Bond Girl Green of Casino Royale / WED 7-24-13 / One of two characters in Fox in Socks / Porphyria's love poet / Charlotte's Web actress / Symbol after I on many bumper sticker / Tropical food that is poisonous if eaten raw / Scooter Plame affair figure

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Constructor: Erik Wennstrom

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium



THEME: Famous people clued as if their last names were present participles

Theme answers:
  • 20A: "Charlotte's Web" actress on a hot day? (DAKOTA FANNING)
  • 28A: "A Brief History of Time" author doing sales? (STEPHEN HAWKING)
  • 46A: "Porphyria's Lover" poet with a pan of ground beef on the stove? (ROBERT BROWNING)
  • 55A: "Tom Jones" novelist playing baseball? (HENRY FIELDING)

Word of the Day: "NCIS: LA" (49D: CBS drama featuring LL Cool J) —

NCIS: Los Angeles (Naval Criminal Investigative Service: Los Angeles) is an American television seriescombining elements of the military drama and police procedural genres, which premiered on the CBS network on September 22, 2009. In the USA, the series airs following NCIS on Tuesdays.
NCIS: Los Angeles is the first spin-off of the successful NCIS, which itself was a spinoff of another CBS series, JAG. On October 7, 2009, CBS gave the series a full-season pickup, extending the first season to 22 episodes. The season was extended again on November 4, 2009, when CBS announced its order for an additional two episodes. [...] On March 27, 2013, CBS renewed NCIS: Los Angeles for a fifth season. (wikipedia)
• • •

Liked it. Seems like an old concept, but it's executed pretty nicely here. Weirdly, all the difficulty in this puzzle came from how unexpectedly straightforward it was. That is: it's Wednesday, and there are "?" clues, so I expect wordplay. So even after I get DAKOTA I expect that the second half of the answer will be a play on the word "fanning"—not the Actual Word FANNING. That's just how my brain works, given lots and lots and lots of experience with these kinds of puzzles. Also, "doing sales" in the STEPHEN HAWKING clue somehow didn't create any kind of immediate association. I can see how they are defensibly equivalent, but you'd never substitute one for the other. The phrasing's just weird. Anyway, this is all just to say that I looked for the curve and got a fastball over the plate. Once I caught the theme, the rest was super-easy (didn't even look at the clues for the second two theme answers). But that off-balance part at the beginning put things in plausibly Wednesdayish territory, overall difficulty-wise.


Here's something odd—I don't like BIZKIT (3D: Rock's Limp ___). And I don't just mean "the sound of that band's music makes me sad." I mean that, as much as I love Zs and Ks, this answer can only ever be a partial and can only ever have one clue, one frame of reference. That makes it limited, doomed to forever be a know-it-or-you-don't bit of (partial) trivia. And with every passing year, the frame of reference just gets sadder and dimmer. Also, "Rock" called, and it would like to deny the association. On the other hand, I kind of love "NCIS: LA," partly because it has the virtue of being a *complete* answer, and partly because it just looks nuts in the grid. Hot initialism-on-initialism action. Also, I learned that it's a spin-off of a spin-off that is Going To Spawn Its Own Spin-off this fall. This raises many questions, one of which is "what is the record length of a spin-off chain?" The "NCIS: LA" spin-off would put the chain length at four, which I've just Never heard of. But then again I've never seen a single ep of "JAG" or "NCIS" or "NCIS: LA," either, so what do I know?


Bullets:
  • 42A: Bond girl Green of "Casino Royale" (EVA) — Bond Girls just aren't as name-famous as they once were. I can name ... Ursula Andress. I think that's it. Wait, who played Pussy Galore? Ah, Honor Blackman. I knew there was an "Avengers" connection in there somewhere.
  • 51A: One of the two characters in Dr. Seuss' "Fox in Socks" (KNOX) — did not know that. Don't think I know this story at all. Pretty sure I was limited to "One Fish, Two Fish...," "Green Eggs and Ham," and the Dr. Seuss Dictionary. No Lorax, no Yertle ... I have weird, big Seuss gaps.
  • 62A: One-volume works of Shakespeare, e.g. (TOME) — I misread and continue to misread this clue. There are many one-volume works of Shakespeare. I have tons on my shelves at school. "The Tempest," that's one volume. "Hamlet," that's another. Etc. I see what the clue is trying to say (i.e. one-volume *complete* works of Shakespeare), but it did Not compute. 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

86 comments:

Anonymous 12:05 AM  

In the wake of the Anthony Wiener Scandal (Part Two), the clue Rock's Limp _______ seemed timely.

