Journalist Marvin Bernard / SUN 5-12-13 / Blackmore title girl / Automaker since 1899 / Slave whom Amneris was jealous of / Hindu epic hero / Subject of 2002 book Perfect Store / Opposite of alway

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Constructor: David J. Kahn

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: "Simply Put" — a long, convoluted quote about the importance of thinking ahead runs through multiple Across answers (29A: With 44-, 63-, 77- and 93-Across, a long-winded piece of advice => "POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES / OF A PLAN OR DECISION ONE / CANNOT REVERSE SHOULD BE / HEEDED PRIOR TO THE TIME / AN ACTION IS EFFECTUATED"), while the adage that more neatly encapsulates the sentiment of the quote runs straight Down the middle (24D: This puzzle's long-winded advice, simply put => "LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP")

Word of the Day: SYD Hoff (71A: Cartoonist Hoff) —
Syd Hoff (September 4, 1912 Bronx, New York – May 12, 2004) was a Jewish-Americancartoonist and children's book author. Although best known for his classic early reader Danny and the Dinosaur, his cartoons appeared in a multitude of genres, including advertising commissions for such companies as Eveready Batteries, Jell-O, OK Used Cars, S.O.S Pads, Rambler, Ralston Cereal and more. (wikipedia)
• • •

That is a long (long long), long way to go for a joke. The contrast between the "simply put" version and the long-winded quote is cute, but the long-winded quote is sooooo badly phrased, so horrible, so punishing to the English language and the dictates of effective communication, that there's not a lot of pleasure in figuring it out. Giving the bulk of your theme real estate over to an intentionally ugly quote is a bold move—not sure it pays off, but it is bold. I'm surprised the "advice" wasn't clued as somehow motherly, given that it is Mother's Day, and especially given that we had to endure (and/or enjoy) two Mother's Day puzzles earlier in the week, when it was not, in fact, Mother's Day. Can a mother get a Mother's Day puzzle on Mother's Day up in here? Apparently not. Oh well, what else to say? Puzzle seemed, you know, fine. Very easy, with a dollop of interesting (TABLEHOPS, STEP ASIDE) and a dash of WTF? (SUETY).


SUETY aside, there's not much junk in this grid, though neither is there much to shout about. You've got your very familiar stuff (e.g. AIDA as [Slave whom Amneris was jealous of] and DOONE as [60A: Blackmore title girl] and OPEL as [Automaker since 1899]), and then just ... stuff. LITTLE TRAMP is a significant bright spot (103A: Charlie Chaplin persona, with "the"). I don't know whoever called a CAMEL ["A horse designed by a committee"] but s/he should win a Pulitzer. I have never read "Nemesis" and had no idea who wrote it, but it didn't matter at all since the terminal "V" and a couple other crosses allowed me to write ASIMOV's name in without ever looking at the clue. My "yay I'm learning" moment came with 39A: Journalist Marvin or Bernard — I still don't know who they are, but for some reason my brain coughed up the K-LB part instantly. I didn't trust it at first (as I often don't trust the things my brain coughs up), but then the crosses panned out. Unsure about whether vowel was "O" (no) or "A" (yes), but, you know, that's what crosses are for. I also somehow remembered RAMA very easily (19A: Hindu epic hero), though honestly I'd much prefer it if it were clued [Lama Ding Dong preceder].


Wanted the opposite of alway to be E'ER, despite the fact that there is nothing "opposite" about E'ER. It's the opposite of opposite, in fact. I hardly think EBAY is the perfect store (86A: Subject of the 2002 book "The Perfect Store"). For one thing, no bathroom. Very inconvenient. I know the place that the Snake River snakes through because it's my mom's home state: IDAHO. Speaking of my mom (segue!) ...

    I don't spend a lot of time on this blog talking about my family because their egos are big enough and, really, what do you care? And yet, nearly seven years into this blog and over 43 years into my life, it feels like maybe today would be a good day to thank my mom for ... for ... see, there's a reason I don't do this. To try to express what my mom means to me, what I owe her, it's just too hard. There's too much to say and no words that can adequately get at it without sliding into cliché or sentimentality (which I eschew ... that's a word my mom taught me when I was, oh, 8 or so, I think. That and "tatterdemalion" — no idea what she was thinking there, but the word stuck, so +1 to her for effective vocabulary-building). The best way I can think of to convey how important my mom was (and is) to me is to show you this:


    That's me, age 1. But it could've been me age 6 or age 11 or age 2 months. This is what my mom did for me. All the time. Love me. Hold me. Read to me. It was all one thing. One act. And, I mean ... look at that kid's face. He is eating that Dr. Seuss dictionary *up*! He's so enraptured, he doesn't even have the inclination to mock the horrible corduroy couch. As you can see, I was awash in language and love from the get-go. I'm sure it's perfectly ordinary, but it felt (and feels) exceedingly rare.

