SUNDAY, May 25, 2008 - Elizabeth C. Gorski ("ROMANZERO" POET)

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Spy Glass" - Actors who have played James Bond + author of James Bond series + James Bond's signature drink, the latter of which sits inside a MARTINI glass formed by connecting the circled letters in the puzzle...

Wow. This puzzle has more theme elements than I ever remember seeing in a Sunday puzzle. I only just noticed this morning that though the circled letters don't spell anything, they do have meaning - you can connect them in alphabetical order to form the obvious MARTINI glass shape (this is explained, in AcrossLite, in the Notepad, but I tend not to read Notepads unless I absolutely have to). Also, this morning, I noticed that not only does the word MARTINI sit inside the MARTINI glass, but it functions as a design element as well, indicating the level of gin + vermouth inside the glass (after a sip or two, perhaps). Incredible. I would like to praise the inclusion of JAMES in this puzzle, both for the clever way it's clued (72D: Bond common to the answers to the six starred clues) and for the fact that it is located outside of normal puzzle symmetry, i.e. there is no corresponding theme answer to balance it out in the WNW - where instead of something thematic, we find the mysterious OUSEL (46D: White-collared thrush: Var.). Symmetry is great and all, but I think the puzzle should be more willing than it normally is to include the odd asymmetrical element, especially if the rest of the puzzle works so fantastically well).

You'll never guess which answer tipped me to the theme ... OK, well, there are a finite number of possibilities, so maybe you will guess ... it was GEORGE LAZENBY. I had the -ZENBY part and thought "what ends in -ZENBY ... GEORGE LAZENBY ... no, that's silly ..." Also, I thought the actor's name was LAZERBY. Anyway, it was nice to get the theme so early and easily. I couldn't remember the last name of the recent, very good James Bond, but every other actor's name came back to me with relative ease.

Theme answers:

  • 23A: *1969 (George Lazenby)
  • 48A: *1973-85 (Roger Moore)
  • 68A: *1987-89 (Timothy Dalton)
  • 115A: *1995-2002 (Pierce Brosnan)
  • 3D: *1962-67, 1971 (Sean Connery)
  • 71D: *2006- (Daniel Craig)
  • 90A: Writer born May 28, 1908 (Ian Fleming) - Happy Birthday, Mr. F.

One last nice thing about this theme: MARTINI is symmetrical to ASPIRIN (97A: Offering from St. Joseph).

Had many false starts today. I wanted an ARMOIRE in my foyer, not an AREA RUG (18A: Foyer item). I had ATRIAL instead of AORTAL (41A: Relating to a blood line). I thought that maybe the TSAR issued propaganda ... right country, wrong era => TASS (1D: Old propaganda propagator). There was a tie for biggest screw-up of the day. I was happy to have seen right through the trickery in 51D: Butterfly experts, perhaps - so I wrote in SWIMMERS (instead of SWIM TEAM). This caused no end of trouble, including giving me the disturbingly mysterious --SM for 74A: Kite flier's wish (gust). Intersecting SWIM TEAM is the other disastrous misstep I had today: 63A: Powder site, maybe. This misdirection was clearly intentional, and it worked like a charm. I had KEG. My wife had KEG. God knows many of you had KEG. The answer is WIG. Oh, I should also add that I screwed up 91D: Homeland protection org. at first. Had NSA, which gave me AORONA for 102A: Mexican beer. Actual answers are, of course, NSC and CORONA.

Many answers puzzled or surprised me today. I thought a plumb line was one that hung taut, and I thought a BOB (28A: End of a plumb line) was something that floated on top of the water when Opie fished with his Pa in Mayberry. I know ASSISI as the home of St. Francis and his sister Claire, not as an embroidery-crazy burg (26A: Italian town known for its embroidery). I don't even want to tell you the various answers I contemplated for 19A: Plug in a travel kit (adapter). I'll just say that I took "travel kit" to mean "toiletry bag," and leave it at that. I did not know LUNA (6D: _____ 9, first spacecraft to land softly on the moon), though I will say it is aptly, if unimaginatively, named. Also didn't know BILL HUDSON (77D: Rock guitarist once married to Goldie Hawn), but my wife pointed out that if you know who Hawn's daughter is, the last name shouldn't pose any trouble. I'd forgotten that little bit of helpful trivia. Don't know what TOYLAND is (66D: In song, "Once you pass its borders, you can ne'er return again), but it sounds a lot like Dante's "Inferno." I thought Purcell composed "Dido & Aeneas" ... and he did ... just not the version in question: 43D: Composer of "Dido and Aeneas" (Arne). I've seen ANTOINE in my puzzle before (123A: Artist Watteau), but what the @#$# is LADY DAY (53D: March 25, in the Christian calendar)? No, wait, I retract the question. Instead, I'll tell you who LADY DAY is. Enjoy.

