NFL commentator Phil / SUN 1-16-11 / Train track beam / Christine Phantom of the Opera heroine / Literary title character from planet Antiterra

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Constructor: Joon Pahk

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "A River Puns Through It" — phrases that pun on the names of well-known world rivers


Word of the Day: Phil SIMMS (1D: N.F.L. commentator Phil) —

Phillip Martin "Phil" Simms (born November 3, 1954) is a former American football quarterback, and currently a television sportscaster for the CBS network. After a standout career at Morehead State University, Simms was drafted in the first round by the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL) with the number seven selection overall in the 1979 NFL Draft. Simms played his entire professional career with the Giants and was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of Super Bowl XXI, after he led the Giants to a 39–20 victory over the Denver Broncos and set the record for highest completion percentage in a super bowl, going 22 for 25. He also was named to the Pro Bowl for his performances in the 1985 and 1993 seasons. // He finished his career with 33,462 passing yards and has since gone on to a career broadcaster of NFL games—first as an analyst for ESPN, then as a in-game color commentator with NBC, and currently with CBS. He is the father of quarterback Chris Simms and former University of Louisville and current University of Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms. (wikipedia)

• • •

I tried to make I-RAIL (125A: Train track beam) my Word of the Day, but no matter how I googled it, I couldn't find a single definition, so ... Phil SIMMS, which is timely, as he's on TV this weekend covering the N.F.L. playoffs (go Lions!). Crafty clue, as SIMMS is famous primarily for his quarterbacking, not his commentating. As for the meat of the puzzle—actually enjoyed most of the puns, and really love how the topmost and bottommost theme answers break across two answers like that. Title gave a little too much away, I think, though the title itself is a pun, so ... I mean, how could you resist? Wanted YALU in the YANGTZE answer (forgetting, apparently, that YALU is Korean), and then wanted URAL in the NEVA answer—so much so that even after I got the NEVA answer, my brain still registered it as the URAL answer, and so when it came time to put URAL in the grid in a non-theme answer (115D: Risk territory east of Ukraine), I balked. Fill was mostly solid on this one, though there was some ... let's say, creative, short stuff. Still baffled by I-RAIL. SO TOO gets a weird partial clue, when I think it could simply be clued [Likewise]. MACHI looks silly unless/until you parse it correctly, MACH I (76A: Speed of sound). HOGWARTS is a lovely longer answer (86D: School whose motto is Latin for "Never tickle a sleeping dragon"), and KEYDETS (really!?) is probably my favorite revelation of the day (130A: V.M.I. athletes).

If there is one answer I would like to ban from all puzzles everywhere from now to the end of time, it's DAAE (40D: Christine ___, "The Phantom of the Opera" heroine). It is the epitome of terrible. There's only one clue for it, it's a proper noun, it looks insane/completely made up. I don't even know what language / planet it's from. What the hell kind of name is that??? How's it pronounced? Da-EYE? DAY-ee? Oh, apparently there's an accent aigu on the "É," so "Dah-AY," I guess. I've seen it once before, which is the only reason I didn't go crazy in that little section trying desperately to figure out what I had wrong. Initially had TREE over BEA in that section, which created all kinds of mess.

Please note the return of former Words of the Day GOLGI (84D: ___ apparatus (cell organelle)) and LILI (she came back fast!—61A: "I Shot Andy Warhol" actress).

