Chaiken co-creator/writer of The L Word / TUE 1-3-12 / Hitter of 511 career home runs / Baseball brothers George Ken / Fictional reporter Kent

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Constructor: Allan E. Parrish

Relative difficulty: Medium (leaning toward Medium-Challenging)


THEME: Middleton and Jackson —two-word phrases where second word is an anagram of KATES

Word of the Day: EROSE (26D: Not even, as a leaf's edge) —
adj.
Irregularly notched, toothed, or indented: erose leaves.

[From Latin ērōsus, past participle of ērōdere, to gnaw off. See erode.]
• • •

  • Highlight: LORETTA! (25D: "Get back, ___ ... Go home" (Beatles lyric)) (also [Two-time All-Star second baseman Mark])
  • Lowlight: ILENE (no offense to her personally, but she's an outlier here, fame-wise) (46A: ___ Chaiken, co-creator/writer of "The L Word")
Didn't think much of the theme, but LOVE the grid. It's essentially a themeless grid (i.e. low word-count, in this case 72) and from NE to SW corner, and particularly in the middle, it is very wide-open. I wasn't even sure where the theme answers were at first. Long Acrosses don't really jump out in a grid like this. Anyway, I'm impressed that a 72-worder can be Tuesday-easy. Maybe this was a *little* tougher than usual, but I was still well under 4, which is not outside my Tuesday norm at all. Hardest answer for me By Far was (irony!) MEL OTT (12D: Hitter of 511 career home runs), the crosswordiest baseball player of all (pace ALOU family). Simply was not expecting that answer to be anything except a single last name. "Who the hell is ... MELIOT? MELOIT? Who is this French Guy!!?" Had a little trouble up there also because I misspelled SELASSIE ("A" for "E" in that second slot), and then wrote in ABBOT for 16A: Often-consulted church figure (ELDER). I also had a little trouble getting into the SW because of a tenacious wrong answer at 45A: Expensive coat? (GILT). I had PELT, which works (or appears to work) for every cross but one—the "P"; if it hadn't been for the manifest wrongness of NEPLECTS (the last answer I got), I'd have finished with an error. As it was, I made an easy fix. Strange that I was willing to buy CUTEES as an appropriate spelling, but I was.


Theme answers:
  • 17A: It goes in the ground at a campground (TENT STAKE)
  • 24A: Four-wheeled wear (ROLLER SKATE)
  • 35A: Tenderized cut of beef (MINUTE STEAK)
  • 47A: "Huh ... what?" reactions (DOUBLE TAKES)
  • 56A: "Ode on a Grecian Urn" poet (JOHN KEATS)
Speaking of MELOTT, this was an über-basebally puzzle, with a double dose of MELOTT (see also GIANT), and then a double double dose of baseball baseball brother brothers. There should be some way to clue the fact that you will only have heard of one of the brothers. George BRETT is a Hall-of-Famer active during my prime baseball fan years (ages 8-14), his brother... ? (22D: Baseball brothers George and Ken) Joe TORRE is the legendary Yankee manager. Frank ... ? (52A: Baseball brothers Joe and Frank)

[10D: Fictional reporter Kent]

Beware the CARROT ID of Jennifer ANISE-TON! It's an orange, licoricey nightmare!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

79 comments:

loren muse smith 8:17 AM  

Rex, you're making me feel smart! I would have rated this one very easy, and we're a lacrosse family -not baseball. I know it's overused, but I always smile when I see RATATAT (and other onomatopoeic answers like SSS). Loved SCAMP!

SethG 8:18 AM  

You were willing to buy CUTEES, I originally went with PLUSSES. CUTIES are mandarins, and LORETTA is Lynn or from Cheers. MELOTT looks like merlot next to BARDOT. There were a lot of names here.

David 8:26 AM  

Dang, I found this one easy, and finished more than a half minute faster than yesterday, which most folks found less challenging than I did.

