NBC Football analyst/reporter longtime writer —SUNDAY, Oct. 25 2009— Bridge expert Culbertson / Famous deerstalker wearer / Freud disciple Alfred

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Quotation by PETER KING (112A: NBC Football analyst/reporter and longtime writer), a writer for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (94A: Magazine for which 112-Across writes):

"MY GOAL IN LIFE IS / TO BE A CLUE / IN THE NEW YORK TIMES / CROSSWORD PUZZLE. / I'VE / NEVER TOLD ANYONE / THAT BUT IT'S TRUE." (23A: Start of a wish by 112-Across on 9/21/09)

Word of the Day: ISIDORE the Laborer (73A: _____ the Laborer, patron saint of farmers)Isidore the Laborer, also known as Isidore the Farmer, (Spanish: San Isidro Labrador), (c. 107015 May 1130) was a Spanish day laborer known for his goodness toward the poor and animals. He is the Catholic patron saint of farmers and of Madrid and of La Ceiba, Honduras. [...] Every morning before going to work, Isidore was accustomed to hearing a Mass at one of the churches in Madrid. One day his fellow-laborers complained to their master that Isidore was always late for work in the morning. Upon investigation, so runs the legend, the master found Isidore at prayer while an angel was doing the plowing for him. [...] St Isidore married Maria Torribia, a canonized saint, who is known as Santa María de la Cabeza in Spain because her head (cabeza in Spanish) is often carried in procession, especially during droughts. (wikipedia)

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Short write-up today, as my computer is away having its life force sucked into my new computer, which should be operational by Tuesday. Wife's computer is OK, but just found out I can't print from it (haven't installed printer drive yet and don't have time right now). So I'm having to toggle back and forth between what I'm typing and the puzzle and clues (screen not big enough to hold both), which is horrible. Much prefer my normal method, with puzzle printed out (and marked up!) on paper. Bah.

This puzzle is about the weirdest thing I've seen in the NYT. It's like a love letter to one guy. Why anyone else should care ... I don't know. If you wanna put the guy in a puzzle, just put him in a puzzle. No need to beatify him like this. I mean, it's cute, in its way, in that it's all meta- and self-referential and what not, and the quote miraculously (with some help from the addition of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED) breaks into chunks that can be arranged with the requisite rotational symmetry. But unless Brendan is leaving his wife for PETER KING, this gesture seems oddly extravagant. Actually, having made a puzzle for someone who didn't ask for it just because I could (you'll see it soon — I wrote it for charity), maybe I don't think the puzzle love is that odd — I mean, from a constructor's perspective. My main theory is that Brendan is hoping this will get him a mention or two during today's NFL games — an aspiration I can't begrudge him at all. Independent puzzle writer's gotta do what an independent puzzle writer's gotta do. Wait, NBC doesn't even have pro football, does it? [NOTE: many have written to tell me that NBC has Sunday Night Football — so look for that]; whatever, those NFL analysts all talk to / about each other. There's hope.

OK, so, otherwise, despite some crap like GHIJ and XOO, the puzzle is, unsurprisingly, solidly filled, with some great flair like TOOLBOX (67A: Garage container) over OXYMORON (74A: Hell's Angels, e.g.) and ABBA EBAN on (literally on) a 'ROID RAGE (19A: Violent behavior due to excessive use of banned athletic substances). I guess you can't really be "on" a RAGE. A RAMPAGE, sure. Whatever, it sounds good. I think the hardest part of the puzzle was probably the SW, where PETER KING's name was. Many people will not have heard of him — sports fans will know him, and he's an established name in sports journalism, but ... let's just say that I know him, and it still took me several crosses to figure out it was him. Some of the answers down there aren't terribly easy either. Took me a while to get PUNKERS (95D: Some Warped Tour attendees) and SCARIER (94D: More hairy) and especially SCUM (101: Refuse), even though the noun meaning of "Refuse" was one of the first interpretations that occurred to me. SCUM = not a pretty word. See also NALDI (27A: Nita of silents). And see also SIGIL (125A: Magical symbol), which sounds like something you should have removed.

Bullets:

  • 13A: _____ Errol, main character in "Little Lord Fauntleroy" (Cedric) — No idea! I know CEDRIC the Entertainer, and that is about the only CEDRIC I know. Oh, wait, CEDRIC Maxwell. I know him too.
  • 20A: Humana competitor (Aetna) — just listened to a "This American Life" podcast about the health insurance industry on the way back from Syracuse yesterday, and AETNA's name was all over that.
  • 36A: Like the best wallets? (fattest) — nice. I was thinking about leather quality, but this is better.
  • 50A: Parliament output? (ash) — the misdirection here is weird, in that, knowing Brendan's musical bent, I figured "Parliament" here would refer to the funk band. But no. Cigarette!


  • 79A: Prince _____ Khan, third husband of Rita Hayworth (Aly) — had AGA here at first. Rita Hayworth was in "Gilda" with Glenn Ford, who showed up in the grid recently.
  • 93A: Law in Lima (ley) — I'm sure I've seen it before but still the only word I could think of was LEX.
  • 103A: Actor who said "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse" (Pacino) — first, here is the *verb* meaning of "refuse." Much better than the SCUM / noun meaning. Second, I thought BRANDO said this. Maybe PACINO resaid it. Or BRANDO never said it. In barely related 70s crime movie news, I bought "Chinatown" on DVD yesterday.
  • 109A: Minotaur feet (hooves) — Nice, monstrous way to clue this one.
  • 8D: "99 Luftballons" pop group (Nena) — always thought the singer was named "NENA." Didn't know it was a band.


