(LAST KING OF THE UNITED SWEDEN AND NORWAY) WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16, 2008 - Barry C. Silk

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: Use your bean - first words in four theme answers are all things to be solved...

Why was there no meta-puzzleness in today's puzzle? I'm solving a PUZZLE. The word PUZZLE appears in one of the answers. Surely there was opportunity here for some sort of clever self-referentiality. Instead, I was merely forced to retrieve the title of a movie that is almost certainly best forgotten by all of humanity. No, not "PROBLEM CHILD" (or, dear god, "PROBLEM CHILD 2"). I meant "MYSTERY, ALASKA." [please see the opening line of the Wikipedia entry on "PROBLEM CHILD 2," though, for the best use of quotation marks I've yet seen in a Wikipedia entry]. I solved this puzzle from the bottom up, getting my first real toe-hold somewhere around the "I'M A Believer" (46A: The Monkees' "_____ Believer") / MANILA (47D: 1975 "Thrilla" city) intersection. After seeing the clues for the 3rd and 4th theme answers, I thought the theme had something to do with National Security (actual national security, not the movie, thank god), so I felt a bit lost. I had also heard of neither the 3rd or 4th theme answers - had to get their second halves from crosses. There were also several non-theme answers I didn't know at all. And yet my time was still reasonable, I think (not sure what it was - I've been doing the puzzles on paper while lying in bed, not timing myself).

Theme answers:

  • 20A: 1999 Russell Crowe movie ("Mystery, Alaska")
  • 32A: Parent's handful (problem child)
  • 41A: Nickname for the National Security Agency (Puzzle Palace)
  • 55A: W.W. II encryption device (Enigma Machine)

There's a nice baseball sub-theme running through the puzzle, anchored by Johnny MIZE (33D: Baseball's Johnny, known as the Big Cat), and filled out by "I GOT IT" (27A: Fielder's cry) and ROSTER (26A: Scorecard listing). MIZE - specifically his nickname, "the Big Cat" - was one of the first memorable moments in my blogging career in the fall of 2006. I think he was in the puzzle during my very first week of operation. I specifically sought him out when I went to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown this summer on my way back from seeing a couple Red Sox games. OK, maybe I didn't seek him out, but I certainly noticed him there. "Big Cat" is a fantastic nickname. It's one I would have loved. That, or "the Lone Wolf" (which I just typod as "Love Wolf," HA ha). Much better than my actual nickame: "the Lethargic Ocelot."

Two big corporate names in the puzzle today in EBAY (4D: 24/7 auction site) and SAM'S Club (35A: _____ Club (retail chain)) - feels like EBAY sightings have gone way down in the past few months, which is odd given its earlier surge into puzzle prominence. Maybe we're just in a lull. I like that VEXED (61A: In a pique) is in the puzzle, given the theme, though overall, as I say, the puzzle wasn't terribly vexing. There were, however, a number of unusual entries, I thought:

  • 17A: Rid of vermin (derat) - not That unusual; I've seen it before, such that it was actually the first thing I wrote in in the NW. And yet I still have trouble accepting it as a word. You could at least spice up the clue, give it a "Pied Piper" twist, something...
  • 18A: French chalk mineral (talc) - Is this a French spelling? Is this mineral particularly abundant in France? Not sure what's so Gallic about this entry.
  • 25A: N.R.C. forerunner (A.E.C.) - random letters of the alphabet, as far as I'm concerned. Google me!: ah, Atomic Energy Commission ... or any of these guys.
  • 66A: Dispatch boat (aviso) - so so so proud of myself for getting this off the "V" - this word was completely unknown to me until I stumbled on it a few times in crosswords. I wrote it in very tentatively fearing I was misremembering or misspelling it. But no. Woo hoo.
  • 2D: Suffix with cannon (ade) - "-ball Run?" I don't know what a "cannonade" is. Is it like Gatorade only ... more explosive? Wow, it's got many uses: transitive verb, intransitive verb, noun... from answers.com:
can·non·ade (kăn'ə-nād') pronunciation

v., -ad·ed, -ad·ing, -ades. v.tr.

