WEDNESDAY, Jan. 21, 2009 - F. Piscop (Words from Alphonse or Gaston / Frisbee game involving body contact / "Houston" of 1980s TV / Pundit Colmes)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009



Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: non-pedigreed dog puns - three theme answers begin with MONGREL, CUR, and MUTT, respectively

Word of the Day: CUR - derived in part from Middle English curren, to growl, hence (perhaps) its primary definition as a "watchdog" or "sheepdog," in British dialect. Definitions after this - the negative ones we now associate with the word - are all soaked in the language of class hierarchy and eugenics. "b. A mongrel or inferior dog (my emph.); c. a dog other than a foxhound - used by fox hunters" (Webster's 3rd Int'l)

I love all these puns, but don't like words used to demean dogs. MUTT is fine. I have one MUTT and one purebred. I would have a hard time saying the MUTT is the "inferior" dog. In fact, if left to their own devices, the MUTT would surely outlive the purebred. At any rate, it was interesting to look up CUR in Webster's and not see a single definition related to a dog's anti-social behavior or viciousness. Just the derivation note about "growling." The idea that dogs exist on some breeding hierarchy is some @#$#ed up human baloney. Am I really going to take my cues from @#$#ing fox hunters? Hey, if anyone can find an online version of "The Prince's Panties" by Mason Williams, I will be eternally grateful. It is one of the greatest novelty songs of all times and I had it memorized as a kid. It involves dogs turning on their master and devouring him. O man, I found it - you can hear it at Rhapsody. "He had dogs, a hundred cocker spaniels, and he called them panties 'cause they ... did that mostly..."

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Genghis Khan's non-pedigree domain? (Mongrel Empire) - had MONGOL MONGREL and vice versa before I figured this one out.
  • 38A: Non-pedigree essential courses? (cur curriculum)
  • 57A: Casey's non-pedigree team? (Muttville Nine) - that's kind of inspired

I have a couple of comments about the clues today. First, the one for ULTIMATE (39D: Frisbee game involving body contact). A certain ULTIMATE aficionado who shall remain nameless sent me and another blogger friend of mine an excerpt from the official rules for ULTIMATE. Rule A, from the Official Rules of Ultimate, 11th edition (!), states that "Ultimate is a non-contact disc sport played by two teams of seven players." Now I certainly didn't know that. But I'm not sure how this clue ended up being the opposite of true. Maybe someone dropped a "no" and nobody bothered to pick it up. Then there's 11D: Words from Alphonse or Gaston ("after you"). I don't understand. French guys are polite? French guys open doors for you? What year / movie is this? [aha, I see it's an old comic strip - early 20c. - about bumbling, overly polite Frenchmen; there's even a catchphrase: "AFTER YOU, Gaston." If only I'd been alive to read the New York Journal in 1902] The only Gaston I know was in "Beauty and the Beast," and he was the Opposite of civilized:



I thought the clue on III was very clever (23A: George _____, longest-reigning English king). I mean, if you gotta have III as an answer, that's a good way to clue it. I like 42A: Monopolist's portion (all) if only for the oddity "Monopolist." On the other end of the likability spectrum is 68A: Burgers on the hoof (steer). "See, they're already burgers ... inside. We're just helping them realize their destiny." I love all three of the first three Downs. ATOMIC RENOIR CRANIA is fantastic. Poetic. (1D: Like superprecise clocks + 2D: "The Bathers" painter + 3D: Head cases?)

Lots of entertainment fare today, most of which I have seen and enjoy. Actually, I don't think I've seen either version of "ALFIE" (16A: Jude Law title role), but I know the Bacharach tune well.



