SUNDAY, Dec. 20 2009 — Title fellow in 1922 Broadway hit / 1962 film set partly on Crab Key / Old French coronation city / Money in Malmo

Sunday, December 20, 2009



Constructor: Alan Arbesfeld

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "INSIDE DOPE" — "INFO" (a synonym of "DOPE") appears inside 8 theme answers, stretched across two-word phrases


Word of the Day: RENEE Vivien (93A: ___ Vivien, British poet known as the Muse of the Violets)

Renée Vivien, born Pauline Mary Tarn (11 June 1877 - 18 November 1909) was a British poet who wrote in the French language. She took to heart all the mannerisms of Symbolism, as one of the last poets to claim allegiance to the school. Her compositions include sonnets, hendecasyllabic verse, and prose poetry. [...] In Paris, Vivien's dress and lifestyle were as notorious among the bohemian set as was her verse. She lived lavishly, as an open lesbian, and carried on a well-known affair with American heiress and writer Natalie Clifford Barney. She also harbored a lifelong obsession with her closest childhood friend and neighbor, Violet Shillito – a relationship that remained unconsummated. In 1900 Vivien abandoned this chaste love, when the great romance with Natalie Barney ensued. The following year Shillito died of typhoid fever, a tragedy from which Vivien, guilt-ridden, would never fully recover. (wikipedia)

-----

Not much to say about this one. Pretty straightforward theme. The INFO phrases are all reasonably interesting. I (weirdly) like REGAIN FOOTING the best. Strikes me as the most lively phrase of them all, though TOPSPIN FOREHAND has its charms. I don't like MCCAIN FOLLOWERS much — seems the least solid of the bunch, and the clue, [Republicans in 2008], is not exactly accurate. The party, yes, technically, followed him. Many Republicans did not. Otherwise ... there were several names I didn't know, but all in all, a pretty run-of-the-mill Sunday. Nothing to shout about, and ... well, nothing to shout about.

Theme answers:

  • 23A: It has a large canopy (ra INFO rest)
  • 25A: Average Joes (pla INFO lks)
  • 35A: Republicans in 2008 (McCa INFO llowers)
  • 55A: Busboy's assignment (napk INFO lding)
  • 78A: Stop a trip? (rega INFO oting)
  • 96A: Rafael Nadal specialty (topsp INFO rehand)
  • 112A: Expect, everything considered (barga INFO r)
  • 114A: Unite (jo INFO rces)
Trouble spots — the very beginning, in the far NW, had me tripping over myself a little, as I entered a quick "MAMA!" at 1A: Crib cry and "confirmed" it off of 2D: Jai ___ (alai). Jessica ALBA (19A: Jessica of "Fantastic Four") threw a wrench in the works, though, giving me MB-- at 3D: Title fellow in a 1922 Broadway hit. Figured that had to be wrong, and have done enough crossword puzzles in my time to have a good guess as to who this "fellow" might be: ABIE, of "ABIE's Irish Rose" "fame." Old school / NuSkool crosswordese. that gave me -AA- for the baby's cry, and though I didn't like it, I wrote in WAAH, knowing it was right. And I was off.

I knew ABIE and ALBA, but there were names I did not know. Several. I mentioned RENEE Vivien. There was also William SHAWN (41A: William ___, longtime editor of The New Yorker) — I'm sure it's heresy among some of you people not to know him, but ... nope. Doesn't register. More embarrassing is not knowing 120A: Director Vittorio De ___ (Sica). He directed "The Bicycle Thief," and for that alone I should really know his name. Less embarrassing = not knowing a MERLE who isn't Haggard and a TRAVIS who isn't TRITT or RANDY. MERLE TRAVIS (122A: Country singer Travis)? That's the countryest name I ever heard. He's way older than any of the country stars I just named. Check him out:



Bullets:

  • 16D: "Oh, you're back" ("Hello again") — did someone say ... Neil Diamond? Yeah, someone did. That guy in the back. What? You didn't. Well, too bad, I'm playing this anyway.