To assault with heavy artillery fire.

v.intr.

To deliver heavy artillery fire.

n.
  1. An extended, usually heavy discharge of artillery.
  2. A harsh verbal or physical attack
  • 6D: San Diego State player (Aztec) - growing up in California and following Fresno State sports, however half-heartedly, helped a lot here.
  • 9D: Last king of the united Sweden and Norway (Oscar II) - all non-Scandinavians who knew this, raise your hands. Impressive. You are clearly all geniuses. I, on the other hand, did not even know there was an Oscar I ("The Grouch?").
  • 23D: Domino features (pips) - had a very stupid error here because I'd written in BAR for 23A: Something to shoot for (you know ... "set the BAR high" ... come on!) and when I looked at the resulting BIPS in the down, I thought "... sure, why not, sounds right." Wrong. PAR and PIPS, of course.
  • 24D: Red Fort city (Agra) - I know AGRA for the Taj Mahal and that's it. "Red Fort" sounds suspiciously Old West to me.
  • 30D: "Die Frau _____ Schatten" (Strauss opera) ("Ohne") - all apologies to Germans and opera fans, but after "Frau" it's all gibberish to me. I had to cross my fingers that my crosses were right here. I love Strauss, but know only his orchestral work.
  • 34D: Mustachioed Surrealist (Dali) - "Mustachioed" is officially one of the 10 Greatest Words in the English Language, so I must pay homage Every time I see it. Another great man who has been called "mustachioed" by the puzzle in recent years: Don Ameche.
  • 43D: Fraternity founded in 1847 at New York University (Zeta Psi) - why not just say [Two Greek letters]? I'm never going to remember this.
  • 45D: Stork's bundle (arrival) - the puzzle is aware that babies don't actually come from storks, right? I mean ... right? The word ARRIVAL here seems OK, but it's a bit of a stretch. It's as if we can't bring ourselves to refer to the physicality / carnality of birth in any way. People who don't know American (English?) idiom are bound to be utterly and completely baffled by this. The copulation, the birth, and even the baby itself are mysteriously missing from the whole equation.
  • 58D: Campbell of "Three to Tango" (Neve) - first thing in the grid. I can build a solution off of crap pop culture like Nobody's Business.
Here's a probably-not-recurring feature I'll call "Reader Photos" - the first comes from an anonymous, loyal reader, who sent me a shot of her iPhone screen configuration, where my site (and two other crossword favorites) are featured prominently. As I told her - closest I'll ever come to seeing myself in an Apple ad. Very cool:



The second comes from reader "Andrew," who sent me this picture from summery Australia, where my first name is combined with the last name of my favorite TV family in a gigantic, building-sized ad for some kind of haberdashery. Eerily, the silhouette looks Just like me:



Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Today's other puzzles:

  • LAT (C) 8:10 - Bonnie L. Gentry (LIFO + unknown illustrator = killed me; pizzeria clue was pretty forced)
  • CS (C) 3:23 - Sarah Keller, "Sound Bites" - 3:20 remains my glass ceiling (floor?)
  • NYS (C) 11-ish - Tony Orbach, "Shot to the Body" - expecting good things from the Sun, I completely overthought the theme. Disaster.





[drawing by Emily Cureton]

64 comments:

voiceofsocietyman 9:04 AM  

As a would-be (and hopeful) crossword creator, I'm helpful for answers like OSCAR II (that Scandinavian king we all remember so fondly), but as a solver, I wish they would be clued like this:

"Some Scandinavian king whose name you'll only get from the crosses."

Happily, there weren't too many crosses-only clues in this puzzle.

As for the theme answers, I, too, was unimpressed with "Mystery Alaska" and "Puzzle Palace." They seem pretty uncommon, tho perhaps only because I (and Rex) don't get out enough.