    Everything I know about words, language, literature, all of it, can be traced straight back to my mom. Books, books, everywhere. Bookshelves filled with titles I can still remember, spines with bright colors or patterns that drew me to pull books off the shelf just to make a mess, long before I could ever read any of them. My mom has read more books than I will ever read. She owns more books than I will ever read. She probably read more books last year Than I Will Ever Read. Her vocabulary is far larger than mine. This is not me being humble. These are just facts. Also a fact: she sounds foreign. Like ... that phase Madonna went through where she seemed like she was trying to sound British. My mom has literally (literally) had someone come up to her at an airport, after hearing her speaking voice, and ask her "Are you from somewhere?" (Mom: "Why, yes. Yes I am."). She also cannot pronounce fancy words worth a darn. Huge vocabulary, but whenever she tries to trot it out, she goes into this falling-apart mumble-whisper that my sister and I *looooove* to make fun of. It's like watching a toddler with a full glass of water (did I mention my mom's also a good sport?). And yet—you underestimate her, intellectually, at your peril. She's a dyed-in-the-wool '70s feminist who will *own* you if you give her any sexist bullshit. Also, I wouldn't fuck with her kids if I were you. I've seen the results. Not pretty.

    The fact that I can rub two words together, let alone write a complete sentence, I owe almost entirely to her. She's been training me since (literally!) day one. My mom showed me that, in the end (if I may get painfully aphoristic for a second), the most important things in life are pretty simple. I mean, you can buy a lot of things, but you can't buy this:


    Well, you can probably buy the cake stand. Check EBAY.
      Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

      70 comments:

      Keith H 12:12 AM  

      I didn't much care for the theme. The rest of the fill was fine but nothing stood out.

      Except SUETY, which made me audibly groan at the bar. I googled it to be sure it is a word, and it is, but the top ten links are to "definition of suety"-type pages (and one Scrabble reference), leading me to believe that the most common usage of SUETY is in sentences like "What the heck does SUETY mean?" during Scrabble games.

      jae 12:46 AM  

      Yes, a very easy Sun.  Usually don't like " " puzzles, but this was mildly amusing.  Only problems were remembering that Palme spells his name oddly and parsing the quote.  

      Liked it.

      Nice Mom comments Rex, actually got a little verklempt.

      John Child 12:51 AM  

      Is it a quote? Google finds no instances except puzzle blogs... I think the reason for the convoluted wording is to get it to fit the vertical LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP.

      Magenta Crayola 1:55 AM  

      Very lovely tribute to your mother, "Rex." I have a son Michael who is your age, so perhaps I read it with more emotional investment than others might. It is right up there with my favorite poem as tribute to motherhood, The Lanyard by Billy Collins. Sorry. I don't know how to make a link to it here, but it is worth Googling for yourself.

      Anonymous 2:45 AM  

      Well, "Rex," if I were your mother I would print that blog and honor it as the best gift I had ever received. You and I (and I hope many others) share this:
      “You may have tangible wealth untold.
      Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
      Richer than I you can never be -
      I had a mother who read to me.”
      ― Strickland W. Gillilan
      MaryinBoulder

      Anonymous 2:49 AM  

      Well, "Rex," if I were your mother I would print that blog and honor it as the best gift I had ever received. You and I (and I hope many others) share this:
      “You may have tangible wealth untold.
      Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
      Richer than I you can never be -
      I had a mother who read to me.”
      ― Strickland W. Gillilan
      MaryinBoulder

      JFC 3:02 AM  

      Dear Rex,

      That was a touching tribute to your mom. I suppose it’s a generational thing (as you like to say) but I am puzzled by your profanity in the tribute. I would never use profanity in a tribute to my mom. I suppose you look upon words differently from me but I never heard my mother use profanity and out of respect would never use profanity in writing about her. Now my fraternal grandmother was different. She was profane and out of respect for her I would use profanity in memorializing her. Nice pictures....

      JFC

      chefwen 3:58 AM  

      Didn't love the puzzle, didn't hate it, it was O.K. Was very time consuming, but it's Sunday and that is expected.

      Loved Rex's tribute to his Mom, it brought tears to my eyes.

      chefwen 4:04 AM  


      Forgot to mention to @Rex- Those big cheeks go away for a while but they come back to haunt you in old age. Ask one who knows! Chefwen aka "the chipmunk"

      MetaRex 5:24 AM  

      Wow on Mom...reminds me a bit of MetaMom, who read Dostoevsky while raising her brood of little MetaRexa but couldn't say those darn Russian names right...love to her, to Rex's mom, and to all moms in RexLand and elsewhere!

