Composer known as Red Priest / FRI 6-24-11 / Old Go from flat to fluffy sloganeer / Rapid descent on skis / Beatles song complaining title

Friday, June 24, 2011

Constructor: Milo Beckman

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none


Word of the Day: ITUNES PLUS (24A: Where purchases cost 69c, 99c, or $1.29) —

iTunes Plus - iTunes Plus is the name for the option in iTunes that allows customers to buy music at the iTunes Store that is free from digital rights management, or DRM. (about.com)
• • •

My first response on hearing that we would have yet another debut from yet another teenage boy going to yet another Ivy League School = yawn. Yes, it's impressive, but the NYT has a young smart boy fetish that I find a little creepy. It's cool to see young people getting into constructing, in that it gives a glimmer of hope that the craft might survive another generation (despite the fact that the main vehicle for the visibility / promotion of the crossword, the dead-tree newspaper, will be extinct in ... 3, 2, 1 ...). But I don't care if you are 15 and making your NYT crossword debut and going to Harvard in the fall (as this kid is, according to a tweet from Will Shortz that I read yesterday—yes, he's tweeting now, @Will_Shortz). I care only if your puzzle is good. And guess what. This puzzle isn't good. . . (wait for it) ... it's great.

Here's what I didn't like: the clue on ITUNESPLUS. It's a format, not a place, so the "Where" doesn't make any sense to me. The "Where" is still the ITUNESSTORE, which I tried to squeeze into the space provided—not hard if you imagine that ITUNES and STORE share an "S" in the official corporate name. I mean, they don't, but you can imagine they do. Anyway, aside from that, I haven't got a single complaint about this thing. I think I literally said "Wow" upon piecing together the NW. Such great, fresh, colloquial phrases ... and a track off the White Album (17A: Beatles song with a complaining title=>"I'M SO TIRED"). The SE corner is almost as good. I CALLED IT! (63A: "Told you so!") This puzzle just has a great SENSE of the language, as it's used, by human beings, many of them (gasp) under 40. And yet the puzzle didn't feel unduly teeny. Teen-y. Wow, I tried to invent an adjective there and instead just duplicated a word that already existed and means something irrelevant. OK, then. What I'm saying is that with perhaps the exception of CHILL PILL (65A: Remedy for a tizzy), everything in here should be at least vaguely familiar to someone who follows the news and gets out from time to time.



I would complain about two forms of the word SEX being in the same puzzle, but I can't bring myself to complain about getting SEX twice. I just can't. (8D: Type of reproduction + 21D: Titillating transmissions) Besides, the words that share SEX are totally unrelated. At least I assume they are. Are there such things as ASEXUAL SEXTS? "What r u wearing? I'm wearing tunic & cowl. Chastity is hawt."

The NE was hardest for me, mostly because of ITUNESPLUS but somewhat because of WINER (total unknown to me, even though he's an executive producer of one of my favorite TV shows, "Modern Family") (16A: Jason who directed 2011's "Arthur") crossing AWACS (which I know *only* because of crossword experience) (10D: ___ plane). That crossing is going to take at least one person down today. Otherwise, this one didn't give me too much trouble. Had some reservations about LADED (wanted LADEN) (26A: Burdened), and wasn't sure what the article was at 27D: "Der Ring ___ Nibelungen" ("DES") (I think of "DES" as French), but DES beat NES and I moved on. Don't particularly like the clue on UNRATED (7D: Like a first-time tournament player, usually). Tourney players are UNRANKED or UNSEEDED. DVD releases of movies with certain naughty bits restored are UNRATED.

Bullets:
  • 21A: Rapid descent on skis (SCHUSS) — thought this was just a word for ski. Didn't know "rapid" had anything to do with it.
  • 31A: Honorary deg. for many a writer (D.LIT.) — Hmm... sounds vaguely familiar, but I mostly had to infer it. Honorary degrees seem silly to me. Gotta be another way to honor people besides giving them fake degrees.
  • 51A: Words accompanying an arrow ("THIS SIDE UP") — Great, though my brain wanted only "THIS END UP" and (initially) gave up when it wouldn't fit.
  • 4D: $ $ $ head (CFO) — first answer in the grid.
  • 53D: Old "Go from flat to fluffy" sloganeer (PRELL) — Got it off the "R" in 'ENRY. No idea how I knew it. I can't remember if this slogan is from my time or not. . . yep. No wonder it's familiar: it's from that late '70s sweet spot when I was soaking in pop culture like a sponge.

