1972 #1 hit for Sammy Davis Jr / TUE 8-23-11 / Cousin of Muhammad / Pupil coverer / British boob tube / Frozen dessert franchise

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Constructor: Michael Farabaugh

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (*for a Tuesday*)

THEME: Bolt — that's the clue for four theme answers

Word of the Day: ALI (23A: Cousin of Muhammad) —

Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (Arabic: علي بن أﺑﻲ طالب; Transliteration: ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib, [ʕaliː ibn ʔæbiː t̪ˤɑːlib]; 13th Rajab, 24 BH–21st Ramaḍān, 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661) was the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam. Sunni Muslims consider Ali the fourth and final of the Rashidun (rightly guided Caliphs), while Shi'a Muslims regard Ali as the first Imam and consider him and his descendants the rightful successors to Muhammad, all of which are members of the Ahl al-Bayt, the household of Muhammad. This disagreement split the Ummah (Muslim community) into the Sunni and Shi'a branches. (wikipedia)
• • •

Not my favorite kind of theme. Also, a theme that could've gone much deeper—to six answers at least, probably more. Bolt = eat food quickly. Bolt = large roll of cloth. Better to shorten up these answers and add a couple more than just have four, esp. when one is LIGHTNING UNIT (?). That's literally correct, I suppose, but UNIT is painful in that phrase. This puzzle wasn't so much difficult (compared to other Tuesdays) as it was hard to move through quickly. I'd get the front end of a theme answer, but it would not lead easily to the back end at all. UNIT? Bah. Even LEAVE didn't help me get SUDDENLY. IN A HURRY seemed plausible. Crosses there were weirdly hard to turn up, as STOW and WELD and DELL did not come easily. The grid seems mostly solid—I'm just underwhelmed by this type of theme, and by the execution of this particular incarnation of this theme type.

Theme answers:
Can't write much more. I have to be up at 4:30am to catch a 6:15 flight. I'll be checking in periodically over the next few days, but you'll mostly be in the hand of capable and entertaining substitute writers—a different one every day! Hope you enjoy the tail end of your summer as much as I plan to enjoy mine (mine will involve a state fair, very dear friends, and probably more alcohol than I've consumed so far this calendar year).

  • 15A: Instrument heard in Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe" (OBOE) — I had no idea that was an OBOE. I nearly wrote in OGEE because I had MEAN instead of MODE at first for 8D: Number in statistics.
  • 33A: The "she" in the lyric "She walked up to me and she asked me to dance" (LOLA) — keeping with the musical theme. Here's a song I actually feel like playing for you.

  • 37A: Frozen dessert franchise (TCBY) — Or, as I always think of it, "I Can't Believe It's Not Yogurt" (it's actually "The Country's Best Yogurt")
  • 64A: Half of a famous split personality (HYDE) — big help when I was flailing away down there in the SW.
  • 3D: They have homes that many people visit (WEBSITES) — this clue feels like a stretch. They have "homes?" Yes, there's a "home" page, but if you are going to use "homes" in a way no one does when speaking about WEBSITES, your clue needs a "?"
  • 38D: 1972 #1 hit for Sammy Davis Jr., with "The" (CANDYMAN) — from "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" — enjoy.

  • 48D: British boob tube (TELLY) — I'm not sure that's equivalent slang. "TELLY" is a neutral term. Also, actor Savalas.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Matthew G. 12:18 AM  

Why is there this weird rule in writing crossword puzzle clues that we always pretend the YETI is real?

santafefran 12:27 AM  

Loved OOMPH! Hated UNIT, would have preferred sign.

SPRINTER USAIN is a joy to watch--recalling his Olympic performances.

I left in MELD for WELD so didn't get Mr. Happy Pencil at first. Pretty careless since STOM is obviously wrong.

santafefran 12:29 AM  

@Matthew G. The YETI isn't real??

Next thing you will be saying that there is no Santa Claus.

Anonymous 12:29 AM  

When will you be back? Enjoy the trip.

thursdaysd 12:37 AM  

Quite enjoyed this one, although I had to change mELD to WELD, and a careless DiI to DXI to get the happy pencil. Could have done without yet another sighting of the YETI, and a little surprised to see AUPAIR which I thought was more UK than US. Unlike Rex, I didn't have a big problem with the theme, but I agree totally about UNIT. Just wrong. I thought the clue for WEBSITES, 3D was rather cute..

