Blogger's preface / SUN 1-31-10 / Lancelot portrayer 1967 / Eye-twisting display / 1960s-'80s Red Sox nickname / Lightsaber-wielding hillbilly of TV

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Constructor: Andrea Carla Michaels and Tony Orbach

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: "Keep an Eye on It!" — "I" is added to end of words in familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are then clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: ONDIT (66D: Bit of gossip) —

[F.]
They say, or it is said. -- n. A flying report; rumor; as, it is a mere on dit. (answers.com)

[If you Google [ondit] (as one word) the first hit you get is "Dictionary of Difficult Words" — never had a word return *that* site before...]
• • •


Cute and entertaining, especially as "add-a-letter" puzzles go. The theme was easy to uncover, but somehow moving through the grid proved slower than I expected. There were a few bumpy patches, either because cluing was ambiguous or because of odd words, but overall: pretty typical, pretty smooth — with far more "Z"s (and Scrabbly letters in general) than one normally sees, even on a Sunday. I tried to add an extra "Z" at BRASI (17D: Luca ___, "The Godfather" character), which was the source of my first patch of trouble — the NE. Never heard of the Palace of Nations, so couldn't get GENEVA without a few crosses. AMORAL seemed a rather (very) general word to describe a literary character (15D: Like the stranger in Camus's "The Stranger"), so that took some prodding. [Chatty Cathy] sounds endearing — GAS BAG does not; thus, trouble there as well. But not much.

Never heard of a TRINI (13D: Certain Caribbean for short). TRINI Lopez, yes, but a TRINI, like ... a BRIT, a SCOT, a YANK, a ... TRINI??? Sounds oddly racist — like a disparaging term for a Caribbean transsexual. I'd also never Ever heard of ON DIT, and wouldn't have believed it was real if I hadn't known enough French to know that "ON DIT" means "They say ..." Yikes. ARNEL is one of the dreaded fabrics I can't keep straight (55D: Synthetic fiber). Yuck. No idea what the family name was in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" — what a weird clue for NOLAN. Anyway, all these snags were overcomable, and there were a few chuckles along the way. Nice that the very best theme answer is the one that's dead center: OPEN WIDE (I would have said UP) AND SAY AHI! Don't mind if I do.