Everyone knows that French chalk has more talc than American chalk. American chalk is composed primarily of soot and Disney by-products.

jls 9:28 AM  

not convinced that "everyone" knows anything... but did deduce that the clue was a good example of misdirection and that it needed to be parsed as "french chalk" mineral and not french for "chalk mineral."

chalk one up...

;-)

janie

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

alot of pizzazz? zees?

parshutr 9:35 AM  

Die Frau Ohne Schatten = The wife without a shadow.

parshutr 9:36 AM  

Er...the woman without a shadow.

Hydromann 9:38 AM  

Oscar...hmmm. I assumed that anything having to do with a Norwegian male ruler's name that started with an "O" would have to be Olaf. So, for awhile, my only questions were was it Olaf III, Olaf VII, or Olaf XII!

The AVISO/ESO cross was tough, as I had never heard of either. So I had to cheat using Language Translator to find that the missing vowel in E_O likely was an "S". Other than that, I managed to sail through, even (eventually) figuring out that Olaf was Oscar.

To Anonymous: "ZEES" as in the letter Z--or, in crossword-speak, "zee". Pizzazz has a lot of letter Zees in it.

PhillySolver 9:52 AM  

Boy, I found this hard and wonder why Rex and others can make a guess at two unknown crosses and get it right and I always miss it. So, I had Avido/Edo not the AVISO/ESO solution.

Problems...I guessed BetaPsi from some fill and from not getting the theme and it took awhile to get Zeta...but why would we know this? Anyone out there a member of this 'famous' Frat? I also struggled with SETSAIL as I guessed Setsout, but then IGOTIT! Also tried Irate as my first fill in the SE at 61A, but had no faith in it. I knew ENIGMAMACHINE and while never having heard of MYSTERYALASKA, it came pretty easily from the known letters. (Why not Mystic Pizza?) I had a PROBLEMCHILD, but never heard Oliver North call his work place the PUZZLEPALACE, more likely the MYOWNFOREIGNPOLICYPLACE.

VIOL worked out, but never seen it as a stand alone instrument at the music store. I wish the constructor had DERATed the OHNE/SOIL AVISO/ESO nests.

Orange 9:56 AM  

voiceofsocietyman, you forgot about the lead content in American chalk which, of course, is made in China.

The Love Wolf does not time himself in bed. (Nor does the Lethargic Ocelot or, as I like to call him, the Shiftless Margay.)

I want to sort of rhyme ZETAPSI with Poughkeepsie.

I, too, love being on that iPhone!

Pete M 10:14 AM  

CHALK me up as another who tried to put OLAF where OSCAR belonged. Also, I clearly don't know my college teams, as I tried AGGIE instead of AZTEC. There are AGGIES somewhere, right?

Phillysolver:
Make sure to watch for verb tense. SETSOUT would work fine for "Shoves off", but not for "Shove off". Also, here's a quick guide for E?O:
Band: ELO
Musician:ENO
Comedian/Genre: EMO
WWII: ETO
Japan: EDO
Author: ECO
Beso/That(sp): ESO
Ranch: ERO
Classified: EEO

These show up all the time. Gotta keep 'em straight. :)

- Pete

PhillySolver 10:19 AM  

Ok, I looked this stuff up and I am wrong to complain.

We will have to remember ESO and while the Paul Anka song is a common clue, it appears in many other ways. The ZEES answer is also common and Pizza and Pizazz are often used (Barry has done it before). AVISO has been around too and has always had the same clue...dispatch boat. OHNE has shown up once before and clued the same way. SOIL and potters go together, but I was thinking about the guys who fire pots/ceramics and I guess it meant gardeners. Darn, I have a lot to learn.

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

There's a brand of canned sardines called King Oscar. If only I had remembered that I could have saved myself some grief instead of filling in Olaf iii.

This puzzle felt Thursday-ish to me, despite my filling in Enigma Machine with only the G.

