TV monologist / WED 5-25-11 / Gilbert Sullivan's follow-up to Mikado / Drug taken in Rent / Biopic about Ritchie Valens / Duck Hunt gaming console

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Constructor: Jeff Dubner

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: ITALIAN / SONNET (2D: With 49-Down, its form follows the pattern of the circled letters) — rhyme scheme appears in circles: ABBA / ABBA / CDE / CDE


Word of the Day: "RUDDIGORE" (34A: Gilbert and Sullivan's follow-up to "The Mikado") —

Ruddigore; or, The Witch's Curse, originally called Ruddygore, is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. It is one of the Savoy Operas and the tenth of fourteen comic operas written together by Gilbert and Sullivan. It was first performed by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company at the Savoy Theatre in London on 22 January 1887. (wikipedia)
• • •

Wow, this one was rough. Rough to solve, and rough to look at. Theme is unambitious and strange. Most people couldn't tell you the rhyme scheme of an ITALIAN SONNET. I could barely tell you, and I teach the damned thing every year. Rhyme schemes, yeesh (there's actually another possibility for the sestet besides CDECDE: CDCCDC. Wikipedia says that there was eventually also a CDCDCD version). Then there's the odd embedding of the circles—all of it to the left, for some reason, and only half of it split across words in the answer. Only MANIC DEPRESSION (57A: "An Unquiet Mind" subject) demonstrates the classic embedding style, with embedded word touching every word in the theme answer. I had no idea SABBATH BLESSING (27A: Friday night ritual, in Judaism) was a thing, any more than ... any other kind of BLESSING might be a thing. Never heard the phrase. Also never Ever heard of EN BANC DECISIONS (plural ... or singular, for that matter) (45A: Some Court of Appeals work). Jeff is a lawyer (I know because I gave him feedback on a grid of his back in early 2010), so this answer probably felt very natural to him. I guess the weakish theme was supposed to be bolstered and bulked up by the grid-spanning answers. Instead, the whole set-up feels awkward and teetery, with the second and third answers really feeling like reaches. CABBAGE PATCH KID was the only theme answer anywhere near my wheelhouse (17A: Adoptable doll of the '80s). So let's just say the puzzle is adequate, but (despite the poetry) not really my cup of matcha (a word I'd love to see in the puzzle).

As for the rest of the grid—touch and go. Never Ever seen anyone, "gridder" or otherwise, say "HI, DAD" on TV (28D: Gridder's on-air greeting, maybe). Had "HI, MOM" and then "HI, MAN!" (!?). Had SETS AT for LETS AT (26A: Sics on), which made the "monologist" (ugh, come on, LENO's bad enough; now I have to think him as a weird word no one would ever use to describe him?) impossible to see for a while ("SEN-???"). These two issues made the central answer, "RUDDIGORE," even more laughable (to me) than it would have been with no problems in the crosses. Never heard of "RUDDIGORE." Don't even know how to pronounce it. A third-string G&S opera? Right across the center??? Wow. I'm pronouncing it "Rudiger," if only because that's one of Bart Simpson's fake names (episode 1F05, "Bart's Inner Child").

[38D: Car tower, maybe => REPO MAN]

Didn't know what Carnaby Street was, but pieced together MOD easily enough (11A: Like Carnaby Street fashions). Figured the drug taken in "Rent" was HEROIN (it was about A.I.D.S., after all), so went looking for 3-letter slang ... only to find that the drug is the A.I.D.S. drug AZT. Never played Duck Hunt, but I know my gaming consoles pretty well from seeing them so often in crosswords. Knew it was too old to be WII, so NES was the next LOGICal choice (64A: Duck Hunt gaming console, briefly). "LA BAMBA" was the only gimme among the long Downs for me (3D: Biopic about Ritchie Valens). Very big when I was in high school. Made Lou Diamond Phillips a star. I know ANTIOCH better as a college (located ... I don't know where ... oh, Ohio, it turns out; Horace Mann was its first president) (44D: Ancient capital of Syria).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. A Message From The Future ... (6/29/11) ...

This website now has a Facebook page. I wanted to install a "Like" button here on the site, but, well, I'm wrestling with installing the code properly, i.e. I'm a technologically incompetent old man. Ugh. I expect I'll get it done in the next few days somehow. In the meantime, the page is here. I'll figure out ways to use it to complement this site. I have a biggish project I'm embarking on, one that will require some, let's say, audience participation ... so I'll probably use the FB page to help me with that ... but more on that later. Right now, if you're on FB, just go Like the page, dammit. I mean, please.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

101 comments:

Jenny 12:16 AM  

How strange - I can't get today's puzzle! The NYT site is only showing Tuesday's (and yes, I've refreshed). Anyone else having issues?

Brian 12:17 AM  

RUH-dih-gore (or maybe RUH-duh-gore). Best part of it is the patter song "My Eyes Are Fully Open," which was used in the film version of Pirates of Penzance. That's a fun film.

Of course I knew Ruddigore easily, but then again, I teach that. :)

I got stuck thinking that the pre-fight psych out was a SCARE, and that it was REMINI, like cute actress Leah. ICALEAN SONNETs are not my specialty.

Jenny 12:18 AM  

Oh, but it shows up from the Wordplay blog. Good enough for me! If this quirk is a normal thing, well, I've never noticed it before. The puzzles always seem to show up on NYT site after 10pm Eastern time.

operapianist 12:28 AM  

Rough indeed, though I enjoyed the solve. Threw down CABBAGEPATCHKID and, strangely, RUDDIGORE (I actually worked on that show in one of my hell-on-earth summers in OH), and got cocky and decided GREATDEPRESSION sounded "Unquiet" enough to also be thrown down ("take That 15s").

This presented an interesting solving experience-- upper half went down in maybe 3 mins (after finally giving up HUB for URB), while lower half took seemingly Forever. Specifically, that SW corner.

French out-of-language legal phrase + "cars piled on top of each other" (as I read it for way too long) + utterly foreign NEOCON + PASSEL + A.I.D.S. drug.

DEPRESSION indeed.

Loved the collection of clues and answers I don't see that often in the NY Times. Felt very fresh, by which I mostly mean potentially-derailing-my-solving-experience-at-any-moment.