  • 59A: Lincoln trademark (stovepipe) — not sure I've ever seen this word without "HAT" attached.
  • 84A: Big name in kitchen utensils (Oxo) — much better than [Tic tac toe FAIL]
  • 89A: Attack, bear-style (claw at) — ... I think that if a bear is genuinely attacking you, then he's not clawing AT you; he's pretty much just CLAWING you.
  • 117A: Army of the Potomac commander during the Civil War (Meade) — His name is Useful, with that 60% vowel content. Learned his name from crosswords.
  • 1D: Target of salicylic acid (wart) — only slightly less repugnant than TOEJAM.
  • 49D: Meteor trailer? (-oid) — ugh. I had -ITE at first. Hated this answer. I mean ... not as much as I hated YESED (77D: Was sycophantic to), but hated it nonetheless.
  • 54D: 20-ounce coffee size (Venti) — other places besides Starbucks?
  • 58D: 1962 film set partly on Crab Key ("Dr. No") — another crossword standard. Never seen it.
  • 65D: "A woman's ___ often opens the door to love": Henry Ward Beecher ("pity") — about the most horrid quote I've seen in an NYT puzzle clue. Gag. Straight out of the earliest English sonnets, and off-putting as ever.
  • 70D: Reagan White House dog (Rex) — I had no idea. And I remember the Reagan years. This may be the only actual dog I know what the somehow stereotypical dog name of REX.
  • 74D: Nash and others (Ogdens) — so many OGDENS, who can keep them straight?
  • 75D: Money in Malmö (Krona) — last letter always a mystery. I had "E" for some reason.
  • 80D: Scruggs's partner in bluegrass (Flatt) — familiar to me from growing up with a father who loved bluegrass (and could play a little banjo himself).
  • 102D: Old French coronation city (Reims) — see, what's weird here is ... I knew this. I don't know how. There's no reason for me to know it. But there it was.
  • 110D: House speaker between Tom and Dennis (Newt) — what's the opposite of an "AHA" moment? Something to explain how you feel when the sudden revelation of an answer causes not excitement but mild horror and slight recoiling?
  • 33A: Christmas sounds (hos) — just heard this song for the first time a couple of days ago on "All Songs Considered" (which I love — major crush on Carrie Brownstein!). Enjoy! (there's an intro that ... I can't vouch for. Just be patient):



And now, your Tweets of the Week — puzzle chatter from the Twitterverse:

  • tgabrukiewicz He covers an eye, blinks. "I've a brain tumor," he says. "Ridiculous," she says, not looking up from the crossword. "It's a hangover." #vss
  • vbubbles1874 just saw an old man working a crossword puzzle while driving down I-35!
  • tanaise It may be my History degree talking but i just read a crossword hint that said 'not illuminated.' i spent awhile trying to fit unpainted.
  • linusdotson Table next to me discussing how dumb drunk people are. I'm going to slam a few 40s and challenge them to a crossword puzzle speed match.
  • MJCenteno So my sewing final is a crossword... LOL really?? :)
  • davemunger The loser across from me at Panera is doing facebook. He should be doing *real* work like...um...twitter and crosswords
  • bubblebathos crossword clue was "the only mammals that fly" and my first thought was whales
  • CarterBays #crossword "Aspic" was an answer two days in a row last week. Saturday and Sunday. We get it, Will Shortz, you like beef jello.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. If you missed the "Simpsons" 20th anniversary puzzle I published earlier this week (written by me and Patrick Blindauer) ... yeah, you should do it. It's here. Thanks.

P.P.S. I wrote a puzzle based on this puzzle's title. It's called "INSIDE DOPE, PART 2" — get it here.

