Ghostbuster Spengler / SUN 5-19-13 / NASA spacewalks in brief / Taverna offering / One of three Canadian aboriginal groups / Ristorante menu suffix / Twiggy's look in 60s fashion / Like Nasser's vision

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Constructor: Jean O'Conor

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium




THEME: "Befitting" — V-sounds are changed to B-sounds in common phrases, resulting in wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Ana Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic? (TENNIS SERBS)
  • 28A: Tour guide's comment at the primate house? (THAT'S A GIBBON) — Love
  • 33A: Sign for tourists visiting the Bolshoi? (BALLET PARKING)
  • 51A: Tropical paradise for Barbie and Ken? (BALI OF THE DOLLS) — "Bali" and "Valley" sound nothing alike to my ears, so this one feels off to me ... 
  • 65A: Let Justin take care of everything? (LEAVE IT TO BIEBER) — Great, except for the inconsistency of a. not changing that first "V" and b. having a "B" that is *not* the result of a change. You'll note that none of the other theme answers suffer from either a. or b.
  • 84A: Passed security at the troubadours' convention? (SHOWED A BALLAD I.D.) — Insane, in a good way
  • 97A: Prepare to go canoeing? (GET OUT THE BOAT)
  • 107A: Stadium binge? (HOT DOG BENDER) — Love x 2
  • 116A: Fortunetellers' protest demand? (SIBYL RIGHTS)

Word of the Day: BAO (117D: Chinese steamed bun) —
A bāozi or simply known as bao, bau, humbow, nunu, bausak, pow or pau is a type of steamed, filled bun or bread-like (i.e. made with yeast) item in various Chinese cuisines, as there is much variation as to the fillings and the preparations. In its bun-like aspect it is very similar to the traditional Chinese mantou. It can be filled with meat and/or vegetarian fillings. // Two types are found in most parts of China: Dabao, measuring about 10 cm across, served individually, and usually purchased for take-away. The other type, xiaobao, measure approximately 5 cm wide, and are most commonly eaten in restaurants. Each order consists of a steamer containing about 10 pieces. A small ceramic dish is provided for vinegar or soy sauce, both of which are available in bottles at the table, along with chilli paste. (wikipedia)
• • •

Very simple change-a-sound theme. The only real criterion for theme answers of this type is That They Be Funny, and on that count, these answers definitely succeed. Even the BIEBER answer, which (as I note above) has double inconsistencies, was funny enough for me not to care that much. This is a constructor who has a pretty good ear for this kind of wordplay. Not sure what the title is supposed to signify. Nothing there about the "V," but ... whatever. The grid ... is a grid. It's fine. There are only two or so answers that make me want to pull my (no longer there) hair out: EMILIE (I'm supposed to know all the names of 79-year-old quintuplets?) (5D: One of the Dionne quints) and RITARD. (I'd give you RIT., but a six-letter "abbr." I will Not give you) (26D: Slowing down, musically: Abbr.). Found most of the puzzle very easy, but there was one little patch with a difficulty level All Out of Proportion to the rest of the grid—specifically, that 4x5 area in the south bounded on the west by ESSA (?) (109D: She, in Salerno). I had ELLA, so that didn't help. Had RIOT for 110D: Laughable (yeah, it doesn't work, part-of-speech-wise, but it was the best I could do at the time). Had no idea GYROs were associated with "Tavernas" (11D: Taverna offering). And totally forgot (because I barely ever knew) BAO. Oh, and then there's the two-word A HOOT (124A: Something hilarious). Not sure what I was looking for, but I know it didn't involve "A." And if I hadn't known the theme, SIBYL would've been Very hard to come up with. It was pretty hard to come up with as it was. So I spent probably two minutes or so fumbling around down there, and only 10 or so minutes on the entire rest of the grid.


