Soprano Tebaldi / SUN 11-14-10 / Army-McCarthy hearings figure / Founder of Celesteville / Tess's literary seducer / City where TV's Glee is set

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Doubleheaders" — familiar phrases have a word inserted before (at the "head" of) the first and last words in the phrase, creating wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: LEONA LEWIS (117A: Singer of the 2008 #1 hit "Bleeding Love") —

Leona Louise Lewis (born 3 April 1985) is a British pop and R&B singer–songwriter. Lewis rose to fame during the third series of the British television series The X Factor, which she won. // Lewis became a multi-platinum selling artist and three time Grammy Award nominee. She was proclaimed 'Top New Artist' by Billboard magazine in 2008. Lewis has released two albums to date, Spirit and Echo, in 2007 and 2009 respectively. Spirit became the fastest-selling debut album and the biggest seller of 2007 in both the United Kingdom and Ireland, and made Lewis the first British solo artist to top the Billboard 200 with a debut album. It has sold over 6.5 million copies worldwide. // Lewis's debut single "A Moment Like This" became the fastest selling UK single after being downloaded over 50,000 times within thirty minutes of its release. Her second single, "Bleeding Love", reached number one positions in over thirty singles charts around the world. In November 2008 she set a record in the UK for the fastest selling download-only release with her cover version of the Snow Patrol song "Run" which sold 69,244 copies in two days. Lewis's debut tour, The Labyrinth, started in 2010. [and yet I have no idea who she is ...]

• • •

It's rare that I don't enjoy a Patrick Berry puzzle, but this one (as far as the theme goes) didn't do much for me. Maybe I just don't understand the concept. At first I thought the inserted words were actually *types* of "heads," e.g. BEDhead, BIG head, DEADhead ... but I don't think there's such thing as a BUCKhead (though if you change that "B"...). And since the phrases have different numbers of words, the "head" concept just doesn't seem nearly as tight as it ought to be. As a result, TRASH [-] TRASH TALK was brutal—went looking for a single word ending "-WE," but no ... it's TRASH CAN WE TRASH TALK ... creative, but convoluted. Non-theme stuff is actually very interesting in parts. I got buried by two Wildly different answers: LEONA LEWIS (who seems far too popular for me never to have heard of her) and IDEAL GAS LAW (64D: pV = nRT, to physicists), which sounds massively made up but I'm sure isn't. Most of the rest of the grid I was able to piece together fairly readily, though I think overall the cluing was tough enough to offset the easiness created by the theme (i.e. if you can get one of the "heads," you've got the other). Thus, Medium.

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Factors to consider while trying to sleep on a campout? (BEDROCK AND BEDROLL)
  • 30A: What the marshal declared the moonshiner's shed to be? (FIRE WATER FIRE HAZARD)
  • 48A: Ohio State athlete who forgot his uniform? (BUCK NAKED BUCKEYE)
  • 63A: C.E.O.'s tricycle? (BIG WHEEL OF BIG CHEESE)

  • 81A: Wild Bill Hickok holding his aces and eights? (DEADWOOD DEAD DUCK)
  • 97A: Garbage receptacle that you and I insult? (TRASH CAN WE TRASH TALK) — I do not think of "TRASH TALK" as a transitive verb, but it's probably legal...
  • 108A: "That high lonesome sound," as played by Atlantic crustaceans? (BLUE CRAB BLUEGRASS) — No idea that that quote applied to "BLUEGRASS; here's a Vince Gill song of that name:

Now that I look at the grid, there are a few more things I had no clue about. RENATA Tebaldi, for one (8D: Soprano Tebaldi). With a crossword-friendly name like Tebaldi, I've probably seen her in some grid somewhere before, but she clearly didn't stick. I also feel like I've *probably* see ROADEO before (21A: Truck driving competition), but I may be confusing it with ROLEO, another made-up-sounding competition that I know I learned from crosswords. I don't even know what the Army-McCarthy hearings are, let alone who was a "figure" in them. Somebody named WELCH ... (14D: Army-McCarthy hearings figure). According to wikipedia: "Joseph Nye Welch (October 22, 1890 – October 6, 1960) was the head counsel for the United States Army while it was under investigation by Joseph McCarthy's Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for Communist activities." I don't really know MEADE, but I'm familiar enough with his name (from crosswords) to insert him whenever the clue is military and the crosses seem right (76D: Army of the Potomac commander, 1863-65). Favorite clues of the day were probably 43D: Fragrant cake (BAR OF SOAP) and 62A: One who puts U in disfavor? (BRIT).