      Got a paper to turn around so this is my swan song for a while...a final link follows in tribute to the much-missed Evan...it's a rant about how PLAN OR DECISION shoulda been PLAN OF DECISION...the ravings are at Evanescing with a GRRR, part II

      Bob Kerfuffle 6:39 AM  

      (Sniff) Such a sweet Mother's Day tribute.

      My have saved this ultimate quote puzzle from a thrashing! Cute, but tries one's patience.

      For some reason, I had a ridiculous time parsing 26 A, LANINA as LA NINA. Temporary blindness that I can't explain.

      I was going to refer to The Lanyard today, and since @Magenta Crayon didn't post it directly, I will:


      The Lanyard

      by Billy Collins

      The other day I was ricocheting slowly
      off the blue walls of this room,
      moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
      from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
      when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
      where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

      No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
      could send one into the past more suddenly—
      a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
      by a deep Adirondack lake
      learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
      into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

      I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
      or wear one, if that's what you did with them,
      but that did not keep me from crossing
      strand over strand again and again
      until I had made a boxy
      red and white lanyard for my mother.

      She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
      and I gave her a lanyard.
      She nursed me in many a sick room,
      lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
      laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
      and then led me out into the airy light

      and taught me to walk and swim,
      and I , in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
      Here are thousands of meals, she said,
      and here is clothing and a good education.
      And here is your lanyard, I replied,
      which I made with a little help from a counselor.

      Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
      strong legs, bones and teeth,
      and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
      and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
      And here, I wish to say to her now,
      is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

      that you can never repay your mother,
      but the rueful admission that when she took
      the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
      I was as sure as a boy could be
      that this useless, worthless thing I wove
      out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

      Gill I. P. 6:40 AM  

      That was quite beautiful @Rex...I bet your mom frames it - I know I would.
      Now, WHERE'S MY MOTHERS DAY puzzle???
      This was a strange one indeed. I still don't understand that quote. AN ACTION IS EFFECTUATED made my DENTI itch.
      I ANOINT LITTLE TRAMP the best word in this puzzle.

      Bob Kerfuffle 6:40 AM  

      "May have saved . . . "

      Anonymous 7:19 AM  

      David Kahn and all other puzzle constructors who use an "n" when the correct letter is "ñ" are not the language mavens they would like us to believe they are.

      Susan McConnell 7:34 AM  

      Cute. Had enough letters filled in early on to pop in LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP, and that was helpful in piecing together the longer version. Surprised to not find yet another Mother's Day theme, but that was OK by me. 35A clue of "Lei day hellos" prompted me to write down "Don't remind me!" in the margin...a throwback to the Lei Day/May Day puzzle that generated such a mixed response.

      Glimmerglass 7:43 AM  

      Happy Mother's Day to your Mom, Rex. Nice tribute. Puzzle is just okay, for a Sunday. Pretty normal Sunday fare. I object, however, to ICE TEA. The phrase is properly "iceD tea," with a D. The clue for ICE TEA should have "informal" or "non-standard." Dropping the D from the participle is unfortunately common in signs. I once ate at a cafeteria with a hand-made sign, "Stuff Peppers," which I thought sounded like a command.

      chefbea 7:46 AM  

      I too got teary...What a beautiful tribute and such cute pictures.

      Got look before you leap right away but hand up for parsing the long quote.

      Wanted a mother's day theme

      Happy Mother's day!!!

      joho 8:07 AM  

      I was thinking, "So jump already!"

      @Rex, beautiful words for your mom and nice to see that side of you.

      Oh, and I was hoping for a Mother's Day puzzle: drat!

      Sandy K 8:41 AM  

      Wow! @Rex I'm sitting here with a tissue...thanks for sharing that tribute to your mom- it's quite revealing and touching. Love the pictures too- no wonder you like language...and cakes!

      Oh, the puzzle. It was different, but unfortunately the most memorable part is SUETY.

      Happy Mother's Day!

      Anonymous 9:00 AM  

      I think this was Andrea's anti-Mother's Day puzzle. Many moms should have looked before they leapt.

      Lovely tribute, saved from the saccharin by the brilliant ebay joke.

      Sir Hillary 9:04 AM  

      Looked at the puzzle yesterday. Decided not to do it. Came here anyway. Good decision.

      Read the write-up. Another good decision.

      Rex, that was a beautiful tribute.

      Happy day to moms everywhere.

      Z 9:07 AM  

      Got bored before the end. Ikea before EBAY caused problems (Ikea has restrooms). Cute, but too long of a way to go for the "punch line."

      Happy Mother's Day to all the moms, and a big thanks to all of you who read to your kids.

      Anonymous 9:29 AM  

      If I were your mom I would wash your mouth out with soap

      Merle 9:36 AM  

      Smooth and easy, maybe a bit too easy. Perhaps that's David Kahn's intention, his Mother's Day gift, so we can zip right through and get on with our plans for the day.

      So, some folks don't like suety? Okay. But the birds at my bird feeder with the suet cake like suety.