63 comments:

Parshutr 7:11 AM  

Great Sunday, thought it was pretty easy, but medium will do.
Most Republicans did follow McCain; there are just more Dems than Repubs out there.
TOPSPINFOREHAND was a gimme, as were EKBERG, OKEYDOKEY, DAYAN and CONAN...but all the rest required a bit of thought.

Parshutr 7:14 AM  

Shouldn't that have been YESSED? Wouldn't YESED be pronounced "Yeezed"?? Just asking...

Rex Parker 7:16 AM  

Several huge, high-profile defects from party. Problem was not Dems' numbers. Dems have always had numbers. Problem was defects aplenty. And moderates. My dad hadn't voted Dem since '64 for instance. He was not alone in defecting. You are right though. I'm sure 50%+ of Republicans actually voted for McCain.

JannieB 7:25 AM  

The theme was well executed and I did like a couple of the phrases, but this puzzle felt rather hum-drum to me. And I also questioned "yesed". (as does my spell-checker). Guess it's like bused, which also never looks right.

Over too soon and lacking in any entertainment for me today.

Anonymous 7:35 AM  

My biggest beef, other than "YESED," was "NAPKIN FOLDING." Doesn't strike me as a standalone phrase. It's arbitrary, like "ONION SAUTEING" or "ORDER TAKING" or "DRINK MIXING" would be. (Sorry, I took all of those from the restaurant world. Maybe I should go out to eat tonight...)

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

The clue said "Republicans in 2008" not "All Republicans in 2008" so I think MCCAIN FOLLOWERS is completely valid. The Republican Party as an organization officially nominated John McCain in 2008. That is an undisputed fact of history.

Certainly it's not as flawed as "20 oz. coffee size" referencing a product at only retailer.

Rex Parker 8:34 AM  

Yeah, I made the party / people distinction. Already. Above.

[Meghan's Twitter crew] = now those are MCCAIN FOLLOWERS.

"History"!

Clark 8:55 AM  

AIDE for 'one who might be left holding the bag?'? Not sure how that gets a question mark. And meteorOID -- that just sounded like something Snagglepuss would say: Heaven's to Murgatroid! But, Semi-puzzle partner assured me that real people have been known to talk like that. (In Oklahoma anyway.) Hate it when he's right.

joho 8:56 AM  

Two puzzles in a row lacking the "fun factor." WAAH.

Crosscan 8:59 AM  

Ho hum. Not a bad puzzle, but nothing funny or exciting. Will be forgotten by tomorrow.

CoolPapaD 9:11 AM  

Overall, a fun puzzle, with fairly original fill.

I had PalIN FOotstools for 35A - threw me off quite a bit.

Me too (SO DO I) on YESED.

I remember BREST from a National Lampoon Foto Funnies piece on the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which featured a topless woman (get it?)discussing the topic. Never heard of it before or since, until today, but a 12 year old brain tends to retain that kind of information....

Smitty 9:13 AM  

@Crosscan, you said nothing funny . Well I had a pretty good laugh when i first crossed REGIS (name meaning king) with EYES (a woman's...)
Never noticed enough to correct the "S" when the crosses changed REGIS to "ELROS" and ended up with "a woman's _its open the door to love"
Sad to say I never did figure it out....

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

... of course only at Starbucks, they've trademarked the word. Seems wrong to trademark the number 20. Do people counting in Italian now have to go directly from 19 to 21 so they don't infringe on the the trademark

Bob Kerfuffle 9:31 AM  

Agreed, not much to shout about, but a decent Sunday. I fell into the ITE/OID trap, as well as TRITT/MERLE, AIDEd by the fact that I had ARUT before AJAM.

Brendan Emmett Quigley 9:39 AM  

Just saying, when I read the clue {"A woman's ___ often opens the door to love": Henry Ward Beecher)} and then looked at what I had already (_ I T _), I immediately entered TITS.

Wart 9:51 AM  

I initially looked at this puzzle with ASKANCE, but soon said AHA!To all who say WAAH , just UNTAME yourselves. YESED it was OKEYDOKEY.

