SUNDAY, Sep. 28, 2008 - Cathy Allis Millhauser (French Polynesia constituents / Radio host/pianist John / Song sung by Gwen in Broadway's "Chicago")

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "'Twas Puzzling" - familiar phrases have their "W"-words changed to "TW"-words, creating silly phrases, which are clued, "?"-style

Add-a-letter! Done badly, the add-a-letter puzzles feel painful and lazy. Done well, they are minimalist wonders, where the resulting phrases are snappy enough to make you forget (or not care) that the only "theme" involved is the simple addition of a single letter. This version's TWist on the add-a-letter theme is that the added letter comes in all instances at the beginning of a word and directly before a "W." The results: mixed! But mostly good. Cathy Millhauser is a pro (I won't call her "old pro"), and she executes this theme in a way that makes the puzzle whimsical and breezy, not forced and groan-inducing. The non-theme fill is, almost without exception, utterly solid, with some really bright spots. Interestingly, the fact that the theme was simple, on a technical level (in the sense that you just add a "T"), that simplicity did not carry over completely to the solving experience. I got the theme early on, but still had to wait out a good number of the theme answers because I couldn't see where their "W" words were or what the original phrase was supposed to be.

Theme answers (with arbitrary 1-10 rating based on how much I liked each answer):

  • 23A: When jerks come out? (the twitching hour): 8
  • 38A: String around a cake box? (dessert twine): 6
  • 53A: Men or women who pinch? (the tweaker sex): 2
  • 78A: Nerd's essence? (the soul of twit): 5 - love the answer, but the clue is gross ("Nerd's essence?" just sounds ... icky) and I've never liked the TWIT-for-nerd substitution.
  • 95A: Roast the other side of the marshmallow? (flip one's twig): 9
  • 113A: Discouraging comment to a cloner? ("You can't twin 'em all"): 10
  • 36D: Moth, perhaps? (tweed killer): 4
  • 41D: Fabric that really breathes? (living twill): 8 - nice that the two TW- fabrics are both part of the two vertical theme pillars of the puzzle.
Two serious rough spots for me -

First: Pennsylvania (ironically named because it's the stupid Texas clue that gave me all the trouble):

The ANGELINA (47A: Texas county, river or forest that's a girl's first name) river ran right through the NE of this puzzle and forced me to hammer out nearly all the crosses before I got it / guessed it. I guess Ms. Jolie was deemed too "mainstream" for the Sunday puzzle. Elitists! I probably had PISA for my four-letter City near Milan (48D) for a while. I took 42D: Low tie (one one) to be something one might find at a haberdashery ... which then forced me to wonder what "low" could possibly mean in that context. Hey, are LOD (41A: City near Tel Aviv) and LODI related? Because they sure look alike.

Second: Tijuana

Despite the massive gimme that PHIL provided (104D: Dr. with advice in O magazine), I had a hell of a lot of trouble squeezing into this stupid little alcove of the puzzle. I think I just took a while to link the "celebrant" in 104A: Certain celebrant (priest) to a religious context. Also, never in a million years (well, maybe a million...) would I have guessed IZOD for 117A: _____ Center, home of the New Jersey Nets. It's also possible-to-probable that I didn't know what a leveret was at all - 112A: A leveret is a young one (hare). As I look at this roughly 4x4 section now, it seems inconsequential, but when I was tearing through the puzzle, it did not feel that way.

