Old card game with forfeits / WED 9-29-10 / Implement in Millet painting / 1935 Marx Brothers romp / 1940 Crosby/Lamour/Hope film first travel series

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Constructor: Charles Gersch

Relative difficulty: Eeeeeasy

THEME: Uh ... movies? 7 movies? Double features + a Marx Bros. movie? — DESCRIPTION


Word of the Day: LOO (55D: Old card game with forfeits) —

Lanterloo, also known as Loo, is a 17th-century trick taking game of the Trump family of which many varieties are recorded. It belongs to a sprawling line of card games whose more intelligent members include Nap, Euchre, Rams, Mao, Hombre, and Spoil Five. It is considered a modification of the game of "All Fours", another English game possibly of Dutch origin, in which the players replenish their hands after each round by drawing each fresh new card from the pack. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was over before it started. Fastest Wednesday puzzle ever by 20 seconds (3:20). Normally I'd be thrilled, but instead I feel like I got away with something. I cannot take pride in this accomplishment—the puzzle simply did not put up any sort of fight. Further, there is no theme. Just a lot of movies. 100 theme squares (impressive!), but only a very thin unifying principle. Nitpick of the day: don't like when theme answers decide some answers will keep the "THE" and others will just do away with it—so THE COLOR OF MONEY, but LAST PICTURE SHOW. Bah. I wish these movies had Something in common, and that HORTON HEARS A WHO was not among them (more famous as book than film). Other than the above, I have no idea what to say about this one. The rest of the puzzle barely registers; there's just not a lot of room left to do anything.

Theme answers:
  • 14A: 2003 Sandler/Nicholson comedy ("ANGER MANAGEMENT")
  • 17A: 1940 Crosby/Lamour/Hope film that was the first in the "travel" series ("ROAD TO SINGAPORE")
  • 37A: 1971 film that was Cybill Shepherd's debut, with "The" ("LAST PICTURE SHOW")
  • 41A: 1954 Elia Kazan Oscar winner ("ON THE WATERFRONT")
  • 59A: 2008 film derived from Dr. Seuss ("HORTON HEARS A WHO")
  • 62A: 1986 film for which Paul Newman won his only Oscar ("THE COLOR OF MONEY")
  • 7D: 1935 Marx Brothers romp ("A NIGHT AT THE OPERA")
One of the few places that I got slowed down was at 25D: Setting for candlelit romance (BATH). Needed every cross, and didn't even notice what the answer was until I was done and perusing the grid. Answer may as well have been BEDROOM. "Candlelit" is a word that goes with "dinner." Certain people have bathed, with others, by candlelight, but I don't think of it as particularly conventional—any more than having sex, er, "romance," anywhere by candlelight. Other small hitches included: starting out 7D with "ANIMAL CRACK ... oh, dang"; mistaking one crosswordesey word (AGRA) for another (AGAR=>33A: Gelatinous ingredient in desserts); never having heard of LOO, the game; and being certain that HOOCH could not possibly, in a million years, have a "T" in it—I was wrong, it seems (45D: The sauce=>HOOTCH). Everywhere I'm looking, HOOTCH is the "Variant" spelling ... of one thing I'm certain: the dog spells it "HOOCH":



Bullets:
  • 6D: Mideast city whose name, coincidentally, is an anagram of ARABS (BASRA) — speaking of Iraqi anagrams, there is an furniture/appliance store in town called OLUM'S, which anagrams to: MOSUL.
  • 12D: Bankrupt company in 2001-02 news (ENRON) — that doesn't anagram to anything that I can see. "NO, REN!"
  • 60D: Implement in a Millet painting (HOE) — Pretty sure I posted this (or a) Millet painting very recently, featuring the man with the HOE. So my retention of new crossword info is not, as it sometimes seems, at zero. Good to know.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

86 comments:

nanpilla 12:17 AM  

Came here to find out the theme. Figured I must be missing some common denominator for these 7 movies, but I guess not. Very impressive to cross 6 15's with another, but comes off as an extremely easy themeless.

Evan 12:21 AM  

'Twas my fastest Wednesday by about 50 seconds (5:40). I'm not the super-solver that several others here might be, but this one felt easy enough that each of the movies came to me pretty much right away, or with only a couple of letters before getting it.

Some of the fill seemed a little weak as well, but that can probably be chalked up to the density of theme squares. There's a French word crossing a French abbreviation with the ILES/STES combo; CWTS crossing with ATRAS; and the ALOT/TKO/ESTO combo looks really ugly to me, for some reason. I might have changed ATEAM to GLEAM, ALOT to GLOB (or GLOP), TANK to LANE, and ESTO to ESTA, but that's just my own preference for what I think looks cleaner.

