1937 Cole Porter tune / SUN 3-6-11 / Constant Gardener heroine / Portrayer in 2003's Elf / Hungarian city known for its thermal baths

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Constructor: David Levinson Wilk

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "For Your Edification" — theme answers are phrases beginning with a past participle ending in "-ED"; those phrases are reimagined (in the clues) as verb phrases involving guys named "ED"

Word of the Day: EGER (65A: Hungarian city known for its thermal baths) —

Eger (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈɛɡɛr]; German: Erlau; Turkish: Eğri ) is a city in northern Hungary, the county seat of Heves, east of the Mátra Mountains. Eger is best known for its castle, thermal baths, historic buildings (including the northernmost Turkish minaret), and red and white wines.
• • •
Theme is interesting, but didn't thrill me, mainly because the reimagined phrases are essentially the same as the original phrases (in terms of the context, and the meaning of all the words)—it's just now a guy named ED is involved. This makes TOUCH ED IN THE HEAD the odd man out, as the meaning of "TOUCH" changes in the new phrase. Otherwise, this one felt right over the plate for a Sunday, the one exception being the vast swaths of whiteness at the top and bottom of the grid. Those really stand out visually, and were much harder to solve. The N and NW in particular were thorny for me—like a completely separate little puzzle containing just the one theme answer. Clues on all the longer Acrosses were nowhere close to obvious for me, and the short Downs, which should have helped me cut right through things, somehow weren't as helpful as I'd expected. COAGULATE had a vague clue (1A: Thicken). PNC PARK ... who even knows what ballparks are named any more? (more important question: who outside of Pittsburgh, can tell anyone anything about the Pirates except that they lose an awful lot?) (10A: Pirates' home) I know OBSESSION as a scent, not a biography title (20A: 1994 biography of Calvin Klein). And "ROSALIE" was a no-hoper for me. Sounds vaguely familiar, but I couldn't hum it for you (21A: 1937 Cole Porter tune). Never heard of Lee COWAN (1D: Lee of NBC News). Did not know OBAMA's mom's name was Stanley (2D: U.S. president whose mother's first name was Stanley). Never would have occurred to me that TOE could be an acceptable "part of Italy" in a crossword (8D: Part of Italy where Cape Spartivento is). Forgot who NORMA Shearer was (11D: "The Divorcee" actress Shearer). RIV!? I ended up doing this section last, and knowing the theme was a Huge help in getting WANT ED DEAD OR ALIVE, which then made the rest of that stretch of land much more tractable.

I finished up top because my first pass at that section was a total failure. In fact, I solved this in a highly unorthodox fashion (for me). Ran into 3D: 109-Down portrayer in 2003's "Elf" and knew (five letters) immediately that the answer was ASNER and that 109-Down must be SANTA. This sent me down to the opposite corner of the grid ... and I just decided to stay there, building off SANTA and working my way up (instead of my usual down). The fill down there, and a few other places, gets a bit xwordy. I'm not sure words like ETAPE and ENNA should be anywhere near each other, let alone crossing. But mostly the fill is decent and the clues are often entertaining and contemporary. Many will scoff at THA, for instance, but I loved it. I once wondered aloud to someone (probably Brendan E. Quigley), if THACARTERIII would make an acceptable themeless entry. Pretty sure the answer was something like "On my site, yes, in the NYT, no." But that might not be true. Lil Wayne (I can't believe his name's not even in the clue!) is a superstar, and that album sold in the gajillions (around 3.5 million, actually). It also won the Grammy for Best Rap Album in 2009.

[Warning: Profanity!]

Also loved the clues on TAN (35D: Noted John Boehner feature) and RED (94D: Buttons on the big screen).

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Be willing to apprehend Mr. Bradley at any cost? (WANT ED DEAD OR ALIVE)
  • 31A: Punish Mr. Harris in a medieval way? (BURN ED AT THE STAKE) — speaking of Mr. Harris in a medieval way ...

  • 43A: Get Mr. Koch addicted to a modern reading method? (HOOK ED ON PHONICS)
  • 66A: Preside over Mr. O'Neill's baptism? (BLESS ED EVENT)
  • 75A: Do Mr. Sullivan's stand-up material? (CRACK ED JOKES)
  • 93A: Prohibit Mr. McMahon from ever socializing again? (GROUND ED FOR LIFE)
  • 103A: Perform brain surgery on Mr. Begley? (TOUCH ED IN THE HEAD)
  • 116A: Put Mr. Meese in an Armani suit? (DRESS ED TO THE NINES) — first theme answer I got, which seems fitting, as Mr. Meese is the crosswordiest ED of all.
  • 42A: Epitome of thinness (REED) — wanted RAIL, another such epitome
  • 74A: Letters on Ozzie Smith's cap (STL) — Hall-of-Famer, and probably the most famous shortstop of my youth ('80s!)
  • 129A: Brand name that used to be spelled out in commercials (NESTLE'S) — this ad is unintentionally hilarious for Several reasons, not least of which is the guy spells out NESTLE'S while repeatedly showing that the brand's actual name is the S-less NESTLE.