  • 17D: Founder of Celesteville, in children's lit (BABAR) — wow, I have zero recollection of this. But then again, I'm more familiar with BABAR as an icon than as a character in a narrative. In fact, I can't remember a damn thing about BABAR.
  • 31D: Tess's literary seducer (ALEC) — if we're talking about TESS, aren't we already "literary" ... or was ALEC particularly bookish?
  • 35D: City where TV's "Glee" is set (LIMA) — used an inverted form of this clue (to clue GLEE) in one of my own puzzles recently, so zing!
  • 54D: Shakespearean character who says "I am not who I am" (IAGO) — wow, that's right over the plate for IAGO. Four-letter deceiver—who else could it be?
  • 97D: Cargo vessel with no fixed route (TRAMP) — needed most of the crosses to get this. Realized that the only way I know this word is from "TRAMP STEAMER," which is ... some kind of boat in some movie or other that I've seen somewhere, some time.
And now your Tweets of the Last Few Weeks, puzzle chatter from the Twitterverse:
  • @ Starts of theme answers in the USA Today puzzle: BREAST, BACK, BUTTERFLY. Title: "Having A Stroke." Way to make it sound fun!
  • @ Just met a lovely lady on a train to paddington, we worked on the guardian xword together
  • @ "How long did it take you to finish the USA Today crossword?" Jim Rome asked. "2 1/2 minutes. Left-handed," Brian Wilson said.

  • @ Older couple next to me at Sbux just finished crossword and high-fived. Seriously want to hug them.
  • @ Sat next to a guy who won't stop copying my Evening Standard crossword answers. Mate, you won't get any better by cheating.
  • @ Fine I'll say it: I'm a fan of Will Shortz as a table tennis player but not as a puzzle maker
  • @ A clue on the crossword is "nutmeat" this will amuse me for several minutes
  • @ 10,000 words for 'inebriated' in English and the best the NYT can do is "sozzled"? Enough to make a man wanna get his drink on...
  • @ Will Shortz just told me to "call [him] Will." Relatedly, SWOON.
  • @ Get out of bed. Drink Diet Coke. Get back in bed. Think about doing crossword puzzle. Take nap instead. Dream abt Oprah in braided ponytail.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Anonymous 12:04 AM  

Okay, I did Friday honestly and Saturday with one cheat and now it’s a Sunday. This entire weekend has been so filled with emotion, I saw my Northwestern Wildcats win a wild game against a favored Iowa team only to lose our star QB with a ruptured Achilles tendon on practically the last play of the game. It’s like Rex being DQ’d in a crossword contest after finishing first because he wrote the wrong letter due to his dyslexia, even though he’s not. But Sunday is a game of theme and theme is fun. And the theme is DOUBLEHEADERS – like when Ernie Banks said let’s play two. But I see a familiar name as the author and have no bad memories, so this is really exciting. Right off the bat I get EBB and EVE, but wait, BV? Then I see ACNE as a result of teen stress and having suffered with all those pimples I know it is bacteria not stress that cause ACNE, so I suddenly have a bad feeling about this one. What? There’s that Boston lawyer Joseph WELCH after all these years and I’m thinking Joe McCarthy’s state of Wisconsin just went Republican. Have you no shame, sir? Oh, I start seeing the theme and there is ROCK AND ROLL with two BEDs and WATER HAZARD with two FIREs and decide that I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s NFL games. Isn’t BUCK NAKED supposed to be BUTT NAKED? But I slogged on and BIG WHEEL OF BIG CHEESE was cute. So when I got to DEADWOOD DEAD DUCK, too much. I remembered my Connecticut home with the pond and the wood ducks that occasionally appeared. They are very shy, like me. And I love steamed BLUE CRAB from my Maryland days and BLUE GRASS is in my Kentucky heritage. But there’s that annoying SW corner with irritating clues and answers, which I overcome, but the puzzle seems better by the end. Of course, while doing the puzzle I’m downing Ketel One like ginger ale and it’s amazing how much better the puzzle got....

Danny 12:34 AM  

Funny, I missed the fact that these are familiar phrases both while doing the puzzle AND while reading Rex's writeup, until I was skimming the theme answers and finally caught on...

Yikes. Long week.

On the bright side, I can vouch for the ideal gas law as something familiar and gettable to most people who have taken any physics in the last 5-10 years. But does sound made-up.

Glad I'm not the only one who's never heard of Leona Lewis. So much for the upside, puzzle-wise, of being in one's twenties. Pop culture knowledge fail.

operapianist 1:05 AM  

Wow, I somehow finished this in less than 18 mins, a potential Sunday record for me. RENATA (Tebaldi) went right in since I coach opera and actually worked with her a few years ago. The theme came to me after the camping clue in the the NW, and the rest fell from there. Solved pretty systematically counter-clockwise, finishing in the the NE. Actually loved the puzzle in the end (maybe 'cause I finished w/no help?).

