Harry Potter librarian Pince / SUN 4-21-13 / Affiliate of AFL CIO / Dinosaur pioneering cartoon short / 1989 John Cusack romantic comedy / Site of Cyclops smithy / Lover of Cesario in Twelfth Night / Puerto Rican city that shares name with explorer

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Constructor: Jonah Kagan

Relative difficulty: Easy



THEME: "Front Flips" — familiar phrases have their "front" word "flipped," creating wacky phrases, clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: UMW (14D: Affiliate of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.) —
The United Mine Workers of America (UMW or UMWA) is a North American labor union best known for representing coal miners and coal technicians. Today, the Union also represents health care workers, truck drivers, manufacturing workers and public employees in the United States and Canada. Although its main focus has always been on workers and their rights, the UMW of today also advocates for better roads, schools, and universal health care.
The UMW was founded in Columbus, Ohio, on January 22, 1890, with the merger of two old labor groups, the Knights of Labor Trade Assembly No. 135 and the National Progressive Miners Union. Adopting the model of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), the union was initially established as a three-pronged labor tool: to develop mine safety; to improve mine workers' independence from the mine owners and the company store; and to provide miners with collective bargaining power. After passage of the National Recovery Act in 1933, organizers spread throughout the United States to organize all coal miners into labor unions. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is a pretty old theme concept. Seen it many times. Did one myself once, though in my case the theme answers were all actually thematically related as well as word-flipped. Anyway, maybe it's a two-parter and next week's is "Back Flips" because ... why not? If you can do front flips, you can do back flips, flippety flip flip. Flip. Like a dead fish. The fill is OK. I always like when a constructor makes good use of his long non-thematic answers, and this puzzle has a bunch that are quite good: FIRST KISS, PROMISE RING, and "SAY ANYTHING" (an iconic movie from back when movies still had the capacity to be iconic). I need to coin a term for the answer / clue that is so distracting / annoying / irritating / jarring that it takes your head out of the game. Makes you stop and wonder WTF?, possibly aloud. They yank your attention, so ... "Yankers" maybe. Two yankers today. First: UMW. It yanked me for two reasons. One, I've never seen it, that I can recall. When I google [umw], the first hit I get is University of Mary Washington, which sounds made up, and yet, as I say, beats United Mine Workers in a google search. Second, UMW is a perverse answer given the clue. UAW seemed faaaaar more likely, for many reasons, not least because I've actually seen it in grids before. I'm not even sure what "affiliate" means, union-wise. So ... UMW is legit fill, but yankety yank. Yankier still was DISTRO. Are we just making up "words" now. I am inferring that it has something to do with DISTRObution, but ... yikes. Never heard it, never seen it, no-wise. Total yanker. Everything else seems perfectly adequate.

Theme answers:
  • 24A: Tammany Hall corruption, e.g.? (EVIL FROM NEW YORK)
  • 34A: Try to see what you're getting for Christmas? (PEEK UNDER WRAPS)
  • 45A: Academy for criminals? (PERP SCHOOL)
  • 51A: Journey from the nest to the kitchen, say? (RAT'S TREK)
  • 64A: Hidden drug habit, maybe? (POT SECRET)
  • 76A: Drink greedily? (GULP IT IN)
  • 81A: Playground apparatus of the Apocalypse? (DOOM SWINGS) 
  • 91A: Be a lenient judge? (DIAL DOWN THE LAW)
  • 105A: Maligned merchandise? (REVILED THE GOODS) 

