SUNDAY, Nov. 2, 2008 - Elizabeth C. Gorski (Geraint's beloved / Pumpkin bomb-throwing enemy of 115-Across / They're hidden in a Hirschfeld sketch)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: "Web Master" - It's all about "THE AMAZING [[[[=]]]] MAN" [that's my visual representation of a "SPIDER," btw]

[please note that the last square in 25-Down should contain the word "SPIDER" in its entirety - my Across Lite program can't / won't display all the letters ... wait, here's an update:]

Well, the cluing on the theme-revealing answer today has been reclued since the first version I saw, and I like this version MUCH much better. Here, I am told that the picture of a spider descending from his web will, in fact, be a "visual presentation" (25D: Visual presentation of what gave 115-Across special powers). I did not have that information in the original draft, and so I was left to wonder what the "I"s were ... does a spider have a certain number of "eyes" ... what is "THE AMAZING I MAN?" ... etc. Never occurred to me that the "I"'s were supposed to form a (presumably unbroken) strand from which a spider dangled. So bravo to the recluing, which makes the premise much clearer (without, I imagine, giving too much away...?).

Theme answers:

  • 24A: Where you might see 115-Across (comic book cover)
  • 38A: Pumpkin bomb-throwing enemy of 115-Across, with "the" (Green Goblin)
  • 100A: Film star who played 38-Across (Willem Dafoe)
  • 12D: 115-Across's day job (photographer)
  • 26D: Tentacled enemy of 115-Across (Otto Octavius)
  • 47D: Film star who played 26-Down (Alfred Molina)
  • 64D: Film star who played 115-Across (Tobey Maguire)
I love comic books, but have never been a fan of Spider-Man (or Marvel Comics in general). Too teenage angsty for me. I'll take my heroes in Bat form, thank you. Honestly, I didn't even know OTTO OCTAVIUS - had to work it out from crosses. I saw the first Spider-Man movie and Hated It. I am told the sequels are better, but I didn't bother finding out.

This puzzle has its share of common stuff you should know, like ENID (79A: Geraint's beloved) and AGRA (33D: Indian fort locale). It also has stuff that threw me for a loop, like EUCHRE (104D: Swindle). I don't know what to say. I thought EUCHRE was an antiquated card game of some kind. That, or the host of "The Newlywed Game." Wait, no, I'm thinking of Bob Eubanks. Bob UECKER was the dad on "Mr. Belvedere" ... ANYway, EUCHRE? Wow, it's a verb, meaning "to cheat." Huh. Interesting. Also never heard of NAYA (113D: Water brand), which appears to be related in some way to NAIADs, the water nymphs. Maybe? SNUGLI (83A: Baby carrier brand) had only a GLIMMER (95D: Dim perception) of familiarity to me. IRMA is bad enough on her own, but in a plural (50A: Food writer Rombauer and others)? - really, do you think you'll ever see more than one IRMA, outside of an IRMA convention? No. I didn't know DAWN could be a "setting" (87D: Setting of the painting "Washington Crossing the Delaware"). Didn't know that GALLOWAY was a 40A: Scottish cattle breed. Didn't know BLUING (2D: Laundry whitener - talk about counterintuitive). Didn't know a 69A: Taliban leader is called an OMAR. Or is it one guy, OMAR? Is he really famous enough to go by one name, and if so, why haven't I heard of him? Yesterday I learned that Venus is hotter than Mercury (!?) and today I learn that it is also called HESPERUS (108A: The planet Venus), which I wanted to be VESPERUS, but that left me with BEE VONEY, which, while only slightly weirder than BEE HONEY (89D: Natural sweetener), was clearly wrong (BEE HONEY? what other kind of HONEY is there? Why am I so full of questions today?). Thanks to frequent puzzle solving, I was not stumped by former stumpers NINAS (27A: They're hidden in a Hirschfeld sketch) and BETAS (44A: Prominent stars in a constellation), the latter of which occurs in my favorite little corner of the puzzle, where EXILES (56A: Royals abroad, maybe) and CATFIGHT (62A: Scratch cause) are crossed by the Shakespearian TITANIA (46D: Largest moon of Uranus). I think CATFIGHT is my favorite answer in the puzzle.

