THURSDAY, Feb. 5, 2009 - D.J. Kahn (Funnyman Robert / Moviemaking lamp / Bovine in old ads / Sister of Clio)

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: NAACP IMAGE AWARD (7D: Annual entertainment honor) - 7 of the 8 theme answers are former winners of said award

Word of the Day: KLIEG -

1. A carbon-arc lamp for producing light, used in moviemaking.

2. The center of public attention. (wordsmith.org)

Hey, look, black people! It must be February.

I am guessing that this puzzle was fairly easy for some (wife was done quickly, and Thursdays often break her) - but for others, it was likely a disaster. I mean, the NYT-solving crowd ... we don't talk about it a lot, because why would we, but we're pretty white. Or, I should say, we're pretty not black. And many of us do Not like pop culture with our morning puzzle. So when the puzzle not only dives deeply into popular culture, but dives deeply into the black end of it (i.e. deeper than, say, Aretha and Stevie and Bill Cosby), I'm guessing (guessing!) that there are a number of solvers who are going to drown. Then again, maybe I'm way off on the NYT solver demographics and you all listen to ASHANTI every morning. I'm not pointing any of this out by way of critique. We are who we are, and I am very much the liberal-arts-educated white guy the puzzle seems custom-made for. It's just that sometimes I have to check myself when I talk about how the puzzle has broadened its base of knowledge under Shortz (which it has) and remember that this hobby has race and class dimensions to it. If you've been to the tournament, you know what I'm talking about. It's very white, and it costs a lot to attend. This is all a long way of saying that I like when the puzzle branches out, fill-wise, in ANY way, and today, it's in a black way. Is Change coming to America? We'll see.

The puzzle was a cinch for me, though I had no idea La CROSSE was a national sport of Canada (11D: Piece of equipment used in a national sport of Canada). I was looking for BROOM or STONE - i.e. I was thinking CURLING, which I never do unless I'm forced to think about particularly Canadian sports that aren't hockey.

Theme answers:

  • 18A: Actor who received a 7-Down (1998, 2002, 2005-06) (Jamie Foxx)
  • 30A: Singer/songwriter who received a 7-Down (2002, 2004-06, 2008) (Alicia Keys)
  • 36A: Singer who received a 7-Down (2003) (Ashanti)
  • 45A: Singer/actress who received a 7-Down (1996-2002) (Della Reese) - she must have got all those for "Touched by an Angel"; here she is in other circumstances:


  • 58A: Comedian who received a 7-Down (2003-06) (Bernie Mac) - the only one of these winners who's no longer alive; this has profanity, FYI:


  • 3D: Singer who received a 7-Down (2005) (Fantasia)
  • 39D: Director who received a 7-Down (2007) (Spike Lee) - "Inside Man" was a good movie

71 squares of theme entry coverage = a hell of a lot. The architecture is interesting, as FANTASIA and SPIKE LEE are neatly isolated in the NW and SE corners, while the other names are staggered from NE to SW with the central answer NAACP IMAGE AWARD driven right through them. Isolating a theme answer like that makes it easier to build the grid around it.

I can't gripe about small fill in a puzzle when the theme coverage is that deep. The good thing is, I have very little reason to gripe today - D.J. Kahn knows how to fill a puzzle with a high degree of smoothness and a minimum wince-factor. Only one that made me grimace was LIN (64A: One-dimensional: Abbr.); what's interesting on this clue is that the Abbr. appears to be part of the difficulty factor, by which I mean it's harder to get with this clue than it would be with the more standard [Vietnam Memorial architect Maya] clue.

Bullets!

  • 11A: Year St. Pius I died (CLV) - I like when random Roman numerals are at least afforded the decency of a clue identity more precise than, say, [Mid-second-century year]
  • 14A: Sister of Clio (Erato) - first thing in the grid. If it's a muse, check ERATO first.
  • 15A: Subject of the 2007 documentary "An Unreasonable Man" (Nader) - had a lot of respect for him. Voted for him in 2000. He said some dumbass stuff in the last campaign (which no one noticed because people were focused only on One Man - cue the choir of Angels!). So NADER is kinda dead to me now.
  • 22A: Bovine in old ads (Elsie) - a gimme. "Bovine" makes me laugh. "Ovine," on the other hand, does not. Weird.
  • 29A: Orient (east) - the only reason I like this is because someone commented, perhaps even just yesterday, about how happy they were that the clue for ORIENT had nothing to do with The East. This use of "orient" does have a kind of eurocentric vibe, but unless something is patently offensive, the puzzle is not apt (INAPT? - 6A: Not fitting) to let it go.
  • 34A: One with a long face? (moose) - Me: "It's a play on words" Wife: "What words?" Me: "To have a long face means to be sad" Wife: "... that's not a play on words." Me: "Well, it's a familiar phrase, and they're trying to do clever misdirection." Wife: "..." Still, of all the ways you could clue MOOSE, the relative length of the face seems pretty weak. Arbitrary. An elephant's face is probably longer. I'm just sayin'.
  • 40D: Like some hair (oily) - more arbitrariness. LONG would have worked. As would have FINE. As would have a jillion other adjectives. Plus ... I'd rather not contemplate somebody's OILY hair while solving my puzzle.
  • 42A: Moviemaking lamp (klieg) - see Word of the Day. Wife had KRIEG ("but I got the "K" right!").
  • 53A: Terrier type (Skye) - love this word / name
  • 56A: "Steamboat _____," first Mickey Mouse cartoon ("Willie") - makes me think only of the "Simpsons" parody, "Steamboat Itchy"
  • 65A: Bob Cratchit's occupation (clerk) - this was harder than it should have been for me. "He's a ... he's cold ... he's working late ... scribbling ... what the hell does he do!?"
  • 6D: Next to Connecticut Avenue, say, on a Monopoly board ("In Jail") - fantastic, elaborate, crazy, daring clue
  • 9D: Bank of China Tower architect (Pei) - a crosswordy answer. Sometimes shows up as I.M. PEI. ERATO, KLIEG, PEI, SKYE, and EEL (49D: Sea slitherer) are all essential crossword answers.
  • 10D: Logician's drawing (tree) - I like this; a very late-week clue for the innocent-seeming TREE.
  • 12D: Looseness (laxity) - If there is not a laxative tea on the market right now called LAXITEA, there really should be. TM Rex Parker, 2009.
  • 33D: Hacienda room (sala) - thankfully, this is roughly equivalent to the French "salle," which I know.
  • 42D: Funnyman Robert (Klein) - misspelled his name KLINE at first. Not sure how I know him, but I definitely do. He's just ... on stuff. Talk shows? Maybe he's famous from when people used to be famous just from doing standup. Here's something:



Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS Jim Horne's interview with me is out today over at his NYT "Wordplay" blog



MusicPlaylist
Music Playlist at MixPod.com

120 comments:

Shin Kokin Wakashu 8:20 AM  

The problem with CLV is that according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "the death of Pius must have occurred about 154." Of course it's not that big of a deal since nobody doing the puzzle actually knows that.

