom's Massey (Ilona) - if you're counting at home, that's now ... oh, I don't know, at least five film clues I have not known. Ugh.
  • 42D: In film, gradual appearance of an image through an expanding circle (iris in) - holy crap this is just the purest of pure insanity. I guess Klahn gets some special pass for super-marginal words because he is such a puzzling bad-ass. I will call it the "RAKI pass." You get one of these on Friday, two on Saturday, one on Sunday. Clearly Klahn had some saved up.

I feel compelled to give a shout-out to Laurence STERNE (17D: "A Sentimental Journey" author), for reasons I don't quite understand. Perhaps it's in honor of my best friend and erstwhile 18th-century scholar Ms. Strohmer. Who can say?

Happy End of Daylight Saving Time,

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

62 comments:

Orange 8:47 AM  

Now, that's odd. I thought I was in for a Rollercoaster of Difficulty when I saw the Klahn byline, but then it seemed of average Sunday difficulty.

I thought Baba Booey was some '50s reference I didn't know—not a Howard Stern fan. But Private Parts was a good movie—I have associated the talented Paul Giamatti with pig vomit ever since.

Karen 8:59 AM  

I laughed at loud when I finally got the NOAH answer. I was done in by my lack of knowledge of French geography (MARNE). I had convinced myself that a PINATA could be considered a top. I liked the overall theme. Even without my errors, this one took longer than an average Sunday for me.

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

I didn't even figure out the theme 'til I got here . . . and I do the Sunday puzzle on Saturday. I kept looking for what the ends of the theme answers had in common. DOH!

Alibi Ike and Howard Stern gave me some trouble. And didy? WTF is that? (And yes, I know what a nappy is in the UK.) I found it a bit more challenging than a typical Sunday, but not a hair-puller.

I liked today's Puns and Anagrams, which only gave me one or two fits (usually it's a lot more). Maybe I'm just getting better at it, as I only started doing the P&A's a few months ago (probably wishful thinking).

Eileen, the (sometimes) Crossword Queen

Pinky 9:38 AM  

SW corner was the worst for me after ICEPIK and ICEAXE wouldn't work

Also I had TRYST for TROTH. Isn't plight a bad thing? Or does it just sound too much like blight?

And AMAIN? What Horatio Hornblower chapter did that come from?
(OK, maybe I got a little annoyed today too)

Gary 9:53 AM  

I didn't find it all that difficult. A few tough spots, but overall kind of medium. First theme answer I got was HOWARDSTERNSHOW which made the theme itself obvious

jlsnyc 9:53 AM  

yeah, pinky -- i was surprised by the cluing of "troth" as "plight" as well, but a secondary meaning of the word *is* "a solemn pledge of faith"... interesting word then, plight -- with both a negative and positive (i assume...) connotation!

count me as a fan, too, of "noah" as the "master of the double take." sweet.

was surprised that "lei" and " sweet leilani" appeared in the same puzzle. but i know there's wiggle-room for that particular kind of repetition.

and count me, too, in that number that found this puzzle to be difficulter-than-usual for a sunday. thank you, messrs. klahn and shortz!

;-)

janie

billnutt 10:02 AM  

I didn't get the theme until about five minutes after I finished the whole thing.

This was one of those puzzles that had an intriguing mix of gimmes and head-scratchers. How could I not like a puzzle with ONTHEWATERFRONT as an answer, though?

Several problem areas. One was sheer stupidity/myopia on my part: I read the clue for 18d (Churchill and Disraeli) and thought it was supposed to go in 16d, so I wrote PRIMEMINISTERS. And it fit! Tooke me a while before I realized the error of my ways.

I had STREAKER instead of STRIPPER, and that just messed up the NW area - especially since the first O on OVERANDABOVE gave me OK followed by a blank square for "elect." Big problems there.

The SW was also a tangle, because I kept looking for the THING that chops the ice (ICEAXE is what I had for the longest time), not the person. Oh, for an reference to Eugene O'Neill! And the cluing for ANTES was devilishly clever, though it contributed to the congestion.

When I saw the Y as the first letter for 123a ("Jerk"), I immediately put YANK. And I'm embarrassed to say that, in my high-school Spanish ignorance, I initially misspelled ELYSEE as ELYSSE. So ashamed, especially since Willie Nile has a great song called "Champs Elysee."

