Saturday, March 29, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Mixed Feelings" - sets of consecutive circled squares contain different feelings with their letters mixed up

Took me a while to get this theme. Had TOENAIL (in 23A) and couldn't imagine where the theme might be going, then got CASEYST (in 30A) and really had no clue. Finally got EPHO (in 52A), which was clearly a mixed-up version of HOPE, and then the meaning of the "Mixed Feelings" title became obvious. The theme is very inventive, and there's a great variety of feelings represented here. I am especially fond of the fact that the "feeling" of LUST comes from SLUT, which comes from the greatest name (puzzle-wise) in the grid: SLUTSKAYA (68A: Champion figure skater Irina). I had a bit of trouble near the corner of AKEEM (45A: Prince _____, Eddie Murphy film role) and BEDROOM EYES (14D: Come-hither look), where FRED (29A: Scrooge's nephew in "A Christmas Carol") was unknown to me and FRIENDS (29D: Top-rated TV series of 2001-02) refused to come forth (despite my having seen many, many episodes). Oh yeah, DYE VAT (60A: Textile factory fixture) is over there too - one of my least favorite entries in the grid. Yuck. I had the -VAT part and actually wrote in CRAVAT at one point. Thankfully, there were only a few other way-out words like that (most notably ARARA - 85D: Amazon parrot). So I alternated between enjoying and not so much enjoying the puzzle.

The low point for me was hitting the puzzle's center and getting the (to my mind) terrible theme answer PSY (64D: Subj. that deals with mixed feelings). Do you mean PSYCH? Because PSY is ... I'm sure it's acceptable somewhere, but you mean PSYCH. Everyone abbreviates PSYCHOLOGY as PSYCH. I'm not taking PSY 101, I'm taking PSYCH (speaking of 101, see 5A: 101 in a course name (basic)). This puzzle has an overfondness for abbreviations, many of them kind of groan-inducing.

  • PSY (groan, for sure)
  • ANIM (1A: Lively, in mus.)
  • RPTS (129A: Sch. research papers)
  • OGPU (113A: K.G.B. predecessor) - ?! say it out loud, and it sounds like how I feel about it
  • TRAG (70D: "King Lear" or "Hamlet": Abbr.)
  • APPROX (101D: Estimated: Abbr.) - you could write the whole of ABOUT in fewer letters
  • SGT (116D: Badge holder: Abbr.)

I'm sure there are more, but I don't care to hunt them down.

Theme answers:

  • 23A: Pedicurist's need (TOENAIL clippers) => ELATION
  • 14D: Come-hither look (BEDROOM eyes) => BOREDOM
  • 30A: Wearer of #37, retired by both the Yankees and the Mets (CASEY STengel) => ECSTASY
  • 52A: Whispering party game (telEPHOne) => HOPE
  • 68A: Champion figure skater Irina (SLUTskaya) => LUST
  • 16D: Protective mailer (padded enVELOpe) => LOVE
  • 67D: Bearing nothing (EMPTY-HAnded) => EMPATHY
  • 50D: Some business attire (pin-stRIPED suit) => PRIDE
  • 88A: Manual transmission position (third GEAR) => RAGE
  • 109A: Kitchen implement used with a little muscle (potato MASHEr) => SHAME
  • 118A: Bats, balls, gloves, etc. (sports EQUIPment) => PIQUE
There was a wicked triad of Downs in the SE (at least I thought they were wicked, or wickedish): ISOMER (103D: Chemical cousin) next to SHLEPP (104D: Lug: Var.) next to TELNET (105D: Online protocol for remote log-in). These were all made somewhat harder by the non-transparency of the very farthest Across answers in the SE: EPEE (125A: Blade of Grasse) and RPTS. That [Blade of Grasse] clue was oddly vicious, and I only figured it out after spelling and respelling SHLEPP a number of ways. Started with SCHLEP. Why would you need a second "P"?!

Lots of EZ stuff today, including:

  • 19A: Literature Nobelist Morrison (Toni)
  • 22A: Serengeti grazer (eland) - your most common African antelope, crosswordwise
  • 56A: Holiday celebrating deliverance from Haman (Purim) - only EZ because of my having tanked HAMAN in a previous puzzle
  • 2D: Writer Peggy known for the phrase "a kinder, gentler nation" (Noonan) - was that Bush I? Yes.
  • 4D: Stately dance with short steps (minuet)
  • 49D: "Star Trek: T.N.G." counselor Deanna (Troi) - a crossword staple. Too bad I never saw this clue.