'I yam what I yam, and that's all I yam!' 1:31 AM  

Twelfth Night > Act III, scene I

OLIVIA: Stay: I prithee, tell me what thou thinkest of me.
VIOLA: That you do think you are not what you are.
OLIVIA: If I think so, I think the same of you.
VIOLA: Then think you right: I am not what I am.
OLIVIA: I would you were as I would have you be!

Othello >Act I, scene I ….
It is as sure as you are Roderigo,
Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago:
In following him, I follow but myself;
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so, for my peculiar end:
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In compliment extern, 'tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.

Exodus 3:14 (King James Version)
14And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM

retired_chemist 1:32 AM  

Liked it, didn't love it. I figured the theme answers were just using the same word twice in a wacky phrase and didn't get the real point until I went to Orange's blog.

Thanks, Rex, for the intro to LEONA LEWIS. Never heard of her. Or TESS and ALEC. SPOORED sounds strangely strained, but apparently SPOOR is a verb as well as a noun, so OK.

Favorite clue/answer: Fragrant cake - BAR OF SOAP.

Thanks, Mr. Berry, but I have liked most other puzzles of yours better.

Dean Acheson 1:39 AM  

Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last?

chefwen 2:08 AM  

As retired-chemist stated, liked it didn't love it. The long answers just seemed a tad bit tired.

An honorable mention to @Clarks new puppy at 98D the beautiful ROXIE.

Favorite answer was at 109D Ham helper CUE. At first I put in RYE which my husband thought was better than CUE, but, then again, he is my favourite critic.

@operapianist - It takes me longer that that to read the freaking clues.

jae 2:23 AM  

I liked it too. Caught the "cut off the heads get a phrase theme" on the late side but thought it was pretty clever. Tried about 3 versions of ROADEO, had PIE for ABC, RAY for RED, and SSRS for EXES. Other than those a fairly smooth solve, so medium seems right. 120a, I keep trying ESTB for ESTD, maybe this will lock it in.

SethG 4:15 AM  

I also got ROADEO from ROLEO, but that two letter square with BEDROLL was tough. Had to look at the theme again to recognize that the headless phrases were phrases. Those four letters took almost two minutes, but I still finished in faster than average time. And I've never heard of Leona Lewis.

I started the NE with SHACK, then got the T, STORE, got the A, STALL, got the N, STAND. I started the SW with IDEAL GAS LAW.

Clark 5:40 AM  

Did the puzzle. Read the write up and the comments. I agree with everybody. Some minor lameness in the theme. @chefwen, Roxie is delighted that you noticed her NYT puzzle debut. Obi gets in the puzzle all the time. Now I have my eye out for Gracie. I seriously need to get some sleep! Good night, Gracie.

[wv: repups -- what it's called when a name that has no doubt been in the puzzle before reappears for the first time after a puppy is born.]

Bob Kerfuffle 7:51 AM  

I thought this was a fun puzzle, though with the plus/minus factor of knowing that getting one word in the theme answers meant you got two words.

But, ah, finished, pen on paper, with one wrong letter. In cold light of morning, see I had circled 120 A, Cornerstone abbr., wondering what ESTT could be. What it is is this: 106 A, "What a shame!", is not AH, NO! as I had it, but OH, NO!, and 101 D, Harass nonstop, is not HAUNT, but HOUND. But they seemed so right!

ArtLvr 7:52 AM  

I liked this one, if only bcause the doubled start to the theme phrases made the wacky phrases easier to figure out! I hadn't heard of LEONA, but RENATA was a gimme.

So sad for Rex's daughter that he'd never read BABAR to her, with capital city of Celesteville! And after I finished the puzzle had to look up HARARE, capital of Zimbabwe to discover it was Salisbury, Rhodesia, for over 100 years (changed in '82)!

Favorites were the Name is MUD, the EXES, and the BRA on top of BUCK NAKED, which let me see BAR OF SOAP... also TRASHCAN WE TRASH-TALK.

Time for a shower and facing one MORE birthday, which shall remain ROSY but unnumbered.


glimmerglass 8:15 AM  

I thought the theme was clever. How do constructors arrive at a theme like this? "Let's see how many phrases could be transformed by adding the same word twice to them." My head just couldn't work that way. The fill was okay. I hate opera, but RENATA Tebaldi has been in so many crosswords, she's a gimme. I didn't know SPOOR could be a verb, and I'm damn sure PSHAW isn't. Both held me up, but I agree that the puzzle was a Medium Sunday for me (less than an hour, including breakfast).

Sue I 8:29 AM  

Got stuck in a few places, but only one that is still a mystery to me....SPOORED?