Tobias Duncan 12:28 AM  

Everything Rex said just about word for word.Ripped through about the first third, thought I would have a personal Wed record, then things started to fall apart.Never heard of SABBATHBLESSINGs but at least I have heard the bloody words. I will do a bunch of googling after this...
All I know about
ANTIOCH is that they made holy hand grenades at one time...

All in all my time was not too terrible considering how little I knew in bottom half.I am getting much better at guessing.

@Jenny , I have been having weird stuff like that for about a week now.

davko 12:38 AM  

My thoughts exactly on 28D! When has a "gridder" ever hailed his father on TV? In fact, who even uses that term to describe a football player? Crosswords seem to be about the only place on earth you see the words "gridder," "cager" and "dogpatch," none of which have ever been spoken by a single sportscaster in the history of ESPN. Note to constructors and Will: I think it's time to send these old standbys the way of the flanker back and two-handed set shot.

foodie 12:39 AM  

Rex, I agree that it 's hard, albeit gettable. I struggled most in the SW.

Even I could not recall that Antioch was the capital of Syria, although it emerged quickly for me. A much disputed area between Syria aand Turkey, we learned to draw the map of Syria to include it, even though Turkey had appropriated it!

I know the author of an Unquiet Mind. She has a very composed and quiet style about her, which makes her descriptions of her bipolar illness all the more startling and compelling. A really remarkable person!

Fawning Publican 12:47 AM  

In The Merchant of Venice the word LOAN never appears. Of course it is a LOAN, but in the play it is referred to as a Bond.

SHYLOCK
I'll have my bond; speak not against my bond:
I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond.
Thou call'dst me dog before thou hadst a cause;
But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs:
The duke shall grant me justice. I do wonder,
Thou naughty gaoler, that thou art so fond
To come abroad with him at his request.

Anonymous 1:08 AM  

Except for Ruddigore, an easy solve. Sabbath blessing was the logical choice knowing prayers would not work. En banc decisions is a gimme for an attorney. The hi dad thing was a nice bit of misdirection. It was nice to find a puzzle deemed challenging to be pretty easy for me for a change, it is very often the other way around.

Rube 1:09 AM  

I've probably seen/heard 10 "HiMom"s for every 1 HIDAD, but that's CrosswordWorld. My other 2 writeovers were CANI/notI and lsd for AZT. (Hey, what is "Rent"?) The SW did give me a lot of trouble... took longer down there than all the rest of the puzz.

What the hell is an EN BANC DECISION? Hopefully, some of our legal beagles will enlighten us on this. (And then again, maybe I really don't want to know.)

Really wanted something related to a library for "Ex-lib". But NEOCON ended up the highlight of this puzzle, IMO.

I associate Horace Mann with Columbia U. Teacher's College. So he went to Antioch, eh. Probably a story there.

Interesting to know that the Oscars are at the Kodak Theatre. File that under "Facts I Really Don't Care About".

Sics on = LETSAT is the weak point in this puzz, IMO.

Almost forgot to mention that Francesca di Rimini is a 20th century Italian opera by Zandonai and Ricordi. Although the plot is somewhat ridiculous, the music is quite melodious. I've never seen it produced, but have heard the Scotto/Domingo/Levine recording. Worth while... if you're into this sort of thing.

Blogger is giving me trouble. Hope this looks OK.

Martin 1:29 AM  

This is the kind of a theme you'd find in the Chronicle of Higher Education crossword. A little odd for the Times, but I much prefer it to another "words that can precede 'cheese'" Wednesday theme.

"Sabbath blessing" can be a couple of things, but none more beautiful than the parents' blessing of their children before Friday dinner. It's touching in a "Sunrise, Sunset" sort of way when mom and dad place hands on each child's head and recite the short blessing. There are some down sides to organized religion, but a simple ritual that connects three thousand years of parents and children is not one of them.

Wikipedia lists 19 operas titled Francesca da Rimini, by the way. The Rachmaninoff one is performed now and then, but the most common version is not an opera at all. The Tchaikovsky symphonic poem is a standard.

Princess Kosmonopolis 1:48 AM  

"En Banc Decisions" are decisions by an entire appellate court, rather than a decision by a 3-judge panel. They usually happen when the 3-judge panel has messed up and the whole court comes back and fixes it. They are fairly unusual and special. But I'm mainly a princess, and only sometimes a lawyer.

Princess Kosmonopolis 1:52 AM  

I really do not want to be known as a "Legal Beagle."

Octavian 2:09 AM  

Awesome Wednesday puzzle! Almost a Thursday.

Mix of academic and pop culture makes it really fun, with lots of hard cluing and interesting terms and names like "publican," "en banc", "ruddigore" and "aflac.'' ... Loved the bizarre juxtaposition of Willie Mays, Opie and Dred Scott.

Rex never seems to enjoy puzzles that contain terms he doesn't know. I always come at these things the other way -- I like to learn new things in the puzzle. Never heard of an Italian sonnet, so you research it at Wikipedia. Forgot exactly where Rimini was, so you check it out.

If puzzles only included what you already know all about, they would be insufferably dull.

Favorite answer might be the shout out to the inimitable Richie Valens, who grew up in Pacoima, a suburban barrio in the east San Fernando Valley, north of L.A. Valens was the Anglicization of his original last name, "Valenzuela." .... And here's a connection to current pop culture: His first hit, "Framed," was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who were honored during "American Idol" this season with a theme night devoted to their work. Youtube: http://goo.gl/c8wB2

Wednesdays must be the hardest day for the NYT puzzle people to categorize since they have to be not too challenging but not too easy. Felt this one hit the bullseye.

chefwen 2:26 AM  

Sailed through this one humming "I'm sailing away" until I hit the SW corner, SCREECH! Hit the brakes! Had decisions in place at 45A but had no idea what the front part meant ENBANC??? Had LSD at 61A, never had seen Rents so what did I know? Finally finished with a big question mark re. ENBANC.

CoffeeLvr 2:32 AM  

I had solved the easy two thirds or so of this puzzle when the power went off. As it was 10:20pm, I finished my beer and snack and retired. Three hours later, still awake (due to new medication, I suspect.) So here I am again.

