"Pret-a-Porter" actress / SAT 1-1-11 / Where the biblical lost tribes were held captive / Area where blood vessels enter an organ / Drawn-out chemical

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Constructor: Mark Diehl

Relative difficulty: Medium


Word of the Day: SALADIN (41D: Sultan who captured Jerusalem in 1187) —

Saladin was a Kurdish Muslim who became the first Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt and Syria and led Islamic opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant. At the height of his power, he ruled over Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Hejaz, and Yemen. He led the Muslims against the Crusaders and eventually recaptured Palestine from the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem after his victory in the Battle of Hattin. His chivalrous behavior was noted by Christian chroniclers, and despite being the nemesis of the Crusaders he won the respect of many of them, including Richard the Lionheart. Rather than becoming a hated figure in Europe, he became a celebrated example of the principles of chivalry. (Wikipedia)
• • •

Well hi there! And Happy New Year! Bet you didn't think you'd be seeing PuzzleGirl again so soon, did you? Neither did I. It's a long story and it's not very interesting so I won't bore you with it. I'll just say that it involves Rex becoming unsure about which day it was yesterday. It actually sounded a little like some kind of alcohol-induced confusion but I don't really have anything to base that on. Total speculation. Absolutely no facts. Nothing at all to indicate that Rex was actually drunk yesterday when he forgot what day it was. I mean I'm sure there are many other reasons a person would be confused about what day it is. Even a person who's drinking! I mean, just because a person is drinking doesn't mean that's the reason they can't remember stuff. Ya know what? Again, this is a completely unfounded rumor — the one about how Rex was drunk and couldn't blog today — so we really shouldn't even be talking about it. Just forget I said anything.

This is going to be a quick write-up because, well, you know, it's New Year's Eve and all. Plus I figure you all are hungover today and probably can't solve the puzzle, much less read some crazy lady running her mouth about it. This New Year's Eve is actually kind of interesting. PuzzleSon, our 6th grader, is at a New Year's Eve party put on by the county at a community rec center. PuzzleHusband dropped him off there at 8:00 and will pick him up at 1:00. That's right. 1:00 A.M. My baby is out there doing God only knows what and we won't see him until practically the middle of the night. It's a little unnerving. Sure, the people running the party were all wearing bright green "STAFF" shirts, and there were two cops at the door, and parents will be required to show I.D. to pick up their kids, but just because the people putting on the party have done every single thing they can do to calm the fears of the overprotective high-strung North Arlington parents doesn't mean that something TERRIBLE WON'T HAPPEN TO MY BABY! I mean they CAN'T ANTICIPATE EVERY POSSIBLE PROBLEM! ::deep cleansing breaths:: Oh man, teenage years are gonna be rough on the Mommy in this house. ::in with the good air, out with the bad air:: Tell ya what — let's talk about the puzzle.

I really enjoyed this one. I plunked in MR. ROBOTO with no crosses whatsoever and felt like I was off to the races. That southwest corner fell pretty easily and that's probably why I have an overall positive feeling about the puzzle. It was so nice and Scrabbly down there! I did run into a little trouble when I plopped in BALE OF HAY where BANJO PICK was supposed to go (55A: Barn dance accessory), but that didn't take long to straighten out. I knew LOKI was right for 59A: Mythological trickster who was punished by being held to a rock, so even though I wasn't entirely sure what 52D would be, I was pretty sure it wouldn't be *FL**. Obviously, you can never be too sure, especially on a Saturday, but it felt like a wrong-wrong start, not just a not-really-wrong-but-tricky start. So I erased BALE OF HAY, caught on to JOEY right away from its clue (56D: Bouncing baby) and was excited to add that J to the U, Y, Z, X, and V already in that part of the grid. Love it!

The rest of the grid was a little tougher. I'm sure I've seen the name ANOUK AIMÉE before (16A: "Prêt-à-Porter" actress), but I have no idea who she is and it took me a lot of crosses before her name actually came into view. Once I got her in there, I thought 7D: Dingbats looked like it should be LOONEYS (which I think is actually a better answer than the correct GOONEYS), so that made LIGHT SHOWS (5A: Concert spectacles) hard to see.

Let's do a few bullets and then you can all get back to nursing your hangovers. My suggestion? Peanut butter toast and 7-Up. Or next time maybe don't drink so much.