  • 13D: Middle-school Girl Scout (cadette) — I am in love with this word ... which is to be carefully distinguished from being in love with an actual Middle-school Girl Scout. VERY carefully distinguished.
  • 29D: Creator of Oz (Baum) — have you read this comic by Alan Moore called "The Lost Girls." If you treasure your innocent, completely non-sexual memories of Oz (or Wonderland, or wherever "Peter Pan" took place), you'll want to stay far, far away from Alan Moore's "The Lost Girls."
  • 38D: Nickname of the Spice Girls' Sporty Spice (Mel C) — there is also a MEL B. I resent this clue for making me remember the '90s.
  • 55D: Famous deerstalker wearer (Holmes) — wanted only ELMER or FUDD here.
  • 72D: Bridge expert Culbertson (Ely) — ALY and ELY in same grid. It's "guys who spell their names like adverbial endings" day.
  • 83D: _____ Schneider, villainess in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (Ilsa) — Since ILSA of the S.S. is a notorious movie character (in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if she was BEQ's original clue here), and I haven't seen this "Indy" movie, I just figured "Bad German lady = ILSA." That equation apparently works. [IGNORE THIS ENTIRE COMMENT — actual answer, as you can see in the grid, is ELSA]
  • 99D: 2016 Olympics locale (Rio) — Brendan does like to be first with things ... though this may be a late add by Will, depending on when the puzzle was accepted.

No "Tweets of the Week" this week. I wasn't paying enough attention. I'll bring the segment back next week.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

115 comments:

Anonymous 8:29 AM  

Who's Peter King?

Disappointing, inaccessible puzzle today. No fun.

JannieB 8:38 AM  

Just what I've come to expect from a BEQ - very current fill, obscure musical groups/people, and a puzzle I'm proud to have solved.

Really thought "sigil" would be the word (WTF) of the day.

Never heard of Peter King, but I'm sure many people share that same wish.

John 8:45 AM  

Don't follow sports,
Don't watch NBC,
Had no idea WTF the puzzle was about,
Had to google the Quote to have any chance of solving it.
No joy in Puzzleville today!

Joe 9:09 AM  

I gave up. Couldn't have cared less about the quote, the guy who said it, or the magazine he wrote/writes for. As for the rest of it...I finished most of the South, but found the North impenetrable, particularly the NE. I started Googling the hell out of it. Now that I'm done, I still have an error. And I'm not even going to bother figuring out what it was. I'm just glad it's over. Blaaaahhh. (and he goes to cry in his coffee...)

Crosscan 9:12 AM  

What an odd take on this puzzle. Quote puzzles are about the quote, not the speaker.

GHIJ is a cool word I've been waiting years to see in the puzzle. Not.

Me like.

Elaine 9:20 AM  

@Rex- you say ILSA, but you meant ELSA (and it's correct in the puzzle grid)--but for a moment I thought I was going to have to go back to the drawing board and rework an entire section! But you were working Under Difficult Circumstances, we realize.

This puzzle seemed hard, if only because there was so much material that was only clued "wish." I Googled for PUNKERS, SDAK, and CEDRIC. Most things emerged (including the quote) but some just looked wrong: SAPOR, AZODYE, and SIGIL are new words for me...and I am pretty sure I won't be using them unless I fall and hit my head really hard...

Maybe it's a rush to satisfy someone's lifetime ambition? I liked BEQ's website puzzles much more than this one; (sorry, Brendan.) But he did make me Google, so game over!

Elaine 9:28 AM  

Oho. SAPOR is Latin. Somewhat unfair clue, then.

Oh, and I read "Sports Illustrated" for about 10 years--the 70's. Never recall seeing Peter King's name (which emerged on crosses.) Maybe he doesn't go that far back.

capesunset105 9:35 AM  

I only got hung up in the NE corner, wanted Cooper for tires.
Brando, DeNiro, Pacino---all 6 letters. Tried Pacino last, sadly.

I liked the puzzle and its theme just fine, but then again, I'm New York City born and raised.... and I've tried but it won't let me go.

Thanks BEQ, admirable construction in a super tight time frame.

Calmad 9:38 AM  

Did anyone else get HOL___ for 55D and immediately put HOLDEN?

That screwed me for awhile.

PlantieBea 9:53 AM  

Add me to the list of those who haven't heard of Peter King. I was able to solve this puzzle without help, and I even liked most of the fill; but I had to assume that King is an icon in the sports writing field to have the theme quotation make any sense. Please tell, BEQ!

New word was SIGIL, and I only reluctantly entered SAPOR. It seems like I'm always trying to decide if a puzzle's long time is AGE, EON, or ERA, and this puzzle had 'em all!

OXEYE flowers are composed of DISC and RAY FLORETS, where the ray florets are the outer individual parts that look like petals of other flowers. The DISC florets of the eye are actually fused tubules that resemble the stamens in other flowers. The DISC and RAY florets typify the aggregate flowers of the Asteraceae family.

Thanks BEQ for the puzzle, RP for the write-up!

Trip to Portugal 9:57 AM  

THought her name was Elsa, not Ilsa - Ilsa does not fit.

F.O.G. 9:59 AM  

This is one of the few NYT Sunday puzzles that I didn't enjoy. Figured out PETERKING and SPORTSILLUSTRATED early, but struggled with the quote. I often listen to Peter King on the SiriusXM NFL channel, but haven't heard him talk about his "goal in life."

Add several obscure terms as noted by Elaine, and it was a chore to finish. Oh well, on to the online Acrostic.

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

Quite an unrewarding puzzle today! Awful to slog through this one.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

I'm a football fan, and watch NBC Sunday Night Football religiously. BUT for the puzzle's theme to be some esoteric/obscure quote by Peter King?!!! Totally, agree with Rex's write-up. (And he didn't even mention that King is considered a blowhard by tons of football fans because of his love affair with Brett Favre, and other annoying tendencies.)