LOL at Rex's "theme" above...halfway down the grid I was envisioning some kind of shaken up famous odist revealer, but alas the last big clue was simply his name. Didn't even flash on KATES as a sixth anagram.

quilter1 8:42 AM  

Can't believe I'm number 4. I thought it was easy, missed the Kates anagram and thought the theme was just sounds alike. With that I thought it was a weak theme, but the anagrams redeem it.

With @loren I liked RATATAT and SCAMP. REPASTS and KEEPPACE were good as well. Not the usual with MEL OTT and JOHN KEATS getting both first and last names in the grid. Overall, good puzzle.

britans: what an English person gets at the beach

chefbea 8:43 AM  

Found this tough for a tuesday. I'm the 5th poster???? That's weird. Where are all the early morning people?

I would not say that Kohls and Macy's are competitors.

Aren't minute steaks called cubed steaks?

Grizzly Mom 8:43 AM  

Who is this JOHNKEATS? Should I, for some reason, know this person? Is he famous or something? Obscure poets are just not my thing.

Where I went to school (Nome, Alaska) in the 50's, we learned Robert Service, a truly great poet.

Pete 8:44 AM  

Sometimes you get a Word of the Day, other times you get a Maleska of the Day. Erose is a Maleska.

I liked the grid enough to not persue my own personal obsession about anagrams, which is that all anagrams of the key word must be included. Thanks so much David for pointing out that one was missing.

Matthew G. 8:48 AM  

Loved both the theme and the grid. I especially liked the absence of a reveal. With a light theme like this, I always prefer the constructor to just give me another theme entry and let the theme just ... be there.

Loved the baseballiness.

Even though I know "Get Back," I struggled with LORETTA because when Paul sings that name, it always sounds to me like LUELLA or LOU ENDA, not LORETTA. I just had to laugh when I saw that clue, because I'd always been unsure what the name really was.

joho 8:53 AM  

Absolutely loved LORETTA and another Beatle's reference in IMEMINE.

CYNICISM is fresh, too.

Five theme answers make for a very nice Tuesday, thank you, Allan e. Parrish!

dk 8:58 AM  

ROLLERSKATEd through this one with a slight bump at 46d.

I would rate this theme as so obscure it cannot be seen. And, I do not see how how a MINUTESTEAK is a cut of beef. But I guess a steak is so a masticated (err minute) steak may qualify but at BEST this is a stretch.

On the whole fine Tuesday fodder. Who can complain about CAROTID?

** (2 Stars) I am adding a 1 star SURTAX to puzzles with more than 2 sports related clues that require me to know names. I shall call my tax the Tobias.

loren muse smith 8:58 AM  

@Matthew G. There are several funny sites citing "mondegreens," (misheard lyrics). Here's just one:

http://www.sfgate.com/joncarroll/mondegreens.shtml

My favorite is John Prine's "Happy Enchilada" song - (it's actually "it's a half and inch of water. . .")

foodie 8:59 AM  

Well, I'll wear the cranky pants today and complain about the number of proper nouns and sport related entries.

There were over 20 proper nouns in this grid, and for the downs, 40% of the answers were either proper nouns, or clued with proper nouns, or both! The northeast corner was like a higher level People magazine puzzle. It was still doable in decent time, but to me, there was no joy in it. Thank goodness for SELASSIE!

Is TENT STAKE a real phrase?

Maybe it's the first day of work, back from a break and I needed something to cheer me up...

David 8:59 AM  

@Pete, TEAKS would have worked as well! Though probably very difficult to create a decent theme answer.

jackj 8:59 AM  

If there is an uglier looking three-letter entry than UMW, it sure escapes me.

When looking at the completed puzzle, the placement of UMW causes it to leap out at you like a Cyclops with pinkeye, ready to growl, snarl and spit if you look at it for too long.

Then there is the theme. Uh huh.

Then there is the fill. Uh huh.

Then, there is reflection and it is obvious that UMW is the star of this Tuesdayish Tuesday puzzle and I’m happy it is over and done with.

John V 9:05 AM  

Yep, medium/challenging, 12 miles, Stamford to Rye. Last week of John V's ersatz ratings, folks. Not sure what what the Charlotte equivalent will be.

