TUESDAY, Nov. 4, 2008 - Peter A. Collins and Joe Krozel (Italian battery pioneer / Kennedy-era launch / Inaugural ball holder)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: CAST A VOTE (36A: What many Americans will do on 17-Across (as hinted at by highlighting all the V's in this puzzles answers)) - V's, which I have changed to check marks, form one larger check mark in the middle of the grid. Election-themed answers abound.

Theme might also be described by either of the two other long Across answers: ELECTION DAY (17A: Early November occasion in the U.S.) or BALLOT BOXES (58A: Sights at polling places)

Even though no one "checks" ballots any more, and I don't know that I've ever even seen an honest-to-god BALLOT BOX, this puzzle has a cute concept, and the occasionally wacky fill that pops up in order to accommodate the theme is actually an asset, not a liability. The "V" words add much coolness to the grid. I'm particularly fond of AVOCET (22D: Long-legged shorebird) - it sounds pretty, and I didn't know it before today. Nice to see something besides the same old puzzle birds, much as I love them (ERN/E, TERN, NENE, etc.). Also loved the absurdly clued VIAND (49D: Article of food). It's hard to imagine using either the answer or the clue in a sentence, but they're accurate enough - and VIAND, like AVOCET, derived from French, unlike "Holding Out for A HERO" (56A: "Holding Out for _____" (1984 Bonnie Tyler hit)), which is derived from cheesy 80s pop opera greatness.

[sound of needle scratching on vinyl, and ...]

Don't know if that song is supposed to be part of the election sub-theme extravaganza, but several other answers add to the timeliness of the puzzle. Let's start with my favorite of these: 11A: Like William Howard Taft (fat) - I like to call him by his anagrammatic street name, T-FAT. "Yo, T-FAT, put down the sandwich. There's a bill you gots to veto" (why isn't VETO in this puzzle?). Never watched / liked "The West Wing," so I don't care for either the TERI (14A: Actress Polo who played a presidential candidate's wife on "The West Wing") or the LOWE (29A: Actor Rob who played a presidential aide on "The West Wing") clue, though at least TERI gets (briefly) to escape to the ignominy of being clued via "Meet the Fockers." Other presidential stuff:

  • 35A: Inaugural ball holder (victor) - this one threw me, badly. I was imagining someone/thing holding a giant mirrored disco ball (clearly imagining the only kind of "inaugural ball" I would care to attend)
  • 61A: 35 is the minimum one to be U.S. president (age)
  • 25A: "_____ Stop" (Bill Clinton theme song) ("Don't) - ugh, my Least favorite song off the very, very famous "Rumours" album, and possibly my least favorite part of the Clinton campaign
  • 58D: Bad sound at a campaign rally (boo) - well, it might be a good sound to me, if I agree with the booer (now There's an Odd Job).

And the rest!

  • 15A: Wilderness home (lean-to) - learned this word from xwords, and yet I can't recall its ever being associated with the word "wilderness." I was thinking "lair," "den," "aerie," etc.
  • 22A: Ribicoff and Lincoln, familiarly (Abes) - or as I like to call this clue "Who? and Oh"
  • 31A: Italian battery pioneer (Volta) - the Chevy Volt is due out any year now. And the following movie (the title of which I thought until just now was "Volt") will be at a theater near you very shortly (I see many, many viewings in my future):

  • 3D: Religious recluse (eremite) - a beautiful word
  • 2D: Samson's undoer (Delilah) - whoa, talk about your Odd Jobs (or weird superhero names): UNDOER!
  • 4D: "Attack, Rex!" (sic 'em) - aw, thanks guys. But not today.
  • 10D: Nondairy milk source (soy) - I'm about 15 minutes away from enjoying my morning cereal and SOY milk (which I much prefer to dairy milk now).
  • 13D: Kennedy-era launch (Telstar) - learned from xwords, though I impulsively wrote in TRISTAR here. I think TRI-STAR is a film production company.
  • 34D: Baby buggy? (larva) - the one moment of true bewilderment in this puzzle came while staring at LAR-- and wondering "???"
  • 37D: Barn topper (vane) - as in weather. Are there other kinds of VANEs? Windmills and feathers and feather-bearing arrows have them, it seems. But none of those would top a barn.
  • 40D: Not yet having gone before an M.P.A.A. board (unrated) - I like this clue. I also would have accepted [Like the alternate versions of many movies released on DVD]
  • 42D: It involves reading letters out loud (eye exam) - great clue, and EYEEXAM looks Nuts when you have only a handful of scattered letters in place.
  • 60D: "Mom" in a heart, maybe, for short (tat) - Happy Birthday to my mom in ... 9 days. Scorpio!

