Saloon singer Sylvia / SUN 6-3-12 / 1966 Florentine flooder / Musandam Peninsula nation / Japanese kana character / City that hosts world's biggest annual game fair / 1956 Ingrid Bergman Yul Brenner film / Fictional friend of Peter goatherd

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Myth-Labeled" — theme clues are imagined WARNING labels for famous mythological things

Word of the Day: Sylvia SYMS (72A: Saloon singer Sylvia) —
Sylvia M. L. Syms OBE (born 6 January 1934) is an English actress. She is probably best known for her roles in the films Woman in a Dressing Gown (1957), Ice Cold in Alex (1958), No Trees in the Street(1959), Victim (1961) and The Tamarind Seed (1974). She remains active in films, television and theatre. [wikipedia] [I have no idea what "saloon singer" means or refers to here] [oh, there are two Sylvia SYMS ... here's the other—]  
Sylvia Syms (December 2, 1917 - May 10, 1992) was an American jazz singer.

She was born Sylvia Blagman in BrooklynNew YorkUnited States. As a child, she had polio. As a teenager, she went to jazz-oriented nightclubs on New York's 52nd Street, and received informal training from Billie Holiday. In 1941 she made her debut at a club called 'Billy's Stable'.
In 1948, performing at the Cinderella Club in Greenwich Village, she was seen by Mae West, who gave her a part in a show she was doing. Among others who observed her in nightclubs was Frank Sinatra who considered her the "world's greatest saloon singer." Sinatra subsequently conducted her 1982 albumSyms by Sinatra.
• • •

I really misunderstood this theme at first. I figured the answers would be about mythology, but I thought there would be an added "MISlabeled" issue to navigate, so I honestly thought that intersecting theme answers had their clues switched—specifically, I convinced myself that 23A: WARNING: Suspension system prone to failure was *actually* the clue for 4D FORBIDDEN FRUIT and 4D: WARNING: May cause damnation if swallowed the clue for 23A SWORD OF DAMOCLES (sword ... swallowing ... you can see how I got there). Then I hit on theme answers that had no intersecting theme answers. Then I went back and read the clues I'd thought were switched. The I realized I was dealing with a straightforward "things from mythology" puzzle that had been made interesting / NYT-worthy by this WARNING label gambit.

Theme answers:
  • 23A: WARNING: Suspension system prone to failure (SWORD OF DAMOCLES)
  • 29A: WARNING: May contain Greeks (TROJAN HORSE)
  • 50A: WARNING: Possible heart-related side effects (CUPID'S ARROW)
  • 75A: WARNING: Cutting tool required (GORDIAN KNOT)
  • 96A: WARNING: Do not open (PANDORA'S BOX)
  • 103A: WARNING: Effects on children unknown (FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH)
  • 4D: WARNING: May cause damnation if swallowed (FORBIDDEN FRUIT)
  • 54D: WARNING: Improper use could lead to jealousy, treachery and/or war (APPLE OF DISCORD)

Theme was Very easy (I have a decent knowledge of mythology, I think), but some of the cluing was tough, and I ended up with a very average time. The NE corner in particular gave me fits. Shoved TROJAN HORSE in there just fine, but on first pass, *none* of the Downs and *none* of the Acrosses fell into place. Then UNARM fell in (16D: Strip of weapons). Then AGE OLD (15D: Antediluvian). And from there AGNES (22A: Saint Clare of Assisi's sister). So it was gettable. Just slow to come together. Clue on OILMEN was great, but again, tough (35A: Well-connected industrialists?). 

Not many mistakes. Wrote in CARDS for CHADS (40A: They get punched out). Had some trouble with TATE (69D: Home to many John Constable works, with "the") / FEAT (77A: Tour de force), and initially forgot the APPLE was OF DISCORD, so the east was a little sticky. Thought the "headed" in 52D: Headed heavenward was adjectival, so had an improbable amount of trouble with ROSE (and also ROT, its neighbor; 53D: Floorboard problem). And there must be lots easier ways to clue CHI (87D: Japanese kana character). Otherwise, nothing but little hiccups here and there, mostly with names. Sylvia SYMS is a name I've seen before, but the clue today offered no hope whatsoever. No idea that ESSEN hosted any kind of game fair, let alone the world's biggest annual game fair. Never heard of "ANASTASIA" (though I got it at first glance because "ANAS-" was already in place) (8D: 1956 Ingrid Bergman/Yul Brynner film). No idea who Peter the goatherd is, but again, with crosses in place, I could see that he was HEIDI's friend (61D: Fictional friend of Peter the goatherd). Got John ASTIN right away (learned him from crosswords years ago) (102A: "The Addams Family" actor John), but needed some coaxing to remember [Kojak's first name] (THEO). Trivia answer of the day: ACORN (3D: Symbol used to mark England's National Trails). I think the "nation" is the U.K., and the ACORN can be found on trail markers in Scotland, too, but I could be wrong. [I'm wrong—thistles, I'm told, for Scotland]