My wife would like to contest the validity of 52A: Subj. for bilinguals (ESL). Her contention is that you take ESL in order to become bilingual. I think "bilingual" in this clue is being stretched (acceptably) to include only marginally proficient speakers who still need help. Sorry I can't back you up, honey.

Clean-up:

  • 35A: Neighborhood next to N.Y.C.'s East Village (NoHo) - total guess, inferred from SoHo.
  • 54A: Like some video, to cable customers (on demand) - a very great and contemporary answer
  • 55A: Warhol's "_____ of Six Self-Portraits" ("A Set") - I believe the last time we saw A SET it was clued in relation to the number six as well. Alliteration is very hard to resist.
  • 75A: Muscle mag displays (bods) - one of my least favorite words. Ever. Much prefer PECS to BODS.
  • 77A: Semitic deity (Baal) - he's in "Paradise Lost," briefly, so I know him.
  • 82A: Alexander Hamilton's last act (duel) - this made me laugh out loud. Is that wrong?
  • 108A: Global currency org. (IMF) - International Monetary Fund
  • 110A: 2003 best-selling fantasy novel by teen author Christopher Paolini ("Eragon") - in one of those weird puzzle coincidences we all have from time to time, I went to my friend's yard sale yesterday and she was getting rid of this book. So it was fresh on my mind.
  • 113A: Beethoven's third (drei) - ugh, good one. I wanted ... E. EEEE? Something to do with the third letter in Beethoven's name. I'm putting on "Eroica" now. Ah, that's better.
  • 119A: New Jersey city, county or river (Passaic) - I know next to nothing about N.J. but I've heard this name enough for it to be very familiar.
  • 4D: Attire with supersized pockets (cargo pants) - I thought "supersized" was reserved for a bygone type of McDonald's meal.
  • 8D: Chairman's supporter? (Maoist) - great clue.
  • 11D: Programme airer, with "the" (Beeb) - BBC. We've seen this a few times in the past year, I think.
  • 12D: Knee sock material (orlon) - god I hate this material - mainly because I keep getting myself into puzzle-constructing jams where ORLON is the only way out. I've done three or four grids and I feel like ORLON ... as well as UTES ... has been (or tried to be) in every one.
  • 16D: Edwards and others: Abbr. (AFBs) - for the second day in a row, I wanted SENS and was wrong. Air Force Bases.
  • 38D: "The Allegory of Love" writer, 1936 (C.S. Lewis) - I really should have known this, but KEG (for WIG) screwed me up badly.
  • 81D: 1998 Sarah McLachlan hit ("Adia") - The last decade has produced a few enduring crossword answers. This is one of them (see also ALERO, ALITO, OBAMA, etc.)
  • 98D: Castle and Cara (Irenes) - it saddens me to realize that IRENE Cara is no longer a gimme for many people. She's been around That Long.
  • 104D: "Romanzero" poet (Heine) - the German poet with the useful crossword name. He's in puzzles all out of proportion to his world-wide fame (I see him way more than GUNTERGRASS, way more than GOETHE, etc.)
  • 120D: Disco guy on "The Simpsons" (Stu) - few things make me happier, puzzle-wise, than a tertiary "Simpsons" character. Recent "Onion" puzzle had ["Me fail English? That's unpossible" quotee] as a clue (answer = RALPH Wiggum, another "Simpsons" character). I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I used to have that exact quotation in my email signature file.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

68 comments:

Adam 8:56 AM  

Toy Land is from a song called Girl Land on the album Free to Be You and Me. Every single child under 10 should own this album. Some great songs and nice lessons. Though the Girl Land song always scared me...

DONALD 9:04 AM  

One of your best!

Ulrich 9:08 AM  

I absolutely loved the puzzle--it had Gorski's signature graphical element and a coherent, well-executed theme that, in addition, was focused on my favorite before-dinner drink. Got the theme early and then spent the next minute to fill in all the actors' names, which gave me a foothold everywhere, and found eventually the author, my namesake (var.)--what more could you want?

The only hitch was square 28, where I had to guess although I use a plumb line occasionally in my DIY projects, but never knew the name of the thing at the end, and the stuff around "easy A": Since I didn't know the expression "gut course", I lost valuable time thinking about ways to express the contortions of my intestines.