I liked the theme once I got it - a few were convoluted, but then I felt victorious when I figured them out!

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

i didn't read Rex's review or each comment above word for word so maybe someone already said this or in fact Rex did not miss it ... but I think you each may have missed the other twist in the puzzle clue:


archaeoprof 9:06 AM  

I agree with @Bob Kerfuffle. Good Sunday: not too hard, lots of smiles.

@Rex: thanks for the bluegrass link!

mmorgan 9:06 AM  

@Anon 8:54: What??

Got through this very quickly but did not enjoy it for the most part. Just didn't feel the love. Not sure why. Maybe too much just filled itself in (theme answers especially, even with just a few letters). Maybe I was up too late last night. ;-)

Really liked "L on a T?" and TRASH CAN WE TRASH TALK, but I don't understand BRIT for 62A (One who puts U in disfavor?). Huh?

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

@Anon 8:54 - Did you read Rex's very first sentence? "familiar phrases have a word inserted before (at the "head" of) the first and last words in the phrase, creating wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style"

joho 9:28 AM  

@anon 8:45, I think you meant CANWETALK? ... but I agree with you. It was these phrases within the wacky answers that really impressed me. That had to be extremely difficult to pull off. Congratulations, Patrick Berry! I enjoyed this Sunday puzzle very much.

Happy Birthday (that will be unnamed) @ArtLvr!

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

Hey, rex, as others have alluded to, Joseph Welch was counsel to the Army and is often credited with bringing down Joe McCarthy. When McCarthy tried to slime a young attorney working on Welch's team with accusations of associating with Communists, he made the comment mentioned above: At long last, sir, have you no decency? He was a hero to many in my parents' generation.

donkos 9:39 AM  

I finished this puzzle in good time in ink with no errors and no cheats so I guess I have to like this one.

Not a poker player so I'm assuming a Dead Duck is aces over eights?

The ideal gas law is real - got that one pretty quick.

Funny, but I too struggled with Leona Lewis - got her on the crosses.

mmorgan 9:45 AM  

Oh... I thought it was IDEALGA'S LAW.

Ulrich 9:49 AM  

What held me up forever is that I had DEADWOOD's DEAD MAN forever in the center and was blocked from getting anywhere there--I mean, a "woodsman" is as good as a "wood" duck, no? I know, I know, the interrupted phrases have more than word, but one doesn't know that in the middle of solving.

BTW you only encourage people who have obviously not read a single sentence of what was written before, starting with Rex, if you respond...

deadin--even my captcha mocks me

Lindsay 9:49 AM  

Until I started reading Rex, I never realized how bad I am at sussing out themes. Time and again I am under the illusion I grasp the gimmick, come here, and find out I don't. Like, OK, "fire water" is a phrase, and "fire hazard" is a phrase, and I'm supposed to find "water hazard"? "Buck naked" + "buck eye" = "naked eye"? Aaaargh.

Not that I don't like the puzzle fine, I just feel ..... stupid.

Never heard of Leona Lewis, never heard of spoor. Got tramp without any crosses. On to the variety puzzle.

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

"I don't even know what the Army-McCarthy hearings are, let alone who was a "figure" in them. Somebody named WELCH."

A shocking admission from an educated person.

PlantieBea 9:54 AM  

Another liked it, but didn't love it solver here. IDEAL GAS LAW was a breeze, but TRAMP and SPOORED were unknowns. Had to replace SOON with ANON before the last spot with INUNDATE would fall. Favorite theme answer was TRASH CAN WE TRASH TALK.

Dean Acheson 10:08 AM  

Joseph Welch played the Judge in Anatomy of a Murder.

deerfencer 10:16 AM  

Thought this one was a bit of a mess even though I got most of the key answers without too much difficulty. But much of the puzzle felt clunky and forced, with very little flow or spark.



chefbea 10:26 AM  

@mmorgan the Brits spell disfavor - disfavour

As everyone else - liked the puzzle didn't love it

Wanted baba au rum for fragrant cake. What a great clue!!!!

Also liked cheeper lodging

quilter1 10:35 AM  

Confidently threw in baba a rhum @43D and that held me up awhile. Like the BUCKNAKED BUCKEYE and BLUECRAB BLUEGRASS. Done before church, my Sunday standard for ease.

Shamik 10:35 AM  

@ArtLovr: Happy Birthday of unnamed number!

@Anonymous(s): I missed Rex's line at the beginning so thank you to Anon. 8:54 for pointing out (again) that removing the repeated word left a known phrase. That's despite having read his blog "thoroughly" today. So thank you for repeating it and giving me an ah-ha moment that caused my husband to have to listen to me tell him more about the puzzle than, "There's Mr. Happy Pencil."