  • 14D: Noted Cosell interviewee (ALI) — A gimme. A great sports relationship.

  • 31D: Apiphobiac's fear (BEE) — APES = Latin for "BEES"
  • 33D: Auto last made in 1936 (REO) — You could ride around in your REO listening to "ROSALIE," I guess, though cars back then probably didn't have stereos...
  • 34A: "99 Luftballons" singer, 1984 (NENA) — You could hear German and English versions of this song on the radio in the mid-80s. A huge hit.
  • 49D: "Mogambo" threat (TSETSE) — That movie's about malaria? (I'm told I mean "sleeping sickness")
  • 56A: Retailer with a cat and dog in its logo (PETCO) — this is our pet store. I have a little PETCO card on my keychain. Recently earned my first free bag of dog food. Exciting, I know.
  • 92D: Household pets that need ultraviolet light in their cages (IGUANAS) — speaking of pets ... I'm not sure if PETCO carries these. As far as I'm concerned, there are two legitimate pets: cats and dogs. Everything else should be wild or eaten.
  • 110D: 1994 action flick with the tagline "Get ready for rush hour" ("SPEED") — This was a very good action movie. Also, I think it introduced the world to Sandra Bullock.
  • 111D: "The Constant Gardener" heroine (TESSA) — didn't read it, but loved the movie. Had no recollection of the character name, however.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


CoffeeLvr 1:08 AM  

Well, I still don't understand ETAPE as clued. Googling leads me to believe two things: it is mostly used now in crosswords, and when it is used, the clue would better be stated as "provisions for a military march." I wasn't seeing many movies in 1994, so StEED looked okay to me. I did successfully, slowly, figure out the North, so solving half of my stuck areas is some consolation.

I saw the theme at HOOKED ON PHONICS, and the theme did help. Hated, loathed, despised LIENEE. Great to see one of my favorite words here: EVOKE.

What a week of puzzling this has been. No point bringing up old controversies now. I had exactly eleven entries on the grid for Friday, plus OE for Roe or Doe, when I gave up. Seven and a half were right. All I could think of was pointyHAT!. Did not even try Saturday, too bad, looks somewhat doable in hindsight.

Many thanks to all who sent good wishes my way prior to my second cataract surgery. It went well enough; the tenderness is finally gone. Not to bore, but I have no memory of EVER seeing this well. I started wearing glasses at age 3, got contacts at 14. The myopic degeneration in my right eye remains uncorrectable, but I don't notice it unless I am looking at grid lines or window blinds.

I enjoyed Rex's interview on WordPlay earlier in the week. My former spouse and I did prison volunteer work for five or six years before parenthood and aging parents demanded those Saturdays. Very rewarding. A little tricky for a woman; must keep a certain demeanor and distance. I certainly admire RP's contributions.

chefwen 1:39 AM  

@CoffeeLvr - Continued success in your recovery, it takes a while.

Loved this one, my one complaint was that it was over too quickly. I finished before wine thirty was nigh and I had nothing to do except read my "head down in shame" People Magazine, a guilty pleasure of mine.

Messed up at 116A with DRESSED TO THE teeth. Always thought that it was teched in the head, but that might be regional.

Anyway, good solid Sunday Puzzle and am looking forward to next week. Aren't we all!

lit.doc 2:02 AM  

So close, and yet so far. Gave up after an hour with nine squares unfilled in center west. Figured out the theme device early on, but it was of both limited help and limited interest.

There were some high-quality, time-killing wrong answers available in this one, including but not limited to 39A DEBTOR, 75A CREATED ED JOKES, and 79D EXPECTATION (abetted by 79A EPEE).

BTW, PNC PARK? Really? Clue/answer pairs like this really limit the shelf life of puzzles, given the fickleness of the corporate-sponsorship marketplace. Even storied SHEA stadium has to be clued in the past tense now. Why do constructors and editors embed such evanescent stuff in their product?

Morgan 2:49 AM  

I thought this was both extremely easy (17:30 is only a couple minutes off my fastest Sunday) and really lame! The theme, at least, because the answers don't feel like they're changed from what the phrases normally mean, as Rex points out.

jae 3:49 AM  

Easy for me also except for the middle which took a little more work. I liked the theme and caught it early which helped with the solving process.

@CoffeeLvr -- I just had my second cataract surgery in Jan. I can now read my IPAD at midnight with no external aids. Technology is amazing. A word to those younger than 50--if you haven't been wearing sunglasses start NOW!

Gareth Bain 5:07 AM  

Correction: TSETSE flies transmit sleeping sickness and nagana. Anopheles mosquitoes transmit malaria.

johnranta 6:04 AM  

I guess I was the only one bothered by "essai" in French. If the clue had been "Montaigne ouevre", I would have expected the French form of the word. But the clue was "Montaigne work", asking for the English "essay". JR

JenCT 6:25 AM  

The NW corner was the last to fall for me - COAGULATE took a long time.

Knew PNC PARK from watching sports.

Inlaws went to EGER, so that was in my memory banks somewhere.

Funny: for 17D, I was mentally going through everyone in the Jackson 5 (Tito, Marlin, etc.) and came up with Michael last! Go figure.