      Re clue for Rama: between Lama Ding Dong and Hindu Epic Hero, I prefer the Ramayana clue to the stunningly brilliant, poetic rock lyric clue.

      Ah well, we know what we know. I figured out Fran,5A answer to something about a TV show, "The Nanny", from the crosses, but who doesn't know Aida, the slave Amneris was jealous of? Okay, some people may know Aida but not Amneris, but still, the clue still is a gimme.

      12A Pass Go is cute. St. Pete and EBay and delt and La Nina and tho, not so cute, too predictable to be cute.

      Anyway, easy puzzle, pleasant to breeze through. If anyone does the Sunday Times Puns and Anagrams, this is the easiest puns and Anagrams I've ever done. Clear sailing. Which is rare. Cosntructor is the estimable Mel Taub. Another Mother's Day present, it seems.

      now on with the ceremonies of the day.

      Carola 9:53 AM  

      @Rex - Teary-eyed here, too - a lovely tribute, wonderful photos.

      Liked the puzzle - met my Sunday morning NEEDS just fine, keeping me interested all the way and including some treats like STEP ASIDE, LETTER GRADE, TABLE HOPS, CLUB SODA, CASTLE. Got slowed down in the second line of the quote by AnT(iques) and ford (for OPEL).

      Re SUETY - todays Puns and Anagrams has a complementary entry: "Cartilage that helps a leg stir." Chewy Sunday.

      Rex's Mother 10:09 AM  


      When you were born, I was awestruck at having received a most perfect gift. Two years later I received another perfect gift in the form of your sister. How did one woman get so lucky?

      Today, I am overwhelmed by your tribute. I ask myself again how did one woman get so lucky? I shall have to carry around a tissue all day.

      Thank you for the wonderful Mother’s Day gift.

      Your Mother.

      Sandy K 10:17 AM  

      @ Merle- It's not that I didn't *like* SUETY, it's just, well, for the birds.

      @Carola and @Merle- Puns and Anagrams was fast and fun. How about 46A?

      chefbea 10:38 AM  

      @Rex's mother...beautiful

      Now to do puns and anagrams

      Rob C 10:39 AM  

      The theme of today's puzzle almost sounds like a warning to potential mothers not to have children!

      If ORB does what it should in the next two races, it won't be long before 9A is clued as 2013 triple crown winner.

      Isn't it ICEd TEA?

      Happy mother's day to all the moms here.

      Gray, M.D. 10:39 AM  

      Small nitpick: RADII are *forearm* bones. There is a difference between the arm and forearm (they're separated by the elbow). I should know; I wrote the book.

      Milford 10:40 AM  

      Not the Mothers Day puzzle we expected, but maybe we are supposed to be reminded of the long-winded lectures our moms would give us when we screwed up, and you are sitting there thinking the entire scolding could have summed up in one sentence? Maybe?

      That said, this was one of my fastest Sundays ever, but not terrible memorable. Rex's tribute to his mom was a lovely addition.

      Today is a combination of Mothers Day and a celebration of Greek Easter a week late at my in-laws. So basically a day of eating.

      Carola 10:52 AM  

      @Sandy K and @Merle - Wow, you guys are good! I found this P&A one of the trickier ones in a long time - when I finished, I had to go back and try to figure out how 4 or 5 of the answers fit the clues. That "Greyhound tipster" took forever. Funny!

      Yes, on 46A :) And 43A made me laugh - good for Mother's Day!

      jberg 11:09 AM  

      Billy Collins was 1A of the United States 10 years ago, so I suppose that was the Mother's Day link. Anyway, with Rex's wonderful tribute, who needs it in the puzzle - thanks, Rex.

      But besides mothers, let's all pause to pay tribute to UEYS (85A), that wonderful word that you can spell any way you want to, singular or plural, and is such a great help to constructors - and no help whatsoever to the poor solver who is trying to imagine snorkeling into a Rift at 80D.

      Deb Amlen 11:09 AM  

      That is the loveliest essay/tribute to your Mom, Rex. Kudos to you, and kudos to her for teaching you to love words.

      quilter1 11:11 AM  

      So-so puzzle but great write-up. Loved the tribute and especially loved the Muppet clip. Those folks were genius. I miss them. My kids gave me the complete boxed set one Mother's Day so I can watch anytime.

      Shamik 11:27 AM  

      On a day when the internet, the stores, the television and everywhere else is brimming with unwanted, unneeded, insincere, cheery, chirpy "happy mother's day," this write-up was beautiful in its specificity and warmth. Thank you for your write-up.

      More than "meh" on the puzzle.

      jackj 11:40 AM  

      I first came with poised poison pen prepared to pounce on SIMPLY PUT, until Rex raised me up and calmed me down with his heartfelt tribute to his Mom.

