Menotti title character / WED 5-9-12 / Phoenician port / Townsman in Fiddler on Roof

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Constructor: Eshan Mitra

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: Get off my quays! — terminal -ACE sounds are turned into terminal -AZE sounds in familiar phrases. Wackiness ensues.

Word of the Day: JAFAR (10D: "Aladdin" villain) —
Jafar (Arabicجعفر‎ Ǧaʿfar, Ja'far) is the main antagonist of the first two films. He is voiced byJonathan Freeman in both films and in the Kingdom Hearts series of video games. An inspiration to the character is the villain Jaffar, played by Conrad Veidt in The Thief of Bagdad, from whichAladdin borrows several character ideas and plot elements. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is quite solid. Theme is consistent and theme answers are cute. Seems like the theme could've been extended to a Sunday-sized puzzle, but then the theme might have begun to grate at the 7th or 8th theme answer. Again I find myself without much to say. The fill is all familiar, and there is nothing particularly sparkly or dreadful. The only potential pitfalls I can see today are proper nouns, most notably JAFAR (which I forgot, never having seen the film in question) and AMAHL (which I remembered because of that one time long ago when it sunk me). The "title" of [Menotti title character] is "AMAHL and the NIGHT Visitors," only the clue couldn't tell you that because NIGHT is in the grid (with a great clue, btw—24D: Comment to one who's retiring). Besides those names, though, everything feels very common-knowledge. And if not common, crossword-common at least.


Theme answers:
  • 17A: What company bosses do for employees? (SET THE PAYS)
  • 23A: Best meal of a cow's life? (AMAZING GRAZE)
  • 37A: Having a successful theater career? (IN THE RIGHT PLAYS)
  • 45A: Guantánamo and others? (MILITARY BAYS)
  • 57A: The second round of betting, for one? (POKER PHASE)
I forgot GOMEZ (12D: Mr. Addams of "The Addams Family") and JAFAR and couldn't pick up FEMA (19A: What comes as a relief?: Abbr.) at first, so that corner was the most trying (left it and came back to it at the end). Had a bit of trouble getting started since SETT-E---- and its clue (17A: What company bosses do for employees?) looked like it would be SETTLE something. Took a bit of thinking to parse that one and thus get INHUMANE coming down (5D: Barbaric). I wrote in a terminal "S" at 31A: Star followers and then later wondered what the heck GRST was at 25D: Sandpaper surface. Thought the D&D enemy at 60A: Common enemy in Dungeons & Dragons (OGRE) was ORCS, though crosses got me out of that one pretty quickly. Otherwise, besides Briticizing MITER (31D: Kind of saw), I didn't have any trouble at all. Well below my Wednesday average time.


Oh, maybe TYRE (35D: Phoenician port) was a bit thorny for some people. Probably less well known than JAFAR. I know the story of Apollonius of TYRE from ... I don't know, being a medievalist, I guess. It was just in the air. Shakespeare wrote Pericles, Prince of TYRE, and wikipedia tells me Apollonius of Tyre was a source for both Twelfth Night and Comedy of Errors as well. TYRE is also the British spelling of "tire."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

77 comments:

Evan 12:07 AM  

I wasn't sure if AMAZING GRAZE was supposed to be a pun on the song Amazing Grace or the show The Amazing Race. Like the answer either way.

It took longer than I expected to get the northwest corner all sewed up. "Fisher's wish" was a surprisingly daunting clue for such a short bit of fill -- BAIT came to mind, I was considering someone fishing for compliments....hell, I even thought FISH might be the answer. Yeah. I was tired.

foodie 12:17 AM  

It's a little after 7 am in Tyre Lebanon, and 59 degrees. I've been there. Nice little town. So, I'm surprised that it would be less well known than JAFAR which is a recognizable Arabic name but one that I did not associate with Aladin...

These punny themes don't do it for me, mostly because the new words never sound identical to the original ones. I know, I know, it's my fault, I overarticulate, and I'm supposed to think that PHASE and Face sound similar enough to make this work...

So, reasonable and doable, but for me not nearly as lovable as the last 2 daze.

Tita 12:17 AM  

Somewhat inexplicable to me why I love love loved this puzzle...

The theme answers are only OK, with the fabulous exception of AMAZINGGRAZE!!!!! I AVOW that I will find occasion to use this frays regularly from now on.

Maybe I loved it because there was a plethora of Zs...amaZinggraZe, topaZ, gomeZ, reZa, iZe, ooZed, haZe.
Thinking I may have to start liking puzzles based on Z-count, a la M&A and his ThUmbsUp...maybe a PiZZaZZ count?