Which brings me back to martinis. A few weeks ago, I posted--à propos of nothing--a mini rant on that drink, which got no response--only goes to show how much I'm ahead of times. The gist was this: Everything that calls itself a martini but isn't based on gin is an abomination on earth (take that James!). The stirred vs. shaken debate is bogus--what matters is the quality of the gin and that you get the thing as cold as possible. As to the proportion of vermouth, I like the so-called Monty--named after Field Marshall Montgomery of El Alamein fame, who supposedly never joined a battle if his advatgae was not at least 14:1.

miriam b 9:11 AM  

I think the oooold musical play Babes in Toyland is the original source of that song. Laurel and Hardy did a film based on it.

Picky, picky: Shouldn't Beethoven's Third be "dritte"? Help, Ulrich.

All in all a super puzzle.

Jim Hamilton 9:13 AM  

It's a pity you didn't know more about Luna 9 (first spacecraft to land softly on the moon); I'm sure TASS reported on it, since it was a Soviet program. (I had expected you to note the proximity...)

The landing was more than 3 years before Apollo 11. I've put a link to the Wikipedia entry in my name.

bour3 9:14 AM  

Nice puzzle Liz. I did a whole 1/3 or it. Got the theme on the second Bond. Filled in all the Bonds. Saw Ian Flemming too. That left one circled letter, the F in FRAT. Connected the letters mentally. Thought, "Wut? EFG backs over itself, what kind of connect the dot is that? Looks like a martini glass." Had only the i of martini so went ahead and filled in that. Done! Although my puzzle's 2/3 empty, if there's any more Bond words in there I didn't bother. Theme done, I'm done. That's just the way I roll. Did I mention I love you Liz? Woo to the puz.

Leon 9:27 AM  

You can find a backward/diagonal Dr. No in ROGER MOORE on top of ONDEMAND and at the intersection of ABOARD and ONDEMAND you have one more backward Dr. No.


18 Down led me to Shaken not Stirred.

miriam b 9:32 AM  

TOYLAND has now given me an earworm. Being older than dirt, I remember the tune, though, probably mercifully, not the lyrics apart from those in the clue.

To my sorrow, I do remember the words to an advertising jingle from radio days using that same obnoxious tune. Ready?

"Dream girl, dream girl, beautiful Lustre Creme girl.
You owe your crowning glory to a Lustre Creme shampoo."

How's that for mossy? Ugh.

Wendy Laubach 9:39 AM  

For once I was a little in sync with Rex, though it was Sean Connery that tipped me off to the theme, not George Lazenby, whose name I had the hardest time remembering. "Swimmers" left me with the same confusing "--SM" for kite aspirations. But I'm with Mrs. Rex on ASL. I figured it's what was being asked for, but it didn't really seem to work. "Aspiring bilinguists," maybe.

Nice High Church bias with C.S. Lewis and Lady Day, balanced by "Baal." Wasn't someone complaining some weeks back about the slighting reference to Baal as a mere "idol"? Here we have the blankly nonjudgmental "deity."

"Drei" seems OK; there's an implicit noun after the "third" that could signal "number."

Ulrich 9:41 AM  

Oops--make that "advantage" in the last sentence of my previous post. I wish Google would upgrade their blogger software to allow for modifications of posts by their authors--it's a standard feature elsewhere.

@miriam b: Yes, I thought of that myself. But then I said, well, Beethoven's third is his number three and let it pass. It remains awkward, though, and there have to be better ways of clueing German "drei".

steve l 9:50 AM  

Just to weigh in on ESL--if a student were truly bilingual, with one of the languages in question being English, he/she'd have no need for ESL. That being said, students taking ESL are often in bilingual programs, meaning that the rest of their subjects are taught in both languages, or more usually, primarily in the native language. Thus these students are often referred to as "bilingual students," though ironically, they are nothing of the sort until they are finished with ESL.
So, is this a good pairing of clue and answer? I'd have to say that in the interest of precision, I side with Mrs. Rex here.

Wendy Laubach 9:53 AM  

By the way, seeing Steve L's name here reminds me that I couldn't agree more about "Tamara."

steve l 9:55 AM  

One more word on ESL: JimH's database shows that ESL has never been clued this way, although once it was connected to "future bilinguals." BTW, I have taught ESL for many, many years. Link to Jim H's database:
http://www.xwordinfo.com/Word.aspx

jannieb 9:55 AM  

This was an easy fill for me after my failures on both Fri and Sat. I tried Tass right away and had Sean Connery in a heartbeat. I worked through the grid from there - moving down the entire west coast with barely a speed bump - did have swimmers for awhile but the M in Fleming resolved that. Since I already had the CS, Lewis fell quickly and I avoided the wig/kep trap. Liked the beautiful execution of the theme and some great cluing (aspirin, James, adapter, cargopants). One new word - ousel (doubt it will come up in conversation). Happy memorial day with gratitude to all our servicemen, veterans and their families.