I really liked that ADAM and EVE and EDEN all made it into the puzzle. I start teaching Paradise Lost on Tuesday, so this is a good way to start the week. Gets me in the Sinning / Falling mood. Ooh, and then there's EPIC (86A: DeMille output), of which PL certainly is one. Satan is the MVP (93A: big shot after making a big shot, maybe: Abbr.) of PL, but sadly he's not in this puzzle.

Odds and ends:

  • 10A: "Little _____ in Slumblerland" (pioneering comic strip) - I know I mention Little NEMO every time he comes up, but I can't help it. I love Winsor McCay's work so much.
  • 43A: Close overlapping of fugue voices (stretto) - the one word I really wasn't sure about in this puzzle. Had me second-guessing GOT 'EM (33D: "They're in my hot little hands!") and PHENOL (25D: Carbolic acid).
  • 39A: Relating to flight technology (avionic) - ouch, not a word I've seen before. I guessed AVIATIC at some point.
  • 95A: Peter Shaffer play based on the lives of Mozart and Salieri ("Amadeus") - was unaware this was a play.
  • 100A: Like sugar vis-a-vis Equal (natural) - good clue. I wanted a comparative adjective here.
  • 124A: Annie of "Ghostbusters" (Potts) - goes nicely with AKEEM (From "Coming to America"), in that it takes me back to the 80s, when I actually used to go to the movies. See also 24D: Milano of "Who's the Boss?" (Alyssa).
  • 10D: Port west of Monte Vesuvio (Napoli) - so proud to guess this off just the "N." I feel as if this word has been in the puzzle at least three times now since I started blogging, which seems ... high, for a 6-letter Italian place name.
  • 32D: Capone henchman (Nitti) - I routinely forget this guy's name, which sucks for me, as he's in the puzzle not infrequently. I want to call him VITTI. Why?
  • 35D: BlackBerry rival (Treo) - I will expect to see this more and more if it remains a viable brand.
  • 36D: Land of Ephesus (Ionia) - had the IO-, guessed the rest. In puzzles, it's a not uncommon Greek place name.
  • 40D: Heads in the Pantheon? (capita) - Had this ending in "S," even after SLUTSKAYA made that impossible. Had never heard of CAPITS and was very grumbly, until I caught my misspelling of SLUTSKAYA.
  • 69D: Japanese eel and rice dish (unadon) - great-looking word. Surprised I couldn't get this. I thought my sushi vocabulary was pretty strong. [UNADON is not sushi - it's a rice bowl with grilled eel. Rice bowl = donburi. Hey, I used to live in Danbury.]
  • 79D: Classic Dana fragrance for women (Tabu) - Would have been much harder if I'd had to name TABU's maker (Dana!?).
  • 81D: Representations of a winged woman holding an atom (Emmys) - so that's what that is. Cool.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


PhillySolver 12:21 AM  

I don't think UNADON is a sushi dish. My local Japanese place sells it under the category of Rice Bowls. Unagi is the sushi version I believe.
Like Rex, I hadn't thought about the Emmy holding an Atom, but I guess it represents the scientific part of the delivery of television to the home.
I was confused about the Al Gore cause until I realized it wasn't about our Noble Peace Prize winner. I laughed when ERASER fell when I was thinking of all the possible chemical solvents that might have been in play.
I really enjoyed the puzzle after the puzzle and toenail was the most elusive for me. Thank you, Am Huge Alpaca.

JerryR 12:48 AM  

Did anyone besides me have trouble with C vs. K for the SLUTSKAYA/ERIK crossing?

Morgan 12:56 AM  

I'm surprised that:

a) you didn't dislike this one, because I thought the theme was totally dull and more of an afterthought than anything else. In fact, I didn't even consider the theme until I had completed the entire puzzle and

b) you thought this was a medium. I thought this was hands-down the easiest Sunday I've ever done--I finished it in 19 minutes flat, and I usually take a half hour or so. There were only 4 tough letters in the whole puzzle, three in New Mexico and one in Maine.

