SUNDAY, Dec. 16, 2007 - David J. Kahn and Steve Kahn

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Movies You May Have Missed" - every theme answer is a movie with an "L" removed from its title, creating a silly variation, which is clued

Well we're getting snowed in yet again today, though right now everything seems calm - only about an inch on the ground and nothing coming down. Winds seem awfully strong, though. Neighbors' giant trees are really swaying. I just hope the power stays on long enough for me to finish this write-up.

This theme is imaginative, but I just wish the end results had been more humorous or lively. The words you get by removing an "L" are just not that fascinating, and thus the new-fangled titles just sort of lie there. Some are wonderful, but most are just blah. I was really happy with the non-theme fill, however, which includes a lot of unusual words and phrases, and cluing that seemed appropriately Sunday-level. Puzzle's got its share of crosswordese, but most Sunday puzzles do. I'm wondering if I'm going to have to nominate MEDOC (7D: French red) and I DIE (51D: Romeo's last words) for the Pantheon, given their weird recent frequency.


[drawing by Emily Cureton]
Theme answers:

  • 24A: Prison movie about a medical miracle? ("Dead Man Waking") - this one I like
  • 31A: Tim Allen comedy about unionizing seasonal workers? ("The Santa Cause")
  • 50A: Prequel to "Reservoir Dogs?" ("Pup Fiction") - very nice
  • 64A: Ingmar Bergman classic narrated by Jacques Cousteau? ("The Seventh Sea")
  • 79A: Chaplin comedy about a religious migration? ("The God Rush")
  • 98A: Chiller about glass-climbing reptiles? ("Snakes on a Pane")
  • 109A: Tom Cruise action thriller about a nasty argument? ("War of the Words")
  • 6D: Sci-fi movie about gender discrimination? ("Men in Back")
  • 42D: Bogart/Bacall mystery about serious basement dampness? ("The Big Seep")
  • 38D: Spoof about the soul of a fraternity? ("Anima House") - made me laugh
  • 78D: Lois Lane player of early TV, whose first name is a hint to this puzzle's theme (Noel Neill) - whoever that is.
Did you know that IRENE (57D: Sister of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands) is one of the most common five-letter words in the entire world of crosswords? Unless you construct crosswords, you probably didn't. It's such an innocuous name, and there are so many ways to clue it, that it doesn't stand out the way that, say, ALERO (last Olds model) does. You can find out more about the (recent) history of words in crossword puzzles by subscribing as a Gold Member of Cruciverb.com, which gives you access to their amazing crossword database. I subscribed for the first time only yesterday. It's sickly addictive.

OLIO!