Theme answers:
  • 23A: Sorcerer behind Amin's rise to power? (The Wizard of Idi) — the NYT would never, ever allow HITLER's name to be used so wackily. I have no problem with either IDI AMIN or HITLER being in the puzzle, but the fact that you can joke around about the black guy who slaughtered his people but not (I'm guessing) about the German slaughterer ... doesn't seem right. Could you have a wacky baseball puzzle that had the theme answer DESIGNATED HITLER? I doubt it. . . This is not in any way an invitation to compare atrocities, which is always a (very) bad idea.
  • 33A: Dodging midtown traffic? (taxi evasion)
  • 41A: 1964 Cassius Clay announcement? ("You can call me Ali")
  • 66A: "Yummy! Here comes your tuna sashimi!"? ("Open wide and say ahi!")
  • 76A: Lightsaber-wielding hillbilly of TV? (Jedi Clampett)
  • 91A: Invitation to cocktails with pianist Ramsey? (Martini and Lewis) — never heard of this pianist person
  • 100A: Rotisserie on a Hawaiian porch (Lanai Turner) — clever
  • 118A: Cranky question of the Himalayan trail? ("Are we there, Yeti?") — OK, I like that too. At least half of these answers are funny, which is a very high percentage for this (or any) theme.
Bullets:
  • 20A: Overdress, maybe (smother) — wow, that's ... odd. So you are overdressing your kid in the winter? OK.
  • 35A: ___ 101, world's tallest building, 2004-07 (Taipei) — did not know that. Tallest building is now in Dubai, as you all know.
  • 40A: "___ Means I Love You" (1968 Delfonics hit) — great song. Here's a recent performance:
  • 53A: Something under a tired eye, maybe (pouch) — I'm more familiar with BAG. POUCH seems like an effect of aging.
  • 73A: It's just below les yeuz (nez) — big help in the otherwise sticky ARNEL / AYS (!?!?) section (55A: Calls of port?)
  • 75A: Boston-to-Washington speedster (Acela) — the train, the train!
  • 98A: Hoff who wrote and illustrated "Danny and the Dinosaur" (Syd) — also "Sammy the Seal"
  • 2D: Blogger's preface (IMHO) — well I never use this, but I got it easily anyway.
  • 4D: Part of Lawrence Welk's intro (a-two!) — I had "AND A..." Other missteps include SALLE for SALON (34D: Art exhibition hall), SAAB for AUDI (36D: Autobahn auto), AIWA for ACER (48D: Taiwanese computer maker), and LILTS for LISPS (100D: Features of Castilian speech).
  • 6D: Tract for a tribe, briefly (rez) — like this. Seen it in Sherman Alexie books, and elsewhere, but never in the puzzle.
  • 24D: 7'4" N.B.A. star Smits (Rik) — I'd forgotten a. he was that tall, and b. he spelled his name that way. I thought only caroonist DIK Browne had that ridiculous "C"-less spelling.
  • 41D: 1960s-'80s Red Sox nickname (Yaz) — source of yet another "Z" — YOWZA! (56D: "Holy cow!")
  • 58D: Eye-twisting display (op art) — very common, and easy for me now, but I remember very clearly learning this term from crosswords. Never encountered it in the real world.
  • 72D: Lancelot portrayer, 1967 (Nero) — Franco NERO (uh, who?). Enjoy:
  • 89D: High-scoring baseball game (slugfest) — favorite non-theme answer of the day, by far.
  • 107D: Seat, slangily (ush) — possibly my least favorite ... It's a verb. Unless it's "TUSH" as uttered by someone incapable of saying "T"s.
Tweets of the Week — puzzle chatter from the Twitterverse
  • @brucery Not very good 27:38 on NYT Sunday Crossword. Great theme, but synthetic fibers, graceful women, and pigtails threw me off.
  • @Mabes415 My favorite part of a crossword puzzle is when you realize you know something you didnt think you knew.
  • @kristinnoeline In other news, the Friday NYTimes crossword puzzle can go f[*&^] itself.
  • @scifri ha - today's NYT crossword puzzle, 6 Down, 3 letters: "Science Friday carrier." wait...I know this.....
  • @JonathanAmes i actually completed the wednesday times crossword today. i know this is the most banal thing to mention, but for me it's something.
  • @verymarykate Doing a crossword puzzle. 3-letter word for Summer in Nice? Hmm, prolly a typo... They must've meant "summer IS nice" because "Duh" fits.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

73 comments:

♫♪ Ramsey Lewis ♫ 7:48 AM  

The In Crowd

Elaine 7:48 AM  

Good morning! as in, fun puzzle! I did finish with an error--AWS/WOWZA instead of the questionable AYS/YOWZA. The "Calls of port" puzzled me, but not enough to trigger a recheck. Why not ADS/DOWZA? [Yowza-DOWZA would have worked)...but that is a quibble.

My Cuban Spanish teacher insisted on Castilian pronunciation-- /th/ for /s/ and /z/-- so LISPS a neon, as Edith B would call it.

But this puzzle went by too quickly! Must nip off and print out some more.

Elisa 7:58 AM  

Fun, but the French in 73A isn't clued right. Just below "les yeuz" are "le nez."

david 8:04 AM  

TRINI is a source of real amusement, short for TRINIDADIAN, as there is no simple way to say TRINIDADANDTOBAGONIAN.

chefbea 8:06 AM  

Fun easy Sunday puzzle. Thank you Andrea and Tony.

Favorite answer was are we there yeti!!!

Never heard of on dit. Thanks Rex for the explanation.