Other things:
  • 19A: Song sung by Gwen in Broadway's "Chicago" ("Roxie") - everything I know about "Chicago" (and it's now a surprising lot) I learned from xwords.
  • 20A: Radio host/pianist John (Tesh) - "Enjoy"
  • 34A: Nonkosher sandwiches (BLTs) - The word "nonkosher" was so hard for my brain to process. Sounded ... exotic. Until I separated the NON from the KOSHER.
  • 58A: "New Look" designer of 1947 (Dior) - ooh la la.
  • 59A: Charity's urging ("donate!") - Me: "Who the hell is Charity?"
  • 60A: Orbital point (apsis) - neeeeeever heard of it.
  • 66A: Penseur's thought (idée) - "Penseur" meaning "thinker"; I'm never that thrilled with this way of cluing foreign words (changing one word in the clue to the equivalent lang.).
  • 77A: One of Woody's stock at Woodstock (Arlo) - clue grosses me out in the same way [Nerd's essence?] did.
  • 71A: Mushroom stalks (stipes) - if I knew this, I forgot it.
  • 89A: Capital of South Australia (Adelaide) - not "The Australian Dollar." Australia is where you might find yourself an Outback buddy (mate) (50D). I suggest you stick with "MATE," as "Outback buddy" sounds like a phrase that might be misunderstood or taken the wrong way.
  • 90A: French Polynesia constituents (iles) - where's the French word in the clue? "French" does not count!
  • 119A: "Almighty" title role for Steve Carell ("Evan") - gimme. I did not / would not / could not bring myself to see this. Love "The Office," though.
  • 123A: Kind of difference, oxymoronically (same) - nice clue.
  • 1D: Monitor type, for short (CRT) - least favorite monitor type Ever; can never remember it.
  • 6D: Invitation information specification (attire) - "All across the nation ... there's a new invitation information specification ... people in motion" (can you tell how tired I am?).
  • 9D: Like some eggs or cloth (shirred) - Onto the DECOCT list with you, SHIRRED. Yuck.
  • 24D: Apple pocketfuls (iPods) - Odd-sounding clue. Note: iPods tend not to fill your pocket completely. Unless you are packing several at once, though I believe that's known as a QUIVERFUL.
  • 45D: Off-campus local (townie) - first heard this term in "Breaking Away."
  • 55D: Nagpur noble (rajah) - all crosswordese answers should have to have playfully alliterative clues
  • 61D: Rusty on the diamond (Staub) - "Le Grand Orange!" Haven't thought of him in 25 years. Baseball cards!
  • 63D: Pitcher of a perfect game, 9/9/65 (Koufax) - my hero, and only partially because his name begins in "K" and ends in "X" (not enough to get John KNOX over the hero threshold, for instance).
  • 64D: "Vigilant _____ to steal cream": Falstaff ("as a cat") - that's one hell of a partial. Yipes.
  • 69D: Wahine's dance (hula) - a dance that now will forever make me think of author/artist Lynda Barry, who took it very seriously as a child, and whose book "What It Is" (among others) you should definitely read. Indispensable, inspirational greatness.
  • 85D: Score just before victory, maybe (ad in) - another sports score ... interesting.
In closing, I would like to praise the Pile-Up of PILAR (118A: Pertaining to hair), PLENA (107A: Legislative assemblies), and PULE (107D: Whine), which was, by far, the most interesting part of the puzzle, word-wise.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


chefbea1 9:11 AM  

Again I'm first!!! I was finnished a while ago - what an easy puzzle. I think it was my fastest time although I don't time my self. I of course put spaghetti sauce but then when nothing else fit saw it was strap.

Haven't we had level/raze quite a bit lately?

AuntHattie 9:29 AM  

Am I getting smarter or what? I finished most of this last night--and it is mediumly difficult? I am feeling better about my poor old brain--

Va Beach puzzler 9:31 AM  

Easy puzzle but fun. My favorite clue was 12D: awl, for one. Maybe because my son is reading "The Three Musketeers."

Crosscan 9:32 AM  

Ah, Rusty Staub. I still have the memory of getting his autograph at age six [I was six, not Rusty] in 1969, the first year of the Expos.

PULE/PILAR interesting to me only in the sense that I got the crossing wrong.

Fun and easy puzzle. We don't see enough of Cathy Millhauser anymore.

joho 9:46 AM  

@rex: Glad to know I'm not the only one to have never heard the term APSIS. I wanted apogee, but obviously it didn't fit.