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

A nice personal surprise birthday
puzzle...with the accent on personal. A joyless slog for the solving public.
Your criticism is spot-on Rex.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:21 AM  

And I thought Peter King was a Congressman from New York!

But seriously, I just looked at a clip from The Godfather on YouTube, and it sure looks as if Marlon Brando is the one who says, "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse". What did I miss?

Otherwise, aargh, all those proper and obscure names! Still, I finished all OK with just one write-over: had REIN before RIEN. (I had zero years of French, so I face such clues with PEUR - or was that PUER???)

Deb Amlen 10:22 AM  

Hey, come on, guys. This was a true feat of construction, and major props to BEQ for pulling it off.

I'm not a sports follower, had no idea who Peter King is, but I eventually got the quote sort of from the inside out. And when I did, I thought it rocked.

And ITEM OF THE PAST? Classic.

Otis 10:34 AM  

I have no idea who Peter King is nor a single clue about most sports-related activities... and yet I really didn't have much trouble. I generally don't like quote puzzles because I can't figure out each theme entry at a time, I have to think of them all as one entity. However, once I discovered the topic of this quote, I was able to know what sort of words I would be looking for and was able to implant them in the grid after a while. No huge qualms for this puzzle, not my favorite, but I enjoyed it. Not sure why everybody seems to hate it, it seemed fair to figure out to me.

Van55 10:53 AM  

I didn't care for this one at all. It's far too arcane for far too many of the population.

I agree that XOO and GHIJ totally suck.

Who ever heard of a TEST RIDE? Its TEST DRIVE, of course.

There's a lot more to gripe about.

twangster 10:57 AM  

Well said Otis ...

The only part I had a hard time with was the top right. I thought it might be "BE NAMED" instead of "BE CLUED." At various times tried INDIRA, GANDHI, IDIOTS, RIVES, OWLETTE, but finally got it all to work.

Glitch 11:10 AM  

About 5 weeks from quote to publish, must be right up there in the "speed creating" records!

Unfortunately, produced a puzzle that was not much "fun" for me as a solver.

I had many clues circled as being "off", but I guess they were just rushed.

.../Glitch

Meg 11:14 AM  

I did not have a negative reaction to this puzzle. Actually, I feel kind of sorry for the guy. I mean if your goal in life is to be mentioned in a puzzle....... So I felt like BEQ was doing this poor sot a favor more than showing adulation.

Got through all but the NE where I really wanted BROWNIE, even though I think they are in elementary school.

Rex: You didn't mention it, but probably know that ROIDRAGE is a twist on ROADRAGE.

Loved the "mayo" clue, which of course I didn't get.

Leon 11:15 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leon 11:18 AM  

Thank you Mr. Quigley.

Brando says it first. But, Pacino says it later in the negotiations to usurp Moe Greene:

Michael: The Corleone family is thinking of giving up all of its interest in the olive oil business, settling out here. Now Moe Greene will sell us his share of the hotel and the casino so that it can be completely owned by the family. Tom.
[Hagen hands Michael some papers]
Fredo: Hey, Mike, are you sure about that? I mean, Moe, loves the business. He never said anything to me about sellin'.
Michael: I'll make him an offer he can't refuse. You see, Johnny, we feel that entertainment is going to be a big factor in drawing gamblers into the casinos. We're hoping that you'll sign a contract agreeing to appear 5 times a year. Perhaps convince some of your friends in the movies to do the same. We're counting on you, Johnny.

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

Deb,

I think so many hate this because it appears to be a suck-up job for the benefit of three people.

XMAN 11:28 AM  

Why did BEQ do it?

BEQause he could.

chefbea 11:37 AM  

Put me in the group of never heard of Peter King. Got Sports Illustrated right away - my daughter used to work for that magazine as a licensing agent.

All in all there was no sapor to this puzzle

PuzzleGirl 11:37 AM  

LOVE this puzzle. I don't care that Peter King only rings a very distant bell for me. I love names in a puzzle and I always think it must be so cool for a person to show up there for the first time. Yes, there's some clunky fill, but it's Sunday. There's always clunky fill on Sunday. Approved!

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

The facts, m'am. Just the facts. Where, when, and to whom did Mr. King make this remark? And Mr. Parker, enough about your computer. Where were you on the morning of the 25th between 7 and 8 a.m.?

Norm 11:43 AM  

Disapproved. Too many obscure names, bands, etc., than I could give [whatever] about. Whoever above called it "joyless" had it spot on.

edith b 11:45 AM  

@Otis had the correct take on this puzzle. It's not about who the author is or who he writes for: Quote puzzle are about wordplay. I never much cared for quote or step puzzles until I began to treat them as oppurtunities to trot out my wordplay skills.

Jim Horne made a similar point on Saturday at Wordplay about solving late week puzzles. It is not about knowing Obscure Random Facts; it's about recognizing emerging patterns of the letters you do know based on probabilities.

I wonder what the ratio of people who knew that Anna Mae Bullock was actually the real name of Tina Turner to those who figured it out by the crosses.

I wouldn't enjoy a puzzle like this every day but every now and then, they can be a treat.

Ulrich 11:46 AM  

After the fact, 'ROID RAGE makes much more sense than ROAD RAGE, with which I was stuck, having never heard of 'roid rage and assuming that a BAG MOUTH can be a windbag--ouch, answer parts cannot be in a clue--doh! All in all, I had unusually many problems with this one and didn't care in the end if I got everything or not, for the reasons that have been stated.

@XMAN as per late last night: I had come to the same conclusion thinking about an almost identical example: My cat approaching my dinner and me being too far off to shoo her off physically--works every time...

Sonny Wortzik 11:56 AM  

The clue for 103a was spot-on.

Only Pacino says "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse."

Brando said " I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse."

Stan 11:57 AM  

What a hoot!