Rube 12:49 AM  

Saw the 7 15 letter answers and hought that this was going to be a hard Wed puzz so better do this in pencil. Turns out that all of the movie titles are easy to get from a few crosses, except for 7D which doesn't need any crosses.

Only writeovers were BAA/rAm, REDS/RamS, SMU/tcU, and OLEOLE/OLEusa.

'Twas a super easy Wednesday. Ole 44 hit the crosswordese exactly. Loo was the only word I didn't know. (Well, actually I didn't know "ESTO Perpetua", also.)

Looking at that "First X or O" clue, I immediately thought Tic-Tac-Toe, and put in TIC. My land's sake, but how doing xwords makes one's mind see through subterfuge!

BTW, I want to thank whoever is responsible for lengthening the allowed response time to enter the "Word Verification" characters. (Assuming this has not already been acknowledged.)

PurpleGuy 12:54 AM  

Agree with @nanpilla and Evan. Thought this was pretty easy for a Wednesday.
Kept wondering what could possiblt tie these movies together.
Rex- I agree with your nitpick. Why keep "the" in some answers, and leave it out in another. Bothered me a lot.
I, too, did not get BATH until all the crosses. My candlelit romances have definitely take place elsewhere.
No, I will not tell!! ;)
HOOTCH for me could not have a "t." Left that alone until it fell from crosses. Still looks wrong.

Interesting to have ATEAM and MRT in the puzzle together.
I always have to wait to spell the orangish color OCHER or OCHRE. Especially since it was next to TOWNE.

Today is my brother's 70th birthday. Boy, does that make me realize that time is flying by. He's 7 yrs older than I am. Being the youngest, it really hits home. Happy Birthday Ed.

Gonna be a hectic day, especially trying to include mom. However, I wouldn't change a thing!

Happy Wednesday, Hump Day, to all in Rexland.
May all your dreams come to fruition.

Shanti -

Bob/ PurpleGuy

explings - abbreviated explanations?

foodie 1:02 AM  

In general, I agree that when a puzzle is a construction tour de force, it comes at a price. And the trade off is rarely worth it. But for some reason, I greatly admired the construction on this one. Not only the fact that 7 theme answers, all 15mers were included, but also that they came in stacks of 2 theme answers x3, with an additional theme answer intersecting the entire rest. WOW. It must have been a thrill to interweave them like this and have it all work out! I've never constructed a puzzle, but I vicariously felt the triumph of pulling off this impressive feat.

I agree that the theme answers are not tightly linked except for being movies, and that some of the fill is suboptimal. But most of it seems just fine.

Wasn't MR T in the A-TEAM? And I even knew TOPPS (thanks to my son who collected baseball cards for a while).

My BERET's off.

Tobias Duncan 1:12 AM  

The Color of Money was Newman's only Oscar? Geez. Loved Night at the Opera. Any of the other films any good?

chefwen 2:33 AM  

Super easy puzzle if you are at all into movies, which I am. It went by so fast it almost made my head spin. Only hiccup was the same as Bob the Purple Guy with OCHER/OCHre, said to my husband "when am I going to learn how to spell that"?

Hopeful for a little more challenge with Thursday's puzzle.

PurpleGuy 2:37 AM  

@Tobias Duncan- Road To Singapore is a great Crosby,Hope LaMour picture. A fun romp, and one of their better "road" pictures.
On The Waterfront is a real classic, and must-see. Great performances by Brando,Malden and Eva Marie Saint.

Hope you get a chance to view them.

PurpleGuy.

andreah carlah michaels 2:50 AM  

what everyone has said!
Only thing I might add is that there was no X,Q, J, Z which made it uncrunchy...but 13 H's which is unusual and since folks were laying claims to certain letters the other day, perhaps someone can take up H!

Since this was more of a construction feat with no discernible theme, I would have made it a Friday with super hard clues or something.
But the construction is amazing.
Way way too simple a solve tho.
But again, also speaking from a 50+ movie-lover perspective, maybe we'll hear from someone under 30 who didn't know any of them?

I mean, (THE) LASTPICTURESHOW is a sweetspot for some but perhaps a ??? for younger folk.

Oh, I loved the BASRA anagram! I thought SABRA, which is a touch ironic.

mac 4:56 AM  

Ii agree with Foodie and Andrea. Good stuff but it was all over too soon for a Wednesday.

Im at the Halkin Hotel in London again, just for one night; husband is in a few meetings and this afternoon we're flying on to Holland for a little more feathering.

dk 7:33 AM  

As kids our summer home neighbor (who worked delivering papers and magazines to news stands, etc.) used to give us boxes of comic books with the front cover defaced (the returns). Archie comics were the ones we always read last. Classic Comics, Superman, Sargent Rock were first. See Rex's write up pictures for this loose association.