      Still, the grid was replete with junk fill, causing me to write YUCK! beside so many entries that I finally stopped, lest I accuse myself of piling on unfairly but, just to recall a few, the Sue Grafton clue seeking “______ for Lawless”, seems to require solver’s amnesia to disremember that the Kinsey Millhone detective series has run the alphabet from A (first published in 1982) to W (out in September 2013), always titled "__ IS for ______”.

      Or maybe USTO warmed the cockles of your solving heart, enough to allow you to forgive another replay of the UEYS card or maybe you didn’t mind acknowledging that the U.K. is indeed in EUR and yes, yes, the “conclusion” of “Fitting” is, of course, GEE (a clever feint from having to determine whether GEE is a turn to the left or the right) but none of them can top SUETY, it just slides off the tongue and though it may mellow out your mincemeat, it is downright nauseating as crossword fill.

      Hoping to have the solve salvaged by the theme, it was totally disheartening to have the AHA moment occur when 24 down had but two letters in its 17 blocks, K followed by B, that then told me to write in LOOKBEFOREYOULEAP, PASSGO, collect $200 and use the money to buy a copy of “Law for Dummies” to ensure that the legalistic jargon in the concocted phrase didn’t pose any difficulty.

      The puzzle wasn’t without some pleasures; TABLEHOPS was fun to find and being treated to Chaplin’s most charming persona, the LITTLETRAMP was a nice touch, as was a reminder that a committee’s horse is often a CAMEL, but, even with those elegant entries, it’s a shame that the puzzle’s truly defining moment was learning that Mr. Palme’s first name was OLOF rather than OLAF.

      Interesting effort, but I’ll skip assigning a LETTERGRADE.

      Masked and AMOMamous 11:54 AM  

      @4-Oh... Dr. Seuss is hard to beat. thUmbsUp, Mom of Rex. Did she get you started on x-words, perchance?

      I was brought up mostly on Uncle Scrooge comic book readings. To this day, I love to draw. And still in awe of that Atlantis yarn in Scrooge #5. Thanx, mom.

      M&A

      Rex Parker 12:05 PM  

      M&A

      Mom doesn't do crosswords. Grandma, on the other hand ...

      RP

      Anonymous 12:37 PM  

      'Ice tea' has always been a pet peeve of mine--almost as much as the nearly-as-ubiquitous 'shave ice.' other than that, I liked the puzzle.

      retired_chemist 12:41 PM  

      The highlight of this puzzle day is Rex's tribute to his mother, with her response a close second.

      Lost in the shuffle is the fact that this was a very good puzzle. The theme - well it was SUPPOSED to be sesquipedalian to the point of obscurantism, instead of well phrased English,and it succeeded. I liked it. Fill - little to harp on IMO.

      Finished with one error - 67D was HEAD, a perfectly acceptable answer, typically referring to a height of water used to maintain some pressure in a system or device. And the human mind is a wonderful thing - looking at the 21 letter Across line several times in my error check, I could. not. see. that THE was dHE. So my time was off for this medium-easy puzzle.

      The garage was two CAR (on a coin toss), the mixers were COCA COLAS, LOG iN before LOG ON, but UEYS instead of UieS was a winning guess. Knew KALBs, didn't know RITTS. Tant pis.

      SUETY is, well, ugly.

      Thanks, Mr. Kahn.

      mitchs 12:48 PM  

      "I shall have to carry around a tissue all day." Style begets style.

      PIX 1:07 PM  

      Rex: wonderful write up but you are completely wrong on one count, namely when you write: "I'm sure it's perfectly ordinary, but it felt exceedingly rare." There are millions of kids growing up with no books in the house, no mom to read to them, no one in the house to encourage them to read. If you think I am wrong, next time you are in New York City, I'll show you around. What you had with your mom, while not exactly unheard of, was much more special than you may think. Fantastic tribute to her, I just hope you appreciate how rare and special it was.

      Anonymous 1:14 PM  

      FearlessK here -- Loved Rex's tribute and the response from Rex's mom – happy Mother's Day to you all! My favorite part of the puzzle was the association between 10D: Fashion photographer Herb (RITTS) and 100A: Something to strike (POSE). Herb Ritts' photos were gorgeous, iconic, and his very first film was the music video for Madonna's "Cherish". Enjoy! http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=2Zy4fka3oGo&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D2Zy4fka3oGo

      mac 1:21 PM  

      Beautiful, Rex. You are a lucky man.

      Good puzzle, and we got fair warning for the long-windedness.

      Happy mothers' day to all who've loved and taken care of a child.

      loren muse smith 1:57 PM  

      Heavily cross-referenced clues two days in a row. I EFFECTUATEd the solve easily enough, though.

      I’ve never seen DELT as a singular. I used to try so hard to have those “peanut” DELTs. Would get all SUETY working those arms. . . Sigh. Oh well.

