Marat/Sade playwright Peter / WED 9-15-10 / Munch Museum's locale / Peanuts boy with blanket / Helen Mirren's crowning role

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Constructor: Zoe Wheeler

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: BE QUIET (52A: "Shut up!" ... or a phonetic hint to this puzzle's theme) — theme answers have silent "B"s added, creating wacky phrases, clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: Weeb EWBANK (31D: Only coach to win both N.F.L. and A.F.L. championships) —

Wilbur "Weeb" Ewbank (May 6, 1907 – November 17, 1998) was an American professional football coach. [...] Ewbank is the only man ever to coach two different American pro football teams to victory in a championship game, and the only man to coach winners of NFL, AFL, and World Championships: (NFL championships in 1958 and 1959 with the Colts, an AFL championship in 1968 with the Jets, and a World Championship in Super Bowl III in 1969 with the Jets). Weeb's record in the AFL was 50-42-6 (71-77-6 all-time with the Jets) and his career regular season record in the NFL and AFL was 130-129-7 and his playoff record was 4-1. Ewbank was selected as the Head Coach of the AFL All-Time Team. // He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978. (wikipedia)
• • •
3:48 says eeeeeasy, even with two answers that were complete mysteries to me: EWBANK (see above), and KIEL (65A: German port), the last thing in the grid and an entry that looked horribly wrong. I had to double-check the whole area to make sure it couldn't be anything else. Oh, and I didn't know this WEISS guy either, but I'm pretty sure I've said that before, and will say it again someday (67A: "Marat/Sade" playwright Peter). The theme is OK, though only SAM IAMB really does anything for me. I am really distracted, for some reason, by the non-quiet Bs, especially in ABBA (the only Bs in the whole puzzle outside of theme answers) (32A: "Take a Chance on Me" group). I also wish the ABBA clue had been "S.O.S" group, to tie in with the clue on PLEAS (38A: S O S's, essentially).

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Where lead weights grow? (PLUMB TREE)
  • 21A: Bit of a Coleridge poetry line? (SAM IAMB) — strange ... here, you don't just add the "B," but you mush two words together as well
  • 39A: Ammo for idiots? (DUMB DUMB BULLETS)
  • 61A: Toy house door support? (PAPER JAMB)
Did not like "I'M IT!" (58D: Cry during a recess game) (who is going to cry that? "YOU'RE IT!" or "NOT IT!," sure; the whole point is to Not be IT). Also, LLD (27A: Harvard degree earned by J.F.K. in 1956) over AAA (36A: Little battery) is ugly, and TEUT is much, much worse (3D: German: Abbr.). That said, the Downs in the N/NW, specifically KATMANDU (5D: Capital of Nepal) and BROCADE (18D: Wedding gown fabric), are lovely. I solved NW to SE, right through the fat center of the grid, and then just branched out from there to pick up the little pockets. Easy as pie.

  • 1A: Org. known for drilling? (ROTC) — wanted ADA, and when that didn't fit, OPEC
  • 9A: Soap operas, essentially (SAGAS) — soaps are dying. In this house, we kind of follow "As The World Turns," which ends, permanently ... this week or next, I forget.
  • 19A: Horatio who wrote about down-and-out boys (ALGER) — I have a few of these in vintage paperback form. One has a picture of one boy knocking another boy on his ass. It's cool.
  • 20A: How babies may be carried (TO TERM) — this one stopped me cold. Needed nearly every cross. It's not really a self-standing phrase. An odd adverbial phrase. Tricky.
  • 48A: Gulager of "The Virginian" (CLU) — As I may have said before, I know him only for his role in "The Killers" (1963) with Lee Marvin (my hero).
  • 69A: Singer Perry with the 2010 #1 hit "California Gurls" (KATY) — my interest in her is somewhere near zero. Her name is everywhere this summer, but I have somehow managed (I think) to avoid hearing any of her new music at all. Spelling alone on this one makes me gag. I'd rather listen to this:

  • 2D: Munch Museum's locale (OSLO) — seen this clue before. Seems a suitably Wednesday way to clue OSLO.
  • 38D: Bandage, across the pond (PLASTER) — yep, that's what it's called.
  • 54D: Helen Mirren's crowning role, informally? (QEII) — without "crowning," this clue wouldn't need a "?" Mirren of course won the 2006 Best Actress Award for playing Queen Elizabeth II in "The Queen." She is super hot. Even as the Queen. Can't act her way out of her own hotness. It's a curse, I guess.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Aaron Riccio 12:40 AM  

I can defend "I'm it!" -- usually what somebody yells to kick off the game, a terser version of "Ready or not, here I come." I remember, too, that there were always a few kids who were really in to being it.

CoffeeLvr 1:35 AM  

Thank you, Rex, for solving and posting every night (early morning). I don't know how I could have gone to sleep with out confirming some of these obscure and downright odd answers. Of course, I haven't managed to go to sleep yet.

