Bris parties / WED 5-12-10 / 1915 Literature Nobelist * Rolland / Cousins of clogs / Country music pioneer Ernest

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Constructor: Pete Muller

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: JACK-IN-THE-BOXES (41A: Some surprised ... and what you'll find in the circled areas of this puzzles) — circled squares form "boxes" that feature the last names of famous JACKs, if you in clockwise fashion starting with NW corner of the "box"

Word of the Day: ODILE (66A: Tchaikovsky's black swan) —

Odette is the innocent Swan Queen heroine of Swan Lake; Odile is the malevolent temptress who impersonates Odette in order to deceive Prince Siegfried. In most productions the two contrasting roles are danced by the same ballerina. (
• • •
As I was solving this, I had the feeling I'd seen some of these clues / answers recently. "ODILE ... where was I just having a conversation about that (weird, crosswordy) name? And MOHELS (34D: Bris parties) was just in a puzzle too! And with this same cl... hey, wait a minute ..." Immediately sent out messages to PuzzleGirl and Doug Peterson that read as follows: "Why do I feel like this puzzle was at the LAT tourney???? Was it??? I'm so confused..." Turns out, yes, it was one of the puzzles from last week's Crosswords L.A. tournament. Puzzle 3, I think (that's what Doug says, anyway). I was judging, so I was so attuned to individual squares, I didn't have time to appreciate the puzzle as a whole, the clues, etc. Hence its unfamiliarity (for the most part). I was going to rate it Easy-Medium, but once I realized I'd stared at the answers just ten days ago, I decided maybe the rating should be a tad harder, the average solver's not having my particular advantage.

I like the puzzle a lot. It's quirky. Two of the crossings, however, proved brutal for some solvers. So much so, that we homed in on those two squares right away, because the errors were easy to miss if you weren't really looking for them. The first was the SABOTS (50D: Cousins of clogs / ODILE crossing — some people, it seems, weren't familiar with, or weren't familiar with the spelling of, SABOTS, and so had various other vowels there (mainly "E," I think). The other, more brutal crossing is the ESTELLE (49A: Woman in Sartre's "No Exit") / BEENE (44D: Designer Geoffrey) one. No reason anyone should know if it's ESTELLE or ESTELLA, and BEANE is a perfectly good last name, so ... rough. Virtual unanimity in the judges' room that that last cross was, let's say, unfortunate. I'm guessing more than one of you made one or more of the above errors. If you did, know you were in good (and plentiful) company.

  • NE: WEBB
  • SW: PAAR

The fastest solver in the tournament was undone by this puzzle — he mysteriously had SONATINI at 58A: Short piano piece (SONATINA), perhaps imagining, in some fleeting moment, that TICKLE was an appropriate answer for 55D: Take on (TACKLE). [TURN on], maybe. [Take on], not quite. I now encourage you all to go out and invent the drink that will become known as ... the SONATINI. Send recipes to rexparker at mac dot com. Thank you.

  • 6A: 1970s sitcom that included Carlton the Doorman ("RHODA") — PuzzleGirl insists that it's "Carlton, your doorman."
  • 17A: Country music pioneer Ernest (TUBB) — not sure how I knew this, but I did. TUBB is a great name. Seems apt, somehow, for a country musician. I like the names FLATT & SCRUGGS (technically bluegrass, but related in my mind nonetheless) ... country musicians now are all named RANDY or TRAVIS or RANDY TRAVIS. I'm listening to a lot of Dwight Yoakam lately. Dwight's an OK country name, but Yoakam — that's gold. Yoke 'em! You know what country stars aren't named? ROMAIN (6D: 1915 Literature Nobelist ___ Rolland)
  • 24A: Some footnotes, for short (OP CITS) — Oh I do not like this in the plural. But that can't surprise you.
  • 33A: Flower of the buttercup family (ANEMONE) — put this in a puzzle once — funny how that will solidify a word (esp. one you didn't know well beforehand) in your mind. Before I saw the puzzle database, I had no idea there was any ANEMONE besides a Sea ANEMONE.
  • 39A: Green gem source (BERYL) — it's a "source" ... but not the actual gem itself? Wikipedia is telling me that emerald *is* green beryl ...
  • 60A: Shoe brand named for an antelope (REEBOK) — Afrikaans: rhebok.
  • 51D: Subwoofer's zone (LOW END) — I always use "LOW-END" to refer to cheap or shoddy merchandise. There is a great, great, great rap album by A Tribe Called Quest called "The LOW END Theory." I absolutely wore it out circa 1992.