I had most of the same problems as everyone else, but don't really care. A price well-paid for the groundbreaking, over-the-top concept.

Big grin.

garymac 12:02 PM  

What a terrible puzzle. I totally lost interest about two thirds of the way through and just threw it away. I usually like some of BEQ's stuff, but not this one.

Rex Parker 12:08 PM  

SAPOR is an English word. Again, Google works miracles.

Besides the theme subject, I don't see much that's obscure about this puzzle. Tough names have fair crosses. Hatred of the theme I understand (but don't share). But in terms of overall construction (minus the very few entries I already mentioned), this thing is squarely built.

rp

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

I can stomach Peter King being one answer in the puzzle, since he is a star sportswriter. (If I had my druthers, any Peter King reference would be the politician.) But the entire puzzle being built around King's obscure quote? Boo. As one commentator noted, King is considered by many NFL lovers to be among the 3d) WINDBAGS of sports pundits. I don't always agree with Rex's take. But today, he absolutely captures the pulse of us solvers. Dead-on write-up. I can't wait until Monday's puzzle because Sunday was a waste. Sorry if I'm being too harsh.

Sherry 12:16 PM  

Ugh.

Greene 12:19 PM  

Oh come now, this was a fun puzzle. I generally don't like quote puzzles, but as BEQ says rather than retire the genre "...find better/funnier quotations from people who are either cool or worth citing." I don't know that PETER KING fits this criteria, but the quote per se is excellent and who among us does not have a similar goal in life?

I was able to fill in all the thematic material quickly and easily enough, but some of the fill I found fairly daunting. To me that's just part of doing a BEQ puzzle. I get kicked around 'cause I'm just never on his wavelength, but I emerge a better solver because he drags me kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

Incidentally, loved the clue for PACINO. I had BRANDO there for a long time and even began to think there might be a rebus at play until I remembered that Michael Corleone repeated that line right at the end of the film: another of the many chilling moments in that masterpiece.

SethG 12:32 PM  

Awesome. Just awesome. Maybe the first quote puzzle I've ever thought that about.

And I have to agree with those who point out that the point is the quote--if Edward Albee had said the quote, the puzzle would be almost exactly the same. PETER KING has no unfair crossings and isn't spelled weirdly. The clue for 94A specifies that it's a magazine, and everyone's at least heard of SI. It's fine to not like the puzzle, but it seems weird to not like it because Peter King said it rather than just because of a general dislike of the quote theme...

Noam D. Elkies 12:32 PM  

Well, it's a quote puzzle, but it's a quote about crossword puzzles so that gets a pass. 112A:PETERKING, whoever he might be, still didn't actually get to be a clue as he wished...

Some nice subsidiary answers of 7-8 letters, too. (One might question the clue for 19A:ROIDRAGE, on the grounds that 'roids aren't "athletic substances", though it's clear what it is getting at.) But at the 3-4 letter range, lots and lots and lots of crosswordese, to the point that we get both 5D:ERA and 52A:EON, both 4D:ADO and 108D:APU, plus 43D:IAS and 58D:SOI and 63A:ORT and other examples already mentioned. [And then there's the mysterious 79:ALY, which Rex apparently confused with "Ally" — I can't find a single adverb ending with -aly.] Worse is the desperate stack of names at 27A/34A/40A (NELDI/DINA/DESI) between two quote parts, with the 99 Luftbassoons or whatever at 8D to boot — OYVEY(:69D)! The only one of these I recognized was 40A:DESI, and that only from previous crossword exposure. I wonder whether BEQ will approve of all this. Oh, wait...

53A:AZODYE appears again, after its première in a Saturday stumper by M.Nothnagel and B.Walden eight months ago. I was happily surprised by 69D:OYVEY, though xwordinfo.com says it's already the tenth appearance of this "Kvetcher's cry" and supplies several other clue choices.

I'm still waiting for the obligatory complaint about mayo in the tilde-less 100D:ANO. For a while it looked like we'd actually get AÑO crossing ELNIÑO. Ah well, that was wishful thinking, especially with 33D:NIÑA already in the grid.

NDE

Hobbyist 12:33 PM  

I didn't much like this but I,too, have always had a secret desire to hit the big time hugely enough to be used as a puzzle clue in the NYT. Who wouldn't?
I had Holden for Holmes and Brando too at first.
No interest in sports and pop music so puzzle was a bit puzzling but the quote hit home to me, at least.

Noam D. Elkies 12:36 PM  

P.S. Never mind "refuse" — is "asphalt" now a verb too (112A clue)? It's certainly inferable, and m-w.com gives it explicitly with a "circa 1859" date, but it must be quite a rare usage.

Apropos 30A: an old, possibly apocryphal typo — "Yes-men of the Guard" :-)

NDE

Tim 12:38 PM  

Hated it.

chefbea 12:39 PM  

I forgot to mention earlier...Of course everyone knew the gateway to the west!!!!!

Anonymous 12:46 PM  

Thank goodness I completed the KENKENs before looking at the puzzle. Otherwise the day would not be going well! What a bore puzzles are when they center around a "non-quote" from some obscure sports person.

joho 12:49 PM  

Stephen King, yes. Peter King????

Stephen King would have been a fun Halloween puzzle ... maybe next year? BEQ??

While PK is Greek to me, I still enjoyed solving the puzzle and discovering his quote. I thought this was fresher than a lot of Sundays we've had and fun, to boot!

Why is everybody so cranky today?

As others have said before me, SIGIL was my word of the day. I was surprised at Rex' pick because I usually get it right. SIGIL? What, related to a dove?

Oh, I missed NENA it seems ... thank God!

And thank you, BEQ!

pednsg 12:51 PM  

I'm with @Greene and a few others - I really liked this one, after initially finding it a bit awkward. The NE was the hardest for me - had Aquino not died recently, I'd have never remembered her - I had IMELDA in her place, oddly enough, and also had BROWNIE for way too long, even though none of the crosses allowed it.