Crosscan 8:15 AM  

Fun, fun, funi!

Bob Kerfuffle 8:15 AM  

Amen, fun puzzle!

I was ready to complain that there were so many foreign and proper name words, but in retrospect they are hard to pick out.

Agree, never heard of ON DIT, couldn't find it in dictionaries, finally resorted to Google translator to see that it made sense.

One write over, 119 D, Try to win, had VIE before WOO.

And, pen on paper, finished with one wrong letter I didn't know about before coming to the blog: 55 A, had AWS. WOWSA made sense for "Holy cow!". I had to work on AWS for Calls of port?, but decided it must be a variant (also not in dictionary) of HAWS, as in Gee and Haw, where haw is the call for a team to make a left (port) turn.

Thank you Andrea and Tony.

♫♪ Ramsey Lewis ♫ 8:18 AM  

Wade in the Water

VaBeach puzzler 9:00 AM  

More 100D trivia: There's actually a word, in Spanish, for the Castillian lisp -- ceceo. Growing up in Puerto Rico, I remember the giggles at school assembly when visitors from the "madre-land" were invited to speak.

R.P.: Interesting comment on Idi vs. Adolf. Maybe it's time to retire the three-letter dictator from crossword filler.

CoolPapaD 9:11 AM  

YOWZA, YOWZA, YOWZA - Thank you TO and ACME for one of the funniest (and not the easiest) Sunday puzzles in ages (IMHO). Additionally, this write-up was also hysterical (the Trini comment would have made me spit coffee if it had been done yet).

Every one of the theme answers was wonderful - AHI was my favorite. Is there another context other than the Paul Simon song with "You can call me Al?"

SENSEI always makes me think of that hysterical scene in Napoleon Dynamite - "Bow to your SENSEI!"

I remember reading The Stranger after college, and having a big WTF moment upon finishing...

My error of the day - had COUCH for 53A, leading to CETAL for the down. I never knew a non-Toyota meaning for corolla until my post-puzzle check.

HudsonHawk 9:26 AM  

107D: Seat, slangily. Three letters, second letter S. ASS? Damn, Will's getting edgy. Oh, USH.

Great fun, Tony and ACME! Loved AHI crossing SUSHI.

Stan 9:26 AM  

After SLUGFEST, my favorite was BADGIRLS.

The Word of the Day, surrounded by NERO and ISOLA, seemed a little rough for a Sunday--maybe could have been clued as French in origin.

Great theme answers! :-D

David 9:27 AM  

Yes, AYS and YOWZA got me too. But then I have problems with PLAITS and PLEATS so I am definitely not in Rex's league.

ONDIT is a wonderful term, remembered from h.s. French.

Rex's writeup was particularly entertaining today, but as usual a nice dessert after the puzzle entree!

JenCT 9:32 AM  

@chefbea: ARE WE THERE YETI was also my favorite - made me laugh.

Don't get 89(a)SKOAL for Cheers - had SALUT at first. SKOAL? Someone please explain.

Otherwise, fun puzzle.

k1p2 9:32 AM  

Knew on dit, no clue about Brasi and had ornel and wowza!

Can someone explain the cluing for 91A to me (I really wanted Martini and Rossi given the cocktails!)? I know Martin and Lewis are a comedy team but other than that they were both reknown drinkers I just don't get it).

Love the other clues - with my favorite being "are we there yeti?"

Google 9:35 AM  

@JenCT -

Google says: Definitions of skoal on the Web:

* A toast, roughly equivalent to cheers
en.wiktionary.org/wiki/skoal

retired_chemist 9:38 AM  

Very nice. Fun. Medium.

To me, AMORAL fits the character in The Stranger perfectly.

Several first guesses wrong: A-ONE @ 4D, SHAKO @ 31A, GEEZE @ 56D. Was prepared for the corrections of the first two, so the first contradictory cross gave me the correct answer. YOWZA, however, was my last fill.