  • 53D: Bright spot in Canis Major (SIRIUS) — I like the canine juxtaposition of SIRIUS and "Subwoofer"
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. here's a picture I took the weekend of the tournament for the "Moment in Time" project (now up and running at the NYT's photography blog, "Lens") — a very cool project, my random motel room snapshot notwithstanding


foodie 12:16 AM  

Puzzle Girl is right, I say... "This is Carlton Your Doorman", with the slightly nasal insolent bored tone! I loved it!

The NICHE/NOSHED intersection stopped me in my tracks for a long time and was the last to fall. You can figure out the theme and the deal with the circles but the spiral reading (as opposed to meandering across the lines) is only relevant for the stack of 3 lines. I had not tumbled to all that, so the theme only became a help in that upper corner when I took the trouble to parse HORNER. So, yeah, Medium with a hard spot for me.

Mariska 12:19 AM  

Well, I'm glad Will paid attention to me on Monday.

des 12:31 AM  

This was definitely challenging for me. Between the ESTELLA/BEANE mistake (and I had heard of the designer, just didn't know the spelling of the name), andthe ODILE/LOO (finally parsed that one), this was a rough one.

@Puzzle Girl and foodie,
Sorry - but it was "Carlton the Doorman" (you can check it out on IMDB).

abide 12:39 AM  

Very creative, very challenging (and very Thursday) for a Wednesday.

foodie 12:40 AM  

Oh man, it's my 24 hours for being wrong about everything. Thanks @des for setting me straight!

Jack in the Box was the very first drive through fast food place I ever saw in my life. Landed from the other side of the world, bought me an old red ford convertible with faulty brakes (that was fun on LA freeways!), and took it for a spin in Santa Monica. Wondered what that "Jack in the Box" place was and drove through. Oh joy! They sold burgers and fries! I thought it was the best idea! And this memory, I am really sure about!

Better quit while I'm ahead...

CaseAceFos 12:48 AM  

Seeing TALON two days in a row is beginning to stick in my Claw!

fikink 1:33 AM  

Terrific puzzle with the exception of the BOX-BOX crossing, but perhaps that was to play on the boxes of circles? It gave me great pause until I determined it couldn't be anything else.

andrea eviltwin michaels 2:16 AM  

This puzzle at the tournament continued the weird suddenly one-very-Jewish-word-in-the-middle
mini-trend at the tournament...

No, not 1D NOSHED, not TOV or MOSHE, but MOHELS...which again I thought was unfair to the non-Jews who would have to know what a bris was and that Mohel was not spelled Moil/Moyle whatever.

This from a handsome hedge fund surfer dude constructor (who turns out IS Jewish, but he didn't find out till his twenties...long story that I'll let HIM tell...)

I bonded with Pete's drop-dead gorgeous 7 months pregnant wife in the women's room over what to name their baby. (Son's name is Jax from this puzzle might well be a tribute to him)

If you look at the construction, it is really really wonderful and dense (in the positive sense!) with that great JACK-IN-THE-BOX as the reveal!!!

Great catch! I wonder if that BOXBOX crossing was intentional, I'll bet not.

And bleedovers galore with TALON and PERPS.

Gotta love EVILTWIN and DEEPFAT, no?

SethG 3:03 AM  

foodie, don't believe everything you read on the internet. Carleton is a College, but Carlton was your doorman. (Even IMDB lists the appropriate spin-off special.)

Easy/Medium works for me, and I was more than a minute faster than yesterday. I thought BEENE was right, and "confirmed it" with ESTELLE being French while ESTELLA isn't. Did I actually confirm it, or can Estella be French too and I just got lucky to remember the designer?

chefwen 3:07 AM  

Had a great time with this one, loved all the Jacks in rotation.

Voting for Carlton THE doorman.

Being of the Jewish persuasion there were a few gimmies as Andrea has pointed out, so that was fun.

Only write over was at 70A adze before RASP.

No complaints on this one, but I rarely complain except on Friday and Saturday when I have to reach for the aspirin bottle or a bottle of wine.

