Swedish liquor with memorable ads / MON 9-5-11 / First part of ski run / Chicago columnist Kupcinet / Trumpets saliva draining key / Fat chance laddie

Monday, September 5, 2011

Constructor: Patrick Merrell

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


THEME: TVS (63D: Appliances hidden in seven answers in this puzzle)— Six two-word phrases with "TV" embedded in them ... plus ATV (13D: Off-road transport, briefly), which ruins everything by not following this two-word pattern; thus, I refuse to acknowledge that ATV is part of the theme. Thus, I still really like the puzzle.

Word of the Day: IN-RUN (24A: First part of a ski jump) —

The ski jump is divided into four separate sections; 1) In-run, 2) Take-off (jump), 3) Flight and 4) Landing. In each part the athlete is required to pay attention to and practice a particular technique in order to maximise the outcome of ultimate length and style marks. (wikipedia)
• • •

I really like this grid. Lots of zing, not a lot of junk. This is a good example of how a simple, common theme concept (the embedded letter string) can yield wonderful results. The fact that "V" is one of the embedded letters does wonders for the grid's overall complexion—I love a theme that adds color to rather than sucks color from the grid. All theme phrases are lively and interesting — an ideal everyone should strive for. If you have a neat idea for a theme but can only come up with dull (or forced) phrases to execute it, maybe don't do it ... or put it away til you can think of better answers. Given that the embedded letter string is only two letters long, puzzle could sneak in a couple Down theme answers without straining the grid too much. Six good, long "V"-containing phrases = thumbs up.



Theme answers:
  • 20A: Charleston is its capital (WEST VIRGINIA)
  • 31A: Trumpet's saliva-draining key (SPIT VALVE)
  • 48A: Not a unanimous ruling (SPLIT VOTE)
  • 60A: Swedish liquor with memorable ads (ABSOLUT VODKA)
  • 5D: Venomous snake (PIT VIPER)
  • 42D: Permit for leaving a country (EXIT VISA)

Did this is 3:14 (on the NYT applet—not my favorite solving interface, but I like to mix it up now and then). That's a bit slower than my avg. Monday time, but only a bit. Several little stumbles held me back. IRA instead of IRV was the first (22D: Chicago columnist Kupcinet). RHINE for RHEIN was the next (and in the same section!) (25A: Longest river in Deutschland). Note that the German "Deutschland" is what is supposed to cue you to use the German spelling of RHINE, i.e. "RHEIN." Wrote in HADST for DIDST (56A: Biblical word with "thou"). IN-RUN was, to me, the most obscure thing in the grid by a country mile, though I'm sure I've heard it. Every four years or so.


I blanked on I SPY at first (38D: Look-for-it children's game), and hesitated at SKAT ("isn't the singing spelled differently from the card game?...") (4D: 32-card game). But other than that, no real problems. MERV (19A: Griffin who created "Wheel of Fortune") and MARV (34D: Sportscaster Albert) are interesting gridmates. Clue on YODA is very cute (10A: Talks like this in "Star Wars" films he does).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

65 comments:

syndy 12:11 AM  

IRA/IRV yup RHINE/RHEIN yup.also I SHALT instead didst?which version is that? I also popped in ANN as my ASQUITH (oh bad ending)never saw the TV's but i didst notice a lot of V's ivi rex's love maybe a GOOD OMEN today there won't be a SPLIT VOTE

Rube 12:37 AM  

Well executed theme on a pleasant, quickie Monday puzzle. Had one writeover at DISHRAG/waSHRAG. INRUN is a new term for me.

So, Langhorne is his middle name!

absolut carla michaels 1:38 AM  

Actually seven TVS, as 63D says to find. Couldn't find it, but there it was, snuck into 13D: ATV

INAWAY I wonder if you couldn't have made that the reveal, ie "an appliance, or what is hidden in six long answers" (ATV).