Crosscan 9:59 AM  

This may have been my fastest Sunday ever. Got the theme early with Sean Connery and the rest was batting practice, rapidly filling in the blanks as theme answers came lobbing in.

Can. Crosscan.

ArtLvr 10:01 AM  

I knew it wasn't George yclept Clooney up there in the NE, but didn't have the B in AFBS for the right cross -- ended up with a LAZENEY nonsense.. I should have tried running through the alphabet -- it wouldn't have taken long!

My other problem was in the SE, Beethoven's third: since I had "Aces" instead of ICES, the answer seemed to require an interval on the scale like F-to-A. Yikes. Having the trio of across answers PASSAIC, ANTOINE, LOUNGES at the bottom did not help with three more (3!) proper names all next to each other in the down columns: HUDSON, CRAIG, HEINE. And on top of the messed-up DREI I had "Most" rather than MUCH.

So that last little bit was too much for my holiday party-fogged brain to unscramble this morning, after the rest had gone so well -- I got most of the Bond actors anyway, a good showing for someone who mostly isn't into movies...

We did have Goldie Hawn spend a sunny day with a Tacoma Park high school friend at our large neighborhood pool in Silver Spring MD ages ago, but nobody bothered them. Nice people in that community -- I still miss them!

∑;)

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

Bob is possibly a reference to the golf technique of plumb-bobbing.
http://puttmagic.com/golf27.htm
--Steve

John in CT 10:24 AM  

Although I did hve some errors in this puzzle (I guess I should learn my German number system...) this is my favorite puzzle in memory. The "aha" moment came when ROGER MOORE leapt out and the theme immediately followed. I love the common "bond" clue and answer of JAMES. The MARTINI is equally pleasing. So much fun. I hope everyone else enjoyed this puzzle as much as I have, and that you have an equally fun-filled weekend!

PuzzleGirl 10:31 AM  

When I saw Elizabeth Gorski's name, I knew this would be a fun puzzle. I got the theme from Sean Connery and groaned a little, because I knew I'd never be able to come up with the first and most recent actors' names. Luckily, I could get them through the crosses, although LAZENBY was tough.

I used to date a guy who looks like Pierce Brosnan. When we would walk down the street, women would literally stare at him. At first it was cool, but after a while I started wanting to kill people.

I don't believe I've ever heard the phrase "gut course." Also never heard of OMBRE. It was nice to see ADZ instead of AWL for a change.

I have fond memories of The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show, with the Hudson Brothers -- Bill, Mark, and Brett. A goofy Saturday morning show back in the 70s.

PhillySolver 10:38 AM  

I think I have said most of what I had to say on this puzzle being the guest blogger at Jim's xword blog, but I thought of Rex with the Disco STUd fill. That is a great paperback book cover...it looks older than the one I first read, which is hard to believe. When was it published?

Ulruch, I am a bad student as the one error I struggled with last night was misspelling drei and it is the third time.

chefbea1 10:39 AM  

Just go back from breakfast where I saw a woman wearing a shirt which had written on the back "Shaken Not Stirred"

An easy enjoyable puzzle. Got Sean Connery right away and thus knew the theme.

I'll bring the deviled eggs to the next meeting. Much better than deviled ham

SethG 10:40 AM  

This was my fastest time since Tuesday and a personal best Sunday by several minutes. Even though it took me a while to catch the theme--with problems in WA and ME, IVAN instead of IGOR and SWIMMERS not giving me GUST (and thus TUSSLES), I didn't actually get the theme until PIERCE BROSNAN. But then went back and easily filled in the other theme entries and fixed my problem areas. Last fill was the LADY DAY area, and I got the D from noticing the pattern without ever seeing the notepad note.

Working on home repairs so I knew that the thingie at end of the plumb line is called a plumb BOB, knew who Hawn's daughter is, and remembered Christopher Paolini as an alternative possibility for the name in the notepad of the ApRIl Fools ?Sun? puzzle.

Wonder if the constructors all threw a party when ADIA came out? Is that why we rarely see ADIT anymore? I hear it used to be a standard. I know some musicians...any song titles we need to work on?

