Where Samson slew Philistines / THU 4-21-11 / Popular 1920s-'50s Harlem ballroom / Dormant volcano near Iranian border / Old Eur. realm

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Constructor: Julian Lim

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Homophonic clues — Long answers are instructions on how to solve the puzzle: "EACH ONE WORD CLUE / IN THIS PUZZLE / IS A HOMOPHONE / OF ITS ACTUAL CLUE"

Word of the Day: RIAA (2D: Org. that certifies gold and platinum) —

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is a trust that represents the recording industry distributors in the United States. Its members consist of record labels and distributors, which the RIAA say "create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the United States" [...] The RIAA participates in the collective rights management of sound recording. The association is also responsible for certifying gold and platinum albums and singles in the USA. (wikipedia)
• • •

You all know I'm not a fan of Instructions-as-Answers puzzles, so I won't rehash my distaste. Given that distaste, this puzzle was fine. Theme is mildly interesting, if easy to uncover, and there are some interesting answers like TRINARY (51A: Having three parts), IRITIS (42D: Eye inflammation), and TERRAZZO (9D: Mosaic flooring). But all the interest is in the (one-word) clues, so essentially you've got a four-part instruction and then a themeless. Didn't find any of it very tricky, though the TAKE / MAKE intersection threw me (that was before I'd picked up the theme), and I wanted MARINARA instead of MEATBALL (36D: Pasta topper). With the exception of the NW (RIAA next to ENCL), the fill is generally very nice. Solid. Springy. So, as this kind of puzzle goes, it was good.

Theme clues:
  • 10A: Lessons (EBBS)
  • 35A: Urn (MAKE)
  • 38A: Bolder (ROCK)
  • 62A: Tails (LORE)
  • 63A: Pores (RAINS)
  • 8D: Add (SPOT) — Got this before I got the theme, figuring that somehow these words were related because "SPOT" could mean "loan," and if I SPOT you ten dollars, I loan you ten dollars, then I "add" ten dollars ... to your pocket?
  • 10D: Flea (ESCAPE)
  • 23D: Sail (AUCTION)
  • 27D: Chews (TAKE) — "CHEW" is in the grid (6D: Munch on=>CHEW UP) :(
  • 54D: Waist (RUIN)
Started by putting in RAREE at 1A: Carnival sideshow feature. This is what happens when you do too many puzzles—the crosswordese (even the high-end stuff), shoots right to the top of your brain. This crosswordese instinct ended up helping with RINSO (14A: Classic detergent brand), which isn't true crosswordese so much as a brand I have only ever seen in crosswords. Would've liked Tim Lincecum's nickname (with "the") as the clue for FREAK. I half hate and half love YALE LAW. Feels like the abbreviated / colloquial quality ought to have been signaled by the clue (20A: Alma mater of Gerald Ford). I think I know the word TRIAGE(D) from "M*A*S*H" (21A: Prioritized in the emergency room).

  • 30A: Feature of most paintings of Jesus (BEARD) — that's inspired, and way nicer than my first thought, HALO or EMACIATED TORSO.
  • 40A: Where Samson slew the Philistines (LEHI) — this one was unknown to me. That "H" was tough to put in, as I somehow imagined that 37D: "Feels won-n-nderful!" should be AAH, not AHH.
  • 41A: Popular 1920s-'50s Harlem ballroom, with "the" (SAVOY) — got it off the "Y." Know it from a song ... something at the SAVOY. Hoppin'? Jumpin'? STOMPIN'!

  • 45A: Dormant volcano near the Iranian border (ARARAT) — this mountain usually receives a biblical clue, so it was *kind* of hidden here ... but not very.
  • 28D: Old Eur. realm (HRE) — Holy Roman Empire. Once again, crossword instincts kick in—filled this in with no crosses.
  • 41D: Unread part of a movie review, maybe (SPOILER) — I don't get it. Do reviews mark the parts that are SPOILERs? I've never seen such a thing. If you don't want a movie spoiled, don't read reviews ... and anyway, most mainstream reviews do not "spoil" movies.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]
[Follow Rex Parker on Tumblr]


Gil.I.Pollas 6:57 AM  

Well, when my favorite answer to a crossword answer is MEATBALL (and just one to boot!) I know I'm in trouble.
OK, I know I'm an idiot but how does flea mean ESCAPE?

Greene 7:01 AM  


The homophone for flea is flee = ESCAPE.

Thought this one was clever and fun.

@Rex: I had AAH until the bitter end. Only changed to AHH when I didn't get Mr. Happy Pencil.

Evgeny 7:24 AM  

I've often seen movie reviews mark spoilers, especially on IMDb. They start with some general things like cast, genre etc., then put in 'spoiler alert', and then comes the plot.

Rex Parker 7:52 AM  

IMDB? Would never consider random internet postings "reviews," though I guess by a broad definition ...

Yogeshvara 8:02 AM  

I'm not a big fan of them but I've even seen spoiler alerts in times reviews. Here's Times Reviewer Charles Isherwood agonizing about spoiler alerts! http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/31/theater-talkback-too-much-information/?scp=7&sq=spoiler%20alert&st=cse

Glimmerglass 8:03 AM  

I also had AAH, so one error. Liked the puzzle. First found EBBS for "lessons," and thought I'd found a misspelling by the constructor. Caught on with SPOT. The other theme answers jumped at me. Got the instructions from the solutions, rather than the other way around. Wanted blood for BEARD for a time.

David L 8:09 AM  

Medium to hard for me. Even though I saw early on that some of the clues/answers were 'funny,' it took a while to see in what way they were funny, and which clues the funniness applied to. Didn't help that I had FLEAS for FREAK up top.

And the LEHI/AHH crossing cost me a minute to track down and correct -- I had LEAI/AAH, which seems just about as good.

joho 8:15 AM  

I knew something was up late last night at Flea being ESCAPE but didn't fully realize the theme until this morning when TYR confirmed that Tails had to be LORE. Fun puzzle!

I had a malapop at 1A when I tried BEARD for FREAK and then, of course, BEARD showed up at 30A.

This was entertaining and different, thank you Julian Lim!

mmorgan 8:25 AM  

This was really, really fun for me. I first got a sense that something was up with "Bolder"(38A). I'd never seen the word TRINARY but it made sense.

Tang alternative = KOOL AID (5D)?? Do astronauts take KOOL AID into outer space? Is "Drinking the Tang" an expression?

Hand WAY up for AaH / LEaI. Who knew?

retired_chemist 8:33 AM  

Had ABCS for 10A, CROSS for 30A, TERNARY (never heard of TRINARY) for 51A.

Still do not get ADD as the homophone of a clue for SPOT. What is the homophone?

Sensed the homophonicity [sic] in the clues and that helped with the four line of the hint. Did NOT help that I first put in homonym instead of homophone.

Anyway, enjoyable and different. Thanks, Mr. Lim.

retired_chemist 8:35 AM  

Oh, Add <=> AD (SPOT). Took me a while but saw it as my post was departing into the blogosphere.

OldCarFudd 8:47 AM  

Started out frustrated. Finally got traction in the SW corner, then moved across to the east. Thought I'd spotted a puzzle error when tails was lore, but by then I had enough of the last part of the instructions to have an aha! moment. After that it was easy. My kind of puzzle!

dk 8:54 AM  

We used to breakfast on (CHEWUP) Tang and Spacefood sticks. I am certain Alan Shepard did not take KOOLAID into space.

Some lame fill as noted by others. An interesting theme. My LOL/DOH moment was figuring out the Urn clue.

Dodged the Skynet bullet yesterday... although iPads are eying me with malicious intent.

** (2 Stars)

lit.doc 9:04 AM  

Wow, hit me again right there. Perfect Thursday puzzle.

Wasn’t a moment I felt like I had a chance of finishing till IS A HOMOPHONE / OF ITS ACTUAL CLUE finally became visible. That let me work my way back up out of south, despite the seemingly unimpeachable EACH ANSWER… at 17A.

One of the most interesting theme devices I’ve seen, in that getting the theme answers and getting the fill were so interdependent.

Maddening. Yummy.

Carisa 9:12 AM  

Rex, I definitely learned "triage(d)" from M*A*S*H.

jesser 9:15 AM  

The top line of this puzzle is pretty disgusting: FREAK CYST EBBS. I expect that sort of thing on the front of the Weekly World News, but not in my puzzle. Epic fail of the breakfast test. Otherwise, the puzzle came together pretty well.

I had to skip all over the grid filling in the gimmes before the hints began to reveal themselves, and then it all kinda fell together without much drama.

Apologies to those who have seen this before, but I must revisit my favorite quote by New Mexico's late great Gov. Bruce King, who was the Yogi Berra of NM politics. I am reminded of this quote by the clue to 15A.

"We just opened a whole box of Pandoras."

God, I miss that guy...

Parkswer! (They still are in those lucky places where parking lots haven't replaced them) -- jesser

GLR 9:24 AM  

I don't usually care for instruction puzzles, either, but this one was good fun. It was one of those rare puzzles where I picked up the theme very early on - and it was a big help in filling the rest of the grid.

Like @Glimmerglass, I got EBBS, and thought there was a typo in the clue - then saw ESCAPE. At that point, I knew we were dealing with homophones. Had to get a little more of the first part of the hint before I realized it was all the one-word clues.

Liked the cluing for AMPERE, ALOHA, and BEARD. Didn't know ARARAT is volcanic.

Handup for marinara before MEATBALL.

John V 9:29 AM  

Hands up for 37D, aah/ahh, my only error. Played medium/hard for me, too. NE last to fall, as I wanted Agee for 1D (hands up for too many puzzles, @Rex) and 56A took a bit too.

I mean I just find that toward the end of the week, my puzzle synapses just work less well. I look at this puzzle after its done and wonder why it was difficult in the first place.

davko 9:34 AM  

I caught on fast to the homophonic solving ruse long before getting the puzzle's TRINARY instructions (loved the referential touch of using this word as answer to 51A).

This puzzle would have been a Thursday standout were it not for way too many abbreviations as fill and such questionable answers as YALE LAW for an alma mater. Yale is one's alma mater, whether it's for law, medicine, or musicology -- no?

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

HOMOPHONE.. ACTUAL CLUE was the trigger.

I had aBcS for lessons at 10A, so after finding out the them, I could change the clue to lessens and write over the answer EBBS.

For 35A I have vAsE for urn, before I changed to MAKE when urn meant earn.

It's tough solving when wrong answers look good. That is to the credit of the constructor to design in such devices.

I enjoyed the puzzle.

From Bangna/Bangkok

PS: I respect constructors. The time they spend, being original is more and more difficult, and receive a modest compensation in return for the enjoyment they give us solvers. I'd rather read more comments of the good things, than criticism of the weaknesses.

chefbea 9:47 AM  

I thought this was a great puzzle. Got the theme at auction=sail.

Yummm meat ball...but you have to have at least two.

Tobias Duncan 9:49 AM  

@mmorgan Russian astronauts could not afford to develop lovely Tang style beverages or million dollar pens to take into space, so they took KOOLAID and pencils.No really its true, you can look it up!

Hand up for being sure I had caught an error.
If I had one television wish, it would be for another season of "Flight of the Conchords".
@anon 9:35 Modest compensation indeed, the constructors would make more delivering the @$%# paper than contributing...

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

Really liked this puzzle! Caught on at tails/tales.

@jesser, must be something in our NM water. I worked with an engineer who said 'That's the straw that broke Pandora's box'

Schools make Universities 10:08 AM  


Not exactly, Ford is an alumnus of YSL, part of Yale University:

•Yale Law School, or YLS, is the law school of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Established in 1843, it [YSL] is one of the few schools belonging to the Ivy League that offers the J.D., LL.M. and J.S.D. degrees.


Jim 10:10 AM  

Puzzle was fun fun fun.

Any smart ass gonna make a comment of some Swahili 'Hello' for Obama's homecoming? You know an argument has lost credibility when even Michelle Bachmann concedes its baselessness.

I don't know how 'classic' NES is; Atari has that reputation. Nintendo is video gaming 2.0 IMO.

I would definitely watch a lecture detailing how the constructor made this puzzle happen. Just gorgeous.

Stan 10:18 AM  

A little heavy on the medical-surgical fill for my taste (CYST, IRITIS, TRIAGED, ECTOdermal), but otherwise fine. Impressive theme density.

Good write-up and comments. Still laughing at the 'Flight of the Conchords' video.

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

Abbreviation for 'lightyear' is 'ly', not 'ltyr'.

quilter1 10:23 AM  

I caught on at lessons/EBBS and had fun from there looking for the homophones before getting the long instructional answers. I love puns and most word games, so this was a happy day. I put in aah before seeing the Samson clue, but easily fixed.
Thank you Mr. Lim.

syndy 10:31 AM  

Caught on to the homophone early then had to get the clues-my puzzle was filled but my bottom line read(RED) "or it's a cruel clue"no happy pencil?had to chip "ACTUAL" out of the bedrock!still no happy pencil?AAH-LEAI NATICK!!!!!!!TYR-LYR they're both gods;sue me -Tons of fun(I have eaten in a Italian restaurant where they give you ONE meatball; but with a four inch diameter!)

Two Ponies 10:53 AM  

I loved that this was a two-layered puzzle.
I stupidly started out thinking I was so clever to find a typo in the clues and circled it. Then I found another and smelled a rat.
Then I got enough of the instructions and circled all of the one-words. Off to the races from that point on.
I could never build a puzzle like this in a million years. I'll bet @Andrea is going to have good things to say.
Great fun. Thanks Julian Lim.

mac 10:55 AM  

Great Thursday puzzle! I caught on pretty early, but made sure by working on getting the hint completely first.

Take/make was my last area, had a little trouble with aah/ahh, but I ended with one mistake: Oow/cost (cutting for surgery) instead of the gross cyst/yow. I hate those expletives!

Thanks Julian, very good Thursday.

Ulrich 11:00 AM  

I'm joining the choir of people who really liked the puzzle--to a degree that I took some of the less-inspired fill in stride. Kept on shaking my head for more than half the time when what were obvious answers did not match the clues--until the instructions finally could be seen and it all started to make sense. Went back to check all of the clues that had troubled me to verify the claim, and then proceeded to complete the puzzle--ah the joy of not solving for speed--you can actually stop along the way, look back, look forward, look sideways, look at the cat huddled next to you!

JenCT 11:16 AM  

I, too, enjoyed the puzzle, despite needing to erase (backspace on the computer) lots of initial entries: BLOOD/BEARD, OWW/YOW, HEAT/HELI, MARINARA/MEATBALL. Wanted APOLLO before I got SAVOY.

Never heard of IRITIS or TRINARY before, but they were eventually gettable.

Gotta go - new chicks are hatching!

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

Flee means escape, not flea!!

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

Ohh, slow this morning. Flea - flee -homophone, Sorry 'bout that

Bob Kerfuffle 11:34 AM  

Fun puzz for me. Worked fairly straight North to South, got the gimmick at EBBS/ESCAPE.

When I read the clue for 45 A, "Dormant volcano near the Iranian border," I immediately started mental composition of a rant against Maleska-era clues etc etc -- and when the answer emerged, I had to LOL!

Surprised no one (no parents?) took issue with 43 D, Past puberty = MATURE. Would be nice if true.

jackj 11:46 AM  

The only thing that fit at 10 across was EBBS but, clued as "Lessons"??? I finally accepted that Will and Julian knew how to spell and took the hint that there was trickiness afoot.

Then, Pres. Ford's alma mater had me briefly rethinking what the gimmick might be, since I knew he had graduated from Michigan. But, when YALELAW fit and 17 across became known, the rest of the puzzle filled in nicely.

I also had MARINARA before MEATBALL but should have known better since “one meatball” has an interesting history in song:

From “One Meatball”:

"Little man walked up and down,
To find an eatin' place in town.
He looked the menu thru and thru,
To see what a dollar bill might do.

One meat ball,
One meat ball,
One meat ball,
All he could get was one meat ball."

What an imaginative treat from Julian Lim. More, we want more!

Shamik 11:56 AM  

Challenging for me this morning and felt like it was. Off my game. But correctly solved it...unlike last Thursday's disaster.

Gil.I.Pollas 11:57 AM  

@Greene - thank you....
I couldn't see the PHONE in HOMO.
Love the word TERRAZZO and ARARAT.

Erik 12:01 PM  

Call me an old timer, but I've got "Stompin' at the Savoy" on my iPod.

Sparky 12:02 PM  

I don't usually like quote or instruction puzzles, yet this week they gave me a good run. Simply did not "get it" along the way although AUCTION seeemed it should fit the spaces. Completed the instructions and still scratching head. Just before saying "Oh, hell, go to the blog," the light dawned and I went back and filled in the "right" words on the clue lines. Ta Dah.

Thanks @Tobias Duncan. Like @mmorgan I thought TANG has some nutritive value and KOOLAID doesn't and so don't belong together. Pity the poor Cosmonauts. Hands up for AAH,OOW, Marinara. Just caught on, TV ad=SPOT.

You get no bread with one meatball.

Mel Ott 12:06 PM  

A really good puzzle that was challenging for me because it took me a while to get the theme. Finally caught on when I decided 10D had to be ESCAPE = 'flee' for 'flea'.

I thought some off the clues were a bit off:

To me 'munch on' means to 'nibble at', somewhat less than going so far as to CHEW UP.

I think of YENS as small appetites, not big ones.

I've known TRIAGE as a noun for a long time; never seen it as a verb

And the clue for FREAK is a bit un-PC, no?

archaeoprof 12:10 PM  

Good puzzle in my book too. Made me think, and made me smile.

When it RAINS it pores.

Tobias Duncan 12:36 PM  

The image of cosmonauts floating around in space with purple stained tongues and lips and classical music playing gently in the background is giving me the giggles...

Masked and Anonymous 12:53 PM  

Real fresh fill. So much theme material (counting the imbedded instructions), I gave up countin' it all. Lucky 7 U's. Healthy average word length. Z-clusters! MEATBALLs! Dang. Gotta go thUmbs way Up. Only a sophomore outing for this Lim dude, too. Want more.

Given the theme, Ida clued 46-D as "joint".

Helpful hint #1 for speed-solvers: lock up the pets before you start. Darn parakeet bit me, while I was trying to solve. Didn't like bein' ignored.

Masked and Anonymous II 1:28 PM  

Constructor friend Erul is really yukking it up, sayin' that my proposed 46-D clue is bass-ackwards for the puz theme. Oops. Laugh it up, Mr. backwards. A certain Cee Lo Green song title comes to mind...

Shamik 2:13 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alan 2:18 PM  

I felt a bit daft to construct HOMOPHONE from down crosses before finding any of those pesky single words. I liked the way the homophones mixed up singulars and plurals. And I came to Rex, I just couldn't fathom how 35A could MAKE it. Um, um looks ever so much like urn, doesn't it?

quilter1 2:31 PM  

@Mel Ott, I was trying to remember if in 25 years of hospital work I ever heard triage used as a verb and I cannot. Still got the answer though.

John V 3:01 PM  

@Mel Ott, I was actually trying to fit geek for 1A, but came up one letter short -- which is freakish.

Arundel 3:17 PM  

I really did like this one - although I agree that "Tim Lincecum's nickname" would have been a more polite clue for 1a. One of my funny errors was in figuring out what the clue for 35a had to do with MAKE. The typeface in Across Lite doesn't make the distinction between urn and um easy to see!

But the coincidence of James Frey (1d) turning up in the news today really must be remarked on. Apparently he's "forgiven" Oprah and will get fabulous publicity for his latest whatever... How do you suppose Julian Lim and Will could have known that earth-shattering news would come out today?

sanfranman59 4:01 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Thu 17:18, 19:06, 0.91, 36%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Thu 9:16, 9:13, 1.01, 61%, Medium-Challenging

CoffeeLvr 4:10 PM  

I took this puzzle with me when I left the house and solved it at the restaurant over lunch. It took just the right amount of time. Caught the trick before I got all the hint lines filled in. Good Thursday puzzle.

Mis-spelled KOOLAde, which slowed me up for a while.

Learned (assuming I remember): TYR, de NOVO, OTRA vez, and LEHI. Also RIAA, but I won't remember that.

BigSteve46 4:11 PM  

I had 6 across as "cost" as in cost cutting as a form of surgery (maybe I'm listening to these Republicans too much) and then "oow" for "Man, that hurts!" Why not? ('cause its wrong, that's why!) But it is somewhat plausible.

jae 4:17 PM  

Yes for MARINARA. Fun clever puzzle which was on the tough side for me because I decided to solve for the hint first, which took a while. Also tried CLOT for CYST and STOVE for 11d.

ArtO 4:30 PM  

thanks for the explanation of "spot" Rex. Talk about a stretch!! Ugh!! Other than that, the other homophones were readily identifiable.

jberg 5:54 PM  

What I really enjoyed about this puzzle was first thinking there were errors in the clues, and then realizing that those errors were the theme; it felt really NEAT somehow. I too had the UM/URN confusion - I solve these things in the physical paper, and their font makes rn look a lot like m - and COST/OOW at the top, so I finished with a mistake.

I agree, nsw as TRIAGED, and I have my doubts about TRINARY. And I think your alma mater is your undergraduate school, so I didn't like 20A.

Rex, that Louis Armstrong video (well, movie, I guess) is brilliant, both musically and visually - when they all walk off for the drum solo, and then Satchmo's reactions when they come back on. Is that Gene Krupa? I didn't know they'd played together - think of them as different generations.

jberg 6:00 PM  

Oops! Just listened to "Stompin'" again, and the drummer actually gets introduced - not Krupa, but Danny something. Sounds like "Barcelona," but I couldn't make it out clearly. Anyone know?

Julie 6:36 PM  

This puzzle was great fun, but not easy-medium, Rex. Spot was a bit of a cheater. But don't you wake up happy on Thursday morings because there's almost always going to be a satisfying puzzle!

Anonymous 6:45 PM  

38 Black squares. 187 blank squares with 54 squares just needed to spell out the instructions leaving just 133 blank squares for the actual clues.
With entries like RINSO, SULU, LEHI, YOW, RIAA FREY, HRE, ECTO there was not much left to gain a foothold in this puzzle.
I quickly gave up and got the theme only when I read Rex comments.
I suppose the constructor fooled me but there was not much joy in that.
I agree with Rex on this one.

actual clue meatball 6:54 PM  

Fun and inventive definitely...!

@Rex, as a part-time film reviewer, I have to say I believe that is actually where the whole phrase "spoilers/spoil alert" comes from! Long before this internet thingy! :)

But I agreed with everything else you said...
In particular, I too don't really enjoy instructions as the fill,
mostly for the reason I think many didn't like the MIXEDGREENSALAD anagrams: bec ultimately the long stuff is not "in the language"...

I don't like SADGENERAL in my puzzle anymore than I like OFITSACTUALCLUE running across my filled in grid... PLUS, more importantly in this case, CLUE appears twice in the grid at the end of a phrase :(
So it defies crossword theme "rules" in some ways...

That said, I'm guilty of both kinds of puzzles (my backwards one with Patrick B had the instructions, backwards no less, in the grid and my football team names had notinthelanguage fill like CHIEFTEXAN).
Just stating a preference, if I may go out on a Lim, young Julian!

I had HOMO staring out at me and so got it from that, but the instructions itself could have been phrased with "in at of this that"... whatever.

Uck!!!!! My inevitable one letter mistake! I caught the H of AaH, but I have uOVO/uES as the game console.
Now that I see it's NES that rings a bell, but since uOVO is Italian for egg, I assumed it was the Latin, too!

Ohmydearlord, I have a SECOND mistake: CoST/oOW. I never DID figure out how COST was the target of some surgery!!!!
Now that I know it's CYST, along with IRITIS, TRIAGED and ECTO- I'm going to officially have to say ICK.

(I never realized till last night that TRIAGED meant prioritizing, I thought it meant stopping blood...like with a turniquet/turnicate (Sp?)...ignorant ignorant ignorant, despite being a huge M*A*S*H fan and the daughter of a surgeon!) YOW!

And since I am a real-life solver, no idea I had so many errors!
I have no one to run in from the other room with a happy pencil, tho I suspect @dk might volunteer!

JenCT 7:19 PM  

@jberg: Danny Barcelona is correct: Danny Barcelona

Matthew G. 7:42 PM  

Actually, Roger Ebert will occasionally write in one of his reviews something to the effect of: "Don't read any further if you don't want to know what happens." He started doing this after a lot of people complained about spoilers in his reviews but he still wanted to critique something about the movie that required revelation of an important plot point. And that makes sense -- a high quality critic is something more than merely a "reviewer."

Sfingi 7:54 PM  

Saw the gimmick when I filled in the 1st hint line, and enjoyed the puzzle. This was an unusual puzzle IMO. It was difficult, but suddenly less so when I caught the theme.

Agree that the word CLUE shouldn't appear twice, but also that CHEW shouldn't be in a clue and an answer, though admittedly not the same clue and answer. (6D, 27D)

I'm of the school that believes the MEATBALL should have its own dish, but I'm used to such savagery from the non-cognoscenti. But it's not as bad as spaghetti that's been cut! Absolutely cannot eat it.

Thought I knew my Biblicals, But did not know LEHI or that ARARAT was once a volcano.

Many great old show places in Harlem that are now gone. The Cotton Club, the Lenox, ALhambra...wish I could have been there.

Triage has the prefix for 3 in it for a reason: One group is helped because they will and must be saved with help. The other 2 either cannot be saved, or will make it anyway.

michael 8:50 PM  

I like instruction puzzles and thought this one was exceptionally good. Not at all easy for me because I had "answers" instead of "one word" until the very end. I kept thinking how could this possibly be so of every answer, but it seemed to be the case with some answers.

For the Children's Sake 9:02 PM  

@Sfingi - Your description of TRIAGE is correct, but we should present the correct etymology (nothing to do with tri = three):

Origin of TRIAGE
French, sorting, sifting, from trier to sort, from Old French — more at try

Anonymous 9:14 PM  

Very sweet video, Rex. Could the constructor, Mr. Lim, be a relative of the amazing drummer, Danny Barcelona?

Sfingi 10:43 PM  

@For the CS - Very interesting - just read a bunch of stuff on the etymology of triage - esp. one at podictionary; an interesting topic. Thanx. Reminds me of words that are "False Friends."

DJG 11:01 PM  

I generally don't like instruction puzzles either. Butt I thought this one was grate! (So was the link to the "Freaky" song.)

CoolPapaD 11:44 PM  

Really loved this one. That's all!

Anonymous 12:30 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle. I think that the clue "add" is a homophone for "ad" as in an advertisement or TV "spot."

Waxy in Montreal 1:26 PM  

From syndicity - like @BigSteve46 five weeks ago and for the same reasons, had COST & OOW up top. Also needed a hopefully educated guess to get the N in NOVO as NES means nothing to me at 32A. Otherwise found this a Thursday delight - inspired theme as well as intragrid cluing.

Karl 2:10 PM  

Technically speaking, terrazzo is not mosaic, but rather a form of colored concrete containing marble as an aggregate...often seen in older restrooms..

Dirigonzo 4:58 PM  

Yesterday's paper didn't arrive until today (carrier issues) so this afternoon I got a double-header, puzzle-wise. Wednesday's super-easy mixedgreensalad combined quite nicely with today's meatier fare. Got the theme when I had enough crosses to see flea = ESCAPE and figured the rest out from there pretty easily.

NATO could easily have been clued from a more current events perspective (sadly).

Loved the clue for ALOHA; we syndicated solvers probably had less confusion over where Obama's "home" may be as he released his long-form birth certificate after the puzzle originally appeared so Kenya no longer seemed to be an option. Unless you think it's a forgery...

@Karl - Interesting factoid about restroom floors. Who knew?

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