Just sayin'.....


jae 12:06 AM  

I thought this was tougher than Rex did.   I mean LA BOHEME crossing KNOX and PALATAL,  LEON crossing ELMO,  BIZKIT, NCIS LA, SID the Kid...seems kinda crunchy to me. 

Liked it a lot.  Nice take on a familiar theme and another reasonably smooth grid.

August West 12:09 AM  

Had never heard of NIHIL as a stand-alone word, but easy enough to deduce and fill.

PALATAL consonants were another new learn, but not a hurdle.

Moving across from NW to NE, dropped in TAKEON for Hire, but ESPN showed that to be in error...only do-over.

All else no-hum easy. Didn't look at half or more of the downs. 4:39, more like a Tuesday for me. Enjoyable enough, if not much of a challenge.

Dick Wolf 12:24 AM  

Law & Order holds the record at 5, for a total of 46 years of L&O. Two were good.

Dick Wolf 12:25 AM  

I just realized my real name is also a damned good porn name.

Evan 1:00 AM  

I guess BIZKIT is kinda like the emo-er version of OINGO, which can only be clued as the word before BOINGO.

I thought this was easier than yesterday's, even though I started wrong with LIE right at 1-Across -- and then it showed up at 66-Across later on. A few other possible themers come to mind:

* PEYTON/ELI MANNING -- [Broncos/Giants quarterback staffing his company?]
* ALONZO MOURNING -- Former Heat star at a funeral?]
* PATRICK EWING -- [I dunno.....Former Knicks star being a she-sheep?] If you can imagine EWE becoming a verb somehow.

And for some reason, all my ideas were athletes. Maybe this was harder to do than I originally thought, because IAN FLEMING, JULIUS ERVING, and CAROL CHANNING don't really work.

Hmm, 11 fill-in-the-blank clues altogether....seems like a lot for any day. And it's amazing that a short, common word like FINDS is making only its second appearance in the NYT during the Will Shortz era.

Steve J 1:03 AM  

Can't make up my mind if I like this one or not. On the one hand, the theme clues were quite good (other than the aforementioned clumsy "doing sales" phrasing). On the other, the answers are just people's names. If you recognize who they are via the cited work (as I did with STEPHENHAWKING), you don't need the name. If you don't have a clue (as I didn't with HENRYFIELDING), the clue provides little to no help. I kind of felt a little short-changed that there was no wordplay with the names themselves.

Found the clue for 14A just plain bizarre. Like there's a nice Amin who's going to show up in a crossword?

Being a big fan of the series, it was kind of fun seeing two James Bond answers in the grid (and while she may not be as famous as some earlier Bond women, EVA Green has the distinction of being one of only a handful who can actually act well). It's just a shame that what is without question the absolute worst film of the series, "A VIEW to a Kill" was the one that had to get a shoutout.

retired_chemist 1:05 AM  

Easy. Got the theme at STEPHEN HAWKING and after that it pretty much filled itself in. Had to go back and replace BEAN with CUKE (read the clue as "picked," not "pickled") and fix a double EEL. Put EEL @ 35A and 45A knowing one would be wrong, with a plan to fix it later. Also had LIE twice - but had fixed the incorrect 1A via the downs before writing in 66A.

Clue for 29D might have read "Anthony Weiner, with 'out.'"

Thanks, Mr. Wennstrom.

syndy 1:24 AM  

well at least they were all names that we should of at lest heard of. no Rap artists Slovenian Nihilists or taiwanese ball players! My LIE lay at first in the wrong line and OKRA was my pickle.TARA ROOT was interesting ATT ATTN was a trifle much!What is with MR. Weiner anyway?

chefwen 2:24 AM  

@retired_chemist - Laughed out loud at you Weiner joke, actually woke the husband up, it was more like a guffaw than a laugh. From the bedroom "what's so damn funny"?

@Rex rated yesterday medium/ challenging, which I thought was super easy, today easy/medium and I thought it was medium/challenging. "And never the twain shall meet"

Knew DAKOTA FANNING and ROBERT BROWNING. STEPHEN HAWKING and HENRY FIELDING had to be coaxed out of hiding from crosses only. Anyway, got the puppy done, but it sure wasn't a speed run (not that I care about speed) the end result was there, that's what I care about.