You should vote now. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Post-voting coffee and Hello Kitty cupcakes]

[Actual BALLOT BOX in use in Egremont, MA - photo forwarded by my favorite Newsweek editor]


Doug 8:33 AM  

Hey, first to vote, first to comment? Just got back from the polls and my free Starbucks -- lines around the block in Manhattan. Yay! Great puzzle and who can criticize the theme? I think "veto" was not in this puzzle because it doesn't refer to voting on election day, per se. Agree with Rex about the "don't stop" clue. Great album, so-so song. Good think Fleetwood Mac were democrats, is all I can say about that. I thought this was easy, and finished while on line. Only got stuck with 43-down. Had "seclude" instead of "secrete."

Janie 8:39 AM  

13d's "kennedy era launch" brought back recollections of this ventures hit (the group is seen here in some reunion session...).

and seeing the phrase "kennedy era" on election day brings to mind a joke that went around then (when i was in [what was then called] "junior high"...)

q: what did kasa-vubu say to lumumba?

a: isn't "kennedy" a funny name.....

terrific election day puzzle all around. smiled at the proximity of the shout out to "rex" in the clue at 4d with the fill for "tirade" at 7d: RANT.

off to vote now. we've been told at work to come in no matter how late, but by no means to fail to vote!



Crosscan 8:53 AM  

We have BALLOT BOXES in Canada. You are handed a paper ballot, use a pencil to mark an x in the appropriate circle, fold the ballot, and in the box it goes. Old fashioned, simple, easy to count.

Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart is the greatest song ever.

mexgirl 8:57 AM  

I had a real great time doing this puzzle. I love puzzles that have a lot of uncommon letters, like V. But mostly it was all the fill that was just plain fun and clever (particularly EYEEXAM and ONEPAGE).
One thing, though, how do LEAN TO refer to a wilderness home?

I can't vote since I am merely a legal resident here, but I'm taking my kids to a voting place just so they see how this all works for real. They did have a mock election at my sons' middle school yesterday, and apparently Obama won.... by a small margin, though.

Good luck everyone!

PhillySolver 8:58 AM  

Incredible turnout here in Philly on ELECTION DAY. That's great news.
The other news is the appearance of ONE IDA in the grid today. I thought the fill was fabulous, particularly for a Tuesday puzzle.

ArtLvr 9:02 AM  

It's a very good and very gettable Election Day puzzle, and like Rex I enjoyed the fill, including AVOCET.

The Sun puzzle is a standout too, and in Albany we have the Star Tribune crossword during the week (NYT on Sundays). If you can get the Star Tribune puzzle for today, don't miss it! In any case there's a blog to show how awesome it is -- google Star Tribune Crossword Corner.

Getting out to vote soon...


Orange 9:27 AM  

Crosscan is wrong: "Total Eclipse of the Heart" is one of the worst songs of the '80s. Even "Safety Dance" is better.

Today's Sun puzzle is on my short list for the top Oryx prize. If you haven't subscribed to the Sun crossword yet, today's the day to start—go to Cruciverb.com to sign up.

Anonymous 9:27 AM  


LEANTO (one word) is a rustic shelter, in its basic form, a roof with it's back edge on the ground and front held up by poles (looks like a triangle from the side).

The roof thus seems to *lean* on the poles.

Not necessarily wilderness only, and some can be more elaborate.


treedweller 9:30 AM  

Easy-breezy. Fun to get in the spirit of the events today. After I finished, I had to stare at the clue that explained the V's for awhile before I finally understood what was happening with the check mark. Got a chuckle about that, though I have never "checked" my votes. I did see ballot boxes at the polls a few times when I first started voting, but now we use those electronic machines that I don't really trust.

LEAN-TO is a makeshift shelter that someone lost in the wilderness might build. It's pretty self-explanatory from there, I think.

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

With the particles of the oily and spicy viand which now remained, I thoroughly rubbed the bandage wherever I could reach it; then, raising my hand from the floor, I lay breathlessly still.

