SUNDAY, Dec. 21, 2008 - Elizabeth Gorski (Bug-B-Gon maker / Towers' attachments / Book in which destruction of Samaria is foreseen)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Laughing All the Way" - A Christmas-themed puzzle with a 21-HO rebus right down the middle (10D: Greeting from 74-Down) [74D = JOLLY ST. NICK]


A lovely and easy holiday puzzle, with a nice wink to crossword fans at 2D: 2008 documentary about the national debt ("I.O.U.S.A."). That documentary was directed by the same guy who made Wordplay, namely Patrick Creadon. I'm pretty sure Patrick made that movie with the sole intention of creating a crossword answer that would endure forever. At 80% vowels, I expect to see IOUSA in the puzzle again. And again. But back to the theme - damn, that's a lot of HOs. A 21-HO salute. This is an interesting variation on the "SPIDER-MAN" theme we saw a while back (in a puzzle also created by Elizabeth Gorski), where the the same letter ("I") drove right down the center of the puzzle, in that case representing the strand of web at the bottom of which dangled the SPIDER. Here it's a bunch of HOs, which I see as representative of JOLLY ST NICK HO-HOing all the way down the chimney - the 21-foot chimney. The HOs made the whole middle of the puzzle very easy. I forget how I tumbled to the theme - probably IDA(HO) (21A: Potato source). You have no idea how hard it is not to make HO jokes. I mean, I've got "easy" and, I don't know, "tumbled" in there, and yet not one obvious reference to prostitution. I'm proud of myself. I like the assortment of theme answers here, with "SANTA BABY" being the cherry on the sundae. I also like that there are a number of non-theme answers that yet feel related to the theme, e.g. RIP (13D: Open indelicately), BUNDLES UP (50A: Gets ready to go out in the cold), etc.

Theme answers:

  • 69A: Cry when a surprise guest arrives ("Look w[HO]'s here!")
  • 3D: December 25 answer to 69-Across (Kris Kringle)
  • 10D: Greeting from 74-Down ("HO HO HO" x 7)
  • 17D: Song whose subject is encouraged to "hurry down the chimney tonight" ("Santa Baby")



  • 74D: December 25 answer to 69-Across (Jolly St. Nick)
  • 84D: Father _____ (Christmas)

One downside to this puzzle - an almost obscene number of plurals, many of them ... words that are not found naturally in plural form, e.g. names like NYES (102A: TV's Science Guy and others) and SETONS (80A: Elizabeth Ann). Consider this random and incomplete assortment of other plurals:

AMARETTOS (127A: Fruitcake flavorings)
COHOS (64A: Pacific salmon) - that one actually hurts a little
HOBOS
COWS
SODAS
SNAKES (132A: Plumbers' drain openers)
SSRS
TOROS
DEPONENTS
ECHOES
RISERS, etc.

The king of all bad ones today, though, is APPLIERS (91D: Paintbrushes and such). Odd Job + plural = wince. But it's hard to get mad at a bunch of plurals, however terrible a few of them are, when the theme is so festive and cleverly expressed, and the overall feel of the fill is really quite smooth. The NW corner is good example of what I would call ordinary greatness. You wouldn't stop to admire much up there, but it's really an interesting, quirky little corner, with a lot of verve and life and energy. It's nice not to have the corners of the puzzle be treated as an afterthought - to able to fill them with some pleasure. Care for the corners = a mark of good constructing.

Kwik Kuts:
  • 23A: Like some chocolat (Suisse) - just perfect; I feel the same way about 16D: Mild chili designation (one-alarm)
  • 36A: N.F.L. coach with a perfect 17-0 record in 1972 (Shula) - gimme for sports fans, possibly agony for everyone else.
  • 53A: Book in which the destruction of Samaria is foreseen (HOsea) - haven't read it yet
  • 56A: Violent behavior in British slang (aggro) - learned from puzzles. It's a skateboarding term too, I understand
  • 59A: Oktoberfest souvenir (stein) - you get souvenirs?
  • 68A: "Hooked on Classics" record company (K-Tel) - ahh, childhood.



