Blond Monkee / SUN 3-21-10 / S-s-s-subject of 1918 hit song / Piscivorous flier / Funnywoman Sedaris / Gold-certified debut album Debbie Harry

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Constructor: Adam Fromm

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Them's the Breaks" — two-word phrases where the second word starts with "S" are reimagined as two-word phrases where the first letter *ends* with that same "S" — that is, the "S" transfers from the beginning of the second to the end of the first word


Word of the Day: "KOOKOO" (55D: Gold-certified debut album of Debbie Harry) —

Koo Koo is the title of the debut solo album by Debbie Harry, released in August 1981 while Harry was still a member of the group Blondie. // Produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of the 70's disco group Chic, it reached #6 in the UK and stayed in the charts for seven weeks, being certified "Silver" by the BPI. The album reached #28 in the US. // For the promotion of Koo Koo there were plans by Harry's record company, Chrysalis Records, to display large posters of the album cover created by Swiss artist H.R. Giger in various stations of the London Underground, but officials deemed the image of Harry's face with metal skewers going through her head too disturbing. In Japan the "Backfired" single was issued with an entirely different picture sleeve, showing a glamorous and most importantly non-provocative Debbie Harry looking more like her established Blondie persona.





• • •

Felt easy enough, but I kept getting held up, or stalled, over and over, for some good, but mostly bad, reasons. Actually, I'm somewhat proud of not coming up with, say, GROIN right away (52D: Common place for a pull). That's a word I'd be happy never to hear again my life. Like UVULA or CANTAB or ALIENEE. But not picking up YOPLAIT (87A: International food company based on Paris) or WONKY (68D: Knowledgeable on arcane details of a subject) for a good while just made me feel stupid. Both seem obvious in retrospect. In the end, my time was slightly above normal, with the WOOLSEY / OCTILE section in the east being about the last thing to fall. Did I enjoy it? I guess so. The theme is something I'm nearly certain I've seen before — an old wordplay trick. Nothing flashy. But adequate. Fine. My favorite part of the grid may be the part that involved two names I just didn't know — the KOOKOOTORK section near the grid's center. That's a great confluence of names, as together they suggest some exotic out-of-the-way place where one might get lost and never be heard from again. Someplace in Australia, maybe. Or Wisconsin. At any rate, I got to learn about a very minor Debbie Harry album. I also learned that TORK is a last name (82A: The blond Monkee). I was thinking it was a first. Like MORK. I really wish it were a first name. I might name the next thing I'm charged with naming "TORK." Peter TORK is almost exactly one year younger than my dad.

Had my only Real trouble getting into the E and NE. My first pass at the NE was Fail, except for TIRE IRON (25A: Lever in a trunk) and SEN and API-. Had the APE but couldn't come up with the HOUSE (22A: Zoo home for gibbons). Never heard of ASO (17D: Japanese volcano) (though I know a little bit about MT. APO and briefly considered it). Abandoned ship and didn't come back til the very end, when I tried to approach from just underneath but was blocked by Three Stubborn Acrosses:

  • 56A: Not easily stirred (STOLID) — had the "STO-" and wanted only "STOIC..." "STOICAL..." Gah!
  • 64A: Bulwark (SHIELD) — I think of a "bulwark" as something that supports or buttresses rather than SHIELDs.
  • 68A: James who was C.I.A. director under Clinton (WOOLSEY) — the weird thing here was that his name popped into my head right away (with help from pre-existing "WOO-"). But I was not sure how I "knew" him, so was reluctant to put him in.

Once I acceded to WOOLSEY, things started to come together. Worked my way back up in the NE. I think the "S" in ASO might have been my last letter. Staying up there for a second, I don't really like the phrasing on 13D: Brainiac's put-down (NERD). Sounds like you're asking for a put-down that a "brainiac" would utter, not be the object of. Boo to trick cluing. Boo also to horrible trick at 114D: Only man to win both a Nobel Prize and an Oscar (SHAW). You know that everyone's going to want to GORE here, so this is an obvious intentional trap. Irksome. For the record, though GORE accepted the Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth" (if I remember correctly — and thanks to youtube, I don't have to rely on my memory alone), he was not, technically, the recipient.