I had fun figuring out this puzzle's theme answers and found it to be easier than medium.

I usually prefer more of a challenge, but on this lazy Sunday (a long while in coming) this puzzle has given me more time to do nothing for the rest of the day.

Nice job Ms. Millhauser.

jannieb 9:49 AM  

That stack of "P" words nearly did me in. I dredged up the "L" for PULE, but didn't trust it. Nothing else seemed correct so I just let it be.

I thought the theme was great - very entertaining and not the least bit groan-worthy. I wonder if this set a record for number of "W's" in a puzzle - or who would care if it did. Just asking.

Took a long time to parse that Woody clue - very sneaky.

Most enjoyable Sunday puzzle! More, please.

imsdave1 9:54 AM  

There was only one flaw for me with this one. I didn't have any problems - no head scratching, no WTF's, no quadrant that I had to put down for a few minutes and come back to. Nice theme well executed, but I like to struggle a little bit more. Solved left to right top down with no stalls. Heavy sigh - the Globe and Merl Reagle puzzles had the same problem.

John in CT 9:54 AM  

Twas Crappy. (IMO)

I did not like this puzzle. Not terribly difficult, but awkward at times. I echo Rex's dislike of the twit/nerd substitution.

chefbea1 9:57 AM  

Forgot to mention earlier - growing up we always had shirred eggs.They were really quite good as I recall. Never made them myself but they are very easy to prepare.

miriam b 10:09 AM  

Another clue for PILAR: Katina Paxinou's Oscar rôle. Well, why not? We may as well carry on the theme of Greek actresses; remember IRENE Papas from earlier this week?

This puzzle was lovely, despite the conspicuous presence of nerds and jerks. I solved it in my cozy little Do Not Disturb area which used to be a butler's pantry when thehouse was built in the late 1800's, but which now contains a large upright freezer and most of my huge cookbook collection. There's a bentwood chair, a gooseneck lamp, an old-fashioned radiator, miscellaneous artwork on the walls, and a small window. Perfect milieu for a rainy day.

JoefromMtVernon 10:09 AM  

Being that this is possibly the last day at Shea Stadium, I was very happy to see Staub and Darryl as clues today. I would have loved to see Shea rather that the temporary Izod (yet another name for the old Brendan Byrne arena). But, as the previous clue stated: "You can't (t)win 'em all".

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

Most miserable puzzle I've encountered this year. With all the obscure phrasing of clues and obscure cloth & craft references (twill, tweed, shirred, colorfast), obscure culinary references(dessert wine, darryl strawberries - even chops and lamb for a suburban vegetarian), and religious references (meccas, exalts, glory be, priest as a "certain celebrant") it stopped being fun pretty early on...

Crosscan 10:21 AM  

@Anon 10:15 - you really should try darryl strawberries. They hit it out of the park for me.

ArtLvr 10:23 AM  

I got a big chuckle out of Rex's write-up -- SHIRRED eggs/cloth a is lovely clue and answer pair, but probably only if you'd taken a home ec course back in the day.

I'd also rate the theme answers a tad higher overall... even if I forgot to change the final vowel in THESOULOFTWIT from an A to an I before checking in here...went well with DIPS/ Some people or food. Leveret/HARE was a gimme, BLTS were tref for a moment. Loved COLORFAST and PULE too.

Medium for me, no googles but no speed either, just savoring the cleverness! Thanks, Cathy.


Orange 10:24 AM  

I don't know what's so obscure about all of anonymous's so-called obscurities, but I will second crosscan's recommendation of darryl strawberries. The best ones I ever had were at Shea Stadium, served Wimbledon-style with cream.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

French Polynesia = a geographical location. Primarily the Society Islands including Tahiti and Bora Bora.


miriam b 10:26 AM  

@Anonymous 10:15: You certainly sound dysphoric today! I must disabuse you of the notion that there are such things as "darryl strawberries. Disinterested as I am in most sports, I do know of the existence of baseball's Darryl Strawberry.

