Curved high-back bench - SUNDAY, Jun. 14 2009— One-named Brazilian soccer star / Suspected spy celebrated 1949 trial / Sexual Honesty compiler

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Constructor
: Brendan Emmett Quigley

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "D-Plus" — "D" sound is added to familiar two-word phrases, resulting in wacky new phrases (all of which require significant respelling, in addition to the added "D"). New phrases are clued "?"-style.


Word of the Day: MAOTAI (11D: Strong Chinese liquor) —n.

A clear, very strong Chinese liquor distilled from sorghum.

[After Mao-Tai, a town of Guizhou province, China.] (answers.com)

A fairly straightforward add-a-letter (or in this case, add-a-sound) puzzle from BEQ, though with some nice added features — every answer is a two-word phrase, every answer requires more spelling reconfiguration than the simple addition of a "D," and (with the exception of HOUSE-ADDRESSED, which I didn't care for) every answer is clever-to-funny. I misunderstood the theme at first, after I got DO PENDANTS. I thought the phrase was a play on the word DEPENDANTS ... so DEE goes to DUE ... or DE goes to DO ... I picked up the real theme shortly thereafter, at PASSED MUSTARD. I had one Natickesque moment at the crossing of NARA (21A: Japan's first capital) and MAOTAI, neither of which I knew. Transliterations of Asian-language words crossing at a vowel, yikes. I reasoned that only an "A" or "O" would make any kind of sense there, and that it was highly unlikely that NORA would receive a bygone Japanese capital clue (what with at least a handful of available NORAs out there), so I went with "A" (wisely). Two other answers were utterly new to me: KAKA (41D: One-named Brazilian soccer star in the 2008 Time 100) — not the greatest name for becoming famous in America — and NARTHEX (83A: Way to the nave), which sounds like a creature from the "Star Wars" universe, not a church part. Oh, there was also CANTED, which I guessed, but don't think I've ever seen in print or heard before (87D: Aslope). I inferred the answer from CANTILEVERED (?), though that word has nothing to do with being slanted. Weird. All in all, very doable and enjoyable puzzle, pitched to just the right level of difficulty (lots of stuff to slow you, nothing much to stop you).



Theme answers:

  • 23A: Make necklace baubles? (DO PENDANTS) - from "do penance"
  • 25A: Hip lineages? (COOL BREEDS) - from "cool breeze"
  • 39A: Tonto's pep? (SIDEKICK ENERGY) - from "psychic energy"
  • 50A: Gave Grey Poupon to the head of the table? (PASSED MUSTARD) - from "passed muster"
  • 66A: Greediest person on Long Island? (AMITYVILLE HOARDER) - from "Amityville Horror" (great marquee answer)
  • 85A: Spotted feline's home? (LEOPARD COLONY) - from "leper colony" (don't see leprosy in the puzzle much ...)
  • 94A: Like residential mail? (HOUSE-ADDRESSED) - from "house arrest"
  • 114A: Certain Colorado headgear? (BOULDER HAT) - from "bowler hat"
  • 116A: Bamboozle Eisenhower? (SNOW DWIGHT) - from "Snow White"

My favorite non-theme answers of the day were (in no particular order):

  • ALGER HISS (79D: Suspected spy in a celebrated 1949 trial)
  • PAPER LOSS (3D: Unrealized hit taken on an investment)
  • TOO FAR (60D: How cringe-making humor might go)

Aside from the NARA / MAOTAI crossing, only two other places in the grid offered a threat of breakdown. I had to surround the DOTH/OTTO crossing completely before I got it. I live just an hour from Syracuse and somehow still didn't know that damned orange was named OTTO (64A: _____ the Orange (Syracuse University mascot)), and the clue on DOTH fooled me completely, as I had no idea what was meant by "auxiliary" (53D: Obsolete auxiliary). I was thinking of "Ladies Auxiliary," whatever that is, and considered the possibility that DOTH was an acronym. You know ... D.O.T.H. = Daughters of the Huns? They're "obsolete," right? Turns out DOTH is a simple, obsolete auxiliary verb. Bah! NARTHEX! Speaking of nutty "X"-containing words, EXEDRA (96D: Curved high-back bench)!? Wow. That "X" was the last letter I entered into the grid. Don't know how often an "X" is the last letter entered, but I doubt very often. Thank god the crossing EXP made some kind of sense to me (101A: Food pkg. abbr.).