Theme answers:
  • 23A: With 24-Across, why a Midwest river has so many tributaries? (MISSOURI / LOVES COMPANY)
  • 35A: Fop who makes idle sketches of a Chinese river? (YANGTZE DOODLE DANDY)
  • 48A: "If you don't meet my demands within 24 hours, I"ll blow up a Russian river" ("TOMORROW NEVA DIES") — that clue does not work. There's simply nothing conditional about the answer.
  • 66A: Life vest worn on a Korean border river? (YALU JACKET)
  • 71A: Piranhas in a German border river? (ODER EATERS) — I kind of love how I get to put all these horrid little four-letter crossword rivers to somewhat more interesting use.
  • 92A: Request to an Alaskan river to return to its headwaters? (YUKON GO HOME AGAIN)
  • 100A: Aggressive posturin' on an English river? (THAMES FIGHTIN' WORDS) — my favorite pun of the lot
  • 120A: With 123-Across, what minor rivers of Pakistan say at their junctions? ("WE'RE ALL INDUS / TOGETHER")
Bullets:
  • 8A: Cookie with a geographical name (MILANO) — tasty Pepperidge Farm product.
  • 46A: Literary title character from the planet Antiterra (ADA) — I had no idea this (Nabokov) novel was about an alternative earth. Also had no idea that incest figured so prominently. "From the planet" is a weird phrase, since it sort of implies that she's come "from" there "to" somewhere else. I don't think that's the case. Clearly I haven't read it, but it seems like the whole book takes place on Antiterra.
  • 85A: Stand-up guy? (NO-SHOW) — great clue.
  • 126A: Channel crosser Gertrude (EDERLE) — one of the more important 6-letter crossword names. Not terribly common, but common enough that I a. learned her from crosswords, and b. have found that knowledge useful.
  • 4D: Priests' changing room (VESTRY) — strangely, I don't think I knew that's what a VESTRY was.
  • 5D: U2 collaborator on "Passengers: Original Soundtracks 1" (ENO) — I am not familiar with that particular U2 work. According to wikipedia: "Original Soundtracks 1 (also known as Original Soundtracks) is a 1995 album recorded by U2 and Brian Eno, as a side project, under the pseudonym Passengers. It is a collection of songs written for mostly imaginary movies (the exclusions being songs for Heat, Ghost in the Shell, Miss Sarajevo, and Beyond the Clouds)."


  • 8D: Illinois home of Black Hawk College (MOLINE) — needed virtually every cross here. This town rings a bell only Very faintly.
  • 25D: Shield border, in heraldry (ORLE) — don't think this needs "in heraldry." You know ORLE or you don't know ORLE. Other words in the supercrosswordese round-up include NERO (36D: Last Julio-Claudian emperor) and STOL (101D: Acronym for a small-runway aircraft). NERO was also a character in the 2009 "Star Trek," which also featured Capt. James T. KIRK (70D: 2009 sci-fi role for Chris Pine).
  • 54D: Father, as a mudder (SIRE) — Nice Alan Shermanesque clue.


  • 88D: Rock, in modern lingo (WEAR) — great, contemporary clue.


["Rock my Adidas, never rock Fila!"]


Thanks to everyone who made financial contributions to this website during the past week. The snail mail has been especially fascinating. You people live in all kinds of crazy places and have a wide variety of stationery. Many of the notes were really quite thoughtful and touching. I can only hope the folks reading in syndication are as interesting (not to mention generous).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

PS the Fifth Annual Silicon Valley Puzzle Fest will be taking place about two weeks from now (Jan. 29-30, 2011) at the Morgan Hill Library in Morgan Hill, CA. It includes a full day of puzzle workshops on Saturday (one of which, "Diagramless & Acrostic Puzzles," is being run by Tyler Hinman), and both Sudoku (ugh) and Crossword (yay) tournaments on Sunday. Kids are especially welcome, and there are workshops especially for them. Get more information here.

72 comments:

syndy 12:15 AM  

might as well have a Nero in star trek as james Kirk's middle name is tiberius! fun puzzle! I had scarf up/down but needed union even though I have never heard of snarf!totally agree about christines name WTF!couldn't be right but was=also had tree and bea and my last letter was the I in swim wanted to fight some more but I was done

jae 4:43 AM  

Dang, syndy stole most of my comment. Yes for SCARF, BEA, TREE, and WFT on DAAE. I liked this one, a nice river quiz. The top 2/3s were easy-medium for me but the bottom was a tad more challenging.

Smitty 6:44 AM  

The only Christine Daae I remember is a Giant's Causeway filly who showed promise at Gulfstream, fizzled at Monmouth and hasn't been heard of since Saratoga.
But I never know how to spell her name either.

OK I'll bite - how does Rock mean WEAR?

Stuart Showalter 7:21 AM  

DAAE is pronounced DIE-ay in the musical of "Phantom." All lovers of the show know that. :-)

r.alphbunker 7:35 AM  

The theme "A river runs through it" brings to mind the BEATLE clue of yesterday since more than one river runs through the puzzle.

