Tech-savvy 24 woman / THU 6-9-11 / Band with three self-titled albums / Decorative neckline insert / Brand with torch in logo / Twangy-sounding guitar

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Constructor: Joon Pahk

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Jay-Z — Familiar phrases have "J" sounds turned to "Z" sounds, creating wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style


Word of the Day: TICO (64A: New Zealand : Kiwi :: Costa Rica : ___) —

Tico is a colloquial term for a native of Costa Rica. The plural form is ticos. // Costa Ricans are usually referred to as ticos by themselves and persons of other Spanish-speaking countries, instead of using the more-formal costarricense. Some dictionaries show the formal name as costarriquenses. (wikipedia)

• • •

I really, really wish JAY-Z had been in this puzzle. With all those Zs floating around, you'd think you could make it work. But no big deal, this was still an entertaining puzzle, and a nice counterpoint to yesterday's gimmick puzzle. The theme here is not earth-shattering—it's a simple sound-switch. But the theme answers are at least moderately funny, and the fill—with the exception of TICO and VESTEE (40D: Decorative neckline insert), which I can only imagine are here because Joon got understandably enamored of WEEZER (56A: Band with three self-titled albums (1994, 2001 and 2008) and OZZIE (52D: Smith in Cooperstown)—is solid and smooth throughout, with some very nice little moments. I particularly liked the epic column formed by OSTRACIZE (11D: Freeze out) and TIMEZONE (10D: China has only one), and I don't know why, but MAIN ST. somehow struck me as clever (34A: Sign in the middle of town). I enjoyed uncovering it, at any rate. Some of the cluing was slippery, which I suppose it had to be to get this one up to a Thursday level of difficulty. Had the most trouble with 57D: Head of cabbage?: Abbr. (CFO), which I got entirely from crosses. Dawned on me only later that "cabbage" = slang for "money," and CFO = "Chief Financial Officer," so ... tada. Couldn't make heads or tails of 37A: Selma Lagerlöf's "The Wonderful Adventures of ___" ("NILS"). No idea who she is or what this is. None. Seems she was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature (1909). That's a much tougher clue for NILS than [Guitarist Lofgren], for sure. But even the occasional stumper of a clue didn't cause much slowness today—finished in well under 6 minutes; not a record Thursday for me, but well below average.



Theme answers:
  • 17A: Greek god of fake tans? (ORANGE ZEUS)
  • 24A: "Galifianakis wants you to call him back?" ("PHONE ZACH")
  • 38A: Madhouse at a G.O.P. convention? (CONSERVATIVE ZOO) — I was surprised by this answer, though I'm not sure why. A "conservative Jew" is certainly a thing. I've seen sensitivity from some of my readers when the word JEW appears, in just about any context. But this answer is innocuous, I think. Nothing like, say, JEWFRO (which I also think is innocuous, but which was not seen that way by many that one time it appeared in the NYT puzzle).
  • 48A: Informal erotic reading? (BLUE 'ZINES) — I don't think of "formality" as the issue where 'ZINES are concerned. 'ZINES are cheaply and independently produced, but the writing / content can be any quality whatsoever. Anyway, what is "formal" erotic reading? "Black Tie Swingers!"?
  • 59A: Famous Amos, e.g. (COOKIE CZAR) — "CZAR" appears to be making a comeback. Seems like it had been a while since I'd seen it, and now twice this week.
Is TINA Brown on a quest to edit every magazine in existence? Is Dog Fancy next? Today's clue has her with Newsweek/The Daily Beast. Wasn't she at The New Yorker at one point? And maybe Vanity Fair? I did not know that Newsweek and The Daily Beast were merging to form The Newsweek Daily Beast Company (a terrrrrrible name—I suggest "NewsBeast"). Interesting. I'd forgotten about CHLOE because I stopped watching "24" many years ago, but I always really liked her character (26D: Tech-savvy "24" woman). My very good friend in high school—a girl I'd known since 2nd grade, and on whom I had a crush for the better part of freshman and sophomore years—grew up to marry a professional DOBRO player (28A: Twangy-sounding guitar). He seems to be exceedingly successful. I haven't seen or heard from her in ages. Why am I telling you all this!?


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

124 comments:

jae 12:20 AM  

On the easy side for me also. However, I didn't get the theme. Had to check Amy's blog. My problem was reading PHONEZACH as a play on PHONESEX. No idea why I phone sex came to mind???

Anonymous 12:31 AM  

As a child living and going to elementary school for several years in Costa Rica, I was told that Costa Ricans were called Ticos because of the extra superlatives they tend to add to words (that may already have superlatives added to them). For example, "chico" means small (or boy). "Chiquito" (with the "ito" added) means even smaller than chico (or even smaller boy). Finally, "chiquitico", which is "chico" plus "ito" plus "tico", means extra small, or extra small boy. Substitute the o's for a's and you get the feminine version, "chica," "chiquita," and "chiquitica."

syndy 12:32 AM  

nope dnf- never heard of WEEZER don't know OZZIE smith TICO complete blank so did not finish se corner-but up til then was loving it;except BLUEZINES? how does that relate to the theme (or the clue?)?lota fun but Ive never had a falafel with anything but chickpeas-anybody?

PurpleGuy 12:52 AM  

I've already ranted over on WordPlay.
Hated this puzzle.
I'm not Jewish but was offended by Conservative Jew to Conservative XZoo. Can't believe that one passed.

A lot of esoteric names and unknown words.
USAIN ??? DOBRO ??? Who the F is Ozzie Smith ?
More importantly, Who The F cares ???

This was a big slog for me. Finished, but hated, hated, hated it. Worst puzzle award so far !!!


Shanti -
Bob/PurpleGuy

Anonymous 1:00 AM  

Hah, love the crush-on-the-dobro-wife-to-be story. Thought the theme was great, although I agree that JAYZ really should've been in the puzzle. Fun theme answers came out of the theme. Maybe the only unfortunate part (besides the couple of clunkers Rex mentioned) is that the long downs weren't better than OSTRACIZE and INCLUSIVE, but that's no big deal.

PurpleGuy why were you offended by CONSERVATIVE ZOO / Jew?

Anonymous 1:22 AM  

I should add to my previous comment... The "ito" and "tico" can also mean cute in addition to or instead of small.

CoolPapaD 1:38 AM  

As a Jew, I wasn't offended, but I was upset about a few things:

As a father, who has read Puff the Magic Dragon to his kids as least once a week for the past 3 years, I can't believe I misspelled HONALEE, giving me the lone error at the DOBRO cross.

As a neurosurgeon, 8D took way too long, even with the first two letters in place. Had NECKS until the crosses started falling...

I have no idea what a TROPE (?T ROPE is), nor a VESTEE. Guessed correctly, for a change.