I have an affection for things werewolf, and I own not only the DVD of "The Wolf Man," but two versions of a movie-related action figure released a few years ago (one in "original" black & white, HA ha). This is to say that LON was a gimme (41D: Chaney of "The Wolf Man"). 66A: Pundit Colmes (Alan) just left "Hannity and Colmes," so his name is oddly fresh right now. Lastly, entertainment-wise, there's MATT (45A: "_____ Houston" of 1980s TV), which made me laugh - I don't think I ever saw it, but my affection for cheeseball cop and crime shows from the 70s and 80s makes me want to track it down now. O man, he's like Remington Steele crossed with a very poor man's Magnum P.I., and then divided by the Dukes of Hazzard:



MATT Houston says ... "Bullets!":

  • 1A: Electrical bridges (arcs) - couldn't make heads or tails of this at first
  • 5A: Disney output, once (cels) - ah, the good old days.



  • 56A: Talladega unit (lap) - wanted NIGHT; didn't fit
  • 12D: Ipanema locale (Rio) - "locale" ... so we meet again ...
  • 22D: Miranda rights readers (police) - ideally, yes
  • 29D: Cabinet department until 1947 (War) - subsequently rebranded
  • 36D: Ernie the Muppet's rubber toy (duckie) - clip!



  • 40D: Nonacademic school activities, informally (rec) - weird non-s plural here. Threw me a bit.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

67 comments:

aunthattie 9:13 AM  

No Comments yet?? You all must have been up dancing at the balls. A good day for us all. Loved this puzzle, much clever cluing, and I think all dogs should be mutts.

Jon 9:21 AM  

Ha! I've never seen Matt Houston either, but after watching that intro, Rex's description made me laugh out loud.

Also, Wikipedia tells me that Alphonse and Gaston was a comic strip about a pair of overly polite Frenchmen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alphonse_and_Gaston

Old comic strips; river names; pre-1940s lyricists; silent film actors; nouns relating to plant parts: my crossword kryptonite.

I didn't think the theme fill was that strong, in that two were puns (MONGREL EMPIRE and the delightful MUTTVILLE NINE) while the third, CUR CURRICULUM, seemed to be just a kind of homonymic construction. Unless it was a weak attempt at a "course curriculum". Or maybe I'm just being oblivious.

For anyone who wants to hear astounding facts about BANANAs, this interview is amazing:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=19097412

treedweller 9:22 AM  

Gaston and Alphonse are from old cartoons--chipmunks or gophers or something that are always super polite to each other as they torment a cat or some other antagonist. If this doesn't ring a bell, you'll have to schlep it out of the internet, 'cause that's all I remember.

This one went really quickly and easily for me. Maybe it's because I'm such a dog person. I pretty much always have two dogs, and they are always pound pups.

From yesterday: To anyone who wished they could see my friend's exploding Bush piñata, it's here.

treedweller 9:23 AM  

Hmm, maybe I'm confusing A & G with some other cartoon, per @Jon above.

Jon 9:24 AM  

Ach. Thought about it some more. CUR CURRICULUM = Core Curriculum. Got it. Indeed, my obliviousness carried the day.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:38 AM  

Easy puzzle, cute puns.

But 42A, Monopolist's portion, ALL, does remind me of one of my pet peeves: "Lion's share" does not mean "most." "Lion's share", like "monopolist's share," means ALL. (And while I'm ranting, I heard "epicenter" misused again this morning. Unless you are a seismologist, you should remove "epicenter" from your vocabulary!)

joho 9:43 AM  

I couldn't make sense out of the clue for Alphonse or Gaston so I decided that they were maitre d's who walk you to your table. Works for me.

I love all dogs purebred, mutts no matter what!

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

The AFTERYOU clue was too obscure for me. A better, somewhat updated clue could have involved Loony Toons' "Goofy Gophers". Remember those two overly polite gophers? "Indubitably".