  • 1A: Star of India, once (SABU). I do not know what this means.
  • 30A: N.Y.P.D. descriptor (FINEST).
  • 32A: Cry to get 40-Across (SEND HELP). I tried NEED HELP first, which is a crappy answer. Especially cuz it's, ya know, wrong.
  • 42A: "Rock Me ___" (1984 hit) (TONITE). I don't remember this song. At first I was thinking "Rock Me Amadeus," and actually the year isn't that far off (1986). "Rock Me TONITE," though, is a Billy Squier song and its Wikipedia page explains that "The video for the track …, which shows Squier dancing around a room in a pink tank top, frequently appears on 'worst music video ever' lists." Well that's something, I guess.
  • 45A: Simon & Schuster's parent (CBS). I did not know that.
  • 51A: Leaving lines (TA-TAS). Heh heh. You said TATAS.
  • 57A: Onetime Chevy Blazer competitor (ISUZU RODEO). Have any of your ever heard Rosie Pérez say "Isuzu Trooper"? It's the funniest thing. I'm pretty sure it was on Letterman when I saw it, and it was like a real thing. Like Letterman said, "Okay, I've heard you do this before, so now, if you would, please say 'Isuzu Trooper' for this audience." And then she said it and everybody cracked up laughing. I wish I could find a clip of it. (SethG?)
  • 8D: Dug in, with "down" (HUNKERED). This is an awesome, awesome word and we all should use it more often.
  • 11D: Area where blood vessels enter an organ (HILUM). This was my WTF answer of the day. I'm not real good at the science-y stuff.
  • 38D: Hit from the 1983 platinum album "Kilroy Was Here" (MR. ROBOTO). Don't try to act like you didn't know this was coming.

  • 47D: Yanks' foes (BOSOX). I started a new job a couple weeks ago and the guy I work for is a huge baseball fan. He has season tickets to the Nats and that's his main team (he grew up in this area, so he was a Senators fan back in the day). So I cornered him one day and said, "Okay, I know you're a Nats fan, but if you had to pick: Yankees or Red Sox?" He was all, "Ohhhhh, this is a trick question. I really don't want to screw this up." Don't worry, I let him off the hook.
I'll be here tomorrow with a special guest, so come on back and check us out. It's sure to be entertaining. Oh and here's a tip for tomorrow. At the very bottom of the New York Times crossword blog, there's a note: "The Sunday crossword will be available on the Premium Crosswords page in both Across Lite and PDF format …. Three clues in the PDF and print version use foreign alphabets; the Across Lite version uses English-letter transliterations." So make sure you don't let that trip you up. See you tomorrow.

Love, PuzzleGirl

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter] [or PuzzleGirl]


jae 3:40 AM  

Not quite as zippy as Caleb's Fri. but a solid Sat. Had ENTER for 4d until UBER showed up. EASTS before WESTS and Rock Me GENTLY (I know that was lyric if not a song). Thanks Puzzle Girl for another very entertaining write up.

jae 3:59 AM  

Oh, and medium works for me and happy new year to all.

r.alphbunker 4:48 AM  


This was a hard for me. When the dust settled 26 squares had the little gray triangle in the upper right corner. But I did not have to Google.

Rex Parker 7:37 AM  

This was an easy Friday for me, and the easiest Saturday I've ever done. Under 7 minutes?!!

SALADIN was a gimme. This may explain my time, somewhat.

I liked the puzzle OK, though only MR ROBOTO stands out as particularly snazzy.

Off to Disney Hollywood somethingorother for the final day of family frolicking. See you soon. And thanks, PG.


Doris 7:48 AM  

Sabu ("Elephant Boy") was just in the puzzle a few days ago, so should be added to one's store of
Xword lore. He became U.S. citizen, served in the army, and died young. He's in one of my favorite movies, "Black Narcissus." Rent it!

imsdave 7:54 AM  

Easy-Medium here. Dropped SABU (The Elephant Boy) in right off the bat. Adding to r.alphbunker's list:


Tried LASER before LIGHT and SULIMAN (I know that isn't spelled right, but that has never stopped me before) for SALADIN. The only place I bogged down at all was at the cross referenced 34D 35D pairing.