I don't get SAMIAM(B). Of course, I know the Seuss book, and SAM(uel) Coleridge, but I pronounce the B in Iamb. It isn't silent. Maybe I'm wrong. I do not pronounce the B in Plumb, although it is in there with plumb bob, nor in Jamb or Dumb.

I had nine white squares for hours. Watched TV, played with cat, tried to sleep. Could not come up with PAPER as part of a toy house, nor EDGY for pushing the envelope. Knew I would have to get KIEL from the crosses. Oh, and PEG was not coming to mind. We only have one Turnpike around here, and I don't recall seeing it abbreviated. Figured it was an East Coast thing.

des 2:03 AM  

SAM IAMB refers to the IAMB of a line of poetry ("a metrical foot" as per Wikipedia).
I agree with you about PAPER - although I got it from the crosses, I still don't really get it.
Yes, TPKE is very common here in the NE (e.g., the major highway crossing NJ: the New Jersey Turnpike).
@Rex - I am anticipating complaints about the spelling of KATMANDU without the "H" (KATHMANDU per Wikipedia). The NY Times often spells it KATMANDU and this is a NY Times puzzle.

syndy 2:09 AM  

ended with a mistake as I had deut for 3 down.My last letter was the "e" in kiel and was a guess.SW gave me the only trouble so I'll agree to easy.Liked the plumbtree alot.samiamb seemed very odd but got in from the downs.Helen Mirren has played both QE's she got the oscar for Shakespeare in love.(allinall not too much of a meanie)

Anonymous 2:46 AM  

A very young Don Shula replaced Webb Ewbank as the (Baltimore) Colts' coach and went on to become the all-time winning NFL head coach (largely as the Dolphins' head coach) and the only coach so far with a team that did not lose a game for a season, a record that last year's Indianapolis' Colts might have broken if the current Colts' head coach had not decided to bag the next-to-last regular season game to the Jets) even Shula coached the NFC to their first Super Bowl (No. III) loss (to Joe Namath's Jets coached by Ewbank), a loss that ironically made the NFL-AFL merger a success, creating today's NFL, pro sports most successful enterprise. However, there are those who believe that, despite his success with the Colts, SB III and being elected into the NFL HOF, as a head coach Weeb was a dweeb....

shrub5 4:09 AM  

Got into trouble in the SW corner because I put "LIZ I" as the Helen Mirren role, informally. Guess I got too informal (plus it was the wrong Elizabeth!! --duh.) Did not know ERITU or WEISS which didn't help matters in this area. Set the puzzle aside for awhile, came back and straightened the mess out, but not without a google for the Verdi aria. Otherwise a nice romp.

Hand up for being an "As the World Turns" follower. Really enjoyed the Reid character/story despite the medically unbelievable heart donation plot. Been watching/taping this soap on and off for, gee, about 30 years or more.

Back to the puzzle...I also thought of dental or oil drilling before ROTC came into view. Had Kennedy's degree as LAW before LLD. In retrospect, I should have known LAW was wrong because of the initials JFK. PLASTER as Brit-speak for bandage made me think of mustard plaster which I guess is a type of bandage. I hadn't heard PEG as a good throw.

Entertaining puzzle, easy-moderate for me. Very nice work, Zoe! Two thumBs up.

andreba carbla michabels 4:30 AM  

Did this one in the tournament too...breezed thru till a dead halt in the bottom. Could not for the life of me figure out how to abbreviate TPKE. Tried TRNP was terrible, bec I didn't know KIEL and couldn't make sense of the PAPER part of PAPERJAM(b)
What is a toy house???!!! Doll house is wood, no? Paper Dolls live in Paper Houses? Is there such a thing as a toy house? And why would it be made of paper?

Altho I'm thrilled this was made by an actual non-adult, yet all the clues about "kids" (I'M IT and this whole PAPER Toy House thing) were so off!
AND a girl putting in EWBANK in such a central position...I feel somewhat betrayed.
That and it cost me an extra two minutes, so now I know how these speedfreaks feel!)

That said, I also couldn't parse TO TERM...
Got stuck on TOTE-- so I thought it was a brand name, as in one way to carry a baby...
Baby Bjorn's new TOTE'EM or whatever.

Still in semi-state of thrilldom that 2 of the 3 puzzles this week have been by teenaged girls and are as good if not better than 80% of the other puzzles...a statistic I just made up!

protege01 4:42 AM  

Did not like this puzzle at all despite a theme I kinda liked. Too many toughish answers for me. I mean is there anyone who doesn't know who Katy Perry is? Yet it's clued so specifically easy. Then there's TEUT. And LLD. And QEII. And the SW. No fun.

escalante blogger 6:26 AM  

I may answer the puzzle if there's a hints and dictionary to compare such words.

Vega 7:19 AM  

This one seemed inconsistent to me. Some things I loved, like SAMIAMB was inspired. But other things were so off. Yes, "toy house" = what? And sorry, I'm still not convinced about "I'm it!" Just resisted and resisted and finally thought, "seriously? OK, I'll put it in, but seriously?" Also proud to say I've never heard of Katy Perry because I live under a rock, pop-culturally speaking. Though I have heard of Lady Gaga, though I couldn't say why, because I still don't know a thing about her (I *think* she's a "she," and not a man in drag...though she'd still be a "she" in that case, I suppose). Now I'm just rambling.