Crosscan 10:13 AM  

If you circle the right letters, the following secret messages appear:

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
RUBBER DUCKIE
REX IS COOL
DROP IT ALREADY, CROSSCAN

Two Ponies 10:33 AM  

Recently we had Horsy as an answer when we all wanted Horsey (actually they both look wrong as I type them). Then today we have Duckie but Ducky seems more common to me.
As for the polite cartoons I seem to recall Chip and Dale doing the overly-polite routine.
I love all dogs regardless of their heritage. My avatar is a pretty amazing mutt named Simon.
Overall a nice Wednesday warm up puzzle.
I'm going to check out the Bush pinata now. Sounds like fun.

william e emba 10:38 AM  

Ernie the Muppet's DUCKIE was actually made of plastic, not rubber. Hah!

I found the top half and southeast of this puzzle a breeze, but I ground to a halt for most of the bottom half. I had C-R CURRICULUM, and knew the theme involved puns, but somehow it just did not occur to me that it involved dogs. The rest of the puzzle was like a Saturday of clues that referred to pop culture I didn't follow or were just unusually misleading.

Was C-R CAR? CPR? Eventually I got the brilliant idea of trying CUR, and then it all fell into place. I stumbled for one more brief moment, trying to recall who in baseball was the famous Casey. Oh, right, the Ernest Lawrence Thayer Casey.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Interesting bit on Wikipedia's Chip and Dale page. They are often mistaken. Apparently The Goofy Gophers comes FROM Alphonse and Gaston:


Goofy Gophers
A recurring schtick often mistakenly attributed to Chip 'n Dale is the characters' alleged use of politeness: "After you," … "No, I insist, after you!" This gag, from the early-1900s Alphonse and Gaston comic strip, is used by another studio's characters: Warner Bros' Mac and Tosh as the Goofy Gophers.

humorlesstwit 10:47 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle Never thougth I'd live to see the day when I ran across someone who shared my pet peeve. I've looked for the version, the one I grew up on, where the lion sequentially takes the shares of all the rest, but haven't been able to find it. That the "Lions Share" is the majority is the most prevelant interpretation belies what I've always felt to be the true moral of the story.

Now, can we get back to PSI & flat tires please?

Frances 11:08 AM  

Even after I (dimly) perceived the theme, and had MUTT-----NINE, it took forever for me to see what Fred Piscop was driving at for 57A. When the penny finally dropped, I really enjoyed "baby bottle?" as the clue for VIAL.

jimmy d 11:30 AM  

I had to check my kid's Sesame Street album...they spell it DUCKIE also. I think DUCKY is more "How am I feeling? Oh, just ducky!"

I liked this one, good theme and fill, and good Wednesday level. MONGREL EMPIRE confused me at first, I thought that was the real name...BC at least (before coffee =))

mac 11:33 AM  

I had a lot of fun with this puzzle, and no, I'm not looking for Obama related words any more!

Great clips today (husband looks baffeled at the sounds my computer is EMITTING). I will always prefer Remington Steele or anything else Pierce Brosnan, though. I'm with Joho, not knowing the old cartoon I just figured these guys were Maitres d' in a nice French restaurant. Talking about FOOD: the bistro we had dinner at last night is throwing a "Bye Bye Bush BBQ" this evening! Got to go, we are celebrating both our birthdays, his today, mine tomorrow, for the next week or so.

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

Re: 34D, a lute player is a "lutenist" or "lutanist," not a lutist.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:40 AM  

@humorlesstwit - Here's the inside story on the Lion's Share.

chipperj 11:53 AM  

re. Frisbee/contact. Thank goodness the "ultimate" wrong was discovered, relieving me of my need to cry "foul"... this blog is my port in the storm.

Shamik 12:15 PM  

Ack...old enough to not remember that it was a cartoon, but remembering that as a child we often said, "after you." "No, after you." "No, I insist. After you." So we mut have gotten it from the cartoon.

This one was in the medium-challenging for me...expecially in the Texas area. Just drew blanks 'til the a-ha's came.

Mis-starts:
COCOA for SCARF
KINGS for KNOBS (poker..another hobby)
EXALT for EXULT

Favorite word of the day: ODIOUS. Usually used to describe the husband of a good friend of mine. Amazing she's been married to him for over 30 years. ODIOUS.