DAAE was the rock in the river that capsized my canoe. I had to google Christine to see what was going on. I guess that the P in YIPE should have selected TRAP over TREE but due to the weirdness of DAAE I was trying to find alternate answers to "corner" and "wow"

I liked the puns. If I knew how to pronounce DAAE I would attempt a pun here.

imsdave 7:43 AM  

My annotations include TREE, BEA, TBS and a couple of !?!?!'s. Those were pointed at:

DAAE - I know I'm supposed to be TheatreGuy Jr., but I've always said there are two kinds of people in this world - Sondheim fans and Webber fans - I'm in the first group.

GOGLI - enough said

URAL - especially this one - seems like a pretty big lapse here.

All in all, a very enjoyable experience. Sometimes easy puzzles become a lot more fun when you realize you can solve all the theme answers without ever looking at the clue (after the first one). Almost peeked at the INDUS one to get the SWIM/IRAIL/URAL corner, but stuck to my guns.

Thanks Joon and Rex for a fun start to the day.

T-No-Money 7:43 AM  

@Smitty:

"I ROCKED my new Nikes at the party last night."

Good puzzle.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:51 AM  

How about that 100 A? Same basic phrase punned upon two Sundays in a row! Apparently Them is Fitting Words!

Finished pen on paper with a mess at 55A, 40 & 41 D. I thought 41 D could be YIEE, the kind of non-word that killed me at last year's ACPT.

CoolPapaD 9:20 AM  

Love puns in general, and this puzzle (and write-up) were wonderful. I can't be the only one who messed up GIORNO / GULL. Post-puzzle Googling tells me that ROOK is a type of bird (Corvus frugilegus), so I imagine that this is an ornithological, rather than chessilogical, reference. Well I'll be castled!

54D, and especially the video, brought back memories of summers spent visiting my grandparents in New Rochelle, where Alan Sherman's "My Son the Folk Singer" always seemed to be on the turntable. To this day, nearly 40 years later, I have most of the songs committed to memory. Weird Al's got nothing on him!

SethG 9:22 AM  

Dave, there are definitely people who are fans of neither Sondheim nor Webber.

This was a much better experience than I'd have expected had you told me the theme would be river puns and that DAAE would be my last answer.

retired_chemist 9:41 AM  

Hand up for TREE, BEA, and a big WTF for Christine DAAE. TREE went to TRAP, BEA went to BEE, and the rest of that section was absolutely certain. Could. Not. Fix. DAAE, so eventually I gave up and asked Mr. H. P. for an answer. DAAE was, amazingly, correct. I felt like the NY cabbie who was given the change from a $10 bill for a $9.65 fare. Passenger: "That's correct, isn't it?" Cabbie: "Yeah, but it ain't right."

Anyway, a nice puzzle. Enjoyed the puns. Also learned what a VESTRY really was. D'oh.....

Finished with an error I should have caught - SOHO instead of NOHO @ 93D. Also O instead of the U of CHOU/YUKON was a typo I didn't catch.

Tried OTTO first for 36D NERO.

Good job, Joon.

Synonyms.com 9:41 AM  

@CoolPapaD -
Synonyms for rook:

victimize, swindle, rook, goldbrick, nobble, diddle, bunco, defraud, scam, mulct, gyp, gip, hornswoggle, short-change, con
cheat, rip off, chisel

Synonyms for gull:

Sense 1:
fool, gull, befool
deceive, lead on, delude, cozen
Sense 2:
gull, dupe, slang, befool, cod, fool, put on, take in, put one over, put one across
deceive, betray, lead astray

will nediger 9:50 AM  

Heh, I just read ADA last week. It does indeed take place on an alternate version of Earth called Antiterra, where electricity is banned for some mysterious reason, and where a group of conspiracy theorists believe in a twin world called Terra, which is Earth.

joho 9:57 AM  

No mention of REORG? Must be a cousin of RELO.

I enjoyed it. I did end up with DAAE as I couldn't go with the third A there and knew YIPE had to be right. But, YIPE! DAAE just looks wrong.

Loved WEREALLINDUSTOGETHER.

Fun Sunday, thank you, Joon!

chefbea 10:01 AM  

Easy fun Sunday puzzle. Knew Missouri right off the bat.
Also knew that Aunt Bee spells her name differently than the chef

Tad 10:17 AM  

I'd never heard of "SKOSH" as another word for Tad. And my name is Tad. Ugh!

