MONDAY, Nov. 3, 2008 - Susan Gelfand (Bossy's offspring / Princess who helped Jason / Cousin of the grey wolf / Bobbysoxer's hangout)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: Last name => verb - "S" added to last names of celebrities, turning their names into complete sentences, which are clued as such

Pretty straightforward. What to say? Well, I love that the puzzle takes one of the most regrettable (if often necessary) aspects of many grids - the plural name - and twists it into something big and interesting. The "S" doesn't pluralize - it verbizes.

If only this puzzle didn't go and blow it all by saying something stupid like IDAS (47A: Actress Lupino and others), it would have been scrumptious. Still, it's a fine idea, competently executed. The non-theme fill is uniformly acceptable and even provocative at points. A nice calming Monday after a sizzling Sunday.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Etiquette expert writes messages online? (Emily posts)
  • 26A: Singer speculates? (Stevie wonders)
  • 42A: Artist clears the bases? (Winslow homers)
  • 56A: Actress searches? (Helen hunts)

The inclusion of STEVIE WONDER(s) prompts me to include the greatest, best-produced, most amazing single of all time. It's just perfect. And even on "Sesame Street," STEVIE and his band sound unbelievable. Keep an eye out for head-bopping children / muppets. This version is nearly 7 minutes long and ends with STEVIE incorporating "Sesame Street!" into the song. Otherwise, it's not edited or dumbed-down or nothing. Just pure greatness:

What else is there?:

  • 10A: Bossy's offspring (calf) - there were a handful of curious, bouncy clues today. This was one. 44D: Parkgoers with backpacks (hikers) was another. 16A: Zero-shaped (oval), another. My favorite, though, by far, was 36D: Bobbysoxer's hangout (malt shop), for the vibrancy of both clue and answer. But can you drink a MALT with a straw - that's the question (or it was someone's question a couple days back)
  • 20A: Thieves' locale (den) - "And [Jesus] said unto [the moneychangers et al], It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a DEN of thieves" (Matthew 21:13). I think "DEN" was a metaphor. Thieves don't actually inhabit a "locale" called a "DEN." Maybe the clue should be qualified, [... in scripture]
  • 36A: Princess who helped Jason (Medea) - later, things went south
  • 40A: When repeated, a Samoan city (Pago) - not a big fan of the half-city.
  • 41A: Ingrid Bergman or Bjorn Borg (Swede) - also, the nickname of Ole Andreson, the apparently doomed ex-boxer in Hemingway's excellent short story, "The Killers." More Swedes:

  • 55A: Announcement for the head of a queue (next!) - pip pip, cheerio, what country is this? "Queue," indeed. I was expecting something uniquely British, like "Next, guvnah!"
  • 9D: One of the six states of Australia (Tasmania) - where they likely have honest-to-god queues.
  • 10D: Cousin of the gray wolf (coyote) - yay, canines! I love the whole canine family, esp. my dogs, one of whom I call "wolfy" or "wolfy wolferson" from time to time. That is possibly the *least* silly thing I call her, just to give you an idea of the conversations I have all day on the days I'm home alone with the dogs.
  • 50D: Plow team (oxen) - missed opportunity for a cross-reference at 19A: Device for a plow team (yoke)
  • 53D: With 41-Down, nuclear device (atom / smasher) - right up there with MALT SHOP for freshness and originality. Good job.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


HappyDad 9:17 PM  

I think that a Monday that is easy and yet teaches a few words (Never heard of Bossy or Medea!) is awesome. And the theme being really cool made it perfect. Ida or no Ida!

alanrichard 9:48 PM  

I live in Nassau County and I don't see the puzzle till 7am Monday morning and you guys are done with it Sunday evening before 10pm - pretty funny!!!

Anonymous 11:05 PM  

why are you showing monday when it is still sunday??? Darn!!!

ArtLvr 11:47 PM  

One way to access the puzzles online a bit early --

Cheers! Will pop in again on the morrow.....


andrea carla michaels 1:06 AM  

nice balance:
etiquette maven, singer, artist, actress...two men/two women, 2 oldies/ 2 contemporaries...
Even a timely Halloween ref.

We just need another Ida to become famous and all will be right with the world.

Handful of Xes (still looks bizarre in the puzzle each time)
3 Ks to keep you happy and lots of Vs, which is semi-hard to do (my least favorite Scrabble letter)
Brava Susan!

Crosscan 1:17 AM  

Oh sure. How will I go to sleep with "take-a-chance;take-a-chance" ringing in my head? You are messing with me again, Parker.