I'm about as white as they come and I didn't find the theme answers too bad -- FANTASIA is the only one that I had not heard of before, and once I got BERNIE MAC and SPIKE LEE I figured out what the theme was and that helped a lot in getting the rest of the puzzle.

Pretty good puzzle, I thought.

evil doug 8:29 AM  

I find self-segregating organizations/awards/months as anachronistic, unnecessarily limiting, counterproductive, even alienating.

"You're the best, but only among other blacks, and only as selected by other blacks." Most of the names in the grid have won, or are worthy of winning, acclaim among all artists, of all races.

I understand that racism continues to exist in spite of a black president, and regardless of important advances within many arenas of our society. But some of this stuff trivializes the cause of those among us who advocate true equality of the races, and makes us shake our heads at the apparent desire to self-isolate when we've been striving for a fully color-blind world.

Evil

Spencer 8:29 AM  

I hadn't really heard of a few of the theme performers. The long down revealed itself pretty quickly when I had NAA_P_ in the grid.

Leglegl 8:38 AM  

And Erato is the only 5 lettered muse so its easy

nanpilla 8:39 AM  

When I finished the puzzle last night, I wrote in the margin "seems like a Tuesday". the clue for HEEL (achilles' weakness) was more a Monday clue, for example. I've never heard anyone refer to denim as JEAN material. That just sounds off. Nor have I heard of a VEXER. Would have thought Rex would hate that -ER. Loved benders for KNEES. With all the talk here of various ways to clue drinking benders, it was a great misdirection. And OILY just made me say "yuck!"
On another note: I am reading The Eyre Affair and loving it. Thanks to someone here who recommended it!

mac 8:58 AM  

This was an easy Thursday to me, although I started with a mistake: OPEC for 5D. I also thought of brooms and brushes for a Canadian national sport. It's odd how I knew all the names but I couldn't pick most of them out in a line-up (did I say that right?).

Formidable theme answers but as a result less interesting fill, so in the end less interesting puzzle.

@Evil Doug: I completely agree with you.

jubjub 9:15 AM  

Hmm, didn't know the CROSSE was a piece of lacrosse equipment -- just thought it was called a stick.

GOFAR rhymes with "Have a cigar".

No clue who Robert KLEIN is, but, lucky for me, I got him confused with Kevin Kline AND misspelled Kline to be like Klein in Klein Bottle (and Calvin Klein, I supposed). Apparently, two wrongs do make a right (ba dum bum :)).

@Rex, your wife is completely right about MOOSE.

@evil doug, I'm not going to bite :).

CinEdina 9:21 AM  

"You're the best, but only among other blacks, and only as selected by other blacks." Please do your research before making those types of statements.

"The NAACP Image Awards is the nation's premier event celebrating the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts (motion picture, television, recording, and literature), as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors."

Please look at the current nominees and you will see that they are not all black. Dakota Fanning is a nominee among others. Look at the previous winners- not all black.

Also, all NAACP members are eligible to vote -- one does not have to be black to join the NAACP.

I really liked the puzzle. It did seem a bit easier than a normal Thursday - probably because once I got a couple of the names and figured out the theme, the rest went pretty quickly. I agree with Rex's statements above regarding expanding the puzzle's reach-well said. Great work D.J. Kahn.

Anne 9:21 AM  

With Erato, Nader, Pei and Rae - all gimmes for me - leading the way, I ran through this puzzle easily, as in no googling. Thursdays are usually harder for me but even Ashanti came easily with fill.

My thoughts along the way - I never hear anyone say jean material, it's denim. And no one starts a letter with sirs anymore, I hope. I also like sticks because I am from the sticks. I thought extract from a French bean was funny. Nader will go down as one of the great oddballs or goofballs (your choice) of all time. And I pray the day will come when this theme is presented and I don't cringe because I know we'll feel compelled to share our thoughts about race and all its implications. But I suppose that subject will be better than tia v nun for our night shift.

Retired_Chemist 9:21 AM  

@ nanpilla - jean is indeed a kind of cloth, making "your jeans" lexically analogous to "jockey's silks." Is that synecdoche or metonymy (or neither), folks?

hazel 9:22 AM  

I liked this puzzle a lot. Liked both the concept and the execution....

@jub jub - I guess I bit....

I do think there is still a place in the world for an organization like the NAACP to single out people of color and award them for their contributions to the arts and social justice.

Clearly, the need for such separate recognition has diminished with time as racial distinctions become less of an issue with each passing generation - but good grief, I would not say we live in a color-blind society (Steven Colbert notwithstanding) or that these awards hinder progress towards such a goal.

@Rex, great interview! (I liked yesterday's with Ryan and Brian too) - but really loved getting insight into your thought process.

Also love the IPOD-thing upgrade!

Leon 9:24 AM  

Great puzzle Mr. Kahn.

Terrific interview RP. Great playlist too.

The history of The Image Awards is worth reading as pointed out in Wordplay

Bullwinkle's voice was classic, check out Bill Scott and June Foray.

CinEdina 9:25 AM  

@jubjub: You have more restraint/will power than I.

Quote about NAACP Image came from the NAACP Image Awards website. Sorry, forgot to add that.

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

@Evil

Salient point, well delivered.

Two write-overs:

OPEC for ROTC, off the C (wrong kind of drilling).
HORSE for MOOSE (shares 3 letters).

Really liked INJAIL. Was trying to picture the board in my head, and I remember Oriental Avenue and Vermont being the same color, but neither fit.

Good puzzle, challenging but doable, even for someone, as Rex
put it, that the NYT puzzle is custom-made for.

Thanks to Bob K for the tip on creating links yesterday. Check out the History section of the Lacrosse Wikipeda page here. I Found it fascinating.

RT

Parshutr 9:29 AM  

Enjoyed it while doing, got the theme early...but then, after finishing was left with that "Is that all there is?" feeling.
Ho Hum.
Tomorrow is another day.

retired_chemist 9:37 AM  

An easy puzzle. I agree with RP that the fill is quite high quality, especially given the depth of the theme answers. I found the entertainers mentioned reasonably familiar. Never heard of the Image Awards before, but it became obvious from the crosses halfway through.