Liked the clue for 87A (PETA).

Glimmerglass 6:39 AM  

@Morgan: Yes, indeed. My fastest Sunday ever, about a half an hour. The theme was easy to see and filled the grid quickly. Only TOUCH ED IN THE HEAD was difficult, and that because it was off base. This was just a long Monday or Tuesday. Even the obscure (to me) answers fell to crosses.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:21 AM  

Just one write-over: Working from PNC_A_K, I put in PNCBANK before PNCPARK.

Rant, not to the point: We saw the new NYT Magazine with this puzzle. As a commenter had given us a heads-up earlier, not completely surprised, but "everything changed except the puzzle," including the loss of the On Language column. Also, the overall look of the mag has been changed in a way that appears to me similar to the recent revamp of Scientific American, that is, it all looks like the paid advertisements that appeared in the NYT Mag in the past - you know, the ones extolling at length the economic prospects of Togo or whatever. Makes it very difficult for me to see at first glance what is editorial and what is advertising. Also reminds me of the days when they started changing the appearance of the Saturday Evening Post every few months - the death rattles of a magazine.

(And what the heck is the point of putting a time stamp at the end of every letter to the editor? - Sorry, every "Reply all.")

End of rant; back to crosswords.

Anonymous 8:15 AM  

Saw the theme pretty early on, and it was helpful in completing the puzzle, but it's blah. There must be any number of familiar phrases with a past tense verb that could have worked here. I wanted there to be some significance to the particular Ed in each clue, or something.

I recall the N-E-S-T-L-E-S jingle from my youth when it was used in an ad for Quik. That product, I think, was labeled "Nestle's Quik."

I thought "Thicken" was a reasonable clue at 1A, and got it after getting COWAN, LSD and AID crosses. Then spent the longest time trying to think of a president's name that starts with "O" - duh!

mmorgan 8:23 AM  

Filled in huge chunks of this very quickly, but the theme answers just weren't coming. First got the pattern with DRESSED TO THE NINES -- before that, I was assuming that an extra ED was going to be tacked on somewhere.

The theme answers came surprisingly slowly, but each produced a reasonably pleasant "Duh, of course!" head-slap.

A few innocent (or dumb) errors slowed me up -- e.g., LED IN for HAD IN at 104D, thinking that 53A would begin with HIDE, ATL (just a guess) at 74A, LIENEr at 39A, among others.

I wasn't sure about the first E in ETAPE (144A) or (especially) the second O in ALOHAOE (91A) -- which just didn't and doesn't look right -- but Mr Happy Pencil made a welcome visit.

Overall, pretty easy, but what was so interesting was how common phrases became wacky while requiring no alteration. Some weren't impressed, but I thought it was nice.

joho 8:29 AM  

The last to get were the P and N at PNCPARK. Not knowing ROSALIE I held on to itSALIE for too long. Then I remembered NORMA, got PROUD and finished.

Enjoyable Sunday, thank you, David Levinson Wilk!

Matthew G. 8:48 AM  

Like several others, I set a personal Sunday record today, crossing a certain important benchmark. I think the key was the theme -- it was so clear to me so quickly, I was able to fill in most of the theme entries with no crosses, and the other ones took only one or two crosses. So I had footholds throughout the grid right away, and then went to town. Perhaps for the reason Rex notes, TOUCH ED IN THE HEAD was the only theme entry that stymied me for a bit.

Almost no stumbling blocks today. Didn't know ETAPE or ENNA, but guessed the "E" at their crossing because nothing else seemed plausible. Never heard of THA Carter (oh, I get it, Lil Wayne's real last name is Carter), but the crosses were undeniable. Not familiar with ROSALIE either, so I'd have been in big trouble in that area if I weren't a baseball guy -- PNC PARK was a gimme (and @lit.doc, I hear what you're saying, but PNC PARK is one stadium that has never changed names since it opened, and is by all accounts a gem, unlike the team that plays in it).

Otherwise, there was nothing to get hung up on here.

I liked, did not love, but liked, this puzzle. David Levinson Wilk is usually a "wavelength" guy for me (hip-hop references aside), and today was no exception, although this was definitely an easy-listening theme for him.

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

@Bob K.
I guess you didn't notice that the sunday puzzle HAS changed... fonts in heading, clue and square numbers.

Bob Kerfuffle 8:58 AM  

@Anonymous, 8:54 AM - Yes, I did notice, but I was quoting the Editor's Letter (headline) on page 8.

Fonts aside, at least they saved the crossword, unlike the Atlantic Monthly, which I can attest lost at least one subscriber when they dumped their Puzzler.

christelb_devlin 9:00 AM  

I spun a few extra cycles thinking that a pirate's home was an ENCLAVE.

Evgeny 9:01 AM  

@ RP: love the "legitimate pets" bit. Now the images of gracious rogue hamsters grazing the plains and their poor domesticated sibling mercilessly herded just to end up on someone's dinner plate are in my head for the day...

Lindsay 9:12 AM  

SW corner was nearly my Waterloo. ALOHAOE is ..... correct? Crossing EAN, LOA Might-be-Kea, and LES Someone-Obscure? Thank god for CHAKA Khan.