Tangmu 10:19 AM  

35A is quite a stretch. The first part of Yangtze rhymes with "lawn", the last part rhymes with "uh".

It doesn't rhyme with Yankee at all.

retired_chemist 10:25 AM  

@ Tad - SKOSH is from the Japanese sukoshi, meaning "little." Soldiers presumably brought the word back after WW II.

Same story for "honcho." From hanchō, meaning something like "squad leader."

dk 10:57 AM  

More of a mitochondria guy than GOGLI. Puns were fine, could not remember or did not know the rivers.

You Can't Go Home Again is one of my favorite novels and I have a personal relationship with 38D. Those items and the puns overcame my Sunday puzzle issues -- This one is just fine.

*** (3 Stars). I am thinking of putting the Hogwarts motto on the signatory line of my email.. that or WEREALLINDUSTOGETHER.

Look Up Guy 10:59 AM  

@Tangmu

Per http://wiki.answers.com/
Q/How_do_you_pronounce_yangtze_river#ixzz1BDLE3LRH

Yang-see is the "English" pronunciation. The Chinese pronunciation is more like YON-SAH with the emphasis falling on the YON.

Glimmerglass 11:04 AM  

Always heard SKOSH as "skoush," and assumed it was Yiddish, but SKOSH was okay with me, too. My one error was Daae -- couldn't believe that was right so I changed TRAP to "trip." Stupid me.

David L 11:25 AM  

I was defeated by that DAAE/TRAP etc corner. I had BEA for BEE (a guess), TREE for TRAP -- thought about TRAP but then couldn't believe DAAE was right. Also, and I guess this is just me, I've never heard YIPE as a singular -- YIPES, ok, but one YIPE?

And I don't understand SIRE -- what is the connection to the Sherman song (which I'm sort of familiar with), or is this one of RP's little misdirections?

The puns are OK, I guess, if you like that sort of thing, which I don't. But THAMESFIGHTINWORDS doesn't work.

Tangmu 11:39 AM  

Look Up Guy:

Hmm. Ask a native speaker of Mandarin Chinese to pronounce Yangtze for you. Not everything on the internet is accurate.

You need to pronounce "Thames" as the British do, "tems", so that 100A works, so the puzzle is inconsistent. All the theme answers should use either native pronunciation or English pronunciation, IMHO.

If we're going to use English pronunciations of foreign words in puzzles, then I suggest a better title for the puzzle is "au revoir puns through it" :)

(all meant light-heartedly)

potagiere 12:18 PM  

Even here in Illinois, I was "clueless" on the Black Hawk College town. Wanted McComb or Morris. Got it after the MOL. I can't imagine anyone in the rest of the country knowing that one.

Rock/Wear? Am I missing something?

By the way Rex, maybe you could explain to the readers how to donate automatically on paypal. When I tried it, it said to enter the vendor name, and Rex Parker didn't take. Was that just me?

hazel 12:20 PM  

generally don't like puns, but loved this puzzle to pieces. My kayak and I love rivers so i may have been predisposed. I can't imagine any of them as "horrid" regardless of how often they show up! I do sort of feel that way about ASTA though.

i rocked my red fleece to the Falcons game last night, but it did not help [sigh]

Rex Parker 12:27 PM  

@potagiere,

I don't know what you mean. Straight donations work fine. Do you mean a recurring donation that would happen automatically every so often (once a month/year/whatever)? I have never tried to make that happen. I'll look into it. Thanks for asking.

rp

chaos1 12:36 PM  

Great puzzle. I didn't like DAAE, but MPH did.

David L @ 11:25 : I knew Rex was going to throw people off with the Allan Sherman reference. Sherman does pronounce mother as mudder in his Camp Granada song. However, the MUDDER in the clue is referring to a race horse who handles a wet track better than most. Race horses are fathered by SIRES.

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

i thought rock meant to wear well, to look good in.

ArtLvr 12:42 PM  

I loved joon's puzzle, and still do even if our usual pronunciation of YANGTZE is off! (Nice to know the Mandarin version, however.) I also learned Daaé the hard way today, YIPEs.

My favorite play on words was the Stand-up guy as a NO-SHOW... and I was glad we'd seen GOLGI here recently. Way back when I studied such things I learned it as GOLGI Body, which would have been a much harder clue as a stand-alone, ___ body!