Early on, wanted JETHRO something @ 76A - made that region something of a mess for a while. Got the theme soon after, and that helped.

Thanks, Tony and Andrea, y'all done real good! (as Texas Aggies say)

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

Ramsey Lewis as in the Ramsey Lewis Trio. Big hit was Memphis in June circa 1963-64. If I knew how to do links I would down load Memphis in June, lovely song. Ush? Ugh. Overall good puzzle Tony and Andrea. Golfballman.

joho 9:54 AM  

Oh how I loved this puzzle. Much harder than usual for a Sunday which is definitely a plus. Clever, clever cluing which added to the difficulty. I had Toit before THIS, AntED before ADDED, Anda before ATWO and wanted dirt before HEN. I also had REs before REZ ..."s" seems a better spelling.

@Rex ... I think your reaction to THEWIZARDOFIDI was a little oversensitive IMHO.

Thanks to Andrea and Tony for a perfect Sunday puzzle outing!

OldCarFudd 10:09 AM  

Super fun! Many thanks! I rolled on the floor over ahi - brilliant.

Just for fun, I took a couple of years of high school Spanish back in the early '50s to go with my multiple years of French. We were taught the castilian lisp - ceceo, pronounced thaythayo - because Montclair, NJ, thought the only proper Spanish came from Spain. This is the same school district that had stopped teaching German in 1917 as a rebuke to the Kaiser, and (at least by the '50s) had not chosen to resume it.

I knew - but have never used - on dit, probably from those multiple years of French. It's cited in Webster Second Unabridged, published in the '50s. I wanted wowza for yowza.

hazel 10:20 AM  

In addition to the theme "I"s, what about all the EYE clues - they were everywhere as an added bonus!! the tired eye POUCH, the eyetwisting OPART, sore eye STYES, the DOPER with the red eyes, the redeye PIC, the eyeTEST, the NEZ below the les yeux (they must be eyes), and our old friend TEC the private eye. Pretty amazing!

For me this one was easy, but I think it was because I was in synch with the theme answers, which is very rare - so that I could solve both across and down. Sometimes the Sunday answers are so lame (to me), I'm forced into focusing on only the downs - slogfest.

As much as I hate(d) the Beverly Hillbillies, I never could hate old Jed Clampett - so I like thinking of him as a Jedi - wish he could have taken out the rest of his clan with his Jedi powers.

twangster 10:24 AM  

I found this pretty easy except for the bottom left corner, which was very hard. I had NYMPHS for SYLPHS and also guessed PAGEITURNER, and didn't know NOLAN or SANCHO, so I was lost down there.

♫♪ Ramsey Lewis ♫ 10:52 AM  

Memphis in June

3 & out.

Van55 10:53 AM  

Good puzzle.

Ramsay Lewis was an exceptional pop pianist of the 60s and 70s (I think). The links posted previously are representative.

Nice touch having SUSHI cross with OPENWIDEANDSAYAHI. :-)

My personal favorite theme answer was JEDICLAMPETT.

PlantieBea 11:03 AM  

Thanks Andrea and Tony for this medium but fun Sunday. I had a laugh out loud moment at ARE WE THERE YETI after which I explained the puzzle to my non-puzzling hubby.

I interpreted SMOTHER as an overdressed salad. Blech. Enjoyed seeing EMERIL, SYLPHS, FLASK, and JED CLAMPETT. SKOAL to the creators of this puzzle.

chefbea 11:10 AM  

@Hazel don't forget Ol' blue eyes!!!

Newbie 11:13 AM  

I'm assuming that the clue Seat was the verb, as in "to seat," and so the answer, Ush, was short for "usher." Am I correct?

darkman 11:14 AM  

A triumph! Had me by the seat of my pants! Best action puzzle of the year!

No kidding, Andrea and Tony, this was a voyage of discovery, from aha to AHI, nonstop!