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Goes from walk to trot and trot to gallop? (DOUBLES PACES)
  • 38A: Teaches a ceramics class? (TRAINS POTTERS)


  • 69A: Monitors food orders to go? (POLICES TAKE-OUTS)
  • 100A: Illuminates a Halloween display? (LIGHTS WITCHES) — Salem angle a little too gruesome?
  • 122A: Puts hats on display? (SHOWS TOPPERS)
  • 16D: Prepares to play Scrabble? (TURNS TILES)
  • 38D: Closely follows secret banking information? (TAILS PINS)
  • 57D: Makes drugs easier to swallow? (OILS PILLS)
  • 74D: Manages to grab some bullfight attire? (LANDS CAPES)
There a couple of aesthetic issues here. I'm not thrilled about having PESETAs (126A: Pre-euro coin) and PESOS (35A: Change south of the border) in the grid together, despite their being the currencies of totally different countries. They feel related. Plus, really, there should be some kind of foreign currency limit in puzzles. Worse, however, is the inclusion of both OCTET (70D: Maids a-milking in a Christmas song, e.g.) and OCTILE (36D: 45-degree wedge). I mean ... that's truly horrible. You should have torn up one of those sections and rebooted rather than subject us to a piece of crosswordese *and* his gangly, awkward cousin. While I may have said this before, it's worth repeating: I once worked with a constructor who insisted on removing either IDEAL or ID√ČE from a grid because they were etymologically related. Needless to say, said constructor would have sooner choked then have the far more obvious double-up of OCTET / OCTILE in his/her grid.

Bullets:
  • 31A: S-s-s-subject of a 1918 hit song ("KATY") — The "S"s were making me want SADY. Also, I was confusing "KATY" with the "DAISY" in this song:


  • 58A: Carrier whose name means "skyward" (EL AL) — another in a long list of EL AL clues.
  • 59A: Frist's successor as Senate majority leader (REID) — *Current* majority leader, though who knows for how long.
  • 72A: Piscivorous flier (PELICAN) — just mean "fish-eating." Word fits A HEAP of birds.
  • 97A: "The Five Orange Pips" sleuth (HOLMES) — turns out POIROT fits here.
  • 108A: Group defeated in '65 (CSA) — had "-SA" and thought "we lost something in '65? But ... Vietnam didn't officially end for another decade."
  • 119A: Ingredient in furniture polishes (JAPAN WAX) — so the WAX is an ingredient but not the "polish" itself?
  • 24D: "The Open Window" writer (SAKI) — dude, give it a rest. You're about as welcome as OLAN at this point. Speaking of my elusive darling, I think I've found OLAN's twin sister — AYLA (45D: "The Clan of the Cave Bear" heroine). Yet another literary woman with a stupid four-letter name I couldn't remember if whiskey depended on it.
  • 40A: Funnywoman Sedaris (AMY) — love her! Second-favorite "AMY," right after my sister. Anyone willing to make herself *this* unappealing for comedy has my undying respect. From "Strangers with Candy":


  • 61D: Nickname for Bjorn Borg (ICEMAN) — I must have heard this before, because it was my first and only guess, but I had no idea why I "knew" it. Like the members of ABBA, Borg is a SWEDE.


  • 62D: Big production company in 1950s-'60s TV (DESILU) — weirdly I wanted DEL ... what was the name of that TV station that's now defunct. De-something. DELMAR. DE... aha, DUMONT! That's what I wanted. That dissolved in '56.
  • 66D: Hair care brand since 1931 (CLAIROL) — vintage ad ... somewhere ... yes, this'll do:


  • 95D: Michael Jackson film, with "The" ("WIZ") — this soundtrack was a staple of my youth. It's pretty damned good, actually.