Bullets:

  • 1A: 1982 best seller subtitled "And Other Discoveries About Human Sexuality," with "The" (G-Spot) — Very Quigley. Goes nicely with HITE (111A: "Sexual Honesty" compiler).
  • 20A: Repetitive cry while waving a hand ("Me, me!") — I wonder if this originally had a different clue. MEME is a pretty common internet-related term now.
  • 22A: Japanese import since 1986 (Acura) — had HONDA at first and thought "... that can't be right."
  • 79A: Three-time A.L. M.V.P., informally (A-Rod) — He has helped the Yankees to compile an 0-8 record against the Red Sox so far this year.
  • 103A: Atlantic Division cagers (Raptors) — ah, "cagers." Where have you been? I feel like I haven't seen you since 1992. Good times.
  • 9D: 1987 Costner role (Ness) — played Elliot NESS in "The Untouchables"
  • 17D: One of the Planeten (Erde) — this made no sense to me at first. Then I remembered that ERDE is one of six or so German words I know. Means "Earth."
  • 34D: Infomercial cutter (Ginsu) — ads for these were a staple of my childhood.
  • 63D: Hangar 18 contents, supposedly (ETs) — a hangar at Wright-Patterson AFB that allegedly holds evidence from the Roswell UFO incident.
  • 70D: Dad's rival (A and W) — ampersandwich. Last time the NYT used this clue, I think the answer was BARQ'S.
  • 86D: O. Henry-winning author Tillie (Olsen) — one of many authors on my mother's bookshelves whose names I know but whom I never read.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

[Muffins, coffee, and (wife's) Saturday puzzle ... in which wife invents the term "MULTI-facial"]

71 comments:

David McMullin 8:40 AM  

Rex, your quibble with house addressed being a simple addition doesn't seem to fit. Surely this is a change of "house arrest" to "house addressed".

Crosscan 8:47 AM  

Ok puzzle for me. No real wow factor.

NARA/MAOTAI was a correct guess here. I did have one wrong letter. ORSEN/REX. Why would I think of REX?

ALAMO as National rival is odd. They are owned by the same company. I rented from National a couple of months ago and they ran out of cars in the class I chose so they gave me one from the Alamo row. Hardly a rival.

Hobbyist 9:04 AM  

I had "fool Dwight" for ages w slowed my progress. A fun puzzle but that cryptic one looks impossible. Mel Taub I can cope with.

twangster 9:05 AM  

I had some trouble in the bottom left, where everything I could think of was wrong: RDA, AMAZES, ECOLI, METE, and I didn't know TETRA or EXEDRA.

joho 9:18 AM  

I guessed "O" at NARA and like Crosscan had rEX instead of LEX. Also, like Rex, I entered the "X" as my last letter when I finally understood EXP.

I declare NATICK at MAOTAI/NARA!

I declare stupidity at OLSEN/LEX.

My word of the day is EXEDRA.

I wanted to love this puzzle but I didn't and I'm not sure why.

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

I happen to have a bottle of that Chinese liquor in the frig (someone gave it to us). It says Mou Tai on it, not Mai Tai.
Peri

Rex Parker 9:46 AM  

Well, MAI TAI is not the answer.

And MOU TAI is (confusingly) the spelling given to MAOTAI by the state-owned Chinese company that produces it. Acc. to wikipedia: "Kweichow Moutai Company Limited (SSE: 600519) is a state-owned enterprise in China, specializing in the production and sales of Maotai liquor."

rp

Denise 9:48 AM  

Tillie Olsen's "Tell Me a Riddle" is an absolute must-read to understand your mother! (And all mothers.) When you take that book down from the shelf, you might find "The G Spot" hidden behind it.

I finished with the X as well, after googling and thinking -- everything else was gettable.

Did Mao invent this liquor?

If you ever have a chance to visit Nara -- do it. A lovely temple-filled small city.

Orange 10:04 AM  

Ah, MAO/TAI—my favorite pairs figure skating couple. Chairman Mao and Tai Babilonia were transcendent on the ice together.

retired_chemist 10:16 AM  

An interesting puzzle. Some odd words - NARTHEX (83A), EXEDRA (96D) - added spice. Is soccer star KAKA (41D) upset that his name is a homonym for baby talk for doo-doo? Amusing in a homophonically constructed puzzle.