On The West Wing, President Bartlet complained that "Shaken, not stirred, will get you cold water with a dash of gin and dry vermouth. The reason you stir it with a special spoon is so not to chip the ice. James is ordering a weak martini and being snooty about it." And I think Bond ordered his with vodka and gin.

JC66 10:43 AM  

@ ulrich

I'm a martini drinker, too and I agree that the proper gin, gin/vermouth ratio and temperature make the drink. However, I've found that too many bartenders are much too overzealous when they shake and tiny slivers of ice chip off the ice cubes and the martini becomes diluted. So I order mine stirred.

Love your "Montgomery Martini." Never heard it before.

Doris 10:49 AM  

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90805096

The above link will take you to an interview from yesterday's "All Things Considered" on NPR. In the interview, a London-based chemist offers some rather flimsy scientific evidence that shaken martinis may be better for one's health (!) than stirred ones. Maybe it was a slow news day. Or just their way of marking Ian Fleming's 100th birthday.

Stephen 10:55 AM  

Roald DAHL--a friend of Fleming's--wrote the screenplay for the Bond film "You Only Live Twice."

Al 10:55 AM  

How did Ms Gorski forget about Peter Sellers, David Niven and Woody Allen, all of whom played 007in 1967's Casino Royale? OK, so maybe Woody was really Jimmy Bond, not James Bond, but it would have been amazing if the threesome appeared in the puzzle.

jubjub 11:15 AM  

This puzzle was lotsa fun! I like when I can take stabs at long answers and guess them right with no crosses. My first answer in the puzzle was CARGOPANTS, and my first answer in the NE was GRECOROMAN. Since most of the things I liked about this puzzle have already been mentioned, here are some things I didn't like:

Name drop = ERASE? If I am getting the pun, it is pretty weak.

Clinches = ICES didn't quite fit for me. I guess I've never heard the term used that way. I'm more familiar with "icing the kicker".

"Boo! Bring on Sha Na Na!"

Ulrich 11:26 AM  

@sethg and jc66: That is a very plausible take on the stirred vs. shaken issue (certainly one of the more pressing conundrums of our time:-), and it beats "you don't want to bruise the gin". The ice cubes I use at home are so firm when they come out of the refrigerator that even shaking doesn't chip them--that's why I thought the issue was moot.

Bill from NJ 12:16 PM  

I tumbled quickly to the theme as the NW fell almost at once and I got SEANCONNERY at roughly the 2 minute mark. I like to start in the NW and cut diagonally toward the SE so CSLEWIS presented itself early on and I was able to sidestep the WIG/KEG trap but fell neatly into the mess that was SWIMMERS/**SM.

I really liked the PASSAIC ANTOINE LOUNGES stack in the SE and that helped me get the Bond guy DANIELCRAIG whose name had escaped me. Speaking of NAMES, that's what I entered at 72A. Made sense at the time and it survived until my first run-through to check for errors. That wasn't my only problem on the East Coast as I knew Henry Purcell was the answer at 43D:Composer of "Dido and Aeneas" but ARNE fell into place by way of crosses.

At this point I filled in all the Bond actors, straightened out my kite problem at 74A, went to the end, then stopped, to paraphrase Lewis Carroll.

My quibbles with Sunday puzzles are known so I won't repeat myself but I really enjoyed this one. As I am still learning the traits of constructers, I think I just like Elizabeth Gorski.

Carisa 12:28 PM  

I got my start in the SW and so I got my first Bond with Pierce Brosnan. Then the rest of the fellows fell into place in easy order. I know my Bonds.

One of the most enjoyable Sundays I've had; I printed out the grid and sat on my deck in the sunshine on this beautiful Memorial Day weekend. It was one of my fastest Sundays, too.

I agree that ESL is a little sketchy but it didn't hold me up so no problem. And I did feel the implied noun after "Beethoven's third" so no issue there either.

Enjoy the long weekend, everyone!

jae 12:51 PM  

Fantastic puzzle. This for me is what a Sun. should be. No tortured puns or mutiline quips, just a tight well executed theme thats not too easy or too hard.

I also went for TSAR at first, had MANY for MUCH, UHS for UMS (which made DOMINANT my last fill), and needed to change ACES to ICES to get DREI. Thanks Ms. Gorski for a delightful Sunday!

dk 1:13 PM  

ok @chefbea1 (at the risk of sounding @wadish) if you can make deviled eggs I'm yours. You can drive the pink caddy I got from Rex every other day.