Orange 10:29 AM  

Billy beans are also delicious.

Greene 10:33 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle quite a bit. For those of us still learning to do crosswords, the difficulty level seemed perfect, the theme was fun (and highly gettable early on), and the fill was bright and snappy with only a few "I have no idea what that means" moments (shirred, for instance). After getting kicked in the teeth yesterday, this puzzle makes me want to keep trying.

Loved seeing the great Gwen Verdon clued early on for her last signature role -- ROXIE Hart in the original Broadway company of "Chicago." People sometimes refer to this as the "flop version" of "Chicago" since it was somewhat underappreciated in 1975 and completely overshadowed by that juggernaut known as "A Chorus Line."

It's taken the culture a bit of time to catch up with this masterpiece. Perhaps its showbiz-as-life metaphor and razzle-dazzle show trial was a bit too dark for a post-Nixon America. Of course, after the Menendez brothers and the OJ debacle, well now people get it and the piece plays like gangbusters.

I've never taken entirely to the movie (although it certainly has its charms); there's ultimately too much MTV-style crosscutting for my old eyes to process and not nearly enough dancing. The current Broadway revival, although popular (12 years and still going strong), seems an underproduced faint echo of the original production with an endless succession of "stars," some suited to their roles, some not. Nope, I miss Gwen, and Chita Rivera, and Jerry Orbach for that matter (who could sing and dance circles around Richard Gere).

Broadway cluing goes on with Tru (13D) which I caught with Bobby Morse back in 1989 (honeymoon trip again). The show was funny, bitchy, and ultimately quite sad as it mostly depicted Capote in his latter drug and alcohol addled years of decline. Great performance and good theatre, but certainly not a testament to Capote's brilliance as a writer.

Almost forgot 22A, NALA, even more Broadway cluing. Well, I know, not originally, but at least as of 1997. Not a huge fan of this behemoth. Gorgeous to look at, but the score does little for me. My six-year-old (at the time) daughter absolutely adored it. The beautifully restored New Amsterdam Theatre, where it originally played, was quite an eyeful too.

Did not wish you happy anniversary the other day Rex. Hope your celebration was great. How about some more gratuitous puppy pictures?

Bill from NJ 10:41 AM  

My name is Barbara Barrett and Bill from NJ is my husband.

I am writing today to thank all of you lovely people for your support for my husband. I do not share his interest in crosswords puzzles but I have read this "Comments" section for the last couple of days and I am truly stunned by all you people.

Bill says this is a true community and he was not surprised but, I must say, his spirits have been lifted. He says thanks to Foodie and "Enough Already!"

UltraViolet 10:41 AM  

My cheap thrill of the puzzle was STAUB immediately leaping to the forefront of my brain after languishing deep inside for the better part of 20 years. My family used to go see the Expos play at the Big O when I was a kid, so thanks Rex, for the glimpse of the old Expos logo on his hat on the image you posted.

About Cathy Millhauser--I of course recognized her name as a long-time constructor (with a wonderfully punny habit), but is the use of "Allis" as a published name new or have I missed something?

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

How about this as a clue for 77A spell ARLO.

treedweller 11:28 AM  

Being in and from Texas, ANGELINA was not terribly difficult for me, but maybe you outlanders will feel better about your struggles when I tell you it was no gimme, either. Wade may disagree, as he is much closer to said forest.

My big struggle stemmed from PULE, which I have never, ever heard of before. I kept trying to guess PILAR and PLENA, though I found them a little obscure, but that PULE kept making me take them back out.

My big complaint was THETWEAKERSEX. First, "men or women" seems to suggest sexes, not sex. Second, "pinch" and "tweak" are weak synonyms, at best, in my mind. Third, a tweaker is a meth addict (I really wanted "tweezer" in there, though I am not aware of any "weezer" adages that would have made it possible).