Gill I. P. 6:10 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. Like @Rex, I too was expecting some sort of word play and not finding any was my only disappointment.
Maybe our resident LINGUISTs can give us an example of PALATAL words. I always wondered why the name Jill is almost impossible to pronounce by Spanish and Asian speaking natives. I've been called "hill" "heel" and my Korean friend calls me "jew."
Well, I didn't know TARO is poisonous if eaten raw but I don't even like it cooked and I now know that Mr. Limp spells his name BIZKIT.
Fun Wed. puzzle.

John O'Toole 6:39 AM  

Liked the whole puzzle. TOME also tripped me up, though I fully understand it after completing.

My only qualm with the puzzle is 11-Down. "Person who has a way with words?" Why the question mark? There's no wordplay or cuteness here; a LINGUIST is someone who has a way with words, many ways, really. Would have gotten that clue instantly without the "?" and I should have, as this is more or less the literal definition of the word. Maybe the "?" was a trap, but if so, I don't like it. Sets a bad precedent.

Otherwise, fine puzzle. Theme was easy until the last theme answer. Couldn't place it at first and wrote in BUNTING. Oops. Four wrong letters in the (relatively) toughest part of the gird was a setback.

Cheers!

Mitzie 7:17 AM  

Meh.

Anonymous 7:28 AM  

not bad
"finds" and "root" were a bit of a stretch
had "anon" for "attn" (dumb)
little nothing showed my error (actually I think a trifle is a little "something")

DrPuzzle 7:28 AM  

Didn't like it. As far as the themed clues, there's no "there" there. That is to say, no twist, altered spelling, added word, bad pun, etc. Like @Steve J pointed out, the themed answers are just the names of the people referred to in the clues. For example, for 28 Across, the answer is the same if the clue is truncated to just: "A Brief History of Time" author.

evil doug 7:44 AM  

Nowhere near as fun as yesterday's. Masturbation jokes trump limp bizkets....

Eel...eve...bar...attn...sea...ssr...idi...one...tao...gee...lie...emma...knee...slim...

Just way too many nothin' 3 and 4 letter words that just sit there taking up space, and a tedious theme of random gerund names.

Evil

Joe The Juggler 7:55 AM  

I very much liked the ILIAD clue.

DBlock 8:02 AM  

And again the reason I love this blog and those who come, er, comment here--first thought when seeing limp in a clue was, even the NYT wouldn't allow that 4 letter answer but it was the first word that came to my inappropriate mind

Agree that short answers weak, but any puzzle that expects you to know both Henry Fielding, Robert Browning (my gimmes) and Dakota Fanning (which I needed to get from the crosses) is OK

Milford 8:08 AM  

Like many I was looking for the trick/variable spelling of names that wasn't to be. But if you visuslize the clues, e.g. ROBERT BROWNING a pan of ground beef, it is a pretty funny theme.

Made my life even harder by confidently plunking in c-major before STEREO for the music clue, which I crossed with bold before NEON for the loud color clue. But overall this puzzle was very medium, much like yesterday's.

Was actually watching "Casino Royale" while solving, but I refused to look at the show info to get EVA.

Liked OMEGA clued as a fatty acid. Didn't realize that NIHIL was a stand-alone English word - it's Latin, of course, but usually seen as NIHIList or anNIHILate in English.

Weiner just keeps shooting himself in the foot. Plus, I never understand how busy, professional politicians have the time for this stuff. But their overinflated egos must make them think they'll never get caught...again.

Susan McConnell 8:16 AM  

Yup, meh.

Z 8:51 AM  

Any puzzle with Robert Browning and Dr. Seuss is okay by me.

Shouldn't a sex scandal involve, you know, sex? Talk about the Limp BIZKIT of sex scandals. Personally, I don't care what consenting politicians do on Facebook or the Appalachian Trail or the stalls at the airport (unless, of course, they run on 'family values'), but what kind of woman stands there next to the fool at the press conference? Woman, give him a KNEE to the groin and walk away.

Captain G. Piecost 8:52 AM  

Of course, since it has seeds and grows from a flower, a cucumber is a fruit and not a vegetable

Chris 8:53 AM  

Dick Wolf:

Sorry, but it's actually All in the Family with 5 spin offs--2 of which were 2d step--for a total of 6 shows in Archie Bunker's world.

joho 8:54 AM  

I, too, was looking for a twist on the names. But even without one it's interesting how the last names are turned into actions.