  • 99D: Mexican state south of Veracruz (OAXACA) — only one way I guessed this with no crosses: TAZA Chocolate (Somerville, MA). They make chocolate using traditional Oaxacan methods, which involves, among other things, stone-grinding the beans. It's some of the most delicious stuff I've ever tasted ever ever. Ever. Go here and see. (Full disclosure: Taza Chocolate follows me on Twitter and this is a shameless attempt to get them to send me free chocolate, which only proves the sincerity of my endorsement — I love the stuff enough to be this shameless)
  • 108D: Skeevy sort (CREEP) — Also Radiohead's first big hit.


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

  • @lights Maybe it's just me, but no matter what my night was like, I always do a crossword or two before I fall asleep.


  • @dawndoth I have no idea what to do at work so I'm going to drink my coffee, do my crossword & stay out of the way until I can help.. but get paid.
  • @plannerben Dragged the xword to NJ for dismemberment #njparkinglot
  • @sveta85 Bitch is doin crossword puzzles while driving I REPEAT bitch is doin crossword puzzles and almost crashed into me...UGH!!
  • @VssrSuprnatural There is a woman at the airport with Crazy Eyes (also I think my mom sends will shortz hate mail)
  • @djscratch Turn your cell & computer off once a week & stimulate your brain by doing crossword puzzles. It sharpens your mind.


  • @Superfluously I haven't flipped through all the pages yet, but I'm starting to think this Hustler doesn't have a crossword.
  • @BrianneH Not finishing a people mag crossword is an all time low. I've let myself down. #shamespiralbeginsnow
  • @TheFagCasanova A woman just came over to borrow a lighter, noticed that I'd scrawled 'Hairy Cock Balls' over my crossword, shook her head and walked away.
  • @jamesmthomson can't go back to sleep. Adrenalin going from falling out of bed-which scared cat & wife-due to strange dream about a crossword & my mom.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

63 comments:

Norm 12:19 AM  

Cute puzzle. Don't usually do it on Saturday night but I'm just back from the hospital (surprise appendectomy [aren't they all?] for adult niece [don't worry; doing fine] and I'm now all prepared for "laparoscopy" to show up in the grid) and I was still wired. I think it helped. Whew. Maybe a glass of wine. Night all.

MikeM 12:45 AM  

Liked the puzzle, found it easy. Once I got the theme I filled in OILSPILLS and SHOWSTOPPERS with no crosses. Had mend for DARN for a bit and had to unwind the NE. Was always a fan of the SWEDE Bjorn "ICEMAN" Borg. Bruce Springsteen had an awesome song called The Iceman that he somehow couldnt find room to fit on Darkness on The Edge of Town; check it out if you dont know it - it is haunting..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOKm8_TPing

CoolPapaD 12:50 AM  

Thought I aced it, until I saw that KATY, not KATE, was c-c-correct. Despite the error, I had a lot of fun with this, and many of the theme answers were gettable with very few crosses; they also helped with some of the obscure fill, which is always a nice bonus.

No Kinks video??

I wonder if Peter Tork's mother used to do her NYT crosswords in pen, prompting Michael Nesmith's mother to....

chefwen 3:01 AM  

This was a great Sunday puzzle, time consuming, but a pleasure throughout.

Kookootork, maybe Australian, but not Wisconsin, Oconomowoc, now that's Wisconsin!

Thanks Adam Fromm, your last name is just two letters short of my maiden name. Think, tour guide, sadly not related.

Elaine 4:40 AM  

Is this 'Cryptic Comment Day?' @CoolPapaD--I need you to spell it out for me, por favor.

I see that I finished with an error, since KOOKOU/TURK made sense to me. If you must have a weird name, shouldn't it be spelt TORQUE? (Spellcheck doesn't like 'spelt.' OR 'Tork.')

Nice shot of the Butcher-birds, Rex. Thanks. Was hoping you would suggest an alternate clue for 100A, so came here after the solve.