Today's "Who the !@#@ are you?" Award goes to some guy named RENNER (3D: Actor Jeremy of "North Country") - and today's "What the !@#@ is that?" Award goes to ... "North Country"


  • 7A: Amplifier jack letters (mic) - "letters" seems too clever. It's an abbrev., right?
  • 29A: Tie followers, briefly (OTs) - overtimes. Sports.
  • 31A: Coffee order (one sugar) - I admire this answer. I initially wrote in ONE CREAM.
  • 61A: Bandleader Puente (Tito) - I've played his raucous number from "The Simpsons" - what else? Well, here he is with SHEILA E (not a Latin plural):

  • 71A: French goose (oie) - this seems awfully hard. I had 7 years of French and would not have known this were it not for the Ravel ballet "Ma Mère l'Oie" ("Mother Goose").
  • 97A: Handel opera based on Greek myth (Atalanta) - on Friday a clue, on Sunday an answer. Cool. Here's Kiwi and sometime xword fill Kiri Te Kanawa singing "Care Selve" from the opera in question:

  • 8D: Immunity _____ on "Survivor" (Idol) - o my wife will be happy to see this. Finally, her years of watching this show pays off.
  • 9D: Monet painting also known as "The Woman in the Green Dress" ("Camille") - no idea. This painting is not familiar to me at all:
  • 39D: Drawers in a laundry room (BVDs) - very clever. Do they even make BVDs any more?
  • 102D: Girl's name meaning "happy" (Felice) - not a common name in this country at All. Wanted Felicia (as in Rashad, who sadly for me spells her name "Phylicia!"), but couldn't make it fit.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Noam D. Elkies 1:36 AM  

Oh, so that what's I was supposed to make of that tower of I's -- thanks for the explanation.

Neat trick, and nice to have two of the theme answers crossing those I's; but that aside, the Spider-Man movie did about as much/little for me as it evidently did for Rex, so I got nothing out of seeing "Green Goblin", "Otto Octavius", "Willem Dafoe", et 28A:ALII in the grid. A bit of a cheat, too, to cross Octavius with 52A:OCTAL, much as I like to be reminded of Tom Lehrer's New Math. Is 54D:ATINGLE also thematic, as in spider sense?

3D:RENNER was going to be one of the funny Across entries in yesterday's puzzle, but...

Nice choice of clues for 44A:BETAS and 46D:TITANIA to complete an astronomical mini-theme with 108A:HESPERUS. And yes, I wanted "Vesperus" there too, as in the evening star; going by the Wikipage for Hesperus, we weren't far off: there's a Latin equivalent Vesper for this Greek name.

83A -- what an UGLI name! Is that baby carrier made from tin? :-)

Re Latin plural of Sheila: perhaps the plural of Irma (see 50A) is "Irmae" or even "Irmata"...

Enjoy the long (49-hour) weekend,

phh 1:52 AM  

Re Omar: It's one guy, Mullah Mohammed Omar. Real fun guy, I hear.

jannieb 7:06 AM  

I can't begin to explain how dumb I feel about my "solution" to this puzzle. It happens when I try to solve before coffee. With all the references to 115A I headed down there to see what all the fuss was about. I quickly had "mazing" in place - and once I realized we were looking for a person and not The Amazing Race, I was in gear. EXCEPT - I thought it was The Amazing XMAN!!! The spider rebus, the long dangly thread, the actors' names - none of it registered, not one thing told me I was in the right genre, wrong film. Ok - time for some caffeine.

ArtLvr 7:31 AM  

Not knowing much about comic books any more, I was quite pleased to fill in everything.... and then find out that the crucial theme square at the bottom of the dropping I's was not another I but a SPIDER rebus! THEAMAZINGIMAN? Silly!

As to IRMAS, the Irma form of the name is correct traditionally, not Erma. I've known several myself, being in the older cohort and bearing another first name not much bestowed these days. Examples from the past run from the top-rated radio comedy series of the 1940's "My Friend Irma" and the Billy Wilder film by that name of 1949 where comic team Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis first appeared, to impressionist artist Irma Stern (1894-1966) whose most recent auction result was $3 million for a Portrait of a Woman two weeks ago at Sotheby's Cape Town, South Africa.