The theme fell a little flat for me, perhaps because I'd never heard of many of the EDs.

@CoffeLvr -- I'm glad your surgery went well.

@Bob K --Until the Magazine comes up with a functional index I'll assume they don't want me to read the articles. I can't say the new version is worse than the old, but it's still uninformative.

@JenCT -- I filled in "GermAin"!

Tobias Duncan 9:26 AM  

Rex asked:"... who even knows what ballparks are named any more?
Not Tobias I can tell you that.Most of my sports knowledge comes from crosswords. I had no idea that there was even a team called the pirates. I just googled them and I can tell you those uniforms need to be redesigned.If I was as rich as Bill Gates say, I would buy that team an make them wear puffy shirts and full pirate regalia.They would also be made to say ARRRRRRRRGGGG as they rounded the bases.

Maggie 9:44 AM  

At my house, we, in similar fashion to Anonymous at 8:15, also were rather disappointed that the particular Eds mentioned had nothing whatsoever to do with the theme answers.

Hate the new NYTimes format, except for the larger puzzle--now I can see the numbers in the grid!

Re: the new format--Among the rest of the junk in today's magazine, there is a particularly inane section called Who Said That? wherein readers are asked to match people to things they've said. Included are some mutterings by Charlie Sheen and the "words" uttered by that poor reporter who suffered the on-air migraine that caused her to speak unintelligibly for several moments.
Seriously--they transcribed her syllables and printed them out for us read! I had to check to make sure I wasn't reading something published by the Post or USA Today!

Isabella di Pesto 9:58 AM  

Ed Sullivan cracked jokes? He was about as funny as an undertaker. If that's the Sullivan referred to in the puzzle. Is there a contemporary Ed Sullivan who is a comedian?

My daughter had a pet iguana, so that was easy.

Got the theme pretty quickly, but found most of the clues and answers pretty lame.

Funniest was the Boehner clue.


Anonymous 10:02 AM  

Just piping in to agree with the Cats/Dogs or Wild/Food dicotomy. It reminds me of a friend's story, where the children had Guinea Pigs that they had outgrown. A day worker from central America was in the house showing them much interest. As the kids no longer had any interest in the pets, they were offered to this man. He graciously accepted them, took them out of their cages and put one in either pocket. When asked if he didn't want the cages, tunneling, execrcise wheels etc, he just smiled and said no thanks.

jackj 10:14 AM  

Pretty ho-hum puzzle.

Nice to be reminded that, when Sicily is in the clue, ETNA is not the automatic answer. ENNA, since it lies smack in the middle of Sicily, is fondly known by the natives as Sicily's belly button.

CFXK 10:16 AM  

Found a lot to dislike about this puzzle, but will just mention one bit of sloppiness.

Saturday Night Live is not FILMED at 30 Rock; it is broadcast LIVE from 30 Rock (hence the name).

And any prerecording of skits and recording of the show for reruns/posterity is done on tape, not film.

SMS 10:19 AM  

Could be my mood, but I just didn't enjoy this one much. A few good clues--I agree that the Boehner clue was fun, for instance--but the "Ed" phrases just left me cold. I found i could pick most of them out way before getting the crosses, but they didn't have that revelatory zing you get from a great puzzle. And there was an awful lot that seemed more obscure than clever here...for me at least...

CoolPapaD 10:21 AM  

Finished this morning after going to sleep with the West unfinished. I had HIDES__P and a total blank in the TSETSE column, and when I looked at it this morning with fresh eyes, it seemed to fill itself in within a minute of so - AMAZING how that works!

I have never heard the expression "touched in the head," to mean someone is a bit off - had to look it up after completion. Otherwise, loved the concept and execution!

Thanks to Jon Stewart for making many Boehner jokes!

chefbea 10:22 AM  

Finally a puzzle I could finnish!! Got the theme at dressed to the nines.

I like the new format of the magazine. Be sure to check out the soups!!!

Lois 10:44 AM  

The font makes it hard to differentiate O and Q in the acrostic in the NYT Magazine.

Mr. Ed 11:36 AM  

Apropos RNC Park or whatever, the real question is why anybody cared about the names of baseball parks in the first case ;-)

Why carve out a special exception for cats and dogs? The USA and some other cultures are ridiculously pet-obsessed (pet-pecked?), but in other cultures cats and dogs are not, um, sacred cows. Look up "Dog meat" and "Cat meat" on Wikipedia; e.g. the latter page notes “In January 2004, Reuters reported that 'Swiss culinary traditions include puppies and kittens.'” As long as we're reinterpreting standard phrases, think of the possibilities for "cat food" and "dog food"…

gpo 11:47 AM  

This one took me about half an hour to get one quarter, then went down easily. I stared at "oned" for about 5 minutes until I realized it was "One-D." I thought I was about to get pwned by this puzzle.

About the new magazine: Dear God: Thank you for making that lady with the snarky "Questions For" everybody go away. I hope she is very happy doing something that I don't know about

MikeM 11:53 AM  

Like Rex, I got the ASNER/SANTA redirect and worked from the Southeast upwards. I thought for sure the Boehner clud had to do with his constant crying (why IS this thinskinned guy a politician at all?). I did cheat and look up the fatcell clue and wound up with an error...LuA for LOA. But the puzzle was kind of easy, kept moving. Do people really use the term ALEKEG?

