TUESDAY Dec. 30 - Doug Peterson (Tolkien brutes / Tony winner Lenya / Sicilian hot spot / Big name in grills / Marathon handout)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hi! Andrea Carla Michaels here again. I know. I know. It's a long story. Suffice to say the heroine once again is PuzzleGirl, by day a mild-mannered mom, editrix-extraordinaire, non-ironic mud-wrestler ... and when you need her, answers the Orange bat-phone, tears off her pantyhose, lets out the invisible dog and becomes Angel-A!

Need a sub-blogger? Who ya gonna call? Angel-A! Stuck at the airport? Need a warm meal? Who ya gonna call? Angel-A! Playmate for your daughter? Clue-solver for your repetitious Harry Potter clues? Who ya gonna call? Angel-A!

Virginia is for Lovers. What happens in VA ... stays in VA. That's all I'm gonna say. So, I'll leave all that to your fervid imaginations. Suffice to say, Rex et famille are safely tucked into Carmel, Angel-A's work is all but done (except, of course, for making my ramblings coherent, complete with videos) and you're stuck with me again. ☺ Thank you, Angel-A!

Today's puzzle is talkin' about my g-g-g-g-g-generation.



That's because Doug Peterson's puzzle has Senior, Junior, and The Third culminating in a highbrow reference to Turgenev's Fathers and Sons ... which I assure you is much funnier in the original Russian! (Shout out to MiriamB, where have you gone?!)

Theme Answers:
  • 20A: Incentive aimed at golden agers (senior discount)
  • 31A: Chocolate-coated candy (Junior Mints)
  • 40A: 1949 Orson Welles film ("The Third Man")
  • 52A: Ivan Turgenev novel ... and a hint to 20-, 31, and 40- Across (Fathers and Sons)
I admit I found this puzzle sort of difficult and sophisticated and by no means NONSLIP (48A: Designed to increase traction).

I began by not getting any of the first ten or so Acrosses, (other than 14A: Actress Petty (Lori)), who seemed to disappear after "Tank Girl."


Altho today she reappears atop of ALEX Rodriguez, so maybe that's where she is, now that things have cooled off between him and Madge. (Those with subscriptions to the New York Times and not People may have no idea what I've just said, but what are you gonna do about it? Who ya gonna call? Tank Girl? NO! Haven't you been paying ANY attention??!! You're gonna call Angel-A!)

I'm so used to having him referred to as A-ROD, that when confronted by his real name, I was momentarily stunned into silence. Not an easy trick for any of you who know me.

Another over/under combo that was nice was ON ICE (60A: In readiness) over WATER (63A: Marathon handout) ... tho not nearly as exciting as LORI atop ALEX!

Plus, I started to "pencil in" with my papermate pen Early Bird Special for 20A: Incentive aimed at golden agers till I ran out of letters … now that's a theme dying to happen.

I thought I got some traction when I confidently wrote in cinchpin for 26A: Key Element, but 26D: Most of Santa's mail looked bad later as cists. That should have been a tip-off, but I rationalized maybe it's only one perverse, sick, illiterate TYKE (10A: Youngster) that writes to him … I don't know from Christmas LISTS. Don't ask me, I'm Jewish, as I write this on the 9th day of Chanukah! (I actually invited my neighbors in to light the candles last night and to teach them how to play dreidl, only to not realize till this very second that I thought it was only the 7th night. But I count this as a Chanukah puzzle, what with BIBI (7D) clued as Nickname of Israel's Netanyahu when Doug Swedish-sounding Peterson could have easily gone with the Bergman Actress/Shiksah Bibi Andersson.) (Shiksah? I so don't use that word, it's not good in Scrabble, I don't even know how to spell it and I am not going to look it up!)

Which of course brings me to my fave answer of the puzzle: 44A: Easy dupes (schnooks)!!!!!!!! SCHNOOKS in the New York Times crossword puzzle! I had the SCH- in place and at first thought SCHEMERS? That makes no sense. But Doug Swedish-sounding Peterson has SCHNOOKS? What next? SCHMUCKS? SCHLMIELS? SCHMEGEGGIES? (That last one's for you Bill from New Jersey!) And crossing NOSH (33D: Light snack) no less!