Doris 6:16 AM  

Way back when, Clairol was ahead of its time with the then-suggestive ad campaign: "Does she or doesn't she? (Big pause) Only her hairdresser knows for sure!"
Some agency genius must have gotten a big bonus for dreaming that one up. Surprised it got past the censors, though nowadays no one would even notice.

ezra roenfeld 6:36 AM  

Rex
I think you used iceman for borg within the past week or two, memory isnt what it used to be!

edith b 7:51 AM  

Caleb Madison reversed the clue/answer in last Sunday's puzzle, calling for BORG as the answer and, this week, Adam Fromm called for ICEMAN.

Rex never mentioned Borg in his write-up last week

ArtLvr 7:58 AM  

My favorite kind of puzzle! Fun straight-forward wordplay -- marred only by TORK's vowel as Rex noted. Goldfish anyone? (Kookoi) Never mind...

∑;)

p.s. Speaking of 39D RAW, it might be helpful if the Twitters of the Week had a separate go-to feature, like "Click here for twitters"?

micculp - my bad!

Leslie 8:35 AM  

Liked it. I was ridiculously proud of myself for coming up with the Confederate States of America as the bunch that got defeated in '65, just because that's the sort of clue that can cause me more trouble than it should.

Peter Tosh jumped into my head because he was mentioned in the TV show "Justified" last Tuesday. I KNEW it couldn't be him, but TORK took a second to come to me, despite being squarely of my generation.

My only write-over was "Draw swords/draws words" rather than TURNSTILES, which of course makes better sense.

Norm, glad your niece is okay. An emergency appendectomy is a really unpleasant surprise!

Ruth 9:35 AM  

@Elaine, CoolPapaD did not complete the thought because "everybody" knows Mike Nesmith's mother invented WhiteOut. Or Liquid Paper. One of the two. I was at exactly the right age to follow the Monkees closely when they first came out (Tork's last name was shortened from Torkelsen. He was cute!) and to think the inventor of WhiteOut deserved the Nobel Prize--no more typewriter eraser crumbs!!

Bob Kerfuffle 9:46 AM  

Nice Sunday puzzle; doesn't leave much to say.

Will anyone be asking about 51 A? What You See Is What You Get.

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

I do the puzzle on paper every Sunday morning as soon as I get out of bed. Because I have severe Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in my right hand this task is sometimes agonizingly painful. On Monday I received cortisone injections in my wrists to ease the pain. This morning I did the puzzle with a lot less pain. Alas it still took me the same amount of time as usual to complete the puzzle.
Unfortunately cortisone does not make you smarter.

fikink 9:55 AM  

"Or Wisconsin" - hilarious, Rex, but lost you could get, especially in the Kettle Moraine area.
And Leslie Gore - "Judy's Turn to Cry," was even better than "It's My Party."
Enjoyed the puzzle, but enjoyed your commentary more this morning. Thanks for the laughs.

p.s. Was totally unaware of JAPAN WAX, my lesson for today.

Elaine 10:06 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elaine 10:07 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle
I had to Google for WYSISYG after completing the puzzle. Hubby was asleep--he would have known What That Stood For. I know I've seen it once before (in a puzzle) but it doesn't spring to mind for me.
@Ruth
Thanks for enlightening me. Now I see that our CoolPapaD is witty and up to Monkee-shines.

monsords--blades for tough guys

foodie 10:44 AM  

Rex, I wanted to thank your for your inspiration from yesterday. You described how you got a toehold for solving each of the quadrants by coming up with very few, sometimes a single answer. It dispelled an image I had, that the great solvers have to know a great deal of information. That little bit of insecurity is always at the back of my mind on tough puzzle days (For me Friday and Saturday). So, today, though I too thought it was a medium Sunday, I practiced my slightly different attitude and it really mattered. There were a couple of corners where I would have been stuck much longer- e.g. the CANASTAS, APEHOUSE, TIREIRON little stack. I had the long downs and was thinking-- argh something about card games that I know nothing about, a 3 letter volcano in Japan... Then I did my little attitude adjustment and bingo, it all fell out. Long winded, but THANK YOU!
And I really enjoyed the puzzle. The altered breakpoint was lovely, and both the initial and final phrases made sense and helped immensely in the solving process.