Orange 9:37 AM  

CinEdina, you are righteous. Rex, you are righteous. The rest of y'all who are criticizing the NAACP Image Awards...I just don't know what to do with you. Please step away from the topic of race relations today.

Glitch 9:38 AM  

(Am editing this post as CinEdina posted a lot of my points as I was writing --- here's what left)

@Rex

At first, I thought this was a Grammy's puzzle (awards this weekend), and it took a bit for the real theme to register (some of the catagories were off).

Once there, the theme answers came fairly easily.

I believe most, if not all, the theme names have previously appeared in the puzzle, thus for example, although I don't listen to Ashanti "every morning", I do know the name.

Finally, I believe one of the purposes of the award is to acknowledge those transcending ethnicnicity, in all directions.

Having had some discussions with you (Rex), both on the blog and sidebar, I'm a bit surprised at your "take" today.

@Shin

Fantasia was a finalist on American Idol a couple of seasons back, and since has also appeared on Broadway.

.../Glitch

Alex 9:45 AM  

I don't even listen to music (which was the realm of most of the clues) and still found the theme easy once I had it. Cant' say that I could pick Fantasia or Ashanti out of a Norwegian convention but the names are in my brain.

Room for quibble on the Steamboat Willie clue. Steamboat Willie was not the first Mickey Mouse cartoon. It was the first one widely released and launched the franchise into the national spotlight but the silent versions of Plane Crazy and The Gallopin' Gaucho had played in theaters (just not widely) prior to Steamboat Willie's use of sound.

bookmark 9:52 AM  

I had no problem with this puzzle, and I'm a white woman in my mid 60s. I knew the theme answers, not because I listen to them or see a lot of movies, but because I read a lot. I think that's the key to being a good crossword solver.

evil doug 9:52 AM  

@CinEdina:

"The NAACP Image Awards is the nation's premier event celebrating the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts (motion picture, television, recording, and literature), as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors."

So why the "as well as"? Why the emphasis on "people of color"?

Your quote is noted, but it sounds like camouflaged tokenism. Dakota Fanning's the best they've got? I stand by the true essence of my point. And so does the puzzle.

Evil

dk 9:54 AM  

As a WASP of impeccable credential ironicly (tee hee) I had little trouble with this puzzle. Maybe because I am well read.... nah -- good guesser.

Fantasia came to me in the crosses and was my only huh moment. I had Farr instead of FOXX for a few whiles but I knew I was wrong.

I agree with Orange. The race thing is chum on the still waters of our blog site. Avoid hooks and nets and do not rise to the bate (insert pirate snarl about here).

And for the last time ERATO is a street in New Orleans forget this muse stuff.

A man walked up to a moose: Why the long face he asked.

edith b 10:09 AM  

@Orange-

Hear, hear! I cannot and will not be dragged into a repetition of yesterday.

I really liked this puzzle. There was so much theme material there wasn't much room for anything else.

I was familiar with the people in the puzzle because my daughter was a big fan of the TV show "In Living Color" which we used to watch together.

It is an acquired taste. She insisted my husband and I watch the show with her and we reluctantly did.

My husband is not a big fan of what he calls "frivolous" things but he was willing to indulge our daughter. I tend to avoid comedy on TV becuase evenings are my time to read.

At any rate, we watched as a family and slowly came to enjoy as a family. Ironically enough, my daughter's favorite performer was Jim Carrey.

This is a long way around the barn to say this puzzle brought back pleasant memories for me.

JannieB 10:10 AM  

I thought this was a good puzzle with a fresh, new theme. Fantasia actually won American Idol a few seasons ago. I too fit the demographic Rex described, and still managed to solve sans google. And I agree with Orange, I would rather revisit yesterday's relativity argument than head into murkier waters.

Great interview, Rex. Didn't realize you'd given up the test-solving gig, but appreciate your reasons for doing so.

Sundance 10:26 AM  

I get cranky with stuff like GOFAR ("Accomplish Lots of Things") and INAPT ("Not Fitting"). Difficult clues are fine, but these are just weird.

And yesterday ALEE and ALOW!

Wade 10:32 AM  

I don't know what Robert Klein's about either, even after looking him up. For me he has the same general swirl of connotations as David Brenner: comedian, Jewish, New York, Tonight Show, sweaters. None of that may be accurate about either of those guys. David Brenner had a long face, I recall. I think maybe he looked like the guy on WKRP in Cincinnati (Seth, help me out on the spelling there.) I think if enough research is done into the seventies it will finally be determined that the seventies never happened, that the whole thing was a hoax (An elaborate one? Of course!) dreamed up by Johnny Carson and Quinn Martin Productions [freeze-frame-mid-laughter!] That chess thing was pretty lame. My nutcracker doll videos are going to be much more entertaining until, y'know, I actually execute the plan.

Laxitea! ACME will be jealous of that coinage.

DIABLO is the nickname I secretly wish I had. I've had to settle for "Crawdaddy."

My Scottish wife pronounces "clerk" as "clark." Maybe that's a British thing generally. Maybe everybody but me knew that already.

Elaine 10:34 AM  

I also enjoyed this puzzle (which means, among other things, that I solved it without Google!) I do fit the demographic Rex described, and in addition I'm probably older than many of you who post here, but found this easier than many other puzzles loaded with current TV/pop singer/sports figure answers.

Echoing JannieB -- great interview, Rex.

Ulrich 10:36 AM  

@rex: I did a double take when I read "in other circumstances" b/c in German (in anderen Umständen) it means you're pregnant--so, I was looking for a Della Reese in her sixth month or so.

Found this puzzle Thursdayish in its level of difficulty b/c I had never heard of the award or of a couple of the artists in question--i.e. had to rely to an unusual degree on crosses for significant answers, which always slows things down.

Jim in Chicago 10:39 AM  

The very final thing I filled in on this puzzle was the last couple letters of NAACP, thinking until the very end that this was going to be an Academy Awards themed puzzle (I'm very weak of performers of all types).