  • 77A: Having bristles (setal) - prickly. Not a commonly used adjective in the RP household.
  • 82A: With 83-Down, early learning aid (ABC / book) - ... ???
  • 116A: Bug-B-Gon maker (OrtHO) - oh man, we have many bugs we would like to B Gon at the moment. Fruit fly explosion of major proportions. And even with major clean-up and fruitlessness, we're still besieged. It's winter! Why aren't they dead!?
  • 129A: Throat soother (troche) - truly a new word to me
  • 130A: Boot camp pals (messmates) - to quote Rusty from National Lampoon's Vacation, "Is that made up? That sounds made up."
  • 1D: Banquo in Verdi's "Macbeth," e.g. (basso) - I might start trying opera soon. If it's Shakespeare, then at least I'll understand the basic story.
  • 7D: Basketry palm (nipa) - what?!! Where is my raffia? My osier?
  • 28D: Apollo's birthplace (Delos) - a holy sanctuary of the ancient Greek world. See if you can recognize what's represented by the statue atop this Delian pedestal. I'll give you a hint - the statue was erected ca. 300 BC.
  • 30D: Towers' attachments (repos) - should have included this among the bad plurals. Cute fake-out with the non-architectural "towers" here
  • 33D: Grape graspers (tendrils) - I ... guess. "Graspers?"
  • 42D: Country singer McCann (Lila) - never heard of her. I started playing this ...



... and thought, "I know that song." Sure enough ... Sheena!



  • 55D: "Burma Looks Ahead" author (U Nu) - Orwell? Is it Orwell? No, it's Captain Palindromicus!
  • 63D: Mass production figure? (altar boy) - sounds Marxist, but no. Catholic.
  • 75D: Anoint with sacred oil, old-style (anele) - now that's how we anointed back in the day!
  • 107D: Subject for Galileo (Saturn) - for NDE:



  • 109D: Leaves for a buffet? (cress) - again with the buffet?! And do buffets really have CRESS? CRESS sounds a tad fancy for any "buffet" I've ever been affiliated with.
  • 112D: Joe Jackson's "_____ Really Going Out With Him?" ("Is She") - this guy had a Huge influence on my musical tastes as a kid. I have his Live Album from 1986, which I played over and over and over in my young adulthood. It has three different versions of this song on it. Here's a recent live version:



  • 113D: Phoebe of "Gremlins" (Cates) - she was in that? Wow. You may remember her and her toplessness from "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." I know I do.
  • 115D: Single-named supermodel (Emme) - Captain Palindromicus has a pretty female sidekick. Awesome.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

60 comments:

Crosscan 10:06 PM  

Nice fun easy puzzle which I breezed through. Wouldn't a Santa who says HO-HO-HO 7 straight times be a little annoying? What do I know, I'm a Hannukah boy.

MESS MATES was used in Gilbert & Sullivan's "H.M.S. Pinafore" - "Mess mates, ahoy, come here, come here..."

I saw Gremlins several times in the theater (pre-video days). It had nothing to do with Phoebe Cates being in it. Nothing. I hardly noticed. I did not have a crush on her. Nope. Definitely not.
HO-HO-HO.

edith b 11:47 PM  

Thank you, Ms Gorski, for a lovely puzzle. I did three of her more visually-oriented puzzles via Jim Horne at Wordplay just recently so, as a breakin puzzle for me, this was a delight.

I tumbled to the rebus about 5 minutes in at HOSEA and NACHO and promptly filled in the HOs and stole a march on Ms. Gorski.(Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

I agree with Rex about the abundance of plurals but they didn't interfere with my enjoyment of this holiday confection.

To all those beautiful people who wrote to me privately - My husband is recovering nicely and even supplied 80 Across SETONS and, as is his wont (and proof that he is recovering), complained about the plural.