Note: Reading of Classic comics got me into advance placement English in HS. I was able to provide a synopsis of all of the major works of literature found in the AP exam. Sorry Mrs. Mead I know I led you to believe I had read them all. I just did not want the one way ticket to Palookaville.

The puzzle went down in the first round. I liked it. I also got to see several puzzle chestnut (e.g., ENOLA). And, the shout out to BABE -- BAA RAM EWE to thy own breed be true, words to live by.

*** (3 Stars) for 4 minutes of fun.

Evgeny 7:44 AM  

@Ms. Michaels (acme, isn't it?), you are right on the spot! I'm 25 and haven't even heard of LASTPICTURESHOW. Moonlighting is the only connection my brain made with Cybill Shepherd. ROADTOSINGAPORE doesn't sound familiar either. However, the other five movies were the first five answers I put down, so it was still the easiest wednesday puzzle ever in the not-so-long solving career

VaBeach puzzler 8:10 AM  

I thought the fill was clued too easily. i.e. Why not just "______ Gay" for 2D? A LOT (30D) of other gimmes too. They should have been clued like 5D, "'Pity the fool' speaker," which had me stumped. Hey, it's been a while since I watched the A Team, if I ever did.

joho 8:10 AM  

I did this late last night and couldn't believe how fast I was able to turn out the light. But even with the ease of the solve I was amazed at the contruction. 7 15's using double stacks with one intersecting down the middle, I mean, wow!

So basically I'm saying what everybody is saying. I guess some of us just appreciate the structural feat more than others.

@dk, I also saw "BABE" as a bonus movie linked with BAA and perhaps HOE as well as "The ATEAM" and "Turner And HOO(T)CH." I also liked seeing WHARF near ONTHEWATERFRONT.

Thank you, Charles Gersch!

DESievers 8:29 AM  

Anagram for ENRON: a phrase of encouragement to crossworders: ERN ON!

(Or the opposite of that humdinger of a word--ONER: NONER)

Can I really be this nerdy? Seems so.

Amanda H. 8:40 AM  

Very fun. Light and breezy, with lots of "Wheel of Fortune"-ish aha moments. I thought it was a fun change of pace, and a definite eye-popper, gridwise. Well done, Mr. Gersch, well done.

ACM(e) - I'm 33 and I only knew the first movie and the last two. I've heard of (The)LASTPICTURESHOW and ONTHEWATERFRONT but never seen them. ROADTOSINGAPORE I've never even heard of (but I know of the "Road" movies from puzzles).

PuzzleNut 8:46 AM  

The construction was very impressive with the 7 15'ers. Was a little disappointed by the large number of cheater squares - seems like you could have worked at least a few of them out of the puzzle. Maybe after finally getting the movies to cross there just wasn't much flexibility on the fill.
Also thought of SABRA before BASRA (even though it doesn't make much sense).
It's always a little disappointing to me to see ENRON in puzzles as I worked there when it truly was a great company. Things clearly started to fall apart at the end, but I'll always have very fond memories of my time there.

shrub5 8:52 AM  

Flew through this one, thinking wow! what an easy Wednesday; Rex is going to rate this as ridiculously easy ... I was close. Totally enjoyed laying down those movie titles with few or no letters in place. Didn't know HORTON was made into a movie but got it right away regardless.

Thought the pugilists' grp. was probably ABA so that made WHARF hard to come up with (A-ARF?). That was my only real slowdown. Momentarily had MONEY before MOOLA, but found it later in THE COLOR OF. I have to give a shoutout here to my favorite Paul Newman movie of all time, "The Verdict" -- a powerful performance. The picture and Newman were nominated for Oscars (1982) but lost to "Gandhi" / Ben Kingsley.

I stared at these movie titles trying to come up with some link, but couldn't. Still, I thought the puzzle construction was an impressive feat and enjoyed the solve.

@Rube: I've had the same thought about the longer time allowed for the word verification being valid. I'm a slowish comment composer and was annoyed when told I'd entered the captcha incorrectly. A commenter here at the blog clued me on to the fact that I was being timed out rather than having a wrong entry.

mmorgan 8:52 AM  

Yes, "Eeeeeasy" ... the movie titles all filled themselves in with just a few letters each. I guess it's an impressive construction (despite the inconsistent use of THE in the themes).

It would have been nice -- if a lot to ask -- if all the paired titles could have worked as a continuous phrase (as in "The Last Picture Show on the Waterfront), which then could have led to using a single "wacky" clue for each continuous pair (e.g., "dockside location for the end of cinema?" or something).