Leslie 10:49 AM  

Oh, my goodness, WEIRD!! Has anyone else done the diagramless puzzle yet? Peter Tork is in that one, too! Is it his birthday or something?

jesser 11:06 AM  

I am grumpy because the mulberry trees are pollenating, and I'm allergic, and my head feels stuffed with cotton and goathead stickers.

I did not remember Peter TORK as blond. Can't picture it. Davy was the cute one.

OCTILE? WTF? Caddy, hand me my octile for this sand shot.

JAPAN WAX? One shudders to think how this stuff is produced. I will never ever again use Endust, for I will fear it contains the ear glop of Mr. Moto.

There is an island visible from Kino in Mexico that looks like it is snow covered. It is not. It is covered in PELICAN shit.

My rudimentary bridge skills saved me from putting in Gore at 114D, because there is no bid with a g in it. That I'm aware of.

I almost grinned at TAILS PINS. But I hate when people say they can't remember their PIN number. I hate this only slightly less than when people say there is a problem with their hot water heater. I hate mulberry trees more than both these things.

I bet you have to be friends with or sleep with or bribe Will Shortz to put GROIN in your puzzle.

I am going to put this puzzle aside and look at it when I am not grumpy, because I'm guessing it has lots of grins in it.

Keith 11:19 AM  

And,
here I thought you preferred whisky to whiskey.....

Meg 11:26 AM  

I was happy to discover on Wiki that japan wax is made from sumac berries and not spermaceti, which comes from sperm whales.

The definition for WONKY is new to me, and not in my on-line Merriam-Webster, though I know it is not a complete reference.

I couldn't see YOPLAIT, though I had 3 letters. I was stuck on ALEF or ALFA for "First of all". Sigh.

Nice puzzle.

Van55 11:32 AM  

OCTILE/WOOLSEY was a near-Natik for me, but I got it. Had WISIWIG for WYSIWYG [shrug]. Enjoyed the theme a lot. Very little stale fill today as well.

Stan 11:33 AM  

Yikes, I could not have been more on this puzzle's socio-cultural wavelength, with ABBA, SAKI, LOLA, PAPP, AMY, SAL, ALI, OMOO, SWEE, TORK, ITHOT, ICEMAN, DESILU, and HOLMES as no-cross write-ins. Thanks, Adam Fromm.

JayWalker 11:39 AM  

Not a bad puzzle at all. I'm still amazed that my puzzle "experiences" are always so similar to our "Leerless Feeder." I'm SO not in his league. Nonetheless, I do take umbrage once again at the crossing of two uncommon names (Woolsey & Tork) - tied together with a very oddly defined word (wonky). I happily accept that the constructor's job is to give me a hissy fit, but shouldn't there be a limit on "meanness" on a Sunday morning?

NickAndNora 11:41 AM  

Shaw is George Bernard Shaw, who wanted to turn down the Nobel prize for Literature in 1925. He won the Oscar for the movie Pygmalion, an adaptation of his play - the basis for My Fair Lady.

addie loggins 11:45 AM  

I'm starting to get just a bit freaked out at how my puzzle solving experience mirrors Rex's.

Took me way too long (in retrospect) to get the very gettable YOPLAIT and WONKY? Check. Thinking about Mt. Apo? Check. WOOLSEY popped into my head but I wasn't sure where I knew it from so didn't write it down right away? Check. Had KATY confused with "Daisy"? Check.

Mostly breezed through this one. I got sidetracked for awhile after writing ENTIRE rather than INTACT for the clue "whole" and SALUTE ratherthan SALAAM for "greeting of respect." But I realized both errors fairly quickly, and ended up with my fastest Sunday time since I started keeping track.

DB Geezer 11:55 AM  

@rex, your comment "WOOLSEY / OCTILE section in the west" made me think that after the winter you easterners have had, that the west is indeed magnetic. I think that pair is actually in the east?