Liked AMAHL and the MAGI united in the grid. Was the RABBI there to do the Bris? In fact, ASIAN MAGI GOTO NOEL... a subbtheme?

My one xwordese bain - OSOS...I want there to be an "R" in the word! Latin: uRsa, Portuguese: uRso, French ouRse... What's up with those Spaniards???!!

Off to sleep, perchance to dream, of contented cows and their AMAZINGGRAZE.

jae 12:29 AM  

I'm more with @foodie than Rex on this one. Odd theme with out much zip.   Seemed about medium for a Wed.  Kinda meh.

pk 12:33 AM  

Agree with Rex's Easy rating, since I was able to solve from 1A on, but when I got to 17A Sets the Pays, thought, oh good grief, we've got a non-native-English-speaker for a constructor or, even worse, a robot.

Was very suspicious of that until I got to 23A Amazing Graze, and that just made my day! Have as much irrational love for that clue/answer as @Tita.

37A In the Right Plays is right up there, too.

Y'all can all tell me to go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200, but I still love this puzz.

Anonymous 1:29 AM  

Had "animal" for "mammal" and used the "n" to get "none" as in "none other." This locked me into a mess for a while until I figured something had to give. Otherwise, a seamless solve.

chefwen 2:21 AM  

@Anon 1:29 - Had the exact same experience with animal/none, had that in and then out again more times than I could count. 31A fans before MAGI. 24D nitey before NIGHT, 6A To do before TASK, etc. Had a 7D just the other day at a great Chinese style restaurant with Peking Duck, steamed rolls, slivered green onions served with a Plum/Hoisin sauce - DELISH!!!

Anoa Bob 2:36 AM  

Thought it was an imaginative theme with a little roughness around the edges.

Three of the theme words, PAYS, PLAYS and BAYS end with "AYS" while the other two, GRAZE and PHASE don't.

Four of the terminal words that were replaced by the sound-alike (sorta) terminal words end with "ACE" (PACE, GRACE, PLACE, and FACE), while for the fifth we get BASE.

This kind of theme is tough to pull off. Wackiness often borders on the nonsensical. Subtle differences in pronunciation (see foodie's comment above) sometimes have to be overlooked to make the theme work.

I like ASAHI (7D) beer but for my money, Sapporo rules!

Overall I think this was a solid Wed. offering that was an enjoyable solve.

Randy Lovelace 2:38 AM  

Mr. Parker,

I have been semi-following your blog for the past three years of my young crossword career. I just moved to Hanoi, Vietnam (to teach and write) and am lucky to have my trusty NY Times crossword app to fix my cravings for the puzzles that I thought I would have to leave behind. While I am content with the crossword app, I am no longer surrounded by co-puzzlers, as I was in College, thus I started following your blog on a regular baises and wanted to drop you a line of thanks. You do a splendid job and provide me with a forum to better deal with that pesky Will Shortz and his cleaver co-creators.

Asahi Cans Miters 3:40 AM  

Liked the Zs...esp TOPAZ and GOMEZ, somehoe wished that were the theme...words that endwith Z
Instead of puns that sort of sound like stuff.

Concur with @anoabob, except not as positively?

Don't know what a MITER saw...thought it was the pope's hat.

Thrown off by 1A...seemed like if you mention Fiddler then you are talking shtetl and going for a more specific word like ReBBe.

Rookie 6:03 AM  

There are many biblical references to Tyre and Sidon in both the Old (Hebrew) and New (Christian) Testaments. I bet many people will recognize the names, even if unable to locate on a map.

dk 7:28 AM  

Rex, Thank you for Beth O. I have worshiped her voice since the early daze of the Chemical Brothers.

Just a solid Wednesday for this contented bovine. Not much to ruminate over.

Hah! In grad school we refered to Org Psych as Bovine Psycholgy... Speaking of SETTHEPAYS.

*** (3 Stars) Utterly fine.

Warning Personal tidbit ahead

Moving day is ANON. After one year of renovation 100 year old home in Saint Croix Falls is nearly complete. Ask me about lime putty. Counter tops go in tomorrow. Perhaps this summer I will get to play instead of plaster.

jackj 7:47 AM  

Back to the Brownies for this puzzle, whose theme gives us five phrases that end in variations of the same sound, “aze”. The theme answers more or less make the sound but test our patience with some rather lame punning.