Enjoyed it. Happy New Year friends.

mitchs 8:34 AM  

DNF the NE. Couldn't let go of spectacles being some type of glasses for snooty types, and I can never remember the wacky vowel combos in the name of that actress.

I think the REVEAL button has made less patient.

retired_chemist 8:55 AM  

PuzzleGirl: the writeups just get better! Way to go! And thanks for the heads-up about Sunday’s puzzle.

Some wonderful opportunities for writeovers today: 5A, LORGNETTES; 21A, KINTE; 32A, HELP HELP; 37A ONE WIFE (personal favorite); 53A HURRY; 55A BALE OF HAY (@ PuzzleGirl: great minds….). That means I found the puzzle both challenging and enjoyable.

Got Genève correctly from the French in the clue. Object to 4D/46A UNTER/ÜBER with no German in the clue.

Again with the SABU?

Thanks, Mr., Diehl. And Happy New Year to evewyone.

CaseAce 9:04 AM  

Once in love with Aimee--- Anouk and a cranny and we could hardly Sabu!
Stay healthy and wise, youse guys in 2011...you betcha!

Matthew G. 9:07 AM  

Agree with Rex that this was the easiest Saturday in memory. I finished it about five minutes faster than I did Caleb's Friday puzzle, actually, and with no errors. My clock said 36 minutes when I was done, but I was solving under distracted and intermittent conditions, so you can shave several minutes off that, really. Definitely the first time I've had an error-free, no-solving-aid Saturday in the half-hour range.

Like Puzzle Girl, my point of entry was MR ROBOTO. Domo arigato, Mark Diehl. LOKI was next, and I knew very early into this one that I was heading for a personal best.

Only a couple things slowed me down. Tried ISUZU ROvEr initially, but fixed it when I saw SALADIN. Hardest part was the NE, where I initially tried BINOCULARS for {Concert spectacles}. Needed every cross for ANOUK AIMEE, and that was a problem because I didn't know HILUM, but I guessed correctly. Seeing ICONOCLAST quickly was huge.

Fun, probably could have been a Friday puzzle, but my self-confidence will take it.

Leslie 9:22 AM  

Fun, probably could have been a Friday puzzle, but my self-confidence will take it.

My reaction exactly. LIGHT SHOWS was my first answer, and while I loved MR. ROBOTO, it only came to me from crosses, unlike the experience of you young whippersnappers (shaking cane at the lot of you).

Happy 1/1/11!!!

jackj 9:34 AM  

Trading general anonymice status for specific anonymity with bravos to our puzzle constructing dentist, Dr. Diehl, who, thankfully, seems to get his masochistic kicks from producing head-banging puzzles, not from his practice.

Among the many highlights were HUNKERED, PARAGON, and the insouciant FINITO; runners-up were too many to list

What a terrific way to start a new year!

You've Been Warned 9:43 AM  

For those of you ALers who don't read all the write up (or the Wordplay blog) --- there is a pdf of Sunday's puzzle available, and an explanation of the "differences".

Hope you will be satisfied and won't "clog the blog" with complaints.

For the rest of us it may be a spoiler, if so, our turn ;)

Happy New Year to all (yes all).


Geometricus 9:58 AM  

Just about had it finished at 2:30am but then fell asleep with the iPod in the recharger which kept the timer running so my time was 6 hours 50 minutes when I finished it this morning. Had to iMdb Anouk Aimee but got most of the rest. Nice puzzle.

nanpilla 10:11 AM  

Been away for a couple of weeks. The last two puzzles have been a great welcome home.

@imsdave - I saw a reference to a puzzle by you - where can I find it?!

PG - Rex is lucky to have such great subs. Great write-ups these past two days.

This one was only 20 minutes for me which is definitely an easy for me. of useE befor UTILE, and piMA before YUMA were my only write-overs.

Happy New Year, everyone! Just signed up for the new year of fireball puzzles- yeah!

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

After several months of observation I have reluctantly concluded that there are essentially three types who come here – pros, the idle rich and masochists (like me). Another nice write-up by PG saves the day for those who need a few good laughs. Wasn’t EXTRA MONEY in that same corner a few days ago? This was easier this morning than last night, but that ain’t saying much....