I would have had a DNF on paper. I did use Google in the middle of the solve to verify RUDDIGORE (first typed Rummidore here, like that better, but that was never in my grid.) Still, all squares filled, but not correctly. I had entered oNADAtE instead of INADAZE for "out to lunch." RoA and AtT did look wrong, but I needed to STARE down the puzzle for a while before I won the fight.

Without the circles and the cluing for ITALIAN & SONNET, this looks just like a themeless, only less dense.

antioch cycles michaels 2:35 AM  

crazy puzzle, BUT 4 15s across which I still think is hard to do.

The SABBATHBLESSING offsets Shylock on the is-this-puzzle-good-for-the-jews? scale I am secretly keeping.

20+ years ago, spent a day on the beach in Rimini (tacky seaside town) taking pictures of my Italian ragazzo, Arcangelo...who was posing in such a way I could take pictures of him with non-self-conscious Italiani doing calisthenics in speedos behind him.

(I wish I had written that in sonnet form...it might sound less mean)

OILUP made me think of Ahnold...I can't wait for other babymamas to come forward...maybe this will all have a silver lining and Maria will start eating again.

chefwen 3:29 AM  

@antioch michaels - "start eating again" LOL!!!

fikink 5:45 AM  

Oddly enough, used the word "passel" in an email to a surveyor yesterday morning. sp-sp-spooky!
However, the SW still gave me fits partly because I kept reading the title of the book as My Unique Mind and the clue "car tower" as in Eiffel tower. Kept thinking about spoilers or those wedge TV antennas on the back of limos. I must be going mad.

Lindsay 7:38 AM  

Exactly the opposite of what Rex said! I loved this puzzle! And I categorically detest little circles in my grid. But I laughed out loud when I realized (very quickly) that the circles were a rhyme scheme.

Thumbs up.

Nancy in PA 7:55 AM  

I loved this too...knew Ruddigore, knew Rent was a modern take on La Boheme but still was thinking recreational drugs so AZT didn't come easily, am related to lots of lawyers so ENBANC didn't throw me, and now will put "An Unquiet Mind" on my library hold list. Great Wed.

Smitty 7:57 AM  

Challenging (and clunky) for me too - and not much fun when it came down to the last few letters in the SW...guess, erase, guess, erase, guess, erase.

and I agree - Hi DAD? I call foul.

Matthew G. 8:11 AM  

I work for a court of appeals, and even I took a while to see EN BANC DECISIONS (maybe because my court is famous for its stingy granting of en banc review). I can't think of any reason a non-lawyer would know this term, and thus was surprised to see it as a theme entry in the NYT puzzle. Anyway, the way it works is that if any active judge on a court disagrees with a three-judge panel's decision, he or she can request a poll of all of the active judges to rehear the case en banc, and if a simple majority votes in favor, then the case is reheard as a whole court. And yes, that means you get a dozen or more judges all sitting together on one long bench.

Anyhow, definitely a Challenging puzzle, which in my opinion every day this week has been. I mostly agree with Rex about it, but there were things that I liked, such as the clue on AZT (which was a gimme for me as a former Rent-head) and the entry ANTIOCH.

exaudio 8:19 AM  

Ruddigore is my husband's fave G&S, and Rent is his favorite musical, which makes me suspect the constructor has been listening in on our conversations, jk. @antioch cycles michaels: love you is-this-puzzle-good-for-the-jews scale. Are you also the brilliant mind behind the pays-to-be-jewish scale?

joho 8:20 AM  

Like @Rex having sETSAT made it take forever to get LENO after which I saw RUDDIGORE and went, "huh?" Not exactly an aha moment.

I also wanted PASSEL to be mASSEs.

MANICDEPRESSION is kinda of depressing.

Thanks for the laughs, @antioch cycles michaels!

Catechist 8:20 AM  

I got the sonnet theme early but that didn't help with EN BANC DECISIONS. That SW corner was a nightmare, with PASSEL, RIA, AZT, and EN BANC. Other than that it wasn't too bad; I've somehow heard of RUDDIGORE even though I've never seen it.

efrex 8:22 AM  

Not feeling the hate on this one. Agree on the relative weakness of the theme, but thought that the challenge made it a worthwhile solve. If this were a themeless, I think it would've been a decent puzzle (4 nice 15s and very little "junk" fill) and the circled letters added a touch of spice to the mix.

This musical theater nerd knew RUDDIGORE and AZT right off the bat, and somehow dug ENBANCDECISION out of the ol' memory banks. I have no problem with HIDAD - the "maybe" was enough to keep me from putting in MOM, and it's a legitimate enough phrase, IMHO.

Holy hand grenades of ANTIOCH, but REPOMAN and OILUP took forever to suss out, and RIA and RIMINI are new to me.

Well done, Mr. Dubner!

Brother Maynard 8:34 AM  

And the LORD spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it." Amen

Glimmerglass 8:37 AM  

I agree with Octavian. Hard for a Wednesday, but it would have been an easy Saturday. Being a retired English teacher made the theme appear quite quickly, and the ABBA's and DCE's were a help in getting the 15s. I'm fine with HI DAD, but I though LETS AT was a bit off -- sic 'em implies more than just allowing the dog to attack. LENO, however, saves the day. Never heard of RUDDIGORE, but then I hate G&S (except The Micado).

jesser 8:42 AM  

Dammit. I had RU_DIGORE/_CCL and my brain went all Natick on me, so I put in a stupid m, which really IS stupid, considering the clue to 35D actually says that the answer will be 3/4ths of M, so how could M be in the answer? I feel dumber'n OPIE.

I liked the challenge of the puzzle, and I liked a whole lot of the surprises that leapt forth during the solve (OIL UP, FOPS, OUTIE, CYCLES, PASSEL), but the theme is just plain lame.

In light of recent events, I stared at 42A for a second and thought, "No one."

Accortic! (The guy playing the squeezebox is having a spasm) -- jesser

David L 8:44 AM  

The fill was a bit crunchy, but I thought this was OK and not too tough for a Wednesday. I'd heard of RUDDIGORE (I assume it rhymes with muddy more), and even though I am neither a lawyer nor a princess, I had heard of the phrase EN BANC, so putting it front of DECISION didn't seem like too much a stretch. Ditto with SABBATH BLESSING -- it's some kind of a blessing that occurs on the Sabbath, is what I'm thinking. More than that I cannot guess.