Themewise, POKERPHASE seemed the best of a weak bunch, with AMAZINGGRAZE bringing up the rear. Too obvious for that one, I’m afraid.

Some of the better fill bits included INHUMANE, plus BEDS and NIGHT, (as each were clued), were nicely played, ASAHI and BREWS coyly hinted at that college tradition, the beer bust and SADR was an interesting, aggressive, rarely seen entry, (until it turned out to be the tenth time it has appeared in a Times puzzle since 1994).

To rate this puzzle in Providence terms, it seemed more Federal Hill than College Hill; more RISD than IVY.

Sue McC 7:56 AM  

'twas a bit of a yawner.

John V 8:13 AM  

A tale of two puzzles. Natick is in the Northeast, right? Right. Took about three lifetimes so suss out FEMA/JAFAR/GOMEZ. Better clue for FEMA: "Who brings relief", IHMO. The agency is not relief itself, which is the way it is clued and got me stuck. Otherwise, yes, rest of the puzzle easy for a Wednesday. Theme worked for me, rolling around this morning in a Charlotte hays.

Good indirection at 22D, Green org, which I'm guessing will have been the number one write-over from EPA.

jberg 8:16 AM  

Not easy for me - I had both the "don't know either JAFAR or GOMEZ" problem and the aniMAL/noNe problem, but it took me longer to sort them out than it seems to have taken others. This was partly because I wanted some alka-seltzer equivalent for 19A ("What comes as a relief?), and because I had "AMAZING GRAss" at first. I didn't quite see the theme at that point.

And speaking of the theme, several commenters don't seem to quite get it - it's not 'sounds that are roughly similar,' it's 'an ace sound (with unvocalized s) replaced with an aze sound (with vocalized z). The spelling varies, but the sound transformation is exactly the same with each.

Oddly enough, I remembered TYRE from Kipling's "Recessional" - "are one with Nineveh and Tyre," i.e., gone but not forgotten.

evil doug 8:21 AM  

Hope you're not teaching those cleaver Vietnamese how to spell....

I am now officially tired of puns in crosswords. Wackiness fails to ensue anymore.

Evil

orangeblossomspecial 8:25 AM  

@Rex. If you haven't seen the first Aladdin, it's worth the trip, if only to laugh at Robin Williams' interpretations. I think your physicist daughter would enjoy it too.

Fiddler has some good songs, including the marriage sequence Sunrise Sunset.

33A brings to mind "In the jailhouse now" from "Oh Brother Where Art Thou". Here is an earlier version by Webb Pierce.

62A Molasses was an early 50s recording. This is Teresa Brewer.

AnnieD 8:40 AM  

For some reason, amazing graze reminded me of this old video....

How Italians tell time

Nice puzz for a Tuesday.

Kevin 8:44 AM  

Well, I didn't know enough French to get ETAT, which made the crosses of REZA, MITER, and AGA particularly harsh. Plus NIGHT was clued in a fairly difficult way. That was pretty rough - I guess I need to memorize more crossword French (and utter crap like REZA and AGA).

Rex Parker 8:45 AM  

Yes, @pk, there's nothing worse than a non-native-English speaker constructing crosswords ... except maybe a robot constructor. Basically it goes Hitler, whoever is responsible for this "What to Expect When You're Expecting" movie, non-native-English speakers, robots. You hear that, non-native speakers: step away from the graph paper or constructing software or whatever you're using to try to infiltrate our native art form. Your services aren't needed. You and your robot allies can just find a new way to ruin America.

Good grief. Am I right!?

END SARCASM.

[Bows]

rp

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

But for a Q and X, this puzzle would be a dreaded pangram. Too bad.

Rex Parker 8:46 AM  

@jberg, AMAZING GRASS is a whole other, potentially awesome theme.

joho 9:01 AM  

As it always goes with this type of puzzle, either you think it's whacky or you don't.

I thought this was kind of cute but got hung up on the clue for MILITARYBAYS because "others" suggested a plural to me so I was thinking it had to be bases. So BAYS didn't seem right.

I still enjoyed it, thank you, Eshan Mitra!

chefbea 9:26 AM  

Found it a little tough though I did know Gomez. A bit of a gardening theme with hoe (go ahead ED) and spade.

KRMunson 9:28 AM  

Another cays of the blog being better than the puzzle!

Wood 9:42 AM  

Mini Christmas theme with NOEL, AMAHL and the NIGHT visitors, MAGI...

loren muse smith 9:52 AM  

I started out grumpily not really liking the theme, but after I put it down, removed the spelling from the equation, understanding that the theme answers end, as @jberg points out, identically, I decided I really like it. It’s based solely on the sounds: long a followed by voiceless s morphing into long a followed by voiced z. AMAZING GRAZE takes the cake!