Anyway, I guess it goes to show there's no accounting for taste or solving speed!

Ashish 1:19 AM  

Very nice (& easy) puzzle - notice the gamma, gamut combo from Gamache!

Enjoyed the mixed feelings - 11 of them spread across 125+ theme letters, not an easy task for a constructor. My favorites were ecstasy and empathy since they were good aha moments. Who ever thought empty-handed and Casey Stengel started these deep emotions?


Steve 1:36 AM  

I too was surprised you didn't pan this puzzle's theme, which was a total zero for me. I never once used it to help me fill. I only figured out the anagrams after I was done, and only because I hadn't yet finished my 2nd cup of tea.

Bill from NJ 1:40 AM  

New record for me - 33 minutes -and I was overwhelmed.

Do you ever got to the point of sensory-overload where you see so many answers to so many clues you don't know where to start?

I had to backup, take a deep breath and go forward.

No real trouble except in Southern California where I had HEE for YEE and III for MII which created a
small problem along the coast and EMMYS was the last to fall.

SethG 1:58 AM  

In Independence Day the assorted pilots were given a crash course in modern avionics.

OGPU is now my least favorite answer ever. I feel dumber for having seen it, and I dread the thought that any of your commentators will want to offer more information about it. Everyone please, if you do, can you just call it "that pre-KGB group" or something?


jae 3:38 AM  

Medium works for me but I'm not really fond of theme puzzles where getting the theme doesn't aid the solving process. Here the theme was an afterthought, so, no help at all. Like jerryr my problem was the SLUTSKAYA (vaguely familiar to me but not enough to know how to spell)/ERIK crossing (there are a whole bunch of ways to clue ERIK and I've forgotten this one). I needed a google check to fix my error. I was also iffy on the KHAYYAM spelling which didn't help my guessing on the figure skater.

As a psychologist I completely agree with Rex's take on PSY.

Anonymous 3:45 AM  

"Kinder, Gentler Nation" was from ads for Reagan, produced by Hal Riney, who just died within the last few days.

Rex Parker 7:11 AM  

@phillsolver, thanks for the UNADON info

@the idea that this was the easiest Sunday ever. I've done too many Sundays, I guess. It was easy, but not that easy. This one took me about 15 ... I've done NYTs in around 11 before.

I've never had commenters call for me to hate a puzzle. Weird. Usually I'm being chastised for being too harsh. I thought my review was pretty lukewarm, at best, though I will say that I tempered it some - and it's possible that, mid-solve, I sent a message to another blogger, the complete text of which read: "hating this Sunday puzzle." But I didn't have a problem with the theme. It was fill that was bugging me. In fact, I sent that message right after PSY...


Rex Parker 7:11 AM  

PS from First paragraph of "Biography of George Herbert Walker Bush":

George Bush brought to the White House a dedication to traditional American values and a determination to direct them toward making the United States "a kinder and gentler nation." In his Inaugural Address he pledged in "a moment rich with promise" to use American strength as "a force for good."

Whitey's Mom 8:15 AM  

I wanted to thank you, Rex, for forcing my attention on my googling habits. It's so easy to find information on the web that I had fallen into the very bad habit of looking up almost everything the slightest bit difficult. Since I found your column I have done almost every puzzle in its entirety and without googling once.

Anyway, today's puzzle wasn't too bad but I didn't have a clue about the theme.

miriam b 8:29 AM  

Saw the anagram angle after having finished the puzzle, but couldn't figure out TOENAIL for quite some time.

miriam b 8:52 AM  

TREO was new to me, as was STRETTO.

Ulrich 9:01 AM  

The theme helped me in figuring out at least one answer, the scater name: After I had the L and T, I guessed "lust" as the feeling and then remembered the scater's really memorable name (for someone who speaks English) from the last (?) Winter Olympics. So, I did not groan at the theme, also had fun unscrambling the harder anagrams--ecstasy took me the longest.

Hit the only snag with square 114 since the I never knew there was whole alphabet soup of names between the Cheka and the KGB and tricked myself in that I thought ?ORE would stand for an answer of the "? or E" sort and couldn't think of a letter to go at the front. But aside from that, easy also for me.