-Poe, The Pit and the Pendulum

mexgirl 9:40 AM  

@Glitch and @Treedweller,

Thanks so much for the explanation. I now know how to call those structures my kids have been doing for years with blankets and kitchen chairs.

joho 9:40 AM  

This puzzle was a lot of fun. I have never heard of VIAND so learned something today. The word itself sounds like an African antelope i.e. Eland. I stared at ALIENTO for a bit thinking it to be Spanish. Then I saw that it's two words. Lots of two word answers today. I count 9 and then there's the three word CAST A VOTE. I think this added to this puzzle's freshness.

4D had to be an homage to our Rex.

This is a really clever, timely puzzle, way to go Peter A. Collins!

Ulrich 9:41 AM  

Lovely puzzle again, if a tad on the easy side for a Wednesday. I breezed down the east coast, and once I saw 36A and the checkmark emerging, I put in the v's on the west of the center, which helped a lot with the v words in that area.

I'm not completely happy with the lean-to clue: Not every wilderness provides something like a firm "wall" against which a roof can "lean" (it never "leans" on poles--it would push them over), whereas a house provides several such walls, especially at the sides and back, where lean-tos are most often found.

Rex Parker 9:45 AM  

Hey Ulrich, is "Wednesday" German for "Tuesday?"



Anonymous 9:57 AM  

secrete is weird

Ulrich 10:05 AM  

@rex: Ha, caught again! My bad.

They say that it is common for retired persons not to know what day of the week it is b/c they no longer work on a regular weekly schedule. But this slip is really odd, given that I have been glued to various election-related news outlets since I got up--probably a sign of an early stage of dementia.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  


Actually, in the wilderness, the high end of the roof is supported by (sits on) the poles, it's the low end that *leans* --- on the ground, which IS generally available. ;)

In more permanent locations (like my former Boy Scout camp, there may be more elaborate construction (like sides and floors), but when the *roof* met the ground in back, it was a leanto, otherwise it was a cabin.

As to the overhang off the house, say to cover firewood, we always called it a shed, even if open on 3 sides.


Crosscan 10:14 AM  

@orange: Crosscan is wrong????? After I said "Orange rules!" last week? Sigh.

Worse than Safety Dance? Low blow. Despite the fact that Men Without Hats were from Montreal I was not a fan of Safety Dance.

Compare: "We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks" vs. "Everybody look at your hands"

May you stand in line for hours today. Rex rules!!

(Nice Wednesday puzzle, if on the Tuesday-ish difficulty side).

Two Ponies 10:17 AM  

I figured an election theme was coming today and this was even better than I expected.
Loved avocet and viand (is this where we get "vittles"?) as well as the nod to Rex.
I am very nervous today and this was a welcome diversion. I am hoping for an historic outcome. If not.....any room at your house crosscan? I might have to leave the country.

Ulrich 10:28 AM  

@Glitch: We are agreed that one side of the roof rests on the ground. Your pole construction will work if the poles are really dug into the ground, b/c otherwise, the lateral force component generated by the sloping roof will push them over--do people really take the time to do the digging in the wilderness? In addition, they have to close the opening at that side. It's much easier to find a vertical cliff against which the roof joists can lean, in which case you have to close only the triangular opening at each side.

3 and out

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

For those of us who only know the lady from crossword puzzles, YMA SUMAC has passed away at 86.

HudsonHawk 10:39 AM  

Went to the polls at 6:30 a.m. and waited in line for nearly an hour. Thank goodness I took my NYTimes with me. Was able to read much of the paper and avoid conversing with the overly chatty woman standing behind me (actually next to me most of the time--because that apparently makes the line move faster).

Great puzzle by Peter C. and Joe K. I was surprised the MCVIES weren't clued with DON'T stop. I have to agree with Rex, definitely a low point on Rumours, especially after hearing it constantly in the Clinton years.

Peter 10:56 AM  

Thanks for the nice comments on today's puzzle. Hats off to Joe Krozel for constructing a great grid. All those V's made it a real challenge.

@hudsonhawk: I did clue MCVIES tied to "DONT Stop" -- it must've ended up on the cutting room floor. I also clued EVITA as a presidential first name, III as an appendage to McCain's name, and STARR related to Kenneth. But my favorite clue that got the ax was the one for HEMLINE. My clue was "Hillary Clinton's may have been high in the '60's".
I wondered how many people would get the initial H and gasp "It couldn't be HUSBAND, could it?"

I voted already today -- i won't say who I voted for, but I'd definitely vote for "Total Eclipse of the Heart" over "Safety Dance", even if the former is a tad overwrought.