That said, this was a fun, tough Thursday.

@David - Thanks for your comment yesterday - I've listened to American Beauty for the past 25 years, and never made the connection - never really bothered to understand what he was saying. Actually had me humming Box of Rain all day.

Anonymous 1:57 AM  

In response to the previous comments: I struggled with this one, too, but come on! Never heard of Weezer? Where have you been living, and in which decade?!? Additionally, if you haven't heard of Ozzie Smith, that's more of a reflection on you than it is on Joon. Also, how on earth would anyone be offended by "Conservative Zoo"? People are ridiculous. You, however, Rex Parker, consistently make my life better. Thank you. I will never forget what a dobro guitar is, now! :) LOVE it!

chefwen 2:45 AM  

@PurpleGuy - Ditto, I couldn't agree with you more. Did. Not. Like. At. All!!!

Clark 3:21 AM  

I had a hard time with this. But semi-puzzle partner pitched in and he pretty much spotted everything I couldn't see. Not knowing WEEZER or USAIN or OZZIE or TICO or VESTEE did make that corner tough.

The theme was fun. Something going on here with Z, I said. It was only when the 5th theme answer fell, ORANGE ZEUS, that the Z for J thing occurred to us. Aha! We liked it. But tough for a Thursday in my book.

I skip M-W 4:19 AM  

As another Jew, Conservative Jew, meaning belonging to one particular group of congregations, between Reform and Orthodox, seems perfectly ok.

Took awhile to get theme. had Wilkie before Weezer, didn't really know what either sounds like, os thanks @Rex for both Weezer and Dobro videos.

Still don't know what a vestee is. @anonymous 12:31, thanks for explanation of Tico. I had Titi first, thinking it might be the name of a monkey found in Costa Rica.

My only gimmes: etch and Tina.

kirble 5:03 AM  

Rex, I took the "informal" part of the BLUE 'ZINES clue to be signaling the the abbreviation of "magazines."

Anonymous 7:00 AM  

Where is "The Bard"? Flowerlady9

Virtually Everyone 8:07 AM  

Who cares?

joho 8:10 AM  

I loved this puzzle! I got ORANGEZEUS first and thought that's hilarious, can't wait to see what's next. I liked all the theme answers especially CONSERVATIVEZOO. I don't see how this could be derogatory, but obviously it was to some. Hmmm. And not being Jewish I should probably keep my mouth shut. I just thought it was clever.

Loved SHEETPAN close to COOKIECZAR.

Joon, I thought this was your most fun puzzle to date ... thank you!

evil doug 8:13 AM  

I'm offended by people who are offended.

Political correctness must die. It's just too easy for anybody to eagerly choose to take offense at anything. Pick any answer on the puzzle, and I'll create some reason to be offended.

If no intent to offend is obvious---and why don't we presume innocence in absence of clear evidence?---then no offense should be taken, either.

Evil

Z 8:15 AM  

Had one spot go in easily, ARENA and POWER, until WEEZER to OZZIE to COOKIECZAR opened up the south and gave me the theme. Worked back up pretty easily, but the NE gave me fits. I was uncertain about TOBY, tEn instead of GEM, ZACk, and EEr led to lots of writeovers.

I really liked the theme answers, Orange Zeus creates a funny image for me, grey haired guy on the beach with a spray on tan sipping an orange julius. Probably just me.

IMHO "Conservative Jew" can only give offense if "Jew" is thought of as a pejorative in and of itself. In some people's mouths this may be true, but not here.

Sneck up 8:16 AM  

Twelfth-Night; or, What You Will

Act II. Scene III.
 
Malvolio.  My masters, are you mad? or what are you? Have you no wit, manners, nor honesty, but to gabble like tinkers at this time of night? Do ye make an alehouse of my lady’s house, that ye squeak out your coziers’ catches without any mitigation or remorse of voice? Is there no respect of place, persons, nor time, in you?  
 Sir Toby Belch.  We did keep time, sir, in our catches. Sneck up!

Kareem 8:17 AM  

All,
No strong opinion on this puzzle, I struggled but the theme was entertaining enough. I will, however, object to the complaints about Ozzie Smith and Usain Bolt. Everyone has the strong areas and weak areas. I don't watch "24", but I don't complain about "Chloe" because google tells me that she appears in the second most episodes behind Jack Bauer and the show was very popular during its run. Same with Durer. Just because you don't know who the world's fastest man is (loved the cluing, by the way) or who the best defensive shortstop to have played the game of baseball was, does not make them unreasonable clues. I think that we can all admit that if the judge of a clue's legitimacy was defined by whether or not we knew it, the puzzle would be sorely lacking. My approach is that I look it up after the fact, and if the person or item in question seems legitimate to someone who is familiar with that field, it works for me. Ozzie Smith played in the 70s-80s and Usain Bolt is the current World Record holder, so they are not even dated.

Just my two cents.

The Bard 8:17 AM  

King Lear, Act 4, Scene 7

KING LEAR
Where have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight?
I am mightily abused. I should e'en die with pity,
To see another thus.
I know not what to say.
I will not swear these are my hands: let's see;
I feel this pin prick. Would I were assured
Of my condition!

Nancy in PA 8:19 AM  

I loved this too, though I finished with the WiEZER/VESTiE error I'm sure a few others had. I think Usain Bolt is the world's most aptly-named runner. Thank you, Joon, and thanks for Guess My Word everyday.

OldCarFudd 8:20 AM  

I thoroughly enjoyed this, despite finishing with two errors. I 'd never heard of Weezer, assumed the neckline thingie was a vestie. I'd never heard of dobro, and had only heard of Honalee from hearing the song, which I had always thought said Hanalee. As an agnostic ex-Republican, I loved conservative zoo and took no umbrage at its origin. Tico was a gimme - my wife and I have traveled, and gone to Spanish-language school, in Costa Rica.

SethG 8:32 AM  

Took me too long to get the J switch, but just expecting Zs made the solve smooth enough. I'm not sure if I knew that a sheet pan was called that, but I did remember that Joon lost his Weezer album and won't buy another copy.

David L 8:54 AM  

Didn't care for this, but that's mainly because I have a great distaste for punny themes -- especially when I need to consult this or some other blog to understand what's going on. Last fill was the BLUEZINES/TZE cross, which I got when I realized the other theme entries had a Z in them so this one must too. I was expecting some sort of meaningful connection between the theme answers, but no, they're just random phrases with a sound change (also, I pronounce CZAR/TSAR with a TZ sound, which confused me further).

VESTEE was new to me, but guessable. SHEETPAN was a total mystery. Google tells me it's another word for a baking tray -- which is what I have always called those things, on the rare occasions I've used them.