PhillySolver 12:28 PM  

@mac
Happy day...for all of us.

I suppose the lack of Obama material confused me today and I made this one a lot harder than it now seems. I had every thing but the first word in each phrase and didn't get it. CUR was the very last to fall. Guess its bark was worse than its bite.

Parshutr 12:30 PM  

Well, kerfluffle and anonymous have covered two of my quibbles...it should be ALL, the Lion's Share is the Monopolist's portion, and LUTENIST is the correct word.
But calling ALAN Colmes a pundit?? Puppet is more like it.
Otherwise, an easy day for those of us who are old enough to have had a parent who called us Alphonse when we hesitated at a door, remember the polio scares before Salk and Sabin, and saw the original Alfie with a correctly-cast lead character.
Oh, and happy birthday Mr. Nicklaus.

Greene 12:35 PM  

Enjoyed the puzzle immensely. Like many here, I'm a dog lover and I've got a chocolate lab (Coco)and a weimaraner (Tulsa) at home. One of many things I admire about my dogs is their boundless enthusiasm for everything they do. Whether it's playing, digging, eating, complaining, or just plain sleeping, they always give it 100%. We should all be so focused.

Shirley Jackson picked up on the Alphonse and Gaston routine and incorporated it into a short story entitled "After You, My Dear Alphonse" (1949) which is a sort of cautionary tale about the dangers of stereotyping. The story features two boys (one white and one black) who constantly incorporate the Alphonse politeness routine into their play, while the white boy's mother makes racial assumptions about her son's playmate and his family over lunch. Since I read the story as a boy, I've always known about the Alphonse and Gaston bit, even without ever seeing the comic strip.

ArtLvr 1:00 PM  

I enjoyed the puzzle, no trouble with the theme answers, but I left in some of "Apres toi" far too long! Merde, alors.

∑;)

allan 1:07 PM  

This one was pretty easy for me, as I figured out the theme immediately. The only bump was in the North Central, where I originally had love for 7d, and dive for 18a.

@Crosscan: You stole my thunder by posting the hidden phrases. But did you realize that by connecting the letters at 17a, 19a, 35a, 57a and 42a you draw a trapezoid? This, of course, is the secret symbol of the RDOA's, which is an even more secret organization than Opus Dei, that President Obama is hinted at being a member. It is truly amazing what these puzzle makers can do!

allan 1:12 PM  

@ Retired_Chemist re your comment from yesterday: I just want to make clear that I was not placing blame, but rather found your conversation with Rex very amusing. I am still not sure if Rex was angered at all by some of the comments, but I took it in a lighthearted fashion.

allan 1:16 PM  

I stand corrected. In my haste to find secret messages in the puzzle, I mistakenly referred to the symbol as a trapezoid, which it is of course not. Sometimes a quadrilateral is just a quadrilateral.

chefbea 1:23 PM  

Fun easy puzzle. Got the theme right away. Don't understand psi=letters on tires. Can someone explain?

Happy birthday Mac

Rex Parker 1:26 PM  

Jeez louise. Once again, I say, DICTIONARIES.

Lutist - (n.) - 1. a lute player, 2. a maker of lutes

Webster's 3rd Int'l. Unimpeachable.

rp

nanpilla 1:28 PM  

@chefbea

I believe psi refers to "pounds per square inch" In other words the pressure to which you should inflate your tires.

jeff in chicago 1:36 PM  

Took me a little longer than normal for Tuesday, but I liked this. Having KNOCK for KNOBS in the SE slowed down that corner. Didn't see my EXALT error until Shamik mentioned it above. Played ULTIMATE a few times, and there was a bit of contact! (I was more a disc golf person.)

@Jon: This video is the funniest banana bit I've ever seen. (Nothing dirty, just low IQ.) And it provides some nice irony if the second paragraph of your link is true!

@Rex: That Mason Williams piece was just weird!

@treedweller: Nicely done with the pinata.