      Four things not to eat while pregnant: laundry starch, chalk dust, red clay, and SUET. I was given this list, I swear. So I just stuck to OCEANS of crunchy Cheetos. When I had gained over eighty pounds (with both kids), I just closed my eyes on the scale and asked the nurse not to tell me my weight.

      “Score” before SNARE. (Flirted with “cadge.”) “Karl” way before KALB.

      I BET like thousands of others, I had “el nino” before LA NINA.

      ANG is one of those “add an h words in my mind.

      Mr. Parcels at Georgia Southern taught me that lecterns and PODIA are *not* the same thing. So even though I’m starting to feel mildly like an &%#hole, I somehow can’t stop myself from saying “lectern” when the guy planning the meeting keeps saying PODIum. The conversation gets weird. (Yes, and I know ASS is in the grid. I just can’t go there. Thanks, Mom.)

      LETTER GRADE and A PLUS. SWEET. Mom used to fret at my A PLUSes, wondering if I was having any fun in college. Seriously. She was that cool. She did *not* have A PLUSes at Carolina and had a blast.

      @Rex – what a beautiful tribute to your mom. I cried.

      Some things my mom taught me:

      If I’m at a dance and turn down one guy’s invitation to dance, I cannot dance with another guy during the same song.

      Butter and eat your roll one bite at a time. (Take note, guys – people notice.)

      It’s “She asked John and me.” Not “John and I."

      Don’t wear patent leather shoes after Labor Day. (I know – dead fashion rule, but still. . .)

      Thank You cards should not have Thank You printed on the front.

      Do *not* say I got it. It’s I’ve got it.

      *Always* say my name when I call someone, even a friend. Never just say, “Hey, it’s me.”

      Behoove is a cool word.

      Wilted Lettuce Salad is da bomb.

      Vick’s Vap-O-Rub and a hot water bottle make a sick child feel very cared for.

      Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! You non-puzzling Rexite, you!

      Nice puzzle, David. Can’t be even longer winded ASIMOV to work – the club’s biggest day of the year.

      Masked and Anonymous 2:20 PM  

      p.s. Today's puz: Liked the Big black T's, lightning bolts, and "We're number one" mittens, in the grid design. Usually solve half and PuzEatingSpouse does half, on Sun Puzs. Lately, she actually said, "Got a lot of Us in this thing!", during her half-time. Followed immediately by: "I can't believe I just thought like that!". har. The eternal search for vowel justice is a contagious vice.

      Also admire how all the themers are crossed by other themers. Always gets me on the alert for juicy weejects, near those vulnerable intersection areas. SUETY/DENTI is quite nice. Also honorable mention to UEYS, whose heart is clearly in the right place.

      Clue of Mystery: "Corner piece" = CASTLE.

      Fave fillins, in my half: HOV. USTO. LETTERGRADE. OLOF. PASSGO.

      Alternate clue for USTO = "Zero-G enthusiasm?"

      I think I remember you speakin highly of yer Grandma once before, 4-Oh. She's mighty tough on folks who try to wear their ballcap indoors. Snips off the cap bill, or somesuch ...

      Oh! A-har! Chess rook! Never mind.

      Lewis 3:07 PM  

      Yes, corner piece was my favorite clue, M&A. The puzzle was easy for Sunday, and I hated the long quote. Bold, as Rex pointed out, but sloggy. John Child, that was a good point as to the purpose of the wording of the long quote -- probably right on the mark...

      retired_chemist 3:08 PM  

      @ M&A - the CASTLEs are at the four corners of the chessboard intially.

      Ellen S 3:12 PM  

      Nice writeup, Rex, but I'm not sniveling. I'm old enough to be your mother, read to my daughter, nice to hear again that it works.

      @LMS, I'm afraid you and I and your mother (and damn few others) have lost the battle on "For you and I". I can't believe how many PhD College Profs (not speaking of @Rex) misuse that, thinking "you and I" is more educated sounding, but just bone ignorant.

      Just noticed the captcha is "haredar" Har-de-har? Maybe it has a bad surprise in store. Anyway, I thought I had finished the puzzle with only one cheat, came here and found out I misspelled "OLaF", never checked the cross, and even when I checked the answers I didn't see the little "a" hiding among the "o's". I may have to go back to AcrossLite, so my error will show up with 20,000 volts through the keyboard.

      And further, @Loren, poor Mr. Parcels, thinking there was any consistency to English definitions. His head would have exploded to read these definitions from the Oxford New American Dictionary, 2005 (I paid good money for it, so it must be accurate; and it is based on the mighty "Oxford English Corpus", which I think means the corpse of the English language):
      Dais: A low platform for a lectern, seats of honor or a throne.
      Lectern: A tall stand with a sloping top to hold a book or notes, and from which someone ... can read while standing up.
      Podium: 1) A small platform on whcih a person a stand to be seen by an audience, as when making a speech or conducting an orchestra; 2) a lectern.