David 7:23 AM  

I would suggest that using the words "earned by" rather than "awarded to" in the clue to 27A is incorrect in regards to an honorary degree. Any academic experts have a view?

Brendan Emmett Quigley 7:55 AM  

Believe it or not, the spelling of "California Gurls" was in homage to the much superior Big Star song "September Gurls."

The Hag 8:10 AM  

@Syndy Didn't Judi Dench play QE1 in SiL? (too lazy to google)

@protege01 "I mean is there anyone who doesn't know who Katy Perry is?"
I'm willing to bet that a significant number of NYT puzzlers have no idea who she is.

I liked this one and found it hard (for a Wednesday). It took me awhile to parse TOTERM - Tote Rm? Tot, erm? The only reason I knew EWBANK was because decades ago as a wee Hag I was devoted to Mad Magazine and they once made fun of his nose. I hate it when crossword puzzles me remind me of how much value brain space I waste on such nonsense.

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

@vega Maybe Lady Gaga is a drag queen?!?

Ah....Rex's bog. An oasis in an otherwise insane world. I love you all.

Liked the puzzle, except for "ball supporters." No matter the answer, not nice w/ my breakfast.

joho 8:39 AM  

@andreba carbla & @The Hag ... I, too, convinced myself that TOTERM was a brand name: TOTER M with the "M" obviously standing for mom.

EWBANK just looks wrong, thanks @Rex for the explanation.

@Coffee Lrv, I see, or rather hear, your point about the "B" in SAMIAMB. I think that's a flaw in this fun phrase. Or maybe I'm pronouncing it wrong ... anybody?

Still, I applaud Zoe Wheeler for creating this puzzle, not an easy task.

I record "The Young & The Restless" every day on my DVR. I know, I know, it's sick, but I'm hooked!

David L 8:51 AM  

Is it bad that I wrote in ERITU without any crosses? I'm not an opera fan at all, but I know that one from crosswords...

I share the puzzlement over PAPERJAMB -- took an extra few seconds to decide whether the second P was right or not, couldn't see any reasonable alternative, so went with it.

For me the B in IAMB is silent, as it is in LAMB. Haven't heard it said any other way.

dk 8:57 AM  

These puzzle are authored by teen girls! It can't be! Everyone knows they have cooties and are illogical.

Another fine puzzle. Easy for a Wednesday but appreciated by us DUMBDUMBs.

Only downside was seeing both ABBA and KATY P. in the grid. Its enough to make a NY Dolls fan choke on his left over chic (pun intended) peas from Max's. We used to shoot them (chic peas) at pigeons with our makeshift slingshots or peas shooters.... We were Just Kids.

*** (3 Stars) Go Zoe Go

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

After taking your Brit Lit class I was expecting you to at least comment on Laura.

jesser 9:07 AM  

Kudos to these young constructors. This week is just FUN!

That said: Wow, it's weird how solving experiences differ! I had no issue with TO TERM or TPKE. My Waterloo was down south where I was speeding along with the downs and at 63D, I put in taG and never checked the crosses, so I ended up with the impossibly stupid PAtERJAMB. Only writeover was at 1A, where OPEC flew off my pen and then turned blotty a short time later.

@Andrea: Todd Snider wrote a whole hilarious song about statistics.

Statistician's Blues
From New Connection

They say 3 percent of the people use 5 to 6 percent of their brain
97 percent use 3 percent and the rest goes down the drain
I'll never know which one I am but I'll bet you my last dime
99 percent think with 3 percent 100 percent of the time

64 percent of all the world's statistics are made up right there on the spot
82.4 percent of people believe 'em whether they're accurate statistics or not
I don't know what you believe but I do know there's no doubt
I need another double shot of something 90 proof
I got too much to think about

Too much to think about
Too much to figure out
Stuck between hope and doubt
It's too much to think about

They say 92 percent of everything you learned in school was just bullshit you'll never need
84 percent of everything you got you bought to satisfy your greed
Because 90 percent of the world's population links possessions to success
Even though 80 percent of the wealthiest 1 percent of the population
Drinks to an alarming excess
More money, more stress

It's too much to think about
Too much to figure out
Stuck between hope and doubt
It's too much to think about
Pick it now

84 percent of all statisticians truly hate their fucking jobs
They say the average bank robber lives within say about 20 miles of the bank that he robs
There's this little bank not far from here I've been watching now for a while
Lately all I can think about's how bad I wanna go out in style

And it's too much to think about
Too much to figure out
Stuck between hope and doubt
It's too much to think about
That's right
It's too much to think about
It's too much to think about

chaos1 9:14 AM  

Easy works for me, although I had a slight hiccup in the NW. Liked the BEQUIET theme. Linking SAM Coleridge to an IAMB was inspired, but, as others have said, I wasn't too keen on the PAPERJAMB cluing.