Monday puzzle. Nice ERRS over XES combo.


Greene 7:07 AM  

Did this one last night before going to bed and no quibbles's completely scrumptious from start to finnish. The theme was fresh and had me smiling with each uncovered celebrity transformed into a sentence. The fill was quite nice too. Nothing too difficult, but nothing insulting either. I'd call this an ideal Monday puzzle.

I do my puzzles with Across Lite and this was one of those rare puzzles where the keyboard was just smokin'. I was getting answers faster than I could type 'em in and that rarely happens. I don't time, but this had to have been my best unlogged time ever.

Thanks to Ms. Gelfand for a most worthy entry.

@Rex: Let's start the great Ida controversy of 2008. How about Ida Morgenstern? Wasn't she Rhoda's Mom? Didn't Gertrude Stein write a novel called "Ida?" I think President McKinley's wife was named Ida. OK, I'm Ida'ed out.

Orange 7:56 AM  

Andrea: There's also leading muckraker Ida Tarbell, one of the nation's most prominent investigative journalists a century ago. And Ida B. Wells, a leader in the civil rights and women's suffrage movements. (She refused to give up her train seat to a white man 71 years before Rosa Parks' famous bus ride.)

As for Ida Lupino, she wasn't just an actress, but also a director. She was the first woman to direct a Hollywood studio feature (the rape melodrama Outrage, which I saw in a "Women in the Director's Chair" film series; Lupino's The Hitch-Hiker was the first fim noir helmed by a woman.

These famous Idas all kick ass.

There's also Idas, the argonaut who killed Castor—he's more of a Saturday-puzzle name.

joho 8:46 AM  

This was a perfect puzzle start to a Monday morning.

@orange: very interesting Ida information.

@andrea carla michaels: you see the puzzle as only a constructor can ... your insight adds dimension to my solving enjoyment.

Thank you Susan Gelfand!

mexgirl 8:47 AM  

In Spanish. when you buy a roundtrip ticket you ask for "un boleto de IDA y vuelta", changing the verbs IR (to go) and VOLVER (to come back) into nouns.
I know this is something a lot of people might not know, but it is an alternative to the ever present Lupino and others.

Beautiful, easy puzzle this morning!

gypsy 8:57 AM  

Alternate IDA clue: She hoed her Maryland?

...just kidding.

ArtLvr 9:05 AM  

A fine Monday puzzle, I agree. With BRAT crossing TASMANIA, it would have been fun to see a photo of a Tasmanian Devil...

By coincicross, I just finished re-reading one of my favorite mysteries, "Simpson's Homer" by British author John Malcolm, in which art expert Simpson is tracking down a lost work of WINSLOWHOMER'S, if it even exists, getting waylaid in Waldensia and embroiled in the literary affairs of an old school chum from Argentina whose personal GHOSTS turned deadly. Fabulous -- I highly recommend it!


Ulrich 9:20 AM  

Let me join the chorus: Lovely Monday puzzle--acme makes explicit what I just felt.

dk 9:27 AM  

Well it is going to be 75 degrees here in Southern Minnesota and the morning sky has a tinge of summer haze to it. All is right with the world.

I wish I could find a clip of Arnold the pig (Green ACRES) when he ran away from home and went to the movie theater in Hooterville or Pixly.

Happy to see IKE in the puzzle so at least one Reb..... whoops no commentary.

Make a pledge to VOTE before you do the puzzle tomorrow. The future of a free press is dependent on you.

Marisa 9:50 AM  

Loved the Stevie clip - that man is a genius!!!!!

Lucky kids that day on Sesame Street.

aunthattie 10:08 AM  

Really really fun Monday puzzle. This would be a very good one to start a youngster on--I did the Times puzzle!!! Think I'll round up a grandbaby---

Alan 10:23 AM  

Again your taste in popular music is fantastic. What are some of your classical music favorites?

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

How about:

"_____ sweet as apple cider"?

(That's IDA. There are videos available, but I don't know how to link them.)

Bob Kerfuffle

PuzzleGirl 10:52 AM  

An excellent Monday outing! Lots of fun.

And thanks for the Fabulous Stevie Wonder clip. I'm pretty sure I have a video of my son bopping to that song a few years ago. Also, I had "Sir Duke" stuck in my head a few days ago, not sure why. Oh wait. It had something to do with a crossword puzzle. Wow, I'm a dork.

chefbea1 11:33 AM  

a very easy and fun Monday puzzle. Thanks Susan.