But, boy, is the grid filled with names! Some aren't clued as such but still: DAKOTA, STEPHEN, ROBERT, HENRY, LIBBY, IRIS, EVA, ERIC, ELMO, DEAN, TARA, PETER, LEON, EMMA and SID.

NOSAINT struck me as odd.

@Ellen S... EEL!

My take is that Mr. Weiner just can't help living up to his name.

Hey, ERIk you got ERIC into the grid!

In the end I more liked than didn't.

Carola 9:00 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 9:01 AM  

I don't even have anything useful to say. I just want to type in my capcha: COLARSE

Carola 9:05 AM  

Very clever idea for the theme, I thought, and fun to do. Like @Milford, I got a smile out of visualizing the clues in action. First entry was STEPHEN HAWKING - after the top row gave me nothing, I scanned for the theme entries. After that, it went fast.

Very much liked KNOX from Fox in Socks sandwiched between the literary greats BROWNING and FIELDING.

@retired_chemist - LOL.

@Milford - We got a Nature Conservancy calendar in the mail that included a wildlife photo from the Kensington Metropark in Milford, MI. I thought, "I know someone in Milford!" :)

dk 9:25 AM  

NIHIL and FANNING, my alpha and OMEGA… as in first and last mistakes. Just did not want to let go of zilch even when the I was the only later left standing.

Otherwise a very good Wednesday for this TRIFLE.

The Wiener stories just keep getting sadder. Maybe he should go on tour with Larry (just tappin my foot) Craig. Perhaps there is a x-word theme here: Andrea? Victor?

Anyway not to divert from a fine offering.

������ (3 Stars) Is it a LIE or a FIB: ELMO knows! (Lame Sesame Street ref)

dk 9:26 AM  

letter not later

jberg 9:31 AM  

Whew! Am I glad to learn about NCISLA - I was sure I must have had an error, but the crosses didn't seem to be open to question.

I liked the theme -- the point is that the names ARE the wordplay, but we need the clues to hear them that way.

encl before ATTN, and the usual malapop at LIE. I'm not sure most music is really played in STEREO, though; maybe most recorded music, and I'm not too sure about that.

But SEA EEL? Come on.

chefbea 9:47 AM  

Thought it was tough for a Wednesday. Too many things I didn't know. DNF.

Of course but beet at 25 across but then nothing else fit .

Loved Robert browning.

Masked and Anonymo2Us 9:53 AM  

Tough puz. Only 74 words. Feisty WedPuz cluing. Enjoyed the fight, tho. Almost felt like a ThursPuz, except theme was pretty normal.

NOSAINT had some nerve. Is this sayin "no saint is morally flawed", or is it sayin "if U are morally flawed, then U is no saint"? Confusin to the M&A. Am now awaitin the NOBIZKIT clue: "Bad Limp rocker, ___", someday soon.

Someone musta been powerful hungry, whoever found a way to get TARO safely on the menu. "...Yeah, my Uncle Fred tried some of that stuff. Died instantly. But I still wanna find a way to eat it....". Day-um. Way to perservere, Dakota Browning Poi.

Notsofast 9:57 AM  

IAMTOO in with "meh". And on a side note, who the hell in real life names their kid ELMO?

Rob C 9:58 AM  

yes, surprisingly straight-forward for a Wed. I found it easy b/c, as others have mentioned, once I caught on to the theme, it almost filled itself in. Not much else to cheer or hiss at.

@Z - holding pols to certain standards, such as not lying, not acting like a jr. high schooler, and not promising to use their influence to get jobs/condos, isn't a bad thing no matter your political bent, is it?

@jberg - well you wouldn't want to mistake it for an ocean eel, would you?

Bob Kerfuffle 10:08 AM  

Fun puzzle, more Medium than Easy for me.

When I first glanced at the clues, before I had anything entered in the grid, my eye hit on the clue for 28 A, "A Brief History of Time" author doing sales, and I was sure it would be HAWKING HAWKING. Even the number of letters was right. But I held off on entering, so I finished with no write-overs.

mac 10:15 AM  

More straightforward than I first expected, but enjoyable. After Dakota and Stephen I filled in the other two ings.

At 11D my first thought was Amanda Yesnowitz, of course, the "the broad whose name goes from A to Z".

