Bygone daily MTV series informally / SUN 4-25-10 / Death Grieg movement / Singer/actress Karen Broadway's Nine / Architect born 4/26/1917

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "MONUMENTAL ACHIEVEMENT" — a puzzle all about PYRAMIDS, and specifically in honor of the GLASS DESIGN BY I.M. PEI (89A: [ ] that was the creation of an architect born 4/26/1917) featured at THE LOUVRE (66A: Paris attraction that features a [ ])

[Note on puzzle reads: When this puzzle is done, the seven circled letters can be arranged to spell a common word, which is missing from seven of the clues, as indicated by [ ]. Connect the seven letters in order with a line and you will get an outline of the object that the word names]

Word of the Day: Larry KERT (119A: Larry who played Tony in "West Side Story") —

In 1955, while dancing in the chorus in the Sammy Davis, Jr. show Mr. Wonderful, Kert was recommended by his fellow dancer and friend Chita Rivera, who eventually won the role of Anita in West Side Story, to audition as a dancer for Gangway during the earliest Broadway pre-production of the Arthur Laurents-Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim musical later titled West Side Story, an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet set in upper Manhattan in the 1950s. Years later while singing at the White House, Kert remembered he was the 18th out of 150 hopefuls to audition, but he was the first one to be cut. A few months later, while he was working for Esquire in an advertising show, Stephen Sondheim approached him after seeing him perform and set up an audition for the part of Tony. Kert was reluctant to accept the offer, but a few weeks later, he was informed that he had the role. // According to Arthur Laurents, who wrote the book for West Side Story, Kert was "a California extrovert, laughing, bubbling, deadly funny, and openly gay." Director-choreographer Jerome Robbins frequently clashed with Kert, publicly chastising him for being a "faggot," despite the fact that Robbins himself, fellow dancer Tommy Abbott and most of the creative team was gay. Kert did not repeat his role in the 1961 film version of the show because at 30 years old he looked unbelievable as a teenager. The role went to former child actor Richard Beymer, whose vocals were dubbed by Jimmy Bryant. Kert was upset at being passed over for the role, because he had hoped that it would jump-start his film career. [...] Kert's last stage appearance came in a touring company of La Cage aux Folles but he missed performances because of illness. Kert died, aged 60, in New York City from complications of AIDS in 1991. His older sister is singer Anita Ellis, noted for dubbing Rita Hayworth and other non-singing stars in their films. (wikipedia)

• • •

This is the first Liz Gorski creation in a long time (possibly ever) that I just didn't care for. Inevitably, I compare this puzzle to her Guggenheim puzzle from last year, and this one just doesn't measure up. The theme was very easy to pick up — I never looked at the note that came with it until I was finished filling in the grid — and then held almost no surprises. No revealing moments. The theme answers were simply dull descriptions of things that are pyramids. Further, I have never heard of the card game "Pyramid" (78A: CARD GAME), and I've been practicing yoga for years and didn't know Pyramid was a pose (it's just not one we do, I guess — what's up with that, Elisa? Are you holding out on me?) (55A: YOGA POSE). No problem. Just picked them up from crosses. So I just sort of ho-hummed my way through the grid. And then was asked to draw on my grid — an act toward which I used to be hostile, though now my feelings are pretty neutral. I just don't count those post-solve theatrics as part of the puzzle's inherent quality. Here, it's a pyramid. I can see it before I draw it. So I don't draw.

My main issue today, though, was how much really, truly subpar fill is populating this grid — an avalanche of wince-inducing short stuff. ASE'S (115A: "___ Death" (Grieg movement)) over KERT probably hurt the worst, but I'd count all of the following as less than optimal (no one thing is pure abomination, but taken in toto, wow, it hurts): ASE'S, AKERS (102D: Singer/actress Karen of Broadway's "Nine"), KERT, FOSSAE (81D: Anatomical cavities — actually, somewhat cool, but clearly a word of convenience, and the second -AE plural in the grid), the whole middle of the puzzle (OLEOS next to STOAS next to ALTUS), CTS crossing SSNS, LEY, UBS (36D: Financial inst. that bought PaineWebber in 2000), MNOP, singular SCAD, AM TO (?), CLONAL (!?!?!) (12D: Like some cell growth), BES (where I'm from, "WANNABE" is one word), etc. etc. None of it caused much of a struggle, but with each one of these, my pleasure diminished and diminished — and with no wow factor to redeem it, I ended up feeling like I was just going through the motions. I am a huge fan of The Gorski — her name is usually one of the first names out of my mouth when people ask me "Who do you think the best constructors are?" Perhaps my standards for her are too high. Perhaps. But I'm going to keep them there. Her ambitious creations make me happy and hopeful even when I don't think they quite come off.