Glitch 11:54 AM  

While @CFXK is correct that SNL is broadcast LIVE, it is also [video]taped for re-broadcast on weeks when there is no new show.

It is never filmed.

Reminds me of overhearing a tour guide explain the "hose" attached to the cameras was where the film went out of the camera to the control room.


Ulrich 11:55 AM  

Whenever I read about the Pirates these days, I'm reminded of the glory days I experienced when I was living in Pittsburgh and the Pirates, with an outfield made up of Bonds, Bonilla, and van Slyke (I hope I remember that correctly), played twice in the so-called World Series under Jim Leland, losing twice. The sight of Leland crying like a castle dog (as the Germans say) after the second loss will forever stay with me...

Greene 11:56 AM  

I had a rare (for me) malapop at 42A where I plopped in ONE D for the clue "epitome of thinness." I suppose the clue would have had a question mark if that were the real answer. All became clear when I got to 47D.

I found BURNED AT THE STAKE to be a rather morbid partner to Wednesday's ICY DEAD PEOPLE. Now if only the Times could come up with a more temperate way to kill people. Something ala Goldilocks and the Three Bears perhaps? "Mmm these firing squads are juuust right."

I sympathize with Rex's comment about "who even knows what ballparks are named any more." To me, a sports arena or ballpark should bear the name of the team or a great hero of the sport. Such designations, aside from the honor they bring to the sports icon, serve to remind fans of the rich heritage of their sport. I don't think PNC PARK reminds anybody of much, except perhaps of the wholesale corporatization of American culture.

Sadly, the same phenomenon exists on Broadway and I cringe every time I walk into The American Airlines Theatre or (God help us) The Snapple Theater Center. Ugh, part of me just wants to whip out a pellet gun and take out these offensive marquees. Fortunately, artistic considerations have prevailed with the recent renamings of several theatres including The August Wilson, The Al Herschfeld, and The Stephen Sondheim. All richly deserved and timely reminders to theatergoers of the rich Broadway legacy.

Okay, rant is over. Here's Nelson Eddy singing Porter's Rosalie. This 1937 film version of the 1928 Ziegfeld extravaganza ditched the score by George Gershwin and Sigmund Romberg for new songs by Cole Porter (without much improvement, I might add).

CoolPapaD 12:05 PM  

I was about to comment how floored I was that OPEDS (89A) was "allowed" to have "opinion" in both the clue and the answer. Realizing that WS had to know more than I did, I Googled, only to find that OP-ED stands for opposite the editorial page, and not opinion-editorial. Learn something new .... Anyone else, or just me?

Rube 12:27 PM  

Started this last night and got about half-way through when gave up. Restarted this morning and quickly finished without Googles. Usually I get bored with a Sunday puzzle but today it went fast enough that once I got the theme I stayed with it till the end.

Like Rex, my hang-up was the NW, but that was because I had Santa where ASNER should go... never saw Elf.

Had the exact opposite experience as @Lindsay in the SW. ALOHAOE, a gimme, resolved the Kea/LOA issue, FATCELL seemed correct and needed all the crosses to get CHAKA Khan. Probably a generational thing.

@CoolPapaD, I too questioned OPED at the time. Thanks for the clarification.

Thought the THEME was mediocre but the fill quite good, ASPIRATION is the kind of long fill answer that make a CW enjoyable.

Vegan 12:32 PM  

@Mr. Ed - While you may be factually correct, I would strongly suggest that you not attend Le Festive de Viande de Cheval in Paris this year, where your thesis will be discussed. You may get invited to dinner.

David 12:33 PM  

am fortunate to have watched Lee Cowan on NBC many times, so the O in Cowan and the S in Asner gave be Obsession and Obama very quickly, then the first themed answer (Want Ed Dead or Alive), and I was off to the races. Finished in about 20 minutes, on an exercise bike at the gym. Tough SW corner for me as well, only knew Chaka Khan off the top and misspelled Euclid-ian and Ecuador-ian briefly, before iguana saved me. Had run across Enna and Etape once or twice in puzzles. All in all, cute but very simple theme.

mmorgan 12:39 PM  

I am finding that more and more people are saying they are "filming" when they're shooting video. I can't stand it, and I try to correct them, but the verb "to film" is (sadly) taking on a more general sense of capturing any moving images, regardless of whether or not celluloid is involved. (And, of course, most "films" are shot and edited digitally these days.)

I'm surprised by how many found this "lame." My initial reaction was also not positive, but on reflection I really appreciated what the constructor accomplished in making us re-see common phrases without changing them.

(I was also glad to get ROSALIE off the O alone -- it helps to know Cole Porter! CHAKA or THA on the other hand... who??)

Rex Parker 12:42 PM  

We use "dial" all the time even though no one has "dialed" a phone in decades. It's not technically accurate. But there it is.

Even "dial-up" internet (now mostly bygone) was inaptly named at the time.