Wasn't sure how Motor-driven (adjective) was POWER (noun) - remembered power (adj.) mower as I wrote this, but still not thrilled. Had enough of the right letters in 79D to want ALDRICH AMES, but (a) that was several decades later and (b) two letters longer. A few seconds thought set me right. Wanted MAI TAI for MAO TAI but the theme (and the inanity of CIOL)saved me. No prob with NARA – been there. Quite famous, like Den Haag – NaN. If you visit the Osaka/Kyoto area of Japan almost certainly your hosts will want to take you there (Nara, not Den Haag).

OMANI times have I been in hot pursuit of APERÇU lately? A lot. Kinda TARred of it. Please, no MOE. I’VE XENONough for a while. You’ve been WARRENed.

retired_chemist 10:17 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter S. 10:19 AM  

Nice puzzle and nice write-up!

Having just finished teaching my first film class, I had CANTED near the top of my brain. You can see some famous uses of CANTED angles (or Dutch angles) in The Third Man, Do The Right Thing, and -- more notoriously -- Batman.

Oh, yeah... and Notorious, too.

In fact, I'm sort of surprised I haven't found more film terminology in crosswords.

ArtLvr 10:27 AM  

My last was an X too -- in OXEN at the top! Seems I wanted Mesons, overlooking the "gas" part of the Atom clue for XENONS, which didn't strike me as likely to be plural. I now must DO PENDANTS.

Morphing themes into the final answers distracted me no end, especially "Psychic" ENERGY from SI (D) E KICK. Mine own DOTH seem D-rained away.

Okay puzzle, nice seeing the NARTHEX on a Sunday. Mostly I find BEQ goes TOO FAR for my taste. R_C sums it up deftly!

∑;(

Morgan 10:33 AM  

I have to say, I'm SHOCKED that you liked this puzzle, Rex. I thought for sure you'd pan it, as you have other pun-filled, add-a-letter/sound Sundays. I found it pretty boring, all-in-all, but definitely doable.

Least favorite: ALANA and ELENA in the same puzzle.

Most favorite: SNOW DWIGHT.

Noam D. Elkies 10:33 AM  

94A:HOUSEADDRESSED is the also the only theme entry that adds the D sound as a double letter.

Besides N?RA/M?OTAI there's the intersection at 37 of a random sports name with a random-looking dog breed :-(

Lot of X's in this puzzle — is BEQ changing his last name to "Quixley"? ;-) I'm not sure the plural 7D:XENONS is entirely legitimate, even if chemists informally say things like "magnetite has three irons and four oxygens". Different isotopes or compositions (as in terrestrial vs. meteoritic xenons), that I can believe. Or light bulbs (I'll take three xenons and four halogens). "Xenons" is more fun than "tenons", anyway.

What kind of parent names their kid 41D:KAKA? That's even worse than Al Kaline...

Happy Flag Day,
--NDE

Puffin 11:08 AM  

It was a treat to see Uncle Leo in the puzzle. I haven't watched Seinfeld in a few years so I had to get my head back into a few old episodes in order to remember it. The one that finally triggered the answer was the one where Leo's eyebrows got burned off.

jeff in chicago 11:09 AM  

Didn't care for it. And I like BEQ puzzles a lot. But too much of the theme fill seemed forced. And ODDSHOE? ONECOURSE? Never liked NLER (or ALER) either. There was little joy in this solve for me.

fikink 11:11 AM  

Interesting, for all the hipness, the underlying reverential tone to BEQ puzzles. I enjoy them.

CANTED was the subject of discussion on this blog last year. Great word. About the same time we had KERF, another great word.

@Hobbyist, yes, I looked at the Cryptic and decided the same thing...leaving it for tonight.

bill from fl 11:18 AM  

Elena Ceaucescu, according to Wikipedia, was quite a monster. She was famous for her observation (of her beloved Romanians) that "the worms never get satisfied, no matter how much food you give them." As head of the state health agency, she denied the existence of AIDS, a position that contributed to the spread of the disease in her country, especially among children. No wonder she was later hanged along with her husband.

Kurt 11:21 AM  

Maybe I'm just in a happy mood today, but I liked this puzzle a lot. I found it entertaining and fun. No major problems. My journey was almost exactly the same as Rex ... including the reasoned guess on the NARA/MAOTAI cross and the last letter entered (X).