Am I the only one who cringed a bit at FOTO? And MIRY? What's up with THAT?

Batgirl and Wonder Woman! Two puzzles in a row with superhero references! Still, I wonder if Marvel will demand equal time.

Orange, I'm with you 100% on Stern, PRIVATE PARTS and Paul Giammati. I used to say that Bud Cort (HAROLD AND MAUDE) would play me in the movie of my life. Now I'm leaning toward Giamatti.

jlsnyc 10:23 AM  

"miry" raised a flag for me, too, billnutt -- but it's legit. and so is its equally odd noun form: miriness.

;-)

janie (or "ms. me-too" this a.m.)

Orange 10:32 AM  

Eileen, didy and dydee, as used in the names of these cloth diaper services, is baby-talk for "diaper." As in "Hold your baba while Dada changes your didy."

Greater Aunt Tilly 10:46 AM  

I agree with Janie 100% -- TROTH, NOAH, LEI / LEILANI, difficult for Sunday. I remember in Wordplay, when some constructor was announced, there was a lot of good-natured moaning. Was that Bob Klahn?

Never heard of AVONLEA, and ALIBIIKE was going very far back -- the Delaware region was extra hard as a result.

Pine nuts are often an ingredient in Basil PESTO (some chefs prefer the taste of walnuts), but is PESTO a topping? For me, it's a sauce, and they are different animals. I s'pose it can be used as a topping though. For a real treat, make Ming Tsai's Asian Pesto (easily googleable) -- great on anything (even if you substitute peanuts for the highly caloric Macadamias).

No idea till now -- what ISAAC means, DENEB, PIERROT. Good to learn. Also, "Betazoid"; I guess the preliminary test version of some species will have to do until the real deal is released.

Stumbled on FEMALES...not for the first time in my life.

Seeing HOLST in play calls forth the seven movements of his The Planets. He never added a "Pluto" movement, and now there is no need. Come back, Pluto, we hardly knew ya'.

Martin 10:54 AM  

Rex,

"Smile" captures the reaction of Abraham (age 99) and Sarah (age 90), when they were told they'd have a son if they followed certain protocol. "You want me do what to my what?." There's something almost blasphemous in the name Isaac (it certainly doesn't convey the sort of obedient faith the sacrifice story is about) that is very human. "Meet my boy, Smirk."

Whitey's mom 10:55 AM  

If your dad was a great fan of Hawaiian music, and who isn't, and played it constantly, Sweet Leilani would have been a gimme for you as it was for me.

Good puzzle except I got hung up on Lesser Antilles for some reason.

GK 11:02 AM  

Any answer I learned from H.A. Rey is cool, and that includes DENEB. He wrote a delightful book "The Stars," with his unmistakeable drawings. Common star names come to us from Arabic, which is probably why they look so unusual.

I also thought IRISIN was a nice entry, but it was clued backwards. The "gradual appearance of an image through an expanding circle" is an Iris-Out. In an Iris-In, the circle contracts until you see only one key object.

jae 11:04 AM  

My first thought when I saw Klahn's name was "uh-oh," but I was pleasantly surprised. I found this about right for a Sunday with an appropriate mix of gimmes and lurkies*. I worked it steadily from top to bottom and never got hung up. I got the theme immediately from ON THE WATER FRONT and it helped a lot (especially with LESSER ANTILLES). I did need my bride for CLEMATIES and had similar problems with DENEB/ERIS as Rex but guessed right. I've seen snap used to clue PIC before so FOTO was almost a gimme. I've also heard the phrase "plight their troth" so 84a wasn't a problem. I really liked this one as it was both clever and getting the theme acually helped with solving.

*Lurky = "A sudden rush of s**t to the heart."

Michael 11:43 AM  

I didn't get the theme until I got her and then felt less-than-brilliant. Still, I managed to get through the puzzle if not at warp speed. Is "foto" now acceptable written English?

I haven't done the puns and anagrams yet, but am amazed that Mel Taub is still making them. I remember doing his puzzles when I was a teenager and that was not exactly yesterday. Well, I'll check about this on google now.