Pete Collins

chefbea1 11:01 AM  

Went to vote at 9:30 and took the puzzle with me. Much to my surprise..no line, so did the puzzle at home

Great puzzle and glad to see our leader at 4D

I don't understand Mom in a heart for short??

gotcookies 11:16 AM  

I agree with chefbea1 about 60D...any help? Overall a fun puzzle; I enjoyed seeing all the Vs scattered around the grid. I voted absentee last week...hope the ballot makes it home and gets counted...

SethG 11:23 AM  

I hereby endorse Crosscan in today's election. Turn around, bright eyes!

I'm also LEANing TOwards The West Wing and Rhino, Bolt's hamster friend. Movie opens the 21st.

They could have gone with Abe Froman if they wanted to mix the real and the fictitious again, and Vigoda (rhymes with Minnesota) would be a good use of a V.

chefbea1 and gotcookies, this might help.

gotcookies 11:28 AM  

@SethG...thanks! I was definitely not thinking on the tattoo wavelength.

chefbea1 11:39 AM  

@sethG Ditto

Eli Barrieau 11:48 AM  

Is there an election or something today? I've been out of the loop.

dk 11:49 AM  

Except for Roxy Music and a few others the 80s were a great time to have the radio off IMHO.

Eremite is a new one on me.


@crosscan and others who are ALIENTO our election, just cast your hope for a brighter future.

PuzzleGirl 11:54 AM  

Wow. Nobody had trouble with this one? It took me way longer than the usual Tuesday just because of that pesky NE corner. Like Howard Taft? Me: Dead? I couldn't believe it was actually FAT. Too funny. Maybe I had trouble because I did the puzzle at 1:00am after distributing door-hangers last night. It's so so hard not to make a political statement today, but I will respect the neutrality of the forum and simply echo DK: If you're eligible and haven't already done so, VOTE!

joho 11:57 AM  

Sorry I didn't offer my congratulations to Joe Krozel as well as Pete ... my bad. The check mark of 'V's is fantastic!

@dk: probably didn't know it because you aren't one.

ArtLvr 11:59 AM  

@ two ponies -- re "vittles" and VIAND, the former is actually spelled "victuals", despite the correct pronunciation as you wrote it! Both of those words descend through variations from the Latin "vivere" = to live, but viand is from a later gerund form. Victual (usually used in the plural) is from the past tense root, "victus"= lived. Thus, to be evicted is to be forced from where one was living. The old gerund form is seen in the phrase "modus vivendi" or way of living.


Wade 12:18 PM  

Let's all pile on Orange--Crosscan, you got my vote. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" is pure cheese and supremely crankworthy, everything an eighties song should be. Any mixed tape of the eighties should include that and the other raspy-voiced female-Rod-Stewart-wanna-be, Kim Carnes's "Bette Davis Eyes." Plus it has a better economic plan.

Orange, I met a woman named Tangerine yesterday. I really did. Any relation?

Puzzlegirl, I had trouble in NE, too. I thought for a little while PREVADE was a word. If we need any new words for anything, I think "prevade" should be next up.

jannieb 12:18 PM  

Loved the puzzle - both construction and fill. And DK, I'm with you. Totally ignored the music of the 80's and much of the 90's as well.

VOTE early and often!!!

Noam D. Elkies 12:36 PM  

Yes, a loVely Tuesday puzzle, both for the theme and many supporting entries (election-related and not). The V-shape made it eVen easier, especially for 44A:ANNIV. Fortunately 38A:LOUVRE was a gimme because 33D:MCVIES means 19A:NIL to me -- and if our goVernment were run by music Videos I'd adVocate Violent oVerthrow.

Should I read anything into 8D:ONDOPE atop 59D:ODS? MassachVsetts does haVe a ballot question on decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana...

45D:VIAND was a pleasant surprise -- I don't think I'Ve seen the word since reading Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum. HaVing been preempted on explaining Vittles/Victuals Vs. Viand, I'll note that 3D:EREMITE is etymologically the same word as the familiar "hermit", though I agree that "eremite" is much the prettier.