I just think it's way too cool to have a quote about the NYT puzzle in the NYT puzzle. Has anything like this ever been seen here?

mccoll 12:51 PM  

I'm with Stan! It was a hoot and kudos to BEQ. I had two googles CEDRIC and,of course, PETERKING. I never watch American Football and don't read Sports Illustrated. Everything else grindingly fell into place. A good start to a Sunday during which I am going out to look at an acreage with a pond and many buildings. Liked ROIDRAGE, SAPOR, and, OXIMORON.
Thanks all.

Geezer 12:55 PM  

Thanks, Noam D Elkies for the explanation of mayo and ANO. (When I saw ano, all that came to mind was the accusative form of anus. As in dolor in ano.

I was disappointed that so many regulars complained about the puzzle. It was interesting, and the long quote made the crosses easier, and the many crosses made the long quote discoverable.

I was pleased to see that many regulars google, as that is a recourse I must frequently use.

Geezer 12:58 PM  

Many asked who is Peter King?
By the same token, Who is Dina Merrill? who is Nita Naldi?

Chompers 12:58 PM  

I'm reading a YA book ("Adromeda Klein") where sigils figure prominently, so I was excited to see it in today's puzzle!

10 Miles 1:04 PM  

Part of the appeal of this blog is that it gives one an appreciation of the idiosyncrasies of various constructors. With that said, I rarely look at the puzzle constructor's byline before I start--old habits, I guess. Once I caught on to the theme, I did glance up to confirm my deduction that this came from the slightly twisted mind of BEQ.

I find the sourpuss reaction on this one to be unfairly high. Very enjoyable solve, as always, and who's to begrudge Peter King his day in the sun? Not my favorite analyst or writer, but his (untold?) wish does bring a certain elevation to the crossword pastime.

As ugly a word as it is, I liked the "refuse/scum" entry. I had spam first (though it lacked an e-qualifier) and then slam before getting scum.

Keep up the great work BEQ--you are the salvation of NYT fantasy-entrists everywhere. At the very least, you know that Peter King can now die an extremely contented man.

mac 1:18 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle more than I usually do Sunday ones. The theme answers helped me here and there when I tried to put in a logical sequence, because there were plenty of people and things I didn't know!

I don't understand the problem: can you think of a better quote to put in a New York Times crossword puzzle?

Sigil was a new word for me, still have to google it. LOVED 'roid rage. Know Peter King the congressman better. In the end I finished, after a break, with no outside help and with only one mistake, the y in Aly. Should have looked at azodye better....

@Andrea: remember the little extra exhibit at the Craft Museum we visited? Alan Moore-ish, don't you think?

@Deb Amlen: wasn't that clue in yesterday's puzzle?

Clark 1:21 PM  

@PlantieBea -- Your sentences about OXEYE flowers could have been in a foreign language. But you inspired me to google for a picture, and I’m glad I did.

Call me crazy. I, as big a non-sports fan as it is possible to be, thought this was a fun puzzle. The quote emerged early when I saw that IN THE NEW YORK TIMES CROSSWORD PUZZLE wanted to emerge, even though that meant wiping out a slew of wrong entries. Approved.

Michael Leddy 1:21 PM  

Didn't like. I thought I had the whole thing, even SAPOR, and now I see that it's NENA and NALDI. I missed the A. These people must both have homes in NATICK.

ArtLvr 1:23 PM  

Slightly cranky myself, for reasons Rex and others cited -- but there were bright spots, like the OXYMORON. Overall, it seemed well-realized but a tad too much of a GAG! A pass plus? At least I learned something (as almost always), so thanks to Rex for more on ISIDORE. And good luck on the new computer's initiation.

To all -- do view the LAT, with the grid that grins at you!

∑;)

jae 1:23 PM  

I'm with the apparent minority that liked this one. SethG makes a good point. I found this BEQ tough and got hung up in a couple of places (I had HOLDEN and had to stare at NE for a while) but ultimately finished it.

Fun, fresh, clever, and amusing.

Frances SC 1:41 PM  

My recollection of that famous line in The Godfather is that Brando/Don Corleone says it in the beginning as a command to one of the underlings to "Make him an offer he can't refuse." Pacino/Michael adopts the line when he takes over for his pop and uses it in a declarative sentence by the addition of "I'll" at the beginning. Anyone know for sure?

Anonymous 2:06 PM  

@ Geezer; if you were a true one
you would remember both Dina & Nita
(really older).

hated puzzle; don't know or watch sports but finished 99% but not with much relish.
Rhea

Anonymous 2:10 PM  

NBC has "Sunday Night Football" with Al Michaels and Chris Collingsworth.

HudsonHawk 2:51 PM  

Ah, it's a good day to be a sports fan. Last night, we got rained out at Yankee Stadium, so headed to a midtown steakhouse. Sitting down the bar from us was Dan Marino.

A bit later, I looked up and PETER KING was waiting for a table. Usually I do the Sunday puzzle on Saturday but didn't have time yesterday. If I had, I might have ventured over to Mr. King to mention it.

Well put, SethG.

Anonymous 3:20 PM  

I've never felt the need to comment on the puzzles, but this is the most disappointing Sunday puzzle that I've encountered in a long time. I gave up--- seeing I wasn't in on his obscure connection to someone named Peter King.Sports Illustrated was easy enough to clue, but after that, his identity and most of all, what kind of quote fit in with his name?

jae 3:20 PM  

Meant to add this regarding the obscurity of ALAN Ford from Fri. HBO has Snatch On Demand and their synopsis list 6 stars plus the director. ALAN Ford is not among them.

zzbillfitz 3:30 PM  

Best Clue: 74a- Really struggled with this one, but loved it when I got it

Worst clue: 42 across - Big wheels? UTES - Still don't get it.