Anyway, it was an awesome puzzle -- kudos to Ms. Gorski!

Edith B 8:25 AM  

Osmosis is a lovely thing, don't you know.

My knowledge of comic books goes no farther than Dot, Little Audrey and Veronica and Betty - or at least I thought.

I have never knowingly exposed myself to Spiderman and yet I seem to have a sketchy knowlege of him or at least to his trappings.

Now actors - them I know. Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina and Tobey Maguire were gettable via crosses and helped provide a leg up on this puzzle,

The rest? Traditional crossword stuff with a gimmick at its heart. When I got past my initial idea - "I don't know anything about comic book superheroes." - and settled down. I was OK.

I didn't particularly enjoy this one but the exercise was worth it - I guess.

Margo 8:27 AM  

Too bad the clue for one down wasn't 3-G.

Ulrich 9:24 AM  

I've seen Spiderman II on a long airplane flight and I can tell you, I don't know what the fuss was about that one either. Liked the string of i's through the center--gave me quite a problem as I kept erasing i's in sequence, thinking that no word could contain that many, until I finally saw method in the madness and filled in all of them--and then tried to form something resembling SPIDER with 11 letters from variations on ARACHN... ending in an i. Gave up finally and collected crosses until I saw the light, i.e. the spider at the bottom.

Since I did know neither ninas nor bluing nor Renner, the NW corner gave me fits. Googled Renner and then completed the grid, trusting that someone could make sense of it. This mad struggle left a bad taste in my month, even though I realize this is a cute puzzle.

Greene 9:27 AM  

I don't think I have ever opened a comic book in my life, but I have seen two of the three Spider Man films, so I knew enough to get by. I found the movies themselves utterly riduculous, but so extremely well cast as to be oddly compelling. Tobey Maguire, in particular, makes for a most sympathetic and intelligent superhero without too much of the teen angst Rex alludes to. Willem Dafoe and Alfred Molina are also excellent actors...I wish the three of them could be offered better film work.

Today's theme became apparent quickly what with the title of the puzzle "Web Master" and then a clue refering to pumpkin bombs. I was able to fill in all the theme related clues pretty much immediately, but the spider rebus eluded me for a while. After I got about three letter "I"s in a row, I thought there must be something wrong with my answers and I started taking things out. It all became clear after a while and now I have a little * at the bottom of the web for my spider.

I had QUORUM instead of PLENUM for the longest time. All the foodies will groan, but I didn't know TAHINI and I've never had a falafel sandwich either.

Being a lover of Broadway, NINAS was a gimmie. I think I own every published collection of Hirschfeld sketches and always enjoy searching out his daughter's name. He drew just about every celebrity imaginable during his 99 years and to be captured in a Hirschfeld caricature was a singular honor for any stage actor -- a real mark of distinction. The theatre community and the Sunday NYT Arts and Leisure section are less colorful places without him. It's fitting that the former Martin Beck Theatre now bears his name and likeness.

All in all, a most delightful puzzle that got my Sunday off to a great start. What a great way to use my extra hour. Thanks Ms. Gorski.

poc 9:33 AM  

Not a bad idea, but I fault the execution. How can you just forget the IDER in the middle of SPIDERMAN? I got stuck at the very end trying to work out how this was supposed to fit, and it just doesn't. Not cool.

Eric S 9:33 AM  

Maybe I'm just younger than you all, but the comic book theme had me breezing through this puzzle in record time.

Until the SW just blew me up. If I learn nothing else today, I now know "euchre" is also a verb meaning to swindle...

treedweller 9:55 AM  

I slogged through, only to find once again that I had an error. I stared at the puzzle long enough to accept the idea of a spider at the end of a web, so a lot of potential "corrections" were avoided. I finally figured out that an early guess, Uris for AMIS (off the __IS), had gotten overlooked and there was my solution. The half-hour I lost in the meantime will not do much for my ranking in the speed-solver crowd, but I guess I can live with going from the middle of the pack to the bottom.