Michael 11:46 AM  

In response to me (!), Mel Taub seems to be about 76 (junior at Brooklyn college in 1951) and has been publishing puns and anagrams in the NYT since 1955!

Ulrich 11:52 AM  

I also didn't find this one more difficult than other Sunday puzzles--if an answer didn't come, the crosses almost always helped me find it--found the theme minutes into the puzzle from Lesser Antilles--had help from my wife, though, a couple of times, like with Toni Braxton. However, it took me FOREVER (well, to the waking hours of the night) to figure out the clue for blab--I kept staring at it after everything was solved, banging my head, figuratively speaking, and still didn't see that "state" could be a verb.

CrsWrdLvr22 12:22 PM  

If you haven't seen "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" with Robert Donat (who beat Clark Gable as Rhett Butler for the 1939 Oscar) and the luminous Greer Garson, I highly recommend it.

joaneee 12:43 PM  

Seems like this is the second CWP recently that refers to LEI as a keepsake. My experience is leis don't keep very well - turn brown and disgusting after a week or so. Loved ALIBIIKE - all those i's! Like Rex, crashed and burned on DENEB and ERIS. Was annoyed by GEL and EON (thought gel was always a noun and eon misdefined, but I am so wrong).

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

"Foto" and "Snap" ("pic" would have done, too) are both informal. Snap is short for snapshot which is probably standard English.

Hobbyist 12:54 PM  

Mel Taub's puzzle was much more fun than this one w I solved easily without knowing or caring about the theme.
I wish Mel's work would appear more often.

profphil 1:26 PM  

Phew! I'm in good company with those that found this difficult. Thought I finished the puzzle but after checking here realize I made many mistakes. Like Rex, had Evan and Ares although I never changed it. I also disliked antes so much I opted for "act as" pay instead. Althoguh I could not make senseof Ice Mac, asumed it was some sort of machine. I struggled with Avon Lea as I had read "Anne of Green Gables" and seen the PBS version of it. By the was it's avaiable on DVD and is fantastic, especially if you have children tweens and teens. Better than the book, which is unusual. The acting is spectacular. Anyway, was looking for PE Island (Prince Edward) and then thought Isle but nothing fit. Once I got it, I remembered the name of the area Avon Lea but was looking for the territory or province.

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Between yesterday and today, I am feeling severely humbled. I had just gotten to the place where the Saturday puzzle wasn't so difficult for me, then these two monsters pop up! I guess I gotta hope for an easier week or two to boost my confidence!

nitpicker 1:39 PM  

Rex - you nailed it. My thoughts exactly on several fronts. Mostly though on the "passes" that Klahn got for this average puzzle. MIRY, ERIS+DENEB,and IRIS IN???? Holy crap.

On the other hand, liked IT'LL COST YA, AH OOPS and ONE AND O. Also NOAH, BLAB.

nitpicker

Rikki 1:41 PM  

Loved this Sunday romp, but it was a challenge for me. I got the theme with "over and above" and was able to fill in the long theme answers without trouble, having been to the Lesser Antilles, and being a fan of artichoke hearts. I believe On the Waterfront is one of the finest movies ever made, the antithesis of the Howard Stern Show.

Once I got everything in there that I knew, I had lots of gaps to fill and had to rely on cross after cross to finish.

Had trouble down the California coast with implant and sidecar, even though PDT should have been a gimme given "fall back" night. Troth looked obvious, but I hesitated till the end.

Remembered my Ibsen, Green Gables, and Lardner, and the french Marne and Elysee in the SW, but didn't know lots of things: Pierrot, Donat, Raki, Leilani, Deneb, Iris in. So I went to bed with big gaps and woke up with coffee waiting and a fresh outlook. I actually like a puzzle that I have to criss and cross to finally put it all together and look forward to Fri thru Sunday for that reason. Was it my imagination or were there a lot of words in this puzzle? And is Wye how you spell the letter Y? Or did I miss something in the clue "ex follower." Only other Wye I know is the river.

So Martin, Abraham and Sarah had a son at 99 and smiled???? I babysat last night for a 4-month old who is being weaned of his binky and cried unconsolably for a half hour (he did, that is) until my husband played the guitar for him and he finally settled down. No isaacs for us, and btw, he peed all over me when I changed his didy.