  • 5D: Old Spice rival (AFTA) — When AXE BODY SPRAY wouldn't fit, I moved on. Somehow I think of AFTA as bygone. Apparently not.
  • 45D: Composer known as the Red Priest (VIVALDI) — No fair. How am I supposed to know VIVALDI's pro wrestling name?


  • Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

    65 comments:

    retired_chemist 12:09 AM  

    Liked it a lot. Easy - several minutes faster than my usual Friday time.

    Hand up for LADEN and not knowing CHILL PILL (which was inferrable anyway). Had SLALOM first @ 21A. Am sure I was not alone in putting MARY first @ 22A.

    Knew VIVALDI (Red Priest) and MIT (Pei). Did not know WINER and thought AWACS was probably wrong. Wasn't.

    Well done, Mr.Beckman.

    Gill I. P. 12:23 AM  

    I guess it's pathetic when the first thing I put in was PRELL. Didn't it use to have a fake pearl in the bottle?
    I also got ASEXUAL because I knew AJAX (the cleanser, not the hero.)
    O.K. one day I will finish a Friday without help. Having said that, I loved this puzzle. I will not be a WINER today, instead I will say to Mr. Beckman I really am in RAPT of your crossword. Congratulations !

    Anonymous 12:29 AM  

    My HS football coach was named Beckman.

    operapianist 12:30 AM  

    Fantastic puzzle-- finished in just over 15 mins, which is not too shabby for me on a Fri. Much of the clues felt familiar-- not crossword-esey as much as familiar late-week fare. Somehow none of the repeats for me were stale AT ALL. Loved the classical music slant since that's what I do: threw down SEIJI, VIVALDI, and DES.

    Btw, nice having 2 sonata-makers close to each other in the grid. I cut my piano teeth attempting to play Vivaldi sonatas from a very young age (kinda boring, no lie).

    syndy 12:36 AM  

    Does it say anything that I threw in ACTNORMAL and was quite pleased? and yes to Hail MARY all of which slowed down the NW where I finished up!I also had ASCETIC for 12 down but that fell pretty fast! very familiar with the chillpill-crawled off a scaffold for break and found myself on the wrong side of a radiography barrier and was told by the Radiographer to take same! fun puzzle to suss out!

    foodie 12:40 AM  

    I loved it! and found it easy!

    And I knew CHILL PILL, my advanced age notwithstanding. If Milo knows 'Flat to Fluffy", I should know CHILL PILL, right?

    I hate it when people tell you harsh stuff and then say NO OFFENSE! So, I greatly appreciated the way it was clued-- it usually IS an insult! Not "input", "feedback" or whatever sugar coating is sprinkled on it.

    ACT CASUAL on top of NO OFFENSE on top of I'M SO TIRED! Genius in a grid!

    and SEXTS! UH OH!

    Erik 1:16 AM  

    A first time chess tournament player is UNRATED.

    I swear we are brain twins - started with CFO, got hung up on NES/DES, and sunk a solid 4 minutes into the NE corner (that WINER/AWACS crossing).

    chefwen 1:33 AM  

    Started off on a wrong note at 4D with Cpa and LADEn 62A was tiers before EVENS but it all worked itself out and I had a great time with this puzzle. I'm with @foodie in finding it rather on the easy side.

    Had a little chuckle with WI(e)NER so close to SEXTS.

    Keep 'em coming you young uns!

    Octavian, D.Lit. 1:52 AM  

    Sensational puzzle -- fresh phrasing, great cluing, excellent flow.