NOSH/TOSH. PALM/PSALM. No comment, just fun to say. I was a bit suspect of ELS crossing RAIL. But I loved the energy of 1D: Reduce drastically, as prices (slash).


I'm sure, as there was inexplicably no "Simpsons" clue today, there will be lots of discussion about the Seinfeld JUNIOR MINTS episode, so I (and when I say I, I mean Angel-A) might as well provide a link to that. [Note from PuzzleGirl: Sorry. None of the clips I found were very good, so I'll just include a still photo.]

Seriously, after SCHNOOKS, I'm SCHNOCKERED and don't know what else to say. I've never heard of HOME ROW (41D: Where touch typists begin) and I do have a HYANNIS story (23A: Massachusetts tourist spot), which I'll save for if Caroline actually becomes Senator.

She was a college classmate of mine. I once spent a weekend back in 1977 with her family in Hyannisport (and have the scar to prove it!). She is now potentially the next Junior Senator from the Great State of New York, and I'm blogging for Rex Parker, having been stood up for dinner. And you know what? I may have made the better life decisions! Not.

Ah, life decisions, college, choices, and long journeys … I had forgotten (or maybe never knew) that ODYSSEUS (which along with Turgenev is classy to have in a puzzle), designed the Trojan Horse (38D). Although, back in the day, when I was a stand-up comic (when I could have run for the senate! Damn it!) a reference to the Trojan Horse was one of my signature UN-PC (32D: Potentially offensive) jokes:

"Why would they call rubbers "Trojans"? I mean the whole idea of the Trojan Horse was to sneak inside the walls of Troy.... Once inside, everyone jumped out and attacked!!!! Doesn't make me feel real safe…" Ba-da-bum. Thank you folks! I'll be here all week! (Only kidding. Rex will be back tomorrow. Promise!)

60 comments:

Orange 1:18 AM  

Good sperm joke, Andrea! Will should hire you to be ACPT entertainment.

Fervid is a great word. Like the amped-up perfervid, torrid, torpid, turgid, gravid, stupid, rigid, horrid, frigid, limpid, splendid. It's all about the id.

Doug 1:29 AM  

"SHIKSA" or as George described the attraction of Jewish men to gentile Elaine on Seinfeld "She has shiksappeal."

I like the writeups! Send RP off to Napa for a late return tomorrow and do another, please.

Thought it was on the challenging side for a Tuesday. SLASH not clued as 'Chinese Democracy guitarist?' TOSH as Britslang? I know TOSS as you "You TOSSer" but not TOSH. Dictionary.com says it's a combo of TRASH and BOSH. Wonderful, need to look up BOSH. Ah, from the Turkish "bos" meaning "empty. How the heck do linguists figure out languages from thousands of years ago when you can see ours evolve so crazily every 100 years?

Catherine K 1:57 AM  

My grandma always used to say, "Oh, pish tosh!", meaning I assume, "Oh, nonsense!"

@acme: hilarious write-up! I was having a NOSH whilst reading your TOSH. Is that actually you with Woody in that photo? And you rubbed elbows with the Kennedys? (Is that where your scar is?)

I actually had SCHMUCKS instead of SCHNOOKS for awhile. I always thought "schnooks" was a kind of rough term of endearment, like "toots". Maybe I'm thinking of "snookums".

I now qualify for the 20% discount on Seniors' Days at Shoppers' Drug Mart, because I just turned 55. I don't look my age, so I am once again being "carded"!

Only one sports-related clue today! AOK! And, knowing all about A-Rod and Her Madgesty, it was a gimme.

As a whole, the puzzle seemed medium-difficult for a Tuesday. But it was a lot of fun. Thanks, Mr. Peterson!

Rex Parker 2:04 AM  

Sorry Doug, but you got me 'til Saturday, when PG covers for me one last time.

I know it's going to be a good day when the very first comment of the day is "Good sperm joke!" Welcome back to land, Orange.

This puzzle was OK. I do love Junior Mints.

HOME ROW, HYANNIS, and SCHNOOKS were the big highlights for me.

We are safely in Carmel. Just put daughter and her four cousins to bed. Time to rest and finish reading my Krappy airport novel about faeries (don't ask; or do - I just won't answer).