Anonymous 12:39 PM  

On the Cash Box 100, Eclipse followed 'Safety Dance' as number one and preceded 'Islands in the Stream.' One of these is on my ipod, but only one of them was inspired by the lyricist (Steinman) reflecting on Wuthering Heights. Thus my vote goes for Total Eclipse.

artlvr is too smart!


chefbea1 12:46 PM  

@wade and orange - I have a grand daughter named Clementine. And also a great recipe for a clementine cake. (I think I may have told you this many months ago)

Wade 12:47 PM  

"Islands in the Stream"! God, I'd forgotten what a problem Kenny Rogers was! Thank goodness he's been eradicated. (Thankfully, lest we never forget, there's a website called menwholooklikekennyrogers.com).

Shamik 1:00 PM  

Medium puzzle for me today.

Flew back last night to Arizona just to vote...and now I find my car is dead. Thank goodness it's only a mile to the polling place. And another 1/4 mile to Starbucks.

Being 53 means never having to apologize for liking anything cheesy...including 80's pop music & video. Go with it. Have fun with it. Laugh. There's little enough laughter in this world.

Anonymous 1:15 PM  


It appears your wilderness *buildings* (pun intended) are a LOT more substantial than mine (Joists?!?) --- so I'll concede to your original objection and make this my 3 & out.


PS: At least we agree on the shape.

Cheryl 1:22 PM  

I like the sound of 'prevade'. It could mean to avoid something ahead of time (pre+evade), for instance, to make plans so that you can say you're busy when someone asks you help them move.

Another Canadian here saying good luck guys, I hope all goes smoothly today.

I enjoyed the puzzle and did it in good time today (for me). I knew avocet, yay!

Regarding 80's music, our friend at 20A, Aimee Mann, was part of the band 'Til Tuesday (and she appears on a Tuesday) with the hit single Voices Carry. At least it was popular around these parts.

Doc John 1:40 PM  

I seem to remember LEAN-TOs showing up in an awful lot of Hardy Boys books.

As for Kenny Rogers, he's going strong here in San Diego as he's the spokesman for a local casino (which has a GREAT buffet, I might add).

Rex Parker 1:59 PM  

One man who looks like Kenny Rogers: My Dad! He also looks at times like Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics, though for both comparisons you really have to go back about 20 years. Still - lay off Kenny Rogers, Wade.

Parton/Rogers '08!


fikink 1:59 PM  

Rex, Egremont's ballot box is a thing of beauty!

Mike the Wino 2:24 PM  

@LEANTO debaters,

You're both right, at least according to the following:


I remember having to construct one similarly in order to get beyond being a Tenderfoot, which I was for two years. Never made it past the rank of Second Class, probably because on our hikes I may (or may not) have been ONDOPE. I really can't remember as that was a lot of brain cells ago...

foodie 3:04 PM  

Yma Sumac us dead! She was 86? I was sure she was a child of the 60's! I've never seen a picture or heard a word from her, but I loved her because of her strange name.

Because you see, some of us have strange names. But there seems to be a chance that, today, we the unpronounceables will be vindicated.

Wade 3:09 PM  

My first name is Doyne, which nobody knows how to pronounce, including me (family says Do-wen). It always sucked on the first day of school when the teacher called roll and everybody learned you had a stupid name, but it's handy as an adult because you know that when the phone rings and the person asks for "Do . . .? Doyle? Doing? Donnie?" that somebody's gonna try to sell you something.

dk 3:09 PM  

@joho, ouch, I consider myself smote.

Here is some musical fun:


Janie 3:20 PM  

rex -- you weren't *loitering* in that pic, were you?


j. (not wanting to count her chickens, but feelin' euphoric in spite of herself...)

dk 3:24 PM  

@ulrich, taking a wilderness rescue course and we are "studying" outdoor shelters. My favorite is the quonsey (version of a Quonset hut) where you cover your pack with a mound of snow, wait an hour, pull out your pack and viola a snow home. I will take photos this January, along with what will no doubt be my impression of a pop-cycle.

rafaelthatmf 3:30 PM  

Mmmm! Vs! In a vee! My favorite parts are all atingle! My CASTSVOTES took too long to correct and now I have overink in the middle of my grid.
Like puzzle girl I had an idea that Taft was fat but I was certain he was dead – While Kenny Rogers nay not be dead his career should be! I hate the verb is in all its forms.
Safety Dance has just a little too much kitsch but Total Eclipse has too many catch phrases – turn around bright eyes, total eclipse of the heart – that’s [damn is] more than enough for two lame ass pop songs.
And finally Vote! And as a partisan I say Yes We Can!

miriam b 3:41 PM  

Dante's Paradise, Canto XXI:

“'Twixt either shore
Of Italy, nor distant from thy land,
A stony ridge ariseth, in such sort,
The thunder doth not lift his voice so high,
They call it Catria: at whose foot a cell
Is sacred to the lonely EREMITE,
For worship set apart and holy rites.”