And I agree that "twit" does not equate to "nerd."

But, despite all those quibbles, I enjoyed the puzzle, with just enough challenge to force some puzzling-out of answers (though there were some pretty big stretches of autofill).

P.S. minor typo, Rex: "W"-words were changed to "TW"-words, not "T"-words.

ArtLvr 12:19 PM  

@ bill from nj and wife Barbara -- All best wishes to you both, and please pop in again!

Blue Stater 12:20 PM  

A bit more than medium-difficult for me. OTOH this was the first series since very early in the WS era that I got Thurs-Fri-Sat-Sun without reference to Google or other externalities. I'm surprised, though, that no one has queried 3D, "Yak pack," OXEN. Huh???? What on earth do yaks have to do with oxen?

fikink 12:35 PM  

@miriam, your nook sounds wonderful, especially in the rain...and "dysphoric," lovely use of the word!
Every time I hear Darryl Strawberry's name, I think of Frazier telling his dad to ask him a serious baseball question. (I think that's how it went anyway.)
@greene, I love reading your theater history!
Hiya, Bill and thanks Mrs. Bill!
My very last fill was the P in _ULE, _LENA cross. A DYNO-mite finale. I finally settled on it, thinking of all the past clues for NEET and other dePILatories.

jeff in chicago 12:39 PM  

I'll give this one a B+. Plenty of stuff I didn't know (SHIRRED, RADAH) but everything was gettable. I don't time, but this was quicker than my average Sunday.

Some nice long-ish fill (COLORFAST, GLORYBE, FILETYPE). Favorite theme answer was YOUCANTTWINEMALL, mostly because it reads just like the phrase it tweaks. Beautiful.

**CONTRARIAN ALERT!!** I have a big problem with "The Lion King." I think it's a horrible story for children. It's two main themes seem to be a) You are born to power, and b) Revenge is good. Those Disney people can sell ANYTHING (see: Jonas Bros., Hannah Montana.) **RANT OVER**

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

I'm not getting any smarter but I would have tagged this easy; nowhere did I have problems.

Non-scientific observation: if the weather is crappy & you need to be in-doors, Sunday gets finished in 15 minutes-- not fair!!!!! Conversely,if I have yardwork, it's a doozy.

miriam b 1:08 PM  

@jeff: You must have had


If you change that D to a J, you'll be greeted by a familiar VIP!

@bluestater: A yak is a Tibetan ox.

jeff in chicago 1:09 PM  

@miriam b - DOH!

joho 1:12 PM  

@jeff in chicago: I'll bet you know what a RAJAH is!

@crosscan & @orange: your comments on the deliciousness of darryl strawberries are hilarious ... I was going to add mine but didn't get in before @miriam b spilled the beans.

@Mrs. Barbara from NJ: thanks for checking in, please come back soon.

fikink 1:21 PM  

That's okay, Jeff. I just reread my post and wondered at my "cryptic" explanation of arriving at the P in PULE through "depilatory" - Guess it is my "holistic" approach to these puzzles, huh?

Greene 1:28 PM  

@jeff in chicago: You're not as big a contrarian as you might imagine. I would add to your list of complaints about "The Lion King" a third item: violence.

Now this has been nicely toned down for the stage version, but the movie was quite traumatic for my daughter who was probably all of 2 and 1/2 or 3 when I took her to see it. She was too young for plays and I was dying to take her to her First Disney Movie. Yikes, I did not do my homework.

The movie is loud and blindingly colorful, so getting through "Circle of Life" was an adjustment for her. The chase scene through the elephant graveyard did little to calm her down, bringing wide eyes and a trembling lip. The grisly death of Mufasa, however, falling backwards, screaming into a canyon of stampeding widebeasts while a triumphant Scar mocks him with a theatrical "Long live the king!" shocked even me (this is a kid's movie?). All hope was lost when Simba came seeking his dead father and cowered under that massive, lifeless paw while imploring "C'mon Dad, you've gotta get up." My daughter was reduced to shrieks and I had to rapidly remove her from the theatre. She cried all the way home and it took my wife about 30 minutes of rocking to calm her down. I did not win Father of the Year that year and have blamed Michael Eisner for all the world's ills ever since.