SPOORED. Really?

Easy-medium at 19:10 for me today. And I like the puzzle more now that the theme has been double-headedly explained to me.

Anne 10:40 AM  

Rarely comment but I have to say those tweets are really funny. Thanks Rex.

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

@Anon 9:54, here's an even more shocking admission: I watched the McCarthy-Army hearings and it was reality TV at its very best against the backdrop of the end of WWII (9-1-1 is as much in the past today as WWII was then), the Berlin airlift, Mao taking maninland China and Chang fleeing to Formosa, the Churchill speech coining the Iron Curtain, the Korean War, the Soviets obtaining the atomic bomb 10years ahead of expectations, the H-Bomb, the HUAC hearings and Hollywood blacklistings, the Red Scare, in short the start of the Cold War, with no PCs, no internet, no cell phones, no email, no commercial jets, only AT&T black dial phones, no cable TV and no Rex....

miriam b 10:45 AM  

I just loved this puzzle, despite the fact that the dreaded CRABGRASS sprouted from my virtual lawn. The puzzle was a tour de force, IMHO.

The IDEALGASLAW was a gimme for me too.

abiervin: Strange libation served in a bar in Alsace

Sparky 10:57 AM  

Finished with two little error spots: 58 & 62 A. Can't spell COMMANDEERE; at 109 & 110D had sUE and eED and just couldn't see what's wrong.
Enjoyed figuring out the phrase within the phrase once I caught on.
How nice to be too young to remember the McCarthy Period which ruined many lives and cast a shadow over many others. It can happen again.
We are off to The Metropolitan Post Card Club Fall Show. I always say I won't buy anything and I always do. Have a good Sunday.

retired_chemist 11:03 AM  

@ Anon 10:43 - ditto the B&W TV viewing of the McCarthy hearings and the other mid-50's events. Fascinating, although it was not as compelling to me as to those older. I was 13 at the time.

Of more passion was the 1954 World Series, when the Giants won their last one before 2010. I am doomed to root for the Giants' opponents in the WS and come out unhappy.

Van55 11:07 AM  

When I can find only two real stinkers in a Sunday puzzle, it's a GREAT Sunday puzzle. Today is one of those puzzles. The only stinkers are really bad, though, in my view: SST and WSW.

Put me in the loved this one camp.

My favourite: "One who puts U in disfavor."

My captcha today is.... "omakunt". OmaGod!

Mel Ott 11:09 AM  

Liked the puzzle more after I got here and was enlightened as to the familiar phrases part of the theme.

Aces and eights was the poker hand that Wild Bill was holding when he was shot dead and came to be known as the "Dead Man's Hand". I wanted that phrase to be in the answer.

When my sons were young someone gave us a Babar book that was in French. I used to read it to them in French and they seemed to enjoy it just as much as the English version. Don't know how much they understood, but it didn't seem to matter.

Matthew G. 11:32 AM  

Finished with one blank square -- the O at the crossing of SPOORED and AONE. Even though I've seen AONE a thousand times in crosswords, I couldn't spot it here for some reason -- and SPOORED is an entirely new word to me, so even when I ran the alphabet I didn't see it. I kept wanting the answer for "Superior" to be ACME, and started doubting that ACNE to its right was correct. Barked up a lot of wrong trees at the end. A frustrating DNF.

spoor tr. & intr.v.
To track (an animal) by following its spoor or to engage in such tracking.

Always good to expand the old vocabulary.

Otherwise, didn't care for the theme much, with the exception of DEADWOOD DEAD DUCK, which is kind of fun to read and to say. An average Sunday.

potagiere 11:33 AM  

Its fascinating to me what some people consider easy and others have no clue about. I rely on my husband for the historic clues, like WELCH and MEADE. But while not actually knowing the celestville answer, BABAR is just intuitive after you get B--AR.
Renata Tibaldi was also easy from hearing her name mentioned on the radio,

I dunno, Rex. Rexy? Are you in a bad mood? You have been dissing the Sunday puzzles for a couple of months now.

fikink 11:53 AM  

A fine puzzle, imo, Patrick. Finding the theme answers folding back on themselves was amazing. Good fill with few "stinkers" as @Van55 said and fair clues made this one a family affair with much punning across the breakfast table.

Glitch 11:54 AM  

Another way to remember SPOOR:

... I [RP] am going to make a push soon for the use of SPOOR as substitute for "crosswordese." SPOOR is perfect for a number of reasons - it's crosswordese itself (or at least borderline). And, like crosswordese, it helps you reach your goal but it's basically shit.