  • 27A: Wine made from the moscato bianco grape (Asti) - Pantheon-bound
  • 28A: O.K.: Var. (indorse) - ouuuuuuuuuch.
  • 19D: Toothed, botanically (dentate)
  • 30A: Global warming? (detente) - nice, poetic pairing.
  • 45A: Court pseudonym (Roe) - crafty; I had DOE.
  • 38A: I.S.P. of note (AOL) - that's Internet Service Provider; if you didn't know that, now you do. Don't forget. You'll see it again.
  • 53A: Onetime host of "Classic Concentration" (Trebek) - before my time. The show, not Trebek, who is, of course, an icon.
  • 55A: Home of Chennai (India) - my geography is much weaker than it should be. I'm getting myself an Atlas for Xmas in hopes of remedying this problem, at least slightly.
  • 58A: Airports (dromes) - really? I thought a DROME was just any kind of structure where, say, animals (hippoDROME) or bicycles (veloDROME) might race.
  • 60A: "Answer the question" ("yes or no") - it's truly remarkable how often some variation of YES appears in the puzzle - YESES, SAY YES, YES OR NO, YES/NO, etc.
  • 67A: Brick holder (hod) - I have the strangest affection for this word, and I honestly don't understand it.
  • 73D: With 69-Down, not just hard of hearing (stone / deaf) - nice intersecting two-parter.
  • 77A: Meal with bitter herbs (seder) - see also 90A: Like the letters on a dreidel (Hebrew).
  • 87A: Conductor _____-Pekka Salonen (Esa) - another one to remember. He is current the musical director of the L.A. Philharmonic.
  • 88A: Game resembling crazy eights (Uno) - I feel like Crazy Eights should be capitalized, even though I know that's not so. UNO is a great family card game; requires thought and skill, and yet my seven-year-old can beat me.
  • 107A: Private telephone channel (tie line) - unknown to me.
  • 114A: Thingum (item) - yuck. ITEM is not sufficiently colloquial here, given that clue.
  • 115A: Jealous Olympian (Hera) - now That's an accurate clue.
  • 116A: Skull and Bones member, e.g. (Eli) - Pantheonic! As university allegiances go, the NYT puzzle skews heavily Yale-ward.
  • 121A: Hens, but not roosters (layers) - beware of LAYERS in your clue, where its different potential meanings can trip you up (see also FLOWER, BEAN, etc.)
  • 4D: Jazz guitar great Herb _____ (Ellis) - unknown to me.
  • 8D: Had thirds, maybe (overate) - I just had fifths of orange rolls, so ... yeah, OVERATE. It could have been worse. I could have had NINTHS (94D: Odd shares).
  • 49D: Medieval hymn start (Dies) - as in "Dies Irae"; medieval answers tend to be gimmes for me, but I'm a professional, so don't feel bad.
  • 82D: Pizzeria in Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" (Sal's) - In addition to SAL Bando and SAL Mineo, this pizzeria is a frequent denizen of the grid. Possibly the single most prominent fictional business. I'm prepared to be proven wrong.
  • 91D: Vampy wear (boa) - just love the word "vampy"
  • 108A: "It's _____" (Pet Shop Boys hit) ("a Sin") - easily the best synth pop band ever. This song is infectious.
  • 97D: Kitchen attraction (aroma) - I've had this clue before, and still couldn't get it quickly. I was thinking "uh ... a really cool blender? Viking stove?" Etc. My house has an AROMA that's a mix of orange rolls and Christmas tree.

Happy blizzard to the NE, and happy Sunday to everyone else.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

71 comments:

jilmac 8:58 AM  

Never thought I would be the first to comment!! Started about 20 minutes ago after I had cancelled my church music obligations due to the snow and have finished already with no Googling whatsoever!!

The theme revealed itself very early and from then on it was a straight run home!!

jilmac 8:58 AM  

Never thought I would be the first to comment!! Started about 20 minutes ago after I had cancelled my church music obligations due to the snow and have finished already with no Googling whatsoever!!

The theme revealed itself very early and from then on it was a straight run home!!

DONALD 9:20 AM  

Nor I the second!

Ulrich 9:36 AM  

I agree with Rex that the theme is more promising in theory than in practice. It was also not clearly indicated in the title (but that may be by design): When I had "The seventh sea", I thought, OK, the last letter is always missing, so I happily entered "Dead men walk in", only to get stymied because no crosses worked at the end. But then I got it and was actually able to guess some theme answers w.o. a single cross, something that doesn't happen to me too often (I'm over 65, way beyond the ideal puzzle age, as this blog let me know recently ;-)).

Linda G 9:48 AM  

Ulrich, age occasionally pays off in a puzzle. For example, we know that Noel Neill IS Lois Lane, just as George Reeves IS Superman.

Enjoyed solving this one. ANIMA HOUSE was my favorite, followed by THE GOD RUSH.

Ulrich 9:52 AM  

Thank you, thank you--I feel better already

Rex Parker 9:53 AM  

Wait a minute: for the record, I have NEVER said anything about an ideal puzzling age. I have said that prime crossword solving years were "40-death"; and what I meant was that crossword solvers tend to be older (mid-life and later) folks on the whole. There are certainly many exceptions (for instance, I'm not yet 40+). This doesn't mean older people are better solvers - just that (if my mail is any indication) most solvers are older than I.

rp

jordanboston 10:04 AM  

I think Dead Man Walking would be miraculous without the missing L of the puzzle...