RP

chefwen 2:20 AM  

Slid right through the puzzle; not as fast as a typical Tuesday but fun. Got a little hung up on schnooks which was odd as my Jewish Grandma called me that many times (she had a little mean streak in her)but I loved her anyway.

easylob 2:42 AM  

Very nice puzzle. Ideal difficulty level for a newbie like me. Didn't know Lori, Bibi, nosh or tosh, and mixed up y and i in tike and lynchpin.

@ acme
Love your writing, but the clips are a little "noisy" for one of "my generation!"

acme 3:13 AM  

@easy lob
Yeah, me too...sorry. Couldn't resist Slash tho, he is HOT!
(growls the cougar)

Now where did I put my ear plugs?
(like my reading glasses... the other day I couldn't find them, they were not only on top of my head, I had two pairs there!!! It got worse, one wasn't even mine!)

@Catherine K,
yes, that's me. Scar is on my knee where I slipped on the rocks during a midnight skinny dip...

@doug
THANK YOU! You totally make my day!
I can't hold a candle to what RP does on a DAILY basis!!!!!
But enough with the compliments or he'll never let me sub again! ;)

joho 7:27 AM  

@andrea carla michaels: sorry, can't stop with the kudos as your write up today surpassed yesterday's!

The words I loved today are ODYSSEUS, NONSLIP, HAYANNIS, LINCHPIN,HOMEROW (new to me) and most especially NITWIT crossing SCHNOOKS!

Thank you Doug Peterson for a delightful Tuesday puzzle!

Bill from NJ 7:48 AM  

Thanks, ACME, for the shoutout (I think).

SCHNOOK reminds of an old vaudeville joke - A SCHNOOK is a guy who buys a suit with two pairs of pants and burns a hole in the coat. Or is it a SCHLEMIEL, I forget.

I'm a junior and my son is a III and our collective first name was Harold. My mother, who is Jewish but my father was not, never cared for the tradition of "naming after", called me by the diminutive of my middle name William - Bill - so as not to have a big Harold and a little Harold in the house. My son is called Wilsey to distinguish him from both of us.

Long story for not much of a point but I've been waiting for a theme like this so I could tell this story so What the Hey.

I did think the Turgenov novel Fathers and Sons was a little much for a Tuesday as were the names Jack NANCE and BIBI.

But I do love The Third Man and all things Orson Welles so I can forgive Mr Peterson anything.

Greene 7:49 AM  

@ACME: Terrific write up today. IWGA.

I got off to a very slow start with this puzzle. Looked at the first 9 across clues and got nothing. Then threw down SENIOR DISCOUNT (I'm sure that says something unflattering about me)and the race was on. For some weird reason I wrote in THE TENTH MAN for 40A. Serves me right for doing the puzzle at 5 AM. I also learned that LINCHPIN is spelled with an I and not a Y. Seeing LINCHPIN spelled with a Y as in lynch is just creepy; and what the heck is an YNCH anyway? My solving skills are a complete SHAM. I do love me some JUNIOR MINTS though, a great NOSH.

Greene 8:03 AM  

Hey, Bill from NJ! Always glad to see you pop up.

@ACME: Where is MiriamB? And what happened to Foodie? Come out, come out wherever you are.

Doug 8:14 AM  

I really liked this puzzle a lot. Very challenging for me; took about a half hour. I actually stupidly put in AROD instead of ALEX (duh) so the northwest gave me fits until the end. I got SCHNOOKS only because I had the OOKS first. Knew HOME ROW from personal typing in high school -- probably the most valuable course a journalist can ever take. THE THIRD MAN, a Carol Reed masterpiece and one of my favorite movies of all time. I actually own the movie and the first U.S. Graham Greene edition of the book -- written after the movie version.

Hungry Mother 8:20 AM  

Enjoyed your writeup and doing the puzzle today. I'm old enough to know "home row" and "the third man", so I had no problems other than "unpc", which had me for a while.

Crosscan 8:22 AM  

Nothing much to say about the puzzle [YAWN] (and yet I still comment), but the [UNPC] blog was great [AOK]. Almost as good as a Rex (can I suck up or what?).

I guess Will was listening to the Simpsons avoiders as HOMER OW became HOME ROW.