    I started by slapping down AHALT, ANGULAR, LEISURE, TRESSES and HIGH PROFILE almost as if it was a Monday puzzle, then slowed a bit at VIVALDI before getting ABIGAIL in a flash (history major comes in handy), which led quickly to ALIBI, AGE, DIVAS and then the whole CHILLPILL, ICALLEDIT, MADEAPLAN areaa just fell 1-2-3.

    That's what I mean by flow. The key crosses were nice midpoint Scrabble letters -- a B, two Vs, two Ps -- that led directly to quick discovery of the plot.

    I love it when a grid "shouts out" its answers. This one was very talky. "I made a plan!" "I called it!" "Take a chill pill, y'all!", "No offense!", "Act Natural, 'Enry!"

    So yeah very cool, great debut, look forward to more.

    Anonymous 2:45 AM  

    Anything with I'm so Tired is immediately cool, no questions asked. Defintitely one one my favourite Beatles songs. Sir Walter Raleigh was such a stupid git, for sure.

    Anonymous 2:46 AM  

    Excuse the typo...

    jae 3:28 AM  

    Delightful puzzle. Me too for NORMAL plus THREED for glasses, some version of SLALOM, and TIERS. On the easy side for me too. I knew AWACS but hesitated for more than a while because its pretty obscure, especially crossed with WINER. pImpressive debut!

    @andrea - I agree nice flow.

    jae 3:30 AM  

    Please ignore the p in front of impressive. My IPAD is a bit tempermental tonight.

    I skip M-W 4:18 AM  

    True, pretty smooth. first entry 1D cracker shape "animals," though even though they are called crackers, I think of them as cookies. Then asexual, Ajax, Seiji, off to SE, knew Red priest right away. Hands up for slalom. Happened to learn of iTunesplus just today, so that didn't take too long, though was thinking of actual dimestore-type place. Would prefer fewer brand names. Never heard Prell ad,(though recall "soaping dulls hair, Halo glorifies it" from late '40's) wasn't sure about Afta, Tried to figure out a composer for sonata, but have heard of Hyundai. Chill pill seemed not to work, til saw silent L; thought stage of development might be some kind of boundary testing, but last fill was "ash", and then happy pencil emerged. Harvard will probably be a bore for Milo.

    I skip M-W 4:22 AM  

    One more thing, @jae, how did you know @Andrea is aka Octavian, D. Lit, and Why Octavian?

    aaaaandreaaa aaacaaarlaaa aaamichaaaels 5:57 AM  

    @jae, @I skip M-W
    what??? That is NOT me!!!
    Octavian is whoever Octavian is!
    S/he usually adds a word to his/her name that ties to the puzzle, but that does not make us one in the same!
    (Do you mean all these times you've been complimenting me, you've been complimenting accidentally? HA!)

    In re-reading @Octavian Dlit's post, it sorta does sound like me, what with Scrabble letter-talk and all...but I would never "slap down" anything! ;)

    It DID talk, but I found it too easy to be crazy about it. Even tho I finished with the LADEn/nES mistake, there wasn't any ahas for me, nor writeovers...so way too easy for a Friday.

    And what's with all the AAAAAAAAAAA? Who is he, Fonzi?

    A CAB (ick), A HALT (In the same puzzle? C'mon Rex, you're getting soft!) ;)
    ASEXUAL, AJAX, ABIGAIL, AFTA, ANGULAR, ACHIEVE, ALIBI, AGGIE, ACrE, AWACS, ASH, AGE + ANIMAL, ACT...

    ASEXUAL/AJAX are forgiven for the X, I suppose. I've never had to spell ANGULAR till today and I had a dog named AGGIE, who I still miss 20 years later...
    but still!

    Ironically, my only standstill was at the Beatles' song. IMALOSER was too short (which isn't a complaint as much as a statement).

    In the wonderful montage @Rex posted, many stills I've never seen; tho the boys do look so tired in each pic...John's heroin kicking in, no doubt. :(
    Eat something!

    Anyway, bravo AMilo...clearly an A student...Maybe you'll live in Adams!

    exaudio 7:05 AM  

    Loved it! Favorite clue was "remedy for a tizzy," in which clue and answer both had the same combination of idiom and straight clinical talk.