Ulrich 9:07 AM  

A comment on Amadeus. The movie (never saw the play) was entertaining, and if it induced people to listen to Mozart's music or see the operas (which were nicely staged in the film), all the better. But people should not think that it had much to do with reality: The movie Mozart is a caricature that reduces the complex man to one note, and that was sad for me.

ArtLvr 9:21 AM  

I rather liked the puzzle, easy-medium for me -- even STRETTO popped up from somewhere in the back of my mind, cofirmimg NITTI. We had another power outage when I started, so I was back to pen and paper and being extra-cautious, though.

I knew Blade of Grasse was EPEE, so the odd spelling of SHLEPP was not a problem, just annoying. Ditto PSY, though crossed with the cute 'ENRY 'iggins.

I thought ESTEE was wanted again, but it turned out to be NIVEA and made EMMYS my last fill. Checked out the anagrams as I went along, and thus got SLUTSKAYA from "lust", so the theme wasn't a total waste, more of a bonus game.

I suppose one day we'll see another Capone associate, Accardo -- It was a silly thrill when we first got driving licenses to go slowly around the block on which his residence was located, to see if we could get any black limos to tail us. (His son was in our high school class, which caused the parents no end of dismay.) INSULTS, IN ESSE, my favorite cross.

Thanks to Philly for the anagram AM HUGE ALPACA! Very funny..


Anonymous 9:26 AM  

Agree with steve about the theme. I didn't use it to solve the themed clues and didn't even figure it out until I'd solved this relatively easy puzzle and sat back and looked at it.

ArtLvr 9:49 AM  

p.s. Very much agree with Ulruch: Tom Hulce's braying laugh, playing Mozart in the film "Amadeus", was a horrible affectation -- and the Salieri obsession was said to be an unfair invention too. My favorite composer, though, and the movie is worth seeing for the music!


Leon 10:15 AM  

Loved your Paradise Lost comments in relation to this puzzle. Satan as MVP, he certainly had the best lines.

In the Wall Street Journal Opinion splash page there is Commentary by Ms. Peggy Noonan and an appropriate cartoon featuring Sushi. WSJ.

jannieb 10:50 AM  

Finished this one pretty quickly. Figured out the theme from the title but it was of little use to me. Only real stumble was spelling - took several attempts until I was happy with Slutskaya/Khayyam. My only quibble was the cluing for bedroom eyes - which to me is more of an adjective than a verb. I guess I"d say this was disappointingly easy.

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

How is arm a boxer's measurement?


sallie 11:03 AM  

Would someone explain D114 to me? I am feeling sooo stupid, but just not getting it. That is, I got it because I had heard of Ogpu, but Gore as Cause for an R perhaps eludes me still.

My Peregrine Is Screaming

chefbea1 11:08 AM  

am huge alpaca???? dont get it
thought this was one of the easiest sunday puzzles!!
Emmys was my last fill also

Anonymous 11:20 AM  


"gore" is one reason a movie might be rated R..


John Reid 11:30 AM  

Three tricky crosses for me today:

AKEEM/TREO - I thought that crossing 'E' might be an 'I'. I went back and forth a few times before settling on the E.

LAALAA/TAMA - Maybe I'm the only one who has never heard of either of these names.

OGPU/GORE - This was the hardest square for me today. I just couldn't think of what that R in the down clue stood for! I went through the alphabet and still couldn't get it. Went through again, more slowly, and then put it together. Duh! Usually I get those movie rating ones right away. I see from reading the above posts that I wasn't the only one to falter here though.

Other than that, I felt reasonably confident, and was lucky enough to come away with no mistakes. [Looking back at some of the obscure words that were in the grid (STRETTO, UNADON, ARARA) I feel even luckier!]

Ulrich 11:35 AM  

I want to put in another word for Gamache as a constructor of this puzzle: The (long!) theme words, not the anagrams inside, are symmetrical, and if you mark these words, you see that they form a very dense pattern over the grid: a real feat of construction, to me at least, even if the solving experience is only soso.

bill from fl 11:37 AM  

This was an odd mix for me--ridiculously easy until I got to the SE, where I got stuck for long time for no good reason. I can't blame the cluing; in retrospect it all seems fair, including the cliche "Capital of Rome." I thought declaim meant only "inveigh," but it apparently can also mean simply "elocute." To top it off, I guessed wrong on OGPU.