Elaine 12:07 PM  

@Jesser
Divide 360 by 8 and see what you get.
From now on, I myself will demand at least an OCTILE of the pie.

I never even thought of Al GORE (the SH appeared early...but I could hardly believe SHAW was around to win an Oscar. Quite a feat.

See you guys tomoorw.

PIX 12:12 PM  

Not brilliant...not bad...enjoyable to do; forgotten by tomorrow...a solid middle of the road Sunday.

thebubbreport 12:23 PM  

Not reading any comments or the post yet, because I'm not done, but didn't Al Gore win an Oscar and the Nobel Prize? Sorry if that's a repeat comment, it's just thrown me off so much on this stupid puzzle I had to vent.
becky

nevermind 12:34 PM  

@thebubbreport

Since you are not reading comments it would be pointless to respond directly.

When you do read them, by this point your error would already have been discovered.

Doug 12:49 PM  

Didn't they call Bjorn, "the IceBjorg"? For me, the only "Iceman" is this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihvvf1R_vWo

JenCT 1:01 PM  

Liked the puzzle; just couldn't see OCTET - had Eight, knew it was right, and my brain wouldn't budge!

Agree w/Rex re: OCTILE and OCTET.

Had Grate instead of GROIN - breakfast test??

Otherwise, puzzle was pretty AWESOME.

Masked and Anonymous 1:03 PM  

I'm with Rex on the theme; it's a good one, but really smacked me hard on the deja vu meter. I guess OCTET/OCTILE also registered a minor blip on that meter, but I would suffer that to avoid stuff like 104-A. Actually, throw 88-D in there, too.

Overall, had a fun solve and enjoyed the theme answers, so gotta go thumbs up. The constructor and editor earned their keep. Not a perfect puzzle...but have we had the perfect NYT puzzle yet? Probably not. The words keep getting in the way.

jae 1:15 PM  

Easy-Medium for me. Nothing spectacular but an enjoyable solve. Got hung up a bit in the center and middle east areas, not seeing WONKY, trying Monkee's first names at first, and needing more than a couple of letters to get YOPLAIT and INTACT.

@jesser -- I too was looking for a golf club for 36d.

kate 1:19 PM  

Hm, KOOKOO was not minor in my world, as a Blondie fanatic the release of that album was a big deal (and the Giger cover much discussed), and thus was a gimme in the puzzle. I blazed through this one except for the NE, couldn't figure out what Scrabble players do to -TILES for much too long ("draw"? "pull"?), and had a brainfreeze around CATTLEMEN. I was even stuck for SOIREE for a bit but when that one hit me, the corner fell fast and I finished with a very fast personal time.

zinser 1:19 PM  

Being a bridge player, I (try to)carry numbers in my head. 113A is an "incorrect" bridge declaration: the only words that may be used in bidding are the numbers 1-7, clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades (with or without the "s"), no trump, double, redouble, and pass (no "I"). Roughly 16 words to describe 635 billion possible bridge hands.

Sundance 1:43 PM  

Excellent puzzle -- very high number of theme answers. Little crosswordese fill. And above-average count of X's, Y's and Z's.

Shamik 1:48 PM  

@jesser: Sorry you're grumpy, but you're funnier than hell this morning! And thanks for clearing up TAILS PINS for me. Yeesh.

Great write-up. Probably easy-medium for me...although my stats are elsewhere. Alas. Computer works fine except it won't wi-fi onto the internet. Borrowing the daughter's computer, so haven't been able to solve a daily puzzle in about 2-3 weeks!!!! And the son has my computer to see if he can find the button I pushed/unpushed to lose connectivity.

Enjoyable Sunday puzzle...only missing my coffee.

Initially had PSAT instead of LSAT and couldn't think of any language that would respectfully call anything SAPAAM!

dk 1:50 PM  

Easy-Peasy. Having pickTILES instead of Turn was my only do over. And, TIREIRON was a puzzler as I wanted quick release latch or something like that.

@jesser, there is also a product known as Japan Drier so I guess its wet clothes for you.