Meg 10:06 AM  

@ BEQ: Your comment was the only thing related to this puzzle that made me laugh. Too funny.

I don't like YESED either. M-W now lists YESSED and YESED as well as FOCUSSED and FOCUSED.

@Rex: I also stumbled over Travis, so thanks for the video. Did you notice his guitar? He's got his name inlaid on the neck. That's cooler than a shirt studded with rhinestones.

I agree on the Ho-Hum rating. When I looked at the title I thought the theme entries would have illegal drugs hiding in them. Oh well.

Hope you guys up north are staying warm!

A Capriote 10:08 AM  

Caprioid?

Horace 10:14 AM  

carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.

chefbea 10:19 AM  

couldn't figure out the theme. There were a lot of AIN's. Thought it might have something to do with pot. Never saw the info til Rex explained.

Beautiful here in connecticut. 6 1/2 inches at our front door.

chefbea 10:19 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
retired_chemist 10:30 AM  

@Smitty's comment was subtler and on the same line as @BEQ's. Chuckles for both.

Medium, yes. Liked the theme and even found it helpful. And, apparently, liked the whole puzzle better than many. Fun, certainly in comparison to Sat.

With non-puzzle wife away and two litters of puppies here, a different clue for 31A comes to mind. Doesn't pass the breakfast test though....

Hand up for not knowing MERLE TRAVIS. Thanks for the clip. Reminds me there was a time when, if you brought a guitar on stage, you could actually play it.

Che Guevara is an ICON?

Wanted LOREN to fit @ 43A. No.....

ASKANT took too long - only knew it as ASKANCE. Hand up for MADAME @ 95D.

ALL DONE.

foodie 10:35 AM  

When I saw the title I hoped to find different drug names buried in each of the long answers-- possibly scrambled. In fact MCCAINE FOLLOWERS, contained COCAINE. So, I had high hopes, so to speak... too bad it was only INFO!

NAPKIN FOLDING is an art. Do the busboys get training?


Favorite answer by far: the HOTS. Goes well with BEQ's replacement of PITY... I agree with Rex, the original quote is pathetic.

foodie 10:37 AM  

PS... I still haven't figured out how to spell McCain...

ArtLvr 10:37 AM  

Striking demographic for MCCAIN FOLLOWERS of 2008 -- they may have been mostly Republicans plus some cross-overs, but they were 90% white! I don't recall the gender split, but that's a major problem for the GOP regardless of who is chosen as presidential nominee in 2012 or beyond... And in contrast to the historic Know-Nothings, they may become known as the No-Everything party.

∑;)

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

Merle Travis wrote "Sixteen Tons" and "Dark as the Dungeon," reason enough for him to be in the American music pantheon, but what makes him a giant is that he's one of a handful of people who truly revolutionized the guitar. Robert Johnson, Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, Andre Segovia, Merle Travis (they don't call it "Travis Picking" for nothing) and Les Paul all demonstrated that the guitar could do things nobody knew it could do before. There are plenty of great guitarists besides those guys, some maybe more technically accomplished in the styles those guys created, but they all play in their shadows.

Van55 11:30 AM  

YESED and UNTAME also left me cold, as did SSNS -- every bit as lazy as SSTS to me.

There ought to be a better clue than "Goes to hell" for ROTS.

And wouldn't "Tiger's gals" be a better clue than "Christmas sounds"?

I was amused by "Where to go for the big bucks."

Decent enough puzzle for me, About what I BARGAINFOR most Sundays.

Doc John 11:36 AM  

I pretty much agree with Rex's writeup. I had a mistake at the PLAIN FOLKS/ASKANT cross. Finished with an L there and just thought that "plain folls" was some sort of colloquialism with which I wasn't familiar.

I had no idea what the theme was until I came here, although I had a feeling it had something to do with the FO. Thanks Rex!

mac 11:42 AM  

I just love those tweets and have come to count on them on Sundays.