Tobias Duncan 8:58 AM  

You cant swing a dead cat in my little town without some hippie is on the dobro.I love seeing stuff in the grid that is new to me.Unless that stuff has anything to do with sports.
I was texting back and forth with a Canadian friend of mine last night who loves hokey. I was going to tease her so I went to several websites to find out the score.While I am sure the score was on each and every page I visited, there was simply no way in hell a layman was going figure out which set of numbers represented the score.If you ever see my name on a ballot for supreme ruler of the planet,and you are a sports fan, DO NOT VOTE FOR ME!!!!

Rex Parker 8:59 AM  

OZZIE Smith (15-time All-Star, first ballot Hall-of-Famer) and USAIN Bolt (fastest man on planet, 3 golds in Beijing) are so famous that their puzzleworthiness isn't even up for debate. They make WEEZER look super-obscure, and (to people under 50 in America, at any rate) WEEZER is not that obscure.

rp

Unorthodox Jew 8:59 AM  

ed, if you substitute "Look what a morally upright person I am" for "I am offended," I think you'll get the true point of those posts. It's jut another opportunity for people to draw attention to themselves and reap the congratulations of their peers.

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

Rex didn't like Big Bank Theory when all the other theme answers were INK but in this puzzle CZAR stands out as being the only non "Z" and Rex says nothing – why this is ok or why it is not. Does it all have to do with the sound? Personally I think Big Bank Theory was the best theme answer then and COOKIE CZAR the best here, so I am fine with it. Just surprised no mention of it in Rex's blog.

Rex Parker 9:01 AM  

When a person finds something for reasons you deem illegitimate, it is enough, I think, to say you disagree.

rp

Rex Parker 9:06 AM  

@Anon. 9,

???

How is "CZAR" a "non-Z?" The issue is sound, as the theme explanation clearly states, and "CZAR" certainly starts with a "Z"-sound. Can't believe you're baffled by this. Theme is absolutely consistent.

OTOH, you can't call your puzz "Cagey," and then replace all "G"s with "K"s ... except one—that's inconsistent.

David 9:09 AM  

glad some folks enjoyed my Grateful Dead American Beauty/Candyman reference from yesterday. If a constructor named Benson ever gives us a real stumper, we can (humorously, of course) quote another line from Candyman: "Good Morning, Mr. Benson, I see you're doing well....if I had me a shotgun, I'd blow you straight to hell!"

Really enjoyed today's puzzle. As soon as I figured out ORANGE ZEUS I went looking for a Jay-Z clue, but alas, none was to be had. Jay-Z Answers doesn't have the same ring to it as Cagey Answers, perhaps (nor does it work quite the same way).

Had SHEET PAD briefly, as I was slogging thru the SW. And I've never heard of Mo TZE. I googled the name after completing the puzzle and it appears the most common spelling is Mo Tzu, though TZE and other names are acceptable. DOBRO, VESTEE, and BLUEZINES were all brand new to me today....

Had the pleasure of hanging out with Ozzie Smith at a minor league baseball game some years ago, great guy and an incredible defensive SS for many years.

jesser 9:10 AM  

The SE was by far the hardest sector for me, as OZZIE, TICO and SEER were not coming into focus for The Longest Time.

The cluing on this one felt Saturdayish to me, and once I wrapped my mind around that fact at 21A, things went a little bit faster.

CONSERVATIVE ZOO = Palin Bus tour, as far as I'm concerned. Paul Revere is ringing bells in his grave.

I find it fascinating that China has only one TIME ZONE. And I would like very much to speculate about it, but I must get to work now.

But before that, I must share: On page A-7 of today's Las Cruces Sun-News and on page A-3 of today's El Paso Times is the single greatest story I have ever read in a newspaper, bar none. The headline: "Man With Dead Weasel Accused Of Assault." The story is even better than the headline. I can die now. I'll never stop grinning.

jesser

David L 9:24 AM  

@RP, 9:06: As I said in my earlier comment, CZAR does not start with a Z sound for me and, I imagine, for at least some other solvers too.

I'm saying that's a flaw exactly, but it was another reason why I didn't understand the theme of this puzzle.

Leslie 9:24 AM  

Jesser, saw the dead weasel story on Facebook. Too funny.

Rex, thanks SO much for that wonderful musical clip. I can only fantasize about having that kind of talent.

Enjoyed the puzzle and totally agree with Z's observation upthread: IMHO "Conservative Jew" can only give offense if "Jew" is thought of as a pejorative in and of itself. Would it automatically be considered insulting if someone punned the word "Amish?" No, it wouldn't, and the same applies to puns on the word "Jew," where there is CLEARLY no offense in the actual term "conservative Jew."

Rex Parker 9:32 AM  

CZAR.

rp

Tobias Duncan 9:35 AM  

Rex I have no doubt that these men are as wildly famous as you say, I just dont think they deserve it.If I were a character in a futuristic dystopian film featuring magical realism (master of the known universe say) I would invent a machine that was able to strip the fame from a persons body and soul.All the sports legends in the universe would be rounded up and run through this machine in a dank underground room somewhere. In another room above ground with wonderful soft lighting and white walls, floors and props, beautiful nurses in white robes would lovingly apply the purloined fame to Biologists, Pharmacologists, Memeticists and Furniture Makers who would no longer have to toil in obscurity.

David L 9:36 AM  

Or you could look at the old-fashioned MW, the one printed on paper: it gives zar as the first pronunciation, but admits tsar and sar as alternatives. (I don't know how to code the phonetic symbols, sorry).

Tobias Duncan 9:52 AM  

The guy in charge of rounding up the athletes would be the Fame Czar but I would pronounce it tsär when I gave speeches just to further enrage my subjects.

Ok Im done , three and out

tobias

Lindsay 10:01 AM  

OK, I'm forever railing against pop culture in the puzzle, and I've never heard of WEEZER, but Flatt & Scruggs (also Johnny Cash, according to Google) have this great litle ditty When Papa Played the Dobro:

My papa was a hobo when they delivered me
We didn't have a doctor cause he couldn't pay the fee
But when the goin' got too bad to ease his misery
Papa played the dobro this a way and he'd go ..... (instrumental part)

Don't know how to embed so you're spared a video.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

As for the puzzle, I finished with two (two!) errors. 46A oRAtE in answer to "get the word out, perhaps" resulted in 25D HONALoE and 40D VEtTEE which didn't look too good, but I couldn't see how to make them look better so c'est la vie, I guess.

Cheerio 10:09 AM  

I really enjoyed the puzzle but thought the SE (and less so the SW) were challenging for a Thursday. I couldn't even finish the puzzle using Google, even though I had figured out Cookie Czar. Steno and Blue Zine and Sheetpan seem hard. Weezer and Vestee and Trope and Tico and Ozzie and USAIN and Incur are altogether a superchallenge.

chefbea 10:09 AM  

Googled a lot! Didn't get the theme! DNF.