Thanks to Commander Quigley and General Parker.

pednsg 11:21 AM  

I am always proud to say I was born and raised in Cleveland, and I'm always happy to see childhood memories in the puzzle - Brian Sipe was the quarterback for the Browns during elementary school. I wouldn't have gotten that clue, nor SALUKI, had I not been from America's beautiful North Coast.

Being from Cleveland most certainly did NOT help me with the NARTHEX / APERCU crossing - holy Toledo. Seems I should have known APERCU for some reason, but I agree with Rex that NARTHEX sounds like science fiction. I kept thinking that the X had to represent the word cross, and I was coming up with "nag the cross," "nab the cross"... Not very pretty in that section.

For some reason, I couldn't fathom that G-spot would pass the breakfast test (it wouldn't offend me), but I put it in first, without any crosses, since if felt so right. It seemed just fine for BEQ's terrific puzzles.

Side note - after seeing "Exodus hero" (Ari) in so so many puzzles over the past hew years, I finally started reading this book, and it's the only thing that's competed with my crossword time in the last few weeks. It's the first book I've read in ages (work, 2 kids under four...), and it is nothing short of amazing - I've got about 80 pages to go, so no spoilers please, but MAN - I've got to make reading a more routing part of my life!! Great day, all.

Ulrich 11:22 AM  

First of all, my hat goes off to BEQ (or his editor) for using the correct plural of Planet in the clue, including the upper case!!!--way to go!!! It somehow restores my badly bruised confidence in the competence of constructors/editors when it comes to German--now, if they could brush up on German history (I still haven't forgiven them the Charlemagne fiasco at the ACPT).

More generally, I really liked the theme (and I normally do not like add-a-letter themes) b/c the spellings of the homophonic parts are so far off that I had to read several answers aloud (leaving out the D sound) in order to get the pun (SIDE KICK ENERGY being the most "egregious"), and I admired that. And to me, HOUSE-ADDRESSED is right up there with the rest of them. Kudos BEQ!

Ulrich 11:33 AM  

... ah, and Rex, thanks for the Kaka video.

With skills like that, who gives a shit about the name? Remember, "Depp" means "moron" in German (slang), and Johnny D. has a huge fan base there--it seems you reach a point where you no longer notice the literal meaning of a name when the bearer creates that much excitement.

I'm now waiting for the I've-never-heard=of=Jagr crowd to start complaining about Kaka.

nanpilla 11:43 AM  

The theme was easy to figure out, since BEQ's Friday puzzle was quite similar, although this one was a lot easier! I wonder which one came first?
Never heard of EXEDRA, thought that would be the word of the day.
Leaving tomorrow for my horseback adventure, see you all in two weeks.

retired_chemist 12:03 PM  

@ NDE - I too have my questions about XENONS - finally let it slide, more or less on your rationale: "There are molecules with one xenon, but are there any with two XENONS?"

For those of you whose chemistry stopped before 1962, that year was when the "inert" gas xenon learned to form compounds.

mac 12:12 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle, and, like Ulrich, had to read some of the answers out loud to figure where they originated. Got the system with Amityville hoarder, which made it a little easier.

Even though I like soccer, I would not have known Kaka's name if I hadn't heard it on the car-radio a few days ago. Apparently he is set to sign the biggest contract ever, isn't it with Real Madrid?

Talking about sports, I was completely at a loss, like Noam, with the Saluki/Sipe crossing. Some words, like exedra, narthex and canted, I must know, because they materialized. The mind/memory is an odd thing....

@Peter S: why is this called "Dutch angles"? We have a small painting by Duncan Grant that definitely has canted angles, as if he painted it lying on the floor. Maybe he did, it's a still-life with lots of bottles.

The puzzle page in the NYT Magazine looks very different today, and there is no cryptic, it seems to have been replaced by Kenken.

archaeoprof 12:17 PM  

MAOTAI + NARA = Natick.

But thanks, Rex, for explaining how you correctly solved that devilish little crossing. That will help me think better next time.

@Ulrich: I smiled when I saw the capital "P" in Planeten.

edith b 12:22 PM  

I've never seen an "add a letter theme" that approached spelling in this way and it forced me back a step or two. The spelling kept me from seeing the referent "house arrest" at 94A although I worked from the south up.