      So a Dais is a platform and is not a lectern, but a Podium is a platform and might be a lectern. All clear now?

      North Beach 3:14 PM  

      Three rodents with defective eyesight
      Three rodents with defective eyesight
      Perceive how they perambulate
      Perceive how they perambulate
      They all scurry after the agricultural spouse
      She severs their appendages with a carving utensil
      Have you ever perceived such a catastrophe in all your existence
      As three rodents with defective eyesight

      ~King Friday XIII
      Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

      chefbea 4:11 PM  

      @LMS My mother told me that you can't wear white before Memorial Day or after Labor Day!!!

      John in Philly 4:34 PM  

      Loved this Puz because it was my fastest Sunday ever - 50:59. I know, others may snicker at this "fastest" time. But for me - yoohoo!! I liked the tribute to Mom, Rex, but the f&&& word - undid the beauty of the rest of it. my mother is gone, so today is bittersweet.

      retired_chemist 5:25 PM  

      @ John in Philly - no snickers here. Good job finishing, and if speed is your thing it will come with time and practice. This is not so much about smarts, more about trivia, and a lot about becoming familiar with the go-to words all constructors use. A few years ago, finishing a Sunday at all was a proud moment for me,and for about a year I expected to spend an hour at it.

      Captcha rapprex (seriously!) - no thanks. He's already told us not to f%$k with his mama's kids.

      Sparky 5:54 PM  

      My mother was flawed and partially responsible for 8.5 years of therapy. But she did bring me to the library for a card as soon as I was 5.5 yrs old and we went to Womrath's weekly. For that I thank her. Her taste ran to Jack Woodford and Aphrodite by Pierre Louys. Hmmmmm.

      Lovely tribute @Rex. Warm photos. Thanks @Rex's Mother for stopping by.

      @Rex. If you watched Sita Sings The Blues You would know Rama. I may not be a mother but I know how to be a nudge.

      The puzzle was okay. Almost finished but stuck in mid East. The ONE threw me. On to work the Puns and Anagrams. No more spoilers!

      Bob Kerfuffle 7:27 PM  

      @Ellen S - You have hit on one of my sorest spots of grammar. It seems even presumably educated TV newscasters and NPR hosts can't avoid using "for you and I" and similar screamers. And yet, a well-known (to, ahem, people our age[?]) singer openly used "for you and I" and I have never objected to it. Can you or anyone else cite the context? :>)

      Answer tomorrow.

      sanfranman59 7:27 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 6:13, 6:14, 1.00, 47%, Medium
      Tue 9:05, 8:14, 1.10, 74%, Medium-Challenging
      Wed 9:15, 10:07, 0.91, 29%, Easy-Medium
      Thu 16:52, 16:58, 0.99, 48%, Medium
      Fri 17:27, 20:54, 0.83, 19%, Easy
      Sat 21:54, 25:19, 0.87, 20%, Easy
      Sun 24:01, 29:29, 0.81, 14%, Easy

      Top 100 solvers

      Mon 3:53, 3:44, 1.04, 71%, Medium-Challenging
      Tue 5:38, 4:49, 1.17, 86%, Challenging
      Wed 5:33, 5:59, 0.93, 32%, Easy-Medium
      Thu 9:28, 9:56, 0.95, 35%, Easy-Medium
      Fri 10:30, 12:00, 0.87, 26%, Easy-Medium
      Sat 14:06, 15:08, 0.93, 35%, Easy-Medium
      Sun 16:20, 19:58, 0.82, 19%, Easy

      evil doug 8:47 PM  

      Jim Morrison, The Doors, "Touch Me".

      Stop lectern me. Dais no way I'll remember dis stuff. Podium? Tedium....

      Evil

      Tita 10:39 PM  

      @Rex - thank you, oh thank you, for the Muppets clip. Had never seen that one. Laughed out loud.

      @Bob K - and thank you, for the poem. Marvelous.

      OFL's tribute overshadowed the puzzle. Good thing, since I really hate these "Part 1 of quote" kinda things.

      @LMS - mine taught me to break off each piece of bread, butter, and eat. You never bring the whole roll to your mouth!

      @North Beach - very funny.

      Carola 10:48 PM  

      @Bob Kerfuffle - This is the "for you and I" that I know:

      The Platters, "Heaven on Earth"

      Heaven on earth, that's what you've made for me since the day we met
      Heaven on earth, it's all been so thrilling, I never can forget, uh-oh

      Heaven on earth, alone with an angel, is living in dreams come true
      Heaven on earth, I know that it happens only when I'm with you

      Paradise seemed so far
      Like a star, it twinkled high above me
      Now I'm wise:
      Paradise isn't far at all when you're around to love me, uh-oh, love me

      Oh, heaven on earth, no need in waiting, waiting until I die
      Heaven on earth, that's what you've made, a heaven for you and I

      A heaven for you and I
      (For you and I)

      LaneB 12:17 AM  

      Very late delivery of the Times today and a matching late start. Real "easy". Only took me 4 hours but I did finish. Kinda slow, n'eat-ce pas?