We thank you for your kindness.

chefwen 12:10 AM  

Easy fun puzzle, enjoyed every minute. Finally figured out how not to be anonymous (not really computer savvy) and would enjoy joining your unique group. Iv'e had a lot of fun these past few months reading and occasionally posting.

Alan 12:18 AM  

Anyone remember the Seinfeld episode where Krammer is a communist Santa Claus?

Noam D. Elkies 12:27 AM  

A fun and pleasantly seasonal Sunday puzzle -- thanks, Elizabeth G. and Will S.!

Took me somewhat longer than it should have to notice the theme because I had ECHOS for 34A:EC[HO]ES. I should have remembered the "laughing" clue in the title. Once those 21 HOs fell into place most of the middle of the puzzle fell with them. (Well, with the exception of 98A:BOATS[HO]E where I went through several other guesses for the type of shoe.) At any rate I liked the clue for 34A:EC[HO]ES, and also 104D:TANDEM, an unexpected referent of the clue's "it". [BTW "tandem" had an interesting route from its original Latin meaning to its present-day English usage.] Apropos of "falling" into place, I wondered why most of the key entries, including the sevenfold ho³ at 10D, are Down rather than the usual Across, but I agree that this looks like an intentional evocation of Santa "laughing all the way" down the chimney.

Apropos false trails, 114A:LETIN ("Admit") could just as easily be "let on" -- which it was for too long in my grid :-(

Few of the plurals that Rex noted felt at all questionable to me, let alone obscene -- certainly not 5D:RISERS, since a choir usually needs more than one. Didn't notice until reading the list that the grid contains both 58D:COWS and 110D:TOROS. Yes, 91D:APPLIERS is unfortunate, but it's doing so much -- sandwiched between a 6-letter and a thematic 9-letter answer, and crossing 103:SKIPTOWN and the 3x9 stack in the SW corner -- that I can hardly complain. (Apropos of that stack, 230A:MESSMATES is one word, as in "classmate", "roommate", etc.) 41A:SHAPABLE is also unfortunate but forgivable.

Rex -- a Shakespeare-based opera might not be such an ideal entree into the genre, because the composer usually has to compress and mess with the original so much that the plot may end up no less confusing. I don't know Verdi's Macbeth, but there's a local production of Otello on which I expect to do some rehearsal-piano work in the next few months, so I'll be able to report on that.

Meanwhile, yes, thanks for the second helping of The Planets; the Wikipage for the piece reports that this was Holst's own favorite movement of the suite.

NDE

SCOTUS Addict 12:36 AM  

Nu? It's the first night of Hannukah. A little recognition, is it so much to ask?

Favorite light bulb joke:

How many Jewish mothers does it take to screw in a light bulb?

"Never mind. I'll just sit in the dark."

PhillySolver 12:54 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
PhillySolver 12:56 AM  

I lived in Nottingham England for a few years and traveled to the real Sherwood Forest to visit the mightiest oak of all. Major Oak is said to have been a meeting place for Robin Hood, but alas as old as it is, it isn't old enough for that. Still, at over 300 feet across, it was one mighty oak tree.

Troche (trokey) isn't French, but Greek for little wheel. I have no idea how the word came to mean lozenge though. I wonder if those BIKERS wear lycro. Was AMC bailed out?

jae 12:58 AM  

Charming and delightful. A holiday treat. Very few missteps that didn't involve answers before getting the rebus. I was stuck in ARUT briefly, have been to memorable BASHES where I did not meet the famous model ELLE. I also tried to SLIPTOWN. Other than that easy and fun! I also liked NW with its passel of esses. Stuff I'd never seen before includes NIPA, TROCHE, AGGRO, UNU, and SETAL.

Doug 2:27 AM  

Thanks for recalling EG's Spiderman puzzle and linking it to this--Both are delightful and different.