Yay, team!!!!!

dk 11:23 AM  

@Andrea, beep beep! And, LALA.

JEDICLAMPETT was my first fill and Rex's photo of same made my morning

Smooth Sunday slowed only by my spelling errors. What I like about this puzzle is the playful use of words in the grid. LELA over LANATURNER, GASBAG over EMERIL, keep an eye on it theme coupled with OPART, etc.

As per Rex: Cute and entertaining.

**** (4 Stars) Most fun on a Sunday in a long time.

hazel 11:24 AM  

@chefbea - good catch!

nanpilla 11:39 AM  

Loved, loved this puzzle!

@Hazel and chefbea- thanks for pointing out all of the extra theme related clues and answers - I didn't notice how many there were, and I'm sure they were intentional.

Thanks TO and ACME!

SethG 11:39 AM  

Muhammad Ali's so mean, he makes medicine sick. For real meanies, [Utter digs at a Washington pro] would be TAKE POL POTSHOTS and [Personal ad statement from a fingerpointer] is AM INTO BLAME. Let's do it!

The NERO clue is a weirder clue for NERO than the NOLAN is for NOLAN. Got both from the crosses. I was annoyed by all the eye (and yeuz) clues while solving--somehow didn't make the theme connection or remember the title...

Stan 11:43 AM  

@hazel and @chefbea: Nice explication of the optical subtheme.

@Van55: The same re: Japanese fish.

One thing I forgot to mention: Best clue ever for Princess Leia.

CRG 11:48 AM  

Still giggling at "Designated Hitler." What else is verboten? Bathroom Stalin?

chefbea 11:50 AM  

@Newbie of course re: ush. Doh!!!!

Smitty 11:54 AM  

Harder than usual Sunday for me, but fun.

Didn't know On Dit was English as well as French.

The word STYES coupled with sores on the eyes pushed the breakfast test a bit....

ArtLvr 12:20 PM  

Congrats to Andrea and Tony, great work! Loved the way you carried out the gimmick of the I.

@Hazel, I'm glad you noted the Eyes in the clues -- from SINATRA on, these added a lot to the enjoyable puzzle. POUCH today reminded me of POACH very recently, and ON DIT was neat.

Rex's comment on IDI was fine by me, even if the name will probably keep coming up in xwords... A new book, "The Forty Years War", sheds huge light on the amazing "eminence grise" behind our own militaristic neocons for the past two generations. Wow, from the weirdness of Watergate to Cheney's continuing rants to taint Obama as "weak" for seeking detentes, all stem from the same source!

∑;)

Lon 12:27 PM  

What's not to like about the Beverly Hillbillies? Double-naught spies and the cement pond!

Thanks for the "you can call me Al" video, too.

Noam D. Elkies 12:29 PM  

Much fun, somewhat tempered by having a few theme I's come mid-entry (though still at the end of a word).

Apropos 24D, I know a Nik who spells his name that way, but his full name is Nikolai.

Was Rez's misspelling of "yeux" (73A clue) intentional? Also what happened to the 40A answer? It was probably lost because the clue happens to end with a parenthesis and Rex's usual style is to follow the clue with the answer in (...). It's a lousy clue anyway; any of the 30 previous clues in xwordinfo.com (some appearing more than once) would be better than dredging up some "hit" from four decades ago.

What's the problem with 107D:USH? A singer sings, an usher ushes. Perfectly logical back-formation. TUSH has nine hits (ten counting one TUSHIE), and not since 1995 did the clue resort to dredging up a 1975 "hit". ASS has been seen 157 times but never with that definition.

NDE

Clark 12:35 PM  

Nice Sunday puzzle! Semi-puzzle partner actually did the whole thing on his own. The 'semi' prefix is in jeopardy.