Theme answers:
  • 55A: [ ] — YOGA POSE
  • 78A: [ ] — CARD GAME
  • 20A: Resident of a country that's 97% mountains and desert (OMANI) — klassic krosswordese, but with an interesting klue
  • 31A: Gwen who sang "Don't Speak," 1996 (STEFANI) — as the lead singer of the group No Doubt; "Don't Speak" was a huuuuuge hit.

  • 59A: Glossy black birds (DAWS) — speaking of birds that are neither glossy nor black, I got attacked by a wild turkey in the woods yesterday. OK, "attacked" is a mild overstatement. But I swear, I heard a bit of rustling nearby, and then an explosion of leaves as 20+ pounds of maniacally flapping awkwardness seemed to just levitate from behind the bushes right next to me and start to fly right overhead. My thought: "There's No Way that stays airborne." So I duck but the bird proceeds to go higher and higher, clearing me easily and ending up quite near the treetops, from which it simply stretched out its wings and glided down the hill. I had no idea turkeys could get that much air, or soar so gracefully. Crazy. My dogs ... absolutely failed to notice anything remarkable going on.
  • 60A: New York City transport from the Bronx to Coney Island (D TRAIN) — got it off the "D." Did anyone ever sing about the D TRAIN the way they did about the A TRAIN?

  • 103A: Network that airs "WWE Raw" (USA) — If I had to name a USA network show, I think the only one I could come up with is "Night Flight" — an early music video show that seemed very cool and cutting-edge and grown up to 11-year-old me (soooo much cooler than the teen-and-tween-centered "Total Request Live," aka "TRL" (74D: Bygone daily MTV series, informally) of '90s MTV.

  • 104A: Breakdown of social norms (ANOMIE) — a word I think I've heard exactly once, in Government class, in 1988.
  • 13D: Part of a Virgin Atlantic fleet (AEROPLANE) — strangely, I would not have pegged this as British. I would have pegged it as 19c / Jules Vernian. Shows what I know.
  • 17D: Like Berg's "Wozzeck" (ATONAL) — despite being a very ordinary word, puzzle-wise, ATONAL took me longer than probably any other word in the grid. Fozzy Wozzeck was a bear ...

  • 51A: 1980s Chrysler debut (K-CAR) — for no good reason, I really like this answer. If a car is going to be named after a letter, that is the letter to name it after, I say.

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

  • @marcusyeagley I've been defeated by a Monday NYT crossword puzzle. Not a fine way to start the day. #fb
  • @virgikneecap - Mike is not helpful with crosswords.
  • @amandahesser Another tip-top @michelehumes Food Crossword for your weekend of leisure:
  • @jocakern Will you share your crossword puzzle? Come on,it is not a toothbrush...
  • @sesamestreet Cookie Monster: Ate newspaper crossword puzzle today. Gordon said it was “a piece of cake”. So me ate it. Not very moist.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


jesser 12:21 AM  

Like you, Rex, I never saw the note. The [ ]s were not helpful, but the crosses made the answers come along, like a Jeep rescuing a Hummer. Could not for the life of me figure out the circles (which printed!) until coming here. I also didn't draw it.

Was it Ms. Gorski who drew a musical notation a while back, and an ampersand another time? Those were more gooder, in my book.

The fill that most displeased me was DIMAG at 59D. I'm no baseball nut, and my main exposure to Joe is from the Simon and Garfunkel song, but his abbreviated name looks like he's suddenly (and likely unwillingly) become an amputee. They cut off his AGGIO!

61A was reminiscent of the last several days in Casa Strep Throat. The HOT TEA has been plentiful and therapeutic. Red Zinger rocks.

I really liked LULUS, SKI CAP, GLUTES, KAPUT, CONK, ASK NOT, MADAMS, and IN PEN (me! me!). Thought the juxtaposition of ICIEST SUMMER right next to one another was inspired. Or a commentary on San Francisco.

On the other hand, I was a little shocked that FATSO was right there in front of God and Everybody at 1A. And must we be reminded of K CARS? Please God, no.

Only writeover was at 39D where I wanted 'wow'. I ended up with OOH. Ow.

Clapped and shouted (MADE NOISE) at 65D. Hi, Andrea!

Overall, I give it decent marks.