This one was easy to me, except for a jam at 48A: I had ditto instead of so do i, and it was in there too long, helped by meteorITE.

I seem to have the same lacunae as Rex where "people we know" are concerned. Needed a couple of crosses to get venti, then "20" helped with the rest of the word.

And here we have the real okey dokey!

Noam D. Elkies 11:57 AM  

Mostly enjoyable puzzle, common but helpful theme, hands up on MAMA and ITE, thumbs down on YESES, thumbs nose at ASKANT, thanks to Rex for the All Songs Considered clip. Texas, was it? I suppose then that Santa left it behind in the Best Little Ho-House in Texas ;-)

The clue for 85A matches LEROY as well as 85A:ELROY.

Now when are we going to see the 15-letter name of Handel's oratorio Judas Maccabæus in a Hanukkah-week themeless?

NDE

Elaine 12:18 PM  

@Rex
Early English sonnet for Henry Ward Beecher??? This guy was something of a role model for later big-time preachers who are exposed as having fallen from grace. He was American, very, very well known in the mid-to late 1800's, and (of course) Harriet Beecher Stowe comes to mind as well.

Hand up for MADAME, and although this puzzle was not difficult, I struggled at the end with the bulls-eye...PATTI was there, but I had DUTY instead of PITY (both equally lame concepts that might have been Beecher's thought for women)...finall got SKIS and the disagreeable -OID (Asteroid, yes; METEOROID, NO) and had to come here to clear up the final confusion. 'Tis a PITY.

I give myself a Pass...not exactly a shining moment, but not a FAIL, either.

Hand up, also, for expecting drug names in the theme answers. Tsk.
INFO, forsooth!

David 12:18 PM  

A very "doable" Sunday puzzle - this and getting out of the driveway after 19 inches of snow yesterday make this Sunday even more brilliant!

jae 12:19 PM  

What Crosscan said. Oh, and on the easy side.

David 12:21 PM  

Oh, the phrase "McCain" followers for some reason made me think of lemmings.

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

Merle Travis reminded me of the opening scene from the movie Harlan County U.S.A., set to his song "Dark as a Dungeon."

mac 12:37 PM  

Yes, I was also looking for controlled substances at first....

While cooking, I like to watch cooking shows. At the moment it's Paula Deen. This woman is a national health threat.
I'm making the world's best onion soup. Will put the recipe on my blog profile thingy.

treedweller 12:41 PM  

A couple of Parshtur's gimmes were my downfall (DAYAN, EKBERG), along with DITTO (to accommodate -ite) and "ASK to" (removing the correct OF) to go with it. Throw in unknowns SLOANE and LUNA and I got a big, fat FAIL!

Oh, well, I finished yesterday's puzzle. So there!

treedweller 12:42 PM  

Oops, sorry I misspelled @Parshutr. Is that a golf reference?

Rex Parker 12:43 PM  

No, @Parshutr enjoys parachuting. Also, he is a fat Spanish man.

rp

mccoll 12:47 PM  

Good for Sunday. Not hard and well enough clued for me to work it out. The comments are worth the dime though. Much amusement.
@BEQ and Elaine, I had DUTY instead of TITS which is a more refined version of the same 19th Century sentiment."It" was never spoken of but it was a woman's duty.
YESED? not really.
@REX NEWTS are right in there with Salamanders and other creepy critters aren't they?
I'd love to know how many Republicans liked John McCain but couldn't abide Sarah Palin.

Bob Kerfuffle 12:50 PM  

@Noam D. Elkies -

Imagine the fun we will have the day
Judas Maccabæus appears in the puzzle, starting with whether it should be 14 or 15 letters:

Æ (Lower case: æ also known as labor lapsus) is a grapheme formed from the letters a and e. Originally a ligature representing a Latin diphthong, it has been promoted to the full status of a letter in the alphabets of some languages, including Danish and Norwegian. As a letter of the Old English alphabet, it was called æsc ("ash tree") after the Anglo-Saxon futhorc rune Rune-Æsc.png which it transliterated; its traditional name in English is still Ash (IPA: /ˈæʃ/).

retired_chemist 12:56 PM  

@ Anon 10:43 - thanks for the Merle Travis (et al.) paean. Good to know. Here's someone I could not have named yesterday and now he is an ICON in my book.