    Anonymous 7:05 AM  

    Great puzzle. I was so happy to have sailed through this Friday Puzzle. And then... tostadO and dAs yielded the SLOTA crossing (Slot-A?).

    Stuart Showalter 7:14 AM  

    Rex, et al. -- I believe "itunesplus" is a website, ergo a place, so the "where" clue didn't bother me at all. And like others I LOVED this puzzle.

    Rex Parker 7:29 AM  

    @Stuart,

    Presumably you're sitting at a computer when you make your comments (or your phone or iPad or whatever). At any rate, you have connectivity. So there's no reason simply to "believe" that ITUNESPLUS is a website. You can check.

    rp

    joho 8:22 AM  

    Congratulations, Milo, I'm sure that it will be hard for you to ACTCASUAL today what with all the accolades being heaped on you!

    I failed at AWACS/WINER but didn't mind because the rest of the puzzle was so fresh and colloquial.

    @Rex, funny write up today rounded out nicely by the huge bonus Beatles clip.

    Judith 8:50 AM  

    I don't get how ash is the answer to end of a flick. Can someone explain?

    Anonymous 8:53 AM  

    @Judith - I don't know exactly, but there's a cigarette ash somewhere in the equation.

    dk 8:54 AM  

    Fast Friday pour moi.

    So I like the puzzle.

    Got THISSIDEUP first and was hoping for a Road Runner theme.

    Ownuup for LETIN was my do over.

    Great ASEXUAL insult from HS was "I think she may reproduce by budding." Never followed by NOOFFENSE.

    *** (3 Stars) Milo was the name of a cat who once controlled my home. I thought the $1.29 he charged me to pet him was excessive..

    Glimmerglass 8:58 AM  

    Went with laden instead of LADED. Good puzzle, but not a great puzzle. Friday is supposed to have edgy clues, but there were several I thought slipped over into unfair (even though I solved them via crosses). "______ plane" doesn't say AWACS to me, but nothing else made any sense, so it had to be WINER. "Words after an insult"? NO OFFENSE is only sometimes, and probably rarely, true. "Wacky" isn't necessarily COMICAL, it's just off. Ted Kaczynski was wacky. I sometimes order meat "RARE but not bloody" (that's "very rare"). Except maybe in chess, tournament players are unranked, not UNRATED. All just barely pass muster (Will Shortz), I suppose, but they don't add up to a great puzzle in my book.

    Mike Rees 9:25 AM  

    I think the thing that will get me through the day is that I dropped in ACT CASUAL for my first answer and didn't have to change it!

    ASH is the end of a flick if you're a smoker. Or, more accurately, what you flick off the end :)

    chefbea 9:32 AM  

    Daughter and grand daughter have left so I'm back to puzzles and Rexville. Loved yesterdays puzzle!!! Today's was great however I did need to google a bit.

    Michael Wagner 9:37 AM  

    27 down: ring DER(not DES)nibelungen
    Plural genitive in German. Often
    made error. DES is masculine singular

    Rex Parker 9:47 AM  

    @Michael Wagner

    From wikipedia:

    "Wagner's title is properly rendered in English as The Ring of the Nibelung. The Nibelung of the title is the dwarf Alberich, and the ring in question is the one he fashions from the Rhinegold. The title therefore denotes "Alberich's Ring".[1] In German the '-en' ending of 'Nibelungen' and the article 'des' preceding it denotes the possessive (genitive) case. 'Nibelungen' is occasionally mistaken as a plural: thus The Ring of the Nibelungs is incorrect."

    ~RP

    Matthew G. 10:04 AM  

    Loved this, although I struggled forever with ITUNES PLUS for exactly the reasons Rex mentioned. It's most definitely not a "where," but a "what." I say this as someone who has spent more money than he would like to admit at the "where," which is the iTunes Store.