I could not remember how to spell LAZENBY or DREI so that slowed me down. Otherwise a fun puzzle after seeing the new Indiana Jones movie last night.

Warm day here in Mpls so it is outside I go.

chefbea1 1:16 PM  

@dk I love pink. Warm here in conn. also
Enjoy the holiday everyone

Doug 1:43 PM  

Got it all, save the area around MAMBO/BOB/ORLON. Should have known BEEB after seeing programme but being Canadian and having lived in colonial Hong Kong for so long that "programme" just seems normal and not a hint. However, with all travel I nailed ADAPTER in a second. Believe me, I've had my share of calling hotel front desks to see if they had one, so that I could boot my PC.

I visited the church at ASSISI a few years ago after having the single best meal of my life nearby at a friend's. You can see St. Francis' rock bed as well as fresco masterpieces of Cimabue/Giotto that helped kicked off the Renaissance.

ESL: No problem as the clue doesn't mention "when" and certainly some bilinguals have taken ESL at some point.

Still don't know what a Gut Course is but I'll google it. Thought it would be something to do with antacids, as in "a course of treatment for a bad gut."

I've read most of Fleming's Bond books and if ever you want to go back to the days when men were men and women liked it that way... My favorite IF is still Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. DAHL and FLEMING are both English authors who wrote best selling books in the mid-20th century that both kids and their parents could enjoy--Another theme!

Joon 1:55 PM  

very elegant puzzle, and most of it fell rather quickly after SEANCONNERY at 3D. but i had a couple of rough spots. not KEG/WIG, as CSLEWIS came first and gave me the W. but SWIMMERS, yes. ORLON gave me fits--i wanted NYLON, but that didn't work. had MAMBA instead of MAMBO (i guess the song is more likely to be about a dance than a snake) and assumed it must be SOHO. never heard the term NOHO. isn't "NOHO" pretty much all of manhattan? houston street is pretty far down there.

over in the south, who knew there was an etta james and an etta jones? not me. i tried NORAS there at first, and even after FRAT made me change it, had all kinds of difficulty because i'd never heard of OMBRE and couldn't remember the final vowel of OSSO. AMBRA? AMBRO? no. oh well.

LADYDAY perplexed me as well. in the catholic church, march 25 is the feast of the annunciation (9 months before christmas, hence the day that the angel gabriel appeared to mary to announce that she was carrying god's son in her womb). that, obviously, did not fit. LADYDAY to me means only billie holiday.

[Gut course] surprised me. at the school where i teach (and studied as an undergrad) we call them guts, but i thought that was school-specific argot rather than a general term.

ARNE gave me a chuckle, after his appearance a couple weeks ago prompted me to compare him to the all-time great composers. his "dido & aeneas" cannot possibly be as famous as purcell's. at least erik SATIE (the other super-common crossword composer) is actually a somewhat well-known composer.

rex, who puts an armoire in their foyer? :P the foyer is supposed to be a big open space.

Bill from NJ 2:38 PM  

Oops, I meant 72D not across for my mistaken NAMES

Michael 2:50 PM  

A great puzzle, but I wonder about solvers who don't know the actors or care about the Bond series. Actually, I don't much like the series but I had the actors in my head so maybe JB is so deeply into our culture that this isn't a problem. I got Pierce Brosnan first.

The puzzle was sufficiently easy that I finished it while listening to one inning of a baseball game. (Admittedly, it was a long inning with an injury delay -- to an umpire).

I'm with Sandra Davenport (sra Rex) on the ESL clue. I had the same reaction.

Frances 2:56 PM  

Another elegant touch in today's grid is that the only down entries for theme answers are the first and the last (probably should say "most recent" rather than "last"!!) Bond portrayers.

PuzzleGirl 2:57 PM  

@michael: I believe I have seen a total of one James Bond movie in my life and have read none of the books. I think you're right: James Bond is just part of the culture. Otherwise how would I know this stuff?

Bill from fl 3:40 PM  

I enjoyed the puzzle, but I don't have much to add to what's been said about it.

I liked James Bond (novels and film) as a teenager, but didn't care for the franchise until the most recent film, which I liked quite a bit. Still, I was amused by Matt Damon's comments about Bond vs. Jason Bourne:

"Bond is fundamentally different from Bourne. Bond is an establishment guy. He is a misogynist, an imperialist, he's all the things that Bourne isn't. He kills people then drinks a Martini.

"The director of 'The Bourne Identity', Doug Liman, said to me before we started the first one, 'James Bond does not speak to me at any level and I think it would be cool to have a James Bond that people our age can relate to.' Bond is a character left over from the 1960s.