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


foodie 12:13 AM  

I loved, loved this! Once in a while a Sunday comes along that makes Sundays seem fresh and new and worthwhile again. No wacky phrases or predictable trickery. Just squinting and gently re-framing various myths. Subtle, rich, well done, perfect! Some long answers were gettable just from the clue once the theme had emerged-- e.g. TROJAN HORSE. Others made me chuckle out loud: FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH. I had never thought about what would happen if children drank from it! So clever.

And so many other goodies along the way-- NICENE (I knew internecine, but I guess this is different), CHASSE (as clued), the wonderfully tricky OILMEN-- What a FEAT!

jae 12:16 AM  

Mostly easy Sun. for me.  Nothing fancy just an amusing set of clue/answers.  I liked it.  

Most of my erasures were spelling corrections, but I did try aCct before ECON and Igor before INGA.

Potential tough crosses:  LYNDE/ SYMS and the CHEF/CHASSE/CHI area.  

retired_chemist 1:11 AM  

Medium hard here.

Ended without checking 82D MEDIAN and thinking Thomas MARNO was one of the many actors I never heard of. There actually is someone by that name, but not an actor. So, one error.

Pretty solid, pretty lively. Didn't like LAP CAT (née TURKEY) - maybe there are some, but none that I know personally.

The SE corner was a problem since I remembered the Weird Al song as EAT ME. That gave me ADDED for 113A and,since I haven't watched Sesame Street for decades, ERNIE wasn't obvious. Finally remembered THEO and got it all straight.

A good workout and worth the effort. Sundays are my least favorite puzzles but this one was good. Thanks, Mr. Berry.

crossgirl 1:18 AM  

When I see a Sunday by Patrick Berry, I know I'm going to have a good time. No exception here!

Andrew 1:21 AM  

Derailed by names I don't know: SYMS/LYNDE crossing and MEDIAL/MARLO where I also had MEDIAn and MARnO was as random a name as any. Took me a few minutes to track down the error. Otherwise pleasant, but those obscure name crosses always irk me.

pk 1:36 AM  

I wish my OCD would let me give up on Sundays, I really do. This one was way better than normal, but still, they are just too big and take way too much time.

Only had one "boo" in the margin for moon shots. I'm not even close to being prudish, but I don't need to see that in my puzz.

I've been to many equestrian events, and I've never heard a clop. That is a fiction.

I'm working on a novel, and one of the main characters gets a text on a Sunday morning while she's trying to work the Sunday puzzle in bed with her snoozing dogs, and she answers the text, puts the puzzle aside and says "Umph. Patrick Berry. Too hard anyway." She then goes on to work on the crime scene.

So this one is a little bit life imitating art for me. And yeah, I loved all the mythology stuff, especially Trojan Horse and Sword of Damocles. How can you not love that?

pk 1:40 AM  

I just put in some random characters for the captcha and it accepted them. I know Rex doesn't like it when people say "just sayin" but I really just did that.

Anonymous 1:54 AM  

Enjoyable puzzle...liked seeing Kojak get in there, and having both CROC and GATOR was a fun touch. I had forgotten the connection between banks and oars, but I will not anytime soon again! Also enjoyed the bit of history on Toyota.

Did not care for clues that were somewhat off the mark (in a lazy kind of way) for ECON and REARS.

There are actually two famous entertainers named Sylvia Syms: one an actress, the other a singer.


Anoa Bob 3:48 AM  

Thought the title was a lispy play on "mislabeled myths"

Filled it all in but with no appearance of the pencil that couldn't pass a field sobriety test. Turns out I had SiMS crossing LiNDE.

There are more Japanese kana characters, than you can shake a chop stick at, so the clue for CHI at 87A seemed vague indeed. Plus CHI is the Romanization of that kana character, not the actual kana itself.

Overall, a smooth, fun workout.

chefwen 4:22 AM  

This was a lot more enjoyable than last Sunday's slog-a-thon.

Like @retired_chemist Igor before INGA at 99D, I bet many of us fell for that one.

SWORD OF DAMOCLES and GORDIAN KNOT were new ones for me, but I don't get out too often.

Loved the clue for 29A and 96A.