Bullets:
  • 31A: Twiggy's look in '60s fashion (WAIF) — do we need "in '60s fashion" here? Also, something about the "look" = WAIF equivalence feels ever-so off to me.
  • 74A: Like Nasser's vision (PAN-ARAB) — Everything (and I mean everything) I know about NASSER I learned from crosswords. For instance, he was the president of UAR, an important territory on the "Crosswordese!" game board.
  • 93A: One of three Canadian aboriginal groups (MÉTIS) — let it never be said that comic books (or, in this case, "graphic biographies") aren't educational. I learned about MÉTIS from the excellent graphic biography Louis Riel by Chester Brown. Gorgeous work. Highly recommended. 
  • 104A: Ghostbuster Spengler (EGON) — ha ha. How many other EGONS can you name? (I'm guessing two) 
  • 111A: Displayed an "Oh my God" reaction (GRIMACED) — first, "OMG" will do. Second, when I say "oh my God," I am rarely grimacing. More likely, I'm [Wide-eyed and open-mouthed] (AGOG).
  • 39D: Ristorante menu suffix (-INI) — not great, but not a lot you can do when the theme answer placement is locking you into I-I.  
  • 114D: British mil. decorations (DSOS) — how many of these are there. I've seen this kind of clue a million times, and still it's all just alphabet soup to me.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. My friend Jeff Chen, whom you may know from awesome puzzles everywhere, has a new book of crossword puzzles out, all themed around the game of bridge. The title of the book is (wait for it ...) Bridge Crosswords. If you are a fan of bridge and crosswords, or just crosswords (and want a challenge), pick it up now.

61 comments:

jae 12:05 AM  

Cute easy puny Sun.  Aside from some minor erasures e.g. ApseS for ASSN, EllA for ESSA, AuTO for ALTO, no real problems. Lots of amusing answers, liked it.

Bieber seems to be ubiquitous these days.  He was on The Simpsons last week with an appropriate warning and his monkey troubles were in this morning's LAT.  Now he shows up in a Sun.  Saw him on Letterman a while back and the kid is an idiot... Sixteenth Chapel

Ellen S 12:40 AM  

Hi, everyone. I tried to return yesterday, I mean a few hours ago, with the Saturday puzzle. Hahahaha.

I haven't been doing anything exciting like working. Last week Gill I.P. and I went to lunch followed by a bookstore-crawl. She made me buy a 1000-page bodice-ripper (Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth) which I fairly devoured, then tossed back a couple of murder mysteries, and finally decided all that "reading" is all very well, but I better get back to the important things in life.

Today's puzzle was a much more encouraging re-entry. I knew all was well with the world when I saw EELPOT.

@Okanaganer, O CANADA was one of the (very few) Saturday answers I got without Google (very few even WITH!), but today I tried Yetis before Métis, so it ain't like I know anything.

Anoa Bob 12:41 AM  

Ever seen a dog with the MANGE (1A "Canine woe")? I have. Several times. Not a pretty sight.

syndy 12:44 AM  

What A HOOT! A gorgeous GINORMOUSly entertaining tour du force! RITARD. is a very common abbrev. in music. and bahhub to the rest of Rex's nits LOVED IT

retired_chemist 12:49 AM  

Finally. A puzzle in which my performance was more or less normal for me. Friday and Saturday left me wondering if I had suddenly become feeble-minded.

Theme - fun. Fill - mostly good. Much clever cluing: 55A (first thought 1960s, then realized there was ANOTHER '60s in our history); 89A LEWDER; even NEATO (121A); and an EGON I somehow had heard of.

Writeovers: 1A FLEAS; 55A IKE (v.i.). WTFs: RENA, METIS.

Good one., Thanks, Ms. O'Conor.

retired_chemist 1:09 AM  

@ Ellen S - I too was tempted to make _ETIS be YETIS.

Ellen S 1:58 AM  

By the way, @Jae, thanks for the link to the Bieber/Letterman clip. Canadian High Schools, indeed! At least we're not the only ones turning out ignoramuses (which apparently I can't spell, casting first stones and all that). .

chefwen 2:29 AM  

My friend in Wisconsin still says "Oh Geez that was a hoot dontcha know" she's a sweetheart.