KRONA might be funny money spendable with Ch 4 (KRON) in San Francisco. Seriously, I never worry about whether it's KRONA or KRONE, RIAL or RIEL. Crosses usually tell. Like today.

chefbea 1:01 PM  

@mac looking forward to your onion soup. I should be able to smell it but my Clementine cake is overpowering it. yummm

ArtLvr 1:10 PM  

@ mac -- I got a kick out of your Paula's cooking comment... It turns out that research shows kids snack more when watching TV with food ads even if the foods aren't the same type, that the effect of suggestion lasts after the TV-watching ends, and that those kids are significantly overweight in comparison with kids whose TV is curtailed or completely prohibited. Likely true for adults too!

∑;(

Aunt Bee 1:26 PM  

Everett Sloane wrote the lyrics to the theme song of "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960). However, they were not used in favor of whistling the theme song.(Music by Earle Hagen & Herbert W. Spencer- whistled by Hagen)

Well, now, take down your fishin' pole and meet me at The Fishin' Hole,
We may not get a bite all day, but don't you rush away.

What a great place to rest your bones and mighty fine for skippin' stones,
You'll feel fresh as a lemonade, a-settin' in the shade.

Whether it's hot, whether it's cool, oh what a spot for whistlin' like a fool.

What a fine day to take a stroll and wander by The Fishin' Hole,
I can't think of a better way to pass the time o' day.

We'll have no need to call the roll when we get to The Fishin' Hole,
There'll be you, me, and Old Dog Trey, to doodle time away.

If we don't hook a perch or bass, we'll cool our toes in dewy grass,
Or else pull up a weed to chaw, and maybe set and jaw.

Hangin' around, takin' our ease, watchin' that hound a-scratchin' at his fleas.

Come on, take down your fishin' pole and meet me at The Fishin' Hole,
I can't think of a better way to pass the time o' day.

mac 1:27 PM  

@Rex: LOL!
Tell Sandy about the onion soup, she will like it. You can use vegetable broth as well.

JC66 1:30 PM  

@ Anon 10:43

Like r_c, I appreciate your post. As a long-time and mediocre guitar player, I've struggled with"Travis picking" for years, knew MERLE Travis, but forgot to make the connection until you reminded me.

treedweller 1:42 PM  

Was it that obvious? I always just read it as a random bunch of letters, as evidenced by my misspelling. Thought it might be based on a name I never heard of before.

OK, I guess it is pretty obvious now. But, then, I frequently puzzle over people's vanity license plates, as well.

foodie 2:42 PM  

Rex, I wonder if being fat helps in parachuting, the way it helps in floating in water.

I did actually make the association with parachute, but I though Parshutr was also an Indian name. So, @Treedweller, you're not alone. BTW, what's a weller?

@ Mac, great recipe for Onion Soup. Thanks for posting! For those of you who are lactose intolerant or vegan, use Cashew Cream --Just Google: Oprah Cashew Cream and you'll find it-- we've established we're all master googlers.

chefwen 2:51 PM  

@mac - To quote Paula Deen "I'm your cook, I'm not your doctor."
Looking forward to your soup recipe, I have a big block of Gruyere cheese in the fridge just waiting to be used.

Puzzle was easy to medium for me as I was interrupted mid solve by a couple of wine seeking friends. Made the second half of the solve a tad bit dicier.