'ON DIT' sounds cajun to me. Years ago I had a close friend who was cajun. When he was with a cajun buddy of his they would switch into their dialect. YOWZA! The line I remember best is, "I had an envie to [do whatever] . . ." The 'envie' was pronounced very French, the rest of the sentence very . . . well, cajun.

mac 12:42 PM  

This was a really good medium Sunday to me! Usually find them too big, but I was sorry I was done this time. LOL several times, at Jedi Clampett, Open wide and say Ahi and are we there yeti! Even though I got the theme almost immediately because of the title and Idi Amin, it was still a puzzle all the way.

The "ush" for to usher never sank in, I seriously thought it was short for tush... Also started out with vie for woo and anted for added, and Ahs and Howza. Isn't Brasi the one with the fishes?

You can call me Ali firmly put the "You can call me Ray" earworm into my head. Thanks!

Rik Smits is Dutch and we often spell the name that way. He was a soccer player in Holland who just picked up and moved to the US and started playing basketball. His mother and sister (also tall and basketbaall playing) visited my sister who used to be married to a pro BBer who played in Holland and Belgium.

mac 12:44 PM  

@Hazel: great catch re the eye clues and answers. That's real Andrea stuff!

fikink 1:26 PM  

A smart puzzle, Andrea and Tony.
And highly entertaining. So many clues were fresh to my taste and made me smile.
Thought in terms of overdressing a salad, Rex - or SMOTHERing it in dressing.
Loved pigtails/PLAITS
FLASK, ONDIT, SOLON
There is a Solon, Iowa, just north of Iowa City so thanks, too, for IOWA, though there still is a lot of sniggering out here about The Bridges of Madison County.
Is GLEANing always a slow process? I think you can GLEAN the gist of what a GASBAG is saying rather quickly. "Culling" is the slower in my world.
Just a great Bass-brunch puzzle with the sun "pouring in like butterscotch" today.
Many thanks, A&T.

Ben Bernie 1:39 PM  

Yowsa, yowsa, yowsa!

Jean Millet 1:44 PM  

@fikink -

Tried gleaning lately?

lit.doc 1:53 PM  

This was one of the most enjoyable Sunday NYTs I’ve ever done—thank you, Andrea and Tony!—followed up with an equally enjoyable write-up—the video clips were fabulous, Rex! Full disclosure: the clock had run red and clotted by the time I got done. But I got through it, did so without googling, and had fun the entire time.

I almost wet myself when I figured out who was known for her buns. I do, though, have misgivings about a few of the other clues. I recognized ON DIT once a few of the crosses were in place, but shouldn’t it have been clued as French, as was NEZ? Shouldn’t AY have been clued as a “var.”? Beyond those, just a little poorly-informed chin scratching over “Baby” = TINY and “Overdress, maybe” = SMOTHER. I also locked up for a while when the crosses were telling me that SOLON and SALON were both correct, thinking they were too close to be in the same puzzle. Chalk that one up to inexperience, I guess.

@retired_chemist, I agree completely that AMORAL is the very essence of the protagonist in The Stranger. [Apropos the originally French title, does anyone know the Alt-nnn code for E with an acute accent? I’ve got all the lower-case diacriticals, but can’t find the upper-case codes.]

@Rex, perhaps Idi Amin is more acceptable to the NYT than is Adolph Hitler is that Amin actually ate parts of his victims. Just guessing. ;)

Anonymous 2:11 PM  

Had "slather" for overdress at 20A, as in a salad, but ILHO is not a blogger's phrase at 2D, and Mary's joys at 3D was wrong. Got stuck there all day, and everything else was easy. Fie on you Shortz!

George NYC 2:23 PM  

This puzzle is a classic of the genre.

tptsteve 2:44 PM  

A two mug o' coffee puzzle. JediClampett was my first theme fill, which finally clued me in. Had to finish early- concert this afternoon.
Lotsa fun today! Thanks Tony and ACM.

jae 2:45 PM  

I was expecting something a tad easier from Andrea but this was a solid medium for me. Never heard of ONDIT, tried VIE, debated about a Z in BRASI, NERO?, and had to go to my french speaking sister to confirm/correct AUSSI. Fun puzzle, with some very clever theme answers!