Anonymous 3:50 PM  

I really enjoyed VENA and VANE intersection because I could then see what the Vs were forming; that whole section started filling itself out.

With that being said VICTOR took me way too long. I was with Rex on that one.


HudsonHawk 4:15 PM  

I am going with the Cheryl Party and writing in 'Til Tuesday's "Voices Carry", because AIMEE Mann is awesome.

foodie 4:17 PM  

@wade, I too have discovered the value of an unpronounceable name in ferreting out the fake friends on the phone.

I can't decide which is better-- to have been unpronounceable from childhood, or to acquire the affliction as a young adult when you change countries... But I was desperate enough that for a brief period, after marrying a nice southern boy (if New Orleans counts), I tried his last name on for size. An in-law stuck a "Mae" in after my first name so the whole thing would have a traditional southern lilt. But that first name was unsalvageable (where was Andrea Carla when I needed her?). So back I went to owning my unpronounceability.

fikink 4:35 PM  

@foodie, we have an unpronounceable last name which, when attempted, results in something too close to profanity for anyone's comfort. From this end, I am always bemused by those who are afraid to ask me how it is pronounced. Its advantage, that we have detected, though, is the built-in protection from identity theft.

p.s.FWIW, I am particularly proud of the role Iowa has played in this day, the chattering heads keep mentioning it!

Anonymous 4:44 PM  

Nice puzzle today indeed - but on to perhaps the most important subject of the day (yeah, right: the election - don't attack me! I was out voting at 6:45 AM...): 80s music wars! I'm not sure if we're going for cheesiest, best or combination of both - the Til Tuesday song "Voices Carry" was too good to be in the running ((I think to qualify, the first strains of the song should make you wince at what's to come!) "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow", sung by McVie, was one of the better Fleetwood Mac songs -when Stevie Nicks became "The Gypsy", I think that was the last I could stomach of her. Orange, "Safety Dance" is just so bad that I would rather eat a raw onion apple-style than ever have to hear one line from that tune again! So, I think it rates somewhere up there. "Total Eclipse of the Heart"? That's kind of a timeless, Lite radio song, and doesn't stand for the 80s as much as the others - but it is great/horrendous. "Bette Davis Eyes"...I remember when I first heard it I thought: "Rod Stewart has started taking estrogen"...not that there's anything wrong with that...What am I offering here? Mostly ranting - but how about "You Spin Me Round" by Dead or Alive?? "I want your love -lu-uh-uh-uh-uh-uhve" wow! I'm partly ill just thinking about it! Still, of the songs mentioned here, "Mr. Roboto" has to win, if only to perpetuate alternate-to-mythology-clue possibilities for STYX.
Tony O.

Edith B 4:46 PM  

Yesterday I said I liked my puzzles to be crunchy rather than smooshie and multiple Vs and Xs always add a little crunch to a puzzle.

I was really proud of myself to recognize the check mark made of Vs in the middle ot the puzzle and it vindicated the puzzle in my eyes although I liked EYEEXAM and the not-readily-recognizable ALIENTO.

green mantis 5:11 PM  

The unfortunate inclusion of "nooses" notwithstanding, a fun and happy puzzle. I am so excited today I'm like a toddler on poprocks and cane syrup.

Si se puede, people!!!

Also, stop dissing Islands in the Stream. I believe the universal ruling is that if Dolly's within ten feet of something, said thing is made of awesome.

Doc John 5:26 PM  

@ green mantis- great comment on Dolly!

I guess I was in the minority in the music video voting dept. but another one left out (say what you will about him) is Thriller. Exceptionally well put-together video and the part where he says "I'm not like other boys" is priceless!

Edith B 5:50 PM  

Didn't "The Wall" by Pink Floyd come out in the 80s? Almost anything off that masterwork is superior to the songs put up in nomination here.

May I suggest "Comfortably Numb"?

Vega 5:53 PM  

What a fun puzzle. Love the Vs! Not that I'm biased (my first name is Vegavahini -- grew up in rural Wisconsin -- been there, done that, Wade). Had to come here though to learn that they were in the shape of a check mark.