So, yes, "film" = "shoot," to many, whether it's accurate or you like it or not. (though I am remaining neutral on question of whether this particular clue — SNL's clue — was a problem)


Anonymous 1:09 PM  

SNL is [Taped/Filmed] for delayed broadcast to the west coast each and every time.

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

This was by my standards an easy one that also had a rather lame theme. Solved almost all without any help but needed some googling to get the NW and SW corners right.
Got the theme early on with HOOK ED ON PHONICS. Knowing this helped me a lot in moving along. Agree with Rex that just adding ED did not really add any level of interest or creativity in the theme answers. Long stretches of 3 letters Down entries made for a rather laborious and less than exciting solving experience.
Interestingly I had OBAMA as the last entry. Just blanked out on our current president.
Tough Monday, very tough Friday/Saturday for me.

CoffeeLvr 1:46 PM  

@CoolPapaD, thanks for the clarification on OPED - I left it blank for the same reason until the crosses forced the entry.

@Vegan, you certainly warned @Mr. Ed! So much of "taste" is cultural. While there may be many reasons to criticize Michelle Rhee (Please, I am NOT trying to hijack the blog, let's not go there) one of them is NOT that she killed a bee in her classroom and then ate it. Oops, now I may have offended Vegan and others who eschew all living creatures, a position I respect but do not share.

I am leaving the keyboard now!

mitchs 1:47 PM  

@CoolPapaD - nice catch!

archaeoprof 1:57 PM  

@Rex: thanks for the clip of Cosell and Ali. Watched "Secretariat" last night, which also took me back to that era.

BTW, seems like I can remember the names of ballparks that:
1) keep the same name for a long time
and 2) are sites of important games.

Anonymous 1:59 PM  

re: OPED, I just thought it was odd in an "ED" themed puzzle! re: Obama's mother; I believe her name was Ann and her father's first name was Stanley? So I just don't get the clue....

CFXK 2:05 PM  

her name was Stanley Ann Dunham, named after her father because her father wanted a boy. Through high school she used the name Stanley, but upon entering college starting referring to herself more and more as Ann

Masked and Anonymous 2:33 PM  

Constructor friend Erul suggests a theme entry to keep TOUCHEDINTHE HEAD from bein' the odd man out:

x-Across: Train a mister to be a TV speaker?


Happy B-Day, Will Eisner. (See Google screen.)

Clark 2:44 PM  

@CoffeeLvr -- I appreciate that you "Hated, loathed, despised LIENEE." Nevertheless, it is an interesting word/clue. "Person with a mortgage, e.g." was the clue. Technically, the person with the mortgage is the mortgagee/lender/lienor. The mortgage comes into being with its being granted to the creditor. It is a dead [mort] grant [gage], that is, a grant that dies when the underlying debt is paid off. The mortgage is granted to the lender. The holder of the mortgage is the lender/mortgagee.

But the mortgagee is also the lienor. The lien binds the collateral; the lienor is the one that has a bond on the property of another as security for what the other owes to the lienor. So the clue must be taking the 'having' of a mortgage in the informal sense of everyday talk: "Do you [homeowner, lienee] have a mortgage?" Either that or somebody has their lienors and lienees reversed.

[wv: oubpend -- law dutch for reversing the meaning of a pair of legal terms]

Sparky 3:09 PM  

Knew ROSALIE was a song and a show but surprised Cole Porter was invovled. I can sing a little bit of it and it's pretty corny. Thanks for clearing things up @Greene.

Was chugging along thinking Neil Patrick Harris, Eugene O'Neill, till Begely, McMahon, and Koch gave me my Oooooooh moment. Not quite an Aha. _TAPE/_NNA Natick for me. Mostly worked from the bottom up. An okay Sunday for me.

Anonymous 3:21 PM  

@Isabella di Pesto: Maybe 75A should have been clued, "Make fun of Mr. Sullivan."

Mary in NE

Jenny 3:31 PM  

I seem to have been the only one, but I was (and remain) irked by BLESS ED EVENT. The other theme entries parse very smoothly and all in the same way. That one, not so much. Hook Ed on phonics, cool. Bless Ed ... what?

Otherwise, fun and easy puzzle.

Frank Lynch 3:42 PM  

Cosell: "Mohammed, would you describe yourself as 'peripatetic'?"

Ali: "Howard, I don't know what that is, but if it's good, I'm it."

foodie 3:47 PM  

I agree that the choice of ED to fit the given expression seemed random in most cases. That took the fun out of it.

Never thought of brain surgery as "TOUCHEDINTHEHEAD". I think if more of the theme answers had done that-- i.e. changed the meaning in a quirky way, it would have been a lot more fun. But as Rex noted, this was the only case.

Whatever I feel about the magazine (have'nt decided yet) I'm happy that last page LIVES is still there. I usually really enjoy it and (IMO) today's was very moving.

Glitch 4:05 PM  


Careful, Rex is liable to call one of those "film/tape" cards on you.


SethG 4:34 PM  

I liked it fine, except for that 1930s section.

Skua 4:40 PM  

OPED didn't bother me. Neither did SPEED,YESWEDO, REED, ONED,RED, and UNBAKED.