Great Sunday outing, thank you Patrick Berry.

swimslikeafish 4:48 AM  

Hands up for CARDS before CHADS and IGOR before INGA. I enjoyed the clever cluing and choice words as much as those who have commented so far, but I still had a gnawing sense of disappointment that there wasn't more to the theme answers. I expected a substitution (a "th" in place of an "s" to explain "myth-directed," for example) and was actually slowed down by the fact that the theme answers were completely straightforward. This puzzle seems like the opposite of the ones Rexites usually complain about; instead of clever themes and boring fill, PB gave us plain themes and clever fill. Serves us right, I'd say!

Anonymous 6:27 AM  

The singer Sylvia Syms was born in 1917 and died 20 years ago,,,

orangeblossomspecial 7:24 AM  

Speaking of old timey, does anyone refer to golf clubs as 14D MASHIES any more? or niblicks or spoons? "Rory Sabatini reaches into his bag and pulls out a mashie. Oh, it's an audacious attempt for such a distance, but it's either that or a mashie-niblick. He addresses the ball ..."

I'm not so familiar with 72A Sylvia SYMS either, but here is a 1956 recording. Not saloon style, but you can find others that are.

Sam Cooke had a great song about 50A CUPID.

79D REDONDO Beach was a gimme for anyone who remembers the Beach Boys.

Milford 7:44 AM  

Fun puzzle, partly because I was able zip through it in about half of my normal solving time. Most of the proper names were gimmes for my particular brain that grew up in the 1970s - ASTIN, MARLO, HEIDI, ERNIE, LYNDE (although I did have LiNDE first).
Didn't know Paris' Golden Apple was actually the APPLE OF DISCORD.
Never heard of MASHIES. Don't really think of MAUVE with sunsets.
Favorite clue was for SPEEDO.

Glimmerglass 7:48 AM  

Nice puzzle. Couple of dumb mistakes today. Went with MEDIAn and never looked at MARnO Thomas. Never heard of Sylvia SiMS and misspelled Paul LiNDE. The myths were all familiar to me except APPLE OF DISCORD (is that the judgement of Paris or something else?), but it was pretty easy to infer from the crosses. Will some literalists object to FORBIDDEN FRUIT as a myth?

thursdaysd 7:58 AM  

From the title I thought this would be yet another punny Sunday, how nice to find out it was "just" myths. I am SO over puns.

I got the theme at TROJANHORSE on the second pass (didn't even read the theme clues the first time through), but wound up with SiMS instead of SYMS.

One captcha appears to be 33, that's a word?

Ovid 8:03 AM  

The forbidden fruit of the The Garden of the Hesperides ties in nicely with the Apple of discord.

Sue McC 8:11 AM  

I thought this was a lot of fun. Spelling mistakes messed me up for a while, and the NE corner was a pain (MAUVE is not a color I would use to describe a sunset :-/). Ditto on Igor. And I'm not familiar with the APPLE OF DISCORD. TOYOTA was not my first choice, either. Liked the clues "Cache for cash" and "Big name in suits".

miriam b 8:12 AM  

Delicious - like enjoying a box of Godiva chocolates.

@retired chemist: One of my 4 cats is NOT a LAPCAT, though he's very affectionate.

This captcha looks just too weird. The first word looks like the sign on a unisex loo. I bet I'll have to try again.

Sue McC 8:14 AM  

Also loved seeing Paul LYNDE in there...I always thought he was a riot.

jberg 8:18 AM  

Lucky guess at SYMS/LYNDE, and sort of a guess at JUKED/JOSIE. I didn't know "juked" in that context, but "misleading word" didn't seem quite right for "puked," the only alternative I could think of - half-back pretends to be sick, then takes off down the field like a rabbit? Worth a try, you coaches.

SPEEDO and OILMEN definitely the best clues. I hate to say this about a Sunday, but it was a little too easy = almost all the theme answers were gimmes, once you caught on that they were straightforward. Still, and easy Sunday is better than a hard one.

Brookboy 8:32 AM  

Really liked this one. I began with a bang, knocked out the entire northwest corner in mere minutes, thought I was going to set a record. Alas, reality soon set in.

Got the "N" in Inga first, so I didn't bite for IGOR, but I just could not figure out for the longest time what word that ends in F was a "Special creator".

So, no new records for me, but a very enjoyable puzzle all the way. Thank you, Mr. Berry.

joho 8:35 AM  

Hmmmm, seems like I'm the only here who liked (loved) last Sunday's difficult puzzle over this pleasant but super easy Sunday.

Only snag was PRoCessED before PRECOOKED.