Last time I heard the word DEPONENT, Pres. Clinton was explaining how a lip-related act performed on the DEPPONENT (i.e. him) was not really sex, therefore his statement "I did not have sex with that woman" was true.

50A. BUNDLES UP was true today at Whistler with -25C temps at the top. Ouch!

Are ORES really "buried" since they weren't ever uncovered? Thought RIP was a subpar clue. ETTA James is playing here in Vancouver in January. Don't understand Towers'<-->REPOS. Have you seen Bowser from SHA Na Na on TV pushing 50s CDs? SWATHE is appropos for the season. ANELE?

Nice, topical puzzle, and very enjoyable to solve.

Rex Parker 7:10 AM  

NDE:

I said the *number* of plurals was obscene. Many of those plurals are completely legitimate answers, but there were a LOT of them. My list was arbitrary and very incomplete.

rp

Gnarbles 7:22 AM  

It took me forever to get Puget, as I was stuck on the Seattle music scene and was trying to turn Punk and Grunge into the desired answer. I grew up there and should have known better.

Merry Christmas all.

ArtLvr 7:39 AM  

@ doug -- Towers are tow trucks here, long O! I was trying to think of judges who'd wear robes...

Also love SWATHE with BUNDLES UP and MOHAIR, since we're into another snowstorm in upstate NY, with low temps to boot. BOAT SHOE made me think of boots too..

I was starting from the bottom right, with "roof" for St. Nick's landing spot, but HOBOS and HOARY soon gave the HOUSE away, & HO HO HO.

Note: we have COHOS stocked in the Great Lakes, so that plural is a natural one to me, not forced. And I'm getting fond of fruitcakes in my old age, flavored with AMARETTOS or whatever adds a glow! Many thanks to Ms. Gorski for a super Yule puzzle, and Happy Hannukah with HORAS to all as well.

∑;)

JannieB 8:04 AM  

I was simply in awe of the puzzle's construction. Able to forgive most everything but appliers. I didn't catch onto the theme until Mubarak - I usually solve by filling in everything I'm sure of, and when that just wouldn't fit, I figured out there must be a rebus, re-read the title, and there it was.

I'm heading north for a week with family - happy holidays all!

SethG 9:28 AM  

The HOs made the whole middle of the puzzle very...hard, not easy, for me.

I finished everything that wasn't part of the central words well before I got anything that was. I think my big slow-down was 69A...I knew where they were going with that, and filled in KRIS K., for example, with just one cross, but I couldn't work out the 69A phrasing for the life of me. I originally wanted WHO CAN THAT BE?, and I had a lot of trouble giving up the WHO.

And there were surely signs--couldn't see why BOAT SHOE, IDAHO, HORAS, HOSEA, MUCHO, SHORE, HOSNI wouldn't fit, and I just had no idea what the middle was. I even tried HO HO HO MERRY CHRISTMAS, but not with the rebus and that's way too short.

Ugh. Finally worked out LOOK WHO's HERE, vehemently slapped my forehead, put in a column of HOs, and I was done.

Wow, sorry, went on too long. My only other comment is the BI of 1A was tough, and Happy Hanukkah, everyone. Hey, I wonder if the Jewish News is gonna have a Chanukah themed puzzle where every theme phrase just uses a different spelling of Chanuka...?

PhillySolver 9:47 AM  

Seth g
Its time for the annual song fest in honor of the Festival of Lights... Chaunkah

bill from fl 10:01 AM  

One quibble: DEPONENTS do not give written testimony--they give oral testimony that's recorded (e.g., by a stenographer or videotape) and transcribed.

bill from fl 10:01 AM  

One quibble: DEPONENTS do not give written testimony--they give oral testimony that's recorded (e.g., by a stenographer or videotape) and transcribed.

JoefromMtVernon 10:46 AM  

What a delightful puzzle. Much better than yesterday's googlefest.