CoffeeLvr 5:10 PM  

Thanks, Clark. I didn't spend any time thinking it through or looking it up in the middle of the night, just reacting. Derivation from dead grant is very interesting to me.

So, correct answer to "Do you have a mortgage?" is "No, the bank has it."

Sort of reminds me of my response when people ask "Do you own your town home?" "Well, mostly the bank does."

three and out

mac 5:39 PM  

I found this a fine, albeit easy Sunday puzzle, with the only tough spot the PNC Park, Rosalie, Norma and CSA section. And Riv?

Of the theme answers, Hook Ed on phonics struck me as the funniest, and the only ones I thought didn't work well Crack Ed jokes and Bless Ed events.

I was surprised the ethicist was replaced, thought the whole colums was gone. I also don't miss Deborah Solomon much, but I'm happy the Lives section survived.

@Greene: thank you for Rosalie!


Clark 6:05 PM  

@CoffeeLvr -- I should correct myself (and so I will). I said gage was 'grant', but it is really 'pledge'. A pledge is a kind of grant or conveyance; I was thinking too fast.

CoolPapaD 6:13 PM  

@foodie - I'm holding you, and the author of that piece, responsible for making me tear up on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Stan 7:01 PM  

Puzzle is quite okay -- your basic NYT Sunday with some fine, funny moments.

But I'm with @Jenny on BLESS ED EVENT. I can't seem to parse this as a verb, no matter how I try (unless ED EVENT is referring to the baptism). Anyway, I think it would have been better clued as a noun.

We are big fans of PetSmart (not PetCo) which in these parts is affiliated with our local favorite animal shelter (blatant plug: AWS, Kennebunk, ME). Reportedly, PetSmart has had great success getting cats adopted out -- and not just cute kittens. You can't beat malls for floor traffic...

Octavian 8:55 PM  

Very easy and very fun puzzle -- not mutually exclusive concepts.

Some people seem to think a puzzle has to be hard to be fun. I thought it was a clever theme, well executed, with plenty of amusing misdirection in the cluing to give it texture.

Two thumbs and one tan Boehner up.

TimJim 9:01 PM  

@Jenny: I agree, that theme answer didn't track.

mac 9:04 PM  

@Foodie: I agree, that Lives piece was very moving. With you, CoolPapaD.

Carrie 9:06 PM  

Just discovered this site and I am thrilled. Love reading all your comments. My only problem: Hooked on Phonics is modern? Kept trying to work Kindle into the answer.

And what is ALOHAOE?

Cool Dude 9:06 PM  

I got a little thrill doing this puzzle in Brooklyn Heights this morning.

JaxInL.A. 10:14 PM  

@Greene, thanks for speaking my thoughts about the names of major landmarks, especially sports arenas and theatres.  Back before the broader culture forgot about the value of public spaces and areas where people gathered for purposes other than commerce, we named things after notable people or events.  Now only Ronald Reagan seems to merit this sort of recognition.  Sigh.

@Masked and Anonymous, THANKS for the heads up about Google's tribute to Will Eisner! I would not have seen it otherwise. Love that guy. 

Late posting today. Thanks to all.  

foodie 10:51 PM  

Rex, I'm sorry this has nothing to do with the puzzle, but it's regarding that Lives article in the Magazine.

@CoolPapaD and mac, it was particularly moving to me because we had a similar experience in our family. When my daughter was in college in NY, she was flying into La Guardia and realized she had lost her wallet. She found a way to get to her dorm with no money and within a few hours of her calling home with her tale of woe, we got a call from someone speaking in broken English with a Hispanic accent. The woman told me that she was calling for her husband who speaks no English, but who cleans airplanes at La Guardia. She said he found a wallet and it had our phone number in it. He was at the end of his shift and brought it home because he knew that sometimes when he had turned in wallets, things disappeared from them in the Airline's Lost and Found. She said she wanted to know where they should mail it. I thanked her profusely, gave her my daughter's address and asked for hers so we could send them a check to express our gratitude and compensate them for the cost of mailing the wallet. She completely refused-- no problem, no problem, she kept saying, not even the mailing cost... Sure enough, my daughter got her wallet, contents intact, a couple of days later... I hope the world has been kind to this family. They certainly deserve it!

Tita 11:42 PM  

@foodie- wonderful story...

@coffrelvr- good luck with your convalescence! My 87 yr old mom is 6 weeks into recuperation from surgery - it's a tough road... maintain good spirits!

Tita 11:44 PM  

Did anyone else hear CarTalk, and the lead-off joke? It was the joke from a recent weekday puzzle...the woman seeing a new doctor, high school, etc...

I didn't think it funny then - but with Tom & Ray's delivery, and their laughter, it sounded much funnier...

Stephen 2:39 AM  

I was happy enough with the theme. It gave me lots of letters.

I failed to find any source that claimed that "military march" is ETAPE.
I failed to find any common usage of STRATI.
I have no clue why "buttons on the big screen" are RED. What big screen??