I especially liked the clue for 25A. Briefly had REF for TKO and BALL for OATH... but I did spend some time repeatedly asking myself, "BATH? Huh? Can that be?"

glimmerglass 8:53 AM  

Very easy -- too easy for a midweek puzzle. Didn't post this yesterday, but did anyone else get a start when "__it" was what you started with for for "______happens"?

KooKooKaChoo 8:56 AM  

I'm...not telling how old I am. For me, the theme was, "Movies I ought to know but don't. *%#*&." Still, not so hard except having "animal" in the start of 7D for too long. (But feel proud when make same missteps as R.)

I liked the puzzle for what I learned. "CWTS" I'm sure will come in handy later. I always forget what "eponym" means (no more w/ my Thurs/Thor mnemonic). "Baa" clue made me laugh.

Wade 9:03 AM  

The Last Picture Show, as I am quick to disclose any time I get the narrowest opening of a reason to do so, was filmed in my hometown, which is also the hometown of the author of the book it is based on, Larry McMurtry, and the movie is a great exemplar of late-sixties/early-seventies auteurness, which probably isn't a word, plus you get to see Cybll Shepherd naked. She's no Adrienne Barbeau, but still. Chloris Leachman and Ben Johnson turn in great, great performances. The movie is popularly believed to have been filmed in black and white, but the fact is Archer City, Texas, just looks that way (as anybody who has seen my current FB photo knows.)

PS, Texasville, the sequel from 1990, was also filmed there and is to be avoided at all costs.

jesser 9:07 AM  

'The Color of Money' is a great film, but no match for its inspiration, 'The Hustler,' starring Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats, one of the great pocket billiards players of all time. But yes, Tom Cruise and Paul Newman are (were) easy on the eyes.

I thought it was funny/odd to have TOWNE next to OCHER, with the former spelled Brit and the latter spelled 'Mercan. Ok.

DEFINITELY agree that the 'T' in HOOTCH just looks wrong, like a banana dipped in salsa.

Poling! (Lots of possible punch lines, but I'll go with Gary's last name. GarPo was my best friend in high school, way back in the day.) -- jesser

Glitch 9:08 AM  

Got 7D early, off the A and having just finished reading the review on the Met's opening thought "Another opera theme?".

Then got "Anger Management", thought appropriate if opera again.

Then the rapid movement down the grid splashed water on my candle ending the event too soon.

.../Glitch

PIX 9:09 AM  

Wednesdays should have a theme; how much time did we all waste looking for a theme that was not there? Not fair; very annoying.

@15D: When do people use kale to mean money? Professor Google says this is true,so it must be true, but I don't think I've ever heard the word used this way.

jesser 9:14 AM  

In regards to 25D, I forgot to mention that perhaps the greatest candlelit romantic bath scene ever was in 'Bull Durham' between Costner and Sarandon. I considered switching teams. (Not really.) (But it was steamyhotwonderfulsexy.)

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

The theme is a dedication to someone who lived for 73 years and loved movies. Only Mr. Gersch knows WHO?....

foodie 9:33 AM  

A definite vibe in today's comments, from sensual to raunchy :)
As Rex has said: Carry On...

John V 9:35 AM  

Agree that this was an easy Wednesday -- or super easy Friday (themeless). Only nit I had was 15D: never heard "kale" used in the context of "moola"; did know lettuce, of course.

Looked at 30A, starters, thought food initially. We do have two references to "The A-Team", counting 5D.

chefbea 9:46 AM  

Very easy. Knew all the films tough have not seen all of them
I'm sure @Tenbini will like the sauce.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:57 AM  

What foodie said (at 1:02 AM.)

I liked this puzz, but have one nit, as there are eight short plurals, which seemed increasingly questionable as they piled up: ILES, ELIS, ATRAS, STES, CWTS, CIAOS, AHOYS, and ENLS!

r.alphbunker 10:15 AM  

The construction was amazing. I cannot recall ever doing a puzzle with adjacent and intersecting 15s that all had to do with the same theme.

The puzzle could have been made more difficult if the 15s had been deliberately misclued and we had to figure out which 15 the movie clue was actually for. For example, 7D could have been clued as the Seuss movie rather than the Marx movie. I know have done a puzzle with misclueing before but can't remember where.

OldCarFudd 10:18 AM  

When the construction is this impressive, I don't pick nits. Nice job!

Ulrich 10:19 AM  

Like others, I admired the puzzle architecture and came here to find out about the theme.

Saw The Last Picture Show a while ago for the first time in HD and confirm everything Wade said. I remember some controversy at the time b/c it depicts the mores in a small Texas town as not entirely wholesome. The young Jeff Bridges is not as good as Leachman and Johnson--you can watch him act, which he later learned to avoid.