Totally agree how cool it was that it was only two letters but with one of them a V it made it pop out, bec that is a crazy hard letter to use!

What with seven theme answers and hidden at that, I'd say this had a closer- to- Tuesday vibe.

And even tho I noticed the Vs right away, I got excited when I had WESTVIRGINA and SPITVALVE and thought "WOW, what is going to tie THOSE two things together?!!!"

Nice nice nice.
Liked the YODA cluing and the word BRAINIAC.
And love the Casablanca-vibed EXITVISA entry.

GOODOMEN from an OLDPRO, Patrick!

Also, interesting parallel tie in with 12D DIR and 28D NEWS.

Lotsa writeovers for me tho...had the kids' game as IS?Y and wrote in I SAY, sort of a combo of Simon Says and I See something red...which of course, is actually I SPY!

43D Saw the word Russian and had MI? and put in MIr...started to write in waSH, etc.

Also had VIVA in the wrong place, so thought the palindromic girl's name was VIV!

Never realized till today that the Rhine and RHEIN were the same river! D'oh!

At first I thought cluing LAW along the lines of Perry Mason was a bit musty, but now I'm thinking it's maybe a subtle nod to have it defined in terms of TV!

Now pull out the TV plugs and go do my movie puzzle in the LA Times! (TV/PLUG, get it?)

Evan 4:06 AM  

You mean I finished only 21 seconds behind Rex in solving this puzzle? Alright! Look out BRAINIACS of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, I'm sneaking up behind you like a PIT VIPER with TALONS!

.....At least, I would be if all ACPT puzzles were as easy as a Monday NYT. Oh well, maybe one day I'll make the plunge and sign up for the tourney, if only to meet other crosswordniks and see how badly I get beaten by the best. The people who go to the ACPT every year could eat my brain like a zombie on a hunger strike.

Gareth Bain 7:44 AM  

Now if you could build on INRUN you'd have a four-part crossword theme of iffy quality!

chefbea 8:33 AM  

Easy fun puzzle. But never heard of "Fat Chance" much less Nae. Thought I had it wrong.

Enjoy the holiday and all the cook-outs. We are doing burgers.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

Evan, you can avoid public humiliation by doing the mail-in version of the ACPT. By the way, the puzzles aren't all that difficult, they just don't give you much time. My family says that instead of saying I'm in the bottom 5%, I should say, "Hey, I'm up there with the 154th from the best 50 y.o.!"

I did like today's puzzle. If you circle the TV's, they make a nice consistent pattern on the grid.

James F 8:39 AM  

I think Rex is a little hard on poor "ATV." As a symmetrical balance to "TVS" it can only be 3 letters long. Maybe we should borrow from HiFi surround sound terminology and say that this puzzle had 6.1 theme answers.

dk 8:54 AM  

Almost makes me want to get a TV. But I just like movies so much more. I wonder where I could find an x-word with a movie theme? Hmmm

@chefbea, we grilled flank steak teriyaki yesterday using the recipe from the 31AUG2011 edition of NYT. Had corn on the cob, they stack it like cord wood here in Western WI, and... drum roll a salad of watermelon and feta cheese. No labor at all and heavens it was tasty. Like this puzzle.

**** (4 Stars) A monday masterpiece.

Dr. Frank-N-Furter 8:59 AM  

I was hoping for a TransVestite clue or answer.

Ring a bell? 9:02 AM  

@chefbea

How 'bout if (18A) NAE were clued as "Scot's denial", or "No, in Dundee"?

P>G>

joho 9:14 AM  

Very nice Monday. I especially like how two TVs meet at crosses in WESTVIRGINIA/PITVIPER and EXITVISA/ ABSOLUTVODKA to form neat little three letter stacks.

INRUN was also my WOTD.

Artist Arp stepped from Sunday into Monday ... I wonder if he were wearing any clothes?

My only ugh! was SPITVALVE.

Thanks, Patrick Merrell!