Lindsay 10:41 AM  

Went pretty smoothly except for SW, where I got hung up with Range Rover where Isuzu Rodeo belonged. Crossing with edger at 49D, no less. Working way too many xwords when "edger" comes to mind before "razor."

Also had to JUNK my original answer at 10D for SACK.

Wow. There's someone running by my house in shorts. Warm outside.

joho 10:41 AM  

I am delighted to have finished a Saturday to start the new year off on the right foot. It was harder than medium for me, so that made it much more of an accomplishment. For some reason, I couldn't see the TREE before TRUNK for the longest time. Once I did that NW corner was toast.

Thank you Mark Diehl!

joho 10:43 AM  

I meant to write "that much more of an accomplishment."

Bob Kerfuffle 11:10 AM  

Perfect way to start the new year: Herring in sour cream and a good, solid puzzle.

Happy MMXI to all.

Ulrich 11:18 AM  

Anouk Aimee was one of those French actresses who could do "mysterious" really well--that's why I remember her and that, in turn, made the NE the easiest corner for me.

But BABYLON held me up quite a while at 27A. On the other hand, once UNTER became unavoidable, 46A was a gimme, missing umlaut and all, and from that, the SW corner fell easily, too, relatively speaking (for a mere mortal like me, "easy" on a Saturday means I could do this w/o major hesitations and w/o having to resist the temptation to ask Mr. Google).

So, overall, a happy experience for me, too...

Mel Ott 11:19 AM  

Some great words in today's puzzle: ABORIGINE, ICONOCLAST, HUNKERED. And an encore by SABU.

I thought the language in the clue for the cross-referenced 34D 35D was off. Where is the plural in 35D to which the "these" in the clue refers?

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

I wrote in FORD BRONCO without hesitating. Later, it was clear there was a problem. ISUZU RODEO. That was a nice touch.

chefbea 11:26 AM  

Too tough for me. DNF again. Look forward to tomorrow.

Duck and Beet & Kale sald were a big hit for ringing in the New Year

JC66 11:34 AM  

@Mel Ott

I don't get what's wrong with: after EVICTIONS, people are not LETBACKIN. Please help me understand your concern. (BTW, there's no plural in the answer to 37A, either).

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

@Mel Ott: The plural is in 34D itself, so "people are not LET BACK IN [35d] after EVICTIONS [34D] occur"

Sparky 11:39 AM  

HAPPY NEW YEAR. Way off my game, couldn't manage yesterday or today, although I did have ANOUK AMIEE and HUNKERED. That's about all.

Babylon is where the Long Island Railrod makes you change trains to go further out.

I must say this, so I'm an old crab. Joking about drinking and getting drunk so much is not funny. If Rex is falling down drunk that's sad. If he's not, it's mean. Jesser and Tinbini talk about their own drinking, that's different. Sorry, Puzzle Girl.

mmorgan 11:42 AM  

HTG. DNF. Not. In. My. Wheelhouse. At all.

But I really enjoyed PuzzleGirl's write-up!

I wanted 5A (Concert spectacles) to be BINOCULARS.

Until I read @Leslie's comment, it hadn't registered that today is 1/1/11. Cool.

Vega 11:48 AM  

I enjoyed a lot about this puzzle, and it's all been said. I thought "Take, finally" for SETTLEFOR was superb. GOONEY is a dopey word. Talking about people not being let back in after being evicted seemed a little harsh for New Year's Day.

Happy 2011!

Beadola 11:49 AM  

I started with the simpler Under/Over before writing in "did over" (39A), gave up on over and figured out it was German. Hand up for lorgnette before light show. Happy New Year everyone.

No BS 12:00 PM  


Thanks for the comment re sad/mean. I was troubled too, but didn't quite put my finger on it. Same "joke" yesterday. Sorry PG, like your writeups in general, but unless I'm missing something here, doesn't seem like you are being a very nice guest. Hope all is well with you, Rex, if you're reading this.

Two Ponies 12:03 PM  

This one fell on the harder side of medium for me but I got.
Lots of proper names (my personal bugaboo) and foreign words but appropriate for what I expect on a Saturday.
Starbucks was packed this morning. I was happy to see it was open as they are my source for my Sat. puzzle.
Welcome back nanpilla.
Thanks for stepping in again Puzzle Girl. If Rex wants to party hardy on his vacation he deserves it.
No residual harm from the Jameson and German beer tasting last night so it's off to hike in the mtns with the dogs. Happy 2011 to all.