Even then I was left with a massive error in the upper midwest, beginning with my use of UNAPT instead of the equally ugly INAPT. This left me with USJAIL for the Monopoly answer (its been a long time since I've played Monopoly) with in turn gave me SADER instead of NADER. At that point I was just happy to have every box filled in and called it a day.

miguel 10:39 AM  

Trademark search finds no filing for Laxitea, serendipitea, complexitea or animositea. Our puzzles seem to have an occidental orientation lately.
The Cratchit clue makes me wonder why the name Clark seems to be rare since the Superman days of Mr. Gable except for a military guy or two.
I also prefer today's mix-pod version. There has been an amazing technology advance in this blog in two years. Lots of photos, embedded items and music now are part of the exercise. It really does help solidify the references and not only makes us better solvers, it probably makes us more aware of the world. Gracias.

chefbea 10:41 AM  

Found today's puzzle easier than yesterday, even though I have never heard of the image awards,or Jamie Foxx. I too had jamie Farr for a second. Don't know Fantasia either.

Gosh - not one bit of food today :-(

Bill from NJ 10:59 AM  

@Wade-

You pretty much have Robert Klein pegged but add "intellectual" to the mix.

That was how Johnny considered him and, of course, how he perceived himself.

PIX 11:10 AM  

@Rex: I very much applaud your honesty and no nonsense discussion of the issues surrounding a puzzle like this. These days it takes courage to simply come and state the truth about such matters. Well done.
@23A: demim is made of cotton is made of... sugar molecules strung together (cellulose). If you are wearing denim or cotton while doing the puzzle, you are wearing clothes made almost entirely of sugar.

allan 11:17 AM  

@Rex: I enjoyed the writeup today, and just want to add that I didn't mean that early. But thanks, and I'll get up earlier tomorrow. I am a big fan of Bernie Mac, so I really appreciated that clip. He just had to open his mouth and I'd laugh. For those less familiar with the late Mr. Mac, the part of the routine about his sister and her kids was the basis for his TV show, and although I was not a regular watcher, Bernie reminded me a bit of George Burns. Like Burns on his old TV show, Mac broke through the proscenium speaking directly to the audience.

I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle, finding it quite appropriate for a Thursday. It was very refreshing to have some answers that are not oft in the puzzle.

@Orange: As someone who helped me out in the not too distant past, I will do my best to stay off the topic of race relations, which has been made easier by your comment and
@jubjub: your heads up as well. I was about to bite.

@chefbea: I am pretty sure that Jamie Foxx won the Oscar for best actor a few years back (his portrayal of Ray Charles).

bye for now

the redanman 11:18 AM  

Got AWARD in a snap and then most of the south. Really struggled as I also had JAMIEFARR for too long until I did word by word in the NE finally solving a Thursday puzzle even if it took me about two hours, yipee.

Learned KLIEG lights from medical school, but that G in the center theme fill really threw me, then getting NAACP, it went fast from there. I thought I knew all the YAPCR awards, knew ASHANTI, FANTASIA and the like just from living in the USA.

One comment, the variety (or lack of it?) in this group reveals itself in the sensitivity of someone seemingly daily noting "POLITICALLY INCORRECT" offences.

Jeeez, the NYT P.I.? No comment. :-)

the redanman 11:23 AM  

@PIX

I just have to say that your chemical definition of sugar while technically correct is rather a stretch. That denim must have some elasthane in it as well.

Evil crosswordese at work! Sweet!

HAHAHAHA

Remember that free association is a sign of high intelligence, but also one of Schizophrenia.

SethG 11:39 AM  

The tea exists, it's just spelled with an 'a'. Um, ew. SerendipiTea is a store, and Complexitea and Animositea are online gaming things. Being original is hard.

Wade, you're right about Robert Klein, David Brenner, his face, and how to spell both WKRP and Cincinnati. Brenner's actually from Philadelphia. The two are friends, and I believe both have played a certain hotel in the Borscht Belt as well. Sadly, I did not look up anything in this paragraph.

Chefbea, tofu and SOY are foods. TIC TAC is sorta food, as is ALTOID. And, for some Alaskans, MOOSE.

And the Fat Boys were IN JAIL. First cassette I ever bought.

ArtLvr 11:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
ArtLvr 11:48 AM  

@ chefbea -- aha! one bit of food here is 39A, SOY (guess the TICTAC doesn't really count, nor OILY) .

I did finish without any help, but only because the construction was excellent -- the names didn't cross with other names, for the most part. Good job, Mr. Kahn, and Rex too!

@ seth -- you beat me! Moose? Great thought... I might need a PILL if I tried eating a moose steak.

∑;)

jae 11:51 AM  

Very easy for me. Briefly had HORSE, ASIA (for EAST), and DEAR (for SIRS) but the rest was smooth. I think if you keep up with current events by reading newspapers, mags (e.g. Time, Newsweek), and watching TV news (including The Daily Show and Colbert Report) you are going to know most of this sort of stuff regardless of your ethnicity or age.

Oh, and I liked the puzzle. Very well done theme even if a bit easy for this aging white guy (which is all I'll say about race, thank you Orange!).

HudsonHawk 11:59 AM  

Rex, Let me echo JannieB's sentiment about the interview and your reasons for giving up the test-solving gig. Very interesting read for anyone that comes here regularly.

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

On every other day, the NYT crossword clues are Eurocentric. I am not white and don't regularly listen to opera, and in fact, enjoy Ashanti. And I can navigate the puzzle just fine without complaining about the "black" clues. I found your comments on race to be provincial, ignorant and offensive.

william e emba 12:10 PM  

As someone whose knowledge of pop culture is mostly from crossword puzzles and whatever happens to be on the same page of the NYT Arts section as the puzzle itself, I just want to add that I too found the puzzle fairly easy. I mean, I recognize SPIKE LEE and given time I might even recall the name of some of his movies. I recognize BERNIE MAC and ASHANTI, but I cannot name anything associated with them. I recognize DELLA REESE as crosswordese only. I now know I recognize JAMIE FOXX, since I filled in the name from J-M-E----, but I have no idea of where that came from, and so on.

Which reminds me of an irrelevant side question. Is it "cheating" when the answer to a clue is right there next to the puzzle in the newspaper? I remember once trying to yank out "Sports artist LeRoy" somewhere from the nether depths of my hazy recall, half-agonizing as I could clearly vizualize his style and then hahahaha I noticed an art gallery was advertising the fellow's work right there smack next to the puzzle.

Anonymous 12:16 PM  

@ william e emba - it's not cheating, it's SerendipiTea!

WilsonCPU 12:18 PM  

OFF-topic... people talk about avatars, and apparently mean the photo you can attach to your GoogleBlogger account. But it sounds like some people _see_ those avatars while reading the RexBlog [ooh, I like that!], whereas all I see is an orange B to denote the poster's Bloggerific status. (I _do_ see them in the "Post a Comment" window, just not the main window.) _Does_ anyone see those avatars while reading the RexBlog, and if so, how would one get them to show up in (for example) Firefox?