Being built by Patrick Berry this grid is also super smooth which is always a pleasure. I'm just hoping for more a struggle next time.

joho 8:38 AM  

That should be "more of a struggle..."

I just realized that this is a speed solver's dream Sunday!

Wreck Sparker 8:45 AM  

A fine puzzle (other than SYMS crossing LYNDE). I always wondered why I took Latin in school, but if I hadn't I would never have been exposed Greek and Roman mythology, the GORDIAN KNOT, the SWORD OF DAMOCLES, PANDORAS BOX, and the TROJAN HORSE.

@Ovid's mention of The Garden of the Hesperides prompted me to wiki it. Interesting. The article includes a painting, The Garden of the Hesperides by Frederick, Lord Leighton, 1892, which shows women lounging under an apple(?) tree with a big-assed serpent crawling over them. That has a familiar ring to it.

So, thanks to PB for the puzzle and thanks to the various Rexites for the interesting and thought provoking comments.

Z 8:50 AM  

After a DNF on the easiest Friday in history I was happy to see a medium rating on what felt like an oversized Monday puzzle to me. I zipped through this in essentially one pass with one very tiny hiccup because I had Loo and Deked. Once I came back to finish the section and read the clue for 34D I quickly cleaned up that little mess.

LEEDS United seems a little obscure. They haven't been in the top league in a decade and a quick peek at Wikipedia shows they just managed to get back to the second highest league a couple of years ago. The Buffalo Bison gave people problems and they play on this continent. I would have preferred a Who related clue. I also thought to myself that "Center Square" would have been a better clue for Paul LYNDE.

Off to see if my Tigers can take the series from the damn Yankees.

imsdave 9:05 AM  

Beautifully filled grid - kind of boring theme. Once I realized that there was no trick to the theme answers, I spiced it up by not reading the WARNING clues and waiting for the crosses to fill in the answers.

Solid, but the first Berry puzzle that I can remember that I only rated a 3 out of 5 over at Amy's site.

Beautiful day here in CT. Might pull out my WEDGES(didn't fit) and play a little golf this morning.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

Can someone explain how forbidden fruit is mythology? I guess they are not referring to Adam and Eve

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

Sure they are.

geezerette 10:11 AM  

As a complement to @orangeblossomspecial’s Beach Boys’ hit, here’s another Sunday treat - the theme from ENNIO Morricone’s marvelous score for The Sicilian Clan, a HEIST film in which FORBIDDEN FRUIT becomes just too tempting.

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

Of course I could never expect Rex to say anything bad about Patrick Berry, his personal god of XWPs. And it seems everyone here likes this puzzle with one quibble over whether the Garden of Eden belongs in mythology. Well, I suppose if you are looking for an overgrown Tuesday on Sunday, this is ideal. I am usually looking for some cleverness, some fun, some sparkle on Sunday and this puzzle is as flat as yesterday’s opened soda. The theme clues are not particularly clever or funny or punny. After that there isn’t much else to say. Except the clue for MASHIES is as mythological as any of the theme answers and should have had “, once” added to it. Except for the driver and maybe the 3 wood/metal every club might be considered an approach club, but in today’s world of golf a wedge comes closest to that clue. They don’t make mashies anymore. They make 5 and 6 irons for what was once a mashie. They haven’t made mashies since the 1930s. That was 80 years ago which in terms of golf is like 8 light years. But that is a mere quibble for what to me was a total bomb. And I am a huge fan of PB....


Anonymous 10:26 AM  

Started off fun but then turned out to be the easiest puzzle I can remember. never had to go back and finish a section or even revisit one. Very boring and was done in a record time for me...

jackj 10:33 AM  

While all eight of Patrick’s theme clues were noteworthy, the standout for me was “WARNING: Effects on children unknown”, cluing FOUNTAINOFYOUTH. One couldn’t help but imagine what Edward Gorey would have concocted to illustrate that beauty!

The treatment of everyone’s favorite mystery meat in “Like Spam”, calling it PRECOOKED, has to be its gentlest descriptor ever though perhaps the next clue, “Grotesque”, cluing UNNATURAL, should have had a cross reference to 46 down to clarify things.