The NW was the last area to fall as I was unable to parse IA or figure out the last theme entry at 23A. I made the same guess as Rex at the M*OTAI?|/N*ARA cross.

Dough 12:25 PM  

I will give a shout-out to 94A: "HOUSE-ADDRESSED," which I thought, within the scope of the theme, was surprising and perfect for the lower half of the puzzle, once the theme had been revealed. It was easily my favorite entry. Otherwise, I found this the usual thrashing through the jungle of a BEQ for me. NARA was new for me; I know it as the National Archives and Records Administration, which preserves our nation's documentary treasures, including the Declaration, Constitution, and Elvis's letter to Nixon.

fikink 12:31 PM  

@Mac, you brought such a smile!
Your saying you have a small painting by Duncan Grant reminded me of a line from Sondheim's A Little Night Music, wherein Hermione Gingold was pondering the advantages of "Liaisons" and sang:

"I acquired some position,
plus a tiny Titian..."

Wonderful!




(Sorry, Orange.)

miriam b 1:00 PM  

@mac: The cryptic is on a different page. It's a cute one. I love Kenken, but the right-hand one in today's mag was brutal and way too time-consuming.

@retired_chemist: Thanks for the update on xenon. My chemistry degree predates 1962, long before the time some of the noble gases became somewhat ignoble, and my subsequent experience didn't involve xenon in any way.

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

The Cryptic is on page 54 of today's NYT Mag, Mac.
Polly

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

What's APERCU? I got it by crosses and spent way too long trying figure out which cross was incorrect. :-)

Dan 1:39 PM  

This theme type is pretty blah, but when it's executed so well, with all the surprising spelling changes, it makes for a perfect Sunday puzzle. Minus one point for the NARA/MAOTAI crossing, and half a point for NLER. Approved!

Rex, I learned NARTHEX from crossword clues - it's apparently next to the NAVE. No such luch with EXEDRA. Fikink, how could you apologize for quoting Sondheim? I'm sure any wordplay lover would appreciate musicals more if s/he were exposed to some of the most brilliant rhyming in human history... :)

In the depths of her interior
Were fears she was inferior
And something even eerier -
But no one dared to query her superior exterior...

jae 2:05 PM  

My experience mirrored Rex's with the same ?? spots and "lucky" guesses. Figured MAO because of the Chairman which apparently wasn't right but it got me the right answer. Liked the puzzle, medium for me also, but not as lively as what we see from BEQ on his website. Could we be spoiled??

Tom 2:06 PM  

Unexciting puzzle today, sorry. I didn't like " DO PENDANTS " and it was blah ever after.

Rex's writeup is always interesting, and that's why I visit . . .

foodie 2:11 PM  

It takes balls (ahem) to put GSPOT at 1A.. And the execution of the theme is very good. I like PASSED MUSTARD because I always think that Pass Muster is an odd phrase and muster always reminds me of MUSTARD...

When he was about 3 years old, my little brother had a hobby: Throwing shoes out of the balcony onto the streets. We had a lot of ODD SHOEs in our closets...

For a while, in answer to where cringe making humor might go, I had TO A BAR, in lieu of TOO FAR.. Lots of confirmation for that...

@fikink, thanks for your comment yesterday re "mending fences". I never knew why that phrase implied a greater sense of cooperation than a fence usually connotes (more separation). Now I understand. Cool!

poc 2:13 PM  

Didn't NARTHEX appear in a puzzle in the last year or two? I'm sure this isn't the first time I've seen it.

How many had MAITAI for a while? :-)

Lili 2:56 PM  

I found this puzzle irritating. When you remove the "D" from the theme answers, you don't end up with an actual word. "Leopard Colony" becomes "Leopar Colony," which doesn't strike me as clever, the obvious relationship with "Leper" notwithstanding. I was particularly unimpressed by "Sidekick Energy" becoming "Siekick Energy."

However, I did figure out the theme quickly, and I knew several of the non-theme answers right away: Hite, Alger Hiss, Olsen. I'm a bit puzzled by why a paper loss would be unrealized -- surely you'd notice a decline in value while going over your investments? I certainly have. And to art historians like me, an "exedra" is an architectural element, not a bench (though such certainly exists), so that gave me a bit of trouble.

All in all, not one of my favorites.