Overall, a fine enough puzzle, but I can't really get behind a salute to the lamest superhero ever.

Crosscan 10:14 AM  

Woo-hoo, comic book puzzle! I used to have over 10,000 comic books in my collection so this was in my wheelhouse. I prefer Superman or Batman but I'm no stranger to Spidey.

OTTO OCTAVIUS is "better" known as Doctor Octopus.


Karen 10:17 AM  

I'm the opposite of Edith...I can get the characters (the GREEN GOBLIN clue gave the theme away) but not the actors. Except that I'm used to seeing the prosthetically challenged villain as Doc Octopus, which didn't fit in the grid. The NINAS/RENNER cross was a guess for me, I guess I'll remember Hirschfeld now (but don't ask me to spell his name). I agree with Rex's medium hard rating.

Orange 10:19 AM  

@poc, SPIDER (or better yet, a drawing of a spider) does go in that square and not just SP. See Rex's additional explanation in the post, in italics.

Alan 10:25 AM  

One thing wrong with this puzzle: you can't fit the word spider into a small square. I also thought that 17 eyes might have been the source of his strength ie. a spider might have an insect's compound eye. All in all a seriously flawed constructed puzzle.

ez 11:24 AM  

FYI, for those who like fancy-looking finished grids, Across Lite has a spider icon (under Edit/Insert/Symbols - it's the first one).

Garymac 11:31 AM  

I can't remember a puzzle I've disliked so much in a long long time. A challenging puzzle intertwined with a really dumb theme. Either be difficult or be cute, but don't try to do both in the same puzzle.

Norm 12:13 PM  

Not a movie fan, so I'm always weak on actors and actresses, but I was able to remember enough Spiderman trivia from wasted days as a youth reading comic books to make my way through this one. Didn't hate it; didn't particularly like it. Didn't understand that the string of I's was supposed to be a web strand, and that doesn't really seem to fit the clue "what GAVE" Spidey his powers, since it was the spider bite alone that did it. Maybe it was swinging from a web at the time, but I think it was just on a tble. Thought maybe it was supposed to be a venom-spitting spider.

@margo -- good one! 3-G would have been very cute. LOL

Eric 12:14 PM  

The missing spider was creative but I didn't get it to the very end. French is a problem but got from pate de f'oie gras, now banned in some restaurants. Agree with Rex - know nothing about the characters and actors and had to get all from crosses except Dafaoe - who else is Willem.

chefbea1 12:53 PM  

@garymac - I agree. The worst puzzle for me in ages. I knew none of the theme answers. Even when I came here - never heard of any of them.

Glad to see a fellow foodie and of course Bee (spelled differently.)

Scenes from a Mall was filmed right here in Stamford, ct t the Town Center Mall

Doug 1:10 PM  

@poc : Also, if you are using AcrossLite, just press the "Insert" key and a little box pops up, in which you can enter the multi-letter answers. I was talking to a guy who did the NYT puzzle for years and had no idea that a cell could contain multiple letters. Guess he was frustrated about once every two weeks!

Liked this quite a lot, but like McCain and Gore, I couldn't get traction in Florida. HESPERUS, EUCHRE, FELICE and STERES... ouch.

Being Canadian, and not knowing Rapid City, I filled in SASK instead of SDAK so the San Francisco area was also spotty. Funny, I was just there and had a nice bowl of mussels at Fisherman's Wharf while I did the puzzle on Friday night on Halloween.

The last month of Sundays has been pretty ho-hum for me, and I enjoyed this very much. Perhaps also because the Leafs came back in the last 10 minutes of the game vs. NY to score 5 goals, though? I was also happy to see Texas come back vs. Texas Tech to take the lead with about 1 minute left, only to see their defense crumble and give up the winner.

jae 1:22 PM  

I too found this one tough. Especially NW and SE. I knew that the last square in 25 down had to be something to do with spider but I really didn't get how until coming here. I guess I was focused on how the spider bite happened in the movie which, to the best of my recollection, did not involve dangling. Still, a clever and challenging puzzle.

jeanne 1:47 PM  

i would have preferred if the clue for 25D had said GIVES instead of GAVE. the use of the past tense was confusing. i guess ms. gorski wrote in the past tense because the spiderman series is no more. if i think of it in the present tense the clue works. the webs give spiderman his unique ability to move around and trap the bad guys.