Stan 2:55 PM  

While not exactly groundbreaking, this made for a pleasant morning watching the snowstorm. Things I didn't know (Meteoroids, Renee Vivien, One Nil as a soccer score) were all inferable and 'real things'. Fun facts:

"A meteoroid is a sand- to boulder-sized particle of debris in the Solar System. The visible path of a meteoroid that enters Earth's (or another body's) atmosphere is called a meteor. If a meteor reaches the ground and survives impact, then it is called a meteorite." [Wikipedia]

@mac: I watch the Food Network instead of cooking. Today, though, I'm helping with cookies (Spritz and Pepparkakor).

physsciteacher 3:03 PM  

I believe that OID is the only possible answer for "meteor trailer." A meteorOID is located in space and therefore could have a "trailer" according to size and relation to the sun.

A METEOR has entered our atmosphere and has a visible "trailer" as it burns up in our atmosphere.

A meteorITE is a meteor that is large enough to survive the burn and has landed on the earth's surface - therefore it can have no "trailer."

But here's the kicker. Despite knowing all of this I still read the clue without thinking it through and wrote ITE like everyone else!

Rex Parker 3:09 PM  

The "?" indicates suffix here, i.e. -OID. In that sense, could easily have bee -ITE as well. In fact ... yes, -ITE is clued precisely this way all the time. Clue has nothing to do with the physical traits of the object in question.

rp

OldCarFudd 3:27 PM  

There's lively stuff on the blog today!

@JannieB - I think buses (one s) means sends by bus, or more than one bus (vehicle); busses means kisses.

@Clark - Malfeasant politicos manage to leave their aides holding the bag, and even going to jail, while the big kahuna gets off. Think Nixon and Clinton.

@BEQ - Those of us who don't feel a need to be pitied prefer your answer.

@CoolPapaD - Love PALIN FOOTSTOOLS!

@ArtLvr - Love No Everything party!

@Van55 - Love Tiger's gals!

@mccoll - I was a Republican for decades. I backed McCain from the get-go. I cheered when he got the nomination. Then I started paying serious attention to the campaign. Two other gaffes appalled me, but the last straw was picking Sarah Palin. McC is my age, has health problems, and has had serious melanoma surgery. (I've had four of the damn things myself.) He has a better-than-normal chance of not living four years. And the one appointment he makes that he can't fire, who might end up the leader of the free world, is Sarah Palin? I changed my registration - I'm now a democrat. (A fiscally conservative one.)

@David - As you can see, I'm not a lemming.

Oh, yes, the puzzle. A reasonable Sunday. I had two writeovers; bud before BRO, and a rut before A JAM.

Elizabeth Roberts 3:36 PM  

122A country singer Travis really threw me off. I guessed Tritt, causing me to guess a rut for 107D and upset for 118A.

joeyshapiro 3:38 PM  

before starting the puzzle in earnest, was wondering if the theme answers would all have THC in them. Seemed a touch racey for NYT, so INFO was no surprise.

retired_chemist 3:40 PM  

Hand up for starting with BUD, A RUT, and TRITT also.

treedweller 3:54 PM  

@foodie
not treed weller but tree dweller.

treedweller 3:55 PM  

@foodie
and why do you hate foo so much?

sorry, rex, my last one, i promise.

darkman 7:14 PM  

Late to class again! Serious sleep-in, problems in the NW, football, dinner, booze run, reading the blog and comments added up to a very long period of inactivity.

The puzzle, which I finished without even an ASKANT glance at my dear Auntie Google, was not entertaining, however satisfying it was to solve.

The -OIDS and -ites of meteors have already been covered, so I won't shoot off my mouth.

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

When did you stop posting the grid for the syndicated puzzle...or is my monitor just not displaying it?

Anonymous 2:46 AM  

No one has mentioned 81D "Don't look at me!" But it completely baffles me. I have no idea what NOTI means. Can someone help?

Chick in Easton, PA

Bart Simpson 5:43 AM  

@Chick -

Don't look at me with suspicion; it was NOT I who did that foul deed.

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