[Rex Parker: 7/21/08]


Matthew G. 12:13 PM  

That's wonderful, Glitch (& Rex). Thank you.

I only decided to become a daily solver of the NYT puzzle about four months ago, so this was my first SPOORing. I'm guessing it won't be the last.

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

As I understand it, Joseph Welch was upset because before the hearings there was an agreement not to attack anyone associated with the hearings. So when McCarthy brought up something about one of the associates in Welch’s Boston law firm, you might say he welched on Welch [groan]....

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

How much does a wood duck duck when a wood duck ducks wood?

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

Threw one dart. On OVERPASSED / SPOORED. I had no expectation that the P would be correct. That's a pretty horrible ten letter entry.

D_Blackwell 12:31 PM  

How quick does a wood duck duck when a dick chucks wood at a wood duck? Would the wood duck duck, then chuck the wood back for the dick to duck?

Parshutr 12:36 PM  

ERROR! The name for a persona non grata is MUDD, after the Dr. implicated in Lincoln's assassination plot.
My nicetrybutno was did fit, but didn't work as well as the 'real' answer.
And again, this is a good one for us oldies, who heard Eydie and Renata when they could hit the high notes, and heard Welch say "have you no decency, sir?" live on B&W TV.

Parshutr 12:36 PM  

ERROR! The name for a persona non grata is MUDD, after the Dr. implicated in Lincoln's assassination plot.
My nicetrybutno was did fit, but didn't work as well as the 'real' answer.
And again, this is a good one for us oldies, who heard Eydie and Renata when they could hit the high notes, and heard Welch say "have you no decency, sir?" live on B&W TV.

Clark 12:44 PM  

I'm going to go way out on a limb here and guess that @Rex did not mean he was completely unaware of the whole McCarthy business. I just discovered today that I had blurred together the Army-McCarthy hearings and the doings of the House Unamerican Affairs Committee. Boy, you can sure spend some time googling around in that weird mess.

Here's an exchange between Senator McCarthy and Mr. Welch (of todays puzzle, and, as someone noted above, the judge in Anatomy of a Murder):

Mr. Welch. Did you think this came from a pixie? Where did you think this picture that I hold in my hand came from?
Senator McCarthy. Will counsel for my benefit define--I think he might be an expert on that--what a pixie is?
Mr. Welch. Yes. I should say, Mr. Senator, that a pixie is a close relative of a fairy. Shall I proceed, sir? Have I enlightened you?
Senator McCarthy. As I said, I think you may be an authority on what a pixie is.

David L 12:48 PM  

Clever theme -- so clever I didn't fully understand it until several mins after I'd finished the puzzle. Problem is, most of the theme answers are so contorted that they seem bizarre rather than catchy or amusing. So I didn't care for this much, except for the shout-out to the IDEALGASLAW.

@parshutr: the notion that "his name is mud" has something to do with Lincoln's assassination is a bit of bogus etymology.

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

i solved all and got all except for the r in ire and still don't understand dungeon as ire. can someone please fill me in? thanx.

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

i meant dudgeon but still don't get it. i googled dictionary but it didn't help. looking forward to your elucidation. thanx.

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

@Anon 12:58
dudg·eon1    /ˈdʌdʒən/ Show Spelled
[duhj-uhn] Show IPA

a feeling of offense or resentment; anger: We left in high dudgeon.

Anonymous 1:03 PM  

@MatthewG - Being a NYT puzzle solver is not like being a born again Christian. You don’t have a religious experience when becoming one. It’s more like an addiction. You start with some beer, then try some 7 and 7 and finally, before you know it, you’re gulping that vodka on the rocks like it’s Evian.

@D_Blackwell - about one stere....

Raul 2:01 PM  

63a makes more sense when you know it refers to a brand name.

The World's Greatest Tricycle Rider
by C. K. Williams

The world’s greatest tricycle rider
is in my heart, riding like a wildman,
no hands, almost upside down, along
the walls and over the high curbs
and stoops, his bell rapid-firing,
the sun spinning in his spokes like a flame.

But he is growing older. His feet
overshoot the pedals. His teeth set
too hard against the jolts, and I am afraid
that what I’ve kept from him is what
tightens his fingers on the rubber grips
and drives him again and again on the same block.

Matthew G. 2:02 PM  

Interesting theory, Anonymous. Except that's not how it happened with me. I'd solved the puzzle intermittently for a few years, then about four months ago felt a suddenly awakened urge to do it every day. So it was very much an overnight decision in my case.

Anonymous 2:15 PM  

@MatthewG -- I should have known with a name like Matthew. Hallelujah and amen, Brother….

nate 2:21 PM  

35A-can someone explain why L on T

is "large" ?