Knew Ozzie Smith - I think he was a St. Louis Cardinal.

I never make my batches on a sheet pan. Its called a cookie sheet!!!

@Jesser LOL

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

My dog was really upset by the sound of the DOBRO.

thursdaysd 10:15 AM  

This was a DNF for the NE and the SW. Didn't get the theme (and am another pun-hater) and never heard of WEEZER or DOBRO - or Galifianakis for that matter.

Fun to see HONALEE, liked the cluing on TIMEZONE (have dealt with that single time zone - it's a very long way from Beijing to Kashgar!) and BYLINE.

hazel 10:18 AM  

Here's an unusual puzzle for me in the sense that I liked the trees much better than the forest. I thought the cluing was a-one as was much of the fill. But the concept of the J-Z has no mojo for me. a Jay-Z reveal would have completed the puzzle - making for a beautiful forest with some lovely trees. Maybe reveals are not Thursday material.

I liked seeing OZZIE and WEEZER and HONALEE.

@evil - i'll bite. please tell me why PEACE is offensive to you. :-)

@rex - since you asked, i think you told that story because DOBRO reminded you of your old crush (ahh, the madeleine) and then you thought, "it'd be nice to hear how she's doing plus i'd like to test the viral power of my blog (its "virality")." fwiw, i hope you hear from her. random hellos from old friends rock. (5 cents please).

Sparky 10:22 AM  

Enjoyed. DNF. SE a problem though had COOKIECZAR. Orange Julius surfaced in memory, an odd chalky tasting drink I just loved. HAS ON tripped me up. The concept in mind but not words for it. 22D tEn a glitch never remedied. @Kareeem said it; we can't know everything. A goodf Thursday puzzle to me. I'm off to look up the weasel story. See ya.

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

So everyone on the planet - xcept me - knows this Galifianakis?
No clue.

Anonymous 10:30 AM  

Rex @ 9:06 – I get your explanation, but I don't get your point about Cagey – all hard Gs were changed to Ks in that Sunday puzzle. The only difference was spelling – INK v ANK (yes, A sounds different from I but the stated theme was not the I and A, just the G to K) and the only difference here is spelling Z v CZ. I assumed sound controls but still say you are not consistent about mentioning inconsistencies. You say you are being consistent so we can agree to disagree. Thanks for the response. You usually don't to Anons.

Sparky 10:34 AM  

@Jesser. Very funny. @Rex. By the way, a STOAT is an Ermine in winter, known for its black tipped tail. Think of how many of those poor little fellows they have to kill to make all those royal robes.

Rex Parker 10:35 AM  

Still baffled: The "G" in "-ING" is hard?

There's no agreeing to disagree here since I literally can't follow your logic, but I'm happy to stop talking about it now.

rp

Gill I. P. 10:41 AM  

I'm not sure which camp I belong in. I DNF because there was just a lot of stuff I ain't heard of.
I had Geezer instead of WEEZER. DOBRO? VESTEE? TROPE?
I did love TICO though. My sister who was born in Havana is named Marta which then became Martica. She is now called Tica.
CoolPapaD. Thanks a lot amigo. I'm now driving my husband insane by singing Puff the Magic Dragon....

DBGeezer 10:44 AM  

@purpleguy, I was surprised, but pleased that your rather critical entry was closed by your placing Shanti before your signature. Shanti being the Hindi word for peace.
Peace indeed!

Look at it this way 10:48 AM  

@anon 10:30 & previous

I believe the unchanged G in biG [bank theory] is the real inconsistancy.

P>G>

(Speaking of which, my captcha is PALIN)

quilter1 10:49 AM  

I was doing OK until I got to the SE which killed me. I had dickie for VESTEE, which I hadn't heard of but I just knew dickie was right and held on to it too long. Oh, well, I did appreciate the theme and the long downs. I do use a SHEETPAN for sheet cakes, but when I make cookies the same pan is a cookie sheet. Hah.

I also did not know the band or sports figures, but of course now they will never appear again. TROPE has been in recent puzzles and I don't remember it much before now.

@Tobias: I like your vision.

CoffeeLvr 11:02 AM  

I will try to avoid starting any more controversies on this blog today!

I really liked the puzzle, didn't know everything, but only real Natick was CHLOE crossing NILS, and when I looked hard at the blank square, an L appeared. You probably know I am a sucker for silly themes, so I am more than satisfied.

Afterwards, I did Google some things so I could remember them: TICO (Rex's WOD), DOBRO, VESTEE (not worth remembering), and USAIN Bolt (which I recognize, but couldn't quite remember.)

@Rex, thanks for the Dobro clip and @Lindsay, thank you for posting something I could find, I won't forget DOBRO now. Love it.

I thought maybe some Republicans would be offended by today's entry at 38A, but we aren't hearing from them.

Two Ponies 11:05 AM  

I liked the theme and it helped me almost crack the SE corner. Close but no cigar.
Those sports figures might be ridiculously famous in some universe other than mine (and Tobias Duncan's) but I had no idea who they were. Throw in an unknown piece of clothing and I finally gave up.
@ jesser, I must look up that story. Must have been a slow news day.
@ Purple Guy, People who are not easily offended have rights too!

Matthew G. 11:08 AM  

So bizarre that this is the day that the proper name frustration boils over, because this is a day when they're actually mostly megafamous.

OZZIE Smith is one of the two or three most famous shortstops in history (arguably the best defensive shortstop ever) and a first-ballot Hall of Famer. WEEZER has multiple platinum albums, including their 1994 debut, which is triple platinum. ZACH Galifinakis has been the breakout comedy star of the last couple of years via the "Hangover" films. And come on, USAIN Bolt has the awesome running-appropriate name "Usain Bolt"! I admit I didn't know NILS or CHLOE, but they were gettable.

If you get to ban even megafamous sports figures, I get to ban even megafamous actors if they didn't appear in at least one film after 1965, because I never know them. I think that's fair.

As for CZAR ... it's not the same word as TSAR, and it is pronounced differently. A CZAR is someone who's the boss of some particular type of business or government agency, and never a Russian emperor.* A TSAR is a Russian emperor, and never a SWTBOSPTOBOGA. CZAR begins with a "Z" sound and is therefore correct in this puzzle. TSAR begins with a "TS" sound and would have been wrong if it appeared in this puzzle, but it didn't.

There is a group of Jews who refer to themselves as Conservative Jews. Puns are allowed in crossword puzzles. CONSERVATIVE ZOO is a pun. Nothing offensive. This wasn't even the first pun on the word "Jew" this year.