You can find OBAMA in this puzzle, if you don't care that the letters aren't next to each other! HA!

SethG 2:05 PM  

Rex, may I admire you again today? Anyone?

I once won a copy of the book on tape of The Island of the Day Before. I tried listening to it on a road trip and promptly threw it away at the next rest stop so I wouldn't fall asleep and crash.

Seems like they mixed the boat with that Frisbee game thing. Hey, another theme entry!

PlantieBea 2:11 PM  

Nice dogs, Rex!

I enjoyed this puzzle although it was a medium for me. I got stuck in the bottom center since I was determined that ELSE was supposed to be the answer for 69A. It took me a while to switch to LEST, which allowed VIAL and PLEAS (liked the cluing for the latter). Finally, MUTTVILLE NINE slipped into place.

elitza 2:22 PM  

Lots of baseball clues. Yay!

Had BFG initially for PSI (for Bridgestone/Firestone)--might have been my only misstep except looking at the NE and thinking that ___RF didn't make any sense, so either RIO or FEN must be wrong. Anyway.

First theme answer to fall was CUR CURRICULUM, which had me thinking in homophones for the other two. Needless to say, it didn't really work out, just kept me from getting MONGRELEMPIRE for far, far too long.

DUCKIE made me happy.

sidebar: "The Girl From Ipanema" played at least twice an hour at my old job. Every. Single. Day. There were days when I'd hear it twelve or fourteen times in a single shift. I want that song to die.

Karen 2:26 PM  

It looks like Wikipedia lists Ultimate as 'limited-contact'; the rules pages cited on the wiki, and most of the other top Ultimate hits, call it non-contact. Which goes to show, don't trust Wikipedia to be accurate.

I got stuck on VIAL before I could remember the name of Casey's team. And I had people using LIME at the single's bar, and don't ask why I thought a DAME would be buggy.

Parshutr 2:29 PM  

@nanpilla...sadly, there are those among us who actually say "psi per square inch".
Department of Redundancy Department.

Anonymous 2:33 PM  

Fala.
 Some print editions yesterday did not have the crossword. Here is the official correction:Crossword:Because of a production error on Tuesday, the crossword puzzle, the Books of The Times review and the continuation of a music review about a tribute to Marilyn Horne did not appear in some copies of The Arts section.The crossword puzzle, and answers to the previous puzzle, can be found at nytimes.com/jan20crossword, and a printed copy can be obtained by writing to Production Quality Control, 1 New York Times Plaza, Flushing, N.Y., 11354. Today's print edition was scarce in NYC. Nothing like the day after the election, but many newsstands were sold out

jae 2:34 PM  

Excellent puzzle! Nice to be able to come here knowing there would be an explanation for the Alphonse/Gaston clue. The only tie to Obama I could see is that he recently referred to himself as a MUTT.

@treedweller -- nice fireworks

allan 2:56 PM  

@Anonymous 12:33.. I was in a B&N at about 11:45 am, and they told another customer that they only received 1 copy of today's NYT, but they had lots of sealed commemorative copies that were selling for $9.95 each.

So if anyone wants to buy my home delivered copy, I'm selling it for $14.95. It comes with a completed puzzle and hand written notes about today's RP blog. You can pay for it on PayPal.

@Jeff in Chi.. Maybe the reason it felt harder than the usual Tuesday puzzle is because today is... Wednesday. And thanks to Anonymous for confirming that for me, because Jeff had me convinced that I didn't know what day it was.

miguel 2:57 PM  

We often say 'ODIOUS amigo' in town.

There may be no Obama in the puzzle today, but The "Dining In" Section in today's NYT provides some additional information on a frequent clue/answer in the puzzles.
Unmentionable food item

There is another recipe that Foodie, ChefB, Cheefwen and I will try and report back. Here is the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/21/dining/211arex.html?ref=dining

jeff in chicago 3:19 PM  

[smacks forehead]

Anne 3:27 PM  

I haven't decided whether it's better to comment after I read the other comments or after. Maybe I should do both. Today it's before. I thought this was pretty easy and only had one problem with Matt Houston and Ultimate. I stared at that for a long long time (per Rex's suggestions)before it came to me. I have no idea who Matt Houston is. And there were a few things I didn't know (Sabin for instance) but came with the fill ins. Nothing really struck me except that the closest mention of you know who was Chi-town.