Indorse? Really? Ouch.

And always happy to see my fellow native South Carolinian Vanna White in the puzzle.

Skipping church today, so no GOD RUSH for me. Off to read the rest of the paper because I don't want to go outside and get slapped UPSIDE the face by sleet.

ArtLvr 10:08 AM  

Hi guys! I liked this one better than Rex et al - mainly because I don't know movies or sports well at all and still got it without much pause after Anima House. I thought 75A "upside" was very good (after promise was too long), have no idea what 75D Utne is? And the tongue-in-cheek sexish clues were hilarious: 7A "mom", one making a delivery; 115A "Hera", jealous Olympian; 121A "layers", hens but not roosters; 6D "men in back", gender discrimination; 91D "boa" vampy wear! I'm in upstate NY too, and maybe eaily amused when snow-bound...

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

Love the Pet Shop Boys clue, they still make superb music.

Love No-EL Neill! Those Superman shows were rerun constantly when I was a kid in the late 70's.

Indorse is a stinker tho.

Rockonchris 10:25 AM  

Could someone please explain the Skull & Bones reference (eli)?

Pitcher of milk (elsie) made me laugh. Elsie the Cow for Borden's, for those of you who don't remember the ad campaign. They built it into a whole family. There was a husband (Elmer) and some kids whose names I don't remember. Might of been a shiftless brother-in-law too, but I wouldn't swear to it.

Ulrich 10:36 AM  

Cross and Bones is a scret society at Yale (that's where the elis go)--I believe that both Bushes were members, as well as some Democratic candidate (can't remember which one).

Ulrich 10:36 AM  

Oops, meant Skull and Bones

ArtLvr 10:50 AM  

"Eli" is a Yalie, because the University's founder was Eli Yale. Skull and Bones is their most famous secret society, and much has been written about the far-reaching political network of former members, including Supreme Court Justices and Presidents like Bush 1 and 2. Open only to upperclassmen, still male-only I assume, though there are now women undergraduates. I was a female grad student there, & enjoyed it very much!

bossche 11:01 AM  

Hod: A wooden device mainly for carrying mortar (which makes the clue somewhat misleading), though also used for carrying bricks. There's an image at: hod

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

Artivr, Utne Reader is a bi-monthly magazine that reprints articles from various publications, mostly "alternative".

Jim in NYC 11:06 AM  

I'm not saying anyone's wrong to dislike the spelling of "indorse," but in the second year of law school you'll run into it frequently.

Thirding the advantages of maturity, I mean age, Noel Neill was a complete gimme. Look for her in the opening Montmartre scenes of "An American in Paris" and recently (on a train with a young girl) in a cameo in "Superman Returns."

I briefly had "I'm in" instead of IWIN for 104D (way too obvious) but problems in this puzzle were few.

ArtLvr 11:09 AM  

Thanks, Anonymous -- I might have tried finding "Utne" in Google, but your answer is much appreciated!

jannieb 11:19 AM  

Once I got the first themed clue I just knew No-el was the key. I kept waiting for a Christmas clue to wrap things up, and found Noel Neill instead. I think she was on the train in one of the Christopher Reeves movies. In the latest, she was an old woman dying in her bed. (I hate that I know this!)

wendy 11:41 AM  

Elaborating on UTNE Reader, it's like the Reader's Digest of the "left," such as it is in this day and age. I subscribed for awhile, but found that, even though I often agree with its worldview, the whole thing is packaged in such a heavy-handed manner that I stopped caring about reading it. There tends to be only one side of the story in this mag. UTNE is the last name of the founders, btw, Eric and Nina.

I was a poor performer today, even though I knew what the theme was and had gotten THE BIG SEEP and ANIMA HOUSE. I struggled with so much of the fill that I couldn't make much headway in certain sectors. So many judgment calls. So few gimmes. I think winter malaise has set in and frozen my brain.

And disco ERA? WTF?