Saw the anagram right away, so that was cool. Same as @Rex with MELOTT, a splendid bit of indirection. CAROTID on a Tuesday seemed fresh, so thanks for that.

19A a shout-out to Eric Clapton?

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

@Foodie - You know, that's the first time "Thank goodness for SELASSIE!" was ever uttered or appeard in print. I'd document this for you, but since I believe it to be a fact, there's no need for that, is there!

Cathyat40 9:08 AM  

Didn't struggle, yet my time was definitely longer than the average Tuesday

Wood 9:18 AM  

In spite of all the sports and music clues, this one felt pretty easy. Copped to the theme after the first two after STEAK and STAKE; didn't even realize KEATS was a theme answer until later. And @Grizzly Mom, you should know Keats if only for his frequently-clued ODES that pop up so often in xwords. Or if you're Interested in one of the greatest Romantic poets in English literature. He's not obscure by any stretch, as poets go.

Gill I. P. 9:23 AM  

@foodie beat me to my thoughts. I just couldn't get into this puzzle. Mr. Parrish does like his proper names though, and this had about 3 too many.
@Matthew G. I too always thought it was LUELLA.....Like minds?
I did like that he fit in 6 and 7 letter words in the corners but the only one I liked was MOONIE.
I guess if you're talking about market share then Macy's & KOHL's could be competitors. As for merchandise and service, Macy's is the PIP.
I hate having a cold.

archaeoprof 9:26 AM  

1A is highly appropriate on Iowa caucus day.

Agree with @ChefBea about Macy's and Kohl's.

evil doug 9:28 AM  

If you ever need a 512-homer guy, it'll be Ernie Banks. Also Eddie Mathews, but trust me: It'll be Ernie Banks.

Selassie was Haile original.

"Get back, Loretta" is the second greatest song lyric ever. The first: "The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles." Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues.

There was a time when Portland, Oregon, was a mess because the Moonies all descended from the hills and took up bumming positions on every corner. Now there are other bums there instead.

My first car was a used $600 Pontiac Tempest because I couldn't afford a GTO. It blew up on its first mission from Chicago to Des Moines.

I've been known to do doubletakes for Aniston and, yes, Bardot once upon a time.

Adidas probably survived thanks to its clever 1980's deal with Run-D.M.C.

I was Gitmo qualified in USAF back in the days when most Americans didn't realize we owned a base in Cuba. We hauled supplies in from Norfolk NAS on a regular scheduled run. Had to make a tight-in approach from the south or, our intel people advised us, "They might shoot at you." Nice to know. Later, with Delta, got nothing but great service from the Havana Center controllers when I was dodging a hurricane on my way to Caracas.

Evil

Tita 9:34 AM  

@foodie - I used to camp lots...real camping where we would walk a few miles in from the dirt road and poound in our TENTSTAKEs. Not a winnebago with generator or tv for miles!

I got ROLLERSKATE with no crosses, then backed into the theme at TENTSTAKE.
Shocked myself, due to the People-heavy references, but did in fact know them all.
My baseball wheelhouse is pretty narrow, but it seems to be of the same vintage as Rex's.

Love his lament over MELOTT.

Lois 9:39 AM  

dk: According to Wikipedia, minute steak is a cut from sirloin or round. However, another site, for the most part agreeing with Wikipedia, said sometimes it can be any thinly sliced cut. It seems to me like a a fine clue-and-answer.

Some of the first posters asked about the usual early-morning people who were missing today. I don't know when Rex's blog went up, but it wasn't at midnight.

Jp 9:53 AM  

The puzzle felt like an easy Tuesday for me. Solved it without any help despite the preponderance of pop culture entries. I thought the theme was OK but I was disappointed to see so many sport related and entertainment related entries.