Clark 3:05 PM  

Defeated in Baha. Had SUFFER for SELLER and ZEBRA for TETRA and couldn't clear it up. Bah!

@Rex - not only is KAKA "not the greatest name for becoming famous in America" its not so great for becoming famous anywhere that has an indo-european language. The Proto-Indo-European word KAKKA means "to defecate" and a version of it shows up in an astonishing number of languages. Is KAKA's name perhaps a nickname?

@Lili - a paper loss is an unrealized loss for tax purposes. Until some taxable event occurs losses or gains are not realized, they are not taxed, they are only paper losses or gains. I suppose 'realize' here means 'actualize' (make actual, make real) rather than 'become aware of'.

Ulrich 3:11 PM  

@Lili: The point is, they are homophones, and outlandish ones to boot--that's exactly what some of us admire.

@mac: Yes, Kaka moves from AC Milan to Real Madrid, which is paying 65 mio Euro, i.e. some 80 mio $ (I don't know the exact exchange rate right now), and is giving Kaka a 6-year contract--i.e. it's paying more than 10 mio Euro per year. But it's not the most expensive transfer in soccer history--Real payed 71 mio Euro for Zidane in the past.

@nanpilla: Bon voyage, and don't fall of the horse!

John 3:15 PM  

This puzzle was a tedious solve. Not really worth the effort required. No Joy in Puzzleville today The Mighty Quigley has struck out!

Lurker0 3:16 PM  

@Noam D. Elkies

"Besides N?RA/M?OTAI there's the intersection at 37 of a random sports name with a random-looking dog breed :-("

@mac

"Talking about sports, I was completely at a loss, like Noam, with the Saluki/Sipe crossing."

---

This is a double sports-crossing! The Salukis are the basketball team of Southern Illinous University, who played in the NCAA tournament from 2004 to 2007. But "Sipe" was harder for me.

@miriam b (OFF-TOPIC):

"I love Kenken, but the right-hand one in today's mag was brutal and way too time-consuming."

Yes, the 7x7 took a lot of work, but the 5x5 was trivial. I wonder if Will Shortz, in addition to pushing KenKen, is sending a warning to newbies about how demanding it can be. I know the six daily puzzles (oops -- make that twelve daily puzzles!) demand more time than I can afford, despite being retired like R_C.

Larry the Lurker

Ulrich 3:18 PM  

... and @Clark: Yes, Kaká was born Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite 27 years ago. And in German, kacken is slang for "defecate", Kacke is what it produces, and little children are told not to call it that. What I don't know is what Kaká means in Portuguese (he's from Brazil).

Anonymous 3:23 PM  

I guess I'm with Lili as I didn't
get why some the answers were
there.

Couple of new words in there for me too. But, the BIG duh moment
was finally getting Amityville Hoarder where I live!! double duh
Rhea

Clark 3:51 PM  

@Ulrich -- (figuring everyone has had breakfast by now) From a quick review of the matter, it appears that 'caca' does show up in Potuguese meaning 'excrement'. Not surprising. Caco, cacare -- latin for 'to defecate'. I also found a specific reference to it as part of Brazilian slang. None of this is to suggest that these meaning of the word need to rub off on the bearer of the nickname. I had a couple of nicknames for many years as a kid that were a bit crude. Endearing but edgy when your friends and loved ones call you by a name that has one foot in the gutter.

John 3:51 PM  

@Clark

Kaka is indeed a nickname -- I think all Brazilian soccer players have one-name nicknames because Brasilians tend to have very long names (Kaka's real name is Ricardo Izescon dos Santos Leite). Hence, "Ronaldo", "Ronaldinho", "Robinho", etc. It doesn't make much difference for its potential to cause tittering, but the emphasis is on the second syllable and it's not an uncommon cutesy nickname in Brazil for people named Ricardo.

As for the puzzle, I loved it. Count me in the BEQ fan club -- there's always stuff in his puzzles that you don't see elsewhere (words and construction techniques) and they always feel fresh. This one is no exception. Favorite theme answer has to be SIDEKICK ENERGY. Brings to mind a hyperactive Robin...

Doug 3:52 PM  

Disagree on any Maotai = Natick. Once again, one person's gimmee is another's impossibility. I actually import Chinese liquor into the US, and Maotai is my #1 competitor. Maotai, made from sorghum, is majority owned by the Chinese People's Liberation Army and is the biggest selling liquor in China. There's your useful OR interesting (pick one) factoid for the day. Don't run out and buy some--It's more than an acquired taste, verging on just gross.