Anyway. Joon, this was a great puzzle. I didn't really understand the theme until I was done, but I knew I was looking for Zs to start the second word of each theme entry, which is good enough. Liked the fill even more. You had me at OSTRACIZE, which was my first entry. The only thing in this grid that really baffled me was SHEET PAN. That's different from, uh, a SHEET or a PAN? I've never heard of the DOBRO, but had it from the crosses before I saw the clue.



*I know that CZAR occasionally shows up in puzzles clued by reference to Russian emperors. Those puzzles are Wrong. See my 2/21/2011 2:17 PM post for more info.

Beadola 11:20 AM  

Part of the fun of crosswords is learning new people/words, and working things out by crossings. I didn't know Ozzie Smith, but I don't care. Now I know him.
My family went to a conservative Jewish temple.
At the risk of offending someone else - It's all good.

retired_chemist 11:21 AM  

Medium here.USAIN and OZZIE were gimmes.

Ultimately decided it was a VESTEE, not a VESTIE. WEEZER (or WIEZER) is a mystery to this geezer. Don't know about generalizing @Rex's under 50 metric, but I can attest to WEEZER'S obscurity to the over 70 crowd.

SE corner had me in a stir. Started with ACES for "drawing pair" in hopes it was a poker term. That gave me CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst, a reasonable association with "cabbage"), which gave me AXES for "drawing pair." OK, artists don't usually establish grids with X and Y AXES when they draw, but my artist today was truly anal. That gave me SHEETPAS for 39D, and I could. not. parse. it, though I knew it was why Mr. Happy Pencil didn't come out to see his shadow. Hand up for COOKIE SHEET. After a LOOOOONNNGG interval (OK. 20 - 30 seconds, which is an eternity here) it came.

Liked it a lot. Thanks, Joon.

mitchs 11:22 AM  

Did not get the theme until coming here. Which is probably why I suck so bad at Gaffney's megas.

Shout out: tomorrow is the last day until 2012 to tip on Matt Gaffney's VERY worthy site!

retired_chemist 11:23 AM  

Forgot to say I did not think CONSERVATIVE ZOO was offensive.

captcha boringly, not an adverb to apply to this blog.

thursdaysd 11:39 AM  

@Matthew G - "If you get to ban even megafamous sports figures, I get to ban even megafamous actors if they didn't appear in at least one film after 1965, because I never know them. I think that's fair. " - fine with me, I seldom know either.

The American Heritage dictionary certainly thinks a Czar is a Tsar, and my Concise OED just defines it as "See TSAR".

BigSteve46 11:43 AM  

I hated this puzzle - but in retrospect, this was probably a generational thing. What I don't like is when 2 obscure clues cross each other and it is impossible to figure them out from the cross. An example here is "weezer" crossing "vestee." Also, I assume a "sheetpan" is something you use like a bed pan - when indoor plumbing is not available.

OISK 11:54 AM  

I am Jewish, and found the Conservative zoo completely innocuous. However, I will add my gripe to those who disliked the puzzle in general due to overdoses of pop culture. I have no idea who Galifianakis is, but I got it from the theme; fair enough. However, having never heard of Usain Bolt, nor of Weezer, I missed two squares in the SE, and really had no shot at them. I had "bids" instead of "wins", thinking that the record might be "bids and asked," and that Beezer was a more likely name for a rock group than Weezer. Never heard of Chloe either, or adventures of Nils, but guessed those because the other clues in the section were doable. It is as strange to me that people never heard of Ozzie Smith as it must be to them that I have never heard of Weezer.

John V 11:59 AM  

Ola. Not easy. Marjor DNF. Just was not on my wavelength. Must this freakin' heat.

Moonchild 12:02 PM  

I loved the puns.
Dobro looks cool in the grid.
I know dobro from Lynyrd Skynyrd's Ballad of Curtis Lowe.

dk 12:07 PM  

What a day: @purpleguy rants and @evildoug calls for rationale behavior.

Me I am happy to be online with a dead tree version of the paper on my doorstep by 5:30 AM. Go Wisconsin!

I cannot say I like or hate this puzzle as I just did not get it. And, I had joule for 15A, as I am a fool... but given all the religious comments I am liking joule.

Any puzzle smarter than me rates:

** (2 Stars) Bitter, Table for one please!

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

Could somebody please explain the connection between New Zealand Kiwi:Costa Rica to Tico? I don't get it at all.

Ozzie Smith my first entry - his back flips were legendary as was his Afro!

Usain Bolt also a gimme.

Matthew G. 12:17 PM  

@thursdaysd: I'm aware that some sources accept "czar" where "tsar" should be used. I dissent from those sources, for the transliteration-based reasons given in my 2/21/2011 2:17 PM post. CZAR is a fine word, just not when used to mean a Russian emperor.

Mel Ott 12:21 PM  

My usual rant - too many proper names. To those who hate the sports names: I usually know them but I would be willing to ban them as long as we also ban the pop culture names.

Guessed right at the Naticks at VESTEE/WEEZER & CHLOE/NILS.

Has anyone in the history of humankind ever called a Cookie SHEET a SHEETPAN?

Sandy 12:23 PM  

@ Anon 12:11
New Zealanders call themselves "Kiwis" and Costa Ricans call themselves "Ticos"

Sandy

evil doug 12:27 PM  

Hazel,

"Peace", eh? OK....

1. The clue said "What two fingers may signify." This is clearly an effort to sneak in the similar "free love" sign, contrary to God's design and the sanctity of marriage! And Weiner should be strung up, that heathen sexpot!

2. "Peace" makes me think of those damn hippies and their drugs and Haight-Ashbury and strung out punks urinating on the street next to the dumpster they live in near my Starbucks!

3. "Peace" is meant as a slur to all the good men and women who serve our country in harm's way, and celebrates the cowards who ran to Canada to avoid the draft!

How's that?

lol Evil

Martin 12:30 PM  

Jews call themselves Jews. Unlike the N-word, they don't mind if others call them Jews. Unless there's a nasty adjective inserted.

I loved this puzzle. (It irks Rex that I at least like all of them. I'm not being diplomatic -- I truly enjoy any decent crossword. Actually, I sometimes love awful puzzles. It's like they say, "there's no such thing as bad pizza or a bad ...," -- well you know what I mean.)

It's great to see entries like WEEZER make it over from the alt.puzzles like Jonesin and the Onion. Hipness is in the eye of the solver, I guess.

DESievers 12:37 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
DESievers 12:38 PM  

Had no idea what/who USAIN was/is, never heard of a vestee, and wasn't thrilled by the theme, but probably because I didn't get it. Now that I do, I think it's pretty cool. I agree that 'zines is merely an 'informal' way of saying 'magazines.' Cool that the sign in the middle of town is also in the middle of the puzzle. Loved Chloe, so glad to see her here, especially when (almost)adjacent to her is 'Roger'(that!) - a common saying on 24. Hooray for Honalee! 'Sheetpan' was a bit lame and dull. I didn't know 'Tico' or Mr Bernanke or Mo-Tze (brother of Lao?), but now I do. Cheers!