I'm gonna have two more toddies then hit the hay. Does that make me LUSHLY? I do not care.

Honvernf! (A reasonably close approximation to the first sound I am able to make it the morning these last few days) -- jesser

lit.doc 12:33 AM  

Initial reaction: another Liz Gorski puzzle, cool! Initial reaction was correct, as this is perhaps the most amazing circles-draw-a-picture puzzle I’ve ever seen. But wow—I was NOT expecting it to be so hard. Done, with three googles, 25 minutes after the light turned red.

Saw what seemed to be going on when I got 66A THE LOUVRE—the note said “object”, so I was looking for an objet d’art. Not. Took me till 88:37 to sort out P A M Y I _ R. And the D was tough. What, INE? ANE? ATE? IDE? ACK!

Wow, what a workout. Loved it.

Late addendum: I’m totally surprised by Rex’s assessment. Other than The Usual Evil Plurals (35A AURAE, 62D OLEOS (I’ve got lots of them in my fridge), and maybe 81D FOSSAE (like 62D, legal but not worth a S), the fill was solid. As in hard. And IMHO, the coherence of the image and the related theme answers was outstanding.

@Jesser, me too re the DIMAG’ thing, but figured it was just my impoverished sports expertise.

syndy 2:25 AM  

had fir for fig and couldnt figure out what in the world a yorapose was,oh well.dimag was just wrong;only not so wrong as fatso.also see i had safeco i guess officially dnf.

jae 2:51 AM  

I read the note and solved the circled squares first. I figured out the anagram about a quarter of the way through so it was on the easier side of medium for me also. Oh, and I agree with the above comments on DIMAG. Just seems wrong.

I liked this because it was more interesting than a typical Sun., i.e. a different approach to the "multiple answers for a single clue" theme. So, I'm respectfully disagreeing with Rex on this one. I agree Ms. Gorski has created better puzzles but I think this was still pretty clever/enjoyable. For example, the first square that I filled in was an "S" at 1a/5d only to have FATSO hit me moments later. I like that kind of stuff.

lit.doc 2:53 AM  

@syndy, glad you're in the game. Think of "dnf" only in relation to your current skill level.

My NYT subscription is up for its first renewal 30 April, and I'm still at a "DNF = could not fill all those damned squares even with google" level.

Task Number One is enjoying the act of solving.

edith b 3:28 AM  


I've been at this 40+ years and it wasn't until I retired from teaching school that I began to consistently solve the late week puzzles. I guess I just finally had the time to devote to the struggle.

Don't ever worry about your DNF ratio. This is not a competition unless you want it to be. I just enjoy doing the puzzle, reading Rex's critique and being part of somthing larger than myself: this group of Commenters where I felt welcome from my first day.

foodie 5:47 AM  

Rex, I agree that this one is not my favorite Gorski, whom I usually adore. The Guggenheim one was simply breathtaking.

This one was easy in many ways except for a couple of spots that seemed impossible. And I didn't sense that this heterogeneity was due to the demands of the theme.

I guess I was also surprised that a puzzle about pyramids has nothing in it about the most famous historical pyramids in the world. The LOUVRE and the PEI theme answers are great. But the rest of the theme answers? Not so much. And if the focus was meant to be on the Louvre, then the cheerleaders and card game, etc. diluted the impact.

Rex, I like your story about the wild turkey sighting. For some reason, Eastern woods compared to our woods seem to harbor more wild large birds -- e.g pheasants and turkey.

JenCT 5:47 AM  

@edith b: well said

Was happily cruising along, until I got stuck. Had ATON instead of SCAD, SLIDON instead of SLIPON, SONG instead of CONK, etc., etc.

Oh well - I still enjoyed it. Agree about DIMAG. Also had WOW instead of OOH.

Beautiful day in the Northeast yesterday! Hope everyone got out & enjoyed it.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:27 AM  

I join the chorus in wondering what the heck is going on with DIMAG. Can someone explain/defend it? Anyone? Martin?

Didn't hate the puzzle. Line drawing etc. may be what distinguish published-on-paper Times puzzles from those available online?

My knowledge of French is almost totally lacking, so I had MOI at 47 D before TOI; didn't know TOI was a word!

(Last Thanksgiving, my hostess at a home in the western wilds of New Jersey had us watch as the wild turkeys flew up to roosts in the trees at dusk. I never knew those birds could even get off the ground!)

ArtLvr 8:08 AM  

We had a solitary wild turkey wandering down the middle of our dead-end street a few weeks ago -- looked like a Big Bird as tall as I am! I wondered where his flock was, because in Michigan on the lake shore they are never alone like that. Maybe he'd lost his mate?

