1983 domestic comedy / SUN 10-2-11 / Horror movie locale in brief / 1999 Broadway revue / Celestial being in France / Green-headed water birds

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Constructor: Eric Berlin

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Masquerade" — Note: "Ten famous people are attending a costume party in this crossword. After the grid is filled, change the two circled letters in each theme answer to "unmask" a celebrity." 


Word of the Day: John GUARE (100D: "A Free Man of Color" playwright) —
John Guare (pronounced gwâr; born February 5, 1938) is an American playwright. He is best known as the author of The House of Blue Leaves, Six Degrees of Separation, and Landscape of the Body. His style, which mixes comic invention with an acute sense of the failure of human relations and aspirations, is at once cruel and deeply compassionate.
• • •

This was very smooth—so smooth that it was hardly there. Blew through it in near-record time without having any idea what the theme was, which is surprising given that every single theme answer is a made-up, odd, or unnatural phrase. Theme answers that require you to work crosses can be tedious to get through, but not this one. Torched it. Didn't look at the note until well after I was done. Figured out that there was something going on with the circled letters hiding celebrity names (ALEX TREBEK leapt out from behind ALERT REBEL pretty readily), but thought I must be missing something—maybe the letters in the circles had some significance, followed some pattern, etc. But no. The phrases are just two letters off from the names of famous people. Seems a little slight for a puzzle theme ... but it's always possible I'm missing some level of complexity (already happened to me once today with Patrick Blindauer's new free puzzle for October).


Theme answers:
  • 23A: Rods on a cowboy's truck (RANCH AXLES) => RAY CHARLES
  • 25A: Environmentally sound keyboard (GREEN ORGAN) => GREG NORMAN 
  • 42A: 007 strategy (BOND PLAN) => BOB DYLAN
  • 44A: High card up one's sleeve (INNER ACE) => ANNE RICE
  • 66A: Narrow overhang (SLIM AWNING) => ELI MANNING
  • 68A: Government resister standing ready (ALERT REBEL) => ALEX TREBEK
  • 85A: Shock a fairy-tale monster (JOLT OGRE) => JOE TORRE
  • 89A: Nocturnal birds liable to keep people awake (LOUD OWLS) => LOU RAWLS
  • 109A: Soup spoon designed for shellfish (CONCH LADLE) => DON CHEADLE
  • 111A: Last costume at a costume party (FINAL GUISE) => TINA LOUISE    

GUARE was the only answer I flat-out hadn't heard of before, and the only place I struggled in the slightest was at the very end, in the SE—couldn't come up with either author (semi-ironically), or OPOSSUM (92D: Smallish marsupial), and had ACNE before I had SCUM (116A: Cleaner target). Other than that ... I did have a little hesitation with both OIL SEED (26D: Canola, for one) and NUT TREE (45D: Cashew, for one), and for the same reason each time—I got the first word easily and then had no idea what second word could be. Canola is an oil. Cashew is a nut. The other parts of those answers needed help from crosses to emerge.

Bullets:
  • 33A: Only nonsentient zodiac symbol (LIBRA) — interesting clue. But can we really be sure that centaurs are sentient?
  • 48A: French river or department (AUBE) — ugh, one of my least favorite clues. In my attempt to remember what obscure four-letter French place name this could be, I came up with ... ARNE. I was probably thinking ORNE. ARNE is a British composer or an American Secretary of Education.
  • 99A: Former Portuguese colony in China (MACAU) — sometimes MACAO. No idea if MACAW live there. 
  • 103A: 1983 domestic comedy ("MR. MOM") — gimme! I was weirdly proud to come up with this one, no help from crosses. I watched a 1984 comedy today: "Ghostbusters"



  • 119A: 1999 Broadway revue ("FOSSE") — weird way to clue this famous choreographer. Weird to me, anyway, as I've never heard of said "revue."
  • 7D: Green-headed water birds (MALLARDS) — the most famous of which is, of course, politically conservative reporter Mallard Filmore
  • 10D: Celestial being, in France (ANGE) — another gimme. Sometimes seven years of French pay off. Classical literature also paid off today with "ORESTEIA" (12D: Trilogy that includes "Agamemnon").
  • 87D: Unfilled spaces (LACUNAE) — one of my favorite SAT-type words. I usually dislike preposterous-sounding and unnecessary Latinate words, but this one's an exception.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

73 comments:

syndy 12:25 AM  

The theme answers are just plain awful!the "Hidden" celebritees are just being coy.I have read and loved Barbara Hambley novel A FREE MAN OF COLOR sounds like it was much better than this play.the rest of it is okay but I still kept seeing RANCHAXLE.