Parshutr 4:57 AM  

Easy. I own some Geoffrey Beene pants and Reeboks, was born to Jewish parents, acted in No Exit, read On Her Majesty's Secret Service, saw Swan Lake, included op. cit.s in my Ph.D. thesis, have eaten too many cannolis, heard Ernest Tubb, and think Mensa is nothing other than intellectual narcissism.
Further deponent sayeth not.

op. cits. attract 6:45 AM  

What's going on in the NW?

ArtLvr 6:54 AM  

Loved this one! I got my foothold in the NE corner with WEBB, worked down with gimmes like BERYL and SIRIUS. Same final error as @des, thinking Beane for BEENE.

Those needing to look up MOHELS (pronounced Moyles) performing the Bris will see the point of the ancient joke about how the Mohel is paid? He gets to keep the tips…

Mea culpa, couldn't resist!


Oh, pooh 7:06 AM  

Plenty of us who are not Jewish know 'bris,' 'nosh,' and 'mohel.' Hardly obscure!

ANEMONES are lovely and striking flowers; the day he died, Renoir painted anemones. If I knew how to embed, I'd put in a link.

LGW 7:12 AM  

Fun, easy but not at all boring puzzle--exact opposite of yesterday. Loved the snail-shell "Jacks"!

@SethG: You're right about the E-ending of "Estelle" being obvious if you know that Sartre's play is in French. "Estella" is not a French name as far as I know. (Then again, I've never read the English translation, so it's not impossible that the genius who translated "Huis clos" as "No Exit" might have anglicized the character's name...)

Leslie 7:20 AM  

I was really impressed by the idea AND the execution--all those "Jack" names fitting into the shaded boxes. Well done!!

Hey, didn't the voice actor for Carlton the Doorman go on to have a long career as the voice of Garfield the Cat?

Anonymous 8:05 AM  

When I finally hit 43A and realized what was going on, I was incredibly impressed with the way this puzzle was constructed. I had a write over at 15A- started with ONHIS instead of HER, which gave me nothing with the downs. Overall, I thought this a little tougher than the usual Wednesday.

I liked the Jewish mini-theme, particularly how MOHEL crossed with Mazel TOV. But the cluing for MOHEL threw me off, since a bris, singular, has but a single mohel doing the work. Thus, bris should've been pluralized. (My younger brother would say that his bris needed two mohels)

For those who don't know, a mohel does not get paid well for his work, but the tips are good.

dk 8:19 AM  

It seems to excel at puzzles I must:

Marry Andrea and convert;
Learn to spell;
Get a TV;
Study botany; and,
Reread the classics.

I wish HORNER was in a corner. Knew ESTELLE from acting in No Exit in a high school production. I was Valet.

Second time in a week I have had fun with the circles.

When I lived in Hollywood Jack WEBB lived (briefly) across the street. When he died (1982) they flew the flags at half staff in LA and held a police funeral. He was buried with a replica of a sgts. badge, number 714. Just the facts maam.

*** (3 Stars) Wonderful time.

Off to NOLA - 10-4

secret word: serjqmc - how I might spell Sazerac

jesser 8:21 AM  

I knew MOHEL from Seinfeld, but it sure isn't spelled the way it sounds (as has been pointed out), so the crosses saved me.

Carlton is my middle name. It is YOUR doorman. And I also remember with some animosity the billboards and print ads for cigarettes of that name: Carlton is lowest! Grrrrrr.

I liked the puzzle, although I did not like the clue/answer pairing for SLOPE. I am willing to forgive, because @Archaeoprof and I were mollified by Ernest TUBB's inclusion. (Rex, your take on Randys, Travises and Randy Travis is priceless!)

My writeover was at 40D, where I originally plunked down EXile. I was completely prepared to come here and be indignant, but then the crosses (and Dan Quayle's ghost) told me to calm the hell down. There's a great old Steve Goodman song titled 'Banana Republics' that is all about EXPATriated Americans. Love that song.

I think Will Shortz is toying with me by letting this puzzle with TALON at 71A follow yesterday's deep humiliation here in sunny southern New Mexico.

Absolutely loved EVIL TWIN. There's a great Jerry Jeff Walker song titled 'The Other Jerry Jeff' about his EVIL TWIN.

Let me tell you a little story about a trip I
made to Mexico, with some friends
Of mine that had a pocket full of Mauis
and some bad intentions....