Highlights along the way include the very clever “Cache for cash, say” cluing the rarely seen in crosswords answer of HOMOPHONE. PSYCHED, as so nicely clued, JUKED, instead of the usual DEKED and Sesame Street’s ERNIE being recognized as the “Rubber Duckie” warbler instead of just being “Bert’s pal” were all fun and memorable. Who can forget Ernie croaking out those immortal lines:

Every day when I
Make my way to the tubby
I find a little fella who's
Cute and yellow and chubby

This puzzle might not have been a Hall of Fame effort by Patrick but, even his middling puzzles light up the Times puzzle page.

elitza 10:42 AM  

Loved it. Loved the theme, one minor quibble with the cluing on 84D (FIBULA is really part of the shin, not the calf muscle, imvho), but overall a really enjoyable ride. SOSA and GATOR are the two sprotball answers I could routinely get, since my brother is a University of Florida grad and, as a Michigander, the default NL team is the Cubs. Boyfriend got a giggle out of 29A, as he thought it might refer to my family reunions. As a LEEDS native himself, he states that the ACORN is actually correctly clued; the symbol for the Scottish National Trust is the thistle.

loren muse smith 10:45 AM  

@AnoaBob and swimslikeafish – I was antithipating a lithp theme, too. Also – there are YEA a ton of kana characters, but only three that would have a three letter transliteration. I agree, though, that that’s a really tough clue for anyone not familiar with kana.

LAV and AFAR – Is Patrick just that good that he can make sure you have the L in LAV and the A_A_ in AFAR and then have us wonder “loo?” “Away?”

@Tita – SLOOP!

Grew up in Chattanooga eating boiled OKRA and I’m not making that up. Good times.

I went to high school in Lilburn, Georgia with ERNIE (and Kermit)! Really nice guy.

CLOP. Loved it. HOMOPHONE. Loved it. I can never remember the difference between HOMOPHONE and HOMONYM. Shame on me.

Unlike @wreck sparker, I never took Latin and hence GORDIAN KNOT was completely new to me.

I actually DNF with a Natick at the JUKED/JOSIE cross. Probably like thousands of others, I had “faked” first. Flirted with “puked/posie” but then gave up and offered to take my daughter to IHOP.

Geat puzzle, Patrick. Ciao!

archaeoprof 11:06 AM  

LiNDE/SiMS got me too.

FWIW, Genesis 1-11 are regarded by biblical scholars as mythology.

Currently at work on a book about myths, tentatively entitled "More Than Once Upon a Time: Stories We Can't Stop Telling."

chefbea 11:06 AM  

Great easy fun puzzle!!

Love cache for cash. What is mens rea??

Of course @chefwen and I loved the shout out as we are both special creators!!

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

@elitza 10:42 The clue for FIBULA is part of calf. Muscle is not in the clue, so the cluing is accurate.

Norm 11:18 AM  

JFC @ 10:14 - agree this was rather bland. like Rex, I was expecting some misdirection or mislabeled myths.

Rex - I'm pretty sure the national trails in Scotland are marked with thistles, but it's been a few years.

Gill I. P. 11:18 AM  

I too loved this puzzle. I'm a huge myth fancier beit written or in art form. Greek mythology in particular showed up on pottery sometime in the 8th century B.C. Lots of snakes eating just bout anything - being devoured in one way or the other was a favorite Greek and Roman mythological scene.
Liked seeing HEIDI HEIST HINDI right there in the middle. Talk about a myth! Really wanted Ugly as sin for 47D. UNNATURAL should have been the spam clue. Every time my dad would see it he would make a huge deal about how dreadful it was and that that was all he ate during the war. I too started hating it when we left Cuba and well meaning people gave us tins of the stuff.
OKRA is the most vile food on this planet - even worse than spam....

joho 11:27 AM  

@archeoprof ... I like the title! Sounds like a good read, too.

I thought it was clever having FIBULA next to INSOLE.

chefbea 11:43 AM  

@Gil Don't ever move to the south!! Okra made many ways...fried, pickled, cooked with tomatoes yummm

Z 11:53 AM  

@chefbea - mens rea is apparently Latin for "guilty mind."

@archaeoprof - lots of people don't stop at Genesis 11. Moses/Jesus/Luke Skywalker - compare and contrast.

JHC 11:55 AM  

My favorite clue was 14A: Sunset color, thanks to Tony Kushner and Angels in America. (Warning: paraphrasing.)

Belize: Look at that sunset. What color would you say that was?
Louis: ...Pink.
Belize: Pink?! Mary, what kind of homosexual are you? That color... is MAUVE.

Fearlessk 11:58 AM  

Everything @anoabob and @archeoprof said! As soon as FORBIDDENFRUIT was revealed, I thought "oh boy! won't someone be objecting to the idea of Genesis as myth!" and so someone did :)

fruitypants 11:59 AM  

Enjoyable overall but I hated the SYMS/LYNDE crossing.

Tita 12:05 PM  

3 naticks made this hard for me. Liked the theme, though was not the zippiest Sunday...have to agree with @JFC.