@Andrea Julius's Castle Michaels: Curious to know what your tournament time was for this puzzle. I would e-mail you, but not really sure where your link is. Your posts always crack me up. TPKE turns up quiet frequently in puzzles. I always remember it by TPIKE with no I.

@Vega: I thought you might be interested in this link:

If you watch the entire video, you will see that Lady GAGA is definitely a woman. Even if she was a post-op tranny, no surgery could ever produce hips like that. The choreography in the video is excellent. You can always mute the sound if you like. You don't have to be young, to appreciate her talent. Take it from me.

The Big E 9:14 AM  

"To Term" came to me immediately, perhaps because I am at that phase of my life where somewhere around 8 or 9 of our friends have had babies or are having them this year!
I also think that this was a very easy puzzle, but still a well constructed one - speed was a challenge for me today as well.
For some reason, I always get "ere tu" and "eri tu" confused... So took me a moment to figure out QE II.

@andreba carbla michabels - don't feel awkward about your made-up statistic... Did you know that 83% of all statistics published every day are made-up?

glimmerglass 9:17 AM  

Moderately easy mid-week puzzle, with good things and bad things. (Paper jamb was a bad thing.) It happened that I solved counterclockwise today, starting in the NW. When I got to Sam I Am, almost the very end, I laughed out loud. Great theme answer.

Van55 9:29 AM  

A bit gnarly, but in a good way. I enjoyed this one more than Monday's or Tuesday's.

chefbea 9:31 AM  

Another great puzzle!! I too had opec for a while but once I got to term that whole area came easy.

Hand up for not knowing Katy Perry. I've heard the name but have no idea any of the songs.

Never heard of peg in that sense. Anything to do with mumBly peg. Remember that game??

Ulrich 9:48 AM  

Kiel--gimmie, of course--after a few secs. TEUT--infuriating, as always, as synonym for German. Last letter to fill in: The G of peg and edgy--does it really mean pushing the envelope? And what's the game in question? Horseshoes?

It seems to me we are treated this week to puzzles with standard themes executed in a solid, if not great, fashion--a Puzzle 101 class, as it were (love to use that phrase!). BTW I liked yesterday's puzzle better than most for architectural/structural reasons.

@jesser: Thx for the song! I'll print it and keep it where I put things that I then forget having put there...

@andrea, fergus et al.: Belated congrats for finishing error-free--Hope you felt as elated when your diploma was handed out to you as I felt this February!

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

@chefbea & Ulrich

PEG is a baseball term. Think of a catcher throwing out a would-be base stealer, or the end of last night's Yankees-Rays game, when the right fielder pegged out Carl Crawford trying to advance from 2nd to 3rd after a flyout.

Captcha - jessed - whenever jesser comes up with a witty definition for his captcha, it has been 'jessed'.


joho 9:58 AM  

@David L, thanks, maybe because I ususally read or hear the phrase iambic pentameter I just got that "B" stuck in my brain!

OldCarFudd 10:00 AM  

I've never heard of Katy Perry. By tomorrow, I'll have never heard of her all over again. I did know Kiel; the Kiel canal is an important waterway. Enjoyed seeing words we rarely get in crosswords: plaster as a bandage, brocade, biscuits. Loved Samiamb!

Looks like they managed to sneak B for Brown in again. Glad they don't go to CUNY or UCLA.

What a fun week!

Frances 10:06 AM  

Another one, here, who's never heard of Katy Perry. For 60A, the partial ending in "wait", I waged a seriously losing battle trying to shoe-horn ALSO SERVE WHO ONLY STAND AND. My favorite theme answer was 17A, where the lead weights grow. Congrats to Zoe, and all the other Brown-ies.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:15 AM  

More Medium than Easy for me. Nothing no one else hasn't already mentioned, but I took an awful long time trying to parse TOTERM, and only understood it after I looked at the completed puzzle. Because that crossed KATMANDU, I also wondered if Kathmandu or some variant was being looked for. One write-over, ELIZ before QEII (which I believe was soundly lambasted the last time it appeared as a reference to the monarch rather than the ship.)

But a good puzzle, and a good laugh at SAMIAMB!

DBGeezer 10:21 AM  

Is it not a little off key to have a pronounced B in the same answer that has two quiet Bs in it? 39A

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

Being familiar with Diplomacy I got KIEL immediately.

Ulrich 10:33 AM  

@all sailors: factoid to remember Kiel by: the annual Kiel Week (Kieler Woche), supposedly the biggest annual sailing event in the world. In the old days, Kiel was known as an important home port for the German navy.

Blowing off steam 10:35 AM  

I'll never understand how Dum Dum bullets passes the breakfast test while any mention of something that would offend only the strictest of Puritans doesn't. It's like prime time TV - Showing graphic violence in slo motion with blood spurting out of bullet wounds is OK for kids, but catch a glimpse of a 40 year old woman's boob from 100 yards away and the FCC pours down sanctions on one and all.
Seems a seriously misplaced morality to me.

mac 10:37 AM  

A little gnarly for me, but it all worked out. And yes, another B-puzzle! To term and Kiel were gimmes, but I needed the crosses for peg. Brocade seems a little heavy for a wedding dress.