∑;)

The Bard 12:47 PM  

PayPal Worked fine for me.

Pericles, Prince of Tyre > Act III, scene IV

THAISA: My recompense is thanks, that's all;
Yet my good will is great, though the gift small.

Smitty 12:52 PM  

@T-No-Money, thanks for your reply.
I figured it had something to do with the video Rex put up, but I couldn't take more than a few seconds without novocaine..... must be a popular number with the pre-Geritol set.
thx for the expla.

John 12:59 PM  

Rex
Just curious, and figured you or one of your readers will know. I did today's puzzle in the iPad app. When I checked my answers online, the fastest time was listed as 13 minutes -- "0:00:13!" Is that a legit time? Or do you think people pre-solve and then race to enter the answers? (I assume the app time tracking is by days, hours, minutes because how could it be physically possible to make that many keystrokes in 13 seconds.)
Curious in Vienna, VA

David L 1:09 PM  

@chaos1: Thanks -- I didn't know that meaning of 'mudder'

mitchs 1:13 PM  

@John, oh that's a legit time all right. And not that fast. Check out Amy Reynaldo's blog and you'll find she posted 7 minutes and change. It's a different world for the speed solvers.

This one was harder for me than most commenters. The bottom half came slowly. Really enjoyed about everything except the TRAP trap and REORG.

imsdave 1:15 PM  

@SethG - Your'e correct - three kinds of people (I sometimes live in an alternate universe)

@joho - Oh, the dreaded REORG - I have lived through so many it isn't funny. I'm generally convinced that their sole purpose is to absolve management from any responsibility for their actions. Reminds me of an old work joke though (bad segue).

The outgoing manager takes his successor aside and hands him three envelopes, with the words "Whenever you get into trouble, open one of these". Time passes, and the new manager is in trouble. He opens the first envelope and it reads "Blame your predecessor". This works. The second time he is in trouble, the message is "Blame the IT (information technology) department". This too succeeds. The third time he's in trouble, the envelope reads "Prepare three envelopes".

mitchs 1:17 PM  

@David L: can't remember the source, but some show or movie had the following exchange:

So is dis horse a mudder.

You kiddin? His Fadder was mudder.
His Mudder was a mudder!

Stephen 1:30 PM  

I'm slept on it once and I'm going to keep sleeping on it until I can explain why "Cuts a fine figure"=SLATED.
Then we can all agree that SLOSH totally rocks, having shown up even in prim printed form (in cocktail recipes). not like SkOSH... yewk. Trouble is that SkATED is arguably arguable.

When something rocks, it's FAB! So WEAR does that leave us? We are not INDUS TOGETHER! I doubt even my kids would allow that stretch.

John 1:31 PM  

Thanks, Mitchs. Speed solving is probably not for me. I took just under an hour at a leisurely pace and managed to enjoy my breakfast at the same time. (I never liked double solitaire, either.)

Rube 1:32 PM  

Me too. Guessed DAAr. However, figured that all you People magazine readers would have known this. Also had trouble with YOWIE in that didn't know IONE, but guessed correctly. Still can't accept YOWIE.

Otherwise, a fun puzzle. Have to go root for the Hawks. They need all the help they can get.

Chick 1:56 PM  

mudders and fodders

mac 1:56 PM  

Very good puzzle, thanks Joon!

I've seen and heard the Phantom twice, both times in Germany, and could not remember that name.

Milano a gimme, Pepperidge Farm is our local bakery. My favorite is Geneva.

My favorite answer in the puzzle is "sit a" - spell. That was so unexpected!

Sparky 2:08 PM  

Also had DAAE circled with question mark. Can't believe it's correct. Think YOWIE is surprise not pain. Thanks Joon anyway. We were sitting at the same table at Lollapuzzoola this year. I was still reading the instructions when he would finish, get up and walk the baby. Nice guy.

Wasn't able to get all of TOMORROWNEVADaeS as had anNE for the actress. That spot stayed blank. Pleasant Sunday stroll.

Anonymous 2:33 PM  

Knew "skosh" from an old jeans commercial-"with a skosk more room".

Toggle 2:46 PM  

Love puns. love rivers, loved this puzzle!