Z 9:19 AM  

Perfect TV symmetry. And ATV is clearly there to provide symmetry for TVS, so it should be referenced in the reveal clue.

Nice, well done Monday. My only slow down was HACKIT, which didn't come immediately, but otherwise it struck me as typical Monday. Happy that 68A did not lead Rex to post any fat Elvis videos.

foodie 9:19 AM  

Loved it! Rex and Andrea said it all.

Tobias Duncan 9:20 AM  

Easy medium time for me.Had the same stumbles as Rex but they were so easy to fix that not much time was wasted for me(spending 30 seconds correcting stuff does not change my time a whole lot.

Anon 8:35 I would love to know what your time was today as I am shooting for the bottom 5% at ACPT this year...

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

Rex says: ...thus, I refuse to acknowledge that ATV is part of the theme. Thus, I still really like the puzzle.

More inconsistency from Rex about inconsistency.

This inconsistency is so blatant, so obvious, so impossible to overlook Rex just changes the theme clue so he can say he likes the puzzle. Where is Evil Doug when I need him?

BTW, I like the puzzle.

DBGeezer 9:39 AM  

I liked the symmetry of the two TV triad crosses, of SPIT and SPLIT, and also of the ATV TVS in the ne and sw corners. Perhaps 63 D might have been clued appliances found (instead of hidden) in eight answers?

slypett 9:40 AM  

I am a slow but constant solver. (Isn't there a folk song that goes that way? Oh, yeah, "I am a man of constant sorrow.") The point is I went through this one so quickly my coffee was still hot, when I finished.


reform: How well they know me!

David 9:48 AM  

Easy-medium for me, though I clocked in at 4:12 (lefty, writing on paper!), my best ever since I started keeping time on Mondays.

Terrific puzzle, as good a Monday as we've had in a while. Never heard of SPITVALVE but came very easily with a couple of crosses, and INRUN was also a new word for me. Particularly liked the 3 6-letter across words above and below the longer themed clues in the NW and SE.

jackj 9:49 AM  

At least the odious SPITVALVE was quickly followed by an absorbent DISHRAG and a need was met.

Yesterday's Dadaist, ARP, comes back today as "Jean" which is a reminder that, among his many quirky habits was one where he identified himself as "Jean" when speaking French and "Hans" when speaking German, a duality which is signaled by his birthplace, Alsace-Lorraine.

Nice Monday puzzle.

Teresa in Detroit 9:52 AM  

Loved the puzzle. Just "chewy" enough to make a Monday interesting. Great fill.

One small problem. Saliva and spit valve did not pass the breakfast test for me.

Mel Ott 9:54 AM  

OK, I guess I'm just hopelessly out to lunch when it comes to pop culture. I still don't get the YODA clue. Can anyone enlighten me?

David 10:01 AM  

@Mel Ott, YODA was the freaky-looking old school Jedi knight who taught Luke Skywalker the finer points of the Force. One of his trademarks was his goofy style of talking - instead of, "He is your father", he would spit out, "Your father he is". The original Star Wars was on TV again last night....

quilter1 10:03 AM  

My first comment was eaten. But, I just finished Andrea's LA Times puzzle and it was great fun. Thanks, Acme.

I found this puzzle easy. I liked the fresh fill like PITVIPER, DISHRAG, and more.

Summer vacation with the grandkids was great. Now back to my old routine. Have a nice holiday.

M07S 10:04 AM  

Used to play a trumpet which had a SPITVALVE. Went to WESTVIRGINIA University. And my last name differs from the puzzle creator by one vowel. Loved the symmetry. Good Monday puzzle. (Wonder why we didn't get a Labor Day themed puzzle yesterday?)

capcha: truba...an authentic tuba with a SPITVALVE?

Z 10:17 AM  

@Mel Ott and @ David - Yoda was old. So old that his sentence structure reflected an old language. His words were English, but his sentence structure was Latin.

JC66 10:18 AM  

@Rex

Glad you're feeling better today.