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

144D. Oy. Thank you Anonymous 11:20 AM. I couldn't get it after going through the whole alphabet and finally came up with an elaborate justification for "O or E" involving "operating room" and "emergency room." Very pathetic in retrospect.

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

I thought this was a marvelous feat of puzzle construction (in retrospect only - figured out the theme after I finished.

@chefbea1 - take a look at the puzzle constructor's name.

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

I have to leave very soon now and haven't had time to either finish the puzzle or read Rex's comments. Probably won't finish as I found it rather boring; perhaps if I had had the time to work out the theme I might feel differently. My coups were working out the predecessor to the KGB and that I knew who Irina was (68A). She used to do battle with Michelle Kwan, my all-time favorite ice skater whose balletic grace has not been matched since she retired. I'm so tired of the present female skaters who spend all their time doing those interminable jumps and leaving little for anything else. I look forward to coming home tonight and reading Rex and the bloggers.

AYoung in San Francisco. PS Did anyone else catch the short column on Tyler Hinman in today's Parade? It was more than unrewarding for crossword puzzlers but, at least I suppose, he got his 15 seconds of fame in the non-puzzling world.

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

I have to leave very soon now and haven't had time to either finish the puzzle or read Rex's comments. Probably won't finish as I found it rather boring; perhaps if I had had the time to work out the theme I might feel differently. My coups were working out the predecessor to the KGB and that I knew who Irina was (68A). She used to do battle with Michelle Kwan, my all-time favorite ice skater whose balletic grace has not been matched since she retired. I'm so tired of the present female skaters who spend all their time doing those interminable jumps and leaving little for anything else. I look forward to coming home tonight and reading Rex and the bloggers.

AYoung in San Francisco. PS Did anyone else catch the short column on Tyler Hinman in today's Parade? It was more than unrewarding for crossword puzzlers but, at least I suppose, he got his 15 seconds of fame in the non-puzzling world.

Craig 12:34 PM  

"The concept for Mozart's annoying laugh was taken from references in letters written about him. One described his laugh as "an infectious giddy" while another described it as "like metal scraping glass"." I thought Tommy tried very effectively to reproduce it! Shaffer was fascinated with the contradiction of Mozart's sublime music and his well-documented boorish behavior. I love this blog! Where else?

Anonymous 12:41 PM  

Rex: For a long time the scheduling software used at most universities required 3 letter prefixes for courses -- thus PSY for Psychology, MAT for Mathematics, CHE for Chemistry -- rather than the abbreviations we commonly use in speech and handwriting. I think this makes the answer to 64D tolerable. (Of course, software has evolved. At your school, for example, the prefix for Psych courses is now PSYC.)

Noam D. Elkies 12:49 PM  

That was fun; not as easy for me as some people here found it, but that's OK -- gives me more time to enjoy it. Wondered for a few seconds why an entire word of 23A:TOENAILclippers was circled, then noticed the anagram and actually used it to fix 30A, where I first had CASEIST from crosses because I completed 24D:AL?S?? to Alison. Never heard of 32D:NITTI or 51D:LAALAA, but am prepared to excuse those (and maybe even 64D:PSY) as the sort of [profanity] a constructor must sometimes resort to in order to complete the grid. Yes, I too started with "cravat" for 60A:DYEVAT. And yes, the spelling 104D:SHLEPP is unusual, though recognized by; I guess it's back-formed from "shlepped" or "shlepping".

I was particularly delighted by the considerable subsidiary theme of classical-music entries: 1A:ANIM, 4D:MINUET, 43A:STRETTO (not the first time this appears in the puzzle, right?), 53D:ERIK Satie, 92D:ESHARP, 95A:AMADEUS (@Ulrich: it's a good stage play; no more historically correct than the movie, but the same's probably true of Shakespeare's historical plays etc.) -- and even 84D:GAMUT, originally a note at the bottom of a musical range, called "Gamma ut" (which P.Gamache probably knows, esp. seeing the crossing with 84D:GAMMA).