MATEY was my first choice for 47A, "Very friendly with", and MOI fit nicely at 47D. ANIS also came to mind before 59A DAWS...Those got fixed well before the end. The rest flew into place even with clues missing for the theme entries.

GLUTES was amusing, talking about ends, and it struck me as fresh fill. KERT and LEY, ditto. Kudos to Liz Gorski for this clever Sunday puzzle -- we ASK NOT for the Guggenheim every time!


ArtLvr 8:10 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruth 8:26 AM  

Well, remember, Ben Franklin thought the wild turkey would be a better choice for our national bird than the bald eagle. He said the the eagle had "bad moral character" whereas the turkey was a "bird of courage." Sounds like Rex's turkey was standing up to him, sure enough.

Eric Berlin 8:30 AM  

My one holdup on this came early: I saw the title and thought, okay, Washington Monument. Then the first theme answer I got was IMAGE ON A DOLLAR BILL, which only served to confirm my theory. So I was more than a little flummoxed when I finally filled in... CHEERLEADING POSITION? I think I better think it out again.

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

The use of "DiMag" is trivia to be sure, but crosswords are full of same -- the shortened name was common in the 40s -- example:


Parshutr 8:46 AM  

Dimag = what Joe Dimaggio, Yankee ctr fielder till the early 50s, was called.
Like Kert, and Ley geezer gimme.
Overall, I have to agree with RP.
Worst of the day...skicap.

joho 9:08 AM  

Haven't we had DIMAG before? I seem to remember we did and don't recall all these negative comments.
Makes sense to me.

This might not be Liz Gorski's best puzzle ever, but it's still heads above others and was a fun Sunday for me. I love drawing on my puzzles and appreciated the fact this this pyramid is not flat,
just like the puzzle wasn't flat to me.

The only part I didn't like was SCAD.

Thank you Ms. Gorksi! I look forward to your next.

Smitty 9:27 AM  

No turkeys but I once counted 18 turkey vultures hang gliding in CHEERLEADING FORMATION overhead. (I live on a bluff with lots of updraft for raptor rapture)

Ben Braddock 9:29 AM  

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you (Woo, woo, woo)
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson
Joltin' Joe has left and gone away
(Hey, hey, hey...hey, hey, hey)

Greene 9:38 AM  

I agree with @joho. This may not be Ms. Gorski's best puzzle, but I still found plenty to enjoy. Like @foodie I did wonder about the absence of other more famous pyramids in the theme answers.

Enjoyed seeing Broadway's Larry Kert and Karen Akers in the grid, although I don't exactly think of them as household names. For my money, Larry Kert was the best of all the Tonys in West Side Story. There have been better sung Tonys and better acted Tonys to be sure, but Kert brought such a sense of impassioned urgency to the role as to render him wholly authentic. Here's Kert with original Maria, Carol Lawrence, doing a bit of Tonight from the balcony sequence of WSS as filmed on The Ed Sullivan Show. I love this clip (although it's greatly abridged here). Has anyone played these roles with this kind of passion ever since? Strangely, this music was thought ugly and ATONAL by many when it was new.

edith b 9:44 AM  

I love Liz Gorski's puzzles but I if I had to rate this one it would be an ambitious failure.

Way too much junk fill and I hate using that phrase but I think it could have benefited from another round of editing.

I think, like Rex, that I hold Ms Gorski to a higher standard than is fair but I did enjoy this one on some level because of past experience with her.

I only did the puzzle because I don't believe in the circles and the arrows and a paragraph on the back explaining what each one was . . . I sometimes slip into Arlo Guthrie mode for no reason. Sorry.

archaeoprof 9:59 AM  

Yes, I agree with the general consensus today. Easy, and a little boring.

But, on the upside, 49A reminded me that there was a time when selfishness was not regarded as a political principle.

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

i felt satisfaction when i drew in the pyramid. theme was easy to recognize early so it lacked that aha moment. had to google kert and akers and a few more. but otherwise it went fairly smoothly for this newbie.

chefbea 10:12 AM  

Got most of the puzzle but there was no note on my downloaded puzzle. Had no idea what the parentheses were all about. Had to come here to find out the answer.

Ulrich 10:19 AM  

To add to foodie's famous pyramids that didn't make the puzzle: I tried to find a "ponzi scheme" somewhere--Ponzi and Cheops would have added lustre to the puzzle, maybe even lifted it EG's usual standards.