@retired_chemist - I DNF'd thanks to MARnO/MEDIAn. Clue was cleverly designed to do that - a) one thinks of Thomas as a first name first, b) who thinks of MARLO Thomas as a stage actor...

And hey - I invite you to meet Marzipan, my avatar, and a very gregarious Tom...

I find it so odd that folks don't like Sundays cause they are too - curling up with the Sunday puzzle helps make the weekends for me.

@Anoa Bob et al - altho exthpected a lithp theme. Oops - a bit late - already been said many times...

(@lms - my SLOOP (all 14.5' of her, is alas, still on the hard...)

Mel Ott 12:09 PM  

@Foodie: The Nicene Creed is so-named because it was adopted at the Council of Nicea. Nicea was (is?) a town in western Anatolia. AD 325 or so.

I'm a believer and I have no problem with labeling some biblical stories as myth, including the creation stories (plural). Doesn't mean they are not true. They convey important truths about the nature of God and the nature of humanity. It's just that they should not be read as objective history or science.

Myths are important devices through which human beings find ways to express the inexpressable.

Sheldon Cooper 12:24 PM  

@JFC - Light years are measures of distance, not of time.

Sparky 12:25 PM  

Hand up for cards before CHADS. Had arrow before ACORN. There was a big Sylvia SYMS discussion a while back. I always confuse her with Nellie Lutcher. Was also looking for lisps at first. Ah well. Don't understand why OILMAN is cleverly clued. The
joke is?

Did about half yesterday evening then finished around 3 a.m. during a bout of insomnia. Perhaps that's why it felt like a slog. I am off my game.

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

Dear Sheldon,

A light year is how far light travels in one year. I was taught there is nothing faster than the speed of light. I never believed that but I do not expect to live long enough to prove me right. Light travels about 186,282.397 miles per second. Please multiply 8 times 186,282.397. That's how long ago they last made a mashie.

Anonymous 12:47 PM  



geezerette 1:05 PM  

I didn't get it either until I was reading the comments here, and then it came to me. OILMEN are "well-connected" because they're connected to their oil wells.

smev 1:05 PM  

Rex - the National Trails _are_ English - Scotland's are called "Scotland's Great Trails", and are marked by thistles - see

Anoa Bob 1:06 PM  

I understand why @Gil I.P. would think of okra as "vile". The "juice" can look like a clear, sticky, viscous fluid that would require a whole box of Kleenex to wipe up.

But prepared properly, that's not an issue. We grew tons of it in our garden when I was a kid in TN (about 75 miles WNW from Chattanooga). My favorite was sliced okra, rolled in cornmeal and fried in a skillet with a little lard. @chefbea, I'll go you one better, yummm, yummm!

Loved the clue for 51D "'That was the stupidest tea party I ever was at in all my life!' speaker". Modern politician? Course not. It's ALICE with the Mad Hatter. Good as it gets.

archaeoprof 1:47 PM  

@Joho: thanks! I'll keep writing.

@Z: I hope you don't really mean that. Maybe you and @Mel Ott should talk it over.

quilter1 2:03 PM  

Would you believe I actually said the words GORDIAN KNOT yesterday. My bag of Chinese food was tied too tightly, so I got a scissors and said "I'll have to cut the GORDIAN KNOT."


@Mel Ott: Well said.

paulsfo 2:11 PM  

I agree with JFC at 10:14. I don't care too much about the difficulty but rather about whether the clues were fun/clever. These was neither; I hated it.

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

Had a great time with all the myths. I never took Latin, but knew most of them from general studies.

Had a problem with CONFUTES, and never heard of a dance called CHASSE.

chefbea 2:24 PM  

@anon 2:17 a dance step!!!

JenCT 2:25 PM  

@pk: LOL on the OCD not letting you give up! I feel the same way, and then I'm spending way too much time too.

I groaned out loud when I finally got HERB for tea flavoring - I had the H, and was racking my brain for all the herbs that start with the letter H: horehound, hyssop, etc.

Had PROCESSED instead of PRECOOKED for the Spam clue, so that held me up for a looong time.

@Sparky: I have insomnia lately & feel off my game also!

Otherwise, same solving experience as @Rex.

The Amazing Randi 2:26 PM  

One person's mumbo is often another persons jumbo..

Lewis 3:17 PM  

Neither of our cats are lap cats. One is a harmless grouch who only thinks about food. The other used to be a "leg slicer" (she is feral) but is now simply "aloof and potentially dangerous" on kitty Prozac.

I have not been liking Sunday puzzles (or as someone called one earlier, a "slog-fest") and considered skipping today's until I saw the constructor, and today's was nowhere near a slog. It did have that Berry spark. I enjoyed it.