Anne 3:37 PM  

Now having read the comments,

CrossCan and JeffinChicago - very funny!

And JAE - good catch.

chefbea 3:41 PM  

@miguel I am sure Mac will try the unmentionable recipe also. I have met Melissa Clark the writer of the aforementioned article. She is a very good friend of my "foodie" daughter.

HudsonHawk 3:59 PM  

@allan, I get the dead-tree version of the Times delivered, but I went down to the newstand to pick up an extra copy of today's paper for a friend that's out of the country. They wanted $3 for it. I pointed to the corner of the page where it said it was $1.50, and the guy said that they were charged extra by their distributor. If I hadn't promised my friend I'd get her a copy, I would have walked away. Oh well. Hang on to your copies...

jeff in chicago 4:19 PM  

I find it unlikely that today's NYT will ever be valuable. Everyone is going to keep it. People who never bought one, bought one. And I'm sure many extra copies were printed. With a million copies being kept, they will never be rare enough to gain value. The NYT is charging more purely for financial gain. There's some change you can believe in!

I used to have many Life magazines from the '60s. I had the JFK, RFK and MLK assassination issues. The march on Selma. Early Apollo space missions and the moon landing. I've researched this a lot, and guess what...they aren't worth squat. Why? Everyone kept Life magazine. The market is flooded with issues. But I did make some money off them, by cutting them up and selling the old Coke ads and other classic ads.

My 1939 Life magazine with Harpo on the cover (I collect Marx Brothers stuff) is much rarer and is only worth about $20

evil doug 4:26 PM  

This guy's a true hero---in Cincinnati, and to parents all over the world.

Evil
*****

Albert Sabin received a medical degree from New York University in 1931. He trained in internal medicine, pathology and surgery at Bellevue Hospital in New York City from 1931-1933. In 1934 he conducted research at The Lister Institute for Preventive Medicine in England, then joined the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now Rockefeller University). During this time he developed an intense interest in research, especially in the area of infectious diseases. In 1939 he moved to Cincinnati Children's Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. During World War II he was a lieutenant colonel in the US Army Medical Corps and helped develop vaccines against dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis. Maintaining his association with Children's Hospital, by 1946 he had also become the head of Pediatric Research at the University of Cincinnati.

With the menace of polio growing, Sabin and other researchers, most notably Jonas Salk in Pittsburgh and Hilary Koprowski in New York and Philadelphia, sought a vaccine to prevent or mitigate the illness. In 1955, Salk's "killed" vaccine was tested and released for use. It was effective in preventing most of the complications of polio, but did not prevent the initial, intestinal infection. Sabin's "live"-virus vaccine, developed from attenuated polio virus that he had received from Hilary Koprowski, began international testing through the World Health Organization in 1957, when large groups of children in Russia, Holland, Mexico, Chile, Sweden and Japan received it. In 1961 the United States Public Health Service endorsed his "live"-polio-virus vaccine. Prepared with cultures of attenuated polio viruses, it could be taken orally and prevented the actual contraction of the disease. It was this vaccine that effectively eliminated polio from the United States.

Honors:

* Election to the Polio Hall of Fame, which was dedicated in Warm Springs, Georgia, on January 2, 1958
* National Medal of Science (1970)
* Presidential Medal of Freedom (1986)
* In 1999, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center named its new education and conference center for Sabin.
* In March 2006, the US Postal Service issued a commemorative 87-cent postage stamp carrying his image, in its Distinguished Americans series.