Other obscure clues: 75 Down -I'm a big baseball fan and first thought was the Milwaukee Brewers, but I hate this type of clue that is very specific but whose answer is very, VERY, general.

125 Across: never have seen it before and it negates a nice clue for 120 down.

112 Down _ Asphalt a noun is used to describe PAVE, a verb. I got this right away, but that doesnt mean I like it.

Bragging - 84 Across - got segue right away.

Is this a new trend - 59 Down - People reduced to the number they wore. Ick!

chefwen 3:32 PM  

After severe separation anxiety I'm finally back in the game. My computer took a not so graceful swan dive into the tank and I was without Rex and family for almost a week. Aargh! Husband set me up with a new system and I can breath easy again.

I'm in the camp of "really liked it" and I have never heard of Peter King. Sports Illustrated fell into place early on, so the bottom half was easy fill. I had the most trouble in the NW. Oxymoron was my favorite of the day.

Peter 3:38 PM  

Forgive me for stereotyping here, but I think that this puzzle hasn't gone over all that well with this group because the Xword crowd doesn't tend to overlap much with pro football fans.

Peter King is easily one of the top five most well known sports columnists in the nation, and as you'll remember, in Wordplay Shortz said something to the effect of "wanting the puzzle to reflect everything seen in the NYT". "Sports" is an entire section of the paper, and so any reference to a well known sports writer is IMO totally fair.

Plus, the quote could really have come from any writer, so I suspect had it been from Malcolm Gladwell or something, so many of the complaints wouldn't have been here.

My only gripe with the puzzle was that I filled in PETERKING and SI immediately without knowing the quote, and kept assuming it would have something to do with Brett Favre!

George NYC 3:43 PM  

For Peter King's egomania to be rewarded so laboriously is icky. And for the NYT, even in its puzzle, to brag abut its prestige is icky. And via BEQ of all people. Weird.

Sara 4:02 PM  

Never heard of Peter King. Don't read SI. Don't watch football. Nevertheless loved this puzzle and most of the process of solving it. It was a great puzzle about puzzles!

Elaine 4:39 PM  

@Rex

In fact, I *did* Google SAPOR...and all of the entries that came up indicated LATIN word meaning flavor. After I limp downstairs I'll look in my old-fashioned paper dictionary, even. Sniff.

Are you just snarking because I pointed out ILSA was wrong? I tried to say it nicely...and your grid was correct, after all.

@Geezer
I personally try NOT to Google; if I have to, the puzzle gets the game point. BEQ's puzzles are so filled with pop culture and newer music/sports/etc., that I often have to shuffle into Googleland and eat crow...which has very poor SAPOR. (See? that doesn't work; it's not even in Julia's cookbook!)

Matt 4:51 PM  

I completely agree with GeorgeNYC. I disliked the puzzle mostly because I can't stand Peter King's weekly column. His football insight is dubious at best and confined to praising the players who give him inside info, and half his space is dedicated to off-putting comments like complaining about meals at expensive steakhouses and bad complimentary coffee at hotels. He's the epitome of the out of touch sportswriter who has gotten too close to the people he covers. It's annoying to see his egotistical comments actually rewarded.

Anonymous 4:56 PM  

Apparently there is some funny business going on between Peter King and Brett Favre.
The puzzle? Disapprove.

Steve 5:06 PM  

@zzbillfitz: "UTES" are SUVs - sports utility vehicles. Calling them "utes" (for utility) is common in the automotive press.

While I wasn't a big fan of the overall theme (I hate quote puzzles; I don't care how relevant the person being quoted is), I don't get the near-hostility so many have expressed about the source being a sports writer. We're asked to fill in people from esoteric fields all the time (like, say, silent film stars). The odds of people knowing NFL commentators is at least as high as knowing who noted bridge columnists are. I'd argue it's significantly greater.

Denise 5:08 PM  

I get the BEQ puzzle three times a week on line, and his work is amazing. Some days I am truly stunned by his clever play with words. Not today. I got the quote, because who wouldn't want that! But, did not know -- at any level of my brain: SIGIL or PETERKING.

It took me a while, but I got everything else (well, I googled AQUINO, but I should have known it).

Abide 5:17 PM  

From BEQ's blog, 9/21/09


"Sports Illustrated" columnist Peter King wrote in his Monday Morning Quarterback column today: "My goal in life is to be a clue in the New York Times crossword puzzle. I've never told anyone that, but it's true." It seems like an odd goal in life. You're already a premier sports reporter and TV personality, Peter. Aren't you already famous? At least, well-known in the sports market? Is the crossword infamy really necessary? It would be fleeting fame at best.

***

Anyway, Peter, if you should stumble upon this blog, we're getting on it. You'll probably be a clue in a puzzle on this blog first. Just saying.

George NYC 5:30 PM  

@Steve
It isn't the relative obscurity of Peter King that's at issue. It's using the NYT crossword for some sort of apparent mutual admiration club that annoys. That and the fact that the quote is windy and uninteresting. Who wouldn't get a kick out of being a clue in an NYT puzzle? So what makes Peter King so special that he gets /his/ dream fulfilled?

Crosscan 5:35 PM  

Well, today wins the award for most bizarre reasons to dislike a puzzle.

Dough 5:42 PM  

A puzzle written on short-deadline about an obscure writer who wanted to appear in a crossword. A serpent eating its own tail. The crossings were so hard I had to slog through the long entries to get to the short words. That's backwards and made me cranky. Spice Girls, Nena, Yeoh, Cedric, Boyle. Big points for freshness. Big points for short deadline. Total score (as others observed): joyless.

Jenny 5:42 PM  

Longtime reader, first-time commenter...

