Asian gambling mecca / SUN 4-24-11 / Homey's rep / Rocky of song / Nickname for Baryshnikov / Seedcase that inspired Velcro / Intaglio seals

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Constructor: Caleb Madison and J.A.S.A. Crossword Class

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Use It Or Lose It" — "IT" is added to common phrases in top half of grid, and subtracted from common phrases in the bottom half of the grid, resulting in wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style


Word of the Day: OBITER dictum (66D: ___ dictum (incidental remark)) —

n., pl., obiter dicta.
  1. Law. An opinion voiced by a judge that has only incidental bearing on the case in question and is therefore not binding. Also called dictum.
  2. An incidental remark or observation; a passing comment.

[Latin, something said in passing : obiter, in passing + dictum, something said, from neuter past participle of dīcere, to say.] (answers.com)

• • •

Caleb showed me this grid at the ACPT back in March, and I instantly loved it. Wonderful variation on the add-a-letter-type theme—a puzzle where the title is perfect, even essential, instead of forced or awkward. Most impressed with POLITE DANCER (because of the base phrase) and PULPIT FICTION (a beautiful phrase which should already be the title of something by now) and CENTER OF GRAVY (for the sheer existential impossibility of it all). Also loving much of the longer Down fill, especially RED LABEL, "SLEEP TIGHT," STREET CRED (123A: Homey's rep) and the awesomely umlauted MÖTLEY CRÜE (30D: Group with the 6x platinum album Dr. Feelgood). Not so fond of LEARNER'S PERM, if only for the lack of punctuation in the grid, which means I can see only LEARNER SPERM when I look at it. There's some less than ideal stuff around the edges of the grid, but the only answer I'd never seen before was OBITER dictum, and that seems like something I should know, so I don't hate it so much.


Theme answers:
  • 23A: Electrical paths in New York City? (BIG APPLE CIRCUITS) — not being a New Yorker, I'm not sure how I've heard of "Big Apple Circus," but I have.
  • 33A: Spill a Cuban drink? (LOSE ONE'S MOJITO)
  • 41A: One who says "Beg your pardon" after stepping on your toes? (POLITE DANCER)
  • 63A: Preachers' lies? (PULPIT FICTION)
  • 73A: What a mashed potato serving may have? (CENTER OF GRAVY)
  • 94A: Hairdresser's first do? (LEARNER'S PERM)
  • 102A: Author Amy's family squabble? (CLASH OF THE TANS)
  • 117A: The Miracles? (SMOKEY AND THE BAND) — this one I didn't like so much, since I know the Miracles as an adjunct entity, separate and back-up; but before 1965 the band was simply known as "The Miracles," so the clue works if you exclude the years '65-'72.

JASA = Jewish Association for Services for the Aged, not, as you might have suspected, the Jane Austen Society of Australia or Jim Abernathy's Scuba Adventures. Caleb has taught a crossword construction course for them for what seems like a few years now (hard to imagine given that Caleb's just 17, but I'm sure this is at least his third go 'round ... it might not be strictly annual). Caleb's off to Yale in the fall, so (I'm told) young (but not So young) Ian Livengood will be taking over as JASA crossword guru in the coming years. Ian will have big, if goofy, shoes to fill—of the three JASA puzzles Caleb has shepherded through thus far, I definitely like this one the best.

Several non-theme answers either impressed me or made me smile. Somehow, the full name of ALI MACGRAW seems magisterial (19A: Steve McQueen's ex-wife and co-star in "The Getaway"). Starts out very crossword-friendly before getting very crinkly in the middle and finally resolving with an "-AW." The clue on GAZEBO is close to perfect (36A: Shelter that's often octagonal)—I couldn't imagine what it was looking for, until I got it, and then thought, "of course." Clue on BIGOT is clever if a bit ... restricted (3D: One who sees everything in black and white?). 8D: Rocky of song made me incredibly happy, in that I thought "who the hell could that be ... [jokingly] RACCOON? ... OMG it *is* RACCOON! Sweet."


Bullets:
  • 10A: Nickname for Baryshnikov (MISHA) — one of many names, almost all of them well known to me. All crossworders should know Mordant Mort by now (SAHL). I own work by both Baker and Loos (ANITA), and while the clue at 82A: Comics character who said "Big sisters are the crab grass in the lawn of life" (LINUS) was not immediately transparent to me, with crosses the answer came easily. One name I didn't know: EDUARDO (38D: Facebook co-founder Saverin). SAVERIN seems like a name that might show up some day...
  • 51A: Seedcase that inspired Velcro (BUR) — BUR always, always looks wrong to me. Like it's missing a letter. Maybe I'm thrown off because I simply see BRR and BURR in the puzzle so much more often.
  • 90A: Cookie first baked in Manhattan's Chelsea district (OREO) — wow. Your move, next person who has to clue OREO.
  • 10D: Asian gambling mecca (MACAO) — I knew this was a Portuguese colony, but had No idea it was known for gambling.
  • 15D: Volcano near Aokigahara forest (MT. FUJI) — good example of a clue that looks much more daunting than it is. In other news, I seem to have this FUJI v. FIJI issue down now.
  • 37D: Whistle-blower, in slang (ZEBRA) — niiiice misdirection here. Take a slang term, then use it literally, in order to clue slang!? Brilliant. In case you are sports-illiterate, the clue refers to a football referee.
  • 77D: Cow, in Cádiz (VACA) — also in Colombia and Caracas.
  • 96D: Intaglio seals (SIGNETS) — [quietly looking up "Intaglio" ... aha, a carved gem. Has different meanings in other contexts, most notably print-making]
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]
[Rex Parker's Tumblr feed]

64 comments:

Bob Kerfuffle 7:44 AM  

Oops! I finished with one mistake: Had 11 D as ENURNS, which seemed quite reasonable, but it yields MESHA for Baryshnikov, which didn't seem quite right, but possible.

But it also seems the Times had a mistake. In the printed magazine, the clue for 83 A reads, "Abbr. unlikely to start of a sentence," which I assume means "start off a sentence," unless I am parsing it completely wrong.

Of course, I won't mention that the title of the puzz is at base somewhat obscene, and don't have to mention 94 A, since Rex already has.

The Bard 7:58 AM  

Macbeth > Act II, scene III

MACDUFF: Confusion now hath made his masterpiece!
Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope
The Lord's anointed temple, and stole thence
The life o' the building!

Macbeth > Act II, scene IV

ROSS: Ah, good father,
Thou seest, the heavens, as troubled with man's act,
Threaten his bloody stage: by the clock, 'tis day,
And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp:
Is't night's predominance, or the day's shame,
That darkness does the face of earth entomb,
When living light should kiss it?

Stephen 8:08 AM  

Repeat after me: the title is perfect.
It took me half my solving time to see it, but then I knew I was in the hands of constructors with class.

EGIS: never seen it spelled that way before. Gotta repeat my observation that crosswords are an engine of language destruction because they are always tempted to use irregular spellings. ewwww.

Homey's rep? STREET CRED: Please explain.
Line score inits: RHE: Please explain. Is this another obscure football acronym a la Right Halfback Ephemera?
Intaglio seals: Google reveals lots of Intaglio SIGNET rings, but I still don't get it. Seals??

NASA tells me we own a G V STAR. Who, prithee, has the authority to knock out one of our defining letters?

"The Miracles" was hopelessly obscure to me, but I enjoyed getting this answer anyway. After I had the last 4 letters (BAND) and a smattering of others, I went to work on IT with the theme in mind. Plucking the answer out of thin bubbly imagination was a joy. The clue, however, remained totally mysterious until Rex filled me in.

joho 8:20 AM  

This was easy and so entertaining, a perfect Sunday romp. @Rex has already mentioned three of favorite answers LOSEONESMOJITO being the fourth. These wacky phrases are fresh and fun. Congratulations to the J.A.S.A and their fabulous leader, Caleb Madison!

Raul 8:36 AM  

I put in BLOOD at 125a, thinking Lady Macbeth:

Out, damned spot! out, I say!--One: two: why,
then, 'tis time to do't.--Hell is murky!--Fie, my
lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we
fear who knows it, when none can call our power to
account?--Yet who would have thought the old man
to have had so much blood in him.

JenCT 8:43 AM  

@Stephen: Homey's rep - reputation - street credibility.

Liked the puzzle very much - can't believe how long it took me to get GAZEBO.

New avatar is my newest chick - Happy Easter!

miriam b 9:01 AM  

Agree with Rex - fun and clever. BUT - deux têtes are better than UNE. Heads are femiine, natch.

kevin 9:42 AM  

Stephen,
Street cred short for stret credibility.
RHE: runs, hits, errors.
Signet to be used as a seal with sealing wax. Before our time.

cool dude 10:01 AM  

Love "IF I Did It". I appreciate that the clue gives no context beyond the (more or less irrelevant) year.

Love SMOKEY AND THE BAND. And I do not agree at all with the nit you pick. Although I disagree with your understanding that the moniker "X and the Y's" necessarily implies the statement "X is not a Y" (e.g., Buddy Holly is most certainly a Cricket), that is not the point. The point is that, however you fall on this issue, a crossword is not a mathematical proof, and it is clear from context (thanks Scott Adams for making me feel like a tool for using the word "context") what the answer is and that it is correct.

nyactor 10:03 AM  

Nice puzzle but my word of the day is :
Toric
Had it but didn't know it.. Like a bagel ay..
And on passover..cruel NYT!
Happy holidays to all- Seest you have a good
One abs don't lose your mojitos while watching
Some Austin powers!

-Matt

mmorgan 10:20 AM  

A fine Sunday with just enough bite and some spiffy misdirects. The title made the theme crystal clear, but the split-half use/cutting of IT was a nice touch. I feel like I've seen PULPIT FICTION before. Baffled by LEIF (87D) and SRO (39A) in that context. Was slowed up by having EvaDE at 2D for awhile. Go Caleb and class!

GLR 10:30 AM  

Saw the inserted ITs fairly quickly, and that was a help in filling the top half of the grid. Didn't think to look at the puzzle title until I was thrown off by CENTER OF GRAVY.

Overall, an entertaining puzzle, but I didn't love it as much as Rex.

Looks like all the missing ITs in the bottom half of the puzzle got corralled in the southwest corner - orbITal, anITa, asITis, abIT!

Is SRO at 39A just "standing room only," or is this referring to some actual type of housing?

CoffeeLvr 10:37 AM  

Who puts SALAMI on a pizza? Unfortunately, "cheese" fit. I also had boar at 46D for far too long until I redefined sow.

I had to cheat using Ms. Check to find the Scottish possessive at 52A, crossing the Chinese dynasty at 44D. A true Natick for me.

Would like to add something really clever, but I have to get moving. I am going to see my son this afternoon, as he is working as a nurse's aide today and cannot come here. But we will enjoy his double holiday tomorrow (work and school) together. I must brag: he was just accepted into Johns Hopkins U School of Nursing for a BSN. They have an emphasis on global medicine, which meshes with his BS in anthropology.

chefbea 10:39 AM  

Loved the puzzle!!! Knew the theme immediately..figured we had to put IT in or take IT out.

Happy Easter to all!! Don't eat too many jelly beans or too much chocolate

jackj 10:40 AM  

Leave it to young Caleb Madison and the Jewish Association for Services to the Aged members to give us one of the liveliest Sunday crosswords in recent memory!

With winks all around, these "wascally wordies" playfully give us POL(IT)EDANCER then, with impish forethought, (no doubt), they treat us to a risque double entendre, LEARNERSPERM, (parse it as you deem appropriate).

With the non-theme fill there is some really clever wordplay at 7 down, "Art, nowadays" for ARE; "Superior body?" at 82 across , cluing LAKE and "Shakespeare's "spot"" for SEEST, to name but a few.

And, while there are many, many more memorable bits, it would be redundant to mention them, since Rex's excellent write-up today, touches on them all.

Great fun!

Robert 10:44 AM  

SRO=single room occupancy

This is a type of housing that is frequently used to get homeless off the street. A type of residential hotel

Fred 10:57 AM  

Agreed on "salami" -- I have never seen this on pizza. Pepperoni, sure, but salami?

Also had "Macau," the other -- correct? -- spelling for "Macao," which tripped me up briefly.

Saw a lot to like (if not love) about the puzzle, though.

Care to learn something? 11:37 AM  

Once again, getting the "it's a bad answer because I never heard of it" comments.

Perhaps Google *salami pizza* and verify from there?

Toggle 11:52 AM  

Loved it; what fun!

Mini-SWISS theme with William Tell and Velcro - invented by a SWISS.

Sparky 12:25 PM  

Very enjoyable. Sorry I didn't take the class. Congrats Caleb and the group. The Nabisco factory was in Chelsea thus OREOs. It's probably a condo or posh hotel now.

After being completely sunk Friday and Saturday, overjoyed with this fun puzzle. My one error, finally, was 55A. Didn't have dorms at Brooklyn College. Natick for me.

Enjoy this special season. Thanks @JenCT for the picture of the chick.

Rube 12:30 PM  

Really enjoyable puzzle. Had the same single error as @BobK with eNURNS crossing MeSHA. Also shared the "boar" problem with @CoffeeLvr. And, like Rex, don't recall ever hearing of EDUARDO Saverin. (Although probably read his name in the Business Section at sometime.)

Really enjoyed some of the long downs like DIES IRAE and RED LABEL. PULPIT FICTION has got to be one of the best answers of the year! I'm of to hear some right now.

Happy Easter, (or whatever).

syndy 12:38 PM  

Thanks for explaining ZEBRA that threw me !Liked it didn't love it.@learn something Even if Google eats pizza with Salami that doesn"t make it a conventional topping!I COULD put frog sperm on a pizza but cluing it as a pizza topping would grate.

Dan 12:40 PM  

PULPIT FICTION was the title of the 1996 Princeton Triangle Club musical, a student-written romp about a misguided country preacher. Among the 50-plus actors was a young Dan Feyer...

conomist 12:55 PM  

Allow me to be the lone voice of dissent, but I hated this one. Genuinely hated it. I mean, some of the fill was nice, sure, and CENTER OF GRAVY was genius (as was the clue on OREO).

The hatred started at the very top of the grid. GAPES AT was my first answer, and solidly so. Until I went back to 1D and tried to fit something in there that didn't also end in AT. When DAB AT was the only thing that fit, I figured it had to be GAPES-something-else.

But no. DAB AT and GAPES AT within five clues of each other was just gross. It put me off for the rest of the puzzle.

That said, @Dan, I was in the audience for Pulpit Fiction. Back in the day.

mac 2:11 PM  

I enjoyed this one a lot, the theme clues/answers, but just as much the witty fill clues.

I also noticed the wrong gender for tete, and the strange wording at 83A: should that be "at" start of a sentence?

After putting in Ali MacGraw I hesitated, could it be Fae Dunaway? Crosses solved that, plus I later found out Faye is spelled differently.

@Dan: that is such a coincidence. Good to know they used that great term.

Happy Easter! And what an adorable chick, JenCT! Maybe you should call him Peeps.

Frank Lynch 2:13 PM  

The old Nabisco factory in Chelsea is now Chelsea Market, a food-retail-office complex. According to the Nation, ICE even has space in there.

jae 2:46 PM  

One of the easiest weekends in a while. Really enjoyed this one. Me too for BOAR plus IONS for FEES but no real problems. As Rex noted, lots of fun fill. EDUARDO was a gimme having recently seen "The Social Network."

WESISLAND 3:07 PM  

Help...."art nowadays" is ARE ?

jae 3:32 PM  

@wesisland -- Think "Wherefore art thou Romeo"

Eat locally, think globally 3:44 PM  

@sydny

During my time in Barcelona, the popular toppings on pizza were shrimp and mussels, in the shell, and a central fried egg.

Was as hard to get used to as your suggestion, but not wrong.

Gil.I.Pollas 4:12 PM  

Whenever I see Caleb Madison's name I just know I'm going to enjoy his puzzle. This one didn't let me down. My favorites were LOSE ONES MOJITO and CENTER OF GRAVY which brings me to the following segue: Food Alert!!
After Easter service today, all of us went to our daughter's place for brunch.We sorta cross our fingers because she's a vegetarian verging on vegan. However, she made a delicious casserole of eggplant, kumato tomatoes (they're brown!) yellow peppers and onions. She won't use cheese that contains rennet so she topped it with mozzarella and a goat cheese she found from a goat lady lover who's ancestor was probably blessed by a relative of St Francis of Assisi, and then added a sprinkling of her garden herbs.
I think I might convert myself!
Caleb you are a true SCHOLAR and you make me LAUGHIN.
I second @MAC - peeps it should be...

davko 5:12 PM  

I actually walked away from this one thinking ZEBRA, with its two-toned implications, was a perfectly passable slang-term for someone who betrays a trust. Then (embarrassingly), I read Rex's deconstruction. Brilliant! As was so much else in this puzzle. Loved that the theme had both a "forward" and "reverse" mode, adding an extra dimension to cracking its clues. Let's hope 4 years of college doesn't cause this young prodigy to lose any of his mojo - or, for that matter, spill any mojitos.

Anonymous 5:27 PM  

Liked the puzle alot but I thought the answer'cafe au lait' went against the theme with the 'it' neither added or removed.

Gil.I.Pollas 5:37 PM  

That should be whose but who's counting...

quilter1 5:43 PM  

I finished before church but then there was Easter dinner with extended family, cleaning up, schmoozing with said family, dessert, dividing the leftovers, well, you get the picture.

Really liked this puzzle once the theme came into view. Enjoyed much of the same clues/answers as other comments liked. TOSS ONE'S MOJITO was very cute, although it added to the total load of possible double meaning. I, too, keep seeing LEARNER SPERM. There's a joke there somewhere.

It was a good day in that all of our young people in the area joined the geezers for dinner, the grads are nailing down good jobs and my daughter's job was made permanent last week--a raise and benefits! Quote of the day: GD Patty to Great-Grandma "So, how's your daughter?" That would be me. The kid is a real card.

To those celebrating both holidays or no holidays, may yours be blessed. Linda

JenCT 5:50 PM  

@Anonymous 5:27: That's because Cafe AU LAIT wasn't one of the theme entries.

Peeps it is! There's a black-colored chick also (we ended up w/one Rhode Island Red & one Black Star) - any name suggestions?

Gil.I.Pollas 6:02 PM  

@JenCT
Fog Horn and Leg Horn

Anonymous 6:04 PM  

Never have I solved a puzzle without knowing so much of what was going on. 

 I do not understand how "art, nowadays" became "are."  I do not know why "Tell" was "Swiss."  Never heard of a "reap." Who is "Ari"?  A "bur" is a "seedcase?"  "Odic" is apparently "Keatsian" for some reason. And, I have no idea what "diesirae" is or what it has to do with "Mass part." 
How did I manage to solve this frakking puzzle?

chefwen 6:57 PM  

85D made me miss @Tinbeni. Salami on pizza, might be good, I'll give it a try at our next big pizza bash. May 20th for anyone in the neighborhood.

chefbea 7:14 PM  

@ anon 6:04 guess you don't do xwords that often!!!

jberg 7:26 PM  

Hah! Blogger ate my comment, but I'd copied and saved it, so take that!

@Anonymous 6:04

People used to day "thou art," now we say "You are" (see Shakespeare reference in an earlier post)

William TELL was Swiss

To REAP is to harvest the grain after you sow it earlier

I didn't like BUR either, but apparently it's another spelling of burr - those things that stick to your pants when you walk through a field.

Keats wrote ODES, which are an ODIC form of poetry (strained, I agree)

DIES IRAE is a famous 13th century hymn (it means "Day of Wrath"). I'm not a Catholic, but I play a lot of early music, and have never seen it in a mass, though I knew of it as a hymn. But Wikipedia explains that it is included in the Catholic requiem mass, after which they serve up some nice salami pizza.

I really, really didn't like INURNS, but at least it made sense, whereas MESHA was clearly impossible. I still think it should have been MISCHA, but apparently there are some Mikhails who leave out the C.

Sadly, I finished with an error. I did know what an SRO is, but at first I figured it must be SHS for "shelters" - then SNIPERS att 12D made that impossible, but since I had all the letters for 34D filled in already, I forgot to check the cross, leaving the nonsensical SSAP.

Technically, I do think that if you are living in an SRO you are no longer homeless.

CoolPapaD 7:47 PM  

Loved it, and it amazes me to no end that such a young mind (plus some older ones) came up with such magic. Very special!

Finished with the same mistake as Bob Kerfuffle. I found the whole thing challenging, and I had to do at least a half dozen "put it down for a while" in order to finish. The cluing was sort of brutal but fun.

@Gil.I.Pollis - how can I get that recipe???

Lindsay 7:52 PM  

Totally OD'd on xwords at yesterday's Boston tournament. That I even looked at today's NYT points to pathology.

Friday evening drove down to my brother's house and watched Wordplay with him and his family (they hadn't seen it). Took the T into Cambridge the next morning and fried my brain on puzzles. Back at my brother's to pick up my dog, discovered that my sister-in-law and 14 year-old niece had spent the day printing puzzles off the computer and required assistance. Feeling queasy by the time I got home.

Nonetheless, I really liked Use it or Lose It & its sassy theme answers. Not a clunker in the bunch, though the POLITE pole DANCER is my fave.

Stephen 8:31 PM  

Who or what is "Homey"? What does "rep" mean? Why is it/he/she interested in gathering STREET CRED?

Look Up Guy 8:34 PM  

Single Room Occupancy Program (SRO)

The SRO Program provides rental assistance for homeless persons in connection with the moderate rehabilitation of SRO dwellings. SRO housing contains units for occupancy by one person. These units may contain food preparation or sanitary facilities, or both.

wiki

Stephen 8:34 PM  

I've been helped along here by someone who told me that RHE are the inits of Runs, Hits, Errors. But why are these things referred to as "line scores"?

mac 9:54 PM  

@JenCT: So happy about Peeps! You will have to send us status reports and pics of the little guy. For the dark one, why not call it the cwp eternal Oreo? What a clue you could produce.....!
Otherwhise: Inky, Ebony, Melany.

Jim 10:09 PM  

SSN is not a 'fig.'. It is a datum, it is information, but it is not a figure. A figure is a calculable piece of information. SSNs are not even numeric (note the leading zeros). You cannot 'calculate' anything with it. Thought the French ladies names was MMES and had MED(icare) under FICA figure for a long time. Boo!

Otherwise, brilliantly clever and fun puzzle. Loved CENTEROFGRAVY. Best theme answer I can remember in a long time.

Peeress Macgraw 11:54 PM  

This puzzle did nothing for me. Add two letters, subtract two letters -- big deal. Such a tired concept.

Strange to hear so many people profess their love for this one. Must have just caught me on a bad day. Seemed very lackluster, a slog, an old shoe w/ no sole, a bunny without hops.

Doc John 12:00 AM  

Fun puzzle.
You know what else comes before D? CDXCIX. I was so proud of coming up with that that I stuck with it way too long. SNIPER finally rid me of my delusion.
Nice to see the explanation for SRO. I had no idea.

Anonymous 12:10 AM  

A line score summarizes the performance of each ball team in a particular game in an array of two lines showing runs per inning across the page, followed by each team's total runs, hits and errors. The visiting team has the top line and the home team is the bottom.

Anonymous 2:53 AM  

Fun puzzle, but I think worth noting that this puzzle was already done in the Sunday Times with NOW YOU SEE IT NOW YOU DONT a few years ago. And that puzzle had some of the same key words like BAND/BANDIT . . .

TimJim 5:44 AM  

Better late (now early) than never ... Really liked the theme as it turned out. Thought it was going to be a slog when I got the first "it" theme early but glad I got to the bottom for the twist. Inspired theme answers made this a cut above the routine insertion/deletion puzzle. Some of the three-letter words were dismal, but SMOKEY AND THE BAND made it all worthwhile!

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

Someone else asked about LEIF. Anyone? How is this this willingly?

Since you asked 8:54 AM  

@Anon

lief (lēf)

adjective

1.valued; dear; beloved
2.willing
Origin: ME lef < OE leof, beloved, dear, akin to Ger lieb < IE base *leubh- > love
adverb

willingly; gladly: only in would (or had) as lief

William Shakespeare 10:22 AM  

She, good soul, had as lief see a toad, a very toad, as see him.

Romeo and Juliet, 2. 4

Anonymous 1:34 PM  

The comments more and more resemble those uttered by school kids comparing answers after they have taken a test/quiz.

So here is my adolescent comment of the day: The first and only reaction I had to "Homey" was Simpson. Doh.

Stan 6:51 PM  

Showing up late, but wanting to note that I thought this puzzle rocked. Not perfect everywhere, but awesome theme answers like CENTER OF GRAVY and SMOKEY AND THE BAND made my day. I also appreciated the very clever clues for shorther stuff, too numerous to mention.

Dirigonzo 7:27 PM  

Solving on May Day I loved this puzzle for all the same reasons as most of the prime-timers. Any puzzle that gets LAUGHIN and IDIG in the same grid with MOE from the Simpsons and STREETCRED is going to AMUSE me. 17d reminded me of another pop-culture figure from the '60s, SKEETER(S) Davis.

I disagree with the first comment from @Bob Kerfuffle that the title implies any obscenity - I've heard the phrase applied to several faculties, including the mind which is one of the reasons I keep doing these puzzles (the other one is that they are fun!)

Bill 8:20 AM  

Will someone please explain (88a) ARC as a continuing plot in a tv series.

Stephen 9:08 AM  

An arc is a story line that transcends the plot in any one episode of, say, a TV show, or a lifetime. Frinstance, "the arc of British history from 1066 to parliamentary democracy".

Anonymous 6:08 PM  

Syndication here....The title of this puzzle in my newspaper was "USE IT OF LOSE IT." Yes, of. So I spent quite a bit of time not only figuring out the missing/added "it", but where the typo in each theme answer was! Sigh.

We had the odd wording in 83A too.

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

Put me down as another dissenter. I found it uneven. The long words and theme were great, but I had a hard time with the short ones. Maybe they made sense to the xword-aficionados, but for us regular people, not so much. However alternate clues would have made the whole thing too easy, so it's kind of a no-win.

Del Taco 9:33 PM  

Solved about 85% of this puzzle.
A normal Sunday has me at 98% completion.
Had a very hard time.
Not so fond of it. Lot's of fill words I've never heard of.
Only theme answers I liked, because they were movie related were " Clash of the Tans, and Smokey and the Band"
The rest was blah.

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