Welcome to Tuesday, ODYSSEUS and HYANNIS.

Peter S. 9:12 AM  

Enjoyed this one, as it slowly started to make sense over the course of 15 minutes or so (a good time for me). Even so, I had some bad initial first guesses, which gummed things up for a bit:

TOUCH OF EVIL for THE THIRD MAN (Yeah, I know the year is wrong, but you know how it is when something just fits.)

CAPE COD for HYANNIS

DEAL for IDEA ["What's the big ___?"]

BATS for OWLS

SOON FOR ANON

Of course, there's nothing too surprising about any of these mistakes....other than the fact that I made them practically all at once, falling into each of the puzzle's traps.

How many initial errors do each of you make, on average, in your first go-through?

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

I make lots of errors, but probably because I solve by reading all the Across clues, then all the Down clues for gimmes, and then I work in the individual corners. When I read A and D clues at the same time I can eliminate most of those mistakes, like seeing that DEAL clashes with OLEO, for example.

This puzzle took me longer than usual, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I kept saying to myself "this is Tuesday, how can it NOT be CAPE COD?"

-sillygoose

Bob Kerfuffle 9:43 AM  

@Peter S. -I thought 60 A, In readiness, would have been better answered by ON TAP than the correct ON ICE, (or perhaps I should say I thought the answer should have been clued differently), but since I do the puzzle in ink on paper, I always check the crosses first. Sometimes there will be several letters of an incorrect guess which match the right answer, causing me to write-over when I realize my mistake. No write-overs today.

Bill from NJ 9:56 AM  

Right back at ya, Dr Greene. I enjoy your asides on the theatah - both legitimate and Broadway.

Keep it coming, sir.

mac 9:58 AM  

Fun puzzle, with just a little hold-up in Northern California, underneath schmucks, oh no, schnooks. Acme's write-up and the comments are a riot. When I get back from the Museum I'm reading the rest. This is going to be a very good day.

On ice over water is great, and it is greater still to have "round" right above it! Don't you think it's good to have rail and el's crossing?

acme 10:03 AM  

@Orange
May I just clarify? I twas not a sperm joke...It was a naming joke!

ArtLvr 10:11 AM  

I was back to dead-tree solving because of a bad computer connection -- much fun! My only pause was thinking "nonskid" in the SE for NONSLIP, but crosses of PSALM and LOTTE cleared that up pronto... And my son (not a Junior) awoke soon afterward to fix the electronics, thank goodness.

It was clever to have a family theme, but I was pleased to see the KILT over just an IDEA, as we avoided the real clan tartans among gifts this year! Some years it's too much of a RABID outbreak, other years a YAWN with every TYKE in a plaid robe or shirt. You know you're scraping bottom when someone can't resist Campbell Kids soup mugs! Talk about "naming jokes"...

∑;)

ArtLvr 10:18 AM  

@ Bill in NJ -- "Wilsey" sounds like a good choice for your III... Our surname brought on occasional taunts like "Pork and Beans"! Ugh.

twangster 10:37 AM  

Too bad they passed up the chance to get reggae great Peter TOSH in there.

Tony from Charm City 11:10 AM  

Things were going great until I had SCHMUCKS for 44-A which led to MISFIT for 45-D. I knew that the only person who would say "FASHERS AND SONS" is Goldmember, so I was able to rectify my mistake, but I cost myself a couple minutes of problems with the SW area.

Shamik 11:10 AM  

@acme: Great write-up. Had me laughing all the way!

@ArtLvr: I know you're talking plaid bathrobes, but it just jogged a bizarre memory from yesterday. We rode the new light rail system in Phoenix (it's free this week). Had no idea there was a store called Kiltmart! Big sign says you can also get bagpipes there. Their website is kiltmart.com and says they've been in Phoenix for 18 years. Who knew?

@BillinNJ: Bill always sounds better than Harold.

@Peter: ANON/SOON...always better to just put in the --ON and wait to see what fills. It's always a toss-up.

Had to call this a medium-challenging puzzle. Kept looking for a school theme until I saw THETHIRDMAN. Didn't know why they'd go from senior year to junior year to third grade. Sheesh. What a SCHNOOK!