Anonymous 1:55 PM  

Never got the clue Spiderman; had
The Amazing Iman...Vaguely heard of the comic Spiderman but got all the answers not knowing the BIG one...I take it he created webs?

kevin der 2:04 PM  

loved this. grew up on spiderman. the SPIDER down entry was just AMAZING. last night i was going through old sunday puzzles for inspiration and thinking we haven't had a liz gorski puzzle in a long time... what a treat.

SE corner was hard for me, didn't know that's what EUCHRE meant, and couldn't pull out BLITHE.

fikink 2:06 PM  

Knowing nothing, zero, zilch, nada about Spiderman, I was really surprised to have completed this puzzle, so I guess that says the clues were pretty fair. My only looper was BLUING because, here in Amish/Mennonite country, the country stores sell bluing balls which you add to your washwater instead of bleach. (A blue cast makes whites look brighter.)

Anonymous 2:11 PM  

I got that it was spiderman right away, and seeing that it was Elizabeth Gorski, expected a nice visual treat ... and it was good.

What I didn't get was the actor names, remembering that doctor octopus is also otto octavius or that the golbin was green. So it made for a very tough puzzled with horibly difficult fill that did not help the solving.

So I'm of two minds. I like the spider on its web and the spidery answers but was very frustrated with the solving. I like my Sunday puzzles a bit more relaxing.


Blue Stater 2:25 PM  

My old (pre-breakup of the USSR) atlas is vague on this point, but I think the "sight from the Bering Sea" (75A) isn't SIBERIA, but Primorskiy province (or oblast, or raion, or some sub-national unit) of the Russian Federation. I think Siberia begins around Khabarovsk, or maybe even west of there. If I'm right, this is another example of WS's (and the Times copy desk's) shaky command of geography in that part of the world (years ago, ULAN BATOR clued as "Stop on the Trans-Siberian railway" and OMSK as a city in western Russia).

I finished today's without recourse to assistance, albeit with a struggle and the quibbles (DAWN as a "setting," BEE HONEY as close to redundant, etc.) alluded to above. Still, I always enjoy Liz Gorski's cruciverbal effervescence.

Speaking of constructors whose work I enjoy, Manny Nosowsky has been absent from these pages for a long time. What gives?

Leon 2:37 PM  

The spider which bit Peter Parker in Amazing Fantasy #15 dangled.

chefbea1 3:21 PM  

@dk we can cook our parsnips with currants and garlic in a Romertopf. I use to have one and made great chicken!!!

joho 3:37 PM  

I loved this puzzle. Having seen all the Spiderman movies ... this was easy regarding the actors and just plain fun when it came to the IIIIIIIIIIIIIIII dangling (SPIDER).

OMG BLITHE and EUCHRE easy, too. I must be a 100.

OIE? Have I heard of it? NON.

@rex, definitely: CATFIGHT.
Hey, I love Batman, too, but you really should give Spidey a chance.

Vega 3:39 PM  

Totally fun, lots of cleverness. But like others, I'm not familiar with Spiderman movies, so getting the character and actor names was painful. Loved the spider descending from the web.

I didn't know TITO Puente, but I was listening to NPR's "The Swing Years" last night, and boom, his name came up, and I pulled out the crossword and plopped him in. Coincicross!

Considering I'm Indian (and have been there), AGRA took way too long. I kept thinking Wild West.


joho 3:40 PM  

I forgot to say thank Elizabeth C. Gorski for a most enjoyable Sunday puzzle.

fergus 5:08 PM  

I'm sorry to say that I found this a pretty disappointing puzzle. While I love TAHINI, and otherwise my ESPRIT is BLITHE, the only word I feel like attaching to this one is ODIUM. It was an awkward stumbling mess, but of course that's from my unique point of view.

foodie 5:22 PM  

Oh man, this killed me. I know there is such a thing as Spiderman, that it's in comic books and that movies exist. That's the full and total extent of my knowledge. Because of the "web" in the title, it was the obvious guess but of course it would not fit. I also knew none of the actors. So, it's a miracle I got as far as I did. I solved it on the airplane (from Newark), finishing most of it but leaving a few strategic holes. I was sure Rex would call it Easy, since he's so knowledgeable about comics. So, I feel a little better having seen the rating. I can see that would be quite admirable and fun if one was just a hair more informed than I am.