Off to play.

** (2 Stars)

ps. She who must be adored (Andrea) has a puzzle coming up next Monday I think.

burgundy 2:00 PM  

How about cluing 11 down "Ones promoting brand awareness?" with a question mark, making it look as if it was part of the theme.... so I kept trying to fit an "s" in there. Do you even need the question mark? Thought this was especially good craft.

mac 2:01 PM  

Nice Sunday puzzle. I liked some of the theme answers better than others: trains potters, polices take-outs and turns tiles.

Of course I thought of Gore, too, but I already had the w in place. Woolsey sounded familiar, but that could have been the cardinal, of course. Yoplait was "in my language" because of business my husband (and many friends) has been in, althought Nestle crossed my mind as well. I usually think of a soiree as more intimate than a big do. For the Dutch construction my first thought was: Dune? They are natural!

@Bob Kerfuffle: thank you!

@Jesser: do you have any silkworms there?

burgundy 2:02 PM  

Correction... Thought this was not good craft

Jon88 2:04 PM  

Just to confirm: PESO and PESETAS, OCTET and OCTILE are cause for rage, but the contrived SONG MIXER and OHH don't bother you at all?

PlantieBea 2:31 PM  

Nice Sunday puzzle. I got hung up in the WYSIWYG/AYLA and DESILU/SAL crossings--natick moments for me. I enjoyed the theme answers, especially POLICES TAKEOUTS.

Thanks for all of the links today, Rex.

joho 3:14 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle. Thank you, Adam Fromm.

The only problem I had was 88D: went from AHA to OHO to OHH. Thought that ODD.

@Bob Kerfuffle ... thank you, too, for WYSIWYG which was my word of the day.

JenCT 3:35 PM  

Just wondering - is this a record for the most video links in a Rex writeup today?

Bill from NJ 4:11 PM  

@fikink-

Growing up in the 60s, there seemed to be a lot of those "response" songs like "Judy's Turn to Cry. Truly the late 50s and early 60s were a Golden Age in Popular Music IMOO, he says wistfully.

She who must be adored is priceless, dk, and I wholeheartedly agree. To anybody who hasn't heard, She has a puzzle on Monday. I can't wait!!

chefbea 5:16 PM  

Took me all day to finnish. Many things to do. I feel like we live at Lowes and Bed Bath & Bryond.

Never heard of wysiwyg Thats @Bob kerfuffle for the explanation

foodie 6:03 PM  

@Rex, the Taza Chocolate people definitely owe you! I believe you talked about them before, and given my foodiness, I pursued the information. I have since put them on my wish list for birthday, stockings stuffers, mother's day, you name it. I buy it on occasions for puzzle husband who has a number of food restrictions and is always looking for good treats. And I recommended them to my favorite food store, Zingerman's and now they carry them (I'm taking credit for that, whether or not it's deserved : )

Since you love chocolate, meet the Chocolate Lady, here:
http://www.zingermansdeli.com/content/pages/foodnews/2009/nov-dec/foodnews_duffdec.php

And I must say, I like your very original approach to handling conflict of interest : )

Jesse 6:33 PM  

After complete shame yesterday, this was a breeze. I don't know why wonky was so difficult for so many. I think I hang aound the wrong blogs, perhaps. A wonk is someone who knows all the details of what's happening with policy. There even is or was a blog called Wonkette. I didn't like it and stopped reading. But wonk and wonky are definitely in my vocabulary.

I'd like to return to Saturday's puzzle. I'm sure everyone here gets ticked off when they can't finish a puzzle, and I certainly do. But the reward, such as it is, comes when you wander over here and have Rex explain it all to you.

Sometimes I just say d'uh that I could have been fooled by the clue, and I move on, marvelling at my idiocy. Sometimes I think the answers are so interesting that I google them.

This time, I didn't find one of the anwsers I couldn't get google-worthy, just d'umb and poorly clued. It was a very poor effort on the part of the constructor and the editor.

I'm clearly not the only person who thinks so. Even Rex, who usually finds something to love about any crossword, came close to sounding cross.