Hobbyist 10:42 AM  

I thought that a potter would need an oven or a kiln. Most vexed to find out that the potter in question was not a maker of vessels but the one who uses them as plant containers. How mundane.

Pete M 10:52 AM  

My first instinct for potter was CLAY; of course, these days it could just as easily be WAND.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

Every time I see Die ____ as an opera reference, I immediately try to fill in YOU DAMNED SOPRANOS, DIE!! It never seems to fit.

Perhaps you could use your growing influence in the community to have February '08 be an Opera free month?

Leon 10:58 AM  

Today’s puzzle reminded me of Churchill’s quote about Russia:

"I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest."

BTW, in today’s Dilbert, Asok is told he has the stink of unimportance.

jae 11:30 AM  

Tough for a Wednesday. Started off with EER for ADE and slowly went from there. PUZZLEPALACE and MYSTERYALASKA were unknown and SOIL took a while to figure out. This was my first encounter with AVISO and MIZE, hopefully they will stick in memory.

Is EEO sometimes EOE?? Seems I've seen it that way.

I'm still waiting for Boliva's new president EVO Morales to show up as an answer.

Kathy 11:41 AM  

leon, another great Churchill quote: "Bad grammar is something up with which I will not put."

Laughed out loud when I saw Asok in my Daily Dilbert today, recalling Rex's rant!

Kathy

profphil 11:52 AM  

Had dots for domino features then got the p from the cross par and changed dots to pies (as in pizza pies from Domino's) and finally got pips.

As to Oscar, I did recall having kipper snacks (smoked herring) from a sardine-like can with King Oscar on the label but was unsure if it was witha K or c. Thought, perhaps it's a K and that's why talc was cued as french chalk but then thought, no way as french would use a c and not a K so went with C and finished the puzzle without the help of Frau Google ohne schatten. It took me much longer than a typical Wed.

Orange 12:06 PM  

Jae: Yes. I think they're "equal opportunity employer" and "equal employment opportunity."

I just saw an Entertainment Weekly record review for a CD from Sia, whose name is so crossword-friendly. Her songs have been heard on Grey's Anatomy, The O.C., and Six Feet Under.

Ellen 12:10 PM  

"Mustachioed" was used to describe Will Shortz in some "Wordplay" reviews.

"Three to Tango" is one of the worst movies ever made.

DS 12:25 PM  

For those of us who love moviess, Mystery Alaska was a gimme, and after seeing Problem Child and Enigma Machine, I thought we were going for a movie theme (although the movie about the Enigma Machine is titled simply Enigma). But no, as far as I know, there is no Puzzle Palace in moviedom. If it wasn't for James Bamford's book, "The Puzzle Palace: Inside the National Security Agency, America's Most Secret Intelligence Organization," I wouldn't have believed this was a real nickname at all.

Eric 12:34 PM  

Rex, you're comments today are especially witty. They really brightened my day.

I tried to put "Bean" in for French Noodle in your honor, but that word *still* isn't right.

karmasartre 12:52 PM  

re. iphone photo -- 73 degrees at 8:17 PM with a clock indicating 10:15? An ENIGMA. Yesterday was a Tuesday the 15th, so I'll try to figure out where it was, yesterday, that had that temperature and those two times at once, surely a PUZZLing MYSTERY. If the map is any indication, I think 280 runs east/west around San Jose. This will be a fun PROBLEM to resolve.

Sue 1:08 PM  

Hey, anonymous 10:54, just imagine how many people hate sports clues... or Bible clues... or rock music clues... I love the fact that all spheres of interest are fair game.

jls 1:56 PM  

so glad leon posted the churchill quote. now check out the food section from today's times:

inscrutable?

best --

janie

Al Sanders 1:58 PM  

As I said in Orange's blog, if you're a hockey fan, "Mystery, Alaska" is a true classic.

Seconding Orange's endorsement of Sia whose new CD is now prominently displayed at Starbuck's. The final episode of Six Feet Under has to be the best TV final episode ever and the Sia song Breathe Me that plays at the end was just beautiful. I ran to the computer and immediately put it on my my iPod.