Tobias Duncan 1:35 AM  

RANCHAXLE is terrible.
Too much sports.

In the early nineties I was staying at a friends parents house in Del Mar San Diego. The other house guest that week was someones crotchety uncle who kept making racist comments.My buddy and I had kept our cool but were just about at the end our our ropes. One night we were watching TV, my friends dad was flipping around and saw LOURAWLS. Since he was a big fan he stopped flipping and watched the song.Turns out it was a United Negro College Fund telethon.The old guy started in again and my buddy and I were just about start trouble, when his father says very casually "Jeffrey hand me the phone". He pledged $500 bucks in dead silence from the rest of us.
Elegant problem solving.

jae 2:49 AM  

There was a note? Easy solve except for the ORESTEIA/AUBE cross which I had some help with from my sister who is here for the weekend (and her birthday on Tues.). So, I finished this pretty quickly and then wondered WTF the circles were about. Stared at it a while and then got it (@Tobias LOURAWLS was my aha moment and that was a fine anecdote.) I liked this one, novel theme.

Claude Russell Bridges 6:13 AM  

Leon Russell wrote "This Masquerade" , it was the B-side of his 1972 hit single "Tight Rope."

The Bard 6:20 AM  

Pericles, Prince of Tyre > Act II, scene III

SIMONIDES: Yet pause awhile:
Yon knight doth sit too melancholy,
As if the entertainment in our court
Had not a show might countervail his worth.
Note it not you, Thaisa?

THAISA: What is it
To me, my father?

SIMONIDES: O, attend, my daughter:
Princes in this should live like gods above,
Who freely give to every one that comes To honour them:
And princes not doing so are like to gnats,
Which make a sound, but kill'd are wonder'd at.
Therefore to make his entrance more sweet,
Here, say we drink this standing-bowl of wine to him.

THAISA: Alas, my father, it befits not me
Unto a stranger knight to be so bold:
He may my proffer take for an offence,
Since men take women's gifts for impudence.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:21 AM  

Not unusual for an author or playwright to be clued in a crossword by a lesser-known work, but I was pleased to see John Guare at 100 D. The House of Blue Leaves would be a giveaway, but as it happens, I saw A Free Man of Color at Lincoln Center within the last year. Quite a show!

(@syndy-I'mnotsureifyouarecomparingabookyouhavereadtoaplayyouhaven'tseenorviceversa.)

Hermann Snellen 6:37 AM  

My favorite eye chart via Gahan Wilson.

Long Rider 7:01 AM  

Rex, the only thing about the theme you're missing is that the new words are never the same length as the name. So, for example, RON HOWARD could be RONDO WORD but not RUN COWARD. My only other question is, why is this very Halloweenish puzzle running four weeks before Halloweeen?

exaudio 8:10 AM  

MASSE, 95 across, was a new one to me.

mmorgan 8:22 AM  

Too bad more of the theme answers didn't involve just switching the circled letters, as in INNER ACE/Anne Rice.

joho 9:04 AM  

Well, I didn't see the note and never got the theme. Needless to say, not my best effort or most fun solve. All the squares were filled in quickly for no apparent reason to me! I should've tried harder to figure it out but just didn't want to.

Evan 9:07 AM  

@mmorgan:

Exactly what I thought. That would have made for a much more impressive set of theme answers (albeit probably far more difficult to create and work reasonably well). I kept looking for a circled K elsewhere in the puzzle to replace the L in ALERTREBEL, but it wasn't there.

As such, I think the theme is pretty weak in that it's just a random sampling of celebrities' names with two randomly selected letters replaced with two other randomly selected letters. If the circled letters all followed some constant, consistent rule (i.e. switch them to create the celebrity names as mmorgan suggested, or if they were all the first and last letters of the entries, or if they were all one letter off in the alphabet), that would have been much better.

And yet I somehow whipped through this puzzle too. Usually I struggle a lot when the theme answers don't come to me that easily. It's probably because the rest of the fill was far easier to solve.

joho 9:09 AM  

Wow, I just printed out the PDF file to see the note. Now that would have made this super clear and easy!

@Hermann Snellen ... hilarious!

JenCT 9:38 AM  

As I was solving this, I thought "Rex is gonna say this is too easy."

Never got the theme, finished with two mistakes: didn't know GUARE/AREEL, ORESTIA/AUBE - left out the R and the A.