And as much as I like diagrams drawn over a puzzle, I find today's somewhat simplistic--should I read it as the view of a 3-sided pyramid with only one edge invisible or that of a 4-sided one with 3 edges invisible? Besides, the I is superfluous--it's only there b/c there is an additional letter in "pyramid" that is not needed to mark the end of a line in the diagram as it stands--Occam's razor, where are you when we need you?

Bernard Madoff 11:09 AM  

@Ulrich - Actually, a Ponzi scheme and a pyramid scheme are not the same. A Ponzi is when I claim to have a high-paying investment but actually pay off earlier investors with the money coming in from later investors. A pyramid scheme is when I sell a franchise to a number of people and the only way they get any return is by selling a similar franchise to several people each - the claimed business of the franchise doesn't generate any profit.

matt 11:11 AM  

agree with rex on this one... some pretty bad fill. ASES and KERT were so out there that even after I finished the puzzle, I was sure I was wrong. (Disagree with his deeming of UBS to be bad fill though; it's one of the largest financial institutions in the world.)

HudsonHawk 11:15 AM  

Well, with my drawing skills, that is one ugly PYRAMID--looks more like a blob. OK puzzle, but I have to agree with Rex.

Interesting to see an Amanda Hesser tweet. She portrayed herself briefly in Julie and Julia, which we finally got around to watching last night.

I can't miss the opportunity to throw out some Barenaked Ladies lyrics:

"If I had a million dollars, well, I'd buy you a K-CAR (a nice RELIANT automobile)."

Ulrich 11:29 AM  

@Bernie: Nice to hear from you! If you're able to clarify the finer points of investment scams (which I gratefully acknowledge), the beatings you recently received at the hands of your new associates can't have been that bad.

@HudsonHawk: If you draw the hidden lines (we architects like to use dashed or dotted ones), it doesn't look so bad.

chefbea 11:29 AM  

@hudson hawk my pyramid looks like a blob also. Can someone show me how it is drawn??

CoolPapaD 12:00 PM  

I am floored by the negative comments. While there may be some suboptimal fill, there was much fantastic non-theme material. If you didn't laugh out loud when 1A turned out to be FATSO, there was probably no pleasing you, because you were mad you didn't know a hockey great whose name began with an "S."

I don't know where to check the database that NDE always quotes from, but I'd bet my boxers that ANOMIE (a great word, by the way) has been in a NYT puzzle recently (or at least in one of my Shortz collections).

LG's planning and construction are works of art, combining the skill of a wordsmith with that of an architect. While you may not love every book or building that you encounter, does it not take your breath away that mortals can do these things?

Ulrich 12:00 PM  

@chefbea: Here's my version. I moved the I-circle, which is redundant in the original drawing anyway, to a different I-square. This gives me another (hidden) corner so that I can draw also the hidden lines for 4-sided pyramid--hope this helps...

chefbea 12:13 PM  

@ulrich thanx. what a great drawing!! but of course - an architectural drawing

hazel 12:16 PM  

@chefbea - also check out Wordplay site - which has the drawn out temple (it is quite similar to Ulrich's - with the exception of the i-square).

@Ulrich - LG talks about what a problem the *I* was for her in the interview there.

Very nice reentry puzzle after my brief sabbatical. I'm with CoolPapaD - I thought this puzzle was fun to solve and also kind of ingenious, particularly when you consider the pyramid appears only by "unscrambling" (if you can call it that) the word and then connecting the dots in order. I don't know, I may just be easily amused.

The strange thing is the word I had in my mind, when I was filling in the blanks was "temple" even though I was seeing a pyramid. Like I was equating the two words in some crazy way - I was watching Sherlock Holmes movie, though, which I will use as a rationalization (excuse) for my airheadedness - plus my hair is growing back blonde!! No offense, fellow blondies, its just a joke.

Anyway, cool puzzle for me.

ArtLvr 12:16 PM  

@ Greene, glad you're back!

@ chefbea, Liz shows the intended 3-D drawing on the NYT blog...


Anonymous 12:21 PM  

Don't Speak is one of the best songs of the 90s, easily! Love it.

JayWalker 12:28 PM  

Just to add to the general tenor of the comments - my last fill was "DiMag." Just could not, would not see it. I KNEW DiMagGIO but not the diminutive. Also, why-0-why can I never, ever get obvious clues like 52D "April first?"??? Even with the bloody "?" I STILL keep trying to figure out what they want in a logical, rational manner. Will I ever learn? Overall? Meh.