Tobias Duncan 10:00 AM  

@Foodie "Thank goodness for SELASSIE" " indeed! You are spot on about this puzzle.
I had a terrible bout of Reggaemylitis in my youth so Haile was a gimme.
Seeing as how dk has already applied the appropriate Tobias tax I will try to restrain my sports rage.
I had the added difficulty of having never heard of;
MINUTESTEAKS
KOHLS
TESH
Geez this is gonna take too long. I did not really know any of the People magazine stuff.
Got the theme early (probably because I was going so slowly through the grid)but this one felt like a Wednesday.
Has anyone under 50 ever actually seen a BARDOT movie?I know who she is but I doubt I could pick her out of a crowd.

donkos 10:02 AM  

Mel Ott was a gimme but not because I know baseball that well. First, I was wondering who in the would be remembered for hitting 511 career home runs? Then I asked, who in the crossword world would be remembered for same - it wasn't a bit leap to go from OTT to MELOTT.

Finished in record time - even on Crossword lite which I still find slower than paper and pen

Z 10:08 AM  

An OWS reference, onomatopoeia, anagrams, more baseball names than you can shake a TENT STAKE at, Misses BARDOT and ANISTON for us old men to ogle as we contemplate the war of the SEXES. Mr. Parrish has jammed quite a bit into this little Tuesday.

Interesting to me that John TESH is clued for his ET co-hosting duties. I believe his greatest ET role was that of a Klingon on a Star Trek:TNG episode.

@SethG - nice profile pic. Where'd you get it?

Friend of the Court 10:26 AM  

100% right so I'm not whining, but glad to see that some puzzle snobs thought this one on the difficult side for a Tuesday.

Exhibits:
19D X 19A
46A X 46D X 53A (uglee)
Don't know how Tuesday 26D might be
and
22D 3D seem very messy to me
cynicism a disposition? ~~~

Baseball brothers is already plural, BRETTS is just satisfying the grid golem or tell me why it's OK?

With all the BBdensity I guess today my BA would be 1.000

no warm/fuzzy here, maybe for a crip Thursday or M-C Weds, SanFranMan will out the difficulty

Mr. Benson 10:30 AM  

Ken Brett wasn't on George's level as a player, but was a pretty solid pitcher in his own right; he had a 14-year career and was best known for being traded all the time (playing for 10 teams in that period). But that career ended in 1981 (with George's Royals), which I guess was just a little before Rex's time.

Two Ponies 10:47 AM  

Medium bordering on challenging for this baseball-phobe.That NE corner was rough. Prated?
Eric Clapton spells his Layla with a Y.
Saw Spielberg's War Horse yesterday. Very good but some scenes were hard to watch.

Jill 10:55 AM  

b Jill says to foodie. Yikes! John Keats is a celebrated poet. Sarah Palin probably has never heard of him also. What's the matter with being over fifty?

Greg Charles 11:01 AM  

Why wouldn't Kohl's and Macy'c be competitors? They are both department stores, aren't they?

KRMunson 11:06 AM  

@Tobias Duncan: You really haven't heard of Kohl's? Either you don't live near a city with one of their retail stores or you don't watch TV because Kohl's blanketed the airwaves with commercials this Christmas season. Maybe I'm uber-familiar with Kohl's because their corporate offices are located in my city (Milwaukee)...

Gill I. P. 11:08 AM  

@Greg Charles:
So is Walmart and Nordstrom's.

treedweller 11:31 AM  

@Rex I think you are confused. That picture is not the Loretta from the Beatles' song.

@foodie as a lifelong camper, I vouch for the validity of TENT STAKE. Many modern tents don't really need them on a good day, but if the wind kicks up you'd better have a few.

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

I absolutely loved this puzzle. Had KMART for 49D when I just had the K, and I was thinking, that KMART is not a competitor to Macy's, before I changed to KOHLS which made much more sense to me. Loved to see Mel Ott's full name, just like the other day when we had YOKO ONO, was it last Saturday's puzzle I think? Very nice one, I found it easier than Monday for some reason. Thanks Mr. Parrish

Tita 11:36 AM  

Sorry - can't resist an injection of cynicism into the Kohl's/Macy*s discussion...
Their goods (and mostly anyone's in the apparel business today) all emanate from the same factories overseas and travel on the same boats.
Differences are in the tags sewn in, and in the stores' decor and neighborhood. Even the one-time differences in customer service across companies are dwindling.