So, will tomorrow's puzzle follow Saturday's Louis and Today's Bill with Former Cubs Pitcher Rich?

physsciteacher 10:52 AM  

Great to see Bill NYE in the puzzle. My students love his science videos. He works hard to be scientifically accurate AND entertaining - would love his job - if only I was funny!

Would like to add my compliments to great puzzle construction - enjoyed it immensely until I tripped up in the Southeast. Wanted IMAN (David Bowie's wife) for the one-name supermodel and thought Regis was a TV HOST instead of CO HOST. This led to TRESS on the buffet table - not very sanitary!

joho 10:53 AM  

Thank you Elizabeth Gorski for helping lift me out of my holiday funk.

I got the HO at HOSEA and gleefully filled in BOATSHOE, which I wanted in the first place, then HO HO HOed from there.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah everybody!

JoHO HO HO

chefbea 11:06 AM  

What a fun easy holiday puzzle. No googling just had to look up a couple of things in the dictionary.

Happy hanuka to all - get those latkes cooking.

Ulrich 11:09 AM  

I join those who salute the constructor--think of it: For every word crossing the middle with HO in the nth position from the front, there must be a word in the symmetrical position, of the same length, with HO in the nth position from the back. Furthermore, she needed a phrase with an even no. of letters and HO smack in the center for 69A. As I was going down the middle, I was keenly aware of this and enjoying myself observing EG at work.

I had more problems than others, it seems, with the outlying areas, due to my own pig-headedness, but so be it...looking into the falling snow and wondering how we will get to a wedding reception at noon.

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

Happy Chanukah everyone!

C zar 11:28 AM  

Yay for Joe Jackson! I remember seeing him at Fairfield University in the early 80's. Crowd didn't really go for stuff like the a cappella "Is She Really Going Out With Him," they wanted rock and roll, but we loved it.

Greene 11:40 AM  

I too enjoyed this puzzle very much. I got the rebus and the theme answers very quickly, which is unusual for me as I'm often slow to pick up on rebus puzzles. Like Rex and others, I was immediately reminded of the recent Spiderman puzzle by Ms. Gorski which was also quite delightful. I kept hoping there wound be a Santa at the bottom of the chimney of HO HO HOs, but no such luck.

What held me up today was some of the fill. Good fill + my slow brain = slow solving time. Who would think 52D PUCK would take me so long? I even had the P and the K. I think the word "One" makes me think of a person and not an inanimate object. Even 63D ALTARBOY gave me fits, and I was one once. MOHAIR and AMCS were also slow to come. But I stuck it out and got the whole thing done.

@NDE: I agree with you that just about any composer's Shakespearean opera adaption might be a difficult point of entry for an opera tyro. I'd still recommend my first opera, Puccini's La Boheme. I remember being dragged to see this when I was a young man, and while I didn't quite understand everything that was happening, I remember being completely riveted. Film director Baz Luhrmann (Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge!) brought a visually stunning version of La Boheme to Broadway in 2003 which was cast entirely with young, sexy, beautiful singers (unlike anything you'd see in an opera house). I can't think of a better introduction to the world of opera than that production. I wonder if it was filmed?

@ACME (late entry): THE FRUG sequence gay? Really? From Fosse, the most refreshingly heterosexual of all choreographers? Stylized? Sure. Goulish? Absolutely. Reeking of the 1960s? And how. But gay? I don't see it. I'll wager you that Fosse probably bedded every female dancer in that sequence, including Shirley MacLaine.

Ulrich 12:05 PM  

Re. opera plots: That should not be a worry for anyone trying to get into opera: Any decent recording now comes with the libretto in the original language and translation. On my first way through, I always do this with the text in hand. In a live performance, you get the translation displayed--at the Met, it's at the back of the seat in front of you, so you don't get distracted by looking up all the time. So, plot understanding is not an issue anymore IMHO.

Campesite 12:18 PM  

A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle, cool, timely theme rebus and very little crosswordese. Chili ONE ALARM is okay, but three alarm is how I like it.

Question: does anyone know the shortcut to insert multiple letters in AcrossLite on a MAC?