CaseAce 12:09 PM  

We, the little woman and I, wanted concert spectacles to be LORGNETTE'S, not that we're a couple of la-di-da's, mind you!
btw, got roped-in by the Isuzu Rodeo.
Cest la vie...gotta get a move on, have things to go and places to do!

David L 12:14 PM  

Contrary to some others' experience, this was by far my hardest Saturday for many weeks. A lot of obscure stuff (MRROBOTO, HILUM, EDUCT, GOONEYS (don't know what they are), "Sur [wtf?] citizen, etc), but for some reason I just found a lot of the cluing opaque.

Still, finished eventually so now I can settle in to watch football with a deep sense of pride and accomplishment.

davko 12:38 PM  

Liked the holism of this one, such as the way the correct spelling of a single name (ANOUK) would unlock sweeping areas, and conversely, the way one bad letter ('A' instead of 'E' for GENEVE) could mess up a whole quadrant. A nicely integrated grid, in other words.

Compliments again to P.G. on another fine write-up, though she must be practicing her craft elsewhere of late if she didn't recognize SABU! Someday, the most prolific movie-making country in the world (yes, India) will afford us a fresh crop of familiar names with opportunistic vowel placements, but unfortunately, that day has not coincided with the arrival 2011.

PuzzleGirl 12:45 PM  

For everyone who doesn't get my sense of humor: I have no idea if Rex is drunk or not. In my experience, Rex doesn't really drink that much. He's on vacation with his family and I'm at home with no company and not really doing much so that's why I'm filling in. The part about Rex being drunk is 100% a joke. I'm gonna guess that he's not offended by it and might actually be amused. I suppose I could be wrong about that.

In Sparky's world (1) Rex actually being drunk and me making fun of him would be sad. (2) Rex not being drunk and me making a joke about him being drunk is mean. (3) Actual alcoholics who come here and refer to alcohol in Every. Single. Post. is okay. I'm kind of an old crab too, but in my world 1=mean, 2=okay, and 3=very very sad.

Leslie 1:06 PM  

PuzzleGirl, FWIW, I think your teasing of Rex is clearly and obviously just teasing. And funny in its over-the-topness, which is a term I just made up.

Van55 1:11 PM  

"Strings used in payroll dept's" = SSNS. One hardly needs to say anything else.

Crossreferenced clues that are non-clues such as 4D and 46A being opposites of each other cluing the German over and under. Yuccccch.

People who are loaded don't think they have EXTRAMONEY, I am sure.

Horrible start to the new year for me, NYT puzzlewise.

Henry Shapiro 1:13 PM  

Sabu Dastagir was an Indian actor who took US citizenship, which explains the "once" in the clue.

Took us (wife and I) a while to get this, as it was also a three-masted sailing ship, now docked in San Diego.

Orange 1:41 PM  

I am with PuzzleGirl on several counts. On the 1, 2, 3 enumeration of okayness/meanness/patheticness, amen. My late dad was an alcoholic. (Dead at 61. Ya think the drinking helped with that?) Joking about fictional drinking or about a total lightweight who gets loopy after one glass of wine can be funny. Actual binge drinking, hangovers, and doting on booze are just worrisome.

And amen to PG on the Rosie Perez bit! OMG! Mr. Tangerine and I saw the same Letterman episode and in the intervening, what, 15 years?—we cannot encounter any Isuzu without wanting to say "Isoozoo Twoopuh."

foodie 1:50 PM  

It took my years to figure out that "SALADIN' and Salah- El- Deen was the same dude with Western vs. Eastern pronunciation. Probably also because he was the bad guy in my French history books and the good guy in my Arabic History books. Hard to wrap your brain around that when you're 8 years old. His name means something like: "The Goodness of Religion".

Puzzle Girl, being a worrier like you are re kids, I resolved to host the New Years Eve parties at our house. Kids could sleep overnight, parents could pop in the next morning, collect them and have brunch if they wish. It worked well for years. And the bonus: One of my son's friends turned out to be a great cook AND a future opera star. So, he'd be in our kitchen on New Year's eve cooking and singing opera! I really miss those days now!