Rikki 1:41 PM  

Loved this Sunday romp, but it was a challenge for me. I got the theme with "over and above" and was able to fill in the long theme answers without trouble, having been to the Lesser Antilles, and being a fan of artichoke hearts. I believe On the Waterfront is one of the finest movies ever made, the antithesis of the Howard Stern Show.

Once I got everything in there that I knew, I had lots of gaps to fill and had to rely on cross after cross to finish.

Had trouble down the California coast with implant and sidecar, even though PDT should have been a gimme given "fall back" night. Troth looked obvious, but I hesitated till the end.

Remembered my Ibsen, Green Gables, and Lardner, and the french Marne and Elysee in the SW, but didn't know lots of things: Pierrot, Donat, Raki, Leilani, Deneb, Iris in. So I went to bed with big gaps and woke up with coffee waiting and a fresh outlook. I actually like a puzzle that I have to criss and cross to finally put it all together and look forward to Fri thru Sunday for that reason. Was it my imagination or were there a lot of words in this puzzle? And is Wye how you spell the letter Y? Or did I miss something in the clue "ex follower." Only other Wye I know is the river.

So Martin, Abraham and Sarah had a son at 99 and smiled???? I babysat last night for a 4-month old who is being weaned of his binky and cried unconsolably for a half hour (he did, that is) until my husband played the guitar for him and he finally settled down. No isaacs for us, and btw, he peed all over me when I changed his didy.

Rikki 1:43 PM  

Whoa, deja vu. Don't know why that happened twice but I'll delete the second one if someone tells me how!

profphil 1:56 PM  

Nitpicker it's "whoops" not "ah oops." I made the same mistake and only noticed it when I checked Rex's answers.

Karen 2:01 PM  

I just checked whether IVAN is one of the Flying Karamazov Brothers; he was in the show that I saw. Be sure to catch (juggling pun!) their show if they're in town.

And DIDY stinks.

Ellen 2:33 PM  

I finished the entire puzzle and had to ask someone what the theme was. Maybe I'm just dense.

Ted Key created the cartoon "Hazel" which later became a TV show with Shirley Booth in the title role. ILONA Massey is often seen in puzzles.

People are always surprised that I'm a longtime Howard Stern fan, though I can't stand all that bimbo stuff.

Ellen 2:38 PM  

Forgot to say that the constructor who elicited good-natured moaning at the tournament shown in "Wordplay" was David Kahn, not Bob Klahn, right before the difficult Puzzle #5.

Harley 2:46 PM  

Just for the record, Deneb has been in the puzzle on multiple occasions.

Harley 2:48 PM  

Oh, and Avon Lea is spelled Avonlea.

Anonymous 3:16 PM  

Challenging but fun.
Thanks to all above for explaining
didy.
I got "wye" for the letter Y but I didn't know why at the time.

Leon

wendy 3:28 PM  

Hi Rikki, the only way you can delete your stuff is if you have a google or blogger account, I think. It was worth it to see how relevantly you used DIDY in a sentence, though ;)

Also a Howard Stern fan for reasons I'm sure no one cares about, I got that right away, but it took the next long entry I nailed, Obi Wan Kenobi, before I saw the theme. I don't usually "get it" so quickly on Sunday, so I was thrilled as it helped me chip away at some of the others.

I used the keeping-a-numbered-list-of-my-answers approach again today, to keep pushing myself to get as many as possible without googling. I think I got past 50 answers that way.

Probably the worst wrong turn that I took was Muted instead of ON LOW for 'not turned up,' and as I was sure that was right, it got quite messy in the area of the country that makes Olympia beer.

I'm really dying for a SIDECAR and I think I'll look up a recipe for making one. Once the nip hits the air, I'm all about the brandy drinks.

jilmac 4:20 PM  

Thought this one was going to be my undoing. I resist doing it on Saturday and usually start early in the morning before leaving for musical commitments on Sunday then finish it when I get home. Could not get a handle on it at all at first sitting. Later, morphic resonance must have set in, as most of it fell into place fairly easily. Had to finish by Googling a few clues - Leilani, and Alibi Ike most notably. Didn't realize I had Ares for Eris until I came to this page to see how everyone else fared!! Am glad I was not alone in having difficulty on a Sunday for the first time in ages!!