In case you care: "foie" means liver, and the name of the dish translates literally into "paste of fattened liver" (doesn't sound so appetizing :). Technically, the goose is nowhere to be found in the name. So, I really love how you extracted "oie" from "foie" and got the right answer. You made me realize that the goose is in fact hidden in there! It's like Andrea Carla had named that dish. Cool!

@Chef Bea, did you think of BEETS in relation to natural sweetener? They make sugar out of BEETROOTs in the middle east so it was my first answer. I also liked seeing TAHINI in the puzzle. Pate, Tahini and Beets. Sounds terrible!

@evil doug, thanks for your response yesterday. You said "I get curious too"... I can't tell whether this was a turn of phrase or you're really asking these questions. We could discuss it off-line if it's not rhetorical (we've established that you like to keep us guessing, I think).

Chip Hilton 5:29 PM  

Not a fan of the comic book character or the films, so this was a slog for me. Went with OTTOOCTOPIUS for the Molina character...seemed sensible.

TAHINI? SABOT? New to me.

As far as the string of I's leading to the spider, I really didn't 'see' it as the puzzle designer intended.

Think I'll loosen the AIGLETS and focus on the Giants and Cowboys.

Ulrich 5:55 PM  

@chip: "Sabot" plays a prominent role in many explanations of how the term "sabotage" derived. The story goes that farm workers in France, in a labor dispute with their boss, trampled a ripe field down with their sabots, or that weavers threw their sabots into mechanical looms that threatened their existence, or that strikers destroyed wooden sabots holding rails in place. However the derivation goes, it should be sufficient as memory aid for "sabot".

Chip Hilton 5:57 PM  

Thanks, Ulrich. Very interesting and, hopefully, I'll hold onto it for future reference.

chefbea1 6:20 PM  

@foodie no I did not think of Bee-ts as natural swetener

Anonymous 6:31 PM  

Well, that was a mental workout. Bluing and Plenum and Ninas stalled the NW, and Hesper--/Euchre was very hard in the SE. I kept wanting Hesperia, like the town outside of Los Angeles.

I got the whole theme gimmick and most of the related answers even though I don't know the first thing about Spider-Man, but if you don't know NINAS, and I didn't, then it is pretty much impossible to guess it. I had to resort to a "puzzle friend" for that one.

Oh well.


Franny Glass 6:47 PM  

Not being familiar with the Spiderman franchise, I still managed to blow through this puzzle (although the NW corner was a little sticky until the end). I thought for sure it would be rated easy-medium, thanks for the ego boost!

"London Fields" is wonderful novel, run to your library!

Portland, OR

alanrichard 6:57 PM  

I had the amazing "I" man too. I realized thst spider man was the theme but, with the excepton of the Green goblin and Willem Defoe, who I remember from Platoon, I got all the other longanswers contexturally.
Now,.... does anyone know where the the fist square across is in the diagramless. Its not with last weeks answers in the magazine!
I hope this isn't HERESY, especially after what happened to Joan, but I would really like to know!

Anonymous 7:34 PM  

@leon: I'll take your word for it, but I don't see the web at the link (my bad eyes?) and I'd swear that #1 had him bitten on the lab table ... but that was more years ago than I want to fess up to ....

Anonymous 7:39 PM  

@leon: My bad; there's the web.

poc 7:55 PM  

@Orange, @ez and @Doug: AcrossLite 1.2 does not allow you to either insert a funky spider logo, or include all the missing letters. AL 1.2 is the only version available for Linux, which is my system of choice. I do hope the NYT isn't suggesting I change operating systems in order to do the crossword.

I've been a subscriber for several years now, and don't think I've ever come across this limitation before. Some puzzles may require a single letter instead of a string (M for MAN or whatever) but they are detectable because there are many instances. In today's puzzle there's only once instance and it corresponds to a completely arbitrary substring of the answer. There's no reason the compiler couldn't have opted for the complete word and still kept the dangling thread trick.