Mark

PlantieBea 12:32 PM  

Fun puzzle for me! It didn't take long to find the hohoho theme, and it was smooth sailing until the square with crossed answers ABC BOOK and APPLIERS.

New word: Troche

I have not seen I.O.U.S.A. and will have to check it out.

Loved the thought of Chocolat SUISSE--some of the best!

Thanks for the KTEL link. I haven't thought about it since the pre-cable days when the ads constantly blasted out of one of the three networks during evening ad periods.

Ladel 1:18 PM  

Horrors, could that erected Delian statue be a bris gone terribly wrong? First candle tonite, happy holidays to all.

Vega 1:46 PM  

Happy Chanukah!

This was a cute, pretty easy puzzle. I'd also love to know how to copy and paste multiple letters on AcrossLite on a Mac. It was pretty dang frustrating typing in "HO" 21 times.

Thank you for Sheena, Rex. Though every time she says "I've almost shook these blues," I want to scream, "shaken!"

HOARY is an unfortunate word.

U NU. Man, I thought I had a cool name, but I want to trade it in for his.

-Vega

Jet City Gambler 1:52 PM  

@ Campesite--
Be sure you have ver 2.0 of Across Lite, then you can enter multiple letters with Insert on a PC or Esc on a Mac.

Across Lite FAQ: http://www.nytimes.com/membercenter/faq/acrosslite.html#acrosslqa11

jeff in chicago 1:54 PM  

I hang my head in shame. It took SO long to discover the rebus. Like Greene, I just don't "see" them for some reason. I did the ECHOS thing, but I know who HOSNI is, and BOATSHOE was screaming at me. IDAHO went through my mind. NACHO and MACHO should have been super easy. But no, I could not see it. Embarassing. COHOST was when the light finally came on. The East and West Coasts, from top to bottom, were full. The Mississippi full run? Empty boxes. Sheesh.

Still, loved the puzzle. KRISKRINGLE and JOLLYSTNICK. Lovely. SANTABABY = Fantastic. Also liked SORELOSER, KTEL, SKIPTOWN...and OLDMAN for "Pops"!! I've owned two CELICAs and I prefer my chili FIVEALARM.

Stay warm, everyone. 4 below in Chicago right now. Brrrrrrrr

Noam D. Elkies 2:35 PM  

@Greene: If you want your opera singers young and beautiful/sexy, get thee to a conservatory -- most of the voices are not yet big enough to fill a major opera house, but in a more intimate space they can still be powerful and sensitive enough to convey the musical and theatrical drama.

For that matter, the Otello production I mentioned (this year's Lowell House Opera at Harvard), though not in a conservatory, will probably have many local voice students in the lead roles, some of whom might also pass your "beautiful" or "sexy" tests. Yes, we've done Bohème several times over the years; once I had a small role (Alcindoro, the sugar daddy who gets stuck with everybody's bill at the end of Act II) and at thirtysomething was probably older than all of the principals.

About the puzzle: I wonder by what margin the number of plurals in this grid really exceeds the average count. I also recall that years ago some plurals were cast as possessives (102A:NYES might be "belonging to TV's Science Guy"); for some reason this device seems to have disappeared. For 82A/83D I quickly got "ABC B..." but wanted BLOCKS for 83D, and when that wouldn't fit I thought it might be BLOX until the K from 103A:SKIPTOWN forced my hand.

NDE

obertb 3:05 PM  

No one's going to comment on Rex's ERECTED Delian statuary? Doesn't bother me--I'm from Nebraska--but doesn't it fail the Breakfast Test for those with Grey Lady sensibilities?

And the puzzle, oh yes, the puzzle; took me just under an hour, no googling. Would have finished much sooner had I seen the ho hos. I knew that Murbarak was Hosni and the bug killer was Ortho, but just couldn't make the leap to the hos. Once I saw that, it went down quickly.

