Coastal Brazilian state / TUE 2-19-13 / Ottoman nabob / Sainted king who inspired carol / Old one in Austria / Elongated fruit from tree / Pertaining to Hindu scriptures / Furry allies of Luke Skywalker

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Constructor: Barry Franklin and Sara Kaplan

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Interrogative-ish — first syllables of theme answers (mostly) sound like question words "who" "what" "when" "where" "how" and "why"

Word of the Day: BAHIA (6D: Coastal Brazilian state) —
Bahia (local pronunciation: [baˈi.ɐ] is one of the 26 states of Brazil, and is located in the northeastern part of the country on the Atlantic coast. It is the fourth most populous Brazilian state after São PauloMinas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, and the fifth-largest in size. Bahia's capital is the city of Salvador, or more properly, São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos, and is located at the junction of the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of All Saints,officially first seen by European sailors in 1501. The name "bahia" is an archaic spelling of the Portuguese word baía, meaning "bay". (wikipedia)
• • •

BAHIA + BEV = wretched. The latter is especially wretched because *utterly* unnecessary. Who says "BEV"? That's a woman's nickname, at best. Change that "B" to "R" or "N" or something that makes -EV recognizable. Do waitresses say "BEV?" Who Says BEV?! With the exception of LET IT SNOW (3D: Phrase sung three times in a row in a holiday song) and KNEE SOCKS (4D: Shin coverers) (both nice), the fill is so-so, at best. With six theme answers, this is perhaps not surprising. Anyway, I didn't enjoy this, partly because of the BAHIA / BEV thing, partly because of the multiple Christmas songs out of season, and partly because I've apparently been pronouncing WATSON wrong all these years. It's WHAT-son, is it? Those vowel sounds are from different worlds when I say them, whereas the others are pretty close matches.

Theme answers:
  • HOOVER DAM (18A: Construction on the Colorado River)
  • WATSON AND CRICK (23A: DNA modelers)
  • WENCESLAUS (I do not like the carol and I do not like the ridiculous spelling of this guy's name) (29A: Sainted king who inspired a carol)
  • WEREWOLVES (these, I like) (41A: Lycanthropes) 
  • HOUSING PROJECT (45A: Publicly funded residential complex)
  • WYATT EARP (55A: Lawman at the O.K. Corral)

Crosswordese expertise came in handy today—for the first time ever, I got PAPAW right off the bat (or more accurately off the "P") (1D: Elongated fruit from a tree). Recent puzzle of mine had the theme answer BEY OF PIGS, so BEY was front-of-brain (58D: Ottoman nabob). Konrad Adenauer was known as "Der ALTE," or so crosswords tell me; at any rate, ALTE's a gimme for me now (59A: Old one, in Austria). And everyone knows the EWOKS, or should (37A: Furry allies of Luke Skywalker). I have to say that while I don't like EELY or ERINS or TERRI (10D: Country singer Gibbs) in that NE corner, I do like VEDIC (11D: Pertaining to Hindu scriptures). It just looks cool. Also, I like PLANK, esp. as clued (12D: Pirate ship feature). Took me several crosses to pick it up, and when I got it, I thought, "Yes. That's good." I'm in the middle of a great comic about pirates right now—"Cursed Pirate Girl" by Jeremy Bastian. No PLANKs yet, but I'm only about half done.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Carola 12:12 AM  

Enjoyed doing the puzzle, found it an interesting Tuesday. But I SAT for a long time, trying to figure out the theme. Words starting with W didn't seem to work. Considered a winter theme with LET IT SNOW, KNEE SOCKS, and the Christmas-y King WENCESLAUS next to KRIS (Kringle). Gave up and waited for Rex. Well, pretty neat - but I don't think I'd ever gotten it on my own (though I inadvertently came close when I was looking at the W's and thinking that all they meant to me "what's going on?" and "why two words starting with H?")

Some nice five-letter words: BAHIA, VEDIC, FIERY, ACORN. Liked ORATE next to UTTER and WWI incorrectly crossing IWO. Funny to see the CANOE for yesterday's canoers crop up today.

Ellen S 12:48 AM  

Oh, there was a theme! Well, it wouldn't have helped but I didn't need no stinkin' theme. I tore through this (for me that means about a half hour). maRla Gibbs before TERRI, but otherwise no major writeovers. Long answers were easy; so was EELY.

Happy to see Blogger now accepts input from the mobile version, or we only get the web version, or whatever, but we iPaddlers can comment without having to jump through hoops. Other than the Captcha, of course.

jae 1:00 AM  

This took a tad longer than a typical Tues., so medium-tough for me.  The grid looks like a themeless.  I stared for several minutes after finishing before I caught the theme - pretty subtle.

Erasure: PeArs for PAPAW

Lotsa tough stuff for a Tues....TERRI and VEDIC are not tip-of-the tongue answers for early week solvers nor are BUENA, KRIS, ELROY, BAHIA, and KILOJOULE.  

That said, I liked it more than Rex seemed to. However, I agree, BEV seems    really off as clued.   Is _____Mo too obscure?

Joma 1:27 AM  

This was kind of Easy Tuesday for me, but also got lucky with the crosses - wouldnt have known PAPAW or UPSY. Didn't also realize there was a theme. Well that's why I go through this blog.

chefwen 1:46 AM  

A themeless Tuesday, or so I thought. Interesting! Even after reading Rex's write-up I had to stare at it for a couple of minutes to grasp it. Ooh, clever.

Had the roughest time with the end of 23A, got WATSON AND CR??K. 10D TERRI was a unknown as was VEDIC. Toughest Tuesday I can recall.

Now that I know the theme (after the fact) I really like it. Hindsight is 50/50.

I am dying for a some GYROS, you will not find any on this rock. Must visit the mainland soon. El Polo Loco sounds pretty good too.

Karl 2:43 AM  

6:02. Meh...This one just did not do anything for me. Jae, ___ MO would be a great clue for "BEV". think of all the consternation for blues lovers like me who would instantly slam "KEB" in those three squares only to be confounded by the correct letter "E" wrapped in two wrong letters. Of course, that would require more challenging adjacent fill...

Davis 3:22 AM  

Had my best-ever Tuesday at 4:32, but I didn't fall in love with this puzzle.

Similar to Rex, I had a "holy cow, I remembered it!" response when I nailed PAPAW with just the leading P.

Among the theme answers: I really liked WEREWOLVES and WATSON AND CRICK; I SORTA liked HOOVER DAM; I didn't like WENCESLAUS.

Negatives: I thought BEV was just... weird (why not go with REV and make the cross be Roseanne BARR?). BAHIA was brand new crosswordese to me, which I never expect on a Tuesday. I feel like it's been a long while since I've seen our old friend EERO, but he still feels stale—that's my canonical example when I'm trying to explain crosswordese to non-solvers. FOTO just felt wrong.

Positives: KNEESOCKS are just plain fun. KILOJOULE was kinda cool as fill, though I don't think there's any fun way to clue it (GIGAWATT, on the other hand...).

But overall the good outweighs the bad, even if the puzzle doesn't sparkle.

Anonymous 4:14 AM  

How many people do you think will notice a theme? Maybe it depends on how one goes about doing puzzles or something, but I don't think I'd ever notice. The creator should've let it be known in some way as it's pretty clever.

loren muse smith 5:57 AM  
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Elle54 5:58 AM  

Did anyone besides Rex find the theme? That's why he' s Rex!

webwinger 6:10 AM  

This took me almost twice as long as a typical Tuesday, partly because I was falling asleep when I started it. Like others couldn’t figure out the theme until I came here; then it just made me groan, not smile. May mean something that even Fearless Leader wasn’t able to come up with a cute moniker for the puzzle. Like @Rex I was annoyed by the multiple X-mas-y references. (I guess LETITSNOW is really just a winter song, but who plays it after the holidays? Also did not enjoy being reminded of my recent Connecticut weather adventure.)

Anonymous 6:36 AM  

I was stunned when I got my well done tune...mainly because I guessed at werewolves and Watson and crick...didn't like bev and did not see any theme ...thanks, rex, don't know what I'd do without u!

Evan 6:56 AM  

Amazingly, I figured out the theme while I was solving. No, honestly -- it made the puzzle much easier to solve since I started off slowly but finished in a normal time. I noticed the HOO-, WAT-, and WEN-, and then started looking for the WHERE, HOW, and WHY, and by that time, I already had WEREWOLVES down. I like that they're all spelled differently from their root words, though like Rex, I'm not crazy about the fact that WATSON seems like an outlier in terms of pronunciation.

.....Unless you're like the Homestar Runner character Stinkoman, who shouts "WAAAAAAAAHT are you doing?" in this cartoon.

BAHIA and BEV left a sour taste in my mouth, too. Actually, you could change that B in BEV to K to get BARK/KEV, and KEV could be clued as Fred Savage's character in "The Wonder Years." Maybe that wouldn't be Tuesday-level fill -- using an R or an N would do the job there -- but as long as we're going for higher-scoring Scrabble tiles, I'd think that KEV is better than BEV anyway.

CBCD 7:07 AM  

The holiday for 'Let it Snow' must be a snow day, because 'Let it Snow' has nothing to do with Christmas. I get cranky about this kind of thing.

Milford 7:29 AM  

Medium puzzle here, hand up for thinking we had a themeless Tuesday.

My "What?" might sound like "WAT?" if I were yelling and annoyed. Thank you,@Evan, for pointing out that they are all spelled differently, I like that. WENCESLAUS looks like a play on "whence" at first glance.

Liked the science vibe with WATSON AND CRICK, KILOJOULE, REVIEWER, and even HOOVER DAM. Don't think I even saw the silly BEV.

I am vacationing in the Florida Keys this week, very close to BAHIA Honda State Park and the Seven-Mile bridge, so I kinda like that entry.

Glimmerglass 7:35 AM  

Easy for me. Never saw the ingenious theme. It would have been better to have a revealer. Rex is a genius to spot it. It must be very satisfying for the constructors to read Rex. At least a few people caught on.

Mitzie 8:04 AM  

I'm a reasonably intelligent human, but I just could not see this theme. Same as others, I came here to see what it was, and even then had to stare at it for a minute. Maybe it's because the WAT in WATSONANDCRICK doesn't really work. Maybe it's because the the HOU and WY seem like they're in the wrong order.

Probably not, though. I think the issue is, as @anon4:14 mentioned, the theme wasn't made clear enough by the clues or whatever. I'd stop short of blaming the constructors for that, though - I'd bet the farm that when they originally submitted, the clues were different. Remember that there's one other name at the top of these puzzles.

Totally agree with @Rex about BARB/BEV. I had the same thought when I solved - change that to BARR/REV, dang it!

But this is typical Tuesday stuff. Thanks Franklin and Kaplan, you had me at BEER.

Susan McConnell 8:08 AM  

This felt weird. Not Tuesday-ish, for me anyway. The holiday connection threw me, as did KILOJOULE. And BEV left me scratching my head and saying WAT the?

Kudos to anyone who got the theme....I wasn't even close.

DBlock 8:16 AM  

One more vote for had no idea there was a theme and thought a lot of the fill felt more Wednesday-ish to me--Bahai, Barb, Vedic,....
And given our second snow in a week here in Boston, hoping the song is not a sign...

joho 8:20 AM  

I, too, wrote BARR/REV in the margin ... Rosanne is famous and everybody can REV an engine. It's a mystery to me how BEV made it into the grid!

I was super tired when I did this last night and did not understand the theme. Thank you, Rex.

I pronounce the "WAT" in WATSON like a watt. I don't say "what" like "watt." Perhaps a maTter of where I'm from.

A revealer like REPORTERSQUEST would have nice but you'd have to lose something, maybe the "how?"

loren muse smith 8:20 AM  

WYATT EARP was my first theme answer, and considering “tear” instead of ACHE, I thought maybe some kind of “hidden sorrow” or “secret sorrows” theme. But once I finished, I, like so many others, didn’t see the theme.

Fair point, Rex et al, about HOU to pronounce “what.”

I say “oopsie” daisy. UTTER right next to ORATE. Cool.

I liked PLANK, too, with its SWAB and those pirates yelling ARR!

If you’ve never done the POLKA, I suggest you give it a try. I personally can’t do it without smiling, but that may just be because I do a pretty mean POLKA.

I actually dnf. I just noticed I have CRIS/CILOJOULE. JEEZ.

My beloved Newfoundland, BEV, passed away a few months ago. We have our eye on a little mixed breed female PUPPY to get, but my daughter and I cannot agree on a name. Maybe I’ll show her that cross, and we’ll name her BARB.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

@jae... ____Mo would instantly have been Keb Mo for me. Saw him in concert not long ago. Over two and a half hours of great music. Never heard of BevMo. Googled it and see it's a source of wine and beer. I'll take Keb Mo over BevMo any day of the week.

orangeblossomspecial 8:36 AM  

Let's see ... Annheuser Busch is owned by InBev, so I guess someone uses BEV for beverage.

Lots of music in today's puzzle, seasonal or not:

We can cover 1A and 62A with Welk's version of 'BEER BARREL POLKA'.

Bing Crosby with the Andrews Sisters did 'I'll si si ya in BAHIA'.

Ted Weems recorded 15A 'HEARTACHES'.

Not to mention the Christmas songs.

FearlessKim 8:42 AM  

@loren muse smith: sorry to hear about BEV. love your idea about naming the new puppy BARB -- would certainly transform our collective experience of that cross!

the polka is, indeed, a very fun dance and entirely unworthy of the mockery directed at it. when we were teenagers we marched in a band that was owned by a German-born couple, the Pumps. every December they would throw a huge party for the entire band, with a live polka band, and distribute the profits to the band-members, and we'd dance the night away. You really just can't stop smiling while doing the polka.

Yes, I wasn't crazy about the cluing on BEV, or EELY, and there was something about the WED/EWOKS/DEWS/EWE section in the Midwest that irked me, but it also gave us WENCESLAUS, a *great* word, for heaven's sake! Here's a link you may like:

And rather than waiting for Acme to weigh in, I'm gonna jump right in and get excited about the Scrabble-y goodness of this puzzle: 8 P's, 4 K's, 5 B's, 4 V's, TEN W's, an F and a J. Nice!

Loved VEDIC, KNEESOCKS, POLKA, BAHIA (I'm a bossa nova singer, so BAHIA was a gimme; strange about that wheelhouse thing...), WENCESLAUS, KILOJOULE, and the tiny weird symmetry of WWI crossing IWO. Also loved sailing through the grid -- I've been keeping track since Rex started posting his times, and am consistently finishing in a time of approximately 2xRex, so finishing today in less than 2xRex felt great!

Thanks, Mr. Franklin and Ms. Kaplan!

LouieR 8:47 AM  

What is wrong with Christmas references even if it is not Chrismastime? I think it is fair game.

MetaRex 8:49 AM  

The puzzle itself was a sail-along smoothly Tuesday that I solved a bit faster than usual...the theme on the other hand was an exercise in deep-dyed esotericism.

It was like going to a club where you're waved right in by the hostess and the bouncer along with everyone else, but you're baffled about why you were let know there are a few people who got in with you who know the secret, but all you know, to quote the old master of putdowns, is that something is happening here and you don't know what it is, do you Mister Jones?!?!


Is that mix of the simple and the esoteric in Barry Franklin and Sara Kaplan's puzz groovy, stinky, or what?

[A fair amount] More at A vote for a theme that only Rex is smart enough to understand

Tita 8:52 AM  

Others have asked - is it a DNF if you finish correctly, but can't figure out the theme?

I liked it nonetheless.
A hard one for Tuesday - almost DNF'd for real.

Have ben to BAHIA, migh've eaten a PAPAW there.

Hark - work is calling...ttfn!

jackj 8:55 AM  

Sara and Karma Sartre are back for a third go at elevating the intelligence quotient of the early week Times puzzles to a level that would earn the MENSA imprimatur, this time shamelessly playing to the journalist’s creed of WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW through the means of some devilish homophones.

There probably aren’t three people in the world that would clue the homophone for “WHAT” as (WAT)SONANDCRICK and two of those three people constructed this puzzle and the other one is rumored to be a Beaver Country Day School third-grader who got a 2360 on his first try at the SAT’s (he misspelled “neuropathological” in his essay) and has been admitted to MIT in the class of 2017.

Continuing on with their “can you top this” game, the “WHEN” entry isn’t remotely in the realm of normalcy, WENCESLAUS??, though it could have been worse if they had opted for WENZHOU or even WENSLEYDALE (the cheese, not the valley).

There was no mercy with the fill either unless you fancy the likes of KILOJOULE, VEDIC, PAPAW or BAHIA, but if not, there are actually some friendlier bits with KNEESOCKS and PUPPY; SORTA and GYMS; UPSY and APOP.

A noble effort from our merry mandarins, Barry and Sara; who have undoubtedly found some kindred souls among us who loved their effort while finding that they also must be ready to duck the slings and arrows of those who hated the puzzle.

Count me in as a kindred soul!!

dk 9:06 AM  

Me. I just did the puzzle. The good, the bad and the BEV

Rex, Thanks for the BEV Dolittle picture. I was trying to remember who she was the other day in the midst of a conversation on FOTOS through trees etc.

Listen to Fairport Convention (Liege and Leaf is one album) for a little Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson.

🍺🍺 (2 BEVs) Is there not some book/play about PAPAW trees? Thanks B&S 23A and 29A nice touch.

OISK 9:10 AM  

Bahia is a geography gimmee for me, and kilojoule - I am a chemist! Really zipped along, and then blew "vedic". I had T - PG and somehow, perhaps the coffee hadn't kicked in - could not come up with "TV". Terri Gibbs was a pure guess, could just as well have been Jerri - went for the more common name. Really a very fine puzzle, and like others, I missed the theme, but I never bothered to look for it. Cute! And I can't blame my error on the constructors, just on my own carelessness. (unlike yesterday, when Ceelo appeared to my total mystification) The NW corner made me wonder - has anyone constructed a puzzle containing entirely or almost entirely double clues? For example, Dance or dots - polka
___in the river, or evening in Bonn - abend, Cracker spread or domes, - pates Lycanthropes, or used to be lupus? - werewolves...

chefbea 9:22 AM  

Hand up for not getting the theme!! Sorta tough for a Tuesday.

@dk you thinking of "way down yonder in the paw paw patch"?

Evan 9:30 AM  


Though I don't use DNF the way a lot of others do here, I say it doesn't matter if you got everything right. Grid don't lie.

Suzy 9:32 AM  

Not too tough-- wanted AFIRE for FIERY. Took forever
to tumble to the theme! Certainly not a favorite!

Sir Hillary 9:37 AM  

Agree that BEV was poor and unnecessary, but it's funny how @Rex deems BAHIA unacceptable while VEDIC is fine. WATever.

@jackj, while the cheese itself is excellent, I will always think of Wensleydale as the proprietor of the cheese shop in Monty Python's famous sketch.

JohnV 9:43 AM  

Theme? Really? Didn't see it before coming here. iPad let me make a couple of hard to find typos which cost me 2-3 minutes to fix such as starting housing with a W. On paper, way sub 10, iPad 15+.


jberg 10:02 AM  

I once stayed in a seafront hotel called the Bahia (in San Diego), so I've always assumed it was a famous place; guess I'm wrong. I had the B, and actualy tried Belem first - but it came easily enough - as did BEV, though I agree it's boring fill.

But -- am I the only one who considers When to be completely different from WEN, and where from WERE? To my ear the H sounds in each of those WHs are very clear (though, inconsistently, I do say "Hoo arr yoo?"

Anyway, I never got the theme, and am not really blaming myself - maybe if ALL of them were mispronounced I'd like it better.

Sandy K 10:09 AM  

Finished the puzzle with no problems, but even the neighbors must've heard the loud groan- for BEV!!
BAHIA is a legit place, but BEV??

Liked Good King WENCESLAUS and LET IT SNOW! Oh wait, it's it too soon?

Stared and stared at this PUPPY and had no idea WAT the heck the theme was. Thanks, Rex!

Mixed REVIEWS on this one.

Lindsay 10:21 AM  

ARP's PROJECT to DAM the CRICK sorta didn't make sense, so I came here to see what the theme was. On a Tuesday.

Maybe I should peel the stamp off the envelope I've addressed to the ACPT.

quilter1 10:21 AM  

Oh, come on, Rex. This was a very cute puzzle and fun to do. Much more than a usual Tuesday. And pretty easy IMHO. I didn't get the theme--just thought there were lots of fun long answers. Hesitated a moment over how to spell WENCESLAUS, but KNEESOCKS set me straight. And I've seen plenty of BEVmo stores so I'd say it is in the language/usage. Also just viewed old photos of a vacation at BAHIA Honda state park in Florida as we transfer them to CD. Not a stretch at all.

David Barnhouse 10:25 AM  

@Rex, Thanks for pointing out the theme. I understand you can solve these puzzles close to the speed of light, but after finishing today's, how long did it take you to figure out the theme?

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

I thought the protocol was that if an abbreviation appears in the clue (o.j. = orange juice) then an abbreviation will be the answer (bev. = beverege). Am I wrong?

Bob Kerfuffle 10:53 AM  

I had to stare at the completed grid awhile before catching on to the theme. Very clever!

("What watt, Watson?" all sound the same to me.)

Only real problem was spelling WENCESLAUS. Didn't help that 32 D, "Flight board abbr.", is almost always ETD or ETA, wasn't expecting ARR.

lawprof 10:54 AM  

Thanks to the comments of others here, I'm now in the camp of those who consider the puzzle complete notwithstanding the failure to catch the theme. So, no DNF today, with only two easily-repaired writeovers: afiRe/FIERY and IRk/IRE.

I knew HOOVERDAM right away, but resisted writing in deference to its original name, Boulder Dam, which I still consider to be the more legitimate. Guess I'm loath to acknowledge an honor bestowed on an American Nero.

Bill 11:12 AM  

I get frustrated when my Saturday puzzle has a Natick. So when there are 2 on a Tuesday (VEDIc and bAHIA), that should be thrown out. I totally agree with Sir Hillary in that I don't understand why Rex thinks one is likeable and the other is wretched.

retired_chemist 11:12 AM  

Almost under 5 minutes, which would be my Tuesday record. However, Mr. Happy Pencil did. not. like. my TV14 @ 10A,and I needed almost 20 seconds to find it. Laughed when I realized what I had done...

Unwilling to put in HOOVER DAM since that seemed too easy. In fact, solving across, I refused to answer a theme clue until WENCESLAUS, wrote in the last three instantly, then went back to the first two and plunked them right down.

OLEOS for PATES (I am, after all,a common man), AFIRE for FIERY, and that's about all the writeovers.

OK, BEV is ugly but I never saw it. So, very well done IMO. Thanks, Barry and Sara.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

The wat in Watson is the same as what in NZ and UK

Z 11:19 AM  
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Z 11:20 AM  

With Monday and Sunday's puzzles waiting for me I didn't pause to consider WAT the theme might be. BEV didn't bother me for the same reason. I had to go back to the paper to read the clue for the first time.

POLKA and TVPG didn't spring instantly to mind, so a little slow on the start, but WATSON AND CRICK came up at dinner just this weekend, so they went right in. The W gave me PAPAW and got waltz out of my head for POLKA. I flew from there.

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

VEDIC is not equivalent to BAHIA because one denotes an interesting concept pertinent to billions of people. The VEDIC texts form the basis of Hinduism. BAHIA is the name of a state in BRAZIL. Both are valid, but one's a random proper noun, the other has great significance in the history of humanity.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  


Best Pirate Girl = Lotte Lenya

Rob C 11:54 AM  

As with many others, I stared at the completed puzz for a while trying to figure out the theme. Got it just as I was about to throw in the towel and check here.

I'm used to hearing Crick and Watson rather than the other way around as it is in the puzzle, so that slowed me down a bit there. Just googled 2.6 mill for C&W, 1.1mill for W&C.

Nice connection between today's discussion of POLKA and yesterday's of Groundhog Day and GOBBLERS KNOB. The "Pennsylvania Polka" is heard being played at Gobbler's Knob many times in the movie.

Bill 12:16 PM  

There are lots of Mandarin words that have great significance to billions of Mandarin speakers. Most of them have no place in a Tuesday puzzle.

"VEDIC is not equivalent to BAHIA because one denotes an interesting concept pertinent to billions of people. The VEDIC texts form the basis of Hinduism. BAHIA is the name of a state in BRAZIL. Both are valid, but one's a random proper noun, the other has great significance in the history of humanity."

Notsofast 12:21 PM  

Didn't see the "theme" but so what. Today's answers were all over the place! That made it fun for me. Before Rex explained the theme, I thought this was an okay puzzle; but now I think it's a little better than just okay. C+

Gill I. P. 12:24 PM  

I really liked this "What the heck is the theme" puzzle." It took me longer than any Tuesday I've done in a while but when I was done, I sat back and admired it mucho.
Lots of write-overs KILO jolts instead of JOULE afire for the FIERY answer and I'm dumb because I didn't know WATSON AND CRICK..:(.
BAHIA was my first entry. Dad lived in Rio for a couple of years and we spent many a summer in BAHIA. It has the most beautiful beaches in all of Brazil. Good food too. Hi @Tita - bet you ate lots of acaraje and vetapa (sorry I can't do accents)
LET IT SNOW....We are in Grass Valley now and it just started snowing!!
@jae: BEVMO. Loved it...Have spent many hours in that store.
@Loren a PAPAW for your new PUPPY!

Seriously? 12:34 PM  

The foundational writings (VEDIC texts) of one of the world's great religions is just another random proper noun?

If you say so.

syndy 12:39 PM  

I was surprized by a themeless tuesday. so,surprise! I never saw the BEV so was not bothered! I miss spelled WENsESLAUS and forgot to check my downs! HAPPY B'day N. Copernicus!

Ulrich 1:06 PM  

I now understand better WY the moment I open my mouth to talk, people ask, "where are you from?": I got the theme immediately once I started to look for it and marveled that indeed the opening syllables of all those answers sounded exactly like those question openers...

Happy to see the Hoover Dam prominently featured--been to it two years ago--an icon of Art Deco design in the US. Looked sad, though, with the water level so low that structures meant to look like they are swimming on the water now appear to be supported by stilts.

Tita 1:14 PM  
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Tita 1:16 PM  

Attended a session at Lugo in NY last night where thkeynote speaker was fom In-BEV - then doing the puzzle on the train ride home made that entry a true moment of synchronicity.

I just missed the 8:48pm train, so visited the Grand Central Terminal centennial exhibit to kill an hour...was fascinating...

Back in school I was on the Committe to Save Grand Central that Jackie O. started. Who knew that our buddy I.M. Pei submitted an extremely bizarre building to replace the terminal back in 1956.

If you are in NY, take 20 minutes (or more) to view the exhibits.

Bill 1:18 PM  

14 million people live in Bahia. 193 million people live in Brazil, nearly all of whom have heard of Bahia.

Whether something is significant to millions or billions doesn't seem relevant to whether a word should be in a Tuesday puzzle in this country.

Ulrich 1:18 PM  

@Tita: I checked some online translators and found that bahia means "bay" in Spanish, but for Portuguese, I get only proper names, like "Bahia Blanca"...

Anoa Bob 1:18 PM  

From "The Underground Crossword Puzzle Constructor's Handbook", Chapter VII: Shortcuts.

"One way to increase answer letter count effortlessly in order to fill in difficult spots in the grid is to resort to plurals. Editors and solvers rarely, if ever, notice or care. Usually this bumps the letter count by one when adding an "s", but don't overlook opportunities to bump it up by two, by using "es", e.g., from YES to YESES, or even by three, to wit YES to YESSES!"

"Nouns that change their spelling when pluralized (WOLF to WOLVES, e.g.) can also be used to good purpose."

"Be careful not to overuse this ruse lest it become too obvious and call attention to itself. Once or twice per puzzle is optimum."

Looks like today's constructors may have ignored that last heuristic. A quick count shows 13 plurals of convenience, including one in a theme answer. No worries though. Judging from the lack of comments, the sky is the limit on the number of times you can do this and get away with it.

The Abbreviator 1:20 PM  

i didnt like BEV at first, but i filled it immediately when i got the V.

the fact that people dont "say" an abbreviation is not relevant.

while its true that i will often tell a waiter that i would like a bev with my meal, it is also true that im always bragging about my son who is an assoc at goldman when i am at a meeting of my assn.

Bluebeard 1:42 PM  

You know, pirate ships don't have PLANKs per se, i.e. it's not as if we build ships with special planks for making people walk overboard. If we did, we'd just call it a diving board and be done with it. When we do use PLANKs we just find a board laying around and use that. Like when we hang someone from a yard-arm, we're just using a random piece of rope and tossing it over the nearest horizontal beam at least 10' off the deck.

That's the trick of being a pirate - use common, everyday items to kill those who annoy us.

Bird 1:59 PM  

Meh. I got no pleasure solving this one and never got the theme.

@AnoaBob – I was completing the puzzle around the time of your post and thinking, “When do plurals become cheater squares?” and, “Who says DEWS?!”

Hand up for not liking BEV. The clue for 4D, though literate. is off.

Two write-overs: OLEOS before PATES (plurals?!) and AFIRE before FIERY.

Check the guidelines 2:10 PM  

@The Abbreviator - BEV may be a legitimate abbreviation, but "in the language" is a requirement for inclusion in NYT puzzles.

Tita 2:11 PM  

Boa tarde, @Ulrich!
Actually, today may gav been a first, that Rex's WoD is Portuguese...

To quote Rex's wiki quote, "The name "bahia" is an archaic spelling of the Portuguese word baía, meaning "bay"."

The current word, 'baía', really needs that accent over the i...the Portuguese like to string vowels together without the interruption of htose pesky consonants, so the accent is key in helping you wade through that string...

@Bluebeard - thanks for the explanation. Aaaargh!

Tita 2:18 PM  

@Ulrich - Blanca is also Portuguese, white is Branca.
In general, you will find the Spanish substitute l's for r's...
praia = playa = beach
praça = plaza = square
As do the French. Then, throw in Italian with piazza...oy veh!

Ulrich 2:27 PM  

@Tita: Thx--goes to show that one should read those quotes to the end--and that the Spanish have more in common with the Chinese than I thought...

and @Bluebeard: In never knew you went into the pirating business after killing all those wives...

LaneB 2:33 PM  

Maybe I'm getting the hang of this stuff. Record time with no look-ups or erasures. Of course, record time for me would be forever for lots of those who comment here. Still...a good day for a 'medium' Tuesday.

mac 3:01 PM  

I blinked at bev. and dews, but the only real holdup was the crossing of Terri and Crick. I learned something.

Nice puzzle, but thank you Rex for pointing out the theme.
I'm with Ulrich on the pronunciation, it's definitely close enough to me!

Thanks Barry and Sara.

ksquare 3:29 PM  

WENCESLAUS was the given name of greatly talented ventriloquist Senor Wences. A street in New York's theater district has been designated Senor Wences Way.

sanfranman59 3:55 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

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

Tue 7:46, 8:23, 0.93, 24%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:42, 4:52, 0.97, 36%, Easy-Medium

Good work, Barry & Sara. I had one of those experiences that speed-solvers hate ... tracking down a typo in a solution I was absolutely certain was correct. It took me more than 3 minutes to find it, which gave me a solve time that's close to the high end of my Tuesday range vs one in the middle. C'est la vie.

Sparky 3:56 PM  

Did this last night via Across Light. Took a while. Didn't see theme at all so checked Amy who posts very early. Oh, OK. Filled in this am on paper and that took six minutes even though I knew the answers. Sigh.

Like @10:36 I just figured BEV was an abbreviation as was the clue and moved on. Never heard of BEVMO; have heard of ABC Stores.

There is more than one way to spell WENCESLAUS which held me up for a while.

Vincent Price would pronounce Lord Peter Whimsey, not Wimsey. Drove my friend Bertha crazy.

Printed out my etickets. See you all. You too, @Lindsey.

Just wondering 4:25 PM  

Rex has stated that he does not read anonymous comments.

Does he read
Notsofast said...?
Seriously? said...?
The Abbreviator said...?
Bluebeard said...?
Check the guidelines said...?

Just wondering.

Anonymous 5:37 PM  

To my knowledge (20 years' residence), there is NO "St. Ann's" neighbourhood in London!

Wikipedia 5:48 PM  

We always welcome revisions where needed - would that apply to St. Ann's?

ben 6:19 PM  

Never heard of Wenceslaus. Found audio of the carol and I've heard of the melody but the words don't seem familiar. Anyway, that resulted in my one error... Wencealaus/Anna. Oh well.

Guessed on Bahia and got it, since there's a tropicália dance club down the street from me called Club Bahia. Never been in there since they have a $15 cover (and I can't dance).

Couldn't figure out the theme. I thought maybe it was prepositions in the middle of the words (hoOVERdam, wastsONandcrick, wEREwolves, housINgproject, wayATtearp).

retired_chemist 6:33 PM  

@ ben - thinking outside the box

Anonymous 7:39 PM  

How else do you pronouce Watson except What-son?

Acorn Canoe Michaels 7:58 PM  

Toomuchfocus on BEV! When the real focus should be why not BAHR/HMO and make it ACmE instead of ACHE??!! ;)

Seriously, six nice long wonderful sophisticated, challenging fun theme entries...PAPAW and PUPPY to boot!!!

And yes, @Fearless Kim, thank you for taking over the waxing enthusiasm about how Scrabblicious!!!!

Had to reread puzzle several times before I got the theme...then was pleased as punch (a kind of bev...)

Wish yesterday's had run on Groundhog's Day, wish today's had run closer to Christmas...when I am Queen that will be so!

CANOE bleedover as someone mentioned...

Anyhoo, fabulous Bara and Sarry!!!!

TV ALERT: LA so crazy that I was just sitting at lunch today and next thing I know, I was being asked to read a tweet on JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!

Tune in, wontya? And tomorrow I'll tell you the HOO, WERE, WAT, WY, WEN and HOU it happened....

Sfingi 9:18 PM  

Easy, but didn't detect the theme. Didn't even try to.

I'm still as slow at the end of the week, but am getting way fast at the beginning.

Agree, there is not DEWS - just as there is no sud.

sanfranman59 10:03 PM  

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 5:46, 6:07, 0.94, 22%, Easy-Medium
Tue 7:45, 8:23, 0.92, 24%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:35, 3:39, 0.98, 33%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:37, 4:52, 0.95, 29%, Easy-Medium

Random42 12:10 PM  

Don't understand the anger with BEV, but I've worked bars and restaurants for 10 plus years and BEV naps are what go under beverages so it fit well for me.

Atif Ahmed 1:02 PM  

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Anonymous 2:56 PM  

You all obviously didn't get enough repetition with Disney videos with your kids:

Spacecraft 12:07 PM  

Good grief! Now we're getting porn ads in here?!? Take that crap somewhere else. Where are the filters??

To today's "themeless" Tuesday. I stared and stared, but nothing would come. I had to read OFL's blog to discover it. Headslap!

This one gave me a bit of trouble, and it was beacuse of "Good King WENCESLA[U]S." I have never seen this name with the U, so as much as it seemed to want to go in there, I wouldn't do it because the space was one letter too long! It's "Wenceslas." Everybody knows that. Eventually the crosses forced it in, but I frowned the whole way.

I did wonder why, in a "themeless," so much of the fill was junky. Just in one locale, we have two awkward partials (ISAT, LIEON) separated by WWI. Strangely, the BARB/BEV thing didn't bother me. TVPG on top of EELY, on the other hand, will earn this REVIEWER'S IRE.

Norma 12:33 PM  

Easterners long ago lost the "wh" sound, but many others still have that sound. When my brother from Oklahoma went East to school in the 1940s and came home at Christmas, I can remember my mother scolding him for dropping the "wh" sound. Also, worksheets for elementary school children sometimes list words such as"where" and "wear" as homonyms, which confuses those children who still have the "wh" sound.

Ginger 2:00 PM  

Wat theme? Like many others, did not realize there was a theme until I came here. But when, thanks to Rex, I found it I thought the puzzle had an added dimension. Fun, but on the tough side.

Never heard of WATSONANDCRICK, nor am I conversant with country singers so had to make a SWAG (scientific wild a**ed guess)guess. Luckily I guessed right.

Liked this better than OFL did, thanks Barry and Sara.

Waxy in Montreal 4:53 PM  

May be a Canadian thing but had never heard of Rite Aid or CVS (or Lacto-Ovo for that matter) which led me to an unusual-for-Tuesday Nattick. Rest of the puzzle routine though like many others had no idea of the theme til arriving here. Would have clued 61A by referencing ELROY "Crazylegs" Hirsch but that's just me showing my age/sports biases.

Dirigonzo 6:37 PM  

I utilized @Ginger's SYS to resolve the country singer/scientist cross (but some other vowels produced some interesting possibilities). I skipped BEV on my first pass and never noticed it again when it had been filled in by the crosses. I just let the down answers spell the sainted king's name - I'm sure any attempt on my own would have produced many write-overs. No, I did not see the theme.

@Waxy - I'm positively aghast that our pharmacies don't advertise north of the border, as Canadian ones certainly pursue the U.S. market with vigor.

Waxy in Montreal 6:54 PM  

@Diri - with both vigor and viagra, I understand...

strayling 7:30 PM  

Still not used to the way clues which I have no clue about answer themselves via crosses, but I'm not complaining. Only one write-over today and that was my own fault for misreading "rest atop" as "rest stop". I think the compilers did that on purpose.

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