Just wanted to say for the record that the overlapping readership of Rex Parker and MMQB is merely *near* zero, not dead zero: I put in "Sports Illustrated" off a few letters, "Peter King" from the G, said HEY WOW THAT'S COOL and filled in the quote from memory.

So I enjoyed it. An easy Sunday for me. Congrats, Peter!

Anonymous 5:55 PM  

Steve,
I think you're missing the point about the naysayers. It's not that Peter King is irrelevant (for non-sports fans). I'm a big football fan, so I immediately knew King and the publication. But it's that the entire Sunday puzzle was built around King. Has that ever happened to a bridge columnist? Ever? Build it around a Winston Churchill quote, or even someone alive and not nearly as famous. But a blowhard sportswriter -- with a Brett Favre infatuation -- who has his share of critics? I'm not surprised by the negative reaction, including from those who are sports fans. Just explaining:)

joho 5:55 PM  

@Jenny ... glad to hear from you, please keep commenting!

Crosscan 6:00 PM  

The puzzle is built around the QUOTE, not the speaker of the quote. If Mickey Mouse said it, would anyone's opinion change?

George NYC 6:18 PM  

Peter King will be on Football Night In America at 7:00 ET on NBC tonight, prior to the NY Giants v STL Cardinals game. Anyone want to bet against a mention of today's puzzle on the show? This is what I'm talking about. Three and out.

Orange 6:29 PM  

The belated Tribune Media Services crossword used to run a lot of puzzles with Evan Esar quote themes. Who is Evan Esar? Some schmo who wrote a book of quotes. Yes, one can write a book of one's own quotes! Puzzles with Evan Esar quote themes are crappy, pretty much.

I've been blogging for years about my antipathy to quote/quip themes. Usually, they make for such lifeless puzzles. It's drudgery to work through the crossings, and then the quote itself often lacks the oomph to make its discovery worthwhile.

I liked this puzzle, though. I never heard of Peter King, I don't clearly remember Brendan's mention of his quote on his blog, and I recognize that a zillion other people have expressed the wish to hit the big time in the NYT crossword. But this puzzle was cute.

I'm surprised by the vehemence and number of negative reactions here. At my blog, the grumbles were from people (or a single person?) who carped that a similar quote was used in a Games magazine crossword back in '83. Jeeze-a-lou! There's not a 26-year statute of limitations on themes?? Someone sent me a scan of that '83 puzzle and you know what? Brendan's is better.

Glitch 6:31 PM  

Jumping back in to just to say I'm in the "doesn't matter who said it" camp, but @Crosscan said it best (5:35p).

The vitriol directed at the puzzle overall has left me with no interest in discussing individual clues, which was my only earlier objection.

.../Glitch

PS: @Elaine: Two things to note:

SAPOR is an old time staple back after a 5 year haitus and Rex likes corrections submitted via email :) .../g

Elaine 6:40 PM  

Breaking the rules...

Just limped upstairs after finding SAPOR in Webster's _New Collegiate._ The definition says SAPOR refers to "a quality affecting taste" (bitterness given as example.) I have no explanation for why my Google of SAPOR yielded only Latin translations, but I think I did my best.
The puzzle was my R&R...and as such disappointed somewhat (esp in comparison to the puzzles BEQ puts up each week.) The only SI writer I know/knew is Frank DeFord.

Too bad for Rex-- it was faster to leave a comment--but I'll remember that, Glitch. So seldom there is anything to correct, you know.

Scott Atkinson 7:16 PM  

Solid BEQ stuff. Had to Google AQUINO and CEDRIC, that whole NE basically. I'm watching the NBC show right now, hoping that there's some sort of on-air meta arranged with PK, who hasn't been on yet.

Wade 7:29 PM  

As I've mentioned before, I don't do crossword puzzles on the Sabbath, and I pray God has mercy on all your souls, but I second (or third or whatever) Crosscan's bewilderment about people objecting to Peter King's star turn, if that's what it is. A guy BEQ follows mentioned that he wants to be a clue in a NYT crossword, and BEQ takes up the challenge. It doesn't matter how well known Peter King or the quote is or how much Peter King likes Brett Favre, who I've despised from the beginning of his career for a lot of reasons, one of which is that he's supposedly a "blue collar" player on a "blue collar" team. That drives me nuts! Do people think the players on these "blue collar" teams all go to off-season jobs at the brewery or the steel mill? The Canton Bulldogs haven't played in years. Now that was a blue-collar team. The Packers and the Steelers get their players from the same places all the other teams do. Also, that stupid fiction everybody subscribes to that somehow the northern teams play better in the cold. Most of their players grew up in Houston! Auugh! I can't stand Brett Favre! Don Meredith, now there was a quarterback. Ice Bowl, baby. Brett Favre listened to Hootie and the Blowfish!

radioguy 7:32 PM  

Just tuned into NBCs "Football Night In America" just in time to catch Keith Olbermann needling PETER KING about today's crossword.

I subscribed to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for 15 years and read King's Monday Morning Quarterback column online every week, even remembering the now-famous quote. So, safe to say today's puzzle was not the hardest Sunday puzzle I've ever encountered.

mac 7:32 PM  

Isn't this weird: I don't know Peter King, I don't care for football, I liked the puzzle and its theme very much so I just turned on NBC to see this guy and find out if he's going to mention it!

mac 7:45 PM  

Wait a second. They were talking about Favre (There is something about Mary) and Peter King was nowhere to be seen. Also, what's Keith Olbermann doing there?

capesunset105 8:06 PM  

Did anyone besides me fill in Bob Costas? same # letters, far less obscure.

Alton 8:27 PM  

Got Peter King right away after I ruled out Bob Costas. Got the puzzle completed but I found the middle to be pretty tough and was married to a few wrong answers I filled in.