I had SETSAT and HIMOM at first, but corrected them quickly. Other than that, smooth(ish) sailing.

David 8:47 AM  

Wow, this was tough, very much a Thursday for me. DId this in about 20 minutes, double my normal Wed. Like many, the SW was nasty - wanted LSD for AZT, ATALOSS for INADAZE, the NC in ENBANC threw me for a while, wasn't familiar with PASSEL.

Also never heard of RUDDIGORE, and wanted SETSAT for LETSAT. The GORE part of RUDDIGORE gave me LENO, instead of SENO.....

And, I have no knowledge of Italian Sonnets - thus, though I enjoyed the challenge of a more difficult than usual Wednesday, I got little satisfaction from solving the theme.

Tobias Duncan 9:01 AM  

I was really hoping for a "Towel Day" puzzle :(
Guess thats a stretch...

Judith 9:06 AM  

@joho I also had masses, and since my brain pronounced car tower in the tall building sense, I was really stuck there.

Also, did not know Ruddigore.

Cabbage Patch Kids brought back memories of being smug at the mall when a bunch of parents were lined up outside a toy store to buy one. One woman was about to cry as she didn't think they would have enough for all. I thought they were crazy. 8 yrs later, I drove through a blizzard to buy a bathtub version for my daughter's b-day as only one store in town had any in stock. Kids do change you!

John V 9:06 AM  

Agree that this was a challenging Thursday. Also agree with @Octavian about learning new words. I tell my non-puzzle friends that everything I know about pop culture I learned from the NYT puzzle.

Captcha: sinch. Not today, bubbie.

retired_chemist 9:18 AM  

@ antioch cycles michaels - loved your post!

Puzzle - all right. Some hate, some love. Liked learning: EN BANC, ANTIOCH, the rhyme scheme. Did not like URB, HI DAD, DUO (takes a DUO to tango? Come ON! Visual: The Dynamic Duo tangoing....), PIN as a corsage part (Is a thumbtack part of a bulletin board note?).

63A was KARAT at first - I think we were expected to do that. 23A - BIMINI for a second or two, then the real geography kicked in. Thousands of miles off....

NANO for Mork's signoff slowed down the search for the G&S, which was at the time some chunk of RODMIGORE. Oh well....

retired_chemist 9:18 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
EG in TO 9:34 AM  

My drug of choice was XTC, thinking it was the right era for "Rent" but I quickly realized that couldn't be right. SW was the killer for me. Finished with errors. Hand up for oNADAtE instead of INADAZE and sETSON instead of LETSON. Also dropped down RUDDImORE for RUDDIGORE which gave me the well-known Bolean LOmIC (something to do with soil, perhaps?). Took a while to sort that out.

Never heard of an Italian Sonnet but SABBATH BLESSING came pretty quickly. Love the "is this puzzle good for the Jews count!"

Katie Dyer 9:45 AM  

The title, Ruddigore, is a pun on Ruddy Gore. It is a very bloody opera, and a good production can make you laugh till you cry.

jackj 9:49 AM  

This one was an easy enough solve, even with the really obscure bits like RUDDIGORE, RIMINI, ANTIOCH, etc., as the "crossword" aspect of crosswords came into play to resolve the unknowns.

I'm no constructor but I don't understand why the 9 letter place of honor, in the center of the grid, is given to a non-theme entry, (RUDDIGORE).

My bottom line on this effort is, Will should have sent it to Patrick Berry, editor of the Chronicle of Education puzzles with a note attached, "This one's for you".

quilter1 9:51 AM  

DNF. Like Chefwen I tore through the top half, stumbled briefly over HiMom, took out the SE and came to a halt in the SW. Could not see PASSEL for anything, never heard of ENBANC, and while I had the MAN could not see REPO as my brain also read tower as tall building. Ack!
Loved @antioch cycles michaels post--so funny, and agree that the Friday SABBATH BLESSING is a thing, an event, an activity that is very beautiful.

captcha humen: to err

chefbea 9:57 AM  

Did not like the puzzle. Got cabbage patch kid immediately and was so happy it was going to be an ABBA puzzle...mama mia etc!! Never heard of Ruddigore or passel.

Love the word monologist!!

@Judith I remember standing in line at 5:am on a cold morning waiting for KB Toys to open so I could get 2 of the dolls for my grand daughters. It was all grand parents standing in line!!!

GenJoneser 9:58 AM  

Thanks @Brother Maynard for the chuckle! Always appreciate a little MP with my coffee and puzzle!

santafefran 10:10 AM  

No writeovers for me but never having heard of EN BANC DECISIONS, I was holding my breath when I entered the last letter and Mr. Happy Pencil popped up. Just couldn't figure out anything else because the crosses all seemed right.

Bipolar disorder used to be called Manic Depressive I think so almost wrote that in but ANTIOCH came somewhere from biblical knowledge to save me.

On balance, I liked the puzzle which proved to be fairly easy for me and the same time as yesterday's when I was not suffering from MANIC DEPRESSION, just a bit LOONY and IN A DAZE likely due to my internet connection being down most of the day. :-(

captcha:prude--wouldn't have cared for yesterday's puzzle which I thought was a hoot!

PuzzleNut 10:12 AM  

I'm with Octavian, Lindsay, and others today. Learned a few new things and thought everything was fair, albiet difficult for a Wednesday. I'm not a lawyer, but I thought EN BANC was a pretty common phrase. Of course I had HIMOM, which slowed me down a little. Never heard of RUDDIGORE, but with the ORE at the end, I was trying to fit HMSPINAFORE into the too-small space. My other write-over was twO for DUO and couldn't believe someone would spell OwTIE that way. First guess at the drug was PCP.
I appreciate Rex's point about the embeds spanning two words (which, as I see it, happens with both of the CDE embeds), but that seems like a tall order for the ABBA's. Not sure I could come up with any 15 letter answers that would qualify.

Jimi 10:35 AM  

MANICDEPRESSION is a frustrating mess.

Ulrich 10:38 AM  

Twelve judges on a panel? Must look like Leonardo's Last Supper!