Today's cluing Pantheonia - Locale. I suppose some people use this in normal speech, but I'd argue not many. Also I believe (victor's, loser's) Cry belongs as well.

The Monkey business clue was funny to me, since I learned this week about how monkeys are rampaging in India and elsewhere and generally wreaking havoc. So I wasn't thinking TRICKERY.

Jim in NYC 11:51 AM  

Thanks, Jannie B. Another aspect of maturity, I mean age, is that I mixed up a 2006 Superman movie with a 1978 Superman movie. Noel Neill was in both!

Ulrich 11:52 AM  

Wendy: Speaking of monkey business, the funniest thing that happened to me in India at a tourist sight was when a monkey snapped my glasses off of my face from behind as I was trying to put on a zoom lense to photograph the monkeys (!) and absconded with the glasses. But sure enough, a guy emerged immediately afterwards calming me down--he went after the monkey with some sweets in his hand and came back with my glasses, demanding a reward (ca. 10c in US dollars). It was clear to me that man and beast were in cahoots, and since I did not have smaller change, he actually got a full quarter's worth for his troubles.

Jerry20020 11:56 AM  

Monkey Business -- I immediately thought of the Marx Bros film & looked for something suggesting general anarchy and hilarity.

Wendy: do you know of ANY publication that acknowledges more than one side to the story - that's truly "fair and balanced"?

The once great Left is now an endangered 'species' and anything
voicing its views seems quaint and faintly embarrassing. Hence Utne's declining readership.

PuzzleGirl 12:01 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
PuzzleGirl 12:02 PM  

Raise your hand if DUCK was the first word that came to your mind when you saw "Disco _____." (When I saw it was three letters, I immediately thought ERA. Didn't we just have "disco-era something-or-other" in a clue recently? Coming back to me now. Answer was AGOGO. Lots of discussion about it here as I recall.)

R. Kane 12:04 PM  

Elsie's husband is Elmer the Bull, who was later loaned to Borden's chemical division as the mascot for Elmer's Glue. Their offspring included Beulah, Beauregard, and twins Larabee and Lobelia.

baturkey 12:07 PM  

INDORSE was a new spelling to me as well, along with JELL.

Norm 12:23 PM  

I personally found DEAD MAN WAKING offensive, as would Sister Helen no doubt, but the puzzle was otherwise a rather fun one.

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

SALS often. MELS oftener.

Alan 1:34 PM  

Could someone please explain 85 across-as of=one and after.

Rex Parker 1:44 PM  

Yes, MEL'S (another favorite of mine) edges out SAL'S, acc. to Cruciverb.com. But there are many times that SAL is clued via the Spike Lee film. SAL (clued as a business owner) gains some ground on MEL in the singular. Still ... I'm just glad the real winner is still a cheap restaurant.

rp

Rex Parker 1:46 PM  

ON and after.

And am Really failing to see any offensiveness in DEAD MAN WAKING. You'd have to Really want to be offended.

rp

jls 1:49 PM  

on and after = as of -- as in:

as of tuesday, january 1, it will be calendar year 2008.

happy new year!

janie

Southamptoner 1:58 PM  

@Ulrich: Lol, I hear the monkeys in some Indian cities have become even more troublesome and brazen lately, it's become an issue. Soon they'll be starting people's cars, lol.

Michael 2:02 PM  

It took me a while to get the theme, but after that found the puzzle easy (despite an unfortunate lack of baseball clues).

Is Rice University especially known for engineering? Why not M.I.T. or R.P.I. or Cal Tech here?

My favorite of the theme answers was pup fiction.

Mike 2:03 PM  

Puzzle Girl: I have to admit the first answer that came to me for 110A was Disco Stu, from the Simpson's.

I also want to comment that as a relatively young solver (27) I often get hung up on answers that are gimmes for the older crowd.

I often do the later week puzzles online with my dad and together his "maturity" and my young reflexes make us a great team. Anybody know of a parent/child tournament?