@CoolPapaD - Here's a link to the website you are looking for. Just type in ANOMIE, for example, and you will get every time it has appeared along with the clue used and a link to the complete puzzle: Wordplay.

(My full name is "Not Quite Let Me Google That For You.")

Nyet Jones 12:55 PM  

I would like to know what the picture of the 9 built from books means. Maybe I missed its relevance to the puzzle...please enlighten me!

Shacklett 12:56 PM  

We have "card game" and two theme answers referring to the same structure in Paris, while no reference to Giza or financial fraud (which would have been highly topical). Throw in "Dimag" and this one is well below "ho-hum."

Stan 1:08 PM  

Maybe not the high-water mark of Gorski architectural puzzles, but successful on its own terms and fun overall.

Found it a lot harder than Rex did, esp. in the NW where I first wanted SHOW (as in 'game show' and then even considered GEESE flying in pyramid formation (I know, that's one dimension off).

Speaking of big birds, we see wild turkeys both in groups and wandering off by themselves to forage (they have quite a range). Both Rex's and ArtLvr's probably have a flock around somewhere.

mac 1:19 PM  

I thought this puzzle an above average Sunday, but a little disappointing ECG. I got the word when I was about a quarter in, and that helped with some of them. I was also looking for a sales scam or scheme!

I learned fossae and Kert, never noticed the BES, loved Karen Akers but haven't heard anything by her lately, and thought the clues for Fatso and ski-cap were funny. NO to DiMag, and what kind of spelling is that for 88D?

We have plenty of wild geese here. We have seen them flying almost straight up into the highest oak trees, and they also like to stay out of the rain (the covered terrace needs a major clean-up when they have taken cover there).

ChefBea: do the food puzzle that is mentioned in the Tweets!

jesser 1:31 PM  

I ran out of legal comments yesterday before noting that I loved PG's birthday puzzle! Great fun (despite Yeats). :-) -- jesser

Bob Kerfuffle 1:34 PM  

@mac - My Merriam-Webster says LITCHI is the standard spelling for the litchi nut, then goes on to say ". . . or lichee also leechee or lichi or lychee." Plenty to choose from!

foodie 1:46 PM  

@CoolPapaD, yes both FATSO and its clue are fantastic. There was in fact a lot to admire about this puzzle, including the strategy it took to place the letters in exactly the right spot and the way she solved the problem of an extra letter by aligning it so well. I think the problem is that the standard for her is close to perfection. But I'm equally aware that she experiments, and for that I'm most grateful. As as a scientist I know that unless you're willing to fail you'll never contribute anything worthwhile.

@Ulrich, I like your perspective... in all manners of ways, which includes your dotted lines on the pyramid drawing. It's a little different from the one on the Wordplay, and I believe visually better.

@Hazel and Greene, nice to have you back! I've wondered about both of you.

@mac, totally agree re LITCHIS vs LYCHEES... I kept resisting it. Could it be the British spelling?

@Stan, I too had GEESE for a while and thought well she's right, it's that way in 3D...

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

Tough crowd. This is an brilliant construction.

fikink 2:59 PM  

@Ulrich, me, too, on the scheme search. And Cheops! How cool that would have been!

@Greene, so good to have you back. I've missed your Broadway links!

Had a similar experience to Rex's turkey encounter about 5 years ago. I hadn't even noticed this very still brown form in our timber until I was upon it
and she took off right in front of me. She sounded like a helicopter! When the dust cleared, I discovered she'd been sitting on a nest of 13 eggs, which you can see here:

Enjoyed the puzzle; enjoyed more the various stories of turkey sightings

Van55 3:14 PM  

I have to agree with Rex that there was far too much lazy fill in this one for the payoff. Alphabetic runs and SSNS are just lame, especially for a constructor of Ms. Gorsky's repute.

I didn't like DIMAG, and I thought the IMPEI design and the Louvre pyramid were redundant, even if the central theme focus.

Rube 5:24 PM  

Done with 2 googles and too much time. Googled for SAFECO very early on, not because I needed it but because I was angry with myself for not keeping up with current events in the town in which I grew up. The other Google was KERT. Had no idea and was getting tired and wanted to finish.

Had no problem with DIMAG, the guy was such a household word that an abrev was natural. Don't know the tongue twister, but ESAU was easy to infer. One of these I'll have to learn the tribes of Israel, (and the Jewish months, and the Hebrew alphabet, and Yiddish slang...). As near as I can remember, every Chinese restaurant I've been in spells it lychee! 763K Google results for LITCHI and 1.2M for lychee. 2 to 1.