Clark 1:59 PM  

Welcome specific @jackj.

Starting the new year with a DNF. Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

foodie 1:59 PM  

Since SanFranMan seems to be absent, I wanted to mention that this puzzle stats look to be Medium or possibly near the edge of Easy Medium.

I love today's numbers: 1-1-11. Won't happen again for 11 years, having the same number across the board.

babslesley 2:23 PM  

Happy New Year to me. It wasn't quick or easy, but I did finish. Good start to 2011. Thank you Puzzle Girl. I love your posts.

jackj 2:37 PM  

@Clark- Thank you for the kind welcome.

@Puzzle Girl- My only problem with the Rex/booze humor was that, after you hit a grand slam home run with yesterday's write-up, using it again didn't work, at least for me.

Not offensive, just not as much fun.

Jenny 2:45 PM  

@foodie: But several opportunities this year, ending on 11-11-11.

Didn't find this easy. WOTD would have been HILUM.

A Happy New Year to all.

chefbea 2:48 PM  

@foodie what about 1-11-11 or better still 11-11-11

Bill W 3:07 PM  

If I could have solved this in 7 minutes, at 7:00am after a night of drunkeness, I might pick up the sauce again.

Anonymous 3:12 PM  

PG - Who you alling an actual alcoholic...hic....

Ulrich 3:29 PM  

In my home town, 11 is the "fool's number"--so, the mardi gras (Karneval) season starts every year on 11/11 at 11:11--to end Ash Wednesday the following year. This year, 11/11/11 should inaugurate a very special Karneval at 11:11!

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

What I really enjoy on this blog is not RP calling in from sunny Florida with a piña colada telling me how easy this puzzle was and it only took him 30 seconds to complete, beginning with some obscure name. What I really enjoy is never knowing whom the mob will turn on, partly because the most innocent comment, even one made in obvious jest, sometimes provokes such outrage, one sometimes has to duck to save his literary soul. Today Puzzle Girl, who is probably volunteering her time and energy, or certainly not being paid anything close to the value of her services, is the target because she continues a theme from yesterday (whether it is the theme per se of its continuation). Lighten up, people and PG, no explanation from you was needed for what is clearly fulfilling a call way beyond the BARE BONES effort Rex should ever ask in a pinch. And, please Rex, relax, enjoy and re-charge for another great year at your unique blog. Now, what day is it?


foodie 3:57 PM  


I guess I shouldn't try for a career in numerology :)

chefwen 4:43 PM  

A huge DNF in this camp, thought it was very difficult. I am in awe of those who breezed right through it.

Happy New Year to all!

I'm off to don my f&%k em Bucky tee shirt. Go Badgers!!!

Stan 4:46 PM  

My LOKI story: One of the cats walked across my keyboard while I was typing (my cats enjoy data entry). Anyway, I looked down and he had typed LOKI, the trickster. I couldn't believe it! Then I noticed where the letters are on a Qwerty keyboard...

mac 4:46 PM  

A little more than medium for me. I put those Bosox in without a blink! Lots of false starts: no msg for "today", enter and exit (and it really should be ueber), no idea about Mr. Roboto and gooneys. @imsdave, I wanted Suleman as well, and I thought the Star of India was either a diamond or a ship.

@jackj: welcome aboard!

@Two Ponies: cute dog!

@Orange: like the Mr. Tangerine, but have to admit it didn't fall into place for me immediately!

mac 4:48 PM  

Happy New Year to you, anonymice and all.

mitchs 6:41 PM  

i'm pretty sure that one can't tell whether another is an "alchoholic" by his/her posts on this blog.

Ruined for me, what was a great analysis.

skua76 7:16 PM  

PG, great writeup, even though I am probably one of those masochists. And thanks again for the warning about Sunday's puzzle.

retired_chemist 7:20 PM  

@ Ulrich re more 11 numeralogy - 11/11 at 11 AM was when the armistice ending hostilities on the western front on the first world war was signed.

@ Puzzle Girl - count me with those who thought your obvious JAPE involving Rex's (putative) drinking was a scream and in no way to be taken as an indictment, or indeed as anything other than a joke among friends.

captcha seatag - where you fly to in the Pacific NW when you have a cold.

SethG 7:41 PM  

I didn't have much fun solving, but the comments are hilarious. Sort of. Tee hee.