Do I have to remember "mens rea" for future puzzles?????

Hungry Mother 3:24 PM  

Enjoyed a lot. I had a mashie when I golfed as a kid in the 40s. I'll take up golf again when I'm old enough.

edmcan 3:34 PM  

I agree with everyone, it was fun. Amazingly, I only had one mistake in a Patrick Berry puzzle! :-D

The Blasevick 4:09 PM  

Seeing Patrick Berry's name at the top of a puzzle always makes me smile - but I was disappointed by the straightforwardness of the theme answers. Also felt the puzzle was overall really, really easy. Kind of bummed that my Sunday Times puzzle experience this week didn't provide much brain stretching.

chefbea 4:53 PM  

Had nothing to do this afternoon so picked up Ben Tausig's xword puzzle book which I bought a while ago. The first puzzle I did was by our fearless leader #31 and in the next puzzle was...mens ___!!! I felt so smart that knew the answer.

John V 4:59 PM  

Save for the East, per @Rex, pretty easy going stuff. The theme was pretty bleeding obvious for me.

APPLEOFDISCORD and ADDLE (wanted ANNOY) were the last to fall. I get a lot more discord from OKRA than apples, but YMMV.

JUKED? New to me and a tough cross with "The Ballad of JOSIE, also new to me. Got lucky with the J.

I always do a Patrick Berry puzzle and it is always a happy time. Thanks, maestro, for a fun Sunday.

mac 5:32 PM  

Exactly the same experience as @foodie; a most enjoyable Sunday puzzle.

After reading the blog I realized I got Naticked at Lynde/Syms.... The J in Josie/juked was a lucky guess when deked didn't fit.

Indeed, Speedo and oilmen had the best clues!

A Capriote 5:34 PM  

I so wanted pre flood for antedeluvian which lead me on a goose chase for (what is the plural of rebus?)

Sparky 5:49 PM  

Thanks @geezerette. Took a while even with your help. Aah, connected to the well=well connected. And yet I got CHEF. Hi Bea and Wen.) The mind is amazing but not predictable.

Gill I. P. 5:50 PM  

@chefbea @Anoa Bob. O.k. I *might* bite. If the OKRA were deep fried in pig lard (no crisco) I could probably forgive the mush. I've only had it twice. In a wonderful gumbo that was ruined when I bit into it. Another time when it was deep fried. I though I was eating a hush puppy or something; it tasted like soap.
I remember Paul LYNDE (68D) from watching Hollywood Squares. He was always in the middle square and had his name right there in big letters. Every time he said something, you'd just know it would be funny.

Z 6:06 PM  

@ Archaeoprof - "Doesn't mean they are not true. They convey important truths about the nature of God and the nature of humanity. It's just that they should not be read as objective history or science." Yep. Neither should Star Wars or Greek Mythology or any of the other myths we come up with to try to make sense of our world. But there is still a lot of truth in these myths.

syndy 6:12 PM  

This was pretty easy but I had a lot of fun trying to guess the myth's with as few letters as possible.I had a problem with IKEA clued as a "big box store"until I finally got the joke!DOH!I fell for PROCESSED and I don't think PB has cats if he thinks that just because one deigns to sit on your lap that means he's tame.

Tita 7:08 PM  

@syndt - spoken like an experienced cat fancier!

@mac - thanks for the LAT Saturday mention - that was fun too.
re: 33a - if ya got it, flaunt it, baby!

Octavian 7:33 PM  

Strange experience for me -- normally I love a Patrick Berry puzzle but this one left me cold.

Did not seem to have the usual humorous twist that he can give a puzzle, either in the theme or the clues. I would put the theme into the category of "mildly interesting" but not super-clever or amusing. Kind of a slog for me.

chefwen 10:19 PM  

We have a great Maine Coon who likes to head bump, purse dive, sit in the tub with the water drizzling over his head and down his back, but, sit one your lap, UH UH, no way, nevah, ain't gonna happen!!!

mikeametrics 10:29 AM  

Lesson for the future:

CHI and SHI are the only letters in Japanese which can be spelled with more than two letters.

Knowing this I got the _HI for free

Spacecraft 1:02 PM  

Couple writeovers: initially thought the muscle problem was MY m. p.; i.e., crAmp--anchored by the gimme A of ASTIN. 106a looked OK for -MAKER, at first; that goes with "home," all right--but "farmmaker?" Hmm. Eventually got that one straightened out. Then I misremembered 91a as NICEan instead of NICENE; that cost some time. Had SiMS and LiNDE, then remembered Paul's name has a Y in there. The rest went down pretty smooth, like a good Berry should.