Me and old Sue and this feller we knew went down to Mexico
To have a little fun and soak up the sun
And drink a little tequila don't you know
One thing led to another, we got pretty drunk it's true
We wound up in a sleazy old bar that gringos don't go to
After that it gets hazy, but I think what a happened to me
I wound up getting rolled in an alley and missing all of my ID

Two Jerry Jeff's are in this world,
Both using one ID
The other guy ain't got an idea,
How hard being me can be
Well if he thinks it's gonna be easy,
I think that he oughta think twice
With a high expectation and my reputation,
Man he's leading a dangerous life

Now I can see him at a bar downtown
At a place where I've just been
And if I've caused trouble,
Well I know right and ready,
That it's gonna be hard on him

Only last night, I heard rumors, about
a guy that looked like me
Dancing on tables, singing Redneck Mother,
People said that he said he was me

Well you can check out his ID, you get a fake one easily
I guess it gets you down to the cold hard facts
That there probably really is two of me

Alright here's the thrilling
conclusion of this wild whodunit...

Looking back on my past, sometimes has
been a pretty strange ride
And I find it gets harder with time, to
separate the facts from the lies
People mention places to me I never been before in this life
Could it be me that they're talking about,
Or maybe it's really some other guy..
He's the wild one chasing women, getting those DWIs
That would explain my wild reputation, if
it's made by two different guys

That will be enough out of me today.

Diestid! (What I did to the cabbage in order to make the pineapple cole slaw) -- jesser

Cathyat40 8:32 AM  

I had BEENE, but, at 16A, entered ORReN. If I had checked the down, DeSPROVE, I probably would have caught this.

This puzzle took me a long time (40 min.) The northwest was the last to fall. I had HOP and DENY and finally stared long enough to see CHOPIN. Is that what parse means, to stare at letters long enough to figure out the word? :P
It didn't help that I had "royal" for a long time, where ONHER belongs. I did enjoy this puzzle, but agree with Rex that it's questionable to clue BERYL as the "source" of an emerald.

Ruth 8:46 AM  

Wow, no complaining about the circles today!! I was very impressed with the construction and it shows that a "circling" puzzle can have elegance. For one thing, it's not at all random, and another, the theme can help with the solving once you know the theme (it helped me finish off the NW corner). Liked this a lot!!

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

Great puzzle. Carlton was Lorenzo Music, who also produced Rhoda

Norm 9:14 AM  

Used Grey Flannel aftershave by Geoffrey Beene for years so that was an easy cross for this solver. Was perplexed by the circles while solving and was prepared to hate the puzzle. Goes to show you should never make your mind up too fast. Loved it!

chefbea 9:45 AM  

Fun puzzle. Knew anemone the flower. Knew mohel but had no idea how to spell it. I vote for Carlton your doorman.

Off to the farmer's market where who knows what I'll buy???

PIX 9:47 AM  

Noshed/Moshe Dayan/Mazel Tov/bris/mohels...there certainly seemed to be a subtheme present and I thank Andrea [i have no idea what goes here] Michaels for discussing it.

I thought the puzzle was very creative and a lot of fun. Favorite clue: Head of Buckingham palace = loo.

Parser 9:51 AM  


Actually, parse means to *divide* an answer in order to have it make sense.

From last week, STAGNES is *parsed* to ST. AGNES

PIX 9:51 AM  

@Ulrich: Alles Gute zum Geburtstag (I sure hope Google translated "happy birthday" correctly.)

Bob Kerfuffle 10:27 AM  

I failed at the BEENE/ESTELLE crossing, but certainly a brilliant puzzle.

Van55 10:34 AM  

I thought this was simply an indulgent puzzle for the constructor and his son. I don't normally whine about circled squares, but these added nothing to the solve experience and seem to exist simply to show off the construction.

Solved it in decent time and enjoyed the challenge, but didn't care for the gimmick at all.

Stan 10:40 AM  

Nice, crunchy vocabulary. Liked clues for ASTERISK (clever) and REEBOK (a fun fact I did not know).

MOHEL should have been balanced by UNCUT, from last week.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

The character as credited on IMDB would be 'Carlton the doorman', but the phrase everyone remembers is the way he would answer the intercom, no matter how many times he was prompted - "This is Carlton your doorman".