Roger 12:51 PM  

And that, dear readers new to the blog, exemplifies how Evil Doug earned his adjective.

Sancho Panza 12:55 PM  

@Mathew G

In your 2/21/11 post you wrote:
..."tsar" is a superior transliteration to "czar."

You did not indicate it was wrong, just superior, in your opinion.

Today, you wrote they got it right, but still complained.

So many windmills, so little time.

BTW: SWTBOSPTOBOGA ????

chefbea 1:04 PM  

@mel ott You make cookies ON a cookie sheet!! You make a sheet cake IN a sheet pan!!!

Masked and Zanonymous 1:10 PM  

Was surprised to see so many capital letters in joon's clues. Musta got added in the editing process.

Like almost everybody that got stuck, SE slowed me down to a crawl and an extra cinnamon roll. Don't know this WEEZER, but will investigate 31's clip in a sec. Sure hope they sound better than their name implies. Was tempted to write in WiEZER, since didn't know VEST?E, either. But guessed right. A Nat-tick No-stick.

Pretty hard for a puz to offend me. Only if they leave stuff off, like in AGIN, or somethin'.

Oldactor 1:17 PM  

Henry: On your left, notice this seemy individual. My companion who goes by the name of....Socrates.

Mortimer: I'm Roman.

Henry: Romanoff, he means. A blue blood, he is descended from the T-Zars.

Matt: The T-Zars?

Henry: Yes, the T-Zars! He is, in fact, the nobelest Romanoff of them all, but enough of chit chat.

"The Fantasticks" Act II

arena chloe mocha 1:23 PM  

so sad to becoming so late to the party/zoo! bec I loved loved loved this puzzle!!!!!!
AHA moment on every single clue.
Got the theme immediately but misspelled ZACk.

I could SO hear Joon on every clue, just adored this puzzle!
"Irksome response..." I had "And?"
(as in "And your point is...?"
so had a bit of a mess coming up withINCLUSIVE even tho I knew the Bates thing must have been hOTEL, even tho of course it was MOTEL.

OK, that was my second H mistake...so I might as well cop to my third!
When I changed cOCoA to MOCoA, and I didn't know CHLOE, so I had CoLo? for ever, or, as the bard would say, e'er.

If WINS and ERROR were not needlessly clued in a sportsway, then OZZIE and USAIN might not have felt like such a sports pileup...but sports pileup = Joon, so I realize I have to let constructors be constructors and if there is a WEEZER/OZZIE type of corner, so be it, bec it reflects the constructor BYLINE, and if it's slightly non-INCLUSIVE, than, whatever. But it's taken me 3 years to get there!!!

Today, I'd agree with @evildoug, but he offensively called me narcissistic on my special day a few weeks ago over the same sort of APEX/acme thing in a grid, so I officially think he's an a%%h&l3 ;)

Clark 1:24 PM  

This is a (full) sheet pan (26" x 18"). This is a half sheet pan (13" x 18"). I bought my first half sheet pan when a focaccia recipe called for it. Now I can't live without it.

I am loving the dialogue between Evil Doug and Hazel. It's like the peaceable kingdom around here. (I mean that in the nicest, let's sit down and have a beer, way.)

syndy 1:24 PM  

okay a sheetpan is a cake pan you know the big flat cakes you get at the bakery for a birthday party? they come in half sheet and quarter sheet too and they are also handy for cookies etc.they do have taller sides than a cookie sheet! I don't say sports figures shouldn't be in puzzles just that this particular one had too many answers in one corner that I did not know for me to finish-not a failure of the puzzle:mine!If a corner had opera on history on fifties trivia some would have trouble just a fact! EVIL DOUG NAM is over you lost get over it

jberg 1:28 PM  

Wow, this one really stirred up the emotions! For me it was really hard (and I finished with the VESTiE/WiEZER error), and I didn't much like it until I finished, finally figured out the theme, and found that I actually loved the puzzle.

I really admired the way that, in each of the theme answers, the final sound of the transformed word completely changed its spelling (except for JAR > CZAR). That was a negative for me until I finished and figured it out, whereupon my negative feelings turned to admiration.

I did know USAIN Bolt, but it took about half an hour for that memory to surface; didn't know OZZIE Smith, but once you have the Z in CZAR, what else can it be?

I had a student a few years back named Galifianakis, with a 4-letter first name. I knew it wasn't him, but that made it hard for me to see ZACH.

Also, kept thinking "gotcha" in the sense Sarah Palin used it about the Paul Revere question, so that slowed me down again.

Great cluing ofr MAIN ST, MTNS, AMI, BYLINE, STENO -- all hard to see, all clever.

My take on CZAR is that it's an English word, but Americans like to pronounce foreign-source words in some approximation of the original language. Brits are different, so they say Don Joo-in where we say Don Wan, etc. You can spell it any way you want, though, as far as I'm concerned - Russians spell it in Cyrillic characters.

Karen 1:41 PM  

Thought this puzzle was very hard for a Thursday. But after listening to Weezer on Pandora, that was a gimme. I just knew "Lightening Bolt" couldn't be "US Air" but it took me too long to get rid of it :-)

Scott 1:48 PM  

Rex, I really enjoy your puzzle blog here, I just found it a few weeks ago and have followed it every day since after (hopefully) finishing the puzzle for that day.

On 48 Across I had _L_ _ ZINES at one point so I tried SLEAZINES! At least I was being creative. I didn't notice the Z=J theme until after I was done.

KarenSampsonHudson 2:01 PM  

I'm still enough of a newbie to find Thursdays challenging, but this one has answers found quite easily by crosses and so it was more fun than frustrating.

Joon 2:25 PM  

rex, i did try (and fail) to work JAYZ into the grid. i even had brendan look at it and he also tried and failed. was not meant to be, i guess. then again, i suspect people confused by the theme would be confused even if there had been a reveal clue.

VESTEE was speculative, and i suppose it has to be considered a failure. rex nailed the reason why it's in there: i wouldn't give up WEEZER. (sethg, how the heck do you remember that?) i didn't anticipate TICO being a stumbling block.

coolpapad: if i ever need brain surgery, i'll be happy if my doctor is somebody who can tackle a NYT thursday.

acme: i think this is the fewest clues will has changed in one of my puzzles, so i'm glad you noticed. it's almost the puzzle was a conversation (hopefully not an irksome one).

Noam D. Elkies 2:29 PM  

So-so score in the Entenmann's Eating Contest?

Hammerheads for baby boys?

Result of Sarah Palin pulling historical "facts" out of her rear end?