Didn't see this was a BEQ puzzle until the blog, but it's screaming out his name. Been doing his daily PUZ with much enjoyment!

mac 4:06 PM  

@Miriam B and Polly: thank you for the tip. I took a look at it and I think I prefer to go with Merl Reagle and Will Nediger.

@Dan: that was a great bit of lyrics!

@Fikink: glad I made you smile!

My favorite theme answer and the one I had to sound out was Sidekick Energy also, just great.

George NYC 4:32 PM  

If you take the first D off 23A, you get "appendix". Brilliant!

Glitch 4:48 PM  

@Doug

I think your first sentence contradicts the second (in your last post).

This crossing meets all the Natick criteria in Rex's sidebar post, unless more than 1/4 of the population are Chineese liquor importers, or, as @r_c asserts, have been to "hosted" in Osaka.

And I bet the Venn intersection would be mighty sparse.

BTY, Natick was coined upon a BEQ letter substitution puzzle. Maybe he's trying to make it a trademark?

.../Glitch

fergus 6:15 PM  

I'm a little bit ashamed that it took so long to find the G-SPOT. I guess I was fumbling around quite a bit with this puzzle, but nevertheless was enjoying it. Only real problem came from KOBE before switching over to N___. Also the correct spelling of KOOL-AID. My favorite was LEOPARD COLONY.

Doug 6:45 PM  

@Glitch

You can also get the answer just by eliminating the alternative options: MeO, MiO, MoO, MuO don't exist. Easy!

Osaka is in Japan, which isn't in China, so ... well, I won't blather on about geography.

D.

Noam D. Elkies 7:10 PM  

Yes, the puzzle page looks different. So does the whole magazine, as explained in an introductory note about the new size, fonts, etc. As a mathematician, I didn't find the 7-by-7 KenKen too ornery: there's a neat parity trick (not to be confused with a party trick) that resolves the 7x6x2 vs 7x4x3 ambiguity. [The total number of odd digits in columns one and two is 8, so the 84x box must have an even number of them because the remaining boxes have even total parity. Likewise in columns 3 and 4.] But I'm still glad that these KenKens are additions to the expected cryptic, not replacements.

@R_C: While most of the compounds reported on the Xenon wikipage indeed have only a single xenon atom, there are a handful of examples with two or even more, which I'm sure you'll appreciate better than I can. That "tetraxenogold(II)" seems particularly strange — which I suppose is apt given the meaning of ξένον...

NDE

chefwen 7:36 PM  

I groaned when I saw that this was a BEQ puzzle, I'm usually not on his wave length, but I actually liked this one and enjoyed doing it. Had very little liqued paper usage and just a few googles, that KAKA guy was one of them, I have absolutley no knowledge of anything to do with soccer.

Nanpilla, have a great trip, just thinking about it makes my butt ache.

PIX 7:57 PM  

@71A: "Putts that might be conceded"...I was certain the answer was "Gimmes" (as in I'll concede the put so that you don't have to actually bother taping it in). We're not very strict about the rules when we play.

Glitch 8:34 PM  

@Doug

Not up on my Chinese, I wasn't aware your alternatives to Mao "don't exist" so it wasn't that "easy" for me.

I've seen "Moo Goo" on Chinese menus, and we have a Japanese "Nora" hanging so MooTai crossing Nora was equally probable in my mind. (The Osaka reference was citing @r_c on the latter)

As you said, "Once again, one person's gimmee is another's impossibility".

'nuf said, let's see what tomorow brings ;)

.../Glitch

Amelie 8:45 PM  

Being a regular churchgoer, NARTHEX was a gimme for me.

I liked the fact that this was a little different from the run-of-the-mill substitute-or-add-one-letter gimmick.

@ Anonymous 1:16 -- APERCU is from the French "apercevoir," which means "perceive," and it means a short summary or outline.

foodie 9:20 PM  

Anonymous 1:16 and @ Amelia, I agree with Amelia's explanation but I wanted to add a small nuance. In French, aperçevoir can mean both to perceive and to catch a glimpse of something. Hence the connotation of "apercu" as looking at an overview or summary.