I'm also with Octavian et al who consider xword puzzles as a major means of expanding your knowledge into areas not normally entered--my entire knowledge of post-70s pop comes from puzzles, and I'm the better for it.

M.A.B. 10:39 AM  

Antioch: also a (dying, if not actually dead) town in the Nebraska Sandhills. Flourished during WWI as a source of potash, dried up and blew away after that. Remains of potash plant still visible, looming like the ruin of some ancient civilization. Now you know.

Two Ponies 10:47 AM  

I first came here to rant about how much I disliked this puzzle.
There are more than four seasons?
I have to do math in Roman numerals? Gilbert and Sullivan?
WTF?
Then I read @ Octavian's sensible and calming post. That followed by
Andrea and Brother Maynard turned my frown upside down!

hazel 10:48 AM  

regardless of the fact that it was harder than the avg wednesday, didn't like it. rhyme scheme schmyme scheme. stop the presses.

started off kind off strong with the cabbagepatchkids and the sabbathblessing (as described my @martin), but the CDEs were just trying too hard.

@jesser - where'd you get the idea that opie was dumb? take it back!

Cathyat40 10:50 AM  

This is the first time I've ever found a puzzle "easy" that Rex found "challenging." Makes my day :)

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

Rex was too hard on this one. I loved this Wednesday puzzle. Rare that I can finish a Wednesday on the first try without looking anything up. First time I finished in the top 20% in a long, long time. Sure, it helps that I'm a gay 41-year old lawyer, but even though there were some tough answers I thought it was interesting and varied. Rex has it backward if he thinks anyone was supposed to get the rhyme-scheme filled in from knowing what an Italian sonnet is.

What I liked best of all was (even though there were some tough longer answers) the fill was very unfill-y. Not much crosswordese.

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

Go figure: I solved this in about 20 minutes and was never stumped for long. I'd rate it Medium or maybe Medium-Challenging. BUT last Saturday's puzzle rated by Jesser as Easy-Medium I found to be many times tougher than today's one rated by Rex as Challenging.

JenCT 11:44 AM  

Same solving experience as @Rex.

SW was tough.

I'd STARE at a bodybuilder as he would OILUP to pump IRON...

@santafefran: finally tried your manchego/quince/bread suggestion - YUM!

JaxInL.A. 11:46 AM  

I love anything that brings poetry into modern life, so I applaud a puzzle that teaches a sonnet pattern.  I had a pretty easy time with this one (that rare condition of positive arexia).  I guess it's a wheelhouse thing.  Where does that phrase come from, anyway?  I associate wheelhouse with river boats. 

SABBATH BLESSING came quick--have I mentioned that first I and then my daughter will have a bat mitzvah in each of the next two weeks?  Much work, but very rewarding.

If you are interested in Kay Redfield Jamison's "An Unquiet Mind," you should treat yourself to the frank, moving, occasionally humorous and ultimately hopeful memoir of living with schizophrenia by USC law professor Elyn Saks, "The Center Cannot Hold."  Check out this clip of a Charlie Rose panel that features both Elyn and Ms. Jamison.

jberg 12:00 PM  

I loved this puzzle! First, for PASSEL, a folksy old word no one uses now, but I'm going to start. I'm gonna catch me a PASSEL of possums and cook up a stew.

Next, for reminding me of those games played by junkyard crane operators, competing to see who can make the highest stack of crushed automobiles.

I thought it was easy, though. Except for CABBAGE PATCH KIDS, I got half of each theme answer - SABBATH, DECISONS, DEPRESSION - and then needed a few crosses to guess the other part (I did know about EN BANC, so once I had the C it followed). I also knew RUDDIGORE, but not that it followed THE MIKADO, so I needed some crosses for that. (Is RUDDI/RUDDY in turn a euphemism for BLOODY, which for some reason was, and perhaps still is a Very Bad Word across the Atlantic?)

Two writeovers. I too thought sETS AT much better than LETS AT (didn't we just have this a couple of weeks ago?), which gave me Mort SAHL as the monologist; and, like so many, said HI MOM at 28D until DECISIONS made it impossible.

syndy 12:02 PM  

WHOA was complaining to myself how far to easy this was till sw brought it up to a monday!and the to find REX call challenging?ENBANC would have stopped me dead-except-had the CDE from the circles in MANICDEPRESSION! kinda gave it away!Thank you @maynard and Thank you Monty Python!

Mike in Asia 12:09 PM  

Rex, I hope you read this, because I have a question as a crossword amateur (can solve a Sunday NYT or the WSJ's weekly puzzle fairly consistently if given a couple hours, can fill 90% of a typical Wednesday puzzle before googling, but would have trouble with a typical NYT Fri or Sat puzzle if given all weekend).

I promise to get to the question soon.

I agree with you 100% about this puzzle. Everything was either forced (URB, LETS AT, MOD, really?), pretentious (too many to count) or just plain wrong from a crossword player's perspective (HI DAD, for f's sake!). The easy fill was too easy (ERIE, DUO etc., etc.) and the rough was too absurd to find enjoyable.

Without further ado, and forgive me if you have discussed this before (I started following you about two months ago, but not on a daily basis), but what is a crossword puzzle editor's job? Why didn't Mr. Shortz fix this train wreck with better clues or fix the fill or just 86 it altogether? I love Shortz's NPR puzzle program, I have read articles about him and by him, I do indeed respect the guy. But this was the just an awful puzzle, and there have been several nearly as bad in past couple weeks. Question No. 2: Is Will losing it?

If you don't have time to answer, I understand. But I am very curious about the first question. Does he merely fact check? Is he obligated to keep the fill that the puzzle author submits?

(On a side issue, I do the puzzle in the IHT. Last week, they screwed up the grid. This time they ran a correction the following day. But they had done the same two other times just in the past six months, but apparently no one noticed. Sorry. Had to get that off my chest, too.)

--Mike in Asia

Just curious, and thank you.