How to complain if you don't like the June 9 puzzle?





COOKIE_PAR

BLUE_PEENS

CONSERVATIVE_POO

PHONE_PAHK



:-)
--NDE

[17A doesn't seem amenable to the same treatment; "Princeton mascot?" → ORANGE_PUSS doesn't quite work]

fergus 2:31 PM  

Having recently read Antigone comes in handy again.

fergus 2:32 PM  

Yeah, great batch of Clues: excellent mix of odd facts, puns and misdirection.

jackj 3:14 PM  

I smugly entered BRONZEZEUS after getting APEX and ROZ and thought Joon had given us a cute play on words (though "Bronx Zoo" is admittedly a bit of a stretch, even phonetically).

When ZENOME needed to become GENOME, that begat CORTEX, which begat ECARD and the new daffy definition gave me "Orange juice" which easily trumped my earlier idea.

Joon did many of us no favor by force-feeding the arcane WEEZER and compounded the indignation by crossing it with VESTEE.

Do WEEZER(s) wear VESTEE(s)? I dunno, maybe VESTEE(s) wear WEEZER(s).

All in all though, a memorable effort from the other half of the Boston X-men.

jae 3:37 PM  

I'm closer to 70 than 50 and WEEZER was more or less a gimme (I needed the W). I suspect many of you have heard Island In The Sun which has been in been in more than one movie and even a Simpson's episode.

JenCT 4:06 PM  

Liked the puzzle a lot, even though DNF.

WEEZER is far from arcane!

@Andrea - I also had AND? at first - seemed irksome to me!

I have several half-sheet pans; use them all the time when baking (no, not cookies, but breads, granola, potatoes etc.)

DOBRO was a gimme for me.

Anonymous 4:10 PM  

Rex – How about: More pens are better than none? The Bic Bank Theory (which begs the question is a hard C equal to a K?)

Acme - I missed what Evil Doug said about you - where can I find that?

Evil Doug - You have potential....

TAO

JenCT 4:12 PM  

@syndy - Apparently, falafel is made from either fava beans or chickpeas, or a combination of both. Who knew???

Matthew G. 4:14 PM  

@Sancho Panza:

I wasn't complaining about anything. I was defending today's puzzle from the erroneous charge that CZAR is not pronounced with a Z sound, and using a mistake I've often seen elsewhere as a way of explicating my point.

There is very little in today's outstanding puzzle to complain about.

Three and out.

Shamik 4:43 PM  

Ok...I know I'm in Alaska and it's after noon here, so am way behind in getting to the puzzle and reading the comments. But 96 comments! Wow!

Not much I can add to this except I'll say that I have a cold and that's why my brain is malfunctioning. Found this one to be quite challenging and really enjoyed the theme which helped me solve as much of the puzzle as I could. Three wrong squares! And no, I'm old and didn't know Weezer, Ozzie or Usain. Guess I've been living under a rock. And I'm ok with that.

PuzzleGirl 4:56 PM  

Didn't have a problem with TICO or WEEZER or OZZIE. I'm fascinated that there really is something called a SHEET PAN. I was all ready to come here and start WTF?ing about it but previous comments make it sound like it's just a gap in my knowledge, which is never the first thing I consider.

Nicely done, joon.

Anonymous 5:21 PM  

one the bluezines front, I think informality is in reference to the fact that a person wearing blue jeans is in informal dress, not the abbreviation of 'zines. Or maybe both.

thanks!

chefbea 5:33 PM  

@jenCt I use my cookie sheets all the time to make granola, and roast potatoes and veggies. Always use a silpat so nothing sticks and keeps the pans clean.

Anonymous 6:50 PM  

is this a comment record?

JenCT 6:56 PM  

@chefbea - I also use a Silpat; what I like about sheet pans is the rim, so nothing falls off the sides!

Three and out.

Vincent L 7:09 PM  

CZAR really bothered me. It's clear that "'J' sounds turned to 'Z' sounds," "as the theme explanation clearly states." But when four of the five theme answers have the "Z" sound represented by the letter "Z", there's a reasonable expectation that the fifth will have the same. That's consistency for you.

As I was solving, I thought, Hah! COOKIECZAR; what a shame that can't be right! (Until it was inevitably the only possible answer.)

chefwen 7:15 PM  

SHEET PAN aka. jelly roll pan.

jberg 7:23 PM  

@Masked and Zanonymous - the capital letters are not errors, they are clues that the word is a proper noun, e.g. Lightning Bolt. I couldn't remember USAIN at first, so I thought maybe USAIR had a budget airline called Bolt (actually, that's a budget version of Greyhound Bus), but at least I knew it was a proper noun.

Anonymous 7:34 PM  

Czar and tsar/Tsar can be used interchangeably. No difference, none, nada, nil. Oh, there's one: all those Obama appointees who duck Senate confirmation are called czars to avoid any implication of Russian influence.
Before some of us were born the Russian emporer was commonly referred to as a czar, which makes me wonder about that Russian influence.

Martin 7:43 PM  

The Z sound in COOKIECZAR is represented by the letter "Z." That "C" is silent.

Of course, like "kaiser," "tsar" comes from "Caesar." "Czar" was originally a New Latin word, coined to represent the Russian Emporer's title in diplomatic documents. It combined the original Latin origin with the Russian pronunciation. It was not meant to be an English transliteration of the Russian.

When it moved into English, in 1555, the "C" was not pronounced, making it essentially the second syllable of its Roman eponym.

"Czar" and "tsar" are alternates, but not pronounced the same.

CoolPapaD 8:20 PM  

@ NDE - hysterical!

@ Joon - thanks for commenting - love it when you guys do that. Hope you never, ever need our services. Everyone - please wear your helmets!

Sfingi 8:33 PM  

Clever puzzle.

Learned these new words/names: ZACH Galifianakis, OZZIE Smith, WEEZER, USAIN, DOBRO, this CHLOE.

We called a VESTEE a dickie.

Both NILS and ECARD in "other" puzzle.

Disagree on: FAVA. Bean in Italian is fagiol' or fazool. FAVA is a type of such.
MAINST - is at the edge of town. Most towns start at a river and grow toward the hills. (IMO)

Did know Ms. Lagerlof, ist woman Nobel in Lit. My sister is planning to illustrate, as a kid's book, the Legend of Christmas Rose. (Please retire soon, Dedree!)

michael 9:13 PM  

I don't see much point in complaining about the alleged obscurity of proper names. We all know more about some types than we do about other types of things. Usain and Ozzie are easy for me, Weezer is at the very edge of my brain, and Honalee is news to me. But I'm not about to claim that Weezer (obviously!) and Honalee are unfair answers, while Usain and Ozzie are famous people who clearly belong in a puzzle.