@jae - Sixteenth Chapel - What a Hoot! You are right, the guy IS an idiot.

@Ellen S. - Pillars of the Earth, right up there on my list of favorites.

HOT DOG BENDER was the best. I would have like LEAVE IT TO BIEBER if the guy didn't make my skin crawl. THAT'S A GIBBON was also smile worthy. Oh hell, I liked them all.

Great debut Jean O'Conor keep 'em coming.

Benko 2:46 AM  

@Ellen S
You like eels and want to know songs about them, right? Look up "eels" and "Mighty Boosh" and "song" on YouTube...

Eels up inside ya.
Eels up inside your head.
Boring through your heart, your tummy, and your anus...

Benko 2:48 AM  

I always see the abbreviation Rit., not Ritard. Certainly not very politically correct.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:12 AM  

Fun puzzle, even if, unfortunately for me, I finished with one wrong letter at the cross of 93 A and 80 D: Had MITIS, not METIS (totally unknown to me) and IDIOlogical, not IDEOlogical (one of my ingrained spelling blind spots.)

Write-over at 11 D, Motley, RANDOM before RAGTAG.

And although @Rex finds LEAVE IT IT BIEBER to be the worst fit to the theme, I wouldn't be surprised if it was the seed entry for the construction of the puzzle.

chefbea 7:53 AM  

Finally a fun easy puzzle!!! I never know how to spell Bieber. I should remember...i before e...

Of course I loved Comb filler

loren muse smith 8:23 AM  

Fun puns! Loved it. Thanks, Jean!

The “easy medium” rating surprised me. I thought this was an easy peasy Sunday. I’m with @Bob Kerfuffle - LEAVE IT TO BIEBER had to have been the seed – what fun! I didn’t even think about the problem with the two B’s. Obviously, I don’t follow this guy, but I’m loath to take very seriously any male who looks like he spends more time on his HAIR than I do. Seriously? (AW, Now I should be honest - I had one GINORMOUS crush on Bobby Sherman. I BARely remember what he looked like, but I imagine he had a HAIR thing going on, too.)

Really got a kick out of FLED and BLED with the same clue *and* right smack dab next to each other.

@Ellen S and @ retired_chemist – hand up for considering “yetis” first, @jae –me, too, for “apses” first. And to all of you who had “ella” – same here.

@Rex – I had “riot” in for HOOT first.

EGON. Again. Oh God. I’m aghast.

At the club when I type out BEOs – plans for showers, receptions, etc, I love typing phrases like “furniture in Garden Lounge to remain in SITU just to be a smarty pants. I’m probably not using it right, but what the heck.

Didn’t Puff DADDY play an ALTO LUTE?

Next door to us in Atlanta, two girls contracted MANGE from their beagle and had to go to the vet to be treated, and I swear I think I’m remembering this correctly. Mom? Gareth? Could this have really been the case? That. Dog. Never. Shut. Up.

Give me a BLT or a GYRO over a TUNAFISH sandwich any day.

NATTER and CHAT
OLDISH and AARP
HAIR and SCALP
SHARP has GONE FLAT. Not really.
AT BAT and BASEBALL
LASAGNA, INI, and al DENTE

BAO and GLUON (BAOs couldn’t steam properly without those massless, neutral vector bosons mediating the really strong interactions between the quarks, binding them together within the hadrons of the yeast and flour. Think about it.)

AliasZ 9:03 AM  

Re: RIT vs. RITARD. Both are commonly used abbreviations in music scores, I would say about 50/50. The reason is that "rit" can also stand for "ritenuto" which alternatively can be abbreviated as "riten." Read more here.

Tita 9:08 AM  
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Tita 9:11 AM  

@LMS - make your pair a triplet...
ATBAT, BASEBALL, both crossing the Stadium binge...!

Love BAO - grab one of these while walking around Chinatown. Yumm!
I find it cool to see in how many languages the word for *bread* is so similar...pain, pão, bao, pane,

Never realized Pepe was short for José - in Portuguese, it's Zé.

Favorites - THATSAGIBBON and HOTDOGBENDER.

I normally am *meh* about change-a-letter puzzles, but absolutely love this one.

I was afraid I was going to DNF (is that a verb?)...
2 near-naticks at _ETIS, because I didn't notice the *.* after Gal,
and had leaD for ran, making the cry Fl_ - Fly?
Thought ISPY was a color game (I spy something red."
Those mistakes made this a bit of a struggle at the end, but I got it.
Thanks for a fun start to the day, Jean.

Carola 9:17 AM  

Rushing off to celebrate Syttende Mai, so not much time to NATTER on. Loved it! Especially SYBIL RIGHTS and BALI OF THE DOLLS. Same troubles as @Rex in the SE. Liked "(That's) RICH crossing A HOOT. Very fun Sunday!

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

Gilda player would have been nice next to decorated nicely

Mohair Sam 9:27 AM  

Easy Sunday until we ran into the same little box that slowed Rex. Made the same EllA mistake as Rex, and also thought RICH was RIot, and had never heard of BAO (great minds . . . .?), and stopped there.

We ignor the occult, so SIBYL meant nothing to us. We were ruined.

Luckily I had had a GYRO at a minor league ball park last night and gave the word a shot - "Hey, if that's ESSA not EllA this thing fills. And so it did.

Lots of Greek from an O'Conor, btw. A Goddess crossing a sandwich no less. And ELLAS to boot. Where were our Erin clues?

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

Fearless Kim here: thanks for the link to the Letterman bit, @jae! What a HOOT! And I thought his foolishness at the Anne Frank was bad... Well, it was. But he looked completely ridiculous, and the sad thing was that he knew he was being mocked, but he didn't seem to have any idea why. Don't think we'll be LEAVing anything TO BIEBER any time soon.

Back to the puzzle! I enjoyed it tremendously, especially after the flame-outs of Friday and Saturday (@retired chemist: you and me both!). Easy as can be. Only nit of significance for me was OLDS crossing OLDISH (speaking of which, I say that, but I still don't quite buy it as a real word).

Thanks, Ms. O'Conor!

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

can someone please explain 18D? how do associations have organs?

Merle 9:50 AM  

Not an interesting enough theme -- too cutesy. Thought tennis Serbs was the best.

Had a couple of answers that didn't work, but was able to find the right answers once the crosses worked out -- had ella for essa, apse for assn, like others did.

I guess Egon is the new hot name -- second appearance in a puzzle in a week -- Egon is the new Oona? A few way too easy fills -- blt, alar, leas.

Nothing radically gripping -- something much more gripping is in the acrostic this week -- clue is "an anagram of winter's O", and the answer is "snow tires". Now, that's gripping!

Leroy Parquet 10:08 AM  

@ anonymous 9:48
organ ...
4. An instrument or a means of communication, especially a periodical issued by a political party, business firm, or other group.

Jim Finder 10:12 AM  
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Leroy Parquet 10:15 AM  

The title refers to fitting in a "B" (replacing a "V").

Sandy K 10:18 AM  

After yesterday's killer puzz, this was an easy EELPOT of NEATO answers that was a GINORMOUS relief.

And there's a shout out to OFL at 62A...I SEE IT over BIEBER.

Whether you are AGOG or GRIMACED at the mere mention of BIEBER, the answer was cute and made it current.

Mini BASEBALL theme in the SW corner, and a HEEP of food on the menu.

EGON, BAO, METIS and EVAS for spacewalks? Huh? But all in all, it was A HOOT!

Tjk 10:23 AM  

@Sandy K. Baseball has been Bedy Bedy Good to me...

jackj 10:33 AM  

A nice way for Jean O’Conor to launch her constructing career, with a letter switching Sunday puzzle; “V” for “B” makes for some fun punning with my favorites being GET OUT THE BOAT (VOTE) and SHOW BALLAD ID (VALID).

I was solving the puzzle with one eye on the running of the Preakness, watching 3 to 5 odds favorite Orb wipe out the field. (Funny, though, that they spelled Orb’s name “Oxbow” in the wrap-up). But the race didn’t slow down my solve, which went quite easily with a fun theme and with some interesting grid entries for the fill.

My first fill question came with GLUON, a term that was unfamiliar, but a post-solve dictionary look-up said they were “hypothetical elementary particles” which caused me to think a loud “Huh?”

A detailed check of the GLUON info at Wikipedia was so complicated it had even turned “if”, “and” and “the” into incomprehensible scientific jargon and that convinced me to move right on in the puzzle to the kinder, gentler entry of FBI as the answer to “Cry before “Open up!”.

GINORMOUS was a fun, unexpected but welcome entry; PANARAB, while not especially “fun”, added a nice touch of class to the proceedings and in an interesting bit of coincidence, yesterday’s EGON came here as Ghostbuster Spengler rather than artist Schiele.

The strangest thing for me to deal with came with the “South Park”/”Simpson’s” comparison and, since I have never seen either show, (making for a crossword solver’s handicap), having LE__DER made me initially think it must be LEADER but that quickly seemed nonsensical and a run of the alphabet brought me to LEWDER, which seemed equally nonsensical, but was ultimately correct--- may each show continue to prosper in their leaderless lewdness.

Thanks, Ms. O’Conor; one can’t help but admire your confidence in starting at the top; now, we’ll look forward to your next puzzle being a Saturday!

Thoracic 10:58 AM  

Ah, a Sunday to restore my faith in myself! It's been a tuff week in my fledgling solving career. Liked this one a lot, notwithstanding the Bieber presence. Got Metis without difficulty so my expulsion from Canada will hopefully be put on hold. Completing my return to happiness with Brunch today-- meatloaf poutine!! Does anything say comfort food ( not to mention premature cardiac death) like gravy and cheese curds covered in meatloaf?

Thoracic 11:00 AM  

PS
Captcha was "pens". Go Pittsburgh

chefbea 11:56 AM  

@thoracic Never heard of meat loaf poutine. I think my colestoral went over the top and I gained 50 pounds just reading the recipe!!!

Z 12:00 PM  

Great themers, but that little laugh filled section took me a little longer than the two minutes it took OFL.

First day of the year where I got to sit on the porch with my coffee and solve the puzzle. All is good.

@Thoracic- here's to a Pens-Red Wing final.

lawprof 12:01 PM  

The two grandsons spent the night, so I did the puzzle before they got up. Later, as I was fixing them breakfast, I asked the 8-year-old if he knew who Justin Bieber was. He allowed that he did. I asked him what he thought of him. After a long pause he replied, "I'd rather not talk about it." As Thumper wisely counseled, "If you can't say somethin' nice...."

mac 12:20 PM  

Easy-medium for me, too. Had ragged before ragtag (nice word) and found the crossings of Amt, (88D) and Metis hard, as well as Rich and A Hoot section, the last to fill in.

Amazing that Egon showed up again! Talking about names, which Abe was in the White House in the 60s? Or does she mean the 1860s?

I find Bieber creepy, and he continues to prove me right.

Anonymous 1:44 PM  

"Ritard." does appear in sheet music as an abbreviation. Though not as often as "rit."

Sandy K 1:45 PM  

@Carola- Hope you're enjoying the Syttende Mai celebration. Had to google it- learned something new. Did you wear red, white and blue?

@Tjk- Berry funny and apropos!

MetaRex 2:05 PM  

Ooh I like...

LEAVE IT TO BIEBER is a really great anchor entry, given the self-generated and externally-generated weirdness floating around him...the kidnaping plot, Anne Frank as a belieber, etc.

Thx much to Rex for the link to the Jeff C. book!...will order it for MetaMom and MetaMom-in-law as well as for self...

Now back to my lair...



jberg 2:44 PM  

I didn't like THAT'S A GIBBON much at first, but the rest of you have convinced me. I got the theme with BALLET PARKING, and it helped quite a bit -- but not enough to sell SIBYL correctly, so I finished with an error, SIBiL crossing GiRO. How was I to know?

Probably lots of musicians think RITARD is the whole word, and RIT it's abbreviation.

@jackj I'm pretty sure GLUONs are more than hypothetical -- but I'm no scientist, so maybe they are. I had mesON there at first. I also fell for the LEaDER and RIot errors, so lots of writeovers. Also, to me SHOWED a BALLAD ID seemed more idiomatice, so I tries SHOWn there first, to make it fit.

FLED and BLED certainly the best fill of all, though.

quilter1 3:15 PM  

That little square at the bottom held me up, too. The puns were great. Just made marinade for flank steak grill later on and my hands smell like lime. Yum.

Ellen S 3:21 PM  
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Ellen S 3:30 PM  

@Benko, thanks for the EELs song! That's really gross.

Suzy 5:37 PM  

I get the theme easily enough-- doesn't anyone care about the spelling?? Even so, bery pun funs!

Milford 5:58 PM  

Nice easy Sunday puzzle after yesterday's punched me in the gut.

That SE corner was the hardest part, thought we were having beer or bier at the taverna before the GYRO, had bRIstlED before GRIMACED, RIot before RICH, etc.

In yesterday's puzzle, I had to google the two EGONs and my first thought was, the only EGON I know is Spengler. And today I was rewarded for that knowledge.

sanfranman59 6:05 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 7:07, 6:14, 1.14, 94%, Challenging
Tue 6:14, 8:09, 0.76, 1%, Easy (2nd lowest ratio of 180 Tuesdays)
Wed 8:14, 10:03, 0.82, 10%, Easy
Thu 16:17, 16:58, 0.96, 39%, Easy-Medium
Fri 24:17, 21:35, 1.13, 77%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 34:43, 25:19, 1.37, 98%, Challenging (5th highest ratio of 171 Saturdays)
Sun 26:51, 29:29, 0.91, 37%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:55, 3:46, 1.04, 71%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 3:48, 4:47, 0.79, 2%, Easy (3rd lowest ratio of 180 Tuesdays)
Wed 5:04, 5:54, 0.86, 12%, Easy
Thu 9:32, 9:56, 0.96, 38%, Easy-Medium
Fri 14:06, 12:19, 1.14, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 23:34, 15:08, 1.56, 99%, Challenging (3rd highest ratio of 171 Saturdays)
Sun 17:17, 19:58, 0.87, 24%, Easy-Medium

jackj 6:06 PM  

jberg@2:44PM said-

"@jackj I'm pretty sure GLUONs are more than hypothetical"

jberg, thanks for the comment and I agree, but that was why M-W's Collegiate 11th had me saying "Huh?".

This is M-W's definition:

"a hypothetical neutral massless particle held to bind together quarks to form hadrons."

Huh?


John V 8:47 PM  

What @rex said, especially the South.

Jeff Chen's puzzles are fun. Go get the book. Don't make tell you twice.

LaneB 9:00 PM  

Good grief, I am slow! Did learn a few things, however: like ESSA is an alternate for Ella; that PEPE is Jose to his friends; That GINORMOUS is.really a word; that ASSNS have organs;what a GLUON is; and that OLDS was the right pioneer, not Ford.

Otherwise I Thought the puzzle was vexing, probably because so many abbreViations were clued. But at least I didn't earn a DNF.

mac 11:04 PM  

Which Abe in the 60's?

Mary Todd 11:11 PM  

@mac - 1860's

lurking, just behind you 12:11 AM  

HTG =DNF...(DSOS?)

FML

Bob Friedman 9:51 AM  

What kind of word is yogic? That seems pretty desperate.

Anonymous 5:10 PM  

I have a bone to pick with 93A. By definition, Metis are of mixed parentage, so how can they be defined as an 'aboriginal' people? That's just WRONG.

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

Ritard. is a very common abbreviation in piano music.

Anonymous 7:30 AM  

Isn't it 'showed A ballad ID" ?

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

Ritard is an extremely common abbreviation in music. Many people don't even know the full version of the word: ritardando.

Spacecraft 12:57 PM  

@Loren Muse Smith: Is there realy a subatomic particle known as a "hardon?" That would explain a lot.

To the puzz: I had the feeling that Ms. O'Conor (debut? Promising!) "ran" out of "steam" working from top to bottom with this. I'd call the top half of this grid no less than brilliant. The theme entries were great fun, and the fill zippy and fresh. I sailed through it with only one hiccup: the incorrect but popular ITsme, quickly overwritten by the proper, though sadly little-used, ITISI.

[Movie aside: "Mr. Roberts," last line, spoken by the incomparable Jack Lemmon: "It is I, Ensign Pulver! Now, what's all this crud about no movie tonight?"]

Sorry about that, had to. Anyway, as we work down, things deteriorate. SHOWEDBALLADID--not sure I like the IDea of such an abbr. in a long theme answer. GETOUTTHEBOAT--yawn. HOTDOGBENDER--calls to mind those horrible eating contests; barf factor off the charts. And the heart of that diabolical section that gave everyone else fits--and me too--is SYBILRIGHTS. I don't get it. Are we now stereotyping fortunetellers with the name Sybil? Or was our constructor thinking of a specific one?? This area took me forever before finally hitting on AHOOT.
Dontcha know.

Hmm, Irish name, but surely some ITALian blood, no? INI, LASAGNA, al DENTE. Hey, never realized it before hanging out here, but why do we say "TUNAFISH?" Isn't that a bit like green paint?

Wikiped . . . Oh, Why Do I Bother? 1:13 PM  

The word Sibyl (in English, /ˈsɪbəl/) comes (via Latin) from the Greek word σίβυλλα sibylla, meaning prophetess. The earliest oracular seeresses known as the sibyls of antiquity, "who admittedly are known only through legend"[1] prophesied at certain holy sites, under the divine influence of a deity, originally— at Delphi and Pessinos— one of the chthonic deities. Later in antiquity, sibyls wandered from place to place.

Dirigonzo 3:39 PM  

I also do the Premier Crossword by Frank A. Longo every Sunday and this puzzle reminded me of some of his better offerings. I love wacky phrases clued "?"-style so this puzzle tickled me, even though it took me a long time to complete it. The end result was well worth whatever minor concessions it took to make the whole thing work.

Thanks to @Wikiped... for the explanation of the most misunderstood theme answer.

Anonymous 6:39 PM  

I get this in my paper the week later.

I was working down the left side and hit the bottom, and was going to work across.

Clues in the paper stopped at 101 down, where there where 114 down clues.

Kinda hard to fill in the bottom without clues.

whatever.....

Syndi Solver 8:21 PM  

@Rex said, "Even the BIEBER answer, which ... has double inconsistencies, was funny enough for me not to care that much."

I completely agree! When I was filling in 57 D (FAVA) I wondered, How can there be a V in a theme answer? But the answer made up for it.

I thought this puzzle was great! While doing it I thought the speed solvers might find it too easy (it seemed easier than many Sundays) but I just loved it. I only had a couple of rough spots (e.g., PANARAB would never have come to me without the crosses). But BAO and METIS were not new for me.

My lone area of sports familiarity really helped me with TENNIS SERBS! That means I got the theme from the very beginning -- unusual for me. By the way, Djokovic seems so nice, and is often quite funny, in the interviews I've seen. He used to do impressions.

By the time I reached the bottom I filled in SIBYL (at first misspelled), without even seeing the clue, just from seeing -----RIGHTS. I think that may be a generational thing (younger folks may not bring that phrase to mind as quickly).

My favorite clue for the fill was "Comb filler" (BEE). It made me laugh. That may not be original but it was new for me.

Kudos to Jean O'Conor!

PS to @Anonymous 5:10, Re: METIS

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%A9tis_people_%28Canada%29

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

We get this puzzle one week later inSt. Pete Times. My copy was missing Down clues 102 - 117. I worked it OK but for SCARE and AHOOT. Had to come here for them. It was fun.

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