As a fan, an honest-to-goodness fan, of '80s (but even more so, '70s) pop music, well, gosh, I just don't know how to *choose* between Total Eclipse and Safety Dance. And ABBA were weird? How so??

Thanks, Orange, for the Sun tip. I know what I put in first, without even thinking twice.


archaeoprof 6:03 PM  

Isn't SECRETE something that glands do???

Going home now, full of hope, to watch election returns.

Wade 6:13 PM  

Yes, mantis, I'll concede that not even Kenny Rogers is exempt from the Dolly Rule. And Kenny is from Texas, after all. And "Islands" was written by the Bee Gees. So you have a perfect storm of coolness that by some fluke of nature brews an atrocity. I'm cool with that.

The first cassette (pronounced with the stress on the first syllable) I ever bought was Styx's "The Best of Times," along with a Little River Band cassette, the one with the song "Cool Change." I gave away the Styx tape, after listening to it once, to Anna Street, to try to make her like me.

andrea carla michaels 7:08 PM  

@ ulrich

When in doubt, don't blame dementia, just coin a new word: Twensday!


I am so sorry, I can't be everywhere at once, otherwise, Egremont would have a lot better name than that!


Isn't Viand French for meat or something? It rings a vague bell, but I often have a ringing in my ears...


Deep chuckle for the day:
"Who? and Oh"
THAT"S why I love you!

Gotta slightly disagree on EREMITE tho, to me it sounds like a cross between Hermit and Vegemite.

@Peter and Joe K

A++ for construction
A- for NOOSES and SECRETE and having Taft's entire being summed up as FAT.
(Rescued by Rex's brilliant riff on T-FAT...perhaps Obama is not our first prez of color...)

UNRATED, but very cool for having both

Am I reading too much into it, or is LABCOAT and FANBELT a mini-theme begging to grow?!


How cool to have noticed ONE IDA after yesterday's discussion!!!!!!
you have NO IDEA how exciting something like that is to me.
(anagram intended!)

Sharon 7:45 PM  

Rex, Echoing a lot of "thank you's" I've seen on this blog - since I started reading the posts quite a while after I started using it as a free help for clues I was totally stuck on. Thank you for the interview with Emily Cureton. Had wondered about buying one/some of her drawings but could not figure out how to contact her about them until you posted her e-mail on your interview.
I'm quite in disagreement with your poster who refer to googling for answers as "cheating". Googling for answers on a site like this I agree is cheating just like calling the 900 number clue line. But going to an information source I've always considered not only fair but a justification for the time spent doing the puzzle as i can actually learn something. I've felt in the past three years or so that cultural clues have become much more obscure and far reaching. Seems to me that constructors are assuming people are now using the internet for reference.
I'm not sure if I am in awe of those of you who can solve even Saturdays in less time than it takes me to write the answers in on boringly easy puzzles, or not. I sort of find myself yawning at these comments, in a kind of boredom - like a dog who has given up on trying to figure out a mirror.
To me part of the fun is coming back to the puzzle hours, or days, later and having a light bulb moment over clues that stumped me before.
But I do enjoy the insights to pairing of words, etc that I didn't notice before. Actually, I really, really miss Emjo's drawings for the very original connections she made.
this is the first place I've posted besides the Lilac society round robin. Was glad to find, eventually, that I could use the Google account I have for that. May aactually be able to remember the password.
Pay Pal is still beyond me. so I've written a check. Though remembering how much I spent on those clue line calls - during the dark winter months - I think the check should have been for more.
My husband has an unexplained aversion to crossword puzzles so will not do them with me; growls if I ask for help with some British reference I think he will know. But he has enjoyed all the jokes and comments from your blog that I've shared with him.

Sharon 10:03 PM  

Having seen my post I'm embarrassed at
1. How long it is.
2. How long it is.
3. All the typos.
Was looking for a button to remove it . No success.

fikink 11:14 PM  


VaBeach puzzler 11:35 PM  

This puzzle was OK but it didn't hold a candle to the Electon Day 1996 NYT puzzle, where the clue "Lead story in tomorrow's newspaper (!), with 43A" could have been filled in as "Clinton" or "Bob Dole." (43A was "elected" -- above and below were the answers "prognostication" and "mister president." The down clues for Clinton/BobDole were interchangeable.) Now that was a BRILLIANT puzzle. Constructor was Jeremiah Farrell.

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