Al Sanders 2:05 PM  

By the way, you probably shouldn't watch the "Breathe Me" clip if you ever plan on watching Six Feet Under all the way through. Sorry about the lack of spoiler warning.

Kumar 2:06 PM  

Of course, I got Agra, knowing fully well that the geographically challenged crossword maker would move the Lal Kila (Red Fort in Hindi) by a few hundred miles from Delhi, where it was the last time I visited it, to Agra. Expect to see the Taj Mahal moving to Delhi next.

Anonymous 2:59 PM  

French chalk is used by dry cleaners to absorb grease. I suspect that it's also known as tailor's chalk.

This puzzle was a breeze except for my insistence on SPOILEDCHILD. After the theme dawned on me, I saw the PROBLEM.

Rex Parker 3:13 PM  

@Kumar - surely you know that there is also a Red Fort of Agra (in addition to the much smaller Red Fort at Delhi) - though the Red Fort at Agra is perhaps more commonly known simply as "Agra Fort." I have no first-hand knowledge of any of this. I know only what Wikipedia tells me.

rp

miriam b 3:33 PM  

I can identify with King Oscar, as I'm not only a sardine enthusiast but also the proud owner of a set each of silver cocktail forks and cocktail spoons with colorful enameled stems, made in Norway and residing in boxes bearing the likeness of King Oscar (either I or II, don't ask me). I inherited these as part of the personal effects of an elderly relative. This is a bit of a MYSTERY, because these things look much too spiffy to be the kind of items one gets by sending in proofs of purchase. They must have been purchsed directly from the company. I'd guess that they date from the '30s.

I'm new here, so let me belatedly wish everyone a happy, healthy and hassle-free 2008.

NYTAnonimo 3:51 PM  

Here is an enigma about the ENIGMA MACHINE-that so few people know about the role of the US code breakers.

Fergus 3:58 PM  

Got to get me some French chalk after having let some 10W30 leak on to the passenger seat of my pickup truck -- assuming it works on oil as well as grease?

Quited VEXED for a while until VEXED appeared. Problem lay in having decided that the NSA was the PUZZLE POLICE. This made the Stork's delivery start with O, so I'm thinking ORPHANS? That SE corner was even more vexing when I went to confirm AVISO in the dictionary, but it wasn't there. That LAST EXIT wasn't working for me either.

And I wonder how it will be Clued when the ARAL Sea has finished drying up?

chefbea 4:05 PM  

the first long answer I got was enigma machine. then problem child. I saw the mama and child and assumed the rest would have other family members. didnt realize the theme til Rex revealed it

Doug 4:11 PM  

Hey now, Mr. Parker, don't pee in my ice pond -- We hockey fans rate Mystery, Alaska right up there with other great sports movies like The Mighty Ducks, Slapshot and of course Youngblood featuring Throb Lowe and Patrick Swayze.

Dare I try again:

Mystery, AL starring Russell Crowe, also of Gladiator with...

Joaquin Phoenix as loopy Comodus ( son of Richard Harris, but thought Dumbeldore was gay?) and previously of Parenthood as Dianne Wiest's son (remember the kid who disappeared into his room with the porno?) also co-starring...

Tom Hulce ("Mom, Dad, this is [your grandson] Cool") better known as Mozart in Amadeus, but first seen as Pinto in Animal House, also co-starring...

Kevin Bacon "Please sir, may I have another!"

voiceofsocietyman 4:19 PM  

Orange wrote: "voiceofsocietyman, you forgot about the lead content in American chalk which, of course, is made in China."

I'm glad at least one person got my joke!

I'm in a TiVo-less house this afternoon and accidentally came upon the Merv Griffin Crosswords show. OMG. What a bunch of dullards! Why even try out for a show called 'Crosswords' if you don't know how the clues work? Example: "Put forth, as a theory." Contestant says, "Poses?" [The answer, which could have been POSED, was POSIT]. There were other, even worse, examples, but they are too painful for submission here.