Bob MD 12:28 PM  

Good analysis, Rex. After renting "Wordplay," [which was delightful] I was amazed by whiteness and maleness of our xword gang.

Our hospital workforce is diverse, and we hire top surgeons, many are women and people of color. This has been our mission since the '90s

Aren't most crossword editors white males? The NY Times puzzle compilers/constructors appear to be overwhelmingly male and probably [guessing now] mostly white.

Newspapers need to diversify their workforces if they're to suvive at all ... that said, liked the puzzle today.

Arby 12:41 PM  

Sala seems to come up fairly often - which (thankfully) is one Spanish word that I can still recall from my 5 years of high school/college classes. I still remember my first Spanish dialog, circa 1974(?) from the opening of chapter uno in El Espanol Del Dia:

Chica: Esta Susana en casa?
Chico: Si, esta con una amiga.
Chica: Donde estan? En la sala?
Chico: No, en la cocina.

mac 12:52 PM  

@Rex: great interview! I bet your wife is happy with the photograph they used! Also looking forward to the interview with Orange.

Anonymous 1:02 PM  

@Bob MD: some of the best crossword puzzle constructors (in my mind) are female.

I am always happy when I see the byline from my top 5:

LGorski
KTracey
NSalomon
PGamache
LLempell

JohnG

p.s.: Of course there are some tremendous male constructors, and potentially some of them are non-white, but it doesnt matter to me. The best crossword puzzles are black AND white.

Byron 1:02 PM  

Timothy Parker, the editor of the USA Today crossword puzzle and supplier of puzzles to "Merv Griffin's Crosswords" is African-American.

Anonymous 1:10 PM  

@WilsonCPU

re: Seeing The Avatars (was that a Scottish punk band?) that depends on whether or not you see the comments in a pop-up or in line after the puzzle. I you are at the page for *a single day's puzzle*, no avatars unless you go to post and get the pop up to post in.

If at the home page:

rexwordpuzzle.com (/nothing here)

you can *only* get comments via the pop-up

From the Lucky Black Cat-in-a-box avatar guy

Shamik 1:12 PM  

You are all missing the racial point here. Totally.

It IS, after all, a black and white grid. Ok...removing my tongue from my cheek now.

@chefbea: After renting "Ray," you could also rent "Collateral" and "Dreamgirls" to see Jamie Foxx's versatility.

My mis-starts:
HORSE for MOOSE
ONEND for NOEND
TDS for YDS
WIRY for OILY
ATEAWAY for ATEINTO

Whit 1:12 PM  

I though the theme was fine, but was supremely disappointed to find that NAACPIMAGEAWARDS was the theme over GOLDENRASPBERRY, which also fit in the spaces and would have been much harder for a Thursday. Also, it would have been a nice way to allow the puzzle to slam Ben Affleck.

chefbea 1:19 PM  

@SethG forgot about tofu,soy and tictacs. Did I hear you say Borscht!!!!

@anonymous JohnG 1:02 what about Andrea???

allan 1:23 PM  

@Rex: A terrific interview. I will now be a faithful follower of you other blog. I found it very validating to read your comments on your writing style, the limited censorship that you impose upon yourself.

@anonymous (12:16) & shamik: Priceless comments. I award you both the first whenever I feel like issuing (or anyone else who cares to) NAACP (Not Another Anonymous Comment Poster) Award for 1. Anon. Best post by an anonymous poster, and 2. Shamik for Reminding us that this IS after all a crossword puzzle blog.

bye for now

PlantieBea 1:31 PM  

I had to guess at KLIEG and KLEIN. Both are new for me, as is CROSSE.

I liked the puzzle and thought it was a nice change from puns and the usual wordplay. The i-pod gadget was great to listen to today, too. I thought the cluing was perfect for a Thursday; I especially enjoyed that for IDEE.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:36 PM  

@Rex - just read your Jim Horne interview. For future reference, ALM is the German word for an Alpine or mountain pasture. I've skied across a lot of them in Austria, and the word comes up frequently in place names there.

Doug 2:06 PM  

@wilsonCPU: Mustache, blue collar, friendly in appearance. You are definitely on the blog.

That's a really interesting article with you RP, and I liked the prisoner content a lot. I didn't realize it takes you that long to write the blog, but of course it does. Thanks again for all your superb commentary and time.

Lots of great fill, what a nice job! (Okay, except for VEXERS.)

The Bank of China Tower in HK is a superb piece of construction. The building that stood there before was disassembled brick-by-brick and reassembled near my old home in Stanley, where it now houses restaurants.

steve l 2:10 PM  

OK. The NBA is almost all-black except for some foreigners. The NFL is almost all-black except for quarterbacks, kickers and Samoans. Major League Baseball is half Latino, and the black percentage has shrunk considerably. The NHL--practically all-white. Golf, take away Tiger Woods, what have you got? Tennis? Mostly white, the Williams sisters notwithstanding. Country music? Almost all-white, although Darius Rucker is doing great in that field, if you ask me. R&B and rap? Take out Amy Winehouse, Eminem and a few others, and it's all people of color. So crossword puzzles are mainly a white pastime (at the present, at least.) What's the difference? As long as no one is stopping anyone else from doing what they want to do, what does it matter what the demographics are?

fergus 2:27 PM  

I just looked at the Monopoly board to find that my first guess of CHANCE would not have worked anyway.

In choosing between MOOSE and HORSE I had to go with the more morose selection, which I think was Rex's play on words.

I'm trying to remember whether I've seen any fraternities with an UPSILON?

Frances 2:28 PM  

@ Rex

Loved getting to know a little about your thought processes, in the Jim Horne interview. Anent your comment about "alm" not being a word, you might be interested in the Cryptoquote answer from 1/26/09: “The word ‘alms‘ has no singular, as if to teach us that a single act of charity is no charity.“ — Source Obscure

puzzlemensch 2:29 PM  

Fantasia was on the show in 2005, but as a performer, not as an award winner.

Anonymous 2:33 PM  

Skye...visit the island aned you'll love that too.

Orange 2:42 PM  

@steve l: Well, as the American population grows more diverse, if crosswords are appealing primarily to white folks, the puzzles will dwindle. It's already a huge demographic problem that crossworders have tended to be older—this is why Rex and I (and many others) are so delighted by crossword ventures like the Onion's puzzle and Brendan Emmett Quigley's site. Puzzles that appeal to younger generations are needed to keep the community vital, and one could argue that crosswords that make an effort to appeal to a more diverse population would also help.