Leon 2:41 PM  

In 1967 Stax released the legendary album, Born Under A Bad Sign. The title track of that album (written by Booker T. Jones and William Bell) became Albert King's most well known song and has been covered by many artists (from Cream to Homer Simpson.)

wendy 2:47 PM  

Rex, I also was thinking of a kind of gadget for the kitchen attraction. Now, would you do us a Christmas favor and put forth the recipe for these orange rolls of which you speak repeatedly? They sound divine.

Ulrich, thanks for that fab monkey story.

Rex Parker 2:50 PM  

@Wendy-

Of course. You go to the store, you buy a tube of Pillsbury Orange Rolls, and then you prepare according to the directions. My wife can bake very well, but there's something about these orange rolls that canNot be duplicated. The frosting alone ...

rp

Anonymous 2:52 PM  

"Elmer the Bull, who was later loaned to Borden's chemical division as the mascot for Elmer's Glue"? has any one seen him since? or has he gone the way of all old cows and horses? which I guess could have gone in two ways: glue or gelatin. Jell was interesting; I thought it came from gel(atin) but 'gel' comes from jell "american back-formation from jelly" (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?l=j&p=1) I too did not get indorse.

wendy 2:55 PM  

Rex, too funny. I didn't see that one coming ...

jae 3:02 PM  

Found this one rather easy. Caught on to the theme early and breezed through it. I had to go to my east coast born and rasied wife for the E in OTSEGO as I knew neither it nor DINESEN. (In the spirit of full disclosure she also gave me UNIONCITY on Friday). Herb ELLIS was a gimme as we share last names.

I was a big fan of the Superman TV series in the 50s. I would recommend the movie Hollywoodland which is about the suicide or murder of George Reeves.

Mike... my first thought for 110d was also STU.

Rikki 3:10 PM  

I'm with Wendy... this one did not come easily for me and I can't blame winter malaise since it's sunny and barely brisk in San Diego. I got the theme answers easily enough, though I agree with Rex that they lacked a certain luster. It was the fill that came slowly, though looking back at the grid, I'm not sure why. Well, I know why the NW was tough...I had recent for current, instead of stream. Medoc is my newest gimme, others being cosi fan tutte, india, herb ellis, and dinesen, which we had not long ago. We also saw Arlo and Janis recently, though I'm not familiar with the cartoon. I didn't know Lois Lane's name, but I do think of her as Lois, rather than any of the recent Loises. Also attribute years on earth to knowing Louis Nye, though only by name.

I liked mom and dad in close proximity, stone deaf, detente for global warming, and the word nebula. Why I know the word hod is anyone's guess, having never laid a brick, but there it was on the tip of my brain. Didn't like dromes for airports, or indorse. I got trolled for fished with a baited line, but didn't really like it. You can fish with a baited line without trolling. And you would never fish with an unbaited line.

A friend just gave me his entire itunes library which doubled mine. There were several Joan Baez cds in there along with some Herb Ellis. Yeah!

Sledder and Rex's orange rolls harkened a childhood of winters... skating, sledding, trudging through the snow to find my dog Pepsi, who had given birth (mom delivery) in a small cave she dug out of the snow under a fallen tree, and carrying the newborn pups home wrapped in my parka. Hot cocoa and cinnamon rolls (yes, Pillsbury). Mittens so frozen by hours of building snow forts and stacks of snowballs that they stood up by themselves and we'd line them up (five pair) in front of the radiator to melt and dry. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

jls 3:36 PM  

if you don't know louis nye, please rent 10 from your show of shows. also includes sid ceasar, imogene coca, howard morris, mel brooks... *very* funny stuff:

classic comedy

;-)

janie

Jerry20020 3:52 PM  

Who's the singer in 44D - Aaron somebody? Is he somebody well-known?
Cosi Fan Tutti I know well; Aaron ___ I never heard of.
That Beach Boy tune - It's a sin - doesn't sound Beach Boy-ish; more like a religious rock type title.

jae 4:09 PM  

jerry... Aaron Neville is the most famous of the Neville Brothes a New Orleans based jazz group. He has a number of solo CDs.

and... its Pet Shop Boys not Beach Boys.

gropper96 4:33 PM  

Where you live, a generator is a very prudent idea. I would hate to miss your commentary due to inclemency.

wendy 5:09 PM  

jerry20020 - I don't know your musical tastes, but get acquainted with AARON Neville because you're really missing something. He's got an otherworldly voice. His first hit was Tell It Like It Is way back in 1965 but he has recorded and performed for decades. His Ave Maria and A Change Is Gonna Come put me right over the edge. He and Linda Ronstadt teamed up at one point and that was pretty amazing as well. I've never seen him in person but I hope to someday.