      Susan Pease Banitt, LCSW 3:49 AM  

      Was really looking forward to a Mother's Day puzzle. Big disappointment. Blech.

      runescapeworld 5:03 AM  

      Very late delivery of the Times today and a matching late start. Real "easy".Big disappointment. Blech. gold rs

      Bob Kerfuffle 6:48 AM  

      @Ellen S, evil doug, and Carola --

      Very sorry, but I had in fact posed a bit of a trick question.

      Both The Doors and The Platters are singing the equivalent of "There's a nice ice cream cone for I and you." (Always reverse the pronouns to check your usage!)

      The song I had in mind was written by Cole Porterand most famously sung by Bing Crosby:

      "True Love"

      [From the movie "High Society" starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong]

      Suntanned, windblown
      Honeymooners at last alone
      Feeling far above par
      Oh, how lucky we are

      While I give to you and you give to me
      True love, true love
      So on and on it will always be
      True love, true love

      For you and I have a guardian angel
      On high, with nothing to do
      But to give to you and to give to me
      Love forever true

      For you and I have a guardian angel
      On high, with nothin' to do
      But to give to you and to give to me
      Love forever true
      Love forever true

      * * * *

      For I have used a different meaning of the word "for."

      Anonymous 4:17 PM  

      I did not like this puzzle at all.

      I do not like all of you smart-alecky people.

      yes, moms are cool.

      Spacecraft 1:04 PM  

      I am not a big fan of "paragraph themes," quotations, sayings, jokes, etc. that run all the way across the grid on four, five or six lines. A few are clever or funny enough to get away with it--but today's, folks, is NOT one of them. What OFL said about the convoluted language of the long answer goes double here, especially EFFECTUATED. While a real word, this beauty is so rarely used it doesn't even appear in legal documents!

      ERGO, I found this to be a slog, and the fill did LITTLE to improve. My mystery clue--and answer--is "___lane" = HOV. That whole thing is one big HUH? to me. And OFL had the V in place and used it to get ASIMOV?? For me, good ol' Isaac was the lead-in gimme for the whole puzzle. The H and O came on crosses. I highly recommend the Foundation trilogy for you sci-fi aficionados. (Now that was stupid: if you ARE one, you've already read it!) Well, just in case. But HOV lane?????

      Other sticking points and "Oh, no!"s: Home of the U.K. is, of course, ENG. Except when that won't work. Only in the broadest possible sense is EUR the home of the U.K.--precisely because that's where ENG is! Clue: bah. ANOINT for "Formally name?" Man, that's stretching to the breaking point. Clue: bah #2. UEYS. Fill: AAUGH!

      Wonderful Mom tribute, @Rex. I fully appreciate it when you say "See, this is why I don't do this." Whatever you say, it's not enough. Me too.

      P.S.@BobK: thanks for the "High Society" memoir. Always loved that flick. Proves you don't need a spate of sex, violence and careening action to make a good movie. Are you listening, Hollywood?

      rain forest 1:54 PM  

      Well, I liked it, and getting LOOKBEFOREYOULEAP early helped in figuring out the long phrase. I think the convolutedness of the theme was the point, so I didn't mind that at all.

      @Spacecraft, I'm not sure if you were not in the know or just not pleased with HOV, which means "High Occupancy Vehicle", ie, carpoolers who have their own lane on freeways. HOV lane is definitely in the language.

      The puzzle is a reminder to sedulously avoid and eschew excessive and pompous prolixity.

      Dirigonzo 3:44 PM  

      Given the near-incomprehesibility of the long theme phrase, I wonder if David J. Kahn's day-job involves writing federal regulations. Why use four words when 21 will do? I liked it.

      @rain forest - your admonition to "be humble" (at least I think that's what it means) reminds me that there is a local radio personality who bills himself as "The Humble Farmer" even though he is neither.

      Anonymous 4:01 PM  

      I got an A PLUS on this one. Unless you're grading on a curve, which probably nets me a D in this group.

      Spacecraft 6:12 PM  

      @rain forest: thanks for the clear-up. I have seen "carpool lanes," but never HOV. If you gave me a million years, I could never have come up with that. And now that I know...not pleased.

      My pet verbosity peeve is "at this time" for "now."

      I did think that LOOKBEFOREYOULEAP, literally cutting through all that other verbiage, was a nice touch, so I guess one thumb up and only one down. I'm not a TOTAL curmudgeon.

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