Now I just need to find someone willing to donate hundreds of kids' crossword books to the diverse student body at my kid's school. Get 'em hooked while they're young, and they'll stick with the pastime for life.

Orange 2:42 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Orange 2:42 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 2:43 PM  

I found your 1st paragraph comments a bit racist.
BTW - They're Afro-Americans; not blacks.
I'm a 59 year old white woman who had no problems solving this puzzle because these people are well known for their talent, not the color of their skin.
P.S. I also see plenty of Afro-Americans doing the Times puzzle on the subway in the morning.

steve l 3:00 PM  

@Orange--I wasn't saying that crosswords had to be a white pastime, or that there's anything wrong with trying to appeal to a broader spectrum of people. I suspect that as more and more non-whites achieve success, interest in this and other white-dominated pastimes will diversify on its own. (Just look at all the sports I mentioned above.) All I was noting is that some pastimes skew white, others black or Latino, and so what? Bottom line: I never before even stopped to think, does this seem like a puzzle for black people? That's what being color-blind is. Who would think it a good idea to take 150 black basketball players from the NBA, teach them to play hockey, set them up in the NHL, and do the opposite with 150 white hockey players, just so everything is balanced? (I know that's not what YOU implied, but the sentiment seems to appear in today's thread here and there.) And I don't think crosswords are in any danger of dying any time soon, no matter who solves or constructs them.

@Dr. Bob--Frankly, if I were a patient in your hospital, I'd rather have the best doctors you could recruit treat me than ones you hired because they fit into an ethnically designated slot. In fact, if I knew that you hired certain people to "strike a racial balance," I'd wonder about every doctor of that race that I met in your hospital. And that kind of situation can't be good for the people of that race.

steve l 3:03 PM  

@anonymous 2:43--What do you find racist about it? And no one uses the term Afro-American. The term is African-American. And many, if not most, African-Americans are fine with the designation black as well, and use it themselves, because it is one syllable, as opposed to seven.

Eli Barrieau 3:08 PM  

@Anonymous 2:43: Come to my classroom and tell some of my students they are Afro-Americans. Just be sure you can stand some good-natured heckling.

Self-identifying tags change. The intent was clearly not to belittle and Rex is only showing his age when he says "black" as opposed to "Afro-American", just as the NAACP does. Who still uses "Colored People"?

As to "because these people are well known for their talent, not the color of their skin" you are being so color-blind as to miss the point. The Image Awards are given out for very specific purposes (which have been already covered) to very specific people.

I have no problem with one group giving a shout out to others in their group. I don't find it divisive at all. (Unless it's the blatant hate-mongering of Rex and Orange's Oryx Awards).

See some of you in a few weeks.

chefwen 3:08 PM  

Rex, great interview and I am happy that you have quit testing the puzzles. We get the syndicated puzzle in our local paper and it sure is easier the second time around. Don't always do it as is a bit redundant, but sometimes on a Friday or Saturday it's fun.
I fell into the the Jamie Farr trap also and had lean for lank and horse for moose as I used to have a boss that we secretly called "old horse face".
Thought this puzzle was easy but most enjoyable

Dr. Charles Drew 3:20 PM  

When you are gasping for air or bleeding to death I hope you have time to do an ethnic biopsy of the health care professional who will be trying to save your life.

Z.J. Mugildny 3:22 PM  

White guys have names like Lenny, whereas black guys have names like Carl.

steve l 3:22 PM  

@Eli--What about the United Negro College Fund?

Funny, I'm a Spanish teacher, and every year, my predominantly black class takes issue with the fact that the Spanish word for black is negro. I have to tell them that the Spanish word came first, and it simply means black, just like rojo simply means red.

steve l 3:24 PM  

@ Dr. Drew (cute!)


That's my point exactly. I just want him or her to be qualified. Highly qualified, if possible.

Dr. Salk

steve l 3:25 PM  

@ Dr. Drew--

On second thought...a biopsy?

Dr. Sabin

Anonymous 3:29 PM  

Today's dialog really saddens me.

George NYC 3:49 PM  

There's a classic joke: I horse walks into a bar. The bartender says "Why the long face?"

I agree that MOOSE seems arbitrary, when horse at least has some cultural history.

Nice interview, Rex.

jeff in chicago 3:49 PM  

Impressive puzzle with tons of theme fill. And minimal junk. Thank you Mr. Kahn. Took me a bit longer than my usual Thursday, but was a fun ride.

ASHANTI is a name I know, but I don't know her songs. Memories of "In Living Color" made me grin. The video of Della Reese was great; I'm more aware of her acting.

Robert Klein was a favorite of Johnny Carson and was on his show many times. His "I can't stop my leg" routine may be his most famous.

Anonymous 3:56 PM  

After reading Rex's interview, I'm guessing he's relying heavily on his past learning today.

PuzzleGirl 4:00 PM  

@jeff in chicago: I had completely forgotten about "I Can't Stop My Leg." Thank you! Seriously LOL


("There it goes again...")

Anonymous 4:07 PM  

I had a white friend born in Durbin, South Africa and now an American citizen. He used to mess with people's heads by marking on forms "African-American".

Karen 4:20 PM  

It looks like I was the only one who put WETS in for fountain spurts. Should have checked the across more carefully.

I got FANTASIA and ALICIA KEYS first of the theme answers, and thought it would be grammy awards too, until I hit JAMIE FOXX. Then I realized that it is February.

Both curling and lacrosse are national sports of Canada...the former since the majority of curlers live there, the latter because the game was invented there. I'm going to clean off my BROOM and polish up my STONE for my CURLING game tonight. Thanks for the reference, Rex. It's always great to see my sport spoken of without the word 'olympics'.

Orange 4:22 PM  

I'm cracking up at all the people who went with JAMIEFARR as the winner of multiple NAACP Image Awards in the past decade, as he really hasn't been prominent in the world of entertainment since M*A*S*H ended 25 years ago. I checked his awards page at IMDb and it says that he was nominated in 1975 for the Golden Apple in the category "Female New Star of the Year." I don't know what to make of that.

Rex Parker 4:28 PM  

Ah, race. Always brings out the best in people.

Of course black people can, and do, solve the NYT puzzle, and many of them would be as apt to be baffled by ASHANTI as any white person. A black kid could also ace his SATs - does that mean there's no racial bias in the test? Not necessarily.