I recently digitized photos from a 1963 trip I took through the Mid-East to make a photobook about the trip. Here's a shot of Basra. During the Iraq war, it was occupied by the Brits, and in pictures I saw, it still looks the same.

ArtLvr 10:38 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Two Ponies 10:43 AM  

Yep, that's a lot of movies.

Agar might be in your box mix dessert but I've never seen a recipe call for it.

Candlelight baths are very romantic. Everyone looks better in that lovely glow. Try it. It's a pretty sure-fire way to score.

Never saw Anger or Horton. This comment is to counterbalance the youngsters who have never seen the other ones.

ArtLvr 10:47 AM  

Not my fastest, and not being much of a movie-goer, I ended up with one no one has heard of -- "Angel Management"! Sequel to the Xmas classic, "It's a Wonderful Life"?

Mystery author HOCH was a gimme, which helped. I also wanted Sink before I got TANK and ATEAM. The BATH was only possible because Math by candlelight makes less sense... I did smile at the Lei-person clue for ALOHA, though.

This is certainly a spectacular feat of construction! (Why seek more of theme than just movie titles? That's tough enough.) Here's a toast of HOOTCH to Charles Gersch.

∑;)

Jake 10:50 AM  

A Night at the Opera and the Road to series are some of my all-time favorite films. Loved this easy puzzle just because they were in it.

archaeoprof 11:17 AM  

Nice mix of older and newer movies, wasn't it.

The clue for 63A reminded me of a memorable moment. In Rome on inauguration day, I went to a cafe in Trastevere to watch it on tv. The room fell quiet when it came time for the OATH of office, and several people around the cafe rose from their seats. Suddenly I didn't feel so far from home!

Stan 11:21 AM  

I liked the 'classic Hollywood' feel to these film titles (all except Horton), but agree with andrea that these would be less familiar to younger solvers. Maybe that's a reason for the easy cluing elsewhere.

Clark 11:48 AM  

@jesser -- I know what you mean about S. Sarandon. I used to spend some time across the street from where she lived (maybe still does, I don't know), in New York. A couple times we exchanged a smile and a nod and it made my day.

The puzzle was fast and easy, and I'm ok with that.

PIX 11:50 AM  

Maybe I missed it, but I don't think anyone has given an example of where Kale is used to mean moola. Anyone?

Sparky 12:01 PM  

Printed out last night instead of waiting for the paper and was surprised how quickly I got through it. Filled in movie names. Entered The before LAST.. and had to erase it. Lots of movie things in there PIA, WHARF, MRT and ATEAM, BABE, LAHR, ROTH. Or, maybe I'm just reading into it. Have a good day.

James T. Farrell and Pete Hamill 12:09 PM  

@PIX - In our book, "Young Lonigan", page 145, you will find the lines, "They had fun on Hyde Park Boulevard. It was a ritzy neighborhood where everybody had the kale and all the men wore knickers and played tennis and golf, and all the guys were sissies."

CoffeeLvr 12:11 PM  

I first heard of HOOTCH during prison volunteer work, and I, like the inmates, do pronounce the T. I don't know if others would hear it, but my tongue touches the roof of my mouth.

I thought the theme WAS movies, and was also impressed by the construction, 7 interlocking 15's and all that. Didn't know all the movies from the clues alone, but that was about all that slowed me down. Since it was Wednesday, I missed having something to chew on. Oh, well, I suspect Mr. Shortz will fulfill that desire tomorrow.

Hand up for rAm before BAA. Only erasure.

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

Too easy for a Wednesday. Kind of boring, actually. Nice stacked theme entries, but not much there. The only two "theme" entries that even seem to qualify for anything are 7D and 37A since both have some type of visual art in the answer.

Van55 12:26 PM  

Monday, Monday easy.

This is not a themeless puzzle -- the them is fifteen letter movie titles (mostly -- depending on the THE).

As do others, I forgive some questionable fill due to the elaborate construction and the fun of the solve.

JaxInL.A. 12:46 PM  

Loved the amazing feat of so many long movies and crossed with another movie. I do wish the clues had been harder, it seems somehow to reduce the complexity of the construction when the clues are so straightforward.

Given the density of long answers I was very impressed with the minimum of ugly fill. CWTS was the only answer that made me cringe. Didn't mind the others, esp. since some (like MRT) also had movie themes. My thanks to the constructor!

My thanks, too, to the weather gods who have decided to stop frying L.A.with record high temperatures. Monday it was hotter here (113) than in Death Valley (104)!!!!!