I hope the Times won't do that again. It was a total breach of Shortz's rule that one should be able to solve any NYT xword by the crosses, and it was also a very boring answer grid.

chefbea 6:40 PM  

@foodie - I too love zingerman's. Haven't ordered from there in a while. Ari is a good friend of my foodie daughter. I found that I am quoted on the web site raving about their raisin bread.

Alton 7:12 PM  

Appreciate the explanation of WYSIWYG-finished the puzzle on the ride from Princeton Jct.. to NYC Penn Sta and thought that was wrong. Enjoyed the puzzle and love the Taza Chocolate too!

WhereDidYouHearThat 8:16 PM  

@Jesse wrote:

"It was a total breach of Shortz's rule that one should be able to solve any NYT xword by the crosses"

Rule ???

Solve any ???

P.G. (I wish)

Glitch 8:33 PM  

For the new folk, WYSIWYG was the WOTD on Friday 10/23/09.

You can check out the comments here.

.../Glitch

Still New 8:52 PM  

10/23/09 Rex said:
We've been over and over this.

Grammy ceremonies are where people win awards based on music released the previous year (hence ADELE won the 2008 Grammy for Best New Artist in early '09). See list of all such winners here.
******************************

Ooooooooooooooeeeeooooooo

Deja vu all over again. Besides the WOTD from that date, we've got the same questions about the Grammy dates!
One solution: no more Grammy clues! I would vote for this rule.

Physicians' offices fail when people 'get tired' of repeating the same instructions and precautions. Apparently, xword blogs are doomed to the same regimen of repeating basic guidelines. It could be worse.

Glitch 9:41 PM  

@Still New

yup

.../Glitch

fergus 11:33 PM  

Total breeze at the beach, yet got stuck in Minnesota. My vaguely napping Beguiling companion LED me ON to LAPLAND, and Presto! DECRYPTed.

No difficulty factor in the theme, but since it was done so well, no complaints.

Stan 1:36 AM  

Re: Leslie Gore.

a) Great flip hairdo!

b) The question of whether "It's My Party" or "Judy's Turn to Cry" is the greater song is profound, and will never be resolved.

c) She also wrote/sang the proto-feminist, proto-Riot-Grrl classic "You Don't Own Me."

fikink 2:54 PM  

@Stan, totally forgot about "You Don't Own Me" !
(I'm not just one of your many toys!
You don't own me.
Don't say I can't go with other boys...)

Thanks for the memories :)

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

Chicagoan chiming in 4 or 6 weeks late or whatever the lag is - thought 11D was part of the themed answers so insisted on CASTLEMEN even though STLEMEN is nowhere. One gripe - recording engineers ALWAYS mix songs, they SOMETIMES fix songs, which looked fine to me since I don't know Melville at all (OFOO looked just great!)

Jay 6:35 PM  

and speaking of the Torks and WITE-OUT, did y'all know that it was originally made in prison?

Department of corrections

We need more puns in the puzzles!

Zardoz 12:26 AM  

Again, a week late to the party - syndicated.
Rather easy one -- just a few glitches - didn't think they were correct:
88d OHH say what??? Who says that? Not even in German. Almost messed up HOLMES & WITCHES.
68d WONKY ?? Never heard that definition before. Thanks Jesse 6:33 PM (Rex, can you show dates as well?)
TORK came out of the crosses, but don't remember that name, even though my kid sister was a big Monkees fan, & had that Leslie Gore hairdo. Wow, that was awful music! Early bubblegum?
25a TIRE IRON Now really -- who's got one of those in their trunk? Last time I used one (actually two, & a third hand & iron would have made it less frustrating) was in the 80s on a Suzuki GS850. Tires with tubes. :-P Yuck.
http://www.gaastra.cc/Klassieke%20Motorplaatjes/Suzuki%20GS850-1979.jpg
But, the sweetest touring bike ever! Just chewed up the canyon & mountain roads in WA, OR, & BC (Canada).

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