tn requin 11:56 AM  

tn-requin arnaque , tn requin blanc et bleu , nike air max pas cher chaussures tn requin en solde , prix tn requin magasin , tn requin taille 38 , air max bw pas cher tn requin 28 euro , air max tn requin nouveaute , nike tn requin noire , nike store , nike canada , nike fitness , nike shox rivalry pas cher nike introduction , nike kb , nike old school , nike pas cher france nike quai des marques , nike usa inc , nike vomero , air max bw pas cher nike yes , nike 2008 , nike 36 , air max 90 pas cher nike 86 , nike store london , nike id enfant , nike shox nike air max classic , nike france recrutement , chuassure puma nike france 2011 , code nikeid , soldes nike 6.0 , nike air jordan 23 , timberland pas cher nike acg storm fit ,

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

I NEVER fail on Tuesdays... but gave up on this, couldn't solve it.

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

Mr. Parrish, I liked your puzzle just fine. Always like getting 100%.

Hey Rex, thanks for recommending "Downton Abbey"--I am soo hooked on it. Can't wait for season 2!

santafefran 12:20 PM  

In spite of all the sports references, this puzzle went down easily for me. Didn't get the anagramness of it til coming here and like @quilter 1 I originally thought it was a pronunciation theme marred by Keats. It hurts me to say that anything was marred by Keats, but confessions must be made.

Matthew G. 12:23 PM  

@Loren Muse Smith:

Excuse me while I kiss this guy.

Sparky 12:30 PM  

Spelled BARDOw wrong which left me with a DNF? but then the light dawned. Agree w/@foodie. That's a lot of names. I usually don't even notice.

Liked JOHNKEATS, CYNICISM, SELASSIE. TESH used to show up a lot. Fame is fleeting.

I keep seeing merlot; too much New Years, perhaps.

Take care of that cold, @Gill.I.P.

loren muse smith 12:42 PM  

@Matthew G:

Puleeeze. Get a room!

There's a bathroom on the right.

retired_chemist 12:51 PM  

Medium here.

Surprising there isn't more of a hue and cry about Brigitte BARDOT. She retired from the entertainment industry in 1973, so you probably have to be male and over 50 (as was pointed out earlier) to remember her. She and I are bosom buddies (so to speak) because we have the same birthday. Also the late Marcello Mastroianni (which I spelled correctly without help, I will have you know).

MEL OTT was a gimme. When I was growing up, his 511 home runs was the NL record and, per Wikipedia, he was at that time third to the ALERs Ruth and Foxx. Nice to see a shout-out to him @ 59A.

UMW was a gimme to this WV born and bred boy. Gets more love here than a letter string or a random Roman numeral.

Also surprised at those who didn't see Grizzly Mom's post as a jest.

Thanks, Mr. Parrish.

Anonymous 12:59 PM  

@Tobias
I've seen several Bardot movies, and trust me, you could pick her out of a crowd, even a very large one.

santafefran 1:08 PM  

Like so many of us, Brigitte has not aged gracefully: THEN and NOW

Wood 1:16 PM  

@retired_chemist said: "Also surprised at those who didn't see Grizzly Mom's post as a jest."

Who is this Sarah Palin person? Should I, for some reason, know this person? Is she famous or something? Obscure opportunistic politicians are just not my thing.

foodie 1:29 PM  

Thanks,@Tita and Treedweller re the enlightenment. I have actually camped in real tents (I particularly love going to Big Sur), and knew you needed stakes. I just did not know that TENT STAKE was an actual phrase. Puzzle are my continuing education.

On the other hand, @Jill, I did not say anything about Keats :) I knew him, even though I know nothing about many of the other proper names. I think it was @Grizzly Mom, with tongue firmly in cheek!

@Anonymous 9:07, LOL. I thought for a minute that you might be right, but look at what @Tobias Duncan had to say! I actually went to college with a member of the Ethiopian imperial family and sadly, he committed suicide. I don't know that it was ever acknowledged or publicized. But it put a human face on that family.