I'm sort of impressed with the sports terms and names: plate, tees, a draw, Ewbank, peg; might Zoe be a TOMBOY?

CoffeeLvr 10:40 AM  

@des, I do know what an iamb is, just a quibble over pronunciation. Like many adolescent girls, I once fancied myself a poet.

@joho & @David L, in the light of day I checked both an online dictionary and my old Collegiate. Online, both the US and British speakers clearly say the "B". In the dead tree version, the letter is symbolized as "(b)", indicating it is present in some utterances and not others. So we are all right.

@Jesser, Thx so much for the Statistician's Blues. I am collecting things about statistics.

@Ulrich, regarding "pushing the envelope": here is an online explanation that agrees with my ruminations in the middle of the night:

[There seems to be general agreement that the expression originally referred to the "performance envelope" of (especially fighter) aircraft. Mike Lake defines this "envelope" as "limitations on air speed, rate of climb and descent, and rate of direction change within which a particular aircraft can be safely and efficiently operated." Gregg Derrick and David Wigtil add that various values such as velocity, altitude, cargo weight limits, etc. can all be represented graphically; and that such a graph typically resembles a "misshapen trapezoid" referred to as an "envelope". As several other respondants pointed out, this usage represents a borrowing or extension of the mathematical sense of "envelope", i.e. "a curve or surface that is tangent to all curves or surfaces of a family of curves or surfaces" (American Heritage Dictionary).

In its original aviation context, then, "pushing the envelope" presumably meant pushing a plane in test flight up to and even beyond its known endurance limits in order to find out its exact capabilities. The idiom is apparently American in origin, dating back (at least) to the late 1940's. It may have first referred to the breaking of the sound barrier by test pilot Chuck Yeager in the X-1. "Pushing the envelope", along with a lot of other "pilot-jargon", has been greatly popularized by Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff."]

Back to me: The fighter jet pilot I knew used this expression in the way above. We automotive engineer types also used the expression in reference to a vehicle's handling at speed, approaching maximum speed, or performance under load.
I finally sussed out EDGY in the context of winter sports and X-games. Again, this was while I was trying to go to sleep, so maybe a poor association. My apologies for assuming that you don't know the meaning of the clue, however, the phrase is so commonly used (and mis-used) that I am sure some one will find this of interest.

My mean captcha of the morning is "stercha."

Two Ponies 10:42 AM  

More medium than easy for me.
I don't know Katy Perry from a katydid but the crosses confirmed it. I also didn't know the Alana person or the coach but guessed right in the intersecting A.
Getting the theme was the only way I got paper. There must be a better way to clue that. Don't some houses in Japan have paper walls and doors in wooden frames? I'm grasping at straws but so is a toy house made of paper.
Katmandu put a Bob Seger ear worm in my head.

I have an unexplainable interest in Lady Gaga. I have a feeling that one day we will find the truth. I have seen some very questionable photos of her/him. I cannot figure out why I care.

CoffeeLvr 10:52 AM  

I just wrote (and pasted) a comment so large it wouldn't post. So, a condensed version.

@Jesser, thx for the song. Hilarious in parts.

@des, my quibble was not with the meaning of IAMB, but it's pronunciation. @joho and @David L, my dead tree dictionary shows that the (b) is pronounced "in some utterances, and not others."

@Ulrich, regarding "pushing the envelope," Wiki says "This phrase is used to refer to an aircraft being taken to, and perhaps beyond, its designated altitude and speed limits. By extension, this phrase may be used to mean testing other limits, either within aerospace or in other fields." This is how we used it in automotive engineering. Another site: "Mike Lake defines this "envelope" as "limitations on air speed, rate of climb and descent, and rate of direction change within which a particular aircraft can be safely and efficiently operated." Gregg Derrick and David Wigtil add that various values such as velocity, altitude, cargo weight limits, etc. can all be represented graphically; and that such a graph typically resembles a "misshapen trapezoid" referred to as an "envelope". As several other respondants pointed out, this usage represents a borrowing or extension of the
mathematical sense of "envelope", i.e. "a curve or surface that is tangent to all curves or surfaces of a family of curves or surfaces" (American Heritage Dictionary)." The phrase was popularized in Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff," a great read at the time. So limits can be seen as edges, both figuratively, and literally if you drive the car off the cliff.

ArtLvr 11:02 AM  

I "muffed" the last letter in BLEW, as I was working too hastily at the end to PEG that one... Otherwise I nailed it, though I thought Brace before PLATE. Liked the medical PIA, STENTS and PLASTERS.

I didn't know this KATY, ALANA or the CLU person but they were good guesses. And I just saw Lady GAGA on the Rachel Maddow show the other night for the first time. Can she be said to be EDGY?

ALL IN ALL, kudos to Zoe on her debut -- it's a fun theme with amusing twists.