Clark 12:30 PM  

En Banc Decisions don’t happen very often. But they are important when they do. You hear about them quite often, though, because just about anytime there is a report (that is more than a cursory one) about a decision of a federal court of appeals, when the question is asked, What happens now? Does it go directly to the Supreme Court? the answer will be, Well, first there will be a petition for rehearing, and then a petition for EN BANC review. If you listen to NPR, I bet you have heard Nina Totenberg say these words.

fikink 12:35 PM  

@jberg, actually I spoke of a "passel of lawyers" just yesterday (see above). Perhaps it is a ruralism, still alive and well.

@jaxinL.A. - thanks for your post re: Elyn Saks. "The center cannot hold," is a Yeats' line close to my heart and is particularly resonant of late.

W.B Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert.

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Rube 12:43 PM  

Had an eerie moment last night when I opened up the NetFlix I got yesterday and found out it's called "Amarcord" and is located in RIMINI. It's a Fellini movie and takes place during the Mussolini era. It's a bit wierd, but typical Fellini. I'm surprised that none of you cineastes have mentioned this.

Many of my NetFlix choices recently have been based on something in a Xword, but I can't remember why I put this one in my queue. FYI, Amarcord is translated as "I remember".

pizzatheorem 12:44 PM  

@anonymous [10:56] — Rex's rating reflects the relative difficulty for that day of the week. So "challenging" here means only that he considers the puzzle challenging compared to other Wednesday puzzles.

Edna St. Vincent Millay 12:47 PM  

ABBA ABBA CDCDCD
 
I will put Chaos into fourteen lines
And keep him there; and let him thence escape
If he be lucky; let him twist, and ape
Flood, fire, and demon --- his adroit designs
Will strain to nothing in the strict confines
Of this sweet order, where, in pious rape,
I hold his essence and amorphous shape,
Till he with Order mingles and combines.
Past are the hours, the years of our duress,
His arrogance, our awful servitude:
I have him. He is nothing more nor less
Than something simple not yet understood;
I shall not even force him to confess;
Or answer. I will only make him good.

KarenSampsonHudson 12:55 PM  

I found this one a disjointed mixture of difficult and easy, with predictable fill. Arcane terms mixed with give-aways. Rather "loony" and rather irking, like the "AFLAC" duck! :-)

Vikram Seth 1:09 PM  

ABAB CCDD EFFE GG

Next morning comes John's ultimatum,
Not frenzied so much as resigned.
"Some people like cats, and some hate 'em.
I must be of the second kind.
Excuse me if I'm sounding bitter.
I did my best to like this critter,
But, Liz, it takes two--and your cat
Just loathes my innards--and that's that.
He isn't wooly-brained or witless.
Today my briefcase is his prize.
Tomorrow he'll gouge out my eyes.
Believe me, Liz, it scares me shitless.
Either you get that cat declawed
Or I'll--so help me--have 'em sawed  [....]

--The Golden Gate, 6.26 
A 1986 novel about contemporary people in San Francisco entirely written in sonnets (though Onegin, not Italian).

joho 1:42 PM  

If it was Jeff Dubner's intent to bring poetry to the forefront today then he has succeeded: bravo!

kevin 1:52 PM  

In "The Merchant of Venice" a bond is not a loan, but the asset pledged to guarantee the loan.

retired_chemist 2:17 PM  

Oh geez. I thought I knew all there was to know about Monty Python, but Grail was not one of my faves. So the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch went right over my head. Thanks all for increasing my knowledge and making me realize I don't know the full Monty (Python).

quilter1 2:32 PM  

Thank you @finkink, Edna and Vikram Seth for all the poetry.
I never saw the LENO answer and had put in "sets at as well." I think it is a better fit for the clue.
Thank you, Brother Maynard, too. Hilarious and makes me want to watch the Holy Grail again.

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

The two major forms of Renaissance sonnets: the Shakespearean and the Petrarchan, also know as the Italian.
Shakespearean:
abab, cdcd, efef, gg.
Petrarchan:
what you see in the puzzle.

Nick

Sparky 2:55 PM  

Saw the two ABBAs right away and like @chefbea said "A puzzle about ABBA?" Fortuately not.

I thought the SABBATHBLESSING is when the Mother lights the candles and prays.

It takes two to tango. Had LSD first; can't spell ORkA right the fisrt time. Thanks Princess and others for the explanations. I filled it in with crosses but had a? in the margin. @Martin lol re words that can precede cheese. Rodin's The Kiss is Francesca and Paolo. @Push Pin commentor, yes, or I can tie a corsage to my wrist with a ribbon and not use a pin at all.

@Jaxin L.A.All the best wishes and masel tov to you and your daughter.

Masked and O'nonymous II 3:28 PM  

Gotta go with @Octavian and others who like to learn something along the puzway. Know about as much about Italian Sonnets as I do about Royal weddings or NY libraries. But, hey... it all keeps your neurons firin'. And 31 belchin' fire. Har.

Sure hard to pick out a fave clue, tho; not a lot of humor in this one. Left me wanting more of that. Especially since the theme felt like a dry college lecture.

PASSEL was kinda neat fill, for some reason. Don't know RIMINI. Know bIMINI -- but then you get yer O'SCAbS, which sounds Irish and in need of band-aids.

Usually when the black squares slice the N/S in two like this, you sense that you're in for quite a fight. Betcha it meant the constructor was in for a fight, too, and had to "go desperate" a time or two, to fill up his grid (URB, SUI). No real bad partials, tho.

mac 3:37 PM  

What are the odd of The Mikado being mentioned so soon after Titwillow??

I enjoyed this puzzle, but had to really scramble to get the SW. Ruddigore was a new one to me, but the crosses (and dad) made it possible. I actually knew a man called Rudiger in Hamburg. Shouldn't it be "due" for the tango?

@Antioch: what a great post....

Masked and Anonymous I 3:39 PM  

This is M&A, having just completed my travels backward in time, where I had posted my comment #2 in The Past, after posting my first comment here.

Should say somethin' about the puz while stopping off here in The Present. Circles! With ABBA in 'em! Mama Mia! Circles with CDE in 'em! I have no response to that.

Now back to The Future.

amarcord carla michaels 4:02 PM  

@Rube
I actually was going to mention that RIMINI was Fellini's birthplace...but I had forgotten that "Amarcord, I Remember" was filmed there (ironic, considering the title!)

@jaxinla
Yes, double mazel tov! Both you AND your daughter, that actually tips the scale over on goodforthejews!