[wikipedia]

DocRuth 5:25 PM  

My sister and I LOVED "The Prince's Panties" and sang it ALL the time, to the annoyance of all. We are considerably older than Rex however--might have been cuter on him. I think it was on the same LP as "Classical Gas" which I would try to play, also to the annoyance of all. But great lines! "Once there was a prince who acted strangely in that he thought life was stupid--and it was for him" (I could go on, all from memory. I can do essentially all of "Alice's Restaurant" too. Loved the late 60's)

Retired_Chemist 5:37 PM  

@ Allan re yesterday: no problem. Thanks for writing.

chefwen 5:43 PM  

In our house doggies and doggys rule, we have two, Toby and Skippy. We were in London a few years ago and while waiting in line for something a little boy in front of us was menacing a spider. His father noticed and said (insert strong British accent) "Toby don't step on that spider." Husband looked at me and said "why would anyone name their kid after a dog?" He can always crack me up.
Loved the puzzle, had just enough crunch for a Wednesday.
Miguel, I will check out that recipe.

Larry 5:57 PM  

Another Obama themed puzzle!

"A mutt like me..." President elect Obama.

Bill from NJ 6:06 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
treedweller 6:08 PM  

@Allan
I guess you have also explained for me why this puzzle was so easy for a Thursday . . .

@jae I remembered that remark from Obama while working today. Maybe the next four years (dare I hope for 8?) will bring us hundreds of progressively more obscure Obama references.

Glad people enjoyed the piñata. For the record, though, it was all my friend ironburl's doing. I just went to watch and took my camera. Feel free to set up a youtube account so you can thank him in the comments there.

Shin Kokin Wakashu 7:04 PM  

Re: The "Lion's Share" comment, "lion's share" has meant "the greater part of" since the 18th century, and there's no clear evidence that the source of this phrase was Aesop's fables. The OED's definition is in line with actual usage, as are most dictionaries and usage guides.

Bill from NJ 7:07 PM  

@elitza-

I worked my way through college at a racetrack in Phoenix AZ and the song they played to call the Greyhound to post was "Elephant Walk", starting at 6 minutes until post time til 1 minute to post to warn the bettors that post time was at hand.

Since there were 11 races per night, the ticket sellers and cashiers had to endure that song over and over, all night long, 5 minutes at a time, for 3 hours.

I haven't heard it in years, but when I do, I get anxious.

And to one of my favorite cyber-friends - Happy Birthday, mac.

joho 7:36 PM  

I wish you a very happy birthday, Mac! Mangia!!!

JannieB 7:53 PM  

Bonnie (see avatar) insists I comment on this puzzle if only to say it (and dogs!) rules and was just about right for a Wednesday.

Happy birthday, Mac!

edith b 8:57 PM  

This one was easy for Wednesday. We always had dogs for my daughter that were Pound Pups - my husband insisted on that. We owned them one at a time so we only owned three but they lived a good life with us.

Any quibble I might have had were addressed by others.

Jon 9:22 PM  

Thanks @jeff in chicago. That video is incredible. I want Kirk and his buddy to explain poisonous mushrooms to me. Or kohlrabi, for that matter. I've gotten really into kohlrabi this winter, but, man, you gotta work for it.

mac 10:59 PM  

@joho: thanks alot! Mangia we did this evening, husband's birthday dinner, at Shun Lee Palace! Highlight was the Beijing/Peking Duck. Talking about food, and aren't I always, today's Dining Inn section is a keeper, with several fantastic recipes. Check out the ..... oh, no. But do cut out lamb shank one.

I'm not just keeping the food section, I will keep the whole paper. Husband claimed I spoiled it by doing the puzzle, but I did it in pencil (you know, Pentel .9 with the looooong eraser). I also saved the last issue of the Sun.
When I got the paper this morning, on 23rd St. and 7th, people around me were buying 2 and 3 copies. They didn't charge more than $ 1.50, though.

@Shamik: thanks, I'm exulted....

@SethG: I had so looked forward to see those pink patent leather shoes in Brooklyn. Guess you had to take them off for the Ultimate game.