Lots of awkward answers & a little too fill-in-the-blanks for me. LOUDOWLS? That's terrible. Meh.

Z 9:43 AM  

OSMOSED?

Randomness didn't bother me. I like the added puzzle of figuring out the hidden celebrities. Tina Louise popped out first (did we already have boobjobs in the sixties?) Don't know Don Cheadle, so that was a mystery 'til I got here.

pauer 10:01 AM  

Thanks for the link to my website puz, Rex. Since it doesn't get reviewed anywhere (and I don't allow comments so I don't have to moderate or deal with spam), I'll be curious to see if anyone has any feedback on it. I can be contacted through Twitter now (@pblindauer) if email just isn't fast enough.

As for the NYT, I liked it once I realized we were dealing with made-up phrases. Usually those are signaled by a question mark, but not today for some reason. Prob because there were circles to point out the theme answers, but Crux didn't show the circles until I selected those entries. Odd.

I'm betting we'll have a Halloweeny puzzle every Sunday this month.

OldCarFudd 10:14 AM  

The best part of this week's puzzle experience was reading Tobias Duncan's story. Thank you!

As for the rest - meh.

chefbea 10:26 AM  

Puzzle way tooo easy but I too did not get the theme.

Of course knew US 1. Love polenta.

Going to the 50th anniversary of the USS North Carolina being brought to Wilmington. It's a fantastic ship!!!

chefbea 10:27 AM  

One question - who is Don Cheadle???

quilter1 10:36 AM  

@chefbea, Don Cheadle is an actor. I thought the puzzle was easy, too, but never got the theme and once I got it didn't like it much. I wanted hoot OWLS. At night owls are pretty silent so as not to ALARM their prey. During the day they sleep. I guess we have giant OPOSSUMs in our neighborhood because I wouldn't call them "smallish."

Thanks for the PB link, Rex.

Joe in Montreal 10:37 AM  

I guess if Mr Shortz agrees, then they are "famous". It might have been more to the point to clue the "famous" names with a clever clue leading to the changed answer (i.e. what we have here). Otherwise, so what?

jackj 10:45 AM  

So, the puzzle was a breeze, but that doesn't compensate for Messrs. Berlin and Shortz giving us an inferior piece of work resulting from the subordination of the grid to the gimmick.

This would have been a perfectly acceptable Second Sunday Puzzle, pleasing all who like word games, while not wasting the time of those who relish a knotty, challenging crossword puzzle.

What a disappointment.

r.alphbunker 10:50 AM  

Very easy puzzle except for the A in ORESTEIA/AUBE. Was looking for a consonent not a vowel. Needed a couple of wrong guesses before Will Shortz showed up.

mmespeer 11:04 AM  

Can't open this puzzle on my MacBookAir with Lion. Saw many similar comments on NYT site. This is the first problem I've had and been using the system for a month or so. Any fixes, Rexites?

Mel Ott 11:05 AM  

I usually enjoy working through the Sunday puzzle. This one was easy but boooorrrring.

Fiddling around with the letters to find the hidden celebs did nothing for me. Which left the least interesting collection of theme answers I've ever seen. RANCH AXLES? SLIM AWNING? C'mon.

Never heard of Don Cheadle. Don't care.

There must be something to like. Hmmmm. I agree LACUNAE is a pretty good word, and an unusual one. ROTOTILL is OK. HOME ICE is pretty good unless you hate sports.

OPOSSUM makes me smile for some reason. Is the initial 'O' silent, or is that a regional dialect thing?

hazel 11:13 AM  

i thought this was a supersized sack of lame. Building on what @evank pointed out, the theme answers are just random words stuck together, clued as pretty literal definitions. I'm not a huge fan of wackiness, but I can say with absolute certainty that I prefer some wack over this deadpan mishmash. The bright spot was knowing LACUNAE immediately - having read Kingsolvers The Lacuna recently. The rest HARRUMPH.

I thought Don Cheadle (CONCHLADLE - whatever) was fantastic in Hotel Rwanda and Crash. He's done lots of humanitarian work in Darfur - pretty stand up guy, I think.

@Tobias - where is the "too much" sports? HOMEICE? Anything else?

John C. 11:22 AM  

Cheadle was an Oscar nominee for "Hotel Rwanda." I figure that makes him fair game.

Sparky 11:26 AM  

Agree with many comments. Answers kind of clumsy. SLIMAWNING. Huh? I am happy to have solved it though since Friday and Saturday were hard for me.

Oh, come now @Rex, as you know Sagittarians are brilliant, witty, versatile, carismatic. Unfortuantely some, like myself, suffer from hoof in mouth disease.