    Amazing, vibrant puzzle. I can't see anyone not having heard CHILL PILL, even. That expression has been around since at least the 80s. The only thing I thought was weird about that entry was its clue, since I think of "tizzy" as something my grandmother might have and a CHILL PILL as something I would take.

    jackj 10:15 AM  

    The name "Milo" always conjures up memories of Milo Minderbinder, Joseph Heller's exemplar of immorality in Catch 22 but, in this case we have a good "Milo", fully able to make his own mark, despite the fact he is even too young to qualify for Misterhood.

    A star is born!

    The puzzle was fairly easy but the creativity of the fill made it one of the more enjoyable puzzles in many a moon.

    CHILLPILL, SEXTS, SCHUSS, HIGHPROFILE, what's not to like and, for the traditionalists among us, Master Milo treats us to a crossword staple with the old SILENTL trickery.

    Great job, Milo Beckman. Your new found fans yearn for more!

    retired_chemist 10:29 AM  

    The discussion of Der Ring des Nibelungen reminds me- we have not heard from Ulrich in a while. I miss him.

    Cheerio 10:44 AM  

    Very enjoyable puzzle. And yay! I got through my third ever Friday puzzle without googling. So what that I didn't get anything in the bottom half of Wednesday's puzzle. Who's counting? Oh, me? Well, whatever... Go Crimson!

    p.s. To inject a little capitalism, more new constructors would also mean that the puzzle fees can be kept down. But probably there's excess competition as it is. Others on this blog would know a lot more about that than I do.

    Mel Ott 10:47 AM  

    i wanted ACT NORMAL at 1A. And I confidently threw down YOU ARE HERE for the words with the arrow at 51A. Both slowed me down.

    Hand up for LADEN - bit of a foul crossing it with a German word that looks like it should be French.

    Captcha: desses. Dose are what got me in trouble today.

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:48 AM  

    NO OFFENSE, but, as has been referenced by @Judith and @Mike Rees, I do think there is some grammatical problem with 33A, End of a flick?/ASH. I fully understand the connection with a cigarette, but I don't think the clue parses correctly. What am I getting wrong?

    fikink 10:48 AM  

    Yes! to @Octavian's "talky" assessment. Chatty Cathie!

    Yes, too, to @Glimmerglass's comments re: RARE. Bloody is when I go out and chew on the side of a cow in my field. But the quotations save the clue by pointing to a cutesy order at a restaurant.

    @jackj, Milo Minderbinder is the Mlo foremost in my brain, too. And I can't hear Major Garrett talk without thinking of Major Major.

    My little brother would always preface his insults with "NO OFFENSE, but..." as in "No offense, Debby, but what happened to your hair?" Nice.

    Thus, Milo Beckman, you can tell that I found your puzzle a delight. I hope to ESPY more from you.

    (@ret_chemist, I will pass your query on to Ulrich.)

    Lurker0 12:28 PM  

    @Bob Kerfuffle: I think "End [result] of a flick?" as in "The ends [the results] justify the means."

    Off-topic: The END of a remarkable saga yesterday. After being in limbo (or hell) all season, the Cal baseball team won a game in the College World Series and its leader was named National Coach of the Year for getting them through it all unscathed. GO BEARS!!!

    Larry the Lurking Bear

    Stan 1:15 PM  

    A fine, lively puzzle. Welcome aboard, Milo!

    Enjoyed the comments from @foodie and @fikink on NO OFFENSE.

    CoffeeLvr 1:27 PM  

    Great writeup, @Rex.

    Congratulations, Milo! Impressive debut. Love the natural, casual phrases, especially in the NW and SE stacks.

    I did need to Google WINER, SEIJI & (Rapa) NUI. With any luck, I will remember at least one of them in the future.

    I was really thinking biology for BETA TESTING for a long time.

    My son used to say "take a CHILL PILL, Mom." I think I need more coffee today.

    Sparky 1:27 PM  

    DNF. Had most of the NE and S Central but couldn't connect. Hands up for Mary and Own up. Thought of THISwayUp. Had ICALLEDIT, CHILL no pill. Boo Hoo. Ah well. Have a good weekend.