Like @ Rex – I was wondering what the heck GRsT was.

@Evan – you’re onto your own puzzle? AMAZING GRACE – AMAZING RACE, LOOKING GLASS – LOOKING LASS, DRIVING GLOVE – DRIVING LOVE. . .

@Tita – partial to the z, are you? Hmm. Be careful if you start constructing lest you draw the wrath of Evil Doug!

@orangeblossom – YES! Rex and anyone else who hasn’t seen Aladdin should see it. Robin Williams’ comedic genius sparkles and crackles.

Great puzzle, Ashan Mitra. Shukriya!

archaeoprof 10:14 AM  

AniMAL/MAMMAL here too.

@dk: congratulations on your renovation project! But I'm not asking about lime putty...

Liked INTHERIGHTPLAYS.

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

Liked the puzzle. Stumbled on JABAR and GOMEZ. Quickly corrected animal to MAMMAL. Animal seemed too obvious.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:32 AM  

Liked the puzzle, loved AMAZING GRAZE.

Somehow, out of the (53D) HAZE, TYRE always reminds me of a science fiction (story/novel?) I read long ago, something in which the hero was time traveling, and in ancient TYRE the production of purple (pigment/dye?) from a certain mollusk created a terrible stink. Did I dream this, or can someone name the story?

retired_chemist 10:36 AM  

Didn't have much trouble. Picked MAMMAL first which helped. Agree 1A seemed to call for a name, so I started with TEVYE. 1D got rid of that. __DR @ 44D looked dicey but the acrosses were solid, and sure enough SADR City was the answer.

Thought the theme was a bit ragged in that the spellings in the puzzle were AYS, AZE, AYS, AYS, and ASE. I'd regard all the same or all different as signal successes, but the present mixture isn't elegant.

Nonetheless a nice puzzle, but I am with those who liked Monday and Tuesday better.

Two Ponies 10:50 AM  

I liked this one OK.
Like @ Tita I loved all of those Z's. Amazing graze was my favorite theme answer.
I realized that until today I had never seen Ira Flatow's name in print. Doesn't look right to me.

quilter1 10:58 AM  

Weighing in late due to early appointments. I solved over a late breakfast. The puzzle: easy, not as fun as Mon/Tue, but OK. I enjoyed all the puns and felt smug knowing TYRE.

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

Am I the only person who had a problem with "set the pays/pace"? Overall, I liked the theme - it was pretty cleverly executed - and has already been mentioned, AMAZINGGRAZE pretty much made my morning.

I just thought that SETTHEPAYS was a little too much of a stretch, especially compared to the other answers.

wyonative 11:43 AM  

I liked this puzzle a lot and had to work harder than I should have had to do to get the theme answers. Still, it was an average time Wednesday time for me. I had military bass for awhile. Rex, loved quays!

OISK 11:48 AM  

Liked this one. Both today's and Tuesday's were easier for me than Monday's. Enjoy good puns in general, liked the fill, only "Jafar" was completely unfamiliar to me.

Thanks Mr. Mitra.

Gareth Bain 11:50 AM  

I wonder if puzzles are better with amazing grass? I've never tried solving while high on anything except headache pills!

The LA Times Crossword is co-written by Zhouqin "CC" Burnikel whose first language isn't English, it's a "straight over the plate" early-week theme as they say, but there are quite a lot of fun longer answers thrown in too, so there!

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

Maybe Rex could do a Venn diagram to demonstrate if there is any overlap between non-native English speakers and robots?

JFC

FearlessK 12:10 PM  

Anyone else immediately throw down "shot" at 3D "Fisher's wish"? (as in Carrie Fisher, from her book Wishful Drinking). Good thing the crosses were all smooth!

treedweller 12:43 PM  

Czech surname suffix?

POKER PHASE?

Masked and Anonymous 1:03 PM  

@31, re: awesome crossword theme...
AMAZING GRASS = 12
AIR FORCE BASS = 12
LOOSE SHOE LASS = 13
SNAILS PASS = 10
BULLPEN ASS = 10
PILLOW CASS = 10
ANKLE BRASS = 10
Wheee-oa. 7 theme answers. Ambitious. And a bit funky. But, might fly, as an ONION or BEQ puz. They have heartier breakfast tests.