Noam D. Elkies 12:54 PM  

Was so easy for all the movie buffs (ReXLIV included) that nobody pointed out the supersized grid? (Forced by symmetry and a central pair of stacked 15s.) I suppose this makes it even more remarkable that Rex shatters his previous Wednesday record: imagine how fast a mere 15x15 grid would be at this difficulty level.

NDE

Paul 12:58 PM  

It certainly was a quick but unsatisfying puzzle.

BTW "Rex" - you gave away your location. I remember Olums as a store in Binghamton where I went to college.

Anonymous 1:04 PM  

@Wade
The image of a barechested Cybil Shepard in The Last Picture Show has been in my mind for almost 40 years.

Tinbeni 1:05 PM  

@chefbea
I almost filled in scotch for sauce, but I already had HENCE.

HOOTCH looks OK to me. Not going to jump on that 'T' bandwagon.
Maybe it's a Southern thing but I have heard reference's to booze as hootch all my life.

@Van55
Yup, it was a nice 15 letter movie title theme and FUN Monday puzzle.
No problem with "The" since it was in the clue.
(I've got to stop getting into Mr.Peabody's "Way back machine").

CoffeeLvr 1:22 PM  

As several have pointed out there are other full and partial movie titles embedded in this puzzle, strengthing the theme as "movies." I found one on WordPlay, and five more by Googling, for a total of 17 movie title references in the grid itself, counting MRT. [Math: 6 15's and one 16 in grid, nine more listed below, plus MRT.]

Per Rex, Turner and HOO(t)CH.
Per dk, BABE
Per joho, A TEAM

Also, REDS, TANK, ENOLA Gay and ROGUE (an Australian independent film.) THOR is coming out in 2011. I found four movies with CATCH in the title, most familiar is "CATCH Me if You Can."

Are there more movie references? Oh, yes. The obvious ones are PIA Zadora, and Bert LAHR. Sergio LEONE is a director, and Lisa LEONE is an actress. Philip ROTH wrote three books that were made into movies. That's four more in the grid, We're up to 21.

"Henry VIII" is in a clue, and in several movie titles, although the name as stand alone title was a TV movie. And one more movie is in the cluing for MRT: "I pity the fool." was first said in Rocky III. So 23 references counting the cluing.

I freely admit two things: some of these are a stretch, and I have (wasted?) too much of the day on this count.

ACME 1:35 PM  

@mmorgan
What a wonderful idea! They could have clued the "double features" as one long wacky answer!!!
(THo that would have left ANIGHTATTHEOPERA all by its lonesome.

I've been trying for years to make a Marx Brothers puzzle with ANIGHTATTHEOPERA, ADAYATTHERACES< etc. It never works out letter-length-wise.

@nde
Did NOT notice the bigger grid!!!

@Artlvr
Your post made me laugh, the whole mATH by candlelight and ANGE(L)MANAGEMENT seems to be begging for a puzzle theme all by itself!
Change the R to L!!!! I wonder if it would be tuttutted somehow as non-PC along the "Ah SO" lines!
But maybe it could be "Change directions" (Like Right to Left)

OK, I'm on it!

Shamik 1:40 PM  

I am TIK'ed off. Otherwise, agree with everyone on the ease of this puzzle. Won't be posting 'til back in the lower '48...leaving AK Thursday morning after a fabulous summer.

Tinbeni 2:34 PM  

@NDE
Also did not notice the bigger grid.

CoffeeLvr
I like the way you think.
Movies all over the place.
For CATCH I prefer "Catch-22" book and movie.

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

You perople are driving me crazy about Bare-chested Cybil (was that before or after co-starring with Bruce Willis in Moonlighting?) and a smiling Susan from across. If you combine the two, you have Atlantic City for you movie buffs....

Glitch 2:50 PM  

@Pix

Earlier you wrote, "Professor Google says this is true,so it must be true,"

If you were serious, I have this bridge for sale, call me ;-)

.../Glitch

PIX 2:54 PM  

@James T. Farrell and Pete Hamill ... Thanks for the quote. I actually know Hamill from the newspapers and have read one or two of his books, but no recollection of kale in any of the readings...Again, thanks for the information.

Ulrich 2:58 PM  

@CoffeeLvr: Not only did you make me see some depth to the theme, you made me start to admire it! Thx

Glitch 3:00 PM  

CAPTCHA HINT

Especially for those that run "out of time":

DON'T enter your captcha until AFTER you have composed your comment and are ready to post.

You can still preview, check links, etc., just ignore the error message.

When you think you are done, enter the captcha (I preview one last time and check what has been posted while I was composing) and post.

This also prevents "accidental" postings for those without trashcans.