I love being lectured about race (and called "racist"!?) by elderly white folks. I wish my students in maximum security prison could participate in this conversation.

rp

Wade 4:28 PM  

I'm surprised that no one is bringing up the historic achievement of Jackie Robinson breaking the crossword puzzle barrier in 1947 when he appeared as the answer to 5D in the London Times crossword ("Jolly good sportsman excelling in a pastime not unlike cricket, gov'nor.") In another seven years, the crossword world would be shaken when Roger Bannister accomplished what was then assumed to be humanly impossible: breaking the four-minute barrier in a Tuesday NYTimes crossword. And no one was prepared for Dick Fosbury's performance at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament of 1968; until then, most solvers simply took a running approach at the puzzle and dived headfirst.

Great Moments in Crossword Puzzle History, brought to you by Atra.

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

@anonymous12:16 & shamik:
Do die-hard racist white people only solve diagramless puzzles?

Orange 4:31 PM  

P.S. According to a government report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, there are disparities in health care, with people of color tending to have worse health and be offered certain treatments less often. Maybe a hospital that strives to diversify its workforce can provide better care to diverse patient groups—saving lives, improving health, and cutting future health expenditures. A more diverse group of doctors probably won't make things worse for white patients, and it just might help other people.

Also, Bob MD commented that his hospital hires top surgeons, and that many of them are women or POC. It was others here who interpreted that to mean that the non-white docs were less talented. He didn't say that! Jeeze, you can't believe that some of the top docs aren't white? In 2009??

Anonymous 4:46 PM  

@Fergus - There is one I know of -Delta Upsilon. It is a national fraternity and there was a chapter at Penn State for one.

hazel 4:53 PM  

Happy 75th birthday to Hank Aaron!!

Returning to puzzle-related matters, does anyone have anything to add to yesterday's TIA brouhaha?

Chip Hilton 5:16 PM  

@Wade
....and on Feb. 5, 2009, you set a record for depth of tongue-plant in one's cheek.

Well done, Sir.

Parshutr 5:25 PM  

@George NYC...a priest, rabbi and minister walk into a bar, and the bartender says, "What is this, some kind of a joke?"

chefwen 5:30 PM  

@Orange, Jamie aka Klinger used to dress up as a woman so he could get his section eight and get out of service.

Doc John 5:35 PM  

chico: Hola Susana, donde esta tu amiga?
Susana: Esta en el telefono.

Thought this was pretty easy for a Thursday even though I just bleeped through the names when I did the acrosses realizing that I wouldn't know them until I got some crosses. Once through the downs it all came together pretty easily (just guessed at Fantasia).

Doc John 5:39 PM  

As for the TIA controversy, I thought for sure that someone would go on about 33D- Hacienda room=SALA!

archaeoprof 5:39 PM  

I think this was the best puzzle of the week so far, by far.

kathy d. 5:54 PM  

Thought the puzzle was good, had no problem with the answers.

Was very glad to see the NAACP Image Awards as the theme and recognition to some excellent performers, directors, etc.

There are still many awards' events that do not in any way adequately recognize African-American (nor Latino) performers and directors and their films. It happens very often that terrific actors and directors who are people of color do not get recognition.

That there are NAACP Image Awards is terrific.

Why does that take away from anyone else? It doesn't.

Also, agree with Orange and others about prevalence of racism in this society, in hiring, medical care, and many other areas.

Not only is it that doctors and other health care professionals are qualified, but they should be hired. They have a right to go to medical school and have jobs in their professions.

That's kind of basic.

Also, crossword puzzles are done by all sectors of the population.
Why not open up the themes and have them reflect the population as it is? The more themes, the more diversity, the better for everyone.

Life is better lived when one gets out of narrow constraints not to mention being inclusive for everyone's benefit.

Kathy D.

miguel 5:57 PM  

In Mexico, race relations involve the car, the track and the driver. I wish it were true here and then the puzzle would get more attention.

Ulrich 5:59 PM  

@hazel: As to the TIA embarrassment of yesterday: I think the 3 and out rule should be much strikter observed, if not enforced.

jeff in chicago 6:07 PM  

@PuzzleGirl: The question remains as to whether a leg that wouldn't stop ever hindered a Hawk wrestler.

Stan 6:08 PM  

Thanx to D.J. Khan for a fine puzzle. Good attempt by Rex and others (especially Orange)to keep the discussion intelligent

hazel 6:12 PM  

@Ulrich - sorry. lame attempt at irony, I guess....

Ulrich 6:22 PM  

@hazel: Don't apologize--you're cool. I just have been waiting for the first opportunity to get this off my chest.

3 and out.

Glitch 6:24 PM  

Hi again (as I said, I can only post early and late, this one is my later).

Blog reads as an interesting day. Lot's of not-racest tap dancing, including Rex's 4:28 post.

BEFORE YOU GET ME WRONG, I see nothing racist in any entry today, nothing needing defending, only opinions (mine included earlier).

And as has been previously stated, opinions are never wrong,no matter how unpopular or contrary.

What I do find, however, is there is actually some puzzle specific comments posted. Keeps me grounded in the advertised subject of this blog.

@Rex

Your interview explains a lot of today's "Stuff"

../Glitch

PS: To the "regulars", less inside more outside may keep the roster growing.

Cea 7:30 PM  

To my surprised I managed the puzzle with only confirmatory help from my friend Google (I allow myself to Google after Thursday when I get stuck).

But I hated the theme. Even after I had filled in all the squares I kept wondering why I had never heard of a singer called Fant Asia. Was that some sort of a type for Fat Asia or something?

edith b 8:01 PM  

This puzzle was really a remarkable feat of construction with 5 theme answers crossing a central 15 letter down entry with twin pillars in the NW and SE repesenting two more theme answers.

As Gomer Pyle would say, "Gahl-lee!".

Since I am not Catholic with no insight into 2nd Century Popes, I had to rely on crosses to get this particular YOTP. Unfortunately, I was thinking of hockey as the sport that 11D was asking for so I abandoned the NE for Flyover Country and inched northward, finally seeing *ROSSE and had a long delayed AHA moment and saw the light.

I still don't understand how LONG FACE=MOOSE. Would any large-headed animal fill the bill? And I agree with Rex that Maya would better suit 64A.

And I agree with the others who said this was the best puzzle of the week.

Whew - reading thru over a hundred comments is hard work!

Crosscan 8:29 PM  

Mickey Mouse clue while I'm at Disney World. Cool.