And here's a nonproper noun I've never heard of -- vestee-- but again it seems completely fair.

joho 9:26 PM  

As I think I will be the 111th poster here today I call this puzzle a hit!

mac 10:44 PM  

A hit alright, but a tough one for me. Planned to do it on the train to NY this morning, but a good friend joined me....
Did it after a long, extremely hot day, after an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum with Greene and daughter and a nice lunch, then dinner with a couple of friends from Toronto who had a "hard landing". And then? 111 comments to read after doing the puzzle and reading Rex's write-up! I'm done.


@Joon: brilliant puzzle, but obviously I wasn't in great shape and still don't know what a vestee is.I do have some sheet pans, but at this point I can't find them back in the grid.

LOVE Conservative Zoo! So apt, so contemporary!

mac 11:17 PM  

Selma Lagerlof means Pippie Longstocking to me. Wasn't Nils her pet monkey?

COIXT RECORDS 12:20 AM  

I smiled at PEACE crossing WEEZER because Weezer have a song called "Peace."

Masked and Anonymous 10:55 AM  

@jberg: Har. You're dead straight right, but it didn't happen to be what I was talking about. pls inspect mr. joon's comment here, and you'll probably see where i was comin' from. M&A

cody.riggs 10:01 PM  

Wow, it's been quite some time since I've agreed w/Rex about everything...I even was about to explain the "CZ" and "TS" difference between the two meanings of CZ/TZAR but it's been done.

The only thing I disagree with is the rating of this puzzle's difficulty. This was WAY over my average time...it took me 3 times as long as the his/hers (XY/XX) puzzle recently! I attribute it to WEEZER and USAIN. YES! Weezer IS obscure. Gimme a break...No one will know who they are in 10 years.

I thought CONSERVATIVE ZOO hilarious, and gimme a break again..."Conservative Jew" is the Actual Name of a religious affiliation. This is somehow offensive? And don't let the term "conservative" fool you...they allow gay marriage, for one thing. (Kudos to that.)

I got COOKIE CZAR with no crossings, after figuring out the theme, so it obviously was consistent. I found the "C" diversion to be challenging, not inconsistent.

Big mistake that made this puzzle hard: putting BRONZE ZEUS in confidently (ORANGE is a better answer, admittedly.)

Puzzle not on my wavelength, but it put up a good challenge. Not happy about the USAIN/OAS crossing At All...big flaw in an otherwise clever creation. THAT was a Natick IMHO.

Thanks for an entertaining blog today, everyone.

Portland, Ore.

Deb @ RoomscapesDecor.com 11:23 AM  

Great puzzle, though a DNF for me due to WEEZER and USAIN, neither of which I've ever heard of. I had SEEZER and USAIR, thinking maybe US Air's logo was a lightning bolt, and SIRS could, maybe, sorta, be the beginning of a record, if you stretch the meaning of "record" to include "letter(s)." I did google "SEEZER BAND" and the only other band that came up in its stead was GEEZER, which makes me wonder just how famous WEEZER is if they didn't even rate a google result.

The only theme answer I didn't care for was BLUEZINES, because the only context in which I ever think of "zines" as a shortening of "magazines" is in "ezines," and in my head I pronounce that with a long i. Am I the only one?

Re the CZAR/TSAR question: When I studied Russian history back in the old days, the spelling was always CZAR. As a matter of fact, I think the first time I ever saw the TSAR spelling was in a NYT crossword puzzle, and I remember being annoyed by it because it felt like the constructors were arbitrarily changing the spelling to force it into their grid.

Lots of great comments, but my favorite by far was Z's:

"IMHO "Conservative Jew" can only give offense if "Jew" is thought of as a pejorative in and of itself. In some people's mouths this may be true, but not here."

Tou-effing-che!

Anonymous 2:21 PM  

Yes, cookie sheet and baking sheet are also called "sheet pans" to we who have reached riper ages and have lived various areas in the US midwest.

Dirigonzo 4:36 PM  

From syndication, where the party rolls on and on - this puzzle certainly poked the hornets' nest under the prime-timers meeting place and the little stingers had everybody all riled up! Me? I liked it. I didn't know most of the proper names that so troubled others but was able to piece everything together just fine from the crosses; having to do so does not trouble me, in fact it's one of the reasons I do puzzles - I love to figure things out and learn new stuff in the process. And then I come here for advanced studies!

@Deb - I pronounce the "-zine" in ezine just as I pronounce it in magazine, so no long "i". That made the clue and answer make perfect sense to me, and I liked it!

I may never get another chance to say this: I agree 100% with what Evil Doug wrote in his first post five weeks ago.

tim 5:10 PM  

From Syndicationland: @Anonymous 1:57AM I couldn't agree more! @Tobias The hippie dobro connection is hilarious and @Anon 10:09AM Laughing! Poor doggie hates hippies.

But as all you fine people are unlikely to read past comments, I'll address my one last question to Rex: Is Rob Ickes the crush's husband?

Lurking, Just Behind You 8:52 PM  

Damn I love Thursday Puzzles.
Liked this one from start to finish. I love what puzzles like this one bring out on the blog, Rex.

And I LOVE Weezer.....and I'm not young...at least not that young.



unrye - Bread for your BLT

Anonymous 10:11 PM  

What is with you people? 121 comments precede me and nobody spells the constructors name with a Z?

Got SE first on the baseball references (OZZIE, ERROR, WINS), OZZIE & WINS gave me WEEZER, which gave me COOKIE CZAR and the theme.

Liked it. Some of my best friends are Zoos.

Think I'll pop in my Benny and Zoon DVD now. PEACE out.

Anonymous 3:08 AM  

Incredibly, finished with no errors--even though I still have no kernel of an idea what WEEZER and DOBRO are; that's what the crosses gave me, so I took 'em.
My still-innocent grandson has always loved "Puff the Magic Dragon," though still clueless as to its meaning. It was a warm pleasure to see Puff's homeland in print--for the first time. Till now, I'd only heard it, so my entry for the second letter, the last letter of DOBRO, was a pure guess between "O" and "A." Hanalee, Honalee; dobra, dobro. So I guessed right. Why can't I guess a 50-50 shot right at the damn poker table once? Oh well.
I thought the clue for INCLUSIVE was a bit weird ("nonsexist, in a way"), but all in all the clues were just the right amount of clever. Had to work through some, like "chain 'links'; abbr." (MTNS),"number of holidays" (CAROL) and "overthrow, e.g." (ERROR). Never knew that Dr. Lecter was saying, essentially, "bean beans" when describing the go-with for that unfortunate census taker's liver.
Fffffffff.....

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

So glad to see some pro-sports comments here to combat the whining occasionally heard for just about any sporting clue. I mean really, balking at OZZIE and USAIN but having no issue with a character from a 400 year old play?

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