Sandy K 10:19 AM  

I enjoyed filling in the names, altho after DAKOTA FANNING with no twist- made the others a TRIFLE easy TO ME...

Fave fill: LA BOHEME, LINGUIST, NCIS:LA and thanks to my nieces- the group Limp BIZKIT.

Like @Milford, I saw "Casino Royale" last night- noticed EVA Green. In keeping with the mini-Bond theme, KNOX could've been clued as 'Goldfinger's target- Ft.__' nah...

Seeing 35A, you just knew you were getting some EEL!

Michael Hanko 10:24 AM  

Anyone else who would prefer to see the clues for 1- and 66-Across switched?

To me, a FIB is a subset of lying that implies some light-heartedness. I'd use it where 'pulling my leg' might be appropriate. Not to refer to conjuring up an alibi to the cops, unless it's an episode of Andy Griffith.

Two Ponies 10:30 AM  

Count me as bored and not amused.

Proud alumna 10:59 AM  

I wonder if the constructor was aware that there's a mini-theme
of "Columbia Law School grads of the 1970's" in this puzzle. I
noticed it because I was in the same class (1975) as Scooter
LIBBY, and ERIC Holder was a year behind us, in the Class of
1976.

DBGeezer 11:03 AM  

@rex, Hamlet is one volume work (singular) of Shakespeare; Same with Tempest, etc. If more than one play is in the volume then they are plural works, and if manhy works are included it becomes a TOME

Z 11:11 AM  

@Rob C - Crimes - lock 'em up. Having sex lives that are not atypical - it's between them and theirs. Lying about stuff that doesn't really belong in the public sphere - forgivable. Getting a KNEE to the groin for embarrassing your spouse internationally twice - deserved.

And all us word lover's should enjoy Slate's Carlos Danger Name Generator. Mine is Feliciano Smash. I may just have to change my blogger profile.

joho 11:26 AM  

@Z, evidently we share the same last name.

@Rob C ... now you've got me wondering if there's a lake EEL. Or a pond EEL.

retired_chemist 11:36 AM  

Retired Chemist is Mario Calamity.....
My real name is Ignacio Covert, or if I use my nickname it is Sandro Trouble.

Carola 11:45 AM  

@Z - For me it came up with Salvador Kill, yikes. Thanks for the link!

Catherine Park 11:48 AM  

What was odd for me was that the theme was way easier than the fill. Also my brain insisted that Elizabeth Barrett Browning had to get in there instead of Robert. Or at least the Barret Browning part. Brain and I fought hard over this, and finally I won. Also the four-letter flower name left a lot of options-- Like ROSE and LILY for two, and IRIS makes three. And since Brain insisted on ENCL instead of ATTN the upper mid-west was quite a hassle. Stupid brain!

Rob C 11:53 AM  

@Z - We agree about where the wife's KNEE belongs. Weiner was my parents US Rep and, even though they share many of his political beliefs, they consider him a disgrace. Oh I wish I had an oscar Mayor Weiner ;)

@joho - it's a little known fact that the land eel is a cousin of the land shark.

Rob C 11:55 AM  

@Z - Oh yeah, I'm José Verboten.

joho 12:20 PM  

@Rob C: LOL

3 and out.,

Keen Observer 12:30 PM  

My, doesn't JK Rowling seem pleased with what she sees looking up Robyn's dress.

Lewis 12:37 PM  

I loved the theme. It made me smile. I like that it was straightforward, simply names, but names that can have other meanings. That is plenty for a theme, and it's unusual.

A fair amount of grid gruel, however: IDI, NEZ, LII, SSR, NIHIL. I liked NOSAINT and TRIFLE. And the cluing was just right for Wednesday -- a bit crunchy.

Dakota and Stephen might not be happy about crossing NO SAINT. But Robert and Henry would probably feel good about crossing CRAFTED.

gifcan 1:03 PM  

Agree with @joho about NOSAINT. Liked the puzzle, enjoy the comments.

I bought two Seuss books yesterday to read to my precious grand-daughter but not *Fox in Socks*

Looking forward to Thursday's puzzle and all the witty comments.

I spend way too much time pursuing this pleasure.

retired_chemist 1:43 PM  


@gifcan re "I spend way too much time pursuing this pleasure." - did you miss this one?

Narciso Furtive 1:58 PM  

@Z, thanx for the name generator dealy. Hope I was doin it correct. Input first name = masked, last name = anonymous. New, improved name: Narciso Furtive. Or N&F, for short.