What are we talking about today?

steve l 8:47 PM  

@orange--Let the record show that I didn't say that if Bob's hospital hired the most talented doctors, they'd all be white. I said that I'd rather the hospital hire the best doctors they could find, not a certain predetermined number of each race. That's hiring completely color-blind, and that's the least racist way to do it.

There was no implication that there would be fewer blacks than there should be. I have absolutely no idea who is at the top of their class in med school these days. Perhaps there would be more blacks than expected. But if there weren't, I'd still go with the method that picks the best doctors, not the one that satisfies someone's idea of political correctness.

Do the Knicks say, we need to hire two more white guys, a Latino and an Asian? Do the Rangers say, we have too many white guys, let's find someone who isn't? I think they select their players based on who they think can help their team win games.

Do you think Barack Obama won the presidency because he was black (or in spite of it) or because enough people thought he was the more intelligent and level-headed candidate?

My impression is that you tried to read something anti-black into a statement that was race-neutral and in favor of finding the best talent available, regardless of skin color, gender, eye color, size, shape, degree of attractiveness, or ability to balance plates on poles while riding a unicycle.

michael 9:17 PM  

I started off slowly, but once I figured out the theme finished very quickly.

I am having a hard time with how exercised everyone is getting about the theme of this puzzle. There have been all sorts of themes, the names in the puzzle are not particularly obscure for a Thursday and appear in the newspaper and on the web all the time, etc.

Orange 9:22 PM  

Steve, Steve. Dr. Bob didn't say they were hiring people in order to diversify their workforce. He said: "Our hospital workforce is diverse, and we hire top surgeons, many are women and people of color. This has been our mission since the '90s." This doesn't mean lowering standards to hire less-qualified people. It means making sure you don't overlook good people who aren't white men. Diversity doesn't mean watering down the quality—it means working against ingrained habits that may reduce fairness in hiring. (It is too easy for people to feel more comfortable with people just like them—which perpetuates the problem.)

American society is not color-blind. If it were and everyone had equal opportunities, then your ideal would be lovely. But in reality, too many people of color and too many women get the shaft. They get unfair treatment, they face conscious and unconscious bias against them, they have an uphill climb just to try to get what men or white folks get much more easily.

Kelly 9:40 PM  
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Kelly 9:44 PM  

INAPT just doesn't seem like it should be a word. Really.

"Extract from a French bean?" made me laugh out loud. Cute!

This is weird, but I just saw a commercial for the NAACP Image Awards - apparently it's going to be on Fox next Thursday!

Jay Livingston 10:09 PM  

Does anyone besides Will Shortz use "bean" for head?
I thought VEXERS would would get a nix from Rex.
And I was surprised that in a black-themed puzzle, the clue for WILLIE was from the white world of Disney.

ziggy martin 10:15 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greene 10:55 PM  

I thought this was a terrific puzzle. I had never heard of the NAACP IMAGE AWARD and didn't get the NAACP portion of the answer until the very end of the puzzle. To be honest, I didn't even make the connection between the race of the recipients until the very end of the puzzle. As I figured out each name from the crosses I merely thought "Well that's another fine singer, actor, director." I just thought it was an entertainment themed puzzle.

The real entertainment was reading through all the posts today. As you might expect, I've got a theatre story which ties today's racial discussion to the battle over the meaning of irony from a few days ago.

When casting was underway for the 1959 Carol Burnett musical show Once Upon a Mattress, there was difficulty in casting the pivotal role of Queen Aggravain. Actress Jane White was clearly the best performer who auditioned for the part, but she was black. Director George Abbott (ever the literalist) objected to having a black queen in a show set in medieval times, so while Miss White was ultimately cast, she was required to play the role in white makeup.

The kicker to the story is that Jane White was the daughter of Walter White, founder of the NAACP, who apparently voiced no objection to his daughter playing her role in whiteface!

I think even the divided readers of this blog can agree that here is a great example of both racism and irony. Fortunately, colorblind casting is the usual rule in theatre these days, mercifully consigning stories such as this to the dustbin of theatrical history.

mac 11:09 PM  

@Greene: as usual, a wonderful post!

foodie 11:15 PM  

Wow, you work a long day and get to do penance by reading 116 posts!

I'm actually glad that the discussion did not artificially stay away from what was on people's mind. It was interesting to read the varied and often very thoughtful perspectives on it. In spite of, or may be because of, being beige myself I never feel I have a full grasp of the race issue in the US, even after many decades of living here. So, it's fascinating to hear this conversation.

But one analogy I can make is to gender, which I feel I understand better. I started off being very purist about gender issues. I did not want to be held back because of being a woman, and fought hard against limits placed on me when I was growing up in a conservative culture. But I also did not want to be given any advantages simply for being a woman, because I felt it would confuse the issues, and would certainly confuse me about what I have, or have not, accomplished. In the olden days, I would have bristled at the idea of an award that, say, specifically recognizes a woman scientist. But I have come to understand something: Such awards, be they NAACP or Women's Achievement awards, are not about the awardee. They are about marking progress, about reflecting on the path we have traveled and the challenges ahead. They are for the young people who have not yet arrived. They are about hope for those who think it might be impossible, because, alas, the world is still not as fair as we would like it to be.

Doug 1:37 AM  

Hey, talking about diversity today, if you count up the # of unique commenters today (I think 67) there must be some kind of record. Steve L at 7, Orange at 5, Ulrich/mac/Hazel at 3, and the rest at 2 and 1.

At least it was about something pithy like race relations and not about Spanish aunts and Farrah's shag....

liquid el lay 2:27 AM  

The joke cited by George NYC is probably the best and purest in history.

A horse walks into a bar
Bartender says "why the long face"

I was So pleased when HORSE seemed to fit the space.
Only after NAACP.. ..AWARDS, and the inside G of KLIEG, forced ..IMAGE.. into place was HORSE withdrawn for MOOSE(?)(!) That kind of made me sad.

Bit of snow / FLAKE I liked.

Not a fan of personal names in the puzzle. KLIEG and SEPIA are theatrical and cool. Liked the long center-down word, took a while to figure it out, with the weirdness of the double As and the likely N and C at the start of it.

Daryl 4:59 AM  

This was a gimme crossword for me, and I was fairly surprised by it being a Thursday puzzle - kept waiting for some trick. Love the double Xs of JAMIE FOXX and the double As of NAACP. I would much prefer HORSE to MOOSE, since it's one of my favourite bar jokes (along with: "Two men walk into a bar. You'd think the second one would've stopped.")

But then I suppose I'm right in the demographic for the type of person who would know all the people referenced in the answers. Much better than ASTA-type answers, IMO, much as I love my classic films.

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