It's indirect, but the image on a dollar is of an Egyptian pyramid. Shouldn't this count? Still need a reference to Amway 'though.

Still, I had fun and enjoyed this puzzle. Too much of a beginner to cast value judgements. I think I'll try to keep it that way. (Except when I'm feeling crabby.)

bluebell 5:30 PM  

I guessed that Rex would think this one easy, because I was able to finish it (with a little bit of help from my friendly references). I kind of welcome some "gently used" fill, since things like Litchis and the Smallville girl I didn't know. As we all know, some of us are good at some things, some of us are good at others. Once I got I M Pei the pyramid theme worked itself out.

I saw wild turkeys for the first time a couple of years ago near the American River in the Sacramento CA area. It was dusk, and many were already roosting in high branches of oaks. I was told they'd fly to lower branches, then hop/fly to higher branches till they found a suitable spot. Such fun to see these large dark bodies in the trees.

Rube 5:36 PM  

That should be 3 to 2.

Got CAPITAL A this time, but only on the second pass.

Found STRATI a bit of a forced plural. Sounds more like a chorus of male sopranos.

See you tomorrow.

chefwen 5:59 PM  

I really enjoyed this one as I do all of Ms. Gorski puzzles. Took me a long time to wade through it, but I was successful in the end.

Had ptl at 74D instead of TRL, which I had never heard of and refused to change it for far too long, that little area was a huge mess. Also had give it a rest at 2D, didn't want to change that one either but was finally forced to. mealPLAN before FOOD PLAN. etc. Many write overs. Loved FATSO.

@chefbea - if you click on the little yellow notebook on top, the message will appear and you can read it before you print the puzzle.

skua76 6:12 PM  

I liked it, if only because it was the first Fri-Sun puzzle in the last few that I got without any Googling.

@rube I don't like the plurals like STRATI or FOSSAE any more than you do.

There really don't seem to be many puzzles with Notepad entries these days, so this one was a surprise. Is that stat anywhere?

Norma Jeane 7:04 PM  

Clues for "DIMAG"

(04/25/10 - Su) 59D Joltin' Joe - Elizabeth C. Gorski
(12/04/08 - Th) 47A Joltin' Joe - Barry C. Silk
(06/26/07 - Tu) 27D Joltin' Joe - Ray Fontenot
(11/14/04 - Su) 32D Yankee nickname of old - Harvey Estes and Nancy Salomon

Comment by Barry Silk:

"The missing “g” was enough to signal Joe’s nickname, DIMAG."

chefbea 7:55 PM  

@chefwen thanks for the tip!!! never saw the yellow note pad

Moonchild 8:10 PM  

My "wild" turkey surprise was a flock at the resort who walked around the semi-deserted complex on Maui and then onto my patio. Of course, bagel crumbs were part of the fun after that. Before that I also saw them in Michigan raiding the bird feeder and in Pennsylvania running through the woods. Ben Franklin was right!

michael 8:35 PM  

I'm a baseball fan and thought dimag was just fine. I thought this was a clever puzzle, yet had four letters more or less bland at the end though I had very tentatively written in "esau" (which would reduce the blanks to two). But I had never heard of this tongue-twister before.

This is a tough crowd, as another commenter said. I can't imagine what it must take to come up with something like this.

OldCarFudd 8:54 PM  

My neighborhood gets wild turkeys sporadically. I once counted eleven on my deck. Then I might not see any for a couple of years. Always a hoot to see them fly - I always want to bet against them, and I'd always lose.

All the food lovers ought to check out the Amanda Hesser tweet. She has contributed many food articles to the NYT.

@JenCT - It was indeed a glorious day. I drove my 104-year-old 2-cylinder chain-drive Buick about 25 miles on country roads and gave rides to several people.

Oh, yes, the puzzle. I sort of harrumphed and grumped my way through it without waking up to what was going on until almost at the end, Then I woke up to how imaginative this was. Bad fill forgiven!

Anonymous 9:37 PM  

@Edith B.-

"ambitious failure"? I'm tired of you people insulting more talented people than yourself. I'd like to see you do better

CoolPapaD 9:56 PM  

@NQLMGTFY - Thanks for the link!

@foodie - Your points are well taken; your comments are among those I really look forward to seeing every day. I don't think it's possible for EG to fail - if ever a puzzle didn't meet her standards, methinks she would keep plugging away to bring it up several notches. Speaking of which - EG, if you are listening - I'd give my left pinkie to watch you make one of these, from conception to finish, or at least read in detail how you do it!