Ever experimental, M&A then tried...
1. Entering same name again, to see if he got the same result. Yep.
2. Then tried Masked, Anonymo2Us. This generated Marcelo Threat.
3. Then tried Rex, Parker. Got Dario Kill.

M&A

M and A or N and F, finally, 2:14 PM  

p.s.
...
4. Then input Michael, Sharp. Got Rex Tiparillo. Close, but no cigar. (har)
5. Then tried Narciso, Furtive. Got Raul Adventure. So the gismo doesn't do loop-back reconverts.
6. Lastly, had to try my real name. Should be safe to tell results, since no loop-back reconverts. It came out Victorino Gamble.

M&A

retired_chemist 2:24 PM  

@ Victorino Gamble - *I* can do the loop-back and have figured out that your real name is George Alexander Louis.

Picky 2:32 PM  

Is NCISLA really a complete answer? I mean, given the name of the show is NCIS: Los Angeles?

syndy 2:39 PM  

I got CARLOS KILL can I try again?

chefbea 2:58 PM  

I put in my real name and got ..Feliciano Scourge.

Chef Bea got...Gustavo Death

Frederico Dynamite 2:59 PM  

@retired_chemist - That's just too current.

LaneB 3:02 PM  

For some reason I found this to be quite easy--fast, Googless and only one erasure (uSR for SSR). All the names fell immediately into place. Very satisfying, indeed.

LaneB 3:13 PM  

OgMsFor some reason I found this to be quite easy--fast, Googless and only one erasure (uSR for SSR). All the names fell immediately into place. Very satisfying, indeed.

joho 3:43 PM  

No matter how many times I've done it I'm Juan Smash which is really irritating as I'm not a man! (Sorry, 4 and out)

John V 3:56 PM  

I put in Anthony Wiener and got some cool phone numbers back. Thing needs more work.

sanfranman59 4:21 PM  

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

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

Wed 9:58, 9:43, 1.02, 60%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:36, 5:36, 1.00, 50%, Medium

Joe The Juggler 4:23 PM  

Proud alumna said...
"I wonder if the constructor was aware that there's a mini-theme
of "Columbia Law School grads of the 1970's" in this puzzle."

I noticed a couple of other mini-themes. We had two physicists (Hawking and Planck) and the nifty Roman cross of LII and NIHIL.

To the person who put in USR instead of SSR: SSR (Soviet Socialist Republic) is a crossword standard for any Soviet Bloc nation. You'll see it pretty much at least once a week.

Sfingi 4:39 PM  

This was what I call a "learning" Wednesday, i.e. I had to Google 10 times. Though, I must say there was a balance between classic stuff I know and sports/youth pop I don't.

Thanx Wennstrom for no French.

Gill I. P. 5:17 PM  

What...no LINGUIST today???No PALATAL words???? Where is @Tita, Where is @Loren???
@Z: I'm a Benito Dynamite. You're damn right I am...;-)

Dan 5:37 PM  

For the record, that NCIS: LA spinoff isn't happening. At least not this fall. And there aren't any longer chains of spinoffs.

Anonymous 7:05 PM  

I can't figure out why there's a picture of Mindy Kaling in the write-up. Can someone clue me in?

Milford 7:35 PM  

Ernesto Verboten, here, which I love - except like @joho, I'm annoyed its a dude's name!

@Carola - yes, indeed you do! We love having Kensington so close, we go there a lot. I wonder if it was an osprey in the photo - we have a nest of them in Kensington.

jburgs 8:00 PM  

Since Rex's comment about arthur godfrey firing that singer for masturbating on air live, posters here have seemed to feel they have license to indulge their inner dirty minds. He should make some scatalogical reference tomorrow to raise the level of discussion a bit.

Melodious Funk 10:25 PM  

I'm always late to the game, everything's been said. Except maybe:

Clue: hot dog at a NYC politician's barbecue.

Solution:

Oh well, too obvious.

sanfranman59 10:26 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

Mon 5:21, 6:09, 0.87, 3%, Easy (6th lowest ratio of 188 Mondays)
Tue 9:05, 8:13, 1.10, 76%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 9:56, 9:43, 1.02, 60%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:18, 3:46, 0.88, 3%, Easy (5th lowest ratio of 188 Mondays)
Tue 5:25, 4:57, 1.09, 72%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 5:24, 5:36, 0.96, 41%, Medium

Z 10:55 PM  

@joho and @Milford - So far the number of male politicians embarrassing their spouses far outnumbers female politicians. I have confidence that as the glass ceiling is over come your gender will be better represented.