Tobias Duncan 11:29 AM  

Don Cheadle is a very funny guy.He played Frederick Douglas in the Drunk History series.

Warning this is a bit vulgar http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/d47e6a33a5/drunk-history-vol-5-w-will-ferrell-don-cheadle-zooey-deschanel

@Hazel 30% of the theme answers were sports names(had to google two of them)

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

where have you people who never heard of Don Cheadle been?

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

Having a life, obviously.

r.alphbunker 11:39 AM  

Re: Don Cheadle:
http://www.brendanemmettquigley.com/2009/05/puzzle73-an-announcement.html

hazel 11:42 AM  

@tobias - wasn't even thinking of that aspect! i can see how that might have affected your enjoyment.

Fred 11:54 AM  

If the puzzle's going to be this easy on a Sunday, with very little wordplay and just fill, the least they could do is make the theme interesting or clever. This was neither, and consequently the puzzle wasn't a whole lot of fun, just boring.

David 12:08 PM  

Meh on the theme today. I made it more fun by using it to get some of the answers along the bottom, but overall I am one of those who is a bit bothered by the randomness of the letter switches. With anticipation I wrote down the 10 pairs of letter switches hoping there was some sort of connection, but nope...solid fill throughout, though...

Only slow points were OSRESTEIA/AUBE (wanted OUSE) and SOLS/OMNES.

Rex Parker 12:31 PM  

Apparently "having a life" means leaving anonymous comments on a crossword puzzle blog. Livin' the dream!

If you don't know who Don Cheadle is, your "life" is not as good as it could be.

Badir 12:57 PM  

I too thought this was easy except for one square. I would have had one of my fastest Sunday times but for ORESTEId/dUBE. :( I figured it would end like "Aeneid".

captcha: acklygc: French department or river

Mike 1:31 PM  

I admit it was relatively easy, but I liked the theme. I liked that if you saw the "celebrity" name, it helped solve the odd answers.

mac 2:03 PM  

A little tedious Sunday. I did read the note beforehand, but mostly used it to confirm answers, and some of them I never even tried to figure out. Tina Louise was very helpful, though. I got the alert rebel, but kept misreading the clue as "government register".

I still don't understand "sols" at 77D. Omnes was unavoidable, so I did finish.

Bob Kerfuffle 2:20 PM  

@mac - I puzzled a bit over 77 D also, decided it must be "Short" clues "abbreviation" for SOLutionS for "answers". Bit of a stretch.

600 2:42 PM  

@Herman Snellen--Big laugh! Thanks.

@Tobias Duncan--Great story. (Wonder if someone will try to undercut it with Snopes.)

Okay. I came here mostly to ask about 77D. Is that really it? An awful abbreviation? Yuck. (But thanks, @Bob Kerfuffle.)

Puzzle was okay. Not easy for me, but not too hard, either. I agree with @Tobias Duncan about the sports names. I didn't stand a chance.

JaxInL.A. 2:56 PM  

See, this is my tribe here. Barbara Hambly and Barbara Kingsolver, two of my favorite authors, plus one of my favorite actors all mentioned in the same day.

Kingsolver is pretty well-known (I'm halfway through The Lacuna myself), so let me take a moment to recommend Ms. Hambly's Benjamin January series. He is, as the title @syndy mentions suggests, a free Black man living in New Orleans of the 1830s. It will appeal to aficionados of both historical and informal detective fiction. Hambly's characters navigate the complex world of race, politics and money in the antebellum south through intriguing plots.

chefwen 3:10 PM  

Getting pretty tired of Blogger eating my comments.

Got through the puzzle pretty easily but it took me a long time because I was solving while watching my beloved Badgers beat the STARCH out of the Corn Huskers. By the time the game and the puzzle were finished I was too tired to suss out the celebs, nor did I care. Thursday and Sunday are me two favorite puzzles days and I, too, was disappointed. Maybe "The Pack" will cheer me up.

600 3:16 PM  

@Tobias Duncan--I never heard of the Drunk History series before, but I will certainly entertain myself with more of them now. That was hilarious! Thanks.

@r.alphbunker--So I'm guessing this means BEQ is a really funny guy, huh? Thanks for that link.

@JaxInL.A.--You're right, of course, that Kingsolver is well known, but I can never let an allusion to her go by without recommending Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

@Rex Parker--Thanks for that. I have not liked the snarky meanness on this blog lately, even though I kind of engaged in it today. I'm now a RUER, and will atone.