"By the end of the second Bourne movie Jason is apologising for killing people. I've never seen that in a big Hollywood movie before."

foodie 3:42 PM  

Loved this! I got 'Martini' and 'Agitates' early on, looked back at the pattern of circles and discovered the theme. Made me sooo happy!

I'm among those who may have never chosen to go to James Bond movies... But as a girl growing up in the Middle East, I was not allowed to go to movies with girlfriends without male "protection", even if it was only my younger brother. And because the little twit knew that the outing would be impossible without him, he would often dictate the choice of movie. There was no bribing him when James Bond was playing, so I wound up seeing a lot of Sean Connery and came to enjoy it. I never imagined that it would help me someday in a NYTimes puzzle!

I think I may get the creative answers prize for "butterfly experts, perhaps". Early on, I had "Butchers" (for butterflying meat!). Then I had "Swat Team" as the bottom was working itself out, and thought "Oh no, who would want to swat a butterfly?"

Sun is finally out in sunny California... Off to enjoy the rest of the day..

joe 3:46 PM  

Shake a martini and it gets cloudy. Most unappealing.

mac 4:42 PM  

What a beautiful puzzle: perfect for this gorgeous Sunday in Connecticut. Did it before and after a very successful lunch on the terrace (successful because everybody had seconds, and copies of the recipe were requested).

@foodie: swat crossed my mind, too, horribly enough, and swimmers made on the paper.... My most creative answer was for 80A: enema!
Hate the word bod too.

I have to agree with Sandy Parker, you're not bilingual until you're way past the ESL classes.

I've lived in England for two periods of two years, but I've only seen the BBC referred to as the Beeb in the NYT crossword puzzle.

I lucked out with the Ettas, I didn't read the clue carefully and probably got some of the crosses first, or I would have had a problem too.

@Ulrich, I had no idea the name Ulrich is a for of Heinrich, interesting.

@chefbea: I love deviled eggs!

Ulrich 4:47 PM  
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Ulrich 4:52 PM  

@mac: No, Ulrich is definitely not a form of Heinrich. What I implied was that my last name is Flemming (double m).

miriam b 5:22 PM  

@Ulrich: Might this mean that your remote ancestors came from Flanders?

Rex Parker 5:30 PM  

Back to the puzzle...

Ulrich 5:33 PM  

@mac: Yes, that's what I've been told (Rex, forgive us the indulgence--it's a holiday--I'm about to leave for dinner in a minute anyway!)

miriam b 6:45 PM  

Really sorry, Rex. I could probably use a MARTINI.

chefbea1 7:40 PM  

martini and deviled eggs - what could be better

Anonymous 7:55 PM  

I'm getting to this late ... I just poked around the puzzle, just feeling lazy about it ... I had a few letters in each of the names a guess at Ian Fleming, but hadn't written it in and then I got the martini, and Sean Connery within seconds and all at once the entire show: James, the actors, etc, displayed itself. Very sweet. I just love Ms. Gorski's puzzles!

Teresa

harryh 9:09 PM  

Howdy all -

Loved this puzzle, for all of the above-mentioned reasons, but noticed the crossing of AURORAS and CORONA. I love that. Is it just me?

mac 11:22 PM  

I just looked at a backlog of Emily's work, and she is really amazing. I think she is getting better all the time! Not just the representation of the topics, but the actual drawing is amazing.

ray jannetti 5:04 PM  

I'm sorry for being so dense but what does March 25 have to do with Billie Holiday and/or her nickname, "Lady Holiday?"
Can someone help me out on this?

Owen 7:21 PM  

I have to come to Heine's defense here, because while you're right about his proportion of world-wide fame, he's much better than Gunter Grass. Unfortunately, he's much more difficult to translate, and I certainly don't mind the puzzle devoting some space to promoting him.

Joe 8:14 PM  

Rex, Clare was not Francis's sister, except in a religious sense (and so only after she joined him). I thought the MARTINI shape was the shape of a martini GLASS, not the drink itself, since the drink can in an emergency be drunk from any other container, including the gin bottle over which a vermouth cork etc.

Doc John 12:04 AM  

Not a good start to the week- missed one on a Monday! For the record it was the S in the JESU/OSSA cross (I had a T because OSTA just looked right).

I'll blame it on the jet lag and lack of sleep and leave it at that.