Anonymous 10:41 AM  

was odette functioning as odile's evil twin? i found this a fun creative and ingenious puzzle with a satisfying finish. i hadn't realized that the squares read clockwise so i solved as anagrams. i also thought at first it was way harder than usual weds.and was tempted to throw in the towel but then got expat and jose which gave me jack in the box and just worked from there. i liked the yiddishisms but was surprised at spelling of mohel. great puzzle.

Sparky 10:45 AM  

When I saw the shaded boxes in the paper I said "Oh, what now?" But I ended up liking this puzzle. Got Nicklaus first so I thought it was all golfers. That cleared up with Jack and London falling into place. Good workout.

PuzzleNut 10:51 AM  

Also missed the ESTELLa/BEaNE cross. Somehow I got NY Mayor BEAME in my head and used his A.
Didn't know how to spell MOHELS, just knew it was had a strange spellingt. The crosses saved me.
Wanted DOB for the passport info, but NOM was much more elegant.

Doug 10:56 AM  

Thought the theme was satisfactory, mainly because you knew what to expect, but couldn't touch the circles until a cross materialized. The Jacks are all reasonably well known, related to a well known phrase and all were in a box. Good enough for me.

Thought Carlton was from The Jeffersons so at first believed the 5-space answer was an awful rebus on US Presidents. THE"J"S.

Canucks lost last night to Chicago, so bummer up here in B.C. Guess I'm now a Canadiens fan so a pox on you, Pittsburgh.

Doug 10:57 AM  

Ah, PuzzleNut, it was "passeporte" so DOB would have been DDN I think, date de naissance. Or something like that.

Tinbeni 10:59 AM  

I OWE, I OWE its off to work we go ...
Isn't that the dwarf song?

Got caught by the EstellA/BeAne, Oy Veh!

archaeoprof 11:06 AM  

Ernest TUBB! Other great country singer names: Waylon, Willie, Hank/Jr, Merle, Doc, Loretta, Dolly, Patsy. There's a puzzle just waiting to be constructed...

@Ulrich: "zum Geburtstag viel Glueck..."

JC66 11:15 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC66 11:19 AM  

Hand up for ESELLa/BEaNE.

Otherwise a smooth, fun solve.

@ Oh, pooh

To see how to embed, go here.

deerfencer 11:19 AM  

Fun puzzle! These tournament leftovers have all been pretty great in fact. Thanks to all the talented constructors for keeping us amused and challenged lately.

joho 11:28 AM  

Oh, I wrote something earlier today and it's gone. That's the first time that's happened to me.

No time to re-write ... I'll just say I really liked the theme and execution of this fun puzzle. Thanks, Pete Muller.

And, Frohliche Geburtstag, Ulrich!!!

PuzzleNut 11:35 AM  

Doug - I didn't catch the French spelling of passeporte when I read the clue. Since my US passport has both English and French descriptors, I thought the French answer was a nice touch. Now that I see the French clue, I'm a little less impressed.

Jacques 12:02 PM  

@Doug & @PuzzleNut

Neither the clue nor my Passeport has an *e* at the end of the word :)

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

I came here expecting to see strong denunciations of the fill, including a ton of partials. IOWE, ONHER, HEP, HRE, ORNO, CSA, OPCITS (this one was mentioned), NOM, TOV, AOL, EXP, EST, AAA, NSA, ROC... I mean, yeah, I guess if you want to pull off a high-difficulty theme like this one you have to make compromises, but that's pretty bad, isn't it?

CaseAceFos 12:24 PM  

Someone, strongly connected to this Mittwoch puzzle, I suspect has a Yiddisha momma?

eliselzer 12:26 PM  

This is the puzzle that killed me at the tournament. I was very competitive with the first two and the last two were, at worst, solid. This one sunk any hopes I had. I'm sure I feel into the Estella/Beene trap and basically got lucky with Sabot/Odile. I just couldn't get on the constructor's wavelength; the whole thing was a fight. My real trip up was having "Adeline" for "Anemone". It's only three letters difference and I had never heard of an Anemone (sure as hell know it now). I know, adeline isn't a flower, either, but I sing barbershop and "You're the FLOWER of my heart, Sweet Adeline" wouldn't leave my head. Had I taken the time to check my crosses, I would have noticed it. Unfortunately, I had already taken more time than I wanted and I shot my hand up without double checking. Rookie mistake. And probably the difference between 3rd place in the Rookie division and competing for first (though I think I unintentionally left a blank square in puzzle 4, which also hurt). Looking back, it's not a bad puzzle, I think it was as much nerves as anything else.