Funny how my daughter grew to love the video release of the film in later years. The first time through we never got to Timon, Pumba, "Hakuna Matata" and all the rest -- too busy gaping in horror at the first 20 minutes.

Doug 1:29 PM  

Just caught up with backreading and saw Bill from NJ's note--I'm glad to see your kind wife is pitching in, and hope to see the occasional opination from the Garden State. Now THERE'S some crosswordese.

I couldn't get into the theme, but liked some of the answers. I was watching the Sopranos this AM and the chef character whacked a HARE that was nibbling his backyeard arugula. The last shot was of him going back to the basics with his father's coniglio (rabbit) recipe. Man, I could go for some bbq'd LEVERET right now. We bought a few rabbits at the local store in Provence and had a great meal--Found out that the ears are left on so as to guarantee that they are not cats. How's that for gross food trivia?

archaeoprof 1:38 PM  

Got tripped up in the SW corner, thinking that the Nets play in Continental Airlines arena in the Meadowlands.

@Barbara in NJ: nice to hear from you. Drop in whenever you can.

bill from fl 1:57 PM  

I've been told that the word "jot," meaning something small or trivial (as in "jot and tittle" from the NT), derives from written Hebrew, either the letter yud (') or the dots in the crowns on some of the letters in a sefer torah. FWIW.

Anyway, I thought the North was easy, but the South was tough in spots, especially the SW corner. Still, as always, I loved the puns.

alanrichard 2:03 PM  

Flena & Fule, hmm. I had one blank space, the missing F before I came here. Other than that, pretty quick & pretty easy.
Now lets see: how many names: John TESH, NALA the lioness, NORA, ANGELNA, Christian DIOR, ARLO Guthrie, ADELAIDE, INGA, EVAN Almighty, TRUman Capote, LECH Walesa, DARRYL Srawberry, (RUSTY STAUB), DINO Flintsone, Sandy KOUFAX, Cousin ITT, LEANN Rimes, Dr. PHIL, ELIE Wiesel. This is supposed to be the NY Times not People magazine???????
The two things I dislike in puzzles are a plethera, (I hope I spelled that correctly), of names and foreign words. Or in the words of Roberto (Manos de Piedras???) Duran - NO MAS!!!!

alanrichard 2:05 PM  

OK - PLETHORA - duh!!!

jeff in chicago 2:14 PM  

@greene - I've never seen "Lion King" on stage, even though I've had the opportunity to see the NY staging. I am torn between wanting to see the nearly unanimously praised Julie Taymor staging and my disdain for the story and, in general, all things Disney (well, post-Walt, that is).

@fikink - It's still somewhat early on a Sunday. All mental lapses should be forgiven!

foodie 2:30 PM  

My avatar has Darryl envy!

I really enjoyed this puzzle, found it on the easy side. I've done some cloning (not critters but molecules, before the Human Genome project) and you definitely can't either twin'em or win'em all.

Had SPOTTED instead of SHIRRED, EULE instead of PULE (eulogies involve some euling, no?)and the toughest one to get rid of: A PROPOS in lieu of ON TOPIC. The second P of APROPOS was in the right spot, HOHO instead of HAHA was fine, etc...

I was delighted to hear from Mrs. Bill (Barbara) both on line and by e-mail and to learn that his spirits have lifted because of this community's support. Thank you Rex!

physsciteacher 2:38 PM  

This was the easiest Sunday for me in a long while except for the section that Rex called "interesting." I would use another word that would get my comment deleted! I have never heard of PULE, PLENA, or PILAR so that section was tough going. I simply had to make a guess when I went through all the possible combinations.