@Santefefran, you're very right that Bardot does not look remotely glamorous or gorgeous any longer. But I'm grateful to her for being real. Some of these Hollywood stars set impossible standards for aging that none of us can meet (without extensive plastic surgery and personal trainers).

ArtO 1:36 PM  

Three cheers for the older guys and baseball buffs who could come up with MELOTT, TORRES, BRETT, SELASSIE, BARDOT with little trouble.

Rated it Easy despite a write-over (KMART, KOHLS.

Didn't even consider the theme until coming here. Thanks, Rex.

Lewis 1:36 PM  

ILENE/ISAK naticked me, but I guessed right. Otherwise, the crosses were fair on proper names.

I heard in the news this morning that in a powerful storm, the roof at Epsom Downs racecourse (a puzzle answer last week, I believe) blew off. (And a check on its website confirmed this.)

Mel Ott 1:46 PM  

Hey, if you don't know Mr. Ott's first name it isn't my fault. ;-)

I remember a big deal being made out of Ted Williams matching Ott's 511. Of course Mr. W. lost a number of years flying combat planes in both WWII and the Korean War.

Ken Brett was a pretty good pitcher. Frank Torre was a fine first baseman on the Braves' championship teams of the late 50's.

santafefran 1:49 PM  

@foodie, agree with you on the realness of aging. We have such a youth-cult in our society that tries to deny honest aging, especially for women.

mac 2:03 PM  

Tough Tuesday, but no problems. UMW, IMS, PSA and STD were not pretty and needed some crosses, though. I felt a little presumptuous to call Mr. Keats John.

I met Frank Torres once, and their sister, at Yankee stadium, in one of those fabulous sky boxes. Haven't been to a stadium since, I think.

retired_chemist 2:04 PM  

@ Santafefran - thanks a bunch for the BB pix, though I would have preferred to have my (late) teenage memories of her remain unscathed.

chefbea 2:08 PM  

@Tn requin what is that post all about??? Looks like spam to me

chefwen 2:14 PM  

This would have taken me a lot longer if my husband (Mr. Sports) had not been in the wing-man position. Had a hard time with KOHL'S, growing up in the Milwaukee area I always think of KOHL'S food stores. The department stores didn't start popping up until after we moved. Don't think I've even been in one.

Lets not forget a personal shout out to our own @CLARK at 10D.

Really liked it and thanks for your help Jon.

syndy 2:16 PM  

You mean a woman of 77 looks OLD my god!.I had no idea whom MELOTT was and I never saw a theme.However except for an overabundence of baseballese and my uncertainty over the proper spelling of the LION OF JUDAH I found thiseasy/medium for tuesdayish.United MINE WORKERS was pretty inferable.SHIP on the BRINE is beaut!CYNICISM over SURTAX says something!One thumb up one bent at a slight angle!

Anise Carotid Moonies 2:29 PM  

I love that it is possible to make so many anagrams out of 5 letters and have them fit so smoothly into phrases!!

Agree with the baseball overload, esp as @rex pointed out only one of the brothers are famous, but i will assume this is the constructor's passion shining thru, so thumbs up for that...but there should be mild consideration for the solvers by spreading out the categories a bit.

I mean, if i could, I'd have every definition be a Beatles tune, but I try and make clues have something for everyone...the puzzles are for a very wide range of folks...
Tho the boys/men who have this baseball obsession are lucky i guess to have editors that share itso thinknothing of having 6 baseball references to every one (name another interest here).

My moment of synchronicity...last night was my monthly Beatles karaoke night... I considered singing "IMEMINE" but went with a very tentative and shy version of "It's only love"

The weird thing about IMEMINE is a few months back, in the puzzle was the clue "John Lennon song" and I had
I M - - I N E
And i wrote in IMEMINE!!!!!

Its incredible to me that there are two Beatles (related, I know IMAGINE is John alone) songs, seven letters, where if you change but two letters you get two totally different songs, one is one word, one is three!!!!!!