Jim 2:24 PM  

Glee is set in LIMA? Really? No wonder it's nothing like my high school.

Anonymous 2:31 PM  

Don't know of the Army-McCarthy hearings? WOW!

Jim 2:31 PM  


L stands for LARGE on a T-shirt. Was thinking lettuce on a tomato, elevated on a train, etc. Had to get it first, then get it, if you will.

Anonymous 2:43 PM  

For all of those of you who have the humility to share, here, that there was something you didn't know - How F*&*in stupid can you be!?!?!?!?

For all those who knew everything, well, aren't we special, Mr/Ms Smarty Pants! You must need an Escalade to have room to drive around with that ego of yours!

Anyone left I haven't insulted?

Anonymous 2:55 PM  

@Anon 2:43 - Me. I just come here to make smart ass comments....

Anonymous 2:55 PM  

@Anon 2:43 - Me. I just come here to make smart ass comments....

Jenny 4:20 PM  

I do not time my puzzle solving, but this seemed on the easy side to me. I liked the puzzle, but also missed the extra layer of cleverness in the theme answers.

As for ROADEO, I have been familiar with the term since about 1991 or so, when my mother, who was a school bus driver at the time, placed in the top ten of the NH state school bus roadeo; as I understand it that competition included safety drills and tricky driving maneuvers (not at any great speed, in case you wondered! ). We were all very proud of my mom, who, incidentally, also solves the puzzle from time to time.

Anonymous 5:35 PM  

Help! I cant seem to figure out what ANON has to do with "In a moment"

PIX 5:40 PM  

Finished puzzle with no Googles and no errors. First time ever I have done that on a Sunday. My life is complete.

@Anon - Now 6:10 PM  

Anon 5:35 - Try this ANON

fikink 6:59 PM  

From a Shakespeare geek blog:

Today at work, through a bizarre series of non-sequiturs, I ended up discussing with my employee the Shakespearean meaning of "anon", and whether it specifically means "in a minute" (i.e., an expectation of shortly, like "I come anon!"), or if it generally means "sometime soon," like "I will speak with you anon". Is there a difference? Perhaps the word means the same thing, and it is the delivery that determines the difference.

@Glitch, thanks for the SPOOR citation from Rex.

mmorgan 7:48 PM  

@chefbea: Ah, thank you! Just couldn't see it.

Stan 8:39 PM  

A good solving experience for me, with the theme answers resisting at first, requiring work on gettable shorter fill. I guess I like it when the tricky stuff is reserved for long answers.

TRASH CAN WE TRASH TALK was my favorite! Genuinely wacky and complex.

mac 8:47 PM  

Got the whole thing, but didn't have a great time. Maybe it's just too big, maybe the theme answers are just not clever enough.

I knew Leona Lewis although I wouldn't recognize her voice.

John 8:57 PM  

Didnt like it .too mucvh of a chore to solve, Had to work from the bottom up down the left side. A sunday ought to be more enjoyable than this!

michael 8:58 PM  

I thought this was quite easy -- especially because the theme helped me fill in letters. And liked it ok.

A bit surprised that Rex didn't know the Army-McCarthy hearings -- I know that he's often stuck on math and science stuff and is great on pop culture, but didn't know how he was with history. I think that whole period is disappearing from the collective memory (in contrast to WWII) -- I'm sure most of us would do badly on Korean War questions. Even the pop culture that survives of the 50s is mostly of the latter part of the decade.

JC66 9:48 PM  

@ Parshutr

Like you I thought *his name is MUD(d)* came from the Lincoln assassination until I googled and found this.

Mike 9:54 PM  

I'm far from an expert puzzler, and as a result, I almost never finish the Sunday puzzle. Also resulting is that I always find Rex's difficulty levels to only pertain to the best of solvers; I greatly enjoy his insight, but there are times when he says "medium" that I thought the puzzle was of medium difficulty, and times when he says "medium" that I thought the puzzle was completely impossible.

However, I found this one to be one of the easiest Sunday puzzles I've ever done. I figured out the trick rather quickly, I had no problem at all with three of the corners, and aside from a couple of words that I had literally never heard before (I'm looking at you, SPOORED and ROADEO), nothing stumped me for more than a minute.

As far *enjoyment* of the puzzle... meh. Not much of a fan. I didn't like the theme at all- as Rex noted, some of the answers were terribly convoluted- and I absolutely despise intersections such as "A-ONE/ACNE", not to mention using OARS and ORES just a centimeter or so apart.

I skip M-W 10:21 PM  

In case anyone cares, the ideal gas law refers to an exact relationship that would hold for an ideal gas, as opposed to a real one, where friction, higher energy states, rotations, etc. of the atoms or molecules of the gas would make the law less than exact.

pV=nRT means:
Pressure times volume = the number of moles times the gas constant times the absolute temperature.