One thing: if I PARRED, I sure didn't do it with a MASHIE, unless I went back a hundred years in my time machine. And please don't UNARM me. That's another one of those UNused UNwords that I intensely UNlike!

Anonymous 2:22 PM  

Never give up on a Patrick Berry puzzle. They can be challenging, but they always seem to be solvable in the end.

I had difficulty with the Apple (the whole CHASSE/CHI/CHEF/ADDLE area). Ran the alphabet several times on __EF and the closest I could get to an answer that made sense was REEF. It wasn't until I considered a dance step that began with CH that I saw CHEF appear...and lo, it fit the clue beautifully. That's the way PB's puzzles go for me: my brain often sees the words developing before it deciphers the clues.

myth-ing theme answer:
"Whereupon I proceeded to take that mittenful of the deadly yellow snow crystals and rub it all into his beady little eyes with a vigorous circular motion hitherto unknown to the people of this area, but destined to take the place of The Mudshark in your mythology--here it goes now,The Circular Motion, rub it!" -FZ

Dirigonzo 6:28 PM  

Came here only to discover that I made the same rookie mistake that caught others, as I decided Thomas MARnO must an actor with whom I am unfamiliar, totally overlooking the much more famous, and obvious, Ms. Thomas.

CONFUTES was totally unknown to me so I spent longer than I should have sorting out the whole section under CHADS, a word which still makes me grimace due to its association with - well, you know what I'm talking about.

I just knew @Spacecraft would have something to say about UNARM, and he didn't disappoint. Didn't we just have that, clued pretty much the same way? I'm thinking we did and that's why it was a gimme for me.

@Gil I.P. - what's up with the babe with the six-shooter; there has to be a story behind that avatar!

Dirigonzo 6:32 PM  

(Forgot to check the box for follow-up comments email)

Nullifidian 9:34 PM  

Writing from syndi-land.

I really enjoyed today's puzzle. Most of the cultural clues, though from a generation earlier than mine, were easy enough for me to get. I only paused at MARLO Thomas and Sylvia SYMS, since I've never heard of neither of these women, but the crosses allowed me to fill it in.

Cary ELWES will always have a fond place in my memory for starring in The Princess Bride, even if he's had to take a lot of poor roles since then. If I had tried to fill it in straight away I probably would have mistaken it for "Grant", but I already had LEAFS and LASH filled in.

I'm glad to see I'm not alone in getting MAUVE from the memorable line in Angels in America. I have the HBO miniseries on DVD and I've seen it enough times to recite the lines from memory.

I've never heard of a "fire sign", but inferring that it had something to do with astrology allowed me to fill in LEO. Truth be told, I have so little interest in that kind of nonsense that I don't even know my own astrological sign.

TATE was a gimme, clued in relation to John Constable who is one of the great English romantics.

HEIDI was another gimme thanks to LibriVox, where I've gotten caught up on a number of public domain books. I've always thought that the book's author, Johanna Spyri, should also be a common bit of crosswordese, and I'm somewhat surprised not to have seen her name yet.

ERNIE made me smile, remembering the "Rubber Duckie" song.

Overall, it was a great theme with nice cluing and very pleasant fill.

Gill I. P. 10:11 PM  

@Diri sweetums...That's my mom up in the Malibu Mtns at target practice. Not only did she love to shoot but she was a hell of a polo player back when only men did such stuff. I guess there was a GLOCK answer in the crossword and I couldn't resist. Yes, she was a babe....Thanks for asking so I could answer!

Solving in Seattle 1:15 PM  

It's Monday and I'm posting my comment for the Sunday Patrick Berry XW because yesterday was a fabulous sunny Pacific NW day and I was golfing instead of solving.

Easy puzzle with a few speedbumps. I'm with @Diri - CONFUTES not in my vocabulary.

I take issue with cluing for JUKED. Maybe a hockey player jukes, but I've never, ever heard an announcer declare that "Marshawn Lynch just juked the hell out of the safety."

Future CPAs study accounting, not ECON.

If OKRA were the only food on earth I would have died of starvation many (light) years ago.

The @SiS LOL award of the day goes, once again, to @Spacecraft.

Capcha: eneroom. Opposite of outeroom.

wcutler 2:04 PM  

Chasse is pronounced, with the "a" as in "hat", sha-say. It's a STEP together STEP, so maybe, for women, RIGHT left RIGHT. A Danish folk dance sequence might be: "chasse, walk, walk" (so for women), "RIGHT left RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT", which leaves your left foot free to reverse that, so another "chasse, walk, walk", and then four polka steps around with your partner.

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