Ladel 3:09 PM  

@obertb

See Ladel said @ 1:18 Ho, Ho, Ho.

Jeremy 3:23 PM  

Whoa, this puzzle must be a record breaker! I never saw so many conjoined rebus squares connected from top to bottom. Very cool vertical "laugh track" . . . Happy Ho-lidays to all

Noam D. Elkies 3:31 PM  

...and if it's OK to post that Delian photo then it must also be OK to point out that "*r*it*a*e(s)" is the only English word to have those letters in order but not consecutive...

NDE

fikink 3:47 PM  

A giddy ride with HOsni spilling the beans about the theme and my favorite "farmercist" elucidating TROCHE.

Warm seasonal sentiments, Everyone.

Anonymous 3:59 PM  

I thought CSPOT seemed a bit off. Five-spot, yes; c-note, yes; c-spot??? In fact, Urban Dictionary has an interesting entry for C Spot that I am sure was not the author's intention...

But on the whole, a very enjoyable puzzle.

jeff in chicago 4:02 PM  

arbitrage?
arbitrate?
fruitcake?

Doug P 5:06 PM  

Wow, the K-Tel clip brought back memories! Yep, I owned that "Starflight" album when I was a kid. As soon as I saw the album cover, it all came back to me. I think my sister and I played it until the grooves wore out.

Fun puzzle today. Like Santa, Ms. Gorski always delivers the goods.

Campesite 5:13 PM  

@ Jet City Gambler: thanks for the ESC tip for MAC.
-- Mark

jeff in chicago 5:16 PM  

@noam: as I was preparing to leave for a party, it came to me that i had misinterpreted your word game. you are correct, sir!

Greene 5:42 PM  

@NDE: Point taken. I don't want all my opera singers to be young, beautiful, and sexy -- just the ones playing young, beautiful, sexy characters. I'm kidding, I'm kidding, but I gotta say the cast of the Broadway production of La Boheme seemed just right for the proceedings at hand and quite unlike any other cast I've ever seen in those roles. This opera does celebrate, after all, youthful passion. On the downside, the voices were not Met quality (I think there was some miking involved) and the orchestra was rather skimpy in the string department. Still on the whole, the effect was ravishing.

@Ulrich: I agree with your points on following the plot in contemporary presentations of opera. Remember the days before supratitles? My point had less to do with an opera-goer being able to follow the plot and more to do with how the Shakespeare plots have been adapted for the opera medium. For someone well grounded in Shakespeare and unfamiliar with the dramatic liberties necessary for musicalization, the effect might be unsettling. Ergo, my La Boheme recommendation. But I'm really out of my element. I'm a musicals guy and fortunately the Broadway musical stage has mostly left Shakespeare's tragedies alone -- except for Rockabye Hamlet, about which the less said, the better.

Noam D. Elkies 6:01 PM  

@Greene: yes, Alcindoro should be one of the least young or beautiful people on the Bohème stage. As for "sexy", I'll blame any shortcoming in that department on the costume etc. :-)

But never mind Rockabye Hamlet -- how could you forget the Romeo and Juliet paraphrase in West Side Story?

NDE

Michael 7:12 PM  

It took me too long to get the theme. I kept wondering why Hosni didn't fit. I also noticed that (unusually) I had the whole puzzle done except for Minnesota-Louisiana (not geographically quite accurate, I know). Then I had my aha moment -- or perhaps better to say my oho moment.

Greene 7:18 PM  

@NDE: Yes, of course, I thought of West Side Story just as soon as I hit enter. Foolish omission. Before anyone else comes after me, The Boys From Syracuse and Kiss Me, Kate were based on Shakespeare comedies.

I guess there are others: Return to the Forbidden Planet is loosely based on The Tempest and Two Gentlemen of Verona was quite a hit in 1972 (from the creators of Hair). Some people say The Lion King is a retelling of Hamlet (Simba is Hamlet, Scar is Claudius, etc.). Twelfth Night has been done at least twice as Music Is and Play On. Oh, and I forgot that was a ghastly attempt at a sort of gangland Macbeth called Jack to a King. And that is quite enough.