How bout eddie Cantor's wife - Ida (am I dating myself?)

archaeoprof 11:57 AM  

WINSLOW HOMERS really made me laugh.

@Andrea Carla Michaels: I agree with Joho and Ulrich.

Happy Monday.

Two Ponies 11:57 AM  

Playing catch-up on a Monday again. Nice start to the week.
Reading Saturday's posts made me sorry I missed the "fun."
As for spelling and grammar this is the best blog I have come upon. I am guilty sometimes of bad spelling but it is usually my lack of typing skills and not being able to see the forest for the trees when I reread before posting.
Being corrected publicly can be very embarrassing and IMHO does not add to the usual friendly nature of this forum.
Sorry to ramble on but I am still digesting what I read from Saturday's posts.
Another Evil Doug vs Rex meltdown, sigh.
@ Evil Doug I believe you are frequently misunderstood but also a little evil.

Wade 12:11 PM  

"Ida Red" is also an old song. Bob Wills's version is the best known (Charlie Daniels gives it a shout-out in "Devil Went Down to Georgia"):

Lights in the parlor, fires in the grate,
Clock on the mantle says it's a'gettin' late,
Curtains on the window, snowy white,
The parlor's pleasant on Sunday night.


Ida Red, Ida Red, I'm a plumb fool 'bout Ida Red,

Lamp on the table, picture on the wall,
There's a pretty sofa and that's not all,
If I'm not mistaken and I'm sure I'm right,
They's somebody else in the parlor tonight.

Repeat chorus:

Chicken in the bread pan peckin' out dough,
Granny will-ya dog bite, no chile no,
Hurry up boys and don't fool around,
Grab your partner and truck on down.

Repeat chorus:

My Ol' Missus swore to me,
When she died she'd set me free,
She lived so long her head got bald,
She took a notion not to die at all.

Repeat chorus:

Light's a'burnin' dim, fires a'gettin' low,
Somebody says it's time to go,
I hear the whisper, gentle and light,
Don't forget to come next Sunday night.

Crosscan 12:35 PM  

Take a ch-ch-chance

Vega 12:58 PM  

A fun one! ESTOP? I got it from the crosses, but hadn't heard of it. Why not just "stop," is what I want to know.

IDA B. Wells: one of my all-time heroes. Also one of the two women who co-founded the NAACP, and arguably the anti-lynching movement leader.

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

Hey, how about Mount Ida where Zeus was born?

oh, Ida know .....

joho 1:12 PM  

anon 1:11 is moi

Anonymous 1:19 PM  

Puzzle was fun, and I posted a personal best in time (3 minutes-not bad for an old broad).

A moment of silence, please, for that old crossword stalwart, YMA SUMAC, whose death was announced today.

fikink 1:24 PM  

@vega, ESTOP is a legal term for an injunction.

Mostly, thanks for the sandhill cranes site - I spent much time taking it all in. (In 1999, I accompanied Mr. Fikink to a Board of Pharmacy conference in Portland, Oregon. On an off-day, we rented a car and drove the Columbia River - Beautiful country and magnificent waterfalls. Thanks for the memory jog!)

rafaelthatmf 1:56 PM  

I likes me all the Ks the Vs the Ws and the Xs. [mmmhum].
No over inking and yet required enuff data retrieval to make it worth the effort of stopping for the paper. Not challenging exactly but - is invigorating the right word?
Anyone who spends their free time in smoky juke joints throwing dice for shots knows whoever loses and thereby buys a round for all the contestants is called Ida – as in “if Id’a lost Id’a brung ‘em back”. Translation: Loser - restart the game.
I didn't get to previous blogs - now I have to - I can't miss an Evil Doug vs Rex. Just can't.

rafaelthatmf 2:34 PM  

Finally read the weekend postings. Seems in some way appropriate that someone objected to Evil Doug’s sycophant characterization and made no mention of the goose-stepping – follow this with a debate between punctuation Nazis and usage bum’s and well like I said appropriate.
@Foodie: I found your 12:42 post incredibly insightful – even personally enlightening.

BT 2:53 PM  

Rex thanks for the STEVIE Wonder! Sweet clip I'd never seen. I love the "break" - never heard it before. They don't make 'em like Stevie Wonder anymore.

Anonymous 4:14 PM  

I really wanted 41 down to be splitter instead of smasher

also, I should have known after emily posts that 42 across was going to be the same kind of thing. Instead got from crosses down to the last letter.