@Glitch, I saw a fountain in LA with your avatar on it! I half expected to bump into you. At least I knew it would be a He-Glitch. Never thanked you for tangentially satisfying my curiosity. So thank you!

I wonder if there will ever be a fountain with a strawberry in the middle.

retired_chemist 9:56 PM  

@ Glitch re NARA - not quite what I said - NARA is well known per se IMO, whether or nor your Japanese hosts want to take you there. But they will.

CA-ca time again: the word "cack-handed" in British parlance refers to lefties, and as well to clumsy people. Derived from.... you. guessed. it. Check the link for more insight into the details of the etymology.As a southpaw, I am offended, but I am getting over myself.

Stan 11:40 PM  

Witty, intelligent puzzle (with tough moments as noted by others).

More BEQ!

Not That Brendan 1:19 AM  

@ Noam D. Elkies: Thanks for the parity trick in the KenKen -- I was all set for lots of guess-and-check tonight.

Regarding the crossword, it took me a while to crack the theme, but after that it was relatively smooth sailing. Northern California gave me the most trouble, but somehow I escaped scot-free. (I'm not too happy with the clue for 71D, however. "Tithe" and TENTH are synonymous, and are similar enough words to have made me hesitant to fill it in.)

Only two errors: I forgot to fill in the vowel in 1D, and I just threw in a random consonant (an L) in the middle of 101A.

Anonymous 2:04 AM  

purplekow here

Forgot my password and I hate being anonymous though I have posted here that way in the past.

This puzzle was easier than most Sunday puzzles for me but after reading all the comments I still have no explanation for 1 D Precedes here and there GADS I guessed that Elana was too closed to Elena elsewhere in the puzzle so went with Alana Davis who is not someone I know. I know I will feel really stupid when the GADS answer explained

Anonymous 2:12 AM  

Purplekow here again

Proceeds here and there rather than precedes here and there. Well at least in now makes sense though except for some distant recollection of Gad About Gladys I believe it was, perhaps an old radio show??? Gads is still and oddity and Alana Davis a stranger to my world

Anonymous 2:19 AM  

Purplekow for the last time

Gadabout Gaddis apparently a nickname for someone who also went by the name the Flying Fisherman and who had a fishing show in the 1960s For anyone reading this

Glitch 10:03 AM  

@Purplekow

If you're still reading, I remember the show, and agree "gad" is a bit dated, but the usage was generally to describe someone to traveled about like a
"gadfly" --- flitting from place to place

"She was a gad about (around) town" = socialite seen everywhere

Gadabout Gaddis traveled to a different lake for each show.

.../Glitch

Joon 11:16 AM  

rex, you made the same sci-fi association with NARTHEX the last time it came up, about a year ago. points for consistency.

Lili 12:31 PM  

Ulrich, my point is that they're not real homophones. When you remove the "D", the "word" that remains isn't, in most cases, an actual word. In a true homophone pair, both words must be real: "lichen" and "liken," for example.

I suppose "bouler" could describe someone who plays Boules, if you wanted to stretch a point. And "wight" is archaic, but it at least exists if you happen to be an academic specialist in Middle English, as a couple of my friends are.

Rex Parker 12:44 PM  

As a mathematician (actually, as some who got his Ph.D. in Middle English literature ... never mind how irrelevant that is to my following point), I have to say that the insistence that the word in the theme answer be a word without the "D" strikes me as absurd and completely misses the point. What you see as a weakness is the Strength of the puzzle. Simply adding a letter to a word to get another word... BORING. Tired. Pedestrian. Been Done. Adding a "D" to words in a way that (In Every Case) necessitates respelling (and thorough reconceptualization of meaning) of those words ... novel. Interesting. At least to me (and, it seems, Ulrich). You don't have to like it, but asking BOULER to be a word feels like a bizarre request that misses what the puzzle is trying to do.

rp

edith b 12:32 AM  

You are absolutely right, Rex. The odd spelling made me back up a step but I understood (and admired) the result. To insist that an actual word needs to be present misses the point completely.

Aphid Larue 8:52 PM  

Neat puzzle. I knew maotai, probably because my husband likes to drink weird things. If you have it in your fridge I wouldn't advise opening it--the stench doesn't go away for a long time. Poor richard Nixon had to endure multiple toasts using maotai the first time he went to China. We can appreciate that, anyway.

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