For the record, I was in Chicago and had to suffer through one of their Bizarro puzzles while in the airport waiting for the plane home today. Here's some of the gems: [Anything whatever] = AUGHT (which I thought meant zero). And the worst one: [Skedaddles] = GITS.

doreen 11:48 AM  

When Billie Holiday was in Vancouver in the 50's, My husband jumped up on stage and kissed her..then we were thrown out, but it was athrill

Grammo 9:33 AM  

Since I live in northern Michigan, we get the NY Times Crossword a week later in the Detroit News. Can't wait till Sunday morning. Thought the one of May 25 was a good one - "Spy Glass" and a little easier than most. Once I got Sean Connery and connected to "spy", I had the general idea. I'm 76 and do the puzzle with my 50-year old son. He has had a brain tumor and puzzles keep his mind active. Always check with you when we're finished. Grammo

embien 6:55 PM  

From syndicationville (a week late):
I've never seen a James Bond movie (nor read any of the books), but the theme came easily when I nailed SEAN CONNERY at 3D and then filled in MARTINI from the puzzle title (Spy Glass).

I loved the puzzle and the drawing that comes at the end, but I messed up ORLON, having never heard of NOHO, only SOHO. Never heard of GEORGE LAZENBY, either, so never got ORLON from crosses. Do they really make knee socks out of ORLON? Being male, I've never worn knee socks, so ...

I never saw an explanation of how LADY DAY is March 25. Someone point me in the right direction here, please.

All in all, a wonderful Sunday puzzling experience.

Carl 10:44 PM  

Good puzzle and fun to do. 113Across was poorly clued. Beethoven's third should be "dritte."

Anonymous 10:51 PM  

Sorry I'm working the sydicated version so this comment is a week late, but ... Lady Day is a calendar day in the old English System. Thomas Hardy in Tess of the D'Urbervilles writes "Lady Day was at hand, and would soon be followed by Old Lady Day, the end of her term here." Hardy is referencing the switch from the old Julian calendar to the newer (for late 18th century England) Gregorian calendar. Lady Day was also a quarter day, which was one of the traditional three month periods when rents were due and servants might be hired to begin their term of labor, or end it, as Tess was. Know your Hardy if you want to do crosswords!

John in Alaska 12:52 AM  

Although I pretty much stopped going to the Bond movies sometime during the Roger Moore era, they have become part of the general culture news cycle. I enjoyed the puzzle very much, for many of the reasons stated above. However, I did not like the crossing of Ombre and Osso, the former being an 18th century Spanish card game and the later being (along with the clue) a Milanese braised veal shank dish. (Googled both terms to learn what the heck they were.) Way too obscure to get that "O", imho. In general, a wonderfully designed puzzle, though.

Susan 2:58 AM  

Babes in Toyland was a 1961 movie with (among others) Ray Bolger and Annette Funacello

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1360697600/tt0054649

is a picture of a poster.

I had the soundtrack LP as a kid and the songs are indelibly engraved in my brain.

Retired_Chemist 7:10 PM  

What a nice puzzle! I STILL think Beethoven's third should be "dritte" despite the rationalizations to the contrary. Oh well...

The SE was my worst sticking point - I had "many" instead of "much" for 103A, and without drei for 113A Y_ine was a problem. Had Bill Hanson (whoever he may be) instead of Bill Hudson for a while, so N_ _ (I or A) led me into ridiculously uncharted waters. Natheless, it eventually fell.

Bob 12:18 PM  

Almost a week later than the syndicated puzzle date. On "esl": the teacher of the esl class has to be (one would think) bilingual. Ergo, esl is a subject a bilingual could teach.

Anonymous 7:52 PM  

am i supposed to know ADZ and AGHA, esp. since it crossed a foreign-sounding tennis player i didn't know and a 'cold shoulder' clue that i thought could have been A RIFT or DRAFT? or was it just me?

kidmaestro2010 7:15 AM  

Easiest Sunday puzzle ever for me. As usual, my first glance through the clues yielded few answers, until 72D practically screamed "James" at me. I've been a huge Bond fan since I was little. So I pulled out my collection of theme songs, checked the dates and spellings of the actors' names, and filled them all in. As a Fantasist, Eragon, Toyland, and Dahl all came fairly easily. Only knew C. S. Lewis for the Chronicles of Narnia, so the Allegory of Love clue did nothing for me. Global currency org? Really? I thought IMF was just Jim Phelps' agency. Had TNT for a cable network, making a gut course EAT YA! Considered GIG for a Powder site, isn't there an alt-rock band called Powder?
Only had to run a few internet searches for entries in the NE and SE courners. I usually need a lot more. Your site has helped a lot too, thanks.

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