TachyJacky 12:28 AM  

This was a difficult Wed. for me. Luckily, I was able to get all of the theme answers and work from them. It was tough going, however.

PALATAL still doesn't sit right with me. PALATAL refers to the place of articulation when the body of the tongue rises and comes into contact with the hard palate. While some languages have purely palatal consonants, the English language has only one approximate- the phoneme /j/ or the letter Y as most people would know it, as in the word Yesterday.

@Gill.. So there are no PALATAL words, since words are made up of several phonemes, each of which have their own place of articulation. The consonant G as in your name starts with the phoneme /dz/ ( not technically correct, but my iPad hasn't the symbol I need), which is an Alveo-palatal phoneme.

I know there are some languages that have palatal consonants, such as the ch in the German nicht, but I will leave that to the linguists in the group.

Avon Crafted Mali 12:54 AM  

I would die to come up with a theme like this!
Balanced between high culture and pop culture, male and female, young and old...consistent, simple and there was a play on words in that the last names became a verb.

Plus I malapopped LIE.
Loved it!
BIZKIT right amount of Scrabbledyness to transition back from Nationals to crosswords.

Bravo, Erik!

Tita 1:55 PM  

No one will read this, but have to say that yes, liked the puzzle, and...
Thought that PETER clued not as a name was a bonus themer.
(Ret_Chem - great alt clue!)

@Gill - I'm no LINGUIST, but I like to play one here in Rexville...(!)

OK - I guess I will work back through time on this week's puzzles, since you all are raving about Tue.

spacecraft 10:25 AM  

Hmm. I see a lot of likes, including OFL's, but for me, this JDLR. I mean, here you have a (n oversimplified) clue for the name; the entire second part of the clue is superfluous. Maybe if it were a bigger puzzle, and the answers were DAKOTAFANNINGFANNING, etc....uh, no, that wouldn't work, either. the whole thing is just dumb.

Brilliant fill might save it, I guess, but this is not. I'll grant that both the clue and answer for our Romanumeral entry is on a road less traveled--but it still IS one. Agree about the LIMITED range of BIZKIT...Sorry, Erik, this just didn't do it for me. And that despite the presence of one of my principal heroes, Dr. STEPHENHAWKING.

Jaime Trouble 1:14 PM  

When the best thing I can say about a puzzle is the fun cross of the Latin NIHIL with some Caesar-linked Roman numerals, the end result is ... yawn.
AKA CARY IN BOULDER

Yesterday was a whole lot more fun. Count me among those who think the theme answers could have been a bit trickier. Only flummox was in the SW, where for a long time IAGREE for "Same here!" kept me from seeing what should have been some easy answers. Also kept thinking that the epithet for Willie the Bard should have been something derogatory.

Best (and only) new word of the day: PALATAL

DMG 2:06 PM  

For awhile my door said "enter". That and "I agree" slowed me a bit, but it all worked out. I even figured how to spell BIZKIT! Enjoyed the play on the names, but agree with the suggestion that the likes of BrowningBrowning would have been more fun. But I bet that type of wordplay wouldn't fit the limits of puzzle construction, which seem to elude me. I think it amazing enough that people can interlock words, let alone obey rules about length, number of words, etc. my hat's off to all the constructors! Now back to the tennis!

Ginger 3:28 PM  

@retired_chemist thanks for the link to '21 Reasons', just gotta say I represent that.....

@TachyJacky - thanks for the explanation (description) of PALATAL. I got it via crosses, but had no idea what it was. Also, good to see you back.

@DMG - I hate rain delays, especially on days when I can watch in real time. How about Victoria Duval, only 17, sounds like 7, plays like 27!

Enjoyed the puz, but I'm ready (I hope) for the crunch one gets later in the week.

Dirigonzo 3:50 PM  

No puzzle that features proper names as the theme answers will ever be my favorite but at least there wan no mention of Miley Cyrus. SLIM LII CUKE and EVA ERIC EEL sound like names the generator-thingy might create.

Solving in Seattle 5:35 PM  

What @Spacecraft and @ED said. This puzzle had no pop.

My generated name: Jose Enrique Clandestine. Si!

capcha: ydance. Yup.

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