CoffeeLvr 3:20 PM  

Yes, I found solving this puzzle somewhat dull. I did succeed, however, despite not knowing GUARE, OMNES, and AUBE. Count me as another person who couldn't parse SOL(ution)S until I came here. It would have helped if it had been referenced to 16D ALGEBRA. My only erasures were deEdS before LIENS, SOTTe, and EYEtest.

REMINDER is an RE word that is not made up to fit the puzzle, so I liked it.

I did not notice the Notepad in AcrossLite when I printed the grid, so was truly puzzled by the odd phrases and random circles. I finally went to WordPlay, and just read the very beginning which directed me to the Note. Then I listed the names at the bottom of the sheet; I was somewhat mollified.

Canola is not an oil seed as such, it is an acronym of CANadian Oil, Low Acid. It is made primarily from rape seed. There is a lot more information online if this interests you.

ArtO 3:23 PM  

nothing new to add to the comments, so I'll simply recommend a really good read to all the bloggers - Laura Hillenbrand's "Unbroken."

True, incredible story of Louis Zamperini.

MikeM 3:45 PM  

Don Cheadle is not famous enough to be included IMHO

chefbea 4:42 PM  

Did everyone read the Magazine section after doing the puzzle?? All about food yummm

Time to put the beer can chicken on the grill...double yummm

captcha is Mince!!!

Martin 4:50 PM  

@CoffeeLvr,

Among the information available online is the official Canadian government regulation on Canola, codifying that specific low-erucic acid cultivars of three species of Brassica may be called "canola." These plants are called canola. Their seed are canola seed. Canola seed is processed to produce canola oil. Generic rapeseed oil may not be sold as canola oil.

Martin 5:04 PM  

PS to CoffeeLvr,

BTW, your statement about canola is just out-of-date, not totally wrong. Originally "Canola" was just a marketing name for Canadian rapeseed oil. The crop became so important that the government stepped in, passing laws mandating standards for the oil and creating the industry that produces the varieties of plant, now called canola, certified to produce oil that will pass assay.

Noam D. Elkies 5:32 PM  

Just take some sell-ebrity namez™. change two random letters to get random two-word phrases — that's the whole theme? Despite the shifted word boundaries and pronunciations, I second hazel's "supersized sack of lame", and admire hazel's restraint in keeping the comment G-rated.

@exaudio — 95A:MASSÉ is a crossword standard; while it's not been seen in the NYTimes in almost three years, there are 26 precedents in the 14 years before that, according to xwordinfo (not counting four "En _____" clues for MASSE). You'll probably see it again.

NDE

Mike 5:42 PM  

OK, I'll bite. What is the "level of complexity" Rex missed in the Blindauer puzzle?

CoffeeLvr 6:03 PM  

@Mike, the title of the Blindauer puzzle is Wish List. Just parse that differently by adding two spaces. (I don't know if this is what @Rex referred to - maybe I missed a second level of complexity myself.)

Anonymous 6:15 PM  

Rex - are the authors friends of yours? Where's the outrage? This puzzle was awful. Bad fill. Mediocre theme. Is this what computers have brought us to? Bad, computer generated, barely fit for cat litter puzzles?

A couple of years ago, you would have savaged this. Stop getting soft.

Martin 8:00 PM  

Re: the Blindauer. Maybe Rex saw the horizontals ("W is H") but missed the verticals ("L is T").

In fairness, they're reversed so the parallel interpretation of the downs would be "T is L." But the symmetric property of is'ls says that this is cool for across vs. down.

On the other hand, there could be something beyond W is H L is T that I'm missing too. Wouldn't be the first time.

LR 8:52 PM  

All you bright people showing off have just SPOILED the Blindauer puzzle for those who hadn't gotten around to it yet.

Fie, or, better yet, feh!

skua76 8:52 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
600 8:56 PM  

@Martin or @CoffeeLvr--I don't like asking on this blog about another, but I just finished the Blindauer the two of you have been discussing, and I'm stymied. Martin, I failed to see the T to L, so thanks for pointing it out, but what does that do to the T in education? Are we just to ignore that one? Also, I don't really get the reversal to T is L when the title says L is T.
So here's my question: Is there another blog where it's legitimate to be discussing the Blindauer puzzle?

Probably everyone's off the blog right now, having a life, so I suppose I'll never know . . .

Z 9:00 PM  

Re: Blindauer - I count 6 theme answers, but wouldn't be surprised if there are two more that I'm missing. Hope that isn't TMI for LR and others. Solved it without ever getting the extra levels of complexity, even after RP said they were there.