@Fikink: Good to hear from you! I guess, like Coward, I have a talent to a-muse you.

Three and out.

Ulrich 7:28 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ulrich 7:29 PM  

@greene: My comment about plot was more in response to Rex's worries, not yours. But since it has come up: It's not always a good thing to be able to follow the plot of an opera b/c it often makes little sense (speaking of La Boheme: I always found the death of Mimi from consumption totally arbitrary--the opera, to me, is a series of independent acts held together by nothing resembling a plot--but I digress). What I want to do is point out a few operas whose plot holds together well, on top of ravishing music, by way of recommendation for people who may want to get a piece of the action: Tosca, Lucia di Lammermoor, and, my favorite, Salome (for the not-faint-hearted).

3 and out

dk 8:11 PM  

Opera Opera, let us get back to the broken erect statue thing.

@ladel, your comment reminded me of an old SNL sketch that was a parody of a Ford commercial.. The rite of an LTD was so smooth you could perform the bris in the back seat.

Ms. Gorski, great puzzle. BUNDLESUP worked for those of us in Frostbite Falls today. TROCHE is my new word. And I wanted oneway for AORTIC for a while.

@ulrich, Tosca and Salome are two of my favorites for story lines that are equal to the music.

ps. SANTABABY is on the radio here like every second play.

And at a local Applebees the sign was broken reading Neighbor HO bar and grill.

kreiz1 8:34 PM  

Love the Joe Jackson cut- thanks, man.

Phoebe Cates is married to Kevin Kline. As Rod Stewart sang, some guys have all the luck.

fikink 8:38 PM  

@dk, you would appreciate the idea that early male Egyptians used to refer to their hand as their wife.

@greene, muses are, indeed, difficult to come by!

@NDE and was My Fair Lady merely a paraphrasing of the Greeks via Shaw?

mac 10:53 PM  

After about 30 minutes, I had just about everything filled in except for the middle, North to South, which didn't break until Hosea... Then in fell in one fell swoop!

Learned a few new words today, troche and nipa. I also had a tress on the buffet table, alas. Sore loser was nice, just found out from the Vanity Fair that Katie Couric thinks her worst trait is that she is a sore loser and an obnoxious winner. Sorry for the silly trivia, but I'm hanging around a hospital reading anything I can get my hands on.

I think it should have been C-note, the other is something different altogether.

Anyway, it was festive and enjoyable, as soon as you got the joke.

Joe in MTL 11:35 AM  

I thought SUISSE and TOROS were a bit unfair as there was no linguistic indication given - we could have had at least "chocolat" (if not "CHocolate" which might be a bit too cryptic). And SETONS seems a bit off since her maiden name was Bayley: perhaps "William and Elizabeth Ann".

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

Simple and cheap fruit fly genocide:

1) Procure one ramekin or other very small dish.
2) Fill about two-thirds full of apple cider (or other fruit-flavored) vinegar.
3) Add a couple drops of dishwashing liquid to break surface tension.
4) Leave where the fruit flies are.

The fruit flies will drown themselves with ridiculous speed. Empty and refill ramekin when clogged with flies or when the vinegar smell subsides. Within a few days, no more fruit flies.

Anonymous 11:32 PM  

108A 'SLAYS' (sleighs) sounds like part of the Santa theme.

Anonymous 2:21 AM  

Get this puzzle late in middle Georgia.
Getting familiar with Ms. Gorski, bless
her heart. As The Who sang, I won't get
fooled again! Fun after the smoke cleared
(from my ears).

Rphan 2:28 AM  

Fun all around! Tower made my head spin.
No fear, Ms. Gorski.

Irfan 12:19 PM  

troche... i prescribe Mycelex Troches for fungal infections in the mouth!

I knew dental pharmacology would finally come in handy.

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