Rube 9:57 PM  

Esau Wood sawed wood. Esau Wood would saw wood. All the wood Esau Wood saw, Esau Wood would saw. In other words, all the wood Esau saw to saw, Esau sought to saw. Oh, the wood Wood would saw! And, oh the wood-saw with which Wood would saw wood! But one day, Wood's wood-saw would saw no wood, and thus the wood Wood sawed was not the wood Wood would saw if Wood's wood-saw would saw wood. Now, Wood would saw wood with a wood-saw that would saw wood, so Esau sought a saw that would saw wood. One day, Esau saw a saw saw wood as no other wood-saw Wood saw would saw wood. In fact, of all the wood-saws Wood ever saw saw wood, Wood never saw a wood-saw that would saw wood as the wood-saw Wood saw saw wood would saw wood, and I never saw a wood-saw that would saw as the wood-saw Wood saw would saw until I saw Esau Wood saw wood with the wood-saw Wood saw saw wood. Now Wood saws wood with the wood-saw Wood saw saw wood.

Retrieved from ""

Janet L. 10:35 PM  

I got the PYRAMID with five letters, but my husband, could not do the anagram eve with all seven.

I thought Daws was obscure, as were Stefani, Kert and Akers. I persevered to get them all.

The key to diMag was the apostrophe in Joltin' Joe.

mac 11:10 PM  

@Janet L.: thank you for that. You are absolutely right about that apostrophe clue. Shame on me for not getting it.

mac 11:11 PM  

Gee, Rube, I hope you copied and pasted that one.

JC66 11:19 PM  

Joltin' Joe and DiMag were both commonly used nicknames for the Yankee Clipper back when newspaper editors were constantly looking for new ways to write headlines featuring this remarkable athlete.

Read comments much? 5:36 AM  

@JanetL & @mac

Isn't that what I said at 7:04p (quoting Mr Silk)?


V. 11:09 AM  

About that wild turkey -- most likely a female protecting a clutch of eggs or nestlings, and if you were a predator, leading you up into the trees and far far away from her brood. Cool sighting. (Waaaay better than the no-fun puzzle.)

sean m 2:52 PM  

I'm with Rex today. This puzzle was a drag.

The kind of thing that upon finishing makes me glad it's over. Not satisfying at all.

The theme answers were boring. How do you have pyramids in the theme without mentioning those rather notably impressive ones in Egypt?

The number of crosswordese fake words was exasperating. So many answers where once you finally figure them out you sit there straining to make the clues match up, and yeah, okay, I guess they fit, is what you end up saying, but not in any satisfying way. For example: Tubs for fatso? Top of a mountain for ski cap? These aren't bad clues, but they aren't good. They're just-- passable. And where's the fun in that?

And finally, a glass design by I.M. Pei? That's what this is all centered on? Wow. What an exciting 'monument.'

George NYC 6:52 PM  

In the empty lot where the ladies play blindman's bluff with the key chain
And the all-night girls they whisper of escapades out on the "D" train

Bob Dylan "Visions of Johanna"

Stan 8:14 PM  

@George NYC: What a great (late) comment.

Jim 12:39 PM  

Joe D was often referred to as "Dimag" w/ the g sounding like zh.
Tubs to Fatso is possibly the worst clue of all time
Jim H

Anonymous 3:41 AM  

A last (?) comment from someone doing the syndicated (one week late) version. The classic bad clue for me on this puzzle is 111D: "Brown, e.g.: Abbr". Nearly any three letters could fit there.

Brown color, Brown University, Brown skin, UPS, Charlie Brown, etc. Then there's the e.g., which means some set that [Brown] belongs to is the answer. Then the Abbr. means that some concatenated version of the word is what is wanted here. Why even give a clue here?

Mona 3:41 PM  

I agree on the 'Brown' clue, totally useless. But my biggest gripe is 'Dimag.'I kept refusing to write it in because I thought it couldn't possibly be right. There oughta be a law against abbreviations in crswd pzzls.

Anonymous 10:06 PM  

Since I usually do these in pen, and refuse to Google for answers, this one had its share of "arghs." Capitala (had Capitata) and Fossae (had Fossie), and until I read your writeup, I didn't "get" the connection between the drawing and the I.M. Pei clue. Living under a rock in Tennessee doesn't help! I pondered who in the world "impei" was.... Learn something new every day. Thanks Rex!

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