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

USH? Really USH? I hate that!

Anonymous 3:26 PM  

More applause for Andrea & Tony. They show that a puzzle can be rewarding without being super-hard. This was witty, ingenious, and funny. The message was: Throw away your time-clocks and enjoy!

potagiere 3:44 PM  

Interesting what people know and don't know. Never heard of Solon or coach Parseghian, (husband helps with all the sports words) but would have thought Ramsey Lewis was a household word. Thanks to the poster of the clips. I really loved the Wade in the Water.
Didn't get the Leia buns until I read someone's post. Just filled it in.

Knew Rex would designate On Dit as the word of the day. Didn't get that until the crosses then had the French wake up call.
Favorite clue is Lawrence Welk. Very funny memories of that old feller.

Meg 3:57 PM  

Andrea and Tony: I actually laughed out loud at "ARE WE THERE YETI"

I had great fun with this puzzle, and couldn't help noticing all the clues related to "eyes".

YOWZA, YOWZA, wonderful puzzle!

Steve J 4:14 PM  

I was cruising along, completing things in record time, and then I ran into a wall in the SW. Absolutely nothing was coming to me, other than SANCHO. Is it possible to have an entire Natick Corner? Because that's pretty much what it ended up being for me. Never read/saw "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," ASYLA never would have come to me in a million years even though the word makes perfect sense, and neither SYLPHS nor PLAITS registered for me.

It's a little daunting to have an entire grid filled out other than one gaping corner.

"Film character known for her buns" is my new favorite clue ever. I knew there was no way this was asking for a film character known for having a great ass, so I was banging my head against the desk trying to think of who was well known for their baking skill. Awesome clue.

Oh, and pretty much every mistake that people have mentioned (ANDA, BRAZI, etc.) I had. I also had WOWZA instead of YOWZA. But that all pales next to my personal Natick Corner.

fikink 4:35 PM  

@Jean Millet
A widely reproduced painting in these parts. That and your Angelus.

However, sometimes when separating the figurative wheat from the chaff, especially in this century of sensory overload, it is advantageous to fashion an efficient filter for oneself.
Shields up, Mr. Sulu.

@lit.doc - "and clotted" - LOL!

jesser 4:39 PM  

Yesterday's Jeep adventure spilled into a late dinner and several racks of 9-ball while sipping good bourbon, which in turn led to a very late start on the day. But that's fine, cuz I'm grinnin'. Anyhow, very late to the puzzle and Rexville. Apologies.
I caught the theme at open wide and say ahi, but I never in my put-together heard of ondit, so I was second-guessing OPEN -- although ICECAP, FENCE and ARNEL insisted on its propriety. Add to that the regrettable fact that I thought first of zERO Mostel as the Lancelot player, and you can see that the Lake Tahoe region kicked my ush.
Sheesh. Did love all the wacky phrases, though. Thanks, Andrea, Tony, Rex and commenters! Now I believe it's time for a nap.

Free Lunch 5:35 PM  

ARA crossing EAMON seems a bit bogus. I guessed IRA (having never heard of the first name ARA), leaving me with EIMON, which look no less nonsensical than EAMON. I call NATICK on that one.

Cea 6:44 PM  

Can someone explain ATWO to me please?

Lawrence Welk 6:53 PM  

And now the champagne orchestra will play the beautiful Prairie Waltz, And a-one and a-two . . .

Wikipedia 6:57 PM  

Another famous "Welk-ism" was his trademark count-off, "A one and a two..." which was immortalized on his California automobile license plate that read "A1ANA2". This plate is visible on the front of a Model A Ford in one of the shows from 1980.

Doris 7:43 PM  

There was an Elizabeth Arden perfume called "On Dit."

http://www.perfumeprojects.com/museum/bottles/On_Dit.shtml

Why did I remember something like this? I don't even like perfume.