PuzzleNut 12:31 PM  

Jacques - Doug -
You're right, the clue is Passeport. But Doug's point is still valid, the French spelling should have clued me to NOM.
I pulled out my passport/passeport/pasaporte and now see there are three languages, English, French and Spanish (I think). Never noticed that before.

chefbea 12:38 PM  

Just got back from the farmer's market. Great stuff. And yes I bought two bunches - one for us and one for Ulrich for his b-day

kagmult = sounds like a word Ulrich might know

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

Just thought you might like to know you have an Odile among your readers...this was the first time I'd ever seen my name in a puzzle and I was very excited to confirm it with the downs.

Ulrich 12:44 PM  

Great puzzle!

I recently watched the German silent classic "Pandora's Box" with Louise Brooks, which ends with Jack the Ripper killing Lulu. So, I hoped to find also


in the grid, which appears doable, xword-wise--never mind...

@fikink: Note also that EXP crosses EXP there! More generally, I noticed quite a few 3x3 boxes that are mini-puzzles in themselves, like

OPE or


(there are more). I dunno: Is this to be expected in any puzzle, or is the God Who Loves Boxes doing his thing here?

@PIX: Yes, and thx also to archaeoprof and joho!

Ulrich 12:47 PM  

...oh, and I found Valerie Harper so much more attractive than M. T. Moore


fikink 1:10 PM  

@jesser, your mention of Steve Goodman reminded me of 'THE DUTCHMAN," a Michael Peter Smith tune which he popularized. It has been much on my mind of late. IOWE you a quick thanks for the memory of Chicago's folk scene.

@Van55, the circles did add to my solve, actually. It is how I got the L in Jack LONDON, so for some of us they weren't constructor showboating.

@JC 66, thanks for the refresher on embedding.

@Ulrich, Many good wishes on your day. The FIL says that at 69, you are still "a mere pup," and have many new things to TACKLE in your future. He sends you his birthday tidings as well.

Clark 1:12 PM  

@tptsteve -- I think ‘bris’ is a generic singular here. Consider: [Amputation practitioners] = Surgeons. Amputation practitioners = those who perform amputations. So ‘bris’ here has a plural sense and the clue does not need to use the plural form.

@Ulrich -- Happy birthday to you.

Zeke 1:19 PM  

@Rex - I can't decide if this is a good thing or not, but having followed this blog for quite a while, I noticed that all but one (HORNER) of the Jacks were actual people. Somehow, noticing the difference between what would have been an A+ vs an A puzzle diminishes my enjoyment.
On the plus side, I have to, given my vocal disdain of circle puzzles, say this was an excellent circle puzzle.

CrazyCatLady 1:34 PM  

I also had a strange feeling of déjà vu as I started this puzzle. About three clues in I realized why. Count me in for knowing BRIS and MOHEL, but never knew how it (MOHEL) was spelled. Like the tip jokes : ) I had trouble with the SABOTS/ODILE cross as both were new words for me. I liked this puzzle a lot.

jesser 1:35 PM  

@fikink: I have quite a lot of Steve Goodman's stuff on CD. (Come to Las Cruces and we'll have a Goodmanfest over drinks, steaks, slaw and beets.Heck, let's invite the rest of the gang, too. How does Columbus Day weekend sound? October is beautiful here!) His version of 'The Dutchman' is amazing -- an apt adjective for Goodman as a man and a musician. He left us too soon.

sanfranman59 3:50 PM  

Due to a snafu with the online crossword interface last evening, I'm not going to post solve times today. Those of us who tried bringing up the puzzle last evening, were unable to see the puzzle although the timer started (my timer is still running at 17:40:27 ... that's 17 hrs, 40 mins ... and counting). The problem seems to have been corrected by this morning, but since I can't restrict the numbers to just those posted since this morning, today's solve times would be inappropriately skewed to the high end.

Anonymous 3:59 PM  

@Clark- I would agree with you had the clue used the word practitioners. But it didn't. It used a generic "parties," and using your example, [Amputation parties] doesn't equal surgeons.

andrea odile michaels 4:11 PM  

Enough with the hating of circles!!!
The last umpteen puzzles, everyone has said "I normally don't like circles but I liked this one." SO at what point do you accept circles as one sort of theme that can be varying degrees of well done or not!