NATE 7:42 PM  


Does it ever happen that you can't finish a puzzle?
If so, do you contact the constructor?

Foster Brooks 7:45 PM  

Agree with Seth. These comments are liking watching those seventies Britcoms--a bunch of very proper people taking offense at anything within sight to take offense at, with various other characters trying to come in and explain and make peace and only screwing it up more.

Foster Grant 7:47 PM  

I couldn't finish Remembrance of Things Past and tried to contact Proust. He couldn't hear me for all the cork.

Doc John 8:03 PM  

Happy New Year to all!
I plodded through this one at my usual Saturday pace but was totally stymied by the SE. Finally got FINITO and changed "gently" to TONIGHT and that seemed to be enough to give me the traction I needed.
I am not thrilled about clues that coyly refer to another unclued clue (i.e. 34 & 35 down). In my mind, just a trick to make the puzzle harder. And this puzzle had 3(!) sets of them.
Lots of other strange cluing and fill, too. All in all, I give it a C minus.

retired_chemist 8:49 PM  

@ Foster Grant -

See the Monty Python Summarize Proust Competition.

Anonymous 9:35 PM  

Liked the write-up. The puzzle was just ojay.

Foster Brooks

ArtLvr 9:55 PM  

Loved the 1-1-11 puzzle, A-PLUS! And the annual New Year's PBS presentation of the concert by the Vienna Philharmonic just now made it even more special -- the freshest in years: I hope some of you were enjoying it too, from the heart-tugging Lippizaners to the adorable teen-aged ballet pairs!

@ Ulrich, please, who was the local modern artist/architect featured in that segment with wavy tiled floors etc.? UNTER und ÜBER indeed, very colorful.

Back safely in Albany after driving through the night from Chicago, and I can warmly recommend the Waffle House diner at 2 a.m. in Chardon, Ohio! Many thanks to Puzzle Girl for her yeoman service, best wishes to Rex and family on vacation after the vexing delay, and Happy New Year again to all!


Daryl 10:48 PM  

I finished this but with ALL "A"S instead of A PLUS, which made me think that a BANJO LICK was an odd
thing to call an accessory, and that peck was A NIT of some sort. Harder side of medium for me, if only because SABU and MR ROBOTO didn't come so quickly (though LIGHT SHOWS was easy-peasy). Happy 2011 one and all.

Eric Halsey 1:03 AM  

SABU I remembered from a week or so ago, when he was clued as a movie actor who won the DFC.

ANOUKAIMEE - Hey, PuzzleGirl must not be in my [admittedly advanced] age cohort if she does not remember the sublime Anouk with JL Trintignant in the impossibly romantic 60's film A Man and a Woman (Un Homme et Une Femme).

And the captcha SEATAG: I'm actually flying back to there tomorrow afternoon, although widout the code in my node.


andrea q michaels 1:30 AM  

with you on the ALLAS before APLUS.
(I'd rather get all A's than one A Plus, I guess!)

And yes, the sublime ANOUKAIMEE!
Know her from "Un Homme et Une Femme", but didn't know she was in Pret-a-porter. Saw her something tho semi-recently and she aged so beautifully, like Catherine DeNeuve and Charlotte Rampling...
French women clearly know something other women don't...

If only she spelled her name ANOUQ!
We would have had a pangram...
as it is, 5 K's = 1 Q as far as I'm concerned...
and it's too bad, Rex had to sit this one out, as 5 Ks prob would have cured his hangover.
Well done, Puzzle Girl!!!

Weird tho, MRROBOTO was my last answer. I even tried MRROsiTO first...prob still had Patrick M's puzzle en espanol on my brain.

JaxInL.A. 4:33 AM  

If you post after everyone has gone home, does a tree fall in the woods?   Had to finish the puzzle and reading the blog very late today, after joining several hundred thousand of my closest friends to view one of the world's best parades, the Tournament of Roses, in sunny(!) Pasadena. I think there was a football game afterward, too.  

Great Rose Parade, and @chefwen's Badgers marched beautifully and played (instruments) inspiringly.  The red for Wisconsin outnumbered the purple for Texas Christian nearly 10:1 from my parade vantage point.  I unknowingly voted for the TCU team by wearing my favorite color.  If I could bring myself to care even a little bit about football I would check the score to see if congratulations are in order.  Could the tiny TCU horned toads (honest) beat the mighty badgers? I'll find out tomorrow if @chefwen is in a good mood.   