Bullets:
  • 6A: Coolidge's vice president (DAWES) — I can never remember this. There's a newish biography of Coolidge by the very crossworthy Amity SHLAES.
  • 53A: "Arrested Development" character Fünke (TOBIAS) — First, when I got sick I didn't shave, and still haven't, and so look disturbingly like David Cross, who plays TOBIAS Fünke (though he plays him beardless ...). Second, new "Arrested Development" is coming soon to Netflix and I am very excited about this. May 26, 2013. Gonna binge-watch the whole season.
  • 54A: "Harry Potter" librarian Pince (IRMA) — really wanted this to be NEZ.
  • 70A: Psychologist Jean known for his theory of cognitive development (PIAGET) — Pretty sure I know him only because I put him in my own Sunday puzzle last fall. His name sounds fancy, like a car or a time piece.
  • 17D: "___ the Dinosaur" (pioneering cartoon short) ("GERTIE")Winsor McKay! My hero. One of them, anyway.
  • 35D: Site of Cyclops' smithy (ETNA) — bobbled this one, thinking of the name of a classical smithy (i.e. Vulcan???), before realizing "oh, right, *site* ... four letters, starts with "E" ... there we go."
  • 45D: Puerto Rico city that shares its name with an explorer (PONCE) — I know this as pejorative British slang. But this clue is probably better for polite company.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

66 comments:

jae 12:18 AM  

Easy breezy clever Sun. with some amusing answers.  Really liked RATS TREK and POT SECRET.

Only major erasure was ACrid for ACERB.  Nice to see the @Rex iconic SAY ANYTHING, too bad Jonah couldn't work in IONE somewhere.

WOE: DISTRO

Possible tough section: TOBIAS/PONCE/EBERT/PIAGET.  Arrested Development was not exactly a main stream hit and the David Cross character was somewhat secondary.

Liked it. Fun Sunday!

Numinous 12:47 AM  

Liked this one and I didn't do too badly, for me. Only three googles, one of which was SAY ANYTHING which I've never seen and had to verify before I figured out UMW.
I absolutely hated ATRIP. I used to sail and I've never heard that term before, ever. Maybe we could vote to ban A+ words.
@Rex, a band called Squirrel Nut Zippers has a wonderful Song: Prince Nez (if you like hot jazz/swing). It's easy to find on YouTube. Their female singer can sound alarmingly like Billy Holiday or Betty Boop.
For me, a fun solve.

Anonymous 1:47 AM  

"Distro" is a very common term in the Linux community.

Ellen S 2:03 AM  

HAR! Jonah gives M&A 9 Us, so @Rex provides me with Wonderful, Glorious EELS! I love it!

Couldn't get even a toehold yesterday, but this one fell without Googling. @Anonymous, thanks for the assurance that there is such a word as DISTRO at least in the Linux community. If I believed in Linux I'd be more assured, and I'mm not at all sure it meets @Bob Kerfuffle's plausibility test, but it was the least unlikely, after I got "ISTRO" on crosses. Oh, and "DIAL DOWN THE LAW" proved it.

DOOM SWINGS made me laugh. I don't know what that says about me... Also, my Captcha is "nasucti" -- sounds like something from True Blood, or Grimm.

chefwen 2:17 AM  

We had a great time with this one. Hard to pick a favorite, but I think it had to be PERP SCHOOL. POT SECRET was pretty good too. Everyone on this rock has a POT SECRET. I keep out of it.

At 37D I put in EZEl and had a Whee of a time trying to figure out what a RATSTREL was. Stared at it for about 5 minutes before the light came on and I figured out EZEK = RATS TREK ergo STAR TREK. Double DOH!

Loved it!

Thanks Jonah.

Just finished @Loren Muse Smiths puzzle and loved it too. Keep 'em coming Loren, you're a natural.

paulsfo 2:58 AM  

DISTRO was unknown to me even though I've used Linux off and on for 10+ years and have even installed it once or twice.
If anyone didn't know PIAGET or UMW then I frankly think they need to get a little more well-rounded.
Rex, if you're saying that a "yanker" is something that you're not used to seeing in crosswords, even if it's not that obscure (or obscure at all; e.g. UMW), then I must respectfully disagree. I would *much* rather see something new rather than another use of ANTE, AAA, etc. Think enjoyment and stimulation versus "drat, that cost me three seconds." :)

paulsfo 3:00 AM  

Oops. Forgot to ask about the clue for OME. The poem's title is actually "Follow Me 'Ome". Is it kosher to leave out the apostrophe from the clue?

Bob Kerfuffle 6:31 AM  

Nice, fun puzzle. My only write-over was at 76 A, GULP IT IN, where the intended underlying phrase is PLUG IT IN. I started with GULP UGLY, because the first thing that came to mind as an underlying phrase was PLUG UGLY.

@Ellen S - The "plausibility test" (oh, no, what have I started!?!) is extremely easy to pass. I have never heard of DISTRO, but if even only one Linux user says it is in use, that's good enough for me.

@paulsfo - Can't speak precisely about "kosher" but it certainly is the rule in crosswords that spaces, apostrophes, hyphens, superscripts, all other niceties of language, are discarded before entering the grid (And when they do appear - someone else can show examples - they are the subject of great discussion.)

Bob Kerfuffle 6:45 AM  

@paulsfo - Sorry, it's early morning here. I see that your question was if the apostrophe should have been in the clue. But I still think that, certainly in this case, the apostrophe is an integral part of the answer word, and therefore can be disregarded.

CBCD 7:11 AM  

Was anyone else amused by the proximity of BRA and TATA?

chefbea 7:46 AM  

Loved the puzzle. Very easy. Did it last night and googled a few things this morning in order to finish.

Funny...I was watching SNL when I got 24 across!!

loren muse smith 7:58 AM  

I enjoyed this one a lot, Jonah! Every theme answer made me smile.
On my initial strike around the grid, I had
“ore” for OIL
“Maslow” for PIAGET. Pick a psychologist, any psychologist.
“shhh” for READ – I know I’m not alone there!
“clear up” for SOBER UP, thinking, “Wow. People will hate *that* clue!”
“farm” for TILL
“dame” for LADY
“cecil” for ELROY. I guess Cecil’s friend, Beanie, was the one with the hat, though.

ONCE right next to ONES. Hmmm. I liked OTIC crossing ON AIR.

Two things really held me up for a while:
1. thinking ROOMMATES would be a themer. I kept almost writing “moor mates.”
2. thinking MUSTACHE didn’t fit. I always spell it ”moustache.”

RAT TREK, surprised me, as did GULP IT IN, until I realized they were part of the theme.

Saw the trick at DOOM SWINGS. Like @Ellen S - I liked that, too! REVILED THE GOODS was my favorite, simply because the flipped word is so darn long. Cool!

Thank you for a prescriptivist feel with the clue for USAGE.

Where has TOBIAS Duncan gone?

DIETED – when I was in high school, I thought invented an expression, ”A waist is a terrible thing to mind.” A few years later I saw it on a bumper sticker. Sigh. O ME. I LOSE.

DELIA is “ailed” backwards. EROS is “sore” backwards. GNAW is “Wang” backwards. ( Had a Dr.Wang in an ESL class once.) CROP backwards is French “porc.” I’m procrastinating because I don’t want to look at a stack of five-paragraph persuasive essays. PSATS is “stasp” backwards – corset part – a man named Nemo Puemac Degella invented it. Right. TONKA is “ak not” backwards. “Ak not what your country can do . . .”

Ok enough nonsense. Off to see how B. Cattlet argues to legalize POT. I guess you could say I teach in a kind of PERP SCHOOL?

Anonymous 8:12 AM  

Had to ask my son for 53A. Like Rex he is planning to binge-watch on May 26.

MetaRex 8:16 AM  

Ah, once Americans loved or loathed John L. Lewis...hand up for UAW and also USW. Some cute stuff here...PEEK UNDER WRAPS brought back memories of Christmases past. The solving story and ratings for the puzzle peeps and the real peeps are at RATS LIVE ON NO EVIL STAR

Chris Kearin 8:22 AM  

I had no issue with the name of the UMW, one of the most famous unions in the US, but ATRIP and DISTRO meant nothing. Filled those spaces correctly, but put a question mark by both to verify them later.

Thoracic 8:41 AM  

@lms, loved your highly amusing comments as always. I clung stubbornly to SHHH for way too long as well. Also refused to fill in ROOMMATES until the very end because I thought it was a theme answer and knew that moor mates wasn't a thing. I actually got the theme right away from the name of the puzzle, but still managed to turn it into a slog, albeit a pretty fun slog.

Glimmerglass 8:42 AM  

@loren etc: ". . . and Tegrin spelled backwards is nergit" (Phoebe Buffet). Clever theme. I liked PERP SCHOOL and DOOM SWINGS best, but they were all amusing.

jberg 8:53 AM  

OK, once I figured out 96D wasn't BEarS, this puzzle had me-- but that aside, I still thought it was pretty good, even without the eels.

There are a few problems -- what is "noise music?" (16D) - can't believe that's really a thing, even if you don't like atonalism. And I still don't understand AT RIP or ATRIP or whatever it is as meaning "raised." I had AshIP at first, which would have been bad enough.

Lots of trouble with 76A. I GULPed away, then at It, before I finally GULPed IT IN.

And are there two Morricones? I could have sworn he was EricO.

PIAGET is probably even more famous than DISTRO in certain circles, and a good match for Arrested Development. @Loren, not just any psychologist, but any male psychologist named Jean, so probably Francophone.

Me too for a pile of grading to do, plus 4 hours sitting at a table talking to prospective freshmen and their parents. At least they'll feed us -- in fact, I'm likely to get a BAG of chips.

joho 8:59 AM  

I thought this was a lot of fun, not a real brain teaser but a Sunday morning walk in the park (@loren, walk in the krap?).

My favorites were RATSTREK and DOOMSWINGS.

Thanks to @Ellen S. and @Rex I now know that there's a band called EELS!

I'd say Jonah did the opposite of REVILEDTHEGOODS!

Bob Kerfuffle 9:12 AM  

@MetaRex - Thank you for offering an excuse to once more swing open the rusty gates of the Crypt of Ancient jokes:

"You can't just marry that girl! You gotta get permission - she's a minor."

"You mean I gotta ask John L. Lewis?"

Z 9:13 AM  

I live a mile or so from Ford World Headquarters and have driven past GM and Chrysler's HQ's within the past couple of months. Hence, spent some time wondering what moor aates are.

Got all the way to PIAGET without knowing what was going on. Then Jean OPENs up the middle and POTS SECRET clued me into the theme. From there it was pretty straight forward.

I detect a real 70's-80's AURA today. TIEGS by STING (a far better looking couple than yesterday's MINAJ/FIFE pairing), SAY ANYTHING, LADY Thatcher, Suzanne SOMERS, even a Burt Reynolds MUSTACHE. So a little fun. Still, RRNs, NORW, time zones, and various POC (how many DAWES does one puzzle need?) bring this down just a little. But then there is ZEES, so all is forgiven.

loren muse smith 9:45 AM  

Speaking of my student, B Catlett, last class, I had his name in a sentence on the board, something about “angry water buffalo.” He quietly pointed to the sticker on his brand new folder – and I swear I’m not making this up – of two angry-looking water buffalo. I had made up my sentences the week before while sitting at my kitchen table. How weird is *that*?? Usually my go-to noun is “garden gnome,” but for some reason, I decided to change. . .(Cue The Twilight Zone music)

@joho – “walk in the krap” Hah! We have two very well-fed dogs, and our grass is high right now. . .

@jbeg – I had “aship” first, too. And my Maslow mistake is even worse than not noticing the French hint: I vaguely reasoned Maslow’s Hierarchy could be some kind of cognitive development deal. Enjoy your BAG of chips while you gab.

EdFromHackensack 9:45 AM  

Hand up for ROOMMATES confusion. I thought it could not be correct. Then I realized it's geometric counterpart 110A was not part of the theme so that shouldnt be either. By big mistake was I had ___E_A and stupidly put in helEnA before TOPEKA. I didn't realize GULPITIN was part of the theme. Wanted GULPdowN at first. Also had to overwrite "what's the big DEAL instead of IDEA. Loved the puzzle, I can't understand how someone can say the puzzle was very easy yet had to GOOGLE in the morning to finish. Well, that's a DNF, how very easy is THAT?

jackj 9:51 AM  

Jonah Kagan ends a two-year hiatus and comes roaring back with a Sunday puzzle that certainly REVILEDTHEGOODS!!

A really fun theme that simply reverses the spelling of the first word in a common phrase to unexpected but clever and punny results with two favorite TV shows among them, appearing in Spoonerism drag as EVILFROMNEWYORK and RATSTREK. Clever stuff.

Not content to rely simply on his strong theme, Jonah complements things with some memorable fill, firstly with tender memories of a FIRSTKISS that was quickly cemented with a PROMISERING and it was shades of the days of bundling boards.

But things weren’t all of the goo-goo eyes variety as we quickly were introduced to SOTS who were just as quickly and sternly told to SOBERUP and we were also reminded of that most contagious reflex that, whether we YENNED it or not, others YAWNing makes us YAWN, too, and in the puzzle, just writing it in made it so.

Seeing the composer, ENNIO Morricone was a reminder of his early days composing music scores for feature films when he wrote the music for the first spaghetti Western, “A Fistful of Dollars”, a Sergio Leone film, starring Clint Eastwood.

Leone was so concerned that the US market wouldn’t accept a Western film made by Italians that he Americanized his and ENNIO’s names in the film’s credits as Dan Savio and Bob Robertson. (The extraordinary success of the film allowed them to drop their noms de cine, but gave the film biz another treasured “Only in Hollywood” story).

The puzzle gave us a clever clue for MUSTACHE, a rare appearance by a favorite word, CAESURA, and a grand mix-up of ELROYs when a clue seeking the “actor Hirsch” seemed to signal ELROY “Crazy Legs” Hirsch, only to have “The Jetson’s” ELROY, pop up next door and the first ELROY quietly reverted to EMILE to end the confusion.

So, as they sing at the USNA, “Anchors ATRIP, my boys, Anchor’s ATRIP”; even the mysterious DISTRO wasn’t enough to dampen our fun ride through Jonah’s treat!

cleary 9:58 AM  

what about (105 A) relived the goods? It doesn't sound
familiar to me. Anyone else?

Suzy 10:09 AM  

@cleary-- deliver the goods

UMW a gimme, but jenga?? All in all, an easy Sunday morning.

chefbea 10:27 AM  

@Cleary it's reviled

Jim Finder 10:28 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle.

Cluing woes: 14A - "Grammar concern" is not right for USAGE. Grammar is not usage and usage is not grammar. 16A - "Like some noise music" is offensive for ATONAL. Atonal music is music. It's ignorant to include the word "noise."

Never heard of Jenga or Distro.

Is NORW really an abbreviation for Norway?

David 10:51 AM  

And if you call for a song of the sea,
We'll heave the capstan round,
With a yeo heave ho, for the wind is free,
Her anchor's A-TRIP and her helm's a-lee,
Hurrah for the homeward bound!

-- "A Wand'ring Minstrel I" from The Mikado

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

YENNED? Sheesh!

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

@Jim Finder - Noise Music, which is a thing is frequently atonal, which is what the clue was getting at. It wasn't calling Atonal Music noise.

"I ain't got no problem with that" is a matter of usage of the English language. It is also a matter of grammar.

Gill I. P. 11:24 AM  

Semordnilap in my puzzle. Fun, fun Sunday.
@Loren - you were a lot more elegant than I since I had dead instead of LADY.
My FIRST KISS was anything but romantic. Memorable yes, since I made the poor guy cry!
I really like OLIVIA meeting down with GUINEVERE. Both probably eating at SPAGO's.
I really can't pick out a favorite since I liked them all.
Good job Jonah Kagan....

La Tatabra 11:31 AM  

We want thank the New York Times for the free advertising for our upcoming auction of the best of Argentine Sporthorses. Please joins us May 18th.

Ellen S 12:02 PM  

@edfromhackensack -- same as DISTRO and YENNED can be words, a puzzle can be easy if @Chefbea is just working it and not competing. I've done puzzles where all but maybe three answers were gimmes, and those three were WTFs. I'd call that puzzle easy, compared with the ones where I am flummoxed from the gitgo.

@loren, I loved your puzzle. It didn't leave me feeling PEABRAINED but I can't remember now if I needed Google.

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

atrip, my heinie! It might have worked poetically for Gilbert and Sullivan but has no place in the nautical lexicon. An anchor is said to be "up and down" just before it breaks ground then it becomes "aweigh".
/s/ career naval officer

Mohair Sam 12:07 PM  

Fun puzzle, easy theme made quick work until I spent most of an hour insisting on ORE not OIL at 108 down. The crosses weren't gimees for me, but 'OME finally made sense and solved the problem.

And, yes @Anon - a big Sheeez for YENNED. I'm fine with a puzzle with words peple know and use that I've never heard of, it's part of the fun - CAESURA, JENGA, SPAGO, DELIA Ephron, even DISTRO that y'all argued about. But a word that is never used? Nah.

Maybe @Kerfluffle's now famous "plausibilty test" should be enhanced with a "has it ever been used?" test. (and don't get me going on NORW)

travis 12:16 PM  

I've certainly heard DISTRO before. A distro would be something like Debian, Red Hat, Ubuntu, etc. They provide all the software for your computer from libraries to kernels to programs so they are all easy to install and work nice with each other. They even provide a program to solve xwords. The clue seemed slightly off when I got it, but now that I look at it again it is actually the most succint description possible[though components might be superfluous though I can also understand why it was included].

Carola 12:38 PM  

I was surprised at @Rex's "Like a dead fish." Perhaps the theme concept isn't new, but I thought the theme answers were fresh and very funny, which I don't always find in Sunday wordplay puzzles. Hard for me to pick a favorite - maybe DOOM SWINGS, but DIAL DOWN THE LAW really makes me laugh, too.

Back in my teacher training days, the two big names in psychology that we had to know were Jean PIAGET and B.F. Skinner. What a PAIR!

Do-overs: tartleTS before DESSERTS and EZra, before I saw I needed an abbrev. for EZEK.

@Gill I.P. - Me, too - liked the literary heroine cross OLIVIA/ GUINEVERE very much.

My favorite ENNIO Morricone score. @jackj - Thanks for the background on the Hollywood name.

@loren and @jberg - I loved teaching, but man, the grading. Always Sundays with a stack.

Jim Finder 12:40 PM  

@anonymous - A given sentence can have both grammar problems and usage problems. That doesn't mean grammar and usage are the same thing.

@Ellen S - one of Rex's criteria for a good puzzle is that the entries should preferably have approximately the same difficulty. This is from a post back around 2009 or so, which I can't find right now.

@David - Thanks for the G&S. And @other anonymous, "atrip" was in use recently enough to be in the puzzle. There are a lot of these literary words we don't use much in conversation (atip, abed, atingle,...) that appear in the Times puzzle. I know some old words and I know nothing about jengo and nicki minaj and other pop culture -- it all balances out.

rootboy 1:03 PM  

Worked in IT 30+ years. Never heard of DISTRO. I have a different word for esoteric fill like this that is a much more common word than yankee but unfit for polite company. Yanker it is. Everything else flowed like aa.

Masked of the Jungle 1:04 PM  

SOMI: +36. Was headed for a lower mark, but the extra "flip" plus "like a dead fish" really goosed things up, snark-wise. Do dead fish flip? Twitch a little I could buy into, maybe. But they're alive and kickin when they're still flippin. And floppin.

Puz solve went pretty smooth at my place. Only real hangup was rounding the curve at FIRST????, and didn't know the theme yet to get a crosser. I mean day-um, you could muster a top twenty list for FIRST????. I'll get 'er started, with...
1. DATE
2. LOVE
3. KISS
4. FEEL
5. BASE
6. OK, I'm callin it at this point. Y'all know where this is aheadin. Nope. Not on breakfast test day. Uh uh.

@4-Oh: Yep. Yanker's pretty good. Rattler, maybe. If they're small, I've always been partial to Weeject.

But cmon, now. You gotta give most weejects a pass, in the heat of gigantic words crossin every which way, like whales in a feedin frenzy. UMW is passable. Personally, I'd give most any weeject a pass, as long as it had a killer clue. Like [Ewe gone belly up] = EME.

Rex of the jungle? HAR.
M&A

Anonymous 1:48 PM  

UMW has been in the news after mining accidents. DISTRO is common to those who install/maintain software.

MikeM 2:25 PM  

UMW, YENNED, DISTRO are all OK. NORW, however is ridiculous.

syndy 2:28 PM  

My first response to 14 down was "well that could be any of several hundred unions!" so I waited for crosses-and believe me iy could have been much more obscure!I caught the theme from the title and loved loved loved it!Ratstrek however was a bit of a yanker as I took Nest to kitchen in an egglike sense and was thinking something we were going to cook! yipes!As a nit what"s up with all the UP words ? SOBER UP PROP UP CAME UP!I was down on ATRIP but if it's good enough for G & S it's good enough for me!

quilter1 3:26 PM  

Visited Mom today so did the puzzle over lunch. Cute and easy, but I agree YENNED was ugly. I once worked for the UAW so put that in for awhile.

Alicia DeNood 4:15 PM  

YENNED? That isn't even a variant in my world, which may be why it wasn't marked as such. After running "amuck" earlier this week, editor Shortz needs a new descriptor: WTF, for "winging the fill."

OISK 4:27 PM  

Liked this puzzle very much. The usual pop culture references were complete mysteries to me, as usual, Funke Tobias? Irma Pince? Jenga?, but for any educator, Piaget is a gimmee. I was surprised at how many people groused yesterday about "Bari" - an important port where one catches the ferry to Dubrovnik, and "Riis," after whom Riis Park is named - an important writer, certainly. We all have knowledge holes, I guess. Never heard of Distro either, but in a large puzzle there will always be a few like that. I agree with others that "yenned" is really contrived, as is "Iller," -why I should be aware of Cool-J's particular slang I don't know! Still, I really enjoyed the theme, finished in average time. A good Sunday! Thanks, Jonah.

jackj 4:45 PM  

Gill I.P.@11:28AM-

"My FIRST KISS was anything but romantic. Memorable yes, since I made the poor guy cry!"

C'mpn now, you can't just leave it there!

Masked and Anonymous 4:52 PM  

p.s. on DAWES...
"It's All in the Game", beaut of a 1958 hit by Tommy Edwards. Uses a melody written by Charles Dawes. I somehow remembered that, probably since he later became a veep. So, coolest puz gimme I ever had. Charles DAWES. My man.

Wish I could get on the bandwagon, giving YENNED the business. But during solving time, I just filled it right in and moved right on, without being the slightest bit yanker-ed. So, I weren't no yankee at all, there.

Weeject Hall of Famers:
IVM - Inverse of 1006.
KFU - Failing grade in a Lawrence sch.
OOR - Flipped hopper.
KUT - Krazy Kat injury.
QEE - Squashed queen bee.
Try it. Fun. Just start with any old three-letter string of nonsense. Like WTV. Then go nuts.

Steve 6:19 PM  

Don't complain about UMW just because you didn't know about it. It played a crucial role historically in the US labor movement. During the 1930s UMW leader John L. Lewis led the fight against the corrupt craft union leadership of the AF of L that led to the launching of the CIO and the period of greatest advances for industrial workers in the US between 1935 and the late 1940s. Also, the UMW was a pioneer in the inclusion of black workers. The Wiki info is woefully inadequate. Who knows anything about labor unions and class struggle history in the US today?

Anonymous 7:27 PM  

DISTRO is perfectly legitimate. It was poorly clued. "New Linux release, for short" would have been perfect. Or even "A version of Ubuntu, to a techie" would have worked.

-Brennan

Gill I. P. 8:53 PM  

@jackj 4:45 - Playing spin the bottle. GAAACK. It doesn't help that you're taller and then the first eager beaver misses your puckered luscious lips. Hitting your chin doesn't count!

Norm 8:59 PM  

I'm YENNING for some ice cream right now. Yeah, that sentence makes perfect sense. Apart from that, I liked this puzzle.

Tita 10:09 PM  



In all my born software-hawking days, never ever heard DISTRO. But like @Ellen, am not a Linux devotee. I bow to those who say it's kosher.

Liked the trick, though it took me forever. Got all of PEEKUNDERWRAPS, still didn't get it. Light bulb moment with DOOMSWINGS made finishing easier nad fun.

torY for LADY. So wrong...

THanks Mr. Kagan - a clever Sunday.

ZenMonkey 10:19 PM  

I used to work in the DISTRO department at one of the oldest law firms in L.A., so no problem there for me.

YENNED is most definitely a yanker. I hope not to see it again. Otherwise a fun puzzle with some giggles. (DOOM SWINGS!)

Z 10:39 PM  

A whole DISTROwatch website.

okanaganer 12:31 AM  

I have to give a big dislike to ROOMMATES because it is the only long across answer that has a ? in the clue (and is also two separate words which makes it potentially "front flippable") yet is not given the flip treatment. I had the puzzle completely finished (and as it would turn out, correct) for 10 minutes before I gave up trying to imagine a flippable answer. The ? could have easily been left off the clues for both it and ZEES, couldn't it??????????

LaneB 2:04 AM  

DNF the SE corner notwithstanding having filled about half of it. Brain ceased functioning. And ILLER, LIDO and ELROY were unknown and beyond guessing. Also put GULPdown and never recovered. The rest was okay, but still...
Did do the acrostic so didn't feel too stupid. I spend too much time on these things (but I do have plenty of time.)

Distraught Watcher 6:33 AM  

@Z - Couldn't follow your link, but did you mean http://distrowatch.com/?

Z 7:23 AM  

@Distraught Watcher - Yes I did.

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Dirigonzo 6:26 PM  

From SynCity (where is everyone?) - I don't remember my FIRSTKISS (but I don't think I made her cry) but I definitely remember my FIRSTtIme.

Anonymous 6:41 PM  

I got the theme immediately as its been overdone recently.

Maybe I just did too much yard work today, but I found the puzzle a slog, even with the theme, and just put it down. Too many ambiguous clues, for my taste.

Solving in Seattle 8:42 PM  

SynCity checking in. ATRIP? Naw. DISTRO? Naw. YENNED? Naw. ILLER? Naw. NORW as an abbreviation of Norway? Naw. RATSTREK? groan.

I liked the homonym "Figure with arrows" cluing EROS.

You never forget your first.

Spacecraft 8:44 PM  

"Everything else seems perfectly adequate?" Really? NORW?? Is that next to SWED? Anywhere near DENM?? Please.

And then there's YENNED. You think this "word" is adequate. Honest to God. YENNED??? My reaction is TBS (that's right between NAUSEA and IHATEIT).

Theme? Cute. Theme entries? very nice, especially REVILEDTHEGOODS. A 7-letter reverse; not bad, outdone only by STRESSED. Wish that one could have been in a theme answer. Long downs? super. Rest of the fill? Pretty solid. But those two: NORW and YENNED? they put a minus on the A.

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