This is the EXACT reason i love puzzles and crosswords and language...
And this puzzle with its anagrams, all the baseball notwithstanding, is exactly the kind of crossword I like, not so much to solve, but the thoughts it triggers in me about letters and words and language.

jae 3:21 PM  

Medium-tough for me too. Needed a lot of crosses to spell SELASSIE right and the clue for ILENE seemed more Fri./Sat. than Tues. Nice grid!

And, LORETTA could be kinda obscure for the under 50 crowd. The song came out over 40 yrs. ago and LORETTA is not in the title.

Anonymous 3:25 PM  

I read that Ms. Bardot was a cancer survivor, having had a double mastectomy.
Wikipedia describes her as an animal activist as well as a political activist. She has voiced some controversial statements on many hot-button issues, also mentions Sarah Palin and The Beatles.

santafefran 3:45 PM  

Another little tidbit from Wikipedia that was news to me: "Bardot was idolized by young John Lennon and Paul McCartney.[43][44] They made plans to shoot a film featuring The Beatles and Bardot, similar to A Hard Day's Night, but the plans were never fulfilled."



uncere--without cere

John V 4:43 PM  

@santafefran: You know, you just used "A Hard Day's Night" and Bardot in the same sentence. Imagine the creative writing that may evoke from some Rex-ites. Just sayin'

sanfranman59 5:13 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Tue 8:47, 8:52, 0.99, 56%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:45, 4:35, 1.04, 64%, Medium-Challenging

Rube 5:14 PM  

I remember seeing a BB movie with my black sheep cousin when I was, oh, about 17, in 1960, (he was 19). They didn't have ratings then, but you were supposed to be an "adult". You see more skin today in a Disney movie. I don't think I even saw a belly button. Most dissapointing to a teenage boy. Afterwards, we got martinis at an obliging restaurant. Haven't had one since... disgusting stuff gin.

@SantaFeFran, I'll forgive you for that link this time, but don't do it again.

Knew EROSE from previous puzzles, but consider it high crosswordese. Had alisA before LAILA and guessed wrong on the cross of ISAK and ORA... should know better. Also had TuSH before TESH. Really must subscribe to People magazine one of these years, or not.

According to the bride, we now have a Kohls in Marin... it replaced Mervyns.

Enjoyable Tuesday puzz despite all the proper names.

Anonymous 6:20 PM  

@Chefwen -- Kohls stores are flooding Chicagoland more than Packer fans at a Bears game on a warm October day (yes, there are a lot of Packer fans at Bears games and so far they have all escaped bodily harm). Unfortunately Macy's bought Marshall Field & Co, and their ugly Chicom Red Star is everywhere from Water Tower to Woodfield's.

@Evil Doug - Your posts keep feeding my fatal addiction to this blog (which might put you at great risk). However, the only reason I can think anyone would ever drive from Chicago to Des Moines is for a hot chick or if they left a bagful of cash at the downtown Renaissance safe on their last visit.

Vaguely recall seeing this theme within the last year. Nice of Rex not to note that. Love those Kates, esp. Jackson - when the Moonie comes over the mountain....

JFC

Anonymous 6:24 PM  

Anon @ 6:20 pm - That was Kate Smith you dodo....

JFC

(Yes, I talk to myself)

evil doug 7:11 PM  

JFC:

On my way to Drake University in 1969. They went to the Final 4 when I was a senior in high school, so I dropped my plans to go to Illinois and headed to Des Moines sight unseen and registered three days before classes started. My parents really appreciated the tuition boost from a state school to a private institution in corn country....

I did meet my wife there, so let's call her the "hot chick" in your story.

Evil

Anonymous 8:01 PM  

Evil Doug - Your Dad probably blew up the Pontiac just to keep you from going....

JFC

Anonymous 8:44 PM  

The most interesting baseball brothers (2 of 3) are Tom and John Paciorek. John played in one game had one hit and so retired with a life time average of 1.000. Tom played for the Chi Sox among others.

Rudy 9:26 PM  

Finished the puz earlier today and the quaint anagrams were addictive. Was looking for BURMA TEAKS and WILLS KATES to provide the Royal flavor but it was beyond the puzzle bandwidth.