Steve J 8:11 PM  

@FreeLunch: ARA is pretty common bit of crosswordese (I've been seeing it in puzzles since I started doing them as a kind in the 80s, and I'm guessing he was in puzzles well before that). I've never seen it clued as anything but a reference to the former Notre Dame coach. Apparently he's the only human being ever named Ara.

As far as Eamon, it's a fairly common Irish name. While I couldn't remember the former PM's first name (I recognized his surname; I suppose because a Romantic name in a Celtic country sticks out), it was a pretty easy pickup, at least for me.

We all have our personal naticks (note my earlier comments about having an entire natick corner), but I don't think something that includes such a classic case of crosswordese really counts as a widespread natick (which was the band Widespread Panic's early, and wisely discarded, name).

Old Elaine 8:36 PM  

Well, dear children:
I heard Ara Parseghian speak IN PERSON when I was a student at Florida Southern. He had a story for every point; we thought he'd never stop. Still--charming. So it is possible to know an answer from ...life! experience! Don't forget to check those files, eh?

Remember that crosswords are not your only source of fill/answers/etc.

I lived in SOLON, Ohio, for 12 years... very good schools for our kids; then we fled the "east of Cleveland" winters. SOLON is an eponymous "law-giver" or "sage." Everything is grist to the mill.

Well, this will ratchet up a lot of folks' solve ratio, right?
Excellent!

Anonymous 8:54 PM  

don't forget RIK Ocasek of the eighties rock band the Cars!!

Anonymous 9:36 PM  

ARA Parseghian is a legend. Eamon, as Steve J said is a very common Irish name. USH and ONDIT, however, who knew?

andrea thanksi michaels 1:21 AM  

:)

Blackhawk 1:48 AM  

Andrea and Tony -- great puzzle. The theme answers were so unexpected and delightful. Even the fill was unusual and smart, like Brand X, flashy streaker, out for an in, and most amusing of all, the 5 afros. Made my day. Bravo!

Elaine 5:51 AM  

Belatedly-- for a (possibly inaccurate) characterization of Eamon de Valera (Spanish and Irish unions far from uncommon) see the Liam Neeson movie "Michael Collins," about the Irish Rebellion. (The winner gets to name the conflict.)

Van55 4:10 PM  

Hmmmmmmmmmm. I didn't look carefully at the names of the constructors of this puzzle until today. I take it that Andrea Carla Michaels is our own Andrea [insert droll middle name here] Michaels?

Well done, girl!

andreai carli michaelis 6:25 PM  

@Van55
Yes, that's me!
ANd just for the record, this puzzle could have had lots of bylines...as Francis Heaney came up with both LANAI TURNER and YOU CAN CALL ME ALI.

In fact, my only contribution to Tony's phenomenal list was the initial impetus COMMONSENSEI and OPENWIDEANDSAYAHI...

All the really funny ones, like, AREWETHEREYETI? and JEDI CLAMPETT are Tony Tony Tony!

It's funny that Rex talked about the IDI vs Hitler as my original list had GESTAPOI and DESIARNAZI which still make me laugh!!!!!!!!
But alas, they didn't make the cut.
And we think the extra EYE-refs in the clues were either Will or collective subconscious! But we'll take credit for the extra layers!!!!

Hmmm, my word verification is rambl...what's THAT trying to say?!

Alton 12:09 AM  

Great puzzle! Had a sticking point at yowza-I wrote booya originally and was married to it. Once I got over that hurdle smooth sailing.

Patrick? 3:02 AM  

As mentioned, "Trini" is referring to Trinidad and Tobago.

'Amoral' may seem a vague way to describe a character, I suppose, unless you have indeed read The Stranger, in which case it makes plenty of sense.

I had a lot easier a time with this one than the two prior to it, I do I believe you said those ones were very easy.

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