Add my vote for the YOU CANT TWIN IT ALL as the best theme answer.

thebubbreport 3:18 PM  

I thought this puzzle was a cinch (esp. the top half) besides one darn square - the "T" in ACETO and SETTO. Oh, and I had to call my dad to confirm the "S" in STAUB. Does that count as cheating at the same level Googling does? How about if the helper is in the same room? Either way, I feel like this one gave me my Sunday mojo back.

All the NYTimes have been selling out quickly here in Atlanta now that there is news people actually want to read about from a good source (i.e. not The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)!

@Jeff In Chicago, I had RADAH too. I had no idea a JOT was a speck.

I've also NEVER heard PULE or SETTO. PULE is a fun word - it sounds whiny! Never knew RAFTS was a large number - I still don't get it. Would someone please educate me?

I give FLIPONESTWIG a 10 - I loved it. I also loved THETWEAKERSEX, though these days, I think TWEAKER involves crystal meth more than pinching.

I thought COLORFAST and TOWNIE were clever.

joho 3:23 PM  

@thebubbreport: you can put a lot of stuff in a raft.

@miriam b: Pilar was also the name of John Wayne's last wife.

Anonymous 3:25 PM  

If you live in a college or university town, the term townie is quite prevalent. It can be somewhat derogatory.

imsdave1 3:34 PM  

@thebubbreport - crosswords are entertainment and deserve to be treated as such. I have called my dad, asked my wife, son and daughter for help and always considered that a family activity as opposed to cheating.

Frances 4:02 PM  

I felt pretty smart about knowing PULE right away, but I thought it came from the description of the infant in Shakepeare's Seven Ages of Man speech. Turns out this "memory" reflects severe slippage of mental cogs. The actual quotation is "MEWLING and PUKING"!

thebubbreport 6:10 PM  

@imsdave1, I like your attitude about puzzling as a family activity!I watched another Steve Carrell movie the other night (Dan in Real Life - not a bad flick in spite of the fact that Dane Cook was in it). When their families gather, all the women go to one spot to attack the puzzle as a team, and the men to another, and they have a crossword puzzle race. I felt like I was supposed to be in that family.


mexicangirl 6:51 PM  

I had a lot of trouble figuring out all the expressions, not because of the TW component, but for the meaning of the idioms themself. I don't know what the witching hour is or the soul of wit... but I definitely loved YOUCANTTWINEMALL!

Oh! and I have one aunt, one cousin and at least two friends named Pilar.

Michael 7:24 PM  

Nice to see a Cathy Millhauser puzzle again. They're always amusing and (for me) not-so-hard. I was especially (overly?) impressed to see Koufax in a puzzle and liked all the baseball (yay -- Phillies!), but can see it might have difficult for non-fans.

The hardest part for me was Tijuana, but once I got "priest" I was ok.

My biggest brain-glitch was 34A nonkosher sandwiches. I had the word "glat" in my mind as associated with kosher (actually it seems to be glatt) and confidentally wrote it in. Not even close...I knew the sandwich part seemed off, but I completely misremembered what glatt meant (except that I was right that it had something to do with kosher).

Anonymous 7:28 PM  


Brevity is the soul of wit is from Hamlet and means using the fewest words to express yourself is always best and the witching hour comes from old Europe and refers to the time after midnight when ghosts and goblins come out to play

chefbea1 7:46 PM  

Back from the chili contest. I came in 2nd!!! Had a ball but glad I will never have to cook in a restaurant kitchen again. It was sooo hot!!!

Barbara from NJ - glad you joined in. Hope to hear from you again.

Howard B 8:20 PM  

Darryl strawberries go surprisingly well with Dwight Gooden Plentys.
Don't mind me, I'm still grieving for my Mets.