Mel Ott 10:26 AM  

@David & @Z: Thanks. I remember the character but I don't remember the specifics of the backwards talking. I originally thought the answer to the clue had to be a verb, but I get it now. Very well done.

Sfingi 10:42 AM  

Waited for DISHRAG (waSHRAG) and AVA (EVe).

Jack the Giant Killer. Jack Daniels. Jack o Lantern. Jack Kennedy. Union Jack. And many fish.

Patricia Cornwell convinced me that Jack the Ripper was the so-so artist Walter Sickert. I suspect he did same in Europe.

@Chefbea - is Fat Chance an oldster expression, or are you from outside the USA?

@Mo7S - Let's see - Marrell, Merrill, Morrell

INRUN unknown.

M07S 11:03 AM  

@Sfingi "Fat chance, laddie." It's Murrell. I'm an oldster and have heard that expression all my life. The "laddie" part clued you to the Scottish answer. (Which, BTW, is another nexus for me to the puzzle. My mother-in-law was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, as was Andrew Carnegie who had a major impact on the city of Pittsburgh where I lived for many a year.)

mac 11:07 AM  

Good puzzle, enjoyed the solve. I looked at the reveal, 63D almost right away, and found the tv, so that simplified things a bit.

On to the LAT!

chefbea 11:08 AM  

@sfingi..now I get it!! I was reading it as laddie in a show called "Fat Chance"

Sfingi 11:09 AM  

@Mo7S - I once had a dream that I was doing a crossword puzzle all about myself and thought it was sort of strange. Beware, this may be a dream.

Craig 11:19 AM  

As a brass player myself, I’d like to offer a small correction ...
The idea that a spit valve on a brass instrument is used to release saliva is considered a common mistake made by those who’ve never played a trumpet. The function of a spit valve is to release moisture that collects due to condensation from the breath and air we all breath as it blows through a cool trumpet. It can be demonstrated that saliva is not involved, beyond trace amounts, by the fact that the valve is most useful during the winter and in cold rooms, and on some hot and humid days the valve is of such little use -- you could probably do without it.
Taking saliva out of the clue would be not only more accurate, but it also might be preferred by some of the more sensitive commentators. Lots of things spit without involving digestive enzymes -- radiators, pressure cookers, some kinds of rainy weather ...

foodie 11:20 AM  

I wanted to add one point to my comment from last night about my view of the blog--esp. given that something about yesterday seems to be lingering today.

I used to think of Rex as a critic, similar to a film critic or a food critic. But now I have amended this notion- Those kinds of critiques are intended to affect the behavior of others who are not in the know. A famous Broadway critic can make or break a show-- and therefore has a certain responsibility.

This is different. Most of us have already done the puzzle. This is like analyzing a show after we've all seen it. Each person gets to describe their own response. Rex just goes first and starts the conversation.

SethG 11:53 AM  

A bit "west"-happy, and I wish HANG-UPS had been clued more aggressively, but otherwise fine.

Anonymous 12:10 PM  

Foodie you can be forgiven for thinking someone who is the 31st greatest crossword puzzle solver in the universe would be an expert critic. Number 32, maybe not so much. Time for Rex to go down a peg?

syndy 12:26 PM  

@SFINGI ,found CORNWELLS book fascinating,but convincing ?REALLY?

Stan 12:54 PM  

Jazzy puzzle for a Monday. The theme was very simple but theme answers had a nice variety.

Also, I wonder if there is a 'tooth and claw' subtheme, with CLASPS, CHEWS, PIT VIPER, HYENA, RIPPER, and TALONS.

CoffeeLvr 1:07 PM  

Fun Monday. Hand up for shaLT before DIDST. So I still didn't break 5 minutes.

I didn't know INRUN, but just waited for the crosses.

600 1:15 PM  

First, before I even read the blog, @foodie at 8:19 yesterday: WISH I'D SAID THAT! So well said. Kudos. (And now that I've read today's comment--yes to that too.)