John 4:20 PM  

I almost never see SNAP used as a noun except in conjunction with holiday, as in pictures taken while on vacation, which makes me think it's a Britishism of sorts.

Anonymous 5:02 PM  

Many stars have Arabic names, including DENEB, owing to the Arabs being the scientists and astronomers while Europe was going through the dark ages.

mac 5:22 PM  

I just spent Thursday - Sunday in Montreal, and I have to tell you it doesn't feel like a vacation when you can't get the NYT! I had to buy the Herald Tribune, which is not so bad, I was used to that one when living in London, but it is annoying to miss out on the Saturday puzzle and get the Sunday one instead! Luckily, I managed to do that one pretty quickly without any help whatsoever, having just a blackberry and no laptop, and having left my CW dictionary at home. I realized I miss Google, Rex and my cat Abby very much when we travel.....
P.S. Just arrived home and did the Saturday one, not too bad.
P.P.S. Thank you for explaining Isaac, Martin.
P.P.P.S. Miry is bad.

jae 7:36 PM  

I just remembered what slighly irked me last night. Its the abbr. for 111a ISTHmus. I knew it was ISTHMUS but not the abbreviation. Is there some sort of rule for this like the first few letters? Unfortunately, this rule would not work for STATION (yesterday's 4d STA) which I've seen as both STA and STN and I recall ENGINEER having similar issues. Are we left to get these from the crosses?

Anonymous 7:41 PM  

Thought this puzzle was relatively easy for Sunday, since I finished before my matinee ushering gig. My dad sang "Sweet Leilani' to me when I was a babe and I actually met a 'Leilani' on a canoeing trip! And Deneb was a very easy answer. Maybe CP Snow was right!?

nitpicker 10:48 PM  

Whoops! Ah Oops! Uh - Oh!

- thanks profphil.

nitpicker

Jim in NYC 5:50 AM  

I didn't get the theme until coming to this blog. I did notice the two "obi's" in Obiwan Kenobi, and wondered idly whether George Lucas had been going for some kind of odd British ribaldry. But I never did get the theme.

I'm not sure that an isthmus (111A) is a 'transcontinental bridge.' The isthmus of Panama is an intercontinental bridge. I don't believe any transcontinental bridges exist.

"Didy" doesn't pass the Sunday brunch test and sounds like a tasteless celebrity. "Klahn" sounds like an alien.

glenn 1:54 PM  

i'm missing one letter from the puns and anagrams puzzle and it's driving me crazy - what did y'all get for 44 down/44 across?

Michael 7:02 PM  

Glenn:

44 down Tatar
44 across tools

Michael

glenn 9:38 AM  

thanks - i thought that's what it must be - what's tatar?

Michael 9:59 AM  

Glenn:

ta ta goodbye + r (for registered, I guess). The Tatars are a Mongolian tribe/ethnic group.

Michael

Ben Goetter 2:18 AM  

Thinking of arrows in Zeus's tailbone, I had EROS for the Olympian troublemaker. Shows how little Karamazov I know.

Dr J 1:18 AM  

Been checking out your blog for some time now, but first time commenting. Think I had less trouble with this one than many did, but that's probably just the nature of my condition. As a Canuckistani, I was subjected to Anne of Avonlea ad nauseum; and some of the quirkier elements I caught fairly quickly, like Donat (Robert Donat, a wonderful actor, sadly forgotten by time) and Ilona (just once I'd like to see the Massey be Raymond). Only ones that really annoyed me were Alibi Ike and Iris In. 'Twas nice to see Alec Guinness mentioned in a puzzle again, and the cluing for Noah was very, very good.

Nancy 3:04 PM  

I think "iris in" for 42A is an error on the part of the creator of the puzzle.... the clue describs an "iris out". Alibi Ike was the sticking point for me, otherwise seemd a routine puzzle.

Anonymous 3:21 PM  

Remember when Scotty told Kirk "he called you a Denebian slime devil!" And Kirk was amazed Scott didn't throw a punch until the enterprise was insulted. It was in the Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles."

Deneb is a red giant star, if I remember.

Anonymous 5:17 PM  

November 11, 2007
15:32
Ger said..