@Karen: the buggy dame had me LOL!

@DEvil: yes, yes, let's give a hand to Sabin; I think I learned about both of them around the same time, in some newspaper article, and I've been surprised that Salk gets mentioned so much more.

Mutt: when our son was about 4, he asked us to explain what a mutt was, and we talked about the different breeds, and the mother and father being different and creating this interesting mixture, and after all that he said: "I am a mutt!".

jeff in chicago 11:15 PM  

@jon: we can just stay with tropical fruit and consider the coconut and the pineapple!

andrea carla michaels 3:00 AM  

@Sethg
I am so sorry they got Ultimate wrong! That's like saying "Game where the X is worth 10 points".

I have to say I was much more bugged than the rest of you about the second theme answer. It seems if you have CURCURRICULUM you need MUTTMUTTONCHOPS or something...it imbalanced me :(

But who can niggle naggle on Mac's bday?!

@Greene
My Siamese cat who is bigger than most dogs is also named Koko!
(But he spells it with 2K's, He came with papers that said as much)
As a namer, I was a bit embarrassed to have a cat named Koko, but I inherited him 14 years ago when he was 6 months old...and I tried to rename him Babaganoush as it's my favorite food, my favorite food word to say and he's that color. But he already knew his name. (Those who think only dogs know their names do not know Siamese!)
Until I had him, I thought I was a dogperson...but it turns out I'm a pet person.

@Bob K
I love using the word "epicenter"!
Living in San Francisco, it's fun to say it's the epicenter of naming, or whatever! It feels slightly clever and dangerous.
What will you give me (in its stead) to remove it from my vocabulary? ;)

@Mac
since I know only you read this blog so late at night, I'll send a big hug to you!

Anonymous 7:25 AM  

It's another Obama puzzle! since he referred to himself as a mutt (but not a Cur or a Mongrel as far as I know...)

Bob Kerfuffle 9:14 AM  

@Andrea Carla Michaels - Oh, my! to be asked by The Namer to come up with a name! I am truly not worthy!

Since, as I'm sure you, living in San Francisco, know, the correct definition of "epicenter" is "the point on the Earth's surface directly above the focus of an earthquake", my first thought is that you should simply replace it with "center." Of course, that sounds neither clever nor dangerous. (But, for example, are folks who think that "penultimate" is beyond "ultimate", rather than before it, being clever, or only dangerous to the integrity of the language?) I am a poor pedestrian writer at best, limited to such words as core, hotbed [trite!], focal point, focus, heart, hub, nerve center, root. . . .

Since our President used song lyrics in his inaugural address, allow me to paraphrase some lyrics: You say permissivist, I say prescriptivist; let's call the whole thing off!

chuckbacco 11:46 AM  

All, I doubt many of you will see this post as I am in Dallas, TX and the local rag publishes the NYT puzzle on a 30-day delay. Why, I don't know. Anyhoo, Rex's mention of Mason Williams really took me back. The album was titled "The Mason Williams Phonograph Record". It contained "Princess Panties" as well as his most famous piece "Classical Gas". I wore out two cassettes back in the 70's and 80's, and drove my pals nuts with "Princess Panties" on many occasions. It's out of production now, but here's a link to some used CD's for sale. Amazon wants over $100.00, But some of these are less than 10 bucks. Enjoy!

http://shopping.yahoo.com/search;_ylc=X3oDMTJjaWs2bG9pBF9TAzc4NDcxNjg2MgRrA3RoZSBtYXNvbiB3aWxsaWFtcyBwaG9ub2dyYXBoIHJlY29yZARzZWMDa2IEc2VtA3lzbQRzbGsDdGl0bGU-?sem=ysm&p=the+mason+williams+phonograph+record&no_truncation=1&sp=pall

chuckbacco 11:53 AM  

Sorry, that's "The Prince's Panties", not "Princess Panties". My bad!

Anonymous 10:23 PM  

Where is Wade?

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