You didn't necessarily need the circles of this to solve, but they were lovely and fun in retrospect, so long live circles!!!

(Oh all right, I admit, I have one with circles in the queue) ;)

UNCUT!!!!!!!! Ha!

Not that I want to respond to a grumpy 7am person who signs themselves @"Oh, Pooh"...
but I "know" most folks would know NOSH and certainly TOV and maybe maybe BRIS...I certainly didn't mean it as an us/them thing...but this spelling of MOHEL even for Jews IS sort of obscure...
(not to make a mountain out of a MOHEL)

And again amused @Puzzlenut unironically noting "The crosses saved me"

@anonymous 12:40/Odile
My oldest friend from college Andre Burke made a beautiful small film in 1993 called "Odile & Yvette at the Edge of the World" that you might want to see...
(He's gone :( but his work lives on!)

andrea rhoda michaels 4:17 PM  

ps @DK
I don't know about marrying (do you live in Utah now?!!) But you can be my Valet any time! As for converting, you know my rule has always been one Jew per relationship. :)

Martin 5:28 PM  


Re: one Jew per relationship

It took me more years than I'd like to admit to figure out the wisdom of that rule. "Where is all this drama coming from?" What a moron was I.

But it finally dawned on me that the prime directive was the problem. And you know how it then worked out.

lemothe -- From the tougher neighborhoods of Montreal?

Noam D. Elkies 5:53 PM  

Nice concept, and good that the boxes all uncoil in the same way. Needed the theme to get the NW corner; maybe I wouldn't have needed it if I noticed the auxiliary Jewish/Hebrew theme. Several nice clues and 6-8 letter answers (and when was the last time 3D:CHOPIN and 58A:SONATINA appeared in the same grid?).

Yes, some special pleading in the answers — none of 6D:ROMAIN, 12D:OUTSTARE (last seen in 1994, with much the same clue), 24A:OPCITS, 34D:MOHELS (I'd prefer the Hebrew plural "mohalim"), 45A:MOSHE (more Hebrew), and the 59A/44D cross feel like Wednesday material. [I guessed ESTELLe/BEeNE only thank to the French source; likewise I had a linguistic hint for the dog star 53D:SIRIUS, though the crosses would have sufficed there.] The super-sized grid (16x15) probably also contributes to difficulty, or at least completion time.


P.S. It feels appropriate for Rex to put "cheap or shoddy merchandise" right next to "rap album" ;-) True that this one takes longer to wear out its musical welcome than most r*p, but that's a very low bar to clear and we ain't playing limbo...

Happy as a Clam 6:00 PM  

My dead tree edition had grayed squares (no circles), was available on time (on the front porch), and the coffee maker started off flawlessly at 10 cups (3 mugs) and I finished before it was empty.


Tinbeni 6:14 PM  

I usually never play any "rap" embed from Rex.
But your review "that's a very low bar to clear and we ain't playing limbo..." got me curious.

"Seems the kids like the beat and enjoyed dancing to it, Dick. I'll give is a 92."

Anonymous 6:18 PM  


Issue: Transliteration (hence pronunciation) of the same word in two languages

Yiddish: Bris (34D clue)
Hebrew: Brit

Yiddish: moyle
Hebrew: MOHEL S (34D entry) -- but would be MOHELim in proper Hebrew plural

This is much on my mind because if things go as scheduled, on May 31 my expected grandson will undergo a Brit Milah (covenant of circumcision) rite, performed by a MOHELet (Modern Hebrew for a female practitioner, obviously nonexistent until recently).

Fourth grandchild, third circumcision. So I should be inured (crosswordese, heh!) to this by now, but ...

Lurking Larry (nothing to growl about this time)

andrea mohelita michaels 7:16 PM  

@Lurking Larry
Mohelet???!!! Yecch. Not even "ette"?
Why not Mohella? Mohelessa? Moheltrix?
That said, Mazel TOV!

your average blank 8:01 PM  

@tinbeni I am probably one of the few here who appreciates and remembers rate a record on bandstand.

mac 8:23 PM  

Excellent Wednesday puzzle, which looked a little messy at first glance with the medium grey shading and the scattered black squares. Lots of unusual, nice words, consistent order in the theme boxes, and only one write-over: from print to paste at 75A. Yes I did remember Geoffrey Beene, maybe because I had lunch with Geoffrey Greene and his family today!