PuzzleNut 11:08 AM  

Liked this one a lot. Even though I didn't know a number of the answers (KATY, WEISS, ALANA, EWBANK, LAURA), there weren't any areas that caused a problem. TOTERM was wonderful. A great misdirect starting it with TOTE. SAMIAMB was also genius, while the PAPERJAMB seemed like the constructor just ran out of good theme answers.
OSLO was a gimme, so any thought of OPEC got tossed out early. ROTC is well clued.
Looking at the completed puzzle, it doesn't seem like it should have been as easy as I found it. Good theme, many good clues, and right up my alley.

Mel Ott 11:13 AM  

Hand up for expecting 20A to be a brand name playing on the word TOTE. I wonder if this subtle misdirection was intentional? If so, verrry clever, Ms. Wheeler.

Almost threw down USMC (US Marine Corps) at 1A. Fortunately I waited for the downs.

It is many years since I played tag, but the tagger always cried, "You're it". Don't think I ever heard the taggee cry, "I'm it".

CoffeeLvr 11:38 AM  

@ArtLvr, in the WordPlay interview with Zoe Wheeler, she says that "jam(b)" was her inspiration.

Third strike, I'm out!

ArtLvr 11:52 AM  

@CoffeeLvr -- I think your last note was meant for @PuzzleNut, re JAMB...


p.s. I overlooked the super term TO TERM in my list of neat medical references!!!

Clark 11:56 AM  

SAM IAMB is so good nothing else matters. Let's play tag, I'M IT -- works for me. Did this puzzle recovering from surgery. I felt like I was going to die, but I couldn't sleep. So why not do the puzzle. Finished it up this morning. Feeling about 1000% better. That general anesthesia is some mean s@#$! @foodie, is it true that they don't even really know how it works?

Doc John 11:58 AM  

I found this one a bit more challenging than Rex did but mostly enjoyable. I did like the theme of BE QUIET although DUMB DUMB BULLETS did seem a bit of a stretch compared to the others.
I also had no problem with TEUT because it reminded me of this (no need to watch the video, the title is enough of a giveaway-warning, mildly foul language).

syndy 12:11 PM  

@Hag -spot on I mispoke Helen played Q Bess in the mini series.and Dame Judith was in Skakespeare. I wonder if paperjamb would have worked as Old Japanese door support?

Ulrich 12:14 PM  

@Coffeelvr: Thx. My problem was that I knew "edgy" only as (1) "nervous, irritable" or (2) "having a sharp edge (metaphorically)". But I just found a third meaning in the Free Online Dict, "daring, provocative, or trend-setting", which I never guessed from context b/c meaning 2 works in these contexts, too.

I've said this before (I think): Non-native speakers of the language of the country they live in learn much of their vocabulary by making inferences from context b/c they cannot run around with a dictionary under their arm all the time. One of the real benefits of doing xword puzzles, for them, is that they may learn new meanings of words they think they know already (as in the present case) or realize that they didn't guess the meaning of a certain word entirely right. to you tomorrow!

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

So who is Katy Perry?

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

I'm back for day #2 on this site, & let me begin with an apology once again to all of you for my repeated submissions of the same blog entry yeaterday. I didn't recognize that my post was being accepted. Sorry.

I love the challenge of this puzzle--just perfect for me. It took me all of 51 minutes which I am not ashamed to say. I am amazed I conquered it, as after 10 minutes I thought I was doomed. But I caught the theme pretty early on, & that helped open quite a bit for me.

I did make one error. As with yesterday, that southwest corner was tough for me. I wrote QEAI, not recognizing Helen Mirren starred in "The Queen" as Elizabeth 11. So stupid of me not to have figured that out despite not knowing the movie. My knowledge of the actress is as the deliciously evil teacher, Mrs. Tingle, in "Teaching Mrs. Tingle," where her students teach HER the "lesson" of her life.

My favorite answer was SAMIAMB--very clever sound & combination Coleridge/theme combination.

Other interesting challenges for me: Considering ROTC. Of course I wanted ADA or OPEC when seeing the clue. I found TEUT interesting, as I initially went with DEUT for Deutsch. TOTERM threw me for some time. I had to keep coming back to it until it hit me. I love the answer BEQUIET; very sassy, which by the way, was one of the answers (SASS) as "cheeky chatter." I never heard of "ERITU", and this was my :A" for an "I" only error. For me, I am very pleased with my effort. I think all solvers on this site are likely beyond my level, but I want to venture into your territory a bit until the week's challenges are more than I can handle.

I agree--"IMIT" seems more appropriate as YOURIT. That's how I remember the game being played, but I give tons of slack to creator Zoe because her name is so cute and because who am I to argue with respectably clever & intelligent Brown co-eds?


The Big E 12:25 PM  

To all who do not know the name Katy Perry, you may recall her breakout hit a couple of years ago:
"I kissed a girl."
Here is a youtube link:

She's a pop singer with a consistently strong showing on the charts.

deerfencer 12:52 PM  

Excellent and amusing puzzle by another precocious Brownie--great job Zoe!

@ Vega & Two Ponies:
All you need to know about Lady Gaga in ten words:
overexposed Catholic girl from New Jersey in a meat dress. (I suppose she can also be regarded as the Andy Warhol of our age, meaning a performance artist who chases fame and exposure as ends unto themselves.)