Doug 8:58 PM  

Didn't know about the Linux limitation, but I guess the main thing is that as long as you know what the rebus is, you've solved the puzzle. I don't see SPIDER as being arbitrary at all, because dangling at the end of the string of "I" letters is a little SPIDER. It's quite elegant!

PuzzleGirl 9:19 PM  

Hard but doable. I didn't get the string of I's at first because I write my I's with the lines on the top and bottom. It just occurred to me that I could probably save some time if I didn't though. Huh.

@poc: Yes, yes, I'm sure that's it. The New York Times wants you to change your operating system.

fergus 9:57 PM  

Oh yeah, "London Fields." Keith Talent and Nicola Six. I was living the same W10 Neighbourhood in 1989 when the novel came out, which made the novel extraordinarily realistic.

Michael 10:10 PM  

I didn't do this quickly (I have only medium-poor knowledge of spiderman and the movies), but managed to finish except for the no-longer-mysterious amazing i man....

Anonymous 10:20 PM  

Never got into spiderman but managed to slog through it. Just made a Devil's Food Cake that has chopped up pickled beets as part of the ingredients, so I did at first have beetroot inserted.

Orange 10:59 PM  

@poc: Well...nobody's stopping you from doing the "insert" trick to insert all six letters in that box. They won't show up on the screen, but you'll still know. Or you could print out the puzzle and write with teeny letters or get artistic.

@alanrichard: The NYT forgot to print the hint in the Magazine. You can find it under "Crossword Correction" on the Premium Crosswords page. Now, let's quit talking about this other puzzle before Rex goes medieval on us.

poc 11:13 PM  

@orange: There is no "insert trick" in A.L. 1.2. There is no "insert" item under the Edit menu or anywhere else.

I agree, let's forget it.

zadoc 10:44 AM  

What a great blog this is. Thanks, Rex, for your breezy style. And all the clever posters.

Anonymous 11:58 PM  

What does "AMIS see" (58 across)mean?

Anonymous 12:13 AM  

RE: "Today's "Who the !@#@ are you?" Award goes to some guy named RENNER (3D: Actor Jeremy of "North Country") - and today's "What the !@#@ is that?" Award goes to ... "North Country" "

I realize this entry in your blog is a couple of days old, but I just checked my email today.

I have to say this is the funniest thing I've received from Google Alerts in a longtime regarding Jeremy Renner. I would've squealed with delight had I seen his name in a clue on a crossword puzzle (but that's just me) lol. I can't believe people don't know who he is. I urge you to go rent Dahmer, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, or even North Country.

Forget those overhyped A-list actors, Jeremy Renner is singlehandedly the best actor in Hollywood, IMO.

Amy 12:16 PM  

My vote for "What the !@#@" has to go to aptno (1D). I assume it means apartment number but what the !@#@. 10-G???? Could a clue be any more random? Even "PH" would have been clearer.

Meril Yu 9:22 PM  

Splendid video of catfight! (And yes I know I am the slowest crossword solver in the world). Thanks for being there when I tire of slogging through on my own.

Tim 11:21 PM  

I was really disappointed with this crossword. It usually takes me over an hour to do the Sunday crosswords, and I look forward to the challenge, but the theme clues were too easy here.

The spider dangling from its thread was very clever -- ingenious, really -- but I figured that out and the other theme answers (except for actor names) within about 5 minutes. I stopped there, because anything else would have been anticlimactic.

I think "web master" gave it away: what else could it be about but a spider?

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

Was anyone else even slightly amused by the clue "largest moon of Uranus?"

Great puzzle. Love your page, Rex.

Richard 7:40 PM  

Toti Fuentes was the bandleader;
("Toti Fuentes, played with international stars, dies
By Pocholo Concepcion
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:48:00 03/30/2008"

Tito Fuentes was a baseball player.
("Rigoberto "Tito" Fuentes Peat (born January 4, 1944 in Havana, Cuba) is a retired second baseman who played for 13 seasons in the Major Leagues" (Wikipedia)

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