Olbermann joined the show in 2007 and gave the answer to the clue as one of the first things he sais tonight.

Ulrich 8:41 PM  

@Wade: I'm with you, basically. The difference between Winston Churchill and Peter King is that Churchill never claimed his goal in life was to be a clue in a NYT xword puzzle. Which is to say, if I was cranky, it's b/c I had a harder than usual time with this one--the quirkiness of the whole premise dawned on me only later, after I was done, sort of--too little, too late...

Orange 8:50 PM  

Wade is going to marry me, you know. Even though I have a soft spot for Favre (my husband's a cheesehead)—Wade is kind and generous and willing to overlook that.

michael 9:23 PM  

I got "roid rage" quickly and wondered immediately if this was a BEQ puzzle. I was pleased to see that I was right. Unlike many of you, I enjoyed this puzzle a lot. I subscribe to Sports Illustrated, but am not much of a football fan and never heard of the non-politician Peter King. But I thought that the quote was about crossword puzzles and not about Peter King or sports and am baffled by the antipathy of many commenters.

Tim 11:04 PM  

On BEQ's page some people wrote in saying that the puzzle was too hard. Sometimes his puzzles ARE too hard. He replied that puzzle constructors WANTED people to be able to solve them. Yeah, right. Saint-blank-the Laborer?!? Brendan, I'm Catholic and I can't seem to find my "Canon of the Saints" lying around here.
Bad Brendan, bad boy!

Anonymous 11:27 PM  

All I know about Peter King is that his celebrity beautiful wife (I can't remember) threw him out because he had serial affairs with interns. So how come adultery was not the theme for the day?

Anonymous 11:36 PM  

I think Brendan should add today's
theme to his Bullshit Themes List.

Campesite 11:47 PM  

Though it was easy, I loved it. Approved!

Pasadena Tutoring Network 12:25 AM  

I'm with you, Calmad: I had Holden in there for quite some time.

NENA is both the band and the lead singer, by the way.

Aaron Riccio 11:41 AM  

I'm so confused. Why do people dislike BEQ's puzzle for being meta-wish fulfillment, but *LOVE* that sappy Simpsons-crossover from a few months back? I get that BEQ's puzzle was harder, but they were both worthy of being NYT Sunday puzzles...

MikeM 11:51 AM  

HATED this puzzle. Peter King? Give me a break

Michael A. Shea 12:32 PM  

This puzzle proved to be the hardest one I have faced in a while - ended up unable to complete the quote. But I do think it is kind of cool.

On 103A - great clue because Pacino had the exact quote; Brando had a similar quote; and DeNiro (all six letters ending in O) had another similar version in Godfather II.

Anonymous 7:26 PM  

Being in the New York Times Crossword Puzzle is a sweet and harmless goal. Minor celebrities and has-beens aspire to it and I empathized with King. You see all kinds of silly celebs appear in a puzzle they can't ever do so it's really cool to se the tribute to Peter which many of us enjoyed.

Anonymous 8:36 PM  

There were simply too many obscure proper names crossing each other, up there with the 'wish,' so word-recognition play or wit could solve nothing. I don't like when a solver leaves me no recourse but to google. In fact, I rarely do it. I'll try again tomorrow, or I'll give up, but googling for crossword clues is no fun.

Andrew Breitenbach 9:05 PM  

The crossover between the D&D and crossword communities must be a heck of a lot lower than I thought if SIGIL was a stumbling block. :-) They're one of the more powerful things a cleric can create in the game.

Aviatrix 1:36 PM  

Being a foreigner and one who doesn't read much of her own paper other than the crossword I'm quite used to not knowing who the people in the puzzle are, so even though I never got the name at all (I had PETERWING, PUNWARS and ADELIA) I wasn't bothered.

Enough of the quote to understand what was going on emerged rapidly, with no googling. I assumed the guy was just some sports writer who had happened to make this comment, and I was just trying to imagine how blown away he would be to find a whole crossword puzzle about him. I enjoyed the puzzle because it filled me with vicarious excitement for Peter.

ghIj, by the way, is Klingon for "to scare."

Anonymous 7:08 PM  

Seems to me like it was just meant to be a pretty awesome mind-fuck for Peter King. The extent BEQ went just to blow one guy's mind deserves a lot of credit. It seems oddball, but it's really in the same vein as those crosswords commissioned to propose to girlfriends. I think it goes to solidifying a new theme: crosswords with special significance to individuals.

Anonymous 2:22 PM  

Fredo: Hey, Mike, are you sure about that? I mean, Moe, loves the business. He never said anything to me about sellin'.


THIS IS THE STATEMENT BY FREDO THAT GOT HIM KILLED ! ! !


frankD

PIX 9:15 AM  

I do follow pro football, but an entire puzzle devoted to a silly quote by some sports writer/announcer that i don't care about crossed with clues such as "nickname of the spice girls"...Gong

Naomi 1:24 PM  

Late to the party again (syndicated) - but xwordinfo lists 52 uses of "Naomi" - so there, Peter King! Did like the puzzle though.

rob 2:39 PM  

@Jenny said - I loved this puzzle for the fill, the clever cluing, AND the fact that I'm part of that same "near Zero" set, devotee of both Rex and MMQB. It felt like some measure of revenge for puzzling over opera titles.

@GeorgeNYC - Unfair criticism. King is more likely to be self-deprecating than anything else. 50% devoted to non-football comments? Really?

Love the write-up, Rex. Loved the roiled blog waters even more!

sigit 11:23 PM  

This puzzle seemed hard, if only because there was so much material that was only clued "wish." I Googled for PUNKERS, SDAK, and CEDRIC.
keeppp bloking...

Carl 6:18 AM  

Interesting to read about the Catholic patron saint of farmers and of Madrid and of La Ceiba, Honduras, the facts and the points given in this blog is really good.

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