Anonymous 4:21 PM  

re: estop

sometimes the law just estops an action, not necessarily an injunction. The noun is estoppel. It comes from a French word meaning stopper - like a drain stopper

Janie 4:27 PM  

we can probably all answer the question what did della wear? -- but hmmmmmm, what did ida hoe?


janie (who thought this was a seriously charming and polished debut. brava, ms. gelfand!)

fikink 4:34 PM  

@anon at 4:21
Yes, thanks for the clarification. Why I like this blog!

Greene 5:45 PM  

Sorry to hear of the death of Amy Camus...I mean Yma Sumac. People love to debate her Peruvian origins, but there is no doubt she was a unique singer/personality with a trick voice spanning about 4 and 1/2 octaves. I don't have any of her records, but know her singing from the extremely bizarre anti-McCarthy musical "Flahooley" which flopped on Broadway back in 1951. The proceedings were made even more bizarre by Ms. Sumac's unique vocal stylings which seemed to alternate between birdcalls pitched so high that dogs came a runnin' and baritone hootings in a language unknown to man or beast. Great fun, but what did it all mean? Perhaps Rex can oblige with a musical clip the next time her name appears in the puzzle. I remember the "Secret of the Incas" clip from a month or two ago. Alas, no singing.

SethG 6:00 PM  

Great theme.

I had a great-aunt Ida. She was crazy. And my ex-aunt-by-marriage was the Ore-Ida lady, but her name was Nancy.

If you turned Pago to pogo you'd have crossed it with MOLT SHOP. A theme in the making...constructors, you're welcome.

LOKI turned three months old yesterday.

Edith B 6:05 PM  

I found this puzzle to be charming but not much fun. I prefer my puzzles to be crunchy rather than smooshie like this one. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

On a different matter: I haven't been around for very long and I think I missed most of the nuances in the contertemps between Evil Doug and Rex.

I don't feel comfortable involving myself in what I could only describe as ad hominem attacks in either direction, particularly when they involve our host.

But I will say this - the give-and-take here is so much more civilized than most other places I have visited and I know we have Rex to thank for that.

Just my two cents worth.

Rex Parker 6:35 PM  

I don't know what this talk about "contretemps" is. I never engaged in a "contretemps," never had cross words for anyone, etc. The multiple comments on this alleged altercation (over the past few days) are puzzling, as people keep saying I was involved, and yet that is news to me.

Kindly keep comments focused on the puzzle at hand, and save the drama for your [rhymes with Obama]. Thanks.


steve l 6:41 PM  

Re: the half-city PAGO: You could clue it as "Payment in Panama," because that's what PAGO means in Spanish.

Anonymous 7:34 PM  

Fifteenth of the words across end in S, yet only 6 downs do. That seems an unusual ratio.

What a crock (rhymes with Barrack) of argumentum ad verecundiam above. The puzzle was fine, but the people here are great and there seems to be some confusion on the use of the term ad hominem. In Logic, there are three forms;
ad personam - the argument is invalid because the advocate is flawed
ad hominem tu quoque - the argument is invalid because the advocate acts in a way implied counter to the argument
ad hominem circumstantial - the argument is invalid because the proponent is associated with a group supporting the argument
All three forms involve fallacious reasoning. It does not mean someone called the other a name.
In Logic, ad feminam arguments do not exist despite some writings invoking the term.


Free Lunch 8:35 PM  

Nice puzzle. I got hung up briefly from writing BACKSTOP instead of MALTSHOP for the bobbysoxer clue. (Bobby Sox - that's softball related, right?)

Thanks for the ABBA video. Man, they were weird.

andreacarlamichaels 3:00 AM  

@free lunch, crosscan
Re: ABBA the blonde dance-challenged or do you think this cheapest-looking-video-EVER just didn't spring for a choreographer?

Was Yma Sumac really Obama's grandmama or is that just a vicious rumor?

andreacarlamichaels 3:08 AM  

ps Orange

YOU kick ass with all your fab IDA info!
IDA 'preciate you keeping up the good work!

docruth 11:16 AM  

5wks later: RE ABBA video--cripes! What's with all the winking? Do you think this was Sarah Palin's inspiration? I'm almost wondering if the brunette IS Sarah Palin. She does have that go-to enthusiasm.

Jason 8:01 PM  

Am I wrong? Shouldn't it be

Dog:barked::cat: MEWED

not meowed, as meow is the sound produced upon mewing? Something Shortz should have caught, I think.

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