I agree with previous commenters that Acme and Rex have said it all. A fun puzzle. My only writeover was shalt for DIDST. (I have to control my OCD and not do all acrosses first . . . )

I loved the crossover theme answers revolving on V.

I haven't read Cornwell's book on Jack the Ripper, but if you've never seen Johnny Depp's "From Hell" (and if you have a strong stomach,) you might get an insight or two there. (Wonder if the book and film come to the same conclusion?) I understand the film is actually adapted from a . . . wait for it . . . comic book series.

And, finally, @Z--I love all things "Star Wars," but I never realized Yoda's word order was a reference to Latin! As soon as I read your comment, all my Latin came tumbling back and it seemed so obvious. Thanks for the insight.

Off to see Acme at LAT. Thanks for the heads-ups, folks.

miriam b 1:34 PM  

@M07S: One version of Sir Patrick Spence.

The king he sits in Dumferling,
Drinking the blude reid wine:
'O where will I get a gude sailor,
That'l sail the ships o mine?'
Up then started a yallow-haird man,
Just be the kings right knee:
'Sir Patrick Spence is the best sailor
That ever saild the see.'
Then the king he wrote a lang letter,
And sealld it with his hand,
And sent it to Sir Patrick Spence,
That was lyand at Leith Sands.
When Patrick lookd the letter on,
He gae loud laughters three;
But afore he wan to the end of it
The teir blindit his ee.
'O wha is this has tald the king,
Has tald the king o me?
Gif I but wist the man it war,
Hanged should he be.
'Come eat and drink, my merry men all,
For our ships maun sail the morn;
Bla'd wind, bla'd weet, bla'd sna or sleet,
Our ships maun sail the morn.'
'Alake and alas now, good master,
For I fear a deidly storm;
For I saw the new moon late yestreen,
And the auld moon in her arms.'
They had not saild upon the sea
A league but merely three,
When ugly, ugly were the jaws
That rowd unto their knee.
They had not saild upon the sea
A league but merely nine,
When wind and weit and snaw and sleit
Came blawing them behind.
'Then where will I get a pretty boy
Will take my steer in hand,
Till I go up to my tap-mast,
And see gif I see dry land?'
'Here am I, a pretty boy
That'l take your steir in hand,
Till you go up to your tap-mast,
And see an you see the land.'
Laith, laith were our Scottich lords
To weit their coal-black shoon;
But yet ere a' the play was playd,
They wat their hats aboon.
Laith, laith war our Scottish lords
To weit their coal-black hair;
But yet ere a' the play was playd,
They wat it every hair.
The water at St Johnston's wall
Was fifty fathom deep,
And there ly a' our Scottish lords,
Sir Patrick at their feet.
Lang, lang may our ladies wait
Wi the tear blinding their ee,
Afore they see Sir Patrick's ships
Come sailing oer the sea.
Lang, lang may our ladies wait,
Wi their babies in their hands,
Afore they see Sir Patrick Spence
Come sailing to Leith Sands.

Dr. Frank-N-Furter 1:42 PM  

Sorry, I forgot about MARV Albert.

arlene 2:16 PM  

I missed the theme completely because I never saw the 63D clue - filled it in from the crosses. Too smart for my own good. Am I the only one?

archaeoprof 2:27 PM  

Very enjoyable Monday!

Writeovers = shalt/DIDST and washrag/DISHRAG.

Had to miss a family reunion over the weekend in WESTVIRGINIA.

@Foodie: as always, your constributions are kind and constructive!

600 2:30 PM  

@miriam b: Oh my God. Did you type all that? Not an easy feat!