I skip M-W 3:50 AM  

I loved Deborah Solomon's column and will miss it, or rather her, since it seems others have taken it up. I'd call her questions punchy not snarky. Looking at the theme and then the theme questions, I saw that the e answer was Ed in every case, even before filling anything in. So Ed had to appear in answers, and that became pretty easy, once it became clear that it was just to replace a past tense. It seemed to go lickety split, except for the NW, where for some reason as my first answer I put in Take ED dead or alive, so I thought the point might be some rhyme. Quickly disabused of that, zipped around puzzle until back to NW, where put in Adams as Pres, before realized that Calvin Kline bio couldn't be Admission. the remembered Obama's mother's name. would have been more interesting had there been a possibility of more variety in past tense endings. And aren't there any female Eds?

I skip M-W 3:51 AM  

@stephen Red Buttons, the actor and comedian.

FWIW this late 9:09 AM  




2. Supplies issued to troops on the march; hence (Mil.), the
place where troops on the march halt over night; also, by
extension, the distance marched during a day.
[Webster 1913 Suppl.]

strati pl. of stratus.
stratus a low-lying extended gray cloud formation with a relatively flat bottom.

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

Would someone please explain EMERSION as the answer to ACT OF COMING OUT (83A)? Having a "dumb" day!

Stephen 10:39 AM  

Anonymous: The EMERSION question is easy: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/emersion, although it's true that the word I tried hard to put in there was EMERGING.

I skip M-W: Thanks for the clue-in on RED Buttons. Never heard of him.

FWIW: Have you ever heard someone speak of "a stratus"? I have heard it only as an adjective. Even jargonizing meteorologists will use it only in a form where the adjective is temporarily promoted to a noun. And furthermore, no English speaker this side of Chaucer has ever expounded on "the strati" he witnessed. Notwithstanding http://www.thefreedictionary.com/stratus. Find me a usage!

Anonymous 6:18 PM  

First thought "Pirates' home" was SOMALIA. Luckily, I know baseball & fixed it!

Anonymous 9:26 PM  

91D Elvis sings it in "Blue Hawaii"

"Aloha 'Oe (Farewell to Thee)" is a traditional Hawaiian song written by Lili'uokalani. It is one of the Hawaiian songs Elvis performs in "Blue Hawaii" as it coincides with the film's location. (It's also included on the sound track album). You can listen to his performance here: http://tinyurl.com/AlohaOe

"strati pl of stratus"

So if we were discussing the 90's Cloud Cars, we'd refer to groups of them as Dodge "Strati" and Chrysler "Cirri?"

Ty 7:14 PM  

I live in a town where we can't get the NYT, so I get the Sunday edition only through the mail (And don't get to read it until the following Saturday, hence the reason I'm just commenting). I rarely complete a Sunday puzzle, but did this one in about an hour. I thought it was just the right amount of difficult (kept me entertained without being frustrating enough for me to quit), but I questioned the same clues Rex did. I had to come here to find out who "The Divorce" actress is and to check on "Essai," and "Etape." For the life of me, I can't understand why "red" is a button on a big screen, but I loved the John Bohener clue, knew Obama's mother's name, and laughed at "hook ed on phonics."

JenCT 9:30 PM  

@Ty: Red Buttons was a comedian & actor.

Normand Houle 11:54 PM  

Pretty sure demolition man (1993) introduced the world to Sandra Bullock (with Snipes/Stallone)

I liked the idea and the grid. pleasant/easy sunday


Dirigonzo 11:06 AM  

Syndicated solvers lost an hour of sleep last night so I'm blaming my DNF on sleep deprivation. The theme was a big help in solving, even though it left me it left me a little flat. In the end the Doo-wop syllable totally eluded me (I had entered Doo, despite it being in the clue) and that kept me from seeing PROUD and NORMA, and while I had ---PARK in place, PNC was a total mystery.

I think I'll go take a nap now.

Anonymous 1:49 PM  

@Skua: And 'Ed' Asner.

Anonymous 6:48 PM  

I am 65 years old and stuff about Cole Porter and Howard Cosell really predate me. There were so many things in this crossword I didn't like, I don't know where to begin. BUT I did like Obama's mother. That was clever and I had to Google it. Didn't get the THA and I still don't know what it is.

Anonymous 11:28 PM  

For me, the only theme answers that worked were the past participles that are normally pronounced as two syllables:
"wanted dead or alive", "blessed event", and "grounded for life".

Chick in Easton 2:56 AM  

I'm a month after-the-fact, so no one will see this. But if you do, can you please explain 47D "linear"?

gpo commented that the answer is "One D." But that still means nothing to me. It can't be "one dimensional," because something linear must be two dimensional.


Euclid 3:41 AM  

CiE: 0D is a dot, 1D is a line, 2D is a plane, & 3D is a solid.

Einstein (Yeah, sure!) 6:41 AM  

@Euclid - But since time is the fourth dimension, it is actually the first dimension, since if something does not exist in time, it does not exist, except possibly in the imagination, but then that square root of minus one gets so complicated! Just kidding . . . or am I?

Of course, in crosswords, where complexities are brushed aside, you are completely correct.

Chick in Easton 5:20 PM  

Okay. I see your point (no pun intended). Thanks.

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