Bone cavities / SAT 10-20-12 / Epic featuring Nero / Errant to Burns / Slender brooch / Carnival Tony winner Alberghetti

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Constructor: Ned White

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: BAR PIN (31D: Slender brooch) —
a long, slender, decorative pin or brooch. (
• • •

I liked this one. Very easy for me (7:13), but still enjoyable. My brain has these little crossword gremlins that are able to pull ridiculous little words out of nowhere sometimes. Like ANTRA. I couldn't have defined ANTRA to save my life (7D: Bone cavities), but once I saw the clue, my brain gremlins went back into their labyrinth of caves and shortly came back with ANTRA. So clearly I've seen it. It's stored in my brain with stuff like ANSA and ANSE and other things that don't look like words but are. I weirdly think about "QUO VADIS" a lot (32A: Epic featuring Nero), not because I know anything about it, but because every time I drive by nearby Davis College, I anagram "Davis" in as many ways as I can to form valid crossword answers (DIVAS, VADIS ... *maybe* VIDAS if you are willing to accept prose biographies of medieval troubadours or [Pitcher Blue and others]). Not sure why I would do this more than once, let alone every time I drive past, but I do. I've even imagined what SAVID would mean if it were, in fact, a word (somewhere near the regions of "smart" and "tasty"). Got NUOVA off the "N" without ever having heard of the place in question (47D: Milan's Porta ___), amended my UNC guess to UNH very quickly (53A: Durham sch.), without even waiting for confirmation from the cross ... crossword gremlins, man. They Work.

Had a pretty good run of guesses up top with MYOPE, MDS, BAH (really YAH) and BYOB going in one after the other. Had MORNS for a while before the right answer dawned on me (rimshot!). Had to decide between ARE SO and AM TOO. Somehow got ST. LEO off just the -EO. Didn't know ANNA MARIA (11D: "Carnival!" Tony winner Alberghetti) but got ANNA and then figured the rest had to be MARIE or MARIA. Didn't know MICROWATT, but pieced together the MICRO part from the "small" in the clue and then got WATT from the "W" in BAWL. I know the phrase as GO JUMP IN A LAKE (the idea that the utterer of this phrase would have a specific lake in mind seems weird to me), but "THE" out-googles "A," so that's fine. Only just now figured out that the "Berlin" in 36A: Hit from Berlin ("PUTTIN' ON THE RITZ") is Irving Berlin. I just imagined someone singing it in a Caberet in Germany. Like ... maybe that was where it became famous? Doesn't matter. I got the whole thing off -ITZ. Also needed post-game cogitation to figure out what a ROOTER was vis-a-vis a FAN. I'd heard of a rotating fan, or oscillating fan, but never heard one called a ROOTER. But of course the FAN in question is the one that sits in the stands (or, if it's a Yankees FAN, goes home before the playoff game is over, leaving an embarrassing number of empty seats for all to see). No idea what a BAR PIN is until I looked it up, but almost everything else was at least reasonably familiar.

  • 1A: Aid in football tackling drills (DUMMY BAG) — good answer, though it took a while to see. I couldn't remember what you called those damned things.
  • 27A: Feathered 500-pounder of old (MOA) — first though: "BIG BIRD"
  • 38A: The Chi-___ ("Oh Girl" group) (LITES) — musical interlude
  • 42A: Designer of D.C.'s L'Enfant Plaza (PEI) — three letters, pretty easy guess.
  • 62A: Port called the Cinderella of the Pacific (ENSENADA) — had the first "E" and "-ADA," so no problem. Pretty sure I've seen this clue before. 
  • 61A: Errant, to Burns (AGLEY) — yeah, I misspelled that. I thought that the best laid plans gang aft AGLAY. Silly me.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:37 AM  

Medium for me but I stared and guessed my way through the SE.  NUOVA, SHERA, and ANNES were all WOEs.  Plus I had SSR for CIN at first.  (Living near ENSENADA helped, but I did not know the appellation).  The rest was on the easy side but I can see where NE could be a problem if you didn't know ANNAMARIA.   I haven't heard her name in decades.   LYNCH is also not a gimme unless you're a Gleek .

Other erasures:  Solar for SPERM and bAH for YAH.

Pretty zippy...GOJUMP..,UTTERFOOL, QUIVERING,... and a smooth set of 3s makes for a very nice Sat.  from Ned White. 

Random sorta puzzle related comment:  Puttin On the Ritz from Young Frankenstein. 