61D: Annual literary prize. In a past puzzle, Edgar defeated me. Edgar, I know you now. I know you're there somewhere. Edgar was my first fill.
24D: Holiday. Total *bruise on forehead* stump.
99A: Noah! What a clue. just.. aw!
55A: Pinto. Quick fill, for no reason other than it was the first thing that came to mind. Then threw in 73A: Avonlea (ah, the dusty brain-pixel-vault-of-random-esoterica comes through again). And then ..
57D: ONEAWAY! what else could it be. OneandO? In baseball parlance, isn't that zero?
Last bit: 12D: Deneb
the brightest star in the constellation Cygnus and one of the vertices of the Summer Triangle. The 19th brightest star in the night sky, with an apparent magnitude of 1.25, Deneb is also one of the most luminous stars known.
If you are knee-deep in an Educational Data Center Operation and your geeky network team name all their servers after stars in the galaxy and your geeky Novell team name all their servers after Hitchhikers Guide, you too will be assimilated.
p.s. 19A: cupcake=hon (ah.. no.. sweetie? dear? bee prod?)
p.p.s.
tough puzzle, I solved it, I'm happy. Love this blog.

Pat 7:49 PM  

Very difficult (to me anyway). Got Deneb right away though - being a huge Rush fan helps sometimes :-) .

WWPierre 8:36 PM  

Three cups. Read Jae's comments again for my solving experience.(again) Solved it top to bottom pretty much. Sweet LEILANI playing in my head for the last half.

John 12:42 AM  

Was anyone else slowed by using "Marceau" for 96 across clue, French mime?

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

Yes, John, I sure was. And was my face red when I realized my mistake because my daughter is in the middle of performances of "The Fairy Doll", a boutique ballet for 3 dancers: a ballerina doll and 2 pierrots!

As Harley and dr j pointed out, Avon Lea is Avonlea - something all Canadian residents are aware of as "Anne of Green Gables" was our national TV series for years (and I loved every minute of every episode).

I knew clematis from the get-go since I've planted dozens of these vining beauties which produce gloriously showy bouquets as they climb. Ah, jackmanii -- you've never done me wrong!

I asked my mother about Massey (when Raymond wouldn't fit) and she immediately answered "Ilona". I guess it helps to be in your 80s.

Loved the theme, once I realized it after getting several of the theme answers already and trying to figure out what "Common ends" had to do with them.

Miry -- another yuck from me!
But, Noah -- brilliant!

jpChris 3:04 PM  

For the most part, this puzzle was *relatively* easy. A few I had to guess at, but with the crosses I finally got 'em.

However, I had to "cheat" for 101A: clematis(???); because of 88D: pom. Wanted "pox' and what the heck is a "pom" (88D) anyway???

Anonymous 11:45 PM  

Newbie Norm - I've been a fan of this blog for a while and felt compelled to throw in my first 2 cents. Like many, I was thrown by Alibi Ike and to compound the problem I had STAR for 6 pointer (hey they're a variety!) so never did get GELATO. I also was annoyed at MIRY (s/b MIREY?) and disagree with EON - isn't an ERA a true slice of history? ANTES had to be the answer but the clue sucked. Did not enjoy this one. Missed the theme also. I saw FRONT and STERN, OVER and ABOVE and HEART so was looking for directions and couldn't make the others fit.

Crossword Kate 3:20 PM  

"Book Ends" would have been a better title.

cinema bob 11:24 AM  

Just had to correct Nancy and GK. IRIS IN was clued correctly. Like "fade in" and "fade out" the in and out refer to entering and leaving the scene, respectively, not the shrinking or widening of the circle. An easy clue for anyone involved with film.

See for reference:
http://www.geocities.com/the7thart/film-terms.html#i

Nancy 12:38 PM  

Thanks, Cinema Bob, for the clarification of the "iris in" clue. My favorite thing about the crossword is what I learn, rather than what I already knew.

Nancy

Anonymous 7:29 PM  

OK. This puzzle was more toward the difficult end for me. Ironically, I found this blog when searching the internet for the answer to the last square I was stuck on after stuffing this puzzle in the drawer for a few months. The clue I was stuck on was 45A "Nursery nappy", answer "didy". I felt better knowing others out there found this answer to be just as much of a groaner as I did!

BTW - Great blog - I'm now interested in check back here after solving future NYT Sunday crosswords!

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