Rock with glittery inside / MON 1-21-13 / Territory that became two states / Roulette centerpiece / Soccer star Mia's meats / Potato protuberances

Monday, January 21, 2013

Constructor: Susan Gelfand

Relative difficulty: Easy (2:49)


THEME: Possessive rhymes — two-part phrases where the first part rhymes with the second, following the pattern [somebody's somethings]

  • LOCKE'S LOCKS (17A: Philosopher John's tresses?)
  • PENN'S PENS (25A: Actor Sean's writing implements?)
  • WRIGHT'S RIGHTS (Aviator Wilbur's entitlements?)
  • HAMM'S HAMS (50A: Soccer star Mia's meats?)
  • LISZT'S LISTS (59A: Composer Franz's rosters?)

Word of the Day: DSL (32D: It's faster than dial-up, in brief) —
Digital subscriber line (DSL, originally digital subscriber loop) is a family of technologies that provide Internet access by transmitting digital data over the wires of a local telephone network. In telecommunications marketing, the term DSL is widely understood to mean asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL), the most commonly installed DSL technology. DSL service is delivered simultaneously withwired telephone service on the same telephone line. This is possible because DSL uses higher frequency bands for data. On the customer premises, a DSL filter on each non-DSL outlet blocks any high frequency interference, to enable simultaneous use of the voice and DSL services. (wikipedia)
• • •

A simple, old-fashioned kind of theme that surely must've been done many times before. Not much to say there. The rest of the grid is quite solid—above average, I'd say. Very clean throughout, with some genuinely polished and lively places. I especially like the NE corner. High-value Scrabble letters make for some vivid and interesting words—i.e. they're not just thrown in there for show. JINXED (11D: Brought bad luck) and WOODSY (13D: Filled with trees) would look good in any puzzle. All over the grid, you'll notice that there's very little that is off-putting or irksome. It's very clean. It would be nice if the theme had some pop to it, but you can't have it all, and I'll take an expertly filled grid over a poorly filled grid any time. It's pretty hard to get all your 5s and 6s to work in concert, but in the corners, and in the due N and due S, that's exactly what's going on. Competent, careful fill, esp. in the non-showy medium-length range (i.e. the 5s and 6s of which I speak), is deeply under-rated, and often goes unnoticed. So ... I hereby notice it.


Only two sticking points today. The answer with which I had the most trouble was actually the first one I encountered: 1A: Gross growth (MOLD). I had not idea what could be meant. I wasn't even sure what definition of "gross" was in play. After getting first two letters, I considered MOSS, but that didn't seem ... gross enough. Later on, I had an odd lot of trouble WHEEL (44A: Roulette centerpiece). I came at it from the back end (-EL) and thought a. it was a two-syllable word and b. it was some technical term. Wrong on both counts. After that, the only issue I had was the eternal "A-Neal or I-Neil?" question at 48D: Singer Young or Sedaka (NEIL). I guessed right.

Back to my Satyajit Ray movie ("Mahanagar," 1963), then football.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

67 comments:

jae 12:04 AM  
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jae 12:06 AM  

Very easy Mon.  When you can fill in all the theme answers with no crosses there is no sport to it.  The only thing that intrigued me about this one was wondering how many names you could come up with that would fit the theme?

Two in a row on the meh side. 

Anonymous 12:11 AM  

jae - Let's start with "Comedic Andy's pudenda"

Evan 12:38 AM  

This was one of those rare times where, as soon as I hit the first theme answer, I instantly went to all of the others and just wrote them in with no crosses like @jae did. Easy enough to suss out -- it was just a matter of recalling the celebrity's name.

I sorta have to take issue with LISZT'S LISTS, though. I like it by itself, but not in relation to the other four theme entries, where the celebrities' names are homonyms of the following noun. LISZT is pronounced differently from LIST given the Z in between, making that entry somewhat of an outlier in the set. But everything else is fine.

I had the same trouble with MOLD. I instantly dropped in EAU at 1-Down, making EO-- at 1-Across really confusing from the get-go, but I settled it soon enough.

It's probably a coincidence, but you could almost hear the grid calling out to the actress Robin WRIGHT PENN. The first name didn't quite make it, so I guess the Rob of ROBS will have to do.

Other possible theme answers:

* TYLER'S TILERS (10th U.S. President's bathroom workers?)
* TAYLOR'S TAILORS (12th U.S. President's clothing makers?)

Actually, one element to this puzzle's theme is that the name has one extra letter compared to the noun that follows, so the previous two might not fit. But....

* WEBB'S WEBS (Former NBA player Spud's spider traps?)
* LEMMON'S LEMONS (Actor Jack's terrible cars?)
* HAWKE'S HAWKS (Actor Ethan's birds of prey?)
* PAINE'S PAINS (Revolutionary Thomas's feelings of discontent?)

chefwen 12:40 AM  

Introducing Skippy aka Skipper aka Toby's wing man. Jon thought it was too soon, but I felt that Skippy needed his "place in the sun". He's moping around like he just lost his best friend, Oh wait, he did.

Puzzle was super easy, powered through it (not as fast as Rex) but not too far behind. I like a little more crunch in a Monday. Although, after last Thursday, Friday and Saturday, it was a welcomed relief.

Evan 12:49 AM  

Hmmm, I might have to correct myself re: the pronunciation of LISZT. Now that I say it, it probably sounds pretty close to LIST, regardless of the Z. Even Merriam-Webster says that it rhymes with LIST, so that's probably good enough.

Carola 1:16 AM  

A CUTE idea, very easy puzzle. PENN'S PENS could be used to write ITEMS on LISZT'S LISTS. One do-over: MOLe before MOLD.

@Evan - Neat on noticing WRIGHT PENN. And wow on the other PHRASES you came up with!

Greg Charles 1:56 AM  

Cool to see Rex post his time ... I hope he keeps up the practice. I came in at just over double that. My fastest time ever!

@Evan -- for Webb's Webs how about Dragnet actor's dragnets?

Alexis Chowla Mazdas 2:10 AM  

@Carola
Hand up for MOLe...that's a gross growth, but I thought they were editorializing a bit, as some are "beauty marks"!

Loved it for the precise reason already evidenced by the first comments...it inspires folks to come up with their own and "play along"!!!

Lots of fun words: WHAMMY, TRAVESTY, (TRAVESTY!)
EXCON, JINXED, and the folksiness of the GALS clue, etc.

The only only only thing I didn't like was the whole SW corner being abbreviations... MTN/MED/YRS
esp MED being an abbrev of an abbrev.

But great puzzle and pleased as punch it got such a positive review....

PS @Greg Charles
I like how your WEBBS WEBS clue is so parallel-ly constructed! ANd it makes it more Wed than Mon.
Only thing is, WEBB is fictitious...

Bec another nice thing to notice is Susan Gelfand had a philosopher, an actor, an inventor, an athlete and a composer!
So FIVE, not three...and a wonderful, diverse set...
and at least one woman, which doesn't always happen...and as a sports clue no less!

Anonymous 2:12 AM  

I would expect records to be set with this one. The simplistic theme lends itself to record times.

I liked it. Solid. SSS and EXED are unfortunate, but well worth the price. Both could have been eliminated pretty easily, but I'd hate to lose JINXED. The SSS alternatives not so good for a Monday puzzle.

I 'knew' everything instantly. Every first thought was the right one. The first theme entry filled itself in and I had the whole theme cracked without even having seen a theme clue. I expect that even the speedsters couldn't fill it in as fast they had it solved in their heads.

Totentatz

Anonymous 6:34 AM  

@Rex:

They're not just "possessive rhymes," they're homophones too.

Ellen S 6:45 AM  

@acme, Jack WEBB isn't fictitious; he's the actor, Sgt Friday is the character. In fact, according to IMDB, that's even his real name. ( I know about him because I date from when ARA Parsegian was a real coach at Notre Dame and not just a crossword fill. )

OTD 6:45 AM  

Too easy. No challenge. Don't keep track of my time, but this was certainly in the record category.

Also didn't like the abbreviations in the SW corner. Went with the abbreviations in the NE, I guess.

MetaRex 6:49 AM  

HAMM'S HAMS with its vague suggestions of salaciousness and soccer--HAMM'S HAUNCHES, HAMM'S HAMMIES--is a cut about the other thematic answers. A wink to more sophisticated solvers is a nice touch in an easy Monday, and today's puzzle gives us one.

Cat's Kills

Airymom 6:55 AM  

My Ravens are going to the Superbowl, so today's constructor could have done most anything and I would have loved the puzzle! I think it's a good solid Monday---loved "travesty" especially. I also chuckled that there's "bagels" "locks" and "hams" in the same puzzle--what a contrast.

loren muse smith 7:04 AM  

Here’s one beauty of this place: Rex’ comments made me go back and reexamine the grid and then fully appreciate what he’s saying on the whole fill. I otherwise would have put this puzzle down and not thought about it.

I guess those 6’s and 5’s have gone the way of the unsung hero, kind of like the six foot jumper has been eclipsed by the three? OK, that’s a stinky comparison, but I’m going for a (wobbly) Unsexy Workhorse Appreciation comment here, the sexy WOODSY and JINXED notwithstanding.

I bet if one answer had lacked that proper-name-has-one-more -letter factor, Susan would have been sent back to the drawing board. That tightness is what makes these puzzles so elegant. Given this constraint, CRUISE’S CREWS and LENIN’S LINENS don’t work. But COBB’S COBS and LENNON’S LINENS do work.

I appreciate Andrea’s comment that it’s the sign of a great theme when we start playing the “let’s come up with our own” game. Makes me feel less like a scrambling wannabe!

Liked the breakfast CHOW – BAGELS and DANISH washed down with a big ole glass of BASS. And the STAG has his DOE.

@MetaRex - I keep seeing BANDAGE over Mia’s HAMS. Does one even bandage a HAM string?

I could have sworn that the prominent crocodile feature was his TOE. ;-)

@Totentatz - À chacun son goût; I love answers like SSS, PFFT, PSST, BRR. GRR. . .

Thanks so much, Susan, and Rex. With this inspiration, I’m going to go off to a work in progress and lose the ABASE, LSATS, AMANA, ESTEE, AETNA, RIATAS. . .and go for JUAREZ, SWIVEL, and SKIFF. (Cue music Fly Me to the Moon). . .

Hungry Mother 7:18 AM  

Similar to LA Times theme today.

Susan McConnell 8:14 AM  

Practically filled itself in. Fun for a Monday, but really bordering on too easy.

Sexting Rep. Anthony's hot dogs? (Sorry!)
International Man of Mystery's abilities?
Comedienne Kristen's hairpieces?

dk 8:35 AM  

Jack Webb once owned the house across the street from mine when I lived in Hollywood. Frank Faylen still lived on the block and was still bitter Jimmy Stewart got the Harvey role in the move, as Faylen had the Harvey role on Broadway. Frank was also Dobbie Gillis' dad.

Easy peasy Monday fare. I had sOLD and sAL at the ones -- as one grows one's gross revenue through sales, sal de mer is sea salt and I am an idiot.

Thanks Susan

������ (3 large JAWed reptiles)

joho 8:44 AM  

@Rex, second day in a row you got stuck at the WHEEL. (Well, actually seeing your super fast time, you didn't get stuck at all!)

My first thought was that my JAW got tired from chewing on the hard, MOLDy BAGELS.

Yes, very easy, but with some lovely words for a Monday my favorite being TRAVESTY.

Thank you, Susan, your'e a STAR!

(@chefwen, Skippy is so cute! He's the dog with many names, no? Just like my avatar: Riley, Sparky,
Shorty, Curly, Blackie. Stinky ...)



jackj 9:07 AM  

Today’s puzzle by Susan Gelfand is unique. On the one hand it has a dreadful old chestnut of a theme with LOCKS, PENS, RIGHTS, HAMS and LISTS attached as ECHO(es) of their same sounding namesakes, (Mia HAMMSHAMS, for example), but on the other hand, quite unexpectedly, the cluing of the fill is superb for a Monday level puzzle.

Starting immediately at 1 across, “Gross growth” is the clever clue for MOLD and, as we move across the grid, we meet up with an EXCON who happens to be “One who’s finished a sentence?”.

Keep moving through and you’ll likely like ASCEND and JINXED, then, you can’t see the forest for the WOODSY, we get the “Roulette centerpiece” clue for WHEEL, the “Several ages, in geology” asks for EPOCH, a horse gets the HALTER, (not the summer sunning GALS) and, of course, there is WHAMMY, (though it is rather oddly clued as a “Devastating blow” rather than seeking its preferred meaning as a hex, “A witches curse?”).

Oh, well, opinions don’t a TRAVESTY make, which a LECTURER might offer as SAGE commentary and there’s no reason to EMEND the clue, HAIRY though it may be.

An “A” for the fill but a “Did not play well with others” for the theme.

jberg 9:08 AM  

I guess the theme was obvious, but it seemed fun to me - so I liked it more than most seemed to. My only problem was 33A - here in Boston, at least, a 'gyro' is the same as a 'sub,' and comes on a sub roll. If it comes with pita, it's either a wrap or a pocket.

@Loren, do you really pronounce 'linen' just like 'Lennon?' Must be another of those regional things - for me, the vowel sounds of the i and e are very distinct.

I thought of 'seL de mer' too, but AREA saved me. Still, what's so gross about MOLD, that brings us wonderful Stilton, sauterne, and trockenbeerenauslese?

mac 9:15 AM  

Same here, very easy, theme answers filled in without crosses, but quality fill.

Almost started with wart at 1A, but saw oro in time.

Yes Evan, Liszt is pronounced List.

Very cute dog, @chefwen!

loren muse smith 9:16 AM  

@jberg - good catch. Yep - for this Chattanooga/Atlanta-reared solver, the following are homophones:

pen/pin
ten/tin
when/win
Lennon/linen

So continue yesterday's whale/way discussion, the question is which dialect does a constructor use when doing rhymes?

Interesting!

chefbea 9:17 AM  

super, easy, fun puzzle. Seemed like a pangram so I went back and looked...no F or Q.

Shout out to me at 13 down

OldCarFudd 9:19 AM  

My wife, who rides horses all over the world, says the clue at 45D is just plain wrong. A halter is something that goes over the horse's head, to which you can attach a length of rope. The rope lets you walk in front and lead him, or tie him to something. Reins are attached to a bridle, which has a bit that goes in the horses mouth, so you can control the horse from his back. It's very different from a halter.

Other than that, we both enjoyed the puzzle.

Z 9:46 AM  

Fun Monday.

I've always preferred Possessive Homophones to Possessive Homophobes.

Hamm's spouse is Nomar Garciaparra. I wonder if their kids will be good athletes.

John V 9:53 AM  

Morning. Fun theme, easy as noted; what @Rex said. Just right for a Monday.

Horsey Guy 9:57 AM  

@OldCarFudd - I agree with your wife, except that she's wrong. Many Western riders ride in a halter with reins attached. At that point I'd call the halter a hackamore, but it's not, it's just a halter with reins attached.

Sandy K 10:20 AM  

Easy peasy! Filled itself in... agree with that! Might be my fastest time ever- altho I don't time myself.

Good ones- @Evan and @Susan McConnell!

@chefbea- JINXED and LISZT made me look for pangram.

@chefwen- very cute doggie!

the redanman 10:29 AM  

SEL de Mer

The trendy answer

Milford 10:33 AM  

Gee, I'm not sure i could re-write my filled grid in sub-3 minutes.

Easy theme, fun fill. PITTS' PITS (Brad's underarms?) is what immediately came to mind. I agree with @Acme that we had a nice assortment of people in the theme.

@jberg - it pains me to have you think a gyro is a sub, but I'm sure you've been given the lecture before. Almost as much as it pains me to hear people pronounce it as "jie-ro".

Lots of great fill had Ys - WHAMMY (bleed over from Saturday, sort of), TRAVESTY, DYNAMO, TODDY.

@LMS - I love your list/Liszt of Southern homophones!

Lewis 10:53 AM  

This would be a good puzzle to introduce newbies to. It gives no fight and its share of delight.

I'm wondering if the clue to 8D needed that question mark.

M&A -- sigh, just a solo U.

B. Donohue 10:55 AM  

Only hiccup of mine was also at 1A/D.

I quickly entered sAL, misspelling French "sel de mer" and was left with 1 across of sOLD, wondering how "sold" could describe gross growth. I was thinking of profit and loss statements and not yuckiness.

I suspect that I'm less apt to catch a mistake when it involves the first letter in an answer. The first letter probably has a disproportionately biasing affect on my ability to consider other choices.

Under 3 minutes for Rex- wow!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:57 AM  

@Anonymous, 12:11 AM -

Plural? Really? Or do you envision him having a collection in jars full of formaldehyde?

quilter1 11:04 AM  

Made me hungry for a gyro. I made myself slow down so I could enjoy the solving more, this was so easy and quick. But I agree it was not boring, so much that was fresh, I didn't care that it was easy. A good Monday puzzle.

The regional pronunciations are interesting. I say "crick" for creek, but also sometimes get a crick in my neck. The reason I love language.

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

I liked TOE next to "Heel", and wonder what we'd do without the Parseghian brothers...

@Loren Muse Smith, hand up for the brunch theme, although the ECHO of the BAGELS cluing made LOCKESLOCKS easier than it maybe should have been.

More fun with the homophone theme:

"Cuoco character's currency?" PENNYSPENNIES
"West Virginia senator's pets?" BYRDSBIRDS

And a slightly different theme:

"Taunts Grantham's valet?" BAITSBATES
"Prepares shrubs for shipping?" BOXESBUXUS

Sorry, all!
@FearlessKim

Tita 11:10 AM  

@OldCarFudd - haven't seen you in these parts fer a spell...

@chefwen - Skippy does look rather morose. But very handsome too.

I love it when Rexites offer new theme entries - you're so creative!

Only writeover was BANDAid for BANDAGE. They changed the lyrics of their DITTY - used to be "I am stuck on bandaids, 'cause bandaid's stuck on me" to the much more unweildy but protective "I am stuck on Bandaid's brand 'cause..."

Some clues were astonishingly easy even for a Monday:
"Female / Male deer"?
Others easy but creative:
Part of Texaco's logo,
You rang? (Love that fun answer for otherwise blah fill...Does Carson ever say this to the earl?)

Also liked The works and Whole bunch.

Thanks Ms. Gelfand. Light and breezy.

chefbea 11:30 AM  

JFK's younger brother's pastimes....Bobby's hobbys

retired_chemist 11:35 AM  

What Bob K said.

Easy. Few overwrites. 1A began as something else but I can't recall which 4 letter gross growth it was. SCUM? Oh yeah, WART.

Grew up in WV so I am totally tied in to Loren's regional homonyms. To add one you may not believe:

Steely rocker's connections: DAN'S TIE-INS. My cousin' son Dan was introduced to my first wife many years ago by my cousin. After we left, she said, "How could they name a boy DIANE?" True story.

On your knee, Young or Sedaka: KNEEL, NEIL!

Actually there are so many it loses the challenge after a while....

But, overall, a fun few minutes. Thanks, Ms. Gelfand.

Sfingi 1:05 PM  

Like @Evan, I put in the theme answers first, then filled in.

@Loren - Not meant in a mean way, since I like Southern accents, especially Rosalyn Carter's, but when I saw Lenin's Linens, I knew you were Southern. We don't pronounce those words the same in the NE.

Actually, a good Monday puzzle.

chefbea 1:37 PM  

I realize my last post wasn't right so I thought up a new one...

My small pets that fly around my garden..,Bea's bees

lawprof 1:42 PM  

2:49! Wow. I'm sure Rex was solving on a computer keyboard, but still....

I solve on paper, but just for the fun of it I copied over the completed grid as fast as I could write - 2:42, and that's without reading the clues. I then timed how long it would take me to simply read the clues - 1:11. So the theorical best time for me (for a typical daily puzzle) would be 3:53.

I'll grant that I may not be the fastest reader or writer around, but those sub-four-minute times I see posted all the time are (I can't think of a word, so I'll settle for...) mindboggling.

lawprof 1:43 PM  

2:49! Wow. I'm sure Rex was solving on a computer keyboard, but still....

I solve on paper, but just for the fun of it I copied over the completed grid as fast as I could write - 2:42, and that's without reading the clues. I then timed how long it would take me to simply read the clues - 1:11. So the theorical best time for me (for a typical daily puzzle) would be 3:53.

I'll grant that I may not be the fastest reader or writer around, but those sub-four-minute times I see posted all the time are (I can't think of a word, so I'll settle for...) mindboggling.

lawprof 1:46 PM  

Sorry for the double post, folks. The comment form told me that I didn't copy the captcha correctly, so I resubmitted it.

lawprof 1:48 PM  

Sorry for the double post, folks. The comment form told me that I didn't copy the captcha correctly, so I resubmitted it. PS, it did it again,so here goes (again).

Carola 1:49 PM  

@loren and others interested in regional accents -
I wonder if you're familiar with the speech accent archive at George Mason University, which features audio clips of people from all over the country reading the same paragraph. A great time sink :) I love this one from a little girl in Virginia. Here's what we in Wisconsin sound like.

Anonymous 1:59 PM  

MetaRex have you thought about a nice afternoon of therapy? Hams are Mia's legs?? Good grief

retired_chemist 2:01 PM  

@ Carola - fascinating. Actually I have lived enough places (WV, New England, CA, NY, TX) to find both your examples within normal limits. My wife is from Michigan, so the WI example is an everyday accent around here.

Anonymous 2:08 PM  

Hey guys - Ixnay on the accentnay discussionnay - Evil Doug may not find this interesting, call all of you idiots and tell you to shut up.

Tita 2:29 PM  
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Tita 2:31 PM  

@Carola - I can't wait to check your link.

Hey @2:08 - ouyay eednay to ushbray up on your igPay atinLay!!
But I say, ingbray it on!
Besides, it's been a few days since anyone has lobbed a grenade over the wall to watch us all scatter.

@lms - didn't you have your own made up language as a kid? I wonder if you had the same accent when speaking that...

@RetChem - love your Diane story.

Sparky 2:59 PM  

11 minutes and happy particularly after last week. Devastating. Misspelled LISZT at first, cap before TOE, MOLD took a while. All fixed eventually. Yes, theme simple but whole puzzle worth doing. (Of course, I'm pretty simple myself. Sigh.)

Skippy will cheer up @chefwen, with such loving human pals. @joho-Woof. Okay, Andy who?



loren muse smith 3:03 PM  

@Sfingi – no “mean” taken; I eyumbrace my southern acceeyunt and relish the thought of being underestimated because of it. I think I’ve said before here that back in high school, my “tide end” and “tight end” rhymed. Emerging from an unfortunate Insufferable Eschewer of All Things American for All Things European and Asian Period, some of the drawl was “reformed” but happily not all.

@Milford – add another southern homophone that my New-Jersey born English professor encountered my first day of class at Georgia Southern. . .
Mr. Parcels, “Can you list some prepositions?”
Student, “On.”
Mr. Parcels, “No, that’s a verb.” (Because she had pronounced it own.)

@Tita – oodgay allcay ithway the Igpay Atinlay. (Is “Ebay” Pig Latin for “bee?”) My secret child language was Gibberish which, I’m sure, was in a drawl. Know any Pig Latinese in other languages?

@Carola – I could pull up that site but I couldn’t listen to anything. I looked at the phonological transcript of the Virginia girl’s speech and saw that she turns several one-syllable words into two syllables. Gotta love it!

@retired_chemist – too funny about Diane!

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

@Sparky - I believe the comic is Andy Dick.

retired_chemist 3:17 PM  

@ Loren - the one syllable into two dialect is of course a hallmark of our region and the source of the DIANE story. Should have added that my first wife was from IL with many years in CO (I seem to attract these midwestern types), so southern WV/Eastern KY was NOT a familiar accent for her.

Gill I. P. 3:39 PM  

Taking a break from the inawegrral to say how much I enjoyed the puzzle - especially after reading LMS's pointed newahnses.
I bet you don't say tree for three?In Cuban Spanish they drop the "s" so "mas or menos" becomes "mao meno." They also drop the r and replace it with an l. "Te quiero" becomes "te quielo."
Can't wait for chooseday y'all....

chefwen 4:34 PM  

@joho - That's the Dude, he also responds to Scrappy, Bob and Dave. He seems much better today, might have to take a new picture.

jae 4:58 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sparky 5:09 PM  

@ Anon. 3:07. Oh, he had completely disappeared from my memory. Never liked his snarky ways. My mind went towards Wharhol, who might be considered comic. Total confusion. Much thanks.

jae 5:10 PM  

@r_c -- You said "Actually there are so many...." Actually I don't think there are which is why I found the theme constraints intriguing.  The first part has to be a name that has one more letter than the noun that follows it  which is a true homophone (which is why @Evan LISZT works).  Evan's last set of examples work, as does @lms COBB'S COB (LENNON'S not so much) and @Milford's PITT, although to be correct the clue should be something like "What's left after actor Brad finishes his martini garnish."  @Susan Mc, WIIG'S WIG works but the other two don't.  And, @r_c you and @Fearless Kim (nothing personal)  have yet to score according to the theme rules. 

Oh, and after reading the comments and taking a closer look at the fill I retract my meh comment.  JINXED, WOODSY, WHAMMY... provide plenty of zip.

Noam D. Elkies 5:16 PM  

@Loren M. Smith: yes, there are analogues of Pig Latin in other languages. The Hebrew one even featured in a Eurovision-winning pop song; look up "Abanibi". While you're at it, try "verlan" for French.

NDE

(PS thanks for the Liszt clip!)

Milford 7:31 PM  

@jae - good point!

sanfranman59 1:15 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. 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 5:45, 6:12, 0.93, 17%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:41, 3:39, 1.01, 54%, Medium

Ellen S 4:29 AM  

One of my step-daughters got married to a left-wing political person, and a friend (from Noo Yawk!) was organizing a group gift. Of a set of "linen". I figured he was talking about sheets, tablecloths, stuff like that -- after all, they were getting married. And I almost said something ignorant, but realized in time that he was talking about buying the happy couple the Collected Works of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

I enjoyed all the regional accent sharing in the comments. Nice to know the country hasn't been completely homogenized. On that happy note, I'll say goodnight.

Spacecraft 11:38 AM  

I wouldn't call EXED "competent and careful fill." But overall not too bad. Monday-easy. Liked the STAG standing up in front of the DOE. Actually had a couple of careless writeovers: my BANDAGE was a BANDAid, and I had to EMEND my aMEND. See, this is why I never time myself. I was in a hurry this morning. In my paper, the constructor's name appeared in all lower-case letters. Curious.

strayling 7:44 PM  

Very enjoyable start to the week. I was a bit thrown by 1a, MOLD until my inner nerd realised that it was obviously a mis-WART.

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