Rockonchris 5:31 PM  

jae, I would expand the definition of the Neville Brothers to jazz-funk-R&B-reggae-rock-gospel-zydeco-blues. One of their biggest hits was Tell It Like It Is way back in 1966. In 1981, Keith Richards said their Fiyo on the Bayou was the best album of the year. They opened for the Stones several times during the 1981 Tattoo You tour (I believe).

r.kane - thanks for the additional Borden's info. I had forgotten the names as well as the Elmer's Glue connection.

Jerry20020 6:25 PM  

jae and Wendy: Thanks for you comments about the Neville Brothers. You've got my interest up.

Southamptoner 6:27 PM  

By sheer coincidence, "An American in Paris" is on TCM, and who did I just now see bickering with Gene Kelly over his paintings-

Miss Noel Neill. Unmistakeable voice and carriage- thanks imdb.com!

karmasartre 7:06 PM  

The Neville Brothers' "Yellow Moon" CD not only featured Sam Cooke's (great) "A Change is Gonna Come" as mentioned by Wendy, but also Dylan's "With God on Our Side", which has such an amazing frequency range, we used to use it for testing loudspeakers. Aaron's amazing voice is featured on both. It was considered a daring move, on her part, for Linda Ronstadt to do duets with him (there are four or five on her "Cry Like a Rainstorm..." CD). That wondrous vibrato thing he does was less pronounced in earlier recordings. And, of course, he is well known for tooling around New Orleans in his orange Rolls.

jordanboston 7:19 PM  

@Michael 2:02:

I, too, was thrown by the Rice ENGRS clue. I wanted BAPTS., since it's a Baptist school.

jordanboston 7:23 PM  

Never mind, that's Baylor.

louis catorze 7:52 PM  

I would rate this puzzle as Fun on the fun - hard - annoying -unfair scale. Lots of clever clues. Loved POP FICTION, DETENTE, NO-EL NEILL, very clever. Sick of the UTNE Reader, Disco related clues, ASTI, COSI fan tutti and TBAR. I now know to remember Desi for all his crossword friendliness.

Didn't get to the Puzzle until after dark due to snow in the midwest as well. Shoveling

jae 8:52 PM  

rockonchris...you are, of course, right, Aaron is multigenre. I was trying to pick the most predominant which is difficult. An amazing voice!

Joe 9:24 PM  

Louis Nye (aka Gordon Hathaway)to Steve Allen: "Hi ho, Steverino."

commenter on comments 9:36 PM  

Jerry 20020,

"The Week" is a well balanced weekly. They cover topical stories and then include excerpts from columnists from around the world that cover the full spectrum of political leanings.

Rex,

Do you get the feeling lately that people sense that something should be offensive to others and decide to take that stance even though they're not really offended themselves. (I am not refering to the "Dead Man Waking" answer directly, you may really be offended, but it was another remark that puts weight to my supposition)

Mike,

I like the parent/child idea although I'd bring my nephew the ringer. He was the youngest Jeopardy contestant ever when he was in high school and, at 19, qualified for MG Crosswords.

Enjoyed the puzzle and I'm on the list of people who knew Ms. Neill right off.

Jerry20020 9:41 PM  

Wendy and Karmasartre --
Speaking of Linda Ronstadt, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra was her 'backup group' 5 summers ago.
She heard the BSO play and said, 'Hey, I want to hire you.'

profphil quoter and admirer 9:56 PM  

I just read Linda g.'s blog and profphil said:

The title of the puzzle should have been "Christmas Movies" because they all had no-el.