.../Glitch (3/3)

J 3:21 PM  

Only thing that bothered me was, as others have mentioned, KALE.

Never heard of this before. And a reference that goes back to the 30s....no no no. No, thank you.

Better clue: Lettuce or clams (or bananas)

sanfranman59 3:22 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 9:40, 11:39, 0.83, 12%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:02, 5:45, 0.88, 18%, Easy

Steve J 3:38 PM  

Fastest Wednesday for me, too, and would have been faster if I somehow hadn't created a new movie called ROADTOBANGALORE. Also got hung up on LASTPICTURESHOW. Not because I didn't know of the movie, because I did (though I've never seen it), but because I didn't notice that the "the" was in the clue, and so I thought it wouldn't fit.

Never knew HORTONHEARSAWHO had been made into a movie.

Regarding KALE: I'm guessing pretty much every noun in existence has been used as slang for money at some point. Certainly any noun for things that are green. Especially in old pulp fiction, people trying to be the match Chandler or Bukowski, etc.

a-pat 3:46 PM  

Since the question was whether people use kale to mean money instead of whether kale does mean money, it turns out that Pix's statement was entirely accurate. If Professor Google says it's true, it must in fact be true.

treedweller 3:58 PM  

+1 fan of (The) LASTPICTURESHOW, book and movie.

I also recommend "Hud", the movie, and _Horseman, Pass By_, McMurtry's first published novel, on which it was based.

I have nothing to add about the puzzle.

Wade 5:34 PM  

Nekkid Cybil aside, and regardless of where you grew up, The Last Picture Show is a great movie--bleak and arty and funny. The hellatiously sexy Ellen Burstyn is perfect in it, and the Ben Johnson's speech banning the boys from his pool hall, cafe and picture show for abusing the town idiot boy ("You didn't even have the decency to wash his face") is one of the most powerfully moral moments in film. That sentence looks stupid but it's all true. Crossword buffs will be happy to see Clu Gallagher in the flesh. In addition to Cybill Shepherd's first role (she was 17), it was the debut of Jeff Bridges and Timothy Bottoms both (I think), neither of which are very great in it, as Ulrich noted, but they do okay. Much better that Timothy Bottoms's brother Sam as the idiot boy. How hard can it be to play an idiot? Piece of cake for me. Randy Quaid is also in it. He's probably moved into your house by now, that crazy sumbitch. The guy who plays the highway patrolman who stops Jacy and Sonny on their elopement is an old family friend who got tapped by Bogdanovich when the director saw him in a local cafe and thought he looked perfect. He gave Rattler a bigger part in "Paper Moon" a few years later. I've told all these stories before about fifty times on this board, or every time the movie comes up. Wish the hell you'd learn to pay attention.

Badir 5:46 PM  

Like Noam, I noticed that the puzzle was, in fact 16x15. (You might put a note to that effect in your write-up, Rex.) I had a very fast time, too, but got hung up a bit in a few places. If you multiply my time by 15/16 to account for the grid size, then it ties my fourth fastest Wednesday ever.

I lost time putting rAm in at 25-across. [sigh]

Captcha: hainthe: "Ha" in the comments, I say!

PIX 6:09 PM  

@Glitch...earlier you said you had a bridge for sale...I'd be happy to buy it...as long as I can pay with kale!

Anonymous 6:19 PM  

Was expecting something (OPERA/singAPORE - same last letters). Then SHOW and thought something might be there with WHO but it didn't fit. Really wanted some connection. Alas!

Sfingi 7:38 PM  

Theme - movies.
Wanted Toms Mix in Cement.
Not much of an Adam Sandler fan, in whose movies pissing figures as a hearty joke.
If only Mr. Gersh hadn't included that "star."

Anyway, never heard of CWT or CWTS, LOO (except the jon), ESTO. ENL or ENLS, IONA College, Edward D. HOCH, TOPPS(the tobacky?). I don't care for pluralizing abbrevs. or crossing them.

Had rAm before BAA
RAwER before RARER
tRacts before PREFAB.

CIAOS is not a plural of CIAO, though CIAO CIAO is used.