OK, constructors... 1, 2, 3, ... GO! Har.

mac 1:08 PM  

So there are an Ira and an Ari at NPR? Just like in Ben Bass's family.

Hesitated with Oslo for a moment, thought the Haralds were in Denmark, the Olav/fs in Norway.

I don't think I've ever been compared to a robot. On to the LAT puzzle now.

Congratulations, @dk.

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

A real fisherman doesn’t wish for a BITE, he wishes to catch a FISH.

RoboConstructor 1:42 PM  

@M&A -- AIRFORCEBASS could the toughest one to clue. Would "Flying fish?" work? Just suggestin'.

Bird 1:46 PM  

I liked this one. Though I didn’t know all the answers (AMAHL, TYRE ) or left some options open (EPA or PGA, AVOW or AVER) on the first pass (there was a multitude of blank squares), they were all gettable without too much smoke coming out of the ears. Only write-overs were EACH for APOP at 16A and AXES for CANS at 64A.

Happy Humpday!

Lewis 1:56 PM  

@ed -- I agree, these puns don't have pop, but I'm not writing off puns, because some still come along that either make you laugh out loud or go wow. Sometimes its a single answer in a puzzle, other times it's the entire puzzle theme, and when that happens, it's rare and special.

Lady Gaga 2:06 PM  

@treedweller

In many Slavik languages -ova is used as a suffix to indicate that the name is feminine rather than masculine gender.

POKERPHASE= Poker face

JenCT 2:29 PM  

Speaking of AMAZING GRASS, medical marijuana was just approved in CT...

Aladdin is definitely worth seeing - Robin Williams is great.

I also had MILITARY BASS and ANIMAL at first.

@Tita: I need to learn my bears too! OSOS, urso, onso, ursus?..

eentoyme tednde 2:42 PM  

Unless it exists already, someone should write a crosswordese reference book.

Bear: Oso, ursa, urso, ourse

These captchas are so much fun that I decided to use the ones for this post as my tag!

chefbea 2:52 PM  

@JenCt and I guess you saw what ammendment was passed here in NC :-(

JenCT 3:09 PM  

@chefbea: what a step backwards for North Carolina!

Obama just declared that gay marriage should be legal.

Bird 3:21 PM  

@JenCT - think I'll move to CT to ease my pain

@chefbea - my condolences

Is it just me or are the captchas getting longer?

Octavian 3:50 PM  

Worst Wednesday puzzle of the postwar era. Or let's just say the last 10 years.

"Sets the pays" is not a phrase. "Poker phase" is almost plausible but in reality just ridiculous (not wacky).

Weird week! Monday was fantastic and fresh. Tuesday was OK but felt like it was dated 1965. And today felt like it was constructed by a non-native English speaker and edited by robot with a screw loose.

Hoping for better for Thurs-Sat.

Mighty Nisden 3:55 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mighty Nisden 3:56 PM  

Not easy for me. Took forever to get the mid east. Had pOst bAIL for the Monopoly clue which did me in for a long time. Knowing the theme didn't help me here. And it made the south west hard as I had nAbOb at 45D.


@JFC - lol There must be some overlap. I know HAL (from 2001 A Space Odyssey) is one that fits both circles.

Howard B 4:03 PM  

@Gareth, in response to pk:
"The LA Times Crossword is co-written by Zhouqin "CC" Burnikel whose first language isn't English [...]"

- Gareth, you have won the blog today. Well-played.

rain forest 4:15 PM  

How does the person who finished 31st in the 2012 WCPT feel when Rex says he is the 31st best crossword solver?

retired_chemist 4:46 PM  

@ mac - Norway, I believe, has Haralds, Olaf(v)s, and Haakons to boot.

sternati haverva - the captchas are getting more interesting.

Anonymous 5:41 PM  

see ya pk

hazel 6:28 PM  

This kind of puzzle is just not my cuppa because i think the "wackiness" pretty much always seems like its trying too hard. Also agree w/ Foodie's articulation of why this puzzle just doesn't work (for me either.)

My first name is Grace, and I had a (beloved) former boss who used to call me Amazing - so the AMAZINGGRAZE phrase did bring back a good memory - plus I saw Brandi Carlile a few months ago and she closed with an awesome version which is still ringing in my ears.

@quilter1 - i've tried, but i still can't imagine it being sung to the tune of gilligan's island. Am i remembering your comment correctly?

quilter1 6:47 PM  

@hazel: yes, that's how we do it at things like vacation Bible day camp. Very catchy.