For 123A "Capital of Italy" I actually entered "Rome" and then immediately erased it for the correct EURO because "no, this is not a Mon/Tues puzzle". One of these days the same clue will actually be used for ROME and everybody on this forum will be mystified ;-)


Brian D 1:17 PM  

Mike- when boxers are weighing in before a fight, they give measurements for arm length, along with weight, height, waist size, chest size, etc. In all, there are a dozen or so measurements provided, I imagine for the sake of gambling.

I enjoyed this puzzle, mostly because it didn't give me too much trouble, though I did misspell Noonan as Noonam and had Unados, thinking that satural had something to do with the chemical makeup of sugar.

chefbea1 1:29 PM  

thanks Joaneee. I now understand the anagram.
And I did see the column on tyler hinman in Parade magazine this morning

michigan dreamer 1:38 PM  

I had no clue on #39 Mets, Yankees. My husband took a quick guess, and it fit. (He was pleased to see the picture of Casey Stengal on Rex's site!) That was all I could get at the top, though. I worked from the bottom up and finished fairly quickly for me.
I enjoyed the clueing for nivea, epee and natural -- all which sidetracked me. Oh, and I liked the theme. Not hard, but lots of it!

kate 1:50 PM  

I finished this one pretty easily, but only to discover I had two mistakes. Had STRETTA/PHENAL instead of STRETTO/PHENOL, and then I had the same problem as some others with OGPU/GORE. I also just couldn't come up with what sort of R we were talking about... best I could figure was R as in Rx?? so I put SORE, knowing it was funky but it was my best guess.

What I actually sort of liked about the theme was that a couple of the theme answers were a little hard to unscramble, creating another level of puzzle for me (I'm lousy at anagrams.)

blues2u 1:58 PM  

Rex's description described my solution with 4 exceptions:

1. Took me several minutes to replace hee (haw) with yee(haw) ("what the heck's a "emmhs"?)

2. Toenail practically jumped out at me.

3. Thanks to so many bombs being in the avionic compartment in so many action movies, I got tis right away.

4. To my "shame" I got potato PEELER right away and that caused some confusion at first.

Great blog Rex and thaks for all your work.

Anonymous 2:00 PM  

I always check to see how Rex rates the puzzle before I attempt it. I must disagree, like so many other bfore me, this was definitely an EASY. I finished in about 30 minutes, which is quite good for me. Although, I must say, I like them when they are more difficult, since it will take up more of a gloomy Sunday afternoon. Easiest clue - Teletubby LaaLaa, that was a gimme to all moms with kids born in the late 1990s.

Doug 2:22 PM  

I do the Sunday puzzle on Sat night usually in the bedlam of a 4-boy house and if I'm close to getting the whole thing I'll carry on, otherwise I'll power down and finish up with a fresh brain in the AM. Left it about 1/3 empty last night, but powered through the remainder this morning. Instead of last night's hockey game and my bbq duty, it was Guitar Hero III in the background.

Theme: I also didn't bother with figuring out the anagram themewords, but "respect" to Am Huge Alpaca for making it work.

Only mistake was on EMMYS as had HEE for YEE, and didn't spend time running the alphabet. I thought the Millennium clue was tricking me into thinking the answer was M__, (1000AD+) when it was probably 1AD+, e.g. III, VII, IIX, XII, XIV, XVI, etc. Of course I was wrong... So wound up with EVMHS and wrote it off as an obscure OGPU answer. I vote for OGPU to be used to call obscure acronyms. "That was a hell of an OGPU."

PuzzleGirl 3:08 PM  

Didn't love the theme, but didn't hate it either. When I thought about it at all it was with awe at the construction.

I didn't change HEE to YEE and, therefore, didn't ever decode EMMYS. Also had to Google ERIK. I might have come up with it if I had been more patient, but patience is in short supply around here these days.

Had excellent puzzles yesterday and Friday, though, so I feel like I'm doing okay.

Anonymous 3:43 PM  


I too had sore instead of gore as I recalled from Latin that the x in Rx is the equivalent for a period and is not really a letter but a stroke on the leg of the R to indicate a period and that this is an initial for recipe (to take a little of this and that to make (in this case) a medicinal potion) and is therefore on pharmacies and prescriptions. So thought R for medicine hence sore. It all seemed so circuitous that I had my doubts.