Greg Charles 1:50 AM  

Rex must be in a good mood today. Barely even a yip for YAH, huh? Didn't I hear something about a root canal? Are you still high on pain meds?

Still, I was able to finish, albeit in an hour, so it must have been an easy Saturday. I'm sure the loveable curmudgeon will be back for Sunday!

chefwen 3:08 AM  

Medium for me too. Ended up with a pretty strange mistake, had wAR PIN for 31D thinking of those pins the military wear, now that I reflect back I guess those are related to rank. ANYHOO, that left me with wAWL at 31A, not believing that was really a word I looked it up and the definition was "To cry or wail plaintively like a cat". Crazy huh? Figured I was right and was ready to bet that wALW would be the WOTD. Color me red!

Only other write over was shY before COY.

Clark 4:22 AM  

I got all jammed up in the NE. Arthur Fiedler didn't fit for Boston pop. I eventually got the idea, but TONIC didn't occur to me. ANNAMARIA and MICROWATT wouldn't come to me. Could not come up with SCMALTZ (which I know was originally chicken fat), couln't remember LYNCH for the longest time, had no clue about MOA, MARAT or BARPIN. Oh well. I did get NUOVA off the 'V', thinking that if there could be a Porta Vecchia then there could be a Porta NUOVA.

(Thanks for all the congrats. @dk: sounds like you would be just the guy for a road trip to Mexico. I celebrated by taking a nap. @loren muse smith: my field is philosophy; my diss is on Heidegger's theory of time ("Originary Temporality: an Essay on Heidegger's Being and Time and his Interpretation of Kant). The word 'essay' is a bit misleading. Sort of like a lawyer's 'brief'.)

George Barany 4:54 AM  

Greetings Rex-ites -- I read this regularly but tend to be rather shy about posting. Fabulous clue for PUTTIN'_ON_THE_RITZ, which I now can't get out of my mind, especially having just seen the delightful new Tim Burton stop-action movie which is nothing like the classic Mel Brooks parody "Young Frankenstein." My own personal Natick on this one was the intersection of 7-Down with 26-Across, with the intersection of 56-Across (talk about misdirection, I was expecting a car!) and 58-Down (red wine = VIN on my mind) a close second. Good fun, all in all, and a hearty "welcome back" to our host from his journey down the ELIHU_ROOT_CANAL.

Now if you'll indulge me for a bit of self-promotion, I've been working with a bunch of friends to try to apply our modest constructing skills and have a miniscule effect on the upcoming election. Our body of work can be found at: I particularly direct you at our most recent effort, entitled "Debatable Strategy: Carry a Big Shtick" which represents my first collaboration with Michael Hanko -- someone I "met" a few months ago on this forum and who is honored in his own puzzle at:

Z 7:29 AM  

Apparently I need more Crossword Gremlins.

I do love the yellow outfit in the Chi-Lites video. 70's fashion - I don't know how any of us who went through our teens then came out even semi-normal.

Bobby B 7:53 AM  

But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

I don't get 55D. TRE?

Tyler 8:29 AM  

Nice puzzle. Tough for me, though. Sped through three quarters of the clues and could not get the last few.

Z 8:32 AM  

@anon8:21 - How's your foreign language counting these days?

Anonymous 8:42 AM  

58 Down CIN? WTF?

Rex Parker 8:45 AM  

CINcinnati Reds

Rex Parker 8:46 AM  

Due = two
TRE = three

in Italian (see @Z's comment, above)


loren muse smith 8:54 AM  

So many erasures: “get,” “weep,” “emu,” “kings,” “sip,” “cans” for YER, BAWL, MOA, RIOTS, NIP, and CANS. (@chefwen – I was even further lost there – at least you had “wawl!”)

I didn’t know “conjecture” could be a verb, too.

So we tell the UNHIP DUMMY, UTTER FOOL, OAF to GO JUMP IN THE LAKE. (Rex- I also say it with the a instead of THE.)

@Dr. Clark – I’m deeply impressed. I never could get my mind around Kant. And I didn’t know originary was a word, either! You taught me something!

SCHMALTZ – seven consonants and one vowel. Cool.

A Bud Light tribute to the loud ROOTER:

Thanks, Ned. Brutal workout!

nebraska doug 9:09 AM  

CINcinnati Reds? Boo!

jackj 9:10 AM  

Started out with ANNAMARIA (Alberghetti) and the New Englander’s gimme, TONIC and then just picked out pieces here and there to get a sense of Ned White’s cluing.

This made for a very workmanlike beginning with few things emerging without some strain until THELOT and SKINDIVER had me jumping for joy as Ned and I told a creep to GOJUMPINTHELAKE.

Things then picked up as BYOB begat BRUISE and James Bond’s DOSSIERS opened up QUOVADIS that showed the way to UTTERFOOL, which eventually got around to a favorite, PUTTINONTHERITZ.

Then came silly time as every box was filled but two at 56 across where the “Alfa Romeo, e.g.” clue had me stuck with RADIO_ED_ and nothing made much sense for the missing bits until “Red letters?” proved a brilliant misdirect for CIN(cinnatti), [oh, those Reds!] but even then what is CEDE or CEDI or, heaven forbid, CEDA, CEDO, CEDY or CEDU?

Aaaargh! Alfa Romeo finally jolted the old gray matter, moving the laser-like focus away from thinking about “cars” and reminded me of my infantry days and the Army’s phonetic alphabet. Phew, Whew, Duh and Doh, it’s CODE and NUOVA and good-bye to NUEVA.

Ned, you rascal, you almost did me in, but all’s well that ends well and I thank you for a splendid workout!

orangeblossomspecial 9:14 AM  

Decide for yourself whose version of 36A 'Puttin' on the Ritz' you prefer:

Clark Gable


Young Frankenstein

Unknown 9:32 AM  

Good one. I sat there for 5 minutes staring at CIN and wondering what the hell it was. I was thinking Vlad Lennon and Heather Prynne, not Pete Rose.

Unknown 9:33 AM  


Jim Walker 9:42 AM  

Good comments this AM. I liked the puzzle a lot but quibble at calling QUO VADIS an epic and SCHMNALTZ mush, since it is neither literally nor figuratively so. Alfa Romeo is a great killer clue. Last to go in for me.

joho 10:05 AM  

I really liked this one, lots of fresh answers and scrabbly letters, just an X short of you know what.

I did end up with a mistake, though, and it's so stupid I won't say where. But even that didn't quash my enthusiasm for this puzzle.

BTW, don't know if it's because I grew up in Minneapolis, but I did say GOJUMPINTHELAKE ... probably because there was always one or two right near by.

Thanks, Ned White, this should be your day to be PUTTINGONTHERITZ!

ArtO 10:26 AM  

Please explain how TONIC is "Boston Pop"?

AnswerGuy 10:40 AM  

@Art0 - regionalisms

Mike Manning 10:52 AM  

ROOTER - don't know the history with the NY Yankees, but the term has history in Boston with the fabulous Red Sox! See Royal Rooters (wiki) for the history of Michael McGreevy's loyal bar patrons and cheering section at Fenway. I've also heard then called the Roxbury Rooters as I believe the McGreevy bar was in Roxbury. See also "Tessie" (wiki) - the Red Sox anthem revived by the Dropkick Murphy's as revision of the original by the Royal Rooters that supposedly helped the inspirational win of the 1903 World Series.

The Red Sox also added a posh private area in Fenway for the 100th year celebration called the Royal Rooters Room.

Mike Manning
Nahant MA

Sandy K 10:54 AM  

Lots of good stuff here- WHO SHOT JR, PUTTIN ON THE RITZ, GO JUMP IN THE LAKE, QUO VADIS- even knew ANNA MARIA Alberghetti- she's been here before...

Never heard of AGLEY, but worked it out. But Ned White got me at RADIO CODE- had NUeVA and vIN, giving me RADIO veDE...felt like a DUMMY cuz CINcinnati Reds never occurred to me.

Sounds like you're feeling better, Rex! Now you're gonna get your well-deserved crown! (crowns)

jberg 10:55 AM  

Me too with jumping in THE lake - it's the same lake as in "let's go up to the lake this weekend." Sort of the Platonic ideal of 'lake' rather than any particular body of water.

It was medium for me, but it seemed while solving that there were an awful lot of ancient references - Charolotte Corday, Nero. Also unusually many answers I didn't understand until after I got them, like RAdCIO CODE and TRE, and MAVIS for that matter (someone's name, I take it?). I should have got the first more quickly - guy in the dorm room next to mine was in Navy ROTC, and carried around a pack of flash cards of the phonetic alphabet, complete with their matching signal flags, which we all helped him memorize. I thnk we said Alpha, though.

I finished with an error, though - didn't notice 53A wasn't UNc until I read Rex. I should have known SHERA.

Where in the world is ENSENADA?

Bob Kerfuffle 11:04 AM  

Good puzzle overall, but I must protest two Naticks, since I finished on the wrong side of both of them:

Crossing 53 A, the ambiguous UNC/UNH, with 49 D, "Princess of Power", totally unknown to me (what era?), where a cartoon SCERA seems as good as SHERA; and, crossing 32 D, "Full of anticipation, perhaps", where I had QUAVERING (dictionary def: trembling) with 38 A, the Chi-LITES, as well known to me as Princess Shera.

Carola 11:11 AM  

AGLEY is where I went in the NW, so DNF. Feel like a DUMMY and UTTER FOOL for never considering that a consonant could go in AN_RA. Had no idea of the TV show, so parsed it as "WHO'S _O_, JR.?" (a cliff-hanger involving a paternity suit? Would fit with SPERM cell). And YAH didn't occur to me as a "cry."

Otherwise found it a treat! When I had SCHMALTZ crossing ITZ, I was sure that the hit from Berlin would also be something German, like ...BLITZ, so it was fun to catch on to the song. Also to the RADIO CODE. Loved QUIVERING and DOSSIERS. Nice hot-to-cold transition with the burning evidence ASH over ICIER.

Thanks, Ned White - I look forward to your next one.

jae 11:12 AM  

@jberg -- North end of Baja California. About 50 mi. south of San Diego.

mac 11:13 AM  

Great Saturday workout! Medium for me, or, considering I found two wrong letters, challenging.

I considered Three Penny Opera for 36A, it fit!

Dummy bag, agley, Ensenada and the Boston pop, tonic, were new to me. Liked "who shot JR" and "the lot".

Two wrong letters: Chi-Lates and quavering sounded fine, as did Scera and UNC.

Beautiful morning in colorful Connecticut. We had a lot of visitors this morning: 18 wild turkeys and a very healthy coyoty taking a primping break right outside our family room window.

mac 11:18 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle: glad I wasn't alone with this lacuna!

Mel Ott 11:29 AM  

We used to call that thing we used in football drills a TACKLING DUMMY. Do they now call it a DUMMY BAG? Or are we talking about something entirely different?

Re TONIC: my father-in-law was from Boston. When he moved to NY he went to a drugstore SODA fountain and asked for some TONIC. They gave him a bottle of Vitalis.

quilter1 11:32 AM  

Medium for me. Baking bread this a.m. so went back and forth between puzzle and dough until I almost finished. Could not see CIN although I had the IN. Now I understand. Liked everything everyone else liked. I had StoRM cell before SPERM but had fun working out the NW. Wishing everyone a nice Saturday.

Erizo 11:43 AM  

I expect lots of people got gypped on UNH / SHERA. You had to know one or the other, and if you are from the south . . .

I didn't figure out the "Alpha Romeo" trick, so didn't correct the Spanish NUeVA to Italian. -3 for me.

Greene 12:19 PM  

@orangeblossomspecial Not sure if it was your intent, but you've reminded me of the cavernous cultural difference between the two versions of "Puttin' On the Ritz" you posted.

The Clarke Gable version comes from the 1939 film "Idiot's Delight" and is still old enough to utilize the racially insensitive original lyrics penned by Berlin in 1929. Gable has poor diction and the song is performed at breakneck speed so it's difficult to make out the references to Harlem, "the bevee of high browns from down the levee," and "where each and ev'ry Lulu-Belle [slang for maid] goes ev'ry Thursday evening [the traditional maid's night off]."

The "Young Frankenstein" version taken from Mel Brooks' 1974 comedy uses the revised lyrics written by Berlin for Fred Astaire in the 1946 film "Blue Skies" in which all racial slurs were expunged and the context of the song changed from wealthy Manhattanites watching flashily dressed but poor black Harlem residents parading on Lennox Avenue to a more generic celebration of the joys of fancy clothes.

Racism has a long and checkered history in American entertainment, but I thinks it's important to know our past so we can better understand our present and influence our future. In that spirit, I'm sharing a link to the original presentation of Puttin' On the Ritz from the 1930 film of the same name. The depiction of the African American dancers is regrettably tribal and stereotypic, but at least there is no blackface here, a repugnant practice that was still not dead even as late as 1930. Sometimes you have to measure progress in very tiny increments.

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

My husband is upset about the RADIOCODE clue. It should be alpha romeo since alfa is an acronym specific to the car.

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

Played a lot of football. It is called a tackling dummy. Never a dummy bag. Red letters was a bogus clue as welll. Something tells me this guy is no sports fan,,,,

Rex Parker 1:42 PM  

There is nothing at all "bogus" about [Red letters?], *especially* if you are a sports fan.

Tita 1:42 PM  

Favorite answer - GOJUMPINTHELAKE.

Alfa Romeo clue was villainous...
Between having been in Italy, and attended a classic car show chockfull of them, and knowing the alphabet code as Alpha, not Alfa, made this the last area to fall. (@Anon@12:28 - glad to know I'm not the only one)

Second favorite clue was for xwordese ACH...ausgezeichnet!

Loved this - any Saturday I almost finish (had the same QUaVERING mistake as others) in such a short time is fine with me when I know I face a busy weekend.

On to Sunday!

Anonymous 1:44 PM  

They are not the cincinatti red, they are the cincinatti reds or at one time red legs. Its a lousy clue

syndy 1:46 PM  

Ditto the UNH/SHERA conundrum otherwise this was so much in my wheelhouse it was actually in the wheelwell!I'm originally from Boston so familiar with dropping by the corner store for a TONIC! now I live in southern CA so I know my Baja California-oH and I collect Bakelite barpins-this way even a QUIVERING UTTER FOOL can't go ENORMously AGLEY!

Anonymous 1:59 PM  

Pretty easy for a Sat.

Pete Rose 2:02 PM  

I was a Red for 16 years. The best Red, according to me.

Wanna buy an autographed baseball? It's only fifty bucks.

Nemo paradise 2:12 PM  


Davis 2:16 PM  

Saturdays continue to be my weakest day by a longshot — on Magmic I usually manage around top 5% M-Th, and I'm lucky to be top 50% on Sat — and this puzzle was no exception.

I think this is the second time in as many weeks that I overlooked "due" as the Italian word for "two"; I really need to fix that one in my brain. YAH I simply don't get at all; the Google tells me that definition is correct, butI'll be damned if I've ever heard that as a term of derision. The biggest WTFs for me were AGLEY, ANTRA, and ENSENADA. BAR PIN was weird, but I got it on crosses and it sounded pretty correct to me.

Aside from those entries (which Google helped me fix), I liked the fill here. Medium-long entries like UTTER FOOL, SKIN DIVER, and ANY DAY NOW were fun; same goes for the fifteeners. Overall nice puzzle. Also a clear sign that I need to go practice some Saturday grids.

Clark 2:20 PM  

@anon 1:44 — Re: red vs reds. Dude, get a grip. It's Saturday.

@loren muse smith — 'Originary' is my (and some other people's) translation of 'ursprünglich' as used by Heidegger. I don't use 'original' or 'primitive' because they both have connotations that lead the reader astray. 'Originary' is actually an old English word that means precisely what I use it to mean, but I wouldn't care if it were made up. It is a perfectly cromulent word I think, and I am looking forward to finding it my puzzle someday.

jackj 3:05 PM  


The Monday level clue for CIN is "Reds, on the scoreboard".

Please give credit where deserved for a bit of brilliance.

Antra Chmaltz Microwatts 3:14 PM  

@Dr Clark
Will you be able to help now with the existential pain I have in my side?

I had one of those could not solve at all, went to bed, woke up and finished in 10 gremlins here, but maybe one of those incubuses!

Loved the Qs...
If you love high consonant to vowel ratios, learn Yiddish!

@Bob Kerfuffle
If you parse it SHE -RA it makes more sense...

CIN started out as SSR then CCR...maybe John Fogerty is Russian!
Loved the confusion on Berlin, due, Red...very Saturday...and anything that brings back @Greene into the discussion, three thumbs up!!!

MYOPE finally came into "focus" from (Mr) Magoo!
(hmmm, spellcheck is s uggesting MAGOG!! )

Also had to go from slY to shY to COY. Story of my life!

John V 3:19 PM  

Got snagged in the SE, CIN and friends. Otherwise medium, fun workout.

Anonymous 3:36 PM  

Moscow flash mob "Puttin on the Ritz" is great fun. Take a look.

mac 4:09 PM  

Nice Barry Silk in the LAT with an amazing bleedover.

loren muse smith 4:52 PM  

@Clark - you sent me off to the dictionary again to look up "cromulent!" Nice.

@Andrea - I always love Yiddish words; they're so colorful!

Cathyat40 5:30 PM  

@Anonymous 12:28 and @Tita, I, too would have thought that the radio code for A would be spelled ALPHA, but Wikipedia begs to differ - see link:

Carola 5:58 PM  

@mac - Thank you for the Barry Silk tip.

sanfranman59 6:01 PM  

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 6:00, 6:47, 0.89, 6%, Easy
Tue 11:33, 8:58, 1.29, 98%, Challenging (5th highest median solve time of 173 Tuesdays)
Wed 12:14, 11:50, 1.03, 62%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 13:57, 18:48, 0.74, 11%, Easy
Fri 15:26, 24:25, 0.63, 4%, Easy (7th lowest median solve time of 172 Fridays)
Sat 23:30, 29:09, 0.81, 12%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:40, 3:41, 1.00, 53%, Medium
Tue 5:33, 4:40, 1.19, 92%, Challenging
Wed 6:37, 5:57, 1.11, 81%, Challenging
Thu 7:41, 9:22, 0.82, 21%, Easy-Medium
Fri 7:53, 12:09, 0.65, 5%, Easy (9th lowest median solve time of 171 Fridays)
Sat 14:36, 16:32, 0.88, 26%, Easy-Medium

quilter1 6:06 PM  

I also specify THE LAKE.

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Bob Kerfuffle 8:02 PM  

OK, guys and gals, wasn't it nice of Dorispinto1001 to post here? I mean, haven't we all at one time or anothe4r had problems with spelling?

Hope she's good with Yiddish and French!

Dirigonzo 9:31 PM  

Weekend puzzle partner and I started this one after dinner and had a lot of fun working quickly (for us) through the grid until we ran out of gas in the SE, where the unknown Milan port and cartoon princess obscured the crosses, which we should have known. So not "easy-medium" for us but still an enjoyable time with lots of "aha" moments that made the almost-solve a good time.

Anonymous 11:53 PM  

She-Ra princess of power was very important in my house in the mid to late 80s. Alfa Romeo, on the other hand, was my last clue because I didnt have a clue. And yes you do go jump in the lake - any lake.

Denise B 8:00 AM  

I loved this puzzle, which satisfied my inner cruciverbalist and inner adventure lara croft simultaneously. Actually found the puzzle on the easy side -- the stunt added a nice dimension of difficulty. I look forward to the Thursday puzzle. @AdvertGirl

Atlantasolver 3:42 PM  

I actually thought the puzzle contained an error, puttiing the University of North Carolina in Durham, N. C., actual home of archival Duke. -- New Hampshire ...

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

I work the puzzle in the Dallas Morning News so it is 6 weeks after the rest of you. It is a bit ironic that the headline today is on the passing of Larry Hagman, the subject of 17 across.

Catte 11:17 AM  

Anonymous10:12 Dallas Morning News here too. And like you I found the JR Ewing reference eerily timely. It was my first though re the clue, but figured my mind was on the series for the obvious reasons. Then when the crosses gave me the JR I knew what it had to be.

Mike Koenecke 11:44 AM  

Wow, I thought I was the only Dallas Morning News solver who reads this blog regularly: always felt posting any comment would be pointless to people who moved on six weeks ago.

Red Valerian 1:08 PM  

I agree @Catte. Really quite eerie out here in the syndi-zone to read about Hagman, then do this crossword.

Loved the puzzle, though I see I finished with one error. Had PEg for 'flock member's perch' at 30A, which gave me SOg for 'spread' at 21D. That did look a little weird, but not quite weird enough.

Had to come here to find out what CIN meant. But it was gettable.

Congrats, @Clark! I, too, had a nap after my defence, lo those many years ago now. It was exhilarating yet exhausting at the same time. Plus, I had a horrible head cold--I think that got me the pity PhD.

@Dirigonzo--puzzle partner only on the weekends? Early week puzzles too easy?

Red Valerian 1:09 PM  

Dang--it didn't ask me about emailing comments. Sorry for the clutter.

Spacecraft 2:38 PM  

Okay, how does "Big cards"=RIOTS?? And please explain what UNH stands for? Don't tell me there's a Durham, Hew Hampshire. If so, then that has to be the single unfairest clue ever written. With SHERA unknown to me, that becomes a 100% ungettable Natick.

But for that one letter, I did the rest of it, no thanks to cluing that more than earns Saturday-level marks for misdirection.

Working out the NE, 13d seemed to want to be SCHMALTZ, a perfectly marvelous word. But a 15er ending in Z? At first I was thinking [something]BLITZ, vis-a-vis the Berlin in the clue. But BARPIN and the rest led to good ol' Irving instead. Love that guy.

GOJUMPINTHELAKE always makes me think of the Manchurian Candidate (the original one, of course: the great one), and the chance suggestion made to Raymond at the bar. Good stuff.

Other than the foul at 53a/49d, I liked it, though I must agree that DUMMYBAG is not a term I'd use in connection with football drills.

DMGrandma 2:54 PM  

Thought I'd finally aced a Saturday puzzle, only to find that I had my school in the wrong state! Other than that, plodding and rewriting got me the rest. Remember Anna Maria from a movie ( with Crosby??) sometime around 1950 where she played a blind girl so convincingly we all thought she really was blind.

I was surprised to see ENSENADA appear as the Cinderella city, not a term I would have used. Our family vacationed there often and loved its casual, laid back style. Missed a few years as the girls went off to school, and were surprised on a more recent trip to find it has been turned into a cruise stop, with every-cruise-stop-luxury shops replacing the genuine Mexican ones. Our favorite low tide shelling place has become a high-end yacht harbor, with a hotel that couldn't even produce a tortilla when a guest requested one. I guess it's good for the economy, but the Mexico we loved has given way. Sadly, we have no desire to return.

SDUnion, or what's left of it, apparently didn't carry the Hagman story, but the connection to my above, over-wrought comments, is that he "discovered" the delightful, casual Rosarita Beach years ago and brought in development that had the same effect of turning it into another plastic tourist stop.

Why does this always seem to happen?

Idahoconnie 2:59 PM  

Spacecraft: a card can be somebody who's really funny or a riot.

Anonymous 5:14 PM  


Waxy in Montreal 5:14 PM  

As @Catte & @Red have noted, more syndi-synchronicity today with the passing of Larry Hagman and 17A in the puzzle.

Lots of misdirection today: had MAGOO before MYOPE, AIM ere ARM, SSR and MIR preceding CIN, BLITZ (and even considered FRITZ!) in the hit from Berlin, BABY something or other off the Y in YER for 36D. Also, not familiar with ENSENADA or Auntie ANNES so the SE was AGLEY (if not UGLY) for the longest time. Still, a good Saturday workout, with or without a DUMMYBAG. And if Notre Dame can handle USC tonight, might make an UTTER FOOL of myself after a NIP or two...

Joshua 6:37 PM  

@Greene: In 1983, there was a version of "Puttin' on the Ritz" that hit the top 10 on the Billboard pop singles chart, by the Dutch singer Taco. It used the revised lyrics with no racial references ... but the music video featured several scenes of dancers performing in blackface. (Those scenes were generally edited out for U.S. television channels.)

Dirigonzo 9:07 PM  

@Spacecraft - yup, there's a Durham, NH.

@Red Valerian - WPP's assistance is more dependent on her schedule than on the difficulty of the puzzle (but she has been around for a few Monday - Thursday puzzles recently).

Anonymous 10:29 PM  

I'll chime in with another Larry Hagman/eerie comment.

On a Saturday, I scan the clues until I hit one I can answer. 17a was the obvious WHO SHOT JR so that was my first entry. Didn't know he had died at that point, but I recalled seeing his name in that left hand side hot topic list on Google News.

So I went back and checked, and, well...RIP Major Nelson.

Liked this puzzle, finished with one error...second time I've been burned by Durham, NH; maybe next time I remember. Thing is, I know Duke is in Durham--thus, UNC must be in some other NC town.

Anonyrat 8:13 AM  

Once again, I feel so alone. Evidently I was the only one, at 35A, who was envisioning Rob Corddry slaying boRAT. *sigh*
@ mac 11:13 AM - I assume you meant coyote, not "coyoty". In California, seeing one outside your window would not make for a beautiful morning. If it was "very healthy looking," it would probably mean it's been eating all of your neighbors' cats.
@ Erizo 11:43 AM - If you are from the south, you would know UNC is in Chapel Hill and Duke is in Durham.
And BTW, FYI, FWIW, and no offense to Clark, but according to the interweb, a PhD defense should take two hours, or less. The California Bar Exam is three DAYS (and has the highest fail rate in the nation - 46%) So, Clark, it could have been a lot worse.

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