My favorite phrase on today's blog
(so far...and yes, I DO have to get a life) is from @anonymous 10;52am
"Sure, it helps that I'm a gay 41-year old lawyer..."

Anonymous 5:08 PM  

Nice explanation of "en banc" on Wikipedia for any legal mongrels who want to go further. Why was there not more poetry in this puzzle - one Keats clue only? That might have sweetened it a little.

ksquare 5:11 PM  

PASSEL is a corruption (or Bostonian pronunciation) of PARCEL, which may signify a lot of something.

CoffeeLvr 5:14 PM  

Wonderful comments today, makes my day. Thank you all. I hate to omit any, but these rise to the top of my foamy memory:]

@Antioch Cycles Michaels in Rimini, now that's a vision to contemplate! Along with yours, @JeninCT. @TobiasDuncan, I thought "towel day" was somehow related to those images from the ladies, good thing I Googled the celebratory practice.

@jaxinLA, how wonderful for you and your daughter. I honor your parenting.

@fikink, my eyes are still moist from the Yeats. I am going to email it to a couple of my crazy right wing cousins, and then to some people who will appreciate it.

thursdaysd 5:14 PM  

Did this one late. Not too much trouble once I saw the first ABBA (what else would it be - pop groups?) except for the middle. Really a DNF though - I googled RoDDIGORE and found it should be RUDDIGORE, and had to check letter the S in sETSAT. Like others I cry foul on that clue, LETSAT = allows to attack, while Sics on = tells to attack. Also, I never put PEAS in a stew.

Liked MOD, but I lived in London during the Carnaby Street era. I also liked the NEOCON clue, which took me a long time to "get". I had heard of EN BANC (thanks NPR), although for some reason I entered EN BloC initially.

Doris 5:20 PM  

I know, I know—I should get a life. However, the G&S connection, cf. "Ruddigore," is also the reason why I knew EN BANC from "Trial by Jury." Though Gilbert gets it slightly wrong: "IN BANC."

(Enter the Judge on the Bench.)

Chorus.

All hail, great Judge!
To your bright rays
We never grudge
Ecstatic praise.
All hail!
May each decree
With statute rank,
And never be
Reversed in banc.
All hail!

"...and a good judge, too!"

Sfingi 5:51 PM  

Found it easy in the hard parts (apparently) but HTG for NES and AZT, those little modrin abbrevs.

If I hadn't Googled for those two, I wouldn't have seen that it was not a car tower - a tall pile of cars! - but someone who tows cars. Yeesh.

The sonnet began in Sicily, the form created by a fellow named Giacomo da Lentini, from Lentini working in the unbelievable court of the half Norman King Fred II. Along with Arab scientsts, African dancers, Provencal singers, he encouraged poetry. It took off when Petrarch got hold of it. The big difference between the Italian and the English was the Italian was not iambic pentameter, because Italian takes so many more syllables to say the same thing. In any case, in English, it's so natural to talk in iambic pentameter, that you can train yourself to say anything in that beat.

retired_chemist 6:06 PM  

"in English, it's so natural to talk in iambic pentameter, that you can train yourself to say anything in that beat."

@ sfingi - When I have time I will send you an actual published chemistry article (Journal of Organic Chemistry) written entirely in iambic pentameter. Scientifically correct and the substance was appropriate to the Journal.

Anonymous 6:49 PM  

Doesn't Cosby have a routine where-in the gridder's father does everything for the boy and when the boy finally gets to the NFL he thanks his mother?

Matthew G. 7:08 PM  

@Doris:

"In banc" is an acceptable alternative spelling of "en banc," so G&S are off the hook. Indeed, on the court that I work for, there are judges who use both spellings. "En banc" is certainly the more common modern spelling, but there are holdouts.

Anonymous 7:21 PM  

some years ago my husband and i were in rimini. as the beach was not sandy but made up of hard pebbles and as we were newlyweds, my husband carried me from the waves to the hotel to protect my tender feet. as we came up to the entrance several members of the hotel staff applauded and seemed happy and charmed to see his chivalry. ruddigore sounds like something from harry potter.i wanted to fit in hms pinafore. altho i finished i hadn't heard this before and neither did i know enbanc so solving didn't have that aha experience. while the rhyming scheme letters helped me solve they didn't mean much as a theme as others have noted.

Sfingi 8:57 PM  

@Retired Chemist - I would love that, though I don't teach much any more.

I have book upon book of sonnets, the most popular fixed form in English, though not originating there. Of course, The Bard must have dreamt in iambic pentameter.

Do you have my e-mail? If not, Hubster's on Face Book - Frank Blando.

I'm glad I have my blogger thing back - think the mess-up was because of the new version of Firefox.

mmorgan 9:37 PM  

Enjoyed this a lot -- especially once it became clear it was NOT about ABBA!

william e emba 9:38 PM  

When I saw the circles, I immediately noticed they were arranged 4433 in a near vertical pattern, and it was obvious to me the theme was something to do about SONNETs, and what else could they be but a rhyme scheme?

On the one hand, I'm not a lawyer, not even close. But EN BANC DECISIONS can very easily, off the CDE rhyme scheme. I guess I follow legal news regularly enough. The only phrase I can actually recall coming across is "en banc hearing", but that's probably because that one makes it into the news: appellant request for an en banc (re)hearing was denied, or the like. The phrase referring to the decisions themselves is normally buried in more technical writing, because an en banc decision has more weight and courts take note of that.

On the other hand, I am a practicing Orthodox Jew, and yet SABBATH BLESSINGS was unusually difficult. Part of it was expert knowledge--too many wrong answers came to mind, none of them fit, and none of them were likely to ever make it in the grid anyway. But the real difficulty is because no one I know uses that phrase. We all say it in Hebrew, "Shabbos bracha", in the singular.

And CABBAGE PATCH KID came very very slowly, since I only knew of them second and third hand, and I thought they were called dolls, not kids. Almost thirty years late, but now I know.