@CoffeLover - Pretty good at including many movies, otherwise.

dk 7:51 PM  

@wade, you had me at Nekkid... sigh I could not pay attention to the rest however

@2ponies - here you go & bon appetite

Ingrédients pour 4 flans
1/2 litre de lait de soja (ou plus)
3 cas de crème de soja
1 cac rase d’agar agar (2 gr)
1 brocolis
environ 50 gr d'amandes réduites en poudre
une poignée d'amandes effilées légèrement grillées
noix de muscade râpée
sel, poivre

dk 7:54 PM  

@wade, you had me at Nekkid... sigh I could not pay attention to the rest however

@2ponies - here you go & bon appetite

Ingrédients pour 4 flans
1/2 litre de lait de soja (ou plus)
3 cas de crème de soja
1 cac rase d’agar agar (2 gr)
1 brocolis
environ 50 gr d'amandes réduites en poudre
une poignée d'amandes effilées légèrement grillées
noix de muscade râpée
sel, poivre

Two Ponies 8:17 PM  

dk, Ha! How deep did you have to dig for that???
Lucky for you I am a graduate of
Le Cordon Bleu (really).

chefbea 8:18 PM  

@dk what is that recipe??? I'll make it at the next party

your average blank 9:34 PM  

hey rex, thanks for reminding me of OLUMS...bought a bunch of stuff from them on time when I first started out at Vail Ballou. I remember buying a microwave {litton} when they first came out.
Loved this puzzle...great construction...plus I finished.

sanfranman59 10:05 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 7:23, 6:58, 1.06, 76%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 10:16, 8:55, 1.15, 87%, Challenging
Wed 9:45, 11:39, 0.84, 17%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:59, 3:43, 1.07, 83%, Challenging
Tue 5:08, 4:36, 1.12, 85%, Challenging
Wed 4:54, 5:45, 0.85, 11%, Easy

Like others, I had my fastest Wednesday solve time on record (by 30 seconds) and for the second time this week found myself in the top 100 (at #58). That's a personal best for me. I'm girding myself for a late-week comeuppance.

Anonymous 10:23 PM  

The ROAD TO SINGAPORE was filmed in 1940 by Paramount (remember yesterday’s PEARAMOUNT?) Productions and Crosby and Hope became life-long golf buddies and close friends. The Imperial Japanese Army conquered Singapore two years later in what Churchill described as the "the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history". Churchill reportedly drank a fifth of HOOTCH every night. Crosby died at the age of 74 from a heart attack while playing golf in Spain. Hope died two months short of his 100th birthday at his home in southern California, drooling in his wheelchair. Churchill died at 90 at his home in London after consuming more HOOTCH in one week than Rex will ever slop down in Manhattans during his life. I guarantee each and every one of you that none of these great historic figures of the 20th century ever wasted their time doing the NY Times puzzle, much less quibbling over whether a word meant one thing or another….

Anonymous 10:47 PM  

I don't have time to read 78 comments so someone may have pointed this out but generally clues for first name answers use first names and clues for last name answers use last names but Henry VIII is a first name (or title) and PARR is a last name.

WTF 12:50 AM  

"Bah. I wish these movies had Something in common, and that HORTON HEARS A WHO was not among them (more famous as book than film). Other than the above, I have no idea what to say about this one. The rest of the puzzle barely registers; there's just not a lot of room left to do anything."

Other than this, I have no concerns.

A WOW construction. Thanks Mr. Gersch.

ClifDC 2:31 AM  

Kale is often used as slang for money in the dreadful USA trilogy by Dos Passos. Pretty obscure clue unless your over 90.

DoubleDouble 11:58 AM  

Syndicated version of this puzzle came out today. The one big puzzle I haven't figured out yet is the meaning behind the Tim Horton's sign that Rex posted above. Fast puzzle - fast service ? As a Timmie's addict (try living in a town with 50+ stores and not be) - it of course grabbed my attention.

Waxy in Montreal 12:38 PM  

@DoubleDouble - Guess you haven't you seen the Dr. Seuss film sequel "TIM HORTON HEARS A WHO" as yet.

BTW, great to see Rex championing Timmies today, rather than IHOP. Canada now, tomorrow the world, eh?

Dirigonzo 7:48 PM  

There has been much discussion about Cybil's bare chest but not a word about Pietro's ta-tas (50d); why, I wonder?

Anonymous 6:13 AM  

Greetings from la la-, I mean Syndication land. Slang OO words mini-theme with: MOOLA, HOOTCH & LOO (which isn't clued as such but is Brit-slang for the lavie... does that card game involve flushes?)
@REX clearly saw the grid was expanded (as pointed out by NDE & COFFEE LVR) since he mentioned "100 theme squares" not 99, which made me see. I'm sure he thought it obvious.
-Kevin in Texas

Anonymous 6:57 AM  

@Wade, Thanks for all the LPS info. Very entertaining. Stopped in Archer once years ago. Your statement about Sam Bottom: "How hard can it be to play an idiot?" tickled me & reminded me of a quote I read recently:

"The most difficult character in comedy is that of a fool, and he must be no simpleton who plays the part." -Cervantes, Don Quixote 1605

But I prefer George Burns's quote about acting:
"Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
-Kevin in Texas

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