Z 9:08 PM  

Here's what I got for Blindauer but I could be wrong.

Anonymous 9:27 PM  

My Times Digest puzzle had the note but it referred to changing shaded squares to unmask the celebrities. But the shaded squares weren't shaded, so you had to guess which two to change. It made for a much funner puzzle IMO. Without shaded squares Green Organ can become Greg Norman or it can become Bree Morgan (NSFW) who for some is as famous as Don Cheadle:)

Bram 10:22 PM  

The most recent Don Cheadle/Irish movie was awesome!

CoffeeLvr 11:55 PM  

Thanks, Martin, I had missed the twist in the long verticals!

Porch Mom 6:16 PM  

I whipped through this except for sols. And the recent Don Cheadle movie is "The Guard" -- I agree with Bram that it is excellent.

cody.riggs 10:28 PM  

I just wanted to log on to congratulate Joon Pahk on his Jeopardy! victory. We were rooting for you the whole game, and knew you'd win!

With that excellent mental cross-referencing inherent in his puzzle abilities, how could he lose? :)

GE Portland

nurturing 10:49 AM  

What a pleasurable puzzle! Fie to the detractors! Finished in good time with absolutely no writeovers/mistakes. Since I do the puzzle in ink, that is always a satisfying outcome.

The whole magazine being about food AND the second puzzle being a cryptic made my day.

Stephen 10:25 PM  

No one seems to have objected to the 49A clue: "smartphone supplements" (APPLETS).
Where I come from (in the computer world) "applet" is well defined, and it is not something you can use on a smartphone. The word "app", which is a widely-used abbreviation for "application" is well established as something you can use on a smartphone. The clue is wrong.
Anyone disagree?

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

Spacecraft here. Finished with one wrong letter, the natick at 48.
I could've Googled the obscure French thing, but didn't bother, as I thought ORESTEID (cf. AeneiD, IliaD) was reasonable.
On single-word nitpicks, I didn't mind APPLETS (only because I'm techlueless) or OSMOSED (yeah, that's a real word). But I call your attention to one of the most common crossword puzzle words--that is NOT a word! I refer to ADE. People, there is NO SUCH WORD as ADE! It exists as a suffix only, meaning a drink made with the named fruit. Sell your lemonade by the gallon, drink orangeade till you turn into Donald Sutherland--but you can't have ADE! Constructors, please clue this entry as a suffix, if indeed you must use it at all.
Personally, I was very disappointed that the down entries containing two shaded squares did not also yield hidden celebrities. In fact I was very slow to get started, because who was 6d? Levi Cox? Never heard of him. Then I pondered over Al deBry--or maybe Alex Bro?? Then I looked around, and noticed that those were the only two going down, save for WRINGS. What can you make with that, Mr. Ines?
I did like the clever letter replacements, especially ALExTREBEk
and BObDyLAN. Lots of nice long fill (maybe they'll stop throwing octopi on HOMEICE and throw OPOSSUM
instead).
Oh, and this veteran of K.P. is all too familiar with UNCOUNTED POTATOES.

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

Sausage fest.

Red Valerian 3:15 PM  

@Tobias Duncan's initial post made my day. Thanks.

@Anonymous 9:31am--you should get yourself an avatar and go by your name (Spacecraft) instead of anonymous...

eastsacgirl 3:34 PM  

Pretty easy and didn' like the theme answers either. Two disconnected words. RANCHAXLES! Yuk. All the celebs were easy.

Dirigonzo 5:32 PM  

@RP said, "If you don't know who Don Cheadle is, your "life" is not as good as it could be." That's an interesting perspective on what constitutes a "good life", I think.

I liked the puzzle well enough but I would have liked it more without the theme which I found distracting. Still, I finished too quickly and I wanted to prolong my time sitting in the sun so I amused myself by locating abbreviations and acronyms in the grid that are so much "in the language" that they no longer require clues that reference them as such. I found ET(S) (32a); (USER)ID (40a); (IN)LA (which where I live stands for "Lewiston-Auburn", btw (65a); AMMO (70a); (EYE)EXAM (78a); URL (84a); and TEMP (120a). That's not a compaint, just an observation. I guess we are moving toward "short-speak" to save time in a world that may be moving just a little too fast?

Anonymous 8:15 PM  

Re: Blindauer puzzle. 52D ("Main vein") is wrong two ways. Anatomically the answer is an artery. And colloquially "Drain the main vein," i.e. "to urinate," refers to the urethra.

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