Years ago I almost made it onto Wheel of Fortune. At least I knew how to buy a vowel. Sheesh.

chefbea 4:25 PM  

me too. I almost made it onto wheel of fortune. Met Vanna. Got to the finals but I didnt jump up and down enough and yell and scream so never made it to a real show :-(

Markus 4:36 PM  

"Three to Tango" is ok but you have to bash "Mystery, Alaska"? Wasn't an enigma machine featured in "U-571" starring one Jon Bon Jovi? Oh the possibilities!

NYTAnonimo 5:08 PM  

Yes, you're right on about U571and the enigma machine markus.

Anonymous 5:24 PM  

"solution off of crap pop?"

Someone told me one time that "off of" is an inappropriate useage, and I have always wondered. Now I see an English professor use it, and I have to ask. What's the deal?

grandaD 5:35 PM  

I really wanted to use OLI for 2D, thinking it might be an Italian pastry shot from guns.

Love this blog and Emily Cureton's marvelous drawings!

Karen 5:38 PM  

I thank you for the quote also Leon.

I thought it kind of unfair to have the obscure baseball name (sorry Rex), obsure opera term, and random greek letter all cross into the same word. PUZZLE was the last word I got.

I have to say, I don't get Emily's drawing today. Can someone explain it to me?

PhillySolver 5:50 PM  

@ Karen

Here is what I think is going on...The Bolsheviks terminated the the Russian Tsar and his family in 1917. Olga was one of the unfortunate children who died in the slaughter. She was in the news last month as they found her unmarked grave recently. You can look it up int the NYTimes archives. It could be argued that the Russian Revolution was a CLASS war with many RIVAL factions.

JimHorne 5:53 PM  

Derat strikes me as a cheesy word as well. You wouldn't bring in the cat to demouse the house, would you? Not unless your last name was Seuss.

rick 7:18 PM  

Wow, there's a lot of new people checking in and I am not an oldbie, I've only been checking in for a few months.

This is great fun. I'll keep coming back in the hope that y'all will to.

kratsman 7:30 PM  

Well, since anonymous 5:24 brought it up, Safire had a column in last week's Magazine about "of."

green mantis 7:39 PM  

"Could of, would of," etc. is a huge pet peeve of mine. The day it becomes a sort-of-acceptable alternative to actual English will be the day I renounce membership in our species.

"Off of," however, strikes me as just colloquial, in keeping with the tone of the blog.

Doc John 7:42 PM  

I loved seeing that iPhone pic- I did the update on mine but didn't know about that feature of putting a bookmark on the home screen until coming here. Another perk of visiting this site daily!

@ karmasatre: it's always 73 degrees on the iPhone home screen- that weather icon isn't dynamic. Ditto for the clock icon.

I was totally in the clay potter mindset with that SOIL clue. Couldn't figure out why it was SOIL until I got here. Duh.

I got ENIGMA MACHINE just from the clue. Doesn't everyone watch The History Channel?

When I think of MYSTERY, ALASKA, I think of Burt Reynolds, not Russell Crowe. Even though I saw it, I forgot he was in it.

While I'm on movie stars, don't miss NEVE Campbell in "Reefer Madness- The Movie Musical". Also with the very talented Alan Cumming. The movie is very funny, campy and satirical and the music's good, too!

dk 7:56 PM  

Acoustic Echo Canceling sounds (pun intended) like a much more playful group than Atomic Energy Commission.

Reading A Madmen Dreams of Turing Machines, try it out for some Enigma history

ITunes download is down: Off to the movies for me.

Orange 8:25 PM  

I concur with Green Mantis: "off of" is colloquial and chatty. Not kosher for formal writing, but this here blog ain't so formal.

I did just read a messageboard post elsewhere that asked, "Does anyone know where I can buy this at?" I think that at is more obtrusively extraneous than Rex's of.