We are not worthy profphil.

I wish the Kahn's would weigh in on this because I think that was actually their intention.

Betsey 10:35 PM  

Rice is known for being an engineering school, but then again its my alma mater. My guess was that cluing it as MIT, Cal Tech would be more obvious thus making it more challenging.

Rikki 10:40 PM  

Jerry20020... that's Pet Shop Boys "It's a Sin" not the Beach Boys. Not quite Linda R. and the Baltimore Symphony O, but catchy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFu9z8AmxW4&feature=related

Michael 10:43 PM  

I have no doubt that Rice is a good engineering school. I still think this clue is a bit dubious because I don't think (perhaps I am wrong) that Rice is especially known for engineering. Wouldn't this be like cluing Columbia or Cornell or Stanford or Berkeley as engineering schools?

Orange 10:51 PM  

At my house, we enjoy rex rolls for breakfast.

Rex, one year for Christmas, maybe 10 or 15 years ago, my grandma gave each grown grandchild's family the Times Atlas (presumably a previous edition of this). It's gigantic and beautiful and comprehensive. If you can sucker someone into dropping $150 on a family gift for y'all, this is a fabulous atlas. And just this fall, I bought myself Atlas, Schmatlas, a snarky Englishman's view of the world. Completely unreliable from a factual standpoint, but fun.

wendy 11:57 PM  

These real-life intersections of the puzzle with life are so bizarre. I am reading Eric Clapton's autobiography and just now fixed my eye on the word HOD in a sentence.

Lauren 1:03 AM  

Long-time lurker, first-time poster. A bit late for the Sunday, but thems the breaks.

Roald Dahl wrote a great short story about a pickpocket (sorry, a "fingersmith") who says he's a hod carrier. Seeing that today on the puzzle was such a gimmie!

Funny, then, that I got stumped by Noel Neill, being a younger solver. And, being a younger solver, I immediately also went for Disco Stu!

Rikki 1:24 AM  

Wendy... I just got Eric Clapton's autobiography, but haven't started it. I did download some of his music onto my ipod about ten minutes ago. And I just put hod on my Christmas list.

Disco duck for me, then era was my second choice.

QBParis 2:37 PM  

I, for one, am digging on the Cureton sketches.

Spent a bit of time after I finished the puzzle wondering what fill she would use... Desi nebula, never saw it!

Thanks for adding that bit of extra to the column.

billnutt 8:01 PM  

Aaron Neville is amazing. He's got that tremendous upper register. And his forearms are roughly the size of my torso. (He used to work in the docks in New Orleans.)

FIYO ON THE BAYOU and YELLOW MOON are the albums to start with, although TREACHEROUS is a pretty decent retrospective of the Nevilles.

A lot of people didn't know that Dylan had recorded a non-demo version of "Farewell Angelina" until it surfaced on THE BOOTLEG SERIES, VOL. 1-3. Great song. (Tim O'Brien does a great bluegrass version of it, too.)

I loved PUP FICTION on a couple of levels.

Noel Neill played Lois Lane's mother in the first Christopher Reeve SUPERMAN movie. (and Kirk Allyn, who played Superman in the original serial, played Lois's father.) She's seen on a train passing through Smallville. That brief scene was intially cut from the theaterical release but was later added when the movie was shown on TV.

And yes, in SUPERMAN RETURNS, she plays the rich woman who gets Lex Luthor out of prison.

Wow - Dylan, Superman and the Nevilles in one puzzle. MY KINDA PUZZLE!

globalhawk 12:41 AM  

liked this puzzle, mostly easy, but one problem was "Cowboy rival" = "Niner" .... because when the answer is a slangy nickname, usually the clue will also be a slangy nickname ... so a better clue would have been "Hawks rival", which is short for Seahawks -- and also because they're both in the same division, so true rivals (NFC West).

code39Slim 5:40 PM  

Where's the love for "SNAKESONAPANE" ? I laughed out loud at that one :-)

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