Like Rex, I'm about to head out of town, but I'll be gone for rather longer. After four nights in New York I'm flying to Europe for two and a half months. I'm taking an iPad with the Crossword app, but I won't be solving, or reading the blog, on any regular schedule. See you in November.

PurpleGuy 12:40 AM  

I had no problem with LIGHTNINGUNIT, buT SPRTINTERUSAIN ??? Come On!!!
All the other theme answers make sense calling them a bolt9of lightning,metal fastener and leaving in a hurry).
How do get away with calling a person who runs fast a bolt? Don't get it ,and it made me hate this puzzle.
Possibly if that had been the last theme answer at the bottom, I'd have a little less vile.
Inconsistency and makes no sense to me.
Ruined the rest of an otherwise nice puzzle.

Oh Well, Shanti _

PurpleGuy 12:42 AM  

@thursdaysd - have avery safe and pleasant trip.
Look forward to details when you return ;)

Shanti -

chefwen 12:51 AM  

Last two letters going in were the E in MODE and the R in PEER, but USAIN made absolutely no sense to me. Husband finally recalled a SPRINTER named Bolt and said that was probably the guys first name. Voila! Tough ending for a Tuesday! Almost thought I would have to cheat but avoided at all cost.

This one had OOMPH!

Tobias Duncan 12:54 AM  

@Matthew G. As the only guy in New Mexico who regularly reads "Skeptic magazine", I could not agree more.

@ PurpleGuy: I came here after the puzzle excited to find out what a SPRINTERUSAIN was. Imagine my disappointment to find out it is just some sports thing. Did you ever try my pasta recipe?
Liked the rest of the puzzle just fine as themes make up only about 10% of my puzzle enjoyment unless they are really spectacular or science related.

plumpy 12:58 AM  

@PurpleGuy: His name is Usain Bolt. Yes, really.

thursdaysd 1:05 AM  

@PurpleGuy - why thanks. If the iPad thing works out I'll be blogging the trip at mytimetotravel

I usually have trouble with the sports clues, but for some reason I knew Usain Bolt. I must have watched some Olympics' coverage...

missileenious 1:24 AM  

I liked it better as This Can't Be Yogurt.

The New Girl 1:28 AM  

I enjoyed this one quite a bit. The right amount of effort and discovery for me. I was hoping to find Frankenstein in there somehow after I caught on to the theme.

If I'm nitpicking, shouldn't 60d be capitalized for Hee-Haw? Or maybe I've just got musical variety shows on the brain after the mention of Sonny & Cher.

foodie 1:33 AM  

BOLT is the kind of word that gives you fits if English is not your first language. Meanings keep coming out of the woodwork... and they don't seem to hang together in any coherent way. So, to my mind, this is a quirkiness of the language that's worth celebrating. But I'm with Rex that the point would be the richness and the many meanings that include verbs and nouns.

I had LEAVE abrupTLY, which fits perfectly and I think may be a better description of BOLT, no?

I love the word ALOOF, and I like it sitting in the middle, all by its lonesome.

Some personally relevant clues/answers today.. PEER review-- a benign concept that's actually an instrument of torture. SLOAN-Kettering is a place where my son did a medical internship, and where my best friend is receiving cancer treatment ... Well, some of this is sad enough it makes me want to BOLT...

retired_chemist 2:05 AM  

The theme answers were not obvious, and each required several crosses before it became so. As I went through that process, I realized that this was going to be a slow one. Given the errors below, my time turned out to be REALLY slow.

Typed in 6D as C(zero)RNEA and it took me 3 minutes of checking and rechecking the grid before I caught it. And this was after mistyping EGGNOGS and wondering wtf a PRACE was and how it could be a blessing.

10D was LEASER, 47D was SLEET. 3D was TERMITES due to misreading the clue.


Nevertheless, I thought this was a good puzzle - Tuesdayish, on the hard side. Thank you, Mr. Farabaugh.

Campesite 2:32 AM  

Foreign domestic was the clue of the day, to me.

Anonymous 4:23 AM  

Usain Bolt is foreign to some people? No one remembers his amazing performance at the 2008 Olympics where he shattered world records? How about the next summer when he shattered them again? The fastest human being ever?

It's nice to have some recent people compared to someone like LENA HORNE who I only know through crosswords.

Agree with Rex on the clue for WEBSITES.

Overall a mediocre puzzle.