Rube 1:05 PM  

@TheBigE, you're wasting your time. The puzzlers on this blog who say they don't know Katy Perry, (and I'm one), really don't care who she is other then what are the clues used for her as a xword answer.

New word for me was PIA mater, wanted dura. Since I've heard of dura mater, I Wikid and found that there are 3 layers, or meninges, over the brain: the above mentioned two and the third being the arachnoid.

@OCF, I missed the connection between the B theme and Brown. I wonder why Ms Wheeler wants it to be silent.

There is a subtheme here where the first 8 lines of Petrarch's sonnets to LAURA have the ABBA scheme and LAURA's married name was de Sade, (no relation).

My only complaint was ASEA... highly overused fill. "At sea", OK, but ASEA? Otherwise, a great Wednesday puzzle. Loved SAMIAMB. Only write-over was confidently spelling KATMANDU with an "H"... ran out of room.

Masked and Anonymous 1:05 PM  

Har! Seven U's! Puz is totally missing H, which usually has a better count than the U's. Sweet. So almost worth a thUmbs Up, right there. But let us analyze a bit further . . .

Really liked the SAMIAMB answer. But, now, my dictionary shows that the pronunciation of IAMB is: i'am(b), with yer little line over the i. Now for DUMB, it shows dem, with the e upside down. No (b) thingy. What's the deal with (b) business??

Could it be that (b) means that you pronounce the b, only . . . quietly?

Cute WedPuz, Zoe girl. Think I've seen your name at the top with the Shortzmeister at least one time before. If so, welcome back.

John V 1:14 PM  

Easy, 'cept had a brain cramp in the SW: could not see 60a, lie in wait and hadn't see the Mirren film (pop culture trip-up yet again). Wanted 52 to end with ..ed, which blocked me.

Agree that this has been a fun week so far. Here's hoping the Friday curve won't be as steep as has been the past few weeks.

Two Ponies 2:32 PM  

@ chaos1, I watched your video link (I could not resist).
I never saw her(?) face and shapely hips in the same shot.
Stand-in, photoshop, creative editing or all three could accomplish this.
Regardless, I like most of her videos. Very creative stuff.

RushS 2:49 PM  

My first post-- this may seem dumB. I often notice a shaded area in Rex crossword postings, such as 65 across in today's puzzle. What is that about?

Shades of Gray 3:17 PM  



When Rex (or anyone) solves on a computer, some software "shades" the answer you are working on, and the current square (the I today) where the cursor is located, a bit darker.

KIEL would have been the last answer entered, K the last letter (the cursor would move to the I) entered.

archaeoprof 3:18 PM  

SAMIAMB = damn good.

My mother-in-law plays bridge with the widow of Weeb EWBANK. Mrs. Ewbank usually wins.

@Anonymous 9:57am: that PEG to end the Yankees game was absolutely fantastic. If Swisher is out there, Carl Crawford is safe standing up.

RushS 3:23 PM  

thank you shades
Guess it is obvious that
I'm still doing paper puzzles
(and way after most of u)

Evgeny 3:53 PM  

fun puzzle!

I concur with @Ulrich though, infuriating is the right word to describe TEUT standing for German.

Anonymous 4:00 PM  

As easy as a whore in Vegas.... Remember, B quiet about what happens in Vegas....

sanfranman59 4:50 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Wed 11:12, 11:41, 0.96, 43%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Wed 6:15, 5:46, 1.08, 78%, Medium-Challenging

Alright, alright ... enough libel about statisticians! I resemble those remarks!

andrea gaga michaels 4:55 PM  

Thanks for the song!

There is some website that says how we did on each puzzle...perhaps SanFranMan59 can post the link bec he told me how I did and I don't remember and don't know where to look. It was prob around 7 minutes.
We could have an endless discussion about Lady Gaga whom I absolutely thought was a drag name...but my friend Maria used to see her perform as a young woman named Stephanie something very Italian... Germanotta? She just has very masculine features mixed with a feminine body, huge diva/gay following, so likes to play with gender bending stuff anyway.

but I must respectfully disagree... I think Lady Gaga is extremely talented and I don't think she is in the same category of folks who pursue fame just for fame itself...she is an amazing musician/singer/dancer...unlike thin-voiced, can't dance, one-note wonder Katy.
Catfight! ;)

But fun and fresh to have them both in the same puzzle! That's what makes these stunt weeks worthwhile, I think.
(I've been in touch all week with students who now feel inspired and want to be mentored, etc.) Fabulous!

Moonchild 5:26 PM  

I am enjoying the Brownian puzzles this week. Today had some ups and downs but for the most part was a good puzzle. Some of the common names were big ??? to me. I figured them out but until I came here today I thought the coach
was E.W. Bank! Ha!

J 5:49 PM  

I agree with some of the other posters--I think this was more of a Medium than an Easy.

Some of the answers here are fairly obscure.
And don't talk to me about getting it with the fill, etc.