I didn't even notice the Army-McCarthy clue, getting Welch from crosses entirely, but Welch was a boyhood hero.

Found this better than most Sundays.

JC66 11:01 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC66 11:05 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC66 11:07 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
mmorgan 11:18 PM  

@RP: "I don't even know what the Army-McCarthy hearings are..."

This is not a holier-than-thou put-down (we all have gaps in our knowledge), but that's just difficult to fathom. You must have meant something else.

Please -- everyone -- do your best to see "Point of Order" sometime -- a brilliant documentary about that whole sordid mess.

Duck and cover.

fikink 12:32 AM  

@mmorgan, thank you for that.
These assholes who think they have some kind of ascendancy because they are in possession of a bit of knowledge make me weep.
Thank you for your constructive invitation to learn something! I will check out the documentary.
Meantime, hang in there, Rex, your goodness knows no bounds.

ksquare 1:25 AM  

There was a trolley or bus line when I was stationed there in 1944 that was called BUCKHEAD. Rex, you may want to check if it is still there, but now you have heard of it.

ksquare 1:28 AM  

My comment above referred to Atlanta, GA.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

With so much to do in Paris its easy to get overwhelmed when you plan your trip, in order for you to get to everything you want i would recommend Things to do in Paris

it was helpful and good value for money and i had a fab time!
what are your favourite attractions in Paris? i would have to say, although cliche, Eiffel Tower was my favourite!

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

you seriously do not know what the Army-McCarthy hearings were? For real? This has to be a joke.

SethG 10:46 AM  

Are you talking to me? Yes, I did not know what the Army-McCarthy hearings were.

Matthew G. 12:22 PM  

For what it's worth, and in defense of SethG, I am familiar with the events that transpired at the Army-McCarthy hearings, but I had never heard them called that with "Army" in the name. I just think of them as one stage of "the McCarthy hearings," and the stage in which his credibility finally tanked.

Anonymous 10:34 PM  

"That high lonesome sound" - from an album by Roscoe Holcomb. I caught some documentary on blues and folk music this past summer and there was a grainy film of someone visiting Roscoe Holcomb. It started with a long drive into the woods. He was sitting on the porch and started playing - a wonderful fresh (to me) sound came out. Give him a listen.

Dave in Seattle 1:40 PM  

I liked the clue '"That high lonesome sound," as played by Atlantic crustaceans?' so much I had to read it out loud to the evil twin, Her immediate response (without even knowing anything about the theme) was BLUECRAB BLUEGRASS, the rest of the puzzle wasn't much harder.

Dirigonzo 1:49 PM  

A week late to the party again but still had a lot of fun doing the puzzle. Not much happened for me until I figured out the gimmick at BLUECRABBLUEGRASS down at the bottom and rode the theme all the way back to the top. Finished in the northwest, where I had "summons" at 5d for way too long. When I sorted that out it took a looooong while to see the "O" in SPOORED/AONE. SPOORED was my new word for today; thanks to @matthewg and @mitch for the real "poop" on the definition and its usage.

Randy Chong 3:42 PM  

Syndicated solver here.

My biggest stumbles were DEAD/mans/DEAD/DUCK instead of DEAD/WOOD/DEAD/DUCK and at 88A (Picture that shows you what's up?) I put in Sonogram instead of SKYSCAPE. Once I let go of those two, it was an easy finish.

Cary in Boulder 6:52 PM  

Started doing the NYT puzzles in the Denver Post about three weeks ago to see if anything would help my crumbling memory. It's now Monday afternoon, so no land speed records, but a huge victory for me when I can finish with no cheats.

Stumbled on this blog from previous Googles and really enjoy the comments. In addition to their entertainment value, they've helped the way I think about the puzzles.

When I was in elementary school I remember being shlepped to a room that had a TV so we could see a little of the Army-McCarthy hearings because it was something "historic." ... I've been in the music/radio biz for years and years but never heard of Leona Lewis (but then I didn't know ROXIE from "Chicago, either). After reading Rex's recounting of her hugely successful career, I expected great things. But from the clip, no, just the same old pop crap. ... I have listened to some "high lonesome sounds," and I grew up in Baltimore, so BLUECRABBLUEGRASS finally clicked in for me. ... SPOORED was a real stinker. Once I got it I was still racking the alphabet for something that made actual sense. ... L on a T= LARGE went way past me until I read the blog.

Since I eventually got it all I guess this one has to rank as fairly easy, by definition.

rashid1891 5:59 AM  

Happy Birthday (that will be unnamed) @ArtLvr it is good life ;;;;;

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP