Peer Gynt widow / TUE 2-26-13 / Figure in the tale of Jason and Argonauts / Times Square sign shown in lowercase letters / Liquide clair / Raccoon relative

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Constructor: Gary Cee

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Road music — songs about roads

Theme answers:
  • THUNDER ROAD (17A: Where "we can make it if we run," per Bruce Springsteen (1975)
  • VENTURA HIGHWAY (24A: Where "the nights are stronger than moonshine," per America (1972)
  • PENNY LANE (37A: Where "all the people that come and go stop and say hello," per the Beatles (1967)
  • ELECTRIC AVENUE (52A: Where "we gonna rock down to," per Eddy Grant (1983)
  • BAKER STREET (61A: Where "you'll drink the night away and forget about everything," per Gerry Rafferty (1978)

Word of the Day: Alaska's KENAI Peninsula (14A) —
The Kenai Peninsula is a large peninsula jutting from the southern coast of Alaska in the United States. The name Kenai is probably derived from Kenayskaya, the Russian name for Cook Inlet, which borders the peninsula to the west. (wikipedia)
• • •

An odd Tuesday. My time says "normal," but the sensation was odd. At 74 words, it's got a more open grid than you usually see on Tuesday (the result of which is longer non-theme answers: to wit, a bunch of 7s and a couple 9s running Down). Also, the theme seems like it will be very easy for those who follow popular music (me) and perhaps not for those who don't. Even though all these songs are at least 30 years old (holy @#$&, Eddy Grant was 30 yrs ago!?), I still imagine that many solvers will have to methodically piece together (from crosses) at least one of these—whereas I could enter them all with no crosses. These are not obscure songs, but still, all-pop-culture themes can really lock some people out (while inviting others right in). Lastly, on the oddness front, is the KENAI / TKTS crossing. If I hadn't had some vague glimmer of a recollection that TKTS was a theater-related abbreviation appropriate to "Times Square," I would've been dead (1D: Times Square sign shown in lowercase letters). I know I've seen KENAI before, but it sure wasn't coming to me. That [Times Square sign shown in lowercase letters] is gonna be even more you-know-it-or-you-don't than the theme answers: a gimme for New Yorkers (and theater-lovers, maybe), and a giant WTF "?" for many others. My favorite part of the solve was the brief moment where I had T-TS at 1D and thought "hmmm, Times Square, eh?... let me see ..."

    There are two Extreme Ugh answers in this grid: HELLE (47A: Figure in the tale of Jason and the Argonauts) and ASE (65A: "Peer Gynt" widow). Terrible, obscure stuff that really has no business in a Tues. (or most any day). But as I've said before, any time you have a grid where you are trying to drive Downs through *three* theme answers, problems are bound to follow. It's kind of amazing there isn't more ickiness, actually. The center, for instance, is pretty clean. I started very slow on this puzzle, largely because of the mysterious TKTS. Also because I didn't look at theme answers early enough. If I had, I would've taken off. Whatever time I lost futzing around up front I made up for with my accrued pop music knowledge / storehouse of thousands of song lyrics that live in my head through no effort of my own. I liked the theme—it's consistent, and, insofar as I kinda had to sing to myself to get the answers, fun. Also, I just like the image of John Paul STEVENS (46D: Former Supreme Court justice often seen in a bow tie) in his bow tie crossing ELECTRIC AVENUE.

      Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


      Joseph B 12:12 AM  

      Why the "lower-case" in the clue for TKTS? Anyone? Does this not stand for tickets? If so, why bring up lower-case?

      Eejit 12:12 AM  

      I had ZIP instead of VIM, but decided it was unlikely that the people in Avatar were NAZIs. Otherwise it was relatively uneventful.

      jae 12:13 AM  

      Medium again.  I hesitated over HELLE which was a WOE for me.  Another very smooth grid with very zippy theme.  Any rock and roll based puzzle has got my vote.

      Also a WOE: ASE which up to now had something to do with enzymes.

      This was much better than the typical Tues.   Again, liked it a lot.

      Joseph B 12:16 AM  

      Oh: now I see.

      dmw 12:18 AM  

      It seems I've seen ASE a lot, a long time ago. Also read the Ibsen play, and listen to the Grieg (?) music (although no lyrics!).

      Evan 12:23 AM  

      This was extremely hard for me, and I know of all of the songs. It felt more like a misplaced Wednesday. I should have known it would be a rough solve when I threw in EDSEL right at the start instead of T-BIRD.

      I got KENAI/TKTS correct but did not trust that K one bit. Didn't trust ASE either, but all the crosses worked out there. I had no idea what to fill in for the HEL-E/-CD crossing -- that was literally a "what the HELLE" moment. I went with a C. The clue for LCD seems really difficult for a Tuesday; in fact, several clues that look just like it on Xwordinfo previously appeared on Fridays and Saturdays. It makes it sound like LCD are letters that would show up on a calculator screen, rather than describing the type of display on the screen.

      Oh, that wasn't all. I messed up the NAN/MANRAY/VAS crossing too -- I should have known NAN, I've seen that before but couldn't dig it up from memory. Still, I could have sworn it was VOS deferens, and I don't think I've ever heard of MANRAY, so I finished with RON instead of NAN.

      So yeah. Three mistakes on a Tuesday makes me kinda grumpy, though I'll admit to liking the clue/answer combos for VEGETABLE and INDIGNANT.

      Kris in ABCA 12:23 AM  

      Easy for me - just a hair slower than yesterday. I'd have liked to have seen Copperhead Road, but I don't know if I'd have given up THUNDERROAD for it.

      Where's the snide? 12:28 AM  

      I can't believe VAS deferens wasn't the WOTD. What, didn't want Blogger to label your site as 'adult' with the associated picture?

      No kidney stone joke about having a solving obstruction involving your VAS deferens?

      Or a joke about having an STD causing your VAS deferens to be ELECTRIC AVENUE?

      John 12:44 AM  

      For what it's worth, all of these are real streets/roads/highways except Thunder Road (though I did find a St. called Thunder Road in Trenton NJ but it's extremely small so it was probably named after the song, not vice-versa).

      Two of the roads, "Electric Avenue" and "Baker Street" are in the same city--London--but very different neighborhoods. The Ventura Highway is technically called the Ventura Freeway, and nowhere near as dreamy as the song makesit out to be.

      Geoff 1:21 AM  

      Maybe I'm just massively undereducated, but am I can'tbelieve that LDOPA somehow made its way into a Tuesday. I thought the crossing with MANRAY was far worse than ASA ore HELLE. Those at least we're easily get table from downs.

      Ellen S 1:30 AM  

      I was so proud of myself, got it all without cheats, even the stuff I had no idea about, including all the theme answers except PENNY LANE (even I know a few Beatles references). Then discovered I DNF because of the "Natick Peninsula." I put dENAI, coz it sounded a little like Denali. Oh well.

      I got the Avatar answer okay but you will never convince me they are not really Smurfs.

      The captcha is Memberyi -- we all need a good Memberyi in order to do these puzzles.

      Acrylic Coati Manrays 1:44 AM  

      LOVED IT,
      Puzzle cut out for someone 45-60, I'd imagine.
      In my case, the songs were when I was 7, 12, 15, 18, 23

      So cool the lengths worked out for this clever theme...
      A little Beatles, a little Woody Allen, a little BARBRA...

      Other stuff same era, Hank AARON, THESHAH, Dom DELUISE, Bobbsey Twins, etc.
      I pity the young uns...

      Lots of sports... But thankfully mostly just short abbrevs...Hank AARON, RBI, TDS, KOS...Til/THO I got to "Tennessee _____" TITANS (i had Tuxedo, so big mess)

      @eejit. 12:12
      NAzI is funny... @Tita??!

      chefwen 1:57 AM  

      Medium/challenging yesterday, medium today. I thought they were both very easy. Someday I would love to say that about a Friday/Saturday puzzle, might not happen in my lifetime. The two that might have tripped me up, HELLE & MANRAY I never even saw as they were already filled in. Phew!

      Husband, who is known to break into song at any given moment while playing his air guitar was solving his own copy and kept belting out the songs, scaring our newly acquired Rhode Island Reds (any tips @JenCT?) we are new parents.

      Only one write-over mEnd before HEAL at 27D.

      Brother and I had a 61 TBIRD that we inherited from an uncle. We're talking gas guzzler. Good thing gas was cheap "way back when".

      Anonymous 2:23 AM  

      easy except the natick. downs-only solve time was 12 mins, except dnf because of the Times Square sign which ended up as T-T- and I threw in the towel. hand up for Rex's perverted reading of that clue.

      I haven't read most of the across clues, but the downs were pleasant today.

      loren muse smith 5:53 AM  

      What a great theme and write up. This one wasn’t hard for me at all, but KENAI was totally in my wheelhouse. NO LIE.

      Several WOEs (HELLE, NAVI, LDOPA, VAS, ASE), but they were all utterly gettable with the crosses.

      Liked all the two-word entries and all the other “travel” stuff: RVS, OPEN AIR, TKTS, TBIRD, and GAS.

      I knew BARBRA’s different spelling, but the U in DELUISE threw me. And all those H’s in THE SHAH!

      Thanks, Gary. Nice job.

      webwinger 6:51 AM  

      Thought this was a really good puzzle—many, many fun answers and clues—but had a rather different solving experience than most, it seems. I was in a kind of pop-culture eclipse for most of the 70s during medical school and residency (probably for the best), so like @Ellen S got only one song (PENNYLANE) from the clues, but after I noticed the theme was able to complete them all from crosses. Was sure starting out that 1A was going to be ‘vette, following the leading apostrophe in the year. (C’mon @Evan—the Edsel was sporty?) Same problem @Evan had with LCD (definitely not a Tuesday clue), but then it clicked. Knew MANRAY right away, quickly dispatching ZIP before getting to smile at the thought of blue Nazis, recalling “Blue Meanies” (thanks for that image, @Eejit). Many times a tourist in the Big Apple, got TKTS (oops, make that tkts) after some head scratching—thought that clue was weirdly appropriate. Quibble with cluing for STYE: it’s an inflammation (pathologic state), not an irritation (symptom), though I suppose no one but an ophthalmologist would be bothered by that (and they are irritating, I guess). Ended up a DNF because of SCRAWLy/yRS error, obvious in retrospect, but no regrets.

      Milford 7:20 AM  

      Medium challenging Tuesday, due to many write overs: mEnd before HEAL, HELen before HELLE, bENAI before KENAI, Secco before SOAVE, BOCCe before BOCCI.

      And then, for the record, I had foster - flambE - foNDuE- SUNDAE. Obviously it took awhile for me to see THE SHAH.

      But despite all the mistakes, I loved this! Didn't know all the songs immediately, but they were easy to see with crosses. Loved L-DOPA, SCRAWLS, YOU'RE ON, and NO LIE. Got MAN RAY easily, but it still makes me think of the Wegman weimeraner photos.

      Agree that LCD clue was confusing.

      @Evan - you might remember 54D spelling if you think of VASectomy. (Ouch)

      @Rex - loved your music choices today.

      Gill I. P. 7:38 AM  

      What a great Tuesday puzzle. I'm humming all these fine songs right now and our pups aren't too happy.
      Wow @Rex 3:34??? I take that long to put my glasses on and lick my pencil..
      Only holdup was fixin TKTS otherwise, breezed on by.
      My aunt had a red two seater TBird that my grandmother gave her. All I remember is the little round windows and how exotic she looked driving it.
      I always misspell SUNDAE. I want it to end in Y like god intended. And, is there one single red blooded American who has never had one? Boy, I sure remember my first. My dad bought one for my sister and me when we first arrived in the U.S. It made me proud to be an American!
      Thank you Gary Cee for all the memories and for a really good Tuesday romp.

      MikeM 7:43 AM  

      Right in my wheel house. Once I got THUNDERROAD (and I have seen Bruce 75 times in concert, being a Jersey Boy and all) I ran the table. Yes John, Thunder Road was named well after the song and is adjacent to where the Trenton Thunder play baseball. Fastest Tuesday ever. Great stuff, thanks Gary.

      Rob C 7:50 AM  

      Great puzzle - a step up from the average Tues. I am not a music fan at all, but was able to get these without much struggle-BAKER STREET the one exception.

      Agree with Rex on the TKTS. Expected a lot of griping about that one from non-NYers.

      Like the dichotomy between Dom DELUISE next to SLENDER, being tempted by a crossing SUNDAE.

      Rob C 7:52 AM  

      Hey, I think MikeM @7:43 might be Gov Chris Christie

      orangeblossomspecial 7:54 AM  

      Rex is correct that the puzzle is easy for those raised on music of a certain era.

      Here is the original version of 17A 'THUNDER ROAD' by Robert Mitchum. Music from an earlier generation.

      The Orlons had an answer to the clue "Where do all the hippies meet?" 'SOUTH STREET'.

      Z 7:59 AM  

      Given VAS Deferens, yesterday's ACUP debate, and a generally sick mind, Natick Peninsula has to be iENAI. Glad to see that OFL at least considered the better answer before going with the "correct" answer.

      Are Banana Splits SUNDAEs? I got the answer, but I've never before considered a split a SUNDAE. Neither is a parfait. Nor do I believe that malteds, shakes,and smoothies are synonyms although the concoctions look very similar. The chains (Coldstone, DQ, Baskin-Robbins) have pretty much put the local businesses out of business, so I don't have a nearby Shoppe to go visit. Or maybe they are different and some people's children put bananas on their SUNDAEs.

      @Evan - Edsel?

      Anonymous 8:00 AM  

      Having Johnny Cash's "Wide Open Road" would have been pretty cool as it's his birthday today :)

      MikeM 8:07 AM  

      haha Rob C... no, I am a Democrat. I did see Christie at one show at Giants Stadium shortly before he was elected. Everyone was pointing at him "hey, that's the guy..."

      Anonymous 8:10 AM  

      This one was very difficult for me; I have not heard/recognized any of the songs. I figured out that the clues were about streets/roads/etc., but that did not help much. Thank God for the crosses.
      I am glad to see that others enjoyed this puzzle.
      I'm 45, and came to US while in my mid20's frm Eastern Europe. Still at a disadvantage when trying to solve these puzzles heavy on the pop culture side.


      dk 8:16 AM  

      Like @webwinger out of touch for most of the music. BAKERSTREET was the song that taught me about the "hook." An element of a pop song that catches you: saxophone solo in the intro to BAKERSTRRET. Taught to me by one of the residents whose diagnosis was "rode hard and put up wet."

      All and all a rather pleasant Tuesday.

      🌟🌟 (2 Stars)

      wordie 8:17 AM  

      I liked it fine. The theme was very helpful to me as I was on to it very early on. Naticked at 1D/14A like many others. It seems to me a very pure form of Natick, as I ran the alphabet and there were many choices I considered equally plausible. I ended up with an L, realizing it was just a crap shoot.

      Please someone tell me what WOE stands for? I checked the FAQs, it's not there. Thanks!

      Imfromjersey 8:30 AM  

      Found this to be easier than @rex did. Briefly had Sitka for Kenai and was briefly slowed on INDIGNANT by spelling BOCCI as BOCCE. No problems with any of the songs, those are right in my wheelhouse as someone in my *ahem* late 40's. got ASE from crosses, had no idea on that one.
      Nice puzzle Mr. Cee!

      Susan McConnell 8:30 AM  

      Loved it. THUNDER ROAD is one of the best Springsteen tunes ever....because of lines like:

      "So you're scared and you're thinking
      That maybe we ain't that young anymore
      Show a little faith there's magic in the night
      You ain't a beauty but hey you're alright
      Oh and that's alright with me"

      "It's town full of losers
      And I'm pulling out of here to win"

      I'll be singing it all day now!

      Also loved Rex's inclusion of the song I start every long hike with, Road To Nowhere. Great music all over the place and it's only 8:30 am. Gonna be a good day!

      Nancy in PA 8:51 AM  

      Now BAKERSTREET is running through my head. That is some hook all right. I also love that Gerry Rafferty co-wrote "Stuck in the Middle With You" as I am often thinking, "clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right." Great line. I loved this puzzle, not least because I finally broke the 6-min barrier. I just can't write faster!

      jberg 8:52 AM  

      A friend of mine is in the midst of a campaign to make "Roadrunner" the official rock song of Massachusetts; but that's not the name of the road, so it wouldn't have fit.

      I'm older than ACME's range, and not very familiar with the first two roads; and in a moment of memory failure, actually wrote in abbey LANE at first - ELECTRIC AVENUE was the only one that came to me right away. On the other hand, KENAI (come on, it's as big as New England!) and MAN RAY (how can your forget that name?) were easy for me, and I'd at least heard of ASE, even if I didn't remember her.

      HELLE, though? Of course I wanted Medea there.

      tkts copies the half-price ticket booth in Leicester Square, London. The latter, operated by the Society of London Theatres, used to be known as "the Half-Price Ticket Booth," but all the scalpers around Leicester Square started to put up signs proclaiming "this is the famous Leicester Square Half-Price Ticket Booth," so they changed the name to something that could be copyrighted.

      Since I knew KENAI, I actually had the K first and thought maybe there was a dyny store in Times Square, but no.

      But BOCCI? 7 million Google hits for bocce, 2.5 million for BOCCI (described by Wikipedia as how it is "sometimes anglicized") - I guess I'll take it, but I don't like it.

      MetaRex 9:13 AM  

      Yes! Five v. catchy road songs...Bruce's "Thunder Road" at the top was a real kick...v. nice craft w/ only 74 words, decent fill, and an attractive grid...38 blacks is a bit on the high side but the big L shapes in the E and W are better-looking than lumber piles usually are.

      Kant, Dan Ariely, and a MetaRex confession

      jackj 9:13 AM  

      Gary Cee takes us on his version of the “Magical Mystery Tour” and, for me, as one of those people who “remembers a song when he hears it” but doesn’t have a clue as to titles or from whence they come, it made for a more interesting solve.

      What really stood out was some delightfully aggressive fill, not the least being two words that inexplicably have never before appeared in a Times puzzle, VEGETABLE and INDIGNANT.

      Of course, ACRYLIC, YOUREON and BEHAVES aren’t exactly B-side words either and among the proper nouns, DELUISE, BARBRA, MANRAY and Justice STEVENS are particularly noteworthy, ASE, KENAI and HELLE, not so much.

      For those who will ululate loudly about HELLE, it might be nice to learn a bit about her role in the myth of the “Golden Fleece”. A quick look-up shows she was accidentally dropped from a flying sheep sent to rescue her from the wiles of an evil stepmother, fell into the Turkish strait the Dardanelles, [then known as HELLEspoint], and drowned. (Just another day in the life of the ancient Greeks).

      Lastly, the SOS, perched on top of the state of Maine, harbors three side-by-side winners in the down entries, SAYSYES, OPENAIR and the most fun word in the puzzle, SCRAWLS.

      Including five lengthy theme answers likely made for some difficulty in cluing for the rest of the puzzle but, to his credit, Gary Cee didn’t miss a beat or drop a stitch or whatever it is that lesser constructors sometimes do to irritate us.

      Good show, Gary!

      Jeff Lewis 9:21 AM

      Evan 9:30 AM  

      @webwinger and @Z:

      Sure, why not? I'm not a car person in the least bit. I couldn't have told you what an Edsel looks like. All I know is that it started in the 50s, it's five letters long, it was made by the same company that made the T-BIRD, and it sucked for some reason.

      In any event, I corrected it within seconds when I figured RAN was the correct answer instead of E-- at 4-Down. I was just using my wrong guess at 1-Across to illustrate the fact that today's puzzle wasn't going to be a smooth solve for me.

      mac 9:32 AM  

      Outstanding Tuesday, with only a few hesitations: vas, helle and bocci. I played in a (not very serious) bocce tournament and have the special shoes to prove it.

      Oddly enough, we just talked about Baker Street, where my husbands office was when we lived in London the first time. On the corner is Selfridge's, which features in a new Masterpiece Theater series starting in March.

      chefbea 9:34 AM  

      Didn't know Kenai so had a Natick with tkts. All in all a fairly easy puzzle.

      Didn't know I shared a birthday with Johnny Cash!! Mamie Eisenhower had the same b-day.

      Carola 9:42 AM  

      Wasn't able to properly appreciate the theme, as I'm also in the "knew only 'Penny Lane'" group. Still, after the ROAD and HIGHWAY, it was easy to get the AVENUE and STREET parts, at least. The rest came from crosses.

      I did appreciate the T-BIRD having all those thoroughfares to choose from.

      Briefly got hung up on HEL_E, had to run the alphabet to see the crossing LCD. Also had thought MAN RAY was part of the European crowd, so hesitated on that until it just had to be right.

      Noticed some rhyming 3-letter pairs - CRO-THO(-EAU), RAN-NAN, VAS-GAS (in appearance if not sound), but then thought it wasn't that remarkable given how many three-letter words there are. I counted 28. Is that on the high end?

      Notsofast 9:51 AM  

      Lousy weather needs a fun puzzle like this little gem. Loved LDOPA. Check out "The Ballad of Thunder Road" by Robert Mitchum from 1957. Probably his ONLY record. Nice work, Mr.Cee! B

      Sandy K 10:02 AM  

      Got the theme at PENNY LANE. Was able to throw in the others from there.

      Only hmmm, was HELLE. Thanks @jackj for clarifying who that that's why its' called the HELLEspont? Saved me a google.

      Love musical puzzles!

      John V 10:02 AM  

      TKTS/KENAI last to fall, like as @Rex. Paused at VIM spot. I'm good with ancient pop music, except for Bruce who is not in my wheelhouse, so I needed the crosses for 17A. BAKERSTREET is an all time favorite.

      Good puzzle, Gary Cee, man on a roll, 13 puzzles in the last 24 months. Way to go!

      retired_chemist 10:10 AM  

      I was off my game and finished with 4 errors: 47A was HELEN, then HELGA, then finally HELLA because I misspelled VEGETABLE. 61A was BASIN STREET, despite the fact that the Sirius channel we listen to most plays BAKER STREET several times a week (that I know of).

      LOL @ T_TS - mine was TKOS and a WTF tor a while. MSG is 8 blocks south of Times Square and I pictured a crawler in Times Square with fight results.

      Did not know most of the songs but crosses helped immeasurably. MAN RAY and HELLE were total unknowns.

      Hand up for SITKA and for the more common spelling, BOCCE. Also 56A was FOSTER to start. 22@ was Tennessee WALKER. Wonder if horse folks on this blog had that also....

      All told a challenging, if well don., Tuesday and I wasn't really up to it. But thanks to Mr. Cee.

      the redanman 10:13 AM  

      I was offended by VEGETABLE crossing L-DOPA, so insensitive

      Anonymous 10:17 AM  

      LDOPA is horrible, especially for a Tuesday. LDOPA and HELLE really marred what was otherwise a pretty good puzzle.

      Two Ponies 10:31 AM  

      This one hit me directly in my pop culture sweet spot. Thanks Gary Cee.
      Baker Street tube station is my favorite. Beautiful inside.
      @ wordie, I believe WOE is what one of our regulars uses as a polite alternative to WTF.

      Two Ponies 10:32 AM  

      Clicked too soon. I think WOE is what on earth.

      Bob Kerfuffle 10:33 AM  

      Several people have mentioned a write-over at 6A, BOCCE before BOCCI. Possibly a bad omen for the ACPT, I also had BOCCE but never changed it because I did not review my grid before putting down my pen. No Mr. Happy Pencil to tell me I was wrong, not that there ever is.

      (Incidentally, my Merriam Webster's has the dictionary entry as "boccie or bocci or bocce,".

      @wordie - WOE is "What on Earth?", which I believe was introduced as a more genteel alternative to WTF.

      quilter1 10:54 AM  

      Agree with Andrea that this was biased toward older solvers. I knew the song titles because when they were played I was still paying attention to pop music. I'd be in trouble if they were more recent. I've visited Alaska and the KENAI peninsula and Peer's mom ASE was standard fill in the Maleska era. I did want BOCCe first but that was my only hesitation today. Good puzzle for a snowy day.

      Matthew G. 11:54 AM  

      I'm under 40 and knew 4 of 5 songs without crosses, but then, I've always preferred music from the 70s to the music of my own generation.

      Wasn't familiar with BAKER STREET, though.

      Sfingi 11:58 AM  

      DNF because of Natick at TKTS / KENAI. No idea. When I lived in NYC, Times Square was a dump and nothing was electronic (late '60s).

      For people into olden music ASE is easy. One movement of the Peer Gynt Suite is ASE's Death, and happily for you, you can't hear me humming it.

      BOCCi is the plural of BOCCE, in the typical masculine grammar, but I doubt it's used with BOCCE. BOCCE should be pronounced bah-chay, not -chee, btw.

      Liked the theme.

      journeyman 12:27 PM  

      Baker Street has one of the most distinctive riffs in classic rockdom, certainly on the sax. Never knew the song's name or the artists', though till Rafferty died two years back. Some reason it reminds me of Miami Vice.

      I came hoping to see more grousing on LDOPA. Natick of the lowest order IMHO, yet @Notsofast loves it.

      LaneB 12:29 PM  

      OK, Rex's elapsed time was one-tenth of mine, but I'm still happy to finish with no erasures even though not familiar with the songs from which the theme derived. Glad the fillers were doable. BOCCI is the anglicized version of the real Italian BOCCE and could have caused early confusion but INDIGNANT saved the erasure. A fair Tuesday.

      retired_chemist 1:53 PM  

      What is wrong with L-DOPA? Somehow I think some find it non-PC,which I don't. I bet Michael J. Fox doesn't either.

      Bird 2:02 PM  

      Moving along swimmingly, love the theme and was singing the answers in my head, but drowned in the south-central sea of MAnRaY crossing LDOPa and naN. I don’t know what happened, but I drew a complete blank on NAN, but I had no idea on MANRAY and LDOPA (they should not have been grouped like that on a Tuesday) so I probably would’ve died anyway.

      Write-overs include VETTE (I knew they came out in early ‘50s) before T-BIRD, BOCCE before BOCCI, APB before SOS and ATE before HID.

      DIDN’T like this answer’s clue as there wasn’t a hint to contraction.

      Edsels were sporty? And this guy is a doctor?

      @chefbea – Happy Birthday!

      Milford 2:03 PM  

      @retired chemist - Agreed. I can't figure out if it was an unknown to some or they didn't like the disease reference. Didn't we just have AZT the other day?

      @chef bea - Happy Birthday!

      Rob C 2:12 PM  

      @ Milford, Ret Chem and others

      fyi - LDOPA gets >3 million hits on Google and it's been used 10 times in the Shortz era. I think it's as ugly as any other abbreviated medicine (AZT as Milford points out) but legit.

      Whether some griped b/c they didn't know it, well, there's a boatload of stuff I don't know, but whose fault is that?

      Nameless 2:28 PM  

      Great puzzle except for the Naticks in the NE and South blocs. I don't get into NYC as often as I should (snicker snort at mammaries in the grid) and never heard of LDOPA or MANRAY (better clue for the latter is Spongebob villian).

      A little more work and this would have been a great puzzle.

      @chefbea - Happy Birthday!

      @Rob C - There's no fault in not knowing LDOPA if you don't have Parkinsons and you don't know anyone who suffers from it.

      Nameless 2:52 PM  

      er, that should start as "Good puzzle . . ."

      Jimmy Legs 3:03 PM  

      I would have clued 38D as "Link's obnoxious fairy," or on a Saturday, "Lain's computer."

      Sparky 3:07 PM  

      @Joseph B. I believe lower case in clue for 1D also because caps would be SRO, a puzzle favorite. Still, naticked there on the K and on the HELLE/LCD cross.

      PENNY LANE first which helped on the rest.

      I, too, thoguht MANRAY was European but he became the only choice. ASE,NAN,NAB ROT all constant companions. Sometimes nice to have around so you can get an eyelash hold on grid. Aside from the two empty squares a pleasant solve. Thanks Gary Cee.

      Z 3:23 PM  

      @Evan - Yeah, we all have our weak spots. As a comparison, answering "sporty car" with "edsel" is like answering "Sports Illustrated Cover Model" with "Pelosi" or "GQ cover model" with "Gingrich."

      Anonymous 3:40 PM  

      L-DOPA played a prominent role in the 1990 film "Awakenings", based on the true story of Dr. Oliver Sacks who recognized the drug's potential to "awaken" patients who were in a catatonic state.


      Anonymous 3:45 PM  

      So, that makes L-DOPA an awakener?

      If you got that joke, you've been paying way too much attenttion to this blog.

      sanfranman59 4:01 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 7:54, 8:23, 0.94, 31%, Easy-Medium

      Top 100 solvers

      Tue 4:47, 4:52, 0.98, 41%, Medium

      Thunder Lizard 6:07 PM  

      T-Bird and T-Road in one puz. Is there a crossword term for this phenomenon? If not, how'bout "distant thunder"?

      Like 31, knew all the songs. But the only one I could nail from out of nowhere was ELECTRICAVENUE. Theme had a pretty complete list; really wanted ALLEY OOP to come along for the ride, tho. That tune was a good ol' dine-o-sowwwer.

      M & A

      chefwen 6:58 PM  

      Happy Birthday my fellow CHEF!

      sanfranman59 10:05 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 6:16, 6:10, 1.02, 60%, Medium
      Tue 7:55, 8:23, 0.94, 32%, Easy-Medium

      Top 100 solvers

      Mon 3:44, 3:41, 1.02, 55%, Medium
      Tue 4:28, 4:52, 0.92, 15%, Easy

      Tita 10:32 PM  

      Way late to the blog, though I finished the puzzle last night. Well, actually, DNF last night.
      Hard for Thursday!
      I knew tkts, thankfully, cause didn't know KENAI.
      Also naticked with NAN, LDOPA, and MANRAY - yeas, sorta know MANRAY, but it was late last night.
      Knew all the songs except for BAKERSTREET.

      @acme, @eejit - thanks - I needed a guffaw tonight!
      Wow - I've never been so busy updating the Hall. What's up with Rexville??
      Will try to do so just after posting.
      Ya know, y'all can add comments to that page, and nominate yer own gaffes... Though I must admit I do love the heady feeling of power that comes with being the Epic Hall of Fame editor...mwaaahaahaa!

      @chefwen - congrats on your new brood!

      Like @bird & @webw, I started off with vette at 1A - didn't take long to fix.

      @chefbea - happy birthday!

      Tita 10:42 PM  

      OK - Epic Wrong Answer Hall of Fame is updated.

      @Rex - how on earth do you do an entire blog evry day!!!!!?

      SO - were there any gaffes from Monday that belong there? I haven't even gotten to Mondayville...

      Tita 10:43 PM  

      sigh..."hard for *Tuesday*..."

      Had an 8-10pm multi-timezone meeting I was orchestrating till a scant few moments ago...I blame jet lag.
      3 & out.

      Nigel 10:46 PM  

      KENAI came into my head immediately, hence tkts was easy. This was an easy fill day, I thought - and I also thought, like others, that VAS was going to be the word of the day. I wasn't thrilled with "THE SHAH" - seemed like cheating somehow since that was his title, and not his name. And even though I'm a boy of the 70's, the song titles don't just roll off my tongue. I needed a few crosses before I got most of them, except PENNY LANE.

      I find it interesting that people mention answers I haven't even seen, like NAN at 57A. If I'd seen it I'd have known instangly since she was the only three letter Bobbsey. Dick, Flossie and Freddy just wouldn't fit, but I think some puzzle solver should throw in a Flossie some day.

      Although this didn't seem an ordinary Tuesday puzzle, it was quite easy to do, because the fill helped do the long answers.

      lol - my number in the captcha is 4205 - but I'll just put in 42, as usual.

      Roger Brown 1:04 PM  

      I've yet to play on a lawn bocce court. Clay, brick dust, crushed oyster shells, and even dirt. But lawn...nah.
      Lawn bowling balls are weighted to roll in an arc; bocce balls are weighted true. Finally, no one I know wears whites to play bocce; the whites wouldn't be white very long.

      Spacecraft 11:26 AM  

      What, no "Boulevard of Broken Dreams?" Perhaps on a 23x23 Sunday. But these tunes do very nicely, thank you. Talk about earworms! Oh, for the days when music was music!

      Along with a super theme, this puzzle sports some pretty nifty fill--THO my Italian buds would be INDIGNANT at the misspelling of BOCCe (yeah, I know it's plural, but the clue reads "Italian lawn bowling," which to me indicates the name of the sport itself, hence: Bocce. That's what it's called. 'S okay, Gary; nobody's perfect.)

      Too bad all of this isn't spoiled by the Natickest Natick that ever came down the pike (or road, highway, etc.). You are right, fearless one, for a New Yorker--not ever, good heavens, a "NYER--" this might be a gimme, but I had absolutley no idea. HELLE/LCD was bad enough, but inferrable; T?TS/?ENAI? No way. What a shame to DNF one of my favorite grids so far.

      Oh well, I can still enjoy the tunes.

      And captcha paople? Fire your address number phtoographer and get somebody who can at least take a picture in normal light and in focus! Horrible!

      Ginger 1:25 PM  

      Did not know any of the songs, none, until they were almost solved from crosses. I have a wonderful video of the brown bears of KENAI frolicking, fishing for salmon, with a little 'bear porn' thrown in, hence, KENAI was a gimme. Funny how those things seem to balance out.

      TBIRD held me up a little, because I was thinking they came out in '53. Fun little cars they were, and then Ford turned them in a sedan. GRR.

      Didn't know MANRAY or NAVI, but made a couple of lucky (swag method) guesses.

      Fun Tuesday, fun solve, thanks Gary Cee.

      Greg Baker 2:10 PM  

      In the upper left corner of our puzzle page this morning (Minneapolis Star Tribune) was a note:

      "Because of a production error, the games and puzzles content in Monday's Variety section was the content for Friday, April 5th..."

      Indeed yesterdays puzzle (besides being outrageously hard for a Monday was 0301, the syndicated puzzle for this Friday.

      Did anyone else get this, or have I been had? There is nothing to say that it was an April Fools joke, but it made for a good one!!

      Greg Baker

      rain forest 2:37 PM  

      I thought this was an excellent puzzle. There were places where I had to either think, or look at the crosses, eg, BOCC(E or I), and the so-called natick at TKTS/KENAI where I thought the K was highly inferrable. There's a vas defenens between a puzzle where you have no chance to insert a letter, and one like this where you can work it out. Knew all the tunes straight off, which clearly was a big help. Nice one!

      Dirigonzo 3:53 PM  

      I left the K blank on my first run through the clues and forgot to go back to it before I came here, so truly DNF. I doubt I would have guessed right, anyway.

      By 1964 the TBIRD had evolved into a bloated 4-seater which could not be called "sporty", but driving my mother's red convertible (which was often OPENAIR)was still a sure-fire way to pick up chicks.

      Tita 9:20 PM can enter any old thing you want for the number part of the captcha...
      We are all being unwittingly recruited by Google to enhance the resale value of the data their street view cars collect, so they can sell it to those who would target us with even more helpful ads.

      Unlike those tricky "words", Google has no idea what they say, so there is no validation performed on them.
      Personally, I always answer "42".

      Tita 9:23 PM  

      And @diri...totally agree about the bloated t-bird...
      The Mustang ain't what it used to be either...

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