I enjoyed this one, though I started with Ship for SABU because I, too, remember visiting that beautiful three-master in San Diego as a kid.  Got KUNTA first (figuring that I could adjust if it was supposed go be KiNTe. Then LOKI (love the cat typing), then the entire SW.  Did okay on most, thought of @Ulrich and @Evgeny for obvious reasons, but stalled in the NW and had to Google for MR ROBOTO. Don't know the song or the album. Otherwise had a couple of nice aha! moments.

PG's write up made me laugh out loud. So did a bunch of you. Thanks.

Sparky 5:20 AM  

I didn't say #3 was okay, I said it was different.

I skip M-W 8:05 PM  

Did this puzz on Sunday, as had no access to AL or the paper on Sat. finished up with AnoukAimee. As for @Rex, Saladin and Loki were gimmes, (as was Assyria for me) surprised how many found Saladin obscure. Not much for TV ads, or SUVs, so tried Sidewinder first for 57A. Enjoyed locomotive and banjo pick as wellas iconoclast and hunkered. Thought 19A RINGBEARER might refer to Tolkien, so tried Treetorne , though vaguely knew was not spelled right (I read it fifty years ago) and though no Ent was a ringbearer. Press kits was nice. Nice writeup, PG except good friend works with alcoholics, and thus I'm not that crazy about drinking jokes. Never heard of Mr. Roboto, but enjoyed video.

captcha workelar means someone who gets no pay, except thanks.

NotalwaysrightBill 12:44 PM  

Lorgnettes held me up for the longest.

Learned EDUCT and HILUM today.

Still don't get how 12D Sur Citizen = OMANI.

Cartoon head imagining a JOEY bouncing around the back yard; gotta get 'im some baby boxin' gloves.

Enjoyed PG's filling in for Rex the last coupla days. Like her, I'm still sniggering at TATAS, especially with TEASEUP in the puzzle. Mean minds think alike.

Wikipedia 1:22 PM  

@N a r Bill -

Sur (Arabic: صور‎) is a capital city of Ash Sharqiyah Region, northeastern Oman, on the coast of the Gulf of Oman. It is located at around 22°34′0″N 59°31′44″E / 22.566667°N 59.52889°E / 22.566667; 59.52889, and is 93 miles (150 km) southeast of the Omani capital Muscat. Historically the city is known for being an important destination point for sailors. Today the sea still plays an important part of life in Sur.

Gil.I.Pollas 3:16 PM  

It's doubtful many will see this except our syndication friends but I wanted to chime in to say PuzzleGirl's write up yesterday and today was so funny. It must be hard to fill-in; you do match wits with Rex which can't always be easy?
It's Feb. 05 here but I hope all you Rex followers had a safe and happy New Year. Also, want to again thank @Rex for this incredible blog.
P.S. @PuzzleGirl your write up at 12:45 was spot on.

Marc 4:34 PM  

Being an old fuddy-duddy, I've never heard of "Mr. Roboto" or the album it came from. I remember a lot of hits from 1983 --- "Jeopardy", "Mexican Radio," "Down Under" ... but I've never listened to Styx. I did watch MTV in those days, but it still doesn't ring a bell.

I got the NE without much trouble, although I tried LORGNETTES for concert spectacles. I *have* seen "Pret-a-Porter", under its English title, "Ready to Wear", and as Sophia Loren didn't fit, Anouk Aimée was the next guess.

The MR. Roboto blocked things for some time. I had RR, and thinking I needed a vowel before that kept me from thinking outside of the box. It might have helped if I'd ever heard of the song.

NotalwaysrightBill 6:28 PM  

@ Wikpedia:

Thanks for performing my look-it-up-dummy! job for me about Sur and Omani. Another fine bit of geographical trivia under my belt.

Also, after looking up the definition of EDUCT, I'm now wondering whether our APLUS answer to [52D Educational ideal] would qualify as an EDUCT, in the non-chemical sense.

delymave 6:00 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
focusonline 8:37 AM  

really giving me a hard time .... any body here want to help a person who don't know the rules?

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