@Tangmu, I thought Neve was even worse. It's pronounced more like Nyey-va. Not much at all like Nevah. Funny to look at in the grid nevatheless.

Captcha is grusna - sounds like another Russian river

Toggle 2:47 PM  

I meant Neva, of course. Thought I'd corrected that. Sorry. I'm new at this and will always preview from now on!

CoffeeLvr 2:58 PM  

I have learned so much doing crosswords, correcting them against Rex's post of the answers, then reading this blog. This punny offering was mostly pleasant. SUAVEST grates on the ears & did not come to mind, and placing ScARF at the bottom caused that corner to be the last to fall. Even though I am sitting less than ten miles from the MISSOURI. Then on to run the alphabet for the last square where SODA (where I was looking for a verb meaning "pop") crosses ADA (which I did not know . . . at all.)

Today's Captcha: mingr, which I propose as a guest's alternative to SIT A spell - mingle and ling(e)r.

retired_chemist 3:07 PM  

@ Toggle - if you get a Blogger acct. you can delete your post and redo it when the typos etc. are problems.

chefwen 3:27 PM  

Started this yesterday afternoon and zipped through most of it before I had to put down paper and pen to watch the all important Packer game, sweet victory! Birthday celebrations followed shortly thereafter and was unable to finish until this A.M.

Hand up for tree and bea. A few of the rivers were unknown to me and a little Googling had to be applied.

A very nice Sunday puzzle, thank you Mr. Pahk.

Toggle 3:29 PM  

@retired_chemist: Or I could just stop trying to multitask :-) Thanks!

Martin 3:40 PM  

It's Golgi, not Gogli. You're thinking of Gigli. One excretes enzymes and the other just excretes.

potagiere 3:43 PM  

@Rex:
Well, good, I'm glad its just me. I'm not a big Paypal-er. Not to worry... "Your check is in the mail."

PuzzleNut 4:22 PM  

Another TREE BEA solver. Corrected it, but "knew" DAAE had to be wrong. Live and learn.
Also was scratching my head on KEYDETS. Otherwise, a fine puzzle with very acceptable puns. Of course, none of the pronunciations match exactly (other than ODER), but who cares, they're supposed to be fun.
I also noted a large number of school references. Can't say I knew any of them at first, but all gettable.

archaeoprof 4:51 PM  

Fun puzzle, great puns. Thanks, Joon!

KEYDETS was a gimme. Years ago I taught at Washington & Lee University, which is next-door to VMI. Back then, "VMI athlete" was regarded as an oxymoron.

quilter1 5:01 PM  

Late today due to Mom's 84th birthday. Great party with most of our young folks there. I like punny puzzles and this gave me more than one chuckle. I also learned some things I didn't know before, although I did know the rock//wear connection from hearing someone say she rocked out a skirt. Favorite answer was MISSOURI LOVES COMPANY. MOLINE is one of the quad cities on the Ill/IA border. The riverfront area is great and hosts a big Bix Biederbeck jazz festival each year.

mac 5:31 PM  

@Chefwen, happy birthday! From your comment yesterday I figured it was today somehow.

@quilter1: congratulations on your mother's birthday.

Van55 5:49 PM  

Given that Joon comments fairly regularly at WordPlay, he feels like an acquaintance, and I am therefore a bit reticent to criticize his work. Fortunately, there's little to criticize in this completely delightful romp of a puzzle that I finished [?] with a smile, despite being convinced that Aunt BEE is Aunt BEA and figuring YIPA must be a word somewhere.

Loved the river puns. Loved that the KEYDETS got play. Loved the puzzle.

michael 7:16 PM  

One advantage of living near the Quad Cities (the only other ones I can think of are the Mississippi River and the great minor league baseball stadium) is knowing Moline (other Quad Cities, Davenport,IA, Rock Island, Illinois, and Bettendorf, IA).

Scarf down messed me up in the NW,

BobbyF 9:42 PM  

This one started out very easy and got progressively more challenging as I worked my way down. “Exec’ and ‘ipse’ were difficult to come by mainly because I attached ‘robin’ to fly catcher. Finally, I latched onto ‘resin’ and was able to resolve that time-consuming section. Very innovative punning by Joon, and, for me, quite challenging and fun.