Other mis-steps:
RUSE for SHAM
LANCE for NANCE

Jwerth 11:22 AM  

This one actually went by quickly for me, more like a Monday puzzle. The only trouble I had was sticking the wrong vowel in front of ERG (a misspelling), which gave me a slight deviation from RED CENT that will definitely never appear in the NYT.

INCH crossed with LINCHPIN bothered me a bit, but any puzzle with LOKI, ODYSSEUS, and PSALM has enough mythical resonance to make me happy.

@Hungry Mother--funny that you say you're "old enough" to get HOME ROW. I figured that was a gimme for me because I'm young enough to have sat through endless sessions of Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing in computer class.

@acme--you and Caroline Kennedy may be in different places these days, but if I had to guess I'd say you probably started off in rather different places as well. We can't all be Kennedys!

Swedish-sounding Doug 11:23 AM  

I agree with Orange. Andrea would bring the house down at the ACPT. Sign her up, Will!

JUNIOR MINTS was the "seed" for this theme idea. Any entry that evokes a classic "Seinfeld" episode is guaranteed to be a winner.

PhillySolver 11:59 AM  

The puzzle was a notch harder than usual, but the write up was top form. It is indeed nice to have a post from Bill from NJ. I think Foodie posted a few weeks ago about some difficulties. Wade is also AWOL. Actually, I think everyone should post good wishes tomorrow whatever the puzzle brings. 200 posts would be about right.

fikink 11:59 AM  

@Jwerth, you are correct - that will NEVER be in the NYT if proofreaders are on their toes!

I tried so hard to squeeze SCHLEMIEL into the puzzle, but I didn't know how to spell it. Thanks acme and Bill!

The afore-mentioned Professor Dreyfus made us purchase The Third Man for his existentialism course...for which films Criterion.com is a good source, if anyone is interested.

Not your run-of-the-mill Tuesday puzzle to match your entertaining commentary, Andrea!

jeff in chicago 12:23 PM  

@acme: Just a "naming" joke? I don't think so. Sperm jokes. Hanging out with WOODY! Skinny-dipping with the Kennedys?!? Stunned into silence by AROD???? A girl could get an UNPC reputation this way! Excellent write-up. Always fun when you sub.

Enjoyed this puzzle. A nearly perfect Tuesday, IMO. Had BEBE for BIBI for a second. Finally got LINCH right on the first try. Actually put in ASDFJKL for HOMEROW. That didn't last long.

@crosscan: HOMER OW...funny!

JannieB 12:26 PM  

Loved this puzzle. Maybe in the new year Will is planning to up the difficulty level a tad. Wouldn't bother me a bit.

ACME - you are hot this week. Really - you've got to find a way to have some fun in your life. You worry me!

Two Ponies 12:38 PM  

@ Swedish-sounding Doug - Thanks for the insight. Aren't you glad someone else thought of the Seinfeld episode? Also thanks for a great Tuesday puzzle. Good solid fill with Red Cent a stand-out. Also enjoy seeing my name in 14A as people usually try to spell it many ways except the short simple version.
As for some of our AWOL members I think Wade is in Scotland.

edith b 12:42 PM  

I always like to look for the word or phrase that the puzzle was built around - some are more obvious than others and it is not always possible to confirm the accuracy of my choice.

I suspected this puzzle was built around JUNIORMINTS and am pleased that the constructor confirmed it.

There was a lot of fresh fill SCHNOOKS LOKI HYANNIS that seemed a little more Wednesday or Thursday than Tuesday and I liked the theme.

Nice to hear one of Bill from NJ's little vignettes again and I agree with PhillySolver about everybody posting good wishes tomorrow - that is a super idea!!

ArtLvr 12:51 PM  

Thanks, Shamik, for the Kiltmart tip -- but one player of bagpipes in the family is plenty! The last wedding featured live highland skirlers in full parade dress rather than pipes of an organ...

treedweller 1:46 PM  

Once I saw SENIOR and JUNIOR, I tried mightily to think of an old movie with "sophomore" or "freshman" in the title. The Matthew Broderick one came to mind, but of course Welles was nowhere near that. I skipped down and finished the puzzle by changing "bosh" to TOSH and realization dawned.

All in all, a fun puzzle, though I could have done without UNPC. Surely that should be "non". Tehee.

treedweller 1:48 PM  

That is to say, I skipped THETHIRDMAN, went to the bottom of the puzzle, finished everything else, then came back to correct my mistake.

Sorry I didn't proofread.

Doc John 1:55 PM  

Great write up, Andrea!

I found this somewhat hard for a Tuesday. Of course, I was solving it on my iPhone while waiting for our niece's plane at the airport so that may have had something to do with it.

Ah, the JUNIOR MINTS episode. Now how did I know that there'd be a reference to it in today's write-up and comments? ;)

TOSH- I recall the Maryann character (played by the wonderful and talented Christine Baranski) on "Cybill" saying "pish tosh" all the time. Still, a shout-out to Peter would have been more Tuesday-ish.

SCHNOOKS, NITWIT, and maybe even MEEK sort of summons up this. Starring the late, great Harvey Korman (who I once met on a train and found to be a really great guy).

How's this for an alternate 4D clue: [How to make a Bombay martini]- MIX IN GIN

Ulrich 2:00 PM  

Just coming dowm from the roof where I put a second coat of paint on things and fighting my acrophobia all the time, and what do I see? Everything I wanted to say has not only been said, but said repeatedly. So, for emphasis:

@acme: You're good!

@all lovers of "The Third Man": It is also my favorite movie of all time--the only one I believe to be perfect in all respects: director (Reed), script (Greene), camera (I forget); actors (Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard, and a handfull of really terrific Austrian and German character actors); music ( that zither earworm)--I don't know how often I have watched the thing--it's actually out now in the original director's version!

JannieB 2:02 PM  

I always thought the expressions was "Tish Tosh", but at least two of you have thought it was "Pish tosh". Same thing? Regional differences? Hearing problem? Inquiring mind wants to know!

jae 2:10 PM  

Kinda challenging for a Tues. Got off on the wrong foot with RUSE. Also had SCHMUCK and DEAL. Pretty good puzzle tho, more interesting than the typical Tues. Another fine write up Andrea, good stories!

chefbea 2:30 PM  

Great write up Acme. Made me lol.

Thought the puzzle was a bit hard for a tuesday but managed to finish it.

Saw Homer in homerow right a way.

I'll be mixing in lots of ingredients tomorrow when I make Hoppin John for new years day.

andrea carla michaels 2:39 PM  

@Jwerth
Thank you! You have probably just saved me about $23,000 in therapy
I'm gonna get a tattoo that says "We Can't All be Kennedys"!

(Altho, bizarrely, my best friend in highschool, was Laurel KENNEDY! Back in Minnesota, so probably a very different branch...)

AND from now on, I'm going to say URG instead of UGH! ;)

Peter S.
CAPECOD for HYANNIS? You sort of had a malamalapop!

@Doug Swedish-sounding Peterson
Thank you for chiming in AND for not being miffed that I ended commentary on your beautiful and sophisticated puzzle with an UNPC "Naming" joke!

As for the ACPT, I'm boycotting it till Will lets me rename it! ;)

@Crosscan
HOMER OW!!!!!!!!!
Wish I had thought of that!!!

OK, 678 comments and out. God, this is fun!

Shaken Mama 3:39 PM  

Oh man, I was so set on putting in "SCHMUCKS" that I almost had a nervous breakdown, putting in "MAINER" for "chowderhead." Completely out of control. I'd never heard of a SCHNOOK, but now you know I am one.

Crosscan 3:57 PM  

Information on the (unrenamed)2009 ACPT
is now available. Friday night will have a panel discussion on Blogging Crosswords with Orange and Rex among the panelists, followed by a day of the rest of us commenting on what they said. Well, maybe not that last part.

My flight is booked!

fergus 3:58 PM  

The same Doug Peterson of the Cryptic Sunday? That wasn't fun. I couldn't even find all the anagrams, or even understand a few of the Clues once I peeked in Orangeland. Glad today's fine puzzle left nothing to doubt.

Anyway, I recall really enjoying "Fathers and Sons" when I was nineteen. It had the (original literary?) nihilist, Bazarov, inviting his retinue into a life of cynicism and revolution.

I think it was in Rolling Stone just recently where they had a great fake text message thread between ilovemoney13 and materialgirl.

My typing class in high school had one luxury IBM golf ball Selectric and the rest all hardened manuals. To this day I still hit the keys too hard.


Greetings from across Monterey Bay, Rex.

Cryptic Doug 4:21 PM  

@fergus

Yep, that was my Sunday Cryptic. Sorry it gave you fits. Will Johnston posted a wonderful solution page with detailed explanations here:

http://www.fleetingimage.com/wij/xyzzy/nyt081228.2-sol.txt

Michael 5:30 PM  

I am surprised that many thought that this was hard for a Tuesday. I thought it was almost Monday-easy. My only pause was almost writing in "schmucks" before thinking that word probably wouldn't make it into a puzzle.

After struggling mightily with Sunday's cryptic puzzle, it is nice to see that Doug P. can write easy puzzles. Though I know I am not as attuned to the cryptics as I am to crosswords -- a Saturday NYT puzzle is quite a bit easier for me than any cryptic.

PlantieBea 5:38 PM  

Liked the puzzle--seemed like a good fit for Tuesday. My one mistake was putting SCHMUCKS in for SCHNOOKS. I've never heard the latter. I haven't read Fathers and Sons, but should add it to the list for a rainy day or two.

fergus 5:51 PM  

As I recall, the whole issue of name complication is much easier with Turgenev than with the other 19th century Russian All-Stars, so you can plow right in without having to make a chart.

Orange 6:39 PM  

I put in SCHMUCKS originally, too. And then I remembered that Will Shortz had used it once and some solvers were aghast because it's Yiddish for "penis." As I recall, he's sworn not to use SCHMUCK in the puzzle again. (You won't see the word scumbag either.)

fergus 8:10 PM  

Thanks Mr. Cryptic,

The building blocks type of Clue is where I seem to always get stuck. I sort of got used to the Nation guy's tip-offs but I couldn't get many of yours. Still on the Puns & Anagrams level. Why is it that the standard puzzle tends to either avoid these in general practice, or lay them so thick thematically?

Anonymous 8:25 PM  

@ Ulrich -- My father played the zither, but not as well as Anton Karas.

Ulrich 9:36 PM  

@anonymous at 8:25: Thx--I would have never expected that the tune would be available on youTube.

mac 9:41 PM  

@Andrea: talking about Bibi: husband and I had dinner one evening many years ago at Cipriani's underneath the Sherry Netherlands on 5th Ave, and two tables away from us, all the way in the rear with his back against the wall, was Bibi with a very young lady who I hope was his daughter. We still look for the table all the way in the back in some restaurants.....

acme 9:50 PM  

@mac
wow, that's some spotting! I wouldn't begin to know what he looked like...
Wouldn't it have been fun if Bibi Netanyahu got together with Bibi Andersson and they made a little Bibi?

Orange 11:02 PM  

A baby Bibi-Bibi Bibi? Boo!

Bye-bye.

Crosscan 12:28 AM  

I'm sure Bibi's mother would love it so she can be baby Bibi-Bibi's Bubby.

green mantis 3:05 AM  

Oh god, you're delicious. Sorry I went MIA.

I liked this puzzle and thought it was smooth as butter (is that a phrase? I'm having doubts all of a sudden), but perhaps my reception was colored by the fact that I was too broke to justify buying the paper and then found the Arts section alone, puzzle unworked, like a grail on the chapped leather seat of a North Beach cafe. The espresso was a bit bitter (somehow it was okay to buy an espresso) but the gift of the grid like a minor miracle was sweet.

In other news, anyone in the market for some kick-ass antique sterling salt spoons? It's liquidation time for grandma's bits and bobs. Everything must go.

green mantis 3:09 AM  

Oh and I once fell in love waiting for the ferry at Hyannis Port. Not exactly an Andrea, but good times. Until his dad picked us up on Nantucket, lifted his duffel and said, "Jesus this is heavy. What have you got in here, heroin?" And then, after a beat, "Well do you...?"

That's what we in the literary biz call foreshadowing.

kathy d. 5:41 AM  

What a great blog and comments.
The puzzle is overshadowed once again by the blogmeisters.

Happy New Year!

Kathy D.

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