(From one particular machine, I have to post using Internet Explorer instead of Firefox or Chrome, by the way. The post shows up in the Blogger posting window as a success, but it doesn't seem to make it to the website.)

sanfranman59 10:11 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

Mon 7:05, 6:52, 1.03, 66%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 9:45, 8:56, 1.09, 76%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 13:09, 11:47, 1.12, 77%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:49, 3:40, 1.04, 69%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:14, 4:35, 1.14, 89%, Challenging
Wed 6:34, 5:48, 1.13, 82%, Challenging

foodie 12:02 AM  

Challenging galore, and no end in sight...

Thanks, @SanFranMan.

retired_chemist 8:51 AM  

@ Sfingi - they charge me for the article online, There are too many Frank Blandos - don't know which one is your husband. But if you have access to a University library you can look it up:

Comparative mobility of halogens in reactions of dihalobenzenes with potassium amide in ammonia


Joseph F. Bunnett, Francis J. Kearley Jr.
J. Org. Chem., 1971, 36 (1), pp 184–186
DOI: 10.1021/jo00800a036
Publication Date: January 1971

NotalwaysrightBill 11:38 AM  

Syndi-puzzler.

Wasn't fond of the clue for [43D Giving for free=COMPING], but today I learned of RIMINI, RUDDIGORE, ENBANC, NES and (most importantly!) of NAAN (must make some soon).

@CoffeeLvr:

" . . . my eyes are still moist from the Yeats. I am going to email it to a couple of my crazy right wing cousins, and then to some people who will appreciate it."

As a NEOCON, I have to laugh at the claims to cultural superiority of those who at every opportunity insist on letting their elitist slips show. Can you say "Money all gone?" I didn't think so. Rag and Bone Shop here we come.

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

I am left with one of two conclusions, either I am getting better at crosswords or I was somehow in sync with the puzzle itself. I thought after solving this one with no trouble that I'd turn to the Rex Pages and find out whoops of derision at how easy this Wed. puzzle was. Not so. I had one microscopic cross-out (sets at for the correct lets at) and didn't know Ruddigore, Nes or AZT, but filled them in easily.

Easy fills: Ales, fops, ant, mod, ahi, naan iron, orca, pin, ounce, night, nosed, outie, a la, Rimini. "Repo Man" was a clever misdirection for an auto tower (I was trying to think of the names of the GM building or the old Chrysler building at first--ah, English multiple pronunciations!).

I've concluded that I was, probably, just lucky and in sync with the cruciverbalist today.

Red Valerian 1:41 PM  

I found it pretty hard, at least for a Wednesday. But I did finish, despite not having heard of RUDDIGORE or EN BANC DECISION. Got 37D ERIE (Canal of song) despite not knowing any song about the Erie Canal.


@NotalwaysrightBill, I, too, didn’t like the clue for 43D, as it didn’t indicate the answer to be slang. (However, @CoffeeLvr did say crazy right wing cousins. Maybe that wasn’t intended to be redundant, so maybe she wasn’t referring to your brand of right wing :-)

Like @joho and @Judith, at first wanted mASSEs for PASSEL. I think that clue should have indicated slang, too. Maybe “whole whack”?

Liked the potential misdirect that tempted @retired_chemist at 63A gold measure=OUNCE (though I would have spelled it carat, not karat, but I see both are acceptable (though equally wrong, of course).)

Anyhow, thought it a solid challenging puzzle.

And, as always, I loved Rex's write-up and all the comments.

catpcha=rerithe... squirm again

Waxy in Montreal 2:43 PM  

Interesting puzzle in that I was able to finish it off from the crosses despite not being familiar with RUDDIGORE, EN BANC, COMPING, ASTI, AZT and NES. 11A reminded me of those huge teen clashes in 1960's England between the MODS and the ROCKERS. Guess the survivors are all grandparenting now...

Deb @ RoomscapesDecor.com 3:04 PM  

Bless you, Rex, for rating this as "challenging." I've never had such a hard time solving a Wednesday puzzle. Southwest was the last to fall for me. Though I immediately and confidently wrote in RIA, AZT, NES, and was chewing on the possibility of "PASSEL," I screwed up with "AN ODE" rather than "ODE TO" so it took a while to puzzle out. I also had "SETS AT," but fixed that pretty quickly when the "E" and "N" fell.

Am I the only one who had a hard time letting go of "TWO" for "TANGO TEAM?"

Captcha=shbuctis - a ruckus that breaks out during Shabbat

Anonymous 3:26 PM  

Today is a great example of why I love crosswords and especially this blog - everything from Towel Day to Elyn Saks.

Dirigonzo 3:29 PM  

Maybe it's just the afterglow of yesterday's partner-swapping party, but I thought this was a lot of fun. But I like the term "gridder" too, so complaints like that are lost on me. And I admit to having RUDmIGORE for a while but the toddler's plea straightened that out as it made Mom not the person being greeted on TV. I could almost feel the synapses in my brain firing (or opening and closing, or whatever synapses do) as answers emerged from the depths of my mind.

As usual, when I saw "Buckeyes" I quickly and wrongly plunked down Kansans - I have no idea why, but I do this consistently.

Only disappointment: No Ritchie Valens to listen to while reading the comments.

Cary in Boulder 6:27 PM  

In the Erie Canal song, it's pronounced "Ee-RYE-ee" Canal. EN BANC had me grumbling. Somehow knew RUDDIGORE, though G&S are wa-a-a-ay down on my list of musical likes.In the interest of full disclosure, I was actually in a 6th grade production of HMS Pinafore back in the late '50s. Cute lyrics, but it was all over for them once I heard James Brown.

C in B (currently "on tour" in Maryland)

vanatoi = buy very small vowel?

Cary in Boulder 6:28 PM  

In the Erie Canal song, it's pronounced "Ee-RYE-ee" Canal. EN BANC had me grumbling. Somehow knew RUDDIGORE, though G&S are wa-a-a-ay down on my list of musical likes.In the interest of full disclosure, I was actually in a 6th grade production of HMS Pinafore back in the late '50s. Cute lyrics, but it was all over for them once I heard James Brown.

C in B (currently "on tour" in Maryland)

vanatoi = buy very small vowel?

Red Valerian 7:17 PM  

@C in B:

Now I'm pretty sure I've never heard that song.

And now you know at least two people read what you post! (I saw @Dirigonzo's post at the FB site.) And I bet there are many more...

"On tour," eh? Have fun!

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