Phil McHale 10:21 PM  

Coming to this a bit late, but the comment

"You need to pronounce "Thames" as the British do, "tems"

is concerning. I'm a Brit, and the River Thames is "tems" to me (and all Brits). What is it to you? If it's not "tems", it's wrong. This was the first pun clue I got.

Anonymous 10:22 PM  

Went to Da Bears game today and so I just finished while watching the Golden Globes. Like these puns, but more immportantly, all I want to say is....

Go Bears

mac 11:14 PM  

@Go Bears: congratulations!

william e emba 11:15 PM  

I did not even notice the pun in the title. In fact, I was thinking of the famous Merl Reagle crossword from about ten years ago, but was glad to get the puns.

The YALU River borders Korea and China, so you were not mistaken, Rex, in thinking the river was Chinese. In fact, YALU is the Chinese name. Americans associate it with Korea because it was the major goal at an early point in the Korean War, before the Chinese intervened.

I believe the name of this river first entered my permanent awareness when I read Bored of the Rings. The deadly ballhog has been chasing a pack of North Korean narcs who have been chasing our heroes, with the narcs waving hammers and sickles. "Yalu, Yalu," shouted their leader, brandishing a huge faggot.

Joon 12:37 AM  

thanks for the kind words. i suppose i deserve to take some heat for DAAÉ. i'm used to seeing it, but the letters are so implausible that i should have tried a bit harder to clean up the area around it.

i confess to being a little confused as to the argument about pronunciation of the rivers. all the puns involve incorrect pronunciations, don't they? otherwise it would be a homophone theme, not a pun theme. (ODER EATERS is arguable, i'll grant you.)

phil mchale: i think the other thames river, in connecticut, rhymes with "james." but i also think that you could pun it with "them's fightin' words" anyway.

chefwen 2:38 AM  

@mac - Thanks for the B'day greeting, but don't bail on me honey, GO PACK! I'm counting on your support.
First face off in 70 years! Cowabunga!

Matthew G. 4:48 AM  

This puzzle is the first indication I've ever had that SKOSH is not a word that my younger brother made up. He is the only person I know who ever uses it, and I really thought it was a nonsense word like "thingamajig" or "widget" of his creation. Fascinated to learn that it's not.

Not surprised that rock=wear threw so many people. I'm 34, and I think of "rock" in that context as an expression that _I'm_ far too old to use. Everyone I know who uses it is a good bit younger than me.

Commenting horribly late today because I was skiing and watching football all day, then packing. So no reason to say more other than: fantastic puzzle, loved the theme even though I usually dislike pun themes.

PreaknessGuy 5:13 AM  

Mitch,
His mudder was a mudder is from a Seinfeld episode. I liked this clue. Having grown up a handful of miles from the 2nd stop on the Triple Crown, it was a gimme.

Trap and Bee came to me easily, but the a in Daae was a plug. You either know or you don't.

Anonymous 2:12 PM  

"Mudder" has nothing to do with Alan Sherman and his song - it is a reference to a race horse that runs well on a muddy track - a "mudder"

Anonymous 8:15 AM  

ETA at 59D means what, exactly?

Stephen 8:54 AM  

Eta is the name of the Greek letter that looks like "H", and from which our (Latin) H derives. We were to understand that the constructor wanted the Greek form since the clue said "as in Hera" who is a Greek goddess of some sort.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

Thank you, Stephen, for the explanation. I tried hard to link the clue to Greek gods but fell short. Now I see the reference was contextual.

Dirigonzo 3:05 PM  

This is my second visit to this forum today but in the time-warp created by syndication the comment I left only a couple of hours ago in real time related to a puzzle that originally appeared over 4 weeks prior to this one (if anyone understands that sentence, perhaps you could explain it to me.) So the point is, only syndicated solvers will remember that there were several references to "Bryn Mawr" in puzzles we saw earlier this week, and it was interesting to see yet another one appear today. Enjoyed the punny solutions, wound up with BEa/YIPa.

NotalwaysrightBill 12:08 AM  

Syndi-late paper puzzler.

Love/hate good puns, so this was fun, regardless that I'm rocking egg on my face for the same DAAE fooey as so many. And I still don't get aunt BEE in place of BEA: rocking a puzzled look about that. Think I'll rock my nut with a rock if I keep thinking about this nit much more.

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