Tom in Iowa 4:41 PM  

EMMYS defeated me as well. The HEE/YEE issue did it.

I was pleased to see TELNET. There is a wealth of computerese to mine for crossword puzzles. I expect it may cause the same consternation as PHENOL and ISOMER.


mac 5:06 PM  

I got several of the long answers so easily that I got worried! It was a good thing I had the anagrams to do afterward, or I would have finished the thing too fast for my (Sunday) taste.

I vaguely remembered seeing a funny-named skater, and quickly filled in Plotskaya, not good for a skater... What is this yee instead of hee? I know Janowitz, but thought she was Tara.
This morning another relative of Al Capone was on tv: his brother's granddaughter, who, of course, wrote a book.

Orange, am enjoying your book and picking up some really good tips in the medium to harder sections. You don't know how relieved I am to hear that I don't have to be ashamed to Google or use other reference books (I adore reference books and dictionaries).

Anonymous 5:20 PM  

I think what Mike might have been alluding to is that ARM is not one of the measurements that is taken in The Tale of the Tape. 14 measurements are taken, but they do not include ARM, although they do include FOREARM, BICEPS and REACH. REACH is the measure from one hand to the other when the boxer holds his arms out as if in a cross (I forget the precise measuring point--something along the lines of the mid-knuckle when making a fist to the same point on the other side). Reach for a heavyweight will be roughly 80" so it does not correlate to ARM.

Steve M.

Anonymous 5:31 PM  

Good puzzle, not great, thought I had it licked arter 1D, 1A - had to be arena and agitato - oops. No problems with the puzzle until the infamous square 114. Thank goodness I had my daughters boyfriend to give me the movie rating thing. Theme was useless for solving but clever. Had a bit of trouble with Nitti (was sure it was Nitto, corrupted by the Untouchables).

imsdave - back to being inept

Orange 5:35 PM  

Mac, glad you're enjoying it!

imsdave 5:42 PM  

Thanks to Philly, btw, for the help on Friday

ArtLvr 6:50 PM  

Also for Philly, to add to Am Huge Alpaca:

Join Herd, Meaning Hot Elk!

Hoping our constructors won't take umbrage.....


Bill from NJ 7:08 PM  

@Tom in Iowa - re: Computer lingo

Might create a whole new subset of people to replace those who now hate popular culture.

Just saying.

Michael 10:16 PM  

I thought the puzzle was easy, but never did figure out the theme until coming here. A clever piece of construction that I would have appreciated more had I understood it.

Joon 11:23 PM  

finished the puzzle in a very fast sunday time for me, although 114 did befuddle me for a while. kept thinking, "hmm, neither NKVD nor CHEKA fits here!" OGPU... who knew?

throughout the puzzle i kept waiting for some short answer in the SE to tell me what the deal was with the circled squares, but didn't spend any time thinking about it. after i filled in the last square, i thought, "gee, what was the theme?" then i looked at the title again and figured it out. the anagrams then proceeded to practically jump off the page at me. in retrospect, i liked the theme, though there were some pretty shaky abbreviations and obscurata thrown in there to make it all work.

i was not a fan of the STRETTO/NITTO crossing. T seemed like a good guess, but several other letters could have gone there and i would have believed it.

DYEVAT, SADCASES, BEDROOMEYES--these are "in the language"? i'll believe that BEDROOMEYES is some sort of idiom which is unfamiliar to me (insert joke about my love life here). haven't seen those other phrases around enough to warrant their appearance in a grid, but maybe that's just me.

i never know whether "Acknowledge tacitly" is going to be NODAT or NODTO. i invariably guess wrong the first time, then fix it. thank goodness for NIA vardalos.

Chrees 1:33 AM  

If you were unaware that Amadeus was based on Shaffer's play, you might be interested in Pushkin's play (Mozart and Salieri) that inspired Shaffer (as well as Rimsky-Korsakov's opera).

Joe 11:04 AM  

Am I the only one who had never heard of the word 'dido' before (except as the name of the Queen of Carthage)? (sorry I'm so late, but I never get to do the puzzle before late Sunday night or even Monday morning)

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

Anyone understand 118D? Why is SEA the answer to MAIN???

eliezering 1:38 PM  

Why is SEA the answer to MAIN in 118D???

andreacarlamichaels 4:04 PM  

Rex, Here's my psych 101 nitty gritty on why you might be confusing NITTI with VITTI:
It's due to your whole Simpsons thing...Jon VITTI was a writer the first few years and he might be buried in your VITTI are like many VITOS, no?

scriberpat 7:24 PM  


@anonymous 3:43 (profphil?) re: the Rx sign on prescriptions and drugstores:

the Rx sign evolved out of the symbol for the planet Jupiter.

@sobeling 1:33 and @eliezering 1:38
re: why is SEA the answer to MAIN in 118D:

main= obsolete: of or relating to a broad expanse (as the sea)

Anonymous 10:04 PM  

"Sailing, sailing, over the bounding main..."

Anonymous 10:15 PM  

main (noun): the open ocean

Anonymous 4:51 PM  

Why is "capita" the answer to 40D? capo is head in Italian and capi is the plural. capita can be a form of the verb capire( to understand) or capitare (to happen). What am I missing?

Rex Parker 4:58 PM  

It's Latin, CAPUT (sing.) CAPITA (pl.). Think "per capita."


impjb 5:03 PM  

From syndication land...I enjoy any puzzle I can finish on my own, so by that requirement I liked this puzzle. By a quirk of timing last Thursday's puzzle ( #0221, 3 days ago in SL) had the same trick for the theme, though the mixed up items were the names of nuts. I think that made it easier for me than normal.

Mike the Wino 6:46 PM  

I work in the aerospace industry so this is somewhat embarrassing, but for a little while I had AEROTIC for 39A. Wonder where my mind was...

cody.riggs 12:22 AM  

Funny...I enjoyed this puzzle and actually DID use the theme to solve a few of the long clues. Normally on these anagram puzzles I don't, but LUST (SLUTskaya) gave me the U that I would have assumed was wrong because I have never heard the name, and sounds unflattering. LOVE also clued me into paddedenVELOpe, and PIQUE gave me the get the idea.

Don't know why I enjoyed the puzzle considering it contained the worst 'word'-like-thing I've ever beheld: OGPU. It doesn't pass breakfast muster if you ask me, and is such a stupid, trivial thing to know.

Additionally: I am a professional Classical musician and have NEVER seen the abbreviation ANIM. for 'animato.' As is usual, actually knowing musical terms makes these clues harder. I wanted VIVO. I don't share the disdain of APPROX.

STRETTO was a great answer and a great (accurate) clue. A total gimme, as was ERIK Satie, of course, E SHARP, AMADEUS, GAMUT...were there any other good musical answers (did I mention I hated ANIM?)

And speaking of music. 26a DIDOS: WTF? I have no idea what this means. Should have been clued "Purcell Opera heroine and others" if you ask me.

And upon seeing "Not dis" I wanted it to mean German for D-sharp, and wanted to write ES (German for E-flat), which was at least fanciful if only 2 then I went for the "disrespect" (badmouth)connotation for the longest time. That clue should be used for a different answer in a future puzzle.

I wanted ILY as Adverb ending for the longest time, but was sure ALIVE was the wanted poster word, didn't even catch my mistake (a nonsensical "IVL" adverb ending, and nonexistent CEI t.v. show.) till I got TOENAILCLIPPERS (breakfast table alert...)

Never knew before that BEDROOM was an anagram of BOREDOM. Not to mention SLUT/LUST

Oh..."Shlepp" comes from the root "Schleppen," to drag or LUG (that's in the puzzle someplace, isn't it?) Therefore the double-p. That doesn't bother me, it's the lack of the "c".

I'm in Syndication so it was funny having NAPOLI in puzzles two days in a row.

And the rerun of Jeopardy! last night mentioned the Emmy Awards as well, explaining that the atom represented electron technology...deja vu seeing it in the puzzle today.

My favorite answer: ELOCUTE.

Enough of my ramblings for now.

jpChris 2:37 PM  

It took me forever to figure out 88A because there was a "T" at the beginning of the clue: I couldn't make anything out of "TGEAR".

It wasn't until I came here and saw no one else mentioned 88A that I finally saw the anagrams were consecutively bunched together.

Oh, Gee, PU on that one.

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