I do miss seeing Cathy Millhauser's puzzles, so it was nice to have another to solve. I usually struggle like heck with them at some point, as there's often a really tough spot or three to work through, but they're worth the trouble. She's a clever one!
(PRIEST took me a bit to crack as well).

Greene 8:46 PM  

@anonymous 7:28 and @mexicangirl:

Of course, the wittiest part of the expression "brevity is the soul of wit" is that poor old Polonius can't seem to take his own advice. He delivers this little gem in a very humorous, nonsensical and longwinded speech early in Act 2. Nice gag. I love how Shakespeare always makes room for some schtik no matter how serious the proceedings. Perhaps it's the actor in him?

dk 10:41 PM  



Orange 10:52 PM  

@Ultraviolet: Cathy is shedding the Millhauser and returning to her maiden name, Allis. Remember the name, as future bylines may be Millhauser-free.

mac 11:36 PM  

I enjoyed this Sunday puzzle, and had an easy time of it until I hit Tijuana - I was sure Dr. Phil could't be right since the magazines at the supermarket checkout say Oprah hates him, and she has another favorite shock-jock medical doctor on the show sometimes (he likes to tell people what their faeces should look like). The priest was a total surprise, as well as Izod for the Nets locale, wasn't that the Continental Arena?

I liked tearing right through the rest of it, though, and the fill was fun, interesting and fresh.

@treedweller, if the clue had just mentioned men, or women, we would be complaining a lot more.

@doug: that was quite a comment, about the rabbit / cat problem! We're not hunters, but some years ago a pheasant flew against our window and broke its neck (we think our cat chased it), and I found it the next morning, slightly frozen. A friend who does this stuff came and cleaned it, dropping off a recipe for me, and that evening we had roast pheasant with all the trimmings.

andrea carla michaels 1:19 AM  

@billfrom nj
ya go off line three days and all hell breaks loose!
have not even done puzzle since wed...
was just taking a peek before heading to bed in Mpls and am horrified to read the sad news, (will respond in a personal email, but want to send happy new year wishes to you and your lovely Barbara...)
and to thank Rex for creating something out of thin air that reaches deep into folks' heads and hearts in a real way

Daryl 5:21 AM  

Nice to see a DARRYL, a rare sighting of one of the variations of my name.

I got tripped up slightly by filling in KUNTZ for "Rusty on the diamond". Rusty Kuntz is one of the great baseball names, part of a lineage that spans Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown and Coco Crisp.

thebubbreport 3:54 PM  

@mexican girl: My brother calls 3-4:00 PM "the witching hour" regarding his kids (aged 2 and 4)- they get crazy and whiny and have little tantrum breakdowns around that time.

I love when Kathy Griffin talks about Dr. Phil - "he's not even a real doctor; he's like a doctor of botany or some $*$%&!!" That man makes me crazy.

Citizen Mundane 12:41 AM  

Good ol' Rusty Staub... always loved that name... 2 weeks in a row, same clue and answer for Mormons, LDS (Latter Day Saints, in case you didn't know already)...
How about Meth Addict's gender for TheTweakerSex? I've seen worse (tastewise, anyway)... really liked Pule Plena Pilar, learned 3 things, and didn't even have to look it up 'til I was done... ADIN caused me some problems, because I had it as EVEN for a while... other than that, blazed through this one, fun puzzle... also liked Dino, but that one was pretty easy...

Anonymous 12:23 AM  

I don't know if anyone is still reading (my Sunday puzzles come a week behind from Detroit Free Press), but can someone explain AD IN to me? I finished in about average Sunday time but I'm still scratching my head over that one.

Crosscan 12:40 AM  

AD IN is a tennis term when the server wins the point after deuce.
[AD = advantage]. AD OUT would be if the returner won the point.

Anonymous 3:12 PM  

94A = TED? shouldn't that be TID?
67A = JOT? don't get it
36D - I wanted TWEED EATER but no fit

Anonymous 3:19 PM  

94A = TER finally the light came on. TID is TER (thrice)...

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