    Anonymous 1:31 PM  

    Orginally the price clues for "ITunesPlus" got me going with "ValueMenus"... Maybe I eat too much fast food?

    jae 1:39 PM  

    @Andrea & I-Skip My bad. It sounded like Andrea and was posted when she usually posts so I lept to a wrong conclusion. Plus, it was late and I'd had a drink or two.

    Hobbyist 1:40 PM  

    I, as a child, hurled insults at other unfortunate family members before uttering" No offense." The offended would wince and groan at my lack of tact and kindness, as well as at my irritating ways. It was a handy little phrase, though.

    Masked and Anonymous 1:40 PM  

    @31 flat nailed it: "Great!" Har. Your review start probably scared that poor kid half to death. 'Course, he could be too busy sexting to pay us any mind.

    Don't see many themeless offerings with 7+ U's. Thank you, Milo.

    Fave fill: CHILLPILL, HYUNDAI (15 years old, and the guy speaks Korean!). Oh, plus two helpins' of SEX (right on, 31). Cinnamon rolls = also very good.

    Fave clue: "Calf part". That's gotta be fun, cluing this kind of answer.

    Hardest section for M&A: SE. "Kind of twin", my ass.

    Thumbs way up. More, please. Don't furget to write.

    Karen 2:12 PM  

    Loved the puzzle, as others have said. I agree with Rex's comments. I download ITunes (yeah, I pay for them), but I've never heard of ITunes "Plus".

    Anonymous 2:42 PM  

    Fun week for me overall, looking forward to Sat. Had ALIAS for ALIBI at 50A which made for an embarrasing delay in the SE.

    DLIT reminds me of my grades in College...

    mmespeer 2:49 PM  

    Rex was so right. That AWAC/Winer caused my downfall. And ITunesPlus took a long time. But, it' still sunny here in L'Acadie.

    Anonymous 3:07 PM  

    dnf as i was able to fill the complete bottom half of the puzzle but not so much of the top. also the " " around bloody made me think it was a british curse. why the quotes???? had call an end to for 10 across so was flummoxed for much of the time. had novas before divas.bravo beckman!

    KarenSampsonHudson 3:13 PM  

    Excellently constructed puzzle. Had trouble with "Itunesplus"---Open source user, here. :-)

    mac 3:58 PM  

    Good puzzle, a little easy for a Friday, although I too had to guess (wrongly) at the awacs/Winer crossing.

    I wanted the Beatles' song "I'm so sorry", but realised it's "We're so sorry", and laden for laded, but those I fixed.

    Chuck 4:42 PM  

    ...agree w/RP about the ITUNESPLUS distinction;

    Since the puzzle has been ceded to a group of teenaged boys, maybe the NY Times should hire a teenaged crossword editor?

    sanfranman59 5:05 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)

    Fri 20:39, 25:48, 0.80, 17%, Easy

    Top 100 solvers

    Fri 11:35, 12:42, 0.91, 36%, Easy-Medium

    Z 5:32 PM  

    Hand up for Mary.

    SCHUSS/TRESSES was the first entry into the puzzle, which ruled out tacobell. Went with dollarPLUS which slowed me down quite a bit. SEXTS and ASEXUAL eventually showed me the error of my ways and got me from the NE to the NW.
    Two niggles in the corner. The Apple Store is a "where" I can drive to, which is not true of the iTunes store or the iTunes Plus feature. And to SCHUSS is to ski without turning. There are two likely outcomes to schussing, rapidity or wiping-out.

    The other big slow down for me was takeone for ONEEACH. I've never see the latter.

    "Great" - pretty damn close but let's leave Milo something to aspire to. Besides, AFTA?

    Chip Hilton 6:18 PM  

    AWACS/WINER, laden/LADED: I belong to a big club.

    Nice puzzle by the young man.

    jp 6:59 PM  

    Great puzzle even though I was not even close to finishing it. Had the SW done without any help. With a bit of googling got also the SE corner.
    Then I got stuck. But I have no complaints. All the words were gettable.