And REPASTS is another quaint word rarely used today. Has a royal flavor to it. Perhaps Will and Kate enjoyed a wonderful post-Christmas post- New Year repast today at Sandringham Castle even as Bobbies combed the grounds for clues of the body found in the estate.


Ni

PatMac 10:22 AM  

I don't understand themes. Sometimes a theme is mentioned in the clues. But in this case there is no mention of a theme, at least in the syndicated version I get in my newspaper. How did people find a theme for this puzzle? How did they know there was a theme? And, is the theme of this puzzle that the last five letters of some answers are anagrams of one another? Sorry to be so obtuse here. Help! Thanks!
"Mac"

Spacecraft 12:50 PM  

@retired chemist: sorry, but La Bardot is a true icon, transcending time. There is no statute of limitations on that one.
My eye drifted to the SE, where the monster and the poet gave me the JOB JOHNKEATS right away. Something struck a note...campground? STAKE? Beef? STEAK? The jig was up! Finished easily; there was one writeover when I misspelled LeILA--and without looking at the down clue, CLERK seemed normal. Good thing I recheck.
Yeah, the Bretts and the Torres (who could tell a lot of stories) might be a bit much, but I'll take 'em for the rest of this fresh grid. Even UMW: you gotta admit it's not over-used!
Kohl's vs. Macy's? Well, surely not direct rivals. Those demographics don't exactly run congruent. Welcome, marvelously-named Emperor SELASSIE, to the world of crosswords!

Waxy in Montreal 2:43 PM  

Fun Tuesday though I thought certain paired answers - AMI & AMYS, TIC & ANTIC, ORES & ORA, - must be pointing towards another hidden theme which, if they were, I can't discern.

Quibbling I know, but a pal in Paris (20A) would be more likely to be a COPAIN or even a CHUM than an AMI which is a translation of the more formal FRIEND.

Finally, my local paper printed the single word "and" as the clue for 62A. which, when the answer SEXES revealed itself from the crosses, definitely provided for a "Huh...what?" moment. (I guess that printing the Mars and Venus symbols which I gather were what was missing is beyond their current level of technological ability.)

Dirigonzo 2:56 PM  

@PatMac - Rex explained the theme in his write-up (right under the completed grid).

I had a GTO, I share a name with the fictional reporter, and some have accused me of CYNICISM so I took the puzzle as a shout-out to me - but maybe I'm just imagining it. On the other hand, I somehow inexplicably (if one eliminates "ignorance" as an explanation) finished with AsoK at 46d, where ISAK belongs, so DNF - again. The week is off to an inauspicious beginning for me.

@Waxy - my paper printed the clue as "Male and Female".

Waxy in Montreal 3:05 PM  

@Diri, Thanks, makes sense - sure better than just an "and"!!

Mighty Nisden 4:41 PM  

Arg - as the pirates say. DNF as there were too many name I didn't know. Knew the baseball ones but 9D, 34D and 46D did me in. Didn't help that 46A was also a ??? to me.
I hate not having the ability to finish a Tuesday, but the fight goes on!

Red Valerian 9:03 PM  

A little surprised at the "aging gracefully" thread. I think some are in serious denial about senescence. Aging is not a person's fault. I mean, I suppose some "pre-mature" aging can be attributed to a person's choices, but aging simpliciter cannot be.

One cannot and should not look 27 when one is 77. Get over it, people, we're all gonna die.

Perhaps the best The Onion clip ever: Teaching Gorillas that They Will Die

Oh, the puzzle. Liked it well enough, though didn't know (but got) KOHLS. DNF because of an error. Thought Mohammed Ali's daughter was LAInA, though I should (from crosswords) have known better. I stared at MEnOTT, and thought--what do I know, baseball?

But I *should* have known from this blog. Doh! Sorry Mel!

Off to Cuba on holidays next week. Just sayin'.

Anonymous 12:43 AM  

Easy enough puzzle, but at the risk of restating something already posted, how is "antic" an answer to "Like Robin Williams, typically"? Antic is a noun best I know. Wouldn't a better answer be "manic"? Just sayin...

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