Fergus 8:32 PM  

Got to thinking about "off of" and got into quite a muddle. The expression is most often used, I would guess, as a double preposition, which just seems redundant. While 'of' is always a preposition, the dictionary I'm looking at has 'off' as just about every part of speech except a verb. It predates The Sopranos, obviously. This Random House, which is often quite handy for Usage, considers "off of" nonstandard, and poor style. Doesn't bother me, but I also wince at the 'could of' construction. Might also be about time to check on the correct usage "quotes" and 'inverted commas.'

Howard B 8:58 PM  

Just to add fuel to the smoldering tangent, I have to back Al up on this one - "Mystery, Alaska" is actually a decent movie (even better if you only consider the sub-sub-genre of hockey movies). There's actually dialogue and focus on characters and everything, not just pucks and missing teeth! Of course, the last 20 minutes or so I remember being the 'big game' against the hated NY Rangers, but still; it's worth a rental or Netflix if it sounds like your cup of cocoa.

Dick Swart 9:08 PM  

hey, Rex -
two Zetas with a tie-in to today's puzzle:

Pete Wilson - Mayor of San Diego - Aztecs
Benjamin Spock - Baby Guy - arrivals

And to top it off, both are Pantheonic Elis.

doc John 9:43 PM  

Speaking of mangled English, while the hated "could of" is at least an alliterative spelling of what is said (it's still WRONG WRONG WRONG), there's a cell phone company out here (god I hope it's only out here) that actually PROMOTES such ghetto-speak as "Where you at" and "What up." AAAAAAAAAARRRRGH!

I wouldn't use them even if they gave iPhones away for free!

And don't even get me started on apostrophe misuse!

Fergus 10:02 PM  

Only asking as a serial pedantic jerk, Doc John, but didn't you mean homophonic rather than alliterative?

green mantis 10:23 PM  

aw man, doc john, you just got pwned. Irregardless, Im with you on apostrophe's.

doc John 11:04 PM  

You're right, Fergus. At the time, "alliterative" was the best I could come up with.

pwned? Not sure what that is but PLEASE let it never show up in a crossword!

Sobriquet Magazine 11:13 PM  

Was Problem Child a "surprise hit" in the same way Weekend at Bernie's was?

Fergus 11:16 PM  

Pwned is perhaps a term I ought to learn something about. In my shady existence, such verbal infidelity seems to happen all the time, despite my withering remonstrances.

Pwned is a past participle, I'm assuming?

Orange 11:36 PM  

Fergus, just Google "pwn." It's got its own Wikipedia entry.

Doc John, I cringe at usage like the phrase "ghetto-speak" far more than at something like "What up."

"Could of" isn't casual speech or slang—it's a written mangle of "could've."

Fergus 11:59 PM  

Not in my nature to pwn. Others may consider otherwise, but lording a victory over someone, irrespective of the field, yields no gratification. If I hadn't learned this already from my attempted childhood religious indoctrination, I got it from being a parent and teacher a bit later in life.

Mudduck 12:04 AM  

found you while googling "stork's bundle." "Arrival" didn't occur to me -- my wrong crosses were misleading. Anyway, "arrival" untangled that block. Thanks for the tip. Now I can retire.

Anonymous 1:38 PM  

Never heard the word misremember before Roger Clemens said it in the steroid hearings. Now I'm wondering if he got it from your commentary on today's puzzle. You never know who's reading.

Jet City Gambler 4:46 PM  

Six weeks later ...
Loved this puzzle, had the secret James Bond vibe to it with all the clandestine clues.

I thought this was easier than yesterday, got MYSTERY ALASKA from MY-, PUZZLE PALACE and ENIGMA MACHINE were gimmes from the clues. I grew up reading Ludlum and Deighton and Forsyth, so I enjoyed the spy stuff. The story of the Enigma Machine is fascinating. Fun puzzle, Barry!

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