Anyway, I loved it. Often just read the first couple of lines of long pieces reproduced here, but not this time. Read every word and loved it all.

slypett 2:33 PM  

arlene: me dum to

miriam b 2:42 PM  

@600: Gosh, no. I just copied and pasted! I love those olde ballades from the British Isles, though I have zero ethnic claim on them.

sanfranman59 4:19 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)

Mon 6:36, 6:51, 0.96, 35%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:45, 3:40, 1.02, 63%, Medium-Challenging

I'm baaaaa-ack (like a bad penny?). Reviewing last week's blog postings, I see that at least a few of you were wondering about the stats. As Tobias reported, I was busy entertaining guests and thus (a) couldn't be as diligent about tracking online solve times and (b) wasn't as glued to my computer as I usually am. For those who are interested, here's what I've got for last week's puzzles:

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

Mon 6:57, 6:51, 1.01, 59%, Medium
Tue 10:08, 8:55, 1.14, 87%, Challenging
Wed 11:33, 11:51, 0.98, 47%, Medium
Thu 21:44, 19:14, 1.13, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 17:36, 25:48, 0.68, 7%, Easy (8th lowest median solve time of 117 Fridays)
Sat 36:15, 30:07, 1.20, 92%, Challenging (10th highest median solve time of 107 Saturdays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:01, 3:40, 1.10, 87%, Challenging
Tue 5:15, 4:35, 1.14, 90%, Challenging
Wed 5:44, 5:51, 0.98, 50%, Medium
Thu 11:59, 9:23, 1.28, 88%, Challenging
Fri 8:20, 12:46, 0.65, 3%, Easy (4th lowest median solve time of 116 Fridays)
Sat 21:36, 17:10, 1.26, 91%, Challenging (11th highest median solve time of 106 Saturdays)

Take the Monday discrepancy between the two groups with a grain of salt. I wasn't able to check the solve times after about noon that day. I'm guessing that the Top 100 median finished the day much closer to the Monday average.

quilter1 4:44 PM  

I read the Cornwell book and thought, well, maybe. No real way to prove or disprove. We took the Jack the Ripper tour in London, ending at a pub, of course.

Sparky 6:06 PM  

Hand up for shalt before DIDST. Also DiI before DXI. Misread the clue somehow. No idea re INRUN but the downs did it. Smooth sailing otherwise.

Good observation @foodie. Rex not a complete equal though, as sometimes I picture him, like Puck standing at the masthead of the old Journal American, saying What Fools These Mortals Be."

I'm so glad to be back at the I can do this end of the week.

Sfingi 6:31 PM  

@Syndy - First of all, the Brits always want all grand gestures to belong to their beloved/hated upper class. It's a cathexis of their emotions 'til they finally abandon the class system. The previous theories have been about this or that earl or educated physician. The same is true about their theories about Shakespeare. Couldn't possibly be this middle class William. This fellow, Stickert, fits the profile better. I've read nearly every book about true serial killers, and Hubster has defended two - possibly three - of them. Eliminating those hit in the head, they are white, middle to lower class, have Mama problems; 60% wet the bed, literally. In everything I've seen or read, not an upper class twit in the lot. For the ripper, there's a tourist industry in London that thery aren't about to give up.

JenCT 10:15 PM  

Loved the puzzle, thanks Patrick Merrell.

Had ISEE before ISPY, AAH before AHH.

I didn't get the YODA clue until I came here.

I've got to get back to doing the puzzles earlier in the day!

foodie 10:32 PM  

“Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter". YODA

My favorite YODA quote-- not that it's necessarily true, but something to strive for...

Thanks @600, arachaeoprof and Sparky, and @JenCT from last night. I appreciate it :)

syndy 11:12 PM  

@SFINGI still, in the absense of any actual evidence not willing to except a done deal-just add his name to the list! certainly not blaming prince Eddie

william e emba 9:24 PM  

For the record, YODAspeak is not based on Latin. YODA spoke in OSV order (Object-Subject-Verb), which is rather uncommon among languages. Latin, being inflected, permits any order, but the usual order is SOV (Subject-Object-Verb), with variations being stylistic ways to emphasize aspects of the sentence.