Glimmerglass 7:45 AM  

Time isn't everything, Rex. This was a relatively easy Tuesday in that the answers, once a few crosses were found, were common, familiar words and phrases. For example, I didn't know that an OBOE was featured in "I got you, Babe," but how many four-letter instruments begin with O? This took me (I guess) about a normal amount of time for a Tuesday, but there was really nothing tricky about it.

evil doug 7:50 AM  

The Candyman, Sonny, and especially Cher, don't meet my breakfast test.

...although, ironically, Sonny co-wrote the greatest British Invasion song of all time: Needles and Pins, by the Searchers.


Z 8:20 AM  

EURO was my first word in, so the NE fell first and I see -USAIN before I see the clue. I immediately remember the fits Mr. Bolt gave to solvers the last time he appeared. I'm guessing that that discussion is the reason @thursdayd and some others will remember his name.

Thought the theme answers did a nice job of being fair without being too easy. Made the puzzle a little crunchy (for a Tuesday) but not in an unfair way.

I agree with others on some of the flaws, but overall I think the flaws are acceptable given the low dreck level on the fill and the decent solving experience.

efrex 8:29 AM  

Seems like hardly anyone's ever happy with Tuesday puzzles but this was a pretty solid job, methinks. While it might be possible to add another theme answer or two, I'll take smoother fill over theme density any time. My only nitpick is that USAIN is crosswordese to me, so having his name in a theme answer is a bit irritating; other than that, though, this was quite nice. Some mild misdirection/creative cluing (WELD, WEBSITES, AUPAIR,BSIX), minimal junk... I'm more than satisfied.

Glad to see others with the WELD/MELD writeover. Only near-writeover: thought of putting in PUNCHES before EGGNOGS, but resisted.

Thanks for the RIDE, Mr. Farabaugh!

Craig 8:43 AM  

The instrument on "I Got You Babe" is actually an English Horn -- not the higher pitched oboe.

joho 8:43 AM  

Pretty much bolted through this until the top middle section. Don't know math terms so was thinking MODE might be cODE and PEER was long in coming, but finally I did remember who Bolt USAIN is. I don't think he's crosswordese. He's an amazing athlete.

Anyway, I enjoyed it.

@Rex, wishing you a happy vacation! I also look forward to all the guest bloggers this week, it should be fun!

jackj 8:50 AM  

Kids have the "Terrible Twos" and Times solvers have the "Terrible Tuesdays"; this one keeps the tradition intact.

The clues giving us the answers TOO, ELF, ASH, LIT, HEE, NEE, TRU, LOANED and STOW, (with a clue, "Store", which gives you the first three letters of the four letter answer), are so unimaginative as to make one wonder if this puzzle was ever subjected to the Times' editing process.

On to Wednesday.

Brian 8:50 AM  

This worked fine for me. Caught the theme early and was pleased to see how Mr. Farbaugh worked it out. Was particularly pleased with SPRINTERUSAIN. If your theme is "bolt," how do you not include the fastest man alive?

That answer was the cleverest bit of the puzzle. Otherwise, it was smooth and standard. Pleasurable if not particularly memorable.

Now I've gotta bolt!

jesser 8:57 AM  

I compulsively look at words and try to find the biggest word embedded in them (Chevrolet/Chortle), and Every Morning I rediscover, to my delight that OOMPH is the biggest word in Shampoo. It makes me happy.

As does Sammy Davis, Jr. I could not tell you why. He just makes me happy.

Like @Foodie, I had LEAVE abrupTLY for a while at 51A.

I do not equate 'smarts' with SENSE. I know a lot of really smart people with no sense whatsoever. I also think 'persuade' is not the same as URGE. These are minor nits in an otherwise lovely puzzle.

@Tobias Duncan is correct (unless SantaFeFran chimes in otherwise) that he is the only New Mexican here who reads Skeptic Magazine. I do read The Sun.

Happy Tuesday, all, and happy vacation, Rex!

Maybe next time 8:59 AM  

Thursday, June 09, 2011 by Joon Pahk

63A Lightning Bolt = USAIN

You gotta pay attention - both to previous puzzles, and if you are a "regular" here, to the ensuing comments ;)


John V 9:20 AM  

Had a bit of a slow down at 27A, METALFASTENER. The North central was the hardest for me. Re: SRINTEREUSAIN, solved it entirely with the crosses. S'bout it. A tad more difficult than typical Tuesday. Started at Stamford, finished around Mamaroneck.

My clue of the day: 39D, BSIX. Had SOFA for 6A, Sleepaway, thinking Hide-A-Bed, or some such thing. Also had SLAT for 10A. But, after all, this is why God gave us pencils with erasers on them.