I don't know anyone who would put Peter Weiss, Weeb Ewbank, and Alana Stewart in the same puzzle.
Let alone Clu Gulager and Katy Perry. (And calling Alana Stewart an actress is quite a stretch. Better clue: "Rock wife.")

Clu I remember as a mumbly actor who was on every tv show at some point in the 60s and 70s.

Anonymous 5:53 PM  

Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy. TPKE is USPO abbreviation, which explains why they delivered all those letters to Kris Kringle.

Masked and Anonymous 6:08 PM  

@J: Clu Gulager was also in a trilogy of super-great schlock movie flicks from the late 2000's: "Feast", "Feast II: Sloppy Seconds" and "Feast III" (haven't seen the last one yet, but have high expectations). They are kinda gory, but are done tongue-in-cheek. Cool stuff. Directed by John Gulager.

kvnhltnkv 6:13 PM  

I agree with coffeelvr: the "b" in iamb is not silent.

Sfingi 7:24 PM  

@Riccio - The kids who wanted to be IT, like me, wanted to avoid Phys. Ed. in general.

I like puns, but this was weak. Not a laugh in a cracker barrel. Then there's the dreaded SSN.

I had to Google some. Never heard of WEISS, ALANA, KIEL, PIA, which is fine. KIEL is an inland port. I need to keep up on German Geography. Grampa Fritz worked on ships out of Bremerhaven for Norddeutscher Lloyd, and arrived on the last trip of the Prinzessin Cecilie. KIEL is twice the size.

Helen Mirren was beautiful as Morgana in Ex Caliber, but that was 3 decades ago. She was naked in the international cut of Age of Consent, 4 decades ago. She's 65 now and if she shows it in this new movie she might get a SAG award.

@Andrea - I agree on Lady GAGA (Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta), or as Hubster pronounces it GAGA' - accent on the second syllable, which means s--t, though he likes her, too. KATY Perry pales.

sanfranman59 9:04 PM  

Here's the link to the results of last Saturday's Bay Area Crossword Tournament ... (I dare not hyperlink it for fear of my post ending up in Blogger/Google purgatory)

Glitch 9:52 PM  

Click ==> Sanfranman59's Bay Area results --- as a test


I've tried "hypering" your link (and a couple of others), with universal success.

If you want, drop me an email and lets see if we an solve your embedded hyperlinking problem.


sanfranman59 10:02 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:04, 6:57, 0.87, 6%, Easy
Tue 8:38, 8:53, 0.97, 49%, Medium
Wed 11:15, 11:41, 0.96, 43%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:22, 3:42, 0.91, 11%, Easy
Tue 4:37, 4:35, 1.01, 60%, Medium
Wed 6:06, 5:46, 1.06, 75%, Medium-Challenging

Vega 10:09 PM  

Awesome. Thanks, everyone, for the edification about Katy Perry (ah, the "I Kissed a Girl" singer) and Lady Gaga. The comments here (though, I'm so sorry, not the video) almost make me want to learn more about what kids these days are into.

Sfingi 10:17 PM  

@Vega - A few years ago I would never have heard of EBAY or SPAMS, but I sure love the internet. I don't go out of my way to follow new stuff, but once in a while something good happens that everyone likes - Lady Gaga is truly talented. I thought Ruben Studdard was, but I guess he didn't choose to push it too far and plays close to home. Also, I've never had to watch a reality show or an idol show to see the best stuff. Mostly SNL or Leno!

andrea kiela michaels 2:54 PM  

hey! There was a guy who came in, like 50th, in the Alameda tourney
I wonder if even HE got that cross!

Anonymous 1:17 AM  

it's a shame rex wasn't overly fond of this puzzle. Coleridge employed the abba rhyme scheme several times in his Rime of the Ancient Mariner...abba rhyme schemes are also called "envelope rhymes" I wouldn't be suprised if there was a abba aaa septet somewhere. BTW, he was also fond of using "enjambment"
the mariner was asea, he "pleas" for forigveness and the not to mention the inclusion of the words blew, sky, bay (ebay), pun on "kiel" i.e., keel, it's "quiet" an awful lot in the poem, the wedding guest is "rapt," the gown, the curses of the dead crew, and there's likely more...(i also like the way Zoe Wheeler managed to spell "ass" four times!)AND if you start at the "a" in ewbank and go left one space and up, you can spell the word "albatross" with contiguous letters

Dirigonzo 7:30 PM  

I find it more than a little troubling that to the clue "Lady__" my first thought was GAGA. It must be because she was in my part of the world recently and made an impassioned speech in support of eliminating the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the armed forces. She came to Maine in an attempt to influence the votes of Senators Snowe and Collins, both of whom say they support repeal of the policy, but both of them voted against repeal anyway. "Moderate Republican" has apparently become a new oxymoron.

Anyway, I was going to jump to the defence of Lady GAGA, but @andrea gaga michaels has already taken care of that quite nicely.

The puzzle, I thought, was fun and I am(b) still in total awe that 20-something young women (and men) can construct such terrific puzzles!

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