Z 10:28 PM  

@william e emba - while correct, yours is a distinction that can lead to some fascinating uses of intellectual energy. Not that I mind.

Alcohol Server Certification 5:52 AM  

This is a wonderful post! Never thought of making a post about the answers in a crossword puzzle. BTW, 60A: I love Absolut Vodka especially the Raspberry and Citron flavor.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

good puzzle! The only one I missed was Rhein for Rhine. Enjoyed it.

Anonymous 2:19 PM  

Loved the layout of the theme answers. You've got WEST in the West, Sweden in the East. One TV in NE, multiple TV'S in SW. EXIT at the end.

For this puzzle 69a really should have been clued Tubes singer Waybill. VIVA FEE!

Dirigonzo 6:28 PM  

We syndicated solvers exist in a strange time-warp indeed. This puzzle originally appeared on a Monday holiday and the syndicated version did also. And USERID which appeared at 70a in today's grid was also in Yesterday's Sunday puzzle which of course originally appeared a week ago so the proximity of the appearances didn't exist in real time, but on the other hand according to the prime-time comments ARP made back to back appearances "yesterday and today" but they were four weeks apart in syndication. It's all very confusing,and to further complicate things, the prime-timers are referring to comments from "yesterday" that we won't see until next week!

I thought the puzzle was much easier than figuring out what day it is.

Deb @ RoomscapesDecor.com 6:51 PM  

I finished this puzzle and thought "HUH? I thought Mon-Thu puzzles ALWAYS had a theme ? What's the theme?!?!? So, thanks for being here to answer that once again, Rexville.

@Dirigonzo - It's my husband's and my 30th anniversary, but I don't think that's the holiday you're referring to. He's a government employee and didn't get the day off, so I have to ask: What is today? Columbus Day?

tutubist: Tuba playing ballerina

Dirigonzo 7:32 PM  

@Deb - congratulations to you and hubster; 30 years of marriage is cause for celebration and I hope he has made appropriate arrangements to mark the occasion.

I purposely did not mention the name of the holiday because I understand that Columbus has fallen into disfavor in some circles and I didn't want to start any controversies; but yes, that's what it is and I'm SHOCKED that your husband didn't have the day off. What government does he work for - Canada? Oh wait - it's their Thanksgiving Day (Happy Thanksgiving, Canadian Rexites) so he would have the day off anyway. He must be one of those "essential personnel" that have to work on holidays. I think government offices are about the only thing closed today, for everybody else it's just another reason for a 39d.

Anonymous 11:51 PM  

Great Monday offering, sez the Spacecraft! I, too, wondered what the "theme" was--till I got to 63d.
Then I had the V8 reaction.
I loved the visual in the NE: YODA, riding a YAMAHA ATV with MERV hanging on bravely behind, ALIT on the bank of the RHEIN.
My favorite Yodaism is his reply to Luke's "I don't believe it!" :
"That is why you fail."
I had no confusion about IRV Kupcinet. Not that I know him--or even read him, but he's got one of those names that seem to be begging
to be pronounced. I saw it in print
and thought, wow, what a neat name.
Irv Kupcinet.
My criticisms are so slight as to hardly medtion: thou DIDST stretch a bit for 56a; you needed another Roman numeral to get an EXITVISA out of the East. But at least it wasn't a string of iii's, which would really be horrible. Also, the clue for NEWS could have been a bit more inventive, say, "Lewis go-with," or something.
Overall, though, it looks like Messrs. Berry and Merrell are forming a Patrick dynasty. Go to it, guys!

poderica: The body-snatchers finally got to Ms. Jong. She should have gotten on that plane.

Anonymous 1:13 PM  

@Dirigonzo 6:28 PM
There's a strange feeling of precognition one gets here in syndication land. For instance none of these prime timers have any idea that Steve Jobs and Al Davis are going to die in the same week. Or that the Detroit Lions will win their first five games. But we know. We know.

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