    Anonymous 7:51 PM  

    I also really liked the arrow clue, but hoped it would be "You are here." "This side up" is also good. This is my first "AWACS" so I was totally mystified by that one.

    OISK 8:26 PM  

    Never heard of Itunesplus, Winer, thought AWACS was wrong when I wrote it, never heard of Chillpill, never heard of "I'm so tired" and did not like "Mic" after "open." Finished correctly anyway, but not happily, although I did get a smile (I live in Weiner's Congressional district) from "sexts...

    fikink 10:48 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    fikink 10:50 PM  

    I'd give you everything I got for a little peace of mind...

    Lee Glickstein 4:09 PM  

    Has no one pointed out that Piels Beer commercials made Bob & Ray famous? http://tinyurl.com/5wq6bd4

    Lee

    cody.riggs 12:37 AM  

    I wish Ulrich had been here today to fix the misunderstanding about "Niebelungen," but Rex did a good job of doing so (or did I miss Ulrich?)

    I loved this puzzle, and had no idea the constructor was so young until reading the blog. Great day, I agree with Rex wholeheartedly!! Except that one quibble...the "where" didn't bother me with "iTunes Plus".

    I do like agreeing with our venerable host.

    And @Andrea, thank you for your amusing (playful) indignance(?) above. Sometimes I think I read this only for your commentary, though I do have a soft spot for Rex's.

    CHILL PILL was the best answer in the puzzle. Oh, and I'M SO TIRED. Hell, there were a LOT of good answers!

    More, please!

    Note: I DID put "DER" for Niebelungen at first...was fooled though fluent in German AND opera. The -en ending usually indicates a plural, though in some older usages, it also is attached to genitive masculine constructions. DES is definitely correct, but I think I've said "Der Ring der Niebelungen" my entire life until now. Yes, the dwarf is singular. Just a grammatical habit.

    Portland, Ore.

    Deb @ RoomscapesDecor.com 11:28 AM  

    Loved this puzzle! I wanted ACT NATURAL (which wouldn't fit), then ACT NORMAL. Ended with a a hole at the W in AWACS/WINER, and LADEN/NES, but the rest of the puzzle came together much, much easier than Fridays normally do for me.

    For those of you who have never heard the term CHILL PILL... huh?!?!?! (That was one of my first entries!)

    Anonymous 1:15 PM  

    Got "I'M SO TIRED" right off the bat. Because I saw the Beatles clue and wasn't going to put the pen to the paper until I figured that one out.

    Worked my way around the grid counter-clockwise from there rather effortlessly, then stalled out completely in...what would that be, Lake Michigan? 20a, 6d, 21d, 31a. Was uneasy about UNRATED (the obvious answer was UNHATTED but it didn't fit), but at least that was correct. I had DocT at 31a and SpoTS at 21d and the only items I could think of that cost less than a cup of coffee were sTampS. I mean, I haven't bought sTampS in years--so long ago I bought mine at the post office, well before all these sTampS PLUS stores started popping up everywhere. (there's an idea for a kid with a Harvard degree. You'll never make any money constructing crosswords; why not open up a chain of stores that specialize in items our struggling postal service has trouble moving)

    Waved the white flag at that point. Good puzzle. But I'll take my numbered gatefold White Album with the poster and the four glossy photographs over the ITUNES PLUS version any day.

    @(the banker never wears a) mac 3:58 PM
    We're so sorry -- no such song, merely a line from "Uncle Albert/Admiral Hallsey". Paul McCartney solo tune.

    Dirigonzo 9:03 PM  

    AWACS = Airborne Warning and Control System; I know this but unfortunately it evaded my Radar. I don't do ITUNES so that website never occurred to me. Other than that, loved the puz.

    Bourbon is a pretty good substitute for CHILLPILL; I believe I'll have some now.

    novemberyankee68 6:00 PM  

    I blew through this easily but the i-tunes spot gave me trouble since I started with "put an end too" and was clueless about "Winer". Really bothered me till "high profile" hit me out of the blue. I guess thats what sex twice in one night will do (who could complain about that).

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