I've been to two bris parties (;-)) but I needed crosses for the Mohel (sorry Andrea Mohelette Michaels). Anemone was the first flower I ever grew in my little personal garden when I was about 7 years old.

I have to say that the box/box crossing marred the puzzle. There, I never used that word in spoken language.

I thing Reebok is the Afrikaans/Dutch spelling, Rehbok is English.

Now we're lighting a fire and starting season 2 of Madmen. It is cold in Connecticut!

mac 8:23 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
michael 8:27 PM  

As often seems to be the case, the last corner I finished was the NW. I am unsure if (1) nw corners are often a bit harder because Will Shortz knows most solvers start there [almost certainly wrong]; or (2) actually I don't finish any more often with the nw than with any other part of the puzzle -- it just seems that way because I often start there and get stuck and therefore notice when that's the last section I finish (probably the case).

I was wondering if anyone else had these thoughts.

CrazyCatLady 8:35 PM  

@Tinbeni - I grew up in suburban Philadelphia and used to watch Bandstand after school. It was on before the Mickey Mouse Club. Remember when there were only three networks/stations? It made me want to go to Catholic school (I'm not Catholic), because I thought the uniforms some of the girls wore were cute. And those South Philly girls were always the best dancers.

Tinbeni 9:05 PM  

@CCL and @your average blank
Bandstand after school was always a "must see TV" back in my day.
And later I learned that those Catholic girls were knowledgeable about more than religious studies.
Seems to me I rated her higher than that 92.

The last "Rap" song I actually remember as pretty good was "Funky Cold Madina" by Tone Loc. Had a nice beat and reminded me of "Lola" by the Kinks.

ArtLvr 9:15 PM  

@ Ulrich -- Happy birthday from here too!


captcha? inessen!

ArtLvr 9:39 PM  

p.p.s. A seminal doomsday book by Nassim Taleb titled "The Black Swan" was reissued recently, very timely. The author is known for creating the image as a philosophic symbol of the nearly impossible occurrence which may nevertheless happen, like the failure of all major banks simultaneously -- or the "flash-crash" in the markets last Thursday.


Anonymous 9:52 PM  

@NDE is right about "mohalim" as the plural, accent on the last syllable, as is the accent for MOHEL. The Yiddish "moyle" comes from the tendency to move the accent earlier as in German and then slur the second syllable (like a shva -- the "a" in "senator).

End of Hebrew/Yiddish discursion, but there sure has been a lot of that in the past few days.


Sfingi 10:04 PM  

Difficult - Had to Google some - but smart CW.

Did not know ROMAIN or ODILE. The black swans of Australia are very civilized and quiet, compared to the biting, honking white swans, here.

Never heard of, but guessed,
ROC-A-Fella, which put me in mind of my husband's grandmother, who thought Rockefeller was Rocco Fallo, therefore, Italian.

I once had a TALON tooth, which I blamed on being in the womb during WWII.

Leave the gun, take the cannoli - which is good for you because it's made of mild cheese!

@Mac - Reebok is Afrikaans. Love those double vowels. (Me of maiden name Drees)

Love TOV crossing MOHEL. I think you need more than luck to get that job right.

I remember when Carlton came out and told us his name was Lorenzo Music.

Sports - Speaking of Evil Twins or at least Doppelgangers, I Googled Tate and Bowe, and there is another Tate and Bowe involved with a Football team called the Chiefs. This of course, messed with my head.

JC66 10:47 PM  

@ Ulrich

Many happy returns.

Six Weeks Later Cathy 9:41 PM  

I knew Ernest Tubb because he was a character on the Andy Griffith show, back in the days of black and white TV (which I saw in reruns years later).

wcutler 1:08 AM  

You all seem to have been lucky enough to see circles or shaded squares. Only now that it's dark do I notice some shading in the NW corner, and so now that I know where to look, I see the others, except for London, which is not clear at all. But when I finished the puzzle a few hours ago, I had no idea what the Jacks referenced. I had to get on this blog to find out. The Vancouver Sun has not been good to us this week. They just reissued the weekend Typecasting puzzle because they'd omitted the formatting.

I agree with Rex on the Op Cits. That's so lame.

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