A Biblical note on Tyre, an early Christian woman, Lydia, who had church meet in her home owned a purple dye business in Tyre. The dye is made from the shells of a mollusk.

retired_chemist 7:38 PM  

@ quilter1 and anyone else interested - if I ever get back to teaching I want to do a course on "Chemistry in Art." Tyrian purple and its history will be prominent.

Tita 8:45 PM  

@retired_chemist...thank you for that link, which lead me to Sumptuary law", which led me here:
"The first written Greek law code (Locrian code), by Zaleucus in the 7th century BC, stipulated that "no free woman should be allowed any more than one maid to follow her, unless she was drunk..."

Somehow I missed that when I took my Ancient law course...

@hazel - you're name isn't Hazel???

Sfingi 9:13 PM  

In case nobody described the MITER saw - it is used to cut precise angles, esp. on picture frames with 45 degrees.

Old school - a manual saw that fits into a so-called miter box that allows only the precise cut.

Power saw - wowie - that does the same thing but faster,can pivot and slide, etc. They can get pricey.

hazel 9:33 PM  

@tita - nope. Hazel is the name of my corgi mix/avatar - (also v. much beloved!) and my nom de blog. My true name is somewhat odd.

jackj 9:42 PM  

retired_chemist-

When you get back to teaching your "Chemistry in Art" course, please be sure to include Yves Klein's famous blue tint called "International Klein Blue".

Klein famously painted nude models in his blue hue and positioned them and then rolled them around on huge canvasses to create some weirdly wonderful abstract images.

sanfranman59 12:26 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 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 6:41, 6:50, 0.98, 47%, Medium
Tue 8:15, 8:52, 0.93, 34%, Easy-Medium
Wed 11:30, 11:50, 0.97, 45%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:42, 3:40, 1.01, 58%, Medium
Tue 4:43, 4:35, 1.03, 64%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 6:05, 5:53, 1.03, 64%, Medium-Challenging

Anonymous 2:43 AM  

nice idea.. thanks for posting..

Solving in Seattle 12:43 PM  

The main reason I liked this puzzle is the NOEL crossing AMAHL (and the Night Visitors) theme, with NIGHT and MAGI crossing. I also think Kaspar had a TOPAZ in his box. Clever, Mr. Mitra.

Had trouble in the NE with GOMEZ/JAFAR natick.

@SiS LOL of the day award goes to ED, hands down.

Capcha: beeportu. Little guy on Fantasy Island's stand in.

Spacecraft 1:48 PM  

A good one, including some high-count letters that didn't seem to strain at all for entry. That's tough to pull off.

I balked a bit at the clue for 39d; "Hunt for, as game" doesn't feel right for PREYUPON. I guess it has to do with recent bad connotations about the term "predator" when applied to humans.

GOTO/JAIL kicked me off, and the rest just fell in. Smart, fresh grid; thumbs up from me, Eshan.

NM Robin 1:57 PM  

Had the same experience as Rex in the NE corner. Took me awhile to get that area. I rated this as medium. I'm not into puns though. My brother drives me crazy with them. He puns almost everything. I liked the puzzle.

rain forest 2:07 PM  

I think @anoa Bob and @acme missed the point. "ZZZ" sounds replace "SSS" sounds, and the theme was carried off with aplomb.

I was skewered at the "Jafar"/"FEMA" crossing. I have no idea what FEMA is, maybe due to my living north of the border. I thought "enema" could go in there, but it didn't fit...

Overall, however, it was a tight and enjoyable puzzle.

Solving in Seattle 2:23 PM  

@Rain Forrest, FEMA is our country's Federal Emergency Management Agency. If you don't have one in Canada we would be more than happy to give you ours.

DMGrandma 3:07 PM  

@SIS Great comment, only I love my Canadian relatives too much to wish that on them!
Actually, given the wording of the 19A clue, I wanted the answer to be something like "burp", something that actually produces relief! A better clue might have been "Relief organization", then we could all discuss the validity of FEMA as an answer to that!

Dirigonzo 3:39 PM  

I resisted putting epa in at22d (Green org.?) because it looked like a trap to me, and it was - PGA was a great answer! It took me too long to see APOP (16a, Per) even with both Ps in place (resisting temptation to type "plays").

Captcha looks way too easy - I suspect another trap.

Waxy in Montreal 10:52 PM  

Was watching the Euro 2012 soccer game between Germany and the Netherlands this afternoon while doing the crossword and (Mario) Gomez (12D) was clearly in the right plays at the right time scoring two first-half goals with amazing graze to set the pays and lead Germany to a 2-1 win.

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