Lou 9:20 AM  

Au pair might be a more common phrase here in New York. A few of the hotels regularly hold multi-day events where they bring in young women and hold interviews all day. They are widely advertised events.

chefbea 9:28 AM  

Liked the puzzle. Bolted through it.

@Tobias Duncan.What pasta recipe??I made a great pasta al forno last night!!!

@Rex have a great vacation!!

Jonathan 9:51 AM  

The complainers about "lightning unit" and some of the other themed items may be missing a point about this puzzle.

The awkward "Lighting unit" may be strange as a crossword ANSWER, but it would fit right in as a crossword CLUE (whose answer was "BOLT").

What the constructor has done is to reverse the crossword construction process for the four themed items. He has taken four reasonable alternative clues for the word "BOLT", each of which would be perfectly appropriate by crossword conventions:

1. Sprinter Usain
2. Metal fastener
3. Lightning unit
4. Leave suddenly;

Naturally, constructors and editors always weigh alternatives like these for the clues in creating a puzzle. But here, he has reversed the process and made all four of these clues into the themed puzzle answers, where the clue for all four is Bolt.

Disorienting, but clever, once one sees this as an intentional reversal of the usual crossword construction process.


quilter1 10:01 AM  

Quick and easy--only half a cup of coffee. Liked seeing OOMPH. No nits here.

I'm also leaving for a few days to take the grandboy home.

@jesser: I read The Sun for years before dropping it due to fixed income. Recommend it to those who like pretty good writing, no ads and excellent photography.

slypett 10:17 AM  

If you try to substitute URGE for "persuade" you get nonSENSE. I URGE anyone to persuade me otherwise.

amogi: what you order at a Bulgarian Starbucks.

Draco 10:26 AM  

@Slypett - Let me urge you to reconsider you complaints about URGE. If my doing this persuades you to do so, I've made my point.

As someone once said here, these are clues, not precise definitions. The act of persuasion is urging. There is a grammatical difference, but the sense is there, which is enough for a clue.

Two Ponies 10:37 AM  

For 65A "Unite under fire" I was hoping "shotgun wedding" would fit.
Rex's WOTD had me shaking my head to think what some people will use as an excuse to slaughter each other. Seems too trivial to this infidel.
On a happier note, Rex, have a good vacation. I'm curious to find out who will be entertaining us while you are away.

jberg 10:50 AM  

Second try to post - I suspect Blogger, like our cat, is resentful at having been abandoned for 10 days.

This one all came down to USAIN Bolt - if you knew who he was, you (or anyway I) thought, "Oh, how clever." Otherwise I imagine it was annoying. I didn't see him at first -- didn't have the N and was looking for some kind of AIr -- but once I got LEAVE SUDDENLY it all fell into place.

I agree that URGE is not quite persuade; but having SMARTS does not mean you're smart, but rather that you have sense - e.g., "street smarts."

Started with WEBzInE at 3D, on the ground that they have a home from which you go to the articles - didn't fix that until I got the first theme answer at 20A.

Whoever said AU PAIR was more UK than US, the clue does specify "foreign."

@Jesser, I'm not sure if it would be acceptable in Scrabble, but the longest word in shampoo is OOMPAHS, the sound made by a lot of bass English horns.

Just back from vacation in Door County WI, with no puzzles -- both glad and sorry to be back, but getting the NYT again is a plus!

Stan 11:00 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stan 11:05 AM  

I thought the theme was clearly developed without being too obvious. UNIT did not bother me. My favorite use of this word in a puzzle is: GLOB -- Goo unit (Elizabeth C. Gorski, 5/12/1998).

@Jonathan: Interesting comment. Now I can see it that way.

John V 11:13 AM  

@Jonathan: What @Stan said re: comment: me, too.

jesser 11:16 AM  

@Jberg: OOMPAHS!!!!!!! I am dancing a whole new jig! Welcome back!

syndy 11:19 AM  

Having SMARTS is not the same as being smart-isn't the first more common sense?Our brains are such wonderful and inventive things we can sometimes think we see things that may not be there-just a trick of shadows! fun puzzle for a tuesday. W D E D L?

Tobias Duncan 11:38 AM  

@ chefbea, PurpleGuy had asked about the pasta putanesca I was bragging about a while back.I have never made pasta al forno, seems like so much work, bet it was good though.

David 11:48 AM  

For the 2nd week in a row, a slightly slower Tuesday than usual. Took a while to get all 4 big clues, including SPRINTERUSAIN, even though i m very familiar with him. I wanted SPRING for the first 6 letters, and even that was after I corrected ONATEAR for ONAROLL (thanks, Tatum!) Also had SLEET for SLUSH briefly. Decent puzzle, not overly exciting....

foodie 12:02 PM  

@TwoPonies, re WOTD --- I agree with you. While everything is technically correct in that Wiki description, the Sunni-Shiite split was really less about religious beliefs, and more about power and control. It seems to be the bane of humankind-- to strive for power and use any and all excuses to justify outrageous behavior in its pursuit...

On a lighter note, @Jesser I laughed at your Shampoo/OOMPH happiness. Good game!

Anonymous 12:06 PM  

@thursdaysd - I just checked out your blog briefly and found it (and you) amazing. If you don't mind answering, I am wondering if you have tips for those of us who aren't wealthy, but would like to travel extensively as you seem to do.

Thanks and enjoy your upcoming adventure!

Kathy S

Mel Ott 12:31 PM  

I assumed USAIN Bolt would be a WTF for most of the non-sports folk, but at least it's gettable from the crosses - assuming that everyone has at least heard of LENA HORNE.

Janet 12:36 PM  

Like others had no clue there was a sprinter named Usain Bolt (ok, ok - I had the clue, but no sensible answer!) and also stumbled on the vitamin/bingo/frozen dessert intersection.

Imagine my surprise when I searched for Usain Bolt and the top of the list was Rex's blog for 4/25/11.
In that case, Usain Bolt made Word of the Day and the (same!) clue for B-Six was singled out as favorite clue of the day.

@Maybe next time ... sound advice!!

Anonymous 1:05 PM  

Personally, I can't wait for the London Olympics and the re-appearance of Usain Bolt!

Lewis 1:30 PM  

While the clues were bland, there was not a lot of garbage, and I enjoyed this. Would love to hear from the constructor if he indeed did what Jonathan claims -- reversed clues and answer...

thursdaysd 1:56 PM  

@jberg - I took the "foreign" in the clue for 11D to refer to the AUPAIR, not to the word.

@Jonathan - I agree with the others, very enlightening.

@Anonymous 12:06 - glad you liked the blog. I took early retirement after 30 years which gave me the time to travel. WRT finances, I travel very budget level (the biz class tickets on my last trip were from FF miles), just one step up from hostels. For tips I'd recommend the Lonely Planet "Read This First" and Rough Guides "First-Time" series, plus Ed Hasbrouck's Practical Nomad (fifth ed due soon) and Rick Steves" "Europe Through the Back Door".

Sfingi 3:08 PM  

Forgot one BOLT - cloth is purchased from BOLTs. They should put that on the SATs so guys would flunk.

The YETI invasion has been well covered.

Never heard of the SPRINTER (unfair sports in theme).

SLeet before SLUSH.


Anonymous 3:27 PM  

@thursdaysd - Wow! Thanks for all the helpful ideas. You are very kind to share. I'll check back with your blog to see how you are enjoying this next adventure.

Kathy S

archaeoprof 3:33 PM  

So-so puzzle.

@Two Ponies & @Foodie: I share your value of tolerance, etc, but the historical evidence shows that the Sunni/Shia split was indeed about religious beliefs. The separation between political power and religious power, so familiar to us in America, was unknown at that time and place. Religion is a powerful force, for good or for evil.

sanfranman59 3:43 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)

Tue 9:07, 8:54, 1.02, 62%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:06, 4:35, 1.11, 83%, Challenging

chefbea 4:14 PM  

Any one on the east coast feel the earth quake??? We didn't but my friend in Raleigh, two hours away, did. Just waiting for Irene.

Two Ponies 4:21 PM  

@ archaeoprof,
I understood it to be a theological division so I think you're correct.
As for @ foodie's always-thoughtful input, well, I'm certain she is more tolerant than I am. I'm just your average heathen atheist.

Z 4:27 PM  

re Shi'a/Sunni - As more of an evangelical agnostic, I've longed concluded that Marx was right about religion being the opium of the masses. The people in power use the religious impulse of the commoner to convince them to take sides in what are struggles over power. See Egyptian dynastic history, the Protestant reformation, the American Tea Party movement, or any other "religious" movement one might find in the history books.

Here in SE Michigan Shi'a and Sunni seem to get along just fine.

the redanman 6:12 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
the redanman 6:13 PM  

STOW and WELD held me up a bit

Re: VA Quake

Felt in SE PA, knew what it was from living in CA

skua76 6:15 PM  

Re: VA Quake
I was in Charlottesville VA 30 miles from the epicenter. Worst one I've ever been through and I've lived in the SF bay area for awhile.

I did enjoy the puzzle. Like last time I got Mr. Bolt from crosses.

Sam 6:57 PM  

Speaking as an Englishman,
a) No, telly does not have the same connotation as boob tube - you might see a family gathered round the telly of a Saturday night.
b) In Britain, boob tube doesn't even mean that - it's what tube tops are called here.
I'm afraid it feels like a sloppy clue.

sanfranman59 10:20 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 6:23, 6:51, 0.93, 25%, Easy-Medium
Tue 9:14, 8:54, 1.04, 64%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:23, 3:40, 0.92, 19%, Easy
Tue 4:59, 4:35, 1.09, 79%, Medium-Challenging

mac 10:28 PM  

@Sam is right.

Good Tuesday puzzle! My only real problem was with the yogurt/B six crossing, that was a lucky guess.

Who knew there was an oboe in a Sonny and Cher song! Or maybe a horn.

Au pair is a common term around here. My youngest sister lived with us in CT for more than a year, and she had a slew of au pair friends, mostly from Scandinavia.

Enjoy your trips, Rex and family and thursdayd! I still have to figure out how to stay in Europe longer...

andrea cobra michaels 12:38 AM  

Not my fave type puzzle either, but I've tried to make a few and they are hard to make smooth and this one was...
I just had one rejected yesterday bec two of my MOLES were plural and two were singular!
Tickled that there are at least two more BOLT definitions...
love how language works, but how terribly confounding for fer-ners.

Highlight of my limited Karaoke experience is singing "I got You Babe" with my pal Ben Fong-Torres.
(And I love that someone on the blog pointed out that OBOE is wrong!!!)

And I love that Rex isn't even gone one day and the blog devolves into political discussions, earthquakes and recipe exchanges!
Come back soon, fearless leader!

Oh to be at the Minnesota State Fair! Something is terribly wrong that @Rex is in my own hometown and I'm not!

+wordphan 3:12 AM  

Puzzlegirl! Yay! I love her comments about Puzzle Family!
Have a great trip and don't forget to hydrate. BTW, I thought, hmm, "sprinter in the USA"?! Nah! Need sleep.

Waxy in Montreal 10:28 AM  

From the syndicate - must live in a parallel universe from those solvers who seem not to have heard of one of the most famous athletes in the world, the sprinter Usain Bolt. Interesting NYT Crossword-linked synchronicity in that, according to Google, Usain's middle name is St Leo, an answer in yesterday's grid.

Anonymous 1:03 PM  

From Syndiland - sorry, but I have to correct the misimpression that an English horn was played in "I Got You Babe".

That was indeed an oboe, played by a "doubler" (non-oboist) who filled in at the last minute.

Anonymous 2:50 PM  

@Matthew G. - The Yeti is real. And it's quite good.

Shout out to Tuesday at 65a.

Shout out to Bryan at 52d.

URGE = attempt to persuade.

@Evil: Sure, maybe...if you don't count that one band from Liverpool as part of the British Invasion.

CAMP was a staple of "The Sonny & Cher Show." by the way.

Dirigonzo 5:33 PM  

I liked the puzzle right from the git-go (I remembered SPRINTERUSAIN from the earlier puzzle and discussion on this very blog) but after reading @Jonathan's very insightful and illuminating explanation of the theme answers, I positively love it! Comments like that are much more helpful and interesting than picking nits, I think.

Anonymous 7:40 PM  

Anyone who has seen "Groundhog Day" has pretty well worked out the difference between an OBOE and an English horn by the third reel.
Usain Bolt has been in the news for more than just sprinting. He's alleged to have used steroids, and has had some prizes taken away. The mothuh is still bitchin' fast, though.
I agree that to "persuade" is to have successfully completed an URGE-filled campaign. The two are not synonymous.
Enjoyed the LOLA vid; not the strictly bubblegum Davis song.
Fill such as INF (we've recently had a glut of these keys of classical works; let's give 'em a break), BSIX crossing DXI (there just has to be a better way to do the east box) and the partials IMEAN and ABIT won't land this effort in my faves pile, despite the marvelous OOMPH.
Oh gosh--the YETI's not real?? Shucks, I was gonna ask Santa for one. One of his reindeer--the one appearing